How do I Choose the Best Wireless Headphones?

Wireless headphones can allow you to listen to your television at home without disturbing others, or free you from cord tangles when you take your music on the go. Determining the best set of wireless headphones will typically depend where you want to use them, though you may also want to look at other factors like battery life and audio fidelity. There are several different wireless technologies, some of which can result in substantially better sound or other benefits. Analog wireless technology will tend to exhibit a hissing sound if you get too far from the transmission source, while a digital signal will simply cut in and out when it becomes too weak.

One primary use for headphones is to listen to a television or stereo without bothering the other people in the house. A wireless headset can allow you to sit further back from the television or move throughout the house, though you may be limited by the technology you choose. If price is a concern, infrared (IR) technology might be sufficient, though it will typically only work when you are in sight of the transmitter and can also have a relatively low audio quality. Headphones that broadcast using frequency modulation (FM) radio signals can exhibit a higher quality and a little more range. The 900 MHz frequency tends to be a good choice for wireless headphones, and a digital signal offers higher audio fidelity.

Another main use of wireless headphones is with portable devices. A number of different wireless technologies may also be available for these applications, ranging from proprietary RF transmissions to Bluetooth. Most portable RF wireless headphones include a receiver dongle that must be plugged in to the audio device. Bluetooth wireless can be an exception, since some devices support it out of the box. While Bluetooth may not offer the highest audio quality, it could be the best choice for you if portability is a more important concern.

One more factor you might consider when choosing the best set of wireless headphones is battery life. This may not be as big a concern for home use where extra batteries might be on hand, but can become an issue with portable models. It may be a good idea to look at how much time you will use your headphones each day, and then select a product with a battery life at least that long. Another option would be to carry around extra batteries, if portability is less of a concern than price.