The Best Headphones in the World in 2021

Dave Mostert
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Here are the best headphones in the world right now. Maybe some of them will be banned in the future?

As an interesting side note, a number of new headphones since I wrote this article have potentially blocked radiation. The Blox headphones use a patented membrane to block radiation. You can read about it here. There hasn’t been any tests on these yet, but the claims are promising.

NameCategoryProduct
Bose QuietComfort 35 II Wireless Bluetooth HeadphonesBest OverallBose QuietComfort 35 II Wireless Bluetooth Headphones
Mpow Flame Bluetooth Headphones V5.0 IPX7 Waterproof Wireless headphonesBudget PickMpow Flame Bluetooth Headphones V5.0 IPX7 Waterproof Wireless headphones
Beats Studio3 Wireless Noise Cancelling Over-Ear HeadphonesUpgrade PickBeats Studio3 Wireless Noise Cancelling Over-Ear Headphones

1. Bose QuietComfort 35 II Wireless Bluetooth Headphones

Our rating: 9 / 10

Bose QuietComfort 35 II Wireless Bluetooth Headphones

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Pros:

  • Sound system brilliant for music and audiobooks
  • Fantastic noise cancellation
  • Comfortable to wear; can wear them all day long
  • Rechargeable batteries a huge advantage
  • You can use Alexa on them

Cons:

  • Expensive
  • Some people find that they fall out of their ears
  • Your cell phone must be a minimum of Bluetooth 4.2 to use them with Alexa

I chose this set of headphones from Bose because they were designed to deliver the best sound quality with no distractions. Available in black only, these headphones have a supreme sound system, and this includes being able to deliver a fantastic sound if you use them for listening to audiobooks as well as music.

The headphones are light and comfortable to wear, although a bit expensive (as you’d expect if they are designed for the best possible sound quality), and they don’t look bad either! But what makes them such a great choice for the future is that they offer noise canceling. This is a feature that will allow you to relax more, and will stop you from getting distracted as well as giving you a better experience if you use them to listen to audiobooks or music.

2. COWIN E7 Active Noise Cancelling Headphones Bluetooth Headphones

Our rating: 8 / 10

COWIN E7 Active Noise Cancelling Headphones Bluetooth Headphones

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Pros:

  • Low-cost option
  • Great sound quality
  • Lightweight, customizable ear cups

Cons:

  • * Lower-quality microphone

COWIN is famous for making high-quality products at a much lower price compared to some of its competitors. This product is a perfect example of this, and when compared to brands like Bose and Beats by Dre, it’s an incredible value.

Regardless of whether you are listening to your favorite music, watching a movie or a sports event, these headphones are extremely comfortable and they can help you isolate yourself from either an annoying environment or a noisy co-worker. The headphones are lightweight, and the ear cups can be adjusted exactly to your head shape to ensure maximum comfort and fitting. They can even be folded down to a fraction of their original size, so they can be easily stored in your bag wherever you go.

These headphones can connect to all your devices through Bluetooth, so there’s no need to worry about any extra cords or wires. This will not only take up space, but you might also accidentally rip the wire while you’re traveling. So compatibility with your devices is a great plus! Plus, the music will always flow without any skipped notes or static, thanks to the high-quality wireless connection.

3. Beats Ep Wired On-Ear Headphones

Our rating: 8 / 10

Beats Ep Wired On-Ear Headphones

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Pros:

  • Extremely durable and sturdy
  • Powerful bass and mids with accurate crystal clear highs
  • High quality padding that stays comfortable for several hours
  • Amazing wireless connectivity
  • Headsets designed to be mobile compatible with smart devices
  • Impeccable noise cancellation with microphone

Cons:

  • Battery life is relatively low
  • Cord may feel stiff and shallow
  • The ear cups may not be big enough to cover the entirety of the ear
  • The volume button is located in an awkward place

The Beats by Dre Beats Ep on-Ear Headphones have a great design with functions that work well for runners, travelers and the like. They are perfect for playing all kinds of music from country to hip-hop, and if you're a gamer, you'll also appreciate the stunning sound of your games with the 5.8GHz wireless connection. Plus, you can control these headphones with the cable that comes along with them, so you're not completely dependent on your phone/computer.

They're also designed with extreme durability and comfort, so they'll last you a long time without breaking down. The headphones are wireless using Bluetooth, so you can answer incoming calls and switch songs right on your headphones. Plus, the headphones are perfect to use with a laptop, and they have a great long lasting battery life of 24 hours on a full charge.

