• Sony WH-1000XM3

  • JLab Audio Epic Sport Wireless

  • Apple AirPods Pro

  • How We Test

  • In-ear vs. On-ear vs. Over-ear

  • Other Wireless Headphones and Earphones We Tested

  • More Articles You Might Enjoy

Our Favorite Wireless Headphones of 2020

  1. Best Wireless Over-Ear Headphones

    Sony WH-1000XM3

    Pros

    • Great sound

    • Very comfortable

    • Excellent ANC

    Cons

    • Expensive

    • Complicated UX

    • Finicky controls

    Skip to the full review below
  2. Best Wireless Earbuds

    JLab Audio Epic Sport Wireless

    Skip to the full review below
Best-Over-ear-wireless
Credit: Reviewed

Sony's WH-1000XM3 are our favorite wireless headphones for their comfort, great sound, and excellent noise-canceling

Best Wireless Over-Ear Headphones
Sony WH-1000XM3

Sony's WH-1000XM3 isn't just our top-rated Noise-Canceling Headphone—it's our favorite set of headphones, period. Combining excellent sound quality, all-day comfort, efficacious noise-canceling, and stylish design details, the XM3 is an outright win.

If you want a ton of details on the WH-1000XM3, check out our full product review, but what you need to know about it is that it doesn't cut any corners—and that's reflected in their price. You should know that there's a learning curve to using these headphones: their firmware is stuffed with impressive features the ability to detect barometric pressure or save custom EQ (equalizer) settings that are reflected in the way your music sounds.

At the end of the day, even if you don't dive into the deep level of customization these headphones deliver, you're getting Sony's best-in-class adaptive noise-cancellation technology, stellar sound quality, and outstanding frequency reproduction. All of this is packed into a pair of over-ear headphones that manage to be well-padded, comfortable, and so lightweight, that you might forget they're even on your head.

The Sony WH-1000XM3 are versatile enough to satisfy staunch audiophiles, commuters fed up with all the noise, and everyday listeners simply sick of dealing with wires.

Pros

  • Great sound

  • Very comfortable

  • Excellent ANC

Cons

  • Expensive

  • Complicated UX

  • Finicky controls

jlab_sport_hero
Credit: Reviewed.com / Jackson Ruckar
Best Wireless Earbuds
JLab Audio Epic Sport Wireless

The JLab Audio Epic Sport earbuds are billed as an "upgrade" to the popular JLab Audio Epic2 Bluetooth Wireless headphones. They come equipped with JLab's signature bendable ear hooks, multiple ear tip sizes, and three types of stabilizer fins to help the buds stay in place. The inline controls consist of a streamlined remote with three buttons.

If the seal between your ears and the earphones isn't tight, the audio the Epic2 produces can sound tinny and lacking in bass. However, to compensate for this, JLab Audio has built-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. We were also impressed with the earbud's strong Bluetooth connectivity: during testing the proved capable of maintaining a connection while we tested them on the first floor, with the smartphone we had them connected to, on the second floor of our building.

As great as these earphones are, we do have a few gripes about them. For starters, their skinny connective wires may make it easy to break the headphones if they're not treated gently—so be sure to pack up them in their case when not in use. Additionally, we didn't appreciate its proprietary charging cable. However, 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 about our favorite wireless earbud picks.

best-true-wireless
Credit: Reviewed

Apple's new AirPods Pro are our favorite true wireless earbuds

Best Truly Wireless Earbuds
Apple AirPods Pro

Apple's AirPods Pro offer everything we love about the AirPods and takes it up a notch. They sound great, they offer excellent noise cancellation, and they add proper water-resistance. Best of all, these are the first Apple 'buds to let you swap silicone tips, meaning they should fit most people's ears.

Battery life is excellent when you consider the compact charging case, which holds a spare 4-5 full charges and can give you an hour of listening time in just five minutes. In our lab tests, we found the noise cancellation was on par with pricier noise-canceling headphones, with a minimal hit to battery life.

These are a bit on the pricier side for earbuds, but they offer enough of a meaningful difference that we think it's worth it—especially since they can be your go-to headphones for the gym, everyday use, and long trips by train or plane. If you're willing to live with less than perfect sound quality, these might just be the best wireless earbuds on the market.

Check out the full review here.

How We Test

head_and_torso_simulator
Credit: Reviewed.com / Julia MacDougall

We test all of our headphones on a head and torso simulator (HATS), a model of a human being from the waist upwards that reproduces how we experience music when we listen to headphones.

