The convenience benefit of Bluetooth headphones cannot be overstated.
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When I switched from wired headphones to Bluetooth, I really had no idea how much better it would be. I’m not attentive enough to use wired headphones without hurting myself, because I tend to walk away from whatever they’re connected to (computer, phone on a desk, etc.) without remembering whether they are still attached to my head or not.
With Bluetooth headphones, bid farewell to painful reminders of your human limits via ear-yanking.
Beyond the ear-yanking being removed from your life, it’s just easier to not have to think about a cable. You don’t have to plug anything in. You don’t have to route a cable under your shirt so it doesn’t get caught on things or swing around. You don’t have to worry about getting toothpaste or water on your dangling cable when brushing your teeth. The list goes on.
Note: Some of these headphones do have a cable that goes behind your neck, but that still basically solves all potential cable problems.
With the cost as low as wired headphones, just get a pair, and make your life easier. Even if you’re an audiophile, I find it’s good to have a cheap pair of headphones around for tasks that may put your expensive headphones in danger.
So we’re buying cheap headphones. What do we look for?
Sound quality is going to be acceptable for the price-point as long as the headphones have a lot of (real) reviews and the rating is around 4.5 stars. Everything on this list fits into that category, so we’re not going to worry about that factor here. That’s for a different list.
There is a mix of Bluetooth 4.0 and 4.1 headphones in this list. We’re not going to worry about this for this list, either. With the release of the Samsung Galaxy S8 and S8+, Bluetooth 5.0 now exists, but headphones that support it are not widely available. Once BT 5.0 has propagated to the inexpensive headphones, we’ll do another write-up because it significantly boosts signal range (along with data transfer).
Every option on this list features a built-in mic for calls. Other than that, extra features are pretty inconsequential in this price range, so we’re not going to worry about that for this list.
Big headphones, little earbuds connected by a wire or completely wireless Apple Airpods-style earphones? Take your pick, as they all have their own upsides and drawbacks. This is entirely up to your personal preference and how you think you’ll be using your headphones. Smaller headphones typically have shorter battery life but are much less obtrusive and more versatile. I won’t go into size and form-factor beyond that, as you’ll know best what will work for you in this area.
That being said, there’s only one thing here that matters:
Battery life is the #1 consideration when it comes to highly-rated, cheap Bluetooth headphones. The less you have to charge them, the better the whole concept of wireless-ness works. I know this from experience.
Here they are, in order of cheapest to most expensive:
The best Bluetooth headphones on Amazon under $45:
Wireless headset Dylan V4.1 Bluetooth Foldable Hi-Fi Stereo Over-Ear Headphone with 3.5mm Audio Jack MIC for Smart Phones & Tablets
Battery life: (according to the manufacturer): Up to 5 hours
According to the reviews, the stated battery life is right on the money for many people. It looks like a few people have gotten some with bad batteries. In my experience, some bad batteries will happen in the manufacturing of every product with rechargeable batteries. The key is in having the bad-battery rate be low enough that most people never have a problem. This product maintains a very high rating on Amazon despite the few complaints, so I would be confident in purchasing this product.
Bluetooth Headphones, TaoTronics Wireless 4.1 Magnetic Earbuds aptX Stereo Earphones, IPX5 Splash Proof Secure Fit for Sports with Built in Mic TT-BH07
Battery life: (according to the manufacturer) 5 hours
My wife owns these and likes them. A reviewer said they last around 4 hours, so 5 hours could easily be possible. These are cheap enough that you could buy 2 pairs and have a pair charged at all times.
I tried these on and they were comfortable. The cable is pretty minimal, too.
Mpow Thor Bluetooth Headphones On Ear, 40mm Driver Wireless Headset Foldable with Mic, Wired and Wireless Headphones for Cell Phone/ TV/ PC
Battery life: (according to the manufacturer) About 8 hours
According to reviewers, it seems that battery life might be even longer than 8 hours. “All day” “a few days so far” and “Successive working time: about 8 hours” General high praise over great battery life in the reviews is a very good sign.
Mpow Bluetooth Headphones Over Ear, Hi-Fi Stereo Wireless Headset, Foldable, Soft Memory-Protein Earmuffs, w/ Built-in Mic and Wired Mode for PC/ Cell Phones/ TV
Battery life (according to the manufacturer): Around 15 hours Talk Time, Around 13 hours Music Playback time
Reviews say “Battery seems to last many hours.” and “I’ve done a test with the headphones running while streaming music using bluetooth, my test ended after 10 hours and it was still running!”
That’s a pretty awesome amount of battery life and would definitely be more than adequate for me, and I’m a heavy Bluetooth headphone user.
Skullcandy Uproar Bluetooth Wireless On-Ear Headphones with Built-In Mic and Remote
Battery life: (according to the manufacturer): 10 hours
According to reviewers: “Battery life on these is super impressive”, “The battery lasts maybe 2 or 3 work days”, “I am amazed at how long the battery lasts.”. They go on like that.
Hey look, it’s a brand name we all recognize on the list!
If you have around $45 to spend, I’d definitely go for these. Reviews are more consistently highly-praiseworthy and there are a bunch of color options available, too.