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Best wireless Bluetooth headphones for iPhone XS, XS Max and XR

All of Apple's new iPhones leave off the headphone jack. With that in mind, here's a look at several top wireless Bluetooth headphones that will help you forget it's gone.

David Carnoy
Executive Editor David Carnoy has been a leading member of CNET's Reviews team since 2000. He covers the gamut of gadgets and is a notable reviewer of mobile accessories and portable audio products, including headphones and speakers. He's also an e-reader and e-publishing expert as well as the author of the novels Knife Music, The Big Exit and Lucidity. All the titles are available as Kindle, iBooks, Nook e-books and audiobooks.
David Carnoy
1 of 45 Sarah Tew/CNET

With all of Apple's latest iPhones you can't plug your standard wired headphones into the phone without using a Lightning adapter, which Apple includes along with a set of Lightning EarPods.

However, many iPhone users are looking to cut the cord and go wireless now that the headphone jack is gone. With that in mind here's a look at a bunch of top wireless Bluetooth headphones that you can pair to your new iPhone XS, XS Max or XR -- and every other Bluetooth-enabled audio device.

Editors' note: We'll be updating this roundup as we review more Bluetooth headphones, as they come out. First published July 2016.

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Sony's WH-1000XM3, the third generation of Sony's excellent wireless noise-canceling headphones, is more comfortable and features even better performance. It's currently our top-rated noise-canceling headphone.

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Anker SoundCore Liberty Air

If you don't want to shell out $160 for Apple's Airpods, Anker's SoundCore Liberty Air totally wireless earphones an excellent alternative for half the price. If you can get a tight seal from the included ear tips, the deliver better sound than the AirPods.

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Jabra Elite 65t

Jabra's third-generation totally wireless earphones are among the top models in their category. They not only fit better than the previous Elite but they have better battery life and will soon add Alexa voice assistant support. 

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Bose Frames

Yes, these are sunglasses, but the Bose Frames also have built-in wireless speakers that deliver better audio than you think they would. They also have a built-in microphone for making cell phone calls and they work surprisingly well for that.

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Bose SoundSport Wireless

The BoseSound Sport Wireless is a great wireless sports headphone, which the company updated in September to account for a small flaw that impacted a small percentage of units.

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Bose QuietComfort 35 II

Bose's QuietComfort 35 II ($350, £330, AU$500) wireless noise-canceling headphone looks, sounds and performs just like the original except for one key feature: There's a new "Action" button on the left ear cup that allows you to connect to your Google Assistant without having to touch your phone. 

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Apple AirPods

Apple's totally wireless AirPods may look a little strange, but they're designed to automatically pair with the Apple devices running iOS 10 or later, WatchOS 3 or later or MacOS Sierra or later. They're Bluetooth headphones that also work with Android devices, but Apple devices get access to special features. Despite a few quirks, they've impressed us -- and a lot of other people.

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Tribit Xfree Tune

For $50, you'll be hard-pressed to find a Bluetooth headphone that sounds as good as the Tribit XFree Tune does.

See it at Amazon.

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Beats Studio WIreless 3

Beats' third-generation Studio headphone looks the same on the outside but has been completely revamped on the inside with improved adaptive noise-canceling, sound and battery life, thanks to Apple's W1 chip.

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Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless

While they're pricey at $300, the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless are the best-sounding truly wireless headphones to date.

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Beats by Dre BeatsX

If you're looking for a more traditional wireless alternative to the AirPods, the BeatsX is a fresh take on the neckband-style Bluetooth headphone.

Bose Soundsport Free Wireless
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Bose SoundSport Free

Remove the cord from Bose's popular and highly rated SoundSport Wireless earphones and you're left with SoundSport Free, the company's new totally wireless earphones that costs $250. Initially only available in the US, they'll come to other markets in 2018. (The US price converts to about £175 or AU$310.)

