We've currently tested 20 pairs of Beats headphones. They're a popular brand that makes stylish and comfortable headphones. The brand was acquired by Apple in 2014, which means that some models come with features meant for users of the Apple ecosystem. Also, while they used to be known for their excessively bass-heavy sound signature, some newer models sound more well-balanced and neutral.
The best Beats headphones we've tested are the Beats Studio Pro Wireless. These well-built over-ears come in a couple of sleek and subdued colors, like deep brown and navy. They also have a noise cancelling (ANC) system, and while it falls short compared to competitors like Bose or Sony, they can still reduce a good amount of ambient sound like office chatter. With their ANC on, they last over 28 hours continuously, and you can even use them wired in a pinch, although you can only receive audio, not use the mic.
Their neutral sound profile makes them versatile enough for most audio content. They also have a built-in DAC (digital-to-analog converter), and when paired with their USB-C cable, it allows you to stream lossless audio from your device. You can also access a few EQ presets that are only available when using the USB-C connection. While these cans don't have an H2 chip for seamless pairing with Apple devices, they still support Spatial Audio to help produce a more immersive audio experience.
The best Beats earbuds we've tested are the Beats Fit Pro True Wireless. These buds are the sportier sibling of the Beats Studio Buds + True Wireless, but even if you're not looking for earbuds for the gym, they offer a few extra features that make them a great choice for everyday use. They have an H1 chip, so you can easily pair them with iPhones and MacBooks, and they have Apple's virtual surround sound feature Spatial Audio (although it only works with iOS devices). Their ANC system also offers better overall performance than the Beats Studio Pro Wireless and Studio Buds +, helping to reduce a wide range of noise, including the low rumble of bus and plane engines.
They have a slightly V-shaped sound profile out of the box, so audio has a little extra rumble and punch. Vocals and lead instruments are present and bright but can sound a bit harsh. Unfortunately, they don't have sound customization features, but overall, their sound is well-balanced enough for various genres. They have a fairly comfortable fit, but the buds have a bulky design that might bother people with smaller ears.
If you're looking for earbuds to use during workouts, the Beats Powerbeats Pro Truly Wireless are the best option we've tested from Beats. Instead of the Beats Fit Pro True Wireless' stability fins, they have malleable hooks that wrap around your ears for added stability when moving around. This design is more comfortable for most people and helps ensure your earbuds don't fall out of your ears during intense workouts. They're also rated IPX4 for water resistance, have roughly 11 hours of continuous battery life, and come with an Η1 chip for seamless pairing with Apple devices.
Compared to other older Beats headphones, they have a more neutral sound profile, which you might like if you're not a fan of bass-heavy sound or listen to many podcasts or audiobooks while exercising. Unfortunately, they don't have sound customization options, and the companion interface is very limited. They won't isolate you from much ambient sound, so they aren't ideal if you want to escape distracting noise at the gym. However, you might not mind their low level of noise isolation if you're running outdoors, as you can more easily monitor your environment.
If you're shopping for a pair of budget headphones, the best option from this brand are the Beats Flex Wireless. These lightweight earbuds come in a few bright colors and have a flexible neck cable. They're comfortable, well-built, and will stay in your ears if you use them for workouts. They last about 11 hours continuously, so they can get you through your daily commute and workday without recharging. Apple users can appreciate their W1 chip, making it simpler to pair them with iOS devices like iPhones.
Like many of this manufacturer's products, they provide a bass-rich listening experience, with extra rumble and punch that works well for genres like EDM and hip-hop. Unlike some budget headphones, they have a companion app. However, it only lets you toggle auto-pause and auto-call answering on and off. It doesn't include an EQ or presets for sound customization. Their mic has a passable recording quality but can't separate your voice from loud ambient sounds, so they aren't suitable for making calls from a busy street or bus. That said, if you want simple headphones, they have a solid performance for daily music and podcast listening.
Since Apple owns Beats, some of their headphones have the same features for iOS users, like H1 chips and Spatial Audio. The brands still have distinct styles and product lines, but both make sturdy, well-built headphones. Apple noise cancelling headphones tend to have an edge over Beats', making it the better brand if noise cancellation is important. However, Beats has a wider range of styles and prices, like sports earbuds and budget options. If you want to check out Apple's lineup, check out our list of the best Apple headphones.
Sony makes a wider variety of headphones than Beats, including gaming headsets. Their headphones are more likely to have very strong noise cancelling, especially over-ear models, and many have companion apps that include sound customization features. That said, Apple users might prefer Beats' iOS-specific features. Beats headphones are consistently well-built, while some Sony models can have a plasticky, cheaper-feeling build. Still, if you're looking for more options, check out our recommendations for the best Sony headphones.
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 a balanced sound that doesn't completely sacrifice bass. However, their headphones are expensive for what they offer, especially since the more feature-packed models aren't on par with their competitors.
Beats have a slightly unorthodox naming convention for their headphones, but they offer various models for different uses. Their product names can give you an idea of the style and features of a certain pair of headphones.
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 much better balanced than what they've put out in the past. Their products are still a bit pricey for what they offer, especially their noise cancelling headphones, which don't deliver the same level of noise isolation that models from competing brands provide.