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Best Headphones for 2022: Top Picks for All Styles

Here's a look at CNET's current top-rated headphones you can buy right now based on our hands-on testing.

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There's a wide variety of styles out there when it comes to headphones, so we've had to create a number of different best lists here at CNET to cover all the different categories. But for this list, we've taken the best models from every category to bring you the overall best headphones 2022 has to offer. One of CNET's audio experts either fully reviewed or had hands-on time with every pair of headphones you see on this list.

With so many headphone and earbuds options available, we've had to create a number of best lists here at CNET to cover all the various model types and use-case scenarios. For this list, I've taken the best of the best headphones from several categories, including wired and wireless (that includes true-wireless earbuds) and distilled that information into a top overall headphones list. We either fully reviewed or had hands-on time with every model on the list.

While many of the headphones on the list are premium models that cost a lot of money, we also like to highlight headphones that are a good value. These more affordable models can still deliver excellent quality at a good price. Regardless of budget or use case, this list will help you find the best headphones for you. As new top headphones are released, we'll update this list. 

Read more: Best Wireless Earbuds for 2022

David Carnoy/CNET

Battery Life

Rated up to 32 hours

Noise Canceling

Yes (ANC)

Multipoint

Yes

Headphone Type

Over-ear wireless headphones

Water-Resistant

No IP rating

When you have a product that a lot of people love, change can be risky. Such is the case for Sony's WH-1000XM5, the fifth generation of the 1000X series headphones, which were first released in 2016 as the MDR-1000X Wireless and have become increasingly popular as they've improved with each generation. Over the years, Sony has made some tweaks to the design, but nothing as dramatic as what it's done with the WH-1000XM5. Other than the higher $400 price tag ($50 more than the WH-1000XM4), most of those changes are good, and Sony's made some dramatic improvements with voice-calling performance as well as even better noise canceling and more refined sound.

Read our Sony WH-1000XM5 review.

 

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Battery Life

Rated up to 6 hours

Noise Canceling

Yes (ANC)

Multipoint

No

Headphone Type

Wireless earbuds

Water-Resistant

Yes (IPX4 -- splash-proof)

The new AirPods Pro (2nd generation) are powered by Apple's new H2 chip, which delivers more processing power while being more energy efficient, according to Apple. The new chip, combined with new low-distortion drivers, allows for improved sound that offers better clarity and depth. The noise canceling is also improved -- Apple says the new AirPods have "double" the noise canceling of the original AirPods Pro. Additionally, the new AirPods add an extra hour of battery life, up from five to six hours with noise canceling on. Plus, a speaker in the case that emits a sound that helps locate your buds via Find My should they decide to hide from you.

Note that while Apple has discontinued the original AirPods Pro, they'll remain on sale at discounted prices until supplies are exhausted. However, most people should get this newer model if they can afford it. They're IPX4 splash-proof.

Read our Apple AirPods Pro 2 review.

 

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Earfun

Battery Life

Rated up to 6 hours

Noise Canceling

Yes (ANC)

Multipoint

Yes

Headphone Type

Wireless earbuds

Water-Resistant

Yes (IPX5 -- protection against low-pressure water streams)

In the past, we've recommended Earfun's AirPro SV and Air Pro 2 as excellent budget noise-canceling earbuds choices (they're still good values). But the new-for-2022 Earfun Air S may be the best of the trio, with multipoint Bluetooth pairing, the latest Qualcomm QCC3046 SoC (system on a chip) with the AptX audio codec for Android and other devices that support it. It has the same 10mm wool drivers as the AirPro SV and features surprisingly impressive sound for its modest price point. They also work well as a headset for making calls with decent background noise reduction.

The buds have an IPX5 water-resistance rating, which means they're splashproof and can withstand a sustained spray of water.

Note that the earbuds cost as low as $49 when you activate the instant coupon and apply the CNET-exclusive discount code EFAIRS07 at checkout at Amazon.

