The Best Headphones of 2017 – Complete Buying Guide!

Don’t Buy Expensive Headphones

Good Headphones Are Those that Cover Your Needs

Do you want to buy a new headphone or are you looking for the best headphones of 2016 list? You’re lucky and you’ve landed on the right place! Do you pay attention to details when you want to buy headphones like when you want to buy a new laptop, tablet or smartphone? I don’t think so. Probably, seeing a well-known brand name on the headphones is enough for most of us… But that’s wrong!

You can’t buy good headphones without enough research. Actually, headphones are available in different brands as well as different designs, sizes, prices and uses. So, if you feel uncomfortable with your headphones after a while, it means that you failed to choose the right ones.

Headphones can be categorized in different ways, for example, in-ear or on-ear, wireless or not, etc. Although sound reproduction is the main function of headphones, it shouldn’t be considered the only criterion while choosing headphones. Ear pads material, ergonomic design, dimensions & weight are other important factors that you need to pay attention to when you are buying headphones. In the next couple of paragraphs, you’ll learn about different categories and will be able to choose the headphones which will give you the best experience.

We need to mention that there’re products with names like headphones, headset, hands-free, etc. in the market, but all of them are actually headphones. So we will only use word “headphones” in this buying guide. At the first couple of paragraphs, we discuss about different parts of headphones in details and then provide the best headphones of 2016 list. Stay with us!

Headphone Jack

Headphone Jack

Based on connection type, headphones are divided into two groups: wired and wireless.

Wired headphones usually connect to the sound source through USB ports, 3.5 mm jack or 6.3 mm jack. Of course, there are other types of connectors such as optic connector, RCA connector and 2.5 mm jack which audio equipment manufacturers do not use a lot. Wireless headphones use Bluetooth Technology, NFC and Wireless Network as the connector, although Bluetooth headphones are more popular.

If you want to connect your headphone to a computer, cell phone or audio/MP3 player, wired headphones will be a good choice for you (especially those with a 3.5 mm jack), but if you’re not comfortable with tangled wires, wireless headphones are a better choice (especially Bluetooth models).

Earplug Headphones

Location on the ear

In general, based on headphones location on the ear, they are divided into 3 groups:
In-ear Headphones – Earclip Headphones – On-ear Headphones

In-ear headphones are usually smaller and lighter than two other types, and stay very close to the earlobe. They don`t cover the ear completely though and don`t save you from external noises. Earclip headphones cover the ear completely. With this type of headphones external noises won`t disturb you.

On-ear headphones are bigger what makes them heavier as well compared to two other types and it`s their main downside. On-ear headphones are something between in-ear and earclip headphones. If you want to use headphones for a short time, on-ear headphones can be a perfect choice, because you can wear and plug out them easily.

In the next part, we provide a list of different types of headphones explaining their advantages and disadvantages. Also, we’ll give you the best brands that are available in the market for each type of headphones so that you could make the best decision and choose the most suitable ones according to your needs.


DJ Headphones

Dj Sony Headphone

Powerful, clear and wide sound as well as beautiful design, rotating feature and a long high-quality wire are common characteristics of DJ headphones. There are DJ headphones from different brand in the market.
Sony MDR-XB920 is one of the best models and is suitable for this purpose. MDR-XB920 provides amazing quality sound using its 50mm Driver Unit. Clear sound, powerful bass, nice design as well as other great features such as noise isolating and built-in mic, turned these headphones into a perfect choice. Its price is also reasonable compared to other expensive brands. So if you love music and sound quality is important for you, MDR-XB920 is the one for you.

Amazon Sony Deal

 

Gaming Headphones

Gaming Headphone

Gaming headphones are perfect for games on PC and consoles such as PlayStation and Xbox. Of course, the performance of gaming headphones is different for PC games and console games, and you need to keep it in mind while buying gaming headphones. Some gamers need to communicate with their teammates with voice commands. If you are one of such gamers, you need headphones which recognize voice clearly very well to make sure your teammates heard your voice clearly.

