Best headphones on Amazon Buying Guide: Welcome to What Hi-Fi?'s round-up of the best headphones you can buy on Amazon in 2021.
There's no doubt that Amazon is a fantastic place to shop when it comes to audio products such as headphones. No matter what kind you're looking to get your hands on, there's very little you can't find in its inventory.
The only problem is, there are a lot of headphones to choose from, and sometimes it's hard to sort the wheat from the chaff.
Thankfully, some of our best-rated headphones are available directly from the online retailer, and if you're a Prime member, most of them can be ordered today and be on, in or over your ears tomorrow... and at a competitive price to boot.
If you've been thinking of picking up a new pair of headphones, be it wired, wireless, in-ear or over-ear, read on for some of our favourites that you can pick up on Amazon.
And if it's new headphones you're after, you're in for quite a winter. Apple is expected to drop the AirPods Pro 2 soon, as well as the AirPods 3, which should have a more sporty focus. Look out for them both on Amazon soon.
Check out the best headphones: all styles, all budgets
The 2021 What Hi-Fi Award-winning Sony WH-1000XM4 headphones have it all: a lightweight design, comfort, the convenience of Bluetooth and arguably the best noise-cancelling currently on the market. Oh, and they sound fantastic too. It's no wonder we think they're the best headphones on Amazon right now.
They replace the WH-1000XM3 (which are also on Amazon, now at a bargain price), which were fantastic headphones in their own right. But the XM4 take performance to a whole new level. They sound more detailed, more open, and clearer in their delivery. Low frequencies hit with even greater precision.
They’re super-comfortable too and offer useful new features such as Speak to Chat which allows you to hold a conversation without removing or touching the headphones. A premium pair of headphones, no doubt, but worth every penny.
Read the full Sony WH-1000XM4 review
Another Sony, another 2021 What Hi-Fi? Award winner. With the new WF-1000XM4, Sony's managed to build on the huge success of the WF-1000XM3 (below) and produce a sensational pair of wireless 'buds.
There's dynamics and detail in spades and it's a balanced performance, with taut, precise bass notes and refined, sophisticated vocals. You can't help but be carried away by their sense of musicality.
Those who prioritise battery life in their AirPods alternatives should find the eight hours promised by the Sonys more than sufficient. The wireless charging case also extends this by a further 16 hours.
The Sonys are comfortable to wear too, with touch-sensitive controls and ear tips that provide excellent noise isolation. Combine this with brilliant noise cancelling courtesy of Sony's Integrated Processor V1 and the WF-1000XM4 are difficult to fault.
IPX4 water resistance is included, as are clever features such as Quick Attention and Speak-To-Chat which both allow you to have a conversation without removing the earbuds. If you're looking for some of the best headphones on Amazon, and want a true wireless pair, the WF-1000XM4 should be top of your list.
Read the full Sony WF-1000XM4 review
Panasonic doesn't spring to mind when you think of the best headphones on Amazon. But perhaps it should. The 2021 What Hi-Fi? Award-winning RZ-S500W are the company's first foray into wireless noise-cancelling 'buds and they're sensational performers, especially at this price.
Specs are thorough, with noise-cancelling tech, an Ambient Mode, twin mics for voice calls, and battery life that totals 19.5 hours (6.5hrs from the buds and 13hrs from the charging case). A 15-minute USB-C quick-charge can deliver 70 minutes of playback. The touch controls on each bud are responsive and intuitive, allowing you to control your music and switch between noise-cancelling modes with zero fuss.
You also get five sizes of ear tips to help with fit. We found this a little hit and miss, so we'd definitely experiment and consider mixing the sizes if it means getting a more secure fit.
Both noise cancelling and sound quality are excellent. There's plenty of agility through the low end and loads of texture across frequencies. Music sounds clear and there's a great deal of refinement on show, which is to be welcomed at this price level. To sum up, these Panasonic earbuds are superb for the money.
Read the full Panasonic RZ-S500W review
Shure has plenty of experience with wired in-ear headphones, and it shines through in the 2021 What Hi-Fi? Award-winning Aonic 3. They're comfy and lightweight for starters. The headphone cable hooks over the top of your ears and keeps them secure at all times – there is a slight knack to getting the swivelling buds in place, though.
Nine different eartip choices allow for excellent isolation, while an in-line remote and mic can control your tunes and answer calls.
