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Article updated on May 2, 2024 at 10:00 PM PDT

Best Beats Headphones and Earbuds for 2024

Looking for a new set of cans from Beats? Here are our current top picks.

Our Experts

Written by 
David Carnoy
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
David Carnoy Executive Editor / Reviews
Executive Editor David Carnoy has been a leading member of CNET's Reviews team since 2000. He covers the gamut of gadgets and is a notable reviewer of mobile accessories and portable audio products, including headphones and speakers. He's also an e-reader and e-publishing expert as well as the author of the novels Knife Music, The Big Exit and Lucidity. All the titles are available as Kindle, iBooks, Kobo e-books and audiobooks.
Expertise Headphones, Bluetooth speakers, mobile accessories, Apple, Sony, Bose, e-readers, Amazon, glasses, ski gear, iPhone cases, gaming accessories, sports tech, portable audio, interviews, audiophile gear, PC speakers Credentials
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Our Picks

$250 at Best Buy
Image of Beats Studio Pro
Best Beats over-ear headphones
Beats Studio Pro
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$200 at Best Buy
Image of Beats Fit Pro
Best sports buds for everyday use
Beats Fit Pro
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$170 at Amazon
Image of Beats Studio Buds Plus
Top wireless earbuds from Beats
Beats Studio Buds Plus
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$150 at Amazon
Image of Beats Solo 4
Best Beats on-ear headphones
Beats Solo 4
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$49 at Amazon
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Best budget Beats headpphones
Beats Flex
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What are the best Beats headphones?

Beats was acquired by Apple in 2014, but it still maintains its own distinct branding and iconic designs. In its early days, audiophiles rightly looked down upon the sound quality of Beats headphones, which served up a preponderance of bass that lacked definition. But Beats headphones and earbuds have come a long way in terms of sound quality, and they now sound quite respectable and also offer very good noise-canceling and voice-calling performance. You can argue over which Beats models are the best, but if I had to choose, I'd say the Studio Pro and Fit Pro are probably its top headphones and earbuds respectively. 

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I've tested and reviewed just about every Beats model released in the last 15 years. These are my current favorites. I'll update this list as more Beats headphones are released, including the just announced Beats Solo Buds that are due to ship in June (I haven't tested those yet). Note that while some Beats headphones and earbuds have certain features that are exclusive to Apple users, there is an Beats app for Android and the company has made a big effort to market its products to Android users.  

Best Beats headphones and earbuds of 2024

$250 at Best Buy

Best Beats over-ear headphones

Beats Studio Pro

Love 'em or hate 'em, Beats Studio headphones are among the most popular headphones of all time, launching as wired headphones back in 2008. This is the fourth generation of them, and they carry the same list price as their predecessor and look very similar on the outside but have some big changes on the inside that make them significantly better headphones. I'm tempted to describe them as more affordable plastic versions of the AirPods Max. However, that's not quite accurate due to a choice in chipsets and one notable missing feature. But read our full review to find out what makes these very good headphones, albeit with some caveats.

$200 at Best Buy

Best sports buds for everyday use

Beats Fit Pro

While the Beats Fit Pro technically aren't AirPods, they're built on the same tech platform as the AirPods Pro (yes, Apple owns Beats). Unlike Beats' earlier and less expensive Studio Buds and new-for-2023 Studio Buds Plus, the Beats Fit Pro include Apple's H1 chip and have most of the AirPods Pro's features, including active noise canceling, spatial audio and Adaptive EQ. I'd venture to call them the sports AirPods you've always wanted.

$170 at Amazon

Top wireless earbuds from Beats

Beats Studio Buds Plus

Alas, for those of you who bought the original Beats Studio Buds, which remain on the market for now, I'm sorry to report that these new Plus buds are significantly improved, with better sound, noise canceling and battery life. Additionally, they now deliver top-notch voice-calling performance.

The transparent version is getting a lot of attention (who doesn't like transparent electronics?), but the big changes are on the inside. Beats says 95% of the components are new and improved, and the buds' "acoustic architecture" has been revised. The speaker drivers remain the same, but the Studio Buds Plus are powered by a new, more powerful custom chipset and have three new microphones in each bud, which are three times larger and more sensitive than the ones found in the Beats Studio Buds.

Pros:

  • Lightweight and discrete
  • Comfortable fit with upgraded performance all-around 
  • Android friendly (iOS users get hands-free Siri)

Cons:

  • No wireless charging or ear-detection sensor
  • No spatial audio with head tracking
$150 at Amazon

Best Beats on-ear headphones

Beats Solo 4

In a nutshell, the Beats Solo 4 on-ear headphones have pretty much the same look on the outside as the 3s, but some notable improvements on the inside bump their performance by about 25% to 30% when it comes to sound quality, battery life and voice-calling. 

