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Compare the Best HeadphonesNovember 2020

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87

What is the Kagoo Score? Our unique headphones rating which considers: 37,000 US prices • 52,000 expert & user reviews • 2,000 product comparisons • 1,100 industry awards • Score breakdown
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In Ear Headphones
In-Ear Headphones
Small, light headphones that are placed into the ear
True Wireless Earbuds
Light bluetooth earbuds that have no wires whatsoever for true freedom
On-Ear Headphones
Headphones that sit on the ear for better noise isolation
Noise-Cancelling Headphones
Active-noise cancelling headphones
Electronics Copy 27Created with Sketch.
Wireless Headphones
Bluetooth headphones that don't require a cable
#1
Best Selling Headphones
The most popular headphones on the market
Award Winning Headphones
Headphones that have won industry awards
Latest Headphones
The newest headphones on the market
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Rank
Kagoo Score
Average Review Rating
Price
Bluetooth
Weight
Driver Size
Style
Type
Colour
Release Date
#1

87

 Compare  Shortlisted
AKG logo

AKG K92

7 Reviews
pcauthority.com.au Recommended

$35.00

Info
200g
Info
40mm
Info
Head-Band
Info
Over-Ear
Info
Info
Jun 2016
#2

86

 Compare  Shortlisted
JBL logo

JBL Live 400BT

186 Reviews
Supports Bluetooth  Long battery life Foldable 
Supports Bluetooth
Long battery life
Foldable

$29.99

Info
186g
Info
40mm
Info
Head-Band
Info
On-Ear
Info
Info
Feb 2019
#3

86

 Compare  Shortlisted
JVC logo

JVC Gumy Plus

683 Reviews
Very light 
Very light

$5.50

Info
17g
Info
9mm
Info
In-Ear
Info
In-Ear
Info
Info
May 2017
#4

86

 Compare  Shortlisted
Plantronics logo

Plantronics BackBeat FIT

252 Reviews
hardwarezone.com.my Winneraltomdata.dk Best Productgottabemobile.com Editor's Choiceilounge.com Recommended

$28.95

Info
27.2g
Info
13.5mm
Info
Ear-Hook
Info
In-Ear
Info
Info
Jul 2017
#5

86

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Sennheiser logo

Sennheiser HD300

4 Reviews

$45.00

Info
182g
Info
40mm
Info
Head-Band
Info
On-Ear
Info
Info
Jan 2019
#6

86

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Kingston HyperX Cloud

862 Reviews

$38.00

Info
275g
Info
40mm
Info
Head-Band
Info
(Unknown)
Info
Info
Dec 2018
#7

86

 Compare  Shortlisted

Steelseries Arctis 3

307 Reviews

$49.99

Info
316g
Info
40mm
Info
Head-Band
Info
Over-Ear
Info
Info
Sep 2017
#9

86

 Compare  Shortlisted

Razer Kraken Tournament Edition

153 Reviews

$41.99

Info
357g
Info
50mm
Info
Head-Band
Info
Over-Ear
Info
Info
Dec 2017
#8

86

 Compare  Shortlisted

Sennheiser Momentum

188 Reviews

$19.99

Info
238g
Info
10mm
Info
Neck-Band
Info
In-Ear
Info
Info
May 2017
#10

86

 Compare  Shortlisted

JVC HAF160

 

$6.99

Info
5g
Info
13.5mm
Info
In-Ear
Info
In-Ear
Info
Info
Jun 2014
#11

86

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Sony WF1000X

 

$50.00

Info
264g
Info
40mm
Info
Head-Band
Info
On-Ear
Info
Info
Sep 2017
#12

85

 Compare  Shortlisted

Sony MDRE9LPBLU

 

$6.00

Info
6g
Info
13.5mm
Info
In-Ear
Info
In-Ear
Info
Info
Mar 2011
#13

85

 Compare  Shortlisted

JBL TUNE205BT

4 Reviews

$11.99

Info
14.3g
Info
12.5mm
Info
In-Ear
Info
In-Ear
Info
Info
May 2018
#14

85

 Compare  Shortlisted

Plantronics BackBeat FIT 350

 

$25.00

Info
15g
Info
6mm
Info
Ear-Hook
Info
In-Ear
Info
Info
Jul 2017
#15

85

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HyperX Cloud

11 Reviews

$21.99

Info
19g
Info
14mm
Info
Head-Band
Info
(Unknown)
Info
Info
Apr 2019
#16

85

 Compare  Shortlisted

Sony MDREX15AP

 

