The 7 Best Wired Headphones - Summer 2021 Reviews

Updated
Best Wired Headphones
622 Headphones Tested
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While it can feel like there's a general trend to move towards wireless headphones, a wired design offers many benefits for various users. A wired connection eliminates lag for gamers and movie-streamers alike, while their cable can instantly connect with devices with a 1/8" audio input. You don't have to worry about charging most wired headphones as they work passively, and although some use batteries for active noise cancellation, they tend to last longer than similarly designed wireless headphones.

We’ve tested over 615 pairs of headphones, and below are our recommendations for the best wired headphones to buy. The picks in this article are intended to showcase a broad range of headphones for various uses that would benefit from a wired connection, from gaming to critical listening to casual use. If you’re looking for our top picks for more specific types of wired headphones, check out our recommendations for the best audiophile headphones, the best gaming headsets, and the best headphones for studio use.


  1. Best Wired Over-Ear Headphones: Audio-Technica ATH-M50x

    8.0
    Neutral Sound
    4.7
    Commute/Travel
    5.4
    Sports/Fitness
    5.4
    Office
    4.4
    Wireless Gaming
    6.5
    Wired Gaming
    2.0
    Phone Calls
    Type Over-ear
    Enclosure Closed-Back
    Wireless No
    Noise Cancelling No
    Mic No
    Transducer Dynamic

    The best wired over-ear headphones that we've tested are the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x. These closed-back headphones are made with audiophiles in mind. They have a comfortable fit with spacious ear cups and durable build quality, making them well-suited for long listening sessions.

    These headphones have a neutral sound profile that can reproduce vocals and lead instruments clearly and accurately. Although their passive soundstage isn't very spacious, it's still perceived as natural-sounding and as if coming from out in front of you rather than as if coming from within your head. They also come with three different audio cables, including a coiled cable that can stretch up to ten feet, which is nice if you like to move around your studio.

    Unfortunately, they're not versatile since they don't have a microphone and lack any control scheme. They also have a poor noise isolation performance, and they struggle to block out the rumble of bus engines and office chatter. That said, thanks to their neutral sound profile and comfortable fit, they're a suitable choice for users looking for wired over-ear headphones. They're also one of the best studio headphones we've tested.

    See our review

  2. Best Wired Earbuds: 1More Triple Driver

    7.1
    Neutral Sound
    5.7
    Commute/Travel
    6.8
    Sports/Fitness
    6.3
    Office
    5.1
    Wireless Gaming
    7.1
    Wired Gaming
    6.9
    Phone Calls
    Type In-ear
    Enclosure Closed-Back
    Wireless No
    Noise Cancelling No
    Mic Yes
    Transducer Hybrid

    The best wired earbuds that we've tested are the 1More Triple Driver. These in-ears are partly made of metal and feel quite well-built and sturdy. They're lightweight and come with several pairs of silicone and foam ear tips in various sizes so you can find the best fit for you.

    Their bass-rich sound profile adds a bit of extra punch and boom to mixes, while their very accurate mid-range response ensures vocals and lead instruments sound present and clear. They don't leak a lot of sound, even when you're listening to your audio at high volumes, and their in-line mic has a good recording quality. Conveniently, they also come with a hard plastic case to protect them from drops and bumps.

    Unfortunately, they lack an active noise cancelling (ANC) feature and don't do a good job of passively isolating you from ambient noise. Also, their passive soundstage is perceived as small, and their sound seems to come from inside your head, which is typical of in-ear headphones. Otherwise, if you're looking for wired earbuds, these are quite versatile and offer a well-balanced sound.

    See our review

  3. Best Wired Headphones For Audiophiles: Sennheiser HD 800 S

    8.5
    Neutral Sound
    4.0
    Commute/Travel
    5.5
    Sports/Fitness
    4.7
    Office
    4.8
    Wireless Gaming
    6.9
    Wired Gaming
    1.7
    Phone Calls
    Type Over-ear
    Enclosure Open-Back
    Wireless No
    Noise Cancelling No
    Mic No
    Transducer Dynamic

    The best wired headphones for audiophiles that we've tested are the Sennheiser HD 800 S. These high-end open-back headphones have a very well-balanced sound profile, making them a good match for a wide variety of genres. Their passive soundstage is also fantastic and provides a spacious, natural listening experience that leads to sounds originating from speakers placed around you.

    They're very well-built, with a high-grade plastic and metal construction that looks and feels quite premium. Their spacious ear cups should accommodate many different ear shapes and sizes and are lined with a suede-like material that feels quite nice on the skin. Despite their bulky size, their open-back enclosure allows for a good amount of airflow, and you shouldn't sweat too much while wearing these headphones.

