The WH-1000XM5 are the latest and greatest headphones from Sony, and frankly, they blow the previous WH-1000XM4 (our previous best buy) out of the water in terms of sound quality, with some neat additions and refinements to boot.
In recent years, wireless earbuds have overtaken wireless headphones to become the dominant product in personal audio. No one wants to lug around a heavy pair of cans when you can slot a couple of unintrusive buds into your ears instead, right?
While wireless earbuds now offer stellar active noise cancellation (ANC) and battery-boosting charging cases, they just can’t compete with the sound quality, raw power and comfort afforded by over-ear or on-ear models that don’t dig into your poor lugholes.
Wireless technology is getting better and better. Thanks to new Bluetooth codecs such as aptX adaptive providing an overall lower-latency, lower bit-rate and higher-quality audio experience, it’s no longer necessary to buy a pair of wired headphones if you want premium sound.
We’ve watched as the headphones market has become swamped with more and more wireless cans, all boasting that killer new feature. So, we know it can be a struggle trying to figure out how good a pair of headphones really is if you can’t try it out before you buy.
To give you a helping hand, we’ve tested a smorgasbord of wireless headphones and have come up with a list of the best. We focused on their sound quality, comfort, design, features, price and overall ease of use.
How we tested
To test out the headphones, we listened to a wide range of audio genres – from gentle orchestral music to bouncy radio-friendly pop tunes, explosive audio dramas and a spot of Netflix, at home and in the wild. Ambient mode tests consisted of us rudely trying to have conversations with transparency toggled on, while noise-cancellation tests consisted of us attempting to drown out the noises of the Tube when out and about.
While most of the wireless headphones below have active noise cancellation, we also have a guide dedicated solely to finding the best noise-cancelling headphones on the market.
The best wireless headphones for 2023 are:
- Best wireless headphones overall – Sony WH-1000XM5 wireless headphones: £315, Amazon.co.uk
- Best budget wireless headphones – Anker Soundcore space Q45 wireless headphones: £111.99, Amazon.co.uk
- Best noise-cancelling wireless headphones – Bose QuietComfort Ultra wireless headphones: £449.95, Amazon.co.uk
- Best wireless headphones for iPhone – AirPods Max wireless headphones: £499, Amazon.co.uk
- Best wireless headphones for the office – Technics EAH-A800 wireless headphones: £199, Amazon.co.uk
- Best wireless headphones for hi-res audio – Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2 wireless headphones: £249, Johnlewis.com