The Best Bluetooth Headphones to Buy in 2024

The best Bluetooth headsets with ANC of 2023

I would like to remind you that this selection is for headphones that fit over your ears or ones that you wear over the head, unlike earphones that fit inside the ear canal. If you’re more of the earbuds team, then check out our selection of the best true wireless headphones with ANC in 2023. The Apple AirPods Max is an exception, as all the models listed here have been put through our rigorous review metrics!

Table of contents:

  1. Buying guide
  2. The best Bluetooth headphones by category
    1. Editor’s recommendation: Sony WH-1000XM5
    2. Best alternative: Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless
    3. Best Apple headphones: Apple AirPods Max
    4. Best ANC: Bose QuietComfort Ultra
    5. Best value-for-money: Soundcore Space Q45
    6. Price-to-performance alternative: Sennheiser Accentum Wireless
    7. Best cheap headphones: Soundcore Life Q35
  3. Other alternatives

Buying guide: What you should look out for when buying Bluetooth headphones

Over-ear, on-ear or in-ear?

Let’s begin by taking a step back: Which headphone design is right for you? In this article, we’ll focus on models that cover your ear as over-ear headphones. This provides better insulation against ambient noise and better-wearing comfort. At the same time, over-ear headphones are relatively large and can make your ears feel warm in the summer after wearing them for a prolonged period of time.

Your ears are fully covered with models like the Sony WH-1000XM5.
Over-ear models like the Sony WH-1000XM5 completely enclose your ear. / © nextpit

On-ear models are quite rare in 2023, but they do have advantages with a smaller form factor. In return, they are inferior to other models in terms of sound and ANC effectiveness.

In-ear Bluetooth headphones are particularly compact and can even fit in a pocket in most cases. While they can also offer very high quality in terms of ANC and sound, the wearing experience can be uncomfortable in the long run. In addition, battery life is usually limited to six to eight hours when actively listening to music, and the tiny earbuds tend to get lost.

Sound quality and flexibility

Thanks to large drivers and good passive noise isolation, you can look forward to high sound quality when buying over-ear headphones. As a rule of thumb, the more money you spend, the higher the sound quality is the end result. You can pay attention to some of the technical specifications when making a purchase decision, which you can then use to evaluate the sound quality without trying it out.

Sony WH-1000XM4 Companion App screenshots showing the user interface in detail
This is what companion apps for headphones usually look like! / © Sony / Screenshot: nextpit

Among them are the size and material choice of the drivers, their frequency response, and the support of high-quality Bluetooth codecs. However, this has never been able to replace a listening test in the technology market or reading reviews that carry detailed descriptions of the sound. You can also adjust the sound to your preferences via equalizers and sound profiles in the companion apps to tweak it further.

Active Noise Cancellation (ANC)

Active noise cancellation, abbreviated as ANC, is available in most Bluetooth headphones. Here, the headphones pick up ambient noise via its microphones and play it back in your ear in reversed polarity. The so-called anti-noise cancellation compensates for the surrounding noise and you no longer hear it.

With a good pair of headphones, the ANC level can be controlled in a flexible manner, even fully automatically as an ideal, and there should also be a transparency mode. This allows you to listen to the ambient noise using microphone support, which is very practical in the midst of traffic or during conversations.

Battery life

Another advantage that over-ear models have over true-wireless headphones is the length of their battery life which is often several days long with active noise cancellation. The small in-ear models only last about one working day without additional charging in the charging cradle. Check whether the battery life is sufficient for you when buying a new pair of headphones.

Also, another practical aspect to consider is support for Quick Charging and the possibility to use the headphones as a wired option even when you are running on an empty battery. You can usually find this information in reviews and on the manufacturer’s website.

Comfort features and extras

Since headphones should no longer just play music in 2023, you can look forward to some exciting smart features. The Sony WH-1000XM5, for example, can control how powerful the ANC will be based on your movement patterns. Apple, on the other hand, caused a stir with the introduction of their AirPods Max with realistic spatial audio. All of those features are not that essential, but do come in very handy in everyday life!

The best Bluetooth headsets to buy in 2023 by category

The best Bluetooth headset with ANC: Sony WH-1000XM5

The Sony WH-1000XM5 was outstanding in its review.
With a more modern design, the Sony WH-1000XM5 shone in the review. / © nextpit

The Sony WH-1000XM5 is the flagship of Sony’s consumer audio headphones. Its predecessor, the Sony WH-1000XM4, and its predecessor, the WH-1000XM3 were considered the best references on the market.

The Bluetooth headset relies heavily on sound quality thanks to Sony’s LDAC codec, but also on the effectiveness of its active noise canceling (ANC). The Sony WH-1000XM5 also marked a breakthrough in terms of design, with a more refined and streamlined look.

Click here for our Sony WH-1000XM5 review

But I don’t think Sony offers much in the way of innovation compared to the Sony WH-1000XM4. Where Sony really stands out, in my opinion, is the quality of its microphones for calls and some “comfort” features such as the port sensor and touch controls that cheaper models often lack.

