Consumer Reports rates headphones and earbuds to find the best for your buck

Consumer Reports just released its list of the best headphones and earbuds for working out, traveling, and more. There's even a $50 budget pick!
Published: Sep. 20, 2023 at 8:47 AM MST
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(3TV/CBS 5/CONSUMER REPORTS) — It seems like everywhere you go, people are wearing headphones — whether it’s the gym, the airport or even the grocery store. But with so many different types and styles, how do you choose the right pair for you without breaking the bank?

Consumer Reports has trained listeners who listen to hundreds of models, and we compare them to references. They judge the sound quality and the noise-canceling performance.

CR also looks at the fit and how the headphones are used. The good news — there are great picks at every price point, like the Sennheiser SPORT True Wireless, which has very good sound quality and scored excellent for predicted reliability and owner satisfaction.

And if you’re someone who really is critical about the quality of the sound, then you’ll want headphones that give you the finest detail. And those are the models at the top of the ratings that produce excellent sound quality. Like the Grado SR80x. If you’re someone who likes to travel a bit and commute, consider a noise-canceling model like the Soundcore Life Q20. It has great sound quality and outstanding noise cancellation.

CR’s labs are seeing more models with excellent noise-canceling performance than ever before. So don’t be surprised if your next pair of noise-canceling headphones are even better at canceling noise. And CR recommends trying headphones out before buying them. If not, make sure you check the return policy before buying them.