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Headphones and earphones reviews

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Last updated: 17 July 2024


Checked for accuracy by our qualified fact-checkers and verifiers. Find out more about fact-checking at CHOICE.

When it comes to headphones, there's more to consider than just sound quality. 

Our in-depth test of headphones from Apple, Bose, Google, Sony, Sennheiser and more helps you find the ones that:

  • have the best sound quality
  • have the best active noise cancellation (where available)
  • have the best battery life
  • are the easiest to set up and use.

We've also partnered with Shop Ethical on this update to show the ratings the Ethical Consumer Group gives to each company.

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Once you're ready to buy, use our interactive comparison tool to find out which headphones have optional cable connectivity, apps for iOS and Android, the ability to pair to multiple devices at once and more. If you just want the best, our Recommended list shows you at a glance which models topped our tests.

Note: We updated and overhauled our standard and noise-cancelling headphones test in March 2024. Results for both types of headphones are now displayed in the one review following changes to our test method and scoring system. For a complete explanation of the changes, please read our article on how we test headphones.

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List of brands we tested in this review.


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    Recommended retail price at the time of testing.

    enter value/s in increments of 1 between 40 and 1199

    Recommended products

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    Member only

    This test score is for members only. Join now to unlock our expert results.

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    Type of fit

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    In-ear headphones are often called "buds". On-ear headphones, which sit against your ear, and over-ear headphones, which surround your ear, are often called "cans".

      Wired or wireless

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      Wired headphones connect to your device or stereo via a cable. Wireless headphones connect via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, but have a band or cable connecting each can/bud. True wireless headphones connect via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth and do not have a cable connecting each earbud (such as the Apple AirPods).

        Active noise cancellation (ANC)

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        Active noise cancellation (ANC) uses microphones and audio software to actively capture and cancel out environmental noise. This is better than passive noise cancellation which relies on the headphones' fit to try and block incoming noise. Models without active noise cancellation may still offer some degree of passive cancellation.

          Designed for sports (claimed)

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          As claimed by the manufacturer. This refers to a fit designed to keep headphones in place during rigorous activity, and water/sweat resistance.

            Sound quality score

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            A panel of five experts assess sound quality by listening to classical, jazz, pop and a podcast. If the headphones support Bluetooth and a cabled connection, they are primarily tested with a Bluetooth connection. Active Noise Cancellation is on during the assessment if available and tested in environments with varying levels of noise. Technical assessments are also conducted.

            enter value/s in increments of i between 47 and 90

            Shop Ethical rating

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            Shop Ethical rates the environmental and social impact of the company (not the product) using independent sources. This rating is not included in our CHOICE Expert Rating. The rating ranks from A (highest) to F (lowest); N/A means there is no rating for that company.

              Included in this review

              Members-only access
              • CHOICE Expert Rating
              • Recommended
              • Sound quality score
              • Comfort score
              • Active noise cancellation score
              • Battery life score
              • Ease of use score
              • Cleaning score
              • Durability score
              • Microphone quality score
              • Measured battery life
              • Battery life after a 15-minute charge
              • Number of headphone charges from case battery measured
              • Usable after battery dies
              • Good points
              • Bad points
              • Price
              • Shop Ethical rating
              • Type of fit
              • Wired or wireless
              • Active noise cancellation (ANC)
              • Designed for sports
              • Voice assistant support
              • Bluetooth
              • Bluetooth multi-pairing
              • Number of simultaneous multi-paired devices
              • Audio pauses when headphones are removed
              • Waterproof or water-resistant claims
              • Detachable audio cable
              • Cable length (cm)
              • Plane adaptor included
              • Travel case
              • Foldable
              • GPS tracking
              • Left/right inscription
              • Braille left/right inscription
              • App available
              • Additional Bluetooth codecs
              • Weight (g)
              • USB-C charging
              • Lightning port
              • Silicon tip sizes
              • Onboard controls
              • Control type
              • Bluetooth version


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