Yes, that price is $90 more expensive than Apple's AirPods, which have dominated the totally wireless headphone market (and wireless headphone market overall). But the SoundSport Free are true sports headphones and -- despite the higher price -- are a compelling alternative to the AirPods, particularly for fans of Bose's StayHear+ Sport tips.

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Sennheiser PXC 550 Wireless

Sennheiser's PXC 550 Wireless is a worthy competitor to Bose's QuietComfort 35. Like that model, it's very comfortable, has impressive noise cancellation and works very well as a headset for making calls.

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Jaybird X4

One of the early leaders in wireless in-ear sport headphones, Jaybird's newest X-series headphone is the X4. Not only is it sweat-proof, it's fully waterproof, and Jaybird has included new tips and fins that promise a more comfortable, secure fit. 

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Jaybird Tarah

At $100, Jaybird's Tarah headphone looks a lot like the company's X4 earphones but costs $30 less. (They've been on sale for $80, which makes them even more appealing).

Aside from the price, what's the difference? Well, the buds themselves are shaped a little differently and aren't designed to be worn with the cord looped back around the top of your ear. Also, the Tarah has two hours less battery life than the X4.

Otherwise the specs are similar.

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Sennheiser HD 4.50BTNC Wireless

The Sennheiser HD 4.50 BTNC Wireless is a wireless noise-canceling headphone with effective noise canceling that sounds great and costs significantly less than Bose's QuietComfort 35. 

Plantronics BackBeat GO 810
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Plantronics BackBeat Go 810

Plantronics has been putting out a steady stream of pretty affordable headphones that deliver good performance for the money, and the BackBeat Go 810 fits right in with them. Featuring noise-canceling in an over-ear design for $150, in many ways it's the "light" version of the company's BackBeat Pro 2, which lists for $200.

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Sony WF-SP700N

Sony's latest true wireless WF-SP700N earphones retail for $180 and are essentially the sports version of Sony's earlier  WF-1000X. Both have an active noise-canceling feature that helps muffle ambient noise -- something missing from Apple's slightly less expensive AirPods.

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V-Moda Crossfade 2 Wireless

V-Moda's latest Bluetooth headphone is its best model yet, with improved sound, battery life and comfort.

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Microsoft Surface Headphones

The Surface Headphones don't quite match Bose and Sony noise-canceling headphones, but they're a strong freshman effort with some compelling feature and design elements.

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V-Moda Forza Metallo Wireless

The V-Moda Metallo Wireless isn't cheap, but it's an excellent-sounding neckband-style headphone for both sports and everyday use.

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Anker SoundBuds Slim

The SoundBuds Slim, an in-ear Bluetooth sports headphone that can be had for less than $30 (£20AU$70) online, is one of the better budget wireless sport headphones we've tested.

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Plantronics Backbeat Go 410

Plantronics' premium-sounding neckband-style wireless headphones feature active noise canceling at a moderate price with one feature missing from Bose's QuietControl 30: You can use them with in-flight entertainment systems thanks to an included cable that connects via the USB charging port. 

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Marshall Mid ANC

The Marshall Mid ANC is the company's first headphone with noise-canceling. It sounds excellent for an on-ear wireless headphone.

Bowers & Wilkins PX
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Bowers & Wilkins PX

Bowers & Wilkins has made a few different wireless headphones, but the PX is the company's first headphone to feature both Bluetooth and noise canceling -- and it's actually the company's first noise-canceling headphone of any kind.

Available in two color options, space gray and soft gold, the PX has that sleek, sophisticated design that Bowers & Wilkins headphones are known for, with some metal parts and ballistic nylon on its ear cups. It costs $400, £330 or AU$549.

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B&O Play by Bang and Olufsen Beoplay H4

The Beoplay H4, B&O Play's entry-level over-ear Bluetooth headphone doesn't have much in the way of bells and whistles, but it sounds very good, and it's comfortable.