And they absolutely nail sound quality. They're dynamic, detailed and their sense of rhythm and timing needs to be heard. We can't think of any pair of in-ear headphones at this price that comes close.
Read the full Shure Aonic 3 review
The 2021 What Hi-Fi Award-winning Y400 are a little smaller than the previous model (the splendid Y500), with smaller drivers and they come with a cable complete with in-line controls and mic, for when you don't want to run down the battery with a wireless connection.
They're colourful, too, coming in shimmery pink, green, blue and goldish-yellow finishes.
There's no noise cancelling, but we wouldn't expect it at this price. There is Ambient Aware mode, however, which lets in outside noise like dogs barking and car engines. Handy if you want to avoid being bitten/run over. They automatically detect when you take them off and pause the music, too, saving you precious battery life.
The sound has much to like, being spacious and three-dimensional. There’s impeccable timing throughout and the headphones deliver bass weight and power in spades. It's zealous to the point that some might prefer a slightly leaner listen, but in our eyes (and at this level) the Y400 get the balance just about right.
Read the full AKG Y400 review
The CX 400BT are more sonically gifted than most at this price. They're not water- or sweat-resistant but they do boast Bluetooth 5.1 support and a mobile app, neither of which is a given at this level. The former promises high-quality, far-reaching Bluetooth transmission, while the latter opens doors to EQ adjustment and control customisation.
The controls are simple for voice calls, too. Just tap the right earbud once to activate your phone’s voice assistant or accept incoming calls, twice to jump forward a track or rejects calls, or hold it down to increase volume. Battery life is seven hours, which is decent but can be bettered in this company.
Sound quality is where the Sennheisers excel, though. They produce a detailed and lively sound with bags of energy and enthusiasm. For the money, it's hugely appealing – earbuds of this standard aren't to be sniffed at.
Read the full Sennheiser CX 400BT review
The Melomania 1 were already some of the best wireless 'buds that you could buy, so the 1 Plus have big shoes to fill. But we're glad to say that they do so admirably.
What's new? The 1 Plus come with additional app support, customisable EQ settings and the British audio firm's innovative High-Performance Audio Mode. There’s a new colourway, too – gone is the ‘stone’ grey hue we lovingly dubbed ‘NHS Grey’.
Again, the real selling point is battery life. Like their predecessors, the 1 Plus last nine hours from the earbuds, plus an additional four charges from the carry case. That gives a staggering 45 hours of total run time. Though it's worth mentioning they're not a noise-cancelling model, which explains the marathon battery life (noise cancelling is a real battery drain).
They perform well for voice calls, and the musical performance is impactful and expansive. Whether you're using them for tunes or calls, you won't be disappointed.
Read the full Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 Plus review
JBL is a heavy hitter when it comes to true wireless sports headphones – and with the Under Armour Flash as its predecessor, the JBL Reflect Flow is a hotly anticipated entrant to the flourishing, albeit rather niche, true-wireless-for-sports market.
In their niche category, though, the JBL Reflect Flow headphones are very good indeed, especially if you want a bass-heavy sound for the gym without resorting to massive cans (which, if you're moving a lot, many people won't want).
Battery life is impressive too, standing at 10 hours (or 30 with the case). That will last even the most hardcore of training sessions. The case is a bit bulky, however, so you won't be taking that with you on a run. The finish also started to rub off after only a few days of testing, which isn't ideal.
But sound-wise, they're crisp with plenty of detail, and they time very well indeed. Bass is suitably cavernous, while the instruments sound distinct no matter how complex tracks become. Impressive.
Read the full JBL Reflect Flow review
If you want a pair of wireless noise-cancellers, but prefer an on-ear fit, the AKG N60NC Wireless are one of the most compact and convenient pairs we’ve tested – and at a great price too.
Offering 15 hours of wireless ANC playback, they offer a comfortable fit for long listening sessions, alongside noise cancelling that can match the wired version. Performance doesn’t leave us wanting, with a wide, open and transparent sound that delivers detail and precision in spades.
They balance bass against midrange and treble nicely, but are still fun to listen to, and can give a good punch of volume when the need arises.
Read the full AKG N60NC Wireless review
Bose's first-ever pair of noise-cancelling true wireless earbuds are a huge success. They feel lightweight enough for the average commute or exercise session (the QuietComfort are both sweat and weather-resistant) and they're great to live with. Battery life is a claimed six hours from a single charge, with the charging case supplying an extra two charges, making 18 hours in total – a decent reserve, but by no means class-leading. You can customise some features and controls, and adjust the excellent noise cancellation, in Bose's handy companion app.
