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The 10 Best Headphone And Earbud Brands - Spring 2024 Reviews

Best Headphone Brands

It can be hard to know where to start if you're looking for a new pair of headphones. Even if you've narrowed your needs to something fairly specific, like earbuds for sports, how do you know the best earbuds brand? 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 the best headphones brand for you. Each company has a unique way of doing things, even catering 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 10 best headphone brands. The brands aren't ordered by rank or position; the first brand listed isn't necessarily our top pick, 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.

  1. Bose

    You've probably heard of Bose if you care about noise isolation. They're well-known for their powerful noise cancelling technology and 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. Most models fall under the QuietComfort line, and they've even widened their offerings to include home audio systems like soundbars and speakers. Their headphones have powerful noise isolation performances with fairly neutral and balanced sound profiles. They've even produced a lineup of audio sunglasses with speakers built into the arms, so you can still listen to audio without blocking your ears.

    The Bose QuietComfort Ultra Headphones Wireless are the best Bose headphones we've tested. These top-of-the-line over-ears have a powerful noise-filtering performance. Their ANC easily cuts down the low rumble of bus and plane engines, ambient chatter, and high-pitched sounds, like the whine of computer fans, so you can focus on your audio. With their ANC on, they last 29 hours continuously. They also support features like multi-device pairing, sound customization via their companion app, and aptX Adaptive codec, which dynamically adapts to your content to lower latency or improve audio quality. If you're looking for more portable headphones, try the Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds Truly Wireless. These earbuds have a similarly fantastic noise isolation performance but aren't quite as comfortable and don't support multi-device pairing.

    See our review

  2. Sony

    Sony is one of the largest electronics manufacturers in the world. They make everything from cameras and TVs to a broad line of headphones suited to diverse needs. Whether you're looking for noise cancelling over-ears to help cut down ambient sound during your commute, sports-oriented earbuds with great stability, or niche products like bassy headphones, Sony can 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, sorting through 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, offering versatile performance for most users.

    The Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless are a solid choice if you prefer an over-ear fit. Although they're the previous generation of the Sony WH-1000XM5 Wireless, they offer a better overall noise isolation performance, thanks to their powerful ANC. They're also comfortable enough for long listening sessions and last over 37 hours continuously. With their companion app's graphic EQ and presets, you can tweak their bass-heavy sound to suit your tastes. If you prefer an in-ear fit, the best Sony earbuds we've tested are the Sony WF-1000XM5 Truly Wireless. These noise-cancelling Bluetooth in-ears are a great choice for on-the-go use, though they aren't quite as comfortable or as well-built as the over-ear alternative, and their battery life isn't as long-lasting.

    See our review

  3. Apple

    Apple is an iconic American company producing consumer electronics like speakers, smartphones, and computers. Although their headphone lineup is much smaller than their competitors, their easily recognizable products have impacted the retail landscape. Their in-ears have a distinct, glossy white look that's been imitated by other manufacturers. They were also one of the brands that pushed true wireless products into greater popularity when they removed the headphone jack from their iPhones. Apple is also the best earbuds brand if you're already integrated into the Apple ecosystem because these products also boast a couple of extra features unique to iOS. Their wireless headphones have H1/H2 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 in a virtual surround sound. Although their companion interface lacks an EQ or presets, if you have an up-to-date iOS device, you can access sound customization features via the 'Accessibility' tab.

    The Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation) Truly Wireless are the best Apple headphones we've tested. These in-ears follow the Apple AirPods Pro Truly Wireless and have an even better ANC system than the original. They can easily cut out noise from passing traffic and noisy coworkers. Their default sound profile is warm, with more bass than the original Pro and a balanced mix that's versatile enough for most genres of music. While their nearly six-hour continuous battery life is short, their carrying case holds four additional charges, and the buds go into standby mode when not in use. If you prefer over-ear headphones, you may want to consider the Apple AirPods Max Wireless, premium noise cancelling headphones with a sleek aluminum design. However, they're heavy and can be fatiguing for long listening sessions.

