The Best Wireless Headphones 2021: Our Top 10 Picks To Say Goodbye To Cords

Wireless Headphones 2021
Wireless Headphones 2021

If you find wired headphones to limiting for your activities, a wireless headphone is your best solution. The best wireless headphones of 2021 have the best features, including noise cancellation, IP rating, and wearing detection. They’re available in all sorts of sizes, from bulky over-ear forms to compact in-ears.

Given the many choices that you see on the market today, it’s challenging to find the right wireless headphone that suits your needs. Lucky for you, we have narrowed your options to 10 models. We also include a guide that might help you find the perfect wireless headphone to fit your lifestyle.

What Is a Wireless Headphone?

A wireless headphone is a new way to connect your device without wires or cables. It transmits audio signals through radio or infrared signals, depending on your device. Many headphones use Bluetooth to connect easier to your electronic devices, like smartphones and computers.

A wireless headphone still connects in some way, but no longer needs a phone jack. A true wireless headphone doesn’t use any cable or connector at all. Here are the benefits of using a truly wireless headphone:

  • Convenience due to the lack of a cord
  • Easy access since it goes tangle-free
  • Quick pairing with any Bluetooth-enabled device

On average, wireless headphones can connect to devices within a range of 32 feet via Bluetooth. The audio or the music transmits from the device to your headphone via codec. Audio gadgets and headphones both have audio codecs, so make sure that both devices support a similar codec to work well.

Wireless headphones that don’t run on Bluetooth use a base unit for connection. These base units are also wire-free, and they link to the device externally or internally. Let’s explain the difference between wireless and Bluetooth headphones in the next section.

What Is The Difference Between Wireless Or Bluetooth Headphones?

Wireless or Bluetooth headphones may be closely associated with each other, but they differ in terms of technology. Bluetooth headphones use Bluetooth technology, while not all wireless models use Bluetooth. Bluetooth technology uses radio waves to link multiple gadgets within a short range of up to 32 feet.

Wireless headphones use infrared or radio frequency waves to transfer signals.

  • Infrared functions are similar to your TV remote. It needs a clear path to transfer the audio signals from the base. The wireless range is around 23 feet, so it’s a bit limited.
  • The radio uses a more powerful signal than infrared. Radio waves have a more extended wireless range so that you can wander around your house with the headset. The range can extend up to 300 feet in an environment free of obstacles, like metal objects and thick walls.

Early models of Bluetooth headphones have poor sound quality because the signals are significantly compressed. With the advent of Bluetooth 4.0 technology, the sound quality has dramatically improved. Bluetooth headphones are perfect for travelling or working out at the gym, while wireless headphones are ideal for gamers.

A Review For The Best Wireless Headphones

We have compiled a list of 10 wireless headphones that are popular nowadays. From Sony to Apple, we have reviewed the best wireless headphone models that might be worth your purchase. Here’s our comprehensive review for each wireless headphone model.

  1. Sony Noise Cancelling Headphones WH1000XM3: Wireless Bluetooth Over the Ear Headset

Sony Noise Cancelling Headphones WH1000XM3: Wireless Bluetooth Over the Ear Headset with Mic for Phone-Call and Alexa Voice Control - Industry Leading Active Noise Cancellation – Black

Headphones Form: Over-Ear | Connections: Bluetooth 5.0, NFC | Wireless Range: 30 feet | Battery Life: 30 hours | Charge Time: 3 hours (10 minutes for a quick charge) | Volume Control: Touch Sensor | Special Features: Noise Cancellation, Atmospheric Pressure Optimizer

Noise cancellation and high-quality sound quality, the WH1000MXM3 offers all you need to work from home like a professional. The analog amplification significantly improves the audio performance over the past Sony headphone models. You can hear each word, note, and melody with high clarity, regardless of where you are.

We love the soft earpads because they don’t hurt your ears. The swivel and folding design allow you to store the WH-1000MXM3 after use neatly. With the integrated microphone, you can call anyone hands-free.

The battery life is extraordinarily long, up to 30 hours. When you connect this Sony headphone to the app, you can moderate the sound levels and control the sound settings. Use the Atmospheric Pressure Optimizer if you want to have better performance when flying at high altitudes.