$70 at Amazon
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Battery Life

Rated Up to 6 Hours

Noise Canceling

Yes (ANC)

Multipoint

No

Headphone Type

Wireless Earbuds

Water-Resistant

Yes (IPX4 -- Splash-Proof

Bose's second-generation QuietComfort Earbuds 2 are not only about 30% smaller than their predecessors, but their case is about 40% smaller and truly pocketable. They feature best-in-class noise canceling and improved sound, thanks to Bose's new CustomTune sound calibration system that customizes the sound for your ears. Voice-calling performance is also significantly better than that of the original QuietComfort Earbuds.

The other big change is to the ear tips. Bose has ditched its one-piece StayEar wing tips for a two-piece Fit Kit system that features separate ear tips and "stability bands" in three size options, giving you more flexibility to get a secure fit and tight seal. 

The buds initially ship in the triple black color, with the sandstone option to follow later in the year. They're also IPX4 splash-proof.

Read our Bose QuietComfort Earbuds 2 review.

 

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Featuring excellent sound, improved noise canceling and voice-calling performance as well a smaller, more refined design that includes stabilizing fins (so the earbuds stay in your ears more securely), the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 are among the best new true-wireless earbuds for 2022. They're also among the best true-wireless earbuds overall, giving the Sony WF-1000XM4 a run for the money.

Read our Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 review.

 

$200 at Amazon
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Battery Life

Rated up to 6 hours

Noise Canceling

Yes (ANC)

Multipoint

No

Headphone Type

Wireless earbuds

Water-Resistant

Yes (IPX4 -- splash-proof)

Hot on the heels of the third-generation AirPods, Apple has another new set of earbuds, this time from its subsidiary audio company, Beats. Technically, the new Beats Fit Pro ($200) aren't AirPods, but they're built on the same tech platform as the AirPods Pro. Unlike Beats' earlier and less expensive Studio Buds, the Beats Fit Pro include Apple's H1 chip and have most of the AirPods Pro's features, including active noise canceling, spatial audio, Adaptive EQ and IPX4 water-resistance (splash-proof). I'd venture to call them the sports AirPods you've always wanted. And for some people, they might just be better than the AirPods Pro. Read our Beats Fit Pro review.

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Battery Life

Rated Up to 8 Hours

Noise Canceling

Yes (ANC)

Multipoint

No

Headphone Type

Wireless Earbuds

Water-Resistant

Yes (IP57 – Can Be Submerged for 30 Minutes Up to 1 Meter)

The Galaxy Buds 2 Pro offer improved noise canceling along with very good sound and voice-calling performance, plus support for high-resolution wireless audio streaming if you're a Galaxy device owner with the right setup. That said, their biggest upgrade may be their new design and smaller size, which make them a better fit for more ears. They're also fully waterproof. Aside from their somewhat high price tag, their only drawback is that some of their key features only work with Samsung Galaxy devices.

Read our Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro review.

 

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Battery Life

Rated up to 30 hours

Noise Canceling

Yes

Multipoint

Yes

Headphone Type

Over-ear wireless headphones

Water-Resistant

No IP rating

Sony's flagship WF-1000XM4 buds were arguably the top overall earbuds for 2021 and part of 2022. They feature excellent sound and great noise-canceling with decent voice-calling capabilities and good battery life. They're still great earbuds but they've been surpassed in some ways by both Apple's AirPods Pro 2 and Bose's QuietComfort Earbuds 2. That doesn't mean you shouldn't consider them, but look for them at a discount.

Read our Sony WH-1000XM4 review.

 

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Sennheiser

Battery Life

Rated up to 60 hours

Noise Canceling

Yes (ANC)

Multipoint

Yes

Headphone Type

Over-ear wireless headphones

Water-Resistant

No IP rating

Sennheiser's previous-generation Momentum Wireless headphones have always had a pretty distinct look that was part retro, part modern, and stood out for the exposed metal on their headband. For better or worse, that's all gone now, and the new Momentum 4 Wireless, Sennheiser's flagship noise-canceling headphones, look a bit more subdued and also a bit more like some of their competitors.

The Momentum 4 Wireless offers superior performance over the Momentum 3 Wireless in every regard, though the biggest gains are with noise canceling and voice-calling performance as well as battery life, which is outstanding -- up to 60 hours at moderate volume levels. There's also a transparency mode that allows ambient sound in, as well as the ability to create a custom sound profile in the Smart Control app for iOS and Android using the built-in EQ, sound modes and a new Sound Personalization feature that "assesses the user's listening preferences and adjusts the listening experience according to their taste." 

