• Audio-Technica ATH-M50x

  • 1More Triple Driver Earbuds

  • Cowin E7

  • How We Tested

  • In-ear vs. On-ear vs. Over-ear

  • Other Headphones on Amazon We Tested

  • More Articles You Might Like

Our Favorite Headphones on Amazon of 2019

Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Headphones
Credit: Reviewed.com / Chris Thomas
Best Over-Ear Headphones
Audio-Technica ATH-M50x

It shouldn't be a surprise to see the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x headphones on this list. Not only did we give them an Editors' Choice award in our review, but they also won a 2016 Best of Year Award for "Best Headphones for the Money."

The M50x are great for audiophiles and casual listeners alike. They're one of my favorite pairs of headphones to use because they're comfortable and they sound great no matter what music I'm listening to. Whether it's the symphonic video game soundtracks I listen to while writing or the bass-heavy, synth beats of more mainstream tunes, my music always sounds crisp, clear, and amazing. It's honestly hard to go back to other, cheaper headphones.

While the price tag may raise some eyebrows, these headphones are frequently on sale on Amazon. If you're spending long hours stuck at a desk listening to music, you should treat yourself. Trust me, it'll go a long way to making your days a bit more enjoyable. Read the full review.

Credit: Reviewed.com / TJ Donegan
Best Earbuds
1More Triple Driver Earbuds

When it comes to headphones, earbuds are most likely to push aside quality in favor of price. We've all grabbed a cheap pair of Skullcandy or Gumy earbuds and called it a day. Well, let me stop you right there and introduce you to the 1More Triple Driver Earbuds.

They're a little pricey, but they're among the best earbuds we've ever tested. They're bass-forward without being bass-heavy and, speaking from experience, can handle any musical genre you're in the mood for. Plus, they look sleek with a sand-blasted aluminum casing that's lightweight and sturdy. The Triple Drivers won't be as durable as stay-at-home over-ears, but for portable headphones, they can take a beating and will last a good long while. Read the full review.

Best Value
Cowin E7

If those Audio-Technica headphones are a little bit out of your price range, I'd suggest taking a look at the Cowin E7 over-ear headphones. Coming in at about half the price of the Audio-Technicas, the Cowins are affordable over-ears that don't offend. There's a generous amount of plush padding on the ear cups that felt luxurious, especially compared to some of the other headphones I used during this roundup.

The right ear cup has a fairly cheap-feeling plastic switch to control volume and audio playback, but that's such a small complaint when you consider the number of headphones in this price range that don't come with any kind of audio controls at all. Throw in active noise cancellation—to block those invasive sounds of the world outside your music—NFC to pair wirelessly with your phone, and a price that's relatively easy to manage, and you have a pretty strong case for your next purchase.

How We Tested

Credit: Reviewed.com / Julia MacDougall

We test all of our headphones on a head and torso simulator (HATS), a model of a human being from the waist upwards that reproduces how we experience music when we listen to headphones.

On our head and torso simulator (HATS), we put these headphones through our usual battery of headphone tests: frequency response, distortion, tracking, leakage, and isolation.

Headphone manufacturers are typically aiming for either a flat or a curved sound profile. A curved profile is most common, and most curved profiles are trying to replicate the Equal Loudness Curve (ELC). The human ear hears higher tones more easily than it hears the bass tones, so for a human to perceive highs and lows at a similar volume, the headphones boost the volume of the lows, and moderate the volume of the highs.

A flat profile is usually found in "studio" headphones; the highs, mids, and bass tones have the same volume. However, as I just mentioned, we don't hear all tones at the same volume, so the bass notes sound softer, and the highs sound louder. Some people prefer studio headphones because of their audio fidelity—they are hearing the music exactly as the producers intended them to hear it. Also, as implied by the name, studio headphones are used in studio recordings to help mixers figure out what, if any frequencies, they should boost or reduce.

In addition to the more scientific testing, we also wear each pair of headphones around town to get a sense for their features (like extra amps or noise cancellation) and short- and long-term comfort.

