November 2022

Wireless Headphones: Meta Ranking Report

This report contains an aggregate consensus of Headphones rankings posted by key online experts, as of November 2022.

Summary

As of 10 Nov 2022, Sony WH-1000XM5 takes the cake as the most critically-acclaimed headphones with 7 expert endorsements. 6 experts out of 7 recommended it as the '#1 headphones' this month. It is followed by Sony WH-1000XM4 and Bose 700 , with 5 and 5 expert endorsements respectively.

At a glance - November 2022 Ranking

Scroll horizontally to browse this ranking table
Rank Change Price Headphones
Digital Trends
IGN
Old Time Music
T3
Tom's Guide
CNET
Rtings.com
Wirecutter
PCMag
What Hi-Fi
1
- $348
Sony WH-1000XM5
1
1
-
1
1
1
-
-
6
1
2
+1 $348
Sony WH-1000XM4
-
-
-
8
-
10
1
3
-
3
3
+2 $269
Bose 700
2
3
-
4
3
-
7
-
-
-
4
-2 $249
Bose QuietComfort 45
-
4
-
10
12
8
-
-
2
22
5
-1 $479
Apple AirPods Max
3
8
-
-
10
3
-
-
-
12
6
New * $229
Apple AirPods Pro 2
-
-
-
-
4
-
-
-
1
10
7
+12 $275
Sennheiser Momentum 4
6
6
-
-
6
-
-
-
-
17
8
-1 $87
Jabra Elite 45h
-
-
-
-
-
9
-
2
4
-
9
-3 $228
Sony WF-1000XM4
-
-
-
6
-
2
-
-
-
7
10
+3 Check price
Sony WF-C500
-
-
-
3
-
-
-
-
-
2
11
New * $279
Bose QuietComfort II
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
3
5
14
+1 $199
Urbanista Los Angeles
4
-
-
-
-
-
-
-
9
-
15
+2 $80
Anker Soundcore Life Q30
-
-
-
-
-
13
4
-
-
-
16
-2 $200
Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3
-
-
-
-
-
4
-
-
-
15
17
-8 Check price
Apple AirPods 3
-
-
-
12
8
-
-
-
-
-
18
- $60
Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 Plus
-
-
-
9
-
-
-
-
-
11

We ranked Sony WH-1000XM5 #1 in November 2022 because:

  • 7 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Wireless Headphones” rankings.
  • Out of those, 6 experts ranked Sony WH-1000XM5 as #1.
Critic endorsements:
Digital Trends

The best wireless headphones overall

Pros
Excellent sound
Very good comfort
Ultra-clear call quality
Best-in-class noise canceling
Very good battery life
Hi-res compatible (wired/wireless)
Hands-free voice assistant access
Classy, modern design

Cons
Fold-flat, but don’t fold up

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IGN

Best Wireless Headphones

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T3

The best wireless over-ear headphones for most people

Pros
Very light and comfortable
Excellent sound quality
Fantastic noise cancellation

Cons
No aptX support

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Tom's Guide

The best wireless headphones overall / Editor's Choice

Pros
Articulate and engaging sound
Great control options
Impressive noise-cancelation

Cons
Redesign and eco credentials ups the price
Gets hot around the ears during longer listening

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CNET

Best new noise-canceling headphones

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PCMag

Best for Audiophiles / Editors' Choice

Pros
Excellent audio performance with robust bass depth and crisp highs
Top-notch active noise cancellation
Intuitive on-ear controls
App offers an adjustable EQ and other customization settings
Comfortable, stylish design

Cons
Expensive

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What Hi-Fi

New design, same result for Sony’s latest premium noise-cancelling headphones

Pros
Sensational sonic clarity
Nice to use
Punchy and precise, agile bass

Cons
Build seems a little less premium than before
Don’t fold away completely

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We ranked Sony WH-1000XM4 #2 in November 2022 because:

  • 5 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Wireless Headphones” rankings.
  • Out of those, 1 expert ranked Sony WH-1000XM4 as #1.
Critic endorsements:
T3

The former best wireless over-ear headphones ever

Pros
Very light and comfortable
Excellent sound quality
Fantastic noise cancellation

Cons
No aptX support

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CNET

Best ANC Earbuds

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Rtings.com

Best Wireless Bluetooth Headphones

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Wirecutter

Best wireless headphones for the office

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What Hi-Fi

Sony’s premium wireless headphones deliver a sonic masterclass

Pros
Dynamic, detail-rich sound
Sensational sense of timing
Lightweight, comfy and clever

Cons
No IP rating
No aptX support

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Methodology: combine opinions of key experts

Identify Experts

We identify key publishers and experts that consistently review and recommend Wireless Headphones.

Capture Rankings

For each publisher we find a currently recommended "top 10" list of Wireless Headphones, it must be updated in the last 9 months.

