Bluetooth headsets connect via a specialized type of wireless network to your smartphone and let you enjoy music, podcasts, and more while leaving your hands free. They may also include a microphone for phone calls and other voice features. Some models have controls built into the earcups to adjust playback volume, skip, and pause. Some even have a feature that allows you to hear the world around you, so you can be aware of your surroundings.
If you’re shopping for headphones, you’ll probably see a Bluetooth version listed in the specs: 4.1, 4.2, and now 5.0, which has increased range and other capabilities. The important question is whether that matters to you.
The best bluetooth headsets have a noise cancellation feature that blocks out distracting noise so you can focus on work or play. If you’re planning to use your headphones while working, look for noise-canceling earbuds with a battery that lasts all day and a convenient charging case. Some models are designed to be comfortable for long periods, too.
Some models also offer unique features that aren’t part of the core Bluetooth specification, but make a big difference in your experience. For example, Beyerdynamic’s new Aventho headphones automatically pause your music when you take them off and give you the option to allow ambient sound back in so you can be conscious of your environment. Sony’s H900N headphones have a similar feature that lets you listen to your music while maintaining awareness of your surroundings. bluetooth headsets