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The Absolutely Best Headphones in 2021

Last updated: 5 days ago
10 min read

If you’re looking for the absolute best headphones in 2021, these are it.

Get the latest best headphones for your needs that will satisfy your every need.

This is a list of headphones that are absolute winners in their category because of their latest technology, useful features, fantastic sound and comfort, and overall great performance.

These are the best for different needs. Some people want high-end, some affordable, some mid-range and some cheap. We’re sure you can find something for you as well.

And, since we have limited space on the list, we focused on the best headphone picks for most people.

You can probably find better, higher-end models out there for more money. We tried staying under $300 and in most cases recommend more affordable headphones.

So, if you want something more specific, you can find a way to get to the related guides from here, so you get exactly what you want.

Rating Price Connection Type Noise cancelling More info
Sony WH-1000XM4 Best overall
Sony WH1000XM3 wireless headphones
4.7
$$$$$$ ($300-$500)
Bluetooth & wired (3.5mm)
Over-ear, closed-back
checkmarkcheckmark
Apple AirPods Max Best Apple
Apple AirPods Max wireless headphones
4.5
$$$$$$$ ($500+)
Bluetooth
Over-ear, closed-back
checkmarkcheckmark
4.3
$$$$$ ($200-$300)
Bluetooth
True wireless, closed-back
checkmarkcheckmark
4.8
$$$$$ ($200-$300)
Bluetooth
True wireless, closed-back
checkmarkcheckmark
4.5
$$$$$ ($200-$300)
Bluetooth
True wireless, closed-back
checkmarkcheckmark
Jabra Elite Active 75t Best for sports
Jabra Elite Active 75t
4.3
$$$$ ($120-$200)
Bluetooth
True wireless, closed-back
crosscross
4.6
$$$$ ($120-$200)
Bluetooth & wired (3.5mm)
True wireless, closed-back
crosscross
Sennheiser HD 800 S Best audiophile
Sennheiser HD 800 S
4.5
$$$$$$$ ($500+)
wired (6.3mm)
Over-ear, open-back
crosscross
SteelSeries Arctis 7 Best gaming
SteelSeries Arctis 7
4.5
$$$$ ($120-$200)
WiFi & wired (3.5mm)
Over-ear, closed-back
crosscross
Anker Soundcore Life Q30 Best under $100
Anker Soundcore Life Q30 noise cancelling headphones
4.7
$$ ($30-$80)
Bluetooth & wired (3.5mm)
Over-ear, closed-back
checkmarkcheckmark
4.1
$$ ($30-$80)
Bluetooth
True wireless, closed-back
crosscross
4.2
$$ ($30-$80)
Bluetooth
True wireless, closed-back
crosscross
Table of Contents

    The Best Headphones for 2021

    1. Sony WH-1000XM4

    1st-place Best overall
    Sony WH-1000XM4 on a desk

    Sony WH-1000XM4 are the best headphones you can buy in 2021.

    Connection icon Connection: Bluetooth 5.0
    Driver size icon Driver size: 40mm
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: 4-40.000Hz
    Type: Over-ear | Battery life: 38h (28h with ANC) | Wireless range: 33ft (10m) | Noise cancelling: Yes | Charging: 3h + quick charge – USB-C | Mic & Controls: Yes | Bluetooth codecs: SBC, AAC, LDAC | Water resistance: No | Features: ANC, Ambient mode, multipoint, auto play/pause, 360 Reality Audio, 3.5mm port
    • Outstanding noise-canceling performance
    • Audiophile-grade sound quality
    • Premium-feeling build
    • Useful Headphones Connect app
    • Great battery life
    • Support for LDAC
    • Amazing comfort and fit
    • The speak-to-chat feature is a gimmick
    • Voice Priority mode doesn’t work correctly
    • No IPX rating

    Expect an enjoyable sound signature out of these, with a good bass slam and sparkly treble. The DSEE HX audio processing boosts the quality of lossy audio files.

    The soundstage is reasonably wide, so you can use them for watching movies or playing games.

    Sony WH-1000XM4 are the successor to WH-1000XM3s, already the best wireless headphones right now. Their spec sheet is impressive, nowhere you get such a feature set in one place. 

    They’re comfortable, lightweight, and can fold up to save space in your bag.

    With a top-tier active noise-cancellation, they’re an excellent pick for frequent commuters. You can also tweak the intensity of the ANC inside the app.

    Additionally, they boast impressive battery life and tons of features that can make your life easier. Like calling voice assistants for help.

