If you’re a newbie to the world of audio, you might be wondering why you need to read a guide to find out what the best headphones to buy are. After all, how hard can it be to find the best headphones?
Well, newbie, we’ve got some bad news for you. The numbers and varieties of headphones on the market are astounding, and there’s next to no chance that you’ll be able to sift through all the chaff and find the right headphones for you.
But that’s where we come in! A quick read through our guide will give you an idea of what kind of headphones you should buy and will help you when filtering through the hundreds of possibilities on the market.
Furthermore, we’ve also curated a list of the 10 best headphones in the world, and you may want to take a look at that as well. While you may not like every pair of headphones on the list, we guarantee that you’ll find at least one that fits you like a glove.
Now that we’re done with our guide, let’s take a look at the ten best headphones on the market right now.
Top-Rated Audio Headphones - Comparison Table
Reviews of the Best Headphones to Buy
Beats headphones on such an illustrious list! Oh, the horror!
While audiophiles may be horrified at the inclusion of Beats headphones on any list of the best headphones, there’s a reason why the brand has succeeded so spectacularly. The Beats Studio wireless headphones are excellent headphones that will give you plenty of value for your money.
The Beats Studio Wireless headphones allow Bluetooth connectivity with a 30-foot range. They come with a rechargeable battery that will easily give you 12 hours of music playback on a full charge.
The headphones also feature a built-in mic to allow you take calls easily.
They come with two different audio cables, one of which features RemoteTalk technology that allows you to control your music and calls from the cable itself.
The headphones are pretty comfortable, and shouldn’t give you any trouble even when worn for long periods of time. However, they clamp quite tightly, so you may have to suffer some discomfort the first few times you wear them.
While everyone says that Beats headphones are extremely bass boosted, this isn’t the whole story. The Beats Studios’ bass is definitely higher than normal, but it’s not bad enough to drown out the mids and highs. It’s high and tight, and will allow you to discover entirely new details when listening to music!
You’ll love the way these headphones sound especially if you’re a casual listener or love listening to music with lots of bass.
While the headphones do feature noise cancellation as one of their capabilities, it’s not that effective. If noise cancellation is something you’ll need to use regularly, these headphones probably aren’t the best for you.
Features at a Glance
- Collapse inwards and can be placed in included carrying case for easy transport
- 12 hours of music playback on a single charge
- Incredible sound quality
- Built-in mic allows you to take calls
- 2 audio cables included
Bose struck gold with the QC25s, and they’ve only improved since then. The QC35s take all the best parts of their predecessors and add a few new features to bring us the new and improved QC35s.
The headphones support Bluetooth and NFC connection. They can last up to 30 hours (even though Bose only claims 20 hours) on a single charge, although that also depends on what type of music you’re playing and how loud it is.
The headphones come with an audio cable that you can use to continue listening to music even after they’re out of charge.
The QC35s feel tough, durable, and premium. They use glass-filled resin to maximize durability without increasing heft too much. The earpads have memory foam inside, allowing you to be comfortable even after using the headphones for hours and hours.
The headphones’ size can be adjusted, allowing the headphones to fit a variety of heads.
The earcups can also be rotated 90 degrees outwards. You can then fold them to fit them into the included carrying case which also looks extremely well-built.
If you’re looking to buy headphones for noise cancellation, it doesn’t get any better than Bose. Bose has developed and refined their noise cancellation over the years, and they’ve got arguably the best noise canceling devices on the market today.
We’re talking about noise cancellation so good, it will make you feel like you’ve gone deaf.
To everything except beautiful music.
Which brings us to the next thing: the sound quality. The QC35s sound quality is beyond phenomenal. Everything is balanced just right, with different frequencies having just enough oomph to be exciting.
Another piece of good news is that the headphones’ music controls work on both Android and iOS devices.
Features at a Glance
- Up to 20 hours of battery life
- Bluetooth 4.1 allows multi-point pairing
- Incredible sound
- Extremely comfortable
- Included audio cable
- Included carry case for increased portability
The Sennheiser RS 175 RF is not a pair of headphones – rather, it’s a headphone system. The system comes with a transmitter (that also acts as a charging dock) and a pair of headphones.
The headphones are closed and provide excellent noise isolation. The headphones are designed ergonomically to provide the maximum amount of comfort possible.
