Whether you’re listening to music while commuting to work or working out, you’ll want to rock the best set of headphones to get the highest-quality sound.
To compile this list, they looked at professional ratings compiled by experts such as Wired, TechCrunch, and HiFi, as well as features of the headphones, such as sensitivity, frequency, and impedance (signal obstruction).
10. NuForce NE-600M/X ($15)
The Nuforce NE-600M/X headphones have a sensitivity of 100 dB and a 32 ohm impedance, which is moderately better than the average for all headphones. Its Wired review said, “Great sound for a low cost. The best-sounding value-priced earbud you can buy. (Yes, better than Monoprice’s torture devices.) Light weight is perfect for runs or other sweaty shenanigans.”
9. JVC HAFX1X ($13)
The JVC HAFX1X headphones have a sensitivity of 104 dB, and a 16 ohm impedance with a fairly long cable length of nearly four feet. It got a five-star HiFi rating and one user wrote, “I’ve used these for almost two years now, and I’ve never had a problem with them. Great sound, deep bass, and they fit comfortably in my ears. Would definitely recommend.”
8. Sennheiser HD 25-1 II ($192)
The Sennheiser HD 25-1 II are especially good quality with a sensitivity of 120 dB (which is 16 dB higher than the average) and a 70 ohm impedance. HiFi wrote, “Whether or not you’re a fan of the branding, these are excellent on-ear headphones.”
7. Shure SE535 ($425)
The Shure SE535 have a sensitivity of 119 dB, and a 36 ohm impedance, which is significantly better than the average. HiFi said of the ear buds, “The Shures’ price made us think hard about giving them five stars. In the end the superior performance of their closest peers such as Grado’s GR10 was enough to knock the Shures down, but there’s still much to love.”
6. Sennheiser IE 8 ($263)
The Sennheiser IE 8 has a high sensitivity of 125 dB with a 16 ohm impedance, with a five-star HiFi rating and 3.3 average user rating on FindTheBest. These ear buds boast great sound, with one Head-Fi user stating, “The sound is detailed, clean instrument separation, strong bass, and an awesome soundstage.”
5. Grado SR125i ($150)
The Grado SR125i are best for “gaming” and have a sensitivity of 98 dB and a better-than-average 32 ohm impedance. “Incredible sound. Incredible bass. When I started to listen music I feel I’m just in the studio,” a user on the website wrote.
4. Sennheiser HD 25 Originals ($250)
The Sennheiser HD 25 Originals have a sensitivity of 120 dB and a 70 ohm impedance, which is far better than the average. Plus, they have a cable length of five feet, which is 27% longer than the average.
3. Grado SR325is ($295)
The Grado SR325is have a sensitivity of 98 dB and a 32 ohm impedance, which is moderately better than average. HiFi wrote, “Best home on-ear headphones £150+, Awards 2011. For home use, these are stunning: open, detailed and full-bodied.”
2. Grado GS1000i ($995)
The Grado GS1000i headphones have a large frequency range of 8 Hz to 35 kHz and a good 32 ohmn impedance. PC Mag gave them five stars and wrote, “The Grado GS1000 headphones are very likely the greatest-sounding headphones ever made — and are priced accordingly.”
1. Grado PS1000 ($1,695)
The pricey Grado PS1000 headphones have an incredibly large frequency range of 5 Hz to 50 kHz, which is 26 kHz larger than the average. Their CNET rating said, “They may cost as much as a big-screen TV, but the PS1000s are simply the best-sounding, most comfortable, and best-looking Grado headphones we’ve ever tested.”