Moreover, you won`t like it if you hear when your mother turns on the vacuum cleaner or a mixer, so gaming headphones are noise-cancelling. They are comfortable as well what lets you play games for a long time without your ears getting red or itchy.

These days, Logitech and Razer are brands which produce best gaming headphones. Logitech G230 and Razer Kraken are models which have great sound quality according to their reasonable price. They are all under $100 (which is valuable according to their quality) and can make your gaming experience more enjoyable.

Also, if you’re a professional gamer who doesn’t want to lose any sounds in the game and wants to hear explosions clearly Razer BlackShark Expert 2.0 is the model which let you enjoy your game and give an extraordinary experience. The prices vary from $100 to $300 for the mentioned models.

 

Wireless Headphones

Wireless

This kind of headphones is the most suitable for those who move a lot. Usually these headphones connect to the sound source via Bluetooth and cover a good range. Models which use Bluetooth, cover a wider range. For example, if you work at home, you can put your audio/MP3 player in one room, fit headphones on your ears and enjoy listening to your favorite music moving from one room to another.

Noise-cancelling is a great feature which is included in some of wireless headphones. If you prefer not to hear outside noises while listening to your favorite music, make sure to choose noise-cancelling wireless headphones. If your headphones support Multiport Pairing, it means that you can connect your headphones to several sound sources and change your sound source every time you like. For example, your headphone can be connected to your audio player and at the same time to your radio, laptop, TV, etc., so you will be able to switch between those devices easily.

Usually, wireless headphones support voice commands too what lets you talk to your friends without resetting the headphones or distributing your neighbors! ) Most wireless headphones cover a range of 30 feet (about 9 meters) easily, but there are also expensive models which are able to cover even a range of up to 200 feet (about 60 meters)!

If you’re looking for wireless headphones with high sound quality, beautiful design and powerful connection with other devices, JBL Synchros E40BT(Bluetooth) or Razer Adaro Wireless are recommended. The price varies from $80 to $100.

 

Studio Headphones

Stereo

If you’ve seen the backstage of your favorite singers, you may saw that they’re using special headphones to record music sometimes. Studio headphones can be found in all music studios, but they can be used not only in studio. Actually, if you choose the right model, you’ll be able to record music even in your room, so if you feel your voice is beautiful or if you want to record some songs, you don’t need to go to a music studio and wait for professional musicians to test you. These days the number of singers in more than the audience!

There are different types of studio headphones in the market which can be used for any purposes. Circumaural headphones encompass the ears completely, so singers never hear any noise from outside; while supra-aural headphones` pads are lighter and press against the ears, so they can’t cancel outside noises completely. There are simpler models which are suitable for general purposes, but for professional purposes such as test mixing or listening for a long time, it’s better to purchase a more expensive model.

Expensive models of stereo headphones have a wide frequency range. Comfort is another important factor that you need to pay attention to when you want to buy this type of headphones because they are going to be on you for a long time. To make sure that the headphones are comfortable enough for you check the following factors.

  • Check headphones` headband and make sure it’s easy adjustable.
  • Ear-pads of headphones must be soft and should not trouble your ears.
  • Also pay attention to headphones` cable which should not be too short.

If sound quality is important for you and you want to feel the difference between 192K and 320K, Bose SoundLink and Harman/Kardon NC Premium are brands that we recommend. The price varies between $150 and $300.

 

Noise-Cancelling Headphones

Noise Canceling Headphones

Thanks to noise-control engineering, these headphones are able to cancel outside noises completely and noises can’t distract you at all. You may have to pay some more for this type of headphones, but instead, noise-cancelling headphones let you focus on your work perfectly.

Imagine, you are writing a thesis or study for your tomorrow’s exam, then suddenly you hear loud noise from workers` compressor who are repairing the road in front of your room’s windows! In these situations noise-cancelling headphones can be your saving angel!

