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Best wireless headphones in South Africa

best wireless headphones
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Finding the best wireless headphones for your needs can be tricky, but we're here to help.

A few short years ago, we may have tried to dissuade you from buying a pair of wireless headphones, but these days, you can't go wrong with the best Bluetooth headphones of 2020.

Thanks to advancements in Bluetooth, the best wireless headphones sound just as good as their wired counterparts, offer fantastic connectivity, and some come with nifty features like active noise cancellation and built-in AI assistants. These cordless cans also make great companions for jack-less phones like the iPhone 11 and Pixel 3 that simply lack a 3.5mm AUX input to plug your headphones into. 

Whatever your reason for upgrading, we're here to help you pick out the best wireless headphones, regardless of your budget – and there are lots of models to choose from.

To make your decision easier, we've split our guide into over-ear headphones, wireless earphones, and true wireless earbuds – and be sure to check back regularly as new additions are added.

The best over-ear wireless headphones

  1. Sony WH-1000XM3 Wireless Headphones
  2. Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700
  3. Bowers & Wilkins PX7 Wireless Headphones
  4. Jabra Elite 85H
  5. Bose QuietComfort 35 II
  6. Sennheiser Momentum 3 Wireless
  7. Sennheiser HD 450 BT
  8. JBL Tune 750BTNC
  9. Plantronics BackBeat Go 810
  10. Plantronics BackBeat Go 600

Sony WH-1000XM3

(Image credit: TechRadar)

1. Sony WH-1000XM3

Wireless noise-cancelling headphones that sound better than Bose

Acoustic design: Closed | Weight: 275 grams | Frequency response: 4Hz - 40kHz | Drivers: 40mm | Driver type: Dynamic | Sensitivity: 103dB | Impedance: 46 Ohms | Battery life: 30 hours | Wireless range: 30 feet | NFC: Yes

Superb noise-cancelling 
 Great-sounding audio 
 30-hour battery life 
 Hinges are fragile 

For the last three years, the Sony 1000X series of headphones have been our favorite wireless headphones on the market. They sound great thanks to a combination of superb wireless codecs – aptX and Sony's proprietary LDAC tech – and keep outside noise at bay thanks to Sony's ever-improving noise-cancellation algorithms. 

While the Sony WH-1000XM3 might not be a massive improvement over last year's WH-1000XM2, they're still a cut above their rivals, the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700, in nearly every way: they sound better, they block out noise better and have better features like Quick Attention mode that lets in all outside noise without taking off the headphones. (The latter is perfect when giving a drink order on a plane or speaking to a coworker for a brief moment before diving back into your work.) 

Great-sounding and feature-packed, these impressive Sony headphones are great travel companions and all-around excellent wireless headphones – and while we're hoping to see the Sony WH-1000XM4 this year, they're still the best wireless headphones of 2020.

Read more: Sony WH-1000XM3 review

Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700

(Image credit: Bose)

2. Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700

Bose's new wireless noise-cancelling headphones are easily its best yet

Acoustic design: Closed | Weight: 0.64 lbs (289g) | Cable length: N/A | Frequency response: N/A | Drivers: 40mm | Driver type: Dynamic | Sensitivity: N/A | Impedance: N/A | Battery life: 20 hours | Wireless range: 100 meters (330 feet) | NFC: No

Outstanding noise cancellation
Fun, lively sound
Battery life could be better
More expensive than Sony

Bose has really outdone itself with the Headphones 700 – and a big part of these cans’ appeal, is the sophistication of the noise cancellation they offer.

As an alternative to the Sony WH-1000XM3, these headphones sound fantastic, with a vibrant, lively character and well-balanced soundstage and offer the same great noise-cancellation you'd expect from Bose.

They don't have the same dexterity as the WH-1000XM3 and the battery life is also 10 hours less than Sony headphones despite costing more, but they're still well-worth considering when looking for a pair of wireless headphones.

Read more: Bose Noise-Cancelling Headphones 700 review

(Image credit: Future)

bowers & wilkins px7

(Image credit: Bowers & Wilkins)

3. Bowers & Wilkins PX7 Wireless Headphones

Strong all-rounders

Acoustic design: Closed | Weight: 310g | Cable length: 1.2m | Frequency response: 10 – 30,000 Hz | Drivers: 43.6mm | Driver type: Full range | Sensitivity: N/A | Impedance: 20 kOhms | Battery life: 30 hours | Wireless range: N/A | NFC: N/A

Best-in-class sound quality
Competitive battery life
Robust Bluetooth connection
Earcups don't collapse

If you’re looking for wireless noise-cancelling headphones and you're not put off by the R7689 price tag, the Bowers & Wilkins PX7 are well worth considering. 

With sophisticated noise cancellation, much-improved sound quality, and a honed aesthetic, the PX7 could give any of the headphones on this list a run for their money. 

Plus, they're packing aptX Adaptive for improved stability and latency between the headphones and your device, as well as high-quality (24-bit) streaming aptX HD brought to the table.