    Unfortunately, their open-back enclosure also results in high levels of audio leakage and terrible noise isolation performance. Combined with their lack of onboard controls or a mic, they're only suited for use in a quiet room. Still, if you're looking for an immersive listening experience above all else, these are a great option.

    See our review

  4. Planar Magnetic Alternative: HiFiMan Arya

    Type Over-ear
    Enclosure Open-Back
    Wireless No
    Noise Cancelling No
    Mic No
    Transducer Planar Magnetic

    If you're looking for audiophile headphones with a planar magnetic transducer, consider HiFiMan Arya. While they're not as breathable or well-built as the Sennheiser HD 800 S, they can reproduce a bit more low-bass and deliver audio more consistently, thanks to their transducer design. They have a very neutral sound profile with a touch of extra brightness. Their soundstage is also wide and spacious, which can help further immerse you in your audio. They have a comfortable fit, so you can wear them for long listening sessions without too much of an issue, and they feel well-built and sturdy, even if they have a less premium feel than the Sennheiser.

    If you're looking for audiophile headphones that come with more accessories like an extra audio cable or a carrying pouch, try the Sennheiser. However, if you want something that can reproduce more low-bass due to their planar magnetic transducer, check out the HiFiMan.

    See our review

  5. Best Wired Gaming Headset: Astro A40 TR Headset + MixAmp Pro 2019

    8.1
    Neutral Sound
    4.3
    Commute/Travel
    5.5
    Sports/Fitness
    5.7
    Office
    6.2
    Wireless Gaming
    8.2
    Wired Gaming
    6.9
    Phone Calls
    Type Over-ear
    Enclosure Open-Back
    Wireless No
    Noise Cancelling No
    Mic Yes
    Transducer Dynamic

    The Astro A40 TR Headset + MixAmp Pro 2019 are the best wired headphones for gaming that we've tested. These over-ear gaming headphones offer a latency-free connection with consoles and PCs when you use them via analog connection. They're well-built, comfortable, and come with a MixAmp that puts controls for volume, channel mixing, and more within easy reach while you game.

    Their detachable boom mic has a great overall performance, so your voice sounds clear and full-bodied even when you're speaking in a noisy setting. Their warm default sound profile brings a bit of extra punch and boom to game audio, but if you prefer a different sound, it can also be customized with an EQ in the headphones' companion software. Thanks to their open-back design, they have a spacious-seeming, speaker-like passive soundstage.

    Unfortunately, they're quite bulky and don't come with a carrying case or pouch to make them more portable. Also, like most open-back headphones, they leak a lot of audio and don't really isolate you from any ambient sound, so they aren't ideal for use in crowded or loud places. However, if that's a problem for you, Astro sells a kit that allows you to convert them to closed-back headphones.

    See our review

  6. More Versatile Alternative: Logitech G Pro X Gaming Headset

    Type Over-ear
    Enclosure Closed-Back
    Wireless No
    Noise Cancelling No
    Mic Yes
    Transducer Dynamic

    If you want gaming headphones that are more suitable for day-to-day use, you may prefer the Logitech G Pro X Gaming Headset. These headphones have a much smaller, less natural-seeming passive soundstage than the Astro A40 TR Headset + MixAmp Pro 2019, but because of their closed-back design, they also leak much less audio and do a better job of blocking out ambient sound. They come with a second audio cable with an in-line mic, so you can detach the boom mic for a more casual look and still take phone calls. They're also very customizable, thanks to the G HUB companion software, which gives you access to lots of features including a graphic EQ and presets, virtual surround sound support, and mic adjustment options. However, they aren't as easy to adjust while you game as the Astro, since they don't come with a base station.

    If you're looking for a gaming headset to use in a quiet environment, go for the Astro, but try the Logitech instead if you want to use your headphones at the office or during your commute as well as for gaming.

    See our review

  7. Best Budget Wired Headphones: Samsung AKG Type-C

    6.1
    Mixed Usage
    7.3
    Neutral Sound
    5.6
    Commute/Travel
    6.2
    Sports/Fitness
    5.8
    Office
    5.1
    Wireless Gaming
    7.2
    Wired Gaming
    6.5
    Phone Calls
    Type In-ear
    Enclosure Closed-Back
    Wireless No
    Noise Cancelling No
    Mic Yes
    Transducer Dynamic

    The Samsung AKG Type-C are the best budget wired headphones that we tested. They use a USB-C connector, which means that they're only compatible with devices that also have a USB-C port, like newer smartphones. These simple and lightweight in-ears also have very low latency, so your audio stays in sync when you're streaming video.