$5.99

Info
3g
Info
9mm
Info
In-Ear
Info
In-Ear
Info
Info
May 2017
#17

85

 Compare  Shortlisted

Monster iSport Victory

29 Reviews

$21.00

Info
42g
Info
10mm
Info
In-Ear
Info
In-Ear
Info
Info
Jul 2017
#18

85

 Compare  Shortlisted

Bose QuietComfort 25

114 Reviews

$63.00

Info
194.3g
Info
40mm
Info
Head-Band
Info
Over-Ear
Info
Info
May 2017
#19

85

 Compare  Shortlisted

Samsung Galaxy Buds

80 Reviews

$55.00

Info
8g
Info
10mm
Info
True Wireless
Info
In-Ear
Info
Info
Feb 2019

No matching products found.

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What Are The Best Headphones Brands?

We looked at the reviews for every headphones and used this to calculate the average overall rating of each brand. The top rated headphones brand is Sony with an average rating of 88%. Compare all award winning headphones.

Rank Brand Number of Headphones Price Range Average Rating
#1
Sony Headphones 88 $6 - $266
88%
2,390 reviews
#2
Audio-Technica Headphones 56 $49 - $249
88%
1,039 reviews
#3
Sennheiser Headphones 68 $17 - $2,200
82%
2,796 reviews
#4
JVC Headphones 62 $6 - $90
78%
1,369 reviews
#5
AKG Headphones 34 $15 - $1,480
76%
219 reviews
#6
JBL Headphones 61 $7 - $290
75%
1,944 reviews
#7
Skullcandy Headphones 34 $6 - $200
74%
3,124 reviews
#8
Goji Headphones 28 $13 - $26
68%
6 reviews
#9
House Of Marley Headphones 20 $11 - $198
68%
479 reviews
#10
Panasonic Headphones 29 $10 - $245
61%
3 reviews
#11
Pioneer Headphones 22 $45 - $127
59%
10 reviews
#12
Audio Technica Headphones 25 $59 - $214
59%
13 reviews
#13
Philips Headphones 93 $7 - $175
58%
87 reviews
#14
Hama Headphones 22 $11 - $19

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You can create your own side by side comparisons by clicking "compare" in the main table above against the products you would like to compare. Then click the big "Compare" button at the bottom of the screen to compare your selected products.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

QWhat is the difference between earphones and headphones?
AWhile they can be used interchangeably, earphones are used to describe small in-ear models, while headphones cover the larger models that sit over the ear.
QCan headphones be used with any device?
AAlmost all devices use a standard 3.5mm audio jack, which is the industry standard for audio output, so a set of headphones should work in nearly every device capable of playing audio. The exception to this is certain newer models of mobile phone, which have dropped the audio jack, and will need to use an adapter.
QWhat is a 3-button control?
AThis is terminology you'll see on some headphones meant for use with mobile phones and mp3 players - it means the headphones have a set of 3 buttons, usually on the lead or attached to the ear cups themselves. These control play/pause, volume up and volume down.

Headphone Buying Guide

Headphones are a crucial part of everyday life, and your choice of headphone is a deeply personal one. From tiny in-ear monitors to enormous studio-quality cans, headphones come in all shapes, sizes, weights and colours. For someone not sure what they should get - or what they want - it can be a daunting issue. Our guide will attempt to answer some of the most common questions about headphones and give you an good overall knowledge of them.

Types Of Headphones

Let’s start with the different types of headphones. There are many different designs, but they all boil down to 2 different types: in-ear and on-ear. In-ear headphones are normally smaller, cheaper and with lessened sound quality - they are good for travel and easy to shove in a pocket when not in use. On-ear headphones tend to be larger and more chunky, but have a far superior sound quality (and normally, a far higher price to match). Let’s take a look at the difference between them:

In-ear headphones: These are smaller headphones, means to be placed into your ear. They usually have no band, and are designed to hang down from your ears. They are two main sub-categories of in-ear headphone:

  • earbuds (which are placed in the entrance to the ear)
  • in-ear monitors (which have rubber or foam caps, and are pushed directly into the ear canal. When inserted, the the rubber expands to create a tight seal inside the ear canal, meaning outside noise is blocked out)

Earbuds are the easiest headphones to wear, though let in a lot of noise and aren’t very stable - they can easily fall out of your ears while moving (especially jogging). Monitors, on the other hand, block out a lot of noise and provide a louder overall volume - making them best for public places or loud backgrounds. However, the act of pushing the foam caps into your ears can feel awkward, and requires some trial-and-error to find the best size/shape of caps. The end result may well be worth the perseverance - monitors allow for a far better overall sound quality, with less invasive noise to ruin your music.

