If you're in the market for a new pair of headphones, it can be hard to know where to start. Even if you've narrowed down your needs to something fairly specific, like earbuds for sports, how do you know what's the best earbuds brand? While the biggest brands tend to make something for everyone, some brands focus more on specific groups, like athletes or professional musicians. While you can get a decent pair of headphones from most brands these days, there's no hard and fast answer to what's the best headphones brand for you. Each headphone company has its unique way of doing things, even when they cater to similar needs. That said, some brands stand out among the rest.
We’ve tested headphones from over 100 different brands, and below are our recommendations for the 15 best headphone brands. The brands aren’t ordered by rank or position; the first brand listed isn’t necessarily our top pick overall, and the last brand isn’t the worst. Instead, we’ve listed the brands by use or specialty, keeping brands with similar audiences together to make it easier to find what best suits your needs.
Bose is an audio manufacturing company that makes many products, including home audio systems, speakers, and headphones. They're best known for headphones with a very comfortable fit and incredible noise isolation. While the company has faced criticism in the past for not delivering the same build or audio quality one might expect for the price, they've improved in recent years. Their latest models typically sound very well-balanced, have good battery performance with Bluetooth support, and are still very comfortable. While their headphones still don't feel as well-built as competing brands, Bose still delivers some of the top-performing models we've tested.
The best Bose headphones we've tested are the Bose QuietComfort 35 II/QC35 II Wireless 2018. These versatile headphones are well-built and amazingly comfortable, so they're a solid choice for long listening sessions. Out-of-the-box, they have a very neutral sound profile suitable for listening to lots of different types of audio content. Also, their ANC feature provides outstanding noise isolation, so you aren't distracted by background noises like bus and plane engines or the sounds of people talking around you. If you prefer headphones with an in-ear design, the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds Truly Wireless may be best for you, and they also offer a great noise isolation performance.
Sony is one of the largest electronics manufacturers in the world, producing a variety of products from cameras to TVs. Their headphone line-up is similarly wide and diverse, so whether you're looking for noise cancelling over-ears to help cut down ambient sound during your commute or sports-oriented earbuds with very stable fits, there's a variety of products available to meet your needs. Many Sony headphones are also compatible with the Sony| Headphones Connect app, which offers customization features like an EQ or button mapping. However, their large selection can be overwhelming, especially as there's a lot of overlap between models. Still, their high-end Bluetooth models are among the best we've tested and they offer versatile performance for most users.
The Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless are the best Sony headphones that we've tested. These premium over-ear headphones are the next generation of the Sony WH-1000XM3 Wireless and have a long continuous playback time of over 37 hours. They also support multi-device pairing with up to two devices at a time, making it easy to switch between your smartphone and laptop. However, what makes them stand out from the crowd is their ANC performance. They do a fantastic job of blocking out ambient noise like the low rumble of bus and plane engines, and they're one of the best noise cancelling headphones that we've tested too. They also have a somewhat bass-heavy default profile but if you want to customize their sound, their companion app offers a graphic EQ plus presets. If you prefer in-ear headphones, you may want to check out the Sony WF-1000XM4 Truly Wireless, which are high-end in-ears with ANC, a customizable sound profile, and great battery performance.
Sennheiser is a reputed brand among audiophiles for their wide range of open-back headphones at various price points. They also make Bluetooth models for more casual listening and dedicated TV headphones so you can enjoy your favorite shows wirelessly without lip-syncing issues. They make both over-ears and in-ears but don't have very many truly wireless models. Also, like Sony, because they have so many different types of headphones, it can be hard to know which ones provide the best value since there are so many overlapping models with only minor differences. That said, they're still a reliable brand with a good reputation that makes lots of different products worth recommending.
