Headphones: Ratings of Sources
Total of 14 Sources
For an explanation of how we rank reviews, see our ratings criteria page.
by Lauren Dragan
Our AssessmentEditors at TheWirecutter.com rate headphones in a variety of categories and price ranges. They comb through reviews and consult professionals to choose a short list of candidates for hands-on testing. These top picks then face a panel of audio experts who rate their sound quality, construction, comfort and features. The top-rated pair in each category earns "The Best" award, followed by a few runners up.
by Editors of ConsumerReports.org
Our AssessmentConsumerReports.org conducts thorough tests of headphones, rating sound quality, sensitivity and noise reduction. Its latest test covers 150 models of headphones and earphones, spanning the price spectrum from $10 to $400. Editors classify headphones as either portable or home/studio style and noise-canceling or non-noise-canceling. Many of the top-rated models are earphones, but about 20 on-ear and over-the-ear headphones earn recommendations. ConsumerReports.org also offers a buying guide for headphones that's available to nonsubscribers.
by Editors of Which?
Our AssessmentThis British consumer advocacy magazine and website currently has ratings for 59 sets of headphones. A panel of three experts listens to seven pieces from a variety of genres to assess sound quality, as well as evaluating comfort and fit. Additional testers measure sound leakage and rate the quality of construction. Ten headphone sets are named as Best Buys, and another 11 are listed as "Don't Buys" to avoid.
by Justin Yu and Editors of CNET
Our AssessmentCNET's reviewers test a variety of headphones, both wired and wireless. Here, Justin Yu lists the site's top picks for various uses, such as "Best DJ headphone" and "Best noise-canceling headphone." Links at the side of the page take you to lists that show additional highly rated headphones in each category. Clicking on the name of a product pulls up a detailed review that covers design, comfort and performance.
The Best Headphones for Every Budget
by Eugene Kim and Editors of PCMag.com
Our AssessmentThis roundup includes 10 sets of on-ear and over-the-ear headphones that have earned the Editors' Choice award at PCMag.com. This page provides a rating and a one-sentence summary for each pair, plus a link to a hands-on review that discusses design, fit and audio performance in detail. A link at the bottom of the article takes you to a second roundup specifically for noise-canceling headphones.
Best Buys Headphones
by Editors of What Hi-Fi?
Our AssessmentWhat Hi-Fi? is a British magazine devoted to reviews of many types of audio equipment, including headphones. This page lists the headphones the magazine selected as Best Buys for 2013 in various categories and price ranges. Reviews are hands-on, covering design and performance, but they're less detailed than those at some other tech sites and not all headphones are available in the U.S.
by Editors of Macworld
Our AssessmentThis page lists all recent headphone-related articles at Macworld and its sister site, TechHive.com. The main list of headphone reviews doesn't show ratings, but there's a short list at the side of the page that shows the five top-rated headphones on the site. The linked reviews vary in length and quality; some cover a single pair of headphones in detail, while others are roundups comparing several different sets in the same price range.
by Editors of Laptop Magazine
Our AssessmentLaptop has over 50 reviews for headphones and earphones, dating back to 2007. Ten models have earned the magazine's Editors' Choice award, although some of them are now discontinued. Reviews are hands-on, covering sound quality, design and features. The editors also provide a handy summary of pros and cons for each pair of headphones.
by Editors of Wired
Our AssessmentWired has reviewed many sets of headphones in the past two years. Reviews are based on hands-on testing, but they vary in length and quality. A bug in the site displays review titles incorrectly on this main page, but editors helpfully call out their three favorites. Right at the top: the Sennheiser Momentum for Best Sound, the Bowers & Wilkins P5 for Best Design, and the Creative Aurvana Live! for Best Value.
by Editors of PC World (Australia)
Our AssessmentThe Good Gear Guide, a site run by PC World Australia, reviews many sets of headphones, and reviews can be sorted by date, type, rating and price. However, there's no way to see at a glance which headphones have received the site's Editor's Choice and Best Buy awards. Eventually, by clicking through reviews one by one, we found eight sets of headphones that have earned these top ratings.
by Contributors to Head-Fi.org
Our AssessmentHead-Fi.org is a site devoted to audio gear of all kinds, including headphones. Users on this site tend to be knowledgeable about music and technology, so their reviews are often more substantial than those found on retail sites. The site also sums up the most commonly cited pros and cons for each set of headphones and shows what percentage of users recommend it.
by Contributors to Amazon.com
Our AssessmentAmazon.com sells thousands of headphones, and some have hundreds or even thousands of reviews from users. With this many reviews, even small differences in overall rating can be statistically significant. The sheer volume of reviews makes it easier to spot problems that may affect only a fraction of users, such as uncomfortable fit or unreliable performance.
Best Headphones: Headphone Recommendations
by "Bill K"
Our Assessment"Bill K," the proprietor of this online headphone store, offers reviews and comparisons of many models he sells. Here, he offers his top picks for headphones in several price ranges, from around $50 to over $1,000. More complete reviews of most of these headphones can be found elsewhere on the site, though the page doesn't link to them directly. The full reviews evaluate sound quality, design and features.
Best Headphones: Review of the Top 10 Best Headphones
by Editors of HiFi Headphones
Our AssessmentThis British retail site sells headphones and nothing but headphones. On this page, the site's owners list their top 10 in-ear, hi-fi (audiophile) and portable headphones, with three or four models recommended in each category. Reviews of each model are only a few paragraphs, and there's no mention of testing methods, but the site does a good job of covering the basics.