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 the holidays 2017

Here's a wide selection of top wireless -- and a few wired -- headphones to choose from this holiday season.


David Carnoy

See full bio
1 of 40 Sarah Tew/CNET

Bowers and Wilkins PX

Bowers and Wilkins' PX wireless headphone is the first to include noise-canceling. While its noise-canceling isn't quite as strong as Bose's, its design and sound are top notch.

2 of 40 Sarah Tew/CNET

Bose QuietComfort 35 II

Bose has added a dedicated button for connecting to Google Assistant to its excellent QuietComfort 35 wireless noise-canceling headphone that doubles as an advanced headset for making calls. Otherwise the headphone hasn't changed. The original earned an Editors' Choice award from CNET.

3 of 40 David Carnoy/CNET

Sony WH-1000XM2

Sony's WH-1000XM2 is Sony's answer to Bose's QuietComfort 35 II. It's an impressive sounding wireless Bluetooth headphone that also features active noise-cancellation technology that's on par with Bose's, as well as some nifty extra features geared toward frequent travelers.

4 of 40 Sarah Tew/CNET

V-Moda Crossfade 2 Wireless

V-Moda's latest Bluetooth headphone is its best model yet, with improved sound, battery life and comfort. Featuring excellent build quality, it's one of the best premium over-ear wireless headphones, although it doesn't feature active noise-canceling.

5 of 40 Bose

Bose Soundsport Free

The Soundsport Free totally wireless earphones are Bose's answer to Apple's AirPods. They're more expensive but sound richer and fit more securely in your ears.  

6 of 40 Sarah Tew/CNET

Beats Studio3 WIreless

Although the design stayed the same, Beats upgraded its Studio Wireless headphone with new drivers and components, as well as much improved noise-canceling, battery life and slightly better sound. 

7 of 40 Sarah Tew/CNET

Bose SoundSport Wireless

The Bose SoundSport Wireless is a great wireless sports headphone; the company has just updated it in September to account for a small flaw that impacted a small percentage of units.

8 of 40 James Martin/CNET

Apple AirPods

Apple's totally wireless AirPods may look a little strange, but they're designed to automatically pair with the iPhone 7, 7 Plus, and other Apple devices running iOS 10, WatchOS 3 or MacOS Sierra (they're Bluetooth headphones, but Apple devices get access to special features).

9 of 40 Sarah Tew/CNET

Sennheiser PXC 550 Wireless

Sennheiser's PXC 550 WirelessSennheiser PXC 550 Wireless is a worthy competitor to the Bose QuietComfort 35 II. Like that model, it's very comfortable and features impressive noise cancellation and works very well as a headset for making calls.

10 of 40 Sarah Tew/CNET

Jaybird Freedom 2 Wireless

Jaybird's Freedom 2 wireless sports earphones feature new ear tips that offer a more secure, comfortable fit. There's also a new improved cord adjustment system. These seemingly small changes make a big difference.

11 of 40 Sarah Tew/CNET

AfterShokz Trekz Air

AfterShokz' bone-conduction wireless headphones continue to improve with each generation, and the Trekz Air is the company's best headphone yet.

12 of 40 Sarah Tew/CNET

Sony MDR-1A

Sony's MDR-1A is one of CNET's top-rated over-ear wired headphones and delivers excellent sound in a very comfortable design.

13 of 40 Sarah Tew/CNET


If you're looking for a more traditional wireless alternative to the AirPods, the BeatsX is a fresh take on the neckband-style Bluetooth headphone.

14 of 40 Sarah Tew/CNET

B&O Play by Bang and Olufsen Beoplay H4

The Beoplay H4, B&O Play's entry-level over-ear Bluetooth headphone, doesn't have much in the way of bells and whistles. However, it sounds very good and it's comfortable.

15 of 40 Sarah Tew/CNET

Bose QuietControl 30

Bose QuietControl 30 is essentially the wireless version of the company's QuietComfort 20 headphone -- an in-ear model that also features active noise-cancellation.

16 of 40 Sarah Tew/CNET

Beats Solo 3 Wireless

Thanks to having been updated with Apple's new low-energy W1 custom Bluetooth chip, Beats' Solo 3 Wireless has much better battery life than its predecessor. Its impressive 40 hours of battery life is tops for a Bluetooth headphone.

17 of 40 Sarah Tew/CNET

Sennheiser Momentum Wireless

Sennheiser's Momentum Wireless is arguably the best-sounding wireless Bluetooth headphone. It also features active noise-canceling, though it's not up to the level of Bose's noise-canceling. This headphone started out at $500, but has come down to a bit less in some places.

18 of 40 Sarah Tew/CNET

Jaybird X3

With the X3, Jaybird fixed some of the small issues that bothered owners of the X2. Jaybird sometimes discounts it 25 percent, making it a better value.

19 of 40 Sarah Tew/CNET

Bose SoundTrue Ultra

Bose's SoundTrue Ultra may be the most comfortable in-ear noise-isolating headphone ever made. It also sounds excellent.

Plantronics BackBeat Fit
20 of 40 Sarah Tew/CNET

Plantronics BackBeat Fit

Plantronics BackBeat Fit has been out for almost two years, but it remains a top wireless sports headphone and has proven to be durable. It started out at $130 but can now be had for less online in the US.

