The best headphones for 2024 (and why they made our list)

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Overview

a brace of bose 700 headphones against a pastel pinkish background

Best noise-cancelling headphones

Bose 700

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There are hundreds of different headphones and earbuds successful varying shapes, sizes, styles, and colors (not to mention prices). All person nan aforesaid thought astatine heart: To present high-quality audio straight into your ears. But immoderate execute this consequence truthful overmuch amended — and successful amended style — than others.

While location are plentifulness of fund headphones that will get nan occupation done, nan champion headphones require a bigger investment. That's why it's bully to cognize if your audio needs really warrant paying a higher price.

How to take nan champion headphones

If you've been connected nan hunt for a caller brace of headphones, you've apt travel crossed a fewer of nan "best" brands already: Sony, Bose, and Apple. While these brands do make value earbuds and headphones, they're acold from your only options. Don't fto nan FYP fool you into reasoning you request to driblet $350+ successful bid to get halfway decent progressive sound cancellation.

In reality, nan champion brace of headphones mostly comes down to individual preference. Here are immoderate questions you mightiness inquire yourself erstwhile weighing your choice:

  • Are you readying connected listening astatine location aliases connected nan go? If you want over-ear headphones, you mightiness for illustration ones that fold up easy successful your container and are comfortable to deterioration for agelong stretches of time.

  • If you'll beryllium wearing your headphones connected your commute aliases successful nan office, is beardown active noise cancellation a requirement?

  • How agelong do you really request nan artillery to last? Will a six-hour artillery life astatine a clip get you through, aliases do you request nan committedness of existent all-day battery?

  • Are you utilizing these headphones for casual listening, for staying focused, aliases for moving out? This mightiness mean nan quality betwixt investing successful an audio-first brand, a brace pinch apical notch ANC, aliases a brace pinch wingtips that really support your headphones successful your ears while you run.

  • What benignant of euphony do you for illustration to perceive to pinch your headphones? Are you a instrumentality of a bully and large bass line, aliases do you for illustration a much balanced tone?

  • Tired of lossless audio claims that don't cookware out? Maybe you'd for illustration to spell for a brace of wired headphones that really deliver.

These are conscionable immoderate of nan questions you tin usage to guideline your purchasing journey, but don't get overwhelmed. With each of our picks below, we've done nan investigation and testing to reply them for you, each to thief constituent you to your individual champion brace of headphones aliases earbuds.

a brace of bose 700 headphones against a pastel pinkish background

Bose 700

Best noise-cancelling headphones

Read our afloat reappraisal of nan Bose 700 headphones.

Who it's for:

Many headphones pinch progressive sound cancellation person astatine slightest 1 level of sound cancellation, positive a transparency mode, truthful you're not wholly unaware of nan world astir you successful each situation. The Bose 700s amp that up tenfold, giving you 10 different adjustable levels of ANC, positive 1 level without, for nan eventual customization experience. If you're picky astir really your ANC works, these are your headphones.

Why we picked this:

When Mashable tech newsman Alex Perry tested retired these headphones, he recovered they worked effortlessly successful aggregate large scenarios: "I've tried these retired successful nan lively Mashable office, connected nan engaged streets of New York City, and moreover successful a peculiarly noisy bar. In each scenario, I couldn't perceive much, isolated from for what I chose to perceive to."

To rhythm done nan different levels, you tin usage nan app aliases rhythm betwixt 3 favourite settings straight connected nan headphones. As they're being phased retired of Bose's lineup (the Bose QuietComfort Ultras are serving arsenic their replacement, though they only person 1 level of ANC and transparency mode), they are connected waste — you'll conscionable want to drawback them while they're still around.

black Sony WH 1000XM5s connected an orangish and pinkish background

Amazon Prime

Read our afloat reappraisal connected nan Sony WH-1000XM5 headphones.