The WH-1000MXM3 provides excellent noise canceling and superb hands-free calling performance. However, your ears can feel slightly warm in the ear cups’ interior. Nonetheless, it’s one of the best wireless headphones of 2021 over-ear to beat.

Pros

  • Excellent noise-cancelling capability
  • Lightweight to wear
  • Super long battery life
  • Clear audio quality
  • Foldable for easy storage and travel
  • Amazon Alexa-enabled for easy use

Cons

  • May get a little warm on the ears
  • Touch controls get erratic when the temperature gets cold
  1. Sony WF-1000XM3 Industry Leading Noise Canceling Truly Wireless Earbuds

Sony WF-1000XM3 Industry Leading Noise Canceling Truly Wireless Earbuds Headset/Headphones with AlexaVoice Control And Mic For Phone Call, Black

Connections: NFC, Bluetooth 5.0 | Wireless Range: 30 feet | Headphones Form: In-Ear | Battery Life: 6 hours + 18 hours (charging case) | Charge Time: 1.5 hours | Special Features: Noise Cancellation, Wearing Detection

If you find the over-ear headphones bulky, the Sony WF-1000XM3 might be suitable for your needs. These real wireless earbuds are designed with an ergonomic three-point fit and anti-slip rubber nozzle, so they rest comfortably on your ears. You shouldn’t sweat, though, because these earbuds don’t have a nano-coating to absorb water.

The 24bit Audio signal processing provides significantly enhanced sound quality. An integrated mic allows you to create calls without laying a finger. With Sony’s digital cancellation technology, you can hear each sound and word with spectacular clarity.

A single charge delivers up to six hours of power. With the charging case, you extend the battery life up to 24 hours. The music auto pauses when you take off the headphones and resumes when you put them back in.

It’s crucial that you get a secured seal with these earphones, or else the sound quality will be affected. Touch controls are designed on every earpiece, but volume controls are lacking. You need to use your phone to control the volume, which can be irritating for some people.

Pros

  • Way less bulky than over-ear headphones
  • Charging case provides three full charges
  • The reliable active noise cancellation feature
  • Decent battery life
  • Super comfortable to wear

Cons

  • Not sweat-resistant
  • Needs a tight seal for optimal performance
  1. Shure SE112-K-BT1 Wireless Sound Isolating Earphones

Shure SE112-K-BT1 Wireless Sound Isolating Earphones with Bluetooth Enabled Communication Cable

Configuration: Over-the-ear | Headphones Form: In-Ear | Connections: Bluetooth 4.1 | Wireless Range: 30 feet | Battery Life: 8 hours | Charge Time: 2 hours | Special Feature: Sound Isolation

The Shure SE112-K-BT1 provides deep bass that no other wireless headphones can. It’s easy to listen to lower levels than at higher volumes because the bass can sound slightly crowded. With the sound isolating design, these earphones generate a more balanced bass output.

The mid-rage is powerful and thick. Somewhere around the 4000-5000Hz, there seems to be a boost to louden the vocals in the mix. It doesn’t sound painful even if you turn the earphones louder.

As for the design, the SE112K-BT1 seems slightly more fragile than more expensive models. The cable is fixed permanently to the earphones, so if you tanked them, they’d possibly break. The fit of the small ear tips is quite alright, though we wish they were hooked around the ears to give more security.

These Shure wireless headphones come with a remote to control sound and a mic for voice calls and commands. They pair well with most devices that support Bluetooth 4.1. At $60, the Shure SE112K-BT1 is the best wireless headphones of 2021 under $100.

Pros

  • Comes at a low price
  • Excellent sound isolating performance
  • Above-average battery life
  • Sounds good, especially on the mid-range
  • Volume controls are simple to use

Cons

  • Can get yanked if you’re not careful
  • Doesn’t stay in place
  1. JLab Audio Epic Air Sport True Wireless Bluetooth 5 Earbuds

JLab Audio Epic Air Sport True Wireless Bluetooth 5 Earbuds | Headphones for Working Out, IP66 Sweatproof | 10-Hour Battery Life, 60-Hour Charging Case | Music Controls | 3 EQ Sound Settings | Black

Configuration: In-Ear | Connection: Bluetooth 5 | Wireless Range: 30 feet | Battery Life: 10 hours + 60 hours (charging case) | Charge Time: 2.5 hours | Special Features: IP66 sweat-resistant, Be Aware audio

If you like to listen to heavy bass sounds, the JLab Audio Epic Air Sport won’t disappoint. These headphones are perfect for athletes because they’re IP66 sweat resistant for durability. With the Be Aware audio, you can stay alert with your surroundings by letting the outside noises in.

