Bluetooth vs RF Headphones: Know the Difference

If glitches and connectivity issues of Bluetooth headphones are annoying the hell out of you, then it may be time to switch to a Radio Frequency (RF) headset. 

Don’t know what that is? Don’t worry. 

In this post, we are going to tell you all you need to know about these two technologies when it comes to headphones.

Ready for a Bluetooth vs RF headphones showdown? Let’s begin!

What Do You Get With Bluetooth Headphones?

The most common technology we use to connect a headphone wirelessly to our audio source might be Bluetooth. 

There are a lot of good things that can be said about it, from connection speeds to audio quality. 

It was a revolutionary tech when introduced in the early 2000s, and it continues to evolve with each new version. 

Our newest Bluetooth headphones most commonly use BT v.5.0, and we love it, don’t we?


  • High-quality audio, on par with wired devices, using codecs like Bluetooth aptX HD
  • Range of about 30 feet, giving more legroom than an average wired device.
  • So many different models and designs to choose from.
  • Getting cheaper every day, even as it gets more sophisticated with new features. 
  • Can connect to a variety of devices, including smartphones, tablets, laptops, and even smart TVs. 
  • Secure connection between devices paired using encrypted pathways, means no one can listen in.
  • Interference is minimum and does not require a clear line of sight. 
  • TVs and other devices can be made into BT devices even if they were not originally designed to be so. 


  • Lip sync issues arise due to the Bluetooth transmitter converting analog signals to digital before sending them to the headphone. 
  • The battery is not as strong as you may expect, but up to 20 hours is not impossible with over-ear headphones. 

What are RF Headphones?

They are headphones that connect via radio frequencies. If you didn’t know such headsets existed, you may not be the only one. 

Let’s see how they operate. 

Firstly, there is a radio transmitter for such headphones. This transmitter intercepts the audio signal from your TV and converts it into radio waves which the headset then receives.

Sounds so simple, doesn’t it? And before you ask, there is no need to pair your devices with each other, and there will be fewer signal drops than BT connection. 

Pros over Bluetooth

  • The headset connects to any device with an analog audio output. 
  • RF headphones have a greater transmission range (up to 328 feet).
  • The transmitters can send the signal to multiple RF headphones at once.
  • No need to pair them with the audio source. 
  • They experience zero signal drop in general. 
  • The battery is on par with BT headphones.
  • Battery-powered transmitters charge the headphones, so no need to connect them to an AC source.


  • Many RF headsets lack volume controls and equalizer settings.
  • Not many choices in terms of design and model.
  • Hardly any in-ear model is available, as most are over-ear and on-ear models.

Final Verdict

The question of Bluetooth vs RF headphones is one that hinges on the quality of the audio that you want to get. 

When headsets were wired, we used to get a certain audio quality. This is what the Bluetooth headsets equipped with the latest version can provide for us. 

Thus, with the added flexibility of the wireless headset, Bluetooth seems to emerge as a clear choice for many of us. 

On the other hand, despite its many pluses, ease of use is not on Bluetooth’s side, when compared to RF headsets. 

You probably don’t want to spend time pairing your headset to your TV before you sit down to binge-watch Netflix, do you?

Or maybe you just want to listen to an audiobook but don’t want to muddy your smartphone while you work in the garden. The RF headset’s incredible range will support you in such a situation. 

For music and detailed audio, choose BT headphones. For streaming shows, audiobooks, and podcasts where audio quality is not very important, go for RF headsets. 

That’s just our opinion. The choice is yours.

Vitaly Fedorov

Vitaly Fedorov is a seasoned audio technician and writer. After spending ten years in a studio team, I have decided to spread my knowledge to people in this domain. On this site, I work for headphone fixing or repair issues, that you’re thinking about fixing. Click on any article on my site and read the complete answer about that issue. I am excited to read your feedback.

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