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Most Recommended Wireless Headphones of 2018

2018 Top Wireless Headphone List!

You may remember that every year we put together a list, not of what WE think are the best headphones, but what everyone else thinks. This year we decided to expand that list to include wireless headphones, we quickly realized that a standalone list was needed! Like usual our overall goal is that we remain unbiased in our list.

Our method is simple. James finds trusted sources, like WhatHiFi, Wirecutter, Linus Tech Tips, or even the Headphone Subreddit for comprehensive lists of the best headphones of the year. We then aggregate these results, equally weighted. All the sources are linked below for your verification.

This is the first year of Wireless, so we included any sources from our last year headphone list that were relevant and updated as well as a pile of new ones! We continue to try to expand that source list to give you the best idea of what everyone is saying about these different wireless headphones.

Keep in mind that this is merely a "list of lists," our attempt to deliver an unbiased list of great wireless headphones, but it is by no means a perfect method. So as always, do more research and remember:

As the makers of the best mic that can attach to any pair of headphones, we guarantee the ModMic will work with ALL of these headphones! Buy the wireless headphone you want, add a ModMic. It's that simple!

Most Recommended

We are in the camp if it’s not broken don’t fix it! So we once again used 4 recommendations as the cutoff, which brought our count up to 15 pairs of wireless headphones that have been well recommended this year!

Prices accurate on Amazon as of 10/13/18





Headphone

Price

Recs

Protocol

Jabra Move

$67

5

Bluetooth 4.0

AKG N60NC Wireless

$119

4

Bluetooth 4.0 + aptX

Sennheiser HD 4.50 BTNC

$180

4

NFC, Bluetooth 4.0 + aptX

Plantronics Backbeat pro 2

$199

9

Bluetooth 4.0 + aptX & aptX LL

Bose Soundlink Around Ear 2 $229 4 NFC, Bluetooth 4.0 (A2DP only)

B&O Play Beoplay H4

$232

4

Bluetooth 4.2 + AAC

Sony WH-1000XM2

$275

10

NFC, Bluetooth 4.1 + aptX hd & LDAC

Sennheiser PXC 550 Wireless

$285

6

NFC, Bluetooth 4.2

Sennheiser Momentum Wireless

$349

4

Bluetooth 4.0 + EDR & aptX

Bose QuietComfort 35 Series II

$349

20

NFC, Bluetooth 4.1

Sony WH1000XM3

$350

4

NFC, Bluetooth 4.2 + aptX hd & LDAC

Bowers & Wilkins PX

$385

10

Bluetooth 4.1 + aptX hd

B&O Beoplay H9i

$425

4

Bluetooth 4.2 + AAC

Sennheiser HD 1

$449

4

Bluetooth 4.0 + EDR

You probably notice by now that we added what protocol and Codec is being used by each of the suggested headphones. Moreover you are probably wondering what the heck each one of these mean! It can be a bit confusing at first glance but overall it is pretty simple, we are not going to go into the nerdy specs of each of these but we will break down the basics to make your choice a bit more informed.

There are a few that you are already familiar with like NFC and Bluetooth, these are listed to give you an Idea of compatibility and connectivity options with your chosen device. While others like aptX and LDAC have a direct impact on the quality and latency of the audio you will end up hearing, so lets break them down one at a time here:

NFC: Near Field Communication, this will make it easy to pair to other NFC devices and is really just a convenience feature.

aptX: This is our first example of a Codec and this one comes in a few flavors all of which have a superior transfer rate to traditional Bluetooth. HD is basically what you would expect, the focus is getting the best sounding audio without worrying about how long it takes to get there. Where as it’s brother Low Latency (LL) does the exact opposite delivering audio as fast as possible, this means the quality of the audio will be lower than HD but still much better than traditional Bluetooth. Then there is classic, which is that middle ground it delivers improved quality and latency over traditional Bluetooth. In short, if you are gaming you want aptXLL, if not you probably want HD.

LDAC: Sony’s answer to aptX, instead of offering different versions of the codec like aptX did, Sony decided to package all 3 versions into a single codec. They perform similarly in quality to aptXHD at the highest setting if you have an LDAC source AND LDAC headphone. We're unable to find latency figures for LDAC, so we're going to assume it is out for competitive gaming.

EDR:  Or otherwise known as Enhanced Data Rate, this one is a blast from the past going all the way back to Bluetooth 2.0. You may have guessed from the name that it improves the transfer rate of traditional Bluetooth, more importantly it improves the security of the line keeping third party eavesdroppers away from your conversations and tunes.

AAC: Which stand for Advanced Audio Coding, is the new standard of encoding said to be replacing MP3. You use AAC everyday without knowing it, from YouTube to iPhone, AAC has been in your life for years. 

A2DP: also known as Advanced Audio Distribution Profile, really all that you need to know here is that if you want to use the headset for gaming DO NOT BUY A2DP only. It may be able to connect to your non A2DP  device (like most game consoles) but the headphones may not have stereo audio or be able to use the microphone for game chat.

In the end we ended up with some interesting options. Not surprising was the juggernaut Bose QC 35 at twice the recommendations of second place. Further, as expected, we see the new up-and-coming Sony WH1000 in second, but a shock to us was the dark horse, Bower & Wilkins PX, which tied Sony’s new flagship. Maybe most surprising is the healthy spread of prices! In the past, any wireless headphone worth its salt was prohibitively expensive. As we see now we can get the 6th place Jabra Move for under $100 and have several options, including 4th place Backbeat Pro 2 for under $200. It is also nice to see real brand diversity, with 8 out of the 15 top headphones coming from different brands. By brand it is Sennheiser who takes home the most number of recommendations, though admittedly some of these products are older and most only had the bare minimum number of recommendations to get in.

With that in mind, we would like to point out that the flaw in this system is it may weight older models more heavily, as they've had more time to generate more placement on lists than newer ones. This is why each year we will continue to add new sources to help keep the list as up to date as possible. Stay tuned for our most recommended wired headphones of 2018 list coming soon!

Remember, you can always just add a ModMic to these for the ultimate headset!

Sources (Click to Show)
Tech radar
Cnet
wirecutter
Mashable
Wired
pc mag
forbes
Trusted
Toms Guide
Lifewire
Digital Trends
TL
ny mag
Techlounge
Rting
SoundGuys
Spiree
Tech Crunch
Master Switch
Techgear lab
10Machine
Reddit
Tech Advisor

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