Aggregate Rankings

We put all those lists together and aggregate them. The more frequently a product is recommended, the higher it is in our ranking

Experts chosen for November 2022 ranking

We ranked Bose 700 #3 in November 2022 because:

  • 5 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Wireless Headphones” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
Digital Trends

Best for comfort and conference calls

Pros
Excellent noise canceling
Extremely comfortable
Remarkable voice clarity for calls and voice assistants
Connect to multiple devices at once
USB-C brings convenient quick-charging

Cons
Boost to lower treble comes off as harsh
Requires Bose Music App to control many functions

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IGN

Best Wireless Noise Canceling Headphones

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T3

The best noise cancelling headphones for call quality

Pros
Astonishing voice pick up
Top-tier noise cancelling
Very good sound quality

Cons
Battery life not great
Not as many features as Sony

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Tom's Guide

The best wireless headphones for ANC

Pros
Slick, attractive design
Adjustable ANC levels
Precise, balanced audio
Smart, intuitive buttons and touch controls

Cons
Expensive

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Rtings.com

Best Wireless Bluetooth Headphones For Calls

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We ranked Bose QuietComfort 45 #4 in November 2022 because:

  • 6 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Wireless Headphones” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
IGN

Best Closed-Back Wireless Headphones

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T3

Best wireless headphones for noise-cancelling

Pros
Impressive noise-cancelling
24 hours of battery life
Sound you can listen to for hours

Cons
Can’t turn off noise-cancelling entirely
No manual EQ settings

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Tom's Guide

Inexpensive noise cancellation with lengthy playtime

Pros
Elite active noise cancellation
Refined sound signature
Increased battery life
Fantastic comfort and connectivity

Cons
Can’t disable ANC mode
Dip in call quality

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CNET

Best QuietComfort from Bose

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PCMag

Best Active Noise Cancellation / Editors' Choice

Pros
Best-in-class noise cancellation
Sculpted audio with rich bass and crisp highs
Exceptionally comfortable

Cons
ANC can’t be adjusted
Sound signature isn't accurate for true audiophiles

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What Hi-Fi

The QC45 have solid noise cancellation, but they're bettered in sound quality by the class leaders.

Pros
Effective noise cancellation
24-hour battery life
Comfortable build

Cons
Sparsely featured comparatively
Beaten for dynamics and timing
No aptX Bluetooth

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We ranked Apple AirPods Max #5 in November 2022 because:

  • 5 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Wireless Headphones” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
Digital Trends

Best for iPhone users

Pros
Best-in-class ANC
Amazing transparency mode
Excellent build quality
Excellent sound quality
Top-notch call quality

Cons
Charges via Lightning cable
Heavy on head

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IGN

Best High-End Wireless Headphones for Apple Users

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Tom's Guide

The best over-ear wireless headphones for iOS users

Pros
Luxury design
Excellent noise cancellation
Spatial Audio sounds great

Cons
Expensive

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CNET

Best High-End Wireless Earbuds

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What Hi-Fi

These are hands-down the best wireless noise-cancellers you can buy (for Apple users, anyway)

Pros
Superb sound and noise-cancelling
Cinematic spatial audio
Exceptional build quality

Cons
Near-pointless case
Audio cable not included
Practically Apple-only

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We ranked Apple AirPods Pro 2 #6 in November 2022 because:

  • 3 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Wireless Headphones” rankings.
  • Out of those, 1 expert ranked Apple AirPods Pro 2 as #1.
Critic endorsements:
Tom's Guide

A major upgrade with better battery life and personalized spatial audio

Pros
World-class noise cancellation
Volume controls right on the stem
Dolby Atmos spatial audio
Improved battery life

Cons
Audio performance needs finessing
Lackluster call quality
Lanyard costs extra

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PCMag

Best Earphones for iPhone Users / Editors' Choice

Pros
Rich, well-balanced audio performance
Excellent active noise cancellation
Adaptive Transparency mode is genuinely impressive
Charging case has a useful built-in speaker
Seamless integration with Apple devices

Cons
No hi-res codec support
Offers only non-adjustable EQ presets

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What Hi-Fi

Apple's best-sounding AirPods yet are up there with the best

Pros
Clear, detailed and powerful sound
Excellent noise-cancelling
Longer battery life
Smooth, intuitive use with iOS devices

Cons
Many features restricted to iOS devices only
Customisable ANC modes would be useful

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We ranked Sennheiser Momentum 4 #7 in November 2022 because:

  • 4 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Wireless Headphones” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
Digital Trends

Best for sound quality

Pros
Amazing battery life
Outstanding sound
Effective wind noise reduction
Comfortable
Effective ANC

Cons
No auto-off function

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IGN

Best High-End Wireless Headphones

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Tom's Guide

Best-ever battery life for a wireless headphone with ANC

Pros
Spectacular battery life
Great sound
Effective noise-cancelling performance
Reliable touch controls
Robust design with plain styling (if you like that sort of thing)

