We all need to drown the world out sometimes. If you don't have a sensory deprivation tank at home, headphones will have to do.
It's easy to find a basic pair of headphones for $20 or so at your local drug store. But because they're usually made of the cheapest material possible, you can expect those headphones to break in about a month — and the sound to be subpar while they actually do work. That's why it's worth it to spend a little more money on a pair of headphones that sound great and will last for a while.
Before buying new headphones or earbuds, it's important to know what your main reason for using them will be. Are you the sort of audiophile who wants a high-end pair so you can appreciate every single note of Steely Dan's Aja? Or do you prioritize durability and sweat resistance for your workouts? Maybe you need headphones to make your telecommuting job easier, or you're a musician yourself and you need a pair to help you mix your latest mixtape.
Whatever your audio needs are, there's a set of headphones or earbuds just for you. To help you figure out what you should be listening with, we asked experts what top headphones of 2023 they recommend as part of our ongoing product recommendation series.
The Best Headphones for Working From Home
Cubitt Headphones - Best Overall
Experience the epitome of wireless audio with Cubitt Headphones, a harmonious blend of cutting-edge technology and ergonomic design that delivers an unparalleled audio experience. Powered by Bluetooth 5.0, these headphones offer seamless connectivity, rapid pairing, and rock-solid stability for uninterrupted music enjoyment.
Indulge in lightweight comfort and HiFi sound quality. The ergonomic design ensures a snug fit, enhanced by three different ear tip sizes that guarantee hours of luxurious wear. Immerse yourself in a world of CD-like audio quality, thanks to the HD rendering technology that delivers crystal-clear trebles and a well-balanced bass, giving you an exceptional audio journey.
Never miss a beat with an impressive playtime of up to 30 hours. On a single charge, these true wireless earbuds offer 4-8 hours of playtime, depending on the volume level. The mini portable charging case provides a quick one-hour charge, with the capacity to recharge your earbuds three times, ensuring you stay connected to your music all day long. All these features and more make these headphones the best overall on the list.
- Bluetooth 5.0 technology for seamless connectivity
- Ergonomic design and multiple ear tip sizes for comfort
- HiFi sound quality with HD rendering technology
- Can be uncomfortable after a few hours of use
Crave Headphones - Best Overall
Dive into a world of exceptional audio with the Crave Headphones, where high-fidelity sound meets seamless Bluetooth connectivity for a transcendent listening journey. These premium in-ear earbuds redefine your auditory expectations, delivering brilliant clarity, immersive stereo-quality sound, and a depth of bass that resonates through every note.
Stay connected and hands-free with the built-in microphone, an indispensable feature for those on the move. Take or make calls effortlessly without disrupting your routine or reaching for your phone. Experience uninterrupted conversations and maintain your rhythm with these Bluetooth earphones.
Designed to complement your active lifestyle, the Crave Headphones are tailored for fitness enthusiasts. With a water and sweat-resistant rating, these in-ear headphones remain securely in place during rigorous workouts, runs, and cycling sessions. Say goodbye to distractions as you immerse yourself in your favorite music or podcasts with these best overall headphones.
- High-fidelity sound with rich, deep bass
- Built-in microphone for seamless calls
- Water and sweat-resistant for active lifestyles
- Limited color options
TREBLAB Headphones - Best Overall
Step into a realm of tranquility with the TREBLAB Headphones, featuring revolutionary T-Quiet Active Noise Cancelling technology that elevates your auditory experience to a new echelon. Dive into your favorite tracks and workouts without the interference of external distractions, creating a personal oasis of sound.
Embrace wireless freedom with the best Bluetooth workout headphones boasting Bluetooth 5.0 & aptX codec. Immerse yourself in a high-end listening journey, whether you're hitting the gym or out and about. These headphones are your ultimate fitness companions, equipped with an IPX4 water-resistant and sweatproof design, ensuring they withstand even the most intense fitness sessions.
Unleash the power of uninterrupted playtime with up to 35 hours of music bliss. Quick charge technology lets you get back to your tunes in just three hours, minimizing downtime and maximizing musical enjoyment. Indulge in supreme comfort that moves with you. The TREBLAB Headphones are meticulously crafted from premium, ultra-soft materials that caress your skin and make your listening experience even more enjoyable. All these features and more make these headphones our top pick on this list.
- IPX4 water-resistant and sweatproof for intense workouts
- Up to 35 hours of playtime and quick charging capability
- Premium comfort with skin-friendly materials and swivel ear-cups
- Little expensive
- Not much customizability
Turonic Headphones - Best Overall
Immerse yourself in pristine sound and seamless connectivity with the Turonic Headphones, a fusion of advanced technology and unparalleled comfort designed to enhance your active lifestyle. Boasting 11 mm high-quality speakers, these Bluetooth running earbuds deliver an exceptional music experience. With Bluetooth 5.0, enjoy a stable connection spanning up to 33 feet, ensuring your music stays with you every step of the way.
