Best Headphones

From design and comfort to sound quality and overall value, we evaluate various factors when assessing headphones. And the best headphones on this page have impressed us most during our tests. The tricky part is getting the best headphones for your requirements. The good news is that our roundup includes our top headphones in multiple categories, so you’re apparent to find something here that attracts to you. We’ve looked at hundreds of models and also put many of them head to head to refine our list of the best headphones.

List of the best headphones of 2021

And there’s more to come. At CES, companies will show off their latest audio equipment, and we’ve already seen some possible additions to this list, like the TicPods 2 Pro, a lower-cost alternative to Apple’s AirPods. We expect to see more headphones and earbuds on store shelves later this year. If you want to see more choices in specific headphone categories, check out our best wireless earbuds and best wireless headphones list.

Sony WH-1000XM4

The best headphone overall

best headphones
  • Size and weight: 10 x 3.03 x 7.27 inches, 9 ounces
  • Battery life (rated): 30 hours (ANC on), 38 hours (ANC off)
  • Bluetooth range: 40 feet (12 meters)
  • Special features: Active noise cancellation, customizable EQ, multipoint technology

If you really want the very best headphones money can buy, we recommend spending your Christmas money on the WH-1000XM4. Not only are Sony’s flagship headphones the top noise-cancelling model on the market today, but they outshine any competitor in numerous categories, including sound and special features. The company’s loud and dynamic soundstage delivers plenty of thump and detail to give songs a full presence.

Listeners can also play around with the Sony Headphones Connect app to personalize the sound by choosing from several well-designed presets or manually adjusting the EQ to suit their tastes. The WH-1000XM4’s active noise cancellation is no less than that of the Bose 700, and its touch controls and battery life (30 hours with ANC on) are superior. For now, this is the best headphone that you can buy.

Last update was on: July 21, 2021 6:55 am

Bose Noise Cancelling 700

The best active noise-cancelling headphones

best headphones
  • Size and Weight: 8 x 6.5 x 2 inch, 8.8 ounces
  • Battery Life: 20 hours (NC on)
  • Bluetooth Range: 30 feet (10 meters)
  • Digital Assistant Support: Yes

The new king of noise-canceling headphones is here with an all-new design and a host of useful features. The Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 offers adjustable ANC that works just as well, whether you’re enjoying music or talking on a phone call. The looks are digitally friendly and deliver clean balanced audio. The y’re perfect for commuters and music lovers and is the best headphone that you can buy right now. Read our Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 Review

$379.00
in stock
July 21, 2021 6:55 am
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Last update was on: July 21, 2021 6:55 am

Apple AirPods Max

The best Apple headphones, money no object

best headphones
  • Size and weight: 7.4 x 6.6 x 3.3 inches, 13.6 ounces
  • Battery life (rated): 20 hours (ANC on)
  • Bluetooth range: 33 feet (10 meters)
  • Special features: ANC, Spatial Audio, audio sharing, Siri

It’s a shame that the AirPods Max are so much more expensive than their noise-canceling rivals, but once you try them on, it’s hard to take them off. The plush design and comfortable fit immediately give you a sense of luxury, and this only increases once you start playing music. The active noise cancellation works brilliantly, the overall sound quality is clear and impactful, and the 3D Spatial Audio feature is a game-changer if you’ve never used it before.

This feature uses head-tracking technology to create a surround sound effect, which can give movie playback a distinct advantage over other headphones. Battery life is also respectable, with Apple’s stated 20-hour usage time matching up well with our own tests. Overall, this is one of the best headphones right now.

$479.99 $549.00
in stock
July 21, 2021 6:55 am
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Last update was on: July 21, 2021 6:55 am

Apple AirPods Pro

The new king of the AirPods

  • Size and Weight: 2.4 x 1.7 x 0.9 inch, 8.8 ounces
  • Battery Life: 4.5 hours (NC on)
  • Bluetooth Range: 30 feet (10 meters)
  • Digital Assistant Support: Yes

Somehow Apple has made the AirPods even better. With the new AirPods Pro, the company squeezed three microphones and six sensors into the small, redesigned enclosure and still had room for the acclaimed H1 chip. They even added earplugs. The result is one of the best active noise cancellations I’ve heard in a pair of truly wireless earbuds. Handsfree Siri is getting better and better, the audio is pretty good, and they are comfortable. Overall, this is unquestionably one of the best headphones that you can buy right now. read our Apple AirPods Pro Review

27 used from $167.19
$189.99 $249.00
in stock
July 21, 2021 6:55 am
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Last update was on: July 21, 2021 6:55 am

Sony WH-1000XM3

Still one of the best noise cancelling headphones

  • Size and Weight: 10.4 x 7.3 x 2.9 inch, 9 ounces
  • Battery Life: 30 hours (NC on), 38 hours (NC off)
  • Bluetooth Range: 30 feet (10 meters)
  • Digital Assistant Support: Yes

Powered by Sony’s brand new HD Noise Cancelling Processor, the QN1, and with an advanced sound image, tons of sound customization options, and a thinner design, the feature-rich WH-1000XM3 headphones are designed to compete with and, in specific categories, outperform the best. The audio fidelity enhancements alone place these headphones on a par with, if not above, the QC35 II.

