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10 best headphones, earphones and earbuds of 2016

Update: Two new additions

Headphones mean different things to different people. For commuters and travelers, noise canceling is the key feature. For audio buffs, it might be hearing the musicians’ breath. Or maybe you just want so much bass your brain vibrates. Whatever you are looking for, here are some candidates for your consideration.

AndroidPIT best headphones hero image
With so many great headphones out there, how do you choose? Let us help, that's how. / © ANDROIDPIT

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Best over-ear headphones: Sony MDR-1A

Without a doubt, the Sony MDR-1A headphones are the best you can buy for under $300  In fact, these are probably still the best cans you can buy if your budget goes up well beyond the $300 range. 

The Sony MDR-1A headphones come with Hi-Res stereo audio response is top-notch and you would be hard-pressed to find a better sound. Sony designed them for Android so you get the optimal experience. The app is available in the Google Play store and you can customize and control the settings from your Android device.

These large over-ear monitor headphones have plush leather cups and a comfortable, flexible head strap. You get several different cords in the box – which are now removable – and the sound simply cannot be beaten. You will never regret buying these headphones.

sony headphones
The Sony MDR-1A is the best over-ear headphone set on the market. / © Sony

Best in-ear headphones (Bluetooth): Sol Republic Shadow

We're crowning the Sol Republic Shadow the king of in-ear Bluetooth headphones. These are sporty and sleek with an ergonomic design. They come with a band than goes around your neck so they feel like a more stable fit.

The Sol Republic Shadow headphones are smaller than most other Bluetooth enabled wireless headphones but are still perform well and have a ton of features. The sound is rich and detailed. They last for eight hours without a charge. And they are water-resistant.

Bluetooth headphones have their drawbacks in general also. They are heavier than their wired counterparts because there is more electronic equipment in them. The Sol Republic Shadow headphones don't do much to mitigate this, although they are a bit lighter than other Bluetooth headphones.

sol republic
The Sol Republic Shadow headphones pack a high-quality sound into an erogonomic design. / © Sol Republic

Best in-ear headphones (wired): Atomic Floyd SuperDarts

If money is no object and you want the very best in-ear headphone experience, then look to the Atomic Floyd SuperDarts. Despite being in-ear headphones, they actually have two speakers in each earbud. For $299, you also get noise-isolation, stainless steel construction and various accessories and eartips.

AndroidPIT AtomicFloyd SuperDarts
If money is no object, the Atomic Floyd SuperDarts the ones you want. / © Atomic Floyd

Best headphones for sports (in-ear): Jabra Sport Coach

If you're serious about exercise, you need a pair of headphones that is equally serious. The Jabra Sport Coach in-ears are literally that: they're equipped with motion sensors to count your reps and provide verbal coaching feedback on a variety of different exercises. They'll ensure you can get the most out of every training session.

AndroidPIT Jabra Sport Coach
The Jabra Sport Coach will coach you through a workout. / © Jabra

Best headphones for sport (wraparound): Plantronics BackBeat Fit

If you're the type of fitness fanatic or runner who always seems to be adjusting your in-ear headphones to try to make them more comfortable, the Plantronics BackBeat Fit wraparound headphones are for you. With adjustable earpieces that slightly creep into your inner ear, these 'phones simply can't fall off and feel great for extended periods of time.

They come with a reversible strap-on smartphone pouch and everything has reflective sections for higher visibility.

Plantronics BackBeat Fit 1
Even with glasses on, the Plantronics BackBeat Fit headphones stay comfortable for hours. © ANDROIDPIT

Best noise-canceling headphones (over-ear): Bose QuietComfort 25

Bose makes the best noise canceling headphones around, and while its QuietComfort 25s aren't exactly cheap – the MSRP is $299 – they're already-impressive noise canceling has been improved, and they now sound better than ever.

Bose is so confident about this that it offers a no-quibble return period of 30 days in the US and the UK, and 21 days elsewhere.

AndroidPIT Bose QuiteComfort 25
Nobody does noise canceling better than Bose. / © ANDROIDPIT

Best noise-canceling headphones (in-ear): Bose QuietComfort 20

If you want to spend a little less, $249 gets you a set of Bose QuietComfort 20 in-ear headphones. They do everything the over-the-ear versions do but are much smaller. They also have an 'aware mode' to stop you wandering under a bus or a tram.

It’s important to stress, though, that we’re prioritizing noise canceling here. There are better-sounding headphones out there, but if cutting out background city or traffic noise is important to you, Bose is the leader in this field.

boseqc20
The Bose QuietComfort 20 produces the same noise canceling but in an in-ear style. / © Bose

Best budget in-ear headphones: OnePlus Icons

How OnePlus managed to make a super-cheap pair headphones that are better than many experienced headphone companies' budget offerings – on its first try – is beyond us. Mind you, one could probably say the same thing about the company's first phone.

