Best Bluetooth headphones for 2021

Our expert editors have tested hundreds of headphones to find the top 10 wireless headphones you can buy in Australia right now.

We’re reader-supported and may be paid when you visit links to partner sites. We don’t compare all products in the market, but we’re working on it!

How did we pick this list?

Finder's team of experts spent hundreds of hours testing and reviewing headphones. For each pair, we considered the design, performance, battery life and overall value for money.

Our editorial team selected the Bluetooth headphones on this list based on the results from our testing as well as real customer reviews and key product features.

For more, headphone recommendations, see our guides to the best headphones, best noise cancelling headphones, best wireless earbuds and best sports earphones.

Read more about our methodology below.

If you want the freedom to listen to your favourite music or podcasts without the hassle of wires, what you need is a good set of Bluetooth headphones. While some smartphones still support a 3.5mm headphone jack, many don't, but every single modern smartphone does come with Bluetooth audio support.

There's a huge array of Bluetooth headphones on the market. While they all support the core Bluetooth wireless standard, their audio quality, build and features differ and can suit many different kinds of users.

If you're after a pair of Bluetooth earbuds, see our guide for the best wireless earbuds.

Sony WH-1000XM4

Sony WH-1000XM4
Image: Sarah Brandon/Finder

Finder Score:

★★★★★

Pros

  • Excellent noise-cancellation
  • Can be paired with two devices at the same time
  • Speak-to-chat feature is surprisingly useful

Cons

  • No battery life improvements
  • Not cheap
  • 360 Reality Audio is only compatible with a few streaming services

Buy now

Price (RRP): From $345.00
Amazon Price: From $385.00
eBay Price: From $499.00
Buy at Amazon
Buy at Bing Lee
Buy at Catch
Buy at eBay

Why we chose it

The best Bluetooth headphones you can buy right now are Sony's new WH-1000XM4 noise-cancelling over-ear wireless headphones. On top of sounding fantastic and having some of the best noise cancellation in the market, the WH-1000XM4 headphones have ambient noise settings that automatically adjust based on your location. If you want to have a conversation while wearing your headphones, all you have to do is start talking and your music will pause automatically.

You can read our full review of the Sony WH-1000XM4 headphones here.


Apple AirPods Max

Apple AirPods Max
Image: Alex Kidman/Finder

Finder Score:

★★★★★

Pros

  • Astonishingly good audio
  • Good battery life
  • Excellent noise cancellation

Cons

  • Case is laughably bad
  • Quite expensive
  • No included cabling or charger
  • Plays best only with Apple products

Buy now

Price (RRP): $899.00
Amazon Price: Check site for current pricing
eBay Price: Check site for current pricing
Buy at Amazon
Buy at Kogan
Buy at Catch
Buy at eBay

Why we chose it

Apple's AirPods Max run neck and neck with the Sony WH-1000XM4s, and in some ways they're better headphones for pure music listening. Battery life is exceptional and they're very comfortable to wear for a long period of time as well. There's a small downside in the carrying case, which is a weird and not very protective option, but the bigger issue here is that the AirPods Max are a pricey set of Bluetooth cans. However, if you can meet their asking price, you won't be disappointed.

You can read our full review of the Apple AirPods Max here.

AmazonAmazon

15% off Apple AirPods Max


Bose Quietcomfort QC35 II

Bose Quietcomfort QC35 II
Image: Supplied/Finder

Not yet rated

Pros

  • Extremely comfortable
  • Impressive noise cancellation
  • Well balanced sound quality

Cons

  • Pricey, even though it's dated
  • Not the strongest build quality

Buy now

Price (RRP): $379.95
eBay Price: Check site for current pricing
Buy at Amazon
Buy at eBay

Why we chose it

Bose has a reputation in the noise-cancelling space that makes it the almost-default choice for folks looking for top-quality audio without distraction. The Quietcomfort QC35 IIs are older in Bose's lineup now, but that makes them more compelling in our view, because while their audio quality is top-notch, their asking price has tumbled down to a much more affordable price point.


Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700

Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700
Image: Lauren Chaplin/Finder

Finder Score:

★★★★★

Pros

  • Sleek new design
  • Adjustable levels of noise cancellation
  • Better sound than the QC35 II
  • Great battery life

Cons

  • Expensive
  • No charger in box

Buy now

Price (RRP): $599.95
Amazon Price: From $397.00
eBay Price: From $489.99
Buy at Amazon
Buy at eBay

Why we chose it

If you do want the best that Bose can make in a wireless headset now, a lot of reviewers agree that the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 are the option you should go for. They're stylish, rated well for audio throughput and call quality – and slightly less so for battery life – but like most premium Bluetooth headphones, they're not inexpensive.


