A great pair of headphones shouldn’t only sound rich and balanced but should also be comfortable, versatile, well-built, and feature-packed. While you can get some surprisingly decent budget earphones, the best headphones tend to come packed with more features, like active noise cancelling (ANC), dedicated companion apps for customization, multi-device pairing, and NFC compatibility. While less expensive pairs of headsets tend to miss out on some of these premium features, you can still find some well-rounded and versatile options that provide great value.
We’ve tested over 450 pairs of headphones to date, and below are our recommendations for the best headphones you can buy.
Best Headphones of 2020
1. Bose QuietComfort 35 (Series II)
The Bose QuietComfort 35 II are great Bluetooth over-ear headphones for commuting and travelling with a few improvements over the previous model. The redesign doesn’t change much, but adds a bit more functionality and a dedicated button for Google Assistant/Alexa, or to switch between noise-cancelling modes, which is a welcome addition. They’re still extremely comfortable headphones with a very well-balanced sound profile and a versatile, easy-to-use design. Unfortunately, their dedicated companion app doesn’t have any EQ settings, and they leak quite a bit at higher volumes. The Bose QuietComfort 35 II are excellent earphones for commuting or travel. They’re easy-to-use, comfortable, and not too bulky. Their ANC works extremely well and does a great job of blocking out the low engine rumbles from a bus or plane. Regrettably, they leak a fair amount of audio and may bother the person sitting next to you on a plane if you listen to loud music. On the upside, their 20-hour battery life is great, and should easily last even the longest of journey days. Good for most uses.
The Bose QuietComfort 35 II slightly improved on an already versatile design with a little more control options and virtually identically well-balanced sound profile. Sadly, their companion app doesn’t offer any EQ configurations if you like to customize the way your headphones audio. On the bright side, they’re comfy, well-built, and block enough background sound for most noisy environments. This makes them a great choice for commuters and frequent flyers, though the person sitting close to you on a plane may hear your songs at increased volumes, as they tend to be fairly leaky.
2. Sony WH-1000XM3 Wireless Headphones Review: Best Noise-Cancelling Headphones of 2020
The Sony WH-1000XM3 have a decently well-balanced sound that delivers a lot of bass, and sound good with instruments and vocals. Unfortunately, the high-bass is slightly overemphasized which tends to make them sound a bit boomy. Their treble range is also slightly lacking, giving them a slightly dark sound overall. If you want to tone down the bass, however, these headphones come with a pretty good EQ via the app. While they’ll sound good for most listeners, they don’t have the most spacious soundstage, making them not probably the most ideal choice for more neutral listeners.
The Sony WH-1000XM3 have excellent noise cancellation, they’re comfortable and don’t leak as much as some of the other wireless over-ears we’ve tested, producing them a good choice for the office. The Sony WH-1000XM3 are versatile wireless over-ears. While some may find them somewhat too bulky for sports, they’re comfy and have one of the best ANC that we’ve measured so far. They also audio decently well-well balanced; if you want to customize your sound profile, they come with a great EQ. Regrettably, they have a bit too much latency for watching videos and gaming.
3. Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2: Best Sennheiser In-Ear Headphone in 2020
The Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless 2 are good for sports and fitness. They’re compact, easily portable, and are stable enough for light physical activity. Some may find them fatiguing to wear for long periods though. Still, as they’re truly wireless, you don’t have to worry about an audio cable snagging on anything while you move and their touch-sensitive controls make it easy to adjust what you’re listening to. They’re also rated IPX4 for water resistance, although we don’t test for this. The Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless 2 are Bluetooth in-ear headphones. They’re the next generation of the Sennheiser Momentum Correct Wireless, but they’ve added an active noise cancelling feature and increased the number of additional charges in the carrying case to three. While they’re satisfactory at noise isolation, their ANC is only a slight improvement over passive sound isolation and their battery life is still short, even for truly cellular headphones. They also lack low-bass and their treble is veiled and dull.
The Sennheiser MOMENTUM Real Cellular 2 are okay for mixed-use. They’re somewhat comfortable, but may not be the best choice if you’re wearing them for multiple hours. They’re stable enough for light exercise and their noise isolation performance is satisfactory sufficient for cutting down office chatter. However, their ANC is a slight enhancement over passive sound isolation. In addition, they struggle to reproduce low-bass and their treble is uneven and underemphasized. Their high latency and mediocre overall mic performance make them a poor choice for gaming.
4. Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H9 Gen 1 Wireless Headphones Review
The Beoplay H9 are decent mixed-usage headphones with a great premium design and a comfortable over-ear fit. They look and feel very durable, and they’re relatively lightweight for an over-ear headset. They also sound good and pack a lot of bass but it can sometimes be a little overpowering which won’t be for everyone. Unfortunately, they do not. They have an exciting bass-heavy sound that may be right for some listeners but will not be ideal for more neutral listening. On the upside, you can somewhat EQ them with their provided app, but they do not sound as balanced as the H6 out of the box. Also, since they’re closed-back headphones, their soundstage is a bit limited. Overall they should sound good enough for most listeners but if you consider yourself an audiophile then the excess bass and recessed mid and treble ranges will be an issue. The Beoplay H9 has a premium style and a high-end build quality that’s comfortable and easy-to-use. They have a decent sound quality that doesn’t quite audio as good as the H6 however they support the Beoplay app so you can EQ them to reduce some of the overpowering bass. However, this means they won’t be the ideal earphones for more critical listeners and their weak isolation does not block lots of noise so they won’t be the best headphones for loud environments or commuting. They’re also a bit too unstable for sports and have plenty of latency when used wirelessly.
5. 1More Triple Driver In-Ear Headphone
After spending a few weeks with both the 1MORE Triple Driver in-ear headphones, we were blown away by the great value for money they represent – that’s why they’re the best headphones for those who like wired earbuds. For 67, it’s hard to think of a better-sounding and more well-built pair of earphones than the 1MORE Triple Drivers. (That said, if you want just that little extra refinement and luxury materials, the 1MORE Quad Drivers are still a bargain at twice the price.) There’s very little we can fault the Triple Drivers for. Sure, the inbuilt remote feels a little cheap, but that’s more than made up for by the lush sound quality offered by these luxe-looking earbud. For the purchase price, it’s impossible to do better than 1MORE’s Triple Driver in-ear headphones.
6. RHA S500u
The RHA S500u are an incredible value, offering stunning sound and build quality for the price. These headphones easily stand toe-to-toe against competitors costing twice as much. They may not be the last word in resolution, dynamic range or sound staging, but it’s incredible that RHA made earphones that sound this good for so little money. Bass is slightly emphasized but not egregiously and features good impact while maintaining good control – and highs, while sibilant at times, makes music audio more exciting. In short, these are the best headsets you can buy if you’re on a strict budget.
7. Bowers & Wilkins PX7 Wireless Headphones
The Bowers & Wilkins PX7 are headphones that have a dark sound profile but are very well-designed. They have a sleek style and are quite comfortable to wear for a while. These headphones have become well-built and feel robust. They’re also noise-cancelling and block out a good amount of ambient sound. However, their microphone is bad and shouldn’t be used for calls, and they lack audio customization options inside their app. On the upside, their battery life is amazing and they’re compatible with aptX(HD) and aptX Adaptive, although we can’t currently test for those. Their ANC feature is quite good and blocks out a good quantity of ambient noise. They’re comfy to put on during long rides and their battery life will easily last you for entire long flights. However, they won’t be the easiest to carry around. These high-end headphones have a decent ANC feature that’ll be useful for commuting or at the office, but that’s about it. Their sound profile won’t suit more critical listeners who are looking for a neutral sound plus they furthermore won’t be suited for sports due to their design. Watching TV and gaming with the Bowers & Wilkins PX7 might be a hassle because of their latency, although they’re appropriate for lower-latency codecs.
