We've currently tested 13 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.
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 of 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 long 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.
On the downside, these headphones don't have any sound customization features to let you tweak their audio reproduction to your liking. Some users may find them to be 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.
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 use as well as a case that supplies roughly one additional charge. They're fitted with an H1 chip that allows for quick and easy pairing with iOS devices. They also have a well-balanced sound profile that should suit a wide variety of genres and 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.
The Beats EP are the best Beats headphones with a wired connection that we've tested. These well-built on-ears have a decently comfortable fit that's stable enough for low-impact activities like jogging. They have a slightly warm and boomy sound profile with an outstandingly neutral and flat mid-range, which helps keep vocals and lead instruments present, detailed, and clear. That said, their sound is suitable for most audio genres. Thanks to their in-line microphone, your voice sounds clear and natural to whoever is on the other line. They also have a simple control scheme, so you can manage calls or music on-the-fly.
However, their on-ear fit may not be the most comfortable for all users and can be fatiguing when worn for long listening sessions. They also really struggle to isolate noise around you as they don't block out the thump or rumble of bus engines. They also have a hard time cutting down noise like ambient chatter, so they're not the best choice if you're commuting or wearing them at work. Still, if you don't like worrying about battery life, these lightweight wired on-ears offer a balanced sound profile, and they're even among the best headphones for DJs that we've tested.
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.
Beats has a slightly unorthodox naming convention for their headphones, but they do offer a decent variety of models for different uses.
Apr 09, 2021: Verified that all main picks are still in stock and represent the best choice for their given category.
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.