Headphones review methodology
Here's how we break down the scores for our headphone reviews.
We’re reader-supported and may be paid when you visit links to partner sites. We don’t compare all products in the market, but we’re working on it!
Here at Finder, we rigorously test the headphones we review to determine scores for design, performance and battery life as well as an overall score. Each category is scored out of five, with zero being the lowest possible score.
This is how our reviewers break down each score:
To determine the design score, we consider:
- Aesthetics. How do the headphones look and feel? Are they available in multiple colours and designs?
- Materials. What are the headphones made out of? Do they feel cheap or high-quality?
- Comfort. How do the headphones feel after prolonged use? How heavy are they? Do they stay on when you move around?
- Functionality. Does the design make the headphones easier or harder to use?
- Controls. Do the headphones have on-ear controls?
- Durability. Do the headphones have a waterproof rating? Are they sweatproof?
- Set-up. What's included in the box? How easy is it to pair the headphones with a smartphone?
To determine the performance score, we consider:
- Sound quality. How do the headphones sound? Are they clear? Is the sound well-rounded?
- Noise cancellation. Is there active or passive noise cancelling? Are there multiple levels of noise-cancellation? How well does the noise-cancellation work?
- Features. What features are included? Do the features perform as promised?
- Controls. How well do the controls work? Are they intuitive and easy to use?
- App. Is there a corresponding app? What can you do with it? How easy is it to use?
- Microphone. Do the headphones have a built-in microphone? How well does it work during phone calls?
To determine the battery score, we consider:
- Battery life. How long can you listen on a full charge? Does the battery life live up to the manufacturer's promise?
- Charging method. Does it use a micro USB, USB-C, lightning cable or proprietary charger? Is wireless charging available?
- Charging time. How long does it take to charge fully?
The overall score is not an average of the other scores. To determine the overall rating, the reviewer considers the scores for design, performance and battery life as well as the price and how it compares to other available headphones. For example, a pair of headphones could have high scores for design, performance and battery life, but the overall score might be lower because of a high price tag.
When coming up with the overall score we consider:
- Our overall impression of the product
- Value for money
- Battery life
- How it compares to the rest of the market
While our ratings reflect the value we give each pair of headphones, there is and will always be a level of subjectivity to each review. If your experience with headphones differs from ours, we'd love to hear from you.
We review the headphones as we get them. Software updates and improvements can occur after the time of review, changing the performance of the device. Where possible, we strive to reflect these updates in our reviews.
Recent headphone reviews
The brand has some serious audio credentials, but the Sennheiser CX400BT are more everyday models in the mid-range.Read more…
Skullcandy's Indy ANCs are great-sounding wireless earbuds that sit snugly and securely in the ear, but their noise-cancelling capabilities could be better.Read more…
Apple’s AirPods Max offer exceptional sound and great noise cancelling, but their price point puts them within reach of only the most fanatical Apple fans.Read more…
More guides on Finder
Best PlayStation 2 games
Sony’s PlayStation 2 changed the gaming world back in the year 2000, but right now, what are the must-have and must-play games on the platform?
Finder Daily Deals: The 5 best online deals in Australia today
Today's best Finder Daily deals include: Huge men's sneaker sale, 40% off Ray-Bans sunglasses, 47% off Apple iPhone XS.
Realme Watch S: Low cost fitness tracking with superb battery life
The Realme Watch S isn’t the best fitness tracking watch, but it stands out for its affordable price point and exceptional battery life
Best Nintendo GameCube games
Nintendo’s GameCube is a classic of the retro gaming scene, and we’ve carefully curated the library of must-have titles for any serious retro gamer.
Best kitchen scales in Australia
We read hundreds of customer reviews to find the best kitchen scales you can buy online in Australia.
HyperX Cloud II Wireless gaming headset review
The HyperX Cloud II Wireless marries impeccable audio with plush comfort in one of the best gaming headsets on the market.
Sennheiser CX400BT Review: Subtle everyday buds
The brand has some serious audio credentials, but the Sennheiser CX400BT are more everyday models in the mid-range.
AMD RX 6800 graphics card review
The RX 6800 is a significant step forward for AMD graphics cards, but it's not quite enough to take the crown from Nvidia.
2021 Toyota GR Yaris review
There's a bunch of hot hatches out there at the moment, has the Toyota GR Yaris just trumped them all?
Best prostate massagers in Australia
These are the 6 best prostate massagers you can buy right now in Australia.
Ask an Expert