Top Pick for
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Finder's team of experts has spent hundreds of hours testing and reviewing headphones. For every pair of headphones we review, we consider their design, performance, battery life and overall value for money.
Our editorial team selected the headphones on this list based on the results of our reviews as well as reviews from real customers and key product features.
Beats by Dr. Dre made waves when it first launched, so it is no surprise it has taken out the 2020 Finder Award for headphones due to its design and sound quality. It also rated highly for comfort and value for money.
For the best overall headphones, our number-one pick is the Sony WH-1000XM4. These over-ear headphones offer excellent sound quality and noise cancellation, the convenience of wireless and a handful of useful features to boost user-friendliness.
When we reviewed the Sony WH-1000XM4, we gave them an impressive Finder Score of 4.5/5. We aren't the only ones who like them, however, as an average review score of 4.6/5 from almost 5,000 Google reviews will attest.
Designed to offer premium audio quality, these headphones use Sony's HD Noise Cancelling Processor QN1 to ensure that background noise doesn't interrupt your favourite tunes. You can also expect up to 30 hours of battery life – this increases to 38 hours with noise cancellation off – while a 10-minute quick charge gives you up to 5 hours of juice. This is similar battery performance to this model's predecessor, the WH-1000XM3 headphones.
The WH-1000XM4 headphones earn points for their familiar design, secure and comfortable fit, and user-friendly on-ear controls. We were also impressed by the easy connectivity the headphones provide, including the ability to connect to two devices at the same time. The Speak-to-Chat feature is a handy inclusion that works well, while the flexibility to adjust the level of ambient sound to suit your needs is another plus. Check out our full review of the Sony WH-1000XM4 headphones for more details about their features and pros and cons.
Perhaps the biggest downside of these impressive headphones is the price, which at around $500 certainly isn't cheap. However, it's hard to put a price on quality and we also found these headphones on sale for under $400 from multiple retailers at the time of writing. So if you'd like to buy a pair of the best overall headphones, be sure to shop around for the best price.
The Sony headphones we chose as our best overall pick obviously offer excellent noise cancellation, but they face some stiff competition. In fact, if noise cancellation is your number-one concern when choosing headphones, there are plenty of good reasons to check out the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700.
In our Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 review, we were highly impressed by the adjustable noise cancellation these headphones offer, not to mention their sleek design and excellent battery life.
The Bose headphones also featured in our guide to the best noise-cancelling headphones and earbuds. This guide is a useful read if you're looking for noise-cancelling headphones at a cheaper price point than the $550 that Bose is asking, but for our money, you can't go past the Bose 700 Headphones as the best noise-cancelling headphones.
With 11 levels of noise cancellation to choose from, these headphones give you ample control over the amount of ambient sound you want to let in. They also use a four-microphone system to isolate your voice from surrounding noise, ensuring that you come through loud and clear, while voice control via Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant is built-in.
Based on the popular Bose QuietComfort 35 II, the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 boast a stylish design and come with a slim travel case. They're lightweight and comfortable to wear, while the inside-earcup adjustment is a unique and very welcome feature.
It takes 2.5 hours to charge your headphones to their full capacity, at which point you can expect 20 hours of listening time. There's also a quick-charge feature available, with a 15-minute charge providing up to 3.5 hours of battery life.
So while they may be far from the cheapest headphones on the market, the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 are clearly some of the best.
If you're looking to break away from the clutter of cables and go wireless, we recommend checking out the Sony WF-1000XM3 wireless headphones. Not only do they offer exceptional audio quality and the convenience of noise cancellation, but they're also comfortable and easy to customise to your liking.
When we reviewed Sony's WF-1000XM3 headphones, they wowed us with their great sound, long battery life and very handy quick-charge feature. As a result, they earned a Finder score of 4.5/5. The WF-1000XM3 headphones were also named a winner in our best wireless earbuds guide as well as our guide to the best earphones and earbuds, so there's certainly a lot to like about these impressive earbuds.
While the sound quality is the headline feature of the WF-1000XM3 wireless headphones, it's far from the only selling point. We were particularly pleased with the solid build and comfortable fit they offer, while the extra functionality offered by the Sony Headphones app for iOS or Android is another big plus.
