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10 best wireless headphones for 2022

We reveal the best beautiful-sounding, noise-cancelling wireless headphones to bring a little cheer to your office, commute, park run or bedtime. 

By Mumsnet HQ | Last updated Jan 14, 2022

Woman wearing headphones

Whether you’re listening to playlists on the train, watching a movie in bed or taking work calls while sharing a home office with your other half, this roundup of the wireless headphones Mumsnetters swear by will help you find your perfect match. Music to your ears, we hope.

Here are the best wireless headphones to buy this year. Think of the time you'll save when you no longer need to sort out those tangled wires…

1. Best overall wireless headphones: Sony WH-1000XM4

Sony WH-1000XM4 headphones

Price: From £264.62 | Buy now from Amazon

"Sitting here with my Sony WH-1000XM4 on and it's peace and quiet." RantyAnty

Beloved of both Mumsnetters and expert review sites, these wireless can-style headphones are an all-round winner. The noise cancellation is second to none, so they’re great for aeroplanes, offices and for use out and about, and the sound is crystal clear, no matter what you’re listening to.

They’re super-smart too. They can be controlled with a fingertip tap to the side, but also work with voice activation via your preferred voice assistant (just say “Alexa,” “Hey, Siri” or “OK, Google” to give an instruction).

The headphones can be paired with two Bluetooth devices at once to allow you to switch easily between music and phone calls - just answer your phone with a double tap to the cans. They also work intuitively to cancel background noise as needed: dual sensor technology captures ambient noise and sends this information to the HD Noise Cancelling Processor, which then adjusts to keep background noise out as needed as well as turning your music up a little as required. All very clever indeed.

You can also install the Sony Headphones Connect App to control volume and background noise yourself, and choose to be able to hear voices alone in the background, even. The headphones swivel and fold into a compact case for carrying.

If you love what you see but don’t quite have the budget, try Sony’s WH-1000XM3 headphones instead, which are similar and also get rave reviews on Mumsnet. 

Pros

  • Premium noise cancellation and sound
  • Works with voice assistant
  • App-compatible
  • Switch between phone call and playback easily

Cons

  • Pricier than some
  • Not waterproof

Key specs

  • Bluetooth: Yes
  • Noise cancellation: Yes
  • Built-in mic: Yes
  • Battery life: 30 hours
  • Wireless range: 10m
  • Weight: 254g
  • Charging: 3 hours full charge
  • Waterproof: No

2. Best budget wireless headphones: Plantronics BackBeat Fit 2100 Sports Headphones

BackBeat Fit 2100 headphones

Price: £49.95 | Buy now from Amazon

“I've got Plantronics ones as well. Really comfy, never fall out, and you can still hear traffic.” FreshPrincess

For decent sound at less than £100, these wireless headphones from Plantronics are a great buy. Mumsnetters say they’re worth the money as you're able to hear your surroundings without having to compromise on audio quality. They’re also soft, flexible and stable.

They boast seven hours of battery life, are sweat-proof and come with a handy user app that you can download called Backbeat which allows you to set timers, play your playlist and more. They’re very lightweight but stay put well, making them perfect for exercise, and the Always Aware earbuds don’t completely block the ears - a useful safety feature for when you’re exercising alone. 

Pros

  • Great value
  • Good for running

Cons

  • Battery life lower than some
  • Only compatible with Android devices

Key specs

  • Bluetooth: Yes
  • Noise cancellation: Yes
  • Built-in mic: Yes
  • Battery life: 7 hours
  • Wireless range: Not listed
  • Weight: 30g
  • Charging: Charges with a USB cable in 1.5 hours
  • Waterproof: Yes

3. Best sounding wireless headphones: Apple AirPods Max

Apple AirPods Max headphones

Price: £430.67 | Buy now from Amazon

“AirPods are absolutely worth the money if you can afford them. I tried many pairs of wireless before I gave in and bought AirPods. I tried all price ranges and nothing comes close.” Rockbird

Promising cinema-style sound, these babies will set you back the price of an out-of-season holiday but will bring many years of happy listening. Mumsnetters prize them most for their comfort, allowing you to listen all day while you work and take long phone calls, and the reviews are dazzling too.

