Wireless technology has gone a long way. Bluetooth headphones used to be ignored mostly due to their tradeoffs with wired headphones. The latency and inferior sound quality that they were known for were huge turn-offs for both the casual and enthusiast audience.
However, thanks to Qualcomm’s APTX Codec, most of these issues have been significantly reduced. Latency isn’t a big of a deal anymore, which makes Bluetooth headphones viable for gaming and for watching movies.
With their growing popularity, both consumer and professional audio companies are starting to enter the market. Sennheiser, Audio Technica, and Sony are all doing interesting things right now, which makes the market extremely competitive.
With all these available options, it can be confusing to choose your next pair of Bluetooth headphones. Luckily, we have simplified this task for you by making a list of the best options that are available right now.
If you want to know the best all-rounder, then that is the Sony WF1000XM3. But if you want better-sounding alternatives or headphones with different designs, then read on to find out more.
Best aptX headphones
Sony WH1000XM3 – Best Overall
Topping this list is the Sony WH1000XM3. This model has been popular among Bluetooth headphones for a good reason. It nails all the design elements that consumers are looking for in a portable wireless headphone.
The highlights of the WH1000XM3 are its sound quality, and Active Noise Canceling feature. The WH1000XM3 has a fun sound signature that emphasizes the bass. The bass is punchy and clear without extending to the midrange.
Vocals are still present and not lacking in any way. Unlike other Bluetooth headphones that have a similar sound signature, the WH1000XM3 retains the clarity on the high frequencies. This makes the overall sound fairly balanced while keeping things lively.
The WH1000XM3’s Active Noise Canceling feature is currently the best in the market. Compared to its competitors, the Sony perfectly balances comfort and noise cancelation. ANC is notorious for introducing pressure to your ears, which can quickly get uncomfortable. Trying to reduce this sensation often means reducing the effectiveness of the noise-canceling feature.
However, this isn’t the case for the WH1000XM3. Sony has done an impressive job of keeping the pressure sensation minimal. You can really turn up the levels of the ANC without having any unnatural feeling.
This is the perfect pair to take to loud environments such as the train station or inside an airplane. This feature alone is a game-changer and enough reason to recommend the WH1000XM3.
In terms of the rest of its features, The WH1000XM3 is no slouch. The build quality and comfort are also top-notch. The whole point of taking Bluetooth headphones with you is that they should be easy to carry around and should be comfortable for long listening sessions. The WH1000XM3 satisfies both of those conditions as they can be folded and stored in its included carrying case.
The WH1000XM3 can easily be worn for more than 5 hours. Its battery life can also last for around 30 hours. And with the added USB Type-C port for charging, the WH1000XM3 is the complete package.
The only thing that can make the WH1000XM3 better is if it could connect to multiple devices and seamlessly switch between them, just like the Apple AirPods Pro.
Aside from that, the WH1000XM3 offers the best value, and we can’t recommend it enough for those looking for their next pair of Bluetooth headphones.
Pros: The Sony WH1000XM3 checks all the marks on a good pair of Bluetooth headphones. It has the best ANC, excellent sound quality, and the perfect weight for traveling.
Cons: Seamless switching between devices would have been great, but maybe Sony will implement it on the next revision of the WH1000.
Audio Technica ATH M50X BT
Another top contender is the Audio Technica M50X BT.
The original M50X is a legendary headphone. It has been used in countless studio and live music productions. It was so good that it got the attention of regular consumers. It has even been recommended as a better alternative to Beats even though they are made for entirely different use cases.
So, what would make the M50X an even better headphone? Audio Technica’s answer is to make it wireless. The ATH M50X BT is the perfect pair for those who are looking for professional and studio-grade sound on the go.
In terms of sound quality, the ATH M50X manages to sound the same as its wired counterpart. Its driver design makes the M50X immediately perform better than most of the consumer-grade Bluetooth headphones. It also retains the design and the build quality of its wired counterpart, which makes the ATH M50X BT a very durable pair.
However, that same design is part of the reason why the M50X BT isn’t the best overall package. The original M50X was not designed for portable use in mind. This means that both the design and weight were not initially taken into consideration.