They deliver a great low-end stamp suitable for their target demographic of bass enthusiasts, providing listeners with a range of sound-optimizing options accessible via the Connect app. Overall, this is one of the best headphones that you can buy right now. Read our Sony WH-1000XM3 Review

Last update was on: July 21, 2021 6:55 am

Bose QuietComfort 35 II

Great noise cancellation and audio quality

best headphones
  • Size and Weight: 7.1 x 6.7 x 3.2 inch, 8.2 ounces
  • Battery Life: 20 hours (NC on), 40 hours (NC off)
  • Bluetooth Range: 30 feet (10 meters)
  • Digital Assistant Support: Yes

A good set of active noise-canceling headphones is the difference between a quiet commute or flight and a chaotic one. Go to the Bose QuietComfort 35 II headphones. This headphone keeps the sleek design, in-class noise canceling, and crystal clear audio quality while adding a dedicated button to activate Google Assistant. In short, one of the best headphones on the market has just got a lot smarter.

Last update was on: July 21, 2021 6:55 am

Jabra Elite Active 75t

The best wireless earbuds

  • Size and weight: 0.8 x 0.7 x 0.6 inches, 0.2 ounces (per bud)
  • Battery life (rated): 7.5 hours; 28 hours (with charging case)
  • Bluetooth range: 30 feet (10 meters)
  • Special features: Active and passive noise cancellation, customizable EQ, fully waterproof

Jabra has found a way to improve on our favorite wireless earbuds, packing a whole lot of performance into a smaller, waterproof design. The Elite Active 75t has better battery life and sound than the AirPods Pro, plus the charging casing holds more portable power and feels more robust. Fitness enthusiasts will love the reliable comfort and fit they offer; sweat absorption is one of the many unsung features here.

All the areas where the Elite 75t fell short, such as call quality and digital assistant support, have also been improved. The earbuds consistently produce crisp details and warm, vibrant instrumentals and vocals that can also be tuned via special features (e.g., built-in EQ, music presets) in the companion app for personalized sound. Best of all, the new over-the-air ANC update brings active noise cancellation to the earbuds and does a surprisingly good job at blocking out ambient noise.

Remember, the Elite Active 75t offers amazing passive noise cancellation even with ANC turned off. If you’re looking for better noise cancellation results, we recommend the brand new Elite 85t. It features a proprietary ANC chip and delivers great noise cancellation and sound. Overall, this is one of the best headphones right now.

Last update was on: July 21, 2021 6:55 am

Cleer Enduro ANC

The best headphones for getting ANC on the cheap

best headphones
  • Size and Weight: 7 x 6.6 x 3 inches, 10.6 ounces
  • Battery Life (Rated): 60 hours (ANC on)
  • Bluetooth Range: 30 feet (9 meters)
  • Special features: Active noise cancellation, Ambient mode, digital assistant support, Android Fast Pair 2.0, NFC pairing, EQ customization

The Cleer Enduro ANC is not the most perfect sounding headphones, and both Sony and Bose have better noise canceling technology. But what stands out about these headphones is how they still manage to do both pretty well, while also adding many additional features and qualities, for a relatively very low price.

In addition to affordable noise cancellation, the Enduro ANC also offers a fully foldable design, Hi-Res Audio support when using the detachable 3.5mm cable, and even NFC connectivity. The battery life is the star of the show, though: no other headphones we’ve tested have been able to beat its 50+ hours of ANC playback. Overall, this is one of the best headphones right now.

Bowers & Wilkins PX7

The best headphones for sheer craftsmanship

  • Size and weight: 3.1 x 6.9 x 8.7 inches, 10.9 ounces
  • Battery life (rated): 30 hours (ANC on), 33 hours (ANC off)
  • Bluetooth range: 33 feet (10 meters)
  • Special features: ANC, Ambient mode, Soundscapes profiles

What immediately stands out about the Bowers & Wilkins PX7 Carbon Edition is how well made it is. These are headphones you want to show off, and even if the all-black color of the Carbon Edition isn’t everyone’s taste, you can also get the standard PX7 in silver. They’re expensive, but as with the Apple AirPods Max, you’re paying for quality. Bowers & Wilkins has made sure the PX7 sounds even better than it looks and feels, with a dramatically wide soundstage and intricate detail. We also love the Soundscapes feature, which can help you relax by mixing gentle nature sounds with your music playback. Overall, this is one of the best headphones right now.

