We’ve selected the best headphones you can buy today, from truly wireless earbuds that cut the cord completely, to super immersive, noise-canceling headphones that can block out all ambient sounds, allowing you to focus on your work, music, or podcasts.
We believe a good pair of headphones is a must-have for anyone who loves their music – and that’s true whether you’re listening on your smartphone, your laptop, or one of the best MP3 players.
Although they might look different, the top-performing headphones in this list all have some key things in common: comfortable designs, class-leading audio performance, and a range of fantastic extra features, such as built-in voice assistants and wireless connectivity. So whether you’re looking for audiophile sound quality or budget-friendly earbuds that can handle a sweaty workout session, we’ve got you covered.
Are wired best headphones better than wireless?
That’s why we often recommend audiophiles continue to opt for wired headphones. But for everyone else, it should mostly be down to personal preference. If wireless headphones suit you and are more convenient, they’re a better choice for you. Get a good quality pair and you won’t be missing out when it comes to sound quality.
What are the best headphones I can buy right now?
One of the most important considerations is design. Do you want a pair of in-ear headphones that are discrete and will stay snug all-day? Do you want a pair of true wireless headphones to give you ultimate flexibility? Or how about a big pair of over-ear headphones, the ultimate in noise cancellation and comfort?
We’ve included a number of different headphone types below, like in-ear, on-ear, over-ear, wireless and true wireless.
However, our top pick has to be the Sony WH-1000XM4 headphones. They’re fantastic all-rounders, offering a long battery life, noise cancellation, and excellent audio quality for the price. In a hurry to buy? Check out the best Sony WH-1000XM4 deals we’ve spotted today below:
Our best headphone picks
The Sony WH-1000XM4 headphones deliver excellent noise-cancellation and sound quality in a design that we found both comfortable and lightweight.
These headphones don’t look significantly different from their predecessors, the Sony WH-1000XM3, but a number of new features have been added, including multipoint pairing, DSEE Extreme upscaling, conversational awareness and auto-play/pause using a built-in sensor.
On top of the adjustments listed above, the Sony WH-1000XM4 support Sony’s 360 Reality Audio format that enables spatial audio on stereo headphones plus the LDAC codec that can send a bitrate of up to 990 kbps. The unfortunate bit there, though, is that it no longer supports aptX or aptX HD, so your Hi-Res Audio support mileage may vary.
By every possible metric, the Sony WH-1000XM4 is a wonderful pair of wireless noise-cancelling headphones. They deliver exactly what they promise and then some thanks to their exceptional noise cancellation and cutting-edge codec support.
After testing the 1More Triple Driver In-Ear Headphones for a few weeks, we were blown away by their fantastic value for money. That’s why they’re the best headphones for those who like wired earbuds.
For $100 / £100 (about AU$168), it’s hard to find a better-sounding and more well-built pair of earphones than the 1MORE Triple Drivers. (That said, if you want just that little extra refinement and luxury materials, the 1MORE Quad Drivers are still a bargain at twice the price.)
There’s very little we can fault the Triple Drivers for. Sure, the inbuilt remote feels a little cheap, but that’s more than made up for by the lush sound quality offered by these luxe-looking earbud.
For the price, it’s impossible to do better than 1MORE’s Triple Driver in-ear headphones.
If you have a tendency to lose or break headphones, but you still value sound quality, it’s hard to think of a better value pair of earbuds than the RHA S500u.
These in-ear headphones have no business sounding so good for $40 / £30 / AU$52, sporting a balanced soundstage with a slight mid-bass bump to power you through your workouts and make your music sound great.
Bass is slightly emphasized but not egregiously and features good impact while maintaining good control – and highs, while sibilant at times, makes music sound more exciting. In short, these are the best headphones you can buy if you’re on a strict budget.
If you’re looking for wireless headphones with active noise cancellation and you’re not put off by the $399 / £349 / AU$600 price tag, the Bowers & Wilkins PX7 Wireless Headphones are well worth considering. The title of best wireless headphones still goes to the Sony WH-1000XM4 of course, but there’s not much in it.
