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The Best In-Ear, On-Ear, Over The Ear Headphones For All Music Lovers

Headphones have become so commonplace, it’s hard to think of a time when we didn’t have a pair of them. But, if you think hard or take a moment to learn more about them, they do have a fascinating history that continues to evolve to this very day.

The ancestors to headphones came out in the early-1880’s and were used as tool for a local service that provided opera to subscribers within their homes. It wasn’t until 1910 that the “modern” headphones were first created by Nathanial Baldwin in his kitchen. However, they all went to the U.S. Navy at the time. In the late-1930’s, the headphones hit the public market and underwent several changes over the next couple decades. Perhaps, the most significant moment in the history of headphones was when Sony released the Walkman in 1979 and the headphones became personal, mobile audio listening devices setting the tone for what we see on the market today.

Best Headphones
Best of the best

  • Calibrates the balance of the audio at all volume levels
  • Wireless and wired mode
  • Noise-rejecting microphones
  • Noise-cancelling technology
  • Pairs over Bluetooth and NFC
  • Sweat and weather resistant
  • Charges fully in 2.25 hours

Best Value Headphones Reviews
Best Value

  • Relatively inexpensive
  • Hypo-allergenic earpads
  • Weighs very little
  • Bass-heavy sound
  • Great for personal use
  • Pleasant design
  • Two-year warranty

Best Headphones

  • 1.

    Bose QuietComfort 35 Series I

    Editor Rating:

    Bose is known for their unbeatable sound quality, and the Bose QuietComfort 35 (Series I) upholds that reputation. Though it has a premium price tag, it is totally justified by the most incredible noise-cancelling technology, balanced audio, and a wire-free, sleek construction. It also has a dual-microphone feature that blocks out ambient noise to deliver your voice perfectly to the person on the other end of the voice call.

    The ultimate sound As per the brand's reputation, these headphones deliver world-class sound with an incredible noise-cancellation technology which will dull the most annoying of background sounds, and bring you a balanced audio no matter thevolume at which you choose to listen.
    Wireless and wired modes Users can avail the wireless mode using Bluetooth and NFC pairing, and listen for up to 20 hours when charged. Wired mode works for up to 40 hours.
    Dual-microphone for phone calls There is a noise-rejecting dual-mic system that is placed inconspicuously on one of the earpieces, which works great for phone calls even in unsuitable environments such as high-wind areas.
    The Good
    • Calibrates the balance of the audio at all volume levels
    • Wireless and wired mode
    • Noise-rejecting microphones
    • Noise-cancelling technology
    • Pairs over Bluetooth and NFC
    • Sweat and weather resistant
    • Charges fully in 2.25 hours
  • 2.

    Sennheiser HD 201

    Editor Rating:

    The Sennheiser HD 201 is a relatively inexpensive set of headphones, but does not fall short when it comes to delivering a rich and dynamic sound quality to the user. Despite its lightweight feel and sleek design, it is a solid headphone set which can take on quite a bit of inattention for those who wish to get a good pair for rugged environments.

    Dynamic sound The headphones are a closed dynamic hi-fi stereo set, which deliver the right representation of the audio while still packing a bass punch. Environmental noise is generally not an issue as the earcups are closed over the ear. Additionally, it does not let the sound out of the headphones either, which makes it kinder to people nearby, and does not disrupt recording.
    Solid and light The headphones are made out of materials that make the end result quite light, however, they are also incredibly resilient, in that they could take on some tough environments and prolonged daily use.
    Hypo-allergenic The earpads are made out of material which is hypoallergenic, which also make it ideal for use over an extended period of time.
    The Good
    • Relatively inexpensive
    • Hypo-allergenic earpads
    • Weighs very little
    • Bass-heavy sound
    • Great for personal use
    • Pleasant design
    • Two-year warranty
  • 3.

    Audio-Technica ATH-M50x

    Editor Rating:

    No matter what kind of music you are listening to, the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x will deliver crystal clear audio for your listening pleasure. Suitable for pros and casual users alike, this pair of headphones has plenty going for it including comfortable swivel earpieces that will deliver your favorite beats and tunes to you for hours and hours without weighing you down.

    Crystal-clear soundThese headphones boast amazing sound clarity at all frequencies, and has been praised for this by various audio engineers in the music industry. The bass response is deep, and unlike other headphones, it does not exaggerate the bass, nor does it let the instruments overpower the vocals, bringing you the authentic music experience.
    Multipurpose This is a great set for personal use, but also if you are a sound engineer or DJ. Aside from the stellar sound quality, it also has earpieces that rotate up to 90 degrees both ways, so users can listen to it from one side for sound engineering.
    Functional The headset comes with 3 cables including a coiled cable, and two straight cables. The headset can also be folded up and into itself when you want to put it away in a bag or cabinet.
    The Good
    • Crystal clear sound across frequencies
    • Comfortable padding for continuous use
    • Ability to rotate earpieces
    • Multipurpose
    • 3 cables included
    • Foldable
  • 4.

