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The Best Headphones of 2024: From Noise-Cancelling Options to Comfortable Earbuds for Workouts

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Updated January 14, 2024

A great pair of headphones is an essential part of our daily lives. We use them for pretending to listen in Zoom meetings, escaping our commutes with audiobooks,, blasting our embarrassing workout playlists at the gym, and falling asleep to the soothing sound of murder-filled true crime podcasts. As such, we all want not just the best audio quality for the best price, but something that suits our lifestyle, whatever that may be. With that in mind, we’ve rounded up the best headphones of 2024. We’ve got noise-cancelling headphones for the easily distracted, high-performing wired headphones for purists, comfy earbuds for gym rats, and everything in between.

Before we get started, though, here’s a few factors that we weighed up when compiling this list.

What to consider when buying headphones

Comfort

No matter how nice they may sound, you will quickly regret buying headphones if they pinch your head, feel too heavy, or leave you feeling sweaty after listening for a while. The nicest headphones are highly adjustable to comfortably fit anyone’s head, feature plush ear cups or gently fit into your ear canal, and are lightweight. In addition, some people naturally prefer the feel of over-ear headphones as opposed to in-ear models and vice-versa.

Since it isn’t easy to try headphones before you buy, it is a good practice to research reviews from verified buyers to see if comfort-related complaints are a common problem before you buy. Our best headphones for sleeping round-up may also be a good starting point if comfort is top concern—after all, if a pair of headphones is comfortable enough to sleep in, they’re comfortable enough to wear throughout the day.

Sound Quality

Determining a headset’s sound quality is both technical and subjective; even if a headset sports a high and balanced level of sensitivity for creating loud, but clear sound, a wide frequency response for reproducing high, mid, and low tones, and a large driver for more powerful and dynamic sound, it may not sound right for you and your personal musical tastes.

No matter how much you may familiarize yourself with the technical aspects of what to look for in regards to sound quality, double-check your store’s return policy just in case a headset doesn’t meet or exceed your expectations.

Portability

If you’re in the market for headphones for listening to music or video games from home, portability isn’t an issue. However, frequent travelers should consider a lighter weight, smaller size, and convenient features such as a carrying case and the ability to fold-down for easier storage.

Commuters should seriously consider investing in a case for their headphones, not just for storage, but for protection for those times when you’re not catching up on your podcasts.

Features

If you are struggling to choose between two or more headphones, comparing their respective features may help you to select the best model for your needs.

Some standout features include active noise cancellation for dampening or muting outside sounds, a resilient design that will withstand water, dust, sweat, and accidental impacts, Bluetooth connectivity, and compatibility with every device in your collection.

How we evaluated these headphones

There are four main considerations people generally have when shopping for headphones, beyond just whether or not they look good:

  • Sound: Naturally, sound quality is the top concern for most people purchasing headphones, so we made sure to evaluate how good they sound for each selection.
  • Weight: With comfort as a top concern of buyers, knowing the weight of the headphones you’re going to be wearing all day is an important factor.
  • Battery: Analyzing battery life means you’ll be able to plan accordingly. Battery use also depends on the usage and lifestyle of the buyer, though, so do bear that in mind.
  • Cost: Price is a top concern for listeners, so we wanted to share a variety of price points to fit into your budget.

Our top picks

Once you’ve figured out exactly what it is you need from your headphones—and what, perhaps, you might be willing to sacrifice—you’ll have an easier time deciding which pair is right for you.

And now, on to the list

Most versatile headphones: Sony WH-1000XM4

“Workhorse” might not be the sexiest description in the world, but sometimes you just want the thing you’re buying to do everything you need without complications. That’s the big draw of the Sony WH-1000XM4, which builds on its predecessor—the already very good WH-1000XM3—in all the right ways. With superior noise-cancellation (thanks to ??Dual Noise Sensor technology), multipoint, and Speak to Chat features, plus 30 hours of battery life, these lightweight headphones are ideal to take on the go.

In terms of versatility, the immersive sound of the Sony WH-1000XM4 makes them a great option for music lovers, podcast obsessives, and gamers alike, while the improved in-call voice audio will have you reaching for them all day long. The M4 isn’t groundbreaking in terms of developments, but it does take the already-great design of the M3 and build upon it for an upgraded user experience. It’s a high-quality, comfortable headset with a touch-sensitive response and easy controls within the app, plus features like Fast Pair to connect two Bluetooth devices at once.

