When it comes to the world of headphones, then music lovers know that not all headphones are created equal. In order for the headphones to be worth, they need to tick several boxes: noise cancellation, comfort, bass, proper fitting, durability, and of course sound quality. A lot of headphones simply don’t check very many of the boxes.
With so many brands and promises out there, it can be difficult to pick the right pair for your needs. And it’s also incredibly frustrating when you find a pair you like in store just to take it home and realize it works nothing like the demo product. Keep in mind too that the demos you try out in store have been tested hundreds of times so they’re already very worn by the time you put them on your own ears. This is to say that you won’t get an accurate depiction of the quality, especially regarding comfort.
Another important thing to consider when purchasing headphones is the quality. Just because the pair has an expensive price tag and brand logo (we’re looking at you Beats) doesn’t mean that you’re getting a good product. So don’t bypass some of the headphones on the list because they’re from a company that isn’t plastered all over Facebook.
Below is our list of top headphones that we’ve personally tried and loved. They’re all available through Amazon (score) so you can also read what others have had to say about them. Now, onto the headphones!
1. Bose QuietComfort 35 (Series II)
Bose is synonymous with sound quality and you can expect nothing less from these headphones. Bose has combined best-in-class active-noise canceling with an extremely ergonomic design that’s both comfortable and convenient (think fold-up headphone design). Not to mention the sound quality that Bose is known for is definitely evident in these.
One of the best things about these headphones is the fact that they’re wireless. This means you don’t have to worry about tangling yourself in cables or having to find a headphone jack adapter that pairs with your phone case if it’s too thick for the standard plug. It’s also the first in Bose’s QuietComfort line to be wireless. Don’t worry though, you can still use them with the included cable should the battery run out. Expect to get an average of 20 hours of playtime with the battery and an LED battery indicator keeps you up to date with how much energy is left.
Now let’s talk comfort. The headband has 12 separate steps that will ensure maximum comfort and you can rotate the ear cups a full 90 degrees one way and five degrees in the other. This means you’ll always have the perfect fit. They’re also designed to fit over the whole ear, which means you’ll have not only high quality sound, but also a whole new level of comfort over traditional round ear cups.
You can expect to pay $349 for these babies. While they’re definitely the most expensive on the list, they’re our top pick for headphones. You can also find them at Wal-Mart, Best Buy, and Bose.com.
2. B&O PLAY Beoplay H4
We are big fans of the way these headphones look. They look super stylish and make the perfect fashion accessory just hanging around your neck. The sleek design just screams music as well as quality and we honestly can’t get enough. The H4 features stylish metal paired with lambskin leather on the headband and memory foam ear pads for the ultimate luxurious pair of headphones. Now onto the specs!
If you’re a snob for sound quality (no judgments we want the best sound quality from our headphones as well) then these are sure to one of your favorites. 40mm electro-dynamic drivers produce deep, rich, and balanced sound coupled with high clarity and crisp mids. And the best part? If you’re using these wirelessly over Bluetooth, you won’t see a change in sound quality. Often sound quality can be sketchy at best if it’s not wired directly into your device but we’re happy to say they sound just as good wirelessly as they do wired in.
Battery life speaking, these headphones boast an impressive 19 hours of run time on a single charge. So if you’re looking for a pair that’s going to outlast even the longest music binges, then these are the headphones you’re looking for.
The only drawback is that they don’t have active noise cancellation. It’s a bummer we know, but we found that the design minimizes sound rather well. We even took a stroll down a busy street and hardly heard any of the outside noise.
You’ll have to shell out $225 for these sleek headphones but they’re definitely worth the price! Just check the tons of positive reviews that they’ve garnered on Amazon if you don’t believe us.
3. Audio-Technica ATH-M20x Professional Monitor Headphones
If you’re familiar with headphone brands then you’ve likely heard of Audio-Technica. The brand is infamous for crafting quality headphones for a fraction of a price of their competitors. Of course audiophiles can tell a difference between these and say the Bose, but for the standard listener the sound quality is pretty much the same.
You can expect great sound with rich, full bass and excellent midranges compliments of the 40mm drivers inside these headphones. These same drivers are found in the higher end headphones we featured on this list as well as other name brands that didn’t make it here. In other words, Audio-Technica is delivering similar products for less than half of the price of other major headphone companies.
While they’re definitely not the sleekest or most stylish headphones out there, where they lack in style they’ve made up in practicality and comfort. Both the headband and the ear cups are heavily cushioned making them extremely comfort for extended periods of wear. The material is also extremely soft and durable.
Unfortunately, don’t expect much in the way of noise cancellation because Audio-Technica hasn’t included one in this pair. The headphones however do fit rather snug around your ears so that helps block out a lot of the outside world. We took them to the same busy street we visited with the H4s and definitely heard a lot more outside noise in comparison. However, it wasn’t unbearable.
You really can’t beat the price of these headphones (especially given the quality). They’re $49 and are a great introduction into the world of quality headphones if you’re just starting out.
