When it comes to the best headphones you can buy, it's all about getting the best value, not spending the most.
Back in 2020 we took a look at some of the Best Headphones and Earbuds on the market. Since then there's been upgrades to old models and new players entering the market, so where does the best value lie in 2022?
A lot has changed since 2020, and with so many of us working from home or in shared spaces, the need and desire for quality headphones has grown dramatically over the last few years. The financial investment in quality headphones is still high (most of these could be considered a luxury item), but if you're smart with your spending you can achieve the best headphones for your lifestyle at the best price.
To determine the best, there's a balance to be explored between style, comfort, price and features, but one thing that unites all the entries on our list is they all deliver fantastic sound quality. With that in mind, and to help keep you on the right track and inspire your next headphone purchase, here's a quick list of some of the best headphones going around in 2022.
Best noise-cancelling headphones
No, we haven't forgotten to update the list - these headphones are just that good! In 2020 the Bose Noise Cancelling 700set the standard for noise cancelling, and no one has been able to knock them down since. Bose continues to hold its reputation for creating outstanding high-quality noise-cancelling headphones, and the 700 is still leader of the pack.
- Amazing noise cancellation for music and on calls
- Beautiful design with comfort in mind
- Can connect to two devices at once
- Still expensive
Best wireless earbuds
Wireless earbuds have started to heat up as a category, driven by the success of Apple AirPods and Bose. Plenty of new features have evolved in these products, especially in terms of battery life and ANC.
Our pick for the best Bluetooth earbuds come from Jabra. The Elite 75t True Wireless In-Ear Headphones are a great solution to the modern lifestyle that blends work and pleasure. If you value versatility and all-round features, these might be the earbuds you’ve been looking for.
- Handy case design
- 7-hour battery on a single charge
- Customise EQ via app
- Perform great when making calls and captures your voice surprisingly well
- Bass sounds get a bit washed out
- Might not fit inside everyone’s ears comfortably
Best gaming headphones
For those that more interested in getting amazing surround-sound with a built-in mic for the ultimate gaming experience, earbuds won’t do the trick.
Whether you're gaming on PC, console or mobile, you'll need something that can immerse you in the gameplay like the Razer Barracuda X. It's standout feature is that it works with nearly anything, thanks to its USB-C transmitter. You can plug it into your Android phone, PlayStation, PC, or Nintendo Switch and instantly get high-quality wireless audio.
By default it's a stereo device, but it works just fine with any software-based audio processing, such as Dolby Atmos, THX Spatial Audio, or Pulse 3D.
- Very comfortable
- Lightweight for long gaming sessions
- Works with PCs and consoles so that any gamer can use them
- Ear cups sit securely on your ears to create an immersive sound experience
- Microphone volume could be better - tends to be on the quiet side
Best running headphones
Taking your headphones out of the living space and into the wild calls for a different set of features to simply the best sound quality. There's rain, there's comfort, and there's a higher weighting on battery life.
Taking honours of our best headphones for runners is the Powerbeats Pro. In terms of sound quality and ANC, these compete with Apple AirPod Pro's in terms of reducing ambient noise across a wide selection of external environments. The "earhook" design also is a key design feature that runners will appreciate as they pound the pavement.
- Impressive battery life
- Sweat and water resistant - but don't dive in the pool with them
- Incredible sound that outperforms more expensive device
- No wireless charging
- May not fit all ears comfortably
Best music headphones
If you're looking for the best headphones for music (and to be honest, just best headphones overall), then you can't beat the upgrade to 2020's WH-1000MX3, the creatively titled Sony WH-1000MX4.
Sony’s flagship headphones have set a new bar and boast incredible sound performance and features. Coupled with the ability for users to sync with the Sony Headphones Connect app for personalised audio EQ and other features, the WH-1000XM4’s value is hard to beat.
- Dynamic sound with great detail in bass and treble
- 30-hour battery life
- Support for two simultaneous Bluetooth connections
- Vastly improved voice quality from previous model
- Charges via a convenient USB-C port
- Connects wireless via Bluetooth or via the traditional 3.5mm aux port
- Same look as previous model might deter people upgrading