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Best Bluetooth headphones for 2023

Our top wireless headphone picks, plus some shopping tips

In this article: I pick the best wireless headphones for several different categories and uses...

  1. Best noise-canceling over-ear wireless headphones — Sony 'XM5
  2. Best noise-canceling wireless earbuds — Bose QC Earbuds II
  3. Best budget over-ear headphones — Cleer Enduro 100
  4. Best wireless earbuds for working out — Jaybird Vista 2
  5. Best wireless earbuds for iPhone — Apple AirPods Pro 2
  6. Best wireless earbuds for Android users — Google Pixel Buds Pro
  7. Best budget earbuds for phone calls — JBL Live Pro 2 TWS
  8. Best-sounding over-ear wireless headphones — Focal Bathys
  9. Best-sounding wireless earbuds — Sennheiser Momentum TW 3

... plus, some advice on finding the right Bluetooth headphones for you.

M

ost of our best-selling headphones these days are Bluetooth headphones. I expect their popularity will continue to soar. They let you easily listen to audio without connecting a wire to your phone — where most of us keep our music and podcasts.

Plus, Bluetooth's sound quality and reliability have greatly improved. I noticed a major leap in performance just this past year. And now that the iPhone and other popular phones don’t feature a headphone jack, even more of us are turning to wireless.

What should you look for when shopping for Bluetooth headphones?

Bluetooth wireless headphones come in a few different flavors, but there are a few specs to keep in mind regardless of which type of headphones you're after.

Fit style: over-ears or earbuds

You'll find lot of great Bluetooth headphone choices out there, and I've managed to test most of the models we carry. Right now, the two main Bluetooth options are true wireless earbuds and over-ear Bluetooth headphones. (You can still find traditional wireless earbuds with the connecting cord, but they are coming out few and far between.)

wireless earbuds vs. over-ear wireless headphones

The two top Bluetooth headphone options are over-ear (left) and true wireless earbuds (right).

Bluetooth versions

There have been a lot of Bluetooth versions over the years. I recommend choosing headphones that are Bluetooth 5.0 and above.

These are newer, more reliable versions of Bluetooth. They give you a greater wireless range and faster data transfer rates. I can typically keep my phone on my home office desk and walk clear across my basement wearing the headphones — without audio dropout.

"Multipoint" connection

Another feature to keep on your radar is "multipoint." Bluetooth headphones with "multipoint" allow you to pair two Bluetooth devices simultaneously. You can hop back and forth from your laptop and phone for music, meetings, and calls — a game changer for the office or working at home.

Bluetooth codecs and sound quality

For better sound quality, there are a few special compression/decompression schemes (codecs). Bluetooth always adds a layer of compression and decompression to facilitate the wireless transmission. But there are high-resolution codecs like aptX, aptX HD, AAC, and LDAC that can better preserve sound.

In our article "Bluetooth home stereo," we break down those Bluetooth codecs in more detail.

Finding the "right tool for the job"

Different headphones work better in different situations so I've broken this list up into several categories and uses. Just remember, headphones can be subjective — this type of list is always up for debate!

But based on my experience, here are the top Bluetooth headphone picks for 2023:

Sony WH-1000XM5 Over-ear Bluetooth® wireless noise-canceling headphones

Best noise-canceling over-ear headphones — Sony WH-1000XM5

The WH-1000XM5 over-ear headphones are the latest in Sony's famed "XM" series — that has dominated our "Best of" lists, going back several years. For the 'XM5, Sony went with a new industrial design and a relaxed fit. They also now use two cutting-edge processing chips for noise cancellation that adapts in real time.

To my ears, they also sound more refined than the previous-generation Sony WH-1000XM4. I heard better overall clarity and the bass, while deep and present, wasn't overbearing. The key difference is that the competition — including the Sony's own formidable 'XM4s — is stiffer this time around.

Details:

  • also featured in our article: Best noise-canceling headphones for 2023
  • closed-back, over-the-ear headphones with Bluetooth 5.2 and multipoint connection
  • LDAC and AAC decoding for high-quality music from compatible devices
  • sophisticated, adaptive noise-canceling circuitry adjusts to the level of external sound
  • dual-chip system includes Sony's QN1 HD Noise Cancelling Processor and V1 Integrated Processor
  • 30 hours of battery life with noise cancellation
  • 10 minute quick charge provides enough power for 5 hours of listening
  • 30mm dynamic drivers tuned for clear, detailed mids and highs with deep bass punch

Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II with charging case

Best noise-canceling earbuds — Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II

Frankly, I shouldn't have been so shocked. Bose helped pioneer and popularize noise-canceling headphones, and they seem to take a major leap every generation. But I was not prepared for the QC Earbuds II — in-ear headphones — to cancel noise as well as the best over-ear noise-canceling 'phones.