The best Sennheiser headphones we've tested are the Sennheiser HD 800 S. These reference-class over-ears have a spacious, open soundstage and an expertly-tuned sound signature that makes listening to your favorite high-fidelity tracks a memorable experience in a quiet room. They're quite the investment, though, so audiophiles on a budget will want to consider the more affordable Sennheiser HD 560S, which don't sound as immersive but provide better value for the price. If you prefer the versatility of a wireless noise cancelling design, the Sennheiser Momentum 3 Wireless have a bass-rich sound and a stylish yet comfortable style for everyday use but offer a less immersive listening experience due to their closed-back design.
Audio-Technica is a Japanese brand that makes a range of different headphones. They may be best known for their M-Series headphones, a line-up of closed-back studio headphones intended for professional use. This line-up includes many options, and it's not always obvious which provide the best value for the price. However, their best products stand out for their build and sound quality and are for audiophiles and audio professionals. They also make headphones with active noise cancelling and Bluetooth models for when you're out and about, but we haven't tested as many of them.
The best Audio-Technica headphones that we've tested are the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x. These wired over-ear headphones have a closed-back design and feel very durable, thanks to their high-grade plastic construction. They have a comfortable fit and very well-balanced sound profile with a little bit of extra bass that's well-suited for studio work and fans of neutral sound. Their big earcups and wide headband make them a bit bulky, and if you're looking for smaller, lighter over-ear headphones, you may prefer the Audio-Technica ATH-M60x, although their sound profile isn't as neutral. If you like Audio-Technica products but want to spend less, the Audio-Technica ATH-M20x are also worth considering. They aren't as well-built, and their sound profile is less well-balanced than the M50x or M60x, but their relatively affordable price point makes them a solid choice if you need more than one pair.
Beyerdynamic is one of the oldest headphone manufacturers, and are the inventors of the first dynamic transducer headphones. They mainly focus on hi-fi headphones with a neutral sound profile and a high build quality. Their open-back over-ear headphones also tend to have a more extended bass response than many other open-backs that we've tested. However, some users may find that their sound is quite bright and that sibilants like cymbals can sound piercing. This can vary from person to person though. Still, you may want to check this brand out if you're looking for critical listening or studio headphones.
The Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO are the best Beyerdynamic headphones that we've tested. Thanks to their open-back design, they have a natural and spacious soundstage to help immerse you in your audio. Their neutral sound profile also reproduces vocals and lead instruments clearly and accurately. They have a great build quality too and their well-padded design ensures a comfortable fit, even during long listening sessions. If you prefer closed-back headphones for in-studio recording, you may want to check out the Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO, which can block out more ambient noise. The Beyerdynamic Amiron Wireless are also a suitable choice for a high-end listening experience if you're looking for a cable-free design. However, their fit is very inconsistent across users.
JBL is an American manufacturer that offers a wide variety of audio equipment like speakers and headphones. They have a large headphone line-up that makes it easy to find a product that best suits your needs. This brand is also a subsidiary of Harman, so a lot of their headphones have a very neutral and accurate default sound profile, which should please most users. Some headphones are compatible with the JBL Headphones app too, which offers a parametric EQ as well as presets so that you can customize them to your liking.
The JBL CLUB PRO+ TWS True Wireless are the best JBL headphones that we've tested. These truly wireless headphones have an ANC system, which does a good overall job of blocking out ambient noise. Like most other JBL headphones, they also have a neutral sound profile that's versatile enough for most audio content and you can even customize their sound using their companion app. While their continuous battery life of over seven hours may not completely last through your workday, their carrying case supplies around three additional charges if you need it. If you prefer over-ear headphones, check out the JBL CLUB 950NC Wireless, which also have an ANC system, but have a longer continuous playback time and support multi-device pairing.
Plantronics have been at the forefront of mobile communications for decades. While their roots are in the aviation industry, they're arguably best-known for their Bluetooth wireless business headsets. They also make several wireless consumer products. We've yet to test their full lineup. That said, the models that we've tested are very well-rounded, providing good value for the price overall. Like JBL, they tend to have great Bluetooth features and impressive battery performance. They also generally sound very well-balanced, but their companion app doesn't provide many customization options. They also tend to make pretty bulky designs that aren't always the best-built, but they still feel reasonably durable for the price.