    See our review

  4. Sennheiser

    Sennheiser was originally established in Germany, and now with international hubs, their products are well-reputed among musicians and audiophiles. They're renowned for their live music and music production equipment, like microphones and peripherals, but they also make a small selection of soundbars. The manufacturer's wide range of open-back headphones with good performance at various price points contributes to their prestige. However, they also make Bluetooth models for more casual listening and dedicated TV headphones to enjoy your favorite shows wirelessly without sync issues. They make over- and in-ears but don't have many truly wireless models, although the ones they have tend to perform well. Also, like Sony, it can be hard to know which of their headphones provide the best value since they have so many overlapping models with only minor differences. They're a reliable brand with a good reputation for consistent products worth recommendation.

    The best Sennheiser headphones we've tested are the Sennheiser HD 800 S. These reference-class over-ears have an open-back design, resulting in a spacious and immersive soundstage. Combined with an expertly tuned sound signature, they're a stellar choice for listening to your favorite high-fidelity tracks in a quiet room. They're quite the investment, 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 4 Wireless have a bass-rich sound with a stylish, comfortable fit for everyday use. However, they offer a less immersive listening experience due to their closed-back design.

    See our review

  5. Audio-Technica

    Audio-Technica is a Japanese brand with a wide selection of headphones, and other audio products like microphones and turntables. They're perhaps best known for the M-Series headphones, closed-back studio headphones for professional use. This lineup includes many options, and it's not always obvious which model provides the best value for the price, especially because the differences are small between each tier. However, their best products are go-to's for audiophiles and audio professionals, who laud them for their build and sound quality. In addition to the M-Series, they produce 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 the audio, but they're still suitable for various genres. If you're a DJ, they're a popular pick, and if you're just looking for studio headphones, these will be sure to please. They're well-built and have a comfortable fit, although their big ear cups and wide headband make them bulkier than other models from this manufacturer. For a similar sound with the option of Bluetooth, the Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT2 give you the flexibility of wired or wireless audio. If you're looking for a cheaper wired-only option, the Audio-Technica ATH-M20x are worth considering in the budget range, although they aren't as sturdy, and their sound isn't as well-balanced as the M50x. For an open-back option, consider the Audio-Technica ATH-R70x. While they lack a lot of low-bass, they make up for it with a lightweight build and a wide passive soundstage.

    See our review

  6. JBL

    JBL is an American manufacturer that offers various audio equipment like speakers and headphones. A subsidiary of Harman, most of their extensive lineup of headphones feature a neutral default sound profile, which will please most listeners. However, select models have excited bass- and treble-heavy, V-shaped frequency responses. Some of these headphones are compatible with the JBL Headphones app, offering a parametric EQ and presets to customize them. JBL also produces a variety of headphones at different price points, and many of them come in a couple of fun colorways, so there's something for everyone from this brand.

    The JBL Live Pro 2 TWS True Wireless are the best JBL headphones we've tested. These well-built buds offer versatile performance and have a few handy features for day-to-day life. They have an ANC feature with a great overall performance, blocking everything from bus and plane engines to office chatter. With their ANC on, they also last over eight hours continuously, and their case holds an extra three charges if you need it. Their V-shaped sound is well-suited for genres like rock and pop, but if you prefer a different sound, their companion app has a parametric EQ and presets so you can fine-tune their sound. They can also be paired with up to two devices at a time, which is handy if you like to switch audio sources.

    See our review

  7. Beats

    Beats, or Beats By Dre, is an American audio company founded by rapper and record producer Dr. Dre. Their over-ear headphones are easy to spot in a crowd, thanks to their eye-catching colorways and iconic designs that prominently display the brand's logo. When they first emerged in the market, they were made by Monster (the brand famous for cables) and had the reputation of producing overly bass-heavy headphones. The chunky designs diverged drastically from conventional headphone styles and became increasingly plasticky in build. However, since being acquired by Apple Inc. in 2014, Beats have made several strides to improve their products and build quality. Most of their headphones now have an H1 or W1 chip, making it easy to pair them with Apple devices seamlessly, and some offer spatial audio with head-tracking. While they're still Apple-oriented, select products have seen Android app compatibility as well. Newer headphones and true wireless earbuds have a more neutral sound profile, though some still lack sound customization features to help you adjust their sound to your tastes.

