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Over the past couple of years, we have seen a massive uptick in quality for consumer-grade headphones. We have also seen them come down increasingly in price, especially for in-ear offerings.
But with so many different headphones to choose from, it can be hard to know which is best for you. But don't worry, we got your back. Well, ears.
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.
For the best overall headphones, our number 1 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 out of 5. We aren't the only ones who like them though, as an average review score of 4.6 out of 5 from almost 5,000 Google reviews 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 2 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. 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 1 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 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 4-microphone system to isolate your voice from surrounding noise, ensuring that you come through loud and clear. 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 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-1000XM4 wireless headphones. They offer exceptional audio quality and the convenience of noise cancellation, plus they're also easy to customise.
Much like the previous generation XM3s (which used to grace this list), the Sony WF-1000XM4s 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 out of 5 stars in our full review. The WF-1000XM4 headphones were also named a winner in our best wireless earbuds guide, so there's certainly a lot to like about these impressive earbuds.
While the sound quality is the headline feature of the WF-1000XM4, it's far from the only selling point. We were pleased with the solid build, improved comfort on the previous generation and active noise cancellation (ANC).
The WF-1000XM4s 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.
Other improvements include a much smaller charging case this time around, as well as a speak-to-chat mode that pauses your music or podcast when it detects you having a conversation.
If audio quality is your number 1 concern when buying wireless headphones, the Sony WF-1000XM4s buds are worth every cent.
Bose's QuietComfort Earbuds truly live up to their name. They're extremely comfortable, even over longer listening periods or while exercising. It's thanks to simple support fins that keep them closely locked, but not tightly so into your ear. They're also extremely quiet, and not in the sense that you can't hear anything through them.
Instead, they're equipped with the best active noise cancelling we've heard in a set of true wireless buds to date, beating out impressive competition from the likes of Sony and Apple. The fact, that you get 10 levels of ANC. You can quickly create presets for total isolation or just a small level of background buzz baffling is a real boon here too.
Audio quality sits among the best in class at this price point, although Bose's headphones are sometimes a little more pricey, so it'll pay to chase the best price down for them. Battery life on the buds sits straight in the average for true wireless buds, although it's annoying that the large recharging case only supplies 2 recharges on the go.
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. These over-ear headphones offer excellent audio quality and noise cancellation, plus 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 2 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 user-friendly.
Once again, it's worth pointing out that they're not the cheapest headphones around. 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 out of 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 out of 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. We were also pleased to find that they 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 1 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 out of 5 from our editorial team. As a result, this impressive performer is our top pick for this category.
The first thing we noticed about the Razer BlackShark V2 is that it looks a whole lot better than its ugly predecessor, plus it's also incredibly comfortable. It's surprisingly lightweight, 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 have everything you need for an immersive gaming experience.
This Razer headset doesn't offer RGB lighting like some more expensive headsets, but it has 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.
There is a lot of competition on premium over-ear headphones. One could argue that perhaps the Sony WH-1000XM4s should be here. And perhaps you'd be right, which is why they are best overall. The Bose 700s are also a worthy contender.
But Apple deserves a call-out here because the AirPods Max were, quite frankly, a shock.
While at $900 they are expensive, they are alarmingly good, pairing truly excellent audio quality (including spatial audio) with superb ANC.
The design is also the most chic and sleek of the pack, sporting a beautifully breathable mesh band to prevent heat generation as well as a variety of colours.
They are also just easy to use. If you're in the Apple ecosystem in particular, they automatically pair with your devices and computers seamlessly, making life much easier.
The combination of quality and real-world use is what makes them a contender, even at that price point. And fortunately, you can get them for a few hundred dollars cheaper now.
Read more in our full review of the Apple AirPods Max.
For true wireless earbuds, 2 names tend to sit at the top of the pyramid – the Sony WF-1000XM4 and the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2.
While it's a tough choice between the 2, we're opting for the latter thanks to its truly incredible ANC and cheaper price point. It's over 18 months old at this point but is still at the top of its game.
The Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 does a brilliant job of blocking out a range of environmental noise when you want to be in your own little world. And on the flip side, the transparency mode also gives you the option to be more aware of your surroundings.
