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Best wireless headphones 2023: Audiophile tested and reviewed

When it comes to listening to music on the go, the best wireless earbuds are gaining a lot of popularity, with products from Apple and Samsung reigning supreme. However, nothing quite beats the experience of being fully immersed in music with a pair of over-ear headphones. Their comfort, noise cancellation and audio quality make the best wireless headphones the first choice for audiophiles and casual listeners alike.


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The best mid-range headphones from Sennheiser, Sony and more offer amazing value with premium features for less.

Choosing the best wireless headphones for the job will depend on how you’re most likely to use them — whether you are thinking about trips to the gym, passing time on your commute, or traveling abroad, there should be a pair of headphones here that will suit you. We selected headphones from various budgets and brands, and when our Pocket-lint team had personal experience with a pair, I made sure to include them on our list. Having worked in the music technology industry and production for over six years, I understand the importance of first-hand experience, which has helped shape my choices and their rankings.

Read on to discover which you should pick, but if noise cancellation is top of your priorities, our best ANC headphones and earbuds pieces will give you a more narrow focus on what’s available in those areas.

Best wireless headphones: Our top picks

Sony WH-1000XM5

Sony WH-1000XM5

1. Best wireless headphones overall

A cut above the rest

$328 $400 Save $72

An amazing all-round package that sounds simply incredible, Sony’s latest offering is pretty much as good as it gets.


  • Superb listening experience
  • Comfortable for hours
  • Excellent active noise cancellation

  • Don’t fold as small as older model
  • No aptX or aptX HD support

Sony’s noise-cancelling, over-ear headphones are an extraordinary all-rounder, providing a sound experience that we’d class as among the best we’ve ever tested — now with a fresh new design. The WH-1000XM5 are particularly clever with noise cancelling, offering various modes to allow your voice to pass through (or not), and more effective than ever.


Sony WH-1000XM5 review: Still an ANC masterclass

Sony updated its flagship WH-1000X headphones in 2022, now in its fifth iteration. This time there’s a change in design, on top of other improvements.

For those audiophiles who are unsure of the audio quality that a wireless set of headphones can offer, the WH-1000XM5s are capable of hi-res music as they support Sony’s LDAC codec. LDAC allows for three times the data transmission compared to standard Bluetooth connections. Ultimately, this allows you to stream hi-res sources on apps like Tidal. Trust us, it sounds fantastic.

On top of sounding fantastic, the WH-1000XM5 headphones feel great to wear and have outstanding noise reduction. You get 30 hours of playback (ANC on) and the option for a wired connection when the battery runs flat. Although some picky people may be disappointed about the absence of aptX support in the WH-1000XM5s, there’s very little to criticize about these Sony headphones. They have truly excelled and left little room for disappointment.


Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2e

2. Best wireless headphones runner up

A very close second

Bowers & Wilkins’ new Px7 S2e headphones exceed its predecessors, with superb audio quality across genres and improved active noise cancellation. With an exquisite design that is very comfortable, they offer a compelling choice for those seeking style, comfort, and exceptional audio performance.


  • Rich, full-bodied sound
  • Very attractive design
  • Dynamic audio performance

  • Waterproofing would have been helpful
  • Expensive

Bowers & Wilkins are back with the brand-new iteration of their popular Px7 headphones, and they surpassed the originals with ease. If you’re after sublime audio, then the Px7 S2e headphones deliver that in bucket loads. After extensive testing, we found that their audio quality is unctuous, rich, and powerful, offering concise clarity and control across the frequency spectrum.


Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2e review: Detail oriented

Bowers & Wilkins somehow fixes what wasn’t broken, and delivers an even better performance from its sub-flagship over-ears.

Regardless of your music tastes, be it bass-heavy techno or the punchy mid-range of Steely Dan, these headphones are equipped to deliver the audio experience you desire. With all the focus on audio, you’d be forgiven for thinking Bowers & Wilkins have lagged in other areas, but you’d be wrong. The Px7 S2e has much improved active noise cancellation over their predecessors. There are four highly sensitive microphones placed around the headphones which effectively block unwanted ambient noise whilst on the move. Although they don’t quite rival the Bose QuietComfort Ultras in the ANC department, they will be good enough for most tastes.

Finally, the design of the Px7 S2es is an aspect often overlooked, which is unfortunate considering their incredibly slick appearance. We’d argue that these headphones are, by a considerable margin, the most comfortable among Bowers & Wilkins’ lineup. If you’re after style, comfort, and fantastic audio, then we think they’d make a great choice for your next pair of wireless headphones.