4. Jaybird X4
We’re going to switch it up a bit and discuss one of our favorite pairs of workout headphones. And if you’re anything like us, you’re elated to see this on the list! After all, most headphone review articles and blog posts focus solely on the hefty bad boys of the industry, which are great for jamming out with but not necessarily practical for a trip to the gym.
Need a pair of headphones that adjusts to you and your lifestyle? The Jaybird X4s have you covered. They allow you to customize your music to fit your lifestyle and the sound as well. Using an app, you can adjust the treble, bass, and other sound components of the headphones and even save the settings for future use. In our opinion, that was one of the best features of these headphones! After all, nothing slows your workout down more than trying to find the perfect settings you had during your last session.
Adjustment wise, the H4s feature interchangeable ear fins, adjustable Speech Cinch, and silicone Comply Ultra Foam tips, which means the ear buds will fit comfortably inside your ear. The other parts mentioned work to ensure both comfort and security by keeping them fitted to your ear shape. So if you’re worried about losing the headphones on the go, don’t be. They’ll sit snugly around your ears regardless of your activities.
Battery life isn’t the greatest, especially when compared to the others on the list but it’s still pretty good considering the size. You can get an eight-hour life out of one charge and if you need more, you can add another hour in a ten-minute charge.
We should also mention that these headphones will allow you to pause your music in order to call home or answer phone calls. You can also control the volume, skip tracks, answer/end calls with the single press of a button located on the headphone wires.
$119 is how much Amazon has them listed for, which is comparable to other wireless workout headphones. However, these are much better than their competitors in our opinion.
5. Bose SoundSport Free Wireless Headphones
If you’re still in the market for fitness headphones and we didn’t quite sell you on the Jaybird H4, then check out Bose’s answer to the sport headphones game.
At first glance, these look incredibly uncomfortable and like something that will get lost immediately. And for the price, you definitely don’t want to lose them! However, we were pleasantly surprised that they stayed in place, were comfortable, and lasted our entire workout session. They even stood up to jogging and running so really don’t see a way to lose these, so if that’s a concern (and it should be), you can rest assured that the SoundSport Frees aren’t going anywhere.
The biggest drawback for us was the battery life. For the price, we expected to get more than 5 hours of playtime on a single charge, but it was definitely more than enough to get us through a workout session; which in all fairness was what they were designed for.
Unfortunately, the noise-cancellation isn’t the greatest in the world but we have yet to find a pair of workout headphones that are. Since they don’t “seal” in your ear canal to block out the world, you’ll experience more noise around you. However, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing if you’re looking to be more aware of your surroundings in situations where you’re running outside or biking. In the gym, they worked fine to block out the noise of others on machines.
Amazon has them listed for $199 but you can also purchase them through Bose’s website if you prefer. You can also check out any of the 1,929 customer reviews if you’re curious about how well these function.
6. HyperX Cloud Revolver S
Once again, we’re going to shake the list up a bit by throwing in our favorite gaming headset. And no, it’s surprisingly not a Razr! Not that we have anything against Razr and its products, but there are much better headphones out there that are both comparable in price and better in quality. Keep in mind that even though they are designed to up your gaming experience, they can definitely double as a pair of everyday headphones for music.
The HyperX Cloud Revolver S offers impressive 50mm directional drivers in each headphone as well as the in-line Dolby digital signal processor for 7.1-channel surround sound. In other words, you’ll be able to hear the grass behind you move in Fortnite or hear the barely audible breathing of a survivor in Dead by Daylight. If you’re using them for everyday purposes, be prepared to have your mind blown when you can hear different aspects of the song and its background mixers that you’ve probably never heard before.
Given the Dolby surround sound, 50mm directional drivers, and the perfect fit cup design, you’ll find yourself completely immersed in the moment. The music will sound as if it’s all around you and you’ll get a 360 degree hearing radius in your favorite games and movies.
Are you a raider in World of Warcraft who also needs voice chat? Then these headphones will work overtime for you! A detachable mic and the option to connect the headset via USB or 3.5 mm jacks means you’ll have a great raid experience. And since the mic detaches, your headphones can go anywhere with you without the bulk of the mic.
So what about the quality? Well, it’s definitely luxurious and regardless of how many hours you’re investing in front of the screen, you’ll have unbridled comfort. The memory foam in the ear pads is incredibly soft and the wide over the ear covering means that even large ears can fit comfortably. The headband also automatically adjusts and the weight is spread evenly so you can wear them for hours.
Amazon has them for $120, which if you’re comparing them to Razr or other gaming brand competitors you’ll notice is right on point.
I like my beats fast and my bass down low
What did you think of our list? Do you feel like it’s comprehensive enough or did we leave out some luxury brands that you feel like definitely deserve a spot on our list? Let us know what you think! Also, feel free to share your experiences if you’re tried any of the headphones on the list; we’re curious to see if they’ve worked as well for you as they have for us!