Here at the Strategist UK, we like to think of ourselves as crazy (in the good way) about the stuff we buy, but as much as we’d like to, we can’t try everything. Which is why we have People’s Choice, in which we find the best-reviewed products and single out the most convincing ones. (You can learn more about our rating system and how we pick each item here.)
And while we’ve covered all sorts of technology before — including the best earphones — here, we’ve rounded up the best headphones for everyone, as praised by the most enthusiastic reviewers on Amazon.
Best-rated overall headphones
In total, 76 percent of the reviews of these headphones by PowerLocus had five stars. The highest-rated feature, according to reviews, was the sound quality, which 623 customers mentioned, including a longtime PowerLocus fan. They said that this was a “fantastic” lesser-known brand, and the stereo separation was particularly good. Another fan said their favourite songs had never sounded better on these headphones, adding that they were picking up sounds they’d never noticed before. More than 200 customers said they were impressed by the value, too, including a mum who wanted to buy her teenage daughter a good pair but didn’t want to splurge on a big-name brand.
Best-rated noise-cancelling headphones
These Sony headphones are the most expensive featured, but the noise cancelling was mentioned in over 1,000 positive reviews. Additionally, 81 percent of the total reviews had five stars. According to one five-star review, the sound of traffic and people is completely drowned out when wearing these, as is other people’s conversations while on public transport. A self-professed audiophile said that, while many other noise-cancelling headphones impact the quality of the audio, music sounded just as sharp on this model. Even a one-star review (due to a dispute with Sony over a repair) conceded that the noise cancelling on these was flawless. Eighty-seven reviewers said these were the best headphones they had ever owned, while 139 people mentioned the clever touch controls on the right ear, which replace traditional buttons and use gestures such as swiping up to increase the volume and tapping twice to pause the sound.
Best-rated professional-quality headphones
One five-star reviewer said these were the most comfortable headphones they had ever worn, which made long hours mixing in the studio far more bearable. Professional headphones can often be expensive; many people who bought these were lured in by the price (109 wrote that they were excellent value, while 92 agreed they were good value for money). One DJ, who frequently broke their more expensive headphones, bought these on a whim and said they were almost as good in terms of output and sound quality. They come with two leads — a mini-jack and a long, coiled jack, the latter of which was described by one customer as providing clear sound but not as much warmth. Another said the focus had gone completely on the sound quality, which was described as very impressive and offering balanced sound, but the plastic casing of the headphones received criticism for feeling cheap. Still, given the low cost, many customers were happy with the trade-off.
Best-rated headphones with battery life
While a lot of headphones claimed to have battery lives of 35 to 50 hours, customers spoke highly of this model by DOQAUS. Seventy-two percent of all reviews had five stars, with the battery life being mentioned in 336 reviews total. One five-star review (titled “just WOW”) said that after eight days of heavy use, the battery was still on 50 percent. Another impressed customer said that after using these for nine hours a day for a full week, the battery had only gone down from 70 percent to 10 percent, and they charged fully in about two hours. Additionally, 561 reviews (or one in ten) singled out the sound quality as impressive, and 83 reviews said these headphones were comfortable to wear.
Best-rated foldable headphones
One five-star reviewer said these headphones by Sony were so comfortable that they forgot they were wearing them. This might be partly because they are so lightweight, as mentioned in 41 reviews. Another five-star review said the foldable design made them perfect for holidays, as they were easy to stash in a day bag and, should they go missing, were cheap enough to replace. Parents also said they were a good size for their teenagers to use, especially one mum, whose family members were remote learning during lockdown. Over 400 reviews spoke of the sound quality, and 50 percent of those had five stars. Critics said the bass could be a bit intense and the sound was often “woolly.” But for people not looking for a top-of-the-range pair, these headphones were popular — 165 reviewers said they would highly recommend them.
Best-rated headphones for kids
Parents spoke highly of these kids’ headphones, which come in 17 different colours (including pineapple and car-print versions). Seventy-three percent of the reviews had five stars, with 72 reviewers saying the sound quality was excellent. One parent said her 6-year-old son, who has ASD (autism spectrum disorder), often fidgeted with headphone cords, which would damage them beyond repair, but the extra-flexible lead on this pair made them practically indestructible. Snug says these fit children ages 3 to 8, but one parent said they can extend to fit an adult, while another said their 20-month-old wore them for a long-haul flight and they stayed in place perfectly. As they are designed for smaller ears, the sound quality is capped slightly (though this can be tweaked), which 15 reviewers highlighted in reviews, saying they felt reassured that their little ones could enjoy music and TV shows without damaging their ears.
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