Bose QuietComfort Ultra Headphones

3. Best wireless headphones for active noise cancellation

The sound of silence

$379 $429 Save $50

Bose’s flagship headphones, the QuietComfort Ultra, excel in top-tier active noise cancellation. Their exceptional ANC, customizable levels through Bose’s app, and immersive spatial audio with the new Immersion mode make them an industry leader.


  • Fantastic ANC
  • A pleasing, articulate performance
  • The control app works a treat

  • The Immersion mode is inconsistent
  • Expensive

We think it’s a pretty safe statement to make that Bose is most people’s first thought when they think of wireless headphones. Amar Bose’s company, originally hailing from Massachusetts, has crafted itself as a popular front-runner for wireless listening. Therefore, it’s no surprise to find that their new flagship QuietComfort Ultra headphones are the best-in-class at active noise cancellation.


Bose QuietComfort Ultra headphones review: Moving in silence

The QuietComfort Ultra are Bose’s new flagship headphones – and fill those shoes with confidence.

When we got our hands on them, the first thing we noticed was their fantastic ANC. The Quiet, offering maximum noise cancellation, and the Aware mode, utilizing Bose’s transparency feature, are fantastic for daily use. Additionally, the customizable levels of noise cancellation available through Bose’s app make these headphones nearly foolproof. There’s a lot of attention given to the new Immersion mode with spatialized audio, but we found it to be a bit hit or miss depending on the music you’re listening to. However, with all new technology, this is likely to improve over time.

As for the audio, the QuietComfort Ultra delivers everything fantastic about Bose headphones. The clarity in the mid-range is superb and cuts through the full-bodied bass response with fantastic precision and confidence. Across the frequency range, they are very well-balanced and will handle any modern music you can throw at them. Bose has nailed it again, no surprise there, and these headphones landed at the top of our list for our annual Pocket-lint tech awards.


Focal Bathys

4. Best wireless headphones for big budgets

Francophile audiophiles

$699 $799 Save $100

If you are looking to splash a bit of cash, then the Focal Bathys emerge as the strongest option. Marketed as ‘Hi-Fi headphones,’ they offer amazing audio quality thanks to their M-dome speaker drivers and aptX Adaptive capabilities. Although on the pricier side, if you have the money, accept no substitutes.


  • Some of the best ANC on the market
  • A wide stereo image
  • Incredibly comfortable fit
  • Great earcup isolation is a bonus

  • Not the best battery life
  • Very expensive

The Focal Bathys stand out as the top choice for those who are out to spend some hard-earned savings. If you aren’t familiar, Focal, a French company that primarily operates in the premium audio realm, has garnered numerous accolades since the Bathys’ recent release. You’ll usually find them on ‘best Hi-Fi headphones’ lists around the web and for good reason.


Focal announces Bathys headphones, its first wireless noise-cancelling cans

Premium hi-fi brand Focal dives head first into the popular wireless ANC market, with the Focal Bathys over ears.

Marketed as ‘Hi-Fi’ wireless headphones, the Bathys owe their exceptional audio quality to patented aluminium/magnesium ‘M’-dome speaker drivers. With support for aptX Adaptive, which is one of the premier Bluetooth codecs, these headphones deliver a detailed and precise listening experience that will convince even the staunchest of audiophiles. Borrowing its chunky over-ear design from its pricier wired sibling, these headphones offer comfort and fantastic passive noise cancellation that blocks external noise with their large earcups. Not relying solely on passive noise cancellation, the Bathys ANC impresses with its fantastic functionality.


What is active noise cancellation? Headphone ANC explained

If you’re looking to buy new headphones then you might have seen some that include ANC, but what is it?

It offers multiple modes — silent, soft, or transparency — accessible through onboard buttons for personalized noise control. Even in wired mode, the Bathys excel. Featuring a USB-DAC output supporting 24-bit/192kHz via USB-C, they are well-suited for digital-to-analog converters. Additionally, they come with a standard 3.5mm jack cable, allowing connections to your phone for those who appreciate the benefits of a lossless wired connection. Although a 30-hour battery life isn’t market-leading, there really aren’t many better wireless headphones if you are after fantastic audio.


Shure AONIC 50 Gen 2

5. Best wireless headphones for travel

Rest a-shured these are fantastic

If you’re after a super comfortable pair of headphones for travel, you’ve found them in the Shure AONIC 50 Gen 2 headphones. Their fantastic build quality and great battery life completes the hat trick, making them the ideal choice if you’re looking for the best headphones for on the move.