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Bose SoundLink Around-Ear Wireless Headphones II

If you can live without the QuietComfort 35's active noise cancellation, Bose's SoundLink Around-Ear Wireless Headphones II are a very comfortable full-size headphone with very good sound quality for Bluetooth.

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Aftershokz Trekz Air wireless bone-conduction-headphones

The AfterShokz Trekz Air is a slimmed down bone-conduction headphone that offers improved sound and is very comfortable to wear, leaving your ears open to hear the outside world. It also works well as a headset for making phone calls and comes with a nice carrying pouch.

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UA Sport Wireless Flex

The UA Sport Wireless Flex has a built-in LED on the headband, a safety feature for nighttime runners (and walkers). It also sounds good and is comfortable to wear. Our only gripe is that it should probably cost a little less.

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Plantronics BackBeat Fit 300

The Plantronics BackBeat Fit 300 is a reasonably priced lightweight Bluetooth headphone that fits comfortably and is good for both everyday use and the gym. 

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Beats by Dre Solo 3 Wireless

Thanks to being updated with Apple's new low-energy W1 custom Bluetooth chip, Beats' Solo 3 Wireless has much better battery life than its predecessor. Its impressive 40 hours of battery life is tops for a Bluetooth headphone.

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Plantronics BackBeat 500 Series

If you're looking for an affordable on-ear headphone not named Beats that's attractively designed and sounds very good, Plantronics' BackBeat 500 fits the bill.

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Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2

The Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2 is one of the better values in noise-canceling wireless headphones.

AKG N60NC Wireless
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AKG N60NC Wireless

Although it may not be quite as good as full-size offerings from Bose and Sony, the on-ear AKG N60NC is arguably the best compact wireless noise-canceling headphone.

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Bose QuietControl 30

The Bose QuietControl 30 is essentially the wireless version of the company's QuietComfort 20 headphone -- an in-ear model that also features active noise cancellation.

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iFrogz Impulse Duo

The iFrogz Impulse Duo is lightweight, comfortable in-ear Bluetooth headphone that's sweat resistant and delivers good sound for its relatively modest price point. It has a nifty magnetic clip system on the inline remote and is rated for 10 hours of battery at moderate volumes.

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Sennheiser HD1 Wireless

Sennheiser's HD1 Wireless, the headphone also known as the Momentum 2.0 Wireless, is one of the top sounding wireless Bluetooth headphones. It also features active noise canceling, though it's not up to the level of Bose's noise canceling. This headphone started out at $500 or £380, but has come down in price (it's about AU$600 in Australia right now).

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Skullcandy Grind Wireless

The Skullcandy Grind Wireless is an on-ear model and one of the better values in Bluetooth headphones. It's been out a while an can be found for around $50 in certain color options.

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B&O Play BeoPlay H7

B&O Play's BeoPlay H7, an around-ear model, is stylish, comfortable and sounds very good.

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JBL's E55BT isn't a total bargain, but it's a midpriced over-ear model that delivers solid performance and decent comfort.

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Creative Sound Blaster Jam

The Sound Blaster Jam looks a little old school, but it sounds good, is lightweight and only costs around $40 online.

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Bowers & Wilkins P5 Wireless

We're fans of Bowers & Wilkins wired P5 (now on its second generation) and the P5 Wireless is a very good on-ear wireless headphone. Now that Bowers & Wilkins has released its newer PX wireless headphone, this one can sometimes be had at a decent discount.

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Beats by Dre Powerbeats 3 Wireless

Beats' Powerbeats Wireless 3 improves slightly on the design of the popular Powerbeats 2 Wireless sports headphone and adds Apple's energy-efficient W1 custom Bluetooth chip, which makes connecting the headphones very easy (for Apple users) and significantly boosts battery life.

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Skullcandy Ink'd Wireless

Skullcandy's Ink'd Wireless is an affordable, lightweight neckband-style headphone that sounds surprisingly good.

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