Best wireless over-ear headphones to seamlessly stream your favorite tunes

Kelsey Chapman
Thursday 29 October 2020 15:45
Tech
Related video: John Oliver condemns ‘shockingly reckless’ Trump over coronavirus misinformation(Getty/iStock)

We’ve already talked to you about wired headphones, specifically the types recommended by big-time music professionals, but today we’re tackling the wireless kind that operate via bluetooth devices. Some days you just have too much to carry and can’t be bothered to juggle it all while getting wrapped up in a pesky connector wire.

Pricewise, we focused in one the middle range somewhere between “practically disposable” and “true audiophiles only,” and these options ranging from $200 to $300 will all provide an attractive look, expert sound without the tangled up cords, and other perks like voice-activated centers that let you do lots more than simply press play on your favorite music streaming app. Noise cancellation is also a bonus you’ll find here, which is great for noisy apartment, crowded public transportation, and any other situation where you need to remove the distractions from your environment. If these traits sound like what you’re looking for, check out our top picks for wireless over-ear headphones below and get to listening.

You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn a commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing, expert advice and our own research. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.

Moshi Avanti Air Bluetooth On-ear Headphones - Jet Black

27 hours between charges, durable construction that reduces vibrations, and ergonomic design? Sign us up for these Moshi Avanti Airs. They tout wearability for a wide range of head sizes as well, so they’re perfect for those of you with especially small or large noggins. This pair also features a luxurious no-glue design that lets the bass go hard without distortion in the mid and high range tones, and an “ultra-light cellulose membrane” that lets the sound channel directly from your device to your ears with minimal interference. Design lovers rejoice: these also have a retro yet sophisticated look that add a touch of subtle panache to your looks.

JBL Live 650 BTNC Wireless Over-Ear Noise-Cancelling Headphones

We’re already established fans of JBL’s sound quality as you can read here, so we were thrilled to check out their noise-cancelling bluetooth headphones as well. To little surprise, the sound quality, wearability, comfort, and appearance is impeccable–perhaps even better than the speaker we reviewed (though nothing compares to the mesmerizing light show it puts off).

By tapping the ear cup to activate the Google voice assistant or Amazon Alexa, you can also quickly find a playlist, text your friends, or check the weather as this pair connects to a JBL app that acts as a control center. And can we once again mention that these are noise-cancelling? They are incredible at blocking out the sounds of the city, so anyone easily distracted or stressed by high noise pollution can throw these on and bask in the glorious soundscape of a favorite album whole traversing even the meanest streets such as those we tested in New York City.

Bonus: JBL often runs sales on their popular items such as these so if they're a bit over your budget, check back often to see if they've slashed prices.

Bose QuietComfort 35 II Wireless Bluetooth Headphones, Noise-Cancelling, with Alexa voice control - Black

Bose have been creating some of the world’s premiere quality sound products for over half a century, so their bluetooth headphones are obviously among some of the most popular sellers on Amazon and elsewhere. Almost 22,000 reviews rack up a 90 percent approval rating, with buyers honing in on features like the battery life, Google assistant capability, and beautiful construction as reasons why they’re “worth every penny,” as mentioned by countless users.

“I purchased these headphones for their noise-cancellation abilities. I am an application developer and wear them at work because I am easily distracted. I don't even listen to music with them,” one buyer admits, “they just cancel just about all background noise, including random chatter from the annoying marketing department.” They add that the headphones are great for WebEx calls and Skyping with clients, and note: “The built-in microphone is great and the noise-cancellation is helpful during those calls as well.”

PuroPro Hybrid Active Noise Cancelling Volume Limited Headphones with Built-In Mic

Having tested these myself, I can confidently say these are worth more than the modest $200 price tag and offer some of the most comfortable noise cancellation I've discovered that let you hear just enough outside noise to not feel unsafe while walking around. There are two levels so as to block out even more noise, so if total sound isolation is the goal: you're covered.

There's also the added safety of a decibel limitation that maxes out at 85dB (a maximum of eight hours of listening time is allowed here) or 95dB (you'll get 50 minutes max with this setting) protects your ears from hearing damage on top of a studio-quality listening experience. Each note sounds crisp and full, with a balanced audio profile that will please serious audiophiles while also maintaining the delicate balance needed to enjoy music for the long haul.

One month update: These headphones have continued to sound wonderful, remain comfortable even during workouts, and the battery life is honestly unbelievable! All around, they're an excellent value and would make a wonderful gift for anyone, especially younger listeners who have the most to lose concerning hearing.

Trelab Over Ear Workout Headphones with Microphone

These budget-friendly Trelab headphones were created with sweat in mind, thus making them an ideal choice for those who need a pair to stay on through running, jumping, bending, squatting, or any other variety of movement you may slide into your routine. They're also built for comfort (the materials mold to your ear's natural shape) and feature active noise-cancelling technology so as to keep you focused on the workout.

Voice assistants like Siri, Google Assistant, Alexa are also compatible with the built-in microphone, making for a truly hands-free experience when needed.

The Trelabs are highly lauded in the reviews, with one particularly thrilled customer explaining:

"Very clear, bright highs and a good, but not too punchy or boomy, low end, without sacrificing the midrange. Excellent sound all around especially in this price bracket. I let my dad, a pilot who uses the bose headphones and pilot headsets exclusively, try them out and he thought they were a $200 pair."

Having now personally tried these Trelab headphones, I can report they live up to every claim made by the company and in reviews.

When I first opened the pair, I was surprised at how lightweight they felt. I worried this would equate to a lesser sound quality and lack of sturdiness, something important to me as a very on-the-go person who never leaves the house without some type of music or podcast playing but can't be bothered to store anything properly (a habit I continue trying to break).

These headphones surprised me though, with the noise cancellation and sound quality performing very well for the price point. As far as the promised comfort? It was better than adverised.
The lightness of the headphones feels unsettling at first, having become accustomed to heavier models, but it quickly became apparent they weren't going anywhere despite my constant movement while wearing them.

I wear glasses and sometimes when combined with the over-ear models and mask loops, I get sore quickly. That problem was quickly alleviated by the molding technology that conforms this model to the individual wearer's ears, making for one of the most painless and quality pairs I've tried.

Overall, if you're looking for a top performing wireless headphone but can't afford to drop $200 for a bit more luxurious pair, these are a fantastic choice.


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