On-ear headphones: These types of headphones are bigger than in-ear models, and are designed with 2 speakers linked by a headband to keep them in place on your head. They are two main sub-categories of on-ear headphone:

  • on-ear headphones: these headphones sit over the entrance to the ear, directing sound into your ears. They normally have limited cushioning, but are normally light, so easy to wear for long periods. These are normally the cheapest style of large headphones, but you sacrifice the noise insulation and superior quality of over-ear models.
  • over-ear headphones: these types of headphones are larger, and actually encompass the entire ear - covering the whole ear so as to block out all other noise. This gives them excellent sound quality, but they are normally the most expensive type of headphone, due to their size and the amount of padding used to keep them comfortable pressing against your ears and head. Also, because they encompass the whole ear, many people find their ears can get uncomfortably hot and sweaty after wearing for a long time - meaning a break might be necessary every once in a while.

Over-ear headphones generally have the better sound quality, due to larger drivers and better noise insulation. However they are bulkier, more expensive, and may simply be more heavy-duty than many people need, especially if you’re just going to listen to music while you commute or at your desk. On ear headphones are lighter, and provide a good mid-point between the power of large cans, and the simple light ease of earbuds. Their quality isn’t the best though - they are very much the jack-of-all-trades of headphones. Which may be all you need!

Driver Units

Once you’ve decided the type of headphone you want, things get a bit more technical - next you want to think about driver unitss and power. Driver units are simply the part of the headphone that generates noise - they convert the audio signal into actual sound. Larger drivers mean the headphones are capable of generating more sound, making them louder. Crucially, this doesn’t mean the sound they generate will be a better quality, just that it’ll be louder. However it’s a good starting point for a pair of headphones - generally speaking better quality headphones will have larger drivers, so they have more volume and range to play with.

Unsurprisingly, on-ear headphones tend to have larger driver units, since they have a lot more space available to fill. In-ear phones generally don’t need particularly big driver units though - pushing the sound directly into your ear canal means a little goes a long way, and if you’re not careful a very loud volume can cause serious damage to your hearing.

Closed Ear vs. Open Ear

One important nuance of on-ear headphones is the choice between closed ear and open ear designs. This refers to how the cups of the headphones are designed, and how much noise insulation they give, as well as how they effect the sound of your music. Here is the main difference between the two;

Closed ear cups are solid cups that fully encompass the ear, letting no noise in or out. This makes them excellent for noise insulation, and they will not only block outside noise from disturbing your music, but will stop your music from leaking out and disturbing everyone around you. The downside is that the sound quality is slightly lessened by closed cup - it gains an echoey quality and some people feel that music sounds more dead and flat.

Open ear cups have perforated cups surrounding the driver unit, meaning that air can freely flow in and our of the headphones. This helps give the music from the cans a more natural feel - it doesn’t feel projected right into your eardrums, but instead as if it is more naturally coming from around you. However the main disadvantage is that you will have little insulation from all the noise around you - meaning loud surroundings will interfere with your music. This goes both ways - your music will also ‘leak’ more, and will be heard by people around you. Depending on your surroundings and who is around you, this might not be a beneficial thing - not everyone wants to listen to atonal screamcore death metal at 10am in a library!

Noise Cancelling

Noise cancelling technology is an important addition of on-ear headphones, and one that has improved drastically in recent years. First off, it’s important to note the difference between active noise cancelling, and passive noise insulation. Closed-cup on-ear headphones and well-fitting monitors provide noise insulation - i.e. they block external noise from reaching your ears and disturbing your music. This is passive, and depends largely on the fit of your headphones.

Active noise cancelling is far more interesting and complicated, but here’s a brief rundown. At it’s most basic, sound is a pressure wave with peaks and troughs - the exact makeup of this wave denotes both the sound and the loudness of the noise. Noise cancelling headphones use a tech known as ‘active noise control’ - they monitor the external noise coming into the headphones, and generate a pressure wave with exactly the same volume, but completely opposite peaks and troughs (known as ‘antiphase’). When these two waves combine, they effectively cancel each other out, leading to silence - a process called interference. This allows noise cancelling headphones to entirely block out all external noise, leaving you to enjoy music free of absolutely all external distractions.

