Headphones Reviews

Start with our picks for the best headphones below. These are the ones we recommend based on our testing and in-depth headphones reviews.

MOST POPULAR RECOMMENDED HEADPHONES

Don’t know where to start? Check out the 3 most popular recommended headphones on our website.

Audio-Technica ATH-M50x

The Audio-Technica ATH-M50x are one of the most popular closed-back headphones, thanks to their unmatched price to sound quality ratio. They're comfortable, durable headphones but they're not versatile enough for all use cases. However, the well-balanced sound and sturdy design are definitely worth the investment.

Philips SHP9500

The Philips SHP9500 are popular critical listening headphones that we often recommend, for their excellent and open sound quality as well as their comfortable yet sturdy design. They're not the most practical for all use cases but deliver a listening experience on par with headphones twice or three times their price range.

Samsung Level U Pro

We often recommend the Samsung Level U Pro for their budget price and comfortable in-ear fit. The noise isolation is a little weak for loud environments. However, these versatile wireless headphones deliver a solid listening experience, and they're particularly good for office use.

BEST HEADPHONES OF 2017

Find the best headphones for your needs. There are hundreds of models to choose from and we reviewed and selected the best headphones on the market. Whether you’re looking for wireless earbuds for your office or the best headphones for running, here are our top recommendations for 2017 you can buy right now.

>
  • By Type
    • Earbuds/In Ear
      • Best Headphones

        Bose QuietControl 30

        The Bose QuietControl 30 are comfortable and versatile wireless headphones with a satisfying sound quality. They're decently portable and offer more control over their noise cancellation than any other Bose headphone reviewed so far. However, the noise canceling is not as strong, and although they're stable enough to run with the around-the-neck design won't be for everyone. See our review

      • Best Mid-Range

        Jaybird X2

        The Jaybird X2 are above-average in-ear headphones with a stable wireless design that's great for sports. They have a decent sound, barely leak, even at high volumes and block ambient noise better than some noise cancelling models. However, the in-ear fit is not comfortable for everyone. See our review

      • Best Budget

        Samsung Level U Pro

        The Samsung Level U Pro deliver a solid overall listening experience. They're comfortable for an in-ear model. They're wireless, and the around-the-neck design makes them stable enough for sports. Unfortunately, their noise isolation is a little weak for loud environments, and their build quality feels a bit fragile. See our review

    • On Ear
      • Best Headphones

        Beats Solo3 Wireless

        The Beats Solo3 are almost identical to the Solo2 Wireless except for slight improvements in the active features thanks to the W1 chip. They're comfortable and stable wireless on-ear headphones, with an above-average sound, an excellent battery life, and great wireless range. Unfortunately, they don't have the best isolation, so they won't be ideal in loud environments and they also leak at higher volumes. See our review

      • Best Mid-Range

        Bose SoundLink On-Ear

        The Bose SoundLink On-Ear are decent wireless on-ear headphones. They're comfortable and deliver a stable listening experience. Their sound quality is above-average, and they have an efficient control scheme. Sadly, they don't block much noise and leak quite a bit. They won't be ideal for traveling and may disturb people around you at higher volumes. See our review

      • Best Budget

        Sennheiser HD 202 II

        The Sennheiser HD 202 II are average-at-best. They deliver a decent sound and won't be too distracting to the people around you because of their relatively low leakage. However, they feel cheaply made. They have no audio controls and do not block much noise, which is not ideal for commuting or traveling. See our review

    • Over Ear
      • Best Headphones

        Sennheiser HD 800 S

        The Sennheiser HD 800 S are excellent sounding reference headphones. They're comfortable and have a sturdy, durable build. However, they're not the most versatile. They're not designed for commutes or to use casually, but plugged into an amp, they deliver an exceptional listening experience. See our review

      • Best Mid-Range

        Plantronics Backbeat Pro

        The Plantronics Backbeat Pro are an above-average pair of headphones. The ergonomic design is great and the build quality is solid, if a little stiff and heavy. The sound profile caters more to bass-heavy music genres but still offers passable audio reproduction. See our review

      • Best Budget

        Philips SHP9500

        The Phillips SHP9500 are a great pair of budget critical listening headphones. They're incredibly comfortable and have a sturdy yet lightweight build that feels durable. They're not casual headphones that can be used outdoors, but they deliver a good, well-balanced sound, on par with much pricier open-back models. See our review

  • By Feature
    • Active Noise Cancelling
      • Best Headphones

        Sony MDR-1000X

        The Sony MDR-1000x are well-designed and sturdy wireless headphones with one of the best noise cancellation we've measured so far. They're comfortable and packed with active features that make them versatile enough for most use cases. They don't have the best sound for more critical listeners, but their overall performance makes them great headphones for every day, casual use. See our review