In terms of downsides, the M4 is a bit of an investment for the casual listener, although their longevity potential is far greater compared to headphones at a lower price point. It’s also worth noting that if sleekness or portability is important to you, these may feel bulky to travel with.

Specifications:

  • Weight: 254 grams
  • Battery life: 30 hours
  • Noise cancelling: Yes
  • Bluetooth range: 2.4 GHz band
  • Water resistant: No
  • Frequency response: 4 Hz-40,000 Hz
  • Driver unit: 40 mm

What’s also in the box:

  • Carrying Case
  • Plug Adaptor for In-flight Use
  • Headphone cable (approximately 47 ? inches)
  • USB Cable: Type-CTM (approximately 7.87 inches)

Pros:

  • Excellent noise cancellation
  • Multipoint Bluetooth pairing
  • Auto play/pause and conversation awareness
  • Immersive sound
  • Comfortable, lightweight design

Cons:

  • Cost
  • No change in exterior design from predecessor
  • Size
Most versatile
Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless Noise Canceling Over-the-Ear Headphones with Google Assistant - Black

Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless Noise Canceling Over-the-Ear Headphones with Google Assistant - Black



Best headphones for audiophiles: Sennheiser HD 800 S

For those that need to hear every tiny element of a song in crystal clarity, the Sennheiser HD 800 S is here to make you very, very happy. These are serious headphones for serious users, while still being robust enough for everyday use. Their immersive sound is exceptionally well balanced for premier musical analysis, although, you’ll want to make sure you’re plugging in to a powerful amp for the full experience.

Designed in Germany, the 800 S is composed mainly of plastic with metal accents. At just 11.6 ounces, they’re lighter than most professional-grade headphones, making them comfortable for long listening sessions. The plush, handmade earpads are not removable, but do at least support a large ear cup for less irritation.

The HD 800 S is constructed with a three-meter connection cable, routed to the cups on each side, making them less than ideal for mobile use. An even bigger caveat is that the bass is surprisingly underwhelming, so if hip-hop or EDM are your thing, you may be disappointed. If clinical precision and clarity is your priority, though, you’re in the right place.

Specifications:

  • Weight: 330 grams
  • Cable: Detachable cable
  • Design: Open back design
  • Water resistant: No
  • Frequency response: 4 Hz - 51,000 Hz

What’s also in the box:

  • Cable with 6.35 mm jack plug
  • Cable with balanced 4.4 mm jack plug
  • Microfiber cleaning cloth
  • Manual
  • USB flash drive

Pros:

  • Sturdy and durable
  • Comfortable design
  • Unmatched audio reproduction

Cons:

  • Very high cost
  • Bulky
  • Sensitive to ambient noise
  • Needs to be used in an isolated environment
Best for audiophiles
Sennheiser HD 800S Studio Professional Over-Ear Headphones (Black)

Sennheiser HD 800S Studio Professional Over-Ear Headphones (Black)



Best noise cancelling headphones: Bose QuietComfort 45

Escaping the world around us feels like a priority far too much of the time, which is why the Bose QuietComfort 45 is our pick for the best noise cancelling headphones. With excellent default frequency response, a travel-friendly design, and a solid mic system, their impeccable audio lets you soak in your favorite sounds while blocking out whatever nonsense is going on next to you.

The QuietComfort 45 offers wireless operation and active noise cancellation, as well as built-in support for Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa. Take them on the road and you’ll have 20+ hours of battery life before you need to plug in.If you’re planning on using them at work, QuietComfort 45 offers a PC desktop controller and multipoint Bluetooth connecting with Bose SimpleSync.

With a slim profile and lightweight build, you might forget the QuietComfort 45 is even on your head.They’re also constructed to withstand moderate bending and twisting, which is good news for anyone with small, curious kids. The Bose QuietComfort 45 is a higher price point than some, but between its proven durability and effective design, it’s worth the investment.

Specifications:

  • Weight: 8.5 ounces
  • Battery life: 22 hours
  • Noise cancelling: Yes
  • Bluetooth range: 30 feet
  • Water resistant: No
  • Frequency response: 2400 to 2483.5 MHz

What’s also in the box:

  • 12 inch USB-C charging cable
  • 2.5 mm to 3.5 mm audio cable
  • Carrying case

Pros:

  • Comfortable
  • Wired audio
  • Noise rejecting dual mics
  • Excellent ANC
  • Smart assistant compatible

Cons:

  • Cost
  • SBC and AAC only
  • No software EQ
Best noise canceling
Bose QuietComfort 45 Headphones Noise Cancelling Over-Ear Wireless Bluetooth Earphones Black

Bose QuietComfort 45 Headphones Noise Cancelling Over-Ear Wireless Bluetooth Earphones Black



Best luxury headphones: Bang Olufsen Beoplay HX

Bang & Olufsen have always been the go-to luxury option for audiophiles, and the Beoplay HX lives up to the brand’s carefully cultivated reputation. Comfortable for long wear and handsomely outfitted with lambskin leather, memory foam cushions, and an aluminum frame (four color options), they’re an elegant statement of how seriously you take your music.

