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The Best Headphones

Last updated on July 8, 2020

We looked at the top 19 and dug through the reviews from 142 of the most popular review sites including BestReviews, Medium, RTINGS.com, What HiFi, NDTV Gadgets 360, Gearank and more. The result is a ranking of the best .

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Our Picks For The Top

Show Contents
Our Take
Experts Included
Pros
Cons
  The Best Overall

COWIN E7 Active Noise Cancelling Deep Bass Wireless Bluetooth Headphones

COWIN

Wireless Bluetooth Headphones

Overall Take

Multiple Color ChoicesThis set of headphones is available in black, white, red, blue, purple and green.

Experts Included
DWYM Electronics Experts plus BestReviews, RTINGS.com, The Phonograph, Good Housekeeping, Best Hearing Health, Android Central and 4 more. Along with user reviews from Amazon and Walmart.
Pros
" 40mm drivers produce deep, accurate bass for well-rounded sound, and active noise cancelling technology quells outside chatter. Equips high-quality built-in microphone and NFC features for hands-free calling. Battery lasts for 30 hours on a single 4-hour charge."
Cons
"Unfortunately, their budget price shows in their build quality, which feels a bit cheap at times."
  The Best Value

Sony MDRZX110 ZX Series Stereo Headphones

Sony

ZX Series Stereo Headphones

Overall Take

Lightweight and ComfortableSince this headphone set is lightweight, it's great for long bus rides and road trips.

Experts Included
DWYM Electronics Experts plus BestReviews, Chef Audio, CNET, The Phonograph, Music Critic, NDTV Gadgets 360 and 3 more. Along with user reviews from Amazon, Best Buy, Walmart and Target.
Pros
" These headphones stand out for their portability. Store them away in your bag by folding them down. Sleek-looking and lightweight. Durable cord is solid and resists tangling."
Cons
"Not wireless like expensive competitors."

Mpow 059 Bluetooth Over Ear Hi-Fi Stereo Wireless Headphones

Mpow

Bluetooth Stereo Wireless Headphones

Overall Take

Wireless CapabilitiesYou won't find a softer set of earmuffs then the memory-protein earmuffs found on this headphone set.

Experts Included
DWYM Electronics Experts plus BestReviews, Top Best Spec, Headphone Supreme, RTINGS.com, Android Central, Top Guide Pro and 6 more. Along with user reviews from Amazon and Walmart.
Pros
" Gentle padding makes them comfortable to wear. Exceptional sound quality. Wireless headphones that work for up to 20 hours at a time. Built-in microphone for hands-free calling. Foldable design with carrying case. Bluetooth connectivity. Available in seven colors."
Cons
"Depending on your ear size and shape, you might have a tight feeling in the ears."

Bose SoundLink II Around Ear Wireless Headphones

Bose

SoundLink II Around Ear Wireless Headphones

Overall Take

Advanced Microphone SystemThis headphone set comes with a rechargeable lithium ion battery and is able to play for 15 hours in between charges.

Experts Included
DWYM Electronics Experts plus BestReviews, Top Best Spec, Wiki EZ Vid, New York Mag, CNET, Soundguys and 3 more. Along with user reviews from Amazon, Walmart, Target and Best Buy.
Pros
" Can be used wired or wirelessly. Built-in microphone with HD voice. Up to 15 hours of play time. Comes in black or white. Easily switch between 2 connected Bluetooth devices. Simple controls built into the headphones."
Cons
"Last only 15 hours per charge. Not suited to very large ears."
Don't just take for granted what one reviewer says. Along with our own experts, DWYM analyzes the top expert reviews of the leading products and generates a score you can actually trust.
26

Products Considered

We identified the majority of the available to purchase.
19

Products Analyzed

We then selected the leading and most popular products for our team to review.

View All Product Rankings

142

Expert Reviews Included

In addition to our expert reviews, we also incorporate feedback and analysis of some of the most respected sources including: BestReviews, Medium, RTINGS.com, What HiFi, NDTV Gadgets 360.

664,359

User Opinions Analyzed

We also incorporate user reviews from the leading retailers including Amazon, Best Buy, Walmart, Target and 7 others.

Our experts reviewed the top 19 and also dug through the reviews from 142 of the most popular review sites including BestReviews, Medium, RTINGS.com, What HiFi, NDTV Gadgets 360, Gearank and more. The result is a ranking of the best of the best .

DWYM is your trusted roduct review source. Our team reviews thousands of product reviews from the trusted top experts and combines them into one easy-to-understand score. Learn more.

Look for the DWYM seal for products that are the best in their category.