    COWIN E7 Active Noise Cancelling Bluetooth Headphones

    Editor Rating:

    The COWIN E7 Active Noise Cancelling Bluetooth Headphone is a fantastic option for those users looking to have a pure listening experience without any outside or background noise. With Bluetooth tech, these headphones make it easy to move around while enjoying your music, podcasts or any other audio entertainment. They’re so lightweight that you might forget you are even wearing headphones.

    Noise-cancelling technologyThe creators of the headphones have spent years researching the ultimate active noise cancellation which will dull the sounds from your environment in order to bring your music front and center.
    Wire-free The headphones employ Bluetooth technology which eliminates wires, which are arguably the most annoying part of headphones. The battery lasts for up to 30 hours, and can be recharged using the micro USB cable.
    Comfortable These over-the-ear headphones weigh very little, making it easy to wear them for extended periods of time, and they fit around the ear, so you can immerse yourself in the music, podcast, or audiobook.
    The Good
    • Wire-free Bluetooth enabled
    • Built in mic
    • Works up to 30 hours per charge
    • Noise-cancelling technology
    • Light and comfortable (protein earpads)
  • 5.

    Sony MDR7506 Professional Large Diaphragm Headphone

    Editor Rating:

    The Sony MDR7506 Professional Large Diaphragm Headphone is a great option for those who are looking to buy some headphones for professional reasons. Employing a closed-ear design, this paid of headphones is a fantastic model for those who need a set for their recording studio, as it can be folded, has 40mm drivers, gold connectors, and even a super tough construction.

    Beautiful sound Fitted with a neodymium magnet, the Sony MDR7506 calibrates its power beautifully and brings to its users a sound quality which has a frequency response ranging from 10 Hz to a whopping 20 kHz. This allows for precision in listening and monitoring.
    Perfect fit Since it covers the ears, it provides a major reduction in sounds coming from the outside, and lets users focus on the beautiful sound emanating from within the earpieces. Unlike many other headphones in the market, there is plenty of padding around the headband too, which makes it even more comfortable.
    Pro-level accessories The headphones come with a 9.8' coiled cord which is ideal for studio environments where the user must move around quite a bit. There is also a UniMatch plug which takes both 1/4" as well as 1/8" applications. To carry around the headphones safely, users can tuck it away in the soft case provided.
    The Good
    • Closed-ear design
    • Neodymium magnets
    • 40-mm drivers
    • Solid build
    • Foldable
    • 8' coiled cord
    • Comes with a case
  • 6.

    V-MODA XS On-Ear Folding Design Noise

    Editor Rating:

    The V-MODA XS is a sleek headphone set which contains M-Class 40mm dual-diaphragm drivers that look as amazing as they sound. These headphones seem to adapt to the contours of one's face, making it fit perfectly on anyone, thus reduce any gaps that result in a drop in sound quality. The inherent sound quality is top-notch; the result of over 5 years of R&D.

    Unparalleled soundThe headphones are constructed using the most technologically advanced components to create the best sound including bass, mids, and highs that can be heard separately.
    Adaptive design Headband and earpieces are adaptive to the shape of the user's head; i.e. its headband is made out of STEELFLEX, which adapts to various shapes and ensures a good fit and no gap between the top of the head and the headset. Additionally, the earpieces are padded for extra comfort.
    Incredibly durable The headphones are made out of STEELFLEX; and a steel frame makes it more or less impossible to break. The formula also makes it able to bend and move. They are incredibly resistant to temperatures, humidity, and exposure to high UV. The manufacturers are so confident in their design, they offer a two-year warranty on it.
    The Good
    • High-quality sound
    • Adaptive design
    • Customizable
    • Highly rugged
    • Sturdy frame made of steel
    • Comes with detachable cables
  • 7.

    Behringer HPS3000 Studio Headphones

    Editor Rating:

    The Behringer HPS3000 Studio Headphones are, as the name suggests, ideal for professional use, boasting a large spectrum of frequency response, clear bass and highs, and a cool-looking design. This is one of the more inexpensive headphones and comes with a tangle-free cord, and other add-ons that make it quite versatile.

