Best headphones for 2018

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


Jennifer Bisset

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CNET editors pick the products and services we write about. When you buy through our links, we may get a commission.

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.

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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.

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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.

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