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The best wireless headphones 2020: our pick of the best ways to cut the cord

best wireless headphones
(Image credit: Grado)

Finding the best wireless headphones for your needs can be tricky, but we're here to help.

A few short years ago, we may have tried to dissuade you from buying a pair of wireless headphones, but these days, you can't go wrong with the best Bluetooth headphones of 2020.

Thanks to advancements in Bluetooth, the best wireless headphones sound just as good as their wired counterparts, offer fantastic connectivity, and some come with nifty features like active noise cancellation and built-in AI assistants. These cordless cans also make great companions for jack-less phones like the iPhone 11 and Pixel 3 that simply lack a 3.5mm AUX input to plug your headphones into. 

Whatever your reason for upgrading, we're here to help you pick out the best wireless headphones, regardless of your budget – and there are lots of models to choose from.

To make your decision easier, we've split our guide into over-ear headphones, wireless earphones, and true wireless earbuds – and be sure to check back regularly as new additions are added.

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The best over-ear wireless headphones

Sony WH-1000XM3

(Image credit: TechRadar)

1. Sony WH-1000XM3

Wireless noise-cancelling headphones that sound better than Bose

Acoustic design: Closed | Weight: 275 grams | Frequency response: 4Hz - 40kHz | Drivers: 40mm | Driver type: Dynamic | Sensitivity: 103dB | Impedance: 46 Ohms | Battery life: 30 hours | Wireless range: 30 feet | NFC: Yes

Superb noise-cancelling 
 Great-sounding audio 
 30-hour battery life 
 Hinges are fragile 

For the last three years, the Sony 1000X series of headphones have been our favorite wireless headphones on the market. They sound great thanks to a combination of superb wireless codecs – aptX and Sony's proprietary LDAC tech – and keep outside noise at bay thanks to Sony's ever-improving noise-cancellation algorithms. 

While the Sony WH-1000XM3 might not be a massive improvement over last year's WH-1000XM2, they're still a cut above their rivals, the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700, in nearly every way: they sound better, they block out noise better and have better features like Quick Attention mode that lets in all outside noise without taking off the headphones. (The latter is perfect when giving a drink order on a plane or speaking to a coworker for a brief moment before diving back into your work.) 

Great-sounding and feature-packed, these impressive Sony headphones are great travel companions and all-around excellent wireless headphones – and while we're hoping to see the Sony WH-1000XM4 this year, they're still the best wireless headphones of 2020.

Read more: Sony WH-1000XM3 review

Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700

(Image credit: Bose)

2. Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700

Bose's new wireless noise-cancelling headphones are easily its best yet

Acoustic design: Closed | Weight: 0.64 lbs (289g) | Cable length: N/A | Frequency response: N/A | Drivers: 40mm | Driver type: Dynamic | Sensitivity: N/A | Impedance: N/A | Battery life: 20 hours | Wireless range: 100 meters (330 feet) | NFC: No

Outstanding noise cancellation
Fun, lively sound
Battery life could be better
More expensive than Sony

Bose has really outdone itself with the Headphones 700 – and a big part of these cans’ appeal, is the sophistication of the noise cancellation they offer.

As an alternative to the Sony WH-1000XM3, these headphones sound fantastic, with a vibrant, lively character and well-balanced soundstage and offer the same great noise-cancellation you'd expect from Bose.

They don't have the same dexterity as the WH-1000XM3 and the battery life is also 10 hours less than Sony headphones despite costing more, but they're still well-worth considering when looking for a pair of wireless headphones.

Read more: Bose Noise-Cancelling Headphones 700 review

(Image credit: Future)

bowers & wilkins px7

(Image credit: Bowers & Wilkins)

3. Bowers & Wilkins PX7 Wireless Headphones

Strong all-rounders

Acoustic design: Closed | Weight: 310g | Cable length: 1.2m | Frequency response: 10 – 30,000 Hz | Drivers: 43.6mm | Driver type: Full range | Sensitivity: N/A | Impedance: 20 kOhms | Battery life: 30 hours | Wireless range: N/A | NFC: N/A

Best-in-class sound quality
Competitive battery life
Robust Bluetooth connection
Earcups don't collapse

If you’re looking for wireless noise-cancelling headphones and you're not put off by the $399 / £349 / AU$600 price tag, the Bowers & Wilkins PX7 are well worth considering. 

With sophisticated noise cancellation, much-improved sound quality, and a honed aesthetic, the PX7 could give any of the headphones on this list a run for their money. 

Plus, they're packing aptX Adaptive for improved stability and latency between the headphones and your device, as well as high-quality (24-bit) streaming aptX HD brought to the table.

