Admit it: you need to get some wireless headphones. With the technology getting so good and with headphone jacks disappearing, it just makes sense to invest in a future without wires if like listening to music or watching videos or just making the outside world less loud. How you use your headphones ought to inform which ones you get, of course. And that’s what this guide is for.

Whether you’re an aspiring audiophile, a long distance runner, or just someone with a sense of style, there’s a set of wireless headphones for you. If you’re looking for earbuds, ear muffs, or something in between, we’ve got you covered.

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The best not-quite-wireless wireless headphones

Photo: Adam Clark Estes ((Gizmodo)

Who are you?

Even though truly wireless earbuds are all the rage, you might be worried about losing one of the buds or you could just want better battery life. You might also like the idea of dangling earbuds around your neck.

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Our pick: BeatsX ($120)

These necklace-style wireless earbuds aren’t exactly wireless, but they’re remarkably well designed. You won’t even notice the necklace bit, beyond the fact that you’ll enjoy great battery life and better call quality thanks to the inline mic. They’re also durable and tight-fitting enough to wear during workouts. You can buy them directly from Apple for $120 or take your chances with a refurbished set which cost as little as $45.

Also consider

If you’re thinking about getting wireless earbuds that are connected by a wire, your options are virtually limitless. Jaybird makes some great buds that are tailored to runners, and the $100 Tarah model is the best budget option. Jabra offers a similar set called the Sport Coach for $120 and a bulkier model called the Sport Pace for just $60.

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The best budget headband


Image: Jabra / Gizmodo

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Who are you?

You like the idea of better-sounding and sort of cool-looking headband-style headphones. But you also don’t want to spend a ton of money, and you’re not terribly worried about getting tons of features.

Our pick: Jabra Move Wireless ($50)

The Jabra Move Wireless are the best cheap way to get into the wireless headphones game. They connect seamlessly with any device. They sound pretty dang good. They’re comfortable and lightweight without feeling flimsy. Although they normally retail for $100, Jabra is now selling the Moves for just $50. That might be a sign that a new model is on the way, but $50 is still a steal.

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Also consider

That $50 price tag on the Jabra is pretty exceptional. Other good quality wireless headphones for folks on a budget will cost between $100 and $200. The $150 Sony Extra Bass Wireless headphones are a solid option, even if you’re not a bass lover. (You can turn off the bass boost.) V-Moda’s $200 Crossfade Wireless are extremely durable, dependable, and they sound great too! The JBL Everest line is also fantastic. The JBL Everest 700 model retails for $200, but you can find refurbished models for as little as $45.



The best noise-canceling headphones

Photo: Adam Clark Estes (Gizmodo)

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Who are you?

You spend time on airplanes or in coffee shops or on the subway or in an open-plan office or literally anywhere that’s too noisy.

Our pick: Sony WH-1000XM3 ($350)

This is the third generation of some Sony noise-canceling headphones we’ve loved for years. The latest model is extra comfortable and lightweight. And since you’re looking for noise-canceling headphones, you’ll be pleased to know that they cancel more noise as well. Great performance doesn’t come cheap. These bad boys retail for $350, but that may be a small price to pay for your sanity.

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Also consider

Everybody loves the $350 Bose QuietComfort II for good reason. They’re great—just not as good as the new Sony headphones. Meanwhile, the $400 Bowers & Wilkins PX don’t offer the very best noise-canceling, but the terrific sound quality will appeal to the audiophile set. They’re also gorgeous. If you’re looking to spend slightly less, check out the $300 JBL Everest Elite 750NC. They’re less gorgeous but work just fine.


The best truly wireless earbuds


Photo: Adam Clark Estes (Gizmodo)

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Who are you?

You want in on this tiny wireless earbud craze, but you don’t want to have to charge them every ten minutes. Also, you want something that’s just as dependable as much larger wireless headphones.

Our pick: Jabra Elite 65t ($170)

These earbuds blow everything else out of the water. With five-hours of battery life, rock solid Bluetooth connectivity, and a decent microphone for making phone calls, the Jabra Elite 65t earbuds tick off all the right boxes. On top of that, the snug fit means you won’t worry about these things flying out of year ears, which is a concern for some other wireless earbuds, namely AirPods. The Jabra Elite 65t’s also on the more affordable end of the spectrum at $170.

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Also consider

The $300 Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless are the best-sounding earbuds we’ve tried so far. (More on that in a second.) And the $300 Master & Dynamic MW07 earbuds are comparable, although slightly less mind-blowing. If you’re just after decent sound and good connectivity, the $160 Apple AirPods are a popular option, too.


The best athletic earbuds

Photo: Adam Clark Estes (Gizmodo)

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Who are you?

You like going to the gym, where you tend to sweat—and sweat tends not to agree with electronics. What to do?

Our pick: Jabra Elite Active 65t ($200)

This feels a little bit like cheating, but our favorite truly wireless earbuds are a very close sibling to our favorite athletic earbuds. The Jabra Elite Active 65t earbuds are just like the Jabra Elite 65t earbuds, except they have an IP56 rating, which means they’re dustproof and sweat proof. They’re also a little more expensive at $200, but seriously, they’re good.

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Also consider

Although you’ll find a lot of sport-focused Bluetooth earbuds with a wire between them, you should strongly consider going truly wireless for your activities. (Nothing worse than getting a wire snagged on a dumbbell.) The Bose SoundSport Free earbuds are remarkably comfortable, if a little pricey at $250. Sony’s $180 water-resistant truly wireless earbuds also offer a great fit and good sound quality, though the battery life leaves something to be desired.


The most superb sound


Photo: Adam Clark Estes (Gizmodo)

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Who are you?

Audiophile might be a strong word, but you want the best sound quality out of your wireless headphones. Full stop.

Our pick: Sennheiser Momentum ($300-$400)

Let’s make this easy for you. If you’re after the best sound quality and you’re not sure if you want the bigger over-ear headphones or the ultra minimal truly wireless headphones or something in between, look no further than the Sennheiser Momentum family. The $400 HD1 Wireless headphones are some of the best ear muffs we’ve tested, and the new $300 Momentum True Wireless earbuds sound simply phenomenal. Yes, both options are expensive, but you said you wanted the best so…

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Also consider

If you’re looking for pure sound, the $400 Bowers and Wilkins P7 models are delightful options that don’t have noise canceling or any other fancy features—just great sound. The $500 Beoplay H9i are also a luxurious treat, especially if you like that Bang & Olufsen signature design. And since we’re feeling speedy, also consider the $550 Master & Dynamic MW60. It’s also safe to say that you don’t need to spend any more than that on a pair of wireless headphones, because remember: you can also just spend $50.


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