Equipped with 42mm drivers, Sennheiser says the Momentum 4 Wireless offer "best-in-class" sound, which is debatable, of course. I'd say the Momentum 4's sound quality is right there with other models in this price range -- they sound excellent, with the requisite well-defined, punchy bass, relatively wide soundstage (they sound pretty open) and smooth treble that brings out some of the finer details in well-recorded tracks. They're a pleasure to listen to.

Read our Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless first look.

 

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Battery Life

Rated up to 9 hours

Noise Canceling

Yes (ANC)

Multipoint

No

Headphone Type

Wireless Earbuds

Water-Resistant

Yes (IPX4 -- splash-proof)

Unlike the "open" LinkBuds, the LinkBuds S are traditional noise-isolating earbuds with tips you jam in your ears. They're more compact and lighter than Sony's flagship WF-1000M4 and also feature Sony's V1 processor. While their sound and noise canceling don't quite measure up to the WF-1000XM4's, they're close and cost less. They're the Sony buds for people who can deal with larger buds like WF-1000XM4 but want 80 to 85% of those buds' features and performance for $80 less.

Read our Sony LinkBuds S review.

 

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Battery Life

Rated up to 25 hours

Multipoint

Yes

Headphone Type

Over-ear wireless headphones

Water-Resistant

No IP rating

The QuietComfort 45 has virtually the same design as its predecessor, the QuietComfort QC35 II, which many people considered one of the most comfortable over-ear headphones -- if not the most comfortable. It has the same drivers, according to Bose, and the buttons are in the same place. However, there are small but notable changes. First off, these thankfully have USB-C instead of micro-USB.

Secondly, the microphone configuration is different. Not only have the mics been shifted on the headphones, but there's now an extra external microphone for voice pick-up, which means the QC45 has a total of six microphones, four of which are beamforming and used for voice. By contrast, the QC35 II has a total of four, two of which are used for voice. (The Bose Noise Canceling Headphones 700 also have six microphones total.)

These headphones are excellent for making calls. They're similar to the Bose Headphones 700 in that regard. They also include top-notch noise canceling and multipoint Bluetooth pairing, so you can connect them with a PC and your phone simultaneously. Read our full review of the QuietComfort 45.

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The MW75 are Master & Dynamic's best full-size headphones yet. Needless to say, they're pricey at $599; most people will be quite satisfied with the $400 Sony WH-1000XM5, which are lighter and more comfortable, and which deliver best-in-class voice calling and noise canceling. But the MW75's build quality is hard to beat and they offer top-notch sound for a wireless model (I thought they sounded better than Apple's AirPods Max headphones), plus strong voice-calling and noise-canceling performance. With their support for aptX Adaptive, they have additional appeal for Android users, who can get a touch better sound quality with the right setup. But I was also quite happy streaming music with my iPhone 13 Pro using the AAC codec.

Read our Master & Dynamic MW75 first take.

 

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Battery Life

Rated up to 10 hours

Noise Canceling

Yes (Adaptive)

Multipoint

Yes

Headphone Type

Wireless earbuds

Water-Resistant

Yes (IPX5 -- protection against low-pressure water streams)

Over the years, JBL has put out some decent true-wireless earbuds, but nothing that really got me too excited. That's finally changed with the arrival of the Samsung-owned brand's new Live Pro 2 and Live Free 2 buds. Both sets of buds -- the Live Pro 2 have stems while the Live Free 2 have a pill-shaped design -- offer a comfortable fit along with strong noise canceling, very good sound quality and voice-calling performance, plus a robust set of features, including multipoint Bluetooth pairing, an IPX5 splash-proof rating and wireless charging.

The Live Pro 2 and Live Free 2 are equipped with the same 11mm drivers, six microphones, oval tubes and oval silicon tips. Aside from the design, the biggest difference between the two buds is battery life; the stemless Live Free 2 is rated for up to seven hours, while the Live Pro 2 is rated for 10 hours. The Live Pro 2 is available in four color options.

Read our JBL Live Pro 2 first take.