The Best Overall

COWIN E7 Active Noise Cancelling Deep Bass Wireless Bluetooth Headphones

Our Expert Score
8.4
10 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
9.0
59,345 user reviews
Our Take

If you're looking for a set of headphones that can be used for both work and pleasure, this set is your best bet. It's Bluetooth compatible and comes with a high-quality, built-in microphone for hands-free calls. Users will appreciate the active noise-reduction technology that keeps background noises from becoming a distraction.

What other experts liked
40mm drivers produce deep, accurate bass for well-rounded sound, and active noise cancelling technology quells outside chatter. Equips high-quality built-in microphone and NFC features for hands-free calling. Battery lasts for 30 hours on a single 4-hour charge.
- BestReviews
On the upside, they have a moderately comfortable design, a long battery life, and block a decent amount of noise for commuting.
- RTINGS.com
Strong, punchy bass. 30 hours of battery life.
- The Phonograph
They're designed with pillowy-soft cushions that reduce even the loudest airplane noise.
- Good Housekeeping
Using proprietary 40mm aperture drivers, the E7 delivers a deep bass response for full-bodied music, movies or conversations.
- Best Hearing Health
If battery life and cost savings are your main concern, the E7 from COWIN are your best bet.
- Android Central
This headphone comes with high-quality inbuilt microphone allows hands-free call.
- Products Browser
Cowin E7 also has its ear cups able to swivel up to 90° padded with soft cushion, so your ears are comfortable with this headphone.
- Space Mazing
It has an in-built 600mAh battery which offers up to 30 hours of play time on full charge.
- Top Best Spec
Cowin E7 headphones is powered by rechargeable lithium batteries. Even when it runs out, charge it for 10 minutes to get a perfectly working E7 for 60 minutes!
- Head Set Go
What other experts didn't like
The swivel axis is relatively fragile, which can present problems if you travel often.
- BestReviews
Unfortunately, their budget price shows in their build quality, which feels a bit cheap at times.
- RTINGS.com
Sound leak is stronger than average. Boosted bass can be overwhelming to some.
- The Phonograph
Heavier than most over-ears.
- Android Central

The Best Bang For Your Buck

Sony MDRZX110 ZX Series Stereo Headphones

Our Expert Score
6.9
9 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
8.7
28,191 user reviews
Our Take

If you're searching for a set of headphones that's more basic, this set is your best bet. Even though it doesn't come with all the bells and whistles, these are extremely comfortable and lightweight. The headphones are portable and have tangle-free cords.

What other experts liked
These headphones stand out for their portability. Store them away in your bag by folding them down. Sleek-looking and lightweight. Durable cord is solid and resists tangling.
- BestReviews
Overall if you are looking for affordable headphones that have great sounding quality and looks absolutely fantastic to wear, than Sony MDRZX110 ZX Series Stereo Headphones is the right product for you.
- Chef Audio
The MDR-ZX100 is a closed-back design with 30 mm drivers and a 24 ohm rated impedance.
- CNET
Fully foldable. Very nice, rugged cables.
- The Phonograph
The over-ear headphones are equipped with comfortable ear cushions and an adjustable headband.
- Music Critic
It offers an immersive, full sound that excels in its handling of bass.
- NDTV Gadgets 360
At less than five ounces, they are lightweight, and the three and a half meter Y-cord offers a tangle-free connection.
- Old Time Music
The 4.23 ounce Sony MDRZX110 ZX cans are built with a 30mm multi-layer film diaphragm and 1.38 neodymium dynamic drivers that give listeners pronounced sound clarity with booming bass and crisp treble.
- Lifewire
The elegant folding design, good sound deliverance, and easily replaceable price will have parents and kids loving it.
- Apple Wireless Air Pods
What other experts didn't like
Users report the headphone jack can break after heavy use.
- BestReviews
Not wireless like expensive competitors.
- Chef Audio
The sound is decent, the main knock against the MDR-ZX100 is that it sounds a little "canned" plugged into my iPod Classic.
- CNET
Dark and muddy sound. Recessed higher mids.
- The Phonograph
The plastic is flimsy and bendy, and does not look or feel like it can take too much abuse, so careful handling is advised.
- NDTV Gadgets 360
Some are going to want better facilities.
- Old Time Music
Can be uncomfortable when used for longer listening sessions. Relatively poor sound insulation.
- Apple Wireless Air Pods

