Best wireless headphones 2022: High-quality wireless headphones with Bluetooth from Bose, Apple and Sony

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Wireless headphones FAQs

How do wireless headphones work?

Wireless headphones are usually battery operated and work by pairing with a device via a radio or infrared signal. Many devices are equipped with Bluetooth technology, meaning connection is easy and the audio is high quality.

Wireless vs true wireless: What’s the difference?

There are two types of wireless headphones: wireless and true wireless.

The latter means there is a complete lack of connector between the earphones – such as with the AirPods pro or Marshall mode II. Whereas, where ordinary wireless headphones are concerned, the earphones are still connected via a headband, like those we have reviewed here.

How to connect wireless headphones

Connecting wireless headphones differs depending on the device you’re using. For example, connecting to a TV will be different from a mobile phone. But, for the latter, make sure your Bluetooth and headphones are on and discoverable, then open your Bluetooth settings on your mobile phone and your headphones should appear there.

What are the disadvantages of wireless headphones?

Pretty much all consumer headphones are wireless these days, thanks to the departure of the 3.5mm headphone jack. Rest in peace – we miss you, old friend. But while we love being wire-free, there are a few minor disadvantages to wireless headphones.

First of all, there’s latency. Connecting via wireless modes like Bluetooth will always mean that there is a tiny delay between the audio playing on your device and the audio being transmitted to your headphones. This normally isn’t much of a concern unless you’re a gamer – and gaming headsets are the only part of the audio market where wires are still a prominent option.

The second disadvantage is battery life. With wired headphones, your music can run and run, but with wireless headphones, you might get a day’s use out of them. That said, wireless headphones are always being improved and the above issues are slowly becoming less of a problem.

Can you use wireless headphones on a plane?

The short answer to this question is yes, you can use wireless headphones on a plane. Because Bluetooth headphones are short-range, there should be very minimal interference between your headphones and the plane’s signals. That said, some airlines restrict the use of headphones on their flights – whether that’s during the entire journey or just during take-off and landing, so just be aware of the rules if you bring them onboard.

The other question is: can you use your own wireless headphones with in-flight entertainment systems? If the airline’s entertainment system is set up with Bluetooth access, then you should be able to connect your headphones fairly easily. If they aren’t, you need to buy a Bluetooth transmitter/receiver, like this one from Tron (£29.95, which acts as a conduit between your headphones and the in-flight system, letting you watch movies with your wireless ANC cans. Some of the headphones on this list come with Bluetooth transmitter/receiver in the box, so you won’t need to buy one for your flight.

The verdict: Wireless headphones

We think that the top all-round wireless headphones are from Sony. The Sony WH-1000XM5 headphones might be a mouthful to say, but they offer up a whole host of neat features, absolute comfort, divine sound quality and exceedingly good noise cancellation.

Nipping at Sony’s heels are Apple’s all-dancing, all-singing AirPods max, which have some impressive spatial audio, making your music sound like it’s on another plane of existence.

For a decent budget pair, you can’t go wrong with JBL’s Tune 660NC headphones or the Sennheiser HD 450BT headphones, which are great for the daily commute.

More headphone recommendations:

If you still prefer the freedom a pair of earbuds give you, check out our round-up of the best wireless earbuds for quality sound and noise cancellation

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