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 the best earbuds brand is? While the biggest brands tend to make something for everyone, some focus 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 as to what the best headphones brand for you is. Each 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 brands, and below are our recommendations for the 17 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 a company that's well-known for their noise cancelling technology. They've made their mark by producing the first commercial acoustic noise cancelling headset for pilots. Since then, they've updated and expanded their active noise cancelling (ANC) systems for consumer use and even widened their offerings to include home audio systems and speakers. Their headphones have powerful noise isolation performances with fairly neutral and balanced sound profiles. They even produce a lineup of audio sunglasses, which are sunglasses that have speakers built into the arms, so you can still listen to audio without blocking your ears.
The Bose QuietComfort 45/QC45 Wireless are the best Bose headphones that we've tested. These over-ears are the next generation of the Bose QuietComfort 35 II/QC35 II Wireless, which were discontinued in 2022. Like their predecessor, they have a very comfortable fit suitable for long listening sessions, and they're well-built. Their ANC can block out an excellent amount of ambient noise like the low rumble of bus and plane engines as well as office chatter. They last over 21 hours continuously, and if you forget to turn them off, they have an auto-off timer to conserve battery life when you're not using them. They also support multi-device pairing, and you can pair them with up to two devices at a time. While they're lightweight for over-ears, if portability is a concern, you may want to check out the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds Truly Wireless, which are in-ears with a great noise isolation performance.
Sony is one of the largest electronics manufacturers, producing products from cameras to TVs. Their lineup of headphones is similarly wide and diverse. 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 very well-built over-ear headphones offer some improvements over their predecessors, the Sony, including multi-device pairing, so you can easily switch between using your laptop and phone. They also offer a longer battery life of more than 37 hours. Thanks to their ANC feature, they provide a fantastic noise isolation performance, meaning they can block out a wide range of noise, from the low rumble of bus and plane engines to office-type noise like ambient chatter and the hum of an A/C unit. Their bass-rich sound profile is well-suited for genres like EDM and hip-hop, but if you prefer a different sound, it can also be customized with an EQ and presets in their companion app. They're also very comfortable, although they trap some heat against your ears. If you prefer an in-ear fit, you may like the Sony WF-1000XM4 Truly Wireless, premium in-ears with a very good noise isolation performance and a long continuous battery life.
Apple is an iconic American company that produces consumer electronics like speakers, smartphones, and computers. Although their headphones line up is a lot smaller than their competitors, their easily recognizable products have made quite an impact on the retail landscape. Their in-ears have a distinct, glossy white look that's been imitated by other manufacturers. Their products also boast a couple of extra features if you're already an Apple user. Their wireless headphones have H1 chips so that you can seamlessly pair them with iOS devices and newer products support Spatial Audio on iOS/iPadOS 14 or later, which reorients sound as you move your head. Unfortunately, their products lack sound customization features to adjust their sound.
The Apple AirPods Pro Truly Wireless are the best Apple headphones we've tested. Unlike the Apple AirPods (3rd generation) Truly Wireless, they have an in-ear fit and have an ANC system. As a result, they can block out a great amount of ambient noise like the low rumble of bus and plane engines as well as ambient chatter. Their fairly neutral sound profile is well-suited for most kinds of audio content, although they lack a bit of thump and rumble. While their continuous battery life of 5.3 hours may not last you through long days on the go, their carrying case holds five additional charges. If you prefer over-ear headphones, you may want to consider the Apple AirPods Max Wireless, which are premium noise cancelling headphones with a sleek aluminum design.
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 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, making 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, are stylish, and have a comfortable fit for everyday use, but they 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 lineup of closed-back studio headphones intended for professional use. This lineup includes many options, and it's not always obvious which provides 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 we've tested are the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x. These closed-back headphones have a wired design and a very well-balanced sound profile. There's a bit of overemphasis in the bass range that adds extra punch and warmth to audio, but they're suitable for a variety of genres, and their sound should please fans of neutral sound and people looking for studio headphones. They're impressively well-built and have a comfortable fit, although their big ear cups and wide headband make them a bit bulkier than other models from this manufacturer, like the Audio-Technica ATH-M60x, although those headphones have a less neutral sound profile. If you're looking for a cheaper option, the Audio-Technica ATH-M20x are worth considering in the budget range, although they aren't as well-built, and their sound isn't as well-balanced as the M50x or M60x.