The WF-1000XM3s also earn points for battery life, offering 24 hours' listening time with noise cancellation and 32 hours without. The 10-minute quick-charge feature gives you 90 minutes of listening time – perfect when you need to give them a quick boost before heading out the door.
There were some features we weren't all that fussed on, like the awkward Quick Attention mode and the large charging case. But if audio quality is your number one concern when buying wireless headphones, the Sony WF-1000XM3s are worth every cent.
The Sony WH-1000XM4 headphones took the win as our best overall pick, and they get the nod again here as the best Bluetooth headphones. Not only do these over-ear headphones offer excellent audio quality and noise cancellation, but they also offer easy Bluetooth connectivity and customisation via the Sony Headphones Connect app.
One of the impressive features of the Sony WH-1000XM4s is that you can connect to two devices simultaneously. In our Sony WH-1000XM4 headphones review, we did have a little trouble getting them to connect to a MacBook, with multiple restarts required before achieving a connection. Despite this drawback, switching between audio sources is quick and easy, while the Speak-to-Chat function is another impressive addition.
The audio quality with these headphones is excellent, while the versatility of being able to adjust the level of noise cancellation is also impressive. And thanks to their comfortable fit and intuitive on-ear controls, these Sony units are also very user-friendly.
Once again, it's worth pointing out that they're not the cheapest headphones going around. That said, you can pick them up for a significant discount off their recommended retail price if you're willing to shop around.
And with a Finder score of 4.5/5 plus thousands of positive reviews from customers around the world, there are plenty of reasons why the Sony WH-1000XM4 headphones are well worth a closer look.
You can also compare these Sony headphones against a range of other leading products in our guide to the 10 best Bluetooth headphones.
Searching for a gaming headset that offers high-quality audio and excellent customisation options? For our money, the best choice is the Logitech G Pro X Wireless headset.
With an average score of 4.4/5 from over 2,000 Google reviews, this headset has obviously impressed plenty of consumers around the world. It also picked up plenty of praise in our Logitech G Pro X Wireless gaming headset review, where its surround-sound performance, crisp audio and comfortable design were all commented upon. This headset featured in our guide to the best gaming headsets too, so it's easy to see why it takes the win here.
From a design point of view, the Logitech G Pro X Wireless simply feels like a premium set of headphones from the moment you pick them up. They're comfortable enough to wear for long gaming sessions, but we were also pleased to find that they also seemed reassuringly durable.
In terms of performance, we loved their implementation of 7.1 surround sound as well as their audio quality right across the sound spectrum. The Blue Voice technology in the microphone was also singled out for praise, as was the wireless connectivity of this Logitech unit.
The one main factor that may deter some prospective buyers is the fact that the Logitech G Pro X Wireless headset sits at the higher end of the price spectrum. But if you're searching for a high-quality gaming headset, you'll definitely get what you pay for with the G Pro X.
If you're in the market for a gaming headset but you're on a tight budget, we recommend checking out the Razer BlackShark V2. Boasting clear sound, a comfortable fit and a wallet-friendly price tag, the BlackShark V2 earned a Finder score of 4.5/5 from our editorial team. As a result, this impressive performer is our top pick if you're searching for the best budget gaming headphones.
The first thing we noticed about the Razer BlackShark V2 is that it not only looks a whole lot better than its ugly predecessor, but it's also incredibly comfortable. It's also surprisingly light in weight, making it a good choice if you're planning on settling in for a long gaming session.
But it's in the sound performance category where the BlackShark V2 really delivers. The Triforce Titanium drivers deliver powerful and clean sound, while its spatial audio quality is also top-notch. And with the HyperClear Cardioid mic ensuring clear and crisp vocals, you've got everything you need for an immersive gaming experience.
This Razer headset doesn't offer RGB lighting like some more expensive headsets, but it does have an easy-to-use volume dial and mic mute button. Connectivity is via a USB sound card or through a standard 3.5mm headphone jack, while the Razer Synapse app lets you customise performance just the way you like it.
Best of all, the price tag of well under $200 isn't going to break the bank. For more details of what this impressive headset has to offer, check out our full review.
The Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro Open Studio Headphones have picked up plenty of positive reviews from customers around the globe, including an average score of 4.7/5 from over 800 customer reviews on Amazon US. They're also solidly built, comfortable and have been widely praised for their excellent sound quality. As a result, they're our top pick as the best over-ear headphones.