  • USB DAC mode available for high quality streaming
  • Parametric EQ available through app
  • Super comfortable

  • Quite a neutral audio response

Shure are perhaps better known for their music industry standard microphones, like the Shure SM-58 and SM-57. However, the Chicago-based company is no slouch in the headphone department and their AONIC 50 Gen 2 headphones are the ideal choice if you’re looking for the perfect travel companion.


Shure Aonic 50 Gen 2 review: An audiophile’s dream ANC headphones

With Shure’s approach to impeccable sound joining with noise cancelling, surely it’s a marriage made in heaven?

Starting off, these headphones are ridiculously comfortable. Their fake leather headband feels fantastic and the earcups — which utilize the same material — have ample amounts of padding, it’s like listening to music with two pillows around your ears. With up to 45 hours of battery life, they’ll last even the longest journey, and then some. There aren’t that many wireless headphones on the market capable of such enduring usage. Completing the triad of compelling reasons for travel is their durability. The headphones exude a premium feel and Shure’s patented design folds flat in their compact carrying case.

However, how do they sound? Well, they are one of the most neutral pairs of wireless headphones we have tested out, and that isn’t necessarily a bad thing. You get a tremendously clinical representation of the music you are listening to, so you’d better pick music created by a talented producer. If you feel they lack in a certain department, the companion app has a parametric EQ as well as different presets, so you can finely tune the audio exactly as you’d prefer.


Master & Dynamic MW75

6. Best wireless headphones for style

A premium alternative

Master & Dynamic’s flagship headphones offer premium materials and fantastic sound. It’s a killer combination.


  • Stunning sound
  • Premium design materials
  • Effective noise cancelling
  • aptX Adaptive support

  • Expensive
  • Not as feature-rich as some competitors

If style is equally important to you as audio, then take a look at the Master & Dynamic MW75 headphones. They merge outstanding sound with premium materials, resulting in an incredibly attractive set of headphones.


Master & Dynamic MW75 review: Premium alternative

Master & Dynamic’s MW75 headphones promise top-end sound and feature a premium design. How do they compare to rivals?

For starters, Master & Dynamic haven’t skimped on the materials used for the MW75s; the lambskin leather-coated ear cushions and headband feel utterly luxurious. Furthermore, the polished aluminium arms smoothly adjust into the headband with confident finesse. Completing the premium feel are the earcups, crafted with anodized aluminium and tempered glass.

But what about their sound quality? After all, even the most design-focused person still needs their headphones to sound decent. Well, let us tell you, they sound as good as they look. The headphones’ 40mm beryllium drivers do a fantastic job of concisely handling sound across the frequency spectrum. The bass is prominent but never murky and the detail of your music is never sacrificed. The headphones are capable of 24-bit/48kHz wireless streaming, which, at this price point, is the best wireless audio you’ll get.

Lastly, like any wireless headphones worth their salt, the MW75s are equipped with ANC, three different levels to be precise; Max, All-Day and Adaptive. We found the ANC to be effective in everyday life, whether that be on the train, in the office or walking down the high street, the MW75s will drown out those irritating noises of human existence. If you want a stylish set of headphones that have it all, stop right there and check out the MW75s.


Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless

7. Best wireless headphones for battery life

Battery for days, actual days

$247 $380 Save $133

A great redesign that has resulted in some seriously excellent headphones, that are up on features and lower in price.


  • Great balanced sound
  • Nice and comfortable
  • Very impressive battery life

  • Less unique design
  • Touch controls a little hair-trigger

While Sennheiser is a significant player in the music production realm, creating some of the finest studio headphones available, how do their consumer headphones fare? Well, considering that the Momentum 4 Wireless headphones boast an impressive 60-hour battery life, they hold up exceptionally well. What’s more, this 60-hour battery life is the case, even with noise cancelling activated. If you tend to forget about charging your devices, these headphones might be your saving grace.


Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless review: A fresh new look

The redesigned Momentum 4 might be a little less unique, but there’s a lot to like here.

The Momentum 4 Wireless headphones have even more charm than that. These redesigned headphones have a more understated design than their predecessors and are hugely comfortable to accommodate these mammoth listening sessions, with big earcups that are pillow-soft against your head. Sound quality is outstanding, offering a rich balance that works across genres and supports aptX Adaptive for higher bitrate music with compatible devices.

