They say wireless headphones tend to be a bit like sunglasses: expensive and worryingly easy to lose. But that doesn’t mean you have to stay plugged in.
If you want to snip those wires but avoid ending up with a pair that make your music sound like it’s being played down a phone line from 1963, we’ve put together a selection of the best Bluetooth headphones that cost less than £75, using reviews from our in-house experts over at What Hi-Fi and TechRadar for guidance. And what they don’t know about sound would fit on the back of one of those earbuds you keep losing.
While nothing on this list can really compete with a more expensive pair, if things are a bit Simply Red right now and money’s too tight to mention, they’re an affordable way to fill your ears with tunes.
Beyerdynamic Byron BT
Little more than a wire with an aluminium earpiece at each end, if you’re after a pair of Bluetooth buds that’ll slip easily into your pocket when they’re not being used, they don’t come much more slimline than Beyerdynamic’s Byron BTs. They’re not the most secure fit, and the battery is so small they’ll need to be recharged on a regular basis, but the Byron BTs offer plenty of detail, and bass with both balance and power.
Soundmagic’s E10 wired in-ears have been the go-to budget headphones for a few years now and while these Bluetooth versions don’t outperform their price tag to quite the same degree, their rock-solid wireless performance, excellent battery life and impressive all-round performance mean you’d be hard pushed to find a better pair for less. Only the bulky battery module could put some people off.
Jabra Move Wireless
While the more colourful versions will set you back at least a tenner more, the unassuming black paint job of Jabra’s very affordable on-ears is probably the one most people would pick anyway. As you might expect, the plastic on the cups feels a little on the cheap side and the 8-hour battery life could be better, but the wireless signal is solid and they sound more than good enough for day-to-day use.
Skullcandy Smokin' Buds 2 Wireless
Ignore the cringeworthy name and these bargaintastic in-ears are a decent bet for anyone with less than £50 to spend. There’s a fairly hefty neckband that helps to keep them in place while you wear them, but it can be removed if you think it’s too chunky, leaving behind a fairly lightweight pair of buds with a remote and microphone. Sound quality is good, although the battery life and wireless signal aren’t the best.
JBL Harman E55
A chunky pair of headphones that look more expensive than they feel, JBL’s E55s will happily sit clamped over your ears all day without giving you a headache. That stamina extends to the battery life too, which clocks in at a lengthy 20 hours. Sound leans towards the bassy side but if you’re looking for an affordable pair of cans with unshakeable wireless performance, these won’t let you down.
Anker SoundBuds NB10
When you’re a sweaty mess struggling to reach the end of a 10K, you’re probably going to be more worried about your earphones falling out than whether you can hear every tiny detail of each song. So while Anker’s SoundBuds NB10 won’t win any awards for their sound quality, they’ve got really impressive bass response to keep your spirits up, and fit nice and snugly in your ears.
CB3 HUSH Wireless Headphones with Active Noise Cancelling
Adding noise-cancelling to a pair of wireless headphones normally sends the price tag through the roof, and while these hubbub-hushers won’t work as effectively as a pair of high-end Bose cans do, to get any level of noise reduction at this price is pretty remarkable. Whether you call the design understated or just a bit bland, and if you can forgive the slightly awkward button placement, you won’t find a better pair of noise-cancellers for less.
Creative Sound Blaster Jam
If you’d prefer a pair of headphones that don’t completely block out the outside world, some on-ears like Creative’s Sound Blaster Jam will help you avoid any nasty surprises. They let just enough ambient noise in so only a proper ninja can creep up on you, and while they’re not really built for the rough and tumble of commuter or gym life, they sound plenty good enough for everything else.
They might be as cheap as a few pints of complex pale ale but TaoTronics TT-BH07s certainly do a convincing impression of a pricier pair of earphones. So while they might not offer the most engaging listen, there’s a noise-cancelling microphone built into the remote and the buds themselves have magnetic caps, so you can slip them together for safekeeping when they’re not stuck in your ears. Not bad for under £20.
Skullcandy Hesh 2.0
With a sound to match their chunky dimensions, Skullcandy’s Hesh 2.0 headphones aren’t designed for delicate acoustic tracks or complicated noodling. Bass tends to boom and they lack precision and finesse but the battery life is a suitably hefty 15 hours. The buttons are large and easy to push when they’re sitting on your bonce, plus there’s also a built-in microphone for taking calls.