Who it's for:

The Sony WH-1000XM5 headphones present top-notch ANC and audiophile-level sound quality, pinch an unthinkable 30-hour artillery life. Their creation offers a little costly replacement to nan AirPods Max, for those who for illustration their headphones to sound and look good.

Why we picked this:

If you're into Bose headphones but aren't wholly sold connected Sony, we're consenting to stake you'll spot thing you for illustration successful nan WH-1000XM5s.

Often, group herald Bose arsenic having nan superior ANC but Sony arsenic owning nan sound space. Deputy Reviews Editor Miller Kern decidedly noticed these headphones excelling successful nan second erstwhile she tested them out: "The sound itself is besides awesome — it’s afloat and clear, and feels for illustration situation sound. I’m a large instrumentality of powerfulness ballads (I’m not allowed to prime nan euphony astatine parties), and Brandi Carlile’s “Right connected Time” sounded for illustration it was meant to beryllium listened to connected these headphones. The vocals and instruments each sewage to shine, and nan headphones made it consciousness for illustration I was location successful nan studio. These are astir apt nan best-sounding headphones I’ve ever tried."

usb-c airpods pro

Amazon Prime

Read our afloat reappraisal of nan second-generation USB-C AirPods Pro.

Who it's for:

If portability, progressive sound cancellation, and balanced sound are what you're looking for, your hunt ends pinch nan AirPods Pro. It's not uncommon for earbuds to person progressive sound cancellation, but nan AirPods Pro present an awesome performance. Plus they're versatile — whether you for illustration to deterioration your headphones astir nan house, connected a run, aliases arsenic you're falling dormant astatine night, nan AirPods Pro fresh nan bill.

Why we picked this:

Last year, Apple yet gave their AirPods Pro a overmuch needed upgrade successful nan shape of a USB-C charger. Other than nan charging port, they're identical to nan second-gen Pros released successful 2022, which Mashable Senior Editor Stan Schroeder described as "the first brace of earbuds I'd really see taking connected an airplane (instead of my overmuch larger and clunkier over-ear headphones)." He went connected to opportunity that "In immoderate aspects, nan progressive sound cancelation was moreover amended than connected my regular drivers: B&W's fantabulous PX7 over-ear headphones."

Despite their size and enhanced ANC, nan Pro's artillery still lasts for up to six hours connected a azygous complaint and 30 hours wide pinch nan case. However, it is worthy noting that nan artillery life will noticeably diminution aft a fewer years.

white fume bose quiet comfortableness 45 headphones

Amazon Prime

Who it's for:

Over-the-ear headphones are perfect for an immersive listening acquisition pinch top-tier ANC, but they're much apt to sacrifice comfortableness successful nan process. With nan Bose QuietComfort 45 headphones, you get nan champion of some worlds — stellar audio, nary receptor fatigue.

Why we picked this:

Lead Shopping Reporter Haley Henschel uses nan Bose QuietComfort 45 connected a regular ground and praises them arsenic nan astir comfortable headphones she's ever owned. Until she recovered nan QC 45s, nan on- and over-ear cans from Bose, JBL, and Beats that she tested kept making her caput ache. "That wasn't nan lawsuit pinch nan cushiony and lightweight Bose QuietComfort 45 headphones, which consciousness unafraid but not overly snug — I tin deterioration them for an full workday, nary problem. The cherry connected apical is their awesome sound cancellation, which is simply a godsend for my eardrums erstwhile my parrot (who lives successful my office) decides to randomly scream."

Lead Shopping Reporter Bethany Allard besides recovered that nan QC 45s deterioration easy complete an full workday, moreover while she wears glasses.

ivory thumps workplace buds +

Amazon Prime

Who it's for:

If you're into earbuds pinch bully ANC but little into shelling retired $249 for those earbuds, you'll find your happy mean successful nan Beats Studio Buds +.

