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Best headphones in Australia 2023

Our expert team has spent months testing headphones and earphones to handpick the best headphones for every type of listener and any budget.

The best headphones in Australia

Over the past couple of years, we've seen a massive uptick in quality for consumer-grade headphones. We have also seen them come down 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've got your back. Well, ears.

Finder's team of experts has spent hundreds of hours testing, reviewing and researching headphones. For every pair of headphones we review, we consider their design, performance, battery life and overall value for money. Where we haven't been able to get our hands on a pair, we've researched extensively, comparing top-rated models and using real customer reviews to choose our winners.

Our editorial team selected the headphones on this list based on the results of our reviews.

Read more detail on our methodology below.

Sony WH-1000XM4

Best headphones overall

Sony WH-1000XM4
Image: Sarah Brandon/Finder

Finder Score:



  • Excellent noise cancellation
  • Can be paired with 2 devices at the same time
  • Speak-to-chat feature is surprisingly useful


  • No battery life improvements
  • Expensive
  • 360 Reality Audio is only compatible with a few streaming services

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 over 17,000 Google reviews shows.

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.

Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700

Best noise-cancelling headphones

Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700
Image: Lauren Chaplin/Finder

Finder Score:



  • Sleek new design
  • Adjustable levels of noise cancellation
  • Better sound than the QC35 II
  • Great battery life


  • Expensive
  • No wall charger included in box

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 main 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.

Sony WF-1000XM4

Best wireless earbuds overall

Sony WF-1000XM4
Image: Supplied/Finder

Finder Score:



  • Incredible sound
  • Best-in-class noise cancelling
  • Great battery life
  • Water resistance


  • Expensive
  • Not the most secure in-ear
  • Comfort for long listening sessions needs work

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.

The WF-1000XM4s also earn points for battery life, offering 24 hours of 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 main concern when buying wireless headphones, the Sony WF-1000XM4s buds are worth every cent.

Sony WH-1000XM4

Best Bluetooth headphones

Sony WH-1000XM4
Image: Sarah Brandon/Finder

Finder Score:



  • Excellent noise cancellation
  • Can be paired with 2 devices at the same time
  • Speak-to-chat feature is surprisingly useful


  • No battery life improvements
  • Expensive
  • 360 Reality Audio is only compatible with a few streaming services

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.

Skullcandy Push Active

Best headphones for running/sports headphones

Skullcandy Push Active
Image: Tegan Jones/Finder

Finder Score:



  • Ear hooks are great for exercise
  • Comfortable
  • Excellent battery


  • Huge charging case
  • No active noise cancellation
  • No wireless charging option

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 which is an excellent price for these guys.

Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2

Best in-ear headphones

Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2
Image: Tegan Jones/Finder

Finder Score:



  • Great audio quality
  • Excellent active noise cancellation
  • Comfortable


  • Battery isn’t great
  • Pricey
  • The case is a touch large

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 pair, we're opting for the latter thanks to its truly incredible active noise cancellation and cheaper price point. It's a number of years 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.

Logitech G Pro X Wireless

Best gaming headphones

Logitech G Pro X Wireless
Image: Matt Sayer/Finder

Finder Score:



  • Excellent 7.1 surround sound implementation
  • Crisp and clear audio with seriously powerful bass
  • Durable and comfortable design


  • Steep price tag
  • Maximum surround sound volume output is curiously low

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 4.3 out of 5 from almost 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 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.

Bose QuietComfort Earbuds

Best noise-cancelling true wireless headphones

Bose QuietComfort Earbuds
Image: Alex Kidman/Finder

Finder Score:



  • Best-in-class active noise cancelling
  • Good quality audio
  • Comfortable fit


  • Touch volume and assistant controls do not play well together
  • Charging case is a bulky lad
  • Only 2 recharges in the case

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. 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.

