These are the best wireless headphones of 2019

Recommends the best Bluetooth headphones for no matter your budget

Maybe you’re the sort of person who get tangled up in wires. Maybe you’re the type who creates knots in them and breaks them as a result. Perhaps you’re just not the sort who likes to be tied down.

No matter your motivation, this is the perfect time to get into a pair of wireless headphones. The technology is proven, it’s more affordable than ever, and some of the biggest names in headphones are ready to sell you a wire-free passage to audio Nirvana. Mind you, there are some less illustrious, less well-established brands able to just that, too.

Convenience without compromise, audio without aggravation. Your perfect pair of wireless headphones is right here.

WIRED Recommends is your definitive guide to the best technology. Read our best gadgets guide to see what we recommend in every category.

WIRED Recommends: Sony WH-1000MX3

Pros: Extensive functionality; sturdy build quality; excellent wireless sound
Cons: Feel quite large in situ

Yes, we realise more than £300 for a pair of headphones might stretch your credulity. But just think about this: the Sony WH-1000MX3 are at the top of this list of wireless headphones. They’re at the top of our list of noise-cancelling headphones around. They’re at the top of our list of the best headphones you can buy, of any type and at any budget.

That’s because the Sony WH-1000MX3s are absolute superstars.

In terms of wireless performance, they’re every bit as impressive here as they are elsewhere. They pair rapidly, prove unshakably tenacious in maintaining their wireless grip and then hand over a detailed, rhythmically efficient and thoroughly entertaining presentation of all the music you enjoy listening to.

Add in touch control, Amazon Alexa voice assistance, USB-C for rapid charging and Sony’s customary unburstable build quality, and the case is pretty much watertight. In terms of striking a balance between performance, comfort, functionality and price, the 1000MX3s hit the dead centre of the bullseye.

Battery life: 30h
 aptX HD 4.2
Weight: 255g

Price: £329 | Check price on

Best wireless in-ear under £100: SoundMAGIC E11BT

Pros: Comfortable fit; hi-res DAC; aptX Bluetooth
Cons: At this price? None

Wireless in-ear headphones with a neckband, like the SoundMAGIC E11BTs, are a very sensible idea. The arrangement keeps costs down, keeps earbud size down to non-laughable levels, and keeps them stable should you risk breaking into a run.

But not many in-ear headphones represent the stupendous value for money of SoundMAGIC. The company has plenty of previous where turning out affordable, class-leading earbuds, and rearranging its brilliant E11s into a wireless configuration hasn’t spoiled that run of form in the slightest. Quite the opposite, in fact.

The E11BTs sound more accomplished than they have any right to. They’re a balanced and quite vigorous listen, more than happy to dig in and punch solidly if your music demands it. They give a decent impression of pace, reveal ample detail and can turn their hand to more or less any type of music. Want to cut down on wires without cutting too badly into your bank account? You’ve come to the right place.

Battery life: 48h
Bluetooth: aptX 5.0
Weight: 25g

Price: £40 | Check price on

Best wireless on-ear under £100: Urbanista Seattle

Pros: Fine audio balance; grippy wireless performance
Cons: No aptX (which is nit-picking at this money)

There is increasing choice in the sub-£100 wireless on-ear headphones arena. But in terms of worthwhile performance, choice is quite severely curtailed. In fact, we reckon that in the Urbanista Seattle, you’re looking at Number One in a field of one.

At this sort of money you can’t expect the most luxurious materials or the most up-to-the-minute specification. And, sure enough, the Seattles are a little bit plasticky and don’t have aptX Bluetooth – but they’re comfortable enough, thanks to memory foam ear-pads, and their wireless connectivity is solid and stable.

But what’s truly remarkable about the Seattles is the sound they make. They carry enough bass weight (and control it well enough) to deliver serious punch, they’re balanced enough in the midrange to give a vocalist the platform to shine, and treble sounds bite without becoming coarse. For performance and convenience on a budget, these remain the on-ears to beat.

Battery life: 12h
Bluetooth: 4.1
Weight: 172g

Price: £79 | Check price on

Best wireless in-ear under £200: Sennheiser Momentum Free

 Effortless to listen to; equally effortless to wear
Cons: So-so battery life

The Sennheiser Momentum range is extensive to the point it can be difficult to tell some models apart. What’s important to know about the Momentum Free is that the earbuds are connected by a slim, adjustable cable – physically, that’s how they can be distinguished from the Momentum In-Ear Wireless and Momentum True Wireless in this list. And then there’s the price difference, of course.

What’s less easy to discern is any particular compromise when it comes to the sound the Momentum Frees make. They’re a nimble listen, able to establish breathing space for solid bass, expressive midrange and crisp treble – separation and focus are really impressive. They handle rhythms well enough to get your head nodding, and flow along very naturally.

They don’t look like a lot of headphones for the money, it’s true – but they definitely sound like it.    

Battery life: 6h
 aptX 4.2
Weight: 18g

Price: £170 | Check price on

Best true wireless in-ear under £200: Sony WF-1000X

 Light and comfortable; reasonably stylish; unreasonably good sound
Cons: Ordinary battery life; no aptX

They can take a bit of getting used to, but true wireless in-ear headphones have more than enough going for them to make up for the initial self-consciousness everyone feels when wearing them in public for the first time.

And the WF-1000X have more going for them than most. The build is sturdy, the appearance is stylish in a ‘look how serious and tech-savvy I am’ kind of way. They have reasonable battery life, bolstered by a charging carry-case. They remain comfortable and snug in your ear even if you wear them long enough to drain the battery. And as long as you don’t wander too far from your phone, they maintain a solid wireless connection.

