The best headphones you can buy right now


Everybody needs a good pair of headphones. Commuting to work, soundtracking your gym session, drowning out boring colleagues or actually indulging in some me-time to listen to your favourite records, decent headphones are essential.

Of course, there are thousands of different makes and models on the market, all specialising in different areas. Some are for super-nerdy audiophiles while some are purely designed to not slip out of your sweaty ears while running, and you don't really know whether you've made the correct choice until it's too late. But that's where we come in!

Below, we have scoured the reviews on TechRadar (who have tried every headphone under the sun) to bring you the best of the best for different needs.

The best noise-cancelling headphones

Sony WH-1000XM2

Sony WH-1000XM2

Crystal clear noise-cancelling headphones that are better than Bose

Acoustic design: Closed | Weight: 23g | Cable length: N/A | Frequency response: N/A | Drivers: N/A | Driver type: N/A | Sensitivity: N/A | Impedance: N/A | Battery life: 10 hours | Wireless range: 33 ft | NFC: Yes

Superb noise-cancelling
Great-sounding audio
30-hour battery life
Hinges are fragile
Touch controls

Bose might be the go-to headphones for all your noise-cancelling needs, but that’s all about to change with the Sony WH-1000XM2 – outdoing the swanky Bose QC35s in terms of performance and sound quality, but costing just as much.

The Sony WH-1000XM2 also has a few tricks up its sleeve compared to its Bose rivals. There’s a Quick Attention mode, letting in all outside noise so you can have a quick chat with a co-worker then dive right back into your work and cranking up the riffs. The Sony headphones also come with an Ambient Noise mode which only lets in mid-to-high frequencies, so you can still hear train announcements while still ignoring everything else around you.

However, the hinges on the headphones are a bit on the fragile side, and the controls could be simpler. But for sound quality and noise-cancelling ability, don’t look any further than the Sony WH-1000XM2.

The best over-ear headphones

Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro

Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro

Professional headphones that know how to have fun

Acoustic design: Open | Weight: 370 g | Cable length: 9.8 ft or 3.9 ft | Frequency response: 5-40,000Hz | Drivers: N/A | Driver type: N/A | Sensitivity: 102dB | Impedance: 250 ohms | Battery life: N/A | Wireless range: N/A

Built like a tank
Excellent comfort
Breathtaking resolution
Slightly recessed mids
Highs can be fatiguing

You might not have heard of Beyerdynamic, but they’ve been delivering some of the best sounding headphones on the market for years. Their DT770, DT880 and DT990 are all top drawer, but it’s the Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro the stands head and shoulders above its counterparts.

It’s essentially an open-back version of the Beyerdynamic DT 1770 Pro, meaning the DT 1990 Pro is ideally suited for home-use (or in the studio if you’re serious about music) for an in-depth, analytical listening experience. It’s an audiophile’s dream with stunning resolution, soundstage and build quality.

What’s more, the Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pros are used by some of the world’s leading audio engineers – so you know you’re in good company.

The best business headphones

Philips Fidelio X2

Philips Fidelio X2

Brilliant headphones for a brilliant price

Acoustic design: Open | Weight: .85 pounds | Cable length: 9.8 feet | Frequency response: 5-40,000Hz | Drivers: Two 1.9" speakers | Driver type: Dynamic | Sensitivity: 100 dB @ 1mW | Impedance: 30 Ohm | Battery life: N/A | Wireless range: N/A | NFC: N/A

Brilliant sound
Superb value
Lacks extras

If you’re after some over-ear headphones for your business that are packing some unbelievable sound quality and then look no further than the Philips Fidelio X2s.

They offer premium comfort, meaning they can be worn for long periods in the office thanks to the memory foam construction of the earpads. And they don’t swap quality for comfort, the sound rivals any headphones a professed audiophile can recommend.

And they won’t cost you an arm and a leg! They’re affordable, comfy, sound great and are exactly what you need for pulling a late one and losing yourself in a world of music.

The best in-ear headphones

1MORE Triple Driver In-Ear Earphones

1More Triple Driver In-Ear Headphones

Your search for great sounding, good value in-ears ends here

Acoustic design: Closed | Weight: N/A | Cable length: N/A | Frequency response: 20-40,000Hz | Drivers: N/A | Driver type: Dynamic | Sensitivity: 99 dB/mW | Impedance: 32 ohms | Battery life: N/A | Wireless range: N/A | NFC: N/A

Lush sound quality
Excellent build and design
Unmatched value
Plastic remote feels cheap

For less than £100, you’re not going to find a better-sounding or better built in-ear headphone than the 1MORE Triple Driver. While in-ears might not be considered as good audio-wise as over-ears, these earphones are on another level to others on the market.

These 1MORE Triple Drivers not only have an attractive design, but great build quality and (perhaps most importantly) they offer sensational audio. It’s really quite hard to find a fault with them, to be honest. The control feels a bit naff, but why should that really matter when you look at the price and have stellar sound quality blasting around your cranium?

The best cheap in-ear headphones

RHA S500

RHA S500

These simply have no right to sound this good

Great clarity/precision
Good Fit
No cable noise 
Can be fatiguing
No built-in microphone

If you’re going for a run, popping to the shops or you just can’t be bothered carrying around some weighty on-ear goliaths on your noggin, earbuds are exactly what you need to drown out the world at a moment’s notice. And the RHA S500 is the affordable, connoisseur’s choice.

For less than £30, the RHA S500s sound phenomenal. And they’re comfortable! Something often lacking at the budget end of in-ear headphones. They have amazing clarity and precision, and their shape acts as a nifty little noise barrier so you can pretend not to hear your annoying neighbour shouting at you.

The best wireless headphones

Bose QuietComfort 35 (Series II)

Bose QuietComfort 35 II

Premium headphones that include industry-leading noise-cancellation

Acoustic design: Closed | Weight: 0.68 pounds | Cable length: 3.94 feet | Frequency response: N/A | Drivers: N/A | Driver type: N/A | Sensitivity: N/A | Impedance: N/A | Battery life: 20+ hours | Wireless range: N/A

Broad and clear soundstage
Amazing noise cancellation
Active EQ an acquired taste
Boring looks

The Bose QC35s are excellent and very very popular – we must see at least 10 people a day wearing them on the way to work – but now they’ve been updated with the Google Assistant! That’s right, in these Black Mirror times, you can carry Google around on your head like you’re living in the actual future.

And you still get the first-class noise cancellation that Bose is so famous for. Oh, and they’re super-comfy and sound great! It’s a wonder why we’re not all wearing them all the time. Of course, if you don’t have the dosh spare for the Mark IIs then get yourself the original Bose QuietComfort 35.

UPDATE: The QuietComfort's little brother, the QuietComfort 25 are heavily discounted for Black Friday with 55% off - a saving of £160!

The best running headphones

Monster iSport earphones

Monster iSport Victory In-Ear Bluetooth Headphones

Basic Bluetooth but ideal for quality on a budget

Weight: 15g | Battery life: 10 hours | Heart rate monitor?: No | On-ear controls?: Yes (on the neckband)

Secure fit
Sound quality isn't great
No heart rate monitor

If you’re super into exercise you might want some headphones with more bells and whistles (like a heart monitor) but the durability, comfort and low cost make them one of the best choices for all you runners and joggers out there.

The  iSport Victory won’t fall out of your ears while running either, thanks to their snug fit and rubber wings. They’re also sweat resistant, so your ears won’t stink when you get home from the park – unlike the rest of you. 

They’re lightweight and the battery lasts ages, but the sound quality could be better. Although if you’re getting on board the trend of listening to audiobooks while running then you probably won’t notice the difference.