10 Best Have-to-Have Headphone and Earbud Sets

Finding the best pair of headphones or earcan seem like a daunting task. From thousands of models to choose from it can become a complex task when making a decision on what to spend your money on.

Ranging from wireless earbuds, to headphones narrowing your needs based on specific requirements can help you make the best choice. Some brands focus on specific groups like sportsmen or professionals, tailoring their product to meet the needs of their customers.

While a decent pair of headphones is almost always readily available – there is no telling which one would be the best fit for your unique requirements. Each brand offers a unique product that should be tested and explored until the best fit is found.

RTINGS.COM tested over 100 brands of headphones and here are their recommendations for 10 of the best headphone brands. Their ratings are based on sound quality, ANC power, battery life, adjustability and comfort.

Their top picks are not rated from best to worst and all of their recommendations have unique offerings that stand out as reputable products:

  1. Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II

The earbuds which are available to purchase on Amazon are well-known for its powerful noise cancelling technology and for producing the first commercial acoustic noise cancelling headset for pilots.

These earbuds consists of powerful noise cancelling performances with fairly neutral and balanced sound profiles. This particular set of earbuds is truly wireless and comfortable. Their fit is customizable and come with swappable ear tips and fins.

They are especially recommended for frequent travelers. Their in-ear fit allows them to easily block out the low rumble of bus and plane engines and office chatter. The sound is high in bass but can be altered by the app’s graphic EQ. They can be used continously for at least 6 hours before needing to be recharged.

2. Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless

Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless is a perfect choice for those looking for an over-ear fit. They offer high quality noise isolation performance and boast a powerful ANC.

They are also comfortable and preferable for long listening sessions. With their companion app’s graphic EQ and presets, their bass-heavy sound can also be adjusted.

3. Apple Airpods Pro

Apples headphones and airpods are generally much smaller than competitor products and are all integrated into the Apple ecosystem. Their products also boast unique features to iOS.

Their wireless headphones have H1 chips that can seamlessly pair with iOS devices, and newer products support Spatial Audio on iOS/iPadOS 14. This reorients sound as you move your head. Unfortunately, Apple’s products do now allow for the customisation of sound mixing.

These particular Airpods have a better ANC system than the original and can easily cut out background noice. their default sound profile is warm, with more bass than the original Pro. It also has a balanced mix thats versatile enough for most genres of music.

While their six-hour continuous battery life is short, their carrying case holds four additional charges, and the bus automatically go into standby mode when not in use.

 4. Sennheiser HD 800 S

These over-ear headphones are spacious, have open soundstage and are expertly-tuned. For those on a budget these are not the best choice. They offer a fully immersive sound experience and are better suited for in-door listening.

5. Audio-Technica ATH-M50x

Audio-Technica’s ATH-M50x are closed-back headphones with a wired design and a very well balanced sound profile.

The bass range is wide and adds to the warmth of the audio. They are well – designed with a comfortable fit. The big ear-cup size and wide headband make them better suited to those that prefer larger headphones. This set of headphones are not recommended for the budget conscious buyer.

6. JBL Live Pro 2 TWS True Wireless

These Wireless earbuds have a great overall performance and good background noise blocking ability. With their ANC on, they can last over 8 hours without being charged.

Their case holds an extra 3 charges if it is needed. their V-shaped sound is well-suited for genres like rock and pop. However, the companion app includes a parametric EQ and presets for sound to be fine-tuned.

This set can also be pared with up to two devices at once. They are also useful for switching between different audio sources.

7. The Beats Fit Pro True Wireless

This impressive pair of wireless earbuds, excels with powerful ANC, neutral sound, and Apple Music’s Spatial Audio support. It offers 5-hour battery life and 3 extra charges in the case. However, some users find the bulky fit uncomfortable, suggesting Beats Powerbeats Pro Truly Wireless for an ear hook design.

8. Jabra Elite 7 Pro True Wireless

This wireless earbud option boasts versatile sound, customizable EQ, and app controls. It is comfortable, its stable fit makes it suitable for workouts and it is IP57 rated. They have a battery life of more than 8 hours, with 3 extra charges. However, their ANC does not significantly enhance their passive noise isolation. It is still effective for mid-range noise reduction and readily blocks out background conversations.

9. Anker Soundcore Space A40

This set of wirless earbuds is the best in Ankers’s earbud series, with a feature-rich design. It has an impressive adaptive ANC that blocks out car traffic and any background noise. It allows for Multi-device pairing and is supported by PC and smartphone devices. Its warm sound profile can be fine-tuned through the app’s EQ and presets.

It also boasts 8 hours of continuous battery life with 4 extra charges in its case. For an over year fit, Anker Souncore Space Q45 Wireless is recommended.

10. Skullcandy Push Active True Wireless Headphones

These affordable headphones stand out as the best in the Skullcandy range. Their in-ears are IP55 certified and are dust and water resistant making them suitable and stable during workouts. They have a battery life of 9.5 hours. However, they lack ANC and provide only slight passive noise isolation for higher frequencies.