With sophisticated noise cancellation, much-improved sound quality, and a honed aesthetic, the PX7 could give any of the headphones on this list a run for their money.
Plus, they’re packing aptX Adaptive for improved stability and latency between the headphones and your device, as well as high-quality (24-bit) streaming aptX HD brought to the table. That’s why they’re the best headphones if you’re looking for a strong pair of all-rounders.
For years, the Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2 were among our favorite wireless headphones because of their excellent sound, build quality and features. Unfortunately, they were also kind of expensive.
For a lot less ($150 / £140 / AU$240), Plantronics now sells the brilliant Plantronics BackBeat Go 810, which use less premium materials but sound nearly identical to its more expensive predecessor – and sport an equally chic design.
With that in mind, the BackBeat Go 810 are the best headphones for those that want wireless connectivity without the high price tag.
Sony is largely responsible for the rude health of the active noise-cancelling true wireless earbuds market, and with the Sony WF-1000XM4, the company has combined performance, ergonomics, and build quality more effectively than ever before.
Compared to their predecessors, the Sony WF-1000XM3, the new wireless earbuds offer enough quality-of-life features to make them worth upgrading to, even if they are more expensive.
While other true wireless earbuds surpass the Sony WF-1000XM4 in particular areas – noise cancellation, for example – no other model comes close to offering such excellent quality across the board. That’s why the Sony WF-1000XM4 are hands-down the best true wireless earbuds you can buy today.
Formerly known as the Lypertek Tevi, the Lypertek PurePlay Z3 (Tevi) true wireless earbuds are among the best true wireless earbuds we’ve tried, especially given their low price tag ($130 / £99 / AU$185).
With USB-C charging, a well-balanced sound, lengthy battery life, and waterproofing, they tick every box you could ask for, from what are basically a pair of budget buds.
The Lypertek Tevi, surprisingly, might just blow you away, punching well above their weight and rivaling buds from some of the biggest audio brands on the planet – and making it onto our round up of the best headphones. Consider us pleasantly surprised.
NuraLoop boils down the essence of the company’s first product, the Nuraphone, into a much more compact, rugged, and affordable package, and doesn’t lose much in the process with the NuraLoop headphones.
The star of the show is its adaptive audio technology, which automatically determines a listening profile for the user and feeds them well-balanced, lush sound as a result.
On top of this, features like active noise-cancelling, social mode, an IPX3 rating, Immersion mode, a great battery life, and the ability to attach an analog cable for 3.5mm headphone jacks makes this pair of wireless earbuds truly shine.
If the Sony WH-1000XM4s are the true king of noise-cancelling headphones, the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 are next in line for the throne – and for the sake of offering an alternative, we’ve included them in this list.
By applying noise cancellation to phone calls as well as music, Bose has made great strides in the field of noise-cancelling headphones. The sound quality is undeniably good, with a vibrant, lively character and well-balanced soundstage.
If you’re trying to decide between buying the Sony WH-1000XM4s and the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700, we’d recommend going for the former because of that lower price and better battery life – they’re the best headphones of 2020 for a reason.
That being said, you wouldn’t be making a mistake if you opted for the Bose cans instead (and we wouldn’t blame you if you did) – they sound great, look stunning, and the noise cancellation is out of this world.
The AKG N60NC headphones are award-winners, with a coveted 5-star rating from TechRadar. Now the price of these headphones has fallen considerably, they’re an even better buy.
The noise cancellation is very good indeed, and like other AKG headphones there’s good, solid bass without overpowering the midrange and treble. They’re comfortable, too, which is an important consideration if you’re using them on your travels.
The battery is decent for cheap noise canceling headphones, with 15 hours of playback over Bluetooth. If you just want full noise cancellation, you’re good for a whopping 30 hours of peace and relative quiet before you need to find a charger. Note: these headphones are available in wired or wireless versions.