The sound quality is what sets these apart from the pack. They have spatial audio - essentially surround sound, so if you’re using them to watch a film on Disney Plus, HBO Max or Apple TV, and a plane appears to fly over your head, it really will sound like it’s flying over your head.

A tiny button on one can allows you to control volume, skip tracks, answer calls and talk to Siri. You can also switch easily to ‘transparency mode’ to allow you to hear the outside world again. And these headphones are SO comfy to wear, with a light stainless steel frame covered in a soft-to-the-touch rubberised material, and a light breathable mesh canopy head band designed to be light and comfortable to wear. The earphones are also made from a mesh fabric ear cushions for an immersive seal that keeps you entirely in your own sound bubble but never gives you sweaty ears. 

Pros

  • Lots of smart tech
  • Outstanding sound
  • Excellent noise cancellation
  • Beautiful design in covetable colours

Cons

  • About as pricey as you can get
  • Only really useful for Apple users

Key specs

  • Bluetooth: Yes
  • Noise cancellation: Yes
  • Built-in mic: Yes
  • Battery life: Up to 20 hours
  • Wireless range: 420m
  • Weight: 385g
  • Charging: 5 minutes of charge per 1.5 hours of listening
  • Waterproof: No (but sweat- and dust-resistant, and fine to use in the rain)

4. Best in-ear wireless headphones: Sony WF-1000XM3 True Wireless Noise-Cancelling Headphones

Sony WF-1000XM3 headphones

Price: £149 | Buy now from Amazon

“I have the Sony earbuds. They're always really highly rated. They're really secure as you sort of twist them once they're in.” KenAdams

If you prefer an earbud to over-ear headphones, but still want all of Sony’s fabulous technology, these in-ear beauties are just the ticket. Dual microphones on the outside of the buds capture sound and, with that data, the noise-cancelling processor starts cutting out external noise.

The sound quality is excellent, with a digital sound enhancement engine making the very best of compressed files so that they sound more like high resolution audio. Adaptive sound control ‘listens in’ to your environment and changes your ambient sound settings to best suit the situation, but you can also control it all manually too.

The buds themselves have been ergonomically designed and have a high-friction rubber surface to keep them safely in your ears. There are a few cool features as well. We like the 10-minute quick-charge option in the case, which gives you 90 minutes of listening time if you need your headphones in a hurry, and the automatic pause and play feature, which pauses your music when you remove one of the headphones automatically. You can also use voice assistant and pick up phone calls easily through the headphones. 

Pros

  • Advanced noise-cancelling technology
  • Great sound
  • Quick-charge option

Cons

  • Stay in well but might not be suitable for running or sport

Key specs

  • Bluetooth: Yes
  • Noise cancellation: Yes
  • Built-in mic: Yes
  • Battery life: Up to 24 hours
  • Wireless range: 10m
  • Weight: 17g
  • Charging: 1.5 hours
  • Waterproof: No

5. Best over-ear wireless headphones: Sennheiser HD 450BT

Sennheiser 450BT headphones

Price: From £138.50 | Buy now from Amazon

“I find Sennheiser (I've had quite a few versions over the years) over-the-head headphones very comfortable. I use mine for over twelve hours a day and find them very comfortable.” user1471453601

Sennheiser were industry leaders in sound technology for some time, and their years of experience is evident in these wireless headphones, which have a few standout features. We particularly like the Smart Control App (iOS and Android) which gives you total control over your listening experience. There’s also a Podcast Mode, which is designed especially for podcasts and audiobooks to optimise the way you hear speech.

Reviews suggest the bass on these headphones is excellent but this might not suit everyone - it’ll depend what you’re listening to. A virtual assist button allows you to interact with Siri and Google Assist immediately, and other controls are easy to use, located on one of the ear cups. The headphones have an ergonomic design and feel light to use, but they aren’t quite as comfortable as some headphones in this price bracket. They do, however, fold up neatly to pop in your bag when you aren’t wearing them. 