In addition to premium construction, the B&O Beoplay HX offers custom-made angled drivers, usually only available in the most expensive headphones on the market. In addition to a completely noise-free experience, these headphones serve as a great addition to virtual calls and podcast listening.

The Beoplay HXis also great for travel thanks to its excellent ANC performance. A 35-hour battery life, combined with a user-friendly app to monitor functionality, makes it ideal for moving through daily life. One of our favorite features is the smart touch interface that works well even with moist or gloved fingers, a must during the winter months.

On the downside, the Beoplay HX can be difficult to control via the touch-sensitive controls. Rather than buttons, the headset volume is controlled with swiping and tapping, which can often lead to unintentional track skipping or volume shifting.

Specifications:

  • Weight: 285 grams
  • Battery life: 35 hours using Bluetooth
  • Noise cancelling: Yes
  • Water resistant: No
  • Frequency response: 20 Hz – 22 kHz
  • Driver unit: 40 mm

What’s also in the box:

  • Audio cable with 3.5 mm mini-jack USB-A to USB-C cable for charging Flight adaptor
  • Carrying pouch
  • Quick Start guide

Pros:

  • Gorgeous design and quality
  • Excellent active noise cancellation
  • High-end audio performance
  • Great voice quality for calls

Cons:

  • Touch controls can be overly sensitive
  • No support for aptX HD or LDAC
Best luxury
Bang & Olufsen Beoplay HX Noise-Canceling Wireless Over-Ear Headphones (Timber) - [Site discount] 25944VRP

Bang & Olufsen Beoplay HX Noise-Canceling Wireless Over-Ear Headphones (Timber) - [Site discount] 25944VRP



Best value headphones: Anker Soundcore Life Q20

“Quality headphones” and “affordable price” aren’t phrases that often live in the same sentence, but we found the Anker Soundcore Life Q20 to be an excellent choice for listeners unwilling to splash out hundreds of dollars. Featuring basic but effective noise cancellation, they’re a great, no-frills option (don’t expect apps, smart touch controls or multipoint connection). Labeled buttons on the earpiece will get you where you need to go, including connecting to a single Bluetooth device.

One interesting feature they have that isn’t available on some higher end models is the ability to toggle ANC off with the touch of a button, making for easy communication. However, when ANC is switched on, there is a reported difference in sound quality, so that’s something to be aware of.

The Soundcore Life Q20 is heavy on the bass, so crank it up if you love intense stereophonic boom. As a further bonus, without all the extra features sucking up valuable juice, the Q20 features a whopping 40 hours of battery life. Overall, the Q20 headphones are a versatile option for folks looking for above-average sound quality with the added benefit of active noise cancellation, all without spending a fortune.

Specifications:

  • Weight: 263 grams
  • Battery life: 40 hours
  • Noise cancelling: Yes
  • Bluetooth capable: Yes
  • Water resistant: No
  • Frequency response: 16 Hz-40,000 Hz
  • Driver unit: 40 mm

What’s also in the box:

  • Travel pouch
  • 3.5 mm AUX cable
  • Micro USB cable

Pros:

  • Noise cancelling capabilities
  • Budget-friendly
  • Excellent battery life
  • Decent sound quality

Cons:

  • microUSB port
  • Smaller ear cups
  • Lower sound quality during ANC
  • No app, bells or whistles
Best value
Soundcore Life Q20 Wireless Over Ear Bluetooth Headphones Active Noise Cancelling 40H Playtime

Soundcore Life Q20 Wireless Over Ear Bluetooth Headphones Active Noise Cancelling 40H Playtime



Best Apple headphones: Apple AirPods Max

Even if you’re not a hardcore Apple loyalist, you’ll already be familiar with the popular AirPods earbuds, but this version offers a full cup over-the-ear design with many of the same features we’ve come to know, appreciate (and sometimes, be annoyed by) with Apple products.

