With vacation season ahead of us, now is the perfect time to update your travel essentials with a new pair of Bluetooth headphones. After all — unless you can afford a private jet — a quality pair of headphones is the one item you really need to block out all the background noise that comes with using any kind of public transportation.
If you’ve already done some research, you’ve probably noticed the words “Bluetooth” and “wireless” thrown around a lot. So what’s the difference between Bluetooth and wireless headphones and how do you choose a pair that is the best for you?
In general, Bluetooth technology is used to connect two devices that are located within a few feet of each other. The goal is to facilitate the transfer of information between the two and to eliminate the need for cables. "Wireless" usually refers to devices that are connected via a network and it allows for a much greater distance range. Most wireless headphones, though, work with Bluetooth technology because it’s more consumer-friendly (read: easier to set up and use). But both types of headsets have one important thing in common that any traveler would be happy to take advantage of: no more tangled cords or accidental knocking off of your headphones while working out or sleeping.
Over-the-ear wireless headphones tend to be better for travel since most have noise-cancelling capabilities that reduce ambient sounds, while in-ear Bluetooth headphones are better suited to sports activities. Some earbuds are also water- and sweat-resistant so you could even wear them while running, surfing, or lounging in the hot tub.
Here, we rounded up the best wireless Bluetooth headphones for any budget and activity.