Do Wireless Headphones Need to be Charged?

Wireless headphones are starting to become more and more popular. Wired headphones, of course, do not need to be charged. As a result, this has got a lot of people wondering whether wireless headphones are the same or whether they need an external charger for them. All your questions will be answered on this page. 

So, do wireless headphones need to be charged?

Yes, in most cases if you want to use the wireless functionality your wireless headphones will need to be charged. Without an external source of power (i.e. through a battery), the headphones cannot connect to anything wirelessly

Let’s go into a little bit of depth on this. This is because there are some wireless headphones that can be used without a charger. You may also need to pay special attention to the type of charger that you are using.  

Do Wireless Headphones Need to be Charged? 

Yes, Unlike standard headphones, wireless headphones need to be charged. 

This is because wireless headphones have a battery in them. This is what provides power to the Bluetooth connection. If the wireless headphones are not charged, then they will not be able to connect to any device. 

It doesn’t matter what wireless headphones you have, there will always be a battery inside it somewhere. The position and size of the battery will charge based on the headphones that you are using. 

If you have AirPods, for instance, the batteries inside of them are tiny. if you use a huge pair of ‘over ear’ headphones, then they will have a rather sizeable battery located inside one of the headphone buds. Although, don’t worry. It won’t be so heavy that you will be able to feel it.  

Do note that some of the oldest wireless headsets on the market have removable batteries. If they had that, then you could use ‘normal’ batteries in the wireless headset. However, nowadays this is exceedingly rare to find. The vast majority of wireless headphones now use integrated batteries only. 

The exception to the rule 

We do want to point out that there does seem to be an exception to this rule. JBL does produce a pair of wireless headphones that do not need to be charged. Instead, they have a solar panel built into them. However, this is rare. It is unlikely that this technology for wireless headphones will take off any time soon.  

How Can You Charge Wireless Headphones? 

It is likely that your wireless headphones will come with a USB charger or, at the very least, a USB cable. 

You should be able to plug this cable into any device with a USB slot. The headphones will then be able to charge. This means that you can even plug the wireless headphones into the USB slot on your PC.  

If you are not using a USB charger supplied with the headset or plugging into a USB slot on PC/TV/game console, we wouldn’t go plugging the headphones into any old USB charger, though. For example, your USB phone charger may be able to charge USB-powered devices, but it may not be good for your headphones.  

In the manual for the wireless headphones, you will need to look for information on charging the device. You will want to look for the following numbers: 

  • Voltage 
  • Amps 

The voltage is important. It will tell you whether you can use a fast charger with the wireless headphones or not. If the number says 9V, then you can use any fast charger with the wireless headphones. If it says 5V, then you can’t use a fast charger. If you do, then it will likely burn the wireless headphones out.  

The amperage probably won’t matter all that much. The amperage will either be listed as: 

  • mAH 
  • Amps 

The Amps is just the mAH divided by 1,000. So, if it says 800mAH, then the amperage would be 0.8mAH. 

The number here will determine how much power your wireless headphones need to draw in order to charge. So, if the number is 0.6-amps, then the charger that you are using needs to be able to output a minimum of 0.6-amps. 

In this case, if you use a charger that is rated below 0.6-amps, then your wireless headphones probably won’t charge. If they do charge, then it will be slow. 

The greatest risk isn’t really the fact that your headphones won’t charge, though. It is that the wireless headphones will be asking for more power than the charger is able to provide. You would be running the risk of burning the charger out. 

It doesn’t matter if the amperage of a charger is greater than what the wireless headphones need. Unless you have a faulty pair of headphones, they will only ever request the exact amount of power that they need. 

How Long Can Wireless Headphones Last Before Requiring a Charge? 

This is dependent on the wireless headphones and what you are doing with them. 

Some of the cheaper wireless headphones may be able to hold their charge for 5-hours. Some of the better models on the market can hold a charge well in excess of 30-hours. 

If the wireless headphones have an in-built microphone and you are using this microphone, then expect them to last a few hours less per charge. After all, the more features that you use, the more power will be sapped from the battery.  

Can You Plug Wireless Headphones into a Device Without Charging Them? 

Possibly. As with most things discussed on this page, it is going to be purely dependent on the particular pair of wireless headphones that you own. 

There are some wireless headphones that will have a socket on them. This socket will allow you to connect them using a 3.5mm jack to any standard headphone socket. The idea is that you can use the headphones even when you do not have a wireless connection.  

For the most part, speakers are a ‘passive’ system. They can draw enough power from the sound being pumped through them that they do not need any sort of external power supply. 

In some cases, you can plug your wireless headphones directly into the socket and there will be enough power drawn that there does not need to be any charge in the wireless headphones. However, if you do this, bear in mind that many of the features inside of the headphones may not work. Some features do still need external power. 

Can You Use Wireless Headphones While Charging Them? 

This seems to be dependent on the wireless headphones. A lot of the cheaper wireless headphones on the market can either be charged or be used. You cannot do both. 

Perhaps the only way to really tell whether you can do both at the same time is to test the headphones. If they are plugged in and they are not working, then you have your answer. 

Obviously, not everybody will have access to the pair of headphones that they plan on using. If you are looking to buy a pair of headphones, then read through the reviews for the headphones before you make your purchase. If you can’t use them while they are being charged, then the reviews will almost certainly tell you that.  

Final Thoughts

If you have wireless headphones, then they will need to be charged. How often they need to be charged will be dependent on the wireless headphones that you own. All you need to do is make sure that you use the right charger for them. If you don’t, then it may cause damage to the headphones.  

Steven Carr

Steven is a certified IT professional and gaming enthusiast. He has been working in the tech industry for over 10 years, and specializes in all things Tech-related. When he's not geeking out over the latest hardware or software release, he can be found testing out the latest video game.

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