The best wireless headphones 2021
23 June 2020
Whether you’re looking for comfy headphones with exceptional sound for listening to audiobooks while you potter round the house, or you need a lightweight pair with great battery life for going on runs, this roundup of the wireless headphones Mumsnetters swear by will help you find your perfect match. Think of the time you'll save when you no longer need to sort out those tangled wires…
The benefits of wireless headphones
Wired headphones have been around a long time, but they’re not always the most convenient option. If you're a multitasker (and what parent isn't?) then you'll be familiar of how irritating it can be having to contend with bags, buggies, baby paraphenalia and trailing wires. Similarly, you might happily jogging along listening to your favourite track, only to catch the wires with your hand and pull your earbuds out – interrupting your flow. These annoyances can be resolved by a simple switch to wireless headphones, but are they definitely right for you? Let’s find out.
It’s often assumed that wired headphones have better audio quality than their wireless counterparts, but that depends mostly on which brand you go for. Remember, you get what you pay for when it comes to technology so don’t expect too much from lower-end options.
Freedom of movement
It’s all about personal preference. Think about when you listen to music and what you’re typically doing. If you’re moving around a lot, being constricted by wires won’t give you much flexibility. If you mostly listen to music at your desk or on an evening to help you relax, you might find that wired headphones do the trick.
This is where wired headphones win out. They never run out of battery. However, the standard battery life of wireless headphones is steadily increasing, so with a little shopping around you should find a set that won’t leave you high and dry.
In-ear vs over-ear headphones
Over-ear headphones are making a come-back but in-ear sets are a lot smaller and lighter. Which should you choose?
If you’ve ever suffered from aching ears as a result of wearing over-ear headphones for long stretches of time, you know it’s not pleasant. Equally, your ears might find in-ear headphones more awkward. It really is a matter of personal preference.
In-ear headphones are usually better at blocking out high frequency sounds while over-ear headphones are good at providing padding and protection.
In-ear headphones win points for portability since they don’t take up much space in your bag.
1. AfterShokz Trekz Titanium Headphones, £69.95
These open-ear wireless bone construction headphones come highly recommended by Mumsnet users. The Bluetooth headphones sit over your ears so there’s no pressure whatsoever in or over them, making these headphones safer for athletics, gym-goers, runners, cyclists and just about anyone who maintains an active lifestyle.
The idea behind the design is that it ensures good situational awareness so you can be crossing the road and still know what’s going on around you, while enjoying a premium audio experience. They are also sweat-resistant and lightweight. Expect four to six hours of battery life, great multi-device connectivity and hours of comfort. There are five bright colours to choose from.
“I have Trekz Titanium ones and they are fantastic.”
“AfterShokz Trekz Titanium are the best ones I've had for running.”
“I don't get on with in-ear headphones as I have small ears and they tend to hurt. The AfterShokz use bone conduction so they actually sit on your tragus. They are great for road running as you can hear cars, bicycles etc. around you. I do find you need to have the volume up a bit to drown out the sound of the gym music, but still at a comfortable level to listen to. Once they're on I don't need to touch them at all.”Buy now from Amazon
2. TaoTronics Waterproof Bluetooth Headphones, from £19.99
Your workout has a new accessory. Mumsnetters swear by these TaoTronic waterproof Bluetooth headphones because they’re designed to sit snugly in the ear for a protected but comfortable fit.
It doesn’t matter how much exercise you do – they'll stay put. With nine hours of wireless battery life, and only two hours of charge time, you can listen to as much music as you like while you’re on the move.
Designed so they’re attached to each other, but not to anything else, these wireless headphones can be transported easily and securely – they’re also water-resistant, sweat-resistant and deliver a rich, high-quality sound. Perfect for budget conscious shoppers.
“I use TaoTronics Bluetooth headphones. Amazon sell them for under £20 and I've had mine for about four years. They’re still going strong. They do stick out of your ears a bit, but they do stay in place when running and are waterproof. If mine ever broke, I'd buy the same brand again.”Buy now from Amazon
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3. Urbanears Plattan Bluetooth Headphones, £49.99 (was £69.99)
For wireless headphones that give an immersive sound experience, Mumsnetters recommend this Urbanears over-ear model. Connect your device and enjoy a massive 30+ hours of uninterrupted listening at a 10-metre range. These Plattan 2 Bluetooth headphones also collapse for packing convenience and come with a navigation knob so you can skip tracks or adjust the volume on the move. With seven colours to choose from, and the ability to share music (you can plug another pair into the set), they make a great gift for music lovers.