The best Plantronics headphones we've tested are the Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2 Wireless 2016. These well-built, comfortable over-ears have a decently neutral sound profile, and they pack an extra thump in the bass range that'll please fans of bass-heavy genres like EDM and hip-hop. Their continuous battery life of over 30 hours means that you won't have to worry about recharging them daily, which is convenient. With a decently versatile performance, they can please lots of listeners. But if you aren't a fan of over-ears and want truly wireless in-ears, consider the Plantronics Voyager 5200 Bluetooth Headset instead. They're comfortable, well-built, and stable in your ear, and their app comes with lots of customization options for phone calls. That said, they lack a lot of low bass, so they may not be the best choice for listening to your favorite tunes. If you prefer gaming-oriented headphones, check out the Plantronics RIG 800LX Wireless instead.
You don't have to be outside for long before seeing a pair of Beats headphones. For years, they've had a reputation for making over-priced, plastic feeling models that were too bass-heavy. However, since their acquisition by Apple Inc. in 2014, Beats by Dre have released many well-rounded, versatile headphones that provide better value than before. They generally sound surprisingly well-balanced, are often quite comfortable, and the wireless models can now pair seamlessly with Apple devices. None of their headphones are customizable, and build quality is still not on par with brands in the same price range. Overall, the brand has still come a long way, and their wireless earbuds, in particular, are now easy to recommend.
The best Beats headphones we've tested are the Beats Powerbeats Pro Truly Wireless. These well-built in-ears have a very stable fit, and they're a great choice for sports or working out at the gym. Their fairly well-balanced sound profile is suitable for many different music genres, and they even have an IPX4 rating for water resistance. Prefer on-ears? Check out the Beats Solo Pro Wireless, which have a well-balanced sound profile and an ANC feature that can block out background noises like voices or the hum of nearby AC units. These wireless headphones also offer over 24 hours of continuous playback with their ANC feature turned on. If you'd rather not worry about battery life or latency, you can also check out the wired Beats EP instead.
Jaybird has been on the market since 2006 and specializes in sports-oriented headphones. Their headphones tend to have high IP ratings for water resistance, although we don't currently test for it, stable fits, and a durable, robust build. Most of their headphones are also compatible with Jaybird's My Sound app, which offers features like a parametric EQ and presets so that you can tweak them to suit your tastes. Unfortunately, some of their headphones use proprietary charging cradles, so if you forget it when you're out and about, you may not be able to recharge your headphones. Still, Jaybird's products are designed with athletes in mind and some of their models are among the best headphones for running and working out that we've tested too.
The Jaybird Vista 2 Truly Wireless are the best Jaybird earbuds we've tested. These truly wireless headphones are the next generation of the Jaybird Vista Truly Wireless, and just like their predecessor, they're designed for sports. They have a great build quality, a very stable as well as comfortable in-ear fit, and are rated IP68 for water resistance, although we don't currently test for this. Out of the box, they have a well-balanced and neutral sound profile that's suitable for a variety of audio content. That said, if you prefer a different sound, you can adjust them to your liking using their companion app's sound customization features. Although their continuous battery life of 5.3 hours may not be enough to get you through long days at the office, their carrying case holds roughly two additional charges, which is handy.
Jabra have been making headsets designed for office and call-center use for decades, but they also produce popular truly wireless in-ear headphones. While they don't have a large selection of headphones for more casual use, the ones we've tested are nearly all worth considering, particularly if you're looking for sports-oriented or noise cancelling in-ears. Their older in-ear models are less comfortable, but many newer models have a somewhat less bulky design that should be more comfortable for most people. The over-ear models that we've tested are very comfortable, but their active noise cancelling performance isn't on par with the competition. Most headphones from this company are also compatible with their good companion app that offers sound customization options.
