We have reviewed a plethora of headphones, examined and rated them for their abilities in recent months, in this article we have summarized to surmise the 10 best headphones in 2020.
We have rounded-up the cream of the crop, each has been chosen for specific reasons. The best headphones can be categorized in a number of fashions.
The idea of what is best can often be subjective. Some we have selected based on the premium nature of their components and others based on their audio abilities, better still some are an idyllic blend of the two criteria.
Those which have made the cut, have had their strong points highlighted in easy to grasp terms and we have provided a short buyers guide to divulge the necessary requirements to look out for if you are on the hunt for an impressive new pair.
Related: Headphones Under $30
Table of Contents
- View The Best Headphones Below
- 1. Sony WH1000XM3 Wireless Industry Leading Noise Canceling
- 2. Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Professional Studio Monitor
- 3. Bose SoundSport Wireless Headphones
- 4. Bose QuietComfort 35 (Series II) Wireless Headphones
- 5. Apple EarPods with Lightning Connector
- 6. Mpow 059 Bluetooth Headphones Over Ear
- 7. Sony Noise Canceling Headphones
- 8. Photive BTH3 Over-The-Ear Wireless Bluetooth Headphones
- 9. Sony MDR7506 Professional Large Diaphragm Headphones
- 10. Sennheiser PXC 550 Wireless
- Headphone Buyers Guide
- LC diaphragms.
- Best noise-canceling in their class.
- Rapid recharge option and impressive battery life.
- Larger driver cones.
- Deep accurate bass response
- Extended frequencies for live monitoring
View The Best Headphones Below
1. Sony WH1000XM3 Wireless Industry Leading Noise Canceling
Opening our top-ten list today is a wireless pair with acclaimed audio, recently deemed a leading industry set of headphones.
They feature 40mm drivers with liquid crystal diaphragms, which react rapidly and dynamically to provide a perfect response. They are bestowed with 32-bit audio signal processing within their advanced circuitry as well, which makes them high resolution compatible.
The audio is dynamically balanced, layered and textured with great definition throughout the wide range of frequency response. The clarity is first-rate, as they are engineered with the best signal-to-noise ratio in their class. The noise-canceling technology instilled is impeccable and doesn't drain the battery too heavily.
They benefit from a rapid recharge, and just 10 minutes of charging enables user to listen for up to 5 hours at a time. A full charge can provide around 30 hours, depending on activities.
They are suitably comfortable to wear for extended periods as they have had a new ergonomic redesign in the headband department (this is the 3rd model refined and upgraded), and have a slimmer profile and lighter weight than before.
Their wireless capabilities along with their integrated microphone, open up a range of mod cons to users in conjunction with the Sony I headphone App. Users can sculpt their listening experience to their preferences via the App which controls the onboard Smart listening feature by Adaptive Sound Control, this allows for additional control over pressure levels, ambiance and atmospheric equalization on top of your traditional listening parameters. They are also Alexa compatible and of course, provide hands-free calling.
+ LC diaphragms.
+ Best noise-canceling in their class.
+ Rapid recharge option and impressive battery life.
Why We Liked It - They are a real pinnacle production, they serve-up sublime audio with great clarity. We love the rapid recharge and App-assisted personal optimization.
2. Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Professional Studio Monitor
Now we are going to look at something a little less rich, but just as highly praised, another critically acclaimed model from Audio-Technica, which are priced below half the asking price of the superb Sony set we started with.
They are a professional quality studio monitoring set of headphones. They are slightly larger in size than the Sony set at 45mm in diameter, this makes their bass response a little better, as they have a little more surface area to work with given that they are large-aperture drivers.
Whilst they don't boast cutting edge LC diaphragms they are constructed with some premium material components, namely their rare earth magnets and prodigious voice coils which have been clad with copper.
They have an extensive frequency response and range, making them ideal for use in a studio and are designed with long listening sessions in mind. They feature circumaural ear-cups which are able to swivel 90 degrees for comfortable listening and convenient on-off motion which won't cause any wear and tear. They have been cushioned with professional-grade ear-pads and the headband is also coated as well.
