Do yourself a favour - if you've just bought a new smartphone or tablet, ditch the free-in-the-box buds and upgrade to a decent pair – you'll be amazed at the difference they make. And if you need a serious set of cans for home hi-fi listening, we've got a broad selection of Best Buys to choose from.

Headphones have become something of a fashion statement in recent years, but they serve a more serious purpose: making the most of your music, whether that's via your smartphone when you're out and about, or at home through your hi-fi for when you want to indulge in some serious listening.

There's a bewildering choice of models on the market, so we've slimmed that down to our pick of the best at various prices and for various uses. Whether you want a pair of budget in-ears, or seriously high-end home hi-fi headphones, here are the models we've rated as the best.

E10
SoundMagic E10
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Best in-ears up to £40, Awards 2013. A genuine no-compromise proposition for the money.

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DTX 101 iE
Beyerdynamic DTX 101 iE
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Best in-ears £40-£80, Awards 2013. Vocals sound particularly sweet through these smart Beyerdynamics.

MMX 101iE
Beyerdynamic MMX 101iE
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Best in-ears £80-£150, Awards 2013. Superior sounding buds for your portable or smartphone.

SE425
Shure SE425
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Best in-ears £150-£300, Awards 2013. Could do with a bit more bass, but they really are the finest in-ears we’ve ever heard at this price

IE 800
Sennheiser IE 800
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Best in-ears £300+, Awards 2013. The IE 800s shine a light on Sennheiser’s entire operation. As headphones for your portable device, though, they’re probably overkill.

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K451
AKG K451
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Product of the Year, Awards 2013. Now even better value and the perfect upgrade for your smartphone or tablet.

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Fidelio M1
Philips Fidelio M1
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Best portable on-ears £100-£200, Awards 2013. Never tiring, always pleasant, these are great cans.

Momentum
Sennheiser Momentum
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Best portable on-ears £200-£300, Awards 2013. Great looks, great sound, great headphones.

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P7
B&W P7
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Best portable on-ears £300+, Awards 2013. An ambitious pair of headphones for B&W, but that ambition pays off in spades.

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SR80i
Grado SR80i
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Best home on-ears up to £150, Awards 2013. Whatever you play, these Grados will make it sound superb.

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K550
AKG K550
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Best home on-ears £150+, Awards 2013. Rousingly musical headphones with no obvious deficiencies.

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QuietComfort 15
Bose QuietComfort 15
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Best noise-cancelling headphones, Awards 2013. Commuting doesn't need to be hell with these effective noise-cancelling headphones.M

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M1BT
Philips M1BT
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Best wireless headphones, Awards 2013. The Philips cost a bit, but it’s a small price to pay for superb sound and Bluetooth functionality.