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Rank
Kagoo Score
Average Review Rating
Price
Bluetooth
Weight
Speaker Size
Type
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Save £79
#1

90

Bose SoundLink

482 Reviews
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 Shortlist / Compare  Shortlisted

£10.00

Info
152.6g
Info
40mm
Info
Over-Ear
Info
May 2017
The highest rated earphone under £50, with an Editor's Choice award from nine expert review websites and 29 further awards from other expert sites. It has outstanding sound quality, bluetooth support and it's really quiet.
Save £148
#2

89

Beats Studio

258 Reviews
 Shortlist / Compare  Shortlisted

£11.99

Info
210g
Info
40mm
Info
Over-Ear
Info
May 2017
The top scoring pair of headphones under £500, with a very reasonable price. This pair of headphones has excellent sound quality and it's very quiet, and comfortable.
Save £19
#3

88

JBL E55BT

29 Reviews
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£69.99

Info
229g
Info
50mm
Info
Over-Ear
Info
May 2017
A multi award winning and high-quality 229g Bluetooth pair of headphones, with a Gold award from one expert review website and 3 further awards from other expert sites. This pair of headphones has bluetooth support, it's comfortable to wear and quiet.
£200 Voucher
#4

88

Beats Solo 3

59 Reviews
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 Shortlist / Compare  Shortlisted

£55.00

Info
215g
Info
40mm
Info
On-Ear
Info
May 2017
A very cheap and very popular 215g, 40mm driver earphone, with a very good spec and an industry award. This earphone has a good battery life, it's really quiet but expensive.
£200 Voucher
#5

87

Marshall Mid

26 Reviews
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 Shortlist / Compare  Shortlisted

£55.00

Info
226g
Info
40mm
Info
Over-Ear
Info
Dec 2016
A multi award winning and bargain price 226g, 40mm driver pair of headphones, with an Editor's Choice award from two expert review websites and 2 further awards from other expert sites. It has bluetooth support, [an excellent] battery life and it's very quiet.
Save £27
#6

87

Sennheiser Momentum

689 Reviews
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 Shortlist / Compare  Shortlisted

£39.99

Info
238g
Info
10mm
Info
In-Ear
Info
May 2017
This pair of headphones has superb sound quality and it's very quiet, and good-looking. It's a multi award winning and bargain price 238g, 10mm driver pair of headphones, with a good spec.
Voucher
#7

87

JBL E50BT

12 Reviews
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£59.00

Info
285g
Info
50mm
Info
Over-Ear
Info
May 2017
A powerful and award winning 285g Bluetooth pair of headphones, with a gold award from one expert review website and 2 further awards from other expert sites. It has a good battery life.
Save £34
#8

87

Bowers & Wilkins PX

73 Reviews
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£225.00

Info
335g
Info
40mm
Info
Over-Ear
Info
Sep 2017
A powerful and multi award winning 335g, 40mm driver earphone, with a gold award from one expert review website and 15 further awards from other expert sites. This earphone has a good sound quality, it's quiet and really well designed.
Save £12
#9

87

Plantronics BackBeat Go

602 Reviews
 Shortlist / Compare  Shortlisted

£24.03

Info
24g
Info
13mm
Info
In-Ear
Info
Aug 2017
A positively reviewed and great value for money 24g, 13mm driver earphone, with a good spec. This earphone has brilliant sound quality and it's very strong and durable, and quiet.
Save £40
#10

86

Sony WH‑CH700N

 Shortlist / Compare  Shortlisted

£79.00

Info
240g
Info
40mm
Info
Over-Ear
Info
May 2017
A cheap and fully featured 240g, 40mm driver earphone.
#11

86

Urbanears Plattan ADV Wireless

7 Reviews
 Shortlist / Compare  Shortlisted

£29.99

Info
170g
Info
40mm
Info
Over-Ear
Info
Aug 2017
A top-rated and low cost 170g, 40mm driver pair of headphones, with a great spec. This pair of headphones has good sound quality.
#12

86

Skullcandy S5URHW

 Shortlist / Compare  Shortlisted

£24.99

Info
122g
Info
40mm
Info
On-Ear
Info
May 2017
A low cost and fully featured 122g, 40mm driver earphone.
£200 Voucher
#13

