CNET logo Why You Can Trust CNET

Our expert, award-winning staff selects the products we cover and rigorously researches and tests our top picks. If you buy through our links, we may get a commission. Reviews ethics statement

Best headphones for 2018

Budget, investment buy, wireless, wired -- here are our top picks for headphones.

Jennifer Bisset
Jennifer Bisset was a senior editor for CNET. She covered film and TV news and reviews. The movie that inspired her to want a career in film is Lost in Translation. She won Best New Journalist in 2019 at the Australian IT Journalism Awards.
Jennifer Bisset
Bose QuietComfort 35 II
1 of 27 Sarah Tew/CNET

Bose QuietComfort 35 wireless headphones II

Bose's upgraded QuietComfort 35 are excellent Bluetooth and noise-cancelling headphones. A comfortable fold-up design, user-friendly controls and integrated Google Assistant make them a worthy buy.

They sell for AU$499.

2 of 27 Sarah Tew/CNET

Apple AirPods

Apple's wireless Bluetooth AirPods are well-balanced and deliver a decent amount of bass. With above average sound quality similar to the wired EarPods, Apple fans will be happy.

They sell for AU$229.

3 of 27 Sarah Tew/CNET


More traditional than the AirPods, BeatsX are a fresh take on the neckband-style Bluetooth headphone. They pair with Apple devices, charge quickly and won't fall out of your ears.

They sell for AU$200.

4 of 27

Bose SoundSport Wireless

Bose's SoundSport Wireless Bluetooth headphones have great battery life for their smaller type. They're comfortable, sweat-resistant and work smoothly all-round.

They sell for AU$230.

5 of 27 Sarah Tew/CNET

Beats Ep

Beats' Ep are affordable, wired on-ear headphones. Simple in a good way, they're sturdy, comfy and deliver great sound for the price.

They sell for AU$139.

6 of 27 Sarah Tew/CNET

Sennheiser PXC 550 Wireless

Sennheiser's PXC 550 Wireless Bluetooth headphones deliver impressive noise-cancelling to match their premium class. Lightweight and featuring touch-control technology, they're an excellent headset.

They sell for AU$500.

7 of 27 Sarah Tew/CNET

​Beats Solo 3 Wireless

Beats Solo 3 Wireless headphones look great. With dramatically improved battery life and Apple's new custom Bluetooth chip, allowing easy pairing with Apple products, they're an easy buy.

They sell for AU$399.

8 of 27

Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 Wireless

Sennheiser's Momentum 2.0 Wireless headphones fold excellent noise-cancellation, a wired connection option and dual microphones into a sturdy, fold-able design. These are great Bluetooth headphones.

They sell for AU$699.

9 of 27 Sarah Tew/CNET

Bose QuietControl 30

Bose's QuietControl 30 are pleasant-sounding Bluetooth headphones with full bass and good detail. They're one of the better in-ear models out there.

They sell for AU$449.

10 of 27 Sarah Tew/CNET

Bose SoundLink Around-Ear Wireless Headphones II

Bose's SoundLink Around-Ear Wireless Headphone II are comfy headphones with excellent Bluetooth and battery life. They look good too.

They sell for AU$329.

11 of 27 Sarah Tew/CNET

Plantronics BackBeat 500

Plantronics' BackBeat 500 are affordable, on-ear, wireless Bluetooth headphones that deliver good sound for entry-level buyers.

They sell for AU$119.

12 of 27 Sarah Tew/CNET

Bose SoundTrue Ultra

Bose's SoundTrue Ultra are in-ear headphones for audiophiles. But with their clean, well-balanced sound, they're ideal for anyone who wants comfortable in-ear headphones.

They sell for AU$179.

13 of 27 Sarah Tew

Bose Soundsport In-Ear Headphones

Bose's SoundSport sweat-resistant headphones have high levels of comfort and an "open" design ideal for those who don't want to jam the tips into their ear canals.

They sell for AU$139. 

14 of 27 Sarah Tew/CNET

Plantronics BackBeat Fit

Plantronics' BackBeat Fit wireless headphones have an ultralight feel perfect for the gym and everyday use.

They sell for AU$179.

15 of 27 Sarah Tew/CNET

Jaybird X3

Jaybird's X3 are bigger than their predecessor, the X2, with improved battery life. They're sweat-resistant and sound excellent for an in-ear Bluetooth headphone.

They sell for AU$199.

16 of 27 Sarah Tew/CNET

Beats Powerbeats3

Beats' Powerbeats3 deliver great sound for a Bluetooth sports headphone. They're reliable and have long battery life thanks to Apple's W1 chip, which makes pairing with iOS, as well as Android, dead simple.

They sell for AU$259.

Beats Studio3 Wireless
17 of 27 Sarah Tew/CNET

Beats Studio3 Wireless

Beats' dependable flagship Studio3 Wireless noise-cancelling headphones have a sturdy design, Apple's W1 chip for easy pairing with Apple devices and several colour options.

They sell for AU$449.

18 of 27 Sarah Tew/CNET

Skullcandy Grind On-Ear Headphone

Skullcandy's Grind headphones are lightweight and comfy and come with a detachable cable and cool metal headband. These are good headphones for a modest price.

They sell for AU$59.

19 of 27 Sarah Tew/CNET

Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2

Plantronics' BackBeat Pro 2 are excellent full-size wireless noise-cancelling headphones that cost less than comparable models from Bose, Sony or Sennheiser.

They sell for AU$299.

20 of 27 Sarah Tew/CNET


JBL's E55BT Bluetooth headphones fill your ears with dynamic sound and give great value for their price.

They sell for AU$120.

21 of 27 Sarah Tew/CNET

Skullcandy Ink'd Wireless

Skullcandy's Ink'd Wireless are an affordable, lightweight neckband-style headphone with surprisingly good sound.

They sell for AU$70.

22 of 27 Sarah Tew/CNET

Plantronics BackBeat Sense SE

Plantronics' BackBeat Sense SE are lightweight, comfortable on-ear wireless headphones with great sound for Bluetooth. Bonus, they can sense when you're wearing them, are water-resistant and have good battery life.

They sell for AU$199.

23 of 27 Sarah Tew/CNET

Sony H.ear On Wireless NC

Sony's excellent H.ear On Wireless NC Bluetooth headphones have 20 hours of battery life. With their natural sound, they achieve near-wired headphone quality.

They sell for AU$499.

AKG N60NC Wireless
24 of 27 Sarah Tew/CNET

AKG N60NC Wireless

AKG's N60NC Wireless on-ear headphones are compact, comfortable and well-designed. Smaller and lighter than others of their style, they're impressive compact wireless headphones with active noise-cancellation.

They sell for AU$349.

25 of 27 Sarah Tew/CNET

Jabra Elite Sport

Jabra's Elite Sport earbuds are strong rivals to Apple's AirPods with their built-in heart-rate monitor, water resistance and long battery life.

They sell for AU$349.

26 of 27 Juan Garzon / CNET

Sony WH-1000XM2

Sony's WH-1000XM2 are excellent-sounding, comfortable wireless headphones with effective noise canceling. Bonus, they have some nifty extra features geared toward frequent travelers.

They sell for AU$499.

27 of 27 Sennhesier

Sennheiser HD 4.50 BTNC Wireless

Sennheiser's HD 4.50 BTNC Wireless are effective noise-canceling headphones that have decent battery life. and work well as a headset.

They sell for AU$295.

More Galleries

My Favorite Shots From the Galaxy S24 Ultra's Camera
A houseplant

My Favorite Shots From the Galaxy S24 Ultra's Camera

20 Photos
Honor's Magic V2 Foldable Is Lighter Than Samsung's Galaxy S24 Ultra

Honor's Magic V2 Foldable Is Lighter Than Samsung's Galaxy S24 Ultra

10 Photos
The Samsung Galaxy S24 and S24 Plus Looks Sweet in Aluminum
Samsung Galaxy S24

The Samsung Galaxy S24 and S24 Plus Looks Sweet in Aluminum

23 Photos
Samsung's Galaxy S24 Ultra Now Has a Titanium Design
The Galaxy S24 Ultra in multiple colors

Samsung's Galaxy S24 Ultra Now Has a Titanium Design

23 Photos
I Took 600+ Photos With the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max. Look at My Favorites

I Took 600+ Photos With the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max. Look at My Favorites

34 Photos
17 Hidden iOS 17 Features You Should Definitely Know About
Invitation for the Apple September iPhone 15 event

17 Hidden iOS 17 Features You Should Definitely Know About

18 Photos
AI or Not AI: Can You Spot the Real Photos?

AI or Not AI: Can You Spot the Real Photos?

17 Photos