The Best Wireless Headphones of 2018

By Michael Desjardin, TJ Donegan, and Julia MacDougall

If you’re shopping for wireless headphones these days, you have a ton of options to choose from: earbuds, truly wireless earbuds, and even larger on- and over-ear models—it’s enough to make your head spin.

We have spent years testing the best of the best from each category, so no matter what your preference is, we’ve got something that should work well for you. Prefer a pair that’s small and water-resistant for working out? Try our pick for the best wireless earbuds, the JLab Audio Epic Sport (available at Amazon).

Want something small with absolutely no wires at all? Our pick for the best “truly” wireless earbuds—the Apple AirPods (available at Best Buy)—should do the trick. And if you’re after the best sound quality and don’t mind a little bulk, our picks for the best on- and over-ear wireless headphones are ideal.

We’ve also gone ahead and included all our top picks if you scroll down. Otherwise, head to each individual roundup to see how we tested, how we picked, and all of our other wireless headphone reviews.

— Our editors review and recommend products to help you buy the stuff you need. If you make a purchase by clicking one of our links, we may earn a small share of the revenue. Our picks and opinions are independent from any business incentives.

Updated October 25, 2018

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below
bose Best Wireless Over-Ear Headphones
Credit: / Michael Desjardin

Bose QuietComfort 35 II


Bose QuietComfort 35 II

Best Wireless Over-Ear Headphones

Bose has a devoted following, and with a pair of headphones like the QuietComfort 35 II, that's not surprising. The active noise cancellation (ANC), for which Bose is well-renowned, cuts out a wide range of noises from deep train rumbling to higher-pitched A/C humming. The headphones are light and comfortable enough that they can be worn for hours at a time, although you may notice some heat or sweat build up from where the cushy leather pads meet the sides of your head. The 20-hour battery life is also a huge selling point.

As noted in our full review, one tricky point is that, should you decide you don't want to use the ANC (for safety reasons or otherwise), you'll have to plug in and use them as wired headphones, since the Bluetooth switch doubles as the ANC on/off switch. The price is steep—between $300 and $350. If you have a little bit more disposable income and want an outstanding pair of headphones, this is the pair for you.

Read more of our favorite wireless on- and over-ear picks.

jlab_sport_hero Best Wireless Earbuds
Credit: / Jackson Ruckar

JLab Audio Epic Sport Wireless

  • Editors' Choice

JLab Audio Epic Sport Wireless

Best Wireless Earbuds

The JLab Audio Epic Sport earbuds are billed as an "upgrade" to the popular JLab Audio Epic2 Bluetooth Wireless headphones, despite typically selling for about the same price (about $100).

The Epic Sport comes with JLab's signature bendable earhooks, multiple eartip sizes, and three types of cush fins to help the buds stay in place. The inline controls consist of a streamlined remote with three buttons.

The audio can still sound a bit tinny and lacking in bass, especially if the fit isn't perfect, but JLab Audio has really gone the extra mile by building in three "sound profiles": one that augments vocals and bass, one that has a flat profile with no extra enhancements (best for those looking for studio-like audio), and one that boosts the bass notes.

With an IP66 rating (able to withstand both dust and "powerful water jets"), the Epic Sport should be able to withstand rigorous workouts. Another high point is the satisfyingly long battery life which, in our experience, clocks in at over 12 hours. The skinny wires may make it easy to break the headphones, so be sure to pack up these earbuds in their case when not in use.

Overall, we were impressed by the JLab Audio Epic Sport earbuds-especially their ability to connect from the first floor to a phone on the second floor. A few customers didn't appreciate the proprietary charging cable (which cradles the remote and isn't merely a micro USB to USB cable), but we think that the Epic Sport is a solid choice whether you're walking in the woods or cranking through reps at the gym.

Read more of our favorite wireless earbud picks.

Apple AirPods hero Best Truly Wireless Earbuds
Credit: Reviewed / TJ Donegan

The Apple AirPods are the best true wireless earbuds we've tested in 2018.

Apple AirPods

Apple airpods
  • Editors' Choice

Apple AirPods

Best Truly Wireless Earbuds

If you’ve ever bought an iPod or an iPhone and used the iconic white earbuds that were included, you pretty much know what to expect when it comes to look, feel, and fit of Apple's AirPods.

What might surprise you, however, is just how much better the AirPods sound than their wired counterparts. The low-end is better represented (so bass-heavy tracks finally have a chance to shine on a pair of Apple headphones) and the stereo field sounds far more expansive than with Apple’s standard wired in-ears.