    Sony WH-1000XM4 review

    Related: Best noise cancelling headphones

    2. Apple AirPods Max

    trophy Best Apple
    Apple AirPods Max wireless headphones

    The best headphones for Apple users, with excellent noise reduction capabilities.

    Connection icon Connection: Bluetooth 5.0
    Driver size icon Driver size: Dynamic
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: n/a
    Type: Over-ear | Battery life: 20h (with ANC) | Wireless range: 33ft (10m) | Noise cancelling: Yes | Charging: Quick charge – Lightning | Mic & Controls: Yes | Bluetooth codecs: SBC, AAC | Water resistance: No | Features: Transparency mode, Dolby Atmos
    • Exceptional sound quality for wireless headphones
    • Premium build quality
    • Quickly removable earpads
    • Superb noise cancelling performance
    • Useless carrying case
    • No option for wired listening

    AirPods Max have a U-shaped sound signature, boosting the sub-bass and upper treble. That results in audio performance that works very well with modern music genres.

    Like other Apple audio products, the AirPods Max sport a unique design that is quickly recognizable. 

    Aluminum ear cups scream luxury, with carefully engineered hinges for increased comfort.

    The best is stored under the hood. You can enjoy one of the best active noise cancellation performances out there, with exceptional Ambient Mode to go with it.

    Fabric earpads are quickly replaceable and come in various color options, so you can fully personalize your headphones.

    Of course, they have a built-in H1 chip for quick pairing with Apple devices. The voice assistant support can be quickly accessed by saying “Hey Siri”.

    3. Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2

    true-wireless Best true wireless
    Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 earbuds

    Top-notch noise reduction and sound in Bluetooth earbuds from renowned audio company.

    Connection icon Connection: Bluetooth 5.1
    Driver size icon Driver size: 7mm
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: 5-21.000Hz
    Type: True wireless | Battery life: 7h (5h with ANC) + 21h in case | Wireless range: 33ft (10m) | Noise cancelling: Yes | Charging: 2h + quick charge – USB-C | Mic & Controls: Yes | Bluetooth codecs: SBC, AAC, aptX | Water resistance: IPX4 | Features: ANC, Transparent Hearing, companion app, EQ
    • Refined, audiophile-grade sound with natural midrange
    • Above-average soundstage
    • Great comfort and secure fit
    • Good noise-canceling performance for truly wireless earbuds
    • Premium-feeling charging case
    • Good build quality with IPX4 water protection
    • Good overall battery life
    • Futureproof with Bluetooth 5.1
    • Useful mobile app
    • Responsive and intuitive touch controls
    • Bass could be tighter
    • No foam tips included in the box
    • Call quality could be better
    • Some audio lag when watching videos

    Excellent sounding Bluetooth earbuds with refined frequency response. You can further tweak the audio in a companion app, where we advise you to enable the “High-End Tuning” feature.

    Earbuds themselves are rather bulky but sit comfortably in your ears for extended periods. You get 4 pairs of silicone ear tips to find the best seal.

    Both noise cancellation and Transparent Hearing works quite well, especially with constant humming noises.

    Touch controls are intuitive to use and fully customizable. You practically don’t need to touch your smartphone once.

    Seven hours of battery life per charge is more than enough for a long walk or exercise. They’re IPX4 protected so that you can use them in a gym, too.

    Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 review

    Find best noise cancelling earbuds.

    4. Apple AirPods Pro

    Apple AirPods Pro white earbuds

    Best wireless earbuds for Apple ecosystem.

    Connection icon Connection: Bluetooth 5.0
    Driver size icon Driver size: n/a
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: n/a
    Type: True wireless | Battery life: 5h + 24h in case | Wireless range: 33ft (10m) | Noise cancelling: Yes | Charging: 2h + quick charge – Lightning | Mic & Controls: Yes | Bluetooth codecs: SBC, AAC | Water resistance: IPX4 | Features: ANC, Transparency mode, Dolby Atmos
    • Sound better than original AirPods
    • In-ear fit that’s suitable for moderate exercise
    • Effective noise cancelling and isolation
    • Seamless user experience with iPhone/iOS
    • Sweatproof with IPX4 certification
    • Expensive even among premium alternatives
    • No built-in volume controls
    • Cheap lid mechanism on the charging case

    Wireless earbuds with well-balanced sound have a slight emphasis on treble, which makes the vocals cleaner. They’re great for all genres but don’t expect amazing details.

