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Top five best wireless headphones for 2018

By Oliver Trebilcock

Sound quality and battery drain are no longer a concern with wireless headphones. We’ve rounded up some excellent models to suit you.

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Our Test Labs compare features and prices on a range of products. Try Which? to unlock our reviews. You'll instantly be able to compare our test scores, so you can make sure you don't get stuck with a Don't Buy.

Most wireless headphones work using Bluetooth. The best Bluetooth headphones are comfortable and have enough battery to see you through several long-haul flights. Most importantly, they don’t sacrifice sound quality for wireless convenience.

However, our testing has uncovered some models that you wouldn't want anywhere near your ears, wireless or not. Don't invest in a pair of headphones that simply can't bring out the detail in your favourite tracks, or have a horrible balance between bass and treble. 

We’ve found great examples of wireless headphones that sit over, in or on your ear, shown in the table below.

Only logged-in Which? members can view our recommendations in the table below. If you’re not yet a member, join Which? to get instant access.

Best wireless headphones

Lowest price (in stock) £255.00
Which? score 86%
Reviewed Oct 2017
Overall sound quality :
5 out of 55 out of 5
Features:
3 out of 53 out of 5
Comfort:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Battery Life:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Wireless:
Member exclusive
Noise cancelling:
Member exclusive

These Bluetooth over-ear headphones are outstanding and among the very best. Their levels of noise cancelling are truly impressive – they’re ideal for frequent flyers or commuting by train. Sound quality is phenomenal, with superb drive and a well-balanced bass that delivers warmth while still allowing detail in the treble to shine. And you can tweak it to your tastes, too, with the equaliser app for smartphones and tablets. They last for an impressive 28 hours on one charge, and support NFC for one-touch connection to supporting devices. And you can control your smartphone’s voice assistant (such as Apple’s Siri or Google Assistant) for hands-free control as well.

Lowest price (in stock) £49.30
Which? score 82%
Reviewed Jul 2015
Overall sound quality :
5 out of 55 out of 5
Features:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Comfort:
3 out of 53 out of 5
Battery Life:
5 out of 55 out of 5
Wireless:
Member exclusive
Noise cancelling:
Member exclusive

40 hours of battery life puts these headphones at the top of the heap for longevity. But you need more than a big battery to achieve a Best Buy score. Thankfully, these headphones have the sound quality to match. We didn’t find a genre that they were unable to handle with aplomb.

Lowest price (in stock) £249.00
Which? score 68%
Reviewed Nov 2016
Overall sound quality :
4 out of 54 out of 5
Features:
5 out of 55 out of 5
Comfort:
3 out of 53 out of 5
Battery Life:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Wireless:
Member exclusive
Noise cancelling:
Member exclusive

These headphones have some of the most advanced noise-cancelling technology around. Using touch-sensitive pads on the ear cups you can adjust the level of noise cancelling to your liking, allowing you to let just the right amount of the outside world in. Sound quality is good, and with Bluetooth connection you’ll be completely free of wires.

Lowest price (in stock) £154.99
Which? score 67%
Reviewed Nov 2016
Overall sound quality :
4 out of 54 out of 5
Features:
5 out of 55 out of 5
Comfort:
4 out of 54 out of 5
Battery Life:
5 out of 55 out of 5
Wireless:
Member exclusive
Noise cancelling:
Member exclusive

These wireless on-ear headphones have a battery life of over 40 hours, so you won’t have to worry about charging them too often. There’s plenty of bass, but not at the expense of treble detail so your favourite songs will sound entertaining and lively.

Lowest price (in stock) £167.57
Which? score 66%
Reviewed Jan 2018
Overall sound quality :
4 out of 54 out of 5
Features:
3 out of 53 out of 5
Comfort:
3 out of 53 out of 5
Battery Life:
1 out of 51 out of 5
Wireless:
Member exclusive
Noise cancelling:
Member exclusive

These truly wireless Bluetooth in-ear headphones free you from wires. Battery life should easily last through your workout, and all day using the charging case between uses. Sound is good but not quite Best Buy standard. The 2018 model also adds a ‘personal fitness coach’, and the built-in 3.4GB of memory means you won’t need to carry your smartphone while exercising.