Would I pay $200 for them? No, I wouldn't. But if you look at what's happened with the Studio Pro's pricing -- they're sporadically discounted to $200 or $150 off their list price and even dropped to $180 for Prime Day -- the Solo 4s won't always be $200. I'm certain we'll see them fairly soon for what the Solo 3s now cost, which is around $130. They make a lot more sense at that price, particularly if you're looking for a more compact on-ear headphone and don't need active noise canceling.

$49 at Amazon

Best budget Beats headpphones

Beats Flex

Yes, these are "wired wireless" earbuds -- with a cable connecting the left and right earbud, but they're also the most affordable wireless Apple headphones you can buy (Beats is a subsidiary of Apple). Equipped with Apple's older W1 chip, not the H1 found in the AirPods 3rd Generation, AirPods Pro and Beats Fit Pro, they don't have such extra features as spatial audio. However, they sound good and work well for making voice calls.

Some people like the concept of neckband-style wireless earbuds. You can leave the earbuds dangling from around your neck, wearing them like a pendant. Gone is the fear of losing an AirPod by dropping it. Going from listening to not listening to the earbuds requires simply lifting them to your ears -- or pulling them out. And forget about having to drop them in a charging case when you're not using them.

Other Beats headphones and earbuds we tested

Beats Studio Buds: The Studio Buds were once a good value, but the Studio Buds Plus offer significant improvements, so we tend to recommend that newer model. The cheaper Solo Buds also offer superior sound to the standard Studio Buds. These are worth considering only if you see them substantially discounted.

Beats Powerbeats Pro: A lot of people like the Powerbeats Pro and you still see many people wearing them. They remain good ear hook-style buds, but they're rather pricey for earbuds that have been on the market for several years.

Beats Solo Pro: The Solo Pro were a more premium version of standard Beats Solo headphones and featured active noise canceling. But they were too expensive ($300 list) and were discontinued in late 2021.

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Factors to consider when choosing noise-canceling headphones

Budget

Before anything else, you'll want to figure out how much you're willing to spend on new ANC headphones. The quality of value-priced noise canceling headphones continues to improve, so you can find good affordable headphones for less than $100. But the premium models, which offer better build quality and performance, tend to cost $200 or more -- sometimes much more. 

Fit (comfort)

It's key that the headphones you buy fit your head well. They should offer a comfortable fit that's snug yet not too snug. Ideally, you want headphones you can wear over the course of a day with minimal breaks.

Durability

You want headphones that hold up well over time, so look for models that we note have sturdy build quality.

Maximize performance and features for your budget

You want the best-sounding headphones with the best noise-canceling, call quality, and features for whatever you're able to spend.

Return policy

It's critical to buy your headphones at a retailer that has a good return policy, in case you have buyer's remorse. Some people who are having trouble deciding between two models sometimes buy both, try them out for a few days, and then return one.

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How we test noise-canceling headphones and earbuds

We test noise-canceling headphones and earbuds based on six key criteria. These criteria include designsound quality, noise-canceling performancevoice-calling performance, features and value

  • Design: Evaluating design, we assess not only how comfortable the headphones and earbuds fit (their ergonomics) but their build quality and how well the controls are implemented. When it comes to earbuds, we also look at water- and dust-resistance ratings. 
  • Sound quality: We evaluate sound quality by listening to a set playlist of music tracks and comparing the earbuds to top competing products in their price range. Sonic traits such as bass definition, clarity, dynamic range and how natural the headphones sound are key factors in our assessment.
  • Noise-canceling performance: We evaluate noise-canceling performance by wearing the headphones in the same spot indoors near a noisy HVAC unit to see how well they do at muffling lower frequencies. Then we head out to the streets of New York to test the headphones in a real-world environment where we see how they do at muffling not only street noise but people's voices. 
  • Extra features: Some great-sounding noise-canceling headphones and earbuds aren't loaded with features, but we do take into account what extra features are on board. These include everything from quick-access awareness to transparency modes (your music pauses and the headphones open up to the outside world so you can have a conversation) to special sound modes to ear-detection sensors that automatically pause your music when you take the headphones off your ears. We also take a look at the companion app for the headphones if there is one and how user friendly it is. 
  • Voice-calling: When we test voice-calling performance, we make calls in the noisy streets of New York and evaluate how well the headphones or earbuds reduce background noise and how clearly callers can hear our voice.
  • Value: We determine value after evaluating the strength of the headphones and earbuds against all these criteria and what they're able to deliver compared to other models in their price class. 
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