How to choose wireless headphones for your phone and more

Major man­u­fac­tur­ers of equip­ment are begin­ning to aban­don the con­nec­tors for stan­dard head­phones. The future belongs to wire­less devices. Kom­so­mol­skaya Prav­da talks about the key char­ac­ter­is­tics that you should know about when choos­ing a wire­less mod­el
How to choose wireless headphones for your phone and more
How to choose wire­less head­phones for your phone and more. Pho­to: shut­ter­stock

Connectivity Technology

Wire­less head­phones receive sound using a radio mod­ule or Blue­tooth. Which of these options a par­tic­u­lar mod­el uses depends on its com­pat­i­bil­i­ty with var­i­ous devices and oth­er con­nec­tion fea­tures.


If you are going to use the head­phones out­doors, the Blue­tooth-enabled mod­el is your choice. Smart­phones, tablets, as well as many lap­tops and oth­er portable devices are also equipped with Blue­tooth mod­ules. There­fore, you can con­nect wire­less head­phones to them with­out addi­tion­al acces­sories.

How­ev­er, Blue­tooth is also suit­able for the home: smart TVs and oth­er sta­tion­ary appli­ances also some­times sup­port this tech­nol­o­gy out of the box. If the TV does not have a built-in wire­less mod­ule, you can still con­nect Blue­tooth head­phones to it. It is enough to buy a spe­cial trans­mit­ter and con­nect it to the TV through a reg­u­lar audio jack.



Taotronics bluetooth transmitter
Taotron­ics blue­tooth trans­mit­ter.

When choos­ing wire­less head­phones for your phone, pay atten­tion to the Blue­tooth ver­sion. The lat­est at the moment is Blue­tooth 5.0.

The new­er the Blue­tooth ver­sion, the bet­ter the sound qual­i­ty and the less ener­gy it takes to trans­mit and receive it.

There­fore, the longer the head­phones and gad­gets con­nect­ed to them will go with­out recharg­ing.

But in order for you to expe­ri­ence the ben­e­fits of the lat­est ver­sion, not only the head­phones, but also the device con­nect­ed to them must sup­port it. For exam­ple, if you are stream­ing audio from a Blue­tooth 4.0 smart­phone to Blue­tooth 5.0 head­phones, or vice ver­sa, the con­nec­tion will be lim­it­ed to ver­sion 4.

Also, if you’re will­ing to pay more for the best sound qual­i­ty, con­sid­er aptX-enabled Blue­tooth head­phones. Tech­ni­cal­ly, this codec pro­vides the best sound, but in prac­tice, not every­one hears the dif­fer­ence. In order for you to appre­ci­ate the poten­tial of aptX head­phones, the gad­get you con­nect to them must also sup­port it.

radio channel

If you choose head­phones for home or office, then a mod­el with a radio mod­ule may suit you. These head­phones are sold com­plete with a bulky trans­mit­ter for con­nec­tion to sta­tion­ary audio equip­ment.

Headphones Sony MDR-RF865RK with radio transmitter
Head­phones Sony MDR-RF865RK with radio trans­mit­ter.

The radio uses more pow­er than Blue­tooth, so radio head­phones tend to run out faster. But such a sig­nal pass­es through phys­i­cal obsta­cles bet­ter, which means it out­per­forms Blue­tooth when work­ing indoors.

Optional cable

Some wire­less head­phones are equipped with an addi­tion­al audio cable jack. Hav­ing bought such a mod­el, you can con­nect it to the equip­ment in the old fash­ioned way — in a wired way, in order to save bat­tery.

Plantronics BackBeat 500 Wireless Headphones with Additional Audio Cable
Plantron­ics Back­Beat 500 wire­less head­phones with option­al audio cable.

There are oth­er wire­less tech­nolo­gies such as infrared (dep­re­cat­ed). But the most com­mon are Blue­tooth and radio com­mu­ni­ca­tion, so you should choose from them.


Like tra­di­tion­al mod­els, wire­less phone head­phones come in inter­nal and exter­nal. The first cat­e­go­ry includes com­pact devices that are insert­ed into the auri­cle. They are more com­fort­able because they do not hin­der the user’s move­ments and are great even for sports. At the same time, they often pro­vide poor­er sound qual­i­ty and drain faster due to the reduced bat­tery.