8. Sony WF-1000XM3: Best Sony Sports Headphone
The Sony WF-1000XM3 are decent-sounding and versatile truly wireless headphones. They have a passable ANC feature that is decent for commuting and blocks out a good amount of noise in an office setting. Their design is stylish and feels premium but it’s a bit hard to find a good airtight fit as their tip options are larger than average. This mainly negatively impacts their bass reproduction and isolation performance. On the other hand, they have about 7 hours of battery life, which is good for a truly wireless design, and they are compatible with a companion app that gives access to decent audio customization. The WF-1000XM3 have a decent sound profile that can easily be EQ’ed inside their app. They are decently comfortable, although getting an air-tight fit is a bit hard to do since the tips are very large. On the upside, they are small and portable, making them easy to carry around. Their ANC feature is decent and can be a passable option for commuting and at the office. If you can find a good and stable match, they’ll be considered a great choice for sports. However, like most Bluetooth headphones, their latency might be too high for watching video content or gaming. The true wireless XM3 is transportable, breathable, and durable. However, if you can’t look for a good fit due to the large ear tips, they might not be the most stable option for physical activity. They also don’t seem to have an official IP rating, that is disappointing.
9. Plantronics BackBeat Go 810 Review 2020
The Plantronics BackBeat Go 810 are decent wireless over-ears for most use cases. They have great audio reproduction and are suitable for a wide variety of music genres. They offer over 20 hours of continuous playback, which is excellent, and their control scheme is very responsive and easy to use. Unfortunately, their noise-cancelling feature is disappointing and won’t perform as well as other ANC headphones in this price range. On the upside, they have an amazing wireless range and also provide 3 hrs of playback for only 10 minutes of charging, that is very useful. Their audio reproduction is great. They have an excellent, extended, and consistent bass performance, a flat and virtually flawless mid-variety, and a great treble. However, some may feel like they are a bit light on bass, and their treble is slightly uneven. Some S and T sounds may feel lacking in detail while some feel a bit sharp and piercing, but this shouldn’t be too audible. You also have a bright EQ setting if you want to boost higher frequencies. The Plantronics BackBeat Go 810 has great audio reproduction that is versatile for all types of music. Regrettably, their ANC feature isn’t impressive and won’t become great for commuting, but can be passable if you play your songs at increased volumes due to their low leakage. Also, they will have a comfortable and stable build for sports, but you might sweat a bit more than usual. They are a decent option for the office, as they do okay at isolating ambient chatter and their battery will last you long enough for a workday.
10. Bose SoundSport Wireless Headphone: Best Bose Sports Headphone
The Bose SoundSport Wireless are good wireless sports earbuds. They’re comfortable and should be stable and breathable enough to take with you to the gym. Their sound profile is well-balanced, and their semi-open design gives them a better soundstage than most in-ears. Unfortunately, their 6-hour battery life is only mediocre and they don’t block as much noise as other in-ear/earbuds which is not ideal for commuting. Their build quality also isn’t as durable as some of the some other Bose designs. On the upside, they’re very portable, and they include a decent carrying case as well. The Bose SoundSport Wireless is good for neutral sound listening. They have a good amount of bass that doesn’t overpower the instruments and vocals in the mid and treble range. They also have a semi-open fit which gives them a slightly better soundstage than most typical in-ears/earbuds, but they won’t sound like speakers in a room, which might not be perfect for more neutral listeners. The Bose SoundSport Wireless are very good headphones for sports use. They’re wireless and compact sufficient to carry around wherever you go. They have a stable and semi-open match that allows runners to monitor their surroundings.
11. Jaybird X4 Wireless Headphone: Best Jaybird Sports Headphones Review
The Jaybird X4 Wireless is great wireless sports in-ears that are versatile for everyday casual use. They block a decent amount of noise and barely leak. They are stable for most sports and portable enough to fit in your pockets. You can customize your sound to your liking with the MySound app, and they have decent battery life. They’re very similar to the X3, slightly outperforming them for audio, but they keep relatively the same design. The Jaybird X4 are excellent sports headphones. The different tips and stability fins options will let you find the most comfortable and stable fit for your activities. The in-line remote didn’t change from the X3 model and still have a simple control scheme. Being wireless, you won’t have a wire in your way during your workouts. They are also compact enough to squeeze in your pockets, even when in their carrying pouch.
12. Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700
The Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 are comfortable, well-built noise-cancelling over-ears. They have a more futuristic design that feels better-built than that of the QuietComfort line-up, but not as quite comfortable. The Bose 700 headphones have a touch-sensitive control scheme that provides a lot of functions but isn’t always the easiest to use. Their noise isolation is great and they have an impressive integrated microphone that handles sound very well, which makes them great headphones for professionals on-the-go. They don’t sound very as balanced as the QC35 II, but they still sound decent and are satisfactory earphones for most uses overall. The Bose NC 700 are good headsets for commuting. They will have great noise cancelling and can effectively reduce the intensity of loud aeroplane engine rumbles or noisy chatter in a busy bus station. Their touch-sensitive handle scheme can be a bit tricky to utilize on-the-proceed, but they’re comfy, well-built, and so are otherwise well-suited to use while travelling. The Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 are comfortable, well-built headphones that sound decent and isolate well enough to be suitable for use in most noisy environments. This makes them a great choice for commuters and frequent flyers. Their impressive microphone performance and relatively low leakage also make them well-suited for office use. However, their wireless latency can make them less ideal for watching movies or gaming, especially since they don’t support any low-latency Bluetooth codecs.
13. Sennheiser HD 4.50BTNC
The Sennheiser HD 4.50 are decent Bluetooth over-ear headphones. They’re decently comfortable, and while their tight fit may cause fatigue during longer listening sessions, it helps them stay on securely during light workouts or jogs. Despite having ANC, they aren’t the best at blocking out background noises, especially the low rumble of bus or plane engines. On the upside, their 22-hour battery life is great, and their decently well-balanced sound profile makes them a good choice for most genres, though they do lack a bit of detail and brightness on some tracks. The Sennheiser HD 4.50 are alright headphones for mixed usage. Their sound profile is fairly well-suited to most genres, though some may find it lacks a fair amount of fine detail and lighting. Their thick padding is decently comfortable, though they clamp the head fairly tight – still, this helps them feel very stable. Their 22-hour battery life is fantastic, and their ANC works decently well, though it doesn’t help much with the reduced rumble of bus or plane motors.
14. Grado SR60e
The Grado SR60e are subpar headphones for everyday, casual use. They have an above-average but sharp sound quality and an open design that gives them a wide soundstage compared to most on-ears. However, they leak a lot and don’t block any noise. They’re not stable enough to use while doing sports, and they’re not ideal for loud environments, commuting or office use. The SR60e are decent low budget headphones for neutral listening. They will have a spacious soundstage and a good reproduction of instruments and vocals. They lack a little bit of bass and maybe slightly sharp at times, but they reproduce the detail in high-res audio with above-average fidelity.
15. Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro
The Beyerdynamic DT 1990 PRO is great, well-built critical listening headphones. They have the most premium look and feel of all the Beyerdynamic models that we’ve tested so far, and they’re a durable, sturdy option that should last you a while. They’re comfortable and deliver a well-balanced and open sound, but can be a bit tight on some heads and slightly sharp on already bright tracks. Also, like most open-back headphones, they won’t be a good option to use outdoors. The DT 1990 have a well-balanced reproduction of instruments and vocals in the mid-range, a deep and extended bass and a decent but slightly sharp treble. They will sound good with almost any tracks and music genre although the treble peak in the higher frequencies may be a bit bothersome on currently bright tracks. On the upside, they have a comfortable design (that’s a little limited on the head at first ) and a decently spacious soundstage. They’re a good choice for casual and neutral listeners alike although more informal listeners may prefer the similar-sounding DT 990 PRO at a cheaper price point.
16. Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro Headphones
The Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO are sturdy critical listening headphones. They deliver an excellent audio reproduction but their open-back design is not ideal for everyday casual use. They will leak a lot, even at low volumes and don’t block any ambient noise. They’re also a bit tight on the head. The Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro are excellent neutral listing headphones. They reproduce a lot of detail in high-resolution tracks and have a clear and crisp sound quality with a spacious soundstage. They may sound a bit sharp at times, as the treble range is slightly too emphasized, but bass, instruments, and vocals are well-balanced and reproduced with high-fidelity. The Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO is comfortable earphones but a little bit limited on your head. They have well-padded and large ear cups that fit comfortably around most listeners’ ears. However, the headband is a little as well rigid which make the headsets tight enough to become uncomfortable during long listening sessions.