21 of 40 Sarah Tew/CNET

Plantronics BackBeat 500

If you're looking for an affordable on-ear headphone not named Beats that's attractively designed and sounds very good, Plantronics' BackBeat 500 fits the bill.

22 of 40 Sarah Tew/CNET

Urbanears Stadion

The Stadion is an interesting take on a wireless sports headphone, with a design that's reminiscent of a coiled telephone cord that creates a secure, comfortable fit.

23 of 40 Sarah Tew/CNET

Jabra Elite Sport

Jabra's Elite Sport is a totally wireless earphone with an integrated heart-rate sensor.

24 of 40 Sarah Tew/CNET

Plantronics BackBeat Fit 300

Plantronics' latest affordable in-ear headphone is lightweight and fits securely. It's meant to be a more everyday headphone that can be used at the gym. However, we didn't find it ideal for running due to the design of its inline remote.

25 of 40 Sarah Tew/CNET

Skullcandy Grind Wireless

The Skullcandy Grind Wireless is an on-ear model and one of the better values in Bluetooth headphones.

26 of 40 Sarah Tew/CNET

iFrogz Impulse Duo

This is one of iFrogz' higher-end in-ear headphones but it's still quite affordable and sounds very good for its price point.

27 of 40 Sarah Tew/CNET

Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2

The Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2 is one of the best values in noise-canceling wireless headphones.

28 of 40 Sarah Tew/CNET

Beats Powerbeats 3 Wireless

Beats' Powerbeats Wireless 3 improves slightly on the design of the popular Powerbeats 2 Wireless sports headphone and adds Apple's energy-efficient W1 custom Bluetooth chip, which makes connecting the headphones very easy (for Apple users) and significantly boosts battery life.

29 of 40 Sarah Tew/CNET

JBL Everest Elite 750NC

The JBL's Everest Elite 750NC, JBL higher-end wireless noise-canceling headphone is significantly improved over the previous version, with a more comfortable fit and better sound.

30 of 40 Sarah Tew/CNET

B&O Play BeoPlay H7

B&O Play's BeoPlay H7, an around-ear model, is stylish, comfortable and sounds very good.

31 of 40 Sarah Tew/CNET

Urbanears Hellas

Urbanears Hellas are sporty headphones with touch controls at a reasonable price.

32 of 40 Sarah Tew/CNET


JBL's E55BT isn't a total bargain, but it's a midpriced over-ear model that delivers solid performance and decent comfort.

33 of 40 Sarah Tew/CNET

Jabra Halo Smart

Jabra's Halo Smart is a neckband-style wireless headphone that performs very well as a headset for making cell phone calls, has good battery life, and delivers decent sound quality for music so long as you can get a tight seal from the included ear buds.

34 of 40 Sarah Tew/CNET

Focal Listen Wireless

Focal's Listen Wireless headphone is the Bluetooth version of the French company's audiophile-grade wired headphone.

35 of 40 Sarah Tew/CNET

Audeze Sine

Audeze's Sine is the company's most affordable full-size planar-magnetic headphone. This type of driver technology is known for delivering impressively clean, distortion-free sound. The Sine's sound is superb for the price, although some people might wish the comfortable were a little more comfortable. It comes come with two wired options: one with a traditional miniplug, and one with Apple's Lightning connector.

36 of 40 Sarah Tew/CNET

Sony H.ear On Wireless

Sony's new H.ear On Wireless NC comes in several eye-catching colors and features wireless Bluetooth streaming, as well as active noise-cancellation. It's not quite as impressive as Sony's MDR-1000, which costs more, but it does deliver excellent performance for Bluetooth.

37 of 40 Sarah Tew/CNET

Plantronics BackBeat Sense

Plantronics' BackBeat Sense is one of our favorite on-ear wireless headphones, and it also performs very well as a wireless headset.

38 of 40 Sarah Tew/CNET

Beyerdynamic T51i

The Beyerdynamic T51i remains one of our favorite on-ear wired headphones.

39 of 40 Sarah Tew/CNET

Skullcandy Ink'd Wireless

Skullcandy's Ink'd Wireless is an affordable, lightweight neckband-style headphone that sounds surprisingly good.

Video: Best headphones for holiday 2017
Video: Best headphones for holiday 2017
40 of 40

Video: Best headphones for holiday 2017

These headphones will warm your ears this holiday season.

More Galleries

2022's Best TV Shows You Can't Miss on Netflix, HBO, Disney Plus and More
John Cena attends Warner Bros. premiere of The Suicide Squad, in costume as Peacemaker.

2022's Best TV Shows You Can't Miss on Netflix, HBO, Disney Plus and More

95 Photos
Movies Coming in 2022 From Marvel, Netflix, DC and More

Movies Coming in 2022 From Marvel, Netflix, DC and More

85 Photos
The Best Games on Nintendo Switch in 2022

The Best Games on Nintendo Switch in 2022

36 Photos
The 51 Best VR Games

The 51 Best VR Games

53 Photos
2023 Toyota Crown Is One Funky Hybrid Sedan
2023 Toyota Crown

2023 Toyota Crown Is One Funky Hybrid Sedan

48 Photos
24 things you should never, ever google

24 things you should never, ever google

25 Photos
DIY scratched screen repair: Magic and myths

DIY scratched screen repair: Magic and myths

10 Photos