Experience maximum comfort during your workouts with the ultra-light and waterproof earbuds, weighing just 0.33 ounces. each. The flexible ear hooks and a range of ear tips in different sizes adapt effortlessly to your ear shape, providing a secure and comfortable fit that enhances your performance.
Never miss a beat with extended playtime. These workout headphones offer an impressive nine hours of continuous music on a single battery charge. With the included charging case, enjoy an astonishing 45 hours of uninterrupted tunes. Quick charging these powerful, best overall headphones in just two hours ensures your music is ready whenever you are.
- High-quality sound with 11 mm speakers and Bluetooth 5.0
- Ultra-light and waterproof for maximum comfort and durability
- Extended playtime up to nine hours
- Sometimes has connection problems
List Price: $69.95
If you work from home and struggle to hear your colleagues over Zoom, then Yaniv Masjedi, a tech expert and CEO of the Scottsdale-based telecommunications company Nextiva, recommends Microsoft LifeChat LX-6000 — especially if you're on a budget.
He says the pair "offers the best value for money for a noise-canceling headphone to improve call quality. This comfortable headphone boasts a 270-degree flexible microphone that users can adjust to match their preferred ergonomic set-up."
"LifeChat also has accessible inline controls that make it easy to adjust volume, mute your mic, and it can even tell callers your call availability so that you won’t get disturbed if you’re busy," he says. "Although its call quality is not comparable with high-end products at the $150 range, its value for money is the best among other options I’ve encountered."
- Outstanding sound quality for the price
- Long cord provides greater versatility
- Compact, lightweight design
- Good fidelity and isolation with comfortable earpieces
- Noise-canceling circuitry creates a high noise floor
- Not suitable for recording podcasts or videos
List Price: $399.95
The thing about working from home is that sometimes those virtual meetings go on for hours. If that's the case for you, you'll want a pair that is both comfortable and won't cause ear fatigue. (Which is usually the result of design issues or headphones with too much energy in the higher frequencies.)
Antti Alatalo is the CEO & Founder of Smart Watches 4 U, a company that reviews and compares the latest smartwatches. "My staff works remotely, and I'm based out of Lapland, Finland," he notes. "For Zoom virtual conferences, I recommend the Sennheiser Momentum 3. This noise-canceling headphone works well as a Bluetooth headset when taking calls."
He adds that "what I really like about it are the padded ear cups, which are stitched from sheep leather. They're amazingly comfortable, and I can keep the headphone on for hours without having to constantly readjust it or feel like the headset is squishing my head."
- Compatibility with Bluetooth, USB-C or 3.5mm
- Round carrying case included for portability
- Great depth at mid-bass and sub-bass levels
- Comfortable to wear for long periods of time
- Comfort may be affected by wearing glasses
- AUX cable could be of better quality
The Best Earbuds Overall
List Price: $249.00
Maybe you've had your eye on Apple AirPods for a while. If you're worried they won't stay in place during a run or won't give you the sensation a traditional headphone would, then Kells McPhillips, a staff writer for the wellness and self-care resource Well+Good, says not to worry.
"Every time I slip my AirPod Pros in my ears before a run, I can close my eyes and almost imagine that I’m about to go screaming down a country road at 100 miles per hour in a Maserati blasting Avril Lavigne or Lizzo or Florence and the Machine," she says. "The sound quality and noise cancellation features allow the music to take over your eardrums in a way that can only be described as euphoric. And since so much of my love of running revolves around my more pronounced love of listening to music while running, it’s a feeling that can’t be beat. It never gets old."
- Easy to set up with Apple devices
- Included silicone tips offer a secure fit
- Battery life of four to six hours
- Noise cancellation mode delivers powerful bass output
- Limited sound quality compared to full-size headphones
- Manual reconnection is needed for switching devices
The Best Wireless Headphones for Running and Working out
List Price: $249.95
If you're an avid jogger, you'll need a pair of headphones that will give you an energizing beat, and that can withstand the bumps and jostling that comes with running. Lisa Arlington is the Westminster, Colorado-based founder of Giftsnerd and "a Fitness Enthusiast who runs 2-3 km every day with headphones on."
She says, "The Beats can never be beaten by any earbuds or headphones when it comes to running and gyming. They are truly wireless headphones with anchoring hooks. These are the powerhouse that crushes their predecessors when it comes to the quality of sound and security of fit." She adds that "it has a great battery timing of 9 hours per a few minutes charge. The security grip is so good that it is impossible to dislodge from ears accidentally."
