Best AKG headphones Buying Guide: Welcome to What Hi-fi?'s round-up of the best AKG headphones you can buy in 2023.
AKG's bumper crop of in-ear, on-ear, wireless and noise-cancelling headphones can be overwhelming for first-time browsers and buyers. A number of them are acoustically very impressive – but which is the right pair for you? And where can you find the best deals?
How to choose the best AKG headphones for you
Why you can trust What Hi-Fi? Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.
Whether you want to splash the cash on deluxe, studio-quality over-ears, or fancy a pair of premium yet portable in-ears, the potted reviews below should help you make that decision.
If you're eyeing up a pair of wireless Bluetooth headphones, then pay close attention to battery life – especially if you have long commute. Comfort is key too, so if have the opportunity to try before you buy, take it.
If performance is top of your list, the good news is that AKG has an impressive track record. The company began producing headphones in 1953 and still makes some of the best headphones we've tested.
To help you get straight to the good stuff, we've tested a wide variety of AKG headphones and listed our top picks below. Each one comes highly recommended – you just need to decide which model suits you best.
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If it’s an affordable, portable set of energetic wireless on-ears you seek, the AKG Y400 are currently unbeatable. These 2021 What Hi-Fi Award winners don't have noise-cancelling or app support, but what they do deliver is a sound that sets a new standard at this level; a sound that's expansive, detailed and with impeccable timing.
They’re supremely comfortable, portable and well built, too, and despite a reduction in size from the company’s previous on-ears (the Y500, below), these cheaper Y400 don’t represent a step down in terms of sound at all. If their 20 hours of battery life is acceptable, these hugely talented and thoroughly recommendable on-ears are the best AKG headphones right now.
Read the full review: AKG Y400
These hugely impressive wired headphones are six-time What Hi-Fi? Award winners. Excelling in sound and style, they're blessed with aluminium ear cups, soft leather ear pads and dynamic sound on a grand scale. Thrilling levels of detail and near-flawless balance would be enough to set them apart from the competition. But factor in the sub-£100 price point, not to mention the portable design, and the Y50s are true show stoppers.
Read the full review: AKG Y50
Scoring highly across all categories, these impressive wireless headphones are durable and stylish. They're small enough to squeeze into a pocket, yet sound spacious, rhythmic and detailed. A button on the ear cup connects you to your smartphone's voice assistant, and the Y500s automatically pause music when you slip them off. They've been superseded by company's Y400 (above) but with rich features, strong battery life and great controls, the Y500s remain superb all-rounders.
Read the full review: AKG Y500 Wireless
If you're on a tight budget but don't want to compromise on sound quality in the home, these rich, detailed over-ear headphones are the answer to your audio prayers. The springy, self-adjusting headband sits lightly and comfortably, and the cushioning is superb. A 3m cable with 6.3mm adaptor makes them ideal for use with your home hi-fi. As we said in our original review, "AKG has struck gold" – happily, that lustre hasn't faded.
Read the full review: AKG K92
It's rare to find a pair of Bluetooth headphones that match their wired counterparts for performance, but the Y50BTs rise to that challenge. They're the wireless version of the Y50s that sit at number one in this list. They have the dynamic power to shift effortlessly between frequencies which makes them seriously entertaining.
The 20-hour battery life is very respectable, but you can use them with a wire when they run out of juice. Intuitive ear cup controls are the cherry on a attractively-priced cake. All in all, these are high-quality cord-cutters.
Read the full review: AKG Y50BT
Bluetooth, noise cancelling and brilliant audio quality come together in this slick, stylish (and not to forget multi-Award-winning) package. Despite their compact size, the N60NC Wireless headphones do a solid job of cutting out ambient noise such as cars and jet engines.
Inside your bubble of silence, you'll find plenty of precision, detail and drive – plus a good thump of bass. They can be used with a wire, but with 15 hours of playback (Bluetooth and noise-cancelling), that shouldn't be necessary. Small enough to secrete in a jacket pocket, these striking cans are great on-the-go.
Read the full review: AKG N60NC Wireless
There's very little between these wired N60NCs and their wireless counterparts (above). That's a good thing, though. Both perform with panache, serving up superb noise-cancelling and an open, musical sound stage. They're great travel buddies, too, with collapsable headband that ups the portability factor.
Excellent battery life – 30 hours with active noise-cancelling – should be plenty for a long-haul flight. Trimmed with aluminium and leather details, these classy cans are some of the best noise cancellers we've heard.
Read the full review: AKG N60NC
Studio-style headphones for under £50? That's a big ask, but AKG has nailed it with the K72s. They're some of the comfiest budget headphones we've tested, but the main attraction is the sound, which is spacious, sophisticated and bassy enough to make the most of a explosion-packed movie soundtrack.
In the box, you get a high-quality 3m cable for use with a stereo amplifier. That's a not-so-subtle hint that they're not really designed for 'portable' use. Still, given the sub-£40 price