Whether you’re listening to the latest episode of The Gadget Lab Podcast on your commute or hitting the treadmill with your favorite Taylor Swift album in tow, the right pair of wireless headphones can make or break your day. Problem is, there are a lot of headphones to choose from.
WIRED’s Gear team is constantly trying out new models, and these are our top picks for the best wireless headphones, and why you might be interested in each pair.
Be sure to check out our other audio guides for the best wirefree earbuds, best workout earbuds, best smart speakers, and best Bluetooth speakers.
Updated for Autumn 2019: We’ve entirely revamped this guide for the holidays, adding new headphones from Bose, Sennheiser, and more.
1. Sony WH1000XM3
Which is better: Bose or Sony? For now, we’re giving the edge to Sony for noise canceling and audio quality. The WH1000XM3 (8/10 WIRED Recommends) sound absolutely vibrant and last up to 30 hours on a charge (that’s 10 hours longer than Bose cans). Their noise cancelling is on par with Bose and better than everything else on the market. The touch controls aren’t perfect, but the ability to put your hand over the right earcup to hear outside noise is super handy.
The only annoying issue is call quality. The XM3 are poor at phone calls. You’ll sound like you’re down the hallway to folks on the other line. (The older Sony 1000XM2 are also superb, but not worth it unless you get a good discount.)
2. Bose Noise Cancelling 700
Special digital signal processing and an advanced microphone array inside Bose’s latest flagship headphones allow them limit background noise and focus on your voice alone, making them the best headphones you can buy when it comes to call quality. Plus, the special mics and DSP pair with Bose’s incredibly effective noise-canceling tech, making it seem like you’re in a quiet space even when you’re out and about.
Couple all of that with great comfort, battery life, and sound quality, and the Bose 700 are among the best headphones for a businessperson in 2019. They’re also a top pick if you want great noise canceling, music, and need to take phone calls from your headphones.
3. Sennheiser Momentum 3 Wireless
You won’t get the same tippy-top-level quality noise-canceling or battery life as you will from the two top Sony or Bose headphones on our list, but the third generation of Sennheiser’s Momentum Wireless are a tour-de-force when it comes to pairing astonishing sound quality with gorgeous design.
The posh over-ears are reminiscent of studio headphones from the rock and roll era, with robust stainless steel and plush leather earpads that stay comfortable for hours on end. Sennheiser’s excellent in-house tuning will sometimes make think you’re listening to remixes of your favorite records with more detail added in. Their low-end, bass is bold—but not overwhelming—and joins a hyper-detailed middle and high range, painting your favorite tunes in vibrant musical color. The added noise-canceling serves the music in the same way a white wall serves art in a gallery.
4. 1More Stylish True Wireless
From tiny tots to stubborn geriatrics, I’ve yet to find a person who doesn’t like the way these rubberized wirefree earbuds fit their ears. Three sizes of silicone eartips and comfortable earfins help them stay secure in almost any ears.
The Stylish also sound great, with the AptX-enabled buds offering punchy bass that’s impressive for headphones this size. Such comfort, sound quality, and an Apple AirPod-beating 6.5 hours of battery life (at a price tag that’s $60 cheaper), make the 1More Stylish the best wirefree earbuds that you can buy right now.
5. Master & Dynamic MW50+
If you prefer to have your headphones sit on your ears, not over and around them, the MW50+ (9/10, WIRED Recommends) are some of the classiest cans you can find. They’re padded with ridiculously soft lambskin and built around a metal frame with high-quality 40mm beryllium drivers. With 14+ hours on a charge and a two-year warranty, they’re worth a serious look if you’re seeking a premium audio experience.