    Iconic AirPods Pro are the most famous true wireless earbuds in the world. Mainy due to strong wireless connection with their H1 chip, which is their selling point.

    Apart from having seamless integration with Apple devices, they also excel at active noise cancellation, impressive Ambient Mode, and crystal clear call quality.

    Their form factor is small, with proprietary ear tips that barely go into ear canals—the latter results in a very comfortable fit.

    If you pair them with one of Apple devices, you can make them measure your hearing or use Dolby Atmos for more immersive listening sessions.

    Apple AirPods Pro review

    Want to check out more options? See the best Bluetooth headphones.

    5. Bose QuietComfort Earbuds

    Bose QuietComfort Earbuds

    Great noise cancellers from Bose.

    Connection icon Connection: Bluetooth 5.1
    Driver size icon Driver size: n/a
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: n/a
    Type: True wireless | Battery life: 6h + 12h in case | Wireless range: 33ft (10m) | Noise cancelling: Yes | Charging: Quick charge – USB-C | Mic & Controls: Yes | Bluetooth codecs: SBC, AAC | Water resistance: IPX4 | Features: ANC, Ambient mode, ear fin, mobile app, auto pause/play
    • Fun, energetic sound
    • Controlled bass
    • Excellent comfort and stability
    • Limited custumization in the app

    Similar to the Sport Earbuds, these are also very fun-sounding earbuds with excellent control in the bass. The soundstage is also quite big, albeit at the expense of slightly worse imaging.

    Don’t let the size fool you; these are very comfortable. Big StayHear Max ear tips rest in front of the ear canal, which prevents the annoying pressure.

    Also, larger ear fins latch to your ears, preventing earbuds from moving too much. You can easily work out with them without worrying about stability.

    Of course, these are excellent for removing ambient noise. Active noise cancellation performance is one of the best in true wireless category.

    6. Jabra Elite Active 75t

    weights Best for sports
    Jabra Elite Active 75t earbuds in box

    A reliable pair of headphones for fitness fanatics who want durability and protection.

    Connection icon Connection: Bluetooth 5.0
    Driver size icon Driver size: 6mm
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: 20-20.000Hz
    Type: True wireless | Battery life: 7h + 20h in case | Noise cancelling: No | Charging: 2h 20min + quick charge – USB-C | Mic & Controls: Yes, built-in | Bluetooth codecs: SBC, AAC, BT-CVSD, mSBC | Water-resistance: IP57 | Features: EQ, "find my buds" feature, ambient aware
    • Reliably stable during movement
    • Comfortable for hours thanks to smart ergonomics
    • Fully waterproof with IP57 (IPX7)
    • Great sound quality with equalization
    • HearThrough awareness mode (useful for runners, cyclists…)
    • Competitive battery life at 7 hours per charge (+20h in case)
    • Perfectly designed physical controls
    • High build quality
    • Tiny soundstage (all sounds come from the middle of your head)
    • Pricier than most alternatives
    • Only right earbud can be used as mono

    As with many sports earbuds, Elite Active 75t display a somewhat bassy sound signature. Thankfully, you can customize the EQ in the app, ensuring a more balanced response without sibilance.

    Earbuds have an ergonomic design that makes them comfortable and stable at the same time. That’s why they don’t require ear fins or hooks to grab your ears securely.

    The Active model boasts a higher water resistance rating, protecting from both dust and water (IP57).

    With a companion app, you can customize controls, play with EQ, and find your lost earbuds.

    They offer respectable battery life, with up to 7 hours per charge and additional 20 hours in the case.

    Jabra Elite Active 75t review

    Check the best workout headphones

    7. Beats PowerBeats Pro

    trophy Best bass
    Beats PowerBeats Pro in charging case

    Still a compelling pick for sports on our best headphones list.

    Connection icon Connection: Bluetooth 5.0
    Driver size icon Driver size: 12mm
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: n/a
    Type:: In-ear | Battery Life: 11h + 24h in case | Range: 33ft – 10m | Noise cancelling: No | Charging: Under 1h + quick charge – Lightning | Mic & controls: Yes | Bluetooth codecs: SBC, AAC | Water resistance: IPX4 | Features: Ear hooks, H1 chip, volume controls on both sides

    PowerBeats Pro posses a familiar V-shaped frequency response but with a noticeable boost in overall sound quality.

    The bass depth isn’t as loose as on other Beats models, providing a more detailed listening experience.

    PowerBeats Pro are suitable for sports, with big ear hooks that don’t let go of your ears. They can be a bit tricky with glasses, but in general, they offer good comfort.

