Previously a luxury option reserved for high-end headphones, wire-free options are now commonplace. You should consider upgrading if you don’t have one. The headphone jack is slowly disappearing from more and greater numbers of devices and it won’t be coming back. We can help you choose the right model for you based on how you use your headphones.
Wireless headphones can be used to create a unique listening experience, provide some distraction, or allow you to turn off the world for some peace and tranquility while running. At the end, you can say to yourself ‘I can finally write my thesis without any distractions with these noiseless headphones’.
Electronics makers continue to face challenges with the ongoing pandemic. With chip shortages making it more difficult for companies to bring new products to market, this will make it even more challenging for them. Despite the difficulties of the past year there have been many new headphone launches, including Apple’s new over-ear AirPods Max. These are a new version Sony’s noise-cancelling earbuds that come in the amazing WF-1000XM4s. They also offer cheaper alternatives to the AirPods and Beats Studio Buds. The Google Pixel Buds A series offers surprisingly good wireless buds at a fraction of the price of the AirPods.
However, the AirPods Pro and AirPods Pro have been around for a while now. Rumours suggest that Apple will release new versions of these devices sometime in 2012. There should be many reasons to upgrade by the time you finish holiday shopping.
The Best Noise-Canceling Headphones
Apple AirPods Max
Who are you?
Your commute is noisy and you spend a lot of your time flying, in coffee shops, open-plan offices and in airports. You want to have more privacy and be able to listen or download music and podcasts in peace.
Our Pick: Apple AirPods Max ($473)
Apple’s over-ear headphones can be polarizing. The AirPods Max, priced at $473, are very expensive in comparison to other brands. The design is not the best. The earcups are bulky and the smart case exposes the headband to the elements. These drawbacks are easily overcome by the excellent audio quality and seamless integration with Apple devices. Sony’s ANC is as good, if not better than the latest model. The ANC also has built-in sensors that enable dynamic head-tracking. This feature Apple calls Spatial audio. This allows you to hear Dolby Atmos content as if it was coming through a surround-sound system. It’s amazing. AirPods Max can seamlessly switch between Apple devices. They also know where sound is coming form, even when you have both. These are well worth the investment if you have the money.
The Best Noise-Canceling Earbuds
Who are you?
If you spend a lot time in airplanes, coffee shops, open-plan offices, or commute to work by noisy public transport, you don’t need to take a large set of headphones with you everywhere. You want a discreet way to block out the world and can slip it into your pocket.
Our Choice: Sony WF1000XM4 Truly wireless earbuds ($278)
Sony was the first company that introduced wireless earbuds with active noise cancellation that were completely free of wires. The company’s WF-1000XM4s are proving that small ANC earbuds can be made as well as the WF-1000XM4s. The earbuds are extremely effective at blocking unwanted sounds and improving the retention of the WF-1000XM4s.
The Best Budget Earbuds
Who are you?
You are eager to get rid of the annoying tether that connects your headphones and mobile phone, but you don’t want to spend a lot on small electronics that could easily be lost.
Our Pick: Beats Flex (50).
Apple’s Beats brand offers a great pair of earbuds for those who don’t need wireless headphones. Beats Flex earbuds are light and have solid audio quality, as well as seamless iPhone integration.
Beats Studio Buds
Beats Studio Buds are smaller than Powerbeats Pro and offer a more comfortable fit. They also have better noise-canceling abilities. The Amazon Echo Buds (Gen2) are $120 or $140 when purchased with the highly recommended wireless charging case. They offer active noise-canceling at a low price.
Apple’s original $160 AirPods are still a good option if youre completely invested in the Apple hardware ecosystem. However, five years after their launch it is expected that Apple will upgrade them before the year ends. If you are worried about losing $50 worth of headphones and still want to buy wireless earbuds that don’t hurt your ears, the $20 Skullcandy dime earbuds will do the trick. They have decent sound quality for the price, but don’t expect too much. If you are concerned about making calls, there is no active noise cancellation and the mic quality is poor.
While their battery life could have been better, Google’s Pixel Buds Series A for Android camp offer great value for money, a super-simple design, and some of the most comfortable headphones we’ve ever tried–all for $100.
The Best Fitness Earbuds
Jabra Elite Active 75t
Who are you?
You enjoy going to the gym because you sweat a lot. What should you do?
Our Pick: Jabra Elite Active 75t ($180)
Jabra’s wireless earbuds, which are sweat-resistant, have a new version that is cheaper than ever. With a software update, they also offer a digital version active noise cancellation that is nearly as good as the one provided by the ANC Elite 85t. They fit better than the 85t and have an IPX rating that can withstand sweat and water. Jabra’s HearThrough feature allows you to filter out ambient noise while running. You can toggle it on Jabra’s app, or press the left earbud while running. Jabra’s workout headphones have the best audio quality.
The Best Fitness Headphones
Who are you?
Music is essential to your workout. You will need headphones that can withstand sweat. But you may struggle to keep your tiny headphones in your ears while you are pounding the pavement. You want headphones that will stay securely on your head.
Our Pick: Skullcandy crusher Evo ($150).
Skullcandy Crusher Evo headphones were the most comfortable we tried when looking for the best headphones for workout. They also had the longest battery life of any headphones. They could play music for up to 40 hours without needing to be charged. The Skullcandy Crusher Evo had the best design of all the headphones that we tested. They featured an easy-to-reach power button and volume buttons, which doubled as playback shortcuts while you bounce around while running or jogging.