Best Bluetooth headphones: Sound quality may be dubious, but there are some great options

Although Bluetooth audio quality can’t hold a candle to wired options, it’s convenient for most and preferred by many. Seeing as the consumer market is settling comfortably around wireless earbuds and headphones, we present to you a truncated version of our sister site SoundGuys’ list of the best Bluetooth headphones.

Editor’s note: this list was updated on May 15, 2019, to include the Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT and Grado GW100.

See: In-depth article available at SoundGuys

Best all-around Bluetooth headphones: Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT

You can easily stuff the Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT into a bag after folding.

Reasons to buy the Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT:

  • The ATH-M50xBT takes everything great from the original wired version and adapts it for wireless listening.
  • Bluetooth 5.0 and aptX HD support facilitates high-quality wireless streaming.
  • The hinges fold, making them easy to transport.
  • Battery life is superb and allows for 31.2 hours of playback before needing to recharge.
Get the Audio-Technica ATH M-50XBT!

nbsBest durability: V-Moda Crossfade 2 Wireless Codex

Best Bluetooth headphones: V-Moda Crossfade 2 Wireless Codex with SoundGuys logo on the earcups. The headphones are in white with the clamshell carrying case behind.

Despite the bulky build, the V-Moda Crossfade 2 Wireless Codex folds up to a more compact form.

Reasons to buy the V-Moda Crossfade 2 Wireless Codex:

  • These durable Bluetooth headphones have received MIL-STD 810G certification.
  • Both aptX and AAC codecs are supported.
  • Wired listening affords hi-res audio quality and zero latency, great for gamers.
  • The headphones house an integrated DAC/amp.
Get the V-Moda Crossfade 2 Codex!

Best noise cancelling: Sony WH-1000XM3

A photo of the Sony WH-1000XM3 sitting on a stone wall.

The new Sony WH-1000XM3 uses LDAC as its main Bluetooth codec, but you might not be getting the best they have to offer.

Reasons to buy the Sony WH-1000XM3:

  • Sony’s WH-1000XM3 boasts top-notch noise cancellation.
  • It offers LDAC support and granular EQ controls via the free app.
  • USB-C charging is supported as well as NFC.
Get the Sony WH-1000XM3

Best sound: Grado GW100

Grado GW100: A top-down image of the headphones laying flat on a black table.

For $249, the Grado GW100 is a niche product with a high asking price.

Reasons to buy the Grado GW100:

  • These on-ear cans reproduce a clear, realistic sound due to the open-back design.
  • They support aptX for high-quality streaming and optional wired listening.
  • Connectivity is reliable even when moving about and they last for 15.5 hours on a single charge.
Get the Grado GW100!

Best bang-for-your-buck: Anker Soundcore Vortex

Best Bluetooth headphones: Anker Soundcore Vortex leaning against a wall.

For around $50, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better value that offers aptX support.

Reasons to buy the Anker Soundcore Vortex:

  • The Anker Soundcore Vortex retails for around $50.
  • It provides aptX support, a rarity for headphones of this price.
  • Listeners enjoy 20 hours of playback before needing to charge the headphones.
  • The earcups are spacious and comfortable without applying excess pressure to the head.
Get the Anker Soundcore Vortex!

What you should know about Bluetooth headphones

  • The effectiveness of Bluetooth codecs depends on your source device. For instance, AAC doesn’t perform well on Android devices, and generally speaking, LDAC isn’t hi-res.
  • Bluetooth connectivity is fallible, even with Class 1 Bluetooth and Bluetooth 5.0 technology.
  • Noise-cancelling headphones are more expensive than non-noise-cancelling options, but they can reduce your risk of noise-induced hearing loss.

Why you should trust SoundGuys

As our sister site, we entrust the folks over at SoundGuys to know their way around consumer audio, Bluetooth headphones in particular. Each writer has years of experience keeping tabs on the audio industry and understands that audio requires both subjective and objective analysis.

Best Bluetooth headphones: A man wearing the Sony WH-1000XM3 headphones.

The SoundGuys team spends plenty of time testing consumer audio products so you don’t have to.

None of the writers may benefit from featuring one product over another, and ultimately want readers to enjoy what they listen to without spending an exorbitant amount of time researching products. If you have the time and desire, feel free to read up on the ethics policy.

NEXT: Best Bluetooth headphones for your headphone jack-less OnePlus 6T

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