The cord is detachable and you get a choice of straight or coiled to choose between, coiled is ideal for studio use as it is less prone to tangling whilst you work. They are collapsible and come with a storage case too.
+ Larger driver cones.
+ Deep accurate bass response
+ Extended frequencies for live monitoring
Why We Liked It - The accuracy and clarity is astounding, they are a slightly older model so you can also save yourselves a fair few bucks to boot.
3. Bose SoundSport Wireless Headphones
Now we are going to review 2 entries from Bose Sound the first of which are their awesome SoundSport model which are a wonderful wireless workout headphone option with excellent abilities. These sports headphones are an earbud option which provide an industry leading level of quality.
They have comfortable 'exclusive StayHere' tips that stay securely in place aided by their economical design with a flexible auricle fin, ensuring they stay in place during rigorous activities.
They feature premium drivers with high-end components which account for their higher price tag when compared to inferior models. These actually retail for the same price as the Audio-Technica studio monitoring over-ear set, which seems steep for a set of earbuds but the level of audio quality is pretty much second to none.
They are IPX rated, and the internal electrical components are sealed to keep them sweat resistant as well as weatherproof, ideal for those who jog or run.
They stay together via their linking cord which also allows them to angle around the neck, when not in use. They have a built-in mic which is engineered to work with the latest noise cancellation technology and can be controlled via a tiny inline mic and volume control.
They run on premium lithium-ion batteries which provide up to 6 hours listening for every full recharge.
+ StayHere tips.
+ Sweat proof.
+ Next-level audio.
Why We Liked It - They deliver dynamically balances stereo audio which is once again critically acclaimed. They are a clear front-runner in the category for best workout headphones.
4. Bose QuietComfort 35 (Series II) Wireless Headphones
This next set are another wireless option from one of Bose's most popular series, they are a second iteration which means that you the buyer can reap all the rewards of the refined model.
The Bose quiet comfort series was built to deliver balanced audio free of outside interference, they are closed back and fully immersive. They first caught our attention when we were seeking out suitably priced gaming headphone options.
The built-in noise cancellation is something else with these bad-boys, they feature a triple-level method which provides real-world audio deprivation.
This drowns out background ambiance entirely and lends to a life-like listening experience in the game. They are not actually marketed specifically towards gamers but their dual noise rejection mic integration gives them an edge over other audio headsets.
They are wireless and lag free, they can stream from Android devices, and are Alexa compatible with access to the mic at the simple touch of a button. Their rechargeable battery capably provides 20 hours of wireless listening and around double that if you use the optional wire, which is included.
+ Lag free wireless headphones.
+ Award winning noise cancellation.
+ Luxurious level of comfort.
+ High end components.
Why We Liked It - They provide some of the best audio quality around, they are decked out in high-grade luxury materials (which are skin-friendly too) to make them suitable for extensive listening periods.
5. Apple EarPods with Lightning Connector
Next up we have our best cheap everyday earbuds option, which are very aptly, an Apple branded set that ring-in below the thirty dollar mark. They make for a great go-to headphone set, and really set the industry standard when they were first released, paving the way for some of the more premium pairs available for a heavier investment.
They have a typical, well-balanced speaker array, with a decent frequency response packed within an ergonomically functioning earbud design, intended to keep the tips in place. They are tapered for a better fit than traditional circular sets.
They feature a good quality integrated microphone, with current noise-cancellation processing engineered into their circuitry, and calls can be effortlessly answered with the quick, convenient pinch of a cord.
They have a Lightning connector to provide better signal fidelity and are compatible with iPod touch, iPads, and iPhones, supporting iOS 10 and higher.
+ Noise cancellation and hands-free abilities.
+ Cheap replacement set for iPod touch, iPads, and iPhones.
+ Lightning connection.