Apple AirPods Pro

Apple AirPods Pro
Image: Alex Kidman/Finder

Finder Score:

★★★★★

Pros

  • Noise cancelling is quite smart
  • Much more comfortable fit
  • Fast pairing with iOS devices
  • Smaller microphone stubs make them less obvious

Cons

  • Relatively expensive
  • New case is wider than the originals
  • Fixed battery makes their future unclear

Buy now

Price (RRP): $399.00
Amazon Price: From $295.00
eBay Price: Check site for current pricing
Buy at Amazon
Buy at eBay

Why we chose it

Before it had the AirPods Max, the AirPods Pro were the top of the Apple in-house audio family. They're still a great option if you do favour in-ear Bluetooth rather than full headphones, and especially if you're using them for exercise. Smaller buds often struggle with decent noise isolation, but the noise cancellation (and general audio quality) of the AirPods Max is top notch.

Read our full AirPods Pro review here

AmazonAmazon

25% off Apple AirPods Pro

CatchCatch

22% off Apple AirPods Pro


Sony WF-1000XM3

Sony WF-1000XM3
Image: Alex Kidman/Finder

Finder Score:

★★★★★

Pros

  • Great sound
  • Long battery life
  • 10-minute quick charge

Cons

  • Quick attention feels awkward
  • Large charging case
  • No water resistance

Buy now

Price (RRP): $319
Amazon Price: From $657.19
eBay Price: From $295.00
Buy at Amazon
Buy at eBay

Why we chose it

Sony's effective equivalent to the AirPods Pro are the WF-1000XM3s and the upcoming (at the time of writing) WF-1000XM4 headphones. The newer XM4s look great from early reviews, but the benefit here if you step back a generation is that you still get superb sound, great battery life and nice noise cancellation at a cheaper price point.

You can read our full Sony WF-1000XM3 review here.


Sony WF-XB700

Sony WF-XB700
Image: Alex Kidman/Finder

Finder Score:

★★★★★

Pros

  • Lightweight and comfortable
  • Good overall sound
  • Great battery life

Cons

  • Slow pairing
  • Difficult to pair to new devices
  • Bulky design

Buy now

Price (RRP): $178.00
Amazon Price: From $230.55
eBay Price: From $230.00
Buy at Amazon
Buy at eBay

Why we chose it

Sony offers quite a wide range of Bluetooth headphones at a variety of price points, but it's not just what you pay that it differentiates on. The WF-XB700's claim to fame is enhanced bass, making them a good option if you're keen on more thumping music, or want a lightweight set for working to the beat. Battery life is also very good, although they can be a little fiddly if you want to pair to multiple devices.

You can read our full review of the Sony WF-XB700 headphones here.


Apple AirPods (2019)

Apple AirPods (2019)
Image: Alex Kidman/Finder

Finder Score:

★★★★★

Pros

  • Audio quality is good
  • Wireless charging is handy
  • Easy Siri access
  • Improved battery life

Cons

  • Audio quality identical to original model
  • No change to fit if they were already problematic

Buy now

Price (RRP): $249.00
Amazon Price: Check site for current pricing

eBay Price: From $219.00
Buy at Amazon
Buy at eBay

Why we chose it

Apple didn't invent bud-only Bluetooth headphones, but the iconic design of its AirPods has allowed it to dominate the category ever since the first pair hit the market. We like the generally balanced sound of the AirPods a lot, but what we like even more is how Apple has taken the base design and iterated on it to make it even better over time. If you're pairing your AirPods with an iOS device, you get easy notifications, Siri support and even wireless charging. That's a newer feature, but Apple also sells the wireless charging case separately, so that even owners of older AirPods can enjoy hassle-free charging.

You can read our full review of the Apple AirPods (2019) here.