86

Plantronics BackBeat FIT 305

27 Reviews
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 Shortlist / Compare  Shortlisted

£48.09

Info
14g
Info
6mm
Info
In-Ear
Info
Aug 2017
A multi award winning and good value for money 14g, 6mm driver earphone, with a Best Buy award from three expert review websites and an additional award from another expert site. This earphone is quiet, well made and good-looking.
Save £39
#14

86

AKG Y50BT

42 Reviews
 Shortlist / Compare  Shortlisted

£23.60

Info
190g
Info
40mm
Info
On-Ear
Info
Nov 2018
A recently released and positively reviewed 190g, 40mm driver earphone, with a very reasonable price and a good spec. It has excellent sound quality, a good sound quality and it's very comfortable to wear.
£200 Voucher
#15

86

Beats by Dr. Dre Beats Studio

965 Reviews
 Shortlist / Compare  Shortlisted

£128.00

Info
260g
Info
40mm
Info
Over-Ear
Info
Mar 2017
This pair of headphones has brilliant sound quality and it's really quiet, and comfortable. It's a positively reviewed and fully featured 260g, 40mm driver pair of headphones, with a fair price.
#16

86

Urbanista Seattle

14 Reviews
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 Shortlist / Compare  Shortlisted

£29.97

Info
172g
Info
40mm
Info
Over-Ear
Info
Dec 2017
This earphone has bluetooth support, it's well designed and good-looking. It's a low cost and multi award winning 172g, 40mm driver earphone, with a good spec.
#17

86

Apple AirPods

300 Reviews
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£12.99

Info
8g
Info
10mm
Info
In-Ear
Info
May 2017
A best selling and multi award winning 10mm driver Bluetooth pair of headphones, with an Editor's Choice award from two expert review websites and 13 further awards from other expert sites. It has a good sound quality, [an excellent] case and it's quiet.
£200 Voucher
#18

86

Beats Studio 3

70 Reviews
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£135.00

Info
260g
Info
40mm
Info
On-Ear
Info
May 2017
A powerful and very popular 260g, 40mm driver earphone, with an Editor's Choice award from one expert review website and 4 further awards from other expert sites. It has [an excellent] battery life, superb sound quality and it's really quiet.
#19

86

Skullcandy S5PXW

 Shortlist / Compare  Shortlisted

£44.98

Info
123g
Info
40mm
Info
On-Ear
Info
May 2017
A fully featured and top-value 123g, 40mm driver earphone.
#20

86

Sony WH‑H800

 Shortlist / Compare  Shortlisted

£82.00

Info
180g
Info
40mm
Info
Over-Ear
Info
Aug 2017
A fully featured and relatively new 180g, 40mm driver earphone, with a reasonable price.

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What Are The Best Headphones Brands?

We looked at the reviews for every pair of headphones and used this to calculate the average overall rating of each brand. The top rated pair of headphones brand is Audio-Technica with an average rating of 81%. Compare all award winning headphones.

Rank Brand Number of Headphones Price Range Average Rating
#1
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Audio-Technica Headphones 29 £70 - £639
81%
1,039 reviews
#2
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Sony Headphones 57 £5 - £250
79%
1,451 reviews
#3
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Sennheiser Headphones 31 £28 - £1,395
77%
1,154 reviews
#4
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JVC Headphones 33 £5 - £141
75%
1,059 reviews
#5
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JBL Headphones 31 £5 - £144
55%
243 reviews
#6
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Philips Headphones 82 £5 - £112
48%
144 reviews
#7
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Goji Headphones 21 £8 - £70
29%
4 reviews