The sense of enthusiasm and excitement conveyed by the Bose buds is highly infectious. There’s power, poise and a fantastic sense of dynamism. Bass notes sound full-bodied, go deep and the QuietComfort Earbuds squeeze out lots of detail.
All in all, the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds are sensational all-rounders, capable of impressive musicality and topped off with excellent noise cancelling. These wireless wonders are more than a match for any rival at this level, and some of the best headphones on Amazon.
Read the full Bose QuietComfort Earbuds review
The one-two punch of Qualcomm's AptX HD Bluetooth technology and B&W's largest PX series drivers makes these headphones an absolute knock-out. That means low latency wireless transmission at hi-res quality of up to 24-bit/48kHz levels, so long as you've the source material to back that up.
The results include the solid, detailed and tonally balanced sound we'd expect from PX headphones and that brilliant rhythmic precision. But the PX7 bring more than just that. They explore new heights of dynamic expression and a sense of pure entertainment. This is a clearer, more detailed sound than their predecessors', uncovering hitherto hidden levels of insight and expanding the soundstage significantly.
The PX7 might look and feel a little cheaper than the original PX, but we’d take them for their extra comfort and more advanced feature set. Ultimately, they’re still one of the more striking pairs of headphones on the market. And that sound – bellissimo.
Read the full Bowers & Wilkins PX7 review
This Pro variant takes the standard – and excellent – Earfun Air and adds active noise cancelling (ANC), more mics and larger drivers. That all adds up to a better sonic performance as well as clearer voice calls – very handy if you're out and about in noisy environments.
And considering the spec sheet, the price remains jaw-droppingly low – a staple of Earfun's approach, and making them some of the best headphones on Amazon at this price.
They pair easily, and they're comfortable enough for even the longest of conference calls. The controls are a doddle to use, too. Two taps on the right bud pauses or resumes playback; three skips to the next track. Double tapping the left earpiece accesses Siri on your iPhone and also answers or ends a call. The crucial function you’ll want to practise is a triple-tap of that left earpiece, as this scrolls between the Earfun’s noise-cancelling, ‘normal’ and ‘ambient sound’ modes.
They're built to survive a downpour, too. All in all, it’s a lot of tech and durability for not a lot of money.
Read the full Earfun Air Pro review
Don’t want to spend an arm and a leg on some well-specified, wireless 'buds with active noise cancellation? But still want to get worthwhile listening out of your Deezer or Tidal subscription and have access to Sony's 360 Reality Audio spatial audio format? This could be the pair for you.
They’re never less than a snug and secure fit, and that could make them ideal for fitness fanatics. It can also make them quite the earful for long wears but it never feels like too much of a burden.
For sound, these Sonys are never less than crisp and an undeniably assertive and insightful listen. Through the midrange, they load vocals with information – and bring an engaging quality to music. Dynamics are well-honed at both the large and small scale and everything comes across with an enjoyable rhythmic energy. Natural, convincing and convenient to the last, these are some very crowd-pleasing headphones.
Read the full Sony WF-SP800N review
Amazon is full of budget Bluetooth headphones, but the Lindy BNX-60 stand out from the crowd for a number of reasons.
They aren’t the prettiest headphones going, but they are lightweight and comfortable, with on-ear controls for power, track control and volume, and around 15 hours of playback from a full charge.
At this price, you might worry about a bright treble or wallowing bass, but the Lindy BNX-60 actually produce a balanced sound that’s easy to listen to. They do a decent job with timing too, and vocals are expressive – though they could be a touch cleaner.
The most discerning audiophiles might do better looking elsewhere, but for this money, the functionality and performance is hard to fault.
Read the full Lindy BNX-60 review
The unexpectedly huge price of the Apple AirPods Max makes them considerably dearer than the great majority of premium wireless noise-cancellers. But they really do justify that extra outlay – so much so, we gave them a 2021 What Hi-Fi? Award.
You need an iPhone or iPad to get the most out of them. They will work with non-Apple products using standard Bluetooth 5.0, but you’ll miss out on many of their unique features.
Assuming you are a keen Apple user, the AirPods Max are some of the best headphones on Amazon – and not by a small margin. Their authenticity, detail, crispness and spaciousness elevate them so far above the previous best noise-cancellers that the comparison starts to become a little redundant and you instead begin to consider them alongside proper hi-fi products.