Power users should try these headphones for their 10-hour battery life and extra 60 hours on the charging case- this totals to 70 hours of incredible audio. When your phone runs low of power, you can use the charging case. Even if you’re not an athlete, you can still enjoy the Epic Air Sport because enhanced touch sensors allow you to access music and control the volume.

We like the ear hook design of Epic Air Sport because it helps the earbuds to stay in place through any activity. However, it may start to get uncomfortable after 1-2 hours. When this happens, we recommend that you replace the silicone ear tips with the memory foam ones.

Pros

  • Hooks on the ears perfectly
  • Sweat and dust resistant
  • Charging can extend battery life up to 70 hours
  • Feels heavy-duty and well-made
  • Excellent immersive sound

Cons

  • Feels uncomfortable after using them for extended hours
  • No option to disable the touch sensor
  1. Bose Noise Cancelling Wireless Bluetooth Headphones 700

Bose Noise Cancelling Wireless Bluetooth Headphones 700, with Alexa Voice Control, Black

Headphones Form: Over-Ear | Connection: Bluetooth 5.0 | Wireless Range: 33 feet | Battery Life: 20 hours | Charge Time: 2.5 hours | Special Features: Noise Cancellation, eight microphones (6 for noise cancellation and 2 for voice)

Before Sony’s WH-1000X line, Bose was the standard for active noise cancellation. The 700 is a new model for Bose headphones, that combines the modern noise cancellation, voice, and touch controls. Instead of working the outdated clicking mechanism, you simply have to slide the headband on the earcups.

Compared to previous Bose models, the 700 is an improvement in terms of comfort. The headphones feel light with the underside’s soft pads. The cushions that resemble leather are soft but durable.

Thankfully, you can customize the levels of noise-cancellation. Choose the level of noise you want to hear from 0-10. The 700 does a perfect job of blocking out the noise around you.

Voice calls are another stellar improvement of Bose 700. There are around eight mics to make mute the environment and make your voice clearer during calls. On the downside, the mobile app is half-baked, and battery life is inferior to more affordable competitors.

Pros

  • Lightweight and comfortable to wear
  • Durable construction
  • Easy to use with the touch panel
  • Excellent voice speaking system
  • Good noise cancellation feature

Cons

  • For the price, the battery life is short
  • Difficult to store with its unfoldable design
  1. Apple AirPods Pro

Apple AirPods Pro

Headphones Form: In-Ear | Connection: Bluetooth 5.0 | Wireless Range: 30 feet | Battery Life: 4.5 hours + 24 hours in the charging case | Charge Time: 1 hour, 20 minutes inside the case | Special Features: Active Noise Cancellation, IPX4 water- and sweat-resistant

When we talk about wireless headphones, who wouldn’t forget about AirPods Pro? These headphones are ideal for Apple users searching for lightweight earbuds that easily link to any Apple device. The AirPods Pro fit nicely to the ears, and they’re water-resistant.

Compared to the standard AirPods, the AirPods Pro provides more bass. These new AirPods sound better due to the latest drivers and the noise-isolating design. However, they lack clarity, which you might expect from $200+ headphones.

The AirPods Pro has an effective noise-canceling mode, like with Sony WF-1000XM3. The battery life can do better, but the charging case is significantly better. The case is small and easy to carry in your bag.

The quality of voice calls is another selling point of AirPods Pro. You can hear callers better with the noise-isolating design and noise-reduction abilities. However, it lacks a sidetone feature that lets you hear your voice when taking a call.

