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The best headphones 2023: top cans from Sony, Bose and more


A pair of the best headphones are pretty much indispensable to modern living, but there are many different types and models to choose from now, it’s hard to know where to start. 

That’s where we come in – we’ve tested all the best headphones and earbuds over the years, and know exactly what makes a great pair, including sound quality, comfort and convenience. Our recommendations also also consider extra features, such as battery life, noise cancellation and control apps. 

Many people still prefer the best wired headphones for their audio quality, so we do have wired models here, but the convenience of wireless cans means that these are by far the most popular option, which is why so many options in our guide are wireless. You’ll also find the top immersive options in our best noise-cancelling headphones list, which are great for travelling and drowning out ambient noise in offices. 

Our picks of the best headphones stretches across all kinds of budgets, but if you just want to focus on the more affordable options, check out our guide to the best cheap headphones to grab yourself a bargain on a pair. 

Written by
Written by

Becky Scarrott

Becky is a senior TechRadar writer (which she has been assured refers to expertise rather than age) focusing on all things audio. Before joining the team in early 2022, she spent three years at What Hi-Fi? reviewing everything from wallet-friendly wireless earbuds to huge high-end sound systems. Prior to gaining her MA in Journalism in 2018, Becky freelanced as an arts critic alongside a 22-year career as a professional dancer and aerialist – any love of dance starts with a love of music. Becky has previously contributed to Stuff, FourFourTwo and The Stage.

The quick list

Want to cut to the chase and find out which headphones are the best? Below, you’ll find a roundup of our choices. You can also jump to a more detailed review of every pick, along with our price comparison tool to help you find the best deals.

The best headphones of 2023

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Below you’ll find full write-ups for each of the best headphones in our list. We’ve tested each one extensively, so you can be sure that our recommendations can be trusted.

The best headphones for most people

(Image credit: Future)

The best headphones for most people


Weight: 253g

Frequency response: 4Hz to 40kHz

Drivers: 1.57-inch dome-type

Battery life: 30 hours

Reasons to buy


Great active noise cancellation and sound


DSEE Extreme audio upscaling

Reasons to avoid

Not water-resistant

Newer, more expensive headphones can beat them

Buy them if:

✅ You want versatile headphones that sound good: The Sony WH-1000XM4s deliver hgh-quality sound in a lightweight folding design.

✅ You’re working from home and need some peace and quiet: With the volume turned up and the noise cancelling on, the WH-1000XM4s can provide an aural nirvana.

Don’t buy them if:

You plan on bringing them to the gym or beach: A looser fit and lack of water-resistance should make you think twice before putting them inside your gym bag.

❌ You take tons of conference calls: While these are great for travel, their call quality isn’t that strong. 

Released in August 2020, Sony’s WH-1000XM4 headphones have remained a firm favorite. They were voted as the best wireless headphones at TechRadar Choice Awards in 2021 and even though the WH-1000XM5s have since been unveiled in 2022, we still think they’re the better all-rounder. 

With features such as multipoint pairing, DSEE Extreme upscaling, conversational awareness and auto-play/pause using a built-in sensor, they’re still full of great tech. A substantial 30 hours of battery life (with ANC turned on) is also in line with competing headphones at this price point.    

The WH-1000XM4s offer warm and balanced audio quality thanks to 40mm drivers as well as excellent noise cancellation. They also support Sony’s 360 Reality Audio format, which delivers spatial audio on stereo headphones, plus the LDAC codec that can send a bitrate of up to 990 kbps.

On the design front, we found them to be incredibly comfortable and lightweight in our testing. While they do lack water resistance, these minimalist headphones (they only have two physical buttons for turning them on/off and pairing) are nonetheless still very sturdy. 

While the Sony’s WH-1000XM4 can be beaten on sound and ANC quality by newer and more expensive models, they’re usually available for cheaper now, which makes them even better value than they were before. 

Read our full Sony WH-1000XM4 review

The best earbuds for most people

(Image credit: TechRadar)

The best earbuds for most people


Weight: 7.3g

Frequency response: 20-40,000Hz

Drivers: 6mm

Battery life : 8 hours (earbuds) 16 hours (charging case)

Reasons to buy


Rapid, full-bodied and eloquent sound


Impressive call quality

Reasons to avoid

Unremarkable battery life

No aptX support

Buy them if:

✅ You know a great control app when you use one:
The Sony Headphone app is an absolute tour de force of stability, functionality and general usefulness.