Designed for studio and professional use, the Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro headphones feature an open-back design and are made in Germany. They use high-resolution Tesla driver technology to deliver clear and crisp sound, from those deep bass notes right up to the high end of the range.
In terms of their build, the DT 1990 Pros feature titanium-coated acoustic fabric and woven textiles to help produce high-quality sound. The velour ear pads are also filled with memory foam to ensure a comfortable listening experience, and they're replaceable so you can take advantage of two different sound settings – well balanced or analytical.
Finally, the Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro over-ear headphones also come with two cables (three-metre straight and coiled) and a handy hard case. Their $899 price tag means they're certainly not the cheapest pair of over-ear headphones, but reviews from customers (plus expert tech reviewers) around the globe reveal that you are paying for quality.
So if you're in the market for a premium pair of over-ear headphones that deliver impressive sound along with a comfortable fit, there are plenty of good reasons to check out the Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro headphones.
Finding in-ear headphones that offer a comfortable, secure fit along with high-quality audio performance isn't always easy. But, for our money, the Beats Powerbeats Pro wireless earphones nail this balance perfectly.
In our Beats Powerbeats Pro review, these stylish earphones impressed us with their comfortable fit, long battery life and quality audio performance across a wide range. And we're not the only ones who like them, with the Powerbeats Pros garnering an average score of 4.5/5 from over 16,000 Google reviews. As a result of all these factors, they're our pick as the best in-ear headphones.
Designed as workout earphones, the Powerbeats Pros are larger than many other sports-focused models, and feature a fixing loop that tucks away behind your ear. They're very comfortable to hear (although quite noticeable) and come with multiple bud sizes so you can get the fit right.
But it's when you start playing music that these earphones really come into their own. While Beats products have a reputation for their thumping bass performance, this pair impressed with their audio quality across a much wider range. There's no noise cancellation, so they may not be ideal for commuting, but Siri integration is a big plus for iOS users.
Finally, with up to nine hours of battery life, the Beats Powerbeats Pro have enough juice to keep you going all day long. So if you're searching for totally wireless earphones that combine comfort with high-quality audio, there are lots of good reasons why you should add the Beats Powerbeats Pros to your shopping list.
A reliable set of sports headphones isn't always easy to find. They not only need to be sweat-resistant and entirely comfortable, they also need to stay in place while you raise your heart rate and deliver perfect sound to help fuel your workout. Happily, the Plantronics BackBeat FIT 3150 wireless earbuds tick all those boxes.
The FIT 3150s are lightweight and comfortable, waterproof and also took out the prize for best earphones for urban runners in our guide to the best sports earphones in Australia. They've picked up plenty of positive reviews from customers in Australia and around the globe, and they also impressed us with their sports performance in our full review. As a result, we recommend the Plantronics BackBeat FIT 3150 earbuds as the best sports headphones.
Designed specifically for use while exercising, these true wireless earbuds allow you to hear what's going on around you – an important safety feature – while you work up a sweat. With an IP57 rating they're sweatproof and waterproof, and the non-slip earloops impressed us with their ability to stay in place during just about any activity.
We found that the FIT3150s delivered clear and precise audio, while the Bluetooth range of 30 metres ensured a strong connection. We did experience some app connectivity issues, but we liked the freedom to choose between three balance settings via the app.
Finally, these earbuds offer up to 24 hours of total battery life, plus a quick-charge feature that ensures 1.5 hours of use after 15 minutes of charging. So if you're searching for the best earbuds to wear while you run or work out, be sure to check out the Plantronics BackBeat FIT 3150 wireless earbuds.
If you're shopping for a set of wired headphones for music, gaming or even professional use, we recommend the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x studio monitor headphones. These over-ear headphones have picked up plenty of praise for their audio performance and have a price tag that isn't going to break the bank.
They've also garnered lots of positive reviews from buyers around the world, including an average of 4.7/5 from more than 16,000 Amazon reviews. As a result, the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x headphones take the win here as the best wired headphones.
Designed to offer excellent clarity through a wide frequency range, these headphones feature a circumaural design to help you isolate sound against loud background noise. They feature 45mm large-aperture drivers and copper-clad aluminium wire voice coils, while the ear cups swivel 90 degrees to allow one-ear sound monitoring.