Pros

  • Excellent in making calls
  • Super lightweight and compact
  • Incredible noise-reducing capabilities
  • Fits comfortably on the ears
  • Provides better bass

Cons

  • Can’t modulate your voice due to lack of a sidetone feature
  • Fairly expensive
  1. Jabra Elite 75t Earbuds – True Wireless Earbuds

Jabra Elite 75t Earbuds – True Wireless Earbuds with Charging Case, Gold Beige – Bluetooth Earbuds with a More Comfortable, Secure Fit, Long Battery Life and Great Sound Quality

Headphones Form: In-Ear | Connection: Bluetooth 5.0 | Wireless Range: 33 feet | Battery Life: 7.5- 28 hours with the charging case | Charge Time: 2 hours | Special Features: IP57 water-resistant rating, HearThrough transparent mode

The Jabra Elite 75t is small and compact, just like the AirPods. Sadly, these earbuds don’t provide active cancellation, but they stay firm in the current competition. The sound is more transparent, and the bass is tighter than the AirPods Pro.

We love the new charging case because they come with magnets inside for easy use. With the smaller design, the Elite 75t offers a better fit than its predecessors. These earbuds still have two microphones in every earbud (a total of four), and a HearThrough transparent mode to let you hear your surroundings.

Unlike the AirPods Pro, the Elite 75t has a sidetone feature that lets you hear your voice when you’re making a call. This 4th generation Jabra headphones are water-resistant and dust-proof to extend their durability. The companion app allows you to tailor the sound of your music and access voice assistant.

Pros

  • Has a better sound quality than the AirPods Pro
  • Compact and lightweight construction
  • Designed with volume controls on the earbuds
  • Fits comfortably on the ears
  • Dust- and water-resistant

Cons

  • Doesn’t offer wireless charging
  • No noise cancellation
  1. ASTRO Gaming A50 Wireless Dolby Gaming Headset

ASTRO Gaming A50 Wireless Dolby Gaming Headset - Black/Green - Xbox One and PC

Headphone Form: Over-Ear | Connection: WiFi | Wireless Range: 30 feet | Battery Life: 15 hours | Charge Time: 4 hours | Special Features: 7.1 Surround Sound, Flip to Mute function

The ASTRO GAMING A50 is the best wireless headphones of 2021 for gaming because it uses a base station to switch between Playstation 4 and your personal computer. This headset is so comfortable that it won’t cause head strains even if you wear it for hours.

The A50 seems to be well-made, and the parts are easy to replace. The earpads are secured magnetically, and they’re simpler to remove and put on than other gaming headsets out there. Be careful with the headband cushion because it pops out sometimes, especially if you take it out once.

We love the battery saving feature of the A50 because it reduces the need to charge every time. However, it becomes an issue when you don’t move for around 30 minutes because the headset will shut off automatically.  When it comes to gaming, the heavy metal sound of games, like Doom, is satisfying.

Pros

  • Parts are easy to replace
  • Very easy to pair with the console
  • Excellent Dolby surround sound
  • Comfortable to wear for long periods
  • Automatically shut-offs when immobile

Cons

  • Some connection problems in the base station
  • Mediocre microphone quality
  1. Puro Sound Labs PuroQuiet On-Ear Active Noise Cancelling

Puro Sound Labs PuroQuiet On-Ear Active Noise Cancelling Bluetooth Headphones – Lightweight Headphones for Kids – Safer Sound Studio-Grade Quality

Headphones Form: On-Ear | Connection: Bluetooth 4.0 | Wireless Range: 32 feet | Battery Life: 22 hours (16 hours with active noise cancellation) | Charge Time: 3 hours | Special Features: Active Noise Cancellation, Limited Volume

If you have kids, consider getting them the Puro Sound Labs PuroQuiet headphones, which help protect their hearing and save your sanity.  The active cancellation feature allows your kids to listen clearly in loud surroundings. A volume limiter prevents your kids from getting too loud.

The PuroQuiet headphones seem to have a louder sound at lower volumes. They deliver a natural, warm tone with just the right amount of bass. These headphones suit well for audiobooks, TV shows, and even gaming.

The earcups of the headphones sit on the ears rather than over them, which makes it difficult to sit on small ears. The headphones also work as a phone headset. A button allows you to moderate calls on the paired phone, and even transfer calls between devices.