      • Best Mid-Range

        Parrot Zik 2.0

        The Parrot Zik 2.0 are an above-average, feature-packed set of headphones. The design is stylish and comfortable, but the unique touch controls can get a little frustrating. By default, the audio reproduction is also only satisfactory, though this can be improved by adjusting settings through a bundled app. See our review

      • Best Budget

        Panasonic RP-HC56

        The Panasonic RP-HC56 are above-average noise cancelling earbuds. Their noise isolation is excellent and the audio profile is relatively balanced and woks well for most music genres. Unfortunately, they distort audio easily at higher volumes and the in-ear fit might not be the most comfortable. See our review

    • Wireless Bluetooth
  • By Price
    • Under $25
    • $26 to $50
      • Best Over-Ear

        Audio-Technica ATH-M20x

        The Audio-Technica ATH-M20x are decent over-ear headphones. They have an above-average audio reproduction and a moderately comfortable and stable design. Sadly, They don't block much noise, which may affect your listening experience in loud environments or while commuting. See our review

      • Best On-Ear

        Koss Porta Pro

        The Koss Porta Pro KTC deliver a good sound at an affordable price. They're lightweight, comfortable, and have a portable, retro design that will work for some. However, they feel flimsy and cheap, they don't block any noise, and the open design leaks at higher volumes. See our review

      • Best Earbuds

        Samsung Level U Pro

        The Samsung Level U Pro deliver a solid overall listening experience. They're comfortable for an in-ear model. They're wireless, and the around-the-neck design makes them stable enough for sports. Unfortunately, their noise isolation is a little weak for loud environments, and their build quality feels a bit fragile. See our review

    • $51 to $100
      • Best Over-Ear

        Philips SHP9500

        The Phillips SHP9500 are a great pair of budget critical listening headphones. They're incredibly comfortable and have a sturdy yet lightweight build that feels durable. They're not casual headphones that can be used outdoors, but they deliver a good, well-balanced sound, on par with much pricier open-back models. See our review

      • Best On-Ear

        Marshall Major II

        The Marshall Major II are straightforward headphones with a decent sound for recording or critical listening. They have a relatively unique look, they're lightweight and decently comfortable. However, they're not the most durable headphones and do not isolate well in loud environments. See our review

      • Best Earbuds

        Sennheiser Momentum In-Ear

        The Sennheiser Momentum In-Ear have a sturdy, portable design but sound a bit too bass-heavy for most listeners. They have a great case and easily fit into your pockets. They're stable and they don't leak, so you won't distract anyone around you. However, their sound quality is not the best and the in-ear fit can be uncomfortable for some. See our review

    • $101 to $200
    • $201 to $400
      • Best Over-Ear

        Sony MDR-1000X

        The Sony MDR-1000x are well-designed and sturdy wireless headphones with one of the best noise cancellation we've measured so far. They're comfortable and packed with active features that make them versatile enough for most use cases. They don't have the best sound for more critical listeners, but their overall performance makes them great headphones for every day, casual use. See our review

      • Best On-Ear

        Beats Solo3 Wireless

        The Beats Solo3 are almost identical to the Solo2 Wireless except for slight improvements in the active features thanks to the W1 chip. They're comfortable and stable wireless on-ear headphones, with an above-average sound, an excellent battery life, and great wireless range. Unfortunately, they don't have the best isolation, so they won't be ideal in loud environments and they also leak at higher volumes. See our review

      • Best Earbuds

        Bose QuietControl 30

        The Bose QuietControl 30 are comfortable and versatile wireless headphones with a satisfying sound quality. They're decently portable and offer more control over their noise cancellation than any other Bose headphone reviewed so far. However, the noise canceling is not as strong, and although they're stable enough to run with the around-the-neck design won't be for everyone. See our review

  • By Usage
    • Commuting
      • Best Headphones

        Sony MDR-1000X

        The Sony MDR-1000x are well-designed and sturdy wireless headphones with one of the best noise cancellation we've measured so far. They're comfortable and packed with active features that make them versatile enough for most use cases. They don't have the best sound for more critical listeners, but their overall performance makes them great headphones for every day, casual use. See our review

      • Best Mid-Range

        Bose QuietComfort 20

        The Bose QuietComfort 20 are a superb set of earbuds that will impress you with their isolation performance. They are well-designed, comfortable and very stable. The audio reproduction is somewhat average but the noise cancellation will definitely blow you away. See our review

      • Best Budget

        Anker SoundBuds Sport

        The Anker SoundBuds Sport are decent in-ear headphones with a stable wireless design. They maintain their position during physical activities, like running, and are surprisingly good at blocking ambient noise. Unfortunately, they have poor sound quality, which could be a deal breaker for some. See our review