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 their sound quite bright and that sibilants like cymbals can sound piercing. It 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 we've tested. These wired over-ear headphones have an open-back design that helps them create a reasonably immersive and open-seeming passive soundstage. They also have a neutral sound profile that ensures vocals and instruments reproduce clearly and accurately. They're impressively well-built, with a sturdy metal headband and comfortable, well-padded ear cups. If you're looking for headphones for purposes like recording and want a closed-back design, you may prefer the Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO, which leak less audio and block out more ambient sound. The Beyerdynamic Amiron Wireless are also a decent option if you want Βluetooth headphones. However, their sound profile is much more dependent on their fit, seal, and positioning on your head.
JBL is an American manufacturer that offers a wide variety of audio equipment like speakers and headphones. They have a large headphone lineup that makes it easy to find a product that best suits your needs. This brand is also a subsidiary of Harman, so many 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, offering 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 we've tested. These truly wireless headphones have an ANC feature that does a decent job of isolating you from ambient noise like rumbling engines and ambient chatter. Like most JΒL headphones we've tested, they have a very neutral, versatile default sound profile that can be customized with a parametric EQ and presets in their companion app. They're comfortable, very well-built, and should be stable enough to stay in place during workouts. They also offer a 'Video Mode' that provides a low latency connection with PCs and iOS and Android devices, so you can use them to watch videos without audio syncing issues. If you don't like in-ear headphones, the JBL CLUB 950NC Wireless are over-ears with a well-balanced default sound profile and an app with customization features. They also support multi-device pairing.
Beats, or Beats By Dre, is an American audio company established by rapper and record producer Dr. Dre. Their over-ear headphones are easy to spot in a crowd, thanks to their iconic design that prominently displays the brand's logo and is available in several eye-catching colorways. When they first emerged in the market, they had the reputation of producing plasticky headphones that were overly bass-heavy. However, since being acquired by Apple Inc. in 2014, Beats have made several strides to improve their products. Most of their headphones now have an H1 or W1 chip, making it easy to seamlessly pair your headphones with Apple devices. Newer headphones have a more neutral sound profile, though they still lack sound customization features to help you adjust their sound to your tastes.
The Beats Fit Pro True Wireless are the best Beats headphones we've tested. These headphones are a bit unique in the Beats lineup as they have Apple's adaptive EQ feature. The buds can optimize their sound delivery to suit the unique shape of your ears, which results in a fairly neutral sound profile versatile enough for most kinds of audio. They also support Spatial Audio, a feature that reorients audio to follow your head movements. They have stability fins to help keep them in place during a run or workout, although you may still want to check out the Beats Powerbeats Pro Truly Wireless if you prefer an ear hook design. These buds last roughly a bit over five hours continuously, and their carrying case supplies an additional three charges. Unfortunately, some users find their fit uncomfortable as the buds' plastic body can be a bit bulky, depending on your ear shape. Their ANC also struggles to improve their passive noise isolation capabilities, although they still do a decent job overall in this regard.
Jabra has been producing call center and office-oriented headphones for a long time. That said, over the last few years, they've diversified their lineup to offer more casual and sports-oriented truly wireless headphones. Still, for Bluetooth headphones, many of their products have solid microphone performances, which is good if you make many calls throughout the day. Most of their products are also compatible with the Jabra Sound+ app, which offers customization features like EQ presets to help you adjust them to your liking. However, Jabra's noise cancelling technology isn't its strong suit, and the ANC tends to offer only a marginal improvement over passive noise isolation.
The Jabra Elite 7 Pro True Wireless are the best Jabra headphones we've tested. These in-ear headphones have a very well-balanced default sound profile that's versatile enough for different genres and types of content. Their companion app includes a graphic EQ and presets, so you can customize it if you prefer a different sound. The app also lets you remap most onboard controls, perform a fit test, and adjust the mic's sidetone during calls. They're comfortable, stable enough to stay in place during workouts, and rated IP57 for resistance against dust and brief immersion in water. Their battery provides more than eight hours of continuous use, and they come with a case that holds about three extra charges. Ηowever, like many other Jabra earbuds, their ANC doesn't improve much on their passive noise isolation capabilities. That said, they still do a good job isolating you from mid-range noise, like conversations.