AmazonAmazon

25% off Apple AirPods Pro

CatchCatch

22% off Apple AirPods Pro

CatchCatch

22% off Apple AirPods with Charging Case


Beats Powerbeats Pro

Beats Powerbeats Pro
Image: Alex Kidman/Finder

Finder Score:

★★★★★

Pros

  • Comfortable fit
  • Great battery life
  • Balanced sound

Cons

  • Travel case is huge
  • Audio controls may not work on Android
  • No charger in the box
  • Only sweat, not water resistant

Buy now

Price (RRP): $249.00
Amazon Price: From $348.00

eBay Price: From $329.00 to $329.00

THE ICONIC Price:From $349.95
Buy at Amazon
Buy at eBay
Buy at THE ICONIC

Why we chose it

Beats has a reputation as a "style" choice in the headphone space, as well as providing headphones heavily tailored towards bass frequencies. That's fine if you're into specific music styles, but it's less appealing for more general music and audio use. The new Beats PowerBeats Pro headphones subvert that expectation with a more balanced sound and a build that's tailored towards fitness users. The battery life is exceptional, although that does mean that the battery case is also exceptionally large. If you don't like the style of Apple's AirPods and want more than they offer, the PowerBeats Pro headphones are an easy recommendation.

Read our full review of the Beats PowerBeats Pro headphones here.


Beats Solo Pro

Beats Solo Pro
Image: Alex Kidman/Finder

Not yet rated

Pros

  • Range of fashionable colours
  • Transparency mode works well
  • Good battery life
  • Seamless iOS integration

Cons

  • Lacks 3.5mm input
  • Active noise cancelling often feels weak
  • A touch uncomfortable on larger heads

Buy now

Price (RRP): $429.95
eBay Price: Check site for current pricing
THE ICONIC Price:From $429.95
Buy at Amazon
Buy at eBay
Buy at THE ICONIC

Why we chose it

The Beats Solo breaks a few Beats rules. They're not hyper-expensive, and they're not tuned almost exclusively towards bass optimisation as so many Beats products from years prior were. They're also available in a funky range of colours, giving them a lot of appeal. If you hanker for that Beats style on a budget, they're a solid option.

You can read our full Beats Solo Pro review here.


Methodology

25
Brands considered
75+
Products compared
10
Best Bluetooth headphones chosen
  • Our editorial team spent hundreds of hours testing and reviewing headphones.
  • We based our top picks on our own reviews, plus reviews from real customers and key product features.
  • The products on this list were chosen by our editorial team and were not selected based on commercial relationships.
Amazon prices last updated on 28 September, 2021 at 04:00 am
eBay prices last updated on 28 September, 2021 at 06:04 pm
The Iconic prices last updated on 27 September, 2021

How does Bluetooth work?

Bluetooth transmits data, such as music, over short ranges. When Bluetooth was first introduced, the technology behind it only supported very simple low bitrate mono audio, which worked for Bluetooth headsets, but didn't offer the sound quality that audiophiles had come to expect from high-end headphones.

However, Bluetooth has since been refined and updated to deal with the challenges of delivering stereo music in decent quality to wireless headsets.

Types of Bluetooth headphones

Each pair of Bluetooth headphones is slightly different from the next. Some sit snugly in your ear, while others sit on top or over them. Which type is better is subjective, so you'll have to decide for yourself which suits you the best.

Here are some more details about the three main types:

  • In-ear. In-ear Bluetooth headphones are a popular and portable option. As the name suggests, they sit inside your ear. Some in-ear headphones still have a wire that attaches the two drivers to each other, despite still being "wireless" in the sense that they connect to your device without needing a cabled connection. Apple's AirPods are a popular example of in-ear Bluetooth headphones.
  • On-ear. On-ear headphones sit on top of your ear, rather than sitting over or in your ear. Several brands offer on-ear headphones, but there aren't as many on-ear Bluetooth options as there are for the other two types.
  • Over-ear. Over-ear Bluetooth headphones usually sport the best sound quality and noise cancellation technology, but they're also often the bulkiest and most expensive. Over-ear headphones wrap around your ears and close them off from the outside world. Many popular Bluetooth headphones, including Bose's Noise Cancelling 700 and Audio-Technica's ATH-ANC900BT headphones, are over-ear.

For more information, check out our guide to all types of headphones.

How to compare Bluetooth headphones

If you're planning on picking up a pair of Bluetooth headphones, there are a few things you should consider first:

Battery life

Some Bluetooth headphones can last for well over a day of full use, while others can go flat in just a few hours. The longer the battery life, the better. However, there's usually a trade-off to longer battery life, such as a higher price tag, larger charging case or bulkier headphones. Also, using features like active noise cancellation can drain the battery life more quickly.