Pros

  • Helps protect your child’s hearing
  • Outstanding noise-isolation design
  • More than adequate battery life
  • Colorful, stylish design
  • Offers a 30-day money-back guarantee

Cons

  • Won’t stay in place for long hours
  • For the hefty price, the sound is quite mediocre
  1. Sennheiser Momentum 3 Wireless Noise Cancelling

Sennheiser Momentum 3 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones with Alexa, Auto On/Off, Smart Pause Functionality and Smart Control App, Black

Headphones Form: Over-Ear | Connections: Bluetooth 5.0, NFC | Wireless RANGE: 33 feet | Battery Life: 17 hours | Charge Time: 3.5 hours | Special Features: Active Noise Cancellation, Smart Pause

If you like a sophisticated pair of headphones and money isn’t an issue, the Sennheiser Momentum 3 could be an excellent option. The Momentum 3 stands out with its sophisticated design and excellent audio engineering capabilities. The integrated Active Noise Cancellation mutes midrange and high-frequency sounds, making the headphones perfect for commuters.

We love the ear cushions because they feel comfortable even with glasses. The headband is made of authentic leather while the ear cups are made of plush. Another feature that we love is the Smart Pause and auto play, which keeps you from missing a beat.

Momentum 3 provides a superb listening experience. The headphones separate every frequency, so you hear the perfect fusion of bass and treble. Like with other models, the Momentum 3 isn’t exempted from some occasional connectivity issues.

Pros

  • Sophisticated design
  • Durable and well-made construction
  • Delivers superb balanced sound
  • Foldable for easy travel and storage
  • Can link two devices simultaneously

Cons

  • Sporadic connectivity issues
  • Very expensive

What Should I Look For To Buy The Right Wireless Headphones 2021

Not all wireless headphones are built the same, so you might end with a dreadful one if you’re not picky. Here are the things you should mind when purchasing the next wireless headphone to get you started..

  • Connectivity

Another thing to look for is the pairing of the headphone with an external device. Most wireless headphones pair using Bluetooth while others also provide an NFC functionality.  Connecting a headphone to a device via Bluetooth can be as fast as plugging them in, or it can be a little annoying.

Bluetooth version 5.0 provides the fastest transmission of signals between devices, followed by Bluetooth 4.2, 4.1, and 4.0. NFC is another option to speed up pairing. To connect devices via NFC, place Bluetooth devices close to each other.

  • Form And Comfort

You wear your headphones a lot, so it’s only vital that you choose the most comfortable pair. The most comfortable headphones have memory foam ear tips because they make a tight seal without hurting your ears. The best models even supply different sizes of ear tips and adjustable headbands to ensure the best fit.

Wireless headphones are available in three forms:

  • In-Ear: Also known as earbuds, in-ear headphones are the most compact and portable. They suit anyone who loves sports and working out because they’re often made of sweat-resistant materials. The only problem is that they easily get lost because they’re too small and lack bass.
  • Over-Ear: This form of headphone encloses the whole ear. These headphones deliver better sound quality with enhanced bass and louder volumes. On the downside, they’re bulky, and your ears might feel a little hot for wearing them too long.
  • On-Ear: This headphone form simply rests on top of your ears. They may not have a better sound quality than over-ear models, but on-ear headphones don’t get hot when used for extended periods. This type is also the best compromise between blocking the ambient sound of your environment while allowing some sound in.

 

  • Noise Cancellation

The most essential feature that you should consider is the noise-canceling. This feature can help minimize the ambient sound outside. Noise-canceling functionality consumes batteries, so keep in mind that you won’t get long playing time.

There are two types of noise-canceling headphones- active and passive. Active noise-canceling creates and tailor new sounds to remove unwanted sounds. Passive noise-canceling uses insulating methods to remove unwanted noise, so it’s less expensive and requires no power.

  • Durability

The most durable headphones are made with high-quality materials, like hard plastic and metal, to protect them from accidental drops or mishandling. Earbuds with hard plastic casings are great, as they’re lighter than metal to wear in the ear. To ensure intense activities and hot temperatures, look for headphones with an IPX4 rating or higher for water-resistance.