    They're made of sturdy-feeling silicone and plastic, which makes them feel well-built. They have a comfortable fit, so you can wear them for long listening sessions without feeling too much fatigue, and they can easily fit into most pockets or bags when you're on the move. They also have a slightly bass-heavy sound profile that adds a touch of extra boom to your audio. That said, they're still neutral enough for a variety of audio content. Thanks to their in-line mic, you can also easily take calls. Your voice sounds clear but a little thin to whoever is on the other end of the line.

    Unfortunately, their USB-C connector can limit which devices you can use them with since you can't use them with a regular AUX port. They're also not designed for sports as they can fall out of your ears with moderate head movements or if the audio cable snags on something. They struggle to block out noise like the low rumble of bus or plane engines too. However, they do a much better job of blocking out sounds like ambient chatter, which can be handy if you're working in an office setting.

    See our review

Notable Mentions

  • Bose QuietComfort 20/QC20: The Bose QuietComfort 20/QC20 are well-built wired earbuds that offer a noise cancelling alternative to the 1More Triple Driver. See our review
  • Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO: The Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO are open-back, over-ear headphones that are well-built and suitable for entry-level critical listening. See our review
  • Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO: The Beyerdynamic DT770 PRO are similar to the DT 990 PRO but have a closed-back design. They feel better built than the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x, but they don't have a detachable audio cable. See our review
  • Sennheiser HD 58X Jubilee: The Sennheiser HD 58X Jubilee are open-backed headphones that are ideal for critical listening, but they aren't as comfortable as the Philips SHP9500. You can only buy them on Drop.com. See our review
  • Beats EP: The Beats EP are stylish on-ears that aren't the most comfortable for all users, but they sound good, and their in-line microphone is decent. See our review
  • HyperX Cloud 2/Cloud II: The HyperX Cloud 2/Cloud II are very comfortable wired gaming headphones with impressive build quality but an uneven treble. See our review
  • Logitech G433 Gaming Headset: The Logitech G433 Gaming Headset are gaming headphones with a well-balanced sound profile, a wealth of customization options, and a lightweight design. They aren't as comfortable as the Astro A40 TR Headset + MixAmp Pro 2019. See our review
  • Philips SHP9500: The Philips SHP9500 are a more budget-friendly alternative to the Sennheiser HD 800 S. However, they don't feel as well-built, and their passive soundstage isn't as wide or immersive. See our review
  • Philips SHP9600: The Philips SHP9600 are the successor to the Philips SHP9500 and perform similarly in many ways, but they have a slightly less neutral sound profile. See our review
  • HyperX Cloud Revolver + 7.1: The Hyper X Cloud Revolver + 7.1 are wired gaming headphones with a surround sound feature. They offer very low latency when using their analog to USB audio adapter but are less comfortable and less sturdily built than the Astro A40 TR Headset + MixAmp Pro 2019 and don't offer the same on-the-fly adjustability. See our review
  • Sennheiser HD 560S: The Sennheiser HD 560S are open-back headphones, substantially cheaper than the Sennheiser HD 800 S, with a similarly well-balanced sound profile. However, their soundstage isn't quite as expansive or natural. See our review
  • HyperX Cloud Stinger S: The HyperX Cloud Stinger S are wired gaming headphones with great overall microphone performance, but they aren't as comfortable or as well-built as the Logitech G Pro X Gaming Headset. See our review
  • Logitech G333: The Logitech G333 are gaming in-ears. They come with an analog to USB-C adapter, so you can use them on devices with a USB-C port. However, they don't have any sound customization features, and their in-line mic struggles to block out background noise. See our review

Recent Updates

  1. Aug 20, 2021: Verified that picks represent the best recommendations and that the products are in stock. There were no changes to picks.

  2. Jun 22, 2021: Checked the text for accuracy and product availability. There hasn't been a change in our recommendations.

  3. Apr 23, 2021: Replaced the Philips SHP9500 with the HiFiMan Arya as they represent a better value to most users. Also added the Samsung AKG Type-C as the 'Best Budget' pick.

  4. Feb 23, 2021: Added Hyper X Cloud Revolver + 7.1, Sennheiser HD 560S, and HyperX Cloud Stinger S to Notable Mentions. Verified that primary picks are still available and represent the best choice for their category.

  5. Jan 25, 2021: Confirmed the accuracy and availability of our product picks; minor updates to the text.

All Reviews

Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best wired headphones to buy for most people depending on their needs. We factor in the price (cheaper headphones win over pricier ones if the difference isn't worth it), feedback from our visitors, and availability (no headphones that are difficult to find or almost out of stock everywhere).

If you would like to choose for yourself, here is the list of all our reviews for wired headphones. 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.

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