Sound quality

The best way to get a sense of the audio quality of a pair of headphones is to listen to several different types of music while wearing them. If you can't try them on in person, read expert reviews to find out how they compare to other models. Keep in mind, paying more doesn't always get you better sound, but budget pairs rarely come with high-quality audio.

Comfort

Choosing comfortable headphones can be challenging, especially when buying online. If you can, try them on in-store for as long as you can since wearing them for just a few minutes won't necessarily be a good indicator of how they'll feel after hours of wear. If you do buy online, check the returns policy in case they aren't as comfortable as you hoped.

Noise cancellation

Some headphones offer basic noise cancellation with little more than a white noise feature that blocks out some audio, while others offer active noise cancellation (ANC) features that listen to your environment and provide a more complete enclosing soundscape. Some headphones also offer noise isolation that blocks out sound using the shape of the headphone or in-ear suction.

Controls

Headphone controls allow you to adjust the volume, pause, play and more. Some headphones have dedicated buttons or scroll wheels to adjust volume, whereas others have touch-sensitive sides that let you pause and play or skip and go to the previous song. You might want to play around with the controls in-person to see which kind you prefer.

Cost

You can get budget Bluetooth headphones for less than $50. These models don't usually offer noise cancellation or long battery life. High-end headphones from leading brands can cost $700 or more, but you don't necessarily have to pay that much to get everything you want. There are lots of headphones that cost between $150 and $500 offering quality audio, decent battery life and a variety of features.

Microphone

If you want to wear your headphones while making calls, check that the model you're considering includes a decent microphone. Some can even be used to enable smart assistants such as Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.

Build quality

Not all Bluetooth headphones are built the same. Many of the cheaper options on the market come with plastic shells and sport less comfortable materials. Some more expensive options feature rigid metal designs and come with supportive ear tips or cups.

Waterproof rating

Bluetooth doesn't work underwater so you can't wear Bluetooth headphones swimming, but waterproof headphones can still come in handy, especially if you want to wear them to work out.

Charging

Most on-ear and over-ear headphones come with a Micro-USB or USB-C charging cable. In-ear headphones, on the other hand, usually come with a charging case that powers up the earbuds when you store them away.

Case

If you travel with your headphones or like to store them in your gym bag or purse, you'll need a carrying case to protect them from being bashed around. Some headphones include a carrying case in the box, but it might not be as durable as you'd like, especially if it's a budget pair.

aptX vs AAC

Higher-end Bluetooth headphones usually offer support for high-end audio codecs that can make a significant difference in the overall audio quality. iPhone/iPad users can get higher-resolution playback with the AAC codec, while Android users should look for aptX or aptXHD.

How to pair Bluetooth headphones

The specific steps to pair your Bluetooth headphones to your mobile phone or other device depend on the type of headphones and the type of device.

Generally, pairing involves the following steps:

  1. Turn on Bluetooth. Open your phone's settings and make sure Bluetooth is enabled.
  2. Set the headphones to pairing mode. For some brands, this happens automatically when you turn them on but for most headphones, you'll have to change to Bluetooth pairing mode manually.
  3. Put the headphones next to your device. Pairing won't work if your phone is too far away from the headphones. To make it easier, put them right next to each other.
  4. Click on the headphones. Check your phone's Bluetooth menu for available devices and choose the headphone model. Sometimes the name in the menu won't exactly match the product name because manufacturers can use abbreviated names.
  5. Start listening. You'll usually hear a message through the headphones letting you know that the pairing has been successful. Now you can start listening to your music.
  6. Download the app (optional). Many brands have an app that allows you to control the headphones and customise settings. The name of the app should be listed in the manual and on the brand's website. Once you've downloaded the app from the App Store or Google Play store, open it up and follow the instructions to get started. It may ask you to pair your headphones again with the app open.

Compare Bluetooth headphones

Name Product Price (RRP) Review score More info
$399
$249
$549.95
$549
$319
loading

Compare up to 4 providers

More guides on Finder

Ask an Expert

You are about to post a question on finder.com.au:

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com.au is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Finder only provides general advice and factual information, so consider your own circumstances, or seek advice before you decide to act on our content. By submitting a question, you're accepting our Terms of Use, Disclaimer & Privacy Policy and Privacy & Cookies Policy.
Go to site