A truly mobile headset has to be these in-ear wireless headphones. There are no two ways about it, you can have wireless on-ear or over-ear headphones but when it comes to going outdoor for your daily jog/run or to the gym, only an in-ear wireless pair will do.
Now that Apple had made the move to remove the 3.5mm stereo socket from the iPhone 7, it is only time when others will follow. We will begin to see a shift from wired headphones to wireless ones. The question then comes down to if you want a big over-ear headphones or small in-ear ones.
It is hard to find a balance; on one hand, you want a pair of full size drivers to pump out a wide range of sound from high to low and super low. On the other, you start to feel like headphones are getting bigger and bigger to the point of ludicrous. They are not suitable for the gym, workout or running, more for use on the sofa or at the desk.
However, to get a small pair of in-ear buds that pumps out sounds just as good as its big counterparts is not easy. To add to that, these ear-pieces need to have all the electronics to make them wireless including having batteries on-board to keep them going.
When searching for a good pair of wireless in-ear headphones, there are two different profiles to consider. Three if you include a totally wireless ear buds that consist of individual ear buds, one of the right and the other for the left. But the more common ones have a short lead or a neck band that connect connect both left and right side of the ear-piece together.
So the two most common profiles are:
- a link cable between the left and right ear piece
- a neck band or collar that goes around the back of your neck, connecting the left and right ear piece via a cable
To make selecting the type of in-ear wireless Bluetooth headphones easier, we have marked our list with neckband sometimes known as flexible collar or link cable to differentiate the type of connections between the left and right earpiece of the headset. There is however, a third type of wireless in-ear headphones, one completely without wire, just like Apple’s AirPods.
- completely wireless or zero cable between the left and right side, making each independent of the other and can be used in stereo or mono mode.
In-ear Wireless Headphones: What to Look For
Apart from the profile, first item in our list below, here are some points for consideration when picking:
Profile: link cable, neckband or fully wireless (zero cable)
Size: some earpieces are bulkier than others to accommodate the electronics for wireless connectivity and battery, others with neckband are smaller.
Earpiece: earpiece design can be very different, from simple in-ear buds to ones with silicone arc to help it stay in place, others use around the ear hook which may not be for everyone, so consider the type of earpiece design suitable for you.
Battery life: most in-ear wireless headphones get an average battery life of 6-7 hours per charge. Considering the size, this is very good. Others do better between 7.5-9.5 hours and we would consider this to be good. There are a few that manages up to an amazing 12 hours per charge but all these really depends on if the headphones go into sleep mode automatically to save battery when not in use or if you have to manually turn them off.
Life Proof: water resistant, sweat proof or even totally water proof are some of the features that will help these headphones withstand the daily grind. Depending on how active you are or your intended purpose for the headset, choose accordingly.
Hands-free & Remote: built-in microphone, sometimes one on each side allows the user to take or make voice calls from their smartphone. Given that we use these headphones mainly with our phones, and if you like to speak to someone while you are out running or at the gym, then this feature is a must.
Sound Quality: Lastly, while all these headsets produce amazing sound, sometimes, it comes down to the users experience and personal experience. Some people like their music bassy, others appreciate the clarity. The only way to truly appreciate these headsets is if you already have a prior experience with the brand or if you have tried them before.
10 Best In-ear Wireless Bluetooth Headphones
Here is an overview of the top 10 best in-ear wireless Bluetooth headsets. Don’t forget to check out a couple of bonuses we chucked in for good measure.
- Sony MDR-EX750BT – NECKBAND
- Motorola VerveLoop+ – LINK CABLE, WATERPROOF
- Bose SoundSport Wireless – LINK CABLE
- PowerBeats 2 by Dr. Dre – LINK CABLE
- Philips SHB5950BK – NECKBAND
- Skullcandy Smokin Bud 2 Wireless – NECKBAND
- VerveRider+ by Motorola Wearable – NECKBAND, WATERPROOF
- Sony MDR-AS800BT – LINK CABLE
- JBL Reflect Mini BT – LINK CABLE
- Sony MDR-AS600BT – LINK CABLE
Let’s take a closer look at each of these in-ear wireless headsets:
Sony MDR-EX750BT H.ear Wireless Headphone – NECKBAND
- Go wire free with Bluetooth and NFC, High-Resolution Audio support for uncompromising sound via wired listening
- Listen longer with up to 7.5 hours battery life, In-ear comfort and style, Lightweight, behind-the-neck design – GOOD BATTERY LIFE
- Clear hands-free calling via Bluetooth, Wide frequency response for pure audio, Enjoy higher quality Bluetooth streaming with LDAC
Motorola VerveLoop+ Wireless Headphone – LINK CABLE, WATERPROOF
- IP57 Water and Sweat Proof
- Integrated Microphone for hands-free calling
- Lightweight Design
- Up To 9.5 Hours Playtime – GOOD BATTERY LIFE
- Up To 150 ft Bluetooth Range
Bose SoundSport Wireless – LINK CABLE, WATER RESISTANT
- A high-quality audio experience, consistently balanced at any volume, thanks to Bose active EQ
- Wireless convenience, with easy Bluetooth and NFC pairing aided by voice prompts
- Exclusive Stay Hear+ tips keep the headphones comfortably in place during workouts
- Sweat and weather resistance for reliability while exercising
- Up to 6 hours battery life per charge – AVERAGE BATTERY LIFE
PowerBeats 2 by Dr. Dre – LINK CABLE, WATER RESISTANT
- Easily pairs to your Bluetooth device with 30 foot range
- High sound performance and rechargeable 6 hour battery – AVERAGE BATTERY LIFE
- Sweat and water-resistant
- Non-slip, in-line mic and remote for calls
- Light, small and with a flexible ear hook
Philips SHB5950BK Wireless Headphone – NECKBAND
- Go freedom without the hassle of a cable.