The OnePlus Icons are some of the beefiest, bassiest, richest-sounding in-ear headphones we've heard in a while. The fact that they cost less than $50 is almost too hard to believe. They sound better than some headphones at double or even triple that price.

AndroidPIT OnePlus Icons boxed
OnePlus does it again with the excellent OnePlus Icons. / © ANDROIDPIT

Best budget over-ear headphones: Superlux HD668B

Half the office team here – those less willing to spend a fortune on high-priced headphones – are the proud owners of these budget wonders. For less than fifty bucks, the Superlux HD668B headphones are hard to beat, and they're always available on Amazon.

They're big, comfortable semi-open studio-style cans, and they offer surprisingly good sound.

AndroidPIT Superlux HD668B
The Superlux HD668B is about the best pair of budget over-ear headphones you can get. / © ANDROIDPIT

Best headphones with microphone: Sennheiser MOMENTUM in-ear

The Sennheiser family has been making quality headphones for a long time, concerned with nothing but the pursuit of perfect music reproduction. The whole Momentum range is great, but it's the in-ear wired Momentum headphones that we've been going back to again and again – they're the perfect pair of microphone-equipped smartphone headphones.

AndroidPIT Sennheiser momentum in ear
Sennheiser's Momentum in-ear headphones are perfect for smartphone use. / © ANDROIDPIT

 

Do you have a favorite set of cans, awesome in-ears or Bluetooth headphones? Let us know in the comments!

39 comments

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  • best in earphones with -button microphone made for android is the Degauss Labs Noirs, by far.

  • You should remove the Atomic Floyd SuperDarts from that List, i bought some because it was listed on Androidpit but they are only for APPLE and NOT FOR ANDROID, the Remote is intentionally made incompatible with non-apple-sect Products, the Volume Control will not work. I tested them on a Samsung Galaxy S7 and they are unuseable, wasted $284 and i will never again buy something from Atomic Floyd for sure. There is no excuse for this, many other Products are either 100% compatible with Apple&Android, provide Remotes with a switch or also provide 3 different Remote for Android, Windows and Apple. For a Product with a Price Tag as this i expect 100% compatibility with any Device.

  • I also have the Sennheiser Momentum M2 (for Android) - I love those!

  • Dave Gray 6 months ago Link to comment

    MDR-1A are extremely average in their price range, this is a poor recommendation.
    Also people seem to rate headphones by the amount of bass,seems like most have never heard a good headphone.

  • Anyone know what this app is to go with Sony MDR 1A headphones

  • Sony MDR-1A is a bad choice. There are much better headphones out there. The Audio-Technica ATH-M50X has better noise isolation, much better sound and it's cheaper. If you want a fancy look, then go for the Audio-Technica ATH-MSR7.

  • Toin 6 months ago Link to comment

    With my shure se215 in ear I get incredible sound for a reasonable price.

  • What about the new Bragi Dash? I bought a pair on Kickstarter based on an article AndroidPIT wrote way back early 2014. I have since bought another pair and they both work very well. Great sound and good features. Mind you this seems like the exception based on feedback I've seen. I don't expect any thumbs up on this one

    • Cory Schmidt
      • Admin
      • Staff
      6 months ago Link to comment

      Hi Dayle, the Bragi Dash is not a bad set of headphones but we did hope for more.

      • Yes I am interested to see how they evolve with each firmware update. The Dash primary function for me is listening to music and they are great for use on the bike as there is very little wind noise. My Backbeat Fit are great too but wind noise spoils them in that regard

  • No Matter what phone i put my Sony Bumpin Buds in these are the Best sound i have EVER Heard in any headphones! they are only $20 bucks at any Kmart store. in red or blue just make sure they say Bumpin Buds by Sony. If they are not the what i claim return them. im telling ya they are Great!

  • Alex Simon 11 months ago Link to comment

    Where is the Sennheiser HD558s? They are one of the best in the price range $100-135 on Amazon, benefit greatly from an amp, open-back, 50mm drivers, and extremely durable. I have no doubt mine will work perfectly, 5 years from now maybe even 10. I've already had them for almost 2, they still look brand new.

  • Paolo 11 months ago Link to comment

    I got an AIAIAI Capital set for about 30USD, it sounds very well but it hurts like hell within an hour or so of using it, though I have larger-than-average ears, so...

  • I have a pair of Skull Candy headphones that I wear when I mow grass. I have had phone conversations with my wife while mowing and we heard each other just fine.

  • cheap oppo bullets and xiomi pistons are great cheap in ear ones and can buy dozens for price of these

  • You won't believe this, but my son and I purchased a couple of $5 Polaroid in-ear sets from a discount store. These things have more bass than the ones that came with my mobile phone. I was shocked.

  • Mark S. Nov 6, 2015 Link to comment

    Best cheap headphones: $6 panasonic ones. They rock and I can buy 30 pairs for the prices of some of these

  • Don't for get the Fiio EX 1 needs to be in this list very good quality and a fine price

  • Why are the all the headphones in the over ear section actually on ear headphones?

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