The best headphones are the ultimate tool for intimate listening experiences. Whether you’re listening on your phone, a digital audio player, a disc player, or even a PC or gaming console, when you’re ready to shut out the world and be one with your music, there is nothing better than a great set of cans. 

And you probably have multiples of them, since most every smart device and digital audio player comes with a pair; but it’s a safe bet that you’re really not satisfied with any of them. Comfortable high-quality headphones can transform your audio experiences ranging from listening to music and podcasts to watching TV shows and movies, .

Whether you prefer the isolation of in-ear headphones, the comfort of an over-the-ear model, the convenience of wireless, or you’re not sure which type is best for you, we’ll help you find the right ones at the right budget. We’ve listed our top picks up front. If you need more information to make a choice, we’ll provide that—and links to a bunch of our reviews—below.

Updated August 28, 2020 to add a link to our Helm Audio DB12 AAAmp review. This tiny headphone amp is just the ticket when you want to take your tunes on the go, and you want higher-quality audio than what your smartphone can provide. That said, it’s not quite as awesome as the iFi hip-dac—which also replaces your smartphone’s DAC—but it did earn four stars in our review and it is a fraction of the size of that amp.  

 [ Further reading: The best high-res digital audio players ]

Best over-the-ear headphones

These headphones are unapologetically old school, and we love them for it. You won’t find any noise-cancelling electronics on the Beyerdynamics Amiron home. There’s no USB ports or an onboard amplifier, either; heck, they don’t even support Bluetooth.

But if don’t mind being tethered to your source, these headphones will deliver delightful performances for one at a price that won’t bust a generous budget. They’re highly recommended.

Runner-up

If you can afford them, Focal’s Elegia closed-back headphones are a sonic wonder that sound as beautiful as they look. Focal might be better known for its high-end loudspeakers than headphones, but discriminating buyers shouldn’t overlook this brand.



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