The M50X BT can feel a bit heavier than other options such as the WH1000XM3 or even Audio Technica’s portable line. The design of the ear cups also doesn’t leave much room for touch-based controls or other new innovations. Buttons are instead used and are located under the earcups.
Micro USB is used for charging instead of USB Type-C. Also, unlike the others on this list, the ATH M50X BT does not feature ANC. The passive noise cancellation of the ATH M50X is good, but very loud noises still get through.
Despite those, the ATH M50X BT still gives you the ability to use it as a wired pair in case its 40-hour battery runs out or if you want to use the ATH M50X BT for professional use. Overall, the Audio Technica ATH M50X BT is a solid performer, especially in terms of sound quality. It lacks in some areas, but if you don’t need the extra bells and whistles, this is the perfect headphone for you.
See Full Specs on Audio-Technica
Pros: The Audio Technica ATH M50X BT takes everything that was so good about the ATH M50X and makes them wireless.
Cons: The ATH M50X lacks some features that are already becoming standard on other Bluetooth headphones.
Sennheiser Momentum 3 Wireless
Sennheiser produces a variety of headphones, so it’s no surprise that they are present in the Bluetooth headphone market as well. The Momentum line was originally designed to compete against other fashion/consumer-grade headphones such as the Beats Studio and Solo series. The difference was the fact that the Momentum had a sound to match its stunning and premium aesthetics.
Since then, the Momentum series has evolved into a respectable line of premium headphones and True Wireless Earbuds. Their latest model, the Momentum 3 Wireless, has all the bells and whistles and is ready to compete with the best. It has some shortcomings, though, which we will also be tackling.
Like most of its competition, the Momentum 3 Wireless is lightweight and has a foldable design. The Momentum 3’s ear cups are smaller than its competitors, which can make them look like on-ears. The Alcantara material used on the earpads adds to the overall premium appeal of these headphones.
In some aspects, this could be considered a direct competitor to the Sony WH1000XM3. Like the Sony WH1000XM3, it also features a competitive ANC feature and a smartphone app.
This app can control the EQ, as well as add several other features such as the headphone locator. It also utilizes USB Type-C for charging and has drivers tuned for a fun and bassy sound signature.
And unlike the WH1000XM3, the Momentum 3 Wireless supports multiple connections. It also features a snappy reconnect feature. Despite those great features, some of its features seem to be a step backward.
The controls on the Momentum 3 Wireless are accessed via buttons. This should not be a big deal since buttons can be good when they are well implemented. However, the problem here is that there are so many buttons that it is easy to get confused. Sony’s approach is a lot simpler since you are only swiping in one spot.
Sennheiser’s approach to turning the Momentum 3 on and off is also odd. This is done by folding and unfolding the headphones. This means that if you forget to fold your headphones, then the battery would easily get drained.
Another feature that feels like a downgrade from the WH1000XM3 is the ANC. The ANC feels like an afterthought on the Momentum 3 Wireless. It does its job, and it is great on its own, but it is not that impressive when compared to the WH1000XM3.
Overall, despite its shortcomings, the Sennheiser Momentum 3 Wireless is still a great sounding headphone. It may not be the most convenient, and it certainly doesn’t have the best-implemented features, but fans of a bassy and fun sound signature will greatly appreciate Sennheiser’s tuning on this headphone. See full specs on Sennheiser
Pros: The Momentum 3 Wireless is easily one of the best sounding headphones for bassy music. Fans of deep and punchy bass will love this pair.
Cons: Sennheiser could have done a better and more innovative job in the control layout of the headphones. They could have also improved the ANC implementation on the Momentum 3 Wireless.
Hifiman Ananda BT – Best High-End Pick
For anyone unfamiliar with Hifiman, they are one of the leading Chinese brands in producing high-end planar magnetic headphones.
One of their premium models is the Hifiman Ananda. It has been well received by the audiophile community and has been praised for its sound quality and detail retrieval.
With its success, Hifiman had a crazy and unexpected idea. They decided to turn the Ananda to a pair of Bluetooth headphones. This threw off the audiophile community, and many found this concept to be a bit odd.
The whole point of the Bluetooth headphone market is to have a headphone that is portable and can be used outside your desk setup. The Ananda BT, on the other hand, seems to defeat this purpose since you can only use this at home. It’s big, bulky, and not foldable, which makes carrying this pair a chore.