The earpads and headband are also designed to ensure comfort during those long listening sessions, and the headphones are collapsible to aid portability. They also come with three cables to suit a variety of listening needs – a 1.2 to 3-metre coiled cable, a 3-metre straight cable and a 1.2-metre straight cable.
And despite their quoted RRP of $279, we found these headphones available for less than $200 at the time of writing. With this in mind, it's always a good idea to shop around to find the best available deal.
But whether you're mixing in a studio or just listening at home, the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x headphones are definitely worth checking out.
If you're searching for a pair of headphones that won't break the bank, we like these in-ear headphones from Audio-Technica. In our review of the Audio-Technica ATH-CK3TW in-ear headphones, we found that they deliver better sound than you'd expect for the sub-$200 price tag, are user-friendly and offer good battery life. That's why they earned a Finder score of 4/5, and also why the Audio-Technica ATH-CK3TW headphones take the win here as the best budget headphones.
Available in a range of colour choices, these simply designed earbuds don't look like anything out of the ordinary at first glance. But once you put them into action they really start to stand out from the crowd.
Once you've paired them with your device – a simple and straightforward process – these earbuds deliver balanced sound quality across a wide range of tracks. We also found that they performed quite well when making and receiving phone calls, which isn't always the case with cheaper headphones.
The touch control buttons are a little on the fiddly side, but the ATH-CK3TW headphones offer up to six hours of playback. With the battery case in play, you can expect to enjoy up to 24 hours of listening time. Charging is via USB-C connection, which means you can use your smartphone's charger to add juice to the battery case without having to worry about carrying an extra cable.
All things considered, the Audio-Technica ATH-CK3TW headphones offer great value for money, making them our top choice for buyers on a budget.
If you're searching for a pair of Apple headphones to deliver a top-quality listening experience, it's hard to go past the Pro version of the brand's famous AirPods. These headphones have picked up a whole lot of positive feedback from customers, as a Google review score of 4.6/5 from over 50,000 ratings so obviously suggests, while they also picked up a Finder score of 4/5 from us.
In our full review of the AirPods Pro, we praised the addition of noise-cancelling technology and the more comfortable fit of these bud-style headphones. Combined with the convenience of fast pairing with iOS devices, plus the reduced size of the microphone stubs, this makes the AirPods Pro an attractive set of headphones for a wide range of users.
We like the fact that the AirPods Pro headphones come with a variety of silicone tips to improve comfort and ensure that you get the right fit. We also like the active noise cancellation technology on offer, which uses an outward-facing microphone and an inward-facing one to cut out ambient noise. And when it's time to pair the AirPods with your device, especially if it's an iOS device, the process is smooth and seamless.
The battery offers around 4.5 hours of use if you use noise cancellation, and you can add an extra half-hour with noise cancellation off. The carrying case also has its own battery to charge up your AirPods for extra listening time.
The $399 price tag isn't cheap, and we would've liked to see a wall charger in the box. But the AirPods Pro offer comfort, performance and ease of use, so they're our pick as the best Apple headphones.
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There are three main types of headphones to choose from: in-ear, on-ear and over-ear.
Also known as earphones or earbuds, in-ear headphones are designed to fit in your ear. They are the smallest type of headphones, with some models weighing as little as four grams. However, because of the smaller size, these headphones tend to sacrifice sound quality, especially when it comes to bass levels. In-ear headphones can typically fit in a pocket or small purse and can be easily worn by those who wear glasses regularly. While most people find earphones to be comfortable, some people don't like the feeling of headphones that sit inside their ears.
On-ear headphones sit directly on top of your ear. They typically offer better sound quality than in-ear models, but don't block out as much noise as over-ear ones. On-ear headphones are better for use in hot environments than over-ear models as they're less likely to cause your ears to overheat. However, some people find the pressure of on-ear headphones to be uncomfortable.
Over-ear headphones typically offer the best sound quality and noise isolation. However, they're also the biggest and bulkiest type of headphones, which means they won't fit into your pocket or even a small purse. Unlike on-ear headphones, they're designed to envelop your ear instead of sitting directly on it. Some people find this to be much more comfortable, while others don't like the feeling of pressure on their head. Also, if you wear glasses, you might find over-ear headphones to press uncomfortably against the arms of the glasses.