 

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Available in three color options (gray, blue and black), Bowers & Wilkins PX7 S2 headphones offer some significant improvements over the first-generation version. Not only are these headphones more comfortable -- they tip the scales at 307 grams -- but they sound better and have better noise-canceling and voice-calling performance with improved noise reduction. I don't necessarily think they're a better option than the lighter and even more comfortable Sony WH-1000XM5. But the PX7 S2 certainly looks and feels luxurious, with its sturdy design, and delivers very good sound with better voice-calling performance thanks to an upgraded microphone setup.

Bowers & Wilkins has also released a step-up model, the PX8, that features even better sound but costs more.

Read our Bowers & Wilkins PX7 S2 first take.

 

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The Pixel Buds Pro are Google's first earbuds to feature active noise canceling. While it's nice that they finally have a feature that a lot of true-wireless earbuds have had for a while, what ultimately sets the Pixel Buds Pro apart and makes them worth considering -- particularly for Android users -- is their distinct design and winning fit. That helps enhance their performance on both the sound quality and noise-canceling fronts. While not quite elite for voice-calling, they did perform well as a headset for making calls. A couple of features were missing at launch -- spatial audio and a five-band equalizer -- but the equalizer has now been added with a firmware update. We're now just waiting for spatial audio.

The Pixel Buds Pro are also IPX4 splash-proof. Read our Google Pixel Buds review.

$150 at Amazon
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French audio company Focal is known for its high-end speakers and headphones. You might call it the Bowers & Wilkins of France. And now it's finally done what a lot of high-end audio companies have had to do in this age of on-the-go wireless music listening: make active noise-canceling Bluetooth headphones. 

Over three years in development, the Bathys cost $799 and feature not only wireless connectivity but a built-in DAC (digital-to-analog converter) for USB wired listening with any computer, smartphone or tablet with USB-C. They are easily one of the best-sounding wireless headphones.

Read our Focal Bathys first take.

 

Jabra

Battery Life

Rated Up to 8 Hours

Noise Canceling

Yes (ANC)

Multipoint

Yes

Headphone Type

Wireless Earbuds

Water-Resistant

Yes (IP57 -- Can be Submerged for 30 Minutes Up to 1 Meter)

Coming in at 16% smaller than the Elite 75t, the Elite 7 Pro are Jabra's top-of-the-line earbuds in its new range and include the company's new MultiSensor Voice technology with a bone-conduction sensor, four microphones and intelligent algorithms to deliver new "ground-breaking call quality," Jabra says. The voice calling performance doesn't quite live up to the hype, but Jabra has updated the buds' firmware, adding multipoint Bluetooth pairing and slightly improving sound quality, noise canceling and headset performance. It took a while but they're now excellent all-around buds.

These have adjustable active noise cancellation, Jabra's HearThrough transparency mode and Bluetooth 5.2. They offer up to nine hours' play time at moderate volume levels with noise canceling on, and nearly three additional charges in the charging case -- total battery life is rated at 35 hours. The charging case has wireless charging capabilities.

The earbuds' IP57 rating means they are dust-resistant and fully waterproof (they can be submerged in up to 1 meter of water). For those who like to use only a single bud, you can also use either one independently in a mono mode.

$120 at Amazon
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David Carnoy/CNET

Battery Life

NA

Noise Canceling

No

Multipoint

No

Headphone Type

Over-ear wired headphones

Water-Resistant

No IP rating

We were fans of Beyerdynamic's earlier DT 770 Pro headphones. The new DT 700 X is easier to drive than the 770 Pro, thanks to the company's new STELLAR.45 sound transducer with an impedance of 48 ohms, so it plays better with smartphones, tablets and laptops without requiring a headphone amp.

The headphone is targeted at content creators who want accurate audio reproduction, but it's a bit more dynamic sounding and less bass shy than many studio headphones, which tend to restrain the bass and hew toward a very neutral sound profile. The DT 700 X is a revealing, clean-sounding headphone that offers invitingly open sound (particularly for a closed-back headphone) and makes you realize what you're missing after listening to similarly priced Bluetooth headphones. 

Unlike the earlier DT 770 Pro, which is being sold at a nice discount (around $160), the DT 700 X comes with two interchangeable (detachable) straight cables in different lengths, and the DT 700 X arguably has a little cleaner look than its predecessor.