    High-quality sound Even at its low cost, this set of headphones holds its own when it comes to sound quality, thanks to its high-resolution cobalt capsules which capture all the intricate details behind the audio.
    Made to last these headphones are made to last a long time and worn for a long time, with a durable frame as well as padded earpieces. Additionally, the most vulnerable part of the headphones i.e. the cable, have a single-sided cable which is made to prevent tangling and be durable for a long time to come.
    Compatible Headphones like these usually have only a 1/8" jack, and these are no exception. However, there is a 1/4" adapter also included with the headphones to ensure compatibility.
    The Good
    • Padded earpieces
    • High-res cobalt capsules
    • 1/4" adapter
  • 8.

    Plantronics BackBeat PRO 2 Special Edition

    Editor Rating:

    The Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2 Special Edition boasts a unique "active noise cancelling" which can be switched on when requiredsuch as in public places. Also a wireless option, this device has a great design which is compact and lightweight, employing NFC technology to pair with various devices. This seems like a great travel companion as it lasts over 24 hours when fully charged, and comes with a hard case that is sure to protect the headphones from general wear and tear.

    Active noise cancellation Though most headphones boast active noise cancellation, this one stands apart as it allows the user to switch it on when necessary. There are times when one wants to immerse into their environment, while at other times one needs to be alert of their surroundings while still enjoying their music or podcast. This makes it easy to toggled the ANC on and off as per the user's requirement.
    Long-lasting It lasts for 24 hours when fully charged, and also has a cushioned design that makes it easy to have on for an extended period of time.
    Class 1 Bluetooth Though an NTC pairing option is also available, users can also pair with a Class 1 Bluetooth device that provides a range of up to 100 meters.
    The Good
    • Toggle the active noise cancellation on and off
    • Immersive audio experience
    • NTC or Class 1 Bluetooth pairing
    • Long battery life
    • Includes microphone
    • Wire-free
  • 9.

    Hopday Bluetooth Headphones

    Editor Rating:

    The Hopday Bluetooth Headphones are the ideal choice for those who are looking for earphones that they can take along for their exercise, be it gym, running, or cartwheels. It is sweatproof, wireless, and has an in-ear design that is further supported by an additional holder that goes over and behind the ear for maximum functionality despite plenty of movement.

    Ideal for exercising This is the ultimate set of earphones for exercising, as it not only has an in-ear design, but each of the earphones also goes over the ear to result in a tight fit that refuses to fall out while running or lifting weights or even cartwheeling. It is also water resistant and therefore sweat resistant.
    High-quality microphone There is an HD mic built into the headphones to deliver pristine audio recordings and voice calls no matter the background noise.
    Easy connection The headphones connect to smartphones within seconds and can be paired with up to two devices at once.
    Long battery life The headphones can last up to 9 hours when fully engaged with the audio output and microphone. In standby mode, it can go up to 250 hours
    The Good
    • High-quality audio
    • Waterproof
    • Ideal for exercising
    • Bluetooth 4.1 pairing
    • Lasts up to 9 hours in active mode and 250 in standby mode
    • Pairs with two devices at once
    • Includes microphone
  • 10.

    Sennheiser MX 365 Earphones

    Editor Rating:

    If you want inexpensive yet high-quality earphones for personal use, then the Sennheiser MX- 365 earphones are perhaps one of the best in regards to product quality and value for your money. Available in cool colors, they will bring you music with fantastic bass response despite the fact that it requires no additional components such as a battery. So, if you are looking for a budget friendly option, while still getting your beats, then this is the headphones for you.

    Comfort and quality The earphones have a single cable and earpieces that are light, which makes it feel like you are not even wearing earphones. However, as with all in-ear earphones, they may not suit the user's ear appropriately.
    Compatible Whether you are using a smartphone or an iPad, this pair comes with a 1/8" jack that universally works with various audio devices.
    2-year warranty Often, earphones are broke to breaking because one of the earpieces stops working. This pair comes with a 2-year warranty which can be availed globally. This is also a relatively inexpensive pair at under US $15.
    The Good
    • Highly durable
    • Clean looking
    • Global warranty for 2 years
    • Smooth bass notes

Why you should buy and wear headphones

It’s almost silly to tell someone why they should purchase headphones, but there are some consumers out there who fail to see the benefits of owning a pair of headphones. So, if you are on the fence or just don’t realize all of the benefits in using headphones, then check out the following reasons why you should buy a good pair of headphones:

