Best Wireless Headphones 2020: Bluetooth for iPhone, iPad, Watch & Mac

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Bluetooth headphones have come a long way in the last couple of years, and now offer sound quality that rivals conventional ‘wired’ headphones. In fact, with Apple and other manufacturers now abandoning the traditional 3.5mm audio socket on the iPhone and other types of smartphone, you’re pretty much forced to go wireless and buy Bluetooth headphones these days.

(Unless you’re prepared to specialise and go for a pair of Lightning headphones.)

You’re spoilt for choice, too, with dozens of new Bluetooth headphones released every month, covering different designs, features, and price levels. These fall into three main categories:

Over-ear headphones: Big, chunky models that completely cover your ears seem to be something of a fashion statement at the moment – even if they do make you look like a Cyberman – and the size of these headphones means there’s plenty of room inside them for large drivers that provide expansive, detailed sound.

On-ear headphones: If you want something a little more compact, that you can take off and slip into a backpack when you’re travelling, then smaller on-ear headphones that just rest on the outside of the ear are a good choice.

In-ear headphones: But, of course, mobile tech is all about portability, so many people prefer lightweight, in-ear headphones that they can wear all day long, or simply shove into a pocket when they’re not needed.

Best wireless headphones

1. Sony WH-1000XM4

Sony WH-1000XM4

2. Cambridge Audio Melomania 1

Cambridge Audio Melomania 1

3. Bose QuietComfort 35 II

Bose QC35 II

4. Apple AirPods (2nd gen)

Apple AirPods 2

5. Beats Flex

Beats Flex

6. Beats Solo 3 Wireless

Beats Solo 3 Wireless

7. RHA T20 Wireless

RHA T20 Wireless

8. AKG N60NC

AKG N60NC

9. Sennheiser Momentum Free

Sennheiser Momentum Free

10. Denon AH-C160W

Denon AH-C160W

How to choose wireless headphones

As well as simply choosing the basic type of headphones mentioned at the top, there are some other things to consider before you hit that buy button.

Battery life

This life is crucial, and many in-ear sports headphones have tiny batteries that help to keep the weight down but may only last for a few hours. That might be fine if you just want to listen to some music while you’re working out, but won’t be much use on a long journey by train or plane.

However, some in-ear headphones, such as Apple’s AirPods, also include a charging case that can top up the battery, so that’s something you should check on before buying any in-ear headphones.

Larger on-ear and over-ear headphones have room for more powerful batteries, and can often last all day on a single charge. Many also provide a wired option so that you can still use them like ordinary wired headphones when the battery runs down, which is ideal for people who spend a lot of time travelling.

Noise cancelling

Some headphones are specifically designed for people who travel a lot or use headphones in noisy conditions and provide active noise-cancelling (ANC) option that helps to block out background noise on trains and planes – although this can add quite a lot to the overall price of the headphones.

Note this isn’t to be confused with passive noise isolation (or often referred to as cancelling), which is just the way physically having headphones in/on blocks sound – like putting earplugs or ear defenders on.

Sound quality

We’d always recommend trying out any new headphones in a store or showroom whenever possible, but that’s not always practical with so many new headphones competing for your attention.

So we’ve tested a selection of Bluetooth headphones that provide great sound quality to help you get started.

Compatibility

All the headphones here will work excellently with the latest iPhone models. It’s typical for them to support Apple’s preferred AAC codec, although some will have others too like aptX which is handy if you want to also use them with other devices like Android phones.

It’s also worth noting that all Bluetooth headphones mentioned here are compatible with the Apple Watch – perfect when going for a run.

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