10 best wireless headphones 2020: On- and over-ear with noise cancelling
Ditch the fussy wires while keeping the audio quality with a Bluetooth-enabled pair
You can’t go far without seeing someone with tiny wireless earbuds peeping out of their ears as they walk along.
They are often, though not always, Apple AirPods: tiny and gleaming white.
But maybe, although you’ve admired the freedom that no wires gives you, you really want something that covers your ears more completely, keeping the music in and the outside world out.
Plenty of wireless headphones fit on or over your ears, and the fact that they don’t push directly into your lugholes means there’s a different – less intrusive – feel compared with in-ears.
Important considerations include battery life – usually much longer than is possible with the small batteries of in-ears.
Over-ear and on-ear headphones are almost always better than in-ear when it comes to active noise-cancelling: the electronic noise-cancelling that listens to the noise of the outside world, creates a sound that is the exact opposite and feeds it in so the two cancel each other out. When this is done well, it is a sensational experience.
Noise cancelling is a feature on most, though not all, top-flight wireless headphones. After all, if you hear less of the outside world, the music is going to sound better.
All 10 of these pairs have noise cancelling onboard, but they have been chosen for their all-round sound quality, not just whether they’ll do you on your commute.
In testing the headphones, as well as concentrating on sound quality, we focused on comfort, design, value and ease of use.
You can trust our independent reviews. We may earn commission from some of the retailers, but we never allow this to influence selections, which are formed from real-world testing and expert advice. This revenue helps to fund journalism across The Independent.
The verdict: Wireless headphones
The top all-round wireless headphones are from Sony. The catchily named Sony WH-1000XM3 offer the best noise-cancelling – just – but succeed in sounding good in every situation. Nipping at Sony’s heels are the Bose 700 headphones, which beat Sony for style and come close in every other way. For a budget pair of headphones with great sound and comfort, the JBL Tune 750BTNC are excellent.
IndyBest product reviews are unbiased, independent advice you can trust. On some occasions, we earn revenue if you click the links and buy the products, but we never allow this to bias our coverage. The reviews are compiled through a mix of expert opinion and real-world testing.