The solidly built headphone -- it weighs 350 grams -- is quite comfortable, featuring upgraded soft, velour-covered memory foam earpads that offer decent passive noise isolation. The earpads and the headphones' other parts are replaceable, Beyerdynamic says. 

Beyerdynamic also sells the open-back DT 900 X for the same price. That model should provide slightly more open, airy sound but the big drawback is people around you can hear whatever you're listening to -- and sound also leaks in. This closed-back version is more versatile.

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Take one look at the new design of the third-gen AirPods, and the first thing you'll probably think is: "Those look like the AirPods Pro without ear tips." You wouldn't be wrong. While they're more fraternal than identical twins, the AirPods 3 are shaped like the AirPods Pro, with the same shorter stems and same pinch controls as those of the Pro. Aside from the design change, which should fit most ears better than the AirPods 2nd Generation (though not very small ears), the biggest change is to the sound quality: It's much improved. Also, battery life is better, and the AirPods 3 are water-resistant.

Read our Apple AirPods 3 review.

 

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Battery Life

Rated up to 20 hours

Noise Canceling

Yes (ANC)

Multipoint

No

Headphone Type

Over-ear wireless headphones

Water-Resistant

No IP rating

Yes, they're expensive, but the AirPods Max deliver richer, more detailed sound than lower-priced competitors from Bose and Sony. They also feature arguably the best noise canceling on the market along with premium build quality and Apple's virtual surround spatial audio feature for video watching. While they're heavy, they manage to be surprisingly comfortable, though I did have to adjust the mesh canopy headband to sit a little more forward on my head to get a comfortable secure fit when I was out walking with them. They should fit most heads well, but there will be exceptions.

Read our Apple AirPods Max review.

 

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Battery Life

NA

Noise Canceling

No

Multipoint

No

Headphone Type

Over-ear wired headphones (listed as on-ear)

Water-Resistant

No IP rating

Grado has upgraded its entry-level line of Prestige Series wired headphones for 2021. Hand-built, the line includes the SR60x, SR80x, SR125x, SR225x and SR325x, and they're all very good at their various prices. Arguably, however, the $225 SR225x hits the sweet spot if you're looking for open-back audiophile-grade headphones that won't cost you an arm and a leg.

This updated model features a more durable eight-conductor cable infused with "super annealed" copper for "improved purity of the audio signal," a more comfortable headband design and updated fourth-generation 44mm drivers that further cut down on distortion and are also more energy-efficient, making them easier to drive. I not only used them with an external headphone amplifier attached to my computer but with an iPhone using a Lightning-to-3.5mm adapter. They had plenty of volume when connected directly to the iPhone. 

Open-back headphones are supposed to produce more open sound and these do just that with powerful, controlled bass and natural, warm-sounding mids (where vocals live) along with excellent overall clarity. Stepping up to the SRS325x should give you a little bit more bass energy, but you're not looking at a big jump in sound quality. As with any open-back headphones, these do leak some sound, so people around you can hear what you're listening to.

These headphones have semisoft foam earpads that, when you first put them on, you wouldn't think are that comfortable over longer listening sessions. But they end up being more comfortable than you'd expect and the new headband design does help in that department. For entry-level audiophile-grade headphones that cost less than $250, it's hard to do better than the SR225x.

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V-Moda's M-200 are currently only one of three pairs of wired headphones on this list. Released in late 2019, these clean and detailed sounding over-ear headphones have excellent bass response, and the cushy ear cushion cups mean they're also comfortable to wear. Featuring 50mm drivers with neodymium magnets, CCAW voice coils and fine-tuning by Roland engineers -- yes, V-Moda is now owned by Roland -- the M‑200 is Hi‑Res Audio certified by the Japan Audio Society. Other V-Moda headphones tend to push the bass a little, but this set has the more neutral profile that you'd expect from studio monitor headphones. It comes with two cords, one of which has a built-in microphone for making calls. It would be nice if V-Moda offered Lightning or USB-C cables for phones without headphone jacks.

Note that in 2021, V-Moda released the M-200 ANC ($500), a wireless version of these headphones that includes active noise canceling. They also sound great but their noise canceling, call quality and overall feature set don't match those of the AirPods Max.

$250 at Amazon
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