✅ You love life’s little conveniences: “Speak to chat”. Adaptive noise cancelling. “Quick attention”. IPX4. The WF-1000XM4 just want to make your life easier.

Don’t buy them if:

Noise cancelling is more important than sound quality: Taken on their own, the WF-1000XM4 cancel noise well. But other true wireless buds do it better – specifically, the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II.

❌ You’re away from an outlet for long periods: A best-case 24 hours of battery life isn’t bad, but it isn’t anything special either.

If you prefer true wireless in-ear buds, then the Sony WF-1000XM4s are the perfect option for most people. Voted best in-ear headphones at the TechRadar Choice Awards in 2021 – the same year they were launched – they have continued to top our list and for good reasons.  

With the Sony WF-1000XM4s, Sony has combined performance, ergonomics and build quality in a noise cancelling true wireless package. Features such as auto-pause and being able to tune the buds’ sound to the shape of your ears are truly useful. 

Once you’ve managed to tune the buds and fit them comfortably, which we found during our testing took a little bit of fiddling, you’ll be greeted by a full-bodied and eloquent sound. With DSEE Extreme audio upscaling, multipoint pairing and support for a LDAC codec (though notably no aptX or aptX HD), they deliver exactly what’s promised. 

Battery life, which is a total of 24 hours between the buds and case, isn’t very exceptional compared to competitors. But this is more than made up for by Sony’s feature-packed control app, which offers adjustable EQ, custom presets and more. 

While other true wireless earbuds surpass the Sony WF-1000XM4 in particular areas – in terms of noise cancellation, for example, or music fidelity – 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 – often at a discounted price too.

Read our full Sony WF-1000XM4 review

The best budget headphones

(Image credit: Future)

The best cheap headphones


Weight: 4.8 oz

Frequency response: 20Hz-20,000Hz

Drivers: 30mm dynamic

Battery life: 50 hours

Reasons to buy


Incredibly affordable


Impressive sound and battery life

Reasons to avoid

No 3.5mm jack or USB audio

No active noise cancellation

Buy them if:

✅ You want balanced sound for less: There’s none of the bass overload you get on some cheaper headphones, these are made to handle all kinds of music well.

✅ You need long, long battery life: 50 hours! You won’t need to charge these very often, so if you’re the forgetful type, that’s a bonus.

Don’t buy them if:

You need noise-blocking power: With no ANC and not especially noise-isolating earpads, you will hear outside sounds, especially loud vehicles.

❌ You want to go audiophile for less: We like the sound here a lot for the price, but if you’re an audiophile on a budget, you should look at going wired.

With solid audio, great battery life and Bluetooth connectivity, the Sony WH-CH520 are excellent bang for your buck. If you’re looking for on-ear headphones at this price point, you’re likely already willing to make a few sacrifices. Thankfully, most of the compromises (there’s no 3.5mm port option) Sony has made with the WH-CH520 haven’t been too crucial.

The lack of active noise cancellation might be more of a problem, but it certainly isn’t unfair for the price. Where the WH-CH520s really shine is a very long battery life of 50 hours and premium features like a customizable control app with DSEE and multi-point audio pairing, which makes switching between devices a breeze.

They are made out of a textured plastic, which is sturdy but admittedly not that premium feeling. Although, again, this is a minor sacrifice for the audio smarts packed inside of them, plus the trade off with such a material is that they’re lightweight. 

Released in February 2023, they deliver balanced sound that has plenty of detail, making them easy to listen to. Sony really has stripped back features to focus on sound with the WH-CH520s and it really shows with deeper bass and brighter highs.

For those chasing something that is substantially more sturdy or sporting a 3.5mm port, you’re unlikely to find an alternative at the same price point ($60 / £60 / AU$99) that’s also wireless, let alone boasts great battery life and sound. 

Read our full Sony WH-CH520 review

The best budget earbuds

(Image credit: TechRadar)

The best budget earbuds overall


Acoustic design: Closed

Weight: 4.6g each

Frequency response: 20Hz – 20kHz

Drivers: 5.8mm Dynamic with Graphene-enhanced Diaphragm

Battery life: 9 hours (earbuds) 36 hours (charging case)

Reasons to buy


Stunning audio performance


Great app and easy controls

Reasons to avoid


Pricier than their predecessors at launch

Buy them if:

✅ You want best-in-class sound: With a well-balanced and detailed presentation, these buds sound wnderfulo – they also support hi-res audio codecs.

