The Best Headphones in the World in 2020

For a set of headphones to be crowned the best, then they must deliver more than just exceptional sound quality. The headphones must be comfortable to wear thanks to features such as memory protein ear cushions or ergonomic design. It's also important that the headphones are robust and durable so that you can be sure that they will continue to provide you with outstanding sound for a very long time.

Added features like active noise cancellation is a huge plus too, especially if you wear your headphones in noisy environments or for travel. Waterproofing is another top feature for people who wear headphones for exercise. The price cannot be forgotten either. The best headphones will be available at a price that ensures that you get good value-for-money.

To ensure that you invest your money into the best headphones, consider this list and review, as well as the buyer's guide that follows it.

1. Bose QuietComfort 35 (Series II)

Bose QuietComfort 35 (Series II)

Bose is one of the most dependable companies when it comes to headphones. These noise-canceling headphones are perfect proof of why. The sound is balanced and remains clear at all volumes thanks to the volume-optimized EQ that is installed inside them. Bose has also packed these wireless headphones full of cutting edge technology, such as Bose Augmented Reality, which contextualizes the audio depending on where you're located.

They feature three different levels of noise-canceling technology and provide you with up to 20 hours of playtime from a single charge. A dual-microphone system allows for crystal clear phone calls, and this noise-rejecting microphone can also be used to control Alexa.

Pros:
+ Three levels of noise cancellation
+ Superb sound
+ 20 hours playtime
+ Bose AR technology
+ Dual-microphone system

Why We Liked It - Bose headphones are always of the highest quality, and this pair is exactly that. They offer outstanding sound, feature a quality microphone, and provide you with a substantial amount of playtime.

2. Beats Studio3 Wireless

Beats Studio3 Wireless

These over-ear headphones from Beats offer more than just excellent sound. They feature an ergonomic design that provides wearers with a lot of comfort. Each headphone has very soft over-ear cushions that are breathable, allowing you to wear them for prolonged periods of time while remaining comfortable.

An extended playtime of 22 hours from a single charge is another excellent feature of these headphones. If you're short of time, you can get 3 hours of playtime from a quick 10-minute charge. They include active noise cancellation, which is highly effective and will allow you to focus on the quality sound without external noises intruding over the music.

Pros:
+ Effective ANC
+ Superb sound quality
+ 22 hours of battery life
+ Quick charge function
+ Premium comfort

Why We Liked It - These headphones deliver across the board. The sound is top-notch. They are comfy to wear. And they feature highly effective ANC. They are well worth the price tag.

3. Powerbeats3 Wireless Earphones

Powerbeats3 Wireless Earphones

These wireless headphones from Beats are ideal for people who listen to music during exercise or while they're on the go. The feature water resistance and sweat resistance so that they will continue to offer you dynamic sound regardless of if you're out jogging in the rain or working up a sweat in the gym.

They are lightweight with the buds, including soft ear hooks that will give you a secure fit, even during exercise. You can pair them easily with your smartphone or media player, thanks to Bluetooth technology. A single charge provides you with a whopping 12 hours of playtime, and the 'Fast Fuel' function means that a quick 5-minute charge will offer you an hour of battery life.

Pros:
+ Comfortable and soft buds
+ Ideal for exercise
+ Water and sweat resistant
+ Lightweight
+ Dynamic sound

Why We Liked It - This lightweight, wireless headphones are very comfortable to wear, offer a secure fit, and give you dynamic sound that performs perfectly for motivational music at the gym or for listening to tunes during your daily commute.

4. Beats EP On-Ear Headphones

Beats EP On-Ear Headphones

If you're looking for new headphones for 2020, then these budget on-ear headphones from Beats are a great option. Beats are famous for their outstanding audio quality, and these headphones don't disappoint, even though they are available at a much lower price than other Beats headphones in the same category.

As they are wired headphones, then there's no need to worry about battery life. They feature a durable design that is hard-wearing thanks to the stainless steel reinforcement that's found in the headband. Not only are they robust, but they are comfortable too. The soft foam ear cushions adapt to your ears and remain comfortable during long listening sessions.

Pros:
+ Affordable price
+ Robust and durable
+ No charging necessary as they are wired
+ Top quality sound
+ Comfortable

Why We Liked It - They offer the typical high-end quality that you expect from Beats at a much lower price than other headphones that Beats sells.

5. COWIN E7 Active Noise Cancelling

COWIN E7 Active Noise Cancelling

It is rare to find such effective noise cancellation technology inside headphones in the same price range as the Cowin E7s. But Cowin is one of the best companies when it comes to providing premium quality at budget prices. Not only do they feature ANC, but they also have 40mm large aperture dynamic drivers, which are responsible for sensational sound quality that performs very well across the whole soundscape.

The low end is particularly good sounding, though, and if you're a fan of bass-heavy music then you will enjoy listening to it through these headphones. They have comfortable protein memory earpads, a high-quality microphone, and you get 30 hours of battery life from a single charge.