Noise-cancelling headphones have special microphones that absorb outside noise. This can be done with the help of electrical circuit inside the headphones. Usually these headphones have a battery or connect via USB port to charge. When you are have doubts about what headphones to buy, choose the ones that fit you well, are comfortable and have a real noise-cancelling feature that is not only a slogan on its box.

If you are looking for a model which cancels outside noise pretty well and can separate you from the real world for a while, we recommend Bose QuietComfort 25 Acoustic Noise Cancelling.

If you don’t want to pay that much (~ $300) Sony MDR10RNC can be another good option. Its price is half of the Bose, but the quality is high and it has powerful bass. Price varies between $150 and $350 for both models.

 

Bass Headphones

Bass Headphones

If you are fond of dance or techno music and if headphones` bass is very important for you while you’re listening to music, you can get Bass headphones and enjoy high quality of sound.

This type of headphones lets you hear bass very well. The size of bass headphones` driver is very big and its frequency response is low. Those models that get fixed on the ears completely, make more powerful bass sound. High-quality models use noise-cancelling technology as well as have soft ear-pads and an adjustable headband.

If you’re looking for headphones with powerful bass, you can get gaming headphones which we’ve mentioned above. Also, headphones like Beats always have powerful bass, so it can be an appropriate choice as well.

Also MDR-XB920 model (mentioned above) is one of the few 50mm headphones in the market and its high quality sound gets all users attention.

Sony MDR-10RNC has also very powerful bass. Its price is reasonable compared to other noise-cancelling headphones.

Price varies from $250 to $350.

 

Sport Headphones

Sport Headphone

All of us know that listening to rhythmic music gives a lot of energy while exercising. But you can`t run, cycle or exercise with any type of headphones. We need light, comfortable and high quality headphones for it.

Earphones are perfect for exercising because they are delicate and light. But you should be lucky enough to buy sport headphones that would fit you perfectly, because comfort is the most important factor here. Anyway, only when you wear them, you’ll find out if it’s suitable for you or not. Moreover, sport headphones should be durable, because they may fall when you’re exercising. You can also find sweat-proof headphones these days.

Jaybird X3 Sport and Powerbeats 2 Wireless In-Ear Headphone are two good sport headphones that are available in different prices.

Price varies from $99 to $199.

 

Clip-on Headphones

Clip-On

Clip-on headphones have small ear pads and get fixed behind the ears so that they fit exactly on the center of your ear. Some of them get fixed inside the ear canal while others get fixed outside. This type of headphones is suitable for walking, running or cycling. They are not able to cancel outside noise. Although, when you are cycling and a truck is approaching you from behind, you probably prefer to hear its honk to be safe!

Lightweight and convenience are other characteristics of clip-on headphones. They are durable enough, do not occupy much space and are available at reasonable price.

Sony MDR-Q68LW and Philips Adjustable Earclip SHS4700/28 are some of the best models in this field.

Price varies between $15 and $40.

 

Dolby Headphones

Dolby

Dolby headphones are a type of headphones with surround sound technology which makes them perfect for home theater, music lovers and pro gamers. They are available in two types: 5.1-channel (5 channels for full-bandwidth, 1 channel for sound effects) and 7.1-channel. They have wide range of frequency response and can produce very clear sound. Also, low electrical impedance lets them produce higher sound.

For those who want to dive into the atmosphere of the movie they`re watching, we recommend Razer Tiamat 7.1 (which you can also see in the picture). Since Dolby headphones use advanced technology, they aren’t normally cheap.

Here are some other valuable models of surround sound headphones that are appropriate for any budget:

Sennheiser RS175 Surround Sound Wireless

Sony MDRRF985RK RF Wireless Stereo

Power Acoustik HP902R

Price varies from $40 to $300

 

Travel Headphones

Travel

Travel headphones are suitable for people who move or travel a lot. It’s perfect for students or commuters who are used to listen to music on their way, or for businessmen who fly a lot. The minimum thing that should be included in travel headphones is noise-cancelling ability. When you travel by train, you wouldn’t want to listen to its noise all your way.