External and internal Bluetooth headphones.  Photo: Beats/Apple
Exter­nal and inter­nal Blue­tooth head­phones. Pho­to: Beats/Apple

Exter­nal head­phones are larg­er, they are super­im­posed on the ears and are fixed with a hoop. Con­se­quent­ly, they are less con­ve­nient, but win in terms of bat­tery life. The sound qual­i­ty of exter­nal head­phones is usu­al­ly bet­ter.

Battery life

One of the most impor­tant char­ac­ter­is­tics when choos­ing wire­less head­phones is the time dur­ing which they can be used with­out recharg­ing. There­fore, before buy­ing, pay atten­tion to the num­ber of hours of bat­tery life indi­cat­ed by the man­u­fac­tur­er or store.

Tak­ing into account every­thing writ­ten above, exter­nal head­phones con­nect­ed via Blue­tooth of the lat­est ver­sions last longer than oth­ers. On aver­age, they can with­stand about 12–20 hours of autonomous use.


If you are going to not only lis­ten to music, but also com­mu­ni­cate using head­phones over a cel­lu­lar con­nec­tion or via the Inter­net, they must have a micro­phone. If you want to con­trol what sounds get into it, buy head­phones with a mov­able micro­phone. In this case, it can be tak­en aside when nec­es­sary.

Samsung Level U Pro Bluetooth Headphones with Built-in Microphone
Blue­tooth head­phones with built-in micro­phone Sam­sung Lev­el U Pro.

External noise protection

To pre­vent out­side noise from spoil­ing your head­phone expe­ri­ence, choose a mod­el with improved sound iso­la­tion. Vac­u­um-type inner ear­muffs and closed-ear ear­muffs tight­ly seal the ear canal, so they are the best at block­ing out exter­nal sounds.

In addi­tion, there are mod­els with active noise can­cel­la­tion. These head­phones use a micro­phone to mon­i­tor ambi­ent noise and then block out exter­nal sounds using spe­cial tech­nol­o­gy. But head­phones that sup­port this fea­ture are more expen­sive, and it con­sumes bat­tery pow­er.

Sennheiser Active Noise Canceling External Closed Bluetooth Headphones
Exter­nal closed Blue­tooth head­phones with Sennheis­er Active Noise Can­cel­ing.

Audio Options

Con­sid­er the main phys­i­cal char­ac­ter­is­tics that affect the sound.

fre­quen­cy range deter­mines what range of sounds the head­phones are capa­ble of repro­duc­ing. The human ear rec­og­nizes sounds in the range of 20 to 20,000 Hz. Choose wire­less head­phones for your phone that ful­ly cov­er these frames, then they will repro­duce all the sounds avail­able to the ear.

Head­phone sen­si­tiv­i­ty is their vol­ume. To pre­vent the head­phones from being too qui­et, choose mod­els with a sen­si­tiv­i­ty of 95 dB or high­er. But don’t for­get that lis­ten­ing to music at too high a vol­ume caus­es per­ma­nent hear­ing loss.

Resis­tance (imped­ance) affects the over­all sound qual­i­ty and vol­ume. For most portable devices, head­phones with an imped­ance of 16 to 32 ohms will be opti­mal. High­er imped­ance head­phones are bet­ter suit­ed for home equip­ment.



Checklist for choosing wireless headphones for your phone

  1. Choose head­phone mod­els that sup­port the lat­est ver­sion of Blue­tooth 5.0.
  2. If you are going to use head­phones indoors, then take a clos­er look at mod­els with a radio mod­ule: the sig­nal will be bet­ter.
  3. Exter­nal head­phones, although more bulky than inter­nal ones, win in terms of sound qual­i­ty and bat­tery life.
  4. Pre­fer head­phones with a fre­quen­cy range of 20 to 20,000 Hz, an aver­age imped­ance of 16 to 32 ohms, and a sen­si­tiv­i­ty of 95 dB or more.
  5. To pre­vent out­side noise from spoil­ing your head­phone expe­ri­ence, choose a mod­el with improved sound iso­la­tion.