Read more: Bowers & Wilkins PX7 Wireless Headphones review

Jabra Elite 85H

(Image credit: Jabra)

4. Jabra Elite 85H

Giving Sony and Bose a run for their money

Acoustic design: Closed | Weight: 296 grams | Cable length: N/A | Frequency response: 10-20kHz | Drivers: 40mm | Driver type: Dynamic | Sensitivity: N/A | Impedance: N/A | Battery life: 36 hours | Wireless range: 10m (33ft.) | NFC: N/A

Class-leading battery life
Excellent ANC performance
Stylish and comfortable
Lacks support for high-end codecs

Offering class-leading battery life, terrific style and plenty of personalisation when it comes to sound profiles, the Elite 85h is easy to recommend. That said, purists will bemoan the lack of high-end codec support and there are punchier headphones on the market at this price point. When you consider that Jabra’s Elite 85h headphones are the company’s first attempt at premium wireless ANC headphones, the result is quite commendable. We can’t wait to see what the company’s next premium ANC headphones will accomplish.  

If you want an alternative to Sony's WH-1000XM3, this is it.

Read more: Jabra Elite 85H review

Bose QuietComfort 35 II

(Image credit: Bose)

5. Bose QuietComfort 35 II

Premium wireless headphones that include Google Assistant

Acoustic design: Closed | Weight: 0.68 pounds | Cable length: 3.94 feet | Frequency response: N/A | Drivers: N/A | Driver type: N/A | Sensitivity: N/A | Impedance: N/A | Battery life: 20+ hours | Wireless range: N/A | NFC: Yes

Broad and clear soundstage
Amazing noise cancellation
Active EQ an acquired taste
Boring looks

Bose took the already-excellent QC35 and updated them with Google Assistant. This means you still get the class-leading noise cancellation Bose is known for, good sound quality, and incredible comfort. Said simply, they sound great and their battery life is long enough for all but the longest of flights.

Despite the popularity of the QC35s, Bose has shaken things up by releasing a totally new wireless noise-cancelling headphones model, with a focus on sleek design and “breakthrough” audio tech: the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700. They may not have pipped Sony to the top spot of the best noise-cancelling headphones, but they're still a fantastic pair of over-ear headphones, coming in at number two.

Read more: Bose QuietComfort 35 II review

Sennheiser Momentum Wireless (2019)

(Image credit: Sennheiser)

7. Sennheiser Momentum 3 Wireless

Over-ear headphones that don't skimp on the smart features

Acoustic design: Closed | Weight: N/A | Cable length: N/A | Frequency response: 6Hz to 22kHz | Drivers: 42mm | Driver type: N/A | Sensitivity: N/A | Impedance: N/A | Battery life: 17 hours | Wireless range: N/A | NFC: Yes

Brilliant audio quality
Cool design
Customizable settings
Battery life isn’t great
More expensive than rivals

These Sennheiser over-ear wireless headphones sound fantastic, with high levels of detail, warm bass, and natural-sounding highs.

Customizable noise cancellation is a great touch, though it doesn't quite reach the class-leading standards set by Sony and Bose. Battery life also doesn't compete with the Sony WH-1000XM3s, and they're more expensive to boot. 

So, why buy the Sennheiser Momentum 3 Wireless? Well, if built-in Tile tracking appeals to you, and you like the industrial design and premium materials of the Momentum Wireless, that could be reason enough – and if you do opt for them over the Sony model, you won’t be missing out on any audio quality. In that respect, they’re truly matched. 

Read more: Sennheiser Momentum Wireless (2019) review

Sennheiser HD 450BT

Sennheiser HD 450BT (Image credit: Sennheiser)

7. Sennheiser HD 450BT

Noise cancelling and audio to rival the best, for less

Acoustic design: Closed | Weight: 238g | Cable length: N/A | Frequency response: 18 Hz to 22,000 Hz (-10 dB) | Drivers: 40mm | Driver type: Dynamic | Sensitivity: N/A | Impedance: N/A | Battery life: 30 hours | Wireless range: 100 meters (330 feet) | NFC: No

Fantastic sound
Comfortable fit
Decent noise cancellation
Flimsy build
Soundstage could be more open

Although Bose has long been the default choice for noise cancelling technology, arch-rival Sennheiser has definitely closed the gap and are now as good at sound isolation. However, here Sennheiser has scored a victory on another front: price. The HD 450BT sound every bit as good as cans costing twice as much and the noise cancelling  is excellent too.

With the foldable design Sennheiser has also managed to keep these properly compact, and they're still quite light, especially for headphones offering an impressive 30 hours of battery life with active noise cancellation turned on.

The HD 450BT work equally well as a well-padded over-ears to use on your morning commute and all day at work, and for the frequent traveler who wants great sound and noise cancelling in a more affordable package. 

