“I do not have strings to hold me back, make me wonder or frown…” You’d think, wouldn’t you, that if it’s good enough for Pinocchio, it’s good enough for all of us? And it’s true, there’s a lot to be said for basic convenience (in general) and cord loss (in particular). If you’re using wireless earbuds when going out or wireless headphones to focus on listening at home, the flexibility on the go and no risk of jerking or jerking makes a lot of sense.
However, wireless headphones come with some key compromises: the range they can operate, the risk of interference from external factors, and the ability to downscale high-resolution files. So if you care about sound quality, good old-fashioned wired headphones are starting to look very appealing. We’ve picked 16 pairs of wired headphones that support us—a mix of in-ear and on-ear, and range in price from very low to not even too expensive. Because let’s face it: Sound is the most important thing, right?
Check out other WIRED audio guides, including our audio guide The best noise canceling headphones, The best wireless headphones, Best cheap headphones, The best headphonesAnd Best phone with headphone jack.
Gear Readers Special Offer: Get One 1 year subscription to WIRED for $5 ($25 off). This includes unlimited access to WIRED.com and our print magazine (if you will). Sign up to help fund the work we do every day.