Trending Headphones Comparisons

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Beyerdynamic
DT 1990 PRO
£399.00
£303 cheaper
Expert reviews
are a little
better
VS
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Focal
Elear
£701.82
Two more awards
Better brand
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AIAIAI
TMA-2
£89.00
Expert reviews
are a bit
better
VS
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Bose
SoundSport
£49.99
£39 cheaper
Better brand
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Audio-Technica
ATH-W1000
£499.95
Better brand
VS
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Denon
AH-D7200
£499.00
Slightly better
expert reviews
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AKG
K812
£525.00
Better brand
Expert reviews
are a lot
better
VS
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Denon
AH-D7200
£499.00
£26 cheaper
One more awards
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Focal
Elear
£701.82
Better brand
Expert reviews
are slightly
better
VS
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Bowers & Wilkins
P9 Signature
£699.00
Four more
awards
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AKG
K92
£32.00
£7 cheaper
Better brand
Considerably
better expert
reviews
VS
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Marshall
Monitor
£39.00
Seven more
awards
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Denon
AH-D7200
£499.00
One more awards
Better expert
reviews
VS
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Audio-Technica
ATHDSR9BT
£499.00
Better brand
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Audio-Technica
ATH-SR5
£84.99
Better brand
VS
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Sony
WH-H800
£82.00
Expert reviews
are vastly
better
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Beats by Dr. Dre
Beats Studio
£128.00
£34 cheaper
Better brand
VS
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Yamaha
HPH-MT8
£162.00
Much better
expert reviews
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Sennheiser
HD 280 Pro
£82.99
User reviews
are better
VS
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Philips
SHP1900
£16.99
£66 cheaper
Better brand
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JBL
Synchros e40BT
£39.95
Expert reviews
are better
VS
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Edifier
H840
£28.99
£11 cheaper
Better brand
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JVC
HA-SBT5-A
£140.50
Better brand
VS
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AIAIAI
TMA-2
£89.00
£52 cheaper
Expert reviews
are appreciably
better
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Yamaha
HPH-MT5
£83.00
Significantly
better expert
reviews
VS
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Apple
AirPods
£12.99
£70 cheaper
More popular
10 more awards
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AKG
K92
£32.00
£28 cheaper
Better brand
Considerably
better expert
reviews
VS
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Sudio
Regent
£59.99
One more awards

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

QWhat is the difference between earphones and headphones?
AWhile they can be used interchangeably, earphones are used to describe small in-ear models, while headphones cover the larger models that sit over the ear.
QCan headphones be used with any device?
AAlmost all devices use a standard 3.5mm audio jack, which is the industry standard for audio output, so a set of headphones should work in nearly every device capable of playing audio. The exception to this is certain newer models of mobile phone, which have dropped the audio jack, and will need to use an adapter.
QWhat is a 3-button control?
AThis is terminology you'll see on some headphones meant for use with mobile phones and mp3 players - it means the headphones have a set of 3 buttons, usually on the lead or attached to the ear cups themselves. These control play/pause, volume up and volume down.

Headphone Buying Guide

Headphones are a crucial part of everyday life, and your choice of headphone is a deeply personal one. From tiny in-ear monitors to enormous studio-quality cans, headphones come in all shapes, sizes, weights and colours. For someone not sure what they should get - or what they want - it can be a daunting issue. Our guide will attempt to answer some of the most common questions about headphones and give you an good overall knowledge of them.

Types Of Headphones

Let’s start with the different types of headphones. There are many different designs, but they all boil down to 2 different types: in-ear and on-ear. In-ear headphones are normally smaller, cheaper and with lessened sound quality - they are good for travel and easy to shove in a pocket when not in use. On-ear headphones tend to be larger and more chunky, but have a far superior sound quality (and normally, a far higher price to match). Let’s take a look at the difference between them:

In-ear headphones: These are smaller headphones, means to be placed into your ear. They usually have no band, and are designed to hang down from your ears. They are two main sub-categories of in-ear headphone:

  • earbuds (which are placed in the entrance to the ear)
  • in-ear monitors (which have rubber or foam caps, and are pushed directly into the ear canal. When inserted, the the rubber expands to create a tight seal inside the ear canal, meaning outside noise is blocked out)

Earbuds are the easiest headphones to wear, though let in a lot of noise and aren’t very stable - they can easily fall out of your ears while moving (especially jogging). Monitors, on the other hand, block out a lot of noise and provide a louder overall volume - making them best for public places or loud backgrounds. However, the act of pushing the foam caps into your ears can feel awkward, and requires some trial-and-error to find the best size/shape of caps. The end result may well be worth the perseverance - monitors allow for a far better overall sound quality, with less invasive noise to ruin your music.