Shokz OpenRun Pro

Best bone-conduction headphones

Shokz OpenRun Pro
Image: Alice Clarke/Finder

Finder Score:



  • Sounds better than the old AfterShokz Aeropex headphones they’re based on
  • Comfortable
  • Long battery life
  • Quick-charge feature is handy


  • Struggles at louder volumes
  • Not as waterproof as non-Pro model

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.

Audio Technica ATH-M50x

Best wired headphones

Audio Technica ATH-M50x
Image: Supplied/Finder


  • Good all-rounder that can be used for the studio, gaming and everyday wear
  • Affordable mid-range price point


  • Some customers complain it sits too tightly and is uncomfortable over long periods
  • Only available in 3 colours

Wireless headphones might be commonplace but wired headphones still have their place. The benefits include endless battery life and, depending on the style, never having to stress about losing them because they've popped out of your ears (we're looking at you, AirPods).

For the best of the wired bunch, the Audio Technica ATH-M50x wins for sound quality, price and versatility. While we haven't personally tried them, over 3,000 customers have given them an average rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars on Google reviews. So we're fairly confident they won't disappoint.

This over-ear headphone is lauded for being a strong all-rounder and is ideal for the studio, gaming or as an everyday headphone to listen to your jams or to your work meetings.

Passive noise isolation keeps the sounds of the outside world at bay while 45mm large aperture drivers and an extended frequency range promise stunning clarity of sound across the frequency range. Expect to hear every bassy explosion during your gaming session and every high-pitched note while diva-dancing along to Ariana Grande.

A collapsible design enables you to pack it away easily while soft cushioned cups provide all-day comfort while sealing in sound.

The sound quality is where it stands out from the crowd for customers, with one saying that it was "richer and fuller" than their previous headphones. Another said "the audio quality is definitely so good that I am now listening to my playlist with a very different perspective".

At $319 RRP it's a solid price for a solid set of headphones that can pretty much do it all.

Sennheiser HD25

Best DJ headphones

Sennheiser HD25
Image: Supplied/Finder


  • Designed for DJs with premium sound quality
  • Lightweight design


  • Can be uncomfortable to wear over prolonged periods

The terms DJ headphones and Sennheiser HD25 are synonymous in some circles. But that's not the only reason we've picked it as the best pair for this profession. With a Google reviews rating of 4.8 out of 5 stars and a sound quality so clear it cuts through the noise of the dance floor, they really do live up to the hype.

Designed for long wear and loud spaces, the Sennheiser HD25 features a lightweight design, coming in at a measly 140 grams without its cable. Part of this is due to its aluminium voice coils. These are highly sensitive and don't work nearly as hard as you to amplify sound in loud environments. Yet, they're still robust enough to handle high sound pressure levels.

Though light, the Sennheiser HD25 is built to be put through the paces and stand the test of being thrown around a bit (not that we tried). If it fails the test though, the good news is that most elements, including the ear pads, headband and cables, are easily replaceable.

A rotatable ear cup gives DJs the option to push one ear off for single-ear listening and is a feature the no-frills version the HD 25 Light doesn't offer. Retailing at $349 you're looking down the barrel of a sound investment for your next gig.

There's not much in the way of flaws according to customer reviews on the Sennheiser site. Perhaps the biggest is the tightness and discomfort over time, but that's also a general downside of over-ear headphones.

Beyerdynamic DT 1770 PRO

Best studio headphones

Beyerdynamic DT 1770 PRO
Image: Supplied/Finder


  • Ideal for mixing, mastering and monitoring
  • Amazing sound quality detail
  • Comfortable for an over-ear headphone


  • Expensive

Before you start searching for your perfect pair in the studio it's an idea to consider what you need from them. For mixing, something with transparent sound is preferable. For listening, a pair with clarity and a wider frequency range can set the atmosphere. For the sake of this list we've gone with an all-rounder: the Beyerdynamic DT 1700 PRO.

This sleek-looking piece of kit is no stranger to studios worldwide. In fact, it was developed specifically for mixing, mastering and monitoring. A triple threat, if you will.

