It can be hard to know where to start if you're in the market 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 what the best headphones brand for you is. 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 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.
If you care about noise isolation, you've probably already heard of Bose. 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 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 with speakers built into the arms, so you can still listen to audio without blocking your ears.
The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II Truly Wireless are the best Bose headphones we've tested. These earbuds are the next generation of the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds Truly Wireless. They're more comfortable, and their fit is more personalizable than their predecessor thanks to swappable ear tips and fins, but their ANC is even better than their larger over-ear siblings, like the Bose QuietComfort 45/QC45 Wireless. Due to their in-ear fit, they can easily block out the low rumble of bus and plane engines and office chatter. Their sound has more bass than we measured, but this is due to the shape of our test rig's ear canals, which affects bass delivery. However, the extra boom muddies vocals and instruments. Luckily, you can customize them using their companion app's graphic EQ if you want. They last over six hours continuously, which may not get you through the workday without needing to use one of the carrying case's three additional charges. These compact and comfy buds currently have the best ANC performance on the market and deliver a powerful sound.
Sony is one of the largest electronics manufacturers in the world and makes 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 or sports-oriented earbuds with great stability, a variety of products are 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 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. You can tweak their bass-heavy sound to suit your tastes with their companion app's graphic EQ and presets. If you prefer an in-ear fit, the best Sony earbuds we've tested are the Sony LinkBuds S Truly Wireless. They don't block out quite the same level of background noise but can still reduce an excellent amount of sound. They're also more stable, so they're well-suited for sports, and they're certified IPX4 for resistance against water splashes.
Apple is an iconic American company that produces consumer electronics like speakers, smartphones, and computers. Although their headphones 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. Apple is also the best earbuds brand if you're already integrated into the Apple ecosystem, as their products also boast a couple of extra features unique to iOS. 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 the mix to your liking.
The Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation) Truly Wireless are the best Apple headphones we've tested. These in-ears are the followup to 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 a little 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 to wear for long listening sessions.
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 to enjoy your favorite shows wirelessly without sync issues. They make over- and in-ears but don't have many truly wireless models. 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 still a reliable brand with a good reputation, making many 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, 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, are stylish, and have a comfortable fit for everyday use. However, they offer a less immersive listening experience due to their closed-back design.
Audio-Technica is a Japanese brand that makes a wide range of headphones. They may be best known for their 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. However, their best products are go-to's for audiophiles and audio professionals, who laud them for their build and sound quality. 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 the audio, but they're still suitable for a variety of genres. If you're an audiophile or just looking for studio headphones, these will be sure to please. 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. 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. 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.
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 very neutral and accurate default sound profile, which will please most listeners. Some of these headphones are compatible with the JBL Headphones app, offering a parametric EQ and presets to customize them to your liking.
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 with a great overall performance, blocking 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 finetune 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.
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 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 pair them with Apple devices seamlessly. 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 have an impressive adaptive noise cancelling system that blocks out much ambient noise from commutes and loud offices. Their sound profile is fairly neutral, which will suit most types of audio, and they support Apple Music's Spatial Audio - a feature that reorients audio to follow your head movements. They last roughly five hours, and their carrying case supplies an additional three charges. Unfortunately, some users find their fit uncomfortable as the buds' plastic body and stability fins can be bulky, depending on your ear shape. They stay in place during a run or workout, but you may still want to check out the Beats Powerbeats Pro Truly Wireless if you prefer an ear hook design.
Jabra has been producing call center and office-oriented headphones for a long time. But over the last few years, they've diversified their lineup to offer 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. Most of their products are also compatible with the Jabra Sound+ app, which offers customization features like EQ presets to help you adjust them. 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 7 Pro True Wireless are the best Jabra headphones we've tested. These in-ear headphones have a well-balanced default sound profile that's versatile enough for different types of content. Their companion app includes a graphic EQ and presets to fine-tune your mix. The app 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. However, like many other Jabra earbuds, their ANC doesn't improve their passive noise isolation capabilities much. They still do a good job isolating you from mid-range noise, like conversations.
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 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 Anker Soundcore Space A40 Truly Wireless are the best Anker earbuds we've tested. These buds are packed with features, so you get your money's worth. Their adaptive ANC 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 prefer an over-ear fit, 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.
Do you like colorful headphones? Then Skullcandy may be the brand for you. They're 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 a fan of EDM and hip-hop. 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 certified IP55 for dust and water resistance and are stable enough to wear during workouts or jogs in the park. They have a slightly bass-rich 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 won't need a recharge until the end of the day. However, these budget buds don't have ANC, meaning you'll only get slight passive noise isolation of higher frequencies, like noisy roommates or buzzing appliances. If you're looking for something cheaper, then you'll want to consider the Skullcandy Dime 2 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.
Apr 06, 2023: We've removed the following brands to help streamline the article: SteelSeries, Logitech, HyperX, and Razer. We've also moved the Beyerdynamic to Notable Mentions.
Jan 27, 2023: We've overhauled our picks to better reflect changes in the marker. Additionally, some headphone brands have significantly changed their product lineup, which has moved them to our Notable Mentions section.
Oct 14, 2022: We've added the following headphones to this list: the Razer Barracuda Pro Wireless, SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless for Xbox, and the HyperX Cloud Alpha Wireless.
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.
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.