And regarding sound quality, the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 are some of the best in class and also have a decent battery to boot.
Skullcandy has followed in the grand tradition of the Powerbeats Pro by adding a dorky but ultimately fantastic sports loop. This helps secure the buds firmly in place while exercising, so you don't have to worry about losing one.
Fortunately, the design is also backed by a massive 10 hours of battery life and an additional 34 from the charging case. The sound is also incredibly decent for the price point and for wireless earbuds that have more of a sports focus.
While the case is on the larger side, it's at least quite light. And it's a small price to pay for aesthetic security.
The RRP sits at about $180, but at the time of writing, we have seen these online for around $140, which is an excellent price for these guys.
For budget headphones, it's hard to go past the Jabra Elite 3. With an RRP of $119, they are truly better than they have any right to be.
In addition to being super comfortable and rocking a great battery life, the sound is also very good for the price point.
While it doesn't have ANC, the Jabra Elite 3 still does a really good job at noise isolation.
We didn't expect them to be this good and they have one of the best audio tech surprises of the last 12 months.
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 out of 5 from over 50,000 ratings suggests. They also picked up a Finder score of 4 out of 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, the AirPods Pro is 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 ANC 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. 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 offers comfort, performance and ease of use, so they're our pick as the best Apple headphones.
There is really is no competition for Shokz in Australia for bone-conduction headphones. Overseas, there are brands such as Vidonn and Tayogo, but look at what any serious cyclist wears while riding their bike and you'll either see a single AirPod or a Shokz headset of varying vintages.
So, it's a good thing that Shokz makes great headphones that sound better than they have any right to, given they don't go on your ears and just conduct sound through your skull, leaving your eardrums able to keep track of what's going on around you.
The improvements in sound quality are huge for people familiar with the technology. It still allows for great awareness of surroundings with no audio bleed.
While they absolutely won't satisfy audiophiles, the Shokz OpenRun Pro are the best possible headphones to wear while cycling or running in an area where it's important to be aware of your surroundings.
The Pro offers real improvements in how the bass sounds while reducing the jarring effect of the old Aeropex model. However, it does this at the expense of the waterproof rating. If you frequently exercise in heavy storms, you might be better off with the regular OpenRun model.
We considered headphones from a wide range of leading brands, excluding any products that aren't widely available in Australia. Our editorial team selected the headphones on this list based on the results of our own reviews. We also considered reviews from real customers and compared key product features.
We considered headphones from the following brands:
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Enjoy 24% off Apple AirPods Max at Amazon. Limited offer only. T&Cs apply.
Up to 40% off sale
Benefit from discounted prices on selected headphones, earbuds or other Sennheiser audio products. Shop now for up to 40% off. While stocks last. T&Cs apply.
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Original UMI Voix In-Ear Earphone with Remote Controller and Microphone Was: $33.67 Now: $8.99
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There are 3 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 4 grams. However, because of the smaller size, these headphones tend to sacrifice sound quality, especially on bass levels. In-ear headphones can 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 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 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 heads. 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 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 that 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 get you better quality, you don't 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 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 ANC 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 1- or 2-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 Sony LinkBuds are so weird and I love that they exist. But do true wireless earbuds with a literal hole in them actually deliver good sound?
Get your scalpels out, it’s time to trade a kidney for some incredible headphones
JBL’s Reflect Flow Pro headphones deliver good sound and benefit from water resistance, but their active noise cancelling can’t compete with the best in this category.
The Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 offer incredible sound quality, comfort and noise cancellation.
The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds offer superior levels of comfort, great audio and above all, the best active noise cancelling we've heard in a set of true wireless buds to date.
The Shokz OpenRun Pro headphones are the best bone conduction headphones yet, even if they still struggle at high volumes.
Anker's "pro" Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro earbuds do sound pretty sweet, and their battery endurance is good, but they don't quite make the grade when it comes to active noise cancellation.
The Yamaha TW-E3B are really good mid-range headphones, as long as they fit you properly.
The Skullcandy Push Active is a good option if you’re looking for sports earbuds you can knock about and sweat on.
The Amazon Echo Buds 2 are a solid addition to your earholes if you’re already integrated in the Alexa ecosystem. But if you’re not, its hard to find anything here that really stands out.
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