The 3 Best Beats Headphones of 2021 Reviews

Updated
Best Beats Headphones

We've currently tested 16 pairs of Beats headphones. They're a popular brand that makes stylish and comfortable headphones. While they used to be known for their excessively bass-heavy sound signature, their newer models tend to sound surprisingly well-balanced.

Updates

Best Beats Headphones


  1. Best Wireless Beats Headphones

    6.9
    Mixed Usage
    7.3
    Neutral Sound
    7.4
    Commute/Travel
    7.1
    Sports/Fitness
    6.9
    Office
    5.5
    Wireless Gaming
    5.3
    Wired Gaming
    6.2
    Phone Calls
    Type On-ear
    Enclosure Closed-Back
    Wireless Yes
    Noise Cancelling Yes
    Mic Yes
    Transducer Dynamic

    The Beats Solo Pro Wireless are the best Beats headphones with a wireless design that we've tested. These Bluetooth-enabled on-ears feel impressively well-built, with densely constructed ear cups and a metal alloy headband. They also have an ANC feature that helps them do a great job blocking out ambient chatter and high-pitched background noise, though they struggle with isolating against the low rumble of bus and plane engines. They supply roughly 24 hours of playback time on a single charge with their noise cancelling feature enabled, which should be enough for overnight trips. They also have a fairly well-balanced sound profile, though with a slightly excited V-shape that should give a bit more thump and brightness to EDM and hip-hop tracks.

    Unfortunately, they don't have any sound customization features to let you tweak their audio reproduction to your liking. Some users may find them a little too tight, with a limited range of adjustment for their headband and thick ear cup padding. They're also rather bulky by the standards of on-ear headphones, even when folded into a more compact format. Still, their premium-feeling build quality and impressive noise isolation capability make them some of the best on-ear headphones that we've tested.

    See our review

  2. Best Beats Earbuds

    7.6
    Neutral Sound
    6.9
    Commute/Travel
    8.3
    Sports/Fitness
    6.7
    Office
    5.9
    Wireless Gaming
    5.7
    Wired Gaming
    6.3
    Phone Calls
    Type In-ear
    Enclosure Closed-Back
    Wireless Truly Wireless
    Noise Cancelling No
    Mic Yes
    Transducer Dynamic

    The best Beats earbuds we've tested are the Beats Powerbeats Pro Truly Wireless. These truly wireless in-ears are comfortable to wear and do a great job of staying in place thanks to their lightweight design and built-in ear hooks. They also feel reasonably well-built, with a dense plastic construction that's rated IPX4 for water resistance, though we don't currently test for that. They provide over 11 hours of runtime on a single charge, which should be more than enough for a full day's use, and have a standby mode to conserve power when not in use, as well as a case that supplies roughly one additional charge. They have an H1 chip that allows for quick and easy pairing with iOS devices. They also have a well-balanced sound profile that should suit many genres and types of audio content, ranging from EDM music to audiobooks.

    Unfortunately, they don't have any sound customization features, like an in-app graphic EQ or built-in EQ presets. Their poor noise isolation capability can be helpful if you like to run outdoors and want to listen to music while staying aware of your surroundings, but this could be annoying if you wear the headphones on your commute or at the office. Otherwise, their well-balanced sound profile, comfortable and stable fit, and relatively long continuous battery life make them some of the best wireless earbuds for running and working out that we've tested.

    See our review

  3. Best Budget Beats Headphones

    6.9
    Neutral Sound
    7.7
    Commute/Travel
    8.1
    Sports/Fitness
    7.0
    Office
    5.4
    Wireless Gaming
    5.3
    Wired Gaming
    6.0
    Phone Calls
    Type In-ear
    Enclosure Closed-Back
    Wireless Yes
    Noise Cancelling No
    Mic Yes
    Transducer Dynamic

    The Beats Flex Wireless are the best Beats headphones at the budget level that we've tested. These colorful in-ears have a silicone neck cable design and are flexible enough to fit into most pockets. They also have a comfortable fit that doesn't go too deep into your ear. Fans of EDM and hip-hop can enjoy their bass-heavy sound profile, which delivers extra thump and boom. Thanks to their in-ear design, they don't leak too much audio at high volumes and can block out a decent amount of noise like office chatter around you. They last roughly 11 hours on a single charge, too, so you can get through long days at the office without recharging them, and their W1 chip makes it easy to seamlessly pair them with other devices in your Apple ecosystem.

    Unfortunately, although they have a companion app, it doesn't offer features like an EQ or presets, so you can't adjust their sound profile to your liking. They also have high latency on PCs, which is disappointing if you like to stream video. That said, they have much lower latency on iOS and Android devices, although some apps compensate for latency differently.

    See our review

Compared to other brands


  • Comfortable designs. Most Beats headphones are comfortable to wear and are suitable for use over long periods. While their over-ear designs are the most comfortable, their on-ear and in-ear headphones tend to be more comfortable than similarly designed models.
  • Decently well-balanced sound. While older Beats headphones tend to have a bass-heavy sound that lacks detail, recent models are better balanced but still deliver the rumbly and punchy bass that fans come to expect.
  • Stylish and sturdy designs. Beats tend to shine compared to other headphone brands when it comes to design. They have sleek, premium-looking headphones that stand out with bold color schemes. While they may not all feel as durable as other brands on the market, their more recent models have a sturdy build quality that further emphasizes their premium price range.
  • Expensive. Beats headphones tend to be rather pricey, especially compared to other brands. The quality of their more recent models that we’ve tested better matches their premium price point, but they still feel a bit expensive for what they have to offer.
  • Noise cancelling not on par with the competition. Beats have a couple of models with active noise cancelling now. Though some of the newer ones perform well, they're still not quite on par with similarly priced noise cancelling headphones from Sony or Bose.
  • No customization options. While most Beats have an extremely limited interface for Android and iOS, this interface doesn't offer any customization features.

Overall, Beats make sleek and modern-looking headphones that feel like fashion accessories. Although older models have a mediocre-at-best sound quality, more recent releases have improved their audio reproduction to better suit neutral listeners while still retaining their powerful bass. However, their headphones are expensive for what they offer, especially since the more feature-packed models aren't quite on par with their competitors.

Lineup

Beats has a slightly unorthodox naming convention for their headphones, but they do offer a decent variety of models for different uses.

  • Pro = Usually the highest-end product of the lineup.
  • Powerbeats = In-ears with ear hooks that are designed for sports use. 
  • Beats Studio = Over-ear models.
  • Beats Solo = On-ear models.
  • Beats Earbuds/In-Ear = The names vary, but Beats offers a wide set of in-ear headphones that are ideal for casual use or sports.

Recent Updates

  1. Jun 08, 2021: Replaced the Beats EP with the Beats Flex Wireless and renamed the category to 'Best Budget Beats Headphones' as the Flex Wireless offer better overall performance.

  2. Apr 09, 2021: Verified that all main picks are still in stock and represent the best choice for their given category.

Conclusion

Beats have made great improvements to their lineup. They're still a fashion-forward brand that focuses on bold color schemes and sleek modern designs, but their recent models sound a lot better-balanced than what they’ve put out in the past. That said, their products are still a bit pricey for what they have to offer, especially their noise cancelling headphones that don’t deliver the same level of noise isolation that models from competing brands provide.

Discover our recommendations for the best travel headphones, the best headphones for running, and the best on-ear headphones.

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