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The Best Headphones of 2021

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Walk around these days, and you’ll notice that almost everybody is sporting headphones in some form. By far, the most comfortable headphone setup is wireless (Bluetooth) headphones because you never need to worry about the wire snatching or breaking. They have a million uses, and some headphones are good enough to double as gaming headsets so you can livestream on Twitch with them. Gaming headsets are usually wireless anyway, to give players more versatility. If you’re starting a channel on Twitch, we have two tips for you: use StreamOZ to get ahead of the competition, and use a good pair of high-quality noise-canceling wireless headphones.

Nonetheless, not all Bluetooth headphones are created equally, and some may feel uncomfortable, fall out easily, or have low battery life. We’ve tested dozens of models and came up with this list of the best Bluetooth headphones currently available. There are many options, so hopefully, this list will help you choose the best Bluetooth headphones for your needs. 

Understand the Features of Bluetooth Headphones

Before you decide on which headphones to get, we thought we would go over the different available features. Of course, finding entirely perfect headphones can be difficult, and everyone has different requirements. These are some of the common features that you may look for when shopping for Bluetooth headphones.

  • Battery life
  • Design, comfort, and durability
  • Audio quality
  • Noise cancellation
  • Customization, configurable options.
  • Microphone quality
  • Noise cancellation/ambient noise toggling.
  • Ease of use
  • Charging time
  • Water resistance
  • Price
  • Portability, cases, etc. 
  • Automatic ear detection or auto-pausing
  • Bluetooth 5.0 or higher, multi-point Bluetooth connection
  • Touch controls/button response
  • Virtual assistant support (Siri, Google Assistant, Alexa, etc.)

Keep in mind that it may be difficult to find a pair of earphones that provide all of the above features. We’ve tried to gather up the Bluetooth headphones that provide most of them, so many of our recommendations should be an excellent choice.

Our Choice of the Best Bluetooth Headphones in 2021

Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700

Although these come with a hefty price tag, they also offer a multitude of useful features. They do a great job at noise cancellation; after all, Bose was the company that brought noise cancellation to the market and popularized it. We enjoyed the sound quality as well, and the gesture pad works incredibly well. They aren’t too heavy and felt comfortable staying on even when we took them out for a jog.

The design is minimalistic, which we feel is an improvement on their iconic product. They’re very durable with their metal construction, but keep in mind that they do not have hinges for folding. 

The Bose Music app is user-friendly, allowing you to set up the headphones easily, and the app can be used to control the level of noise cancellation. Controlling the headphones using the gesture pad is simple, with up and down swipes for volume and back and forth swipes for skipping tracks. You can pause or play music with two taps, which means you’ll never accidentally pause your music. With 20 hours of battery life (according to the manufacturer), you’re likely to never run out. The charger is USB-C, and the microphone is excellent, so you can even use these for phone calls or zoom meetings. Overall, these are a great pair of headphones that are worth the high price. We recommend getting them if you want high-quality sound, durable headphones with easily configurable noise cancellation, and great battery life. 

Sony WH-1000MX4

We’re confident that every review you find this year will mention these as hands-down at noise cancellation. It seems that Sony outdid itself in that regard, and the sound quality is exceptional. There are some cool features as well, like auto-pausing when taken off and Bluetooth multi-point. In case you can’t figure it out, that means you can use the same pair of headphones to connect to more than one device, which is extremely convenient.

Downloading the official app allows the headphones to automatically pause music when you speak. It’s a new feature and, as expected, needs some fine-tuning, but we like the innovation nonetheless. Using the feature quickly makes you realize how many small noises we make when we’re not talking. Anyway, it’s simple enough to switch it off from the app. 

The design hasn’t changed much from its predecessor, but we found that the padding is comparatively less comfortable, which isn’t to say they are entirely uncomfortable. Touch control of playback and skipping work well, but tapping could be improved. Ambient Mode can be conveniently activated by cupping over the left earcup. We especially liked that last feature, which lowers your music and pumps in sounds from your surroundings.

Pairing the headphones does not require downloading the app; but instead, it depends on NFC. Nonetheless, the app is useful for customization. They have an in-built microphone, and the battery runs for 20 hours. To sum it up, this is a great pair of headphones with extraordinary noise cancelation, super-high quality sound, and many great features. Aside from the price tag, we can’t think of anyone who wouldn’t want these. 

Jabra Elite 85H

These are affordable pairs of headphones that surprised us with excellent quality. Sure, the noise cancellation doesn’t even come close to that of the Sony or Bose headphones we reviewed above, but there is no doubt in our minds that it was good and effective noise cancellation that matches much more expensive models. One thing that certainly stands out with these is that they are remarkably comfortable. You can also enjoy auto-pausing when you take them off, which works seamlessly. There are no touch controls but instead use small buttons for volume, playback, toggling noise cancellation, voice assistant/mic muting, and call control.

Another feature that we like about these headphones is that they are water-resistant, a feature not found in many pricier options. The sound and mic are fantastic, and pairing them with your devices is simple enough. You can use the app to customize the sound output to your tastes. The design is gorgeous, and they can be folded to be carried in the provided zippered case. Folding the headphones flat also turns them off. With the 41-hour battery life, these are an attractive option for many. 

Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro

It wouldn’t be fair to review headphones without getting into earbuds as a more portable and lightweight option. With this new model, Samsung decided to reintroduce the rubber tips that help improve noise isolation and noise cancellation. 

Although slightly more affordable, these are a high-quality option with impressive sound quality, great design, sweat resistance, and much more. A dedicated app can be used to customize and control many of the features such as the equalizer profiles and high and low settings. one new feature found in these is 360 audio that creates a surround sound environment to improve your listening experience. Watching a movie on your tablet will feel like watching it at a movie theatre.

Each full charge of these earbuds lasts around 5 hours, and the convenient carry case can provide 13 hours of additional charge. This may not be the best in the market, but the lower battery life is understandable given that active noise cancellation can drain the battery significantly faster. All in all, we think this is a slightly cheaper option for truly wireless earbuds that deliver sound, microphone audio, comfort, style, and noise cancellation. We have to warn you that other Galaxy Buds are cheaper, simply for not having noise cancellation. So think of how important that feature is for you. 

Apple AirPods Pro

We all know that the concept of truly wireless earphones was first brought to market by Apple, and this pair of AirPods is still as incredible as the first model. Forgoing their usual design for rubber tips allowed Apple to perfect their noise isolation further and enhance the audio. They are extremely comfortable to wear, although admittedly not stylish (unless you’re trying to say you bought the expensive Apple product like everyone else).

We found the active noise cancellation feature works superbly, and these work better than any other option for iOS users. Using the earphones is extremely intuitive, and there isn’t much playing around with it required. If you want to hear your surroundings, you don’t need to take them off, but all you need is to press the stem for a long time until Transparency Mode is turned on. Controlling your music using the stem is simple and easy to remember. 

The rubber tips are designed to fit well into your ear (there’s even a test in the app to help you judge how well they fit), and you get three different sizes. Keep in mind that although we say rubber tips, these aren’t the generic design we see in all earphones these days, because of course, Apple does its own thing. There’s a reason these are so popular among iOS users; it’s that they do their job and do it well. They offer great sound quality, an excellent microphone, and 5 hours of battery life (24 additional hours in the charging case), making them an excellent choice. As with anything Apple, if you are already an iPhone or iPad user, these are the natural choice for you to purchase, and it is an extremely good option.

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