The best headphones for all types of listener

best headphones
Samantha Simmonds,-Digital Writer

Our expert guide to the best headphones will definitely be music to your ears

A good pair of headphones is worth its weight in gold – a carefully curated playlist can power you through a workout while a good podcast or audiobook will entertain you for hours. But picking the right pair can be tricky. With so many different types on offer, just where do you start?

Great sound quality and advanced features now come in all shapes and sizes – the best in-ear headphones can compete with the best over-ear headphones, while the finest Bluetooth sets are now more than a match for traditional wired designs, which means that a lot comes down to personal taste. But it’s also important to consider how these new cans will be used – if you’re looking for the best headphones for runners, for example, sweatproof and weatherproof wireless earbuds that hold securely inside the ear will fit the bill beautifully.

Below, you’ll find a selection of our favourites. From the best noise-cancelling headphones to help you stay focused to the perfect wireless varieties for sporty types, via chic earbuds for fashionistas and noise-limiting sets for the kids. 

Best wireless headphones

Wireless headphones connect to your smartphone via Bluetooth, letting you walk, work and go about your day without getting tangled up in cables. You can choose from both in-ear and over-ear options. The latest models even come with augmented reality (AR) that offers enhanced fitness, gaming and entertainment experiences when paired with your phone.  

The Bose 700 are stylish, offer a great fit and are AR enabled. They’re also optimised for both Google Assistant and Alexa, allowing you to activate voice assistance with music, navigation, weather, and more.

Best noise-cancelling headphones

Perfect for filtering out unwanted background sound, noise-cancelling headphones use tiny microphones to monitor background noise, then produce signals that cancel them out – so nothing will get between you and your audiobook.

The best-selling Sony WH1000xm3 pair not only offers unrivalled noise cancellation but also superb battery life. They’ll keep going for up to 30 hours of noise-cancelled sounds, stretching out to 38 hours if it’s quiet enough around you for you to turn noise cancellation off. 

Best headphones for sports

Whether you’re hefting weights in the gym (or your home gym) or running laps around your local park, music is your secret weapon – it can improve endurance by up to 15% during a tough workout. But you need the right kit for the job – look out for sweatproof, water-resistant in-ear sports headphones that offer a snug, comfortable fit. 

Bose Sport Earbuds are an excellent choice for the family fitness fanatic. Whether they’re running, weightlifting or stretching, the great fit means that these earpieces stay firmly in place. And it you prefer something a bit different to basic black or white colour options, they also come in a snazzy Baltic Blue. Perfect for livening up your sports kit.

Best over-ear headphones

Perfect for the audiophile in your life, over-ear headphones combine an immersive experience with a classic, yet on-trend look. Many also offer features like noise cancellation and high-resolution audio. 

The Sennheiser Momentum Wireless (3.0) Noise Cancelling Headphones have intuitive controls that allow you to manipulate every element of your listening experience via the ear-cups. They also automatically turn off and on when you fold or reopen them so you’re not running down the battery when you don’t need to.

Best headphones for kids

Ideal for iPads or bedroom discos, JLab Audio’s JBuddies headphones are specially designed to fit smaller ears, and are limited to a maximum of 85dB for safe listening. Little ones will enjoy customising their first pair with stickers, while older kids will love the on-ear controls.  

When buying any headphones for children, volume limiting is an essential feature to look out for. That combined with the fun colours, wireless options and great price make the JBuddies a brilliant buy.

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