Small size, light weight and convenience are priorities here. You may think that it does not matter if it’s light or heavy when I’m in the car, plane or train, but it does if you decide to take some walking! Price varies from $50 to $250 and normally, noise-cancelling models are more expensive.

Some well-known and high quality travel headphones are listed below:

Thinksound ts02-blkchoc 8mm

Sennheiser HD 380 PRO

RHA MA750i Noise Isolating Premium

There are some brands which are well-known and guarantee good quality. So if you see one of these names on the box, don`t hesitate and choose them because you can rely on those brands. These brands are also recommended by professionals. Although, you should keep in mind that their price is usually quite high.

Shure, Grado, Klipsch, Pioneer, AKG, Senneheiser, JVC and Audio Technica.

 

Final World

Well, that`s it! ) I hope you enjoyed reading this buying guide and now you have a good overview of the best headphones of 2016 presented in the market which will help you choose the most suitable one for yourself. I also recommend you to read 5 Tips in Buying Your New Headphone TOP 100 Headphone Brands in the world articles which help you to choose the best model of headphone for yourself.
Let me know about your personal experience of using headphones and which models you are recommending. If you have any questions, just leave a comment below. I’ll come back to you soon!

Ali Monajemi Author

Comments

    Dave

    (February 3, 2017 - 5:04 pm)

    Sweet site buddy, I loved your blurb about the different type of headphones.

    I never even knew about Dolby headphones but I am going to have a look on Amazon now, I gotta get myself some. Top job keep up the good work and I will be back soon. I will let you know what I buy.

      Ali Monajemi

      (February 4, 2017 - 2:53 am)

      Hi Dave, you’re welcome and glad to see that you liked article. That’s nice to know what you’ll but. Feel free to share it in comments which will be useful for others too )

      Best,
      Ali

    Arta

    (January 27, 2017 - 3:26 pm)

    Hi

    Thank you for this profound guide on headphones. I personally prefer on-ear headphones and are looking for ones for daily use – to listen to music. In the beggining you mention that good headphones doesn’t necessarily have to be expensive. I am not very much into headphones and pricing so could you advise me what would be the normal price level for headphones? In your article you have mentioned prices $100 to $ 350 – well, this seems to be very expensive for headphones for me.

      Ali Monajemi

      (January 28, 2017 - 3:37 am)

      Hi Arta, yes good headphones doesn’t necessarily have to be expensive but since I’ve introduced headphones from well-known companies, most of them stand on 100$ price range. If you’re looking for quality and not expensive ones, I would recommend you go with one of below models which all are under $50 and got positive reviews of customers and experts:
      Shure SRH145mSkullcandy Method or Creative Sound Blaster Jam

      They’re are good in performance and will exceed your expectations about a headphone in this price range. Hope this helps you pick the best one for yourself.

      Best,
      Ali

    Christian

    (January 27, 2017 - 2:09 pm)

    You have quite the list of headphones here, very thorough! I would most be interested in the in ear headphones for active people, as I get tired of the Apple earpods constantly slipping out of my ear while I workout from the sweat. The powerbeats that you recommended, are they from Beats by Dre? I would love to try those, as I hear that those have awesome bass and clarity as well.

      Ali Monajemi

      (January 28, 2017 - 3:24 am)

      Hi Christian, yes powerbeats is something that I would recommend and stand out on the list if you’re looking for a quality ear headphone models. Bose SoundSport and Beyerdynamic DX are two other quality ones in this field.

      Best,
      Ali

    Ryan

    (January 20, 2017 - 9:34 am)

    This was a great guide on headphones but one brand I was hoping to see on your list was Skullcandy. Do you have any thoughts? I’ve found them to be great in terms of their price and their durability (I’ve had mine, literally, for years), not to mention their kick a$$ designs. Maybe I’m just a fan, what do you think?