“I have a pair of Urbanears. I got them on sale, they are usually £79. They are fab. We as a household have 2 pairs; one pair for going to the gym as they do not fall off when running, and another pair for in the house. I can't deal with sweaty headphones being used on a clean head and these ones clean easily.”Buy now from Amazon
4. Bose SoundSport Wireless Headphones, £114
Ever feel like sometimes one ear sounds crisper than the other in certain headphones? You won’t have that problem with these SoundSport wireless headphones. Bose pride themselves on delivering balanced audio and easy Bluetooth and NFC pairing. They’re convenient, comfortable and designed to stay where they are – no matter how vigorous the workout or shaky the turbulence. The battery lasts up to six hours, they come in four shades and are fully weather-resistant.
“I use Bose Sport in-ear headphones in the gym and they're great. Never fall out. Most of the other gym users seem to be wearing huge on-ear headphones but that would drive me nuts.”Buy now from Amazon
5. MPOW Bluetooth Waterproof Headphones, RRP £22.99
Mumsnetters like these MPOW Bluetooth waterproof headphones because they deliver quality sound in an affordable way. With these, it’s all about the base. It’s rich, clear and the specialist Bluetooth and EDR technology provides a stable connection so you don’t have to worry about dropouts. Battery lasts between seven and nine hours; pick from eight colours.
“I use MPOW. They are in-ear, but then the wire loops over each ear and joins round the back of the neck. They are sweat proof, relatively inexpensive, lightweight and work well. They come with various silicone coverings for the bits that go in your ear so you can find one that fits best. The standard one has always worked fine for me.”Buy now from Amazon
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6. Plantronics Backbeat Wireless Headphones, RRP £89.99
At the more expensive end of the spectrum are these wireless headphones from Plantronics. Mumsnetters say they’re worth the money thanks to the added ability of being able hear your surroundings without having to compromise on audio quality. They’re also soft, flexible and stable. They come with seven hours of battery life, are sweat proof and come with a handy user app that you can download called Backbeat.
“Plantronics Bluetooth ones. They never fall out.”Buy now from Amazon
7. Apple AirPods (Latest Model), RRP £159
Sitting right at the top end are these AirPods. Apple once again lead the way with innovation and, according to Mumsnetters, you very much get what you pay for. They combine crystal-clear sound with hands-free access to Siri for ultimate compatibility with your iPhone. If you’re an Apple fan, you will love these.
“I’ve never looked back since getting AirPods, which are in-ear but don’t give me any trouble when running etc. I think it depends on the shape of your ears as I’ve had different in-ear headphones with wires but they have fallen out before, but these ones have been brilliant.”Buy now from Amazon
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8. Jabra Move Wireless Bluetooth Headphones, from £69.99
These ultra-lightweight and adjustable Bluetooth headphones are designed with premium materials for extra comfort and durability. Pick from four colours, enjoy eight hours of talk time as well as 288 hours of stand-by time. These wireless headphones will be the envy of the family and are ideal for long-haul flights, or situations where you’ll have them on for hours at a time, thanks to the cosiness and snugness of the fit.
“I use Jabra Move. They are wireless and brilliant. Super comfy.”
“I have Jabra wireless ones. I did have some that were meant to stay in the ear, but they didn't so now I have the ones with a U-shape, which fit over the ear. They link to a tracking app which you operate via a button on the ear. Useful if you put your phone in the back of your leggings like I do.”Buy now from Amazon
9. Powerbeats3 Bluetooth Headphones by BEATS, £139
Mumsnetters like these Bluetooth wireless headphones because they provide real workout freedom. With up to 12 hours of battery life and a superfast five-minute charge, you’ll never be caught short. They’re also sweat and water resistant, flexible, secure and deliver a sound that’s difficult to beat.
“Husband has some Beats Powerbeats Bluetooth headphones, with the bit that fits over your ears. I borrow them when running too and they're much more comfortable than any other in-ear headphone I've used. Might try to get a pair myself soon, but they're definitely not cheap.”Buy now from Amazon