Why we picked this:

The AirPods Pro are great, but they're not successful everyone's budget. These Beats will tally you astir $80 little (or an moreover greater discount, if you drawback them connected sale), springiness you immoderate much leeway pinch colour options, merge conscionable arsenic good into an Apple ecosystem arsenic AirPods, person nan aforesaid artillery life arsenic AirPods, and still present beautiful bully ANC. While we didn't find them to beryllium a one-to-one acquisition during our testing — you should expect nan AirPods to artifact retired much — they were incredibly comfortable. We besides recovered them to fresh amended than AirPods, truthful if those Apple earbuds usually gaffe retired of your ears, you'll want to effort these Apple earbuds.

We do want to mention that if $169.95 is still reasonably steep, you tin besides get ANC done Amazon's Echo Buds for conscionable $119.99. They were our erstwhile fund pick, but we recovered nan Beats to person much to connection all-around.

pink thumps fresh pro connected purple background

Amazon Prime

Read our afloat reappraisal of nan Beats Fit Pro.

Who it's for:

When it comes to workout headphones, you request a brace that'll really enactment successful your ears. Motivating yourself to get done a group of push ups is difficult capable without an earbud popping out. The Beats Fit Pro earbuds are much than up to nan task, and they present exceptional artillery life, sound quality, and a fewer extras.

Why we picked this:

Earbuds designed for workout typically person immoderate benignant of wingtip to thief clasp them successful place, but those wingtips tin often compression uncomfortably connected your ears, particularly pinch longer-term use. The mini wingtip of these Beats deed nan saccharine spot — they're ample capable to supply hold, and mini capable to beryllium undetectable. Mashable tech newsman Alex Perry writes that nan wingtips "result [in] a brace of earbuds that never consciousness for illustration they're going to autumn retired and, much importantly, never intrude connected your comfort. I've worn these bad boys for six consecutive hours without immoderate problems. It's difficult to inquire for much than that."

Beyond comfort, these earbuds supply an awesome sound profile, including that heavy bass that Beats are known for. And of course, arsenic immoderate workout earbuds should be, these earbuds are sweat and water-resistant pinch an IPX4 rating.

a brace of sennheiser i.e. 300 earbuds successful achromatic laying connected a woody table

Read our afloat reappraisal connected nan Sennheiser IE 300 earbuds.

Who it's for:

If you're an audiophile fresh to put successful a brace of audio-first earbuds, we urge nan Sennheiser IE 300s. Casual listeners aliases folks who worth sound cancellation supra each other astir apt won't find this acquisition worthy it.

Why we picked this:

Sennheiser jammed a 7mm transducer and a 6Hz to 20kHz wave consequence into nan IE 300s, and nan results are "the best-sounding earbuds" that our reviewer Alex Perry has ever used. We want to beryllium clear — conscionable because these earbuds are wired doesn't make them a fund pick. As Alex puts it, "The Sennheiser IE 300s costs much than AirPods Pro contempt being wired and including small successful nan measurement of typical features. With each that successful mind, you'd expect them to sound incredible. Why other would they costs truthful much? The bully news is, yes, nan sound value present is simply a existent highlight."

Again, statement that these are wired earbuds, truthful you'll request a headphone jack (or a dongle, for nan iPhone users retired there) successful bid to listen. The fresh is comfortable, pinch respective options provided for nestling into your ears, though nan hooks tin beryllium a spot irritating.

teal skullcandy sesh evo earbuds and their case

Amazon Prime

Who's it for:

Wireless earphones don't person to costs a fortune, provided you're consenting to compromise. That's nan reasoning down a batch of Skullcandy's headphones, but particularly nan Sesh Evo earbuds. These are your earbuds if fund is astatine nan apical of your information list.

Why we picked this:

There are nary options for tweaking wave response, and surely nary dedicated app, but if you want immoderate earphones that simply conscionable work, these are worthy a look. Battery life weighs successful astatine astir 5 hours, which should beryllium bully for your regular commute and gym session. The lawsuit has 24 hours of complaint overall, but it mightiness return a while to juice nan earbuds backmost up (so don't expect nan speedy complaint you mightiness get from AirPods aliases Bose headphones).

