Bluetooth headphones are my jam: I've quickly grown accustomed to a world without wires, and my audio drawer has more Bluetooth headphones hanging out in them than I'd like to admit.
Which ones do I take with me when I use my iPad Pro? It depends on what you prefer: Over-ear, on-ear, or in-ear.
Best over-ear headphones
If you need to drown out the outside world, our over-ear picks are the headphones that will do it. Both of these offer top-tier noise cancellation and comfy fits — but come with a hefty price point to match.
Our favorite noise-cancelling headphones for iPhone are also — no surprise here — our favorite over-ear headphones for iPad users. They're endlessly comfortable, pack in a fantastic 20 hours of battery, sound great, and have the best noise-cancellation tech in the business. If you want Bluetooth headphones that deliver on comfort, epic noise cancellation, and overall sound quality, you can't go wrong with the Bose QuietComfort 35.
Blue's latest headphone is a gorgeously designed, professional-quality over-ear headphone that makes it feel like you're in the recording studio — in a luxury penthouse recording studio. I know, there's no such thing, but if there were, the Blue Satellite would be used in one. The Satellite has an analog amplifier that adds those warm tones to your music, especially your digital music, which makes it feel more emotional and less robotic (unless you want it to sound that way). It has two separate drivers, one for noise-cancellation and one for high-fidelity audio, so your sound is not compromised. The best part about the Satellite (aside from the amazing sound quality) is how cute the headphones are. They look vintage with a steampunk flair (at lease the white ones do).
Sennheiser PXC 550
If you can afford to shill out a bit more for a Bluetooth noise-cancelling model and want slightly better bass in said cans, Sennheiser's PXC 550 is an excellent option.
Though both the Sennheiser and Bose headphones look similar, where Sennheiser breaks from Bose is in execution and polish: The pricier headphones offer an intriguing "twist-cans-to-enable" version of the on/off switch, and all of its controls are represented as touch gestures along the right ear panel. It also offers a slightly nicer overall sound — a given for its price point.
Best on-ear headphones
I'll be honest: On-ear headphones aren't great for a number of reasons — they can squish your ears and give you headaches, their noise quality often isn't as good, and they're often almost as expensive as their over-ear counterparts. But if you're intent on a smaller, cheaper package without going all in on earbuds, here are the on-ear headphones that don't suck.
Libratone Q Adapt
As I said in my review of the Q Adapt earlier this year, I hate most on-ear headphones. But these stand out from the typical on-ear mold in a few dynamite ways. For one, they're actually comfortable — they don't pinch on your head the way most on-ears tend to, but they still deliver excellent sound quality and surprisingly good noise cancellation. They're also an ultra-stylish option, if you prefer your headphones not look like giant black earmuffs.
These were my first real pair of Bluetooth headphones, and years later, they're still a great inexpensive option for people looking to dip their toes into the wireless world. They don't offer noise cancellation, but still provide impressively good sound quality for their construction costs — and an 8 hour battery to get you through most any work day.
Best in-ear headphones
If you're using your iPad Pro on a plane, train, or crowded environment, in-ear headphones may be the way to go. They're not my personal favorite headphone style, but many prefer them because of the personalized fit, more directed sound, and easy portability.
Apple's latest in-ear headphones come with the company's auto-connecting W1 chip, 8 hours of battery life, multiple in-ear fits, and a super-svelte package. I don't know if they've made me love in-ear headphones, but my time with the Beats X has certainly convinced me of their usefulness, especially in noisy areas where I don't have the extra gear space to pack the Bose or Sennheisers. One note: They do have a somewhat lengthy neck cord, which can cause an occasional microphonic rubbing noise if it rubs against your clothing.
The AirPods not only win the prize for "tiniest in-ear option" for iPad users, but they're also far and away the most convenient: They pair with all your Apple devices, fit into a charging case the size of a matchbox, and offer extra bonuses like automatic pause and tapping to activate Siri. They're not nearly as good on the noise-cancellation aspect as the Beats X owing to their looser, one-size-fits-all design, but for everyday carry, it's hard to go wrong with the AirPods.
Are you rocking a Bluetooth headset with your iPad or iPad Pro? Let me know which ones you prefer.
Updated June 2017: Added the Blue Satellite over-the-ear headphones to the list.
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