As I said in my hands-on review, that makes them an "air travel game changer." They can knock out the loud drone of a plane engine, and they take up very little carry-on space. Over-ear headphones have longer battery life, but the QC Earbuds II offer up to six hours of listening with noise cancellation — easily enough to cover a short flight.

Details

  • also featured in our articles: Best true wireless earbuds for 2023 and Best noise-canceling headphones for 2023
  • 100% wire-free headphones with Bluetooth 5.3
  • CustomTune technology calibrates sound and noise cancellation to your fit and surroundings
  • IPX4 sweat- and weather-resistant
  • three sizes of flexible wings keep earbuds secure during movement
  • 6 hours of battery life with noise cancellation
  • carrying case banks up to 18 hours of power

Cleer Enduro 100 Over-ear wireless Bluetooth® headphones

Best budget over-ears — Cleer Enduro 100

The Cleer Enduro 100s are my top "bang for your buck" pick right now. These headphones don't offer noise cancellation, but they do offer up to 100 hours of battery life. That's by far the most I've seen. In fact, my wife used them for almost a month before recharging them. (She's often up with our 1-year-old son, watching shows and YouTube videos as she gets him to sleep.)

They have what I would call a form-fitting design. They feel very well-built and sturdy, but the earcups exert a solid amount of pressure on the side of my head. Still, the earpads are softer than most and the headphones stay firmly in place as I walk around or move my head.

  • closed-back, over-the-ear headphones with Bluetooth 5.0
  • aptX-HD® and AAC decoding
  • rechargeable battery provides up to 100 hours of wireless use
  • 10-minute "Fast Charge" provides enough power for 12 hours of listening
  • snug fit with soft, ergonomic earpads
  • 40mm dynamic drivers with patented "ironless" magnet array for more fluid diaphragm movement
  • spacious sound with clear vocals and strong bass

Apple AirPods Pro True wireless earbuds with H1 chip and active noise cancellation

Best wireless earbuds for iPhone and Apple users — Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation)

I mean what can I say? Apple purpose-built the AirPods to use with their devices. And the new H2 chip inside the AirPods Pro 2 makes for an even snappier experience with the iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. Making and taking calls, SIRI commands, controlling tunes and podcasts — it’s all so easy.

The noise cancellation, transparent mode, and sound are better than ever. Plus they make some of the clearest-sounding phone calls I've ever heard with wireless headphones.

Details

  • also featured in our article: Best noise-canceling headphones for 2023
  • built-in Bluetooth 5.3 for music and calls
  • Apple's H2 chip provides faster, more powerful processing and seamless wireless connection with Apple devices
  • active noise cancellation circuitry adjusts to the level of external sound
  • Adaptive EQ customizes the sound based on how AirPods fit in your ear
  • IPX4 sweat- and weather-resistant
  • dynamic head-tracking and personal profile for customized spatial audio experience
  • includes 4 sizes of silicone ear tips for a secure, comfortable fit
  • 6 hours of battery life with noise cancellation (MagSafe charging case banks up to 24 more hours of power)

Google Pixel Buds Pro true wireless noise-canceling earbuds

Best wireless earbuds for Android Users — Google Pixel Buds Pro

For us longtime Android users, this is refreshing. The Google Pixel Buds Pro earbuds tap into some of our phones' coolest, most helpful features. And they're the first Pixel Buds with both noise cancellation and a "transparency" mode for hearing external sounds.

After a one-time setup, you can call up Google Assistant voice control by pressing or holding either earbud — or simply by saying "Hey Google." The Google Assistant lets you control music, send text messages, and search the web with your voice. But it's also the key to other Google apps that can feed crucial information right to your ears. (Think step-by-step walking directions from Google Maps.)

A co-worker's wife works at a school and told me that her Pixel Buds have been invaluable. They help her communicate with parents who don't primarily speak English. Google Translate uses the earbuds' built-in mics to pick up what others are saying, and can then deliver live translations for around 40 languages.