While an excellent addition, there are a couple of caveats to noise cancelling headphones. First off - because of the microphones and extra tech required, it is only found in larger on-ear headphones, not earbuds or in-ear monitors. Secondly, the tech requires a sizeable power draw, meaning that noise-cancelling headphones normally require batteries (or a recharging internal battery) to function. Finally, the tech is still relatively new, and thus confined to the top-tier headphones, meaning you’re going to be paying a premium for it. However if you frequently struggle to listen to music in high-noise areas (such as the Tube or on planes), this expenditure may well be worth it to be able to hear your music again!

Wired vs. Wireless

A quick note on wired and wireless headphones. Traditionally headphones have been entirely wired - meaning the audio signal was sent from the music source to the headphones via a wire. However in recent years the rise of bluetooth and improvements in battery technology have meant wireless headphones are becoming more and more common. These headphones have an internal rechargeable battery (some still use AAs, but these are blessedly rare) and connect to the music source via bluetooth. This allows them to stream music from a phone, computer or hifi without the need for wires - meaning no getting tangled up in cables, no trapping/breaking cables and the freedom to roam away from your computer when listening to music!

There are some negatives to wireless headphones - first off, they usually come at a premium price when compared to standard wired headphones. Moreover, they need power to function - most use a rechargeable battery - which means that if the battery runs dry, you will either have to plug in a wire, or use a different pair of headphones. Battery life varies massively with wireless headphones - some will only get 5-6 hours of life before needing a recharge, while others boast a full 24 hours of use before they die. Pay close attention to the battery life, especially if you use your headphones for long journeys. Finally, wireless headphones can experience some latency - the lag between the signal being sent to the headphones, and it being heard by your ears. When listening to music, this isn’t a massive issue - a few milliseconds of lag isn’t noticeable at all. However if you are watching a movie or playing a video game, larger amounts of latency may cause the audio in your headphones to run out of sync with the video, leading to a sub-par experience. Generally though, the tech for wireless headphones has progressed enough that a good £150-200 pair of wireless headphones will serve you very well indeed!

Extra Features

Headphones come in many different shapes and sizes, and with a lot of different extra bells and whistles. Here are some of the more common additions:

Sports Headphones: these are a special subset of in-ear headphones, designed to be worn while running or working out. They push into the ear like in-ear headphones, but have a headband to keep them stable while you move. Many have extra water-resistance to protect against lots of sweat - some are even fully waterproof, meaning they can be used while swimming!

Bone Conduction: this is a very different type of headphone - in fact they don’t actually make any sound at all. Instead they conduct sound from the device to the inner ear via vibrations sent through the bones in the skull - meaning sound in heard ‘inside’ your head without any external sound actually being made. Bone conduction headphones are very rare, but used with specialist underwater headphones (such as those used for divers) or military earpieces, where it’s a benefit to make no external noise. They are also of a benefit for people with limited hearing, since they bypass much of the ear completely, and deliver sound direct to the inner ear.

Integrated Microphone: these headphones have a microphone built into the frame of the headset, meaning you can talk while wearing the headphones. This is useful for taking phonecalls while wearing your headphones, or for voice chat while playing multiplayer video games, which means you don’t need a separate microphone to pick up your voice.

Headphones Retailers, Prices and Features

Earphone Prices

The price range of headphones is from $5 to $8,646 and in total we found prices for 753 headphones. A new headphones costs on average $127 and 80% of earphones are priced between $12 and $225. The cheapest headphones that we found is the Scosche thudBUDS at only $5, and the most expensive is the B&O H4 at $8,646.

Headphones Brands - Price Range

The highest average headphones price out of all brands is B&O earphones with an average price of $8,646. B&O earphones start at $8,646 and their most expensive headphones costs $8,646.

The average price of HiFiMAN headphones is $2,679 which is the second highest average price of all earphone brands. HiFiMAN headphones start at $2,679 and their most expensive earphone costs $2,679.

Audeze headphones range in price from $80 to $2,799, and the average price of Audeze headphones is $956 which is the third highest average price of all headphones brands.

Headphones Brands - Average Ratings

We have analysed 7,516 expert reviews and 30,739 user reviews for headphones and used this data to determine the average rating for each brand of earphone. The top three headphones brands are Sony, Audio-Technica and Sennheiser. Sony has an average rating of 88%, Audio-Technica has an average rating of 88% and Sennheiser has an average rating of 82%.