The best Bluetooth headset alternative: Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless

Understated yet impressive: The Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless.
The Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless is a headset with impressive build quality. / © nextpit

When the Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless arrived in the editorial office, I was torn. This is because the headphones were almost devoid of the value and charm of the previous model. Sennheiser has adapted strongly to the design of the competition—but has done the same with the features.

Click here for our Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless review

Priced at just under $350, the Momentum 4 Wireless proved in their test period that they offer extremely much at this price. The sound quality is excellent and Sennheiser does not have to hide in terms of ANC either. The ultra-long battery life of up to 60 hours is also outstanding. Overall, the Momentum 4 Wireless is recommended if the other models are too expensive for you.


The best Bluetooth headset for Apple fans: Apple AirPods Max

Is this a handbag? Nay, it is the AirPods Max case!
The AirPods Max comes with an unconventional carrying case. / © nextpit

If you have just under $550 to spare and are deeply entrenched in the Apple ecosystem, you should set your sights on the AirPods Max. The company’s first over-ear headphones shine with an ultra-high-quality finish alongside a metal casing, offering particularly high sound quality and automatic detection of which Apple device you are currently using for listening to music or podcasts.

Read our opinion piece about the AirPods Max

Operation is extremely intuitive thanks to the crown on the right side that was borrowed from the Apple Watch. In addition, the headphones are seamlessly connected to the Apple ecosystem as usual. This means you can connect them conveniently to your iPhone, iPad, MacBook, and all other Apple products. However, an H1 chip for precise tracking like the AirTag is missing.


The best headphones with ANC: Bose QuietComfort Ultra

Hear me out! The Bose QC Ultra headphones has great active noise cancellation.
The Bose QC Ultra headphones offer amazing active noise cancellation! / © nextpit

Bose added another to its established and popular QuietComfort series with the Bose QC Ultra headphones. At $430 (MSRP) a pop, the over-ear headphones from the audio professionals cost a pretty amount of money, but they also offer the best ANC you could ask for. The “Immersive Sound”, which is Bose’s 360° feature, proved to be particularly impressive in stationary mode.

The expected supported codecs including aptX adaptive are part fo the deal, with Bluetooth multipoint connectivity being available as well. Bose continues to up the ante with wear detection for that added touch of class. If you don’t mind parting with $430, then this is a very good buy. However, if you’re concerned about the price, you might want to take a closer look at the Sony competitor mentioned above.

The best value-for-money Bluetooth headset: Soundcore Space Q45

Get the most bang for your buck with the Soundcore Space Q45.
The Soundcore Space Q45 is the best value-for-money proposition. / © nextpit

Read our full Soundcore Space Q45 review here

If you want to have a good headset but don’t have $300 to invest, the Soundcore Space Q45 is for you. The successor of the convincing Life Q35 has the same strengths, while improving its shortcomings like the weak ANC. For its price of just $150, the Space Q45 has a balanced technical sheet that makes it the perfect headset for average users.

The design is successful, the autonomy is excellent and the efficient ANC is pleasant to use in everyday life. The Space Q45 also convinces with its well thought-out companion application and features like multipoint connection as well as LDAC and Bluetooth 5.3 support. All in all, Soundcore has succeeded in creating a headset with a very good price-performance ratio that only suffers from a sound quality that does not reach that of the models it is targeting.

Best price-to-performance alternative: Sennheiser Accentum Wireless

Get more with less with the Sennheiser Accentum Wireless.
The Sennheiser Accentum Wireless also offers a lot for your money. / © nextpit

Read our detailed Sennheiser Accentum Wireless review

If you are looking for a good balance between features offered and price, you can also opt for Sennheiser products. The Sennheiser Accentum Wireless, which we rated four stars, impressed us in the review. What made it stand out was the effective ANC and excellent battery life of up to 50 hours.

In addition to AAC and SBC, the aptX/HD codec is also supported, as is Bluetooth multipoint connectivity. However, the headphones, which cost just under $180 (MSRP), do not have a wear-detection function and the less intuitive controls occasionally stumped Antoine during the review. If you don’t mind the fact that there is neither IP certification, an included carrying case, and a 3.5mm jack, you are welcome to take a closer look at the headphones which are currently available for under $200.

The best cheap Bluetooth headset: Soundcore Life Q35

Check out the spiffy looking charging case!
A leatherette charging case is included in the box. / © nextpit

If you’re in the market for the most affordable pair of Bluetooth headphones possible, you should check out the Soundcore Life Q35 on Amazon. The successor to the Soundcore Life Q30, which we also reviewed, is now available for less than $110. The Life QC35 offers an accurate degree of ANC, good sound quality, and an especially good companion application.

The latter is crucial for the precise optimization of the sound profile which, after the adaptation of the equalizers, and that really puts you in a good mood. The battery life is particularly good (up to 60 hours) and important functions such as multi-pairing and port recognition are also available. So those looking for a good, inexpensive Bluetooth headset will be well rewarded here.

What about you? Which Bluetooth headphones do you recommend and which do you think are overpriced hi-fi junk? I look forward to your discussion in the comments!

This best list was revised on December 04, 2023. Existing comments remain unchanged.

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply

Compare items
  • Total (0)
Shopping cart