    • Critical Listening
      • Best Headphones

        Sennheiser HD 800 S

        The Sennheiser HD 800 S are excellent sounding reference headphones. They're comfortable and have a sturdy, durable build. However, they're not the most versatile. They're not designed for commutes or to use casually, but plugged into an amp, they deliver an exceptional listening experience. See our review

      • Best Mid-Range

        Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO

        The Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO are sturdy critical listening headphones. They deliver an excellent audio reproduction but their open-back design is not ideal for everyday casual use. They will leak a lot, even at low volumes and don't block any ambient noise. They're also a bit tight on the head. See our review

      • Best Budget

        Philips SHP9500

        The Phillips SHP9500 are a great pair of budget critical listening headphones. They're incredibly comfortable and have a sturdy yet lightweight build that feels durable. They're not casual headphones that can be used outdoors, but they deliver a good, well-balanced sound, on par with much pricier open-back models. See our review

    • Office
      • Best Headphones

        Bose QuietControl 30

        The Bose QuietControl 30 are comfortable and versatile wireless headphones with a satisfying sound quality. They're decently portable and offer more control over their noise cancellation than any other Bose headphone reviewed so far. However, the noise canceling is not as strong, and although they're stable enough to run with the around-the-neck design won't be for everyone. See our review

      • Best Mid-Range

        Jaybird X2

        The Jaybird X2 are above-average in-ear headphones with a stable wireless design that's great for sports. They have a decent sound, barely leak, even at high volumes and block ambient noise better than some noise cancelling models. However, the in-ear fit is not comfortable for everyone. See our review

      • Best Budget

        Samsung Level U Pro

        The Samsung Level U Pro deliver a solid overall listening experience. They're comfortable for an in-ear model. They're wireless, and the around-the-neck design makes them stable enough for sports. Unfortunately, their noise isolation is a little weak for loud environments, and their build quality feels a bit fragile. See our review

    • Sports/Fitness
      • Best Headphones

        Jaybird X2

        The Jaybird X2 are above-average in-ear headphones with a stable wireless design that's great for sports. They have a decent sound, barely leak, even at high volumes and block ambient noise better than some noise cancelling models. However, the in-ear fit is not comfortable for everyone. See our review

      • Best Budget

        SoundPeats Q9A

        The SoundPeats Q9A are better built and have more convenient audio controls than the QY8 and QY9. They're wireless, stable and a bit more comfortable than typical in-ear models. Unfortunately, they don't block much noise, and their sound quality is sub-par, which could be a deal breaker for some. See our review

  • By Enclosure
    • Open Back
      • Best Headphones

        Sennheiser HD 800 S

        The Sennheiser HD 800 S are excellent sounding reference headphones. They're comfortable and have a sturdy, durable build. However, they're not the most versatile. They're not designed for commutes or to use casually, but plugged into an amp, they deliver an exceptional listening experience. See our review

      • Best Mid-Range

        Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO

        The Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO are sturdy critical listening headphones. They deliver an excellent audio reproduction but their open-back design is not ideal for everyday casual use. They will leak a lot, even at low volumes and don't block any ambient noise. They're also a bit tight on the head. See our review

      • Best Budget

        Philips SHP9500

        The Phillips SHP9500 are a great pair of budget critical listening headphones. They're incredibly comfortable and have a sturdy yet lightweight build that feels durable. They're not casual headphones that can be used outdoors, but they deliver a good, well-balanced sound, on par with much pricier open-back models. See our review

    • Closed Back

HOW OUR HEADPHONES REVIEWS WORK

Our testing team subjects each product in our lab to uniform measurement procedures that evaluate all aspects of its performance, no matter the type of headphones. The results are then weighed in our system to reflect the impact they will have on your experience, based in your intended usage. The list below shows the impact different tests have on our recommendation scores by usage.

Usage

Mixed Usage
Critical Listening
Commute/Travel
Sports/Fitness
Office

Test Results

Design
Stability
Comfort
Portability
Volume
Build Quality
Controls
Breathability
Avg.Temp.Difference
Sound
Frequency Response Consistency
Avg. Std. Deviation
Mid
Std. Err.
Bass
Std. Err.
Low-Frequency Extension
Soundstage
PRTF Error
Openness
Acoustic Space Excitation
Correlated Crosstalk
Treble
Std. Err.
Total Harmonic Distortion
Weighted THD @ 90
Weighted THD @ 100
Imaging
Phase Error
Driver Mismatch (Amplitude)
Driver Mismatch (Frequency)
Driver Mismatch (Phase)
Isolation
Noise Isolation
Bass
Mid
Treble
Self-Noise
Leakage
Overall Leakage @ 1ft
Active Features
Wireless
SBC Latency
aptX Latency
aptX(LL) Latency
Obstructed Range
Line of Sight Range
NFC
Battery
Battery Life
Charge Time
Auto-off
Audio while charging