    There are 2 physical buttons on the buds. One is hidden under the logo, while the volume control rocker is on top of the housing.

    Earbuds are built quite well, with hard-plastic housing that should survive a couple of drops. An IPX4 rating ensures they can survive a bit of sweating.

    Beats PowerBeats Pro review

    Compare with best bass earbuds and best bass headphones.

    8. Sennheiser HD 800 S

    wired Best audiophile
    Sennheiser HD 800 S

    Audiophile sound performance that comes at a high price tag.

    Connection icon Connection: Wired – 3.5mm, 6.3mm, & 4.4mm balanced
    Driver size icon Driver size: 56mm
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: 4-51.000Hz
    Type: Over-ear | Back desgn: Open-back | Noise cancelling: No | Mic & Controls: No | Impedance: 300 Ohm | Weight: 330g | Cable length: 3m | Features: /
    • Outstanding audio quality
    • Big soundstage with good imaging
    • Robust construction
    • Expensive

    These massive audiophile headphones are a staple of excellent sound quality. They have overall balanced sound, with great resolution and clarity.

    Surprisingly, they sport both big soundstage and accurate imaging. Their sound can truly lift music lovers into audio heaven.

    Despite their chunky build, they’re fairly lightweight. HD 800 S are made of a mixture of plastic and aluminum.

    Ear pads are uniquely shaped to contour human ears. The gentle fabric feels soft on your skin, and you can wear them for hours on end.

    You can replace an analog cable if you want to try out a balanced connection. They’re overall very durable, lasting for many years.

    Note that due to open-back design with sound leakage, they’re better for home use in a quiet listening room.

    More: Best audiophile headphones

    9. SteelSeries Arctis 7

    trophy Best gaming
    SteelSeries Arctis 7 Wireless gaming headset

    Great all-rounders for gaming.

    Connection icon Connection: Wireless 2.4GHz
    Driver size icon Driver size: 40mm
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: 20-20.000Hz
    Type: Over-ear | Battery life: 24h | Wireless range: n/a | Noise cancelling: No | Charging: n/a | Microphone: Bidirection, retractable | Controls: Yes | Surround sound: DTS Headphone:X 2.0
    • Compatibility with all platforms
    • Good sound quality
    • Immersive virtual surround
    • Some features require an app

    These well-balanced gaming headsets are great for both music playback and gaming. Although, the latter does sound the best. It can boost up the soundstage with DTS Headphone:X to better immerse into action.

    Headsets carry the same design as other Arctis headphones. However, they’re made of more premium materials, like more plush foam earpads and a steel alloy frame.

    Speaking of pads, they use special AirWeave fabric that ensures comfort and breathability. And you don’t want to sweat during intense gameplay.

    A retractable microphone does a good job for voice calls. Your teammates will have no problem understanding your orders.

    Twenty-four hours of battery life is long enough for a lengthy gaming session. Otherwise, you can plug them via a 3.5mm headphone jack.

    Choose from the best gaming headphones.

    More: Best wireless gaming headsets.

    10. Anker Soundcore Life Q30

    dollar Best under $100
    Anker Soundcore Life Q30 noise cancelling headphones
    Connection icon Connection: Bluetooth 5.0
    Driver size icon Driver size: 40mm
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: 16-40.000Hz
    Type: Over-ear | Battery life: 60h (40h with ANC) | Wireless range: 50ft (15m) | Noise cancelling: Yes, hybrid | Charging: Quick charge – USB-C | Mic & Controls: Yes | Bluetooth codecs: SBC, AAC | Water resistance: No | Features: ANC, ambient mode, multipoint, mobile app with EQ, NFC
    • Great sound quality
    • Excellent ANC with 3 modes
    • Comfortable fit
    • Companion app with EQ
    • Outstanding battery life
    • Too bassy with stock EQ
    • Bulky in size

    The bass can be a bit too edgy out of the box. Thankfully, you can play with the EQ inside the app to bring them to almost neutral levels.

    Soundcore Life Q30 are a bit big, which doesn’t hurt overall comfort. Thick memory foam earpads sit comfortably on your head without creating too strong of a clamp.

    The headphone’s best feature is active noise cancellation. It’s genuinely excellent, competing with the big boys such as WH-1000XM4 and AirPods Max.

    While you can’t tweak the intensity, the app lets you choose between 3 modes: Outdoor, Indoor, and Transport.

