Updated

The Best Sony Headphones of 2020
Reviews

Best Sony Headphones

We have currently reviewed 29 Sony headphones. They're a versatile brand that offers affordable headphones for mostly casual listening. However, they do have some pricier models that deliver more features and a better-balanced sound.

Updates

Best Sony Headphones


  1. Best Sony Headphones For Mixed Usage

    Usage Ratings - Version 1.3.1
    7.4
    Mixed Usage
    7.2
    Neutral Sound
    8.1
    Commute/Travel
    7.2
    Sports/Fitness
    7.6
    Office
    5.9
    Wireless Gaming
    7.6
    Wired Gaming
    7.0
    Phone Call
    Type Over-ear
    Enclosure Closed-Back
    Wireless Yes
    Noise Cancelling Yes
    Mic Yes
    Transducer Dynamic

    The best Sony wireless headphones for mixed usage are the Sony WH-1000XM3 Wireless. Like previous versions, they're comfortable and premium-looking over-ear headphones that are the best ANC headphones we've tested to date. Their ANC does a great job at cancelling out the engine rumble of planes and buses, as well as an excellent job blocking out background speech, making them excellent for both travel or office use. They have a great 27-hour battery life which should easily last you a long travel day and flight without needing to be charged. While their out-of-the-box sound profile is quite bass-heavy, it can be easily customized in Sony's great Sony | Headphones Connect app which gives you access to a graphic EQ, presets, and many other customizable options. Unfortunately, while their touch-sensitive control scheme may be easy to use for most people, it doesn't work in freezing conditions, which may be an issue for people who live in colder climates. Overall, however, these headphones will likely please most people and are among the best headphones we've ever tested.

    See our review

  2. Best Sony In-Ear Headphones

    Usage Ratings - Version 1.3.1
    7.3
    Mixed Usage
    7.4
    Neutral Sound
    7.8
    Commute/Travel
    8.0
    Sports/Fitness
    6.9
    Office
    5.8
    Wireless Gaming
    5.7
    Wired Gaming
    6.6
    Phone Call
    Type In-ear
    Enclosure Closed-Back
    Wireless Truly Wireless
    Noise Cancelling Yes
    Mic Yes
    Transducer Dynamic

    The best Sony in-ears we've tested so far are the truly wireless Sony WF-1000XM3. These very portable in-ears have a fairly neutral sound profile, although they seem to lack a bit of bass due to the poor seal on our testing rig. These headphones also have a good active noise cancellation feature, which isn't common on truly wireless headphones. It does a decent job at blocking out the noise in public transit, if you can find a good fit. They come with seven tip options, helping you to get the most comfortable fit. They also have a touch sensitive control scheme that's easy to use and offers good feedback. However, they aren't the most stable option due to the size of the ear tips. Even the smallest option is quite large, which can be the cause to the bad seal issues. On the upside, they have about 7 hours of continuous playback time on a single charge, and they're compatible with the Sony|Headphones Connect app, which offers a lot of customization options. If you don't like truly wireless designs and are looking for noise cancelling in-ears, check out the Sony WI-1000X Wireless neckband headphones, which have an excellent noise isolation performance.

    See our review

  3. Best Sony Headphones For Mixing And Mastering

    Usage Ratings - Version 1.3.1
    5.8
    Mixed Usage
    7.4
    Neutral Sound
    5.6
    Commute/Travel
    5.4
    Sports/Fitness
    5.9
    Office
    4.4
    Wireless Gaming
    6.2
    Wired Gaming
    2.0
    Phone Call
    Type Over-ear
    Enclosure Closed-Back
    Wireless No
    Noise Cancelling No
    Mic No
    Transducer Dynamic

    The best Sony headphones for mixing and mastering we’ve tested so are the Sony MDR-7506. They’re very lightweight over-ear headphones that are great for studio use thanks to their convenient design. They have a nice, long, coiled cable so you can reach all your essentials without accidentally unplugging yourself from your source. They can fold up into a more compact format for easy transportation between gigs. They sound good overall, but those who prefer a more neutral audio reproduction may find they sound a bit hyped in the bass and treble ranges. That said, their timeless design is hard to beat and they remain a very popular choice among audio engineers, music producers, and DJs alike to this day.