      Ali Monajemi

      (January 20, 2017 - 10:02 am)

      Hi Ryan and thanks for your comment. I agree with you about Skullcandy brand. It’s quality and I’ve heard many positive things about its performance, specially about its Crusher model. Actually there’re two reasons for why I’ve didn’t mention to it in the article. The first thing is that I’ve had a limited space for the article and could not introduce all quality headphones in only one article so I’ve decided go with the best in different models and abilities for different situations, that’s why I’ve mentioned to some of other quality models at the bottom of article. The second reason is that provided list are headphones that I personally used and tested most of them before and since I’ve hadn’t any experience in working with Skullcandy models, I’ve decided to keep it for now for maybe another article (Actually when I personally test it! :D).

      Best,
      Ali

    Marc

    (January 2, 2017 - 2:57 am)

    Hi Ali,
    This is a great guide on headphones. I use in-ear headphones a lot, especially while I am sleeping or while at the gym. I’m curious about the Jaybird X3 Sport and PowerBeats 2 Wireless In-Ear Headphones. Are these headphones sweat proof? And do any of the sports head-phones have a noise cancellation feature? And how does the sound quality of the in-ear headphone compare to the quality of the on-ear headphone? I’ve also been thinking about getting some Dre “Beats” headphones for when I travel, but I wonder if the sound quality is worth the high cost.

      Ali Monajemi

      (January 3, 2017 - 5:41 pm)

      Dear Marc, thanks for your comment and it’s nice to see that this review was useful for you )
      You’ve chose powerful headphones Marc and yes, both of them are sweat-resistant. For a sport noise cancelling headphone, I can recommend you Wireless Sport Bluetooth Headphones by Bluephonic. You can find it for about $50 in Amazon.
      Generally on-ear headphones have some better quality compared to in-ear headphones since they cover your ears (inside and outside) completely and well of course they’re more expensive than other types of headphones.
      And about “Beats” headphones; I guess you won’t be disappointed if you get one of its models. It’s a well known model and the fact is that like most of electronic devices, you get what you pay for. So if they’re expensive, there’s absolutely a good logical reason for that high price when we’re talking about “Beats” brand.

      Hope this helped you some and let you made the best decision )

      Best,
      Ali

    Garen

    (December 25, 2016 - 9:11 pm)

    Over the years I have bought tons of headphones. I use them for various things. Have to have them when I am mowing the grass, working out, or cleaning around the house.

    I do like Bose ones a lot, though. Have used them for years. The only thing I don’t like about them is they are very expensive. I do like how they come with a warranty, too. What do you think about Bose headphones?

    I do agree you need headphones when gaming. For me the ones that come with Xbox One are junk. They hurt your ears and seem to cut in and out. The sound quality isn’t that great. Also, which gaming headphones do you recommend that work with Xbox?

      Ali Monajemi

      (December 26, 2016 - 5:43 am)

      Hi Garen and thanks for your comment )

      Like any other electronic devices, your budget play an important role in choosing headphone. Actually those ones that are expensive are high quality and the cheap ones… . But the fact is that if you choose the right one, you’ll always be satisfied with its performance.
      Bose headphones are great in the market and I’ve mentioned to some of its models in this buying guide. They’re not cheap but it always pays to have one of its models.
      For Xbox, if you’re looking for a budget headphone, I would recommend you “Polk Audio Striker Zx Xbox One Gaming Headset” but if you want to have great sound quality, take a look at “Turtle Beach Ear Force Stealth 420X” or “Turtle Beach Ear Force Elite 800X”.

      Best,
      Ali

      As I’ve mentioned in the guide, Logitech G230 and Razer Kraken

    Jason

    (December 23, 2016 - 6:43 pm)

    Hello

    I use earphones all of the time on my computer and to listen to CD’s. I like the way you outlined the cost versus benefit of the different brands, models, and types. Since my main purpose is just listening and not talking through them I think the best bet for me would be the Sony MDR-10RNC model you talked about. A model with noise-canceling functionality plus a good bass is perfect for my needs.
    Now I have a question. Are these headphones comfortable to wear for a while?
    I enjoyed learning about these nice pieces of headgear. Thanks for taking your time to deliver some really good invaluable insight for the undecided individual trying to decide what kind of headphone he wanted. Those Dolby ones look sleek and stylish. They would be great for an action film with lots of booms and explosions. Thanks for the article.

      Ali Monajemi

      (December 24, 2016 - 2:55 am)

      Dear Jason, thanks for your comment and it’s nice to see that you liked the article )

      Since introduced headphones are the best in their field, it’s ok to wear them for a 4, 5 hours. Headphones are like any other electronic devices, it means that would not be healthy for your ears if you use them too much and also it’s important to pick up the right one, when you’re in choosing phase. Hope it answered your question )

      Best,
      Ali

    Joe

    (December 23, 2016 - 2:31 pm)

    Hello,

    I really enjoyed this website! Thorough reviews on the best and bang for your buck headphones. I was actually looking for noise cancelling headphones for Christmas and settled on a pair of highly rated JBLs for a buck 10. If I’ve seen this site sooner, I definitely would have used it. I bookmarked already because I’m thinking of buying a pair of bass and earbuds. Keep up the great work.

    Joe

      Ali Monajemi

      (December 24, 2016 - 2:43 am)

      Thank you for your comment Joe and nice to hear that you liked the article. If you’re interested in buying guides, I also can recommend you at “Best Laptops Under 500 Dollars 2016” too. That would be helpful if you want to buy a new laptop for new year ; )

      Best,
      Ali

    Peter

    (December 23, 2016 - 1:49 am)

    Personally I don’t use headphones as I believe my hearing loss stems from overuse while I was a teenager. People need to pay attention to the volume levels they listen to.. It’s great while you’re young but believe you me you’ll be saying WHAT a lot more as you get older and your ears more sensitive. You have provided a great list to those who are shopping for headphones and I sincerely hope you sell lots. They really can enhance your music listening and gaming pleasure, just be careful to the amount of time you expose your ears to noise. If you don’t care, have at her. Thanks for this.
    Cheers, Peter

      Ali Monajemi

      (December 24, 2016 - 2:48 am)

      Dear Peter, thanks for your comment ) I’m happy to see that you liked the article. Yes you’re right, that’s not good if we use any electrical devices in our life too much but it’s also important to pick up the right one when we’re in choosing phase )

      Best,
      Ali

    Derek Marshall

    (December 20, 2016 - 8:02 am)

    Hi there,

    Great site and fab article. Thaks for creating and sharing it with us. really appreciated.

    I never thought nor would have thought there was so much to headphones when I searched for and found your site. I am looking for noise cancelling headphones or ear phones that can be easily worn while sleeping – which ones would you recommend?

      Ali Monajemi

      (December 21, 2016 - 4:07 am)

      Hi Derek and thanks for your comment. Happy to see that you liked the article. ) I would definitely recommend you go with Bose QuietComfort 20 model. It covers your need and you won’t need a new one for a long time.
      But if you don’t want to pay that much, AcousticSheep Sleep Phones is my second recommendation.

      Best,
      Ali

    Bruno

    (December 20, 2016 - 7:02 am)

    Hi

    I have been using earphones in the past but I realized my ears are very sensitive and sometimes I have an irritating feeling after using them. I have wondered what was the cause. Now that you are very familiar in this industry, which is the best earphone can I purchase that I would be more comfortable with especially when working with my computer for maximum concentration?

      Ali Monajemi

      (December 21, 2016 - 3:54 am)

      Hi Bruno, I would recommend you go with one of below models:

      AKG K 702 – V-Moda Crossfade M-100 – Sony MDR-1A

      Since your ears are sensitive, they’re some of the best models for this type.

      Best,
      Ali

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