    The massive battery keeps them alive for 60 hours (40 hours if you enable noise cancelation).

    Check more best headphones under $100.

    Find the best Bluetooth headphones under $100.

    11. Cambridge Audio Melomania 1

    dollar Best true wirless under $100
    Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 earbuds with case

    Wireless earbuds you put on your wish list for sound reasons.

    Connection icon Connection: Bluetooth 5.0
    Driver size icon Driver size: 5.8mm
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: 20-20.000Hz
    Type: True wireless | Battery life: 6.5h + 25h in case | Wireless range: 33ft (10m) | Noise cancelling: No | Charging: 2h + quick charge – Micro-USB | Mic & Controls: Yes | Bluetooth codecs: SBC, AAC, aptX | Water resistance: IPX5 | Features: Physical controls
    • Natural sound signature
    • High build quality
    • IPX5 water resistance
    • 6.5 hours per single charge with relatively quick charging
    • Affordable price under $100
    • Easy to use built-in controls
    • Sleek design
    • Bad fit if you don’t find proper eartips
    • Outdated Micro-USB cable
    • Can’t get super loud

    The sound of these audiophile earbuds is as expected: neutral. They work superbly with all music genres. Those seeking heavy bass should look elsewhere.

    Bullet-shaped earbuds are quite comfortable. If you want the best stability, we recommend you using the included foam tips. They also made the sound better.

    Also, you can use them for a light workout, with an IPX5 IP rating protecting their internals from water damage.

    For better audio transmission on Android devices, Melomania 1 use an aptX Bluetooth codec. It also helps with video lag when watching videos.

    While they don’t offer many extra features, they boast high build quality and intuitive physical controls.

    Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 review

    More: Best wireless earbuds under $100

    12. Jlab Audio Jbuds Air

    dollar Best under $50
    Jlab Audio Jbuds Air

    Reliable Bluetooth in-ear headphones for under $50.

    Connection icon Connection: Bluetooth 5.0
    Driver size icon Driver size: 8mm
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: n/a
    Type: True wireless | Battery life: 6h + 18h in case | Wireless range: 33ft (10m) | Noise cancelling: No | Charging: Under 2h – USB-A (attached) | Mic & Controls: Yes, built-in | Bluetooth codecs: SBC, AAC | Water resistance: IP55 | Features: Rubber sleeves
    • Good water protection IP55
    • Stable fit suitable for sports
    • User-friendly magnetic design
    • Good sound quality for the price
    • Annoying physical controls (Air Icon have touch controls)
    • Can become uncomfortable after prolonged time for small ears
    • Phone calls require the right earbud

    Jbuds Air are loud true wireless earbuds with V-shaped audio performance. 

    They’re fun to listen to while exercising, and you can toggle between 3 EQ presets Jlab Signature, Neutral, and Bass Boost.

    Earbuds are built quite well, from hard plastic that doesn’t scratch that easily. They’re dust and water-resistant, offering an IP55 rating.

    They fit quite well inside your ears, with a rubber sleeve that prevents the earbuds from poking too much.

    Since they’re earbuds, the passive noise isolation is great on its own. With a bit of music, you shouldn’t be bothered by ambient sound.

    The charge case comes with an already built-in USB-A charging cable.

    Jlab Audio Jbuds Air review

    Best Bluetooth earbuds under $50

    Honorable Mentions

    Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 – Bose continues the legacy of making excellent active noise-canceling headphones, that are loved by many. Their newest flagship sports a modern design, with thick pads that provide comfort for hours. Newly developed drivers produce a very mature sound that goes well with all kinds of music genres. (Check Bose 700 price)

    Sennheiser HD 600 – An audiophile standard since the day they came out, the HD600’s are appreciated for their true-to-life sound. They’re very accurate and neutral throughout all frequency ranges, equipped with thick velour pads so that you can listen to them for hours. A huge plus is that you can replace all the headphone parts if something breaks. (Check HD 600 price)

    Jaybird Vista – Vista’s have a robust, military-grade housing, that fits perfectly inside your ears. You can run with them or perform an intense workout session; these are not falling out. They also come with an intuitive app that lets you tweak the already great audio performance. Jaybird Vista review

    Bowers & Wilkins – PX7’s frame is made of carbon fiber material that ensures these headphones can survive years of abuse. They’re very stylish, with huge, cushy pads that provide amazing comfort. Even though the bass is slightly boosted to appeal general public, the overall sound experience is crystal clear. (Check PX7 price)

