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
The best closed-back headphones are the Bose Quiet Comfort 35. The closed-back design and excellent noise canceling block a lot of ambient, which make them a good recommendation if you’re a frequent flyer or commute daily via public transit. They’re also one of the most comfortable wireless, closed-back headphones we’ve tested so far, and they’re a lot simpler to use than the MDR-1000x. However, they are a little leaky at higher volumes.
If you want the best noise isolating experience and a better build quality than the QC35, then get the Sony MDR-1000X. They’re not as comfortable and they struggle a bit more with the higher frequencies when connected wirelessly, but they still deliver a good audio reproduction, have a great battery life, and a better wireless connection. They cost a bit more but feel significantly more premium, which should make you feel better about your investment compared the QC35.
Best Mid-Range Closed-Back Headphones
The Beats Studio Wireless are a good option if you’re looking for a pair of comfortable yet versatile wireless headphones for everyday casual use. They have a sleek and stylish design, they deliver a well-balanced sound, and they’re easy to use once paired to your Bluetooth device. However, they do not isolate as well as the MDR-1000x or the QC 35, so they struggle a bit more in louder environments, but they’re also considerably cheaper.
If you want a more portable pair of headphones that also perform well in most use cases, then the Jaybird X2 are a good alternative to the Studio Wireless. They block a lot more ambient noise despite not being noise canceling headphones, and they deliver an above-average sound that will satisfy most casual listeners. They’re stable once in your ears and are easily one of the best sports headphones we’ve tested so far. However, their in-ear design is not always comfortable for everyone.
Best Budget Closed-Back Headphones
If you’re looking for a pair of budget wireless headphones and find in-ears comfortable, then the Level U Pro are a good alternative to the much pricier Jaybird X2. They’re comfortable and deliver a reliable and fast wireless connection. They also have a decent battery life and they do not leak much. This makes them good for the office, but unfortunately, they’re somewhat flimsy, which is to be expected at their budget price.
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:
- Sennheiser PXC 550. Sleek and feature packed wireless headphones. Good alternative to the QC35 or MDR-1000x but don't isolate as much. See our review
- Oppo PM-3. Mobile-friendly, planar magnetic headphones. Comfortable and good sound quality. Mediocre-at-best isolation and leakage. See our review
- Audio-Technica ATH-M50x. Comfortable and durable design. Excellent sound but a bit leaky at higher volumes. 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 are no perfect headphones. Personal taste, preference and listening habits will matter more in your selection.