The Tester

Howdy, I'm Lee Neikirk, Home Theater Editor for Reviewed and casual video/audiophile. I've been elbows-deep in professional reviews of video and audio products for the last 7 years, but before that, I was earning a degree in music performance, so it's safe to say that audio quality and presentation are passions of mine.

I personally own more headphones than I can generally find time to use, so getting in swaths of the priciest and most unique or beloved headphones to check out and recommend here is something I both enjoy and take seriously. I take them on flights, during commutes around the city, use them while I'm working, and try to generally wring every likely use case out of each headphone during evaluation. I often end up writing full, standalone reviews of the ones that stand out.

The Tests

On our head and torso simulator (HATS), we put these headphones through our usual battery of headphone tests: frequency response, distortion, tracking, leakage, and isolation.

Headphone manufacturers are typically aiming for either a flat or a curved sound profile. A curved profile is most common, and most curved profiles are trying to replicate the Equal Loudness Curve (ELC). The human ear hears higher tones more easily than it hears the bass tones, so for a human to perceive highs and lows at a similar volume, the headphones boost the volume of the lows, and moderate the volume of the highs.

A flat profile is usually found in "studio" headphones; the highs, mids, and bass tones have the same volume. However, as I just mentioned, we don't hear all tones at the same volume, so the bass notes sound softer, and the highs sound louder. Some people prefer studio headphones because of their audio fidelity—they are hearing the music exactly as the producers intended them to hear it. Also, as implied by the name, studio headphones are used in studio recordings to help mixers figure out what, if any frequencies, they should boost or reduce.

In addition to the more scientific testing, we also wear each pair of headphones around town to get a sense for their features (like extra amps or noise cancellation) and short- and long-term comfort.

In-ear vs. On-ear vs. Over-ear

You've probably seen a bunch of different headphones in your everyday life, but what you may not realize is that headphones, while they have a number of different selling points, are primarily categorized into three types: in-ear, on-ear, and over-ear.

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Credit: Reviewed

Three popular types of headphones: in-ear, on-ear, and over-ear.


Other Wireless Headphones and Earphones We Tested

Bose QuietComfort 35 II

Bose has a devoted following, and with a pair of headphones like the QuietComfort 35 Series II, that's not surprising. The active noise cancellation (ANC), for which Bose is 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. We tested the Bose QC35 Series I; really the only difference between the series I and series II is that with the series II, you can also activate and command the Google Assistant.

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; if you have a little bit more disposable income and want an outstanding pair of headphones, this is the pair for you.

Sony WF-1000XM3

The WF-1000XM3 are the true wireless version of our top-rated WH-1000XM3 headphones, and they deliver a similar amount of pomp and circumstance. Are these for everyone? Probably not. They're pricy, fancy, sometimes finicky, and won't work at the gym. These aren't workhorse headphones by any means, and they're too expensive for anyone who isn't sure they definitely want good sound to complement the convenience of true wireless.

However, these are a whole-sale improvement upon the first-generation model and are an excellent product overall. If you've been hankering for Sony's excellent sound quality and design but were wary of the first model's poor battery life and connectivity issues, look no further. The WF-1000XM3 are a triumph for Sony in regards to fixing those issues, and they sound marvelous.

Check out our full review here.

Apple AirPods

If you're buying wireless headphones, you're likely doing it for convenience more than anything. Apple's AirPods excel at that, with the best connection quality of any headphones we've tested. They have awesome range, a small but powerful charging case, and they are incredibly easy to pair—particularly with Apple devices, though they work great with Android and Windows PCs, too.

Sound quality is merely so-so and they don't offer water resistance, but they're also cheaper than many competitors. The only other drawback is that they are still designed like the solid plastic earbuds Apple has included with its products for years.

If other Apple earbuds don't fit your ears, these probably won't either. But of all the true wireless earbuds we've tested, these are the simplest to use and offer the best combination of price, battery life, connectivity, and convenience. If you're looking for a superior fit and noise cancelation, we suggest stepping up to the pricier Apple AirPods Pro.

Jabra Elite 65t

The Jabra Elite 65t true wireless earbuds were new for 2018, and they were generally excellent in our testing. 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 bulb-shaped 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 cause 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

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. 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 has a relatively low price for wireless headphones; you're getting a lot of bang for your buck.