    EarFun Free Pro – Great sounding true wireless earbuds that come at an affordable price point. They’re small and comfortable, with ear fins to keep them in place. Earbuds do an okay job at noise canceling and ambient mode, as well as low latency mode for improved audio lag during mobile gameplay. EarFun Free Pro review

    KZ ZST – Beautifully designed housing that fits perfectly in your ears. KZ’s sub-$20 earbuds offer great value, with a detachable cable and sound quality that goes way beyond their list price. They are slightly V-shaped, having just a touch more bass and high-end sparkle. If you like good sound and you want to start with something cheap, consider these. KZ ZST review

    Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus – The improved true wireless Galaxy Buds+ have a more ergonomic design, with ear fins to provide extra security. Because of their lightweight housing, these are one of the most comfortable earbuds out there. Dual drivers are responsible for making an enjoyable, punchy sound that can appeal to most users. Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus review

    AfterShokz Aeropex – Since they transmit audio by vibrating your bones, you don’t need to plug them into your ears. This is great if you want to listen to music and be completely aware of your surroundings at the same time. They’re not the most bassy out there, but if you’re looking for this type of headphone, the Aeropex are the best. AfterShokz Aeropex review

    How We Pick the Best Headphones?

    It’s true “best headphones” is a very general term, and you might want to dig deeper to find exactly what you’re looking for.

    Now, what we did is pick the best headphones we think are suitable for most people.

    This is a general guide (but you can find links to more specific headphones), so if you already know what kind of headphones you need, you can see the related guides here.

    We took into account:
    – The price
    – What are the most popular types of headphones
    – What kind of technology they have

    Obviously, we also considered their sound quality, durability, comfort, and other features.

    Take a good look, and you will find something that suits your needs and wants.

    Are Expensive Headphones Worth it?

    In many cases, buying more expensive headphones is a good idea. Especially, since it means better comfort and build, which increases the longevity of the product.

    We all strive to get the best deal at the lowest price tag possible. However, almost every cheap product uses cheaper materials for its construction.

    If budget headphones are handled with care they easily break or simply stop working.

    Comfort is also something that usually suffers in cheap headphones. To cut the cost down, manufacturers pick lower grade material list stiff plastic to make earpads from.

    In the end, you have to calculate the cost. Either you constantly buy new cheap headphones and see them breaking after a few months, or save a little bit more and buy a better-made pair that will last you many years.

    What are the Best Headphones in 2021?

    Sony WH-1000XM4 travel

    Sony WH-1000XM4 are offering the best bang for a buck.

    They produce an enjoyable sound, can successfully eliminate annoying surrounding sounds with noise cancellation, and come packed with extra features inside the Sony app.

    How Much Should You Spend on Headphones?

    Expectations are usually higher than the budget, but if you’re a newcomer to a headphone market, you can get some compelling options under $100 as well.

    We would advise you to stay away from headphones that cost more than $500. Not because they’re bad, but because after this price tag, spending twice as much on a pair of premium headphones doesn’t mean twice the audio performance.

    Buy the best headphones you can get in your budget. We can help you find the best pair with our headphone guides.

    Of course, if you later find that you want more from your headphones, go ahead and check the high-end market above $500.

    Are Headphones Safer Than IEMs?

    When it comes to protecting your hearing, over-ear headphones are safer than in-ear headphones.

    While both types of headphones can get loud, IEMs are positioned closer to your ear drum. Consequently, some frequencies can get amplify in your ear canal, which can later damage your hearing.

    Of course, listening at reasonable volumes shouldn’t pose a problem with either headphone type you choose. Read more about
    how to prevent hearing loss in the first place.

    Do IEMs Sound Better Than Headphones?

    RHA T20 Gen. 2 wired IEMs

    Due to the design, IEMs can’t recreate the same audio experience as bigger, over-ear headphones.

    While in-ear headphones can sound outstanding, especially when it comes to detail and imaging, they can’t fully capture the whole sound.

    Most importantly, since earbuds bypass pinna and go straight into the ear canal, achieving a good soundstage is challenging.

    Over-ears can do that much easier, while also sounding bigger and fuller, if not more natural.

    Can Active Noise Cancellation Protects Your Hearing?

    As a matter of fact, noise cancellation can protect your hearing.

    Usually, when the ambient noise is too loud, you want to crank up the volume to mask the background noise.

    However, if you have to ability to reduce surroundings without blasting your headphones, you can listen to music at lower volumes.

    Consequently, your hearing will deteriorate much slower.