Whether you are a music buff, an avid podcast listener, or someone who just finds themselves on calls and video conferences continuously the headphones you use can have a serious impact on the experience. A good pair can make life much more pleasant while a bad pair can make it almost unbearable.
The choice of headphones is an oddly personal one and you will find lots of passionate debate about the merits of over-the-ear vs in-ear models and whether or not the bass response from the latest version is worth the price. Because it is so personal (these things are going to be pressed against your head for hundreds of hours after all) there is no list guaranteed to
The best overall (Money’s no object)
Bose has been making products with superior sound since the 60’s. They’ve evolved with the times which means offering Bluetooth noise-canceling headphones that live up the company’s stellar reputation.
Bose QuietComfort 35 II Wireless Bluetooth Headphones, Noise-Cancelling, with Alexa voice control – Black (Electronics)
The QuietComfort 35 II wireless headphones deliver everything you could want from your personal sound system. Featuring three levels of noise-cancellation and a microphone designed for use even in noisy environments, these are the most comfortable and best sounding headphones you will find. The only thing that might give you pause is the $300 price tag. But if you use your headphones for work, play, and everything in between then the QC35 II is an investment worth investigating. In an era when folks are spending $1,000 and more for a flagship phone, you owe it to yourself to consider getting the best headphones to go with it.
The best all-arounder (Durability and sound for a reasonable price)
A lot of people haven’t tried bone-conduction headphones in the past. It is not a well-known technology for most consumers. But if you are looking for a rugged pair of headphones that provide quality sound at a reasonable price, it is worth looking at Aftershokz Trex Titanium Mini Bone-Conduction headphones.
Bone-conduction headphones work by resting gently just in front of the ear and transmitting sound to the inner ear by vibrating the bones of your skull. If this sounds uncomfortable, trust me it is not. I have been a huge fan of Aftershokz for several years for the comfort, ease of use, and unique safety benefits of their headphones.
Because the headphones do not obstruct your ear canal at all you can use them without cutting off ambient noise. This is especially important if you are jogging, biking, or driving. Or if you just want to remain more aware of your surroundings. If you do want a more isolated experience, you only have to insert a pair of plain old earplugs and you are instantly wrapped in a completely private bubble with the sound of your choosing.
The best with a wire (When Bluetooth just won’t cut it)
Sometimes you just need something with a wire. Despite more and more phones getting rid of headphone jacks, lots of us still have laptops and other entertainment devices that are just easier to use if you plug in a pair of headphones.
The TaoTronics Noise-Canceling Earbuds are a great addition to any gear bag. They sound good enough to be your main pair of headphones if you can live without a wireless solution. And for occasions when only a wire will do, they are exceptional. The noise-canceling is not as pronounced as you would get with over-the-ear models, but it is solid. And because they are wired, they will continue to deliver sound even when the battery dies. This is something you won’t fully appreciate until the first time it happens.
If they aren’t your go-to pair of headphones, they are priced reasonably enough that you should consider getting a pair to carry just as a backup.
The best for kids that don’t know better (Really, they are just going to lose them anyway)
Not everyone needs a premium audio experience. High on that list are kids who often can’t be bothered to keep track of (or take care of) their electronics.
After several angry evenings and the endless frustration of replacing the kid’s headphones, I finally decided to solve the problem permanently by making sure the supply far outweighed the demand.
JustJamz Kidz 2.0 is a 10-pack of headphones for one low low price. The headphones won’t be mistaken for AirPods under any circumstances, but they get the job done. The sound is decent enough and they even come with a microphone on the wire so they can be used for calls, FaceTime, or during a remote learning class.
And when they are inevitably lost, crushed, run through the washing machine, or left at the neighbor’s house you don’t have to pull your hair out. Just reach into the bag and grab another set.
No matter what your budget or needs are, there’s no reason to suffer in silence. Pick up a pair of headphones and fill up those quiet moments with the sounds of life.
Don’t see something in this list that tickles your fancy? Got a specific need that you can’t find a solution for? Let us know on social media or email firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll help you find an answer that works for you.