Pros

  • Good battery life
  • Great sound on speech and bass particularly

Cons

  • No fast charge option
  • Less comfy than some

Key specs

  • Bluetooth: Yes
  • Noise cancellation: Yes
  • Built-in mic: Yes
  • Battery life: Up to 30 hours
  • Wireless range: 10 metres
  • Weight: 238g
  • Charging: USB-C charging cable
  • Charging time: 2 hours
  • Waterproof: No

6. Best wireless headphones for TV: Apple AirPods Pro

Apple AirPods Pro earphones

Price: £174.83 | Buy now from Amazon

“I have the AirPods Pro and they’re definitely worth it. They have a noise cancellation feature which is not as strong as over-the-ear headphones but definitely helps! Really convenient. I ran out of battery on mine last night, used some over-the-ear headphones and the difference in quality of sound compared to the AirPods Pro was really noticeable.” Pippin2021

If you're after professional levels of noise cancellation but prefer in-ear buds to cans, the AirPod Pros from Apple are worth a look. Soft, gently tapered silicone tips means they’re customisable to each set of ears and super comfy to wear, and there are three different sizes of tip for you to choose from.

They have a really clear sound and a powerful bass thanks to the high excursion, low distortion driver, and adaptive EQ tunes the music to suit the shape of the ear best. The AirPods also have both outward- and inward-facing microphones which deliver superb noise cancellation and allow you to stay focussed on your task. But, at the touch of a button, you can move to transparency mode, allowing the world back in when you want to have a conversation.

You can switch between call mode and music mode easily and the Announce Messages feature allows Siri to butt in to read your messages to you. You can also use Audio Share to stream to two sets of AirPods at the same time, so that you and a friend can watch a film, listen to music or play a game together.

They’re very intuitive to use - a simple touch switches between modes, alters the volume and more - and they come in a neat bow to charge wirelessly when they run low, making them great for commutes and travel. 

Pros

  • Smart design features
  • Excellent sound and noise cancellation
  • Small and neat
  • Chargeable in their own case

Cons

  • Only really useful with an Apple device
  • Very easy to leave in pockets and pop in the washing machine

Key specs

  • Bluetooth: Yes
  • Noise cancellation: Yes
  • Built-in mic: Yes
  • Battery life: 4.5 hours on one charge (24 hours with additional charges in the case)
  • Wireless range: Up to 240m
  • Weight: 45.6g each
  • Charging: Charges in the box - 5 minutes of charge gives 1 hours of listening
  • Waterproof: No, but are sweat- and water-resistant

7. Best wireless headphones for calls: Bose Noise-Cancelling Headphones 700

Bose Noise-Cancelling Headphones 700

Price: £265 | Buy now from Amazon

“I bought the Bose noise-cancelling headphones. They have been genuinely life-changing (I am a terribly light sleeper). My husband and I can finally share a bed as his snoring no longer wakes me.” KenDoddsDad

Bose is well known for its excellent sound quality and these headphones don’t disappoint. But they’re also exceptional at picking up your voice, making them the ideal choice for anyone who takes a lot of phone calls or wants to switch frequently between music and work.

No less than six microphones work to cancel noise around you so you can hear your caller better, and another four suppress remaining sound, making your voice clearer for anyone calling you. Absolutely no "sorry, I didn’t catch that" guaranteed.

The noise cancellation is completely adjustable, allowing you to control precisely how much of the outside world you want to allow in. Simple taps to the right can control volume, noise cancellation and voice assistant, so you can play music, take calls and listen to your messages, and switch between those modes swiftly and easily. You can even access and playback Spotify with a tap and a lift of the can.

These headphones are exceedingly comfortable too thanks to soft protein leather earphone cushions, and they mirror the shape of the head when tilted at a 15-degree angle. The headband also has a soft foam underside to sit softly on your head.

