Wireless Vs Bluetooth Headphones: Can You Spot These Differences?

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We frequently mix up wireless vs Bluetooth headphones since we use them interchangeably. But how do they differ?

The main difference between these products is that wireless headphones often require an adapter to connect to the device. Meanwhile, Bluetooth units usually come with a built-in Bluetooth feature. 

So which option should you go for? The side-by-side comparison in this guide will help you determine the superior item. Let’s read on to discover! 

What Are Wireless Headphones? 

Some people call them cordless headphones as they don’t have any cord or wire and work on radio frequency (RF) signals to deliver the sounds. 

These models sound signals and waves using either radio frequency or infrared waves. Infrared waves function similarly to your TV remote, transmitting data from the base station to the headsets.

The working range seems restricted, which means that minimal motion must be available within a range of seven meters or shorter between the transmitter and the headphones.

Radio waves are stronger and function over a greater range, allowing you to move around your house with ease. If the surroundings are stress-free, the range is much better, sometimes up to 300 feet.

These units run without the need for a wire or cable. They receive sound waves from a station connected to a speaker, phone, game console, or laptop.

Their source power is a standard set of batteries. You can charge and replace the batteries when your devices stop working. 

The models are often small, and you can wear them close to the ear. As a result, they assist us in listening to diverse sounds from movies, audio, video, and other sources.

This headset works like your TV remote

This headset works like your TV remote

What Are Bluetooth Headphones? 

Bluetooth is one of the most remarkable wireless technologies because it can link to many gadgets via radio waves instead of wires or cables despite its small or restricted distance.

The technology allows data to be sent and received using Bluetooth-enabled gadgets such as smartphones, computers, and tablets.

These headsets connect directly to our phones via Bluetooth technology, letting us listen to music wirelessly.

This technology may be present in practically all high-tech modern devices. It typically covers short ranges.

The radio in this unit is a tiny computer chip that enables communication with one another.

Each earbud runs without a cable and has a direct connection to the device using these headphones.

This headset comes with advanced technology

This headset comes with advanced technology

Differences Between Wireless Vs Bluetooth Headphones  

Not all wireless devices are Bluetooth-enabled units, but all Bluetooth gadgets are wireless. Hence, they share some features in common but still differ. 

Technology

Before digging into this aspect, we will introduce the two technical terms: infrared and radio waves. They are the core of wireless technology. 

Infrared

Infrared (IR) is an optical wave with a limited range of use. This wave works in the same way as a TV remote. It sends audio signals to the headset through the base station. 

The headset must be in a direct line of sight to function correctly. This restricted scope might lead to mobility restrictions. The range between the headset and transmitter must be under seven meters. 

Radio

This wave functions similarly to radio, except instead of infrared signals, it employs radio waves. It allows you to move around your house while listening to music.

The range may be up to 300 feet if the surroundings are free of impediments such as walls. Depending on the location, the range might change.

Bluetooth is a short-range cordless technology that uses radio waves to attach several devices without the necessity of a cable.

This technology allows Bluetooth-enabled devices, such as smartphones, computers, tablets, and other gadgets, to deliver and collect data. 

Bluetooth headsets connect wirelessly to your phone and give a hands-free listening experience.

On the other hand, wireless headsets use radio-frequency or infrared waves to convey audio signals.

The gadget collects a signal from a station linked to an item such as a speaker, phone, game console, or laptop, with or without the need of a wire.

These models work with infrared and radio waves

These models work with infrared and radio waves 

Range

Another critical difference between the two headphones is the range of wireless connectivity.

The range of connectivity of all Bluetooth headsets is up to 30 feet. This figure for wireless models is about 300 feet. 

However, Bluetooth technology has extended the scope to around 650 feet, and 5.0 headsets can reach this range. 

Sound quality

The sound quality of both headsets is a crucial factor to consider. There is no significant difference because they both employ wireless technology. 

One thing to be sure of is that although these products can produce good sound, wired headphones are still superior in this term. 

Due to the substantial signal compression in earlier generations, music quality decreased. Yet, Bluetooth technology has made current wireless headphones far improved to their counterparts.

Due to technical breakthroughs, the headphones’ technology has advanced throughout time, leading to increased sound quality. 