A closed-back design delivers full, ambient sound while the isolation completely captures it so there's little to no leakage.

Perhaps the most unique feature of the Beyerdynamic DT 1770 PRO is the use of Tesla technology. This is found in its 2.0 drivers which deliver high output and efficiency.

The frequency range is extremely impressive, capable of reproducing low frequencies of sound to blended mids right up to high velvets. Paired with a 3-layer membrane and acoustic fabric, vibrations and distortion are reduced bringing only crisp and clear sounds to the ear.

The headband and earbuds are dressed in soft leatherette for extra comfort while still providing closed sound at 21dBA. For mixing and mastering, there's an option for a velour set at 18dBA. All parts are made to be fixed or replaced, which is exactly what you want from commercial-grade headphones that will set you back in the vicinity of $700.

A special mention must be made for the Focal Listen Professional. Another dream pair for the studio, it has a 4.8-star rating on Google reviews and boasts a driver membrane for accurate sound production and a Mylar-titanium alley for extended frequent response in the upper parts of the spectrum. While a great buy, its biggest downfall is that it's difficult to find in Australia.

Jabra Elite 3

Best budget headphones

Jabra Elite 3
Image: Tegan Jones/Finder

Finder Score:



  • Great price
  • Good sound for the price tag
  • Comfortable


  • No noise cancellation, but this makes sense for the price
  • Earbuds like this don’t feel the most secure
  • No water resistance

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're one of the best audio tech surprises of the last 12 months.

JBL JR310 BT Kids On Ear Headphones

Best kids headphones

JBL JR310 BT Kids On Ear Headphones
Image: Supplied/Finder


  • Maximum 85dB for safe listening
  • Great sound quality
  • Easy to use and control


  • Only 2 colour combinations
  • Warranty is only 1 year
  • Could be cheaper

For a bit of respite from the insanity that comes with having kids the JBL JR310 BT Kids On-Ear Headphones are a safe and lightweight headphone made for little heads.

Over 700 parents and carers have given it the green light, averaging 4.7 out of 5 stars on Google reviews. Amazon reviews tell a similar story with a 4.7-star rating from almost 3,000 happy customers.

As far as hearing health is concerned, these JBLs are limited to 85dB which the Deafness Forum Australia states is a safe listening level for up to 8 hours. Despite this, it's always a good idea to take breaks and reduce the dB on your device if possible.

Soft ear cushions, a padded headband and a total weight of 115g ensures a comfortable fit while an in-built mic gives your little one privacy when chatting to their friends and participating in virtual classrooms. The simple 2-button control is easy for little hands to work and a bonus sticker set gives them the chance to put their personal stamp on their piece of tech.

Easily transportable, we love how these buds fold into themselves ready to be thrown into the school bag or luggage. They're also Bluetooth compatible at up to 15 metres reducing wire mess and the potential for it to become a choking hazard.

At full charge, you'll get 30 hours maximum play out of the JR310. What's more astounding is that a 5-minute charge alone can deliver 2 hours of battery life. That's pretty nifty for when they forget to plug it in before a big road trip.

Summing up the reviews, parents and carers love how easy the JR310 is to use and specifically call out its durability, sound quality and battery life.

Razer BlackShark V2

Best budget gaming headphones

Razer BlackShark V2
Image: Matt Sayer/Finder

Finder Score:



  • Clear and powerful sound with support for THX spatial audio
  • Ultra-light design is tremendously comfortable
  • Plenty of settings to tweak


  • Headset volume is distinct from system volume

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.

Apple AirPods Max

Best over-ear headphones

Apple AirPods Max
Image: Alex Kidman/Finder

Finder Score:



  • Astonishingly good audio
  • Good battery life
  • Excellent noise cancellation


  • Case is laughably bad
  • Quite expensive
  • No included cabling or charger
  • Plays best only with Apple products

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 active noise cancellation.

