What’s the Difference Between Bluetooth Versions 2, 3, 4 and 5?

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Are you interested in Bluetooth headphones, but have no idea how the technology works or which version to get? Bluetooth is the foundation of most new products, so it’s a great idea to know more about the technology.

The differences between the different Bluetooth versions are huge. Big advances in signal quality and range are provided that drastically improves the user experience. Read this informative Bluetooth guide until the very end to figure out what you can expect from each Bluetooth version.

How Bluetooth works

Simply put Bluetooth works by sending a data/audio signal from the transmitter to the receiver. However, before data can be sent, the two devices must be paired. The operating frequency of Bluetooth is 2.402 – 2.480 GHz and it’s the same for all versions. Data packets tend to hop between frequencies when specific frequencies are heavily congested. This helps ensure stable audio quality that will not be frustrating to enjoy.

Future connections are much faster once you have forged a connection between two Bluetooth devices. Some Bluetooth devices make use of NFC (near field communication), which allows for Bluetooth connections to be forged by simply touching the two devices together.

Bluetooth versions

  • Bluetooth 1x: this is an obsolete version of Bluetooth that is no longer implemented in modern electronics. That’s because it has difficulty pairing and the top data transfer speed is a mere 1mps.
  • Bluetooth 2x: this version of Bluetooth came into popularity when smartphones were not as advanced as they are today. It supports data rates of up to 3mps and the 2.1 version provides improvements in the connectivity department.
  • Bluetooth 3x: 3.0 improves on the speed of the previous version, which means you can enjoy richer audio quality. The drawback of 3.0 is the increased power consumption, which means battery life is consumed at a faster rate.
  • Bluetooth 4x: this is the most popular Bluetooth version used today in smartphones and headphones. It allows for 33 feet of range and excellent audio stability since you’ll experience a minimal level of interruptions. A low energy feature is included in this feature that allows you to save power when connected to specific devices like smartwatches, heart monitors, and smartphones. Therefore, you’ll consume battery life at a slower rate, which means you won’t have to charge as often.
  • Bluetooth 5x: this is the most up-to-date version of Bluetooth, but it has yet to be implemented on a wide scale. Bluetooth 5x also allows for low energy usage and you’ll get a data transfer rate of up to 2Mbps. The range is also improved since you can enjoy up to 200 feet worth of range. A neat feature with Bluetooth 5x is the ability to enjoy dual audio. Therefore, multiple users can connect to one audio device to enjoy the same music via their respective personal audio devices.


When buying Bluetooth headphones it should be version 4.0 at a minimum as this ensures good range, great audio, and energy saving features. However, the rate of improvement is drastically slowing down when you go over version 4.0.