Top 5 Best Wireless Headphones Under $500


Many headphones on the market today are wireless, and for good reason. Wireless headphones are often preferred for the increase in mobility they allow and the absence of wires (that all too often get caught on objects or tangled, in wired headphones). Combine these traits with the fact that many device manufacturers have phased out headphone jacks and there is a definite need for high-quality wireless headphones.

There are plenty of options available but not all wireless headphones are built equally. In this article, we’ll go over the best wireless headphones on the market with a price tag under $500 USD.

The top 5 best wireless headphones under $500 are:

At this price point, you’ll find excellent headphones. The models listed above are the top performers of this price class.

Since we’re having a discussion within the context of a price cap, I figure I should leave a link to a related My New Microphone article: Are Expensive Headphones (Or Cheap Headphones) Worth It?


What Makes A Great Wireless Headphone?

Though the term “best” is subjective, we should still list out the criteria used for determining what makes a great pair of wireless headphones

  • Comfort: this is perhaps the simplest yet most important criterion of any headphone. Though highly subjective, specifications such as weight; contact pressure; earpad shape/material; stiffness, and the overall dimension play a role in comfort. We should also consider the amount of heat that could get trapped around the ears during longer listening sessions.
  • Battery life: because wireless transmission requires power, wireless headphones will require batteries. The amount of time it takes for the battery to drain from fully charged is an important factor to consider.
  • Wireless specifications: do the headphones use the Bluetooth protocol or some other type of wireless transmission? Will they be compatible with your current set up? These are questions worth asking.
  • Frequency response: a great pair of headphones should be able to reproduce the full audible spectrum from 20 Hz – 20,000 Hz with clarity.

Noise cancelling is also an important thing to consider when choosing a wireless headphone. Note that passive noise cancelling ties into the fit of the headphones and whether they are closed-back or not. Active noise cancelling further reduces noise with active feedback/feedforward mic/speaker systems.

With that, let’s get into our top 5 best wireless headphones under $500!

To learn more about wireless headphones before we jump into the best models under $500, please consider reading the following My New Microphone articles:
How Bluetooth Headphones Work & How To Pair Them To Devices
How Do Wireless Headphones Work? + Bluetooth & True Wireless


Related articles:

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Sony WH-1000XM4

Sony is one of the most well-known and respected companies in the world. Let’s begin with their superb wireless headphone, the Sony WH-1000XM4 (link to check the price on Amazon).

Sony WH-1000XM4

The Sony WH-1000XM4 is a circumaural (over-ear) closed-back headphone with Bluetooth 5.0 wireless and advanced active noise-cancellation (ANC) technology.

The Sony WH-1000XM4 is also featured in the following My New Microphone articles:
Top Best Closed-Back Headphones Under $500
Top Best Circumaural (Over-Ear) Headphones Under $500
Top Best Noise-Cancelling Headphones Under $500

Sony’s LDAC technology allows for high-quality wireless audio transfer via Bluetooth. It transmits 3 times the data, providing an enhanced wireless listening experience with superior audio quality.

It can even be paired to two devices simultaneously and switch between these devices at a touch of a button.

With 30 hours of battery life (with Bluetooth and ANC engaged), these headphones are great for long trips and listening sessions. Quick charging gets us an additional 5 hours’ worth of charge after just 10 minutes with the optional AC adapter. Alternatively, use the USB-C charger cable to charge from 0% to 100% in 3 hours.

The WH-1000XM4 also comes with a detachable 4-foot headphone cable with OFC strands and gold-plated stereo mini (3.5mm) plugs. A 3.5mm to 6.35 (1/4″) adapter is included.

Typical ANC headphones are great from low-end rumble but struggle with higher, more transient sounds. Sony’s industry-leading noise cancellation technology features additional microphones that assist in isolating high and mid-frequency sounds. This is made possible via the proprietary HD Noise-Canceling Processor QN1 and advanced algorithms that sense and adjust the cancellation signal over 700 times per second.

The 40mm dynamic drivers are designed with liquid crystal polymer (LCP) diaphragms, neodymium magnets and copper-clad aluminum wire voice coils to produce superb bass, clear mids and non-fatiguing highs that extend well beyond the range of human hearing. The published frequency response is an impressive 4 Hz – 40,000 Hz.

But wait, there’s even more technology crammed into this fascinating headphone. The DSEE Extreme (Digital Sound Enhancement Engine) utilizes artificial intelligence to upscale compressed digital audio files in real time. This tech aims to restore the lost quality that comes with compression for a more complete listening experience.

When we consider all the tech in these headphones, it’s actually remarkable that:

  1. they cost under $500
  2. they have a battery life of 30 hours

The Sony | Headphones Connect app allows users to adjust the ambient sound to cancel noise while still allowing essential sounds through. We can also engage an array of smart technologies to improve the listener experience.

