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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.

SoundPeats Q9A SoundPeats Q9A

The Soundpeats Q9A are affordable sports headphones we recommend because of their stable ear-hook design. They are ideal for running and working out and they barely leak, so they do well in environments sensitive to noise like being at the office. They don't have the best sound quality or active features, but at their budget price, they're easy to recommend.

Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Audio-Technica ATH-M50x

The Audio-Technica ATH-M50x are one of the most popular closed-back headphones we've tested, 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 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.

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.

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  • 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 Freedom

        The Jaybird Freedom are a thinner and more portable alternative to the X3 and X2. They're sufficiently stable to exercise with and block a lot of ambient noise passively, as long as you can get a good fit. They also have a decent enough sound quality to satisfy most listeners. Unfortunately, the bulky charging clip is inconvenient and makes the headphones slightly unstable if attached. 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

        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

    • 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 2

        The Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2 improved the design and sound quality of the original BackBeat Pro. They're sturdy, comfortable headphones with an easy-to-use control scheme and reliable wireless connection. They're also packed with active features that make them suitable for most use cases, but they don't block as much ambient noise as some of the other noise-canceling headphones we've reviewed recently. 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

        JBL Everest Elite 700

        The JBL Everest Elite 700 are stylish-looking headphones packed with features that make them suitable for most use cases. They have a good build quality and block enough noise for commuting. They don't leak much, and they're pretty easy-to-use. However, they're still somewhat bulky headphones, and although they have a decent sound, they may not be ideal for more critical listeners. 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

        Superlux HD 668B

        The Superlux HD 668B are great-sounding and affordable critical listening headphones. They let in a lot of ambient noise and leak enough to be distracting to those around you, so they won't perform as well for other use cases. They're also a bit bulky and cumbersome to carry around. However, when it comes to sound, they deliver an almost unmatched audio reproduction at this price range. 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

        1More Triple Driver In-Ear

        The 1More Triple Driver are well-balanced and good-sounding in-ear headphones, with a simple but sleek looking design. They're comfortable and stable enough to exercise with and include a sturdy case that makes them easy to have on you at all times. Unfortunately, they don't block a lot of ambient noise so they won't be the ideal headphones to use in loud environments or while commuting. See our review

    • $101 to $200
      • Best Over-Ear

        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 On-Ear

        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 Earbuds

        Beats BeatsX

        The Beats BeatsX are good headphones for everyday casual use. They have a great wireless range and a well-balanced sound. They're lightweight, portable and unlike other around-the-neck designs, they can be crammed into your pockets without damaging the neckband. They also block enough noise to be versatile for loud environments, but their Apple-centric design may be slightly limiting to Android users. See our review

    • $201 to $400
  • 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

        Beats BeatsX

        The Beats BeatsX are good headphones for everyday casual use. They have a great wireless range and a well-balanced sound. They're lightweight, portable and unlike other around-the-neck designs, they can be crammed into your pockets without damaging the neckband. They also block enough noise to be versatile for loud environments, but their Apple-centric design may be slightly limiting to Android users. 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
    • Home Theater
      • Best Headphones

        Sennheiser RS 165

        The Sennheiser RS 165 are decent home theater headphones with a good sound quality. They have a transmitter stand that communicates with the headphones via radio frequency and provides an almost lag-less wireless connection for watching videos. Unfortunately, they're too bulky and do not block enough noise to be versatile for anything else. Also, RF has a few disadvantages especially in terms of range. 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 X3

        The Jaybird X3 are great sports headphones that are versatile enough for everyday casual use. They block a surprising amount of ambient noise, they're compact, stable and have a decent sound quality that's customizable thanks to the MySound app support. They don't outperform the Jaybird X2 but they're a bit easier to use and have a better design and overall build quality. 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 Freedom

        The Jaybird Freedom are a thinner and more portable alternative to the X3 and X2. They're sufficiently stable to exercise with and block a lot of ambient noise passively, as long as you can get a good fit. They also have a decent enough sound quality to satisfy most listeners. Unfortunately, the bulky charging clip is inconvenient and makes the headphones slightly unstable if attached. 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

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
Home Theater

Test Results

Design
Build Quality
Controls
Ease of use
Feedback
Call/Music Control
Volume Control
Noise Canceling Control
Talk-Through
Stability
Comfort
Breathability
Avg.Temp.Difference
Portability
Volume
Stand required
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
Battery
Battery Life
Charge Time
Auto-off
Audio while charging
Latency
Base Latency
aptX Latency
aptX(LL) Latency
Wireless Range
Obstructed Range
Line of Sight Range
NFC