From trendy Apple AirPods to top-of-the-line Bose SoundSport Wireless, there is no shortage of good models of wireless headphones, all with vastly different prices. Is a $ 200 pair of headphones really much better than a $ 50 pair? How can you tell them apart? And how, exactly, are you supposed to choose between them when shopping online?
Here are the important factors to consider when purchasing wireless headphones.
First, think about how you will be using the headphones. Do you plan to take them on your daily journeys by train or bus? If so, you might want to invest in a pair of Bluetooth headphones with active noise cancellation, a premium feature where the built-in microphones listen to ambient sounds and mute them in your ear. Active noise cancellation makes it easy to listen to music and podcasts, even in noisy environments. This is a premium feature, so expect to pay a lot more for headphones that have it.
Buy new? Then keep an eye out for the IPX4 or better water and sweat resistance, and prioritize a perfect fit. Do you have a Qi charger handy at home, like this $ 15 Anker wireless charger? Then you might want to pay a bit more for a wireless charging case.
And if you just want a pair of inexpensive headphones that work, well, there’s a pair of wireless headphones for you too. Here are some popular reviewer options for you to consider, all available for sale on Amazon.
Trending wireless headphones: Apple AirPods Pro
Of course, there are Bluetooth headphones that are cheaper than the Apple AirPods Pro. And there are headphones that have better sound quality. But when it comes to pairing your Apple iPhone, Apple Watch, or other Apple devices, AirPods Pro are hard to beat. The connection is almost effortless.
There’s some awesome technology behind Apple’s AirPods Pro – they have built-in accelerometers that determine when you have them in your ears, so there’s no need to turn them on and off manually. These things just know when you’re using them, and even what Apple device you’re using them with. Siri is also integrated. And if you ever lose an earpiece or the carrying case, they’re easy to find with Apple’s “Find My” service.
There are a few upgrades in the Apple AirPods Pro that you don’t get with regular Apple AirPods. For starters, the Pro model has the more powerful H1 chip and is IPX4 water resistant. You also get super powerful active noise cancellation, which blocks out the outside world as you listen to your tracks. And because it’s made by Apple, you know you’re getting a quality (and trendy) product.
According to Apple, AirPods Pro last up to 4.5 hours on a single charge. They do come with a Qi-compatible wireless charging case, however, which extends that to over 24 hours of listening.
These wireless headphones, normally priced at $ 250, are currently on sale on Amazon for $ 180.
Apple AirPods Pro, $ 180 (was $ 250)
Wireless headphones for iPhone: Apple AirPods 2
Looking for a cheaper option than AirPods Pro? If you’re willing to swap out a wireless charging case for a regular charging case, you can save around $ 60 by choosing the Apple AirPods 2 instead.
While Apple’s cheaper AirPods are noise isolating, they don’t have active noise cancellation. This means they won’t perform as well in noisy environments. People who run outdoors may prefer to have headphones that allow them to hear cars. The lack of active noise cancellation also gives these AirPods a looser fit than the AirPods Pro, but some people may prefer that as well.
One more thing to keep in mind before hitting the buy button: Unlike Apple AirPods Pro, AirPods 2 are not water resistant. That doesn’t mean you can’t take them to the gym, but it does mean you won’t be able to get warranty service for water damage. Normally at $ 160, they’re currently $ 40 off on Amazon.
Apple AirPods 2, $ 120 (was $ 160)
Wireless headphones for Android: Amazon Echo Buds 2
Apple AirPods and AirPods Pro are the obvious choices if you’re married to the Apple ecosystem of tech products. But what if you have an Android phone?
Step into Amazon’s new second-gen Echo Buds, released in April. Available in Ice White and Black, the Echo Buds are premium headphones with great sound and a more affordable price tag. They offer many of the same features as the Apple AirPods Pro, including noise cancellation (with pass-through mode) and IPX4 water resistance. A hands-free voice assistant is also built in, but it’s an Amazon device, so you get Alexa here, not Siri. (If you have an Alexa-based smart home, this could be a big plus.)
