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 16 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 well-known company that specializes in audio technology like home audio systems, speakers, and headphones. Although it started with manufacturing speakers, Bose gained significant traction by producing the first commercial acoustic noise cancelling headset for pilots. Since then, Bose has updated and refined their active noise cancelling (ANC) systems, offering headphones that can significantly block out the low rumble of bus and plane engines. Although the company was criticized for not delivering similar high-quality performances when it came to sound or build, in recent years, they have improved their products and have even expanded their lineup to include headphones for different uses. However, their products still tend to have limited customization options.
The best Bose headphones we've tested are the Bose QuietComfort 35 II/QC35 II Wireless 2018. Although they're the previous generation of the Bose QuietComfort 45/QC 45 Wireless, their ANC can block out more background noise overall. Using their companion app, you can also adjust the strength of ANC to better suit your needs. Overall, they have a very comfortable fit and feel well-built. Their neutral and well-balanced sound profile is versatile enough for a variety of audio content. They also have roughly 20 hours of continuous playback time, so you don't have to worry about recharging them after your day's over. That said, if you prefer in-ears to over-ears, check out the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds Truly Wireless, which offer a great noise isolation performance as well as ANC presets.
Sony is one of the largest electronics manufacturers in the world, producing a variety of products from cameras to TVs. Their headphone lineup 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. 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. They have a somewhat bass-heavy default profile, but if you want to customize their sound, their companion app offers a graphic EQ and 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, 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 line-up of closed-back studio headphones intended for professional use. This line-up 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 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 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 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 great build quality, 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 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, 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 we've tested. These truly wireless headphones have an ANC system, which does a good overall job 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 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 a longer continuous playback time and support multi-device pairing.
Beats, or Beats By Dre, are an American company founded by Dr. Dre, a rapper and record producer. Their iconic over-ears are quite popular, and you can easily spot them in a crowd, thanks to their flashy look. Although they originally had the reputation of making plasticky, bass-heavy, and over-priced headphones, since being acquired by Apple Inc. in 2014, Beats have been making an effort to tweak the performance of their products. Their headphones tend to have a well-balanced sound profile and a comfortable fit. Many of them also have an H1 or W1 chip so that you can seamlessly pair them with other devices in your Apple ecosystem. Unfortunately, they lack sound customization features, so you can't tweak them to suit your tastes. That said, even though they have a simple and streamlined line-up, they strive to offer something for every kind of user.
The Beats Powerbeats Pro Truly Wireless are the best Beats headphones we've tested. These sporty in-ears have an ear hook design that's comfortable, stable, and well-built, making them a solid choice for runs in the park or reps at the gym. They're certified IPX4 for protection against splashes of water, and they have physical controls that are easy to use. Their well-balanced and fairly neutral sound profile is versatile enough for most kinds of audio content, and they have over 11 hours of continuous playback time. While they lack an ANC, you may want to check out the Beats Solo Pro Wireless if you're looking to block out background noise when you're on the go.
For a long time, Jabra has been producing call center and office-oriented headphones. 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 well-built headphones have a very neutral sound profile that's well-suited for a variety of audio content. Their companion app offers a graphic EQ and presets if you want to customize their sound to your liking, though. They have a comfortable fit, are rated IP57 for dust and water resistance, and have a stable fit that's well-suited for sports and fitness. They also have over eight hours of continuous battery life, and their carrying case holds three extra charges if you need them. Unfortunately, unlike many other Jabra models, they don't support multi-device pairing. Although they have ANC, it doesn't improve upon their passive abilities. That said, they can still block out an excellent amount of mid-range noise like office chatter.
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, 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. 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 dust and water resistance. 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.
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 offers a graphic EQ plus 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 that we've tested are the Anker SoundCore Life P3 Truly Wireless. These in-ears have a comfortable and well-built design that's stable enough for a run in the park. Out of the box, they have a bass-heavy sound profile that delivers extra thump and rumble, which fans of EDM and hip-hop can enjoy. That said, you can tweak their sound using their companion app offers a graphic EQ and presets. Thanks to their ANC, they can block out an excellent amount of ambient noise around you, whether you're commuting to work or toiling away in a busy office. You can even adjust the ANC's level between three different presets to better match the noise around you. However, their battery performance is mediocre, and they have high latency on PCs as well as iOS and Android devices. If you prefer an over-ear design, check out the Anker Soundcore Life Q30 Wireless, which have an even better noise isolation performance.
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 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 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.
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 designed for taking calls on the go. It has a boom mic that can separate your voice from background noise, which is great if you're taking a call from a busy street or inside your truck. This headset also has a comfortable fit and comes with three different-sized ear tips to help you find what's best for your needs. There are physical controls that you can use to answer, end, and redial calls as well as activate your phone's voice assistant. The headset is also compatible with the Plantronics Hub, which offers customization options like allowing the headset to automatically answer or reject calls while you're using it. Unfortunately, the mic has a sub-par recording quality, so your voice is dark and muffled. That said, speech still sounds understandable.
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, meaning 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, 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. That said, 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 if you're looking for a more immersive experience. With a continuous battery life of over 30 hours, you can enjoy multiple long gaming sessions without needing recharging. If you prefer a wired gaming headset, you can also check out the HyperX Cloud Alpha S.
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.
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.
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.