But most of all, the Sonys sound great. The midrange in particular is brilliantly accomplished, with stacks of detail revealed and smooth integration with the weighty, agile bass beneath. At the top end they’re bright but not shrill, and they show greater understanding of rhythm and timing than any price-comparable rival.   

Battery life: 3h (plus 6h from charging case)
Bluetooth: 4.1
Weight: 14g

Price: £180 | Check price on

Best wireless on-ear under £200: AKG Y50BT

Pros: Lively, adaptable sound; comfy on the head
Cons: Some lively colours; low-spec Bluetooth

Admittedly you’re going to have to get used to the rather shouty looks (if you’ve gone for one of the brightly coloured options). But once you do, there are no other concessions required in AKG Y50BT ownership. It’s nothing but rainbows and unicorns from here on out.

The wired Y50s have been an automatic choice at their price for a good while now, and here AKG has demonstrated it can cut the cord without a) degrading sound quality in the slightest, and b) the cost going through the roof.

Well screwed together, comfortable even for the longest listening sessions, and with proper battery life, the Y50BTs put the cherry on the top with outstanding sound quality. Despite the unpromising Bluetooth 3.0, they’re clear, open and detailed, and entirely free from the noise and interference a wireless connection sometimes brings. They can punch hard if needs be, but can soothe just as easily – and they’re agile and organised at the same time. Expect to seem them on as many ‘Recommended’ lists as their wired relatives.   

Battery life: 20h
Bluetooth: 3.0

Price: £80 | Check price on

Best wireless in-ear £200+: Sennheiser Momentum in-ear Wireless

Pros: Neckband provides stability; across-the-board audio talent
Cons: Design won’t be for everyone

First things first: if you’re not keen on a neckband design, you’ll no more be a fan of these Sennheisers than you are of the SoundMAGICs further up this list. But if you acknowledge how useful a neckband can be, both in terms of keeping your headphones stable and taking the relatively bulky battery-plus-Bluetooth gubbins out of the earbuds themselves, you need to hear a pair of these.

Everything Sennheiser’s Momentum range is renowned for – low-frequency power, midrange eloquence, top-end brilliance and the soundstage to set it all free – is here, and it’s all just as thrillingly addictive as ever. Want stacks of detail? Crave epic dynamic shove? Need comfort and big battery life? The Momentum in-ear Wireless have you covered.  

There are three examples of the Momentum range in this list, and they’re all excellent. But on a pound-for-pound basis, these may be the best of the lot.

Battery life: 
Bluetooth: aptX 4.2
Weight: 113g

Price: £99 | Check price on

Best true wireless in-ear £200+: Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless

 Balanced, well-judged sound; good battery life for a product of this type
Cons: Achieving a comfortable fit isn’t the easiest

Sennheiser’s enjoyed plenty of success with its ever-expanding Momentum line-up – and while the hardware-per-pound ratio is obviously not all that spectacular where the Momentum True Wireless are concerned, the sound-quality-per-quid correlation is impressive in the extreme. If you’re prepared to spend proper money freeing yourself from the tyranny of wires, read on.

Get the True Wireless comfy in your ears (which means not pushing them in too far) and you’re ready for as much as four hours’ listening (with another eight in reserve via the USB-charging carry-case). Use the lightest of touches to activate play/pause, volume up/down or call control via the touch-sensitive earbuds, and you’re good to go.

Like much of the Momentum range, the True Wireless favour smooth precision over out-and-out attack, and they present a believable and enjoyably punchy soundstage. Balance is good, detail retrieval is great, and wireless stability is solid, too.

Battery life:
 4h (plus 8h from charging case)
Bluetooth: aptX 5.0

Price: £279 | Check price on

Best wireless on-ear £200+: AKG N60NC Wireless

Pros: Great build; great features; great sound
Cons: Arguably don’t look like £250-worth

Even expensive headphones don’t have too many boxes to tick before they can properly be considered contenders. Proper build quality, decent comfort and great sound should do it. If you chuck in wireless operation and noise-cancelling, too, then the deal is sealed. Which brings us to the AKG N60NC Wireless.

They’re – hey! – a wireless version of the very well regarded N60NCs, and they retain all of their cheaper relative’s talents: rich, smooth and detailed sound, a handy combination of lightweight and durable build, and active noise-cancelling effective enough to make even the longest-haul flight tolerable.

And, of course, the wireless connectivity makes them uber-convenient. Using aptX Bluetooth means clean, open and punchy sound from your smartphone, and there’s even a cable in case your battery runs out of juice. If our outright favourite Sony WH-1000MX3s are a bit pricey, or a bit big, you’ll find the AKGs are made to satisfy.

Battery life: 15h
Bluetooth: aptX 4.0

Price: £170 | Check price on

Best wireless in-ear for sport: Jaybird RUN XT

Pros: Light, comfortable and secure; upbeat musical presentation
Cons: No aptX

Completely, truly wireless in-ear headphones might seem a counter-intuitive choice for the sporty user. After all, it doesn’t matter how good a headphone sounds if it keeps falling out of your ear.

But despite being a true wireless design, the Jaybird RUN XT are a downright brilliant choice. Thanks to interchangeable tips and fins (the latter to hold the earbuds steady in your ear) they’re easy to get comfortable and hard to dislodge. And thanks to some very sympathetic tuning and adjustable EQs in the Jaybird control app, they sound really good. Even when the blood is pumping in your ears.

Waterproof and sweatproof, with four hours of battery life (plus another eight from the charging carry-case), they’re ready to come along on even the most optimistic workout. And thanks to dynamic, perky and engaging sound, they’re a welcome addition to your fitness regime.

Battery life:
 4h (plus 8h from charging case)
Weight: 30g

Price: £170 | Check price on

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