✅ You’re looking for compact earbuds: These earbuds are very sleek and their small frame plus lightweight build sets them apart from models such as the Apple AirPods.

Don’t buy them if:

You need active noise cancellation: While the eartips are pretty good at blocking out sound, you’ll need to look at models such as the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds for ANC. 

❌ You need the cheapest buds possible: These are extremely well-priced, but you can go cheaper if needed. Check out the JLab Go Air Pop.

Now that they’ve received a permanent price cut, the Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 Plus are a more appealing option than ever. Not that they weren’t already at their original cost, receiving the coveted five-star rating in our review – and yet now they’ve been reduced even further from the discounted $99.95 / £99.95 to $59.95 in the US.

The reason the price is so surprising is because they offer excellent audio performance, a helpful app with adjustable EQ and great features with easy-to-use controls. In terms of audio quality, we found during testing that they offer tons of dynamism and character, with a lively presentation, high accuracy and a lot of detail. 

And, while there’s no noise cancellation on offer, the sound isolation is very good. As for wearing them for long periods of time, if you’re ok with using them in low power mode, you should get up to nine hours of battery life per earbuds charge (up to 45 hours with the case).

We found the Melomania 1 Plus to be extremely lightweight at 6.4g a bud and comfortable during testing, aside from the fact that they only come with silicone and memory foam eartips for large and medium sizes. At this price point, these bullet-shaped earbuds are speeding past the competition.  

Read our full Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 Plus review

The best premium headphones

(Image credit: TechRadar)

The best premium headphones


Weight: 293g

Frequency response: 6Hz-22,000Hz

Drivers: 42mm dynamic

Battery life: 60 hours

Reasons to buy


Neutral, crisp, detailed sound


Excellent ANC and transparency

Reasons to avoid

A little plain aesthetically

Design doesn’t fold up into the headband

Buy them if:

✅ You want a battery life that lasts for days: 60 hours with ANC on is just incredible. You’ll have far fewer frustrating moments with them.

✅ You like to hear your voice in calls: Sennheiser’s excellent Sidetone gets rid of the call echo problem and makes your conversations feel altogether more natural.

Don’t buy them if:

You want supremely portable listening gear: These cans lie flat and don’t fold up for easy transport – although you do get a nice hardshell case. 

❌ You like your headphones to make a statement: As well-made as these are, they won’t set the design world alight.

The Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless are the newest August 2022-issue wireless over-ear headphones from Sennheiser and if Sony (listed above and below) isn’t worried, it should be. 

These cans boast an incredible 60-hour battery life, a likeable app, an extensive feature set, easy on-ear controls, talented adaptive noise cancellation and a zealous sound that’ll have you nodding your head happily wherever you go. Yes, they’re a tad plain aesthetically, but the proof of the pudding is in the eating, and these headphones sound outrageously good for the level. 

Sennheiser has packed everything and the kitchen sink into the Momentum 4 Wireless’s spec sheet, including Sidetone to better hear your voice during calls and  ‘Sound Zones’, EQ and ANC presets that can be set to magically kick in when you’re, well, in the zone. 

Make no mistake though, the headline-grabber is still the sound. And what a sound it is! Think open, detailed, expansive, neutral and crisp. Never is it overly warm; never is it congested or muddied through the bass.

You’ll find them more expensive than the Sony WH-1000XM4, especially during sales season, so we generally think more people will be happy with them. But these are worth the price upgrade and are slightly cheaper than the flagship Sony WH-1000XM5.

Read our full Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless review 

The best premium earbuds

(Image credit: Future)

The best premium earbuds


Weight: 7g

Frequency response: 40-20,000Hz

Drivers: 10mm

Battery life: (Up to) 7h (earbuds); (up to) 25h (charging case)

Reasons to buy


Poised, revealing sound


Triple-point connectivity

Reasons to avoid

Noise-cancelling and battery life are nothing special

Could conceivably sound more animated

Buy them if:

✅ You intend to wear your earbuds all day: Some carefully considered design, along with a lavish selection of silicon ear tips, means these should stay comfortable.

You want to switch between devices: Triple-point connectivity is a world-first in a product like this, and it’s so convenient.

Don’t buy them if:

You need them to actually last all day: Even at its best, the battery life available here is nothing special – long-haul flights are a non-starter.