Jaybird has been on the market since 2006 and specializes in sports-oriented headphones. Their headphones have high IP ratings for water resistance, 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.
The Jaybird Vista 2 Truly Wireless are the best Jaybird earbuds we've tested. Like their predecessor, the Jaybird Vista Truly Wireless, these in-ear headphones are designed for sports. They come with a few different ear tip sizes with stability fins, which helps give them a very stable fit. They're also impressively well-built, comfortable, and have an IP68 rating for dust and water resistance. Their default sound profile is neutral and well-balanced, making them suitable for different genres and content. Also, their app offers customization features. Unfortunately, they have a somewhat short continuous battery life of about 5.3 hours; however, their case holds roughly two additional charges, so you can top up the battery up when you need to.
Anker is a Chinese company known for their affordable electronic accessories like power banks and charging cables. This brand also makes audio products like speakers and headphones under the 'Soundcore' label. Overall, their headphones offer a good price to performance ratio and come in many different styles. Some headphones are also compatible with the Soundcore app, which has a graphic EQ and presets to help you customize their sound. Others have an active noise cancelling system that, at times, can nearly rival that of other big brands like Bose and Sony.
The best Anker headphones we've tested are the Anker SoundCore Life P3 Truly Wireless. These in-ear headphones have a bass-heavy sound profile that adds thump and rumble to your audio, making them well-suited for genres like EDM and hip-hop. If you prefer a different sound, you can also tweak the sound with a graphic EQ and presets in the companion app. They have a comfortable fit and should easily stay in place during workouts. They also have an ANC feature that does an excellent job of blocking out ambient sound, so they can help reduce noise during your commute or at the office. You can also set it to three different levels in the app to suit different situations. Unfortunately, their battery performance is just okay, and their latency with PCs and iOS and Android devices is high, so they aren't ideal for watching movies or gaming. If you're looking for over-ear headphones, the Anker Soundcore Life Q30 Wireless have an even better noise isolation performance and a longer continuous battery life.
Razer is a gamer-centric company that produces a wide array of equipment like laptops, mice, keyboards, and computer chairs. A lot of their headphones have a colorful design or customizable RGB lighting so that you can show your flair. Many headphones are also compatible with Razer Synapse software, which offers features like a graphic EQ, mic level, and surround support. Although they mostly retail over-ear headphones designed with gamers in mind, they offer a couple of more casual-use truly wireless in-ears and earbuds. However, they don't perform as well as their over-ear counterparts and active features like noise cancelling fall short compared to competitor brands.
The Razer BlackShark V2 are the best Razer headphones that we've tested. These comfortable wired gaming headphones come with a USB soundcard so that you can save customization changes made in their companion software. Out of the box, they have a decently neutral sound profile with a touch of extra boom, which can help emphasize sound effects while you game. That said, you can adjust their sound to your liking using their software's graphic EQ and presets. Their detachable boom mic also delivers a decent overall performance, so your voice sounds natural and clear, even in moderately noisy environments. Unfortunately, parts of the headphones, like the metal hinges, feel like they could break with pressure. Their USB soundcard also isn't compatible with Xbox consoles. However, if you tend to game on this console, you may want to check out the Razer Kaira Pro Wireless for Xbox instead, as they support Xbox Wireless technology and have low latency.
Skullcandy is an American electronics company that mostly focuses on producing colorful headphones in a variety of designs and fits. Most of their products are available between the low to mid price ranges, and they tend to have thumpy, boomy sound profiles that cater to genres like EDM and hip-hop. Unfortunately, their affordable price tag is most often reflected in their plasticky build quality. While some of their lower-end models tend to be simple in design, they produce a few premium headphones with features like noise cancelling, and sound customization.
The Skullcandy Dime 2 True Wireless are the best Skullcandy headphones we've tested. These wallet-friendly in-ears are the next generation of the Skullcandy Dime True Wireless and have a very basic design that's lightweight and well-built. They're also certified IPX4 for resistance against water splashes and are stable enough to wear during workouts or jogs in the park. They have a sightly bass-rich sound profile that adds a touch of warmth to your audio but doesn't overwhelm vocals and lead instruments. Unfortunately, they don't have an EQ or presets, so if you're looking to adjust their sound, you may want to consider the Skullcandy Crusher Evo Wireless, which are over-ears with a haptic bass slider to add more bass to your audio. The Dime's battery only lasts 3.3 hours continuously too, which won't last you through long days on the go unless you frequently pause to recharge them. Luckily, you can use one bud while the other charges.