The Jabra Elite 85t Truly Wireless are the best Jabra headphones that we've tested. These truly wireless in-ears are comfortable, very well-built, and have an IPX4 rating for water resistance, although we don't test it currently. Their sound profile is very well-balanced out-of-the-box, so they should be suitable for a variety of genres of types of content, and if you prefer a different sound, you can customize it with a graphic EQ and presets in the companion app. They hardly leak any sound, and their ANC feature does a decent job of isolating you from ambient noise. If you're looking for a more affordable pair of in-ears, the Jabra Elite 75t Truly Wireless and Jabra Elite Active 75t Truly Wireless perform similarly and are available for less. If you prefer over-ear headphones, the Jabra Elite 85h Wireless have longer continuous battery life and support multi-device pairing, but their ANC feature isn't as effective.
Anker is a young company best known for portable power banks and affordable charging cables, but they also sell audio products like speakers and headphones. They make both over-ears and in-ears at many price points, and they usually offer a good value for their price point. Some of their premium models even come with sound customization features like graphic EQs and presets via the Soundcore app, which is handy if you like to adjust your headphones' sound. If you like in-ears and find yourself shopping on a budget, they have many options to choose from.
The best Anker headphones that we've tested are the Anker SoundCore Liberty Air 2 Truly Wireless. These well-built true wireless headphones have a slightly bass-heavy sound profile out-of-the-box that adds a little extra thump and punch to your audio. You can easily customize them using the graphic EQ and presets available in the Soundcore companion app. Though they don't have an ANC feature, they still do a very good job blocking distracting background noises. They only last for 6.4 hours off of a single charge, but at least their portable charging case offers around three extra charges so you can power up while on the go. If you're looking for an even more affordable pair of wireless in-ears, the Anker SoundBuds Curve Upgraded 2019 are a solid choice, though they're difficult to find in stock.
Skullcandy is an American company that focuses on making bright and colorful Bluetooth headphones. Their products usually have thumpy, bass-heavy sound profiles and are well-suited for fans of EDM and hip-hop. Many of their products are also found at a low price point, but unfortunately, this tends to be reflected in their plasticky, less-than-premium build quality. That said, they offer a few higher-end headphones with features like active noise cancelling and app compatibility.
The best Skullcandy headphones that we've tested are the Skullcandy Dime True Wireless. Although they have a basic, no-frills design, these wallet-friendly wireless in-ears deliver a decent price-to-performance. They're well-built and are rated IPX4 for water resistance, although we don't currently test for it. They also have a slightly bass-heavy sound profile that adds a touch of extra boom to your mixes. That said, it doesn't overwhelm vocals and lead instruments, making them a suitable choice for a variety of audio genres. If you like more thump and rumble in your mixes, the Skullcandy Crusher Evo Wireless have a haptic bass slider on one of their ear cups so that you can add more or less bass to your liking. Although the Dime's continuous battery life is quite short at under four hours of continuous playback time, you may also want to check out the Skullcandy Jib True Wireless, which are similarly affordable in-ears but with better battery performance.
SteelSeries is a Danish company that makes gaming peripherals and accessories, including headphones. Their gaming headsets all share a similar design, and it can be quite challenging to tell them apart, but they have their differences. Most of their models share the same ski-goggle-inspired headband design, which features an elastic strap inside a frame that's fixed in place. This design is quite comfortable if your head fits within the rigid frame, but if it doesn't, there's not much you can do. It can also be tricky to get the tension on the elastic strap just right - how tightly they seal affects their bass performance, so depending on how they fit, they can sound different to different people. That said, SteelSeries provides sound customization options in their companion software to help you find a sound profile that works for you, and some of their more premium models even have an onboard EQ.
The best SteelSeries headphones we've tested are the SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless. They're among the most feature-packed models we've tested, with not only a low-latency wireless connection for gaming but Bluetooth support so you can chat on your phone while you game, too. Their wireless transmitter also acts as a battery charging station and gives you access to a graphic EQ, along with other customization options, so you can tweak their sound on the fly. The SteelSeries Arctis Pro GameDAC are similarly designed but are for those who prefer a wired connection. Neither headset is fully compatible with the Xbox One, however, so the SteelSeries Arctis 9X Wireless are the way to go if you're an Xbox gamer. They use Xbox Wireless to connect directly without the need for an adapter but don't have as many customizable features, unfortunately.