Read more: Bowers & Wilkins PX7 Wireless Headphones review

Jabra Elite 85H

(Image credit: Jabra)

4. Jabra Elite 85H

Giving Sony and Bose a run for their money

Acoustic design: Closed | Weight: 296 grams | Cable length: N/A | Frequency response: 10-20kHz | Drivers: 40mm | Driver type: Dynamic | Sensitivity: N/A | Impedance: N/A | Battery life: 36 hours | Wireless range: 10m (33ft.) | NFC: N/A

Class-leading battery life
Excellent ANC performance
Stylish and comfortable
Lacks support for high-end codecs

Offering class-leading battery life, terrific style and plenty of personalization when it comes to sound profiles, the Elite 85h is easy to recommend. That said, purists will bemoan the lack of high-end codec support and there are punchier headphones on the market at this price point. When you consider that Jabra’s Elite 85h headphones are the company’s first attempt at premium wireless ANC headphones, the result is quite commendable. We can’t wait to see what the company’s next premium ANC headphones will accomplish.  

If you want an alternative to Sony's WH-1000XM3, this is it.

Read more: Jabra Elite 85H review

Bose QuietComfort 35 II

(Image credit: Bose)

5. Bose QuietComfort 35 II

Premium wireless headphones that include Google Assistant

Acoustic design: Closed | Weight: 0.68 pounds | Cable length: 3.94 feet | Frequency response: N/A | Drivers: N/A | Driver type: N/A | Sensitivity: N/A | Impedance: N/A | Battery life: 20+ hours | Wireless range: N/A | NFC: Yes

Broad and clear soundstage
Amazing noise cancellation
Active EQ an acquired taste
Boring looks

Bose took the already-excellent QC35 and updated them with Google Assistant. This means you still get the class-leading noise cancellation Bose is known for, good sound quality, and incredible comfort. Said simply, they sound great and their battery life is long enough for all but the longest of flights.

Despite the popularity of the QC35s, Bose has shaken things up by releasing a totally new wireless noise-cancelling headphones model, with a focus on sleek design and “breakthrough” audio tech: the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700. They may not have pipped Sony to the top spot of the best noise-cancelling headphones, but they're still a fantastic pair of over-ear headphones, coming in at number two.

Read more: Bose QuietComfort 35 II review

Philips PH805

(Image credit: Philips)

6. Philips PH805

Premium wireless headphones without the premium price

Acoustic design: Closed | Weight: N/A | Cable length: N/A | Frequency response: 7 – 40,000Hz | Drivers: 40mm | Driver type: Dynamic | Sensitivity: 90 dB | Impedance: 16 Ohms | Battery life: 30 hours | Wireless range: 33ft | NFC: N/A

Well made
Good battery life
Punchy, controlled, and detailed sound
Noise cancelation could be more effective

At $199 / £160 (around AU$290) the Philips PH805 offer exceptional value for money. These are wireless headphones, using Bluetooth 5.0 for connectivity – so high-resolution audio playback should be achievable. 

Using a single Lithium-Ion cell for up to 30 hours of playback time from a single charge, the Philips PH805 have active noise cancellation on board, administered by a couple of mics on each earcup. 

Read more: Philips PH805 review

Sennheiser Momentum Wireless (2019)

(Image credit: Sennheiser)

7. Sennheiser Momentum 3 Wireless

Over-ear headphones that don't skimp on the smart features

Acoustic design: Closed | Weight: N/A | Cable length: N/A | Frequency response: 6Hz to 22kHz | Drivers: 42mm | Driver type: N/A | Sensitivity: N/A | Impedance: N/A | Battery life: 17 hours | Wireless range: N/A | NFC: Yes

Brilliant audio quality
Cool design
Customizable settings
Battery life isn’t great
More expensive than rivals

These Sennheiser over-ear headphones sound fantastic, with high levels of detail, warm bass, and natural-sounding highs.

Customizable noise cancellation is a great touch, though it doesn't quite reach the class-leading standards set by Sony and Bose. Battery life also doesn't compete with the Sony WH-1000XM3s, and they're more expensive to boot. 

So, why buy the Sennheiser Momentum 3 Wireless? Well, if built-in Tile tracking appeals to you, and you like the industrial design and premium materials of the Momentum Wireless, that could be reason enough – and if you do opt for them over the Sony model, you won’t be missing out on any audio quality. In that respect, they’re truly matched. 

Read more: Sennheiser Momentum Wireless (2019) review

AKG N60NC Wireless

(Image credit: AKG)

8. AKG N60NC Wireless

Wireless noise-cancellation from another mid-range master

Acoustic design: Closed | Weight: 199.4g | Cable length: N/A | Frequency response: 10-22,000Hz | Drivers: N/A | Driver type: N/A | Sensitivity: 111dB SPL/V@1kHz | Impedance: 32 ohms | Battery life: 15 hours | Wireless range: N/A | NFC: No

Great sound
Compact design
Not the most comfortable
Initially confusing controls

The AKG N60NC Wireless sound like a pair of headphones that should be much more expensive than they are. 

