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Best Sennheiser headphones: brilliant pairs for every budget

You probably already know this, but Sennheiser is a brand with a lot of prestige. Founded in 1945, it began as a manufacturer of microphones before soon expanding into other areas of audio. It claims to be the first company to have made an open-backed pair of headphones.

Today, it makes (a lot of) headphones to suit all styles and budgets – and (a lot of) very good-sounding ones at that. So good, in fact, that many pairs feature in our very best headphones for all budgets list.

Whether you're after sporty earbuds for running and the gym, a premium pair for travelling, or a high-end pair of headphones for home listening, you'll find something here to satisfy you.

So, without further ado...

Best Sennheiser headphones 2020

1. Sennheiser Momentum M2 IEi

A superb pair of in-ears for the money.

SPECIFICATIONS

Type: In-ear | Wireless: No | In-line mic/remote: Yes | 3.5mm connector: Yes | Weight: 16g

Reasons to Buy

Comfortable fit
Attractive design
Clear, detailed sound

Reasons to Avoid

Nothing of note

There are actually two variants of the Momentum in-ears: the M2 IEis have the relevant in-line mic and controls for Apple phones, while the IEGs work with Android handsets. But they both share the same excellent sound quality - it's smooth and balanced, with plenty of drive and a good sense of musicality. A fine option and among the best earbuds costing less than a ton.

Read the full review: Sennheiser Momentum M2 IEi

Best Sennheiser headphones 2020

2. Sennheiser CX 5.00i

A brilliant in-ear upgrade for those on a tight budget.

SPECIFICATIONS

Type: In-ear | Wireless: No | In-line mic/remote: Yes | 3.5mm connector: Yes | Weight: 16g

Reasons to Buy

Smart design
Wide, rich sound
Affordable

Reasons to Avoid

Cable could be tougher

If you're looking for another cheap and cheerful headphone upgrade, these could be for you. They cost only £50, look pretty stylish, and sound superb for the money. They have a rich, luxurious tone that makes music seem full but never clogged up. Bass is satisfying too. Easily one of the best budget pairs that Sennheiser makes.

Read the full review: Sennheiser CX 5.00i

Best Sennheiser headphones 2020

(Image credit: Sennheiser)

3. Sennheiser Momentum Wireless

Superb noise-cancellers that enhance Sennheiser’s reputation

SPECIFICATIONS

Bluetooth: Yes | Noise-cancelling: Yes | Battery life: 17hr | Charging: USB-C | Built-in mic and controls: Yes

Reasons to Buy

Energetic, rhythmic presentation
Convenient usability features
Effective noise cancellation

Reasons to Avoid

Uncompetitive battery life

After a pair of wireless noise-cancellers instead? This brand-new pair from Sennheiser is an extraordinary effort by the company's engineering team.

Sennheiser doesn’t need any ‘third time lucky’ well wishes for its third-generation Momentum Wirelesses – both the originals and second version were instant knockouts when they arrived. These have been much improved over their predecessors in the sound department, promising an energetic, timely and hugely insightful listen you've no choice but to be entertained by.

That sonic success is backed by enhanced usability features too, although be aware that battery life is only 17 hours – short of class-leading durability.

Read the full review: Sennheiser Momentum Wireless

Best Sennheiser headphones 2020

4. Sennheiser Momentum Free

Another hit for Sennheiser's Momentum range with added Bluetooth.

SPECIFICATIONS

Type: In-ear | Wireless: Yes | In-line mic/remote: Yes | 3.5mm connector: No | Weight: 40g

Reasons to Buy

Impressive clarity
Powerful, musical performance
Excellent dynamics

Reasons to Avoid

Call quality could be better
Slightly harsh top end

An unfussy, simple design is the order of the day here, with a short cable connecting the (otherwise) wireless earbuds to each other. Sound is bursting with weight and purpose, with an impressive level of detail and clarity for the money; every instrument and note is clearly defined. If you want wireless convenience with excellent sound quality, these should be on your shortlist.

Read the full review: Sennheiser Momentum Free

Best Sennheiser headphones 2020

5. Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 On-Ear Wireless

An entertaining pair of premium noise-cancelling headphones.

SPECIFICATIONS

Type: Over-ear | Wireless: Yes | In-line mic/remote: No | 3.5mm connector: Yes | Weight: 265g

Reasons to Buy

Design
Great dynamics
Good noise cancellation

Reasons to Avoid

A little pricey

Now that the new Momentum Wirelesses have arrived, their 2015 predecessors here can be picked up with a juicy discount.

Despite their maturity in the market, these over-ear wireless noise cancellers still have plenty going for them. They look fantastic with their leather ear cups, are comfortable enough to wear for hours and they fold down for great portability.

The noise cancelling is effective, and the sound quality is beautifully rich and full bodied with a level of composure and refinement that can be lacking from some rivals. These are an endlessly listenable and hugely likeable pair of headphones.

Read the full review: Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 Wireless

Best Sennheiser headphones 2020

6. Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 Over-ear

A stylish and sonically gifted pair of over-ear headphones.

SPECIFICATIONS

Type: Over-ear | Wireless: No | In-line mic/remote: Yes | 3.5mm connector: Yes | Weight: 767g

Reasons to Buy

Gorgeous folding design
Comfy fit
Detailed, full-bodied sound

Reasons to Avoid

No Bluetooth or noise-cancelling

These headphones are foldable and easy to store, without compromising their plush leather design. The sound has bags of detail and insight, with a fantastic level of confidence and precision. The bass is impressively weighty, too, while the timing is spot on. The only thing to note is there's no Bluetooth or noise-cancelling, but if you don't need these features you'll be richly rewarded.

Read the full review: Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 Over-ear

(Image credit: Sennheiser)

7. Sennheiser HD 450BT

Smooth, durable performers with typical Sennheiser appeal.

SPECIFICATIONS

Type: Over-ear | Wireless: Yes | Noise-cancelling: Yes | Battery life: 30 hours | Weight: 238g

Reasons to Buy

Smooth, easy-listening balance
Excellent battery life
aptX Low Latency Bluetooth

Reasons to Avoid

Busy button layout
Bass emphasis won’t suit all

While they may lack the outright transparency and simplicity of the very best noise-cancelling pairs out there, there really is plenty to like in the HD 450BTs – not least in the way of top-notch features, such as excellent, 30-hour battery life and aptX Low Latency support, which are far from given in headphones of this price. 

If battery and bass are up there on your list of priorities, you won’t regret making these Sennheisers yours.

Read the full review: Sennheiser HD 450BT review

Best Sennheiser headphones 2020

8. Sennheiser HD 820

Serious closed-back headphones for serious home hi-fi systems.

SPECIFICATIONS

Type: Over-ear | Wireless: No | In-line mic/remote: No | 3.5mm connector: No | Weight: 360g

Reasons to Buy

Robust, full-bodied, detailed sound
Powerful, agile base
Cleverly engineered

Reasons to Avoid

Pricey
Design limits performance

Costing £2000, these are very much high-end headphones for proper home hi-fi systems. They're closed-backed, and use Corning Gorilla Glass which is usually found in high-end smartphones.

The tonal balance is smooth and full-bodied, while they're sure-footed rhythmically. If your system demands premium headphones and you can stretch to the HD 820s you won’t be disappointed. They’re comfortable and  engineered to last.

Read the full review: Sennheiser HD 820

Best Sennheiser headphones 2020

9. Sennheiser HD 201

These budget over-ears are surprisingly good value for money.

SPECIFICATIONS

Type: Over-ear | Wireless: No | In-line mic/remote: No | 3.5mm connector: Yes | Weight: 163g

Reasons to Buy

Detailed
Balanced
Tough

Reasons to Avoid

Need greater dynamism

If you thought over-ear headphones had to cost the earth, check out the HD 201s. They're a cheap, no-frills pair, about as basic as they come but surprisingly good given the price. You have to make do without any bells and whistles like noise cancelling or an in-line remote, but sound quality is decent, with highlights being insight and balance.

They paint a clear sonic picture, while the top end is never harsh. If you’re after headphones that don't cost the earth and make you drum along on your desk, these will do nicely.

Read the full review: Sennheiser HD 201

Best Sennheiser headphones 2020

10. Sennheiser PXC 550 Wireless

A very talented pair of wireless noise-cancelling headphones.

SPECIFICATIONS

Type: Over-ear | Wireless: Yes | In-line mic/remote: Yes | 3.5mm connector: Yes | Weight: 227g

Reasons to Buy

Clear sound
Excellent timing
Impressive dynamics

Reasons to Avoid

Bass might be too rich for some
Plenty of competition

If you fly a lot and want a pair of wireless noise-cancellers, these should be on your shortlist alongside those made by Sony and Bose. They're discreet enough for the discerning business traveller (who they're aimed at), and comfortable enough for all but the longest of long-haul flights.

Two levels of noise-cancellation keeps you isolated and they fold down to fit in a carry case. Sound is clear, they're rhythmically sure-footed and they stay just the right side of overstated. A must for the business traveller.

Read the full review: Sennheiser PXC 550 Wireless

Best Sennheiser headphones 2020

11. Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless

Sennheiser’s first pair of truly wireless in-ears are a successful marriage of form and function.

SPECIFICATIONS

Type: In-ear | Wireless: Yes | In-line mic/remote: No | 3.5mm connector: No | Weight: 13.2g

Reasons to Buy

Impressive features
Good battery life
Balanced sound

Reasons to Avoid

Erratic touch controls
Not as musical as rivals

While the earbuds of some 'wireless' headphones are connected to each other with a cable, these are truly wireless, as the name suggests. The carry case doubles as a docking station used to charge the buds (total battery life is 12 hours), and they allow you to listen in to your environment at the touch of a button.

There's plenty of balance and poise in the sound department, with a good sense of spaciousness and clear, distinct layers of detail. An impressive debut in this growing category of headphones.

Read the full review: Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless

Best Sennheiser headphones 2020

12. Sennheiser CX Sport

Talented in-ear headphones with a sporty twist.

SPECIFICATIONS

Type: In-ear | Wireless: Yes | In-line mic/remote: Yes | 3.5mm connector: No | Weight: 15g

Reasons to Buy

Clear and detailed sound
Punchy, powerful delivery
Full-bodied bass

Reasons to Avoid

Rivals more rythmically adept

Sporty types, these are for you, as indicated by that splash of neon. But there's much more to these than just an eye-catching colour scheme: they're wireless, so you won't get tangled while working out, and they're splash- and sweat-resistant, so should last a while. The sound is clear, with expressive mids and bass powerful enough to get you pounding the treadmill. A solid and appealing pair of sports headphones.

Read the full review: Sennheiser CX Sport

Best Sennheiser headphones 2020

13. Sennheiser Momentum In-Ear Wireless

No wires, but excellent sound quality.

SPECIFICATIONS

Type: In-ear | Wireless: Yes | In-line mic/remote: No | 3.5mm connector: No | Weight: 313g

The neckband design won't be for everyone, but if you can get on with it there's a lot to like about these headphones. Wireless connectivity, for starters. And less chance of losing an earbud. There's a decent sense of space and openness, and sound is packed with detail. They're dynamically strong too, with the Sennheisers scaling highs and lows with ease. You're treated to an inviting presentation, with the expressive mids a particular highlight.

Read the full review: Sennheiser Momentum In-Ear Wireless

Best Sennheiser headphones 2020

14. Sennheiser HD 2.30

No funky stand-out looks here, just a solid Sennheiser sound.

SPECIFICATIONS

Type: On-ear | Wireless: No | In-line mic/remote: Yes | 3.5mm connector: Yes | Weight: 262g

Reasons to Buy

Chunky sound
Minimalist look

Reasons to Avoid

Boxy mids
Slightly limited bass depth
Could be comfier

These aren't the most stylish on-ears around, but then at this price they're not trying to be. They do have appeal in the sound department, however – it's a chunky, relatively smooth sound that works well across a wide range of genres and recordings. An attractive price is the icing on the cake.

Read the full review: Sennheiser HD 2.30