Puro Sound Labs PuroQuiet Kids Headphones

If you're looking for the best volume-limited headphones for kids, the Puro Sound Labs PuroQuiet Kids Headphones are the best that we've tested. These are a bit pricier than our previous favorite—the Puro BT2200—but they offer a killer new feature: noise cancellation. Though it may seem like a luxury feature for many children, it's an awesome addition for kids who have sensory issues.

For other children, the noise-cancellation helps reduce the urge to crank the volume to the absolute max. Though volume-limiting headphones are critical for protecting your child's hearing, the recommended max of 85dB(a) simply isn't very loud. These headphones help solve for that by further cutting down ambient noise.

In our lab tests, the PuroQuiets were some of the best noise-canceling headphones we've tested, cutting down a significant amount of ambient noise with no major technical issues. Though our tests showed they could get up to around 87dB(a), that's still near the recommended level experts deem safe for up to 8 hours.

The main drawback here is the price, but Puro frequently discounts these. Headphones like these ones can be pricey for younger kids who are likely to forget them somewhere (or simply break them), but for an older kid wanting nicer headphones, they're worth the investment.

The wireless capability ensures that your kid can't easily circumvent the volume protections, and they will work with a wider range of modern devices including newer smartphones that don't have built-in headphone jacks. Just note that if the battery dies you can use the included cable, but the volume limiter on the cable only works when plugged in the right way.

Check out the full review here.

Pros

  • Cuts ambient noise with no technical issues

  • Safe for up to 8 hours

  • Tangle-free

Cons

  • Very expensive

Beats by Dre Powerbeats Pro

A staunch competitor to Apple's AirPods, the Powerbeats Pro are a solid pair of "true wireless" earbuds that check off a lot of the right boxes where this headphone type is concerned. They're pretty stylish (as you might expect from Beats), available in ivory, black, navy, or moss colors, featuring adjustable ear hooks to help keep them in your ears during a workout.

And while the Powerbeats Pro are indeed workout-ready, they also sound good enough for general use. Like most true wireless earphones, they come with a compact and easily pocketable charging case, and like most Beats headphones, their sound profile is fairly bass-forward—but not overmuch. Thankfully for fitness enthusiasts, the Powerbeats Pro are sweat- and water-resistant to the necessary measures, and offer plenty of battery life via the included charging case.

While they're less minimalist than Apple's AirPod options, and may not offer the full range of advantages that the Apple AirPods Pro do, these Beats are a great choice if you're looking for a more stylish or secure-feeling alternative.

Sennheiser PXC 550 Wireless

The Sennheiser PXC 550 are a very solid set of over-ears, simply put. The wireless version gives you Bluetooth functionality and active noise-canceling in a lightweight and very comfortable package, and as you might expect from a pair of Sennheiser headphones, they sound excellent.

During my time with the PXC 550s, I was very impressed with how they managed to pack such robust and bass-forward sound into headphones that also deliver a snug, lightweight fit and plushy materials. While they're not cheap, I was surprised to find out how relatively affordable they were compared to some of their direct competitors.

However, getting to that point took some doing. These are some of the only headphones where we've had to investigate an online manual in order to get them into pairing mode, for example. Likewise, the on-set controls (which live on the lower portion of the right ear cup) through me off a bit, as they're usually on the left cup for Bluetooth over-ear headphones. But it's easy enough to play/pause, skip tracks, and access phone functions once you get the hang of it.

The major takeaway, though, is that the PXC 550 Wireless headphones give you great sound, plenty of comfort, a minimalist form factor, and good-enough noise-canceling for basic purposes. At their price, they're a bundle of positive traits, and you should check them out if you're looking for a more affordable take on wireless ANC over-ears.

Phiaton BT 120 NC

The Phiaton Curve BT 120 NC headphones offer a smorgasbord of features. Billed as workout headphones, the Curve boast quicker-than-average charging (you get an hour of playback after 5 minutes of charging), very sturdy materials, and a unique vibrating neckband design that puts controls within easy reach, and removes the need for a shirt clip. While the design is unusual, it works.

During testing, we found that the BT 120 NC were pleasingly light, with ample ear-tips and wings to make sure they're secure within your ears. The controls rest against your collarbone, which definitely take some getting used to where adjustment is concerned but is still an improvement over the inherent fragility of many workout headphones' in-line controls, which can bounce upon the wire during runs or workouts. A big focus here is also freeing users from the perils of constant charging: Phiaton claims 290 hours of "standby" time (alongside the quick-charging feature), with the intent that the BT 120 NCs will be ready to work out whenever you are.