What we like most about the AirPods is how simple it is to manage them. Just pop open the dental floss-sized charging case and they automatically connect to your iPhone or MacBook (if you're running the latest update). When you’re done listening, slot them back into the case and they’ll magnetically slot into place and disconnect automatically—you don’t have to hold down any buttons. The pairing process is the standard Bluetooth headache on non-Apple devices, but you'll still benefit from great range and killer battery life.

They’re not perfect, however: The fit itself isn’t as tight and comfortable as some of the other earbuds we tested, the 'buds are not rated to be sweat-proof (though they have survived our workout tests just fine), and the tap controls and microphone quality are mostly hot garbage. (The fact that you still have to use Siri to control the volume when you can't reach your phone is insane.)

But if you’re used to the fit of Apple’s standard, wired earbuds, you’ll be happy with AirPods. They sound great, they're super convenient, and they run rings around the other true wireless earbuds we tested despite being relatively affordable. Add it up and these are the best true wireless earbuds you can buy right now.

Read more of our favorite "truly" wireless earbud picks.

Some of Our Other Favorite Wireless Headphones

Puro Sound Labs BT2200 Kids Headphones

Puro sound labs bluetooth kids
  • Best of Year 2017

Where To Buy

$86.75 Amazon Buy

Puro Sound Labs BT2200 Kids Headphones

Best Wireless for Kids

If you're looking for a high-quality pair of volume-limited headphones, the Puro BT2200 is the way to go. Though they're the priciest of the pairs we looked at, that's because they have the best combination of comfort, build quality, and sound quality. They are a bit too big for a toddler, but they should fit school-age children and up quite well.

In our tests, the BT2200s played at about 82-84.6dB(a) when used wirelessly at full volume, with about 12 hours of battery life. And because they run off their own internal power when in Bluetooth mode, there's no risk of them being overpowered. When used wired with our standard source (an iPhone 7 Plus with the Lightning-to-3.5mm adapter), they topped out right at the 85dB(a) threshold—as long as you plug the volume-limiting cable in the right way.

Our one issue is that the cable can easily be plugged in the wrong way. This pushed the max volume to 96-100dB(a) in our tests, which could cause damage. The cable does have "Headphones→" written on it so you know which end is which, but these should really be designed so the cable only plugs in the correct way.

Jabra Elite 65t

Jabra elite 65t
  • Editors' Choice

Jabra Elite 65t

The Jabra Elite 65t true wireless earbuds are new for 2018, and they were generally excellent in our testing. Costing right around $170, they offer very good sound quality, a snug fit, good battery life, superb wireless range, and even compatibility with Amazon Alexa.

The Jabra Elite 65t are a good all-around alternative to the Apple AirPods for people who don't have an iPhone, though their larger bulbish design is definitely more awkward in your ear. They're very similar to the Samsung Gear IconX in terms of fit and size, but they don't get jammed uncomfortably deep in your ear canal.

The main knocks against the Elite 65t are the same ones we had with pretty much all other true wireless earbuds: They're a bit big to leave in your ears for an extended period of time, the on-ear controls are workable but causes the buds to shift around, and they're just less convenient than wired or other wireless headphones.

That said, they offer at least some protection against sweat and moisture, they're relatively affordable compared to some other true wireless models, and Jabra backs them up with a two-year guarantee against damage from dust and moisture. It's not enough for us to recommend them over the AirPods, but for Android users or those who want something with a bit more water-resistance, they're an awesome backup.

JLab Audio Flex ANC

  • Editors' Choice

JLab Audio Flex ANC

JLab Audio is a relatively new player in the headphones game, but they really impressed me with the JLab Audio Flex ANC Wireless. The flat sound profile will please audiophiles who want true music fidelity. Like the Bose QC35, the active noise cancellation on these headphones is unreal. When turned on, it sounds like all of the noise has been sucked out of the room. Walking on a quiet street with the ANC on feels like floating in outer space, for the amount of ambient noise that reaches your ears. A 30-hour battery life is great for both long days of travel and shorter, more casual use throughout the week.

The headphones themselves are very comfortable, but are a bit heavier than the Bose QC35, and have an angled cushion at the top of the headband that tends to dig into the top of your skull after a few hours. Additionally, there have been reports of design flaws in the ear pads, which tear and break off easily. When they unfold, the cups snap out crisply, so be sure to watch your fingers so they don't get pinched.

The Flex ANC Wireless is priced at $150, which is a relatively low price for wireless headphones; at that price, you're getting a lot of bang for your buck.

Advertisement - Continue Reading Below