The system’s digital wireless audio streaming capabilities are incredibly high, allowing you to transmit audio over a range of 100 meters. While this range only applies when the headphones are in the transmitter’s line of sight, a 100-meter range is still insane!
With this, you can be practically anywhere in your house and still be able to listen to your audio.
You can also set the headphones to several modes that allow for customization. These modes include 'bass boost' and 'virtual surround sound.'
The transmitter allows you to transmit audio both wirelessly and over a wire. It can also be used as a charging cradle and a dock for the headphones.
The wireless headphones have internal rechargeable batteries which provide up to 18 hours of use when fully charged. While the headphones may take some time to charge up when you charge them for the first time, they will subsequently take only 8 hours to charge fully.
The transmitter can stream audio to two different pairs of headphones concurrently, allowing you to split audio without having to buy an expensive splitter.
When bought from an authorized Sennheiser dealer, you get a 2-year limited warranty with this headphone system.
Features at a Glance
- Bass boost and surround sound modes available
- 100-foot wireless transmission range
- Transmitter can pair with two different devices
- 2-year warranty when purchased from authorized Sennheiser dealers
If you’ve been paying any attention to the audio landscape, you’ll know that the ATH-M50xs are considered one of the best pairs of headphones in the market.
These headphones are professional studio headphones, meaning that the sound you’ll get from them will be balanced and uncolored. If you’re a basshead or don’t like neutral sound, you may not like the ATH-M50xs that much.
The M50xs are circumaural headphones, meaning they go over your ears and provide maximum comfort and noise isolation.
The earpads on the headphones can swivel, allowing you to use them on one ear for monitoring purposes.
The cable that comes with the headphones is detachable, which means you don’t have to buy a whole new pair of headphones if your current cable gets split.
Keep in mind that these headphones don’t come with a mic, so you won’t be able to make calls on them.
The headphones provide exceptional sound clarity across the entire spectrum, and the bass on them is deep and accurate.
Features at a Glance
- Detachable cord
- Extremely comfortable
- Incredible sound quality
- Uncolored sound across the spectrum
The V-MODA Crossfade M-100s are excellent headphones that many DJs and music producers swear by. They’ve got tons of celebrity backing, and the headphones are worth their price.
The headphones look unique. Their hexagonal design really stands out from the crowd. Furthermore, V-MODA allows you to print out custom shield kits which you can use to customize your earpads.
The earpads are covered with memory foam cushions that maximize comfort and isolation. These headphones can stay over your ears for long stretches of time without engendering any discomfort whatsoever.
The M-100s are durable to the point of indestructibility. They’ve been manufactured per military-level test standards. As long as you don’t put these headphones under a steamroller, they should be okay.
The headphones come with two different cables. The SpeakEasy cable allows you to take calls and transmit your voice easily, while the SharePlay cable allows you to share your music easily without needing an external adapter.
The M-100s also have a CliqFold hinge which allows you to collapse the headphones to what may seem an impossibly tiny size. Once you’ve folded them up, you can put them into an ultra-compact carrying case which will make transportation much easier.
The headphones’ sound quality is beautiful. They create a 3D soundstage, making you feel like you’re in the center of the music being played.
Different frequencies are tightly constrained, and you won’t have any problems with bass bleeding over with these headphones.
In fact, V-MODA claims that their headphones are so good that 40 out of the top 100 DJs use them.
Oh, and remember the durability we were talking about? V-MODA offers a 2-year warranty on these headphones, plus the Immortal Life Guarantee which gives you 50 percent off a replacement pair of headphones in case yours give up the ghost.
The Immortal Life Guarantee is valid throughout your lifetime, in case you hadn’t realized.
Features at a Glance
- Award-winning sound quality
- Extreme comfort
- Unique look and design
- Two different cables included
- Compact storage with CliqFold design
- 2-year warranty plus Immortal life
The Bose SoundSport Pulse wireless headphones are the first in-ear headphones on our list, but that doesn’t make them any less capable than their over-ear brethren.
The SoundSports have StayHear+ Pulse tips which provide perfect fit and comfort while ensuring that your headphones will stay in your ears for as long as you’re working out.
They have Bluetooth and NFC pairing capabilities that will allow you to connect to your devices as fast and painlessly as possible.
These headphones are essentially workout headphones, and they incorporate some features that will greatly aid you in our workouts.