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.

Apple AirPods Pro

Best Apple headphones

Apple AirPods Pro
Image: Alex Kidman/Finder

Finder Score:



  • Noise cancelling is quite smart
  • Much more comfortable fit
  • Fast pairing with iOS devices
  • Smaller microphone stubs make them less obvious


  • Relatively expensive
  • New case is wider than the originals
  • Fixed battery makes their future unclear

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 reviews score of 4.5 out of 5 from over 67,000 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 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. 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 it's our pick as the best Apple headphones.

Amazon prices last updated on 1 December, 2023 at 01:01 pm
eBay prices last updated on 1 December, 2023 at 05:21 am

How did we pick this list?

Brands considered
Products compared
Best products chosen
  • Finder's team of experts has spent hundreds of hours testing, reviewing and researching headphones.
  • We chose our top picks based on our own reviews, customer reviews and key product features.
  • The products on this list are chosen by our editorial team and are not selected based on commercial relationships.

Why you can trust our picks

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, real customer reviews on Amazon and Google reviews and key product features.

We considered headphones from the following brands:

  • Anker Soundcore
  • Apple
  • Audio-Technica
  • Bang & Olufsen
  • Beats
  • Belkin
  • Beyerdynamic
  • BlueAnt
  • Bose
  • Bowers & Wilkins
  • Google
  • HyperX
  • Jabra
  • Jaybird
  • JBL
  • Klipsch
  • Kogan
  • Logitech
  • Lypertek
  • Master & Dynamic
  • OnePlus
  • Philips
  • Pioneer
  • Plantronics
  • Razer
  • Realme
  • Samsung
  • Sennheiser
  • Shokz
  • Shure
  • Skullcandy
  • Sony
  • SoundMagic
  • SteelSeries
  • TaoTronics
  • Turtle Beach
  • Urbanista
We value our editorial independence, basing our comparison results, content and reviews on objective analysis without bias. However, Finder may receive compensation when you click some links on our site. Learn more about how we make money from our partners and why you can trust our guides.

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In-ear vs on-ear vs over-ear headphones

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.

Check out our complete guide to earphones vs headphones here.


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.

Other types of headphones

  • Wireless and Bluetooth headphones. Another popular type of headphones is wireless or Bluetooth. These headphones don't have any cables and instead connect to your phone or another device using Bluetooth technology. Wireless headphones need to be charged regularly and some come with a charging case so that you can top up the battery on the go.
  • Fitness headphones. Sports or fitness headphones are specifically designed for use while exercising. They are more durable and either sweatproof or fully waterproof. When choosing a pair of sports headphones, make sure they stay in place while you're moving around.
  • Bone-conduction headphones. These are perhaps the most unique type of headphones on the market. Rather than delivering sound in the traditional way, they transmit sound through vibrations on the bones of the head and jaw. The sounds from these headphones bypass the eardrum and relay directly to the inner ear.

How to compare headphones

When choosing a pair of headphones, consider the following factors:


If you can, try the headphones on in-store. 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.

Sound quality

Audio quality is an important factor when comparing headphones and thankfully you don't have to buy a top-of-the-line pair for a good listening experience. When you try the headphones on, test out different types of music to check the headphone's range. Also, listen to spoken audio like a podcast to test for clarity.


Headphones can come with different types of controls, including in-line controls that let you change settings on the actual headphones without using your phone. Some in-line controls are buttons on the physical headphone. 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 music 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.

Battery life

If the headphones are wireless or have an active noise cancellation 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 to put your phone in your pocket or bag without 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.


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. Check what is included and if there's anything that will void the warranty, like using charging cables from another brand.

Buying online vs in-store

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.

Compare headphones reviews

Name Product Price (RRP) Review score More info
Yamaha TW-E3B
Steelseries Arctis 9X Wireless
Apple AirPods Pro 2nd Generation

Frequently asked questions

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