At their afloat price, these headphones are somewhat stepped up from our erstwhile fund pick, nan Skullcandy Jib earbuds. However, they do travel pinch immoderate other features, including a built-in Tile locator you tin activate by downloading nan Tile app. They're besides regularly connected waste for astir $30, putting them squarely successful nan aforesaid value scope arsenic nan Jibs.

Note: we did not hands-on trial these earbuds, but we did take them aft extended research, including reference done galore customer reviews and comparing specs to different options.

Over nan years, we've tested retired a lot of headphones astatine Mashable. To find nan champion of nan best, and not conscionable prime what's trendy astatine nan moment, we went backmost done our reviews from erstwhile and existent tech reporters, editors, and shopping reporters, past compared our notes to what group are buying these days. As always, we did our investigation to make judge we near nary awesome headphone chromatic uncovered, and nan consequence is this database — our favourite headphones of 2024 (so far).

In making our selections, here's what we weighed:

  • Sound: Since headphones are first and foremost a measurement for you to perceive to audio, if a brace of headphones didn't sound good, they didn't make nan database — that goes for our fund pick, too.

  • Noise cancellation: These days, immoderate shape of sound cancellation is near-essential for immoderate brace of headphones. We prioritized models that characteristic coagulated sound cancellation.

  • Comfort: What's nan constituent of a awesome brace of headphones if they're excessively uncomfortable to wear?

  • Customization: Whether it beryllium for ANC levels, transparency modes, aliases touch controls, headphones that let you to set nan settings will make them consciousness for illustration they were made for you.

  • Battery life: Most wireless headphones connected nan marketplace trust connected Bluetooth connectivity, truthful having a artillery you tin trust connected for astatine slightest a fewer hours of listening clip is key.

  • Special features: When testing headphones and earbuds, we besides return into information immoderate different typical features they offer. For headphones successful nan $200-plus value range, we expect astatine slightest a fewer typical features.

You mightiness announcement that nan AirPods Max are missing from our apical picks. It's not that we don't for illustration them — successful fact, we deliberation they sound and look great. But when we reviewed them, we recovered that they didn't person a applicable retention option, they ne'er really move disconnected (thus draining nan different agelong artillery life), and are conscionable excessively costly to warrant a wholehearted recommendation. We understand if you for illustration them regardless, but personally, we deliberation location are amended options astatine little value points.

The only products that made our 2024 database that were not hands-on tested by nan Mashable unit are nan Skullcandy Sesh Evo earbuds. Skullcandy has been a budget-friendly favourite of ours successful nan past, and we recovered from scouring nan reviews and specs that they execute good successful nan supra criteria.

With our Jan. 2024 update, we besides removed nan Amazon Echo Buds arsenic our apical prime for fund ANC earbuds aft testing nan Beats Studio Buds +. Though somewhat much expensive, we recovered nan Beats connection a amended wide worth successful position of sound quality, ANC effectiveness, and wide characteristic set.

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Bethany Allard is simply a Los Angeles-based shopping newsman astatine Mashable covering beauty tech, dating, activity and relationships, and headphones. That fundamentally intends she puts her hairsbreadth done a lot, scrolls done a batch of making love apps, and rotates done a batch of different headphones. In summation to testing retired and rounding up nan champion products, she besides covers deals for Mashable, paying an particularly obsessive magnitude of attraction to Apple deals and prices. That knowledge comes successful useful erstwhile she's covering shopping holidays for illustration Prime Day and Black Friday, which she's now done for 3 years astatine Mashable.

She graduated from New York University pinch a B.A. successful Journalism and English Literature. You tin travel her connected X @betallard and scope her by email astatine [email protected]. In her free time, you'll find her playing her Switch, hanging pinch her feline Mila, aliases cooking thing caller successful her kitchen.

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