Closed-Back Headphones are for the average listeners who want a comfortable and well-isolated listening experience in both noisy and quiet environments. This means closed-back headphones typically have sufficient noise isolation to not let too much ambient noise seep into your audio. They don't leak as much as open headphones so they're not distracting to the people around you. Also, closed headphones cater a bit more to fans of bass. Below are our recommendations for the best Closed-back headphones we have tested so far.
Best Closed-Back Headphones $300+
The QuietComfort 35 are well-built and exceptionally comfortable wireless headphones. They sound great and the superb noise canceling significantly reduces the ambient noise of loud environments. However, they leak a bit so people may hear what you're playing at higher volumes. They're also not as sturdy as the ZIk 3.0 or the PXC 550.
The Sennheiser PXC 550 are sleek wireless headphones with a sturdy, comfortable design. They're packed with active features and have a good, customizable sound profile to suit your listening habits. They also isolate fairly well in loud environments making them versatile headphones for most use cases. They're a bit expensive tough, but feel better built than the similarly priced QC35s.
Best Closed-Back Headphones $150 to $300
The Beats Studio Wireless are well-crafted, sleek-looking headphones. They're comfortable, stable and relatively compact for an over-ear model. They also have a decently well-balanced sound that has a punchy bass but still caters well to instruments and vocal-heavy tracks. Unfortunately, the noise canceling is inefficient and a little weak for noisy environments.
The Oppo PM-3 are well-designed, mobile-friendly, planar magnetic headphones. They're comfortable and have a good, crisp sound quality. However, they're not the most versatile headphones for all use cases. They won't block the ambient noise of loud environments and they can be a little leaky at higher volumes.
Best Closed-Back Headphones $75 to $150
The Jaybird X2 are great sports headphones. They're stable and wireless with a decent control scheme that's easy-to-use. They also block a surprising amount of ambient noise and have an above-average audio reproduction. However, the in-ear fit is not comfortable for everyone.
The Audio-Technica ATH-M50x deliver an outstanding, well-balanced audio reproduction for their price. Their sound quality is on par with a lot pricier headphones. However, the straightforward studio design lacks some features for everyday casual use. They won't be the best headphones to use in loud noisy environments but they're an affordable option for closed critical listening headphones.
Best Closed-Back Headphones $30 to $75
The Panasonic RP-HC56 are decent and affordable noise canceling in-ear headphones. Their noise isolation is excellent which combined with their in-ear fit blocks a tremendous amount of ambient noise. They also have a sufficiently well-balanced sound to satisfy most casual listeners. Unfortunately, they distort audio easily at higher volumes and the in-ear fit might not be comfortable for every one.
The Samsung Level U Pro have a stable, lightweight design and good wireless range. They also deliver an above-average sound quality and more comfortable listening experience than typical in-ear models. They're a good pair of headphones to use around the office. However, the around-the-neck design is not for everyone and the earbud audio cables feel a little cheap and susceptible to wear and tear.
Best Closed-Back Headphones below $30
The SoundPeats QY8 have an above-average audio reproduction. They're wireless and stable enough to be used while exercising. They also do a good job isolating listeners from ambient noise, although they only block noise passively. They're a great option for the gym, and they're not too pricey but can be uncomfortable for some.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best closed-back headphones to buy for most people in each price range. We factor in the price (a cheaper headphone wins over a pricier one if the difference isn't worth it), feedback from our visitors and availability (no headphones that are difficult to find or almost out of stock everywhere).
A few examples of closed-back headphones that didn't make the cut:
- Sony MDR-7506. Simple, straightforward studio headphones with a good sound. Not versatile and struggles in loud environments. See our review
- Sennheiser Momentum 2.0. Wireless. The wireless version of the momentum 2.0. Good sound and decent isolation. Also very low leakage. See our review
- Vmoda Crossfade M-100. Comfortable and durable design. Good sound but a bit leaky and poor isolation. See our review
- B&W P5 Wireless. Great design and balanced sound. A bit pricey and the on-ear design is not always comfortable.See our review
- Polk Audio UltraFocus 8000. Great sound but poor soundstage. A good substitute for the ATH-M50x. See our review
If you would like to choose for yourself, here is the list of all our reviews for closed-back headphones. Be careful not to get caught up in the details. There is no perfect closed-back headphone. Personal taste, preference and listening habits will matter more in your selection.