They also play nice with Apple Music's new Spatial Audio feature, though they can't play tracks in the streaming service's highest quality.
There’s no denying that they cost a lot more than typical products in this class but, if sound quality is king, there’s equally no denying that they’re worth it.
Read the full Apple AirPods Max review
Comfortable, great-sounding, splashproof and weather-resistant for sweaty outdoor workouts... these wireless earbuds have it all. They're more versatile than most thanks to their wing tips to keep them in your ears, meaning you can head for a run and not worry about them falling out.
Sound is superb, full of punchy, powerful bass that should get you running that bit faster. They're reliable too, with no issues with the wireless signal and easy-to-use controls. The neckband cable incorporates a remote housing part-way down, but the power pack appears to live in the earpieces, which may explain the modest six-hour battery life.
On the upside, they're IPX4 rated, meaning they can’t be submerged in water but will handle sweat and splashes better than normal earphones. The addition of NFC tech means they're particularly easy to pair with Android devices.
If the rather average battery life isn't a deal-breaker, you'll like these buds – they're comfortable, sound great and are enjoyable to use.
Read the full Bose SoundSport Wireless review
When it comes to Beyerdynamic’s Amiron headphones, one word springs to mind: comfort. (OK, and award-winning too, seeing as they won a 2021 What Hi-Fi Award.) The earcups and headband are made of alcantara microfibres (which have a texture similar to suede) and microvelour, which is as luxurious as it sounds. The result is a pair of headphones you can wear for hours on end. And despite their bulk, they don't feel heavy at all, which is quite amazing.
But they're not just comfortable. They sound fantastic too.
What's most impressive is the way they take the whole frequency range in their stride. We like their clear midrange vocals, their tight timing, and the way that they can handle challengingly messy songs without breaking a sweat.
On the whole, the ability of the Amiron will keep you happy no matter what they’re playing. But be warned: they're open-backed, and hence leak sound like a sieve, so the usual disclaimer about not listening on public transport applies.
Read the full Beyerdynamic Amiron review
Bose’s truly wireless buds might be on the chunky side, but their performance makes a little extra bulk seem worth it.
Expect a bold-but-balanced presentation, with a rich, expansive bass and clean, expressive vocals. Up top, the treble is crisp but slightly rolled off, which means there’s no harshness to knock the balance.
You’ll get five hours of playback, with an extra 10 hours of power from the charging case, and if you ever misplace one of the buds, the Find My Buds feature – which shows their location on your phone – is inspired.
The larger design means the fit won’t be for everyone, but if they work for you, you won’t find much else lacking.
Read the full Bose SoundSport Free review
Bowers & Wilkins doesn't just make great loudspeakers – it's managed to make a fine fist of the headphone market too. Wireless 'buds with a neckband design is a new form factor for B&W, but the PI3 really do deliver on all fronts.
Battery life is a solid eight hours and though they aren't IPX-rated, B&W claims they are "resistant to light rain, splash and sweat". We'd like a few extra ear tips in the box to sort the fit, so just give them a thorough audition out of the box.
The B&Ws produce a lively, balanced sound and they can handle a wide variety of musical genres. Battery life is a very respectable eight hours and a 15-minute quick-charge secures two hours of playback. The in-line controls are nice to use with decent-sized buttons including a large textured button for the main play/pause and skip track function.
There is a bit of cable noise to contend with, but that's not uncommon for products of this type and shouldn't be a deal-breaker. If you're after entertaining sound for the gym or your daily commute, the PI3 deliver.
Read the full B&W PI3 review
The 10-year-old, original T1 are something of a touchstone for us as far as premium headphones go. The main change between this third-generation model and its predecessor is that the new pair is easier to drive for laptops and mobile devices. The old model had a 600ohm impedance, while this new one takes that down to 32ohms.
The result is a sound that's very similar to the originals but cleaner and clearer. They're slightly less bright and a little more rounded in the treble too, making them a bit more forgiving of aggressive electronics and recordings. There's that same delivery of music with a palpable sense of power and authority, and vocals come through with nuance and clarity.
They’re comfortable enough for long listening sessions thanks to a nicely shaped, partially Alcantara-covered headband and generous velour-trimmed earpads.
These aren’t the kind of headphones that impress on a short listen. However, given a few days or even weeks, it’s hard not to fall under their spell. We certainly have, for 10 years and counting.
Read the full Beyerdynamic T1 (3rd Generation) review
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