The Best Wireless Headphones For Every Discerning Ear
I love headphones, always have. That’s probably because for most of my life, I was hearing impaired. Headphones were the only way for me to hear music the way it was supposed to be heard—the treble, the bass, and everything in between. But I don’t want to be tethered to my laptop and phone: I want to do it wirelessly.
Good headphones should let you hear as much as possible. Until recently, though, high-quality headphones required a physical cable. Bluetooth technology is finally good enough and cheap enough that those days are done. That said, there are so many choices! How do you find the cream of the crop?
In a way, deciding on a pair of headphones is like choosing a pair of shoes. Most people obviously want their headphones to perform well, but they want them to look good, too. Some nice-looking headphones sound bad. Some nice-sounding headphones are uncomfortable. Some comfortable headphones are pretty barren in terms of features. You get the point.
I set out to answer one question: Which headphones are good enough to convince a discerning listener to cut the cord? There may be lots of Bluetooth headphones out there, but I found a much smaller number promising audiophile quality. From there, I looked for two things:
- Exceptional sound quality. This is a no-brainer. While the quality of the hardware is paramount, I also looked for headphones that were either well tuned, easily customized, and ideally both.
- Great design. This is about more than good looks—although that’s important, too! Great design also means that the features like controls and connectivity should be intuitive and dependable.
So I scoured the market for the best and most interesting wireless headphones. (I left earbuds out of the mix.) I tried out each pair of cans for countless hours in as many different scenarios as I could think of. These are the best.
The Best Overall: Parrot Zik 3.0 (or the 2.0, honestly)
The $400 Parrot Zik 3.0 wireless headphones are pricey but without a doubt, the best all around set of cans. However! You can already now buy the nearly identical Zik 2.0, our longtime favorite headset, for just $300 or less. This isn’t a huge surprise since Gizmodo gave the originals top marks a couple years ago. Both the second and third generation comes with a sleek design, the best noise-cancellation I’ve ever experienced, and a straight-up awesome app.
It’s not just the range of features that make the Ziks so good. It’s the terrific sound quality. And the ease with which you can use the app to tune them makes the whole listening experience an interactive blast. The app also allows you to tweak the noise cancellation, and the bone conduction microphone sensor eliminates wind noise well. Both generations are also the most dependable headphones I tried, in terms of staying connected. The kicker is a bone-conducting microphone that sounds crystal clear on phone calls which is a rarity with wireless headphones.
Simply put, it’s just thrilling to use both the Zik 3.0 and 2.0. While the $400 price tag for the 3.0s is steep, the now discounted 2.0s are worth every penny.