Headphones are always a popular choice for holiday gift giving and the best wireless headphones are going to be on many wish lists. But with various styles and price ranges, there are literally thousands to choose from. Lucky for you we’ve got your back.
This year, Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) has made Bluetooth headphones all the rage (again), as it contentiously eliminated the traditional 3.5mm headphone jack from its iPhone 7. That lack of support for older headphones makes a set of Bluetooth cans one of the best gifts imaginable for an iPhone 7 owner, especially one who listens to music (who doesn’t?).
That wide swath of headphones, however, can make your eyes glaze over searching for the “right” pair for that extra particular music lover in your life. That’s where our gift guide 2016 edition aims to make things easier for you!
Featuring five of our top picks for the best wireless headphones, we meticulously put them through their paces to ensure they are reasonably affordable and proven performers.
Holiday Gift Guide 2016: Beats Solo3 Wireless On-Ear Headphones
Battery Life: 40 hours
Apple’s Beats Electronics may not make the most acoustically accurate headphones (they’re pretty heavy on the bass), but they look good and a lot of people love them.
The new Beats Solo3 Wireless On-Ear Headphones are the latest version of these iconic headphones. Anyone who listens to music for extended periods will find these are one of the best gifts they could ask for, because on top of style and that booming bass, they offer an unprecedented 40 hours of wireless music.
If you’re shopping for someone with a collection of Apple gear, these Bluetooth headphones also feature Apple’s new X1 chip that lets them connect simultaneously and quickly to multiple iPhones, iPads, Macs and Apple Watches.
Beats Solo3 Bluetooth headphones go for $299.95 at Apple Stores.
Holiday Gift Guide 2016: Jaybird X3 Wireless Bluetooth Earbuds
Battery Life: 8 hours
Jaybird makes some of the best wireless headphones for the fitness crowd.
The new Jaybird X3 Wireless Bluetooth Earbuds are the third generation of the “X” series, which is extremely popular for those who want music while they exercise.
These are wireless Bluetooth earbuds. That means there’s a wire connecting the two ear pieces, but that’s it –no wires connecting to a device to tangle or get in the way of a workout. Jaybird has perfected the secure-fit fins that keep its earbuds from falling out or shifting (they even fit under a helmet), and it includes a generous supply of ear tips for a perfect fit.
Sound can be customized using the free MySound app and the changes are then saved to the ear buds so you don’t have to tweak it every time.
They go for up to eight hours on a charge, they’re sweat proof and they have a new high-performance Bluetooth antenna. If there’s an active music lover on your list, these new Jaybird Bluetooth headphones are one of the best gifts you could choose.
The Jaybird X3’s retail for $129.99 and come in Blackout or Sparta color options.
Holiday Gift Guide 2016: 1More MK802 Over-Ear Bluetooth Headphones
Battery Life: 15 hours
It may not be a household name in America the way Beats is, but 1More is largely targeting much the same demographic — music fans who want quality audio while looking stylish.
The difference with 1More is that the company is committed to high quality at a lower price, skipping the expensive marketing campaigns and celebrity endorsements in favor of lower prices.
The 1More MK802s can keep up with the best wireless headphones here when it comes to audio quality. Build is premium, with Beryllium drivers, synthetic titanium ear cups and headband, and an ear-mounted bass switch (for when you want that Beats-style low-end boost).
Battery life is rated at 15 hours, and at $149.99, 1More lives up to its promise of delivering high-quality audio at a price that undercuts the competition.
Holiday Gift Guide 2016: Noontec Zoro II Wireless Headphones
Battery Life: 35 hours
Noontec is another name that’s not widely known in the U.S. However, the Australian company has been producing affordable, quality audio gear since 2002.
The Noontec Zoro II Wireless headphones offer an affordable alternative to Beats. They offer respectable audio performance with new Votrik HD 400 drivers for a wider sound field.
The Italian design includes durable, high-gloss piano paint, foldable portability and the strength of an aluminum and stainless steel frame. Best of all, these $149.99 Bluetooth headphones are rated at 35 hours or more on a charge.
Holiday Gift Guide 2016: AfterShokz Trekz Titanium
Battery Life: 6 hours
Finally, what is easily the most unusual pair of Bluetooth headphones on the list. They are also the most futuristic looking. AfterShokz Trekz Titanium aren’t the best wireless headphones on the list when it comes to sound quality (although the built-in EQ helps) and its six-hour battery life is pretty far from what others can offer. However, you’ve never seen or heard headphones like these before.
The Trekz Titaniums don’t go into your ear or over your ear — instead they are positioned against the cheekbones in front of the ear (the band goes behind your neck, not over your head). They transmit sound using bone conduction.
There are several advantages to this high-tech approach. First, people who hate having buds stuck in their ears will love these. Second, because they don’t block the ear canal like regular ear buds or over-ear headphones, the wearer can still hear ambient noise, making them safer to wear outdoors.
The result is one of the best gifts you could choose for someone who likes to listen to music while working or exercising outdoors. These minimalist Bluetooth headphones are durable, comfortable, sweat resistant and they can be worn with glasses or a helmet.
Priced at $129.95, AfterShokz Trekz Titanium bone conducting wireless headphones are available in a variety of color options.
As of this writing, Brad Moon did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities