It’s that time of year where we feel that a top 5 list needs to be put together representing everything we like within a specific corner of the industry. The following list breaks things down to five categories, with our favorite model selected for each, with their strengths explained. Our list isn’t limited to models released this year, but instead represents our favorite models “to date,” to create a much wider scope and a heavier win for those listed.
Over-All Favorite (Extraordinary): Beyerdynamic Aventho Wireless On-Ear Headphones
These are by far our favorite headphones of this year. They are actually available in two models, including this wireless model that can go both wireless and wired, as well as a wired-only version of the headphones. This one takes the cake however due to their flexibility of being able to take them wireless. But that’s not their winning feature. The fact that their range is fantastic when used with a wire, enlightening your ears with your favorite music, making them great for audiophiles, gives them the win. They still sound great when wireless, just not as good as with a wire, but the ability to take them mobile if you need to is an extra plus. They are among the very few to win Editors’ Choice this year, and their current price is $100 less than their release price, making them the same price as their wired-only alternative (who knows how long this price will last).
Read Our Review | Buy from Amazon | Current Price: $349.99
Affordable + Performance: Sennheiser Momentum On-Ear Headphones
These headphones merge the categories of affordable and fantastic performance together, making quite the win. Currently in their V.2 release still, these headphones provide a range that sometimes comes close to audiophile levels (close…). They also scored Editors’ Choice with us in 2014. What makes these a steal is their price, as you can get them for less than $100. There aren’t many difference performance wise between the V.1 we reviewed and their V.2 outside of a few improvements they made, such as allowing them to fold so that they can travel easier. They also have an over-ear version as well as over-ear+wireless, but when it comes to price+performance, the on-ear model is hard to compete against at this price. The original V.1 model we reviewed launched in 2014, and yet they still remain on our list ever since. This says a lot for what Sennheiser has accomplished. The only catch is that you can’t find them new hardly anywhere, so some retailers are increasing the price on them to take advantage of it. On the bright side, you can find a pair on eBay new or used for less than $100.
Read Our Review | Buy from eBay | Average Price: $89.00+
Noise-Canceling + Wireless + Performance: Bose QuietComfort 35 II
The Bose QuietComfort 35 II headphones are by far one of the best wireless headphones with active noise canceling that your money can buy. It was a toss up between these and the Sonys, which made it difficult for us to make the pick. But these took the prize in the end after the long struggle. There are other models entering the market like Microsoft’s new Surface Headphones that might try to shake them from their soap box, but until our ears have heard them, Bose has this win. Their range is around that of the Sennheisers mentioned above, with excellent battery life, fantastic comfort (one of the best fitting headphones out there), and the kind of noise canceling that will take you away from almost any environment. Like the beyerdynamic model above, their price doesn’t come easy, but neither do the models competing with them (which all fall around the same price or more).
Read Our Review | Buy from Amazon | Current Price: $349.00
Best In-Ear Headphones (Buds): 1MORE Triple-Driver In-Ear Monitor Headphones
This is another pair of headphones outside of this year that has made it to one of our lists for quite some time now. They launched back in 2016 and have remained one of our favorite pairs of in-ear headphones to date. Their performance is absolutely fantastic and the price falls under $100. These compete with models far above their price point and wow your ears to your favorite music, causing you to question how a pair of in-ears could have so much power and range. For the price, if you are looking for an amazing pair of wired in-ears, look no further. 1MORE also offers a quad-driver model that stretches the range even further, however when it comes to warmth, these deliver a bit more satisfyingly (and the quads are around 2x the price). Currently, they are available from 1MORE directly for $99 via the following button, but you can also currently find them on Amazon (here) right now for only $79 ($20 less!).
Read Our Review | Buy from 1MORE | Current Price: $99.99
Wireless In-Ear Headphones + Dirt Cheap (Price): Anker SoundBuds Slim Wireless In-Ear Headphones
If you are looking for a wireless pair of buds and you don’t want to spend too much to achieve it, you don’t have to sacrifice quality to do so. Although these aren’t audiophile by any means, they do offer a lot of umph for how much they will run you. Their highs, mids and lows perform quite well (umph-wise), with a lot of power in the low range. This means you won’t be buying into a pair of affordable earbuds just to find out they are “tinny” and terrible. Instead, you get to rock out to whatever you want to listen to, making these great for working out or just average everyday in-ear headphones. What makes it even better is that they will run you less than $30. You won’t be worried about damaging them compared to carrying around a multi-hundred dollar pair, and you won’t be worried about quality. Also, if you put the large tips on them, they fit quite tightly in the ear, allowing you to drain out a lot of the noise around you.
Read Our Review | Buy from Amazon | Current Price: $25.99
So what are some of your favorite picks? Feel free to share them below in the comments!