❌ You have a lot of external noise to block out: While there are less capable noise-cancelling true wireless earbuds around, there are more capable alternatives too. 

In virtually every respect, the EAH-AZ80 make a strong case for themselves. In fact, we even rate them as the better option for most people when compared to the Sony WF-100XM5 and that comes down to their quality sound and design. 

The triple-point connectivity (a first in a product of this type) proves stable and useful for switching between three different devices. Also, thanks to ‘Just My Voice’ technology, these earbuds are far less prone to wind-noise interference than any number of rivals. 

The sound they make is also accomplished – it’s both swift and accurate, as well as balanced and detailed. It’s not quite as energetic as really high-end earbuds, but we can hardly blame it for that – the overall detail and accuracy is a cut above almost anything else. 

Technics goes above and beyond to make sure that the earbuds fit all shapes and sizes of ears, providing seven silicone, drop-shaped eartips for their so-called ‘concha-fit’.

There are slight shortcomings related to battery life and the effectiveness of the active noise-cancellation, but they will be absolutely perfect for customers looking for excellent musical fidelity and cutting-edge tech features from their earbuds.

Read our full Technics EAH-AZ80 review

The best mid-priced earbuds

(Image credit: Future)

The best mid-priced earbuds


Acoustic design: Closed

Weight: 4.6g per bud

Frequency response: 20-20,000Hz

Drivers: 5mm

Battery life: 7.5 hours (earbuds), 7.5 hours (charging case)

Reasons to buy


Detailed, immersive audio


Very comfortable and secure

Reasons to avoid

Not a lot of battery from the case

Some small missing features

Buy them if:

✅ You have smaller ears: These earbuds are some of the most secure and comfortable we’ve worn – think Sony LinkBuds S, but that little bit more secure .

You have a Tidal Account: Link the streaming service in the Sony Headphones Connect app and you unlock 360 Reality Audio. And that, friend, is a very good thing… 

Don’t buy them if:

You prioritize on-ear volume control: No dice here, sadly – although Sony says that following a firmware update, it will be possible.

❌ You want the track to turn off when you remove them: This isn’t a feature of the WF-C700N. Small gripe for some, potential deal-breaker for others.

If you want to spend under $150 / £100 / AU$200 on a pair of wireless earbuds, Sony’s WF-C700N are the most comfortable, feature-rich headphones with immersive sound that you can buy right now. In fact, they’re even more comfortable for all-day wearing than the WF-1000XM4 – aka the best wireless earbuds – as they’re 37% lighter and 38% smaller. 

Sony has included a lot of its high-end headphone features that are in its more premium models in the WF-C700N, including adaptive active noise cancellation, multipoint connectivity and even spatial audio through Sony’s 360 Reality Audio technology, which sounds fantastic. 

There are some minor sacrifices that you’re making at this price point, including no auto-off, on-ear volume control, LDAC support or lossless audio. These are easy to overlook though given the ANC profiles and DSEE upscaling engine. 

Of course, a lot of these high-end features are not on par with more premium earbuds out there, but they certainly raise the mid-range bar in terms of expectations. As a result, if you want the best features, design and sound quality, the Sony WF-C700Ns cannot be beaten at this cost. 

Read our full Sony WF-C700N review

The best headphones for ANC

(Image credit: Gerald Lynch/TechRadar/Future)

The best headphones for active noise cancellation


Weight: 250g

Frequency response: 4Hz to 40kHz

Drivers: 30mm

Battery life: 40 hours (with NC off) 30 hours (with NC on)

Reasons to buy


Superb noise cancelling


Excellent audio performance

Reasons to avoid

More expensive

Not a huge upgrade over the XM4s

Buy them if:

✅ You want class-leading active noise cancelling and audio: The range may have plateaued a bit with the WH-1000XM5, but they’ve plateaued at the top of the pile.

You appreciate smart, AI-driven software settings:
These can anticipate exactly what you want them to do without you needing to touch a button yourself.

Don’t buy them if:

You can get a pair of discounted WH-1000XM4s: The small difference in performance between both sets means picking up the older ones would be your best bet overall.

❌ You value portability above all else: Unlike previous models, the WH-1000XM5 headphones are unable to fold in on themselves to make them fit more easily into a bag. 

These new Sonys would be at the top of our table if it weren’t for the fact that right now the outgoing model, the WH-1000XM4, is substantially cheaper and does almost everything the newer Sonys do. These are better headphones, but at the moment the XM4s are the better buy.

