We tested 20 pairs—and these are the options that are worth your money
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Whether you’re tired of getting your cord caught mid-burpee or always misplace the headphone converter for your iPhone 7, it’s time to splurge on a pair of wireless headphones. (Not to mention, science says listening to music can actually make you enjoy those HIIT workouts.) Here’s the thing: Because wireless headphones require more advanced technology, they cost a little more than your typical pair of corded headphones. But the payoff is seriously worth it. Whether you’re swinging a kettlebell around at the gym, hauling your carry-on at the airport, or juggling your bags at the grocery store, going wireless offers you a kind of freedom that you could never have with traditional earbuds.
We tested 20 sets of the newest Bluetooth-compatible headphones to and found these 11 styles to be worth your money.
Photo: Sol Republic
Sol Republic Relays Sport Wireless
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Best Affordable In-Ear Wireless Headphones for Working Out
These earbuds are one of the least expensive on our list but they sound just as good as most of the higher-end sets we tried. Ultra light, the Relays sit comfortably in your ear and around your neck. Designed specifically for working out, they’re both sweat and water resistant. Another pretty cool feature: The quick-charge technology lets you plug the headphones in for just 10 minutes to score an hour’s worth of music. Oh, and how pretty is that mint color?!
Photo: Sol Republic
LG FORCE Bluetooth Wireless Headset
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Best Mid-Line In-Ear Wireless Headphones for Working Out
These headphones cost slightly more, but offer better sound quality in return as well as stabilization thanks to the ear hooks. What’s more, the soft material around the ear makes the FORCE super easy to pop on and off—great for socializing mid-stride. Plus, they’re water and sweat resistant, and stayed in place during both Plyo training and running. (Psst: Try these four plank and Plyo exercises that work your entire body.)
Jabra Sport Pulse
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Best Splurge In-Ear Wireless Headphones for Working Out
You’re definitely doling out more for these headphones, but the price comes with some really cool technology. For starters, these buds have passive noise cancellation, so they knock out your gym’s thumping EDM and let you zone in on whatever fight song is blasting into your ears. (Might we suggest the intense workout playlist that’ll power your weightlifting sessions?)
These headphones do more than just play music, though. They also measure your VO2 max and heart rate from an in-ear sensor. Hook up to Jabra’s app and you can track your heart rate during a cardio or strength session, and even use their in-app routines and score step-by-step instructions in your ears. Plus, the buds themselves are comfortable and the in-ear hook keeps them on surprisingly well.
Urbanears Active Hellas
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Best Over-the-Ear Wireless Headphones for Working Out
This over-the-ear pair delivers decent sound and is specifically designed to keep up with your workout. The set stays in place while you’re running, jumping—even dancing around your bedroom. Once you’ve gotten them sufficiently sweaty, the headband and ear cushions are removable and machine washable. (Remember when the brand released a sweat-soaked version?) Plus, you can control the volume, pause/play, and skip a song via a touch pad on the outside of the ear plate, making it super easy to swap songs without pulling your phone out of your armband.
Skullcandy Method Wireless
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Best Affordable In-Ear Wireless Headphones for Travel
Technically part of Skullcandy’s Sport performance line, these buds are lightweight, designed to seriously stay put, and made from a sweat-resistant plastic. We like them particularly for traveling because the flexible, lightweight collar—which was engineered for a woman’s neck specifically—helps keep the headphones secure whether you’re reaching up overhead or trying to lug your carry-on onto the security scanner belt. In addition to quality sound, they also have a built-in microphone for phone calls, which you can control from the collar.
Jaybird Freedom Wireless Buds
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Best Splurge In-Ear Wireless Headphones for Travel
These in-ear buds are a little pricier, but the sound quality is incomparable. Made from metal instead of plastic, their design is both sleek and low profile. Because they’re nothing but a cord and buds, they fold up super small for stowing in your carry-on. And if you’re traveling with someone who has the same pair, you can share your music or video between the two buds. Plus, since these were created as sports headphones (Kerri Walsh Jennings is their spokeswoman!), you won’t need a separate pair for when you head out on a mid-vacation run.
Bose QuietComfort 35
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Best Over-the-Ear Wireless Headphones for Travel
Yes, the price is high, but these are one of the best headphones with noise cancellation—wireless or not—that we’ve ever put on. Bose’s Acoustic Noise Cancelling technology measures and reacts to the outside chatter, then cancels it with the opposite signal, which is priceless when you’re on a plane with a crying baby or a bus with chatty seatmates. (Discover more healthy travel hacks from your favorite celebrities.) Not only does it block sound remarkably well, but it also delivers fully immersive tunes into your ears. The headphones have a 20-hour battery life (that’s more than you’d need to get from New York to Mumbai or LA to Melbourne). And to top it off, the padded earcups and headband are comfortable enough to actually wear that whole time without achy ears. Seriously—they’re worth the price.
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Best Slightly-More-Affordable In-Ear Wireless Headphones for Lifestyle
Okay, we’ll be the first to admit that $200 is not exactly affordable. However, considering many people wear headphones during pretty much every activity, it’s smarter to splurge on one high-quality pair that looks good and will last. These Beats deliver killer sound quality whether on your morning commute or at the office. The ear hooks keep them secure and in place—great while you’re in transit—and are surprisingly comfortable for a long haul. Plus, with microphone capabilities, you can take calls and activate Siri without pulling your phone out of your pocket. And since these are technically made for working out (and are great at staying on while sweating), they work work double-duty for you both at work and in the gym. (Here, more headphone options for every situation.)
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Best Splurge In-Ear Wireless Headphones for Lifestyle
Don’t confuse these with Apple AirPods (if those are ever released). Skybuds market themselves as the first “truly wireless” earbuds and are, to put it simply, the coolest high-quality wireless headphones we tested. These in-the-ear headphones are über sleek and low profile, so if you’re not a fan of ear hooks or even cords, you’ll love wearing these. They fit inside the charging case (which has 24 hours of juice on it), making them easy to just drop into your bag for easy transportation. To top it off, the sound quality is stellar—these little pods actually have a good bit of base and depth to them. The only bummer: Most of the time, people can’t tell you have headphones in because they’re so minimal, so prepare to ask others to repeat themselves a lot.
Marshall Headphones: Major II Bluetooth
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Best Affordable Over-the-Ear Wireless Headphones for Lifestyle
Channel your inner rocker with these old school–inspired headphones. With a 30+ hour battery life, you can blast your favorite tunes through high-quality sound. The Major II Bluetooth have an analog control knob that’s super intuitive to play, pause, shuffle, and adjust the volume (as well as answer and reject calls).
The headphones also come with a detachable cord if the headphones die or your phone battery starts to run out and you need to switch off Bluetooth. Our only gripe is that they aren’t the most comfortable after a few hours of wear. But, hey, they look really cool if you’re only wearing them in 45-minute stints. (BTW, did you know listening to music can actually up your daily calorie burn?)
Beats Solo3 Wireless
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Best Splurge Over-the-Ear Wireless Headphones for Lifestyle
Beats headphones get a lot of attention, but after testing a ton of pairs, we can definitively say it’s more than just hype. For starters, these over-the-ear headphones deliver high-quality, crystal-clear sound and are still comfortable to wear hours after putting them on. You can control your music, phone calls, or Siri with a touch to the ear cup. They boast a 40-hour battery life and a plug-in cable if that runs out. Plus, with such a simple aesthetic and eight colors to choose from (including rose gold, shown here), they go with everything from athleisure to business casual.