The best headphones

Headphones

If you buy an expensive pair of headphones, we’d recommend buying a case to fit them to avoid damaging your headphones when carrying them around in your bag.

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Which pair of headphones are best?

If you want to listen to music on the go without annoying everyone in your vicinity, you’ll need a pair of headphones.

You can find all kinds of headphones to fit different needs. Some people prefer the convenience that comes with compact in-ear headphones, whereas others prefer quality over-ear options, even if they’re bulkier and cost more.

We’ve done our research on the latest technology to find the best headphones available today.

In this article, you’ll find a couple of old favorites plus a new addition to our top three. All in all, these are the best headphones you can buy in 2020.

Best headphones

1. Bose’s QuietComfort 35: These headphones’ impressive noise cancellation and Alexa compatibility are just two of the reasons why they’ve made it back into our top spot.

2. Sony’s MDRZX110NC Noise-Canceling Headphones: These wired headphones from Sony are a returning favorite of ours, thanks to their quality active noise cancellation at a low price.

3. Sennheiser’s RS 175 RF Wireless Headphone System: A quality option to rival some of the big names in high-end audio, these headphones have impressed us enough with their virtual surround sound and comfortable fit to gain a top spot.

For full reviews of these products, scroll to the bottom.

What you need to know before buying headphones

One of the first decisions to make when buying new headphones is what type of headphones you’d like. In-ear headphones (sometimes known as earbuds) are the cheapest option, plus they’re lightweight and compact, but what you gain in convenience, you lose in sound quality. On-ear headphones are larger and sit on a solid band that goes over your head with padded earpieces that sit on top of your ears. These are usually mid-range options.

They can have decent sound quality but may become uncomfortable to wear after an hour or two. Over-ear headphones are like on-ear models but with extra-large earpieces that totally encapsulate your ears. This is far more comfortable since nothing is actually pressing on your ears, plus it reduces background noise and sound leakage. The downside is that over-ear headphones are on the bulky side.

Next, you should choose between wired and wireless headphones. Wireless headphones used to be a novelty, but they’re quickly becoming the new norm, since most people listen to music on their headphones from Bluetooth-compatible devices, such as smartphones. If you don’t mind the slight inconvenience of using wired headphones, however, you can find some excellent bargains.

If you often listen to music in loud places, consider a pair of headphones with noise-canceling capabilities. The most effective options use active noise cancellation. This means the headphones use a microphone to pick up the ambient sounds around you. They emit a tone at just the right frequency to cancel out the ambient noise so you just hear the audio you want to listen to.

Headphones can cost anywhere from $10 for a basic pair of earbuds to around $300 for top-quality over-ear wireless headphones.

Headphones FAQ

Q. Can I use my headphones to talk on my phone?

A. If you want to use your headphones to talk on your phone hands-free, engage in video calls, or communicate with other players while gaming online, you’ll need to buy a pair that features an inline microphone. This is a common feature on new headphones, but you should double-check to make sure.

Q. What sort of battery life will I get from my wireless headphones?

A. If you choose a pair of wireless headphones, you’ll need to charge them fairly regularly. Most have a battery life of between 12 and 24 hours of continuous use, but if you don’t use them for a while, the battery may wear down.

In-depth reviews for best headphones

Best of the best

Bose’s QuietComfort 35

Bose’s QuietComfort 35

What we like: These high-end headphones can’t be beaten with exceptional active noise canceling and impressive audio quality across all frequencies.

What we dislike: Expensive.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Best bang for your buck

Sony’s MDRZX110NC Noise-Canceling Headphones

Sony’s MDRZX110NC Noise-Canceling Headphones

What we like: Extremely affordable despite sounding great. The excellent active noise-cancellation feature uses batteries with an 80-hour lifespan. Well-padded for comfort.

What we dislike: Not wireless, which may be a dealbreaker for some.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Worth checking out

Sennheiser’s RS 175 RF Wireless Headphone System

Sennheiser’s RS 175 RF Wireless Headphone System

What we like: This headphone system is equally suited to music and TV with a transmitter box to link headphones to your TV wirelessly. Closed-back design helps reduce background noise.

What we dislike: Somewhat bulky and on the pricier end of the spectrum.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

 

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Lauren Corona writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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