Overall Product Rankings

Sony MDRZX110 ZX Series Stereo Headphones

2. Sony MDRZX110 ZX Series Stereo Headphones

Overall Score: 8.7
Reviews Included: 15

Mpow 059 Bluetooth Over Ear Hi-Fi Stereo Wireless Headphones

3. Mpow 059 Bluetooth Over Ear Hi-Fi Stereo Wireless Headphones

Overall Score: 8.5
Reviews Included: 15

Bose SoundLink II Around Ear Wireless Headphones
Overall Score: 8.4
Reviews Included: 14

Bose QuietComfort 20 Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones

6. Bose QuietComfort 20 Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones

Overall Score: 8.2
Reviews Included: 14

Sennheiser RS 165 RF Wireless Headphones

8. Sennheiser RS 165 RF Wireless Headphones

Overall Score: 8.2
Reviews Included: 6

Sony H900N Hi-Res Noise Cancelling Wireless Headphones

9. Sony H900N Hi-Res Noise Cancelling Wireless Headphones

Overall Score: 8.2
Reviews Included: 5

Sony MDRZX110NC Noise Cancelling Headphones

11. Sony MDRZX110NC Noise Cancelling Headphones

Overall Score: 8.2
Reviews Included: 16

HyperX KHX-H3CL/WR Cloud Gaming Headphones

12. HyperX KHX-H3CL/WR Cloud Gaming Headphones

Overall Score: 8.2
Reviews Included: 11

Beats Studio3 Wireless Noise Cancelling On-Ear Headphones

17. Beats Studio3 Wireless Noise Cancelling On-Ear Headphones

Overall Score: 7.7
Reviews Included: 15

Plantronics BackBeat GO 410 Wireless Headphones

18. Plantronics BackBeat GO 410 Wireless Headphones

Overall Score: 7.4
Reviews Included: 5

Our Findings

COWIN E7 Active Noise Cancelling Deep Bass Wireless Bluetooth Headphones

What We Liked: If you’re looking for a set of headphones that can be used for both work and pleasure, this set is your best bet. It’s Bluetooth compatible and comes with a high-quality, built-in microphone for hands-free calls. Users will appreciate the active noise-reduction technology that keeps background noises from becoming a distraction.

Sony MDRZX110 ZX Series Stereo Headphones

What We Liked: If you’re searching for a set of headphones that’s more basic, this set is your best bet. Even though it doesn’t come with all the bells and whistles, these are extremely comfortable and lightweight. The headphones are portable and have tangle-free cords.

Mpow 059 Bluetooth Over Ear Hi-Fi Stereo Wireless Headphones

What We Liked: These headphones come in eight different colors and are foldable for packing in a backpack or carry-on bag. They have soft memory-protein earmuffs and a padded headband that make them comfortable enough to wear for hours at a time. Since the headphones are Bluetooth enabled, you’ll be able to use them wirelessly with your laptop, tablet or cell phone.

Bose SoundLink II Around Ear Wireless Headphones

What We Liked: You’ll enjoy a wireless range of up to 30 feet with these headphones. The headphones are Bluetooth compatible and feature an advanced microphone system with HD voice. Users will appreciate the rechargeable lithium ion battery that allows the headphones to be used for as long as 15 hours without interruption.

Audio-Technica ATH-M20x Professional Studio Monitor Headphones

What We Liked: These headphones are professional-quality and feature contoured earcups with a tight seal for proper sound isolation. This is especially helpful for individuals who are working in a studio setting, where sound quality is a priority.

Our Expert Consultant

Calvin West   
Music and video producer

Calvin West, a music and video producer, recorded his first album at 19 and has been in the music business since. Currently based in Spain, where he has worked with artists and labels around the world providing services in music mixing, mastering and lyric video production.

Our Buying Guide

Headphones are huge right now. Music fans, gaming buffs and podcast aficionados spent more than $9.5 billion dollars on them in 2016, and that number is projected to balloon to $13.8 billion in the next seven years.

Kristin Forte/Simplemost Media

There are multiple styles of headphones. Earbuds, on-ear and over-ear headphones are the three most popular types, and they’re all available in wired and wireless versions. If you’re intimidated by the number of options you’re seeing online or in the electronics aisle, there are a number of ways to narrow down the choices and find the best headphones for your needs.

“The most important factor to consider when shopping for headphones is the environment it’s going to be used in,” says music and video producer Calvin West.

Kristin Forte/Simplemost Media

Will you use the headphones at the gym, at home or on the train? If you’ll be outdoors a lot, or wearing the headphones on the bus while you commute to work, consider headphones with noise-canceling properties, West suggests.

Earbuds, or in-ear headphones, sit just inside your ear canal. Soft silicone tips fit snugly inside your ears, and some models come with different sizes for a customized fit. Other models have secure-fit tips that create a stronger seal in your ear canal so they stay put.