Pros:
+ They sound great
+ Comfortable memory protein earpads
+ Excellent value for money
+ 30 hours of playtime
+ Effective ANC

Why We Liked It - These headphones are proof that you don't need to break the bank to get excellent sound, ANC, and premium comfort. They are a great value-for-money choice.

6. Mpow 059 Bluetooth

Mpow 059 Bluetooth

The Mpow 059s are some of the best wireless headphones available in the budget price range. They feature Bluetooth 4.1 tech so that you can get a stable, secure pairing with your smartphone or media player. Inside each headphone are a CSR chip and a 40mm neodymium dynamic driver which gives you exceptional sound.

While they don't include ANC, they have been designed to offer sound isolation thanks to the around-ear design combined with the memory protein ear cushions. They can be easily folded into a portable size and then kept in the included carry case. You get 20 hours of playtime from a single charge and you can also get 2 hours of playtime from a quick 10-minute charge.

Pros:
+ Low price
+ Great sound
+ Sound isolation
+ Comfortable
+ Portable

Why We Liked It - If you want around-ear headphones with top-quality sound, profound comfort, and you want to get all this for a low price, then these might be your best option.

7. Panasonic ErgoFit In-Ear Earbud

Panasonic ErgoFit In-Ear Earbud

Panasonic is one of the best known audio equipment companies in the world. It has built an excellent reputation through the years for providing some of the best value-for-money equipment around. These buds are a super low price option for anyone seeking new headphones for 2020.

The earbuds have been designed to offer an ergonomic fit, so that you get comfort, as well as sound isolation, allowing you to be able to focus on the superb sound that the 9mm drivers deliver. With a frequency response of 20Hz to 20kHz, then you'll be able to hear the subtlest sounds in your favorite tunes. They are small, lightweight, and can easily be kept in your pocket while you're not listening to music through them

Pros:
+ Comfortable, ergonomic earbuds
+ High-quality sound
+ Extremely low price
+ Wide frequency response
+ Lightweight

Why We Liked It - Panasonic ErgoFit earbuds are no-frills headphones that deliver solid sound in an incredibly low price category.

8. OneOdio Adapter-Free

OneOdio Adapter-Free

The dynamic, balanced sound that these headphones provide makes them the best choice for DJs, audio engineers, or audiophiles who are on a budget. The top-quality sound is down to the 50mm neodymium drivers that are integrated into each headphone. As these headphones fall into the studio monitoring category, they have been designed to provide comfort even when worn for prolonged periods.

The ear cushions are made from a premium material that is soft and will adapt to the shape of your ears. They also have swiveling earcups which allow for single-ear monitoring. One of the best features of these headphones is the 9.8ft cable which gives you the freedom to roam from your turntable or mixing desk.

Pros:
+ 9.8ft cable
+ Comfortable ear cushions
+ Perfect for studio monitoring
+ 50mm neodymium drivers
+ 90° swiveling earcups

Why We Liked It - The sound quality is well-balanced, dynamic, and rich, making them ideal to be used by DJs or audio engineers in a home studio, but it is also perfect for audiophiles who appreciate the excellent sound.

9. Mpow Flame Bluetooth Headphones

Mpow Flame Bluetooth Headphones

These lightweight earbuds with soft ear hooks include 11mm dynamic drivers that deliver high-definition sound. There is also the option to turn on the Bass + function that gives a huge boost to low-end sounds. If you're seeking the best headphones for exercise, then this set might be ideal for you, as they include IPX7 waterproofing.

You also get a maximum of 9 hours of battery life from a single charge, meaning that they will keep pumping out motivational music even during a long jog or session down the gym. As these are Bluetooth headphones, then they can be easily paired with your smartphone, and the inclusion of a CVC 6.0 microphone means that you can make crystal clear phone calls even while you're out jogging in the great outdoors.

Pros:
+ IPX7 water resistance
+ Noise-cancelling microphone
+ 11mm dynamic drivers
+ 9 hours playtime
+ Ergonomic fit

Why We Liked It - These wireless headphones deliver sensational sound, feature IPX7 waterproofing, and include an excellent microphone, all at a low price, which makes them a great choice for people who like to listen to music while exercising.

10. Beats Solo3 Wireless

Beats Solo3 Wireless

The Beats name is synonymous with premium sound quality. These wireless on-ear style headphones have been tuned to provide listeners with a clear, accurate sound that performs very well right across the soundscape.

Everything about these headphones is the result of a thoughtful design process, with easy-to-use controls on the side of one headphone, an HD microphone so you can control Siri, and the inclusion of an Apple W1 chip, which is perfect for people who own devices in the Apple category.

A full charge provides you with an incredible 40 hours of battery life, but if you're short on time, you can also get 3 hours of playtime from a 5-minute charge.