In our Sony WH-1000XM5 review we said that the XM5s offer “class-leading noise-cancelling features and well-balanced audio”. However, “a steeper price point and similar functionality to earlier models make the Sony WH-1000XM5 headphones an ever-so-slightly tougher sell than before.”

The new design is more elegant and contains slightly smaller drivers than before, and while there’s less wind distortion, the trade-off is that they don’t fold neatly like the previous model did. The noise cancelling is elite, which is why we’ve highlighted them as being the best in the world for this job. They’re able to mute the higher pitched sounds that ANC headphones tend to find challenging, and sound quality is exemplary.

If you don’t already have noise cancelling headphones, these are as good as it currently gets for noise-stopping power – but the older, cheaper model is almost as good and better value as a result.

Read our full Sony WH-1000XM5 review

The best earbuds for ANC

(Image credit: TechRadar)

The best earbuds for active noise-cancelation


Weight: 6.2g (per bud); 59.8g (charging case)

Cable length: N/A

Frequency response: Not specified

Drivers: 9.3mm

Driver type: Not specified

Sensitivity: Not specified

Impedance: Not specified

Battery life: 6 hours (buds); 3 extra (charging case)

Wireless range: 9.1m


Reasons to buy


Smaller, more comfortable design


Best-in-class noise cancellation

Reasons to avoid

Call quality could be better

No support for high-def wireless codecs

Buy them if:

✅ Noise cancellation really matters to you: These buds are at the top of the ANC game as it stands right now, and that’s without compromising on the sound quality.

You want beautifully balanced sound: Whatever CustomTune is actually doing, it’s working. The sound is very well balanced, with a lot of detail and texture.

Don’t buy them if:

You’d prefer high-definition wireless sound quality: With support for just low-definition wireless codecs, the QCE II may not be for everyone. There’s no LDAC or aptX support.

❌ Size and wireless charging matter to you: Despite Bose managing to shrink its flagship ANC buds, the QCE II aren’t the smallest true wireless options you can get. 

The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds 2 are a big upgrade of the original Bose QuietComfort buds, which have now been bumped down in our list. 

This redesign has improved the noise cancellation considerably, which is really saying something considering the originals were our top pick for some time. Now the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds 2 are our number one pick in our best noise cancelling earbuds guide, because they simply block noise better than anything else that goes in your ear canals.

But ANC improvements aren’t at the expense of sound quality. In our review, we wrote: “We can’t stress this enough – the sound is very well balanced, with a heck of a lot of details and textures coming through. And if you still find you need to tweak it, you can via the EQ in the app.”

These new buds are expensive – although they’re the same price as their rivals, the Sony WF-1000XM4 buds – and battery life is only fine at 6 hours from the buds and a further 3 from the case. But, if you can afford to splurge, these are arguably the best noise-cancelling true wireless earbuds you can buy and the best Bose earbuds around today.

Read our full Bose QuietComfort Earbuds 2 review

The best headphones for sound quality

(Image credit: Future)

The best headphones for wireless sound


Weight: 350g

Frequency response: 15Hz–20kHz

Drivers: 40mm

Battery life: 42 hours (with USB DAC) 35 hours (with Jack) 30 hours (with Bluetooth)

Reasons to buy


Exciting, detailed, expressive sound


Very comfortable (and easy on the eye)

Reasons to avoid

On-ear controls are hit-and-miss

Noise cancellation can be beaten for less

Buy them if:

✅ You like the option of wired listening: With wired USB-C over-ear listening that happen to offer Bluetooth wireless listening too, these give you the best of both worlds.

You’re prepared to pay extra for detailed sound: For detail, refinement, expanse and clarity, the sound here is unparalleled in a wireless design. 

Don’t buy them if:

You want class-leading ANC: It’s there and it does help, but the ANC doesn’t envelop you in a bubble of silence even on the highest level – you also can’t tweak the levels.  

You want listening gear that folds up completely: As with the latest from Sony, B&W and Sennheiser, the Bathy headphones lie flat but cannot fold up for easy transport. 

As a debut pair of wireless headphones, Focal hit the nail on the head with the Bathys. The French audio specialist has been known in the market to make some of the best over-ear headphones out there and the Bathys embody a lot of its expertise and experience but in a more versatile way with its wireless capabilities. 