Not found the product for you? Browse all of our headphone reviews.

And here are three cheap wireless headphones to avoid

The convenience of wireless headphones won't count for much if you get a pair that can't produce great audio. The worst models we see at our test lab are bad enough to induce headaches, with harsh sound and uncomfortable fits. Make sure you check the table below so you can avoid some of the worst offenders.

Wireless headphones to avoid

Lowest price (in stock) £19.89
Which? score 33%
Reviewed Mar 2018
Overall sound quality :
1 out of 51 out of 5
Features:
2 out of 52 out of 5
Comfort:
3 out of 53 out of 5
Battery Life:
1 out of 51 out of 5
Wireless:
Member exclusive
Noise cancelling:
Member exclusive

These budget over-ear wireless Bluetooth headphones are a shining example of ‘too good to be true’. At a rock-bottom price, they’re barely more expensive that some of the cheapest in-ear wired headphones. They seem to have all the useful features, including a mic and controls to answer and control calls, as well as volume and music controls, and the earcups swivel flat for easy storage. However, sound quality is appalling. Bass is boomy, but also thick and dull; sound is muffled and dull, lacking articulation and excitement, and highs are tinny and harsh.

Lowest price (in stock) £32.07
Which? score 28%
Reviewed Nov 2016
Overall sound quality :
1 out of 51 out of 5
Features:
3 out of 53 out of 5
Comfort:
2 out of 52 out of 5
Battery Life:
2 out of 52 out of 5
Wireless:
Member exclusive
Noise cancelling:
Member exclusive

On paper these headphones look pretty decent. They’re wireless and have small hooks designed to keep them secure in your ears when you’re out for a jog. However, the bass is overpowering and the worst crime of all is that they’re uncomfortable, so you won’t be able to get the most out of your workout.

Lowest price (in stock) £44.00
Which? score 24%
Reviewed Mar 2015
Overall sound quality :
1 out of 51 out of 5
Features:
3 out of 53 out of 5
Comfort:
3 out of 53 out of 5
Battery Life:
2 out of 52 out of 5
Wireless:
Member exclusive
Noise cancelling:
Member exclusive

You'll want to steer well clear of these headphones. They're actually meant for use in the home, so you can listen to your hi-fi or TV late at night without disturbing others. Unfortunately though, you're the one that will end up being disturbed if you buy these headphones. The sound is rotten - a distracting hiss swamps everything you listen to.

More on wireless headphones

Will wireless headphones work with any smartphone?

Pretty much, yes. The vast majority of wireless headphones and all the models featured in the tables above use Bluetooth to connect wirelessly to your phone. Bluetooth is a universal standard, so you'll be able to transmit music from any Bluetooth-enabled phone, laptop or tablet to any pair of Bluetooth headphones. 

Things do get slightly more complicated, as there have been different Bluetooth standards released over the years. The later versions allow music to be transmitted in higher quality and use less battery power. Don't worry though: if the headphones and the music source are both compatible they'll automatically use the higher-quality version. 

Can wireless headphones sound as good as wired?

The reasons are complicated but, in short, yes, wireless headphones can sound just as good as a wired pair for most people's purposes. The thing that matters most for sound quality is the physical design of the headphones. The best wireless headphones are capable of playing music in CD quality and above, and it's a matter of scientific debate whether we can even hear differences in quality above this.

How we test 

We use a panel of five experts to judge every pair of headphones on their sound quality, comfort, durability and how much sound they leak. We also look at how stable the wireless connection is between the headphones and smartphone or MP3 player, to make sure you get uninterrupted music.

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