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Best Sennheiser headphones: brilliant headphones for every style and budget

Sennheiser is a brand with an impressive heritage. Founded in 1945, it began as a manufacturer of microphones before soon expanding into other areas of audio. It can comfortably claim to make some of the best headphones, so it's well worth looking out for a Sennheiser deal.

How to choose the best Sennheiser headphones for you

The company offers headphones to suit all styles and budgets – and (a lot of) very good-sounding ones at that. So good, in fact, that we've lost count of how many What Hi-Fi? Awards the brand has acquired over the years.

So, whether you're after sporty earbuds for running and the gym, a premium pair for travelling, or some of the best noise-cancelling headphones for home listening, you'll find something to satisfy you below. 

There are are plenty of wireless options but if do you opt for a pair with Bluetooth and noise-cancelling, be sure to check the battery life rating. It's also worth remembering that high-end wired Sennheiser headphones may benefit from a dedicated headphone amplifier. These are all things to consider when making your choice.

And now the fun bit: selecting the best Sennheiser headphones you can buy in 2022...

Best Sennheiser headphones: Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3

(Image credit: Sennheiser)
Sennheiser's latest premium wireless earbuds are its greatest yet.

Specifications

Bluetooth: aptX Adaptive, aptX, AAC, SBC
Noise-cancelling: Yes
Battery life: 7hrs (28hrs with charging case)
Charging: USB-C
Built-in mic and controls: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Spacious, refined and insightful sound
+
aptX Adaptive Bluetooth support
+
Nicely priced

Reasons to avoid

-
Earpieces slightly cheaper looking
-
Pick up wind noise

Sennheiser's Momentum True Wireless earbuds have performed consistently well in recent years and this third generation model is the company's finest yet.

Comfort is good, build quality is typically impressive and performance is spacious, refined and clear. The spec sheet boasts top-notch battery life (28 hours), Bluetooth codec support (aptX Adaptive) and superb noise-cancelling technology. 

Sennheiser's app allows users to create ‘Sound Zones’ that let them select desired EQ and noise isolation levels when you enter or leave a specific radius. So, for example, you can have the buds automatically crank up the bass when you enter the gym.

Building on an already winning recipe with an improved feature set, decent step up in performance and sensible price tag, the Momentum True Wireless 3 are the best Sennheiser headphones you can buy right now.

Read the full Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 review

Best Sennheiser headphones: Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless

(Image credit: Future)
Highly competitive sound but we'd like a touch more luxury.

Specifications

Cable length: 1.2m
Bluetooth: Yes
Noise-cancelling: Yes
Battery life: 60hr
Charging: USB-C
Built-in mic and controls: Yes
Weight: 293g

Reasons to buy

+
Clean, neutral, musical sound
+
60-hour battery life
+
Effective ANC
+
Wired listening doesn’t require battery List

Reasons to avoid

-
Drops predecessors’ classy aesthetic
-
Earcups don’t fold inwards

For almost a decade, we have been able to associate Sennheiser’s Momentum wireless headphones range with classy leather headbands, pearlescent or matte-finishes and distinct metal sliders. The new Momentum 4 drop that design language in favour of a more modern look that is a little... 'safe'.

Still, if you're happy with synthetic leather earpads (they contribute to improved sonics, apparently) the Momentum 4 are fantastic buy. The staggering 60 hour battery life is truly class-leading (the Sony WH-100XM5 only offer 30 hours) and you get support for aptX Adaptive, one of the highest-quality Bluetooth codecs around.

Sound is clear, direct and neutral. The Momentum 4 might have shed a little of the richness that made their predecessors so appealing, but highs are well-honed and mids are pleasingly plump. You can even create ‘Sound Zones’ – essentially profiles characterised by specific EQ and noise isolation levels.

When you consider the outstanding battery life, detailed sound and competitive price, the latest Momentum over-ears have a lot going for them.

Best Sennheiser headphones: Sennheiser HD 250BT

(Image credit: Sennheiser)
Supremely affordable wireless headphones.

Specifications

Cable length: N/A
Bluetooth: Yes
Noise-cancelling: No
Battery life: 25 hours
Charging: USB-C
Built-in mic and controls: Controls only
Weight: 125g

Reasons to buy

+
Open, detailed presentation
+
In-app EQ optimisation
+
Rock-solid budget build

Reasons to avoid

-
Nothing at the level

The HD 250BT might not feature any luxury flourishes, but they're a good-sounding, durable and truly likeable set of budget on-ears.