At their mid-range price point the headphones offer fantastic value for money, with great sound quality and a level of noise-cancellation performance that's on a level with the much more premium entries on this list. 

Our biggest issue with these headphones is the fact that they're on-ear rather than over-ear, meaning that we found that they got uncomfortable over longer periods. 

Regardless, the benefit of this is that this is a fantastically compact pair of headphones, and if you're willing to make the trade-off then these are great for the price. 

Read more: AKG N60NC Wireless review

jbl tune 750btnc

(Image credit: TechRadar)

9. JBL Tune 750BTNC

Quality noise-cancelling headphones for a great price

Acoustic design: Closed | Weight: 220g | Cable length: N/A | Frequency response: 20Hz - 20kHz | Drivers: 40mm | Driver type: N/A | Sensitivity: 95dB | Impedance: 32 ohms | Battery life: 15 - 22 hours | Wireless range: 30ft (10m) | NFC: No

Good sound quality
Strong active noise cancelation
No waterproofing
Average battery life

JBL is a popular name in the world of headphones and Bluetooth speakers, and rightly so. Solidly dependable, consumers know what to expect from the brand – decent sound quality for a decent price. 

That's what we found with the JBL Live 650BTNC last year – and now, ready to take their place are the JBL Tune 750BTNC, a superior successor to the 650BTNC's as a high-spec and well-priced set of over-ear headphones.

The JBL Tune 750BTNC sound great, look great, and they fit well. Reliable and easy to use, you might miss waterproofing and a few minor features – but at this price, it feels foolish to complain too readily.

Read more: JBL Tune 750BTNC review

Microsoft Surface headphones

(Image credit: Microsoft)

10. Microsoft Surface headphones

Warm sound and great noise cancellation

Acoustic design: Closed | Weight: 0.64Ibs | Cable length: 3.94 ft | Frequency response: 20Hz to 20kHz | Drivers: 40mm Free Edge Driver | Driver type: Free Edge | Sensitivity: 115 dB | Impedance: N/A | Battery life: 15 hours | Wireless range: N/A | NFC: Yes

Brilliant sound quality
Effective noise cancellation
Intuitive controls
Sound may be too warm for some

Overall, Microsoft’s Surface headphones are surprisingly good, with a stunningly warm sound, and generous bass frequencies, which means your music will sound great whether you’re listening to subby hip-hop or acoustic singer-songwriters.

One criticism of this warm sound is that it can take some of the attack away from lower-mid frequencies, which some users may find a bit underwhelming. However, if sharp trebles and mids tend to give you listening fatigue, these could be the perfect headphones for you.

The calling card of these headphones is the active noise cancellation, which we felt worked really well, and we loved how easy it was to control this using the inbuilt dials on each housing. 

Although we were initially unconvinced by the high price (particularly when you can buy quality cans from heritage audio brands for less), the features work so seamlessly that it feels justified.

Read more: Microsoft Surface headphones review

Best wireless headphones 2020: over-ear headphones

  1. Sony WH-1000XM3 Wireless Headphones
  2. Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700
  3. Bowers & Wilkins PX7 Wireless Headphones
  4. Jabra Elite 85H
  5. Bose QuietComfort 35 II
  6. Philips PH805
  7. Sennheiser Momentum 3 Wireless
  8. AKG N60NC Wireless
  9. JBL Tune 750BTNC
  10. Microsoft Surface Headphones

Wireless vs true wireless: what's the difference?

Wireless headphones are traditional over-ear or on-ear headphones without the wire – the two earcups are connected by a headband. 

Wireless earbuds have existed for a while now, basically since Bluetooth was invented. Though battery-powered and not physically connected to your phone, they have a cord connecting both buds – and sometimes a band around the neck too. Check out the best wireless earbuds for more.

True wireless earbuds have no cord whatsoever. While wireless allows us to wear headphones a few feet away from our music players, True Wireless cuts the cord between the earbuds, giving us true freedom. If you're looking to go full wireless, we also have a round-up of the best true wireless headphones.

Check out TechRadar's exhaustive guides to the best headphones to buy today including the best on-ear headphones and the best in-ear headphones.

For some more specialist pairs, take a look at our guides to the best wireless headphones, best true wireless earbuds, best wireless earbuds, and the best noise-cancelling headphones.

Need a specific brand? We have guides to the best Sony headphones, the best Bose headphones, and the best Audio-Technica headphones.

Looking for some headphones you can work out with? Check out our guide to the best swimming headphones and the best running headphones