The sound from wired headsets is better

The sound from wired headsets is better 

Compatibility

Non-Bluetooth cordless headphones often come with proprietary transmitters that fit each model perfectly. 

In other words, they can’t work with other transmitters, which is inconvenient if you lose the transmitter or break it. 

Most custom transmitters for non-Bluetooth headsets have a USB-A interface. Then, working directly with mobile devices is challenging. 

On the other hand, most modern gadgets feature built-in Bluetooth capabilities, allowing you to connect the headsets to nearly any current device.

Some Bluetooth headsets even let you link multiple devices and change between music sources effortlessly.

You may need a transmitter in some cases

You may need a transmitter in some cases 

Ease of use

When it comes to simplicity of use, Bluetooth is the winner. You don’t need to use any third-party adapter to connect because more than five billion gadgets have built-in Bluetooth capabilities.

Many modern models even feature accompanying apps that allow you to link your devices quickly.

You can also change parameters like active-noise cancellation settings and set up audio configurations on certain higher-end headphones.

You must employ the custom adapter with all wireless headsets, regardless of connection type.

You’ll have to manually disconnect the transmitter and put it into the new socket if you want a different sound source, which isn’t the best solution.

Stability

Although wireless tech has been there for a long time, no technology has ever mastered connection stability.

For example, RF signals can travel nicely despite obstacles like ceilings, walls, or any object in their way. So the connection should be stable.

However, they are vulnerable to interference with other gadgets that generate the same electromagnetic frequencies.

On the other hand, infrared headphones provide more connection stability since they are independent of other radio signals. 

Nevertheless, because of the line-of-sight limitation, it comes at the cost of a restricted range. 

Because Bluetooth doesn’t ask for external transmitters, the stability of your headsets and audio source is reliant on them.

Although the current 5.0 generation has reduced audio signal interference, previous versions are still problematic.

Bluetooth appears to be backward compatible. Yet, the functionalities seem restricted due to the hardware.

If your headphones feature Bluetooth 5.2, but the sound source only supports 4.0, you will only get 4.0’s capabilities.

As it passes through the air, the power of the transmission weakens. It is subject to interference from other gadgets such as Wi-Fi, microwaves, and even your body. 

Manufacturers are working to improve the connection stability

Manufacturers are working to improve the connection stability

Battery life

Bluetooth earbuds can mostly last for four to six hours on one charge, whereas Bluetooth headsets may last 10 to 12 hours.

A decent quality headset from a reliable brand can last for 20 hours on average and up to 40 hours if technologies like active noise cancellation do not work. 

On the other hand, wireless headphones have a normal battery life of 20 hours. You may, however, pay a little more on the travel charging case, which gives extra 40 hours while also protecting the cans. 

Portability

Both items are portable, making them preferable compared to wired models when it comes to mobility. 

The only issue in this term may be the unit’s size. Although there are some differences between models, the gap between them is minor. 

Both headsets are portable

Both headsets are portable 

Price

Due to the sophisticated built-in technology, these models are more expensive than wired headphones. The price varies depending on the manufacturers and extra features. 

Comparison table 

We have compared and contrasted the two models in binding terms. Now, let’s summarize their differences. 

Criteria  Wireless headphones Bluetooth headphones 
Technology Sound delivered radio waves or IR Sound delivered radio waves
Range 300 feet  30 feet (650 feet on latest updated version)  
Sound quality Good Good 
Compatibility Quite limited More flexible 
Ease of use An adapter required  Quick, simple, and functional 
Stability Moderate  Moderate 
Battery life 40 hours 40 hours 
Portability Good Good 
Price Quite expensive  Quite expensive 

More:

Pros And Cons Of Wireless And Bluetooth Headphones 

If the comparison above can’t help you make up your mind, you can look closer at the pros and cons of each item. 

Wireless headphones

These models eliminate the need for any cord attached to your items. However, you need an adapter to let them stay connected to the input source. 

If you love this idea, check the benefits and drawbacks of your purchase: 

Pros:

  • You can quickly move around with the headset.
  • The maximum range is up to 300 feet.
  • The sound quality is good. 
  • The device can work for up to 40 hours after one charge.

Cons:

  • Some models require a custom adapter to connect to other devices. 

Best models

Here are two of the best choices you can find in the market: 

  • Sony WH-1000XM4

With Sony’s DSEE upscaling engine, the WH-1000XM4 has a 30-hour battery life, a charming design, and some of the most outstanding sound quality.

