With the advent and popularity of streaming services and bluetooth enabled smartphones, wireless headphones are now the go-to for many people on the move. Here are 11 headphones that can be taken with you wherever you go.
Skullcandy Crusher ANC
Best headphones for bass
Skullcandy have taken personalised sound to a new level with these headphones, featuring adjustable ‘sensory’ bass and personal sound profiling. We found that the customisation worked well, with the headphones performing a series of tests to match a frequency curve to your own ears. A subwoofer has been placed in the headset to allow you to ‘feel’ the bass through vibrations, which generally improves the overall impression of the music and showcases the headphone’s ability to play music ‘as if the band were performing in front of you.’ The headsets themselves are a little bulkier than some others on the list, but we found they were easy to set up and fit comfortably over the ears.
Amazon Echo Buds
Best for connectivity
If you like to be fully connected when on the move, these Amazon buds connect straight to the Alexa app on your phone, and even work with other services such as Google Assistant too. The buds are small, comfortable and carry a good amount of charge, shipping with their own carry case that acts as a charging hub. They’re a little fiddlier to set up than some of the more standard bluetooth devices reviewed, but if you’re keen to stay up to date and in the know when you’re travelling these are a good option.
Sony WH-1000XM3 Headphones
Best for noise cancelling
Noise cancelling owes its history to travel itself. Headphones with noise cancelling abilities were first invented for pilots, ensuring they could hear themselves, each other and air traffic control without the intrusive drone of engine and wind noise.
If you’re not so worried about outright portability and need your noise cancelling to be towards the premium end of the spectrum, these award winning and popular Sony WH-1000XM3 headphones are definitely your best bet. We found them to have class-leading noise-cancelling abilities, blocking out even the most intrusive of noises and minimising the hum that some other headphones generate to block out external sounds. Battery life is good, and these recent upgrades have seen more efficient connections installed with a USB-C charger instead of a Micro-USB.
Lindy BNX-100 Headphones
Best affordable noise cancelling headphones
We were surprised by these affordable offerings from Lindy, who make quality headphones at the lower end of the market. These headphones are an evolution of the BNX-60, which sat below £100 and have been a hit with consumers and critics alike. The BNX-100 versions are a subtle update, and we really liked the sound profile and ANC abilities, which actually compare favourably to some of the more expensive options on this list. It perhaps doesn’t have the performance that you can get with some of the more premium brands, but it’s a better headphone than the BNX-60 and well worth considering if you’re on a bit of a budget.
Bose QuietComfort 35 II
Best for noise cancelling
Bose have the most pedigree when it comes to creating excellent noise cancelling headphones, and frequent updates and reincarnations of their most popular headphone, the QuietComfort, have kept travelling audiophiles happy for many years. Simplicity is key, and Bose manage to do all the important things really well here – sound quality is great, the noise cancelling is more than adequate and they’re comfortable to wear for long periods. The only downside we can see is that they’re relatively expensive compared to some of the alternatives – although they are a more premium product.
Sennheiser MB660 Headphones
Best for working on the move
The focus of the Sennheiser MB660 headphones are working when you’re travelling, and although they don’t necessarily deliver when it comes to outright sound quality for music, they’re crystal clear if you’re looking to make calls. They’re very comfortable and pair seamlessly with devices, so they’re a great bet if you’re looking to carry out conference calls, SKype calls or video calls from airports or cafes across the world.
Puro Sound Labs PuroQuiet Headphones
Best for kids
Keeping kids entertained on the go is often a challenge, so we liked these diminutive headphones which produce a good sound quality, designed specifically with smaller people in mind. They’re affordable and simple to use, with up to 22 hours of non-noise cancelling performance and 16 hours with noise cancelling switched on.
Panasonic RP-HTX90N Headphones
Best for design
From £135 We liked the design and construction of these Panasonic headphones, which sit fairly loosely over the ears and feel comfortable when wearing them for longer periods. A soft sound presides, although it’s bright and pretty well-rounded. We thought that the charge time for four hours could have been improved on to some degree, but the size, overall sound quality and the clarity the headphones show at louder volumes mean they deserve an entry on this list.
Jabra Elite 85h Headphones
Best for battery life
Compared to the likes of Sennheiser, Bose and Sony, Jabra are a relatively new kid on the block when it comes to noise cancelling headphones. The Danish company’s offerings however have been well received by the industry and these over the ear headphones feature intelligent noise cancelling, customised via an app on your phone and a very impressive battery life of up to 41 hours. Fast charging also gives these headphones an edge over some of the competition, meaning that it’s unlikely you’ll ever be in a situation where you find yourself with no juice while out and about.
Groov-e Zen Headphones
Best for budget buy
Typically, active noise cancelling headphones tend to be on the more expensive side, and Groov-e would like to change all that by offering these ANC-enabled headphones at perhaps the most affordable price point in the market. Yes, in terms of ergonomics, design and sound quality you do comprimise slightly, but then not everybody has more than £200 to spend on a quality headset. Having said that, there’s still a quality feel to the Groov-e Zen headphones and sound quality isn’t bad at all. Battery life is less than some competitors but will still keep you going for 10 to 12 hours with ANC enabled
Flare Audio’s Flares JET 2 buds
Best for wired connection
If you find bluetooth and noise cancelling a bit baffling to get your head round, then these Jet 2 headphones are a nice option if you’d like to go for the standard wired connection. Many of the bluetooth headphones reviewed have a cabled option, but we liked the Jet 2 headphones for their diminutive size, 10mm driver and clever noise isolation. They have a good sound reproduction across the range for a small headphone, and we also like what they’re made of – a brushed aluminium gives the product a far more premium feel than other plastic buds.