One smart function is the interesting Speak-to-Chat functionality of the WH-1000XM4 will automatically recognize your voice and stop playing audio as you begin speaking.

Another smart function is the Adaptive Sound Control, which senses where you are and what you’re doing, then adjusts ambient sound settings for the ideal listening experience. It can even learn your regularly-visited spots and automatically adjust the ANC/Ambient settings to the location.

Other features include automatic pause/play as the headphones are taken off and put back on, respectively; quick attention touch control to swiftly turn down the music and open up ambient sound, and full voice assistant compatibility.

What can’t these headphones do? For so much technology and such great sound, the Sony WH-1000XM4 is a steal, even at just under $500 USD.

Key Specifications:

  • Transducer Type: 1.57″ Dynamic with Neodymium magnets & CCAW Voice coil
  • Impedance: 47 Ω
  • Frequency Response: 4 Hz – 40,000 Hz
  • Sensitivity: 105 dB / mW
  • IP Rating: no info
  • Open/Closed-Back: Circumaural/Closed-back
  • Weight: 254g
  • Wireless/Wired: Bluetooth 5.0

To learn more about headphone specifications, be sure to read my article Full List: Headphone/Earphone Specifications w/ Examples.

Sony is featured in My New Microphone’s Top 14 Best Earphone/Earbud Brands In The World and Top 13 Best Headphone Brands In The World.

The Sony WH-1000XM3 (link to check the price on Amazon) is a more affordable option worth checking out as well.

Sony WH-1000XM3

Bose 700

Next up is the Bose 700 (link to check the price on Amazon) from the renowned headphone brand Bose.

Bose 700

The Bose 700 is a circumaural (over-ear) closed-back headphone with 33-foot range Bluetooth 5.0 wireless technology and controllable active noise-cancellation with 11 settings.

The Bose 700 is also featured in My New Microphone’s Top Best Noise-Cancelling Headphones Under $500.

The 700 from Bose has a battery life of up to 20 hours with a maximum charge time of 2.5 hours. A quick 15-minute charge will boost battery life by 3.5 hours. Charging is made possible via the included USB-C cable

This headphone comes with a 42-inch audio cable to allow for wired connectivity in addition to the superb wireless specs.

Honestly, there’s nothing overly special about the wireless aspects of the Bose 700. The headphone is capable of a solid Bluetooth 5.0, which offers an incredible connection in terms of quality, range and connection strength. That being said, it’s the sound quality and noise cancellation that really make this headphone great.

The dynamic drivers offer superb sound across the audible spectrum. For a pair of wireless headphones, the sound is excellent. Of course, there are plenty of studio and audiophile-grade headphones that sound more accurate but the 700s outperform much of the competition in when it comes to Bluetooth headphones.

The 700 has 11 sound control settings that range from full noise-cancellation to full transparency.

Conversation Mode is engaged with a single click to simultaneously pause the music/audio and engage full transparency for a momentary break from private listening.

The earcups of the 700 are tilted at 15º to better suit the anatomy of the human head. Plush protein leather ear cushions cover these earcups for superb comfort and fit for long listening sessions and secure passive noise isolation (to complement the active noise cancellation). The adjustable and durable steel headband has an underside of soft silicone-covered foam and clamps securely and comfortably to the listener’s head.

Though the 700 is certainly a headphone, it has 10 built-in microphones. 6 of these microphones work together to cancel noise around the listener. A 4-microphone system is designed for optimal voice pickup for calls and voice assistant activation while it suppresses noise in the environment. This all happens in real-time and adjusts as the environmental noise changes around you.

The right earcup of the 700 features easy-to-use capacitative touch sensors, allowing users to manage volume, calls and audio files without ever touching the connected Bluetooth audio device.

In addition to touch options, there are several low-profile buttons, used to control power, noise-cancellation presets and voice assistant access. Use VA to control the connected device with your voice.

If you’re really a fan of Bose, you probably already know about the 700 and the company’s SimpleSync technology that allows Bose owners to pair the 700 headphones with a Bose Soundbar 500 or 700. Play audio through everything simultaneously with independent volume control.

Get yourself the Bose Music App and, therefore, access to EQ, Bluetooth management, battery life indication and more.

Key Specifications:

  • Transducer Type: Dynamic
  • Impedance: no info
  • Frequency Response: no info
  • Sensitivity: no info
  • IP Rating: IPX4
  • Open/Closed-Back: Circumaural/Closed-back
  • Weight: 0.56 lbs
  • Wireless/Wired: Bluetooth 5.0 or wired
  • Microphone:
    • 8 total microphones
    • 6 microphones for Active Noise Cancelling
    • 4 microphones for Voice Pickup (2 are shared with ANC)

Note that Bose isn’t a big fan of publishing hard specifications and would rather its products be judged on subjective performance rather than listed data, which is often stretched to make headphones appear better than they are.