However, if there’s something you’d like to adjust, Sennheiser’s smart control app enables you to fine-tune the EQ settings according to your preferences. Perhaps a slight shortcoming of the Momentum 4 Wireless headphones is the ANC. It is good and most people will appreciate it, but we can’t claim it is outstanding — you can find the very best elsewhere on this list. But as an all-round package, these are fantastic wireless option with a battery life that conquers every competitor on the market.

Sony WH-CH720N-1

Sony WH-CH720N

8. Best budget wireless headphones

Bang for your buck

$98 $150 Save $52

A great choice if you’re looking for superb-sounding ANC headphones, on a budget,


  • Great sound quality
  • Very decent ANC
  • Really comfortable

While the Sony WH-1000XM5 headphones stand as a highly popular option — winning best overall wireless headphones on our list — their price hovers a little $300. However, it’s rare to find wireless noise-cancelling headphones that match the audio quality of Sony’s WH-CH720N for the price they are currently on the market. Especially during sales, these headphones often drop below the $100 mark, so for those looking to save a buck or two, this is the perfect option.


Sony CH720N review: Affordable ANC

These headphones bring Sony’s ANC expertise to a lower price point. But are they any good?

Now don’t get us wrong, you will have to compromise on certain aspects with an affordable set of headphones, such as build quality, and these aren’t the sturdiest things on the planet. However, if you can put that behind you, there’s plenty to love here, particularly the ANC, which punches well above its diminutive price tag.

The lightweight design does have a bonus; it is very comfortable. If you are looking for headphones that you can put on at the start of a journey and forget they are there, the WH-CH720Ns are a fantastic option. Furthermore, a 35-hour battery is not to be sniffed at and this makes these headphones an even more attractive travel partner. We also think these headphones would be a massive hit with teenagers lucky enough to get their hands on them, but anyone looking for a solid budget-friendly pick would do well to consider them, too.

The bottom line: What are the best wireless headphones overall?

Sony’s WH-1000XM5 headphones are the best wireless headphones overall for a few reasons. They have exceptional noise cancelling capabilities, including voice pass-through modes and improved effectiveness. The headphones offer hi-res music support with LDAC, boasting a 30-hour battery life with ANC and wired connection when needed. Although the previous WH-1000XM4 model remains a viable choice at a slightly lower price, the latest XM5 version sets a new standard in Sony’s headphone lineup.

Sony WH-1000XM5

Sony WH-1000XM5

Editor’s Choice

$328 $400 Save $72

How did I choose the best wireless headphones?

Having tested many of these headphones myself, I considered some of the most important things that someone should consider when choosing wireless headphones — sound quality, features, battery life and fit. All of the above sound great, without exception, but they also surpass themselves in areas that their competitors may fall down in, whether that’s the level of their noise cancellation, or how comfortable they are to wear for long periods, or travel functionality.

I was aware of adding a range of price points and use cases, and also checked in with real-life user reviews to ensure my experiences, and those of the Pocket-lint team, were along the same lines, and that long-term use stacked up from a reliability perspective too.

What’s better, headphones or earbuds?

Headphones often edge out earbuds for a few good reasons. First off, they tend to be way comfier, sitting over your ears with cushy padding that’s less invasive than earbuds. Plus, they’re less likely to pull a disappearing act and stay snugly put, which is a win if you’re prone to misplacing stuff or fear earbuds making a break for it.



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Meanwhile, earbuds have their own perks. Their pint-sized build makes them super portable and discreet, unlike those bulkier headphones. They can help you dive deep into the listening experience by nestling snugly in your ears, cutting out any outside noise and are great at passive noise cancellation. However, it’s sometimes difficult to find the correct size to fit your ear and different ear tips are a premium, usually saved for more expensive options.

What is the best wireless headphone brand?

Since there are so many tech companies in the wireless headphone game, it can sometimes be difficult to decide who to trust. Ultimately, the best headphone brand is a personal opinion. You’ll decide who you like best for a variety of different reasons.

However, there are a few big names that crop up over and over. Take Sony, for example, the WH-1000XM5 is one of the most popular wireless headphones on the market and is at the top of many ‘top 10’ lists. The other brand that springs to mind is Bose. The Massachusetts brand has been top of the shop for years now and if you are after comfortable wireless headphones with fantastic ANC, then they’re definitely worth a try. Also, other lesser-known premium brands are worth trying, such as Bowers & Wilkins or Focal, who reign supreme in the slightly higher-end market. If you’re unsure, stick to the headphones on our list, and you won’t go wrong.

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