17. Beyerdynamic DT 1770 PRO Headphones
The Beyerdynamic DT 1770 PRO is great closed-back critical listening headphones with a good and balanced sound. They are well-built and offer great comfort if you like a tight fit. They’re more versatile than similar open-back models like the DT 1990 PRO and DT 990 PRO because they will isolate more noise and leak less. However, they are bulky, and the provided case is quite big, meaning they won’t be very portable. On the upside, they have a detachable cable that the lower-end Beyerdynamic models don’t have. Great neutral listening headphones. They have a good sound reproduction that is detailed and powerful. Their soundstage is a bit more closed than the open-back versions just like the DT 1990 PRO or DT 990 PRO. They tend to deliver a bit more bass and sound less sibilant. However, their bass is prone to inconsistencies and the shape and size of your head, or if you wear glasses, might change your listening experience.
18. Samsung Galaxy Buds+ Truly Wireless
The best wireless earbuds that we’ve tested so far are the Samsung Galaxy Buds+. These truly wireless in-ears are surprisingly comfortable, thanks to their small and lightweight design, and feel stable enough in the ear to handle most workouts. They look and feel premium and well-made, and their 13.3-hour battery life is the best we’ve ever tested in a pair of truly wireless headphones. The case also supports cellular charging via any Qi-enabled charging pad, which makes it easy to keep it juiced up.
These headphones have a remarkably well-balanced and accurate sound profile that follows our target curve almost perfectly. This makes them very versatile, though some people may find they lack a bit of bass when compared to most popular headphones that have a more bass-heavy or energetic sound profile out-of-the-box. Luckily, their companion app gives you access to five EQ presets, so you should be able to find one that suits your personal tastes.
Unfortunately, their touch-sensitive controls may not be for everyone as it’s fairly easy to register accidental commands when moving the headphones in your ear, or taking them within and out. Their case also only holds one additional charge, which is a lot less than most other truly wireless options, though because of the incredibly long single-charge life, you should still get close to 27 hours of use. Overall, these are the best truly cellular headphones we’ve tested and are a great choice if you want a wireless pair of earbuds.
19. Jaybird Tarah Pro Wireless
If you want a pair of wireless earbuds for taking to the gym, get the Jaybird Tarah Pro. They aren’t truly wireless like the Samsung Galaxy Buds+ Truly Wireless, and they aren’t quite as comfortable, but they feel even better-built and have easier-to-use controls. They have an in-line remote on their braided cable that connects the two earbuds, making it easy to change your music in the middle of a workout. They come with stability fins to give them a good, stable fit, and they’re rated IPX7 for water and sweat resistance, though this isn’t something we test. Their default sound profile is well-balanced but with a bit of extra kick, and their excellent companion app gives you access to a fully parametric EQ so you can fine-tune the way they audio. They last just over 13 hours off a single charge, but unfortunately, they require a proprietary charger, which can be a pain if you lose or forget it.
If you want a more versatile pair of every-day headphones, obtain the Samsung, but if you want something that feels a bit more durable when planning on taking to the fitness centre, go for the Jaybird.
20. Sennheiser HD 800 S
The Sennheiser HD 800 S are the best headphones for audiophiles that we’ve tested to date. These premium headphones are designed for critical listening and it shows. They have a comfortable design that’s padded with a suede-like material to keep you from feeling fatigued over the course of long listening sessions, and they have reference-quality audio reproduction.
These headphones have a remarkably accurate and well-balanced sound profile, although those who prefer a bit more thump and rumble in their mixes may find their good to be a bit lacking in the bass-range. Thanks to their open-back design, they’re able to create a wide and spacious soundstage that can help further immerse you in your audio. Their build quality feels durable too as they’re made from high-grade plastic as well as sturdy metal, plus they also come with a detachable TRS cable which is easily replaceable should it get damaged.
On the downside, these headphones have a hefty price tag and even then, you still need to have a powerful amplifier to run them. As they’re open-back earphones, they work best when used in dedicated listening rooms because they leak audio and don’t block out any background noise. That being said, if you’re looking for the best listening experience out there regardless of the price, these headphones are among the best audiophile headsets we’ve tested so far, and they’re worth their high price.