- Fast battery charging time
- Class 1 Bluetooth technology provides reliable range
- Sweat and water-resistant construction
- Secure fit design, including ear hooks
- Charging case may be a bit bulky
- Occasional pairing issues with Windows devices
List Price: $349.99
If you take your fitness soundtrack seriously (or you just really want to make sure you can drown out all the grunting weightlifters at your gym), then it might be worth it to spend more on a top-flight pair, like the Sony over-ear WH-1000XM4.
These headphones have many of the same features as the older XM3 — with a foldable design, 30-hour battery life and only a 10-minute charge to get 5 hours worth of playback — with a few improvements. The upgrades to the XM4s include multi-device connection, wearing detection, and superior noise-canceling capability.
"The Sony WH-1000XM3 is an incredible product with superb sound effects and is comfortable while wearing. The headphones have been awarded two times for the best noise-canceling headphones in T3 Awards," says Andrea Paul, a Sarasota-based medical doctor as the founder & CEO of Health Media Experts. "They are light in weight with soft ear-cups that makes them comfortable in use. It has a brilliant sound quality that makes it easy to listen to others while you are in a crowd."
- Great sound quality for all Bluetooth profiles
- Battery life of up to 20 hours
- Automatic voice detection to pause music
- Soft and plush ear pads
- Voice detection can be a little sensitive
- Somewhat complicated to set up
The Best Cheap Headphones for Music Fans
List Price: $59.99
Patrick Hosken is a music journalist and an editor at MTV News. As such, he takes his headphones very seriously. "Sometime in 2019, I picked up a pair of over-ear headphones, and they really changed the game for me. It’s embarrassing how long I, a music journalist, went without some really nice noise-canceling (and comfortable) headphones," he says.
"When I got these, it felt like a missing piece. From the reviews I’ve read, the sound quality is 'good,' compared to the 'great' caliber of your Sony and Bose offerings, but I wouldn’t know the difference. They’re Bluetooth and wireless, which made them ideal for the subway, when I used to ride it, and for tuning out office chatter."
- Dependable physical buttons rather than touch controls
- Memory foam ear pads for comfort
- Optional bass boost setting
- Reliable sound quality for an affordable price
- Not great at canceling out talking
- Not suitable for music production
The Best Headphones for Traveling
List Price: $59.99
If your job or lifestyle entails a lot of plane time, then Max Harland, the Bangkok-based CEO of the online oral hygiene resource Dentaly, has a recommendation for you.
"Headphones meant for traveling need to have two features: noise-cancellation abilities and lightweight mass. The JBL TUNE 600BTN hits the checklist for both categories without needing to spend above $100. It can help promote sleep and relaxation despite the physical toll of traveling. Its active noise-canceling features are comparable with high-end products," he says. "The best part is it is Bluetooth-capable with a 16-hour battery life, which means that you can travel without restricted movements because of hanging wires."
- Lightweight and comfortable to wear
- Noise cancellation effectively reduces ambient noise
- Subtle yet stylish design
- Good sound quality and bass response
- Construction isn’t foldable
- No app support
The Best Headphones for Audio Engineers and Meditators
List Price: $169.00
You've got to appreciate a device that can win the trust of two notoriously tough crowds: audio engineers and people who devoutly practice meditation. But that's just one of the selling points of the Audio Technica ATH-M50x, according to Jason VanDevere, Akron-based CEO of Goal Crazy Planners, an e-commerce company that sells goal planners and journals.
"I believe meditation can be an invaluable part of setting goals and changing your thought patterns," he says. He likes the Audio Technica because it is "the headphone used by audio mixers and studio technicians for reproducing sound as it is, with zero coloring. The bass is also nicely balanced and not too overpowering. This makes it wonderful for meditation sessions if you're listening to binaural beats or other brainwave entrainment audios."
VanDevere adds, "The headphones are also very lightweight and can be worn comfortably for long periods of time. This makes it ideal for longer meditation sessions or even sleep if you wish to listen to subliminal audio as you drift off."
- Metal construction for added durability
- Balanced and accurate sound profile
- Comfortably fits ears with no irritation
- Tuning capabilities when connected to an amplifier
- No active noise cancellation
- Not ideal for gaming
Why Trust Us
Our commitment to the consumer begins with product selection and ends with the last word we write in each article. Each pair of headphones is carefully vetted quantitatively through star ratings and the number of reviews qualitatively through careful examination of reviews and the features each one has to offer. Leveraging our team of bargain hunters, we’re also always sure to keep your budget in mind while we find the best headphones on the market. Our team of experts is dedicated to accurately depicting the pros and cons of each pair of headphones, translating technical product specifications into information you can understand. Our goal is to help you get the finest audio quality and listening experience that money can buy.