That's not to say the spec is bare. Features include Bluetooth 5.0 with aptX Low Latency, a 25-hour battery life, app support and Sennheiser’s beloved-of-DJs transducer tech.

The build is a black plastic affair, but it is functional and solid and features the firm’s traditional S-in-a-rectangle white branding on each ear cup. Said ear cups are nicely padded, and although the headband is not.

When it comes to sound, the HD 250BT sound a good deal more musically detailed, agile and rhythmically gifted across the frequencies than one might expect given the eye-popping price tag.

All in all, the HD 250BT are a superb budget buy – and a great way to experience what Sennheiser is capable of, without breaking the bank.

Read the full Sennheiser HD 250BT review

Best Sennheiser headphones: Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2

(Image credit: Sennheiser)
A fine addition to the world of true wireless headphones.

Specifications

Cable length: N/A
OS support: Android/iOS
Bluetooth: Yes
Noise-cancelling: Yes
Battery life: 7 hours (28 hours with charging case)
Built-mic and controls: Yes
Weight: 6g per bud

Reasons to buy

+
Refined sound
+
Lightweight, comfortable
+
User friendly

Reasons to avoid

-
Pretty pricey
-
Bettered for timing

The Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2s bring a raft of improvements compared to their predecessors and one of the most refined sounds we've heard from a pair of wireless headphones.

The design looks much the same as the original, but there has been a slight aesthetic tweak. The earpieces are slightly slimmer, so they protrude less from your ears, and, more importantly, they're more comfortable to have in place for long listening sessions. One of the major changes is the introduction of noise-cancelling, which works extremely well and is pretty much on par with the Sony WF-1000XM3. They're nice to use too, with touch-sensitive pads on each earpiece which can be customised to control music playback and features.

Battery life is competitive, with a single charge giving seven hours of playback and the charging case providing an additional three charges, bringing the total battery life at your disposal to 28 hours.

It's all positive and we haven't even touched on the sound quality, which is extremely refined and sophisticated for the money. Highs and lows are composed and controlled but dynamics aren't sacrificed. The Sennheisers present a detailed soundstage with impressive scale and authority. They're a little pricier than other wireless in-ear headphones, but if your budget can stretch, your ears will be rewarded.

Read the full review: Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2

Best Sennheiser headphones: Sennheiser Momentum 3 Wireless

(Image credit: Sennheiser)
Superb noise-cancellers that enhance Sennheiser’s reputation

Specifications

Cable length: 3m
Bluetooth: Yes
Noise-cancelling: Yes
Battery life: 17hr
Charging: USB-C
Built-in mic and controls: Yes
Weight: 305g

Reasons to buy

+
Energetic, rhythmic presentation
+
Convenient usability features
+
Effective noise cancellation

Reasons to avoid

-
Uncompetitive battery life

Sure, the 17-hour battery life can be bettered, but with the Sennheiser Momentum 3 Wireless, that's where the gripes end. Their thick leather earpads make these headphones incredibly comfortable and even provide a good dose of noise isolation - handy if you don't have enough juice left to power the noise-cancelling feature. The on-cup controls and their collapsible design also make them easy to use and very convenient to take with you, too. And then there's the sound.

They're rich and gloriously full-bodied but still maintain clarity, particularly in the midrange. It gives them a superb tonal balance alongside their depth of bass, which will reward listeners of all stripes. 

Admittedly they've been superseded by the Momentum 4 (above), and you can get some great competitors for a bit less. But rhythmically speaking, these Sennheisers are cohesive and consistently dynamic too, making them a stunning buy.

Read the full review: Sennheiser Momentum 3 Wireless

Best Sennheiser headphones: Sennheiser IE 900

(Image credit: Sennheiser)
Sennheiser’s wired flagship earbuds set high standards.

Specifications

Cable length: 1.2m
Bluetooth: No
Noise-cancelling: No
Charging: N/A
Built-in mic and controls: No
Weight: 24g (with cable)

Reasons to buy

+
Detailed, articulate sound
+
Refined yet entertaining presentation
+
Clever engineering

Reasons to avoid

-
Cable transmits noise
-
No in-line remote

Sennheiser’s IE 900 in-ear headphones will appeal to purists who want to get the best audio possible from a high-quality source. The premium in-ears come with six ear tip options and three cables with a choice of normal 3.5mm and balanced 2.5mm and 4.4mm connectors. The only thing they don't have is an in-line remote.