    The Beats Studio Pro Wireless are the best Beats headphones we've tested. These over-ears have a quite neutral sound profile compared to previous Beats headphones. They also stand out from the manufacturer's other products thanks to their built-in DAC (digital-to-analog), which allows you to stream lossless content via wired USB-C. This connection also offers a couple of EQ presets so you can adjust their sound. They're also compatible with Apple's Spatial Audio feature, so the headphones can track your head movements while listening to audio and create a more immersive audio experience. If that's not enough, they have an ANC system. While it struggles to block out the low rumble of bus engines, it does a better job of reducing passive chit-chat. However, they don't have an H1/W1 chip for seamless pairing with iOS devices. For athletes and gym-goers, the Beats Powerbeats Pro Truly Wireless are unique in-ears with over-ear hooks with the H1 chip. They last a long time—11 hours to a single charge. Their sound is well-balanced, with a good amount of punch in the bass to motivate your workout. However, they don't isolate particularly well compared to ANC headphones.

    See our review

  8. Jabra

    Jabra has been producing call center and office-oriented headphones for a long time. Over the last few years, they've also diversified their lineup to include more casual and sports-oriented truly wireless headphones, many of which have solid microphone performances, which is good if you take a lot of calls throughout the day, and a fewer number of over-ear headphones. Most of their products are also compatible with the Jabra Sound+ app, which offers customization features like EQ presets to help you adjust their sound. Like Sony, it can be difficult to tell the subtle differences between their products, but generally, the Elite line is more for casual use, and the Elite Active range aims to cover sports and fitness, but they're often rather alike to use. However, Jabra's noise cancelling technology isn't their strong suit, and the ANC tends to offer only a marginal improvement over passive noise isolation.

    The Jabra Elite 10 True Wireless are the best Jabra headphones we've tested. These premium headphones have a lot of extra features that make them a versatile choice for everyday use. They have a fairly neutral sound that can be tweaked to your liking using their companion app's graphic EQ and presets. Their ANC also does a good job of blocking out background noise across the range, although they have some trouble reducing bass range sounds like bus engine rumbles, and they last 7.5 hours continuously. Their carrying case supplies an additional three charges. Unlike the popular Jabra Elite 7 Pro True Wireless, they support Spatial Sound, which is a feature that simulates a wider and more dimensional soundstage.

    See our review

  9. Anker

    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' and 'Space' labels. Overall, their headphones offer a good price-to-performance ratio and come in many 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 ANC system that, at times, can nearly rival that of other big brands like Bose and Sony.

    The Anker Soundcore Space A40 Truly Wireless are the best Anker earbuds we've tested. These buds have many features, including an adaptive ANC feature that does an outstanding job of blocking sounds like car traffic and ambient chatter. They also support multi-device pairing, meaning you can stay connected to your PC and smartphone simultaneously. You can even fine-tune their warm sound profile via their app's graphic EQ and presets. They last just over eight hours continuously, and their carrying case holds an extra four charges if needed. If you're looking for similar earbuds with the more stable fit of a stem-and-bud design, the Anker Soundcore Liberty 4 NC Truly Wireless are a good alternative. Fans of an over-ear fit can also check out the Anker Soundcore Space Q45 Wireless. Their ANC performs similarly to their in-ear counterpart, but their V-shaped sound profile isn't as well-balanced.

    See our review

  10. Skullcandy

    Do you like colorful headphones? Then Skullcandy may be the brand for you. Skullcandy is an American electronic company focusing mostly on low- to mid-range headphones in several colors and limited edition prints. Their sound also tends to be bass-heavy and boomy, which is great if you're an EDM or hip-hop fan. Unfortunately, many of their affordable products feel plasticky and lack durability over time. These same products tend to be quite simple in design, but luckily, the brand also produces a few higher-end models with features like ANC and app support.