The Amazon Echo Buds have a few drawbacks. They offer 5 hours of playtime on a single charge, comparable to the 4.5 hours of Apple AirPods Pro, but only 15 hours total with the charging case (AirPods Pro last 24 hours with their case). To take full advantage of Hands-Free Alexa, you need to download the Alexa app. These headphones pair relatively effortlessly with Apple and Android phones, but only with one device at a time.
Amazon Echo Buds 2, $ 120
Wireless headphones with noise cancellation: Beats Studio Buds
The Beats Studio Buds have two listening modes – one with active noise cancellation and an open transparency mode, which allows ambient sound. These true wireless headphones are sweat resistant and compatible with iPhone and Android. (Integration with iPhone is slightly more robust: they work with Siri and come with up to three months of free Apple Music.)
According to Beats, you’ll get eight hours of listening time on a single charge and 24 hours of full charge using the included charging case. For headphone users who like to have external jack controls, these are a great choice. One tap, two taps, three taps and a long press all perform different functions.
Many reviewers compare these Bluetooth headphones to the AirPods Pro. They are available in black, white and red.
Beats Studio Buds, $ 130 (was $ 150)
$ 50 Headphones: Tozo NC2 Wireless Headphones
When it comes to headphones, it can be hard to find a quality pair for less than $ 50. But these 4.5-star-rated Tozo headphones are just that – an option that actually wows critics with great sound (especially in noise-canceling mode).
It’s “not good Bose,” says one reviewer, but “but it’s worth the price.” Another verified reviewer adds that the buds “far exceeded my expectations for the price paid!”
The Tozo NC2 wireless earbuds provide over 8 hours of battery life on a single charge and an additional 32 hours in the compact charging case.
Tozo NC2 Wireless Headphones, $ 50
Luxury headphones: Bose QuietComfort headphones
They might not be as stylish and trendy as Apple’s AirPods, but if you’re looking for the highest quality sound you can get at any price, consider the Bose QuietComfort headphones.
First of all, the basics. These premium headphones feature adjustable acoustic noise reduction, IPX4 water protection, and a range of 30 feet. Touch controls are also included: you can swipe and tap to change volume, skip songs, and more. And reviewers rave about the high-fidelity audio quality and the comfort of the eartips. (“You barely know you’re wearing them,” LenC says.)
Available in triple black and a whitish color called soapstone, the Bose QuietComfort headphones last 6 hours on a single charge, one of the best in the class. And if their batteries are depleted, a 15-minute charge provides around 2 hours of playtime. A wireless charging case is also included.
Bose QuietComfort headphones, $ 199 (was $ 279)
Quality headphones under $ 100: Anker Life P3 active noise canceling headphones
First of all, it’s important to note that not all active noise cancellation features are the same – some work better than others, and generally you get what you pay for. That said, the budget-conscious Anker Life P3 wireless earbuds are getting rave reviews for their fit, sound quality, and three-mode active noise cancellation (powered by three microphones on each earbud), available through the app. Anker Soundcore.
“While the noise cancellation isn’t as good as my Sony WH-1000XM4 on-ear headphones, the Life P3s cost $ 270 LESS and they’re actually pretty close,” enthuses Amazon reviewer Zak Awry. about these “very impressive” wireless headphones.
The Anker Life P3 headphones (available in five colors) are a good choice for the gym: they are rated IPX5 for water resistance, so they can handle sweat and last 7 hours on a single charge. The included wireless charging case extends battery life up to 35 hours, which also makes it a great choice for travel. And if they get lost, the Soundcore app’s “Find My Headphones” feature will help you find them via sound alerts.
In short, these stylish headphones include almost all of the features you would expect from a high-end pair of wireless headphones, without the premium price tag. You can buy a pair of Anker Life P3 headphones for $ 68 right now on Amazon.
Anker Life P3 active noise canceling headphones, $ 68 (was $ 71)
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