First of all, the headphones are completely sweat and water resistant. You won’t have to worry about spoiling your headphones with sweat when using the SoundSports.
They feature a built-in heart rate sensor to allow you to track your heart rate when working out. They also connect with the Bose Connect app to give you real-time heart rate readings and continuously add more functionality to your headphones.
In true Bose fashion, the sound quality is excellent and won’t give you any room for complaint.
Features at a Glance
- Sweatproof and waterproof
- Built-in heart rate sensor
- Connects to Bose Connect app
- Can connect with several fitness applications
- Stellar sound quality
The Beats Solo2 headphones are the second pair of Beats headphones on our list. While the Beats Studios were indisputably worth your money, how do these headphones fare?
The headphones contain a rechargeable battery that can facilitate audio playback for up to 12 hours on a single charge. They use Bluetooth technology to pair with compatible devices.
The headphones have a built-in microphone to allow you to take calls wirelessly.
Beats includes a detachable cable with the headphones. With this, you don’t have to replace your entire headphones if your cable gets ruined. Just get a new cable, and you’ll be good to go.
Also, you don’t have to rely entirely on the battery. Even if you run out of charge, you can just plug in the detachable cable and continue listening to your audio.
The headphones are compact and can be folded down to fit into the included carrying case. This makes portability much easier and significantly reduces the chances of breakage during transport.
Keep in mind that since these are on-ear headphones, you won’t get that much sound isolation.
The headphones sound quality is incredibly polarizing. You’ll either love it or hate it, and it all comes down to one thing: bass.
The headphones’ bass is unbelievably high, and you’ll even start hearing new details in songs with complex basslines.
If you’re a huge fan of classical or balanced music, however, you probably won’t like the amount of bass on the Beats Solo2 headphones.
Features at a Glance
- Detachable cable included
- Foldable design increase portability
- 12-hour battery life
- Fuel gauge
- Built-in microphone
- Extremely high bass
The Parrot Zik headphones are a strong contender for the title of the best pair of headphones. They’ve got a lot going on for them – let’s take a closer look at why these headphones are so incredible.
When most people buy headphones, there are two main things they are looking for: sound quality and noise isolation. Parrot perfects both with the Ziks.
The headphones are wireless and come with a rechargeable battery. The battery can provide up to 18 hours of use when fully charged, but the number of features that come with the headphones may drain the battery much quicker than that.
You also get a detachable cable that you can use to continue listening to music even after you run out of juice. You might get a shock, though, since sound quality really suffers when the headphones don’t have any power.
The headphones have a sensitive touch panel that allows you to control all the features on the headphones intuitively. Sliding a finger vertically on the panel controls volume while a horizontal slide changes the track being played.
Removing the headphones or pressing the right panel pauses music, while taking a call is as simple as tapping on the right panel.
They also have two different technologies used to ensure that only your voice is transmitted when taking calls: a double microphone, and a bone detection sensor.
Parrot has spent a lot of time working on the audio output. The headphones can reconstruct sound to make it seem like it’s coming from in front of you.
They also have noise cancellation capabilities which will insulate you in your own bubble.
Parrot offers an audio suite for both iOS and Android devices. This suite can be used easily configure the sound output in a number of ways including the equalizer, noise cancellation, helpdesk, and much more.
Features at a Glance
- Up to 18 hours of battery life
- Touch panels on the headphones
- Clear voice transmission when making calls
- Active noise canceling
- Parrot audio suite can be used to control audio output
How do these open-back headphones from Philips fare against the incredible competitors on this list? Not badly, actually.
The X27s are premium headphones, and they clearly look the part. They are also equipped with memory foam on the earpieces to ensure maximum comfort over long periods of time. They have breathable velour cushions that dispel heat and pressure.
The headphones come with a dedicated cable clip for tangle-free cable management. You also get a 6.3mm adapter which will come in handy if you want to use the headphones with stereo equipment.
The sound quality is pristine, with the open-back design contributing to an incredible listening experience. Any audio you play will be crystal-clear and true to the source.
Keep in mind that the open-back design ensures that you’ll have virtually no noise isolation. If you’re planning to use these headphones in an environment where you’re likely to disturb other people, you’d be better off trying another pair.