In-ear vs. On-ear vs. Over-ear

You've probably seen a bunch of different headphones in your everyday life, but what you may not realize is that headphones, while they have a number of different selling points, are primarily categorized into three types: in-ear, on-ear, and over-ear.

Credit: Reviewed

Three popular types of headphones: in-ear, on-ear, and over-ear.

Other Headphones on Amazon We Tested

Sony MDR-7506

Though not as cool as Beats or Bose headphones, the Sony MDR-7506 over-ears are perhaps the most recommended headphones on the planet. They've been around forever and you're likely to find a pair (or something almost exactly identical) in every recording studio, radio station, or TV station around.

The MDR-7506 over-ears are pro-grade studio headphones that don't cost an arm and a leg. Sure, the ear pads aren't as plush as high-end models, the coiled cable isn't removable, and they don't have noise-cancellation, but if you just want a pair of no-nonsense over-ears with incredible sound quality, these are the way to go. Read the full review.

Bose QuietComfort 35 II

The Bose QC35 Series II are not cheap. But despite the big price tag, they're among the most popular headphones in the world. And there's a reason Bose headphones are nearly ubiquitous on planes or trains: when it comes to active noise cancellation—the tech used to shut out noises from the world around you—Bose's QuietComfort line reigns supreme.

The Bose QC35 Series II, which mainly differ from the Series I by having the Google Assistant available at the touch of a button, are the latest in a long line of premiere headphones that offer incredible comfort, sound, and noise-canceling tech in a single package. The only difference is that this time around the QC35 Series I and II headphones also boast wireless support. Whether you just bought the latest iPhone—sans headphone jack—or just want to step up your audio game, these are a first-class pick. That is, so long as you don't mind paying the premium price tag to get you there. Read the full review for the Bose QC35 Series I.

Sennheiser HD 201

The Sennheiser HD201 headphones are a budget option for anyone that wants a pair of over-ears that simply get the job done. They aren't incredibly sturdy and the pads on the ear cups and headband aren't especially cushy, but with such a low price tag, they do enough to justify the price.

As far as sound quality goes, they're a little quiet and they don't emphasize the bass enough to make your music sound amazing. That being said, if you work in a quiet office where you don't need a ton of power behind your audio, the HD201 headphones are a solid choice for a budget-minded buyer.

AmazonBasics Lightweight On-Ear

The equivalent of the store brand at your local grocery store, AmazonBasics is a way for the retailer to offer cheaper versions of products with the Amazon branding. While it's great for batteries or other small accessories, it's not always the best for electronics. Still, at such a low price, it's no surprise that the AmazonBasics On-Ear headphones sit high on Amazon's best-seller list.

Unfortunately, the savings are in no way worth it. You know those headphones they sell for $1 on cross-country flights? That's what these are. They feel as cheap as they are, they're uncomfortable, and the sound quality is lackluster at best. I know they only cost a few dollars, but, please, do yourself a favor and steer clear.

Panasonic RP-HJE120

Consistently topping the best-sellers list on Amazon are these Panasonic earbuds that come in a variety of colors and rarely get into double-digit prices. The best thing I can say about these is that they work. They definitely plug into (most) phones and music plays from the earbuds.

All joking aside, these are a perfectly functional pair of earbuds that don't sound the greatest, nor are they particularly comfortable past an hour or so. They don't have an in-line remote and they feel like they won't last with a ton of repeated use, although a number of pleasantly surprised Amazon reviews have reported otherwise. They're dirt cheap and perfect if you just need something to get you through your 40-minute commute to work where you have a better pair of over-ears waiting for you.

Meet the testers

Nick Schmiedicker

Nick Schmiedicker

Former Managing Editor


Coming from Buffalo, NY, Nick studied media production and arts journalism. When he’s not writing about tech Nick can be found playing video games and keeping up on the latest in pop culture.

See all of Nick Schmiedicker's reviews

Checking our work.

We use standardized and scientific testing methods to scrutinize every product and provide you with objectively accurate results. If you’ve found different results in your own research, email us and we’ll compare notes. If it looks substantial, we’ll gladly re-test a product to try and reproduce these results. After all, peer reviews are a critical part of any scientific process.

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