Pros

  • Lots of microphones for excellent noise cancellation
  • Crisp, clear sound

Cons

  • Remembering the various ‘tap’ combinations takes a little while
  • Battery life not as long as some

Key specs

  • Bluetooth: Yes
  • Noise cancellation: Yes
  • Built-in mic: Yes
  • Battery life: Up to 20 hours (rechargeable battery)
  • Wireless range: Up to 10m
  • Weight: 25g
  • Charging: Charged in up to 2.5 hours and you can do a quick charge of 15 minutes for up to 3.5 hours of listening time
  • Waterproof: No, but they are water-resistant to splashes

8. Best lightweight wireless headphones: Jabra Elite 45H

Jabra Elite 45H headphones

Price: £80.66 | Buy now from Amazon

“I have Jabra wireless ones. I did have some that were meant to stay in the ear, but they didn't so I have the ones with a U shape that goes over the ear. They link to a tracking app which you can work through a button on the ear. Useful if your phone in in the back of your leggings.” sm40

These over-the-ear headphones from Jabra have two factors that really make them stand out in a crowd. Firstly, the 50-hour battery life, which means you’ll rarely have to charge them when out and about - you simply pop them on the wall charger when you’re home. Secondly, the price - they provide many of the features of the top-end models but at a fraction of the cost.

So what else do they do? Well, you can easily switch to voice assistant (they’re compatible with Siri and Google Assistant) to listen to messages, ask for directions and more. Jabra’s MySound technology, which adjusts music to best suit your hearing profile, makes for a fantastic listening experience every time. The ear cups are also covered in soft, mouldable memory foam, which gives a perfect fit and means they're comfy to wear for hours at a time. This can only be a good thing considering that super-long battery life.

Pros

  • Excellent long battery life

Cons

  • Not compatible with all voice assistants

Key specs

  • Bluetooth: Yes
  • Noise cancellation: No
  • Built-in mic: Yes
  • Battery life: 50 hours
  • Wireless range: 10 metres
  • Weight: 160g
  • Charging: Charges on a dedicated USB wall charger (supplied) in up to 90 minutes, but there's also a quick charge of 15 minutes for 10 hours of listening
  • Waterproof: No (but the two-year warranty covers damage from dust and rain)

9. Best wireless headphones for music: Bower & Wilkins PX7 Wireless Over-Ear Headphones

Bower & Wilkins PX7 headphones

Price: £279 | Buy now from Amazon

“Personally, I'd wait until Black Friday and try and pick up a bargain. If you are after a really great set of over-ear headphones then Bowers & Wilkins PX7 can be bought for as little as £219.” nutgrabber

Apparently designed along the same lines as racing cars (we don’t know either, but it can’t be a bad thing), these wireless headphones are as robust when thrown in your bag as they are comfy on your head.

They’re at the pricier end of the market, but they have excellent sound and noise cancellation, with three different noise-cancelling modes that you can rotate through at the touch of a button.

The cups also have a proximity sensor so that your music is automatically paused when you lift a cup to speak to someone, and it resumes when you replace the cup on your ear. All very clever. They also link up to Google Assist and Alexa so you can read messages, get weather updates and more. Ergonomically designed, reviews say you barely know you’re wearing these headphones.

Pros

  • Very comfortable
  • Excellent tonal sound

Cons

  • Don’t fold for travel

Key specs

  • Bluetooth: Yes
  • Noise cancellation: Yes
  • Built-in mic: Yes
  • Battery life: Up to 30 hours
  • Wireless range: Not listed
  • Weight: 302g
  • Charging: USB cable with a quick charge time of 15 minutes for 5 hours of listening
  • Waterproof: No, but they are moisture-repellent

10. Best wireless headphones for running: AfterShokz Trekz Titanium Running Headphones

AfterShokz Trekz Titanium headphones

Price: £80 | Buy now from Amazon

“I have AfterShokz. I got them so I could run formal races in them (in-ear headphones not allowed). I like them. They’re comfy and I can still hear traffic, etc.” caroldeckershair

These open-ear wireless bone-construction headphones come highly recommended by Mumsnet users. The Bluetooth headphones sit pressure-free on (not in or over) your ears, making them a safe option 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're 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.