Listen to Music and Audio This is the most obvious reason why you should buy some headphones. Listen to your preferred music whenever you want, wherever you want. You can also take your podcasts on the road with you or listen to eBooks without any interruptions.
MotivationDo you like to workout at the gym or run outdoors? Headphones are perfect for listening to that specific music that gets your blood pumping and kicks your energy up a notch. Perhaps, you like listening to sermons for spiritual motivation. Download your favorite sermons and listen to them throughout the week. Headphones are a doorway to your listening adventures, which can ultimately motivate you in ways that you may have never thought before.
Improve Work Efficiency Some people might be surprised by this, but wearing headphones at your job can actually help you to become more efficient at work. In addition to motivation and listening pleasures, wearing headphones at work can help you to create your own personal work space as you block out all other distractions or interruptions. Additionally, wearing headphones may signal to your coworkers that you are busy and not to be bothered, which will help you to get your work done quicker or more thoroughly. These same principles can apply to students at school or doing homework at home.
Traveling In PeaceA good pair of headphones will have a noise cancellation feature that allows users to block out all ambient or annoying sounds. This is perfect for people traveling on public transportation, a plane or a car full of people and don’t want to hear their talking or music. Noise cancellation has also been linked to helping people sleep better and has opened the door to a new headphones niche – sleeping headphones. If you travel a lot or like the idea of blocking out distracting sounds that can come between you and your music then a pair of headphones with noise cancellation is a great option for you.

How to choose the right headphones for your listening needs

Choosing the right pair of headphones really comes down to each individual’s preference. And, with that said, there are many factors that could determine which one is best for you.

Sound Quality What’s the point of getting headphones if the sound is garbled or inferior? With today’s advanced technology, sound quality has never been better. So, other than your budget, sound quality should be the top factor to consider when purchasing headphones. Make sure that the words are clear, the sounds are crisp, and the beats are fully enjoyable in both ears.

Comfortand Size Wearing headphones shouldn’t feel like torture or an unpleasant experience. It should be comfortable enough for you to use them four hours on end. In addition to the materials used, the type of headphones that you use will directly impact how comfortable they are on your ears. The following is the 3 main types of headphones and the benefits of each type:

Over the ear this type of headphone has the biggest can as they typically engulf the entire ear. They provide more power, sound quality and noise cancellation than the other two types. Additionally, they are the most comfortable type of headphones due to the large ear padding on the cans. The tradeoff for sound quality and an excellent listening experience, is that over the ear headphones are bigger, heavier and cost more than the other two types.

If you are looking for a comfortable experience, and you don’t mind the size or cost, then this is the right headphones for you.

In-ear also commonly referred to as ear buds, in-ear headphones have become popular sets for just about every major type of smartphone. They have a discreet nature about them as most people can’t tell if you are listening to headphones unless they see a wire. In-ear headphones tend to be the cheapest of the three major types of headphones on the market today, which makes them easy to replace if you lose or damage your set. Unfortunately, they’re not as comfortable as other types of headphones and they don’t provide the same sound quality.

If you don’t mind the in-ear feeling and want a lightweight, portable, multi-functional headset then this is the one for you.

On-ear this type of headphone was the most common on the market for a long time. Nowadays, they have been perfected to provide improved comfort, excellent sound quality and noise cancelling technology. On-ear headphones cover the majority of your ear as they sit firmly against your outer ear. They’re not as functional in the gym as in-ear headphones and they may fall just short in the noise cancellation department compared to the other two types.

If you are looking for a set that is not too big or small, doesn’t go in or cover your entire ear, and is relatively comfortable, lightweight and affordable, then this is the type of headphones that you should get.

Bluetooth/Wireless Wireless/Bluetooth headphones make it easier for you to move around without worrying about any wires or connection adjustments. These are great for using at the gym, doing chores around the house, and talk on the phone without having to carry your phone at all. So, it’s up to you if wires matter or not. If you don’t care about wires, then you might be able to save a couple of bucks on your next set. But, if you like freedom and mobility without wires getting in the way then Bluetooth/Wireless headphones are your best bet.

Weight When shopping for headphones, most people don’t really consider how heavy these cans or earbuds will be on your ears. But, after wearing the headphones for a while, you will definitely notice their weight. Choose a pair of headphones that you will feel comfortable wearing for longer periods of time. That means, choose something that is lighter on your ears in order to avoid any discomfort or soreness.

Noise Cancellation This is one of the best technological advancements that the headphones have ever experienced. Noise cancellation allows users to block out all other ambient sounds so that they can just listen to their music or personal audio content. It’s also a great way to block out the sounds if you are traveling by plane, car, bus or train. As a heads up, the headphones with the best noise cancellation technology typically cost more. Also, check to see what type of noise cancellation is available. For example, is it automatically adjusted based on your environment, or can you manually adjust this feature, or both?