6. Mpow 059 Bluetooth Headphones Over Ear
This set actually kick-started our review section in our 10 Best Bluetooth Headphones Under $50 in 2020 article and have made our list today as the best affordable over-head, on-ear option.
Despite being a slightly older edition, they feature many notable assets and still maintain a current edge among their competition. They are accessibly priced, and are available in a range of colors and offer good value for money.
They are of a closed-cup design which conveniently fold-away making them a compact choice for traveling with.
They are well-designed and utilize durable stainless steel sliders. The headband has an underside foam cushion as do the ear cups themselves. The cups are topped with a specially developed memory-protein leather which is less susceptible to over-heating.
They feature large 40mm cones and neodymium functioning drivers. They are equipped with an up to date CSR chip and the bass has been optimized to provide deeper audio with dynamic details.
They are closed-back, which cancels out background noise whilst immersing the listeners in their audio. They provide roughly 20 hours of audio play per full charge.
+ Durable fold-away design.
+ Closed back, on-ear, immersive listening.
+ High performance drivers
+ Bass optimization.
+ Skin-friendly material choices.
Why We Liked It - We like their fold-away design which stores conveniently and they have clearly been designed with a lot of attention to detail.
7. Sony Noise Canceling Headphones
We are heading back over to Sony for quick look at the 2017 edition of the Stunning WH1000 model we opened our article with. Now whilst it doesn't offer up much more in terms of its abilities we feel the newest generation is priced a little out of reach for the average Joe and have included it in our seventh spot as it is retails for a little less and still sports most of the merits of the newer model.
So first, lets dish out the differences; this model is marginally less compact as they have a larger profile than the new slimline set. They are actually much lighter weight despite the larger ear-cup dimensions, this is because they feature a little more plastic than the superior set.
The diaphragms are not liquid crystal based but they are still highly responsive. This older model features D SEE HX tech which restores quality lost by compression and LDAC tech to transfer data more efficiently than standard Bluetooth devices.
Aside from their Aesthetics, a little tech tweaking, and some material choices, they serve up the same top-class audio with pristine clarity as they harbor the same high-end industry-leading noise cancellation processing and high-performance dynamically balanced drivers.
Other benefits which they share with their newer edition include, App-assisted EQ, Alexa compatibility and Quick charge (10 min=10 hours, and a full charge will last around 30 hours).
+ Award winning noise cancellation.
+ Quick charge.
+ App-based EQ control.
Why We Liked It - They are a slightly more accessible version of one of the most superior sets on the market. They are endowed with award winning noise cancellation technology and boast a variety of mod cons which make them a premium purchase.
8. Photive BTH3 Over-The-Ear Wireless Bluetooth Headphones
The BTH3 model from Photive earn them selves an entry in todays reviews because they are one of the most affordably priced over-ear options which still deliver premium quality sound.
Their external fabrication is a little cheaper, in terms of the materials used in the construction of the parts, for example the cushion is no match for the more luxurious models we have perused, but they are none-the-less durable, and the driver components and internal circuitry have not been sacrificed.
They feature finely-tuned large 40mm drivers which has great balance between the bass and treble spectrum. The audio is crisp and they are one of the better sets in this comfortable price region.
They come with an optional 3.5mm cord but are blessed with modern Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity (which capably streams from 30 feet) and have one of the latest CSR chips on board. The pair easily without a code and are easy to control via the on-board, easy-access, ear-cup mounted controls. The lithium ion battery provides around 12 hours of streaming use.
+ Premium audio in an inexpensive package.
+ Decent battery life.
+ Convenient controls.
Why We Liked It - Whilst the bass is impressive, we hold the mid-range detail of this set in high esteem. They sound fantastic compared directly to similarly priced headphones and offer great value for money.
9. Sony MDR7506 Professional Large Diaphragm Headphones
In penultimate place today we have our third and final Sony set which are seated in the middle of our lowest and highest priced pairs.
