Wireless technologies have come a long way in recent years, and you don’t need to pay a small fortune to own decent wireless headphones anymore. Wireless headphones still have some flaws, though: Bluetooth headphones generally aren’t great for gaming since they tend to lag too much and have poor microphone quality, but gaming headphones that use dedicated wireless transmitters lack the portability and versatility of Bluetooth headphones. That said, there are a lot of wireless headphones out there and you’re sure to find a pair that suits your needs.
We’ve tested nearly 200 wireless headphones and below are our recommendations for the best budget Bluetooth headphones to buy. If you’re looking for a more specific type of headphones, check out our recommendations for the best wireless Bluetooth earbuds under $50 or $100, the best headphones under $50, or take a look at the budget category for our best wireless gaming headsets.
The best budget headphones that we’ve tested so far are the Mpow H5. They're decent headphones that come packed with features that we normally only see on high-end models. They don't really excel at anything in particular, but their jack-of-all-trades approach along with their low price make them a worthy consideration. The build quality is acceptable, even though there's a lot of plastic used, the ear cups still feel dense and the headband is reinforced with metal, giving them a very sturdy feel.
These headphones definitely cater to fans of bass-heavy music. The bass is heavy and punchy, but it can sound somewhat boomy and overpower the recessed mids, which sound recessed and muddy. They're suitable for genres like hip-hop or EDM, but for vocal-centric genres, you may want to look at other alternatives. A feature that's unexpected is active noise cancelling; however, their performance is unremarkable. The same can be said of the battery life, which lasts about 12 hours with ANC enabled and take 2.3 hours to charge. Fortunately, they can be used while charging or used passively with the provided 3.5mm cable. There's also multi-device pairing available, which lets you pair up to two devices at the same time so as to make switching between them easier. The only downside with their Bluetooth performance is latency, as they lack support for low-latency codecs.
If you're on the market for a well-rounded pair of headphones that fits in your budget, these could be a good option.
If you find the Mpow H5 Wireless too expensive or just don't like over-ear headphones, then maybe consider the Anker SoundBuds Curve. Of course, being in-ears, they're much more portable and well-suited for sports. The ear hook design is stable and Anker provides multiple size tips to help you get a good seal. Unfortunately, they don't have active noise cancelling and their passive noise isolation is sub-par, as they're barely able to block out any noise in the bass range, where the rumbles of bus engines sit. However, for general use in an office or a gym, they perform decently to block out ambient speech. The sound is also bass-heavy but can be a bit overpowering.
If you don't like over-ear headphones like the Mpow or you're shopping on a very tight budget, give the Anker a try.
The best headphones under $100 that we've tested so far are the Mixcder E9 Wireless. They have a better build quality than most headphones in this price range and offer a good sound profile that's decently well-suited to a wide variety of genres, though they do perform better with bass-heavy music.
These are a comfortable pair of headphones that should be suitable for longer listening sessions. The cups are decently large with thick and comfortable padding, and while they should be large enough for most ear sizes, they could be slightly deeper. The headphones have a great control scheme with large and clicky physical buttons that are easy to use. The buttons allow you to take calls, play/pause music, and adjust the volume.
Unfortunately, their ANC isn't great and there are better options in the same price range if noise cancellation is your priority. Their battery life is decent, providing about 18 hours with ANC on, though it's much less than the 24 hours advertised by the manufacturer. All-in-all, these are a decent well-rounded pair of headphones that offer good build quality and comfort for their price point, making them some of the best budget wireless headphones.
If noise cancellation is your priority but you don't want to break the bank, go with the Mpow H10. Their build quality isn't as good as the Mixcder E9 Wireless and they make a concerning snapping sound when you fold in the ear cups, but their ANC is better, blocking out as much engine rumble and office chatter as headphones double the price. They're a comfortable pair of headphones that most people should be able to wear for extended periods. While their ear cups are plushy and well-padded, their headband is fairly large and some people may find the headphones fall. Their sound quality is decent, though their vocals and leads are pushed a bit to the back, making them better-suited for less vocal-centric music. On the upside, they have a great 23-hour battery life with their ANC turned on, which should easily get you through several full work days.
Get the Mixcder if ANC isn't as important to you and you want a pair of headphones that feel slightly more premium; however, if you don't care about build quality and want the best noise cancellation you can get for the price, get the Mpow.
If you prefer the more compact format of truly wireless earbuds, then get the Anker SoundCore Liberty Air. Not everyone finds in-ears as comfortable as over-ear headphones like the Mixcder E9 Wireless, but they're a lot more portable. They have a sleek, low-profile design, similar to that of the Apple AirPods 2 2019 but with much better audio reproduction and passive isolation. They only last for about 4 hours on a charge, but if you store them in their charging case when you're not using them, you can get up to 12 extra hours of battery life. If you use your headphones for working out, consider the Jaybird Tarah Wireless; they aren't truly wireless like the Anker, but have an excellent companion app that allows you to easily adjust your sound.
Get the Mixcder if you find over-ears more comfortable, but if you're a fan of the ultra-compact form factor of truly wireless headphones, then go for the Anker.
The best budget headphones under $150 that we’ve tested so far are the Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2. They’re comfortable, easy-to-use headphones that come with an ergonomic physical control scheme that’s simple and efficient. They have lots of active features, sound very good, and feel very durable, which is great at this price point.
These headphones have an excited, bass-rich sound that brings out the thump and rumble of EDM and hip-hop without drowning out the vocals and lead instruments of pop, rock, or jazz music. Their 30-hour battery life is outstanding, and they have lots of power-saving features like an auto-off timer and smart pause to help further save power.
Unfortunately, they aren’t the sleekest-looking headphones. Their companion app also doesn’t feature an EQ, which is a bit disappointing. If you prefer a more neutral sound with a more streamlined design, the Plantronics BackBeat Go 810 Wireless are a good choice, but they’re a bit less comfortable. All-in-all, the BackBeat Pro 2 provide very good value and are among the best Bluetooth headphones we’ve tested.
If you’re looking for a great pair of gaming headphones that won’t cost you a fortune, consider the SteelSeries Arctis 7 2019 Edition. They're not Bluetooth, so you can’t use them wirelessly with your phone like the Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2 Wireless 2016, but their low-latency wireless transmitter provides a lag-free gaming experience on PC or PS4. They’re comfortable, sound good, and have a great boom microphone for multiplayer games. Unfortunately, they don't have the best frequency response consistency, which means that certain people will find they sound different than what we measured, especially those who wear glasses. That said, you can EQ the way they sound with the SteelSeries Engine software to better suit your tastes.
Get the Plantronics if you're looking for Bluetooth headphones to use more casually with your mobile devices, but if you're after something specifically for gaming, then go for the SteelSeries.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best budget wireless headphones for most people to buy. We factor in the price (cheaper headphones win over pricier ones if the difference isn't worth it), feedback from our visitors, and availability (no headphones that are difficult to find or almost out of stock everywhere).
If you would like to choose for yourself, here is the list of all our reviews of cheap wireless headphones. Be careful not to get caught up in the details. There are no perfect headphones. Personal taste, preference, and listening habits will matter more in your selection.
12/17/2019: Minor text and structure changes, no change in recommendations.
10/21/2019: Replaced Mpow H10 Wireless with Mixcder E9. Added Mpow H10 Wireless as 'Better Noise Canceling Alternative'. Removed 'Customizable Alternative for Sports'.