Sennheiser's engineers have chosen to go with a single driver rather than the more fashionable multiple unit approach that many rivals take and it's made with rigidity and low resonance in mind. The results? Fantastic. The IE 900 sound clear, open, confident and insightful, revealing layers of detail and organising every track into a structured and cohesive whole.

Partner these high-end Sennheiser headphones with a high-quality outboard DAC, such as the Chord Mojo and use good quality files and you'll hear just why the IE 900 justify their punchy price tag.

Read the full Sennheiser IE 900 review

Best Sennheiser headphones: Sennheiser Momentum M2 IEi

A superb pair of in-ears for the money.

Specifications

Cable length: 1.4m
Bluetooth: No
Noise-cancelling: No
Battery life: N/A
Charging: N/A
Built-in mic and controls: 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 wireless earbuds costing less than a ton.

They may not be the newest earbuds around (they won our Product of the Year award way back in 2017), but they still remain up there in the competition – especially now they can be picked up for a lot less.

Read the full review: Sennheiser Momentum M2 IEi

Best Sennheiser headphones: Sennheiser HD 450BT

(Image credit: Sennheiser)
Smooth, durable performers with typical Sennheiser appeal.

Specifications

Cable length: N/A
Bluetooth: Yes
Noise-cancelling: Yes
Battery life: 30 hours
Charging: USB-C
Built-in mic and controls: Yes
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: Sennheiser HD 820

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

Specifications

Cable length: 3m
Bluetooth: No
Noise-cancelling: No
Battery life: N/A
Charging: N/A
Built-in mic and controls: No
Weight: 360g

Reasons to buy

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

Reasons to avoid

-
Pricey
-
Design limits performance

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: Sennheiser HD 201

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

Specifications

Cable length: 3m
Bluetooth: No
Noise-cancelling: No
Battery life: N/A
Charging: N/A
Built-in mic and controls: No
Weight: 163g (without cable)

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: Sennheiser PXC 550 Wireless

A very talented pair of wireless noise-cancelling headphones.

Specifications

Cable length: N/A
Bluetooth: Yes
Noise-cancelling: No
Battery life: 20 hours
Charging: Micro-USB
Built-in mic and controls: 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: Sennheiser CX Sport

Talented in-ear headphones with a sporty twist.

Specifications

Cable length: N/A
Bluetooth: Yes
Noise-cancelling: No
Battery life: 6 hours
Charging: USB
Built-in mic and controls: Yes
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: Sennheiser Momentum In-Ear Wireless

No wires, but excellent sound quality.

Specifications

Cable length: N/A
Bluetooth: Yes
Noise-cancelling: No
Battery life: 10 hours
Charging: USB
Built-in mic and controls: Controls only
Weight: 313g

Reasons to buy

+
Open, lucid sound
+
Expressive midrange
+
Excellent dynamics

Reasons to avoid

-
Neckband won’t appeal to all
-
Bass a little over-egged

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

How we test headphones

We have state-of-the-art testing facilities in London, Reading and Bath, where our team of experienced, in-house reviewers test the majority of hi-fi and AV kit that passes through our door.

Of course, testing headphones don't often require such facilities (though we do often try audiophile headphones in our reference hi-fi system). What is important in our headphones reviewing process is that each pair is compared to the best in its price and style class – whether that's one standout pair or a few we favour the highest among the 100+ pairs we listen to each year for reviews and What Hi-Fi? Awards judging. What Hi-Fi? is all about comparative testing, and we keep class-leading products in our stockrooms so we can always compare new products to ones we know and love.

We are always impartial and do our best to make sure we're hearing every product at their very best, so we'll try plenty of different types of music and give them plenty of listening time (and time to run in), while the wired headphones that might warrant being used with a DAC are tested with a suitable one. It's not just about sound quality, of course. If a pair has active noise cancellation – increasingly the case these days – we'll ensure part of our testing involves using them in different environments. 

All review verdicts are agreed upon by the team rather than an individual reviewer to eliminate any personal preference and to make sure we're being as thorough as possible, too. There's no input from PR companies or our sales team when it comes to the verdict, with What Hi-Fi? proud of having delivered honest, unbiased reviews for decades.

MORE:

Our pick of the best headphones for every budget

And the best wireless earbuds around

Treat your ears to the best over-ear headphones

 

Tom is a journalist, copywriter and content designer based in the UK. He has written articles for T3, ShortList, The Sun, The Mail on Sunday, The Daily Telegraph, Elle Deco, The Sunday Times, Men's Health, Mr Porter, Oracle and many more (including What Hi-Fi?). His specialities include mobile technology, electric vehicles and video streaming.