4. Mpow 059 Bluetooth Headphones Over Ear

Our rating: 8 / 10

Mpow 059 Bluetooth Headphones Over Ear

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Pros:

  • Amazing quality at a good price
  • Wireless connectivity
  • Incredible battery life (15 hours)
  • Foldable earphones
  • Excellent customer service

The Mpow 059 earphones are engineered for maximum comfort for all-day, long-term use. The soft memory-protein earmuffs mold to the shape of your ears to fit like a glove. Plus, they’re also foldable for convenient portability and storage.

Another great thing about these headphones is that you can use them while commuting, for music therapy, or for online classes. You can stream music to them through your phone, via a PC, or through a TV. They come with a built-in microphone so you can take calls easily. The range of these headphones is up to 10 meters, which is pretty impressive. Moreover, they have a Bluetooth version 3.0, as well as an NFC mode, meaning that the connection is stable and fast.

The earphones only take 3 hours to charge and can last up to 15 hours on a single charge. Plus you’ll also receive a USB charging cable, as well as a carrying bag with the purchase of these earphones.

5. OneOdio Adapter-Free Closed Back Over Ear DJ Stereo Monitor Headphones

Our rating: 8 / 10

OneOdio Adapter-Free Closed Back Over Ear DJ Stereo Monitor Headphones

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Pros:

  • Newest patented technology
  • Professional studio monitors
  • Telescopic arms
  • Neodymium drivers
  • Rotating ear cups
  • Frequency response range: 10HZ-22KHZ
  • Total harmonic distortion: 1%
  • The soft feel of the earpieces helps to reduce pressure on your ears
  • The closed back is great for noise isolation, making them great for outdoor use
  • You should find the noise cancellation feature working effectively if you are planning to use these while flying

Cons:

  • They are heavier than other models
  • They feel warmer than some other models
  • If you have a large head you may find them not fitting
  • The sound, while warm and full, may not be as crisp as some people would like
  • The sound leakage might be too much for some users

6. Mpow Flame Bluetooth Headphones V5.0 IPX7 Waterproof Wireless headphones

Our rating: 8 / 10

Mpow Flame Bluetooth Headphones V5.0 IPX7 Waterproof Wireless headphones

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Pros:

  • Great bang for your buck
  • Long battery life – up to nine hours
  • Very comfortable and light
  • Mic and playback buttons on the earbuds
  • IPX7 water protection

Cons:

  • Some might feel they’re a bit flimsy
  • Nice carrying case is an added cost

We love a good bang for the buck, and these affordable earbuds fit the bill. With a 4.5-star rating on Amazon with over 6000 reviews, the Mpow Flame Bluetooth Headphones are clearly a top choice in affordable headphones. We love their IPX7 water resistance and long battery life, which allows you to use your headphones during a workout and not worry about sweating all over them.

Their lightweight, ergonomic design and comfortable ear tips make them perfect for exercising and traveling. They’re rechargeable via USB and offer a range of up to 33 feet.

Our one complaint with these headphones is that they’re not the most durable. Some reviewers reported that the earbuds pulled out of the audio jack with little to no effort. However, they’re so affordable you may not care if something happens to them.

7. Beats Studio3 Wireless Noise Cancelling Over-Ear Headphones

Our rating: 7 / 10

Beats Studio3 Wireless Noise Cancelling Over-Ear Headphones

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Pros:

  • Comfortable design suitable for long term use
  • Centrally located remote and mic
  • Sturdy build
  • Very nice and long battery life
  • Extremely versatile with intuitive Bluetooth and NFC pairing system
  • Excellent noise cancellation and sound quality

Cons:

  • Still somewhat prohibitively expensive
  • Bass isn’t as deep as some would prefer
  • Cable might break

The first thing most people notice about the Beats wireless headphones is that they do look good, with the kind of understated, mature style that will look good in any situation. The headphones are covered in black brushed aluminum, with a gold Beats logo in the center.

There is a small red LED on the left earpiece that will light up when you have received, or are expecting, a call. There is an NFC chip, which makes it easy for a compatible Android phone to pair with the headphones. The NFC works even if the phone has a case on it, so that’s a definite bonus. The W1 chip determines what headphones can be paired, so you don’t have to worry about compatibility.

8. KZ ES3 Dynamic Hybrid Dual Driver in Ear Headphones

Our rating: 7 / 10

KZ ES3 Dynamic Hybrid Dual Driver in Ear Headphones

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Pros:

  • Ultra-cheap
  • Excellent performance for the price
  • Good noise isolation according to various reviews
  • Comes in 6 different colors

Cons:

  • Some users might find the tips “invisible” as they are small
  • Lacks mic and volume controls

The KZ ES3 dynamic hybrid dual driver in ear headphones are truly one of the best budget sparkle earbuds in the world. They feature a built-in hybrid driver system consisting of balanced armatures and dynamic drivers.