However, the idea here is that by making the Ananda wireless, you can use the Ananda on other devices outside your DAC/Amp setup. This can be used with your gaming consoles that support Bluetooth Audio. This can also be directly used with your smartphone. This opens up new possibilities, and it can possibly be an indicator of Hifiman’s interest in creating more practical high-end Bluetooth headphones.
One misstep that Hifiman made with this headphone is its inability to be used via its 3.5mm jack. The 3.5mm port located in the ear cups is only for the included microphone. This is odd since this does not allow you to use the Ananda BT with an amplifier or Amp/DAC combo. The only way to use this as a wired pair is by connecting it to a digital source via USB Type-C.
In terms of sound quality, the Ananda BT is possibly the best sounding Bluetooth headphone. It surely doesn’t have any competitors since there is no wireless version of other high-end headphones such as the Focal Clear or the Sennheiser HD800s.
The Ananda BT retains the sound signature and sound quality of the Ananda. Bass is not its strongest feature. It is not as strong as other planar magnetic headphones, but it is clean and well-controlled. The mids, highs, and the soundstage are the stars of the show. They reveal so much detail and are perfect for orchestral performances.
Outside of its sound quality, don’t expect any revolutionary engineering for the controls. They’re basic and only include a battery indicator button, which also serves as the play/pause and pairing button.
Overall, the Hifiman Ananda BT is a novelty product. It is not something that a regular consumer would buy due to its open back design and high price tag. However, for those looking for the best sounding pair of Bluetooth headphones and do not care about anything else, then this is the pair for you.
Pros: The Hifiman Ananda is possibly the best sounding Bluetooth headphone.
Cons: The Hifiman Ananda cannot connect to 3.5mm sources such as DAC/Amps. It also does not have any revolutionary features in terms of its control implementation.
Beyerdynamic Aventho Wireless
Beyerdynamic is another brand that has decided to enter the Bluetooth headphone market. Their entry is the Aventho Wireless, based on the well known Beyerdynamic T51. Beyerdynamic’s approach to this model is impressive. However, it may not be enough to dethrone any of the top 3 models on this list.
Like the other audiophile brands that produce Bluetooth headphones, the main attraction here is the sound quality. Bass is punchy, deep, and clear, but is well controlled. Both the mids and highs are very detailed and enjoyable.
In terms of its build quality, it follows the same design language as the T51. The Aventho Wireless has an excellent build quality that is mostly constructed of metal. But due to its size and on-ear design, the Aventho Wireless remains light and comfortable.
It won’t, however, be as comfortable as over the ear models. People generally have comfort issues with on-ear designs as they tend to squeeze and hurt their ears over longer listening sessions. However, for portable users who take their headphones on and off, this won’t be a big deal.
For the controls, the Aventho Wireless Utilizes touch-based controls. This is refreshing since brands like Sennheiser and Audio Technica prefer using button-based controls that are often confusing. It also implements a USB Type-C port for charging instead of the usual Micro USB.
One significant oversight of the Aventho Wireless is its lack of ANC. While its passive isolation is good, external noise will still leak into the headphones in loud environments. More companies are starting to implement ANC on their products, so it is unfortunate for Beyerdynamic to skip out on this feature.
The Beyerdynamic does feature an app. Its main function is to increase frequencies that are hard for the user to hear due to various factors such as hearing loss or odd ear shapes. It works well, but may not be as useful for most people who don’t have hearing loss.
Overall, Beyerdynamic is making the right decisions. If they improve the shortcomings of the Aventho Wireless, or if they make a wireless version of their popular closed-back studio monitors, then they may be competing for a top 3 spot on our list. However, the Aventho Wireless has its fair share of shortcomings that prevent it from knocking out any of our top 3 models.
If you are looking for a solid closed-back on-ear pair and don’t really care about innovative features, then the Aventho Wireless is one of the best options that you can buy.
See full specs on Beyerdynamic
Pros: The Aventho Wireless has an excellent sound that fits most genres. Also, with its build quality, this pair should last you for quite a while.
Cons: The lack of ANC can turn-off buyers who which to use this on noisier environments. The on-ear design may not also be for everyone.