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On-ear headphones: These types of headphones are bigger than in-ear models, and are designed with 2 speakers linked by a headband to keep them in place on your head. They are two main sub-categories of on-ear headphone:

  • on-ear headphones: these headphones sit over the entrance to the ear, directing sound into your ears. They normally have limited cushioning, but are normally light, so easy to wear for long periods. These are normally the cheapest style of large headphones, but you sacrifice the noise insulation and superior quality of over-ear models.
  • over-ear headphones: these types of headphones are larger, and actually encompass the entire ear - covering the whole ear so as to block out all other noise. This gives them excellent sound quality, but they are normally the most expensive type of headphone, due to their size and the amount of padding used to keep them comfortable pressing against your ears and head. Also, because they encompass the whole ear, many people find their ears can get uncomfortably hot and sweaty after wearing for a long time - meaning a break might be necessary every once in a while.

Over-ear headphones generally have the better sound quality, due to larger drivers and better noise insulation. However they are bulkier, more expensive, and may simply be more heavy-duty than many people need, especially if you’re just going to listen to music while you commute or at your desk. On ear headphones are lighter, and provide a good mid-point between the power of large cans, and the simple light ease of earbuds. Their quality isn’t the best though - they are very much the jack-of-all-trades of headphones. Which may be all you need!

Driver Units

Once you’ve decided the type of headphone you want, things get a bit more technical - next you want to think about driver unitss and power. Driver units are simply the part of the headphone that generates noise - they convert the audio signal into actual sound. Larger drivers mean the headphones are capable of generating more sound, making them louder. Crucially, this doesn’t mean the sound they generate will be a better quality, just that it’ll be louder. However it’s a good starting point for a pair of headphones - generally speaking better quality headphones will have larger drivers, so they have more volume and range to play with.

Unsurprisingly, on-ear headphones tend to have larger driver units, since they have a lot more space available to fill. In-ear phones generally don’t need particularly big driver units though - pushing the sound directly into your ear canal means a little goes a long way, and if you’re not careful a very loud volume can cause serious damage to your hearing.

Closed Ear vs. Open Ear

One important nuance of on-ear headphones is the choice between closed ear and open ear designs. This refers to how the cups of the headphones are designed, and how much noise insulation they give, as well as how they effect the sound of your music. Here is the main difference between the two;

Closed ear cups are solid cups that fully encompass the ear, letting no noise in or out. This makes them excellent for noise insulation, and they will not only block outside noise from disturbing your music, but will stop your music from leaking out and disturbing everyone around you. The downside is that the sound quality is slightly lessened by closed cup - it gains an echoey quality and some people feel that music sounds more dead and flat.

Open ear cups have perforated cups surrounding the driver unit, meaning that air can freely flow in and our of the headphones. This helps give the music from the cans a more natural feel - it doesn’t feel projected right into your eardrums, but instead as if it is more naturally coming from around you. However the main disadvantage is that you will have little insulation from all the noise around you - meaning loud surroundings will interfere with your music. This goes both ways - your music will also ‘leak’ more, and will be heard by people around you. Depending on your surroundings and who is around you, this might not be a beneficial thing - not everyone wants to listen to atonal screamcore death metal at 10am in a library!

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Noise Cancelling

Noise cancelling technology is an important addition of on-ear headphones, and one that has improved drastically in recent years. First off, it’s important to note the difference between active noise cancelling, and passive noise insulation. Closed-cup on-ear headphones and well-fitting monitors provide noise insulation - i.e. they block external noise from reaching your ears and disturbing your music. This is passive, and depends largely on the fit of your headphones.

Active noise cancelling is far more interesting and complicated, but here’s a brief rundown. At it’s most basic, sound is a pressure wave with peaks and troughs - the exact makeup of this wave denotes both the sound and the loudness of the noise. Noise cancelling headphones use a tech known as ‘active noise control’ - they monitor the external noise coming into the headphones, and generate a pressure wave with exactly the same volume, but completely opposite peaks and troughs (known as ‘antiphase’). When these two waves combine, they effectively cancel each other out, leading to silence - a process called interference. This allows noise cancelling headphones to entirely block out all external noise, leaving you to enjoy music free of absolutely all external distractions.

While an excellent addition, there are a couple of caveats to noise cancelling headphones. First off - because of the microphones and extra tech required, it is only found in larger on-ear headphones, not earbuds or in-ear monitors. Secondly, the tech requires a sizeable power draw, meaning that noise-cancelling headphones normally require batteries (or a recharging internal battery) to function. Finally, the tech is still relatively new, and thus confined to the top-tier headphones, meaning you’re going to be paying a premium for it. However if you frequently struggle to listen to music in high-noise areas (such as the Tube or on planes), this expenditure may well be worth it to be able to hear your music again!