Plantronics, otherwise known as Poly, is an American company that produces audio communications equipment. Historically, they produced headsets for the aviation and space industry. More recently, they produced more versatile headphones with casual use and gaming in mind. However, in the last few years, they're re-oriented themselves to return to call-oriented headphones, some of which come with dedicated docks and boom mics. However, we haven't tested their full lineup yet. Overall, their products offer dedicated controls and customization features related to calls. They also tend to support multi-device pairing, which is great if you want to connect to your smartphone and laptop at the same time. Unfortunately, they aren't versatile enough for more casual use.
The best Plantronics headset we've tested is the Plantronics Voyager 5200 Bluetooth Headset. This headset is for taking calls on the go. It has a boom mic with an excellent noise handling performance, so it can separate your voice from background noise if you're driving or calling from a busy street. While it makes your voice sound somewhat dark and muffed, you should still be easy to understand. There are physical controls and answering, ending, and redialing calls. The companion app also offers some customization features, like the option to have the headset automatically answer calls. Its sound profile is very light on bass, but voices reproduce accurately and clearly, so you can understand the person you're talking to on the phone.
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. 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. It's one of the more feature-packed models we've tested and offers a low-latency wireless connection for gaming as well as Βluetooth compatibility, meaning you can hear audio from your phone and console at the same time. The wireless transmitter is also a charging station for the headphones and gives you access to a graphic EQ to tweak their sound, along with a few other customization features. Their 15-hour continuous battery life isn't as long as some other gaming headsets, but there are two batteries included, so you can always swap them. If you prefer wired headphones, the SteelSeries Arctis Pro GameDAC have a similar design. If you're looking for headphones that you can use wirelessly with Xbox, the SteelSeries Arctis 9X Wireless are also a solid option, although they aren't as customizable.
Logitech may be better known as makers of computer mice and keyboards, but they also make gaming headsets worth considering. They own Astro Gaming, 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 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 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 isolate you from ambient sound. Some users have also reported that their unit's hinges broke over time, which is a little disappointing. 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. 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 headphones have a great build quality and a very comfortable fit. They come with a wireless USB dongle that provides a low-latency connection, so you shouldn't notice any audio syncing issues while you game. Their slightly bass-heavy sound profile can help emphasize sound effects in action-packed games, and they also offer a virtual surround sound feature intended to make your gameplay more immersive. Their continuous battery life of roughly 30 hours is long enough to last through a few long gaming sessions without recharging. If you'd rather not worry about battery life, the HyperX Cloud Alpha S are a good wired option.
May 02, 2022: We've added the Apple AirPods Pro Truly Wireless as the 'Best Apple' pick. We've also replaced the Bose QuietComfort 35 II/QC35 II Wireless 2018 with the Bose QuietComfort 45/QC45 Wireless, the Beats Powerbeats Pro Truly Wireless with the Beats Fit Pro True Wireless, and the Skullcandy Dime True Wireless with the Skullcandy Dime 2 True Wireless.
Feb 28, 2022: Updated text and checked that product picks represent the best recommendations.
Dec 21, 2021: Replaced the Jabra Elite 85t Truly Wireless with the Jabra Elite 7 Pro True Wireless as the Elite 7 Pro offer better overall performance. Also replaced the Razer Opus Wireless with the Razer BlackShark V2 as we haven't yet tested the new variant of the Opus. Replaced the Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2 Wireless 2016 with the Plantronics Voyager 5200 Bluetooth Headset as the BackBeat Pro 2 seem to have been discontinued.
Nov 03, 2021: Added Razer to our recommendations and replaced the Anker SoundCore Liberty Air 2 Truly Wireless with the Anker SoundCore Life P3 Truly Wireless as the P3 offer a better value to most users.
Sep 07, 2021: Replaced the Jaybird Tarah Pro Wireless with the Jaybird Vista 2 Truly Wireless as the Tarah Pro are currently unavailable.
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 17 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.