We've currently tested over 35 pairs of Sony headphones. They're a versatile brand that makes a wide range of headphones at various price points. They have lots of affordable headphones for mostly casual listening, but also have some pricier models that are more feature-packed.
The best Sony headphones we’ve tested are the Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless. These premium Bluetooth-enabled over-ears perform quite similarly to their predecessor, the Sony WH-1000XM3 Wireless, but feature small improvements in a couple of key areas. They have an almost 38-hour battery life with an auto-off timer, a more comprehensive control scheme, and support for multi-device pairing. They're also comfortable enough to wear for multi-hour listening sessions, feel impressively well-built, and come with an ANC system that filters out everything from the low rumble of bus engines to the high-pitched hum of a nearby AC unit. While their default sound profile is quite bass-heavy, it can be adjusted via audio presets or a graphic EQ in their Sony | Headphones Connect companion app.
Unfortunately, their integrated mic delivers sub-par recording quality, making your voice sound thin, muffled, and lacking in overall detail. They're also a little on the bulky side, so carrying them around when not in use can be a bit of a hassle if you're not using the included carrying case. Still, thanks to their rich feature set, comfortable fit, and premium build quality, they're among the best wireless Bluetooth headphones we've tested.
The best in-ear Sony headphones we’ve tested are the Sony WF-1000XM3 Truly Wireless. These truly wireless in-ears look and feel very premium, with high-grade plastic construction and metal accents. Their sound profile is mostly even and versatile enough for a variety of musical genres, although some fans of EDM and hip hop might prefer a little more thump and rumble. Thankfully, that can be customized with a graphic EQ or presets in the feature-packed Sony | Headphones Connect app, which also allows you to remap their touch-sensitive control scheme for everything from playback functions to activate your phone's voice assistant. The continuous battery life of just under seven hours with ANC activated is decent, and their carrying case provides an additional three charges.
Unfortunately, they’re pretty bulky for truly wireless headphones and need to enter the ear canal pretty deeply to get a stable fit. This is further complicated by an included selection of ear tips that are unusually large and might not provide an airtight seal for most ears, which in turn has a negative impact on their noise isolation and audio leakage performance. The Sony WI-1000X Wireless will provide a more consistent listening experience thanks to their smaller earbuds, but their neckband design isn't nearly as portable.
The best Sony headphones for mixing and mastering we've tested are the Sony MDR-7506. They've been the industry standard for decades, and there's no surprise as to why. Their frequency response is very well-balanced, resulting in a neutral sound profile ideal for mixing. They're lightweight for long studio sessions and can fold up into a more compact format, so they don't take up too much space in your bag. They're also a good deal cheaper than most competing studio monitor headphones on the market, so you can get a few extra pairs to make sure everyone in your studio is properly equipped without breaking the bank.
Unfortunately, their lower price is reflected in their build quality. Their ear cup padding is notoriously cheap, and the headband can stretch out over time, especially with heavy use. While their long coiled cable is pretty durable, it isn't detachable. If it breaks, you'll have to replace the headphones altogether. Thankfully, it doesn't cost an arm and a leg to replace them, and they should still last for a decent while.
The best Sony headphones for sports are the Sony WF-SP800N Truly Wireless. These truly wireless in-ears are exceptionally lightweight and portable, so they can be easily put in your pocket or tossed in a bag, and have a stable fit that should allow them to stay in place during workouts. They feel quite sturdy and are rated IP55 for dust and water resistance, though that isn't something we currently test for. Out-of-the-box, they have a fairly bass-heavy sound profile that's best suited for hip-hop or EDM, but it can be adjusted via a graphic EQ or audio presets in their companion app if it's not to your liking. Their nine-hour-plus continuous battery life should be more than enough to last you throughout a day at work or marathon distances.
Unfortunately, their integrated microphone also struggles to isolate speech from loud background noise. While they do feature ANC, the system does very little to boost the headphone's only adequate passive noise isolation capabilities. That said, that may be a plus point if you're someone who likes to run outside and wants to stay aware of your surroundings. Overall, if you're looking for a pair of truly wireless headphones that can cope with both day-to-day life as well as intense workout sessions, they're a good choice.
The best Sony headphones we've tested in the budget range are the Sony WI-C310 Wireless. They provide very good value for the price, thanks to their simple, straightforward design, very well-balanced sound profile, and impressive battery life. They pack a bit of an extra punch in the bass range without overpowering vocals and instruments, which makes them versatile for all kinds of music. They also last an impressive 17 hours on a charge, which is better than what some of the most expensive wireless earbuds can do, so you shouldn't have to worry about needing to charge them too often.
Unfortunately, they look and feel like pretty cheap headphones. Their in-line remote is easy-to-use, but the buttons feel rather mushy, and the cables are very thin. Fortunately, the earbuds have magnetic backings that snap together, which helps keep them from falling off when around your neck. They might not be the most premium earbuds, but for the price, they still deliver a performance that's surprisingly solid overall.
Overall, Sony has a wide range of headphones for different needs. Their top performers are quite 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 still generally rather expensive for what you get. Noise cancelling can be especially a bit hit-or-miss, but their more premium models generally 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, such as CH or ZX, represent.
Sony makes a wide variety of headphone models that are 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, though, as their cheaper models can be hit-or-miss. That said, their higher-end models are among some of the best headphones we've tested and are easy to recommend.
If you're a fan of Sony's noise cancelling models, you'll also want to check out our recommendations for the best headphones for commuting.