When choosing a pair of headphones, consider the following factors:
If you can, try the headphones on in a store. Make sure to leave them on for a bit, at least 10 minutes, to get a real sense of how comfortable they are. Some headphones will feel comfortable at first, but get heavy, uncomfortable or even painful if you wear them for a while.
Keep in mind, what's comfortable for someone else might not be comfortable for you.
Audio quality is one of the most important factors to consider when comparing headphones. While paying more will generally get you better quality, you don't necessarily have to buy a top-of-the-line pair to have a good listening experience. When you try the headphones on, see if you can test out several different types of music, including music that was recorded recently as well as older music to check the headphone's range. Also, listen to spoken audio like a podcast to make sure you can hear it clearly.
Noise-cancelling headphones can be a life-saver if you want to block out the sounds of a noisy office or a crying baby on a plane. With passive noise-cancelling, the design of the headphones physically blocks out ambient noise while active noise-cancelling uses a frequency to cancel out noise. Some headphones use a combination of passive and active noise-cancelling. However, blocking out ambient noise can sometimes be dangerous. If you want headphones for outdoor activities like urban running, look for a pair that lets in external noise for more safety.
Headphones can come with several different types of controls, including in-line controls that allow you to change settings on the actual headphones without using your phone. Some in-line controls are buttons on the actual headphones, while others are located on the cable. Without in-line controls, you'll have to use your phone or paired device to adjust the volume, play and pause music, skip tracks or answer calls.
Some headphones leak sound, allowing it to be heard by the people next to you. This is more common with open headphones that let in more ambient noise. Test out the leakage amount by having someone else wear the headphones so you can check how much you can hear of what they're listening to.
If the headphones are wireless or have an active noise-cancelling setting, check how long the battery life lasts. Some headphones only last a few hours without needing to be charged while others can last a full day. If the headphones come with a charging case, check how many recharges it holds and how long the headphones take to recharge.
Make sure any wires are long enough so that you can put your phone in your pocket or bag without the cord pulling on the headphones. Keep in mind, long cables get tangled more easily. If you don't want to deal with cables at all, look for wireless or Bluetooth headphones.
If you want to travel with your headphones or protect them when they're bouncing around in your gym bag look for a pair with a decent carrying case. Also, check how easily the case opens and make sure it won't open in your bag by accident.
If you plan to wear your headphones while working out or walking in the rain, look for a pair that is at least water-resistant or sweatproof. Some headphones are fully waterproof and can be used while swimming.
If you want to be able to answer or make phone calls while using your headphones, look for a model with a built-in microphone.
When you hold the headphones in your hands, pay attention to the material and durability. You can also check reviews to see how long they typically last and if they break down frequently.
Some headphones include a one- or two-year warranty. Make sure to check what is included and if there's anything that will void the warranty, like using charging cables from another brand.
It's always a good idea to try headphones on before you buy them to check how comfortable they are and if you're happy with the audio quality. However, this isn't always possible. Some headphones are only available online and many online stores offer cheaper prices and discounts.
If you order your headphones online and haven't been able to try them on in-person, make sure you check the returns policy. This way you can try them out at home and send them back if they hurt your ears or aren't what you're looking for.
We update our data regularly, but information can change between updates. Confirm details with the provider you're interested in before making a decision.
The Skullcandy Dime are renowned overseas for their quality on a budget price tag, but Australian pricing puts them in the middle of the pack.
Samsung’s Galaxy Buds Pro are its best headphones yet, but they’re best suited to existing Samsung Galaxy phone owners.
With active noise cancelling on board for under $200, the realme Buds Air Pro offer good value for those looking for a true wireless bargain.
The Skullcandy Hesh ANC headphones get you solid noise cancelling and good sound at a reasonable price.
The brand has some serious audio credentials, but the Sennheiser CX400BT are more everyday models in the mid-range.
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.
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.
These are the 6 best fake AirPods you can buy right now in Australia.
Google has fixed almost everything it got wrong with its first-generation Pixel Buds, with improved comfort, fit and Google Assistant integration, but increased competition in the true wireless space leaves them as headphones for the Google faithful.
Klipsch’s McLaren edition earbuds don’t fall out, even if you have smaller ears, and come with a fully waterproof case and a wireless charging mat.
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