Biggest Earphone Retailers

We found 1,064 current offers for headphones from eBay making it the biggest earphone retailer. That is over 3 times bigger than the second biggest retailer, Adorama for whom we found 301 current offers for headphones. The third biggest retailer is e-Global Central US with 68 current earphone offers.

When Are Most New Earphones Released?

April to May is the most common period for new earphones to be released in. If you wait until April 2021 then you might be able to get better features on your headphones. Alternatively you might be able to buy one of the current earphones cheaper in April once the latest models have been released. The biggest month last year for new earphone releases was April, with 62 new headphones released that month. In 2018 most new earphones were released in December, with 113 new earphones released that month. May was the biggest month in 2017 for new earphones, with 160 new earphones released that month.

How Fast Do Earphone Prices Drop After Release?

On average, in the first 6 months after release, earphones drop in price by 4%.

A typical new headphones costs on average $127. By waiting 6 months before buying you could save on average $5.

Weights

'Weight' denotes how heavy the headphones are, measured in grams (g).

The weights of earphones range from 0.012g to 6.3kg. The weights of the majority of headphones range from 0g to 40g. The Philips SHP250010, which currently retails for $28.36, has the heaviest weight and is a 909g earphone. The headphones with the lightest weight is the Philips SHE3905, which is a 0.012g earphone and currently retails for $11.72.

Lighter headphones will be more comfortable to wear for long periods.

Driver Sizes

The driver unit is the part of the headphone that converts the audio signal into actual sound. This attribute denotes the physical size of this driver unit, measured in millimetres.

The driver sizes of headphones range from 4mm to 195mm. The driver sizes of most headphones range from 38mm to 44mm. The earphone with the biggest driver size is the Philips TAUH202BK, which is a 195mm driver earphone and is on sale for $43.19. The earphone with the smallest driver size is the Jabra Elite Sport, which is a 5.1mm driver earphone and is priced at $39.99.

A bigger driver unit means that the headphones will be capable of generating more sound, making them louder. It doesn't necessarily mean the sound will be better quality, just louder. However it's a good starting point if you're looking for a powerful pair of headphones.

Bluetooth

The denotes whether the headphones support wireless Bluetooth communication or not.

The number of new headphones that do and are earphones which do not support Bluetooth is roughly the same. 722 headphones out of 1,590 do are earphones which support Bluetooth and 862 headphones out of 1,590 are earphones which do not support Bluetooth.

Bluetooth allows you to stream music and audio directly to the headphones without the need for wires. This makes the headphones far more convenient and easy to use, and frees you from the restriction of an audio cable.

Style

The way in which the device is worn.

Head-band is the most common style amongst new earphones. We found 804 earphones that are headphones that have a head-band style. In-ear is the second most common style amongst new headphones. We found 441 headphones that are earphones that have an in-ear style.

Type

Ear coupling describes the way in which headphones or earphones stay attached to, or inside, the ear. There are three common types of ear coupling: circumaural, supra-aural and intra-aural. Circumaural headphones enclose your ears with large pads that suppress external noise. Supra-aural headphones are typically more lightweight and sit on top of the ears with small pads. Intra-aural headphones come in two basic designs and neither style sits on the head itself. The first are ear buds, which sit just outside of the ear canal, on top of your ear lobes. The second type is actually inserted directly into the ear canal and offers some external noise suppression.

We found 741 headphones that are in-ear earphones, which makes this the most common type amongst new headphones. We found 457 earphones that are over-ear headphones, making over-ear the second most frequently found type amongst new earphones.

Which Are the Cheapest Retailers for Earphones?

The chart below helps you decide which retailer is normally cheapest for buying earphones. For each retailer it shows the total number of earphones where they currently have a market leading price. The chart below helps you decide which retailer is normally cheapest for buying headphones. For each retailer we took all of their prices and looked at what proportion of those prices where the cheapest on the market. The cheapest retailer that we found was eBay. 1,008 of their headphones prices were the cheapest that could be found anywhere.

Proportion of Headphones for Which Each Retailer is Cheapest?

Assessing how cheap each retailer is for earphones by counting the number of cheapest prices for that retailer, makes the retailers that offer the greatest number of headphones prices more likely to offer the greatest number of cheapest prices. The chart below considers the proportion of each retailer's headphones prices that are the cheapest compared to other retailers. The cheapest retailer that we found using this approach was eBay. 94.7% of their earphone prices were the cheapest that could be found anywhere.

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