They are intended to be used as reference headphones and their attention to detail is very crisp and distinct. They accurately produce audio true to the original signals and are constructed with long mixing sessions in mind. They feature large 40mm PET diaphragms driven by neodymium magnets and provide high fidelity listening.
They are a closed ear set ideal for critical listening, and they are adorned with cushy padded ear-cups and a generously comfortable headband. The cups have a good range of motion for additional adjustable comfort whilst you work.
They have a coiled cord which as previously hinted at is often preferable in a studio situation and can be a more durable solution long-term.
They can fold-up and come with a carry bag for transportation and storage when not in use. The connections are gold for better a reliable and stable signal transmission and the unimatch plug means they can be used for ¼” and 1/8” applications.
+ Large diaphragm.
+ Affordable high-quality reference set.
+ Comfortable for long periods.
+ Coiled wire with interchangeable connector.
Why We Liked It - They are a sensible middle of the range solution which provide audio pristine enough for critical listening ideal for starter home studio referencing ad monitoring without a heavy investment.
10. Sennheiser PXC 550 Wireless
We are rounding up our reviews with a superb set from Sennheiser, who are no strangers to the audio electronic industry. They were in fact the creators of the first ever noise canceling headphones first developed for Lufthansa Airline in 1984.
The PCX550 wireless set offers up cutting edge NoiseGard adaptive noise cancellation, which is some of the most advanced cancellation engineered to date. They have a bountiful battery life of 30 hours and are super comfortable to wear for hours on end.
They feature an ergonomic design which is very robust yet flexible. The ear-cups can rotate freely and the headband and ear-cup cushions are considerably more plush than their competitors and covered with high-end advanced textiles developed firstly for fitness wear. This allows them to be worn for a long time without overheating or sweating, and also means the sound pressure levels aren't intense or ear-damaging.
They are donned with formidable drivers and advanced on-board signal processing and when used via a USB will act as a sound card upgrade to your computer. They feature intuitive touch-pad controls and a great in-built microphone for voice calls.
+ Rotating cups.
+ Plush breathable comfort.
+ Ergonomic design.
+ High-end audio quality.
+ Great battery life.
Why We Liked It - They are an exemplary model with a lot to offer that undercut and outperform many of their competitors
Headphone Buyers Guide
Today's buyer's guide is very short as we have essentially hand-picked the top headphones from some of our past reviews and each has merits in their individual category.
What To Look For When Buying Headphones
If you are looking for audio quality, most over-ear options will provide immersive sound. They have bigger cone surface areas and can provide greater detail.
If your budget permits there are some great sets available which provide high definition audio. If they are intended to be worn for long periods choose something with a high level of comfort.
If you are looking for a durable set, opt for something above the $50 dollar mark avoid plastic, and if you are looking for a wired set try something detachable as where the wire meets is often where the wear and tear lies.
If you are looking to workout, earbuds are ultimately the way to go, find a wireless set as they are less cumbersome and we suggest checking the waterproof rating to keep them weather and sweat resistant, ideal for your needs.
If you are shopping on a lower budget, choose a set which has the best driver performance you can afford.
If bass holds a firm place in your heart, seek a set which has been optimized or offer a range of equalization adjustments.
Once you know what set you are after feel free to browse our extensive range of headphone articles for each category.
Finding a superb set of headphones is no tough task if your budget is ample enough to explore the premium models. We have reviewed a range of different headphones which we think accurately represent the best of what is available in each designated category.
How you are going to use your headphones is really the main factor which will determine the type of headphone you are looking for. Knowing how to read a set of specs and sift through the info to know what they truly provide is really half the battle.
We have a tonne of speaker articles archived each with a buyers guide we hope helps decipher the details, and translate the jargon into something more digestible to help you with your decisions.
All of those we have highlighted here are at the top of their game in their intended fields of function and we have tried to keep affordability as a key criterion as well, but a bigger budget often comes with a tonne of rewards.
Did you Know
Beyerdynamic make some of the best critical listening headphones on the market we didn't give them a spot here because we recently dedicated them an entire article which you can find Here.
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