Best Wireless Headphones to buy this Holiday Season

Wireless headphones aren’t what they used to be once; they’re far superior. The wireless revolution means ever-more advanced Bluetooth devices, longer-lasting batteries, and better-sounding performance. While a few years ago we would always recommend a wired head-phone device for those who prioritize sound quality, now we’re happy to recommend several wireless pairs for those who value both performance and convenience.

With quality, there has come quantity, though, so you should decide what type you want. There are over-ear wireless headphones, often with noise-cancellation thrown in for good measure, with brands such as Bose, Sennheiser, B&W, Sony and AKG leading the way. And there are also now various plenty of in-ear wireless earphones – some with neckband cables joining the buds, but others, known as ‘true wireless’, where the earpieces are completely wire-free. Yes, like AirPods.

Whatever wireless style you require, we’ve got the best wireless headphones you can buy, with prices starting at under £100 / $100 – and many pairs discounted in the build-up to Christmas.

Best Wireless Headphones to buy this Holiday Season.

1. Sony WH-1000XM3

Sony WH-1000XM3It is the jack of all trades and the master of all; the Sony WH-1000XM3 headphones are a superb all-round package.

Specifications

Bluetooth: Yes | Noise-cancelling: Yes | Battery life: 30hr | Charging: USB-C | Built-in mic and controls: Yes

Reasons to Buy

  • Detailed dynamic sound
  • Clever, intuitive features
  • Great noise-canceling, battery life

Reasons to Avoid

Touch controls feel fiddly at first2019 (and 2018) What Hi-Fi? Award winners, the WH-1000XM3s are Sony’s latest wireless noise-canceling headphones and one of the most comfortable pairs of on-ears we’ve tested with thick, cushioned earpads that completely envelop your ears. Features include Sony’s Atmospheric Pressure Optimiser which optimizes the noise-canceling for when you’re flying, touchpad controls and an accompanying Headphones Control app. Thanks to a quick charging battery (done via USB-C), the XM3s go from empty to full in three hours while a ten-minute charge gives you a whopping five hours of use.

They produce an open, spacious sound that gives every instrument, effect and vocal room to breathe. Vocals sound focused and direct, but the instruments around them are delivered in a way that makes it feel as if you’re in the room with the band. Combine that spaciousness with greater detail, dynamic subtlety and loads of lovely deep bass and you’ve got a breathtaking noise-canceling package. If you can stretch to these excellent Bluetooth cans you won’t be disappointed.

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2. Sennheiser Momentum Wireless 3.0 (2019)

Sennheiser Momentum Wireless 3.0 (2019)Superb noise-cancellers that enhance Sennheiser’s reputation

Specifications

Bluetooth: Yes | Noise-cancelling: Yes | Battery life: 17hr | Charging: USB-C | Built-in mic and controls: Yes

Reasons to Buy

  • Energetic, rhythmic presentation
  • Convenient usability features
  • Effective noise cancellation

Reasons to Avoid

Uncompetitive battery life

Got a slightly bigger budget for a pair of wireless noise-cancellers? This brand-new pair is an extraordinary effort by Sennheiser’s engineering team.

Sennheiser doesn’t need any ‘third time lucky’ well wishes for its third-generation Momentum Wirelesses – both the originals and second versions were instant knockouts when they arrived. These have been much improved over their predecessors in the sound department, promising an energetic, timely and hugely insightful listen you’ve no choice but to be entertained by.

That sonic success is backed by enhanced usability features too, although be aware that battery life is only 17 hours next to the above Sony’s 30-hour claim.

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3. Sony WF-1000XM3

Sony-WF-1000XM3-Industry-Canceling-WirelessA new benchmark for true wireless headphones.

Specifications

Bluetooth: Yes | Noise-cancelling: Yes | Battery life: 6hrs (24hrs with charging case) | Charging: USB-C | Built-in mic and controls: Yes

Reasons to Buy

  • Great musicality
  • Excellent noise-canceling
  • Decent battery life

Reasons to Avoid

Lack of volume controls

Don’t support aptX HD

When it comes to true wireless headphones, there’s a new king. Not only do these 2019 What Hi-Fi Award winners come with more sizes of a tip than most rivals, but they also pack brilliant noise-canceling tech into their tiny frames too. The touch controls are intuitive (even if volume controls are conspicuous by their absence) and they sound wonderfully musical: instruments sound natural, believable and wholly expressive. There’s plenty of subtlety on show too, and a great level of detail. These take the crown from our previous favorite true wireless buds, the Sony WF-1000X. The king is dead, long live the king.

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4. Cambridge Audio Melomania 1

Cambridge Audio Melomania 1A truly exceptional pair of truly wireless in-ear headphones.

Specifications

Bluetooth: Yes | Noise-cancelling: No | Battery life: 9hr | Charging: Micro USB | In-line mic and controls: Yes

Reasons to Buy

  • Detailed, insightful sound
  • Reliable Bluetooth
  • Long battery life

Reasons to Avoid

Some may find the fit difficult

If an unadulterated sound is your sole concern, these buds are hard to beat in their price category. Another 2019 What Hi-Fi? Award winner, these budget-conscious in-ears offer a cohesive, expansive and rhythmically driven sound, but also an intuitive, playful soundstage that few wireless in-ears can achieve at the price.

A good fit is essential, and, due to the length of the earpiece itself, that might not be as easy to come by for everybody, but their sonic talent is such that it’s worth the effort and potential purchase of extra buds.

With nine hours battery life from the buds themselves, plus four additional charges from the case, that means an impressive 45 hours of continuous use from this little set-up. There’s no noise-canceling, but it is clear Cambridge Audio’s focus has been on great sound over bonus features.

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5. AKG N60NC Wireless

AKG N60NC WirelessAttractive portable noise-cancellers with a punchy, balanced sound.

Specifications

Bluetooth: Yes | Noise-cancelling: Yes | Battery life: 30hr | Charging: Micro USB | Built-in mic and controls: Yes

Reasons to Buy

  • Clear, punchy sound
  • Musical; balanced
  • Smart design

Reasons to Avoid

Nothing of note

One of the most compact and convenient pairs of noise-canceling headphones we’ve ever tested, the AKG N60 NCs deliver superb performance for the money. They’re a good-looking pair of on-ears with an excellent fit. Battery life is 15 hours with the noise-canceling and Bluetooth engaged and this ramps up to 30 hours when the noise-canceling is turned off.

Bass delivery is powerful yet transparent with crisp, detailed vocals, soaring highs, and convincing dynamics. You’d be perfectly content to wear these all day and for the money, they’re extremely tough to beat.

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6. Bowers & Wilkins PX7

Bowers & Wilkins PX7Hugely impressive noise-canceling headphones

Specifications

Bluetooth: Yes | Noise-cancelling: Yes | Battery life: 30hr | Charging: USB-C | Built-in mic and controls: Yes

Reasons to Buy

  • Lively, insightful sound
  • Three-tiered noise cancellation
  • Sophisticated, comfortable design

Reasons to Avoid

Earcups don’t fold inwards

B&W’s flagship noise-cancellers are born entertainers and can rub shoulders with the very best. All a pair of headphones can do is sound, look and feel great – and the B&W PX7s tick all three boxes.

The Sonys that top this list might have pipped them to 2019 what is Hi-Fi Awards Best Buy, but these are fine alternatives – especially for those who value sonic sprightliness and street-cred style.

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