- Soft rubberized neckband for comfort and stability
- High capacity battery with 7 hours of music playback – and talk time – AVERAGE BATTERY LIFE
- Powerful speakers reproduce clear sound with big bass.
- Built-in microphone and remote to take phone calls, change tracks and volume.
Skullcandy Smokin Bud 2 Wireless – NECKBAND/LINK CABLE
- Bluetooth Wireless with 6 Hour Battery Life – AVERAGE BATTERY LIFE
- Removable Flex Collar
- Supreme Sound
- Onboard Mic/Remote
VerveRider+ by Motorola Wearable – NECKBAND, WATERPROOF
- Water and sweat proof
- Rich HD sound with all day comfort
- Up to 12 hours playtime and up to 150 foot range – BEST BATTERY LIFE
- Siri and Google Now compatible with 2 mics for clear calls
- Integrated mic for calls and vibrating notification, when not in use, the ear pieces can be docked magnetically to the band.
Sony MDR-AS800BT Active Sports Bluetooth Headset – LINK CABLE, SPLASH RESISTANT
- Bluetooth audio streaming with AAC and apt-X support, 2-way wearing style: secure or easy fit, Splash-resistant design prevents sweat from leaking in
- Hybrid silicone earbuds and Arc supporters provide a precise fit, Ultra-compact one-button design for simple operation,
- Built-in microphone for hands-free phone calling
- Rechargeable battery for up to 4.5 hours music playback, Convenient One-touch Connection (NFC), Carrying Case, USB charging cable, and Adjustment Band supplied
JBL Reflect Mini Bluetooth Headphones – LINK CABLE, WATER RESISTANT
- Lightweight design – as the lightest jbl Bluetooth Sport earphone, the reflect Mini BT provides long lasting comfort during a variety of athletic activities
- Built-in microphone – easily answer calls with crystal clear sound and remarkable convenience
- Sweat proof – confidently ramp up your workouts to maximum levels knowing that the reflect Mini bt are not only ipx-4 water resistant but can be easily cleaned
- Ergonomic ear-tips – designed to stay securely in place during rigorous exercise. Highly reflective cable designed for ultimate visibility at night
- Bluetooth wireless – designed for freedom during exercise
- Around 8 hours battery life on a single charge- GOOD BATTERY LIFE
Sony MDR-AS600BT – LINK CABLE
- Stream music wirelessly with Bluetooth & NFC technology, Splash-proof design prevents sweat from leaking in, Hybrid silicone earbuds and Arc supporters provide a secure fit
- Sleek, one-button design for simple operation, Built-in microphone for hands-free phone calling,
- Rechargeable battery for up to 8 hours music playback, USB charging cable supplied, Available in Black and Orange – GOOD BATTERY LIFE
Bose QuietComfort 30 Wireless Noise-Cancelling Headphone – NECKBAND, NOISE CANCELLING
The new generation QC30 is here, replacing the QC20 noise cancelling headphones and this time it is getting extended battery life, batter noise cancelling function and a sleek neckband. The world-class noise cancellation technology from Bose is executed here but this time with a variable option allowing users to decice their own level of noise cancellation. There is also a more comprehensive remote for better control of your music without reaching for your mobile device. Bluetooth and NFC comes as standard. If you are not one for neck band, check out Bose SoundSport wireless headphones above and the upcoming SoundSport Pulse wireless headphones with built-in heart rate sensor.
VerveOne+ by Motorola True Wireless – TRUE WIRELESS, WATERPROOF
A truly wireless ear buds from Motorola, the VerveOne+ features a charging station shown below.
- IP57 Water and Sweat Proof
- Rich HD Sound
- Dual integrated microphones
- Up to 12 hours playtime – BEST BATTERY LIFE
- Up to 150 ft Bluetooth range
For more zero cable in-ear headsets see Truly Wireless In-ear Headphones.