AirPods Max are well crafted and durable, yet a touch on the heavier side. Our favorite element is the super comfortable padded ear cups, which are nicely molded around the ears for even weight distribution and easier noise cancelling. Simple controls are located on the right hand cup and feature an ANC mode button and a volume dial (the dial tends to be sensitive, so be careful, as you may find yourself inadvertently blasting the volume). Alternatively, the AirPods Max include a seamless Transparency mode so you can toggle in and out of conversation whenever you need to.

If you’re not already stocked with tech from the Apple universe, the headphone usability may seem a tad clunky at times: AirPods Max are able to connect to Android or PCs, but they take a few extra steps to do so. That said, syncing to other iOS products is a cinch.

The soft fabric case is another point of contention, since it seems useless in terms of protecting your investment. You can argue that the case’s main function is to power down the headphones, as they don’t have a power button, but is that really making your life easier? The answer to that probably depends on how devoted you are to the brand.

Specifications:

  • Weight: 386 grams
  • Battery life: 20 hours
  • Noise cancelling: Yes
  • Bluetooth range: 328 feet
  • Water resistant: No
  • Driver unit: 40 mm

What’s also in the box:

  • Smart Case
  • Lightning to USB-C Cable
  • Documentation

Pros:

  • Top notch ANC and Transparency mode
  • Comfortable ear pads
  • Good battery life
  • Nice sound quality
  • Attractive design
  • Easy Bluetooth connections

Cons:

  • No 3.5mm headphone jack
  • Uses a Lightning connector instead of USB-C
  • Proximity sensors and voice assistant activation do not work on Android or Windows
Best Apple headphones
Apple Air Pods Max


Best wireless headphones: Sony WH-1000XM4

Our best overall selection doubles as the best option for wireless headphones, since these versatile cans are ideal for moving around wherever you need to go.

Yes, they’re on the larger side, but they’re lightweight and comfortable to wear.

Along with high quality audio and smart touch controls, the Sony WH-1000XM4 can be controlled via an easy-to-use complimentary app, and allows multipoint Bluetooth connections for two devices at the same time.

Overall, we believe the higher price point is worth it because with proper care, these headphones will provide years of great sound.

Specifications:

  • Weight: 254 grams
  • Battery life: 30 hours
  • Noise cancelling: Yes
  • Bluetooth range: 2.4 GHz band
  • Water resistant: No
  • Frequency response: 4 Hz-40,000 Hz
  • Driver unit: 40 mm

What’s also in the box:

  • Carrying Case
  • Plug Adaptor for In-flight Use
  • Headphone cable (approximately 47 ? inches)
  • USB Cable: Type-CTM (approximately 7.87 inches)

Pros:

  • Excellent noise cancellation
  • Multipoint Bluetooth pairing
  • Auto play/pause and conversation awareness
  • Immersive sound
  • Comfortable, lightweight design

Cons:

  • Cost
  • No change in design from predecessor
  • Size
Best wireless headphones
Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless Noise-Canceling Over-Ear Headphones (Black) WH1000XM4/B

Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless Noise-Canceling Over-Ear Headphones (Black) WH1000XM4/B



Best headphones for working out: Jabra Elite 8 Active

Worrying about damaging their headphones should be the last thing on any fitness enthusiast’s mind, which is why the impressive durability of the Jabra Elite 8 Active earbuds makes them the top pick for regular workouts. They’re swimproof, sweatproof, and reliably drop-resistant, allowing active listeners to train harder. Toughness aside, the Elite 8 Active also sports a comfortable fit, long battery life, and surprisingly clear sound.

Its active noise cancellation mode is one of the best I’ve tested, eliminating slight sounds completely and effectively muffling all but the loudest noises as I jogged along my favorite route. Each earbud felt secure, yet comfy, and I was never worried about one flying out as I went about my regular exercise. They may say that “big things come in small packages,” but its rich and detailed 3D Dolby Atmos surround sound was far more immersive and balanced than I had expected.

Between its ultra-rugged design, crystal-clear sound, and premium noise isolation, Jabra’s best workout earbuds are a must-own for vigorous exercise, long runs, and a must-own if you need headphones that will effortlessly survive the worst of your daily routine. Shopping tip: The Jabra Elite 7 Active model made our list of the best wireless headphones for running, in case you’re looking to save a little more money (the Elite 7 Active earbuds start at $99.99).