Wired vs. Wireless

A quick note on wired and wireless headphones. Traditionally headphones have been entirely wired - meaning the audio signal was sent from the music source to the headphones via a wire. However in recent years the rise of bluetooth and improvements in battery technology have meant wireless headphones are becoming more and more common. These headphones have an internal rechargeable battery (some still use AAs, but these are blessedly rare) and connect to the music source via bluetooth. This allows them to stream music from a phone, computer or hifi without the need for wires - meaning no getting tangled up in cables, no trapping/breaking cables and the freedom to roam away from your computer when listening to music!

There are some negatives to wireless headphones - first off, they usually come at a premium price when compared to standard wired headphones. Moreover, they need power to function - most use a rechargeable battery - which means that if the battery runs dry, you will either have to plug in a wire, or use a different pair of headphones. Battery life varies massively with wireless headphones - some will only get 5-6 hours of life before needing a recharge, while others boast a full 24 hours of use before they die. Pay close attention to the battery life, especially if you use your headphones for long journeys. Finally, wireless headphones can experience some latency - the lag between the signal being sent to the headphones, and it being heard by your ears. When listening to music, this isn’t a massive issue - a few milliseconds of lag isn’t noticeable at all. However if you are watching a movie or playing a video game, larger amounts of latency may cause the audio in your headphones to run out of sync with the video, leading to a sub-par experience. Generally though, the tech for wireless headphones has progressed enough that a good £150-200 pair of wireless headphones will serve you very well indeed!

Extra Features

Headphones come in many different shapes and sizes, and with a lot of different extra bells and whistles. Here are some of the more common additions:

Sports Headphones: these are a special subset of in-ear headphones, designed to be worn while running or working out. They push into the ear like in-ear headphones, but have a headband to keep them stable while you move. Many have extra water-resistance to protect against lots of sweat - some are even fully waterproof, meaning they can be used while swimming!

Bone Conduction: this is a very different type of headphone - in fact they don’t actually make any sound at all. Instead they conduct sound from the device to the inner ear via vibrations sent through the bones in the skull - meaning sound in heard ‘inside’ your head without any external sound actually being made. Bone conduction headphones are very rare, but used with specialist underwater headphones (such as those used for divers) or military earpieces, where it’s a benefit to make no external noise. They are also of a benefit for people with limited hearing, since they bypass much of the ear completely, and deliver sound direct to the inner ear.

Integrated Microphone: these headphones have a microphone built into the frame of the headset, meaning you can talk while wearing the headphones. This is useful for taking phonecalls while wearing your headphones, or for voice chat while playing multiplayer video games, which means you don’t need a separate microphone to pick up your voice.

Headphones Retailers, Prices and Features

Pair of Headphones Prices

The price range of earphones is from £4 to £2,799 and in total we found prices for 532 earphones. The average price of a new earphone is £98 and 80% of headphones are priced between £9 and £199. The HiFiMAN HE1000 is the most expensive earphone that we found at £2,799, and the Skullcandy Jib is the cheapest at only £4.

Earphone Brands - Price Range

HiFiMAN headphones start at £2,799 and their most expensive earphone costs £2,799. The highest average earphone price out of all brands is HiFiMAN headphones with an average price of £2,799.

The second highest average pair of headphones price out of all brands is Audeze headphones with an average price of £1,346. Audeze headphones range in price from £939 to £1,599.

The average price of Westone headphones is £599 which is the third highest average price of all earphone brands. Westone headphones range in price from £599 to £599.

Pair of Headphones Brands - Average Ratings

We have evaluated 4,537 expert reviews and 11,931 user reviews for earphones and used these reviews to determine the average rating for each brand of pair of headphones. The top three pair of headphones brands are Audio-Technica, Sony and Sennheiser. Audio-Technica has an average rating of 81%, Sony has an average rating of 79% and Sennheiser has an average rating of 77%.

Biggest Earphone Retailers

We found 518 current offers for earphones from eBay making it the biggest pair of headphones retailer. That is significantly bigger than the second biggest retailer, Amazon UK for whom we found 371 current offers for earphones. The third biggest retailer is Currys with 303 current pair of headphones offers.