Logitech may be better known as makers of computer mice and keyboards, but they also make gaming headsets worth considering. They own Astro Gaming, which is a company that focuses on console-oriented gaming headphones, while Logitech brand gaming headphones are more geared towards PC gamers. However, their wireless headsets are also compatible with PS4, and their wired models usually work with any console they can plug into. Their companion software is some of the best we've tested, with the most premium models offering tons of customization options. However, these headsets tend to be bulky and quite heavy, and their gamer-oriented design isn't for everyone. The newer G Pro lineup offers products with a sleeker, more versatile design.
The best Logitech headphones we've tested are the Logitech G PRO X WIRELESS LIGHTSPEED Gaming Headset. These impressively well-built gaming headphones have a boom microphone that you can detach for a more casual look. Out-of-the-box, their default sound profile is neutral, with a bit of extra boom that helps bring out sound effects in action-packed games. You can customize it with a graphic EQ and presets in the fantastic Logitech G HUB app. The mic has great recording quality and does a decent job of separating your voice from background sound, so your teammates should hear you clearly, even if you're gaming in a noisy place. However, they may not be ideal for use outside a quiet room, because they don't really isolate you from ambient sound. They have a continuous battery life of about 23 hours, which is great, but if you're looking for a wired gaming headset, you may want to check out the Logitech G Pro X Gaming Headset.
HyperX is the gaming division of Kingston Technology and has its roots in computer memory and storage devices. The brand also makes some of the most popular gaming headsets among both PC and console gamers alike, thanks to the wide compatibility options they support. Many of their gaming headphones are wired, but they also have wireless models for those who prefer going cable-free. In general, their models perform well for their intended purpose, but they lack customization options compared to the competition. That said, their products are usually quite reasonably priced, so they can provide better value for those who prefer a more straightforward plug-and-play experience.
The best HyperX headphones we've tested are the HyperX Cloud 2/Cloud II Wireless. These comfortable, well-built over-ears use a wireless USB dongle, which helps ensure low audio latency while gaming. They have a slightly bass-heavy sound profile that helps you feel the deep thumps and rumbles in action-packed scenes in your favorite video games, and there's even a 7.1 surround sound feature available, though we don't test for that. With a continuous battery life of over 30 hours, you can enjoy multiple long gaming sessions without needing to recharge. If you prefer a wired gaming headset, you can also check out the HyperX Cloud Alpha S.
Sep 07, 2021: Replaced the Jaybird Tarah Pro Wireless with the Jaybird Vista 2 Truly Wireless as the Tarah Pro are currently unavailable.
Jul 13, 2021: Updated text and verified that the product picks represent the best recommendations.
May 14, 2021: Replaced the Skullcandy Venue Wireless and JBL CLUB 950NC Wireless with the Skullcandy Dime Wireless and JBL CLUB PRO+ TWS, respectively, as these headphones offer a better value to our users.
Mar 15, 2021: Replaced the Anker SoundBuds Curve Upgraded 2019 with the Anker SoundCore Liberty Air 2 Truly Wireless as the Curve aren't widely available in stock. Replaced the HyperX Cloud Flight S with the HyperX Cloud 2/Cloud II Wireless as the Cloud 2 Wireless offer a better value to most users.
Nov 06, 2020: Replaced the Sony WH-1000XM3 Wireless with the Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless and replaced the Logitech G933 Gaming Headset with the Logitech G PRO X WIRELESS LIGHTSPEED Gaming Headset.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best headphone brands and the best headphones available to buy for most people in various price ranges, from 15 different headphone manufacturers.
If you'd like to choose for yourself, here is the list of all our headphone reviews. 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.