Pros

  • Lightweight and flexible
  • Good price

Cons

  • Sound not as clear as others
  • Some sound leakage

Key specs

  • Bluetooth: Yes
  • Noise cancellation: Yes (active noise cancellation)
  • Built-in mic: Yes
  • Battery life: 6 hours
  • Wireless range: 10m
  • Weight: 36g
  • Charging: Not listed
  • Waterproof: No, but water-resistant

Wireless vs true wireless: what's the difference?

Wireless headphones don’t plug into your music source, allowing you to move around hands-free and walk away (a short distance) from the music source. They may have wires or a headband between the two ear pieces, though. True wireless headphones don’t have any wires at all, like some of the Apple AirPods

What is better - Bluetooth or wireless headphones?

All Bluetooth headphones are wireless, but not all wireless headphones are Bluetooth. Wireless headphones connect to a device via a radio or infrared signal, and the range on them is much wider. Bluetooth headphones connect to just one device via Bluetooth and the range is smaller, so you’ll not want to stray too far from the phone or other Bluetooth device you’ve linked it to. 

Most wireless headphones will have Bluetooth technology and will be simpler to use than regular wireless headphones as they're compatible with more devices and easier to pair. Wireless headphones will only be compatible with devices of the same brand.

How to choose the best wireless headphones

There are many styles of wireless headphones to choose from and, in terms of price, this is a very wide market, so your first consideration should be budget. You can spend anywhere from £50 to £500 so think about how much you’ll use your headphones (and how you’d feel if you left them on the train). Once you have a ballpark figure, here are a few more things to consider:

  1. Device compatibility: Apple products will only be useful if you have an iPhone. And some headphones only work on Android. 
  2. Style: Do you want ear buds that sit unobtrusively inside the ear, over the ear or behind the head? The latter is a particularly useful option for exercise.
  3. Where are you going to use them? You might want to get noise-cancelling headphones if you’re going to be out and about or working in a noisy office. 
  4. What do you want them for? Some headphones are designed with great sound quality for listening to music, while others are better for voice content and phone calls. Some even have ‘surround sound,’ which is ideal if you’re using them to watch TV and want a cinematic experience. 
  5. Microphone: If you just want to listen to music, that’s fine, but you’ll need a mic too if you want to be able to answer phone calls through your headphones. 
  6. Voice assistant: You won't find this on all wireless headphones, but it’s handy if you want to get traffic or weather updates, listen to your messages or change your music without scrolling through Spotify.
  7. Battery life and charge time: Look at how long the battery will last (some headphones boast a battery life of up to 30 hours), how long your chosen headphones will take to charge and whether there's a quick-charge option for added convenience.  

Which wireless headphones are best?

For their excellent sound, unbeatable noise cancellation and all-round versatility, we think the best wireless headphones on the market are the Sony WH-1000XM4 Noise-Cancelling Wireless Headphones. The ideal candidate for a new pair of headphones this year.

How we chose our recommendations 

To draw up our list of the best wireless headphones to buy, we first scoured the Mumsnet forums for the models that Mumsnetters were raving (and ranting!) about and drew up some naughty and nice lists.

We then took our longlist of products and hit other expert review sites to see whether customers and tech reviewers agreed. Those that had won awards and accolades or scooped lots of rave reviews went onto a shortlist.

We then picked the 10 products that offer something for everyone, from gym bunnies to music lovers to office workers with louder-than-average colleagues. 

Why you should trust us

We always strive to give you honest and independent advice you can trust, so we spend hours on the Mumsnet forums and online bestseller lists to find products that real parents truly rate, not just the newest thing on the market.

We write about products that we feel offer the best value to most parents – the ones that our users would recommend to their own friends and family - and we never have our heads turned by shiny marketing campaigns.