The ability to access uncompromising, high-end sound through USB-C wired DAC mode does mean that these headphones don’t come cheap, though. In terms of price, they sit a level above even the likes of the Apple AirPods Max.

While the sound in these headphones is faultless, we did find some niggles during our testing around the overall built quality. Although very minor, the physical buttons and headband can be a bit flimsy and distracting. 

But if you value sound over all else then it’s hard to beat the Focal Bathys for pure high-end audio. They also come packed with premium features, including a control app, 

Read our full Focal Bathys review

The best looking headphones

(Image credit: Peter Hoffmann)

The best headphones for sumptuous design


Acoustic design: Closed

Weight: 320g (without carry case)

Frequency response: TBC

Drivers: 2 x 40mm dynamic full range

Battery life: 30 hours

Reasons to buy


Agile, detailed, class-leading sound


Supreme comfort during wear

Reasons to avoid

Battery life has been beaten

Noise cancellation is average

Buy them if:

✅ You like to look good: Not everyone cares about looks. But if you want people to gaze longingly at your over-ears, these are probably the set for you.

You’re prepared to pay extra for class-leading sound:
There’s no doubt that the PX8 sound absolutely jaw-dropping for detail, clarity, energy and agility.

Don’t buy them if:

You need class-leading battery life: The Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless can offer double the 30 hours offered by the PX8. Mind you, 30 hours is hardly poor… 

You desire listening gear that folds up: Bowers & Wilkins’ newest proposition follows the recent tendency for lying flat, but not folding up for easy transport.

When it comes to sound, Bowers & Wilkins knows how to achieve premium audio quality and their flagship wireless headphones are proof of that. As we said in our review, the PX8 are the headphones to beat sonically. 

The agile, detailed and completely immersive sound they can produce is a level above just about everything else out there. It’s exceptional and well worth the extra money if you value sound over all else. 

The listening experience is much more than just audio quality though and this is where the Bowers & Wilkins PX8 shine above the rest. They marry subtlety and flair in a way that we’ve not seen other over-ear headphones do, with beautiful die-cast aluminum arms, diamond-cut bright metal detailing and a comfortable Nappa leather headband. 

It’s not just style over function either, as the drivers inside the chunky ear cups have been angled to be parallel to your ears (rather than parallel to the outside of the earcups) for seamless timing and precise sound. 

The only really let down about the PX8s is the premium price tag that’s attached to them. With even Apple’s AirPod Max coming in less than them, these headphones are not cheap. But if you’re prepared to pay extra for class-leading sound that comes in a super-stylish package, here you go.

Read our full Bowers & Wilkins PX8 review

The best wired earbuds

(Image credit: Future)

The best wired in-ear earbuds


Weight: 18g

Frequency response: 20-40,000Hz

Drivers: Dynamic

Battery life: N/A

Reasons to buy


Lush sound quality


Excellent build and design

Reasons to avoid

Plastic remote feels cheap

Buy them if:

✅ You want uncompromising sound: Audio quality is where the Triple Drivers stand out, delivering a balanced yet detailed sound with mid-bass.   

You want the best possible value: At this price range, it’s hard to find headphones that can match the level of quality build and design you’re getting.  

Don’t buy them if:

You don’t like wires: The biggest gripe we had with these headphones is that the rubber cable would catch on itself, which can be distracting when listening on the go.

You value quality materials: Another minor flaw we found during our testing was that the plastic remote feels cheap, like the rubber material used for the cable.   

These deliver fantastic sound and equally fantastic value for money. The audio quality in the 1MORE Triple Drivers truly does shine above the rest for its balanced sound. It has a slightly warm signature beat that we grew to love.  

We consider them to be the best headphones for the price, especially if you prefer 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. 

The biggest nitpick we had during our testing was that the rubber cables can catch on themselves as well as your clothes. As an alternative, if you want a little extra refinement and more luxurious materials, the same firm’s 1MORE Quad Drivers are even more impressive, albeit at twice the price.

At this price, with such excellent build and design, it’s hard to fault the Triple Drivers. 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 earbuds. For the price, you can’t do better than 1MORE’s Triple Driver in-ear headphones. 

Read our full 1More Triple Driver In-Ear Headphone review

How to choose the best headphones for you

What different types of headphones are there?  

There’s a lot to consider when you’re buying a new pair of headphones. But the most important is the design. This doesn’t just dictate how they look, but the features on offer, how they feel when you wear them and how you’ll use them day-to-day.