Details

  • built-in Bluetooth 5.0 with multipoint connection
  • easy, one-tap pairing with Google Pixel phones
  • active noise cancellation uses internal circuitry and microphones on each earbud to reduces external noise
  • IPX4 sweat-resistant
  • 11mm dynamic drivers deliver clear sound for music, podcasts, and calls
  • hands-free voice control with the Google Assistant
  • 7 hours of battery life with noise cancellation (charging case banks up to 24 more hours of power)
Apple AirPods Pro with Wireless Charging Case True wireless earbuds with H1 chip and active noise cancellation

Best budget earbuds for phone calls — JBL Live Pro 2 TWS

The sweat-resistant JBL Live Pro 2 TWS is a great choice for “do-everything” earbuds, styled similarly to AirPods. They have a long battery life, easy controls, and loaded feature set — and their mics pick up well for clear phone calls/video chats.

JBL always delivers great bang for your buck because they pay such strict attention to their sound tuning. (I recently spoke to Sean Olive, head of acoustic research at JBL's parent company Harman, about their data-influenced approach.)

Details

  • built-in Bluetooth 5.2 with multipoint connection
  • "True Adaptive" noise cancellation and "Smart Ambient" (transparency) mode
  • free JBL Headphones app for Apple® or Android™ for customization and control
  • IPX5 sweat-resistant
  • 11mm dynamic drivers for clear sound with strong bass
  • tap either earbud to access Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa
  • hands-free voice control with the Google Assistant (optional)
  • 8 hours of battery life with noise cancellation (charging case banks up to 30 more hours of power)
Jaybird Vista 2 True wireless Bluetooth® sports headphones

Best earbuds for running and working out — Jaybird Vista 2

Speaking of true wireless earbuds, that style of headphones is incredibly convenient for workouts. There are absolutely zero wires to get in your way, get caught up on gym equipment — or all tangled up inside your bag. The Vista 2 earbuds are my favorite sports earbuds for their fit, security, durability, and hard-hitting bass.

The Vista 2s offer active noise cancellation, an awareness mode, and they meet military standards for durability and waterproofing. And Jaybird made their name with earbuds designed to stay put while your move.

Details:

  • also featured in our article: Best workout headphones for 2023
  • 6mm dynamic drivers tuned for punchy, hard-hitting bass
  • proprietary Bluetooth 5.0 chip for a stronger, more stable connection
  • 6 hours of listening per charge
  • carrying case banks up to 16 hours of power
  • IP68-rated waterproof and dustproof

Focal Bathys headphones

Best-sounding wireless over-ear headphones — Focal Bathys

Focal's super-premium Bathy wireless headphones look a lot like the French audio company's acclaimed wired audiophile offerings. But they are actually smaller, lighter, and packed with on-the-go features like noise cancellation.

The Bathys also shares the same fast-attack diaphragm design with those top-flight Focal headphones. Well-engineered aluminum/magnesium drivers deliver dynamic sound with tremendous depth, realism, and texture. It's a cut above your average Bluetooth headphone sound.

Details

  • also featured in our article: Best noise-canceling headphones for 2023
  • Bluetooth 5.1 with multipoint connection
  • high-quality aptX, aptX Adaptive, and aptX HD audio streaming
  • two levels of noise cancellation and "Transparency" mode
  • specially designed 40mm dynamic drivers with lightweight aluminum/magnesium diaphragms
  • secure, snug fit with oversized, plush earpads and headband padding
  • made of high-grade materials like leather, aluminum, and magnesium
  • rechargeable battery provides up to 30 hours of wireless use

Sennheiser Momeuntum 3 true wireless headphones

Best-sounding earbuds — Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3

If you haven't heard truly high-performance earbuds before, the sound from Sennheiser's Momentum True Wireless 3 might surprise you. You're placing these small 'buds in your ears, and they deliver this large, "outside-the-head" sound. To my ears, it's also the cleanest, most nuanced sound you can get from a set of wireless earbuds.

Details

  • also featured in our articles: Best true wireless earbuds for 2023 and Best noise-canceling headphones for 2023
  • built-in Bluetooth 5.2 with aptX adaptive and aptX HD
  • adaptive hybrid noise-canceling circuitry uses a four-mic system
  • "TrueResponse" dynamic driver in each earbud
  • spacious soundstage with precise imaging
  • IPX4 sweat-resistant
  • four sizes of silicone ear tips and three sizes of ear fins
  • 7 hours of battery life with noise cancellation (fabric-covered charging case banks up to 21 hours of power)

Other types of wireless headphones

The vast majority of wireless headphones these days connect via Bluetooth. But there are also transmitter-based wireless headphones that often connect using radio frequencies (RF). Those headphone systems usually come as a complete set designed for gaming or better TV sound.

