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The 3 Best Beats Headphones of 2020
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Best Beats Headphones

We have currently reviewed 11 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.

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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 best Beats headphones that we've tested so far are the Beats Solo Pro. These noise cancelling wireless on-ears are very well-built, have an easy-to-use and fairly comprehensive touch-sensitive control scheme, and have a chic design that's available in a broad range of colors to suit your sense of style. They also yield roughly 24 hours of continuous playback with ANC turned on, which should be enough to get you through a couple of days at work. Their ANC system is quite effective overall, as it does a great job of helping block out ambient chatter and the high-pitched hum of nearby AC units. They also offer a fairly well-balanced sound profile with just a hint of extra bass, so they're a good fit for a wide variety of musical genres.

    Unfortunately, they lack any sort of audio presets or an EQ to adjust their sound profile to your liking. Their on-ear fit isn't for everyone, and they may feel a little to tight if you have a large head. Their integrated mic also delivers sub-par recording quality, so your voice may be heard as muffled and lacking in detail to those on the other end of the line.

    See our review

  2. Best Beats Earbuds

    7.0
    Mixed Usage
    7.3
    Neutral Sound
    7.0
    Commute/Travel
    8.3
    Sports/Fitness
    6.5
    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 so far are the Beats Powerbeats Pro. These truly wireless in-ears are great for sports and fitness due to their stable fit and solid build quality. They have a very intuitive control scheme that's easy-to-use when you're on the move while their 11-hour-plus continuous battery life should be more than sufficient to last you throughout the day. While their sub-par noise isolation performance means they let in a lot of ambient noise, that may be preferable if you're an outdoor runner who wants to stay aware of your surroundings. They also have a fairly well-balanced sound profile, making them well-suited for everything from podcasts to EDM.

    Unfortunately, their IPX4 water resistance rating isn't especially impressive for high-end sports-oriented headphones, though it should be noted that we don't test this feature. They also don't have an EQ or audio presets to adjust their sound profile to your liking, which may be disappointing if you're the type who likes to dial in a little more bass to stay motivated on a run.

    See our review

  3. Best Wired Beats Headphones

    5.7
    Mixed Usage
    7.2
    Neutral Sound
    5.0
    Commute/Travel
    6.0
    Sports/Fitness
    5.4
    Office
    5.1
    Wireless Gaming
    7.1
    Wired Gaming
    6.5
    Phone Calls
    Type On-ear
    Enclosure Closed-Back
    Wireless No
    Noise Cancelling No
    Mic Yes
    Transducer Dynamic

    The best Beats headphones that are wired are the Beats EP. These wired on-ears are decently comfortable and feel reasonably well-built, with dense plastic ear cups and a flexible headband. They're stable enough to wear outside during day-to-day use, though their non-detachable audio cable can snag on something and pull them off of your head. Their in-line microphone delivers good recording quality, as it makes your voice sound clear and detailed. They'll also provide a well-balanced listening experience that's versatile enough for most genres, giving your music adequate thump and body, not to mention clear, present, and detailed vocals and lead instruments.

    That said, they're inadequate for commuting and office work due to their poor noise isolation capability. They let in a lot of ambient noise across the spectrum, ranging from the low rumble of bus and train engines to the higher-pitched chatter of noisy coworkers. That said, their well-balanced sound profile and compact, lightweight design makes them some of the best headphones for DJs that we've tested.

    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 also 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 reviewed 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, and although some of the newer ones perform quite 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 a bit expensive for what they have to 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.
  • 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.

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 commuting headphones and the best headphones for running.

Test results

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