We've currently tested over 46 pairs of Sony headphones. They're a versatile brand that makes a wide range of headphones at various price points. They have many affordable headphones for casual listening but also have some pricier models that are more feature-packed.
The best Sony over-ear headphones we've tested are the Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless. These over-ears are the previous generation of the Sony WH-1000XM5 Wireless. However, they feel sturdier and offer a better noise isolation performance than the latest version, especially when it comes to bass-range noise like rumbling engines. Their ANC feature does an outstanding job of blocking ambient sound, so you won't be distracted by background noise during your commute or while working in a busy office. They also have better, more springy padding than the WH-1000XM5 and offer a more comfortable fit for most people, especially if you have a smaller head.
Their slightly bass-heavy sound profile adds extra thump and punch to your mixes, and you can also customize their sound using the graphic EQ and presets in the Sony | Headphones Connect app. They're sturdy and have a long continuous battery life of about 37 hours. They aren't ideal for phone calls since the integrated microphone has a disappointing recording quality, and your voice may be drowned out in background noise if you're calling from a loud or crowded setting. On the other hand, the WH-1000XM5's mic has an excellent noise handling performance and an improved recording quality, making the newer model a better option for calls.
The best earbuds from Sony we've tested are the Sony WF-1000XM4 Truly Wireless. These well-built in-ears are the next generation of the Sony WF-1000XM3 Truly Wireless and have a significantly better noise isolation performance as well as a more comfortable fit. Thanks to their ANC, they can block out a great amount of ambient noise around you, like the low rumble of bus or plane engines, which is nice if you travel a lot. They also have a long continuous battery life of more than 10 hours, and their carrying case holds an additional two charges if you need it. Some users may like their warm and smooth sound profile, while others may find that it lacks rumble or sounds dark. Like our top pick, they have an app that features an EQ and presets for sound customization.
Although this generation doesn't support NFC pairing, you can quickly connect them to supported devices using Google Fast Pair or Windows 10 Swift Pair. They also support Sony's LDAC codec for high-resolution audio if you're using a compatible device. They offer low latency with Android devices, which is nice when you're watching a video on your phone. However, their latency with PCs and iOS devices is higher.
The Sony WI-C310 Wireless are the best budget-friendly Sony headphones we've tested. These in-ear headphones have a lightweight, flexible cable that goes around your neck and an in-line remote that allows you to answer calls and control your music when you're on the go. While they don't have the best build quality, the buds are decently comfortable and stable. Their sound profile is well-balanced, with a bit of extra boom in the bass range that may suit fans of genres like EDM and hip-hop, but it doesn't overwhelm instruments and lead vocals, so they're versatile enough for most types of audio content. Their 17 hours of continuous playback can also last you through a few long days at work without any need to recharge.
Like most of the other picks on this list, they don't shine for their mic performance, and your voice may sound thin if you use them for phone calls. However, it's much better at separating your voice from ambient sound than the other, more expensive earbuds recommended here, which is a nice plus if you occasionally make phone calls from moderately noisy places like a busy street or office.
The best mixing and mastering Sony headphones we've tested are the Sony MDR-7506. These over-ears have been around for years and have been the standard for recording, thanks to their well-balanced sound. Vocals and lead instruments are clear, accurate, and detailed in mixes. They also deliver audio consistently across reseats and come with an adapter so you can connect with an amp or mixer out-of-the-box. They're also suitable for purposes like recording a podcast since they don't leak very much audio.
However, they may not be ideal if you're looking for a premium feel from your headphones since their build quality is somewhat cheap and plasticky. That said, they have a decently comfortable and lightweight fit well-suited for long sessions in the studio. They can also fold up to help conserve space if you want to toss them in your bag. Their coiled audio cable isn't detachable, which is slightly inconvenient, but it extends over four feet, which should give you a bit more room if you like to move around.
The Sony WF-SP800N Truly Wireless are the best Sony earphones for sports we've tested. These colorful in-ears have a comfortable and stable in-ear fit, thanks to their stability fin design. They're also well-built and certified IP55 for resistance against dust and direct water contact. Their fairly bass-heavy sound default profile can pack extra rumble, punch, and boom to keep you pumped up during tough workouts. If you prefer a different sound, the headphones' companion app includes a graphic EQ and presets for sound customization. The buds also have over nine hours of continuous playback time, which should last through a few long workouts.
The earbuds have an ANC system, but unfortunately, it doesn't improve their passive noise isolation capabilities much. Even with the ANC on, they struggle to block out the low rumble of bus and plane engines. That said, they have an ambient sound mode intended to let you hear your surroundings, which you may prefer to noise cancelling when you're running outside. They also lack volume controls by default. You can remap the controls to add a way to change the volume, but you have to remove either the ANC or playback function to do so.
Overall, Sony has a wide range of headphones for different needs. Their top performers are expensive but provide good value for those who want the best of the best. Unfortunately, quality varies across models, and their less pricey options are generally rather expensive for what you get. Noise cancelling can especially be a bit hit-or-miss, but their more premium models get it right.
Sony has a couple of different headphone lineups, but their naming strategy isn't always very clear. Some of their more feature-packed headphones with Bluetooth or active noise cancelling might appear to be in the same family as their basic wired headphones, which can be confusing. Their most consistent naming conventions are:
However, their MDR lineup includes both wired over-ears and in-ears, as well as wireless over-ears and on-ears; SP includes some, but not all, of their sports models; and it's unclear what the many other common naming schemes, like CH or ZX, represent.
Jun 29, 2022: Checked that picks represent the best recommendations and that the products are in stock.
Mar 09, 2022: Renamed 'Best Sony Headphones' to 'Best Sony Over-Ear Headphones'. We've checked our picks for accuracy and product availability.
Dec 10, 2021: Checked that picks represent the best recommendations and that the products are in stock.
Oct 13, 2021: We've made minor updates to the text and checked for product availability. There hasn't been a change in our recommendations.
Jul 15, 2021: Replaced the Sony WF-1000XM3 Truly Wireless with the Sony WF-1000XM4 Truly Wireless.
Sony makes a wide variety of headphone models geared for all kinds of listeners. Most of their models deliver reliable sound quality with either more bass-heavy or neutral-sounding options to choose from. Their best-performing headphones come at a premium price, as their cheaper models can be hit-or-miss. Their higher-end models are among some of the best headphones we've tested and are easy to recommend.