We’ve selected both over-ear headphones and earbuds here, though we have separate guides to just the best wireless headphones of the on-head style, or the best wireless earbuds, if you want to narrow it down.

In-ear headphones, also called earbuds or earphones, are usually the cheapest and easiest way to pump audio into your ears. They rest in or just outside the ear canal, creating a tight seal to keep air out and sound in. These are the most discreet designs you’ll find, making them excellent for portability and the prime choice for athletes.

Over-ear headphones generally provide fantastic richness and depth of sound, which allows listeners to pick apart the instruments and sounds much easier. Additionally, over-ear, or circumaural headphones, go around the ear and offer a generous amount of padding.

Instead of enveloping your ears, on-ear headphones create a light, breathable seal around your ear. The noise isolation is less effective than in-ear or over-ear options.

Some headphones don’t go anywhere near your ears at all. Bone-conducting headphones send vibrations through your cheekbones and jaw up towards your inner ear, leaving your ears free. These headphones make great running headphones and swimming headphones.

With wireless on-ear headphones and over-ear headphones, you simply lose the wire connecting them to your device – otherwise, they look pretty much the same as your regular pair of wired cans, and give you the noise-isolating prowess of over-ears without the need for cumbersome wires to connect to your device.

True wireless earbuds have no cord whatsoever. For some, this means true freedom; for others, untethered true wireless means constant danger of losing their expensive audio kit down the drain – or terrible connections. The latter, at least, has changed now – thanks to advances in Bluetooth technology like aptX HD, the best true wireless earbuds have never sounded better. 

For more information about how to choose your next headphones, read our comprehensive guide, which goes into this in more detail. We also have other guides for getting the most out of your headphones, including how to care for them – be sure to check out our how to clean your wireless earbuds walkthrough to make sure they’re spick and span. 

Are noise-cancelling headphones bad for your ears?

Nope! In fact, some people choose them because they can help to protect your hearing over time. Active noise cancellation uses something called “anti-noise” to help block outside sounds – essentially, they use microphones on the outside to listen to the world around you, then calculate the opposite of those noise frequencies, and pump those into their sound to “cancel” out the sounds around you. This is makes it easier to hear what your headphones are playing – and that means you don’t have to turn the volume up as loud. This is how they can protect your hearing long term: listening to loud headphones all the time is a serious issue for people who’ve been doing it for years, and with ANC headphones, you can keep it lower.

What headphones brands are the best quality?

Bose and Sony have very high reputations, and for good reason. They both make very high-performance products for the price, with good build quality even with plastic construction (which has the advantage of being lightweight and comfortable).

Beats is obviously a famous brand, and its products are very well-made, and the sound is strong these days. Apple’s headphones are much-loved, especially AirPods Pro 2, which are extremely high quality and well-priced compared to other premium earbuds.

At the higher end, Bowers and Wilkins makes fantastic headphones with premium materials, as does Sennheiser (which also makes some good affordable products). Audio Technica makes good mid-range headphones.

For cheaper products, we rate JBL, Anker Soundcore, JLab and 1More all highly – all these products feel well-made, but tend to be ad the affordable end of the market.

How we test the best headphones

When it comes to the best headphones, we focus on sound quality above everything else. We look at both wired and wireless cans and earbuds that would appeal to audiophiles, as well as those working in professional roles. However, we also appreciate that budget is important too, so we compare like for like, picking out budget headphones that perform admirably for the price.

We also look at other features such as ANC, battery life, fit, and of course the usability and extra perks offered by any companion apps. Of course, design and whether they look (and feel) good all adds to the model’s desirability – and this is noted as we listen to music across a wide range of genres over several days. 

We have tested all of the headphones in this guide extensively, spending plenty of time analyzing the sound, fit, design, specs, and value for money so that you will be able to choose a product you’ll be over the moon with. 

While there are many different factors that go into testing headphones, we make sure to use a variety of sources to give as much variety as possible. These range from using various Bluetooth codecs and Wi-Fi to listen to different music steaming services, DACs, portable digital audio players and more.    

Latest updates to this best headphones guide

November 10, 2023
Added additional info about how we test the best headphones as well as some further copy enhancements to explain technical audio terms and include more supporting content.

October 6, 2023
Checked all products against recent reviews, added more buying advice to our “How to choose” section.


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