Buy Wireless Headset, TaoTronics Over Ear Bluetooth Headphones with Deep Bass & 25 Hours Playtime (Memory Foam Ear Pads, Dual 40 mm drivers, On Ear Control Buttons)
Finding a pair of Bluetooth wireless headphones isn't hard. They're everywhere these days, and they come in different form factors. Over-ear, on-ear, wireless earbuds, sport-focused — there are countless options. As more phones eliminate the headphone jack, including newer models like the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus, iPhone X, Google Pixel 2 and 2 XL and the Essential Phone, going wireless will become more of a necessity.
Even at under $50, good quality is available, so you don't have to break the bank to serenade your ears. Before you go wireless, though, there are a few things to consider:
What kind of fit are you looking for?
Wireless and sports earbuds are the lightest and most portable; over-ear headphones provide a snugger fit to isolate audio playback from outside ambient noise. A noise-canceling model in the list below takes that premise further. On-ear headphones are in the middle because they cover the ears without cupping them. They can be lightweight enough to wear comfortably anywhere, yet robust enough to pump out better sound than a pair of earbuds.
Are they compatible with the device(s) you want to use them with?
Not every device supports every common audio codec, and that goes for Bluetooth headphones too. (Codecs encode, compress and decode streams of data, like raw audio — and they do it in different ways.) Apple devices work with AAC (Advanced Audio Coding), for example, whereas Android devices generally support aptX, a codec owned by Qualcomm. The support is usually mutually exclusive, so if aptX support is listed, but AAC isn't, the headphones might not be an ideal choice for your iPhone, iPad or Mac. Many will support both, but you may want to double-check to make sure.
How helpful are they?
You'd be hard pressed to find Bluetooth headphones nowadays that don't make phone calls, but now, many also have onboard controls to access voice assistants, like Apple's Siri and Google Assistant. This makes it easy to make calls, ask the assistant a search question or control a compatible smart home device.
How long will they last?
It's a reasonable concern for anything that runs on a battery and might be used in sweaty conditions. While not all Bluetooth headphones are necessarily designed for active use cases, some are marketed for those very purposes. Also, manufacturers typically base battery life ratings on usage at 50% volume levels. Going higher may drop the overall life per charge.
Can Bluetooth headphones also work as wired headphones?
Some over-ear or on-ear models come with 3.5 mm jacks and include a cable to let you listen without Bluetooth. It's not universal, but it certainly isn't uncommon. Earbud-style Bluetooth headphones don't really offer wired alternatives.
Here's a look at our favorite Bluetooth headphones selling for under $50.
Best for noise cancellation: TaoTronics Bluetooth Headset TT-BH21
Noise-cancellation has traditionally been a feature reserved for pricier headphones, so this pair from TaoTronics is something of an outlier. An over-ear design with decent style to give it a little flair pairs with good performance based on selling price.
With relative thickness to the headband and earcups, there's reason to believe wearing these for long periods wouldn't feel too constraining. They're foldable, too, and come with a carrying case. Noise-cancellation is based on the CVC 6.0 generation of the technology, which has a greater impact on hands-free calls because the built-in microphones can pluck out voices from background noise.
Still, the feature will work for any audio streaming to the headphones. Sound quality is neutral enough to please most. And you could use an equalizer app to bring more out of this pair, which can already output an effective soundstage.
TaoTronics claims up to 25 hours of playback per charge, with a full refill taking about two hours. The company throws in a cable for wired playback as a backup to keep the music going.
Battery life: 25 hours
Headphone jack for wired use: Yes, cable comes in the box
Price: $40 on Amazon