Kristin Forte/Simplemost Media

Earbuds are available in standard wired versions, wireless versions (which connect around the back of your neck with a small wire but do not need to connect to your device with a wire), and true wireless versions where both earbuds operate independently with no wires at all.

On-ear headphones, which are sometimes called supra-aural headphones, are larger, with soft ear cups made from real or synthetic leather. They sit on top of your ears and allow more sound in while you’re listening, which makes them great for times when you want to listen to music without completely canceling out surrounding sounds. They’re also more lightweight and portable than heftier, full-coverage over-ear headphones.

Kristin Forte/Simplemost Media

Over-ear headphones enclose your entire ear in soft ear cups. They’re the largest headphone option, and they boast advanced features like noise cancellation and higher sound quality than other types of headphones. They’re great for wearing indoors while you’re focused on work, playing video games or enjoying high-definition sound on your smart TV. They tend to be a bit bulky to take with you when you’re commuting or traveling, but the total noise cancellation option makes them great for long flights.

Kristin Forte/Simplemost Media

Some over-ear headphone models have active noise cancellation as well as ambient sound modes for different listening scenarios. Other types of over-ear headphones come with a transmitter that connects to your home audio or entertainment system for a more robust digital listening experience.

DWYM Fun Fact

You owe your favorite pair of headphones a salute. The first pair of modern audio headphones were picked up by the U.S. Navy in 1910 after being repeatedly rejected by private sector investors. Mormon inventor and engineer Nathaniel Baldwin invented them on his kitchen table; the Navy’s eventual investment made him a rich man. They ordered 100 pairs and sparked a headphone revolution. Unfortunately, Baldwin never patented them, so the German company Bayerdynamic made some serious cash when they created the first pair for home enjoyment in 1937. Baldwin also wound up bankrupt after using his payout from the Navy to make a less-than-sound investment in the Mormon polygamous movement. Whoops!

The Tips and Advice

  • If you’re picking out new headphones, the first order of business is choosing between wired and wireless. Wired headphones are generally more reliable, since they don’t rely on a Bluetooth connection to connect you to your music, but wireless technology is quickly catching up. You can get more bang for your buck in terms of sound quality with wired headphones, too, and you’ll never have to worry about your wired headphones running out of battery. However, the freedom of wireless headphones outweighs their downsides for many people, and high-end styles have up to 20 hours of battery life per charge.
  • Next up: What activities will you be doing while you wear your headphones? Gym-goers will benefit from earbud styles. Their cone-shaped silicone tips fit securely in your ears, staying in place during active sweat sessions. Plus, the in-line mic and volume control help you answer calls or switch songs without fumbling with your phone. If you’re relying on headphones to help you focus while working from home or enjoying your favorite music, a pair of plush over-ear headphones can provide premium sound and comfort with active noise cancellation.
  • How portable do you need your headphones to be? Earbuds are lightweight and fit into a purse, pocket or briefcase, but wireless and true wireless versions are easier to lose. If you’re not planning on taking your headphones far from home, on-ear or over-ear options make more sense; you can enjoy their superior sound quality without worrying about hefting them around.
  • If you’re going to drop your hard-earned cash on headphones, you’ll want to take steps to care for them to keep the music playing. Wired headphones need cable care; you’ll want to wind up the cable and secure it with a twist tie or velcro rope while not in use. Make sure you don’t leave your headphones in areas where it becomes extremely hot or cold (like inside your car during chilly winter nights or hot summer days). Those temperatures can damage the internal audio components.
  • Keeping your headphones clean also contributes to their life span. Earbud-style headphones need special attention since wax buildup can affect sound quality and hygiene. Removing the silicone ear tips, rinsing them with warm water, and drying them with a soft cloth should be part of their regular maintenance. All types of headphones should be wiped with a damp, clean cloth and dried if they’re exposed to excessive sweat or moisture. Make sure to keep your charging port clear of crumbs and debris for reliable charging, and store on-ear and over-ear headphones in a hard case when they’re not in use.

About The Author

Abby Stassen
Abby Stassen 

Abby Stassen has a bachelor's degree in English language & literature from the University of Michigan. She's been writing professionally for over a decade, and she's been covering electronics for three years. Electronics can save you a lot of time and add some fun to your day. Abby is a gadget-head who scours endless online reviews and product specs to recommend the best electronics you can buy. She also loves testing her own purchases at home (especially video games). If a set of headphones or a new tablet makes its way into her heart, you'll also see it in one of her online pieces.