They block out background noise better than virtually all competitors. They can even identify when you chat and stop your music.

  • Bose Noise Canceling 700

These headphones use digital signal processing (DSP) and a sophisticated microphone setup to reduce ambient noise and focus solely on your sound. 

The unique microphones and DSP work with Bose’s excellent noise-canceling innovation for exceptional peace at home or on the go.

Bluetooth headphones

This option comes with innovative technology to enhance your listening experience. Although its sound quality needs improvement, it is still good enough to enjoy. 

If you intend to buy one, expect these features: 

Pros:

  • The headset can work with multiple devices without the need for an adapter.
  • It delivers good audio quality.
  • You can learn to use this unit within a few minutes. 
  • The unit can last longer than the earbud version. 

Cons:

  • You should choose the newest models for the best range.

Best models

Jabra has been famous for its headsets. The top choices should be: 

  • Jabra Elite 85H

This headset is straightforward to set up. It can link with Bluetooth devices without any setup or problem.

Amazon, Apple, and Google Assistants are all compatible with this device. The microphone quality is perfect for phone calls.

  • Jabra Move Style Edition

These wireless headphones offer simple controls and are among the most comfortable on the market. Their well-padded band and plush ear pads make them ideal for regular usage.

Despite the lack of ANC, the products have several appealing features, making them well worth the money.

What Should You Choose?

There is no all-rounder in this battle. Wireless headsets make up for their lack of adaptability and convenience of use with audio quality.

On the other hand, Bluetooth headphones are extremely easy to use with a variety of devices and have a great wavelength. 

Unfortunately, the reduced radio wave delivers lower sound quality than headsets with alternative wireless connectivity.

So, what should you choose? Bluetooth headsets seem to outweigh their competitors. Although the audio quality, battery life, and connection stability are quite equivalent, Bluetooth outshines in other terms.

First, the unit can work with more devices without installing a custom adapter. You can connect it to the input source at ease.

Moreover, if you choose a premium version, its range can be up to 650 feet. Then, you can enjoy your music even if you are not near your phone. 

Frequently Asked Questions  

When choosing between the two types of headsets, you may have some questions. Here are queries that other users often ask. 

1. How do you connect wireless Bluetooth headphones?

On an iPhone, access “Settings” -> Bluetooth. Then, toggle the switch to turn it on. Your phone will search for available devices.

On an Android device, haul the settings down from the top of the screen. After that, long press on the Bluetooth symbol on an Android device. 

The video below shows you tips to connect your headsets to different devices. Please check it out, and you can enjoy your music. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yVnJSUE2D2U

2. Do wireless headphones need Bluetooth?

Yes. All wireless headsets utilize Bluetooth technology. However, there is a manner to employ these headphones without Bluetooth.

If you choose dedicated wireless headsets that use radio frequency transmission, you can work without Bluetooth.

3. Are wireless headphones worth it?

Yes, they are worthwhile, mainly when used for traveling and fitness. These models have become much more affordable in recent years.

The absence of wires allows for a greater range of connectivity and motion with multiple devices. The latest wireless models offer an excellent range, battery life, and memory. 

4. Is Bluetooth safe for the brain?

Bluetooth is safe for people since it’s in the non-ionizing category of EMR (Electronic Health Record) that generates low-frequency vibrations.

These frequencies are minimal to impact cell structure. As a result, they cannot extract electrons from an atom, which is a harmful feature of ionizing EMRs.

Bluetooth has a relatively low absorption rate. Hence, it is unlikely to induce brain cancer or harm cell structure.

5. Is Bluetooth safe from hackers? 

Bluetooth hacks happen when hackers use their connection to access your devices. However, they can only hack when your device is within their range. 

The range is usually approximately 30 feet. If the hacker succeeds in connecting to your phone, the hijacked phone will be vulnerable to many security risks. 

Final Verdict

These devices share a lot of things in common. However, if you can only buy one, the Bluetooth models should be your way to go.

They have the same sound quality, battery endurance, and stability as the wireless units. But, if you check the range and ease of use, Bluetooth beats its competitor easily.

Hopefully, you will find this article helpful. If you need any further information, please feel free to ask. Thank you for reading! 

HerePlus

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