TL;DR – These are the Best Bluetooth Headsets:
1. Optoma NuForce Be Live5
Best Bluetooth Earbuds
The Optoma NuForce Be Live5 deliver stellar sound for their relatively modest $100 asking price. Thanks to its sizable 8mm drivers, audio sounds wonderfully crisp, with plenty of separation for you to pick up nuances. As the NuForce Be Live5 supports aptX and AAC, you’ll be able to enjoy high-quality audio streaming from both iPhones and Android phones.
This pair of headphones also delivers a decent eight hours of battery life and it comes with foam ear tips, so you get a better seal inside your year for noise isolation. That said, the Be Live5 doesn’t really cater to active users with only an IPX5 rating for water resistance.
If you’re looking for something more sporty, the Optoma NuForce BE Sport4 is the pair for you. It’s larger wings will ensure a tighter grip and it has a slightly longer 10-hour battery life along with a bass-ier sound profile.
2. TBI Pro Bluetooth Headphones
Best Budget Bluetooth Earbuds
For just under $30, the TBI Pro Bluetooth Headphones is the best pair of budget Bluetooth earbuds. It’s a bit bigger than most models, but it offers a bevy of features including high-fidelity stereo sound, noise-canceling, and aptX codec support thanks to its QCC 3003 chipset.
The TBI Pro Bluetooth Headphones is also great for workouts with integrated ear hooks to keep them in place and an IPX7 waterproof rating. Top it off with 12 hours of battery life and this is a great pair of Bluetooth earbuds for its low price.
3. Senso ActivBuds
Best Ultra Cheap Bluetooth Earbuds
If you’re looking to spend as little as possible on a pair of Bluetooth earbuds that you’ll only wear occasionally, you can’t do much better than the Senso ActivBuds. These $20 headphones deliver noise-canceling audio in an IPX7 waterproof package, making them perfect for workouts.
They only connect over Bluetooth 4.1 so you’re not going to get the strongest or most reliable connection. With that in mind, you’ll want to keep these earbuds in direct sight of your devices for a steady signal. Battery life is also somewhat limited at only eight hours, but it’s good enough for workouts and short listening sessions at this extra-low price point.
4. Creative Outlier Air
Best Truly Wireless Earbuds
If you have an aversion to wires, you’re in luck. The Creative Outlier Air is the best pair of truly wireless earbuds. These don’t have the wire that connects the left and right earbuds together, and instead, they each sit independently in each of your ears.
Despite being much more compact, the Creative Outlier Air can last as long as some of the best neckbuds on this list with an astounding 10 hours of battery life. And they sound great with an evenly balanced sound profile and ample bass.
5. Urbanears Stadion
Best Bluetooth Earbuds For Runners
The Urbanears Stadion is the best pair of Bluetooth earbuds for those working out. They’re extremely comfortable and offer great sound quality. The low end is a little heavy and muffled, but not to an extreme. The coiled behind-the-head design eliminates cord bounce noise that some earbuds are prone to and the controls, while minimal, are easy to use—even positioned behind your head.
Battery life is up to 8 hours, so you only need to charge them every few runs. The one limitation is for people with a larger head size the coils can pull at the earbuds while they’re in your ears and be uncomfortable.
6. Bose QuietControl 30
Best Noise-Cancelling Bluetooth Earbuds
The name Bose has been synonymous with Noise Canceling headsets for years for good reason. If the primary purpose of your earbuds is noise cancellation, there’s no reason to look further than the Bose QC30.
The majority of the frequencies affected are between 100 and 2,000Hz, so it will help with airplane hum and nearby talking. There’s also an optional app that lets you adjust the amount of noise canceling. And they even sound good. The problem: They’re expensive and never seem to go on sale.
7. Anker SoundBuds Curve
Longest-Lasting Bluetooth Earbuds
Anker makes a bunch of inexpensive products, from portable chargers to data hubs, and evidently, wireless earbuds. Priced just above $25, the Anker SoundBuds Curve comes at a good value.
They are IPX7 waterproof and boast an extraordinary 18-hour battery life. Their sound profile is pretty bass-heavy and the fit isn’t the most comfortable you’ll find, but for the money, they’re a great option.
8. Plantronics BackBeat FIT 2100
Another Great Bluetooth Earbud Option for Runners
If your head is on the larger side and the Urbanears don’t work for you, the BackBeat FIT is an excellent alternative. The sound quality is very good, even a bit better than the Urbanears because with the Plantronics there isn’t a heavy emphasis on the bass. They’re also sweatproof and waterproof in case you take them into the shower.
9. Phiaton BT 100 NC
Bluetooth Headset with Affordable Bells and Whistles
The value you get from the Phiaton BT 100 NC is a bit surprising. They sound great, without too much emphasis on any one frequency band. The fit is comfortable, and with the controls on the neckband, the earbuds are light and small.
Plus, they offer decent noise-canceling, so it’s hard to complain. The one drawback is the earbuds don’t have a retraction mechanism to pull them back into the neckband when not in use, although you can fit them in manually.
10. Apple AirPods
Another Great Wireless Bluetooth Earbud Option
The Apple AirPods are essentially the true wireless version of the regular Apple EarPods. The sound profile is practically identical, which is to say decent but not great, and they work seamlessly with Apple devices.
The one thing they’re missing is full volume controls. You can program taps to trigger play/pause or Apple-specific functions, like Siri control, that makes them great for iPhone users, but less of a value for non-Apple owners.
What to Look for In Bluetooth Earbuds
So which set of Bluetooth earbuds are the best? You should know that when shopping for a pair of Bluetooth earbuds there are two things to keep in mind:
First, the Bluetooth signal doesn’t carry well through objects. That could be walls or people, and interruptions from these objects could lead to the signal being dropped.
If that’s happening to you, move your source closer to your earbuds (for instance, moving your phone from a back pocket to a front pocket). Second is battery life. Eight to twelve hours is generally on the high end. If you’ll be using them constantly throughout the day there’s a chance they’ll need to recharge nightly.
If you plan to workout with your Bluetooth earbuds be sure to get something that is at least water-resistant. This is measured with the IPX rating system (there is one for both water and dust, but on headphones, it just refers to water).
You’ll want to find something at least IPX-4 (protection from water splashes for at least 5 minutes), and higher if you sweat more than the average person. Above IPX-6 is waterproof territory. IPX-7 means the earbuds can be safely submerged in up to three feet of water for up to 30 minutes. If you need to take them underwater make sure the charging port can be sealed shut.
Another workout issue that unfortunately needs to be kept in mind is safety. The workout headphones listed here are unsealed, which means they allow you to hear your surroundings if the volume isn’t turned up too high. If you’re running across streets or in areas where there are obstacles the importance of this feature cannot be overstated.
Finally, in all audio signals, there is inherent latency. Even more so in the wireless transmission of Bluetooth as opposed to speaker wire. Most Bluetooth devices use aptX Low Latency technology to combat this—Apple of course, uses AAC. There are a few options out there that feature impressively low latency, but if you’re specifically looking for a competitive gaming edge I’d recommend sticking with a corded option for gaming.