Specifications:

  • Price on publish: $199.99
  • Weight: 5.6 grams
  • Battery life: 8 hours, plus an additional 24 hours of charge in its recharging case
  • Durability: Waterproof, sweatproof, dustproof, and drop resistant
  • Driver unit: 6mm

What’s also in the box:

  • Charging case
  • Earbuds
  • Charging case
  • USB cable
  • Three pairs of earbud covers
  • Warranty and warning information

Pros:

  • Incredibly durable
  • Up to 56 hours of battery life with active noise cancelling disabled
  • Rich and layered Dolby Atmos surround sound
  • Impressive noise cancellation

Cons:

  • Call quality is rock-solid, but there are superior options for frequent communication
Best for working out
Jabra Elite 8 Active

Jabra Elite 8 Active



Best gaming headphones: SteelSeries Arctis 7

For comfortable, extended gaming sessions at a reasonable price, the SteelSeries Arctis 7 might be your new best friend. Its Discord-certified, retractable, bidirectional ClearCast microphone has been labeled one of the best in the gaming realm, and its 7.1 virtual surround sound will help you feel like you’re really there (this may or may not be a good thing, depending what kind of post-apocalyptic hellworld you’re currently blasting your way through).

Comfort is top priority with the Arctis 7, which is made mostly of plastic with fabric padding and an easily adjustable elastic headband strap, designed ski-goggle style. You get the option of wired or wireless connectivity, and the control buttons are easily accessible on both the left and the right ear cup, including functionality for volume, mute, and chat mix.

The SteelSeries Arctis 7 is compatible with PCs, Macs, PlayStation 4 & 5, Switch, XBox, and on mobile devices, ensuring your gaming experience will sound good whatever you’re playing. The USB dongle ensures low latency to keep your audio and visuals in sync, while their chat mix wheel allows you to adjust the amount of music and chat audio you hear, so you never need to worry about not quite hearing the insults hurled at you from other players.

Specifications:

  • Weight: 358 grams
  • Battery life: 24 hours
  • Bluetooth range: 40 feet
  • Water resistant: No
  • Frequency response: 20–20000?Hz
  • Driver unit: 40mm

What’s also in the box:

  • USB-C dongle
  • USB-C charging cable
  • USB-A to USB-C cable (male to female)
  • USB Mini B 8-pin to analog cable
  • User Guide

Pros:

  • Good battery life
  • Very comfortable
  • Immersive sound
  • EQ
  • 2.4GHz wireless USB-C and 3.5mm connectivity options

Cons:

  • Extra bass
Best gaming headphones
SteelSeries Arctis 7+ Wireless Gaming Headset ?€“ PS5 PS4 PC Mac Android PlayStation & Nintendo Switch - Black

SteelSeries Arctis 7+ Wireless Gaming Headset ?€“ PS5 PS4 PC Mac Android PlayStation & Nintendo Switch - Black



Best bone conduction headphone: Shokz OpenRun Pro Bone Conduction Open-Ear Sport Headphones

Bone conduction headphones are unique in that they don’t actually fit into or cover your ears. Instead, they create sound through vibrations that bypass the eardrum and relay sound directly to the inner ear. They’re a great option for those who are hearing impaired, sensitive to loud noise or need to be aware of their surroundings: Regarding the latter, runners, rock climbers, and cyclists have been known to favor this type of headphones because they’re safer than regular headphones. Shokz is known as an industry leader in this type of product and is among the most trusted on the market for quality and performance.

Be aware, though, that it may take some getting used to if this is your first time wearing bone conduction headphones. A band connects the two buds and stretches around the head to stay securely in place. This rubberized band is adjustable for all head sizes and is comfortable for longer periods of time, but you may find yourself tangled up in the band upon removal, especially if you wear glasses or a mask.

If it’s stunning audio quality you seek, this is not the headphone type for you. The controls are also basic at best, with a multi-function button for volume control that beeps any time you press it more than once. On the other hand, it features Bluetooth multipoint connections, enabling you to use two devices simultaneously. Overall, it’s a very specific niche, but for those who need it, this is the brand to trust.

Specifications:

  • Weight: 26 grams
  • Battery life: 10 hours
  • Bluetooth range: 33 feet
  • Water resistant: Yes
  • Frequency response: 20–20000?Hz

What’s also in the box:

  • Magnetic charging cable
  • Charging case
  • User Guide

Pros:

  • Good for safety and awareness
  • Comfortable and lightweight
  • Better-than-average sound for bone conduction
  • Multipoint connectivity

Cons:

  • Proprietary charging port
  • Irritating "beep" with every button press
  • No mobile app and limited onboard EQ functionality
  • Microphone quality
Best bone conduction
Shokz OpenRun Pro Premium Bone Conduction Open Ear Bluetooth Headphones for Sports with Cooling Wristband (Black)

Shokz OpenRun Pro Premium Bone Conduction Open Ear Bluetooth Headphones for Sports with Cooling Wristband (Black)



Best wired headphone: Audio-Technica ATH-M50x

Wireless headphones can be super convenient, but you can’t beat a quality connection to your hardware. For casual listening and basic recording, the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x is a reliable pick.