Need more help? Contact us!

Want personal advice so you can choose the best wireless headphones for you? Contact us today.

Our expert Advisors know headphones inside and out. Your Advisor can send specific Crutchfield pages to your screen, saving you a lot of browsing time. You'll get a shopping cart loaded up with everything you need.

Free lifetime tech support is included with your Crutchfield purchase.

Popular questions customers ask

Most wireless headphones use Bluetooth to connect to your phone or other compatible device. They range from tiny earbuds to larger over-ear models. There are also specialized wireless headphones for TV that use a wireless transmitter instead of Bluetooth to connect to your TV or home audio system.

Noise-canceling headphones let you hear all the detail in your music without having to crank the volume to overcome external noise. These headphones use special circuitry to cancel out exterior sounds before they reach your ears. And theyÆre available in lots of styles, from small earbuds to cushier over-ear models.

We carry a range of wireless and true wireless Bluetooth earbuds to keep you moving during your workouts. The best sports headphones are durable and sweat-proof models that stay in place when you move around.

Over-ear and on-ear Bluetooth headphones tend to have much longer-lasting batteries than in-ear headphones, which are designed to be as small and light as possible. Wireless earbuds have batteries that can last up to around 12 hours, while larger headphones can offer 20-30 hours of use between charges.

Last updated 11/21/2022
  • Brian

    Posted on 11/23/2022

    I came here seeking a better headphone set, but your ranking of the Sony 'XM5 has unfortunately led me to discredit this review. I urge you to complete a long-term evaluation, in several scenarios/environments to see if your opinion of these headphones remains unscathed. I believe you may have some poor experiences even using them at your desk. For instance, I found that they were unable to block out white noise from a sound machine, or airplane noise. The software is so buggy that they will turn on/off either the music, ANC, etc. On another large vendor site, one can read some of these reviews. Many seem to hang onto the hype, but they have been enough that I wouldn't even consider any other Sony products for the rest of my life.

  • Dorky Dave from Long Beach, NY

    Posted on 5/12/2021

    Jeff- Will Crutchfield be selling the limited edition Sony WH-1000XM4 Headphones in White, when they become available for distribution in the United States?

  • Dave Lindley from St Augustine

    Posted on 4/25/2021

    You did not mention Bowers & Wilkins Carbon Edition. I just bought a pair and love them. Sound quality is outstanding and controls are SIMPLE - no swipes. Noise cancel could be better but once the music plays, who cares.

    Commenter image

    Jeff Miller from Crutchfield

    on 5/10/2021

    Dave, you are right. The B&W PX7s are great-sounding headphones...and they're extremely well-built with the carbon fiber frame.
  • TC from Raymond, MS

    Posted on 8/11/2020

    Jeff: I am technology-challenged and get confused over the headphone uses. All I want is a set of over the ear headphone with a mic to use while talking on my iPhone. I have a hearing inpairment which headphones seem to address rather well. Ear buds are NOT an option. Can you direct me to headphones made expressly for cell phone calls use? Thanks

    Commenter image

    Jeff Miller from Crutchfield

    on 8/11/2020

    Hi TC --

    I've forwarded your question one of our Advisors, who will follow up with you directly and make sure we get you the best set of headphones.
  • Milan from Huntsville

    Posted on 4/17/2020

    For Best budget over-ears: you recommended the Sennheiser 4.40BT which is now discontinued. What's you next choice? What's are the main differences between Bluetooth 4.0 and Bluetooth 5.0? Any reason to go with a 5.0 headset?

    Commenter image

    Jeff Miller from Crutchfield

    on 4/17/2020

    Thanks for the catch! I'll get on updating that. My "bang for your buck" pick right now would be the Cleer Enduro 100. These headphones offer up to 100 hours of battery life, by far the most I've seen.

    I haven't totally tested that claim, but my wife has used them for almost a month now. And every night she's up with our 10-month-old and uses them to watch movies as she gets him to sleep. She hasn't recharged the headphones yet.

    Bluetooth 5.0 in general offers a stronger, more reliable wireless signal than previous generations. Most headphones I've tested with Bluetooth 5 have had few to zero audio dropouts. It is also more efficient, hence the better battery life.
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