Pros:
+ 40 hours playtime
+ Apple W1 chip
+ Exceptional sound quality
+ Top quality microphone
+ Pivoting ear cups

Why We Liked It - Beats is known around the world for producing some of the best headphones on the market and these pair are a good example of why. The sound quality is sensational, the ear cushions are comfortable, and the 40 hours of playtime is more than enough for most listeners.

Best Headphones Buyers Guide

Headphones come in many different styles and sizes and unless you know what you're looking for, then you run the risk of choosing headphones for 2020 that aren't the best for your needs. For one person a set of over-ear open-back headphones will be the best option, while for others headphones that fall in the closed-back category will be a better choice.

But finding the best headphones doesn't have to be hard. Now that you've read the review of the top ten, consider this buyer's guide which will explain what features you should be looking out for.

Sound Quality

Sound is the number one feature of the best headphones and it is something that you need to consider above all else. The key to good sound is the driver unit that is fitted inside each headphone. Large headphones - such as over-ear headphones - have a lot of space to fit in large drivers. You will find that they can have anything from a 40mm to a 60mm driver unit inside each headphone.

Of course, if you choose in-ear headphones, then there is less space for the driver unit to be fitted. There is a wide range of driver types. The most common driver unit will feature neodymium rare earth magnets. Less common are planar magnetic headphones which provide you with the best quality sound but cost a lot more money than standard headphones.

The best sounding headphones should deliver across the sound spectrum, performing just as accurately on the low end as well as the mids and highs. If you are unsure of the quality of sound offered by a set of headphones, then read a review to see what experts who have listened through the headphones say about the quality of sound.

Comfort

After the sound, the most important feature of the best headphones is the comfort that they provide. If you are choosing on-ear, around-ear, or over-ear headphones then you need to ensure that they have ear cushions that are made from a soft, breathable material.

A memory protein is a common material that will adapt to your ears and ensure comfort during long listening sessions. Ergonomic design is also important for providing you with comfort, especially if they feature earbuds rather than earpads.

Wireless or Wired Headphones

This is a matter of preference. For some people, the freedom that wireless brings is worth the drawbacks that come with needing to recharge the battery and having to pair through Bluetooth. If you do go for the wireless option, then make sure to check what playtime is offered from a full charge. The last thing you want is to be in the middle of a jog and for your music to turn to silence.

A quick-charge function is something you should look out for if you do go for the wireless option, as this will allow you to get a significant amount of battery life from a 5 or 10-minute charge. There are some amazing wired options around too, though, like the Sennheiser HD headset, which proves that it's sometimes worth having a cable as you get an improved quality of sound.

Noise Cancellation

Active noise-canceling headphones have become increasingly popular over the last few decades, with Bose being the most famous manufacturer of this type of headphone. If you want to have the option to completely eradicate unwanted noise while you're commuting, traveling, or simply listening to music in public, then noise cancellation must be considered. It comes at a cost but it is well worth the investment.

Open-Back or Closed-Back

An open-back headphone will have gaps in the back of it that allow air to pass through the headphone. This reduces the chance of any pressure being built up and as a result, it provides you with natural sound.

Audio engineers tend to choose this type of headphone because of the improved audio quality, but it does have drawbacks, as the open back also allows sound to leak into the headphone, meaning that they are best-suited to quiet environments - such as a recording studio. A closed-back headphone is a better option for anyone who listens to music in public or in an environment where sound could leak in.

Water Resistance

If you like to listen to music while you're out on a jog or while you workout at the gym, then it's a good option to make sure that you choose headphones that have some form of water resistance. Ideally, you want IPX7 waterproofing which will ensure that rain or sweat will not cause the headphone to short and stop working.

What are the best headphones for air travel?

Amar Bose - the founder of the Bose Corporation - created ANC with the original aim for it to be used during air travel. He had wanted to find a way for the ambient noise that's produced by the plane's engines to be counteracted so that an air passenger would be able to enjoy listening to music without the distracting roar of the engine overpowering the music. Active noise-canceling headphones are still the best option to use during air travel for this reason.

Expert Tip

Focusing on sound is, of course, the number one priority when it comes to choosing your next set of headphones. But do not ignore comfort. It doesn't matter that you're able to hear your music perfectly if you're in constant discomfort because of hard or unventilated ear cushions.

Did you know?

Sennheiser isn't just the manufacturer of the popular Sennheiser HD headset. It also makes some of the best quality shotgun microphones in the world. In fact, Sennheiser microphones are so good at picking up audio that the Stasi used them as listening devices in East Germany prior to the fall of the Berlin wall.

Conclusion

There are some outstanding headphones on the market. The best in the world will provide you with an enormous amount of comfort, will include advanced, large drivers that deliver exceptional sound, and will be loaded with loads of great features such as a noise-isolating CVC microphone which can be used to control Siri or Alexa. And - if they are wireless - then they will also give you a huge amount of playtime from a single charge, as well as the ability to get a few hours of battery life from a quick charge.

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