Read more: Sennheiser HD 450BT

jbl tune 750btnc

(Image credit: TechRadar)

9. JBL Tune 750BTNC

Quality noise-cancelling headphones for a great price

Acoustic design: Closed | Weight: 220g | Cable length: N/A | Frequency response: 20Hz - 20kHz | Drivers: 40mm | Driver type: N/A | Sensitivity: 95dB | Impedance: 32 ohms | Battery life: 15 - 22 hours | Wireless range: 30ft (10m) | NFC: No

Good sound quality
Strong active noise cancelation
No waterproofing
Average battery life

JBL is a popular name in the world of wireless headphones and Bluetooth speakers, and rightly so. Solidly dependable, consumers know what to expect from the brand – decent sound quality for a decent price. 

That's what we found with the JBL Live 650BTNC last year – and now, ready to take their place are the JBL Tune 750BTNC, a superior successor to the 650BTNC's as a high-spec and well-priced set of over-ear headphones.

The JBL Tune 750BTNC sound great, look great, and they fit well. Reliable and easy to use, you might miss waterproofing and a few minor features – but at this price, it feels foolish to complain too readily.

Read more: JBL Tune 750BTNC review

(Image credit: Plantronics)

9. Plantronics BackBeat Go 810

Solid in the mid-range, with noise cancelling

Acoustic design: Closed | Weight: 189g | Cable length: N/A | Frequency response: 50 – 20,000 Hz | Drivers: 40mm | Driver type: Dynamic | Sensitivity: 92 dBPL | Impedance: N/A | Battery life: N/A | Wireless range: 50 meters | NFC: No

Excellent build quality
Warm, balanced sound
Reliable wireless connection
Average ANC
Attracts dust
Hiss when music isn't playing

These were always going to suffer in the shadow of the excellent, upmarket Plantronics Backbeat Pro 2, but they still stand head and shoulders above any budget Bluetooth headphones by offering a sturdy build, good sound and decent noise cancellation.

The metal headband and forks feel robust and hardwearing which is just as well since they don't fold up for travel. The silicon covered cups with faux leather pads are properly comfortable for the long haul, although not as comfy as more expensive leather and cloth-covered models. 

Sound performance is very good at the price, with decent bass. The noise cancelling, while not in the same league as more pricey, specialised ANC cans, keeps commuting noises at bay. 

Read more: Plantronics BackBeat Go 810

Plantronics BackBeat GO 600

Plantronics BackBeat GO 600 (Image credit: Plantronics)

10. Plantronics BackBeat GO 600

Better than average performance in the affordable price band

Acoustic design: Closed | Weight: 175g | Cable length: N/A | Frequency response: 50 – 20,000 Hz | Drivers: 40mm | Driver type: Dynamic | Sensitivity: 92 dBPL | Impedance: 32 ohm | Battery life: 18 hours | Wireless range: 10 meters (330 feet) | NFC: No

Multipoint pairing
Clear, quality sound
 Uncomfortable for long sessions
Limited wired functionality

The headset for the "rest of us" the BackBeat GO 600 does all the basics well, and then brings a little bit extra, which is how it squeezed out the rest of the affordable, over-ear headphones to sneak a spot on our list.

These have a durable all-plastic build with some flexibility and movement on the cups to ensure a comforable fit against the ear. The sound was clear, full and  significantly more exciting than for typical budget headphones. There's even a built in equaliser with presets for music genres, so you can cycle through these if you're needing more bass or more mid-range on specific tracks. The mic is also well-positioned for handling voice calls. 

Read more: Plantronics BackBeat GO 600

Best wireless headphones 2020: over-ear headphones

  1. Sony WH-1000XM3 Wireless Headphones
  2. Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700
  3. Bowers & Wilkins PX7 Wireless Headphones
  4. Jabra Elite 85H
  5. Bose QuietComfort 35 II
  6. Sennheiser Momentum 3 Wireless
  7. Sennheiser  HD 450 BT        
  8. JBL Tune 750BTNC
  9. Plantronics BackBeat Go 810
  10. Plantronics BackBeat Go 600

Wireless vs true wireless: what's the difference?

Wireless headphones are traditional over-ear or on-ear headphones without the wire – the two earcups are connected by a headband. 

Wireless earbuds have existed for a while now, basically since Bluetooth was invented. Though battery-powered and not physically connected to your phone, they have a cord connecting both buds – and sometimes a band around the neck too. Check out the best wireless earbuds for more.

True wireless earbuds have no cord whatsoever. While wireless allows us to wear headphones a few feet away from our music players, True Wireless cuts the cord between the earbuds, giving us true freedom. If you're looking to go full wireless, we also have a round-up of the best true wireless headphones.

Check out TechRadar's exhaustive guides to the best headphones to buy today including the best on-ear headphones and the best in-ear headphones.

For some more specialist pairs, take a look at our guides to the best wireless headphones, best true wireless earbuds, best wireless earbuds, and the best noise-cancelling headphones.

Need a specific brand? We have guides to the best Sony headphones, the best Bose headphones, and the best Audio-Technica headphones.

Looking for some headphones you can work out with? Check out our guide to the best swimming headphones and the best running headphones