Warranty courage is another indicator of the brand’s durability. A higher warranty usually means more durability.

  • User-Friendly

Many wireless headphones have built-in controls for easy access. While the older models are protruding, the modern models have touch controls. The most user-friendly headphones support voice commands from Alexa or accompanied with an external app.

The control method depends on your preference. If you like quick access to the volume, opt for built-in controls on the earpieces. Look for a headphone with voice-enabled commands if you want a hands-free operation.

  • Battery Life

Wireless headphones offer several hours of battery life, so you have to use them for a limited time every day. The best wireless headphones offer more than 10 hours of battery life in a single charge. If you want more battery life, look for a charging case that might help refuel your headphones while on rest.

The charging time is another thing to consider. It should be fast so that you can use the headphones right away. The Apple AirPods Pro offers the quickest charge at roughly 60 minutes, followed by Sony WF-1000XM3 at 90 minutes. The Sony WH1000MXM3 provides a 10-minute quick charge if you’re in a hurry.

  • Price

As with other products, the price of the wireless headphone should fall within your budget. You should expect to pay more if you’re looking for a wireless headphone with magnificent sound quality, effective noise cancellation, and other advanced features. A cheaper pair is enough if you intend to use the headphones for simple music listening or voice calls.

At a $200 budget, you can get a good pair of wireless headphones. The best wireless headphones of 2021 under 200 are Sony WF-1000XM3 and JLab Audio Epic Air Sport. If you can spend more than $200, we recommend the Sony WH1000MXM3.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

  • Are expensive headphones/earbuds worth it?

Most of the time, expensive headphones deliver better sound quality than cheaper models. Your music will have a crisper and clearer sound, with tighter bass and non-irritating highs.

  • Can I convert headphones to wireless?

Yes, you can. Use a Bluetooth headphone adapter to connect your wired headphones wirelessly. Plug the headphones into the tiny adapter rather than directly to the source. The size of the adapter is similar to the old iPod shuffle.

  • Does Apple own Bose?

Yes, Apple has bought Bose and consolidated the brand with Beats.

  • Is JBL better than Bose?

JBL is better than Bose in terms of sound clarity. The dialogue sounds more transparent with JBL than Bose headphones. However, Bose wins in terms of durability and reliability.

  • Is Sony or Bose better?

Yes, Sony is better than Sony when it comes to noise canceling. The Sony WH1000XM3 has a longer battery life and a more compact design than the Bose 700.

  • Should I buy earbuds or headphones?

Purchase headphones if you like to listen to high-quality sound at home. Earbuds are a better choice if you’re traveling or exercising at the gym.

  • Are fake AirPods worth it?

Fake AirPods aren’t worth it. The quality is terrible, and they’re just a waste of your money.

  • What should I look for when buying noise-canceling headphones?

Look for adjustable noise cancellation to adapt to your environment. The fit should be comfortable. and the battery life longer when using the noise cancellation feature. There must be a feature to allow you to hear the outside world for awareness.

  • Are Beats or Bose better?

Beats are better than Bose when it comes to battery life and sound quality. Beats can work up to eight hours while Bose only provides six hours. Beats also have a better bass sound than Bose.

  • What are the best wireless headphones of 2021 under 50?

The best wireless headphones under 50 are the Mpow H5, which offers an active noise cancelling feature and deep bass. For people with an active lifestyle, the Anker Soundbuds Curve is the best with its IPX7 waterproof rating.

Conclusion

Have you decided on what wireless headphones to get? With these brands and models for the best wireless headphone of 2021, you sure can get the best value for your money. You should be able to hear clearly during calls and immerse yourself in your favorite music without hearing your surroundings.

Our top pick is the Sony WH1000MXM3 because it offers the best noise cancellation at a fair price. It moderates the ambient sound to provide you with the best noise cancellation. We also love WH1000MXM3’s foldable design, touch controls, and long battery life.

If you want the same noise cancellation as Sony WH1000MXM3 at a compact design, it might be the right choice for Sony WF-1000XM3. For anyone with an active lifestyle, the JLab Audio Epic Air Sport fits. Apple users can try the Apple AirPods Pro with its sweet immersive sound.

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