When Are Most New Earphones Released?

We couldn't see any evident pattern in the release dates for new earphones over the last 3 years. The biggest month last year for new earphone releases was May, with 186 new earphones released that month. May was also the biggest month in 2016 for new earphones, with 55 new earphones released that month. In February 2015 188 new headphones were released making it the biggest month that year for new pair of headphones releases.

How Fast Do Earphone Prices Drop After Release?

New headphones drop in price by an average of 0% in the first 6 months after they wer first released. That means that on a typical pair of headphones costing £98 you could save on average £0 by waiting 6 months before buying.

Weights

'Weight' denotes how heavy the headphones are, measured in grams (g).

Across the range of headphones, the weights range from 0.012g to 6.3kg. The weights of the majority of earphones range from 0g to 40g. The earphone with the heaviest weight is the Koss PRO4AAT, which is a 785g pair of headphones and is on sale for £74.99. The Intempo EE1758GOL, which currently retails for £10.00, has the lightest weight and is a 0.15g pair of headphones.

Lighter headphones will be more comfortable to wear for long periods.

Speaker Sizes

The driver unit is the part of the headphone that converts the audio signal into actual sound. This attribute denotes the physical size of this driver unit, measured in millimetres.

The speaker sizes of headphones range from 4mm to 106mm. The speaker sizes of the majority of headphones range from 38mm to 44mm. The pair of headphones with the biggest speaker size is the Audeze LCD-XC, which is a 106mm driver earphone and sells for £1,499.00. The earphone with the smallest speaker size is the Urbanista Toyko, which is a 4mm driver pair of headphones and is available at £59.98.

A bigger driver unit means that the headphones will be capable of generating more sound, making them louder. It doesn't necessarily mean the sound will be better quality, just louder. However it's a good starting point if you're looking for a powerful pair of headphones.

Bluetooth

The denotes whether the headphones support wireless Bluetooth communication or not.

Most new headphones are headphones which do not support Bluetooth. 630 out of 963 headphones on Kagoo are headphones which do not support Bluetooth and 321 out of 963 are earphones which support Bluetooth.

Bluetooth allows you to stream music and audio directly to the headphones without the need for wires. This makes the headphones far more convenient and easy to use, and frees you from the restriction of an audio cable.

Style

The way in which the device is worn.

We found 511 earphones that are headphones that have a Head-band style, which makes this the most common style amongst new earphones. We found 328 headphones that are headphones that have an In-ear style, making In-ear the second most common style amongst new headphones.

Type

Ear coupling describes the way in which headphones or earphones stay attached to, or inside, the ear. There are three common types of ear coupling: circumaural, supra-aural and intra-aural. Circumaural headphones enclose your ears with large pads that suppress external noise. Supra-aural headphones are typically more lightweight and sit on top of the ears with small pads. Intra-aural headphones come in two basic designs and neither style sits on the head itself. The first are ear buds, which sit just outside of the ear canal, on top of your ear lobes. The second type is actually inserted directly into the ear canal and offers some external noise suppression.

We found 427 headphones that are In-ear headphones, which makes this the most popular type amongst new headphones. The second most frequently found type amongst new headphones is Over-ear. We found 310 headphones that are Over-ear headphones.

Which Are the Cheapest Retailers for Earphones?

The chart below helps you decide which retailer is normally cheapest for buying headphones. For each retailer it shows the total number of headphones where they currently have a market leading price. The chart below helps you decide which retailer is normally cheapest for buying headphones. For each retailer we took all of their prices and looked at what proportion of those prices where the cheapest on the market. The cheapest retailer that we found was eBay. 315 of their earphone prices were the cheapest that could be found anywhere.

Proportion of Headphones for Which Each Retailer is Cheapest?

Assessing how cheap each retailer is for earphones by counting the number of cheapest prices for that retailer, makes the retailers that offer the greatest number of pair of headphones prices more likely to offer the greatest number of cheapest prices. The chart below considers the proportion of each retailer's pair of headphones prices that are the cheapest compared to other retailers. The cheapest retailer that we found using this approach was eBay. 60.8% of their earphone prices were the cheapest that could be found anywhere.

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