Bose is featured in My New Microphone’s Top 13 Best Headphone Brands In The World, Top 13 Best Headset Brands (Gaming, Aviation, Communication) and Top 14 Best Earphone/Earbud Brands In The World.


Bowers & Wilkins PX7

Number 3 on the list is the Bowers & Wilkins PX7 (link to check the price on Amazon).

Bowers & Wilkins PX7

The Bowers & Wilkins PX7 is a circumaural (over-ear) closed-back headphone with Bluetooth 5.0 wireless and adaptive active noise-cancellation technology.

The Bowers & Wilkins PX7 is also featured in the following My New Microphone articles:
Top Best Closed-Back Headphones Under $500
Top Best Circumaural (Over-Ear) Headphones Under $500
Top Best Noise-Cancelling Headphones Under $500

To learn more about closed-back headphones and active noise cancellation, check out my articles The Complete Guide To Open-Back & Closed-Back Headphones and Passive Vs. Active Noise-Cancelling Headphones, respectively.

The PX7 can even connect to two devices at the same time. Just note that you can only play audio or take calls from one device at a time.

The PX7’s battery offers 30 hours of Bluetooth and ANC time. A 15-minute quick charge can boost this time by 5 hours. Simply connect the headphone to a charging block with the included USB-C charging cable.

In addition to Bluetooth, this B&W headphone can also connect to audio sources directly using the supplied 3.5mm audio or USB cables.

The PX7’s 43.6mm dynamic drivers are expertly tuned to reproduce audio with stunning clarity and presence. These high-performance headphones deliver high-end audio across a 10 Hz to 30 kHz frequency response.

For more info on frequency response, check out my article What Is Headphone Frequency Response & What Is A Good Range?

Bower & Wilkins developed “Real World Listening” features that are included in the PX7. These features include:

Adaptive noise-cancellation offers an uncompromising listening experience by sensing the noise of the environment and automatically applying an appropriate type and amount of ANC.

Ambient pass-through, when engaged, passes external sounds from the environment, such as conversations, through to the headphone, allowing them to heard clearly.

Wear sensing technology can be set to stop and start audio as the headphone is taken off and put back on the listener’s head.

Enable these features and further customize the sound of the B&W PX7 with the Bowers & Wilkins Headphone App.

The woven carbon fiber composite arms of the PX7 are modelled after the strength of the fastest race cars. In terms of durability, the PX7 is hard to beat in the headphone game.

Along with superb ruggedness, the PX7 is also very comfortable and the adjustable headband can be set to achieve the perfect fit.

The controls on the right earcup are typical: Power, Volume +, Multi-function and Volume –. Use different actions with these controls to play/pause/skip music or make/take calls.

Finally, as is the case with any great Bluetooth headphone, the PX7 from Bowers & Wilkins offers built-in microphones for two-way communication. It employs two mics for telephony (CVC2 – Clear Voice Communication v2) and offers a clear voice pickup for the person wearing the headphones for easy calls and voice assistant utilization.

Key Specifications:

  • Transducer Type: 1.72″ / 43.6 mm Dynamic
  • Impedance: 20 Ω
  • Frequency Response: 10 Hz to 30 kHz (Wireless)
  • Sensitivity: 111 dB
  • IP Rating: no info
  • Open/Closed-Back: Circumaural/Closed-back
  • Weight: 10.7 oz / 302 g
  • Wireless/Wired: Bluetooth

Bowers & Wilkins is featured in My New Microphone’s Top 13 Best Headphone Brands In The World and Top 14 Best Earphone/Earbud Brands In The World.


Sennheiser Momentum 3

The Sennheiser Momentum 3 (link to check the price on Amazon) is a great wireless headphone for under $500.

Sennheiser Momentum 3

The Sennheiser Momentum 3 is yet another circumaural (over-ear) closed-back wireless headphone. It is Bluetooth 5.0 compliant and features 3 different modes of active noise cancellation.

The built-In lithium rechargeable battery gives 17 hours of operation time with Bluetooth and ANC engaged. The USB-C port on the headphones is used for charging and the Momentum 3 comes with a USB-C cable and a USB-C to USB-A adapter for easy charging.

Purchasing a new pair of Sennheiser Momentum 3’s will also get you a detachable audio cable with 3.5mm plugs for wired connectivity if you choose to go wired instead of wireless with the headphones.

42mm dynamic drivers and a premium wireless receiver and signal path make these headphones sound excellent from bass through mids all the way to the high end. Studio-like audio has been brought to the mobile headphone world with the Sennheiser Momentum 3 Wireless.

To learn more about dynamic drivers and driver size, check out my articles The Complete Illustrated Guide To Moving-Coil Dynamic Headphones and What Is A Good Driver Size For Headphones? respectively.