Cons
Anonymous styling
Earpads may make ears hot
Flaky connectivity issues with Smart Control app

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What Hi-Fi

Highly competitive premium over-ears in the sound and features departments

Pros
Clean, neutral, musical sound
60-hour battery life
Effective ANC
Wired listening doesn’t require battery

Cons
Drops predecessors’ classy aesthetic
Earcups don’t fold inwards

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We ranked Jabra Elite 45h #8 in November 2022 because:

  • 3 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Wireless Headphones” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
CNET

Best Budget On-Ear Headphones

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Wirecutter

Best budget wireless headphones around $100

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PCMag

Best Affordable On-Ear Headphones / Editors' Choice

Pros
Powerful, bass-forward audio performance
Useful app with adjustable EQ
Comfortable on-ear fit
Works with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant
Strong mic clarity

Cons
Combined volume/track navigation controls make it easy to accidentally skip a track

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We ranked Sony WF-1000XM4 #9 in November 2022 because:

  • 3 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Wireless Headphones” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
T3

The best in-ear wireless headphones overall

Pros
Excellent audio quality
Top-tier noise cancellation
Comfortable in-ear feel

Cons
Somewhat bulbous design
No aptX

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CNET

Best Overall Wireless Earbuds

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What Hi-Fi

Sony's best true wireless earbuds to date.

Pros
Clear, detailed bass performance
Wonderful sense of musicality
Comfortable
Class-leading battery life

Cons
Missing Sony’s Multipoint feature
Lacking ear tip choices
No aptX HD

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We ranked Sony WF-C500 #10 in November 2022 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Wireless Headphones” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
T3

The best cheap wireless earbuds

Pros
Excellent sound quality
Manual equaliser settings
Comfortable fit

Cons
No noise-cancelling
Average battery life

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What Hi-Fi

Real competitors in the budget true wireless earbuds arena

Pros
Compact and comfortable design
Spirited, well-balanced sound
Fine control app

Cons
Ordinary battery life
Slightly small-scale sound

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We ranked Bose QuietComfort II #11 in November 2022 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Wireless Headphones” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
PCMag

Best Noise-Cancelling Earphones / Editors' Choice

Pros
Engaging audio performance with deep lows and bright highs
Fantastic low- and high-frequency noise cancellation
Useful Active Aware mode
Water-resistant build

Cons
No way to turn off noise cancellation altogether
Case doesn't support wireless charging

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What Hi-Fi

Bose's flagship wireless earbuds sound the business

Pros
Exceptional noise-cancelling
Fantastic sense of refinement
Beautifully balanced sound
Excellent detail levels

Cons
Battery life can be bettered
No Bluetooth multipoint
No wireless charging
No high-quality BT codec support

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We ranked Urbanista Los Angeles #12 in November 2022 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Wireless Headphones” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
Digital Trends

Best for the eco-minded music fan

Pros
Solar charging really works
Secure fit
Real-time power meter in app
Huge 80-hour battery

Cons
Only works under optimal conditions
No EQ adjustments

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PCMag

Best for Eco-Conscious Music Lovers / Editors' Choice

Pros
Solar-powered charging
Impressive audio performance with rich, deep bass and crisp highs
Quality noise cancellation for the price
Stylish design

Cons
No in-app EQ
Noise cancellation slightly impacts sound signature

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We ranked Anker Soundcore Life Q30 #13 in November 2022 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Wireless Headphones” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
CNET

Best Budget Over-Ear Headphones

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Rtings.com

Best Budget Wireless Bluetooth Headphones

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We ranked Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 #14 in November 2022 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Wireless Headphones” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
CNET

Best Sennheiser True-Wireless

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What Hi-Fi

The True Wireless 3 keep the momentum going strong

Pros
Spacious, refined and insightful sound
aptX Adaptive Bluetooth support
Nicely priced

Cons
Earpieces slightly cheaper looking
Pick up wind noise

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We ranked Apple AirPods 3 #15 in November 2022 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Wireless Headphones” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
T3

The best ordinary AirPods

Pros
Great new design
Better battery life
Dynamic and detailed sound

Cons
Not everyone likes the fit

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Tom's Guide

The best standard AirPods for voice and FaceTime calls

Pros
Adaptive EQ with well-balanced sound
Spatial audio support
Improved battery life and ergonomics
H1 chip-powered features

Cons
No ANC or Transparency mode
Loose fit

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We ranked Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 Plus #16 in November 2022 because:

  • 2 independent experts mentioned it in their “best Wireless Headphones” rankings.
Critic endorsements:
T3

Best affordable in-ear wireless headphones

Pros
Gorgeous, detailed sound
Small case size
Excellent battery life

Cons
Button controls aren't ideal

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What Hi-Fi

Cambridge’s Award-winning recipe has been refined to include app support and extra sonic clarity and detail

Pros
Extra ounce of dynamic expression
Great clarity for the level
Slick app support

Cons
No noise-cancelling

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