Last but definitely not least, these sound great, though during use I found they built up more heat within my ears than I was used to (oddly, it wasn't altogether unpleasant).

Plantronics Backbeat Sense

If you love the portability of in-ear headphones, but want something a little heftier that can stand up to every-day use, the Plantronics Backbeat Sense Wireless on-ear headphones are a great way to dip your toe into the on-and-over-ear headphone pool. These wireless headphones are lightweight, cushy on your ears, and come with a sound profile that nicely balances both bass tones and higher frequencies.

With a battery life of 15-20 hours, and a recharge time of only two hours, these are perfect to take on a long train or bus ride; you can spend quality time relaxing and enjoying the trip, rather than hunting around for a wall outlet. While we had some trouble consistently operating the touch controls, the rest of the user experience was good enough that we'd still recommend these headphones to friends and family. Read the full review.

JLab Audio Omni

JLab Audio has a history of bringing premium features down into a more affordable price range, and that's exactly what they've done with the Omni Bluetooth headphones. These over-ear headphones can be used both wired and wirelessly; for the latter case, they have a battery life of about ~15 hours, which is nothing to sneeze at. They sound like most consumer headphones do (rather than studio headphones); they emphasize the bass notes so that they're not totally overtaken by vocals or instrumentals with higher tones.

While the Omni do fold up, they're not especially portable. Whether they're in or out of the included travel case, they're pretty bulky. It's probably best that you leave these in one place, rather than dragging them all around town with you, as they'll take up valuable real estate in your suitcase or your laptop bag. For the price, though, the JLab Omni gives you both wireless and wired functionality that makes them a real steal.

Check out the full review here.

Anker Soundcore Spirit Pro

Anker's SoundCore Spirit Pro stands out primarily because it's one of the most affordable "true wireless" style earbuds on the market. Anker is making a name as a manufacturer of value-facing high-quality headphones, and the Spirit Pro doesn't deviate from that standard.

While these aren't the best-sounding or most feature-heavy true wireless earbuds we've tested, they offer a lot for the price. The Spirit Pro are workout-ready and yield about 10 hours of battery life between charges. However, we weren't crazy about their overall sound which proved both tinny and flat.

Even still, for what you're paying, these are perfectly serviceable true wireless earbuds. They come with plenty of ear tip and wing options, allowing most people to find a combination that will fit snugly in their ears throughout a workout. Just don't be fooled by the claim of "dual EQ." You can boost the sound with a button press—a method Anker claims will help boost you through the last difficult set of a workout—but compared to the flat, unboosted setting, it might make more sense to just leave the setting on all the time.

Meet the testers

Michael Desjardin

Michael Desjardin

Senior Staff Writer

@Reviewed

Michael Desjardin graduated from Emerson College after having studied media production and screenwriting. He specializes in tech for Reviewed, but also loves film criticism, weird ambient music, cooking, and food in general.

See all of Michael Desjardin's reviews
Lee Neikirk

Lee Neikirk

Editor

@Koanshark

Lee has been Reviewed's point person for most television and home theater products since 2012. Lee received Level II certification in TV calibration from the Imaging Science Foundation in 2013. As Editor of the Home Theater vertical, Lee oversees reviews of TVs, monitors, soundbars, and Bluetooth speakers. He also reviews headphones, and has a background in music performance.

See all of Lee Neikirk's reviews
TJ Donegan

TJ Donegan

Executive Editor

@TJDonegan

TJ is the Executive Editor of Reviewed.com. He is a Massachusetts native and has covered electronics, cameras, TVs, smartphones, parenting, and more for Reviewed. He is from the self-styled "Cranberry Capitol of the World," which is, in fact, a real thing.

See all of TJ Donegan's reviews
Julia MacDougall

Julia MacDougall

Senior Scientist

@reviewed

Julia is the Senior Scientist at Reviewed, which means that she oversees (and continually updates) the testing of products in Reviewed's core categories such as televisions, washing machines, refrigerators, and more. She also determines the testing methods and standards for Reviewed's "The Best Right Now" articles.

See all of Julia MacDougall's reviews

Checking our work.

We use standardized and scientific testing methods to scrutinize every product and provide you with objectively accurate results. If you’ve found different results in your own research, email us and we’ll compare notes. If it looks substantial, we’ll gladly re-test a product to try and reproduce these results. After all, peer reviews are a critical part of any scientific process.

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