Last update was on: July 21, 2021 6:55 am

Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 Plus

The best headphones for hi-fi audio in an earbud form factor

  • Size and weight: 1.1 x 0.6 x 0.6 inches, 0.2 ounces (per bud)
  • Battery life (rated): 7 hours (High Performance Mode), 9 hours (Low Power Mode), 45 hours (with charging case)
  • Bluetooth range: 30 feet (9 meters)
  • Special features: High Performance mode, EQ customization, IPX5 water resistance, voice assistant support

The Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 Plus has a long name and an even longer list of reasons to buy it. This pair of truly wireless earbuds is cheaper than Apple’s AirPods, but sounds better, lasts longer and offers better water resistance. There’s no ANC, but the Melomania 1 Plus is armed with more than enough extras to make up for that. Take the unique High Performance mode, which activates the same hi-fi amplification Cambridge Audio uses in its CX series stereo amplifiers. Or the mobile app, which offers a range of considered sound profiles, as well as the ability to tweak the EQ yourself. Overall, this is one of the best headphones right now.

Sennheiser CX 400BT

Great-sounding, well-priced earbuds

best headphones
  • Size: 1 x 0.9 x 0.9 inches
  • Weight: 0.2 ounces (per bud)
  • Battery Life (Rated): 7 hours, 20 hours (with charging case)
  • Bluetooth range: 35 feet (10 meters)
  • Special features: Bluetooth 5.1, customizable touch controls, source switching, EQ controls, replaceable tips, voice assistant support, customizable EQ

Aside from the lack of ANC, the Sennheiser CX 400BT deliver the impeccable sound quality of a much more expensive pair of wireless earbuds. Literally, they have the same drivers and basic design as the $250 Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2, so if you want beautifully balanced, crystal-clear audio without paying premium-tier money, these are as good a choice as any. You can also fully adjust the EQ via the app, as well as adjust the touch controls.

Battery life is respectable rather than downright brilliant, but the CX 400BT will last a good number of hours, and you probably won’t want to take them off during that time because they’re so light and comfortable. Overall, this is one of the best headphones right now.

Last update was on: July 21, 2021 6:55 am

Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro

Feature-packed ANC wireless buds

  • Size: 0.8 x 0.7 x 0.8 inches
  • Weight: 0.2 ounces (per bud)
  • Battery Life (Rated): 5 hours (ANC on), 8 hours (ANC off), 18 hours (with charging case and ANC on), 28 hours (with charging case and ANC off)
  • Bluetooth range: 30 feet (9 meters)
  • Special features: Adjustable ANC, Ambient mode, Voice Detect, 360 Audio, quick source switching, IPX7 waterproofing

The Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro sound great. Now that’s out of the way, you can focus on the vast amount of tricks and tools Samsung has squeezed into these small but stylish wireless earbuds. In addition to the greatly improved ANC, there’s a transparency mode with “Voice Detect” technology to automatically turn on when you start a conversation.

Furthermore, they are IPX7 waterproof (enough to survive a dip in the bathtub), have a customizable EQ and Bixby support. You’ll need a Samsung Galaxy smartphone with OneUI 3.1 to access some of the even more advanced features, such as 360 Audio: Samsung’s version of Apple’s Spatial Audio surround sound mode. Overall, this is one of the best headphones right now.

Last update was on: July 21, 2021 6:55 am

Bose QuietComfort Earbuds

The best earbuds for noise-cancelling

  • Size and weight: 1.5 x 1 x 1 inches, 0.3 ounces (per bud)
  • Battery life (rated): 6 hours, 18 hours (with charging case)
  • Bluetooth range: 30 feet (9 meters)
  • Special features: Adjustable ANC, Bluetooth 5.1, Self Voice mode for enhancing calling

No wireless pair of earbuds can match the ANC performance of the QuietComfort Earbuds. None. It’s incredible how Bose has managed to develop these earbuds with the same functionality and technology as the Bose 700, offering listeners elite noise cancellation that blocks nearly 90 percent of external noises, all with half the microphones of their over-ear counterpart. Bose has even experimented with its ANC technology by combining the feature with transparency mode to listen more accurately to ambient sounds.

You can expect the same warm, rich sound as from the 700, and the addition of Bluetooth 5.1 boosts wireless performance so you can enjoy stronger connectivity with all devices. Oh yes, these are also the best wireless earbuds for making phone calls. Where the QC Earbuds fall short is in design (these are a pair of clunky, heavy earbuds) and battery life; 6 hours with ANC on looks good on paper, but it’s actually 30 to 45 minutes shorter than what it says on the spec sheet. Overall, this is one of the best headphones right now.

Last update was on: July 21, 2021 6:55 am
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