    See our review

  4. Best Sony Headphones For Sports

    Usage Ratings - Version 1.3.1
    6.9
    Mixed Usage
    6.5
    Neutral Sound
    7.5
    Commute/Travel
    7.9
    Sports/Fitness
    6.6
    Office
    5.3
    Wireless Gaming
    5.2
    Wired Gaming
    5.9
    Phone Call
    Type In-ear
    Enclosure Closed-Back
    Wireless Yes
    Noise Cancelling Yes
    Mic Yes
    Transducer Dynamic

    The best Sony headphones for sports are Sony WI-SP600N Wireless. These wireless headphones come with with many tip options and even have stability fins, which helps getting the most comfortable and stable fit. They also have an ANC feature, although it doesn't do that much of a great job at blocking out ambient noise, so it might not be the best to drown out the noise in a busy gym. On the upside, they're rated IPX4 for water resistance, although we don't internally test this, and their 6-hour battery life should be more than enough for a run or full workouts. They also sound fairly neutral, but are definitely better suited for bass-heavy genres, which is great to get you pumped when you most need it.

    See our review

  5. Best Budget Sony Headphones

    Usage Ratings - Version 1.3.1
    7.1
    Mixed Usage
    7.2
    Neutral Sound
    7.5
    Commute/Travel
    8.0
    Sports/Fitness
    6.8
    Office
    5.4
    Wireless Gaming
    5.2
    Wired Gaming
    6.5
    Phone Call
    Type In-ear
    Enclosure Closed-Back
    Wireless Yes
    Noise Cancelling No
    Mic Yes
    Transducer Dynamic

    The best budget Sony headphones we’ve reviewed so far are the Sony WI-C310. They're a simple pair of portable in-ear Bluetooth headphones that are among the best cheap earbuds that we've tested so far. They're fairly comfortable for in-ear headphones and come with three different sized tips to help find the best possible fit for most people. They have an extremely portable and light-weight design which is easy to toss in a pocket or bag, and provide a very good 17-hour battery life. They have a decently neutral sound profile with a bit of extra thump that makes them better suited for bass-heavy genres, but unfortunately aren't compatible with the Sony | Headphones Connect app. They also don't feel the most durable and their in-line controls feel mushy and cheap. Overall, however, they're decent Bluetooth in-ear headphones that good value for their price.

    See our review

Compared to other brands


  • Headphone variety. Sony has a diverse lineup of headphones that we have yet to test. They span the range from cheap, semi-open sports earbuds to really expensive over-ear headphones.
  • Above-average sound quality. Most of Sony's higher-tier headphones have a decently balanced audio reproduction that's good for both casual and critical listeners. Even their Bluetooth models have a better sound quality than comparable brands, thanks to the LDAC codec.
  • Inconsistent noise cancelling. Although Sony has a few models that block a phenomenal amount of noise, like the WH-1000XM3, most of Sony's noise cancelling headphones have mediocre-at-best noise isolation.
  • Premium price for good headphones. The better-performing Sony headphones are comparatively more expensive than other brands. Sony has a lot of affordable and cheap headphones, but they usually have poor build or sound quality and inefficient noise cancelling.

Overall, Sony has a varied lineup of headphones for multiple uses. Most of Sony's lineup delivers above-average sound quality, especially the pricier models. Unfortunately, this also means that Sony's best sounding and performing headphones are typically at a higher price than competing brands. They also sometimes struggle to get noise cancelling right, but more recent models like Sony WH-1000XM3 Wireless and the in-ear Sony WI-1000X Wireless succeed.

Lineup

Sony has a vast lineup but does not have a clear naming strategy. They have some specific lineups that cover different types of headphone models, like the extra bass lineup that covers over/on ears and in-ears, but some of their better-performing headphones with features like wireless and noise cancelling share the same naming convention as featureless wired headphones.

Conclusion

Sony delivers a wide variety of headphone models that are geared for both casual and critical listeners. Most of their models deliver above-average sound quality, even the cheaper ones. But if you want the best that Sony has to offer, then you may spend a bit more than you would with other brands, as their best-performing headphones often have a premium price tag.

Discover our recommendations for the best headphones for commuting.

Recent Updates

01/17/2020: Sony WF-1000XM3 are now the Sony 'Best In-Ear Headphones'. Minor text updates. 

11/15/2019: Only minor updates to the text and verification for accuracy; no changes in product picks.

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