Superior comfort is achieved with a genuine leather headband and premium sheepskin earpads. Durable matte steel arms and covers maintain strength and ensure the headphones withstand the regular wear and tear that comes along with mobile wireless cans.

Again, like any of the high-end Bluetooth headphones, this model has built-in microphones (for active noise-cancellation and for telephony). They sound great and really focus in on the speech of the user while cancelling much of the external noise of the environment.

This headphone comes with a simple 3-button interface with volume and call controls. Other switches include ANC on/off and the voice assistant/Bluetooh pairing switch.

The Auto On/Off Smart Pause feature pasues audio as you take the headphone off and resumes audio as the headphone is put back on.

Awesome active noise-cancellation is achieved with the Momentum 3. The headphone even has 3 different modes to suit the environment. There’s even a Transparent Hearing feature that allows external sound to be heard for improved awareness of our surroundings without having to take the headphones off.

Use the dedicated Sennheiser Smart Control App to tailor the overall response of the headphones to your liking with intuitive EQ control. Choose between three different noise-cancellation modes to suit your environmental needs.

Update firmware, check on the battery life and even set the headphones to “podcast mode” to increase speed intelligibility for speech-heavy media via this easy-to-use application. Smart TILE technology allows us to locate the headphones if they ever get lost.

Key Specifications:

  • Transducer Type: 42 mm Dynamic
  • Impedance:
    • Active mode: 470 Ω
    • Passive mode: 100 Ω
  • Frequency Response: 6 Hz – 22,000 Hz
  • Sensitivity:
    • 99 dB SPL/-10 dBFS (via Bluetooth)
    • 118 dB SPL/1V /1 kHz (via cable)
  • IP Rating:
  • Open/Closed-Back: Circumaural/Closed-back
  • Weight: 305g
  • Wireless/Wired: Bluetooth 5.0 or wired

Sennheiser is featured in My New Microphone’s Top 13 Best Headphone Brands In The World and Top 14 Best Earphone/Earbud Brands In The World.


Shure AONIC 50

To wrap things up, let’s discuss the superb Shure AONIC 50 (link to check the price on Amazon) wireless headphone.

Shure AONIC 50

The Shure AONIC 50, like the other headphones on this list, is a circumaural (over-ear) closed-back wireless headphone. It offers Bluetooth 5 wireless (range of 33 feet or 10 meters) and adjustable active noise-cancellation (ANC) technology.

The Shure Aonic 50 is also featured in My New Microphone’s Top Best Noise-Cancelling Headphones Under $500.

Charge the AONIC 50 with the included USB-C cable for a full battery life of 20 hours. Improve the battery life by going with a wired audio connection with the same USB-C cable or with the 3.5mm analog audio cable (also included).

To learn more about 3.5mm and 6.35mm headphone plugs/jacks, check out my article The Differences Between 2.5mm, 3.5mm & 6.35mm Headphone Jacks.

The Shure AONIC 50 has everything a great wireless headphone could need, giving it a certain spot on this list. We’ve already discussed all the technology ideas in previous headphones, so we’ll blast through the AONIC 50 (not that the same technological ideas will have different names).

The AONIC 50 has both ANC and an Environmental Mode. ANC cancels external noise while Environmental Mode allows external noise through. The ANC is adjustable between two modes.

This headphone is both durable and comfortable.

The cool thing about Shure’s AONIC 50 is that allows of the features are accessible via the well-thought-out ShurePlus PLAY Mobile Listening App. Use the app to:

  • Import and play multiple, high-resolution and standard file types
  • Customize presets with the parametric graphic EQ
  • Adjust your volume with the full-screen fader
  • Create playlists and organize your music library by playlist, artist, album title, song title, genre, or composer
  • Quickly dial in your sound with EQ preset modes for a variety of listening situations.

On-earcup fingertip controls allow users to quickly answer calls, adjust volume, or pause music with the push of a button.

These Shure headphones sound awesome with 50mm dynamic neodymium drivers and a professional-grade premium headphone amplifier. With a frequency response of 20 Hz – 22,000 Hz, the AONIC 50 brings studio-level quality to a mobile Bluetooth headphone!

Key Specifications:

  • Transducer Type: 50 mm Dynamic with Neodymium magnet
  • Impedance: 39 Ω @ 1 kHz
  • Frequency Response: 20 Hz – 22,000 Hz
  • Sensitivity: 97.5 dB/mW @ 1 kHz
  • IP Rating: no info
  • Open/Closed-Back: Circumaural/Closed-back
  • Weight: 334 g (11.8oz.)
  • Wireless/Wired: Bluetooth 5 or wired

Shure is featured in My New Microphone’s Top 14 Best Earphone/Earbud Brands In The World and Top 13 Best Headphone Brands In The World.


Honourable Mentions

There are plenty of great wireless headphones under $500. Here are an additional 5 “honourable mentions” that could have made the top 5:

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