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A woman puts on wireless headphones.

6 Great Wireless Headphones

High-rated choices for audiophiles, athletes, and others

Millions of consumers who picked up a new cell phone in the last year or so have found themselves stranded without a headphone jack. If you don’t want to deal with adapters for plugging into a USB-C port, wireless headphones are the obvious choice.

But that's just one reason to go wireless. You can’t beat the freedom that comes from a great pair of wireless headphones, and they typically come with convenient features like call and playback controls.

There are wireless headphones to suit almost any situation, whether you're on a budget, you need something to keep you moving at the gym, or you're looking for the best headset to block out the noise on a flight.

Audiophiles can still get better sound from the best wired headphones, according to CR testers, but many wireless headphones have impressive audio quality nonetheless.

Here at Consumer Reports, we buy dozens of headphones every year and put them through rigorous testing so we can give you the information you need to find the perfect pair.

If you’re a CR member, you can find more headphone reviews in our database.

1
Studio-Style for Half the Price
Marshall Monitor Bluetooth
Marshall Monitor Bluetooth

    Marshall Monitor Bluetooth

    These days Marshall puts out more than iconic British guitar amps. The company makes some impressive headphones as well, starting with the Marshall Monitor Bluetooth. The headphones sound great, but what really sets these apart is the price.

    At $180, they're among the best-performing wireless home/studio-style headphones in our test, and they cost less than half of what you'd pay for some comparable models. If you want over-ear headphones with the convenience of Bluetooth, the Monitor Bluetooth is a steal.

    It comes with a detachable audio cable so you can use your headphones without draining the rechargeable battery, and the ear cups fold in for easy storage and travel.

    2
    Great Sound On the Go
    Optoma NuForce BE6i
    Optoma NuForce BE6i

      Optoma NuForce BE6i

      The Optoma NuForce BE6i strikes an appealing balance of price and performance. These wireless earbuds deliver great sound, and you can pick them up for around $80. They aren’t bad looking, either; the gold accents help the NuForce BE6i add a little bling in addition to the music they’ll add to your daily grind.

      The back of the earbuds clip together magnetically for easy storage or to keep them in place around your neck when they're not in use. They also come with extra earpieces, ear-bowl fittings if you want a little more support, and a carrying case. Plus, they have an operating range of up to 98.5 feet; most wireless headphones are rated at around 30 feet. That's useful if you like to wander from your connected device.

      The manufacturer also claims they're water-resistant, but CR doesn't test this feature.

      3
      Top-Notch Noise-Canceling
      Bose QuietComfort 35
      Bose QuietComfort 35

        Bose QuietComfort 35

        If you’re looking for luxury, these headphones might be just what you're after. The Bose QuietComfort 35 is one of the highest scoring noise-canceling headphones in our tests. They earned superb ratings for both noise-canceling chops and sound quality. Whether you’re listening to music or watching a movie, these headphones are one of the best choices on the market for tuning out your surroundings and allowing you to bask in high-fidelity sound.

        The ear cups swivel flat for easy storage, and they come with a mini-plug-to-airplane-jack adapter and carrying case. They also come with an audio cable you can plug in to pump the battery life up to a whopping 40 hours of active noise-canceling, compared with the still-impressive 20 hours they’ll last with both Bluetooth and active noise-canceling turned on, according to Bose.

        The QuietComfort 35 sells for $330. You can also pick up an updated model for $20 more. The QuietComfort 35 Series II has a dedicated smart-assistant button, which can also be used to adjust the level of noise-cancellation.

        4
        Bluetooth for the Budget-Conscious
        JBL E25BT
        JBL E25BT

          JBL E25BT

          Great wireless headphones don’t have to be expensive. The JBL E25BT delivers very good sound quality at an impulse-buy price. They sell for $60 and can regularly be found for even less. They come with a carrying pouch and extra earpieces to help you find the best fit.

          The E25BT didn’t score quite as high for audio quality as some other models on this list, and they lack some features you'll find on other, more expensive portable headphones, such as water resistance, an extended operating range, earbowl fittings, and magnets to keep the earbuds in place when not in use.

          But if you want a pair of wireless headphones that sound great and cost half or a third as much as some comparable models, the E25BT is an excellent option.

          5
          Truly Wireless
          JLab Audio Epic Air
          JLab Audio Epic Air

            JLab Audio Epic Air

            These $150 “true wireless” headphones don’t even have a cord connecting the left earbud to the right. There are benefits and drawbacks to this design. While the total lack of wires means there’s nothing to get tangled up in your pocket, the small size limits the battery to about 7 hours per charge, according to JLab. But this is offset somewhat by the convenient carrying case, which doubles as a charger, good for about four full charges.

            Truly wireless headphones have grown beyond their novelty phase. This model is among the highest-rated wireless, portable headphones in our ratings. Our testers found that the JLab Audio Epic Air produced admirable audio quality, outperforming other truly wireless headphones, including the popular Apple AirPods.

            The one caveat is that if your ears are on the small side, be sure to try these earbuds on before you buy them. Our testers noticed that the earhooks might not fit right if you don't have medium- or large-sized ears, and the body of the headphones may be too big for smaller earbowls.

            6
            Tailored for the Gym
            Bose SoundSport Wireless
            Bose SoundSport Wireless

              Bose SoundSport Wireless

              This $150 sports model from Bose has all the features that make wireless headphones especially appealing to gym rats: high-quality sound, microphone and music-player controls, and extra earpieces. And when used with the free Bose Connect app (compatible with Android and Apple phones), they also allow you to view your heart rate in real time.

              Some people may find this model particularly comfortable to wear while exercising because the earpieces don’t extend into the ear canal as far as those on typical models. Instead, they rely on the attached earbowls to stay firmly in place.

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              Thomas Germain

              I want to live in a world where consumers take advantage of technology, not the other way around. Reliable information is the way to make that happen, and that’s why I spend my time chasing it down. When I’m off the clock, you can usually find me working my way through an ever-growing list of podcasts. Follow me on Twitter (@ThomasGermain).