The housing on these earbuds are made out of aluminum alloy, making them strong and durable. KZ claims that the housing is capable of reducing vibration and resonance. The manufacturer also claims the housing is a fit for most ear canals.

We should also make a note about the cord – it is tangle-resistant, Kevlar-reinforced, and features an L-plug. This is also probably the most important feature. The L-plug helps the earbuds survive accidental wear and tear, making them durable enough to last you for a long time.

9. Beats Solo3 Wireless On-Ear Headphones

Our rating: 6 / 10

Beats Solo3 Wireless On-Ear Headphones

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Pros:

  • Super comfortable with cushions on the headband, earcups, and headband extensions
  • High sound quality
  • Easy to use features like the on-ear controls
  • The rechargeable battery last up to 40 hours on a charge
  • Excellent noise cancellation
  • Customizable sound
  • Lightweight without feeling cheap
  • It uses a Kevlar
  • Retains its comfort after hours of use

These headphones are the ultimate choice for advanced listeners. Beats headphones are comfortable, elegant, lightweight, and powerful. You can use these headphones on most operating systems such as IOS, Apple TV, Mac, and Android.

You can fold it, making it more space efficient, and it can fit in your pocket, making it convenient to carry around. It offers both noise cancellation and a powerful sound. You can use it to listen to music, answer phone calls, and play video games whenever you want.

10. Powerbeats3 Wireless Earphones

Our rating: 6 / 10

Powerbeats3 Wireless Earphones

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This set of earphones from Beats once more proves why they are the leader in the audio field. We have included this set in our list because the feature that appeals the most is the sound quality of the earphones and the battery life.

These earphones come with a longer battery life, which makes them more ideal for people who are crazy about their exercise routines. These earphones are sweat-proof, which makes them ideal for people who like to use ear buds for running or working out at the gym.

The design of the earphones is pretty attractive, making them a good pick for any fashion-loving person.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What are the best headphones on the market right now?

Best bass: Beyerdynamic DT 880 Edition (open)

These headphones are the best for anyone who enjoys great bass, classical music, or rock. The sound is full, deep, and rounded, not flat as the majority of consumer headphones are. This is because they use a planar magnetic driver, which requires a large format and overall bulkiness. This is a downside for someone looking for thinness and a daily wear.

Best high-end: Bowers & Wilkins P9 (closed)

What is the best headphones in the world?

This is somewhat of a subjective question, of course, but we believe that selecting the world’s best headphones depends on three factors: sound quality, fit/comfort, and value. We believe that all headphones that appear below have strong offerings in one or more of those three categories.

We will say that the activity you engage in will also have a large impact on what headphones you might find yourself using most often. If you run outdoors often, then you might want to look for a design that is more geared toward durability and fit. If you use an iPhone, then wireless headphones again are a must.

Dual Noise Canceling Headphones: Tested at three times the noise canceling of the best Bose headphones, Sony headphones win in this category.

Wireless Bluetooth Headphones: The Jabra Move Wireless headphones feature exceptional sound quality and a very competitive price.

Which type of headphone is best?

This is ultimately a topic that could be an entire book in itself. However, we can boil it down to one main factor: style over sound quality.

If you want to maximize both sound quality and comfort while maintaining as small a profile as possible, then in-ear headphones should be your only option. On the other hand, unless you want your headphones to be a conversation starter or you simply don’t care about sound quality, earbuds that sit outside your ear canal are preferable.

Did you think we were going to forget about your wired options? You thought wrong. In-ear buds, like everything else in technology, are slowly going wired.

While some prefer the feel of in-ear buds with wires, the cord can often get in the way. So, more and more people are turning to wireless earbuds.

Conclusion

We narrowed our list down to about 23 of the best sets on the market, and then had seven members of our staff participate in a blind test of each set, both in terms of construction and sound quality. Afterward, we narrowed the field down to four sets, and then had a vote. Through it all, these are the best headphones in the world today.

Some of my other handpicked articles:

  • The history of basketball shoes
  • The best sneakers of all time
  • Shoes just like the ones Kobe, Lebron James, and Kevin Durant wear
  • Back to Top

Our Recommendation

NameCategoryProduct
Bose QuietComfort 35 II Wireless Bluetooth HeadphonesBest OverallBose QuietComfort 35 II Wireless Bluetooth Headphones
Mpow Flame Bluetooth Headphones V5.0 IPX7 Waterproof Wireless headphonesBudget PickMpow Flame Bluetooth Headphones V5.0 IPX7 Waterproof Wireless headphones
Beats Studio3 Wireless Noise Cancelling Over-Ear HeadphonesUpgrade PickBeats Studio3 Wireless Noise Cancelling Over-Ear Headphones