The sturdy plastic construction includes an adjustable headband and hinges for easy folding and storage. The ATH-M50x can be stiff at first, but eventually fits snugly to your head and ear size, with many users commenting on the M50x as being the headphones they’ve kept and used for years. Another plus is that the headset doesn’t need additional amplification, so you can plug them into any device and adjust the volume directly.

What’s missing in the ATH M50x? Any kind of active noise cancellation. These headphones use passive isolation, which will not be enough to mask ambient noise in a loud environment. Still, even without it, users will enjoy studio-quality sound with the accessibility of an everyday headphone set.

The Audio-Technica ATH M50x includes detachable 1.2 m - 3.0 m (3.9' - 9.8') coiled cable, detachable 3.0 m (9.8') straight cable and detachable 1.2 m (3.9') straight cable.

Specifications:

  • Weight: 285 grams
  • Wired: Yes
  • Water resistant: No
  • Frequency response: 15 - 28,000 Hz
  • Driver unit: 45mm

What’s also in the box:

  • Protective carrying pouch
  • 6.3 mm (1/4") screw-on adapter
  • 3 additional detachable cables

Pros:

  • Reliable sound quality
  • Rotating ear cups
  • Foldable design
  • Three backup cables included

Cons:

  • Cable connection
  • No microphone
Best wired headphone
Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Closed-Back Monitor Headphones Black

Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Closed-Back Monitor Headphones Black



Best earbuds: Sony WF-1000XM4

If you need the compactness of earbuds but still yearn for stellar audio quality, the Sony WF-1000XM4 is worthy of your consideration. The best all-around true wireless earbuds on the market, their smart design, charging case, and ear tip material are all truly top notch

The XM4 is constructed of a flexible polyurethane for a snug fit. They also come with additional size tips to choose from, for a more customized placement.

Let’s talk about sound quality, though: Often, earbuds lack the depth of sound that full ear coverings can provide. Not so with the Sony WF-1000XM4, which features spotless audio and call sound, including speak-to-chat technology that automatically reduces volume during conversations. You can also manage the earbuds on the Sony app, which lets you view battery life and connect easily with Android and iOS.

Specifications:

  • Weight: 7 grams
  • Noise cancelling: Yes
  • Battery life: 6 hours
  • Water resistant: Yes
  • Frequency response: 20 Hz–20,000 Hz
  • Driver unit: 6 mm

What’s also in the box:

  • Charging case
  • S, M, L earbud tips
  • USB Type-C cable

Pros:?

  • Comfortable
  • Water resistant
  • Class-leading noise cancelation
  • Clear bass performance

Cons:

  • No multipoint connections
  • No additional eartip choices
  • Lacks aptX HD
Best earbuds
Sony WF-1000XM4 True Wireless Noise-Canceling In-Ear Earphones Black

Sony WF-1000XM4 True Wireless Noise-Canceling In-Ear Earphones Black

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Do better headphones sound better?

While more expensive headphones tend to incorporate superior sound technology than their cheaper counterparts, there are many factors that may influence how you may perceive the sound quality of a pair of headphones.

For example, some headphones are best-suited for listening to music, movies, or video games, and the materials, technology, shape, and overall quality of a pair of headphones will affect how they may sound to you.

In short, the best headphones you can buy are the ones that are the most comfortable, designed for your listening needs, and sound the best according to your own two ears.

What is the difference between headphones and headsets?

In a nutshell, a headset includes a microphone, while headphones don’t.

Headsets are designed for taking calls, but there are also gaming headsets specifically designed for talking with other players via online gaming. Headphones are made for enjoying music, movies, and single-player video games.

As far as headphones vs. earbuds are concerned, earbud-type devices tread a fine line. Many are designed with internal microphones for instant wireless communication with your mobile device, yet electronics brands tend to label them as “headphones,” so we consider them to be headphones as well.

Are headsets safer than headphones?

Both headsets and headphones have the same potential to cause hearing loss and ear infections if used improperly, but these hazards are easily avoided if you keep the volume at a comfortable level, take regular breaks, clean them regularly, and avoid sharing your device with others.

The information presented here is created independently from the TIME editorial staff. To learn more, see our About page.

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