21. Anker Soundcore Life Q20 Bluetooth: Best Anker Headphones
The best headphones in the budget category that we’ve tested so far are the Anker Soundcore Life Q20. These Bluetooth over-ear headphones are quite comfortable thanks to their well-padded ear cups and headband. They have an excellent 32-hour battery life, decently easy-to-use physical controls, and feel fairly well-made for their price.
They will have an exciting sound profile that provides a fair amount of extra thump and kick. While they’re best suited for bass-heavy music like EDM or hip-hop, they should be versatile enough for most popular genres. Unfortunately, they don’t have a dedicated companion app, so they lack an EQ to change the way they sound. Despite their low price point, they have a surprisingly decent ANC feature that’ll help cut down on the low rumble of bus and plane engines, though it does much better at blocking background chatter.
Overall, they may lack some more features compared to some more expensive options on this list. However, their good ANC performance, well-balanced and excited audio profile, and comfortable and pretty well-built design, makes them among the best budget wireless headphones that we’ve tested to date.
22. Sennheiser HD 600 Headphones Review
The Sennheiser HD 600 are good critical listening headphones not meant for other use cases. They’re decently comfortable and have an above-average build quality. They also have a well-balanced sound that has an excellent mid-range and detailed instruments and vocals but lack a little low-end bass, which might not be ideal for everyone. They also do not isolate by design so they won’t be a good option to use outdoors. Good for neutral hearing. The Sennheiser HD600 delivers a good, well-balanced frequency response. Instruments and vocals are clear and crisp, and the open style gives these headphones a spacious soundstage. Bass is a little lacking, but they will accurately reproduce the detail in high-res audio, especially plugged into an amp.
23. SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless: Best Gaming Headphone of 2020
The SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless is very good for wired gaming. They sound great, have low latency, can be used with a console and mobile device at the same time, have an excellent mic that filters a lot of noise, and are very comfortable. Unfortunately, like most gaming headphones, they have poor noise isolation but shouldn’t be a problem if you game in a quiet room. That said, they will have a unique and convenient battery charging system, and are likely to keep up with even your most intense gaming sessions. The SteelSeries Arctis Professional Wireless is good for neutral sound. While their bass and treble delivery depend on their fit, seal, and positioning, the USB transmitter and their companion software offer a graphic EQ and presets that make it easy to tweak the way they sound to fit your needs.
24. AUDIO-TECHNICA ATH-M50X
If you’re looking for the best over-ear headphones for audiophiles that can pull double duty in the studio and the daily commute, check out the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x. They aren’t as well-built as the Sennheiser HD 800 S and don’t offer as spacious or natural a listening experience due to their closed-back design. By the same token, however, that also makes them far more versatile: they don’t leak nearly as much audio and block out a lot more background noise. They’re also substantially cheaper and have a well-honed sound profile that’s well suited for critical listening or for mixing and mastering. Their comfortable fit and included a selection of detachable audio cables are added bonuses.
Get the Sennheiser if price is no object and you intend to use them only for listening in a quiet room, but if you expect your earphones to see more varied use, consider the Audio-Technica.
25. AKG N700NC Wireless
The best over-ear headphones under $300 we’ve tested are the AKG N700NC. These Bluetooth over-ears typically sell for quite a bit more but have been available for under $300 recently, making them an excellent value. They have a much more premium look and feel than most other options at this price point, and are quite comfortable. They come with a nice array of extra accessories including a great hard carrying case, an aeroplane adapter, and a TRRS cable with an in-line remote so you can use them wired with your phone or gaming console.
Their sound profile is excellently well-tuned and accurate, making them well-suited for almost all genres of content, from classic rock to podcasts. If you’d rather a bit of extra bass, you can also fine-tune the way they sound with a fully parametric EQ within their dedicated companion app designed for both Android and iOS. Their battery lasts nearly 18 hours, which is great, and you can utilize them passively if the electric battery runs out on you.
Unfortunately, while these headphones have an ANC feature, it’s only decent and won’t help much with blocking out the low rumble of bus or plane engines. They also leak a fair amount of audio, so they may not be excellent if you like to listen to your music loudly in a very quiet office. If you want an even cheaper pair of over-ears that have better ANC, check out the Mixcder E9 Wireless, our regular pick for this category if the AKG aren’t on sale, though they don’t audio as well-tuned and aren’t nearly as premium overall.