The Grado GW100 is another headphone that stands out from the rest of the options on this list. It’s not going to be everyone’s cup of tea, but fans of good audio and Grado’s sound should check this one out.
The GW100 is a bit of an odd proposition for a portable pair of Bluetooth headphones. Its open-back design makes it unusable in loud environments—sound leaks both into and outside the headphones.
Unlike newer Bluetooth headphones, it still uses Micro USB instead of the newer USB Type-C. It also uses buttons that are arguably less convenient than touch-based controls. These are already huge turn-offs for potential customers.
However, the Grado GW100 is not a consumer-grade headphone. In fact, it’s not even competing with standard Bluetooth headphones. The GW100 is made for enthusiasts who want better sound quality and are willing to sacrifice extra features.
The GW100 features Grado’s signature design that can be seen on popular models such as the Grado SR80E and SR325e. Like those models, the GW100 has an on-ear design with thick pads that make them comfortable to use. They will, however, start to hurt in longer listening sessions.
The open-back design gives the GW100 a wider soundstage and a more natural sound. Bass won’t be as tight as the other models on this list, but the overall sound is clearer and cleaner. Fans of Grado’s house sound will be delighted to find an enhanced and refined version of it in this pair. APTX and Bluetooth 5.0 (which is only available in the newest silent revision) also ensure that you are getting the full potential of the drivers.
The GW100 can also be used wired and can be connected to headphone amplifiers or Amp/DACs for an even better experience. Overall, the Grado GW100 will have far fewer use case scenarios as compared to other Bluetooth headphones. And, not all people are going to be willing to keep up with its downsides. But for those who value sound quality over everything else, the GW100 is going to be the perfect pair.
Pros: The Grado GW100 is one of the few open-back pairs of Bluetooth headphones in the market. It is also one of the best-sounding.
Cons: The Grado GW100 isn’t ideal for noisy environments due to its open-back design. This may defeat the purpose of having a pair of Bluetooth headphones for some users.
V Moda Crossfade 2 Wireless
The V Moda Crossfade 2 Wireless is in a lot of ways similar to the M50X BT. It is loosely based on a well-loved headphone, the V Moda Crossfade M100.
Popular acts such as The Chainsmokers have used the V Moda Crossfade M100. In fact, we have also featured the M100 in our Best DJ Headphones article.
Like the M100, the Crossfade 2 Wireless has a V-shaped sound signature that has elevated bass and highs. Both the bass and highs have a good extension and perform better than typical consumer-grade Bluetooth headphones. Its sound signature makes the headphones versatile as it can adapt to a wide variety of genres.
The Crossfade 2 also features a customizable shield. These shields are compatible with the ones designed for their wired offerings, such as the M100. The customizability aspect has always been a unique feature of V Moda, and it is nice to see it return for the Crossfade 2.
However, aside from those features, there isn’t anything else that is unique with the Crossfade Wireless 2. Unlike its competitors, it lacks both ANC and a dedicated app. Battery life is also not great, as it can only last up to 14 hours. Also, the newer models have surpassed their sound quality.
Overall, the Crossfade 2 Wireless isn’t a bad choice. With its portability and build quality, this is a premium pair that is built to last. Its ability to be used as a wired pair also makes it versatile for casual listening and professional use.
Despite those, we feel like the V Moda Crossfade 2 Wireless has been outshined by the top 3 models on this list. If you like V Moda’s build and sound quality, then the Crossfade 2 isn’t a bad purchase. However, we strongly suggest checking out the alternative models on this list first.
Pros: The V Moda Crossfade 2’s build quality and sound quality are excellent despite the design’s age. It is versatile and can be used with a variety of applications.
Cons: The Crossfade 2 seems to be outdated in several aspects. Most of its features are outclassed by similarly priced Bluetooth headphones.
Stephen is a musician, cinematographer, and headphone enthusiast who is passionate about reviewing audio equipment. He has been playing guitar for at least a decade, which introduced him to professional recording equipment such as headphones and in-ear monitors. With the help of reviews and online content, he was able to learn the ins and outs of the hobby. His goal is to give back to the community by providing quality content to help others enjoy the beautiful (and expensive) world of audio.
Favorite Headphones: Sennheiser HD660s