    The Skullcandy Push Active True Wireless are the best Skullcandy headphones we've tested. These wallet-friendly in-ears are stable enough to wear during workouts or jogs in the park, with an IP55 rating for dust and water resistance to protect against the elements. They have a slightly bass-heavy sound profile that adds a touch of warmth to your audio but doesn't overwhelm vocals and lead instruments. If you want to adjust their sound, the companion app features a graphic EQ and presets for optimal personalization. They also last 9.5 hours continuously, meaning they'll only need a recharge at the end of the day. However, these budget buds don't have ANC, so you'll only get slight passive noise isolation of higher frequencies, like noisy roommates or buzzing appliances. If you want something cheaper, consider the Skullcandy Dime 3 True Wireless. Although they're very simple in design, they offer a decent cost-to-performance ratio thanks to their bass-rich sound and good build.

    See our review

Recent Updates

  1. Mar 14, 2024: The picks are unchanged, but there are added mentions of Beats Powerbeats Pro Truly Wireless, Skullcandy Dime 3 True Wireless, and Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT2. Otherwise, some text has been refreshed to remain current.

  2. Jan 22, 2024: We've checked that are picks are still available and up to date. There hasn't been a change in our recommendations.

  3. Nov 24, 2023: We've replaced the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II Truly Wireless with the Bose QuietComfort Ultra Headphones Wireless, the Beats Fit Pro True Wireless with the Beats Studio Pro Wireless, and the Jabra Elite 7 Pro True Wireless with the Jabra Elite 10 True Wireless. These new picks offer a better overall performance than the previous ones.

  4. Sep 28, 2023: Minor text edits for clarity. No changes in product picks.

  5. Aug 01, 2023: We've made minor updates to the text to improve its clarity, but our recommendations haven't changed.

Notable Mentions

  • AKG: Known for their variety of open-back models, their headphones sound very balanced. They're not as diverse a brand as Sennheiser and don't have the same great build quality as Beyerdynamic, but they're a solid choice for critical listeners, and they're owned by Harman, like JBL.
  • Audeze: This manufacturer focuses on high-end planar magnetic headphones for audiophiles, studio mixing, and wireless gaming. We haven't tested many of their products, but they tend to have a neutral sound to be enjoyed by professionals and enthusiasts alike. However, they're typically very expensive.
  • Bang & Olufsen: Make high-end, fashion-forward headphones that look great but come at a premium price. Products generally perform decently but may not provide the best value for everyone.
  • Beyerdynamic: This brand mainly focuses on hi-fi headphones with a neutral sound profile and a high build quality. However, some users may find their sound quite bright, and sibilants like cymbals can sound piercing.
  • Bowers & Wilkins: Make sturdy, premium headphones that feel exceptionally well-crafted but are expensive and don't perform as well as our top picks.
  • Focal: Make premium audiophile headphones that are remarkably well-crafted. They tend to have a warm, smooth sound that some listeners prefer but lack a fair bit of detail.
  • Grado: Make open-back on-ear headphones that have a unique old-school look. They have a distinct sound profile that some enjoy but can feel sharp and lacking in bass.
  • HiFiMan: Make open-back audiophile headphones that generally sound great at a lower cost than bigger-name brands like Sennheiser. However, their quality control isn't the best, and some units tend to have manufacturing defects.
  • Jaybird: They've been on the market since 2006 and specialize in sports-oriented headphones, and some of their models are among the best headphones for running and working out that we've tested.
  • Koss: Make unique headphones with a retro flair that sound decently well-balanced. Unfortunately, they tend to feel plasticky, even considering their budget price.
  • Plantronics: Historically, this company made headsets for the aviation and space industry (their headsets went to the moon!) and mainly still focus on call-oriented headphones, some of which come with dedicated docks and boom mics.
  • Samsung: They don't make many headphones, and their older models had limited compatibility with Apple devices, but their most recent offerings provide great value, and the company has owned Harman and its brands like AKG and JBL since 2017. See the best Samsung headphones.
  • Shure: Known for their studio headphones, they make decent closed-backs and high-end IEMs. They're worth considering if you're an audio producer, but Audio-Technica or Beyerdynamic may provide better value for some people.

All Reviews

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 10 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.