The Top-Rated Wireless (Both RF and Bluetooth) Headphones
Wireless headphones are nothing new, and have been around for decades. But there has been a seismic improvement in sound quality with these headphones. Instead of using radio waves (like cordless phones), wireless headphones can now use other technologies like bluetooth to transmit the music. Now don’t get me wrong, radio is no slouch: radio headphones have started using different bandwidth to all but eliminate interference from other wireless appliances, and indeed a couple wireless headphones on this list use radio waves.
In ranking these headphones, we took into consideration not only the sound of the music itself, but the amount of audible hiss (a common characteristic of wireless headphones). We also look at their range, battery life, and also comfort. If you want headphones to watch movies, do work around the house, or go to the gym, we have stand out headphones for each activity.
Click here if you’re looking for wireless TV headphones, which are different and require a base transmitter to work.
1. Sennheiser RS220 Wireless Headphones
For those that find the Sync by 50 too bass heavy, the RS220 headphones are better equipped to handle a wider range of music genres. The RS220’s transmit their sound via bluetooth, but you wouldn’t know it by listening to it. The sound is warm and diverse. There is no detectable hiss between songs, and the positional audio means you can become fully immersed in a movie. And the best part? Incredibly comfortable. The lightweight headphones feel like nothing at all when you put them on (the Sync by 50 are quite heavy on the head). In short, Sennheiser engineered a set of wireless headphones that are everything wireless headphones should be. The price is likely too steep for most, but if you want some truly amazing headphones, the RS220’s are it.
2. Klipsch Image ONE Bluetooth Headphones
Klipsch released a bluetooth version of their popular Klipsch ONE headphones. If there’s one thing to keep in mind about Klipsch, it’s that they know how to make great sounding headphones. The Klipsch Image S4 earbuds are our top pick for the best headphones under $100. These bluetooth headphones do sound very good, but there is a huge incline towards the low-end (bass). I’m not sure why these headphones are so bass heavy. Maybe they are going after the same Beats crowd.
The range on these headphones is great. You can have your smartphone in your locker and still manage to have uninterrupted tunes while you workout (maybe not if your gym has multiple levels!). The soft earcups are a pleasure to have around your ears and the padded headband is quickly forgotten about on the head. It does have a bright bluetooth light that can be distracting in the dark (i.e. red-eye flights on a plane). But other than that, they make a great option for bass loving fans who find Sync by 50 too pricey.
4. Sennheiser RS120 Wireless Headphones
The most budget friendly headphones on this list are also the first RF (radio) wireless headphones. The RS120 are an older model that’s been popular for years (it’s still in the top 20 bestsellers on Amazon). As newer models come and go, the prices on the RS120 have dropped to under $100. The sound quality is also much better than expected. If you didn’t know anything about these headphones, you would guess that they’re bluetooth, not RF transmission. The sound is detailed, with tight bass and clear vocals. There is a very small audible hiss between songs, but it definitely didn’t linger. The best part about these headphones is the range. Sennheiser says that the range of these headphones is 328 feet. That means you can listen to tunes while you do yardwork, washing your car, etc. As far as wireless headphones under $150, you can’t do better than the RS120’s.
4. Sony MDR-DS6500 Wireless Headphones
For those that like the RS120 but don’t mind paying extra for greater sound quality will find what they’re looking for in Sony’s MDR-DS6500 headphones. The headphones themselves are ideal for watching TV and movies. They come with an optical digital connection that connects to the transmitter base. The difference between these and the RS120 are definitely noticeable, with crisper sound and great background details becoming noticeable while watching the same blu-ray. It comes equipped with both 7.1 and 5.1 virtual surround sound. It has the same transmitter/battery charger combo that makes it a breeze to set up and use.
5. Beats Wireless Headphones
Beats headphones get knocked around in audiophile circles, and indeed the sound quality isn’t on par with most high end headphones. These are wireless headphones, however, and in this category the sound quality is quite good…it just depends what you’re listening to. Beats have a very warm sound signature and have lots of energy. They sound great with hip-hop, dance and electronic music. They also have a built-in mic for taking calls on your smartphone. The build quality has improved immensely since the first generation of Beats, with these ones made of a flexible reinforced plastic material that can take a beating.
They make for great gym headphones. However the headphones don’t do well with heavy metal (my personal workout music of choice) and female vocals tend to be muddied. All in all, Beats don’t get the credit they deserve. But there’s still room for improvement.
6. Astro A40 Gaming Wireless Headset
Astro’s headset is primarily a gaming headset, but if you want top notch sound quality in your wireless headphones these can’t be ignored. The wireless gaming market has been dominated by Astro’s line of A40 (and now A50) wireless headsets. They are compatible with the major gaming consoles (as well as PC) and the noise-cancelling microphone is great for making phone calls. An important element of gaming headsets is ‘positional audio’, where you can located where sounds are coming from with pinpoint accuracy. This translates to a great ‘soundstage’ effect when listening to music (especially live recordings) and movies.
Now the headset is large and covers most of your head, so these aren’t ideal for use in the gym (you would sweat buckets). They also won’t wirelessly connect to your smartphone or tablet (you have to plug the 3.5mm cable into the mixamp for it to work). But if you want headphones for watching movies, as well as gaming, an Astro gaming headset may be your new best friend.
Click here to visit Astrogaming.com
7. Jaybird Sportsband Bluetooth Headphones
Jaybird’s line of headphones are designed specifically for people looking for workout headphones, and they deliver on their promise. The sportsband design is unusual but it fits comfortably on the head. The raised buttons on the side make for easy to raise/lower volume as well as skipping songs. The sound quality is good, although it is bass heavy (what is it with wireless headphones mostly being bass-heavy?). The headphones come with a lifetime guarantee against sweat, which is awesome for those that tend to sweat profusely. It’s also protected against rain so you can take it out for runs. The range isn’t great, capping out at about 10 meters. That just means you have to carry your iPod with you at the gym instead of having your music player in your locker…something I do anyway. The price is definitely much more friendly than the others on this list. If you’re looking for reliable workout headphones but don’t want to spend $250+, these headphones are a great choice.
8. SMS Audio Wireless Headphones
These headphones were absolute the best sounding wireless headphones on this list. The headphones use ‘Kleer’ wireless streams, which is a lossless way of encoding and transmitting the sound. The difference between Kleer and Bluetooth becomes obvious when you listen to both technologies side by side.
Other cool features include a wireless dongle where up to four SMS headphones wearers can listen to the music/television at the same time. I also like the look of these headphones. Of all the celebrity-endorsed headphones to hit the market, the Sync by 50 headphones are the only ones I’d consider more sleek and stylish than the Beats line of headphones.
These headphones lean on bass way a little too much, but that’s to be expected considering the headphones are geared towards bass-heads and gym junkies.
That’s it!! Feel free to visit our website’s Wireless Headphones Store for lots more wireless and bluetooth headphones.