Noise Isolation this feature is not the same as noise cancellation. Although it’s also intended to block outside noise from interfering with your music listening, it’s not as effective as noise cancellation. Noise Isolation forms a seal in or around your ear to block out the noise. Sometimes, the seal isn’t 100% and various outside noise can leak through.

Open or Closed–On-ear and over the ear headphones can come with the option of opened backs or closed backs. Most consumers are used to their headphones having a closed back so that you can see into the ear pads. Close backs typically do a better job at keeping sounds from leaking in or out. Open backs allow for better air flow and a more natural sound.

Built-in Remote One of the great features for Apple’s ear buds is that you can control the volume and talk right through the headphones. Other brands also offer this feature. It’s an easier way to control the volume without having to access your music or tech device directly.

Purpose What are you going to use these headphones for? This is one question that you should definitely answer before looking to buy any headphones. Depending on what you want or need headphones for, will definitely impact which type you will get. This will also affect your wallet. If you are looking for a good pair for the gym, then a portable in-ear set would be ideal and cost less. If you are looking for something to wear on a flight across country, then you will need an over the ear set that will cost more.

Phone Calls In addition to the previously mentioned purposes, talking on the phone is another important factor to consider when purchasing headphones. Not all types of headphones are built to communicate through. Typically, in-ear headphones are the frontrunners for communication purposes.

Compatibility There’s nothing more frustrating than buying a great pair of headphones only to come home and find out that they aren’t compatible with your device. Before purchasing headphones, make sure that they are compatible with whatever device you want to use them with like smartphones, tables, video gaming systems, and computers. Typically, your device will list which type of headphones fit in the jack. If you are unsure, then bring the device with you when possible.

Durability Durability is easily the most overlooked factor when choosing the right headphones for you. Instead of avoiding the pricier sets, and purchasing cheaper sets over and over again, take a look at the headphones that might be pricier because they may be more durable. Make sure you look for a pair of headphones that you can use for a long period of time, will withstand drops and endure heavy usage.

Easy to Clean If you use headphones on a regular basis then they will certainly get dirty at some point especially if you use them at the gym. In-ear headphones will also accumulate ear wax and require a more frequent cleaning as well. So, it’s important that you choose a pair of headphones that are easy to clean. Make sure to check out how easy it is to clean the headphones and that there will be no damage to them if you do clean them.

Hearing Protection We wear headphones for enjoyment, not to hurt ourselves, which can happen if we listen at high levels. Some headphone sets have a cool feature that gradually turns up the volume so that we don’t abruptly blast our eardrums at high volumes. There are headphone sets that also have a max level of decibels to prevent the volume from going above 85 db, which has been proven to cause damage.

Style If you want to add some style to your music listening then choose a pair of headphones that you find cool, fun or funky looking. Headphones come in all sorts of different styles and they can really reflect one’s personality.

Brands There are some brands out there that you know they will provide excellent quality headphones like Bose. For newbies, these brands might be the best option available because you can rely on their reputation and cut out a lengthy search process. On the other hand, for those who don’t want to get locked into searching the major brands, then it’s a good idea to check out new or less common brands. You might just discover the next great headphone brand.

Warranty Check to see if the headphones you like have a warranty. Top of the line brands like Bose have warranties for their headphones. This is great for those of you that seem to go through pairs on a frequent basis. Also, accidents can happen to anyone. Having a warranty provides security and peace of mind especially if you drop a few hundred bucks on a pair of headphones.

Making Your Decision

As you can see, there are numerous options that you can choose from when buying your next pair of headphones. The key is to start by identifying what you need these headphones for. From there, you can filter through all of the various features that these headphones offer. Remember, don’t be afraid to buy a pricier pair of headphones. They may be more durable and come with a sweet warranty. Also, don’t overlook key factors like ease of cleaning, hearing protection and compatibility. It’s important that you take your time when choosing the right headphones for you because you will want the best music and audio listening experience possible. We’re glad that you checked out our headphones buying guide. We hope that our buying tips, expert reviews and advice will help you shop for and purchase a great pair of headphones.

Since 1979, headphones have undergone massive changes in size, comfort, tech features, and more. Headphones are almost like apps for your smartphone or tablet, as there seems to be a headphone for every need or purpose. With that being said, headphones have many different options that can actually be overwhelming at times. If you are unsure of which headphones to buy, then you have come to the right place.

Not only will we help you to understand why you even need headphones, but we’ve already compiled a list of our expert reviews for the best headphones on the market to you browse through, and we’ve created a list of factors that will greatly aid you in choosing the best headphones for you.

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