Features at a Glance
- Open-back design
- Pristine audio quality
- Memory foam increases comfort
- Very natural sound
- Cable management clip included
Buyer’s Guide: How to Choose a Pair of Headphones
Once again, choosing a pair of headphones is no simple task. There are dozens of variables to cover but, unfortunately, we can’t cover all of them. We’ll be looking at the main factors that you should be considering when selecting the best headphones for you.
Headphones come in a variety of configurations, but the 3 most common ones are in-ear, on-ear, and over-ear headphones. In-ear headphones are earbuds whose earpieces sit inside your ear. While they are extremely easy to carry around, it’s not possible to get the highest sound quality out of them.
On-ear headphones are headphones that go on your ears. They don’t cover your ear completely and are not very good at sound isolation.
Finally, we have over-ear headphones. These headphones’ earpieces go over your ears and cover them completely. As a result, they provide much better sound quality and noise isolation than the other two types.
Open-Back vs. Closed-Back Headphones
Open-back headphones may not be a new trend in the headphones market, but it’s one that’s aimed at niche listeners. If you don’t know what open-back headphones are, don’t worry – you’re not the only one.
Closed-back headphones are the normal headphones that we usually see daily. They keep ambient noise out and don’t allow your music to be heard outside.
In contrast, open-back headphones have open grills at the back of their earpieces. This allows external noise and music to intermingle. To a newcomer, this may seem like an inane idea.
However, listening to music through open-back headphones is an entirely different experience – one that will probably be completely new to you. It feels like the music is all around you, and as ambient sounds merge with your music, it begins to feel more and more like a live music show.
The downside of this, however, is that open-back headphones are all but useless at noise isolation. You’ll be able to hear everything that’s going on outside, and anyone outside will be able to hear what you’re listening to.
There are two types of noise cancellation: active and passive. Passive noise cancellation occurs automatically as headphones enclose your ears and disallow outside noise in. Passive noise cancellation is more commonly referred to as noise isolation.
Active noise cancellation samples ambient noise, inverts it, and plays it back to you. This cancels sound out almost perfectly, which is why noise canceling headphones are a staple for most frequent flyers.
This is a fairly straightforward section. Some headphones come equipped with Bluetooth or NFC pairing capabilities, allowing you to move around without being restricted by cables.
Wireless headphones need to be charged on a regular basis, however, and the sound quality is usually lower than that of wired headphones.
Durability and Warranty
When you’re buying headphones, you want to purchase a pair that lasts you long enough to savor your money’s worth. Read online reviews, and if the majority of customers complain about poor build quality, move on.
Similarly, a warranty implies that the manufacturers of a product are confident about it. We highly recommend always buying a product with a warranty, especially if it’s a high-priced item. If you do so, you’ll never have to worry about your money being wasted.
Especially when you’re buying higher end models, the absence of a warranty should be a major red flag.
Remember, headphones are items that will stay on your head for extended periods of time. If you find them uncomfortable, you’ll have wasted a huge chunk of your money on something that you won’t be able to use to the fullest.
If possible, try out headphones you want to buy before buying them. While you may not be able to sit in a store testing them for 2 straight hours, you should get a pretty good idea of how comfortable they are in the first few minutes.
This is the major factor when you’re buying the headphones. Everything else may be excellent, but if the headphones don’t sound good, there’s simply no point of buying them.
There are many sound tests out there for customers who are thinking to buy headphones, so grab one before you set out.
Start by listening to classical music. The number of instruments involved makes classical music a very complex affair that not every pair of headphones can handle.
Next, test the headphones with the music that you usually listen to. If you’re a fan of rap or modern EDM, you may want headphones with a slightly raised bass.
And there you have it! If you read through this guide, you should have all the basics covered. There’s no need to go into the technical details just yet - unless you’re an aspiring audiophile. If that’s the case, good luck to you, and feel free to do more research on the minutiae of audio transmission!
When you have 10 excellent headphones on one list, it’s all but impossible to choose between them. However, for the purposes of this review, we’ve settled on a pair of headphones that’s the best – to us.
What’s right for us may not be right for you, however, so make sure you do your research and choose a pair of headphones depending on what you want out of them.
That being said, the best headphones ever (according to us) are the V-MODA Crossfade M-100s. There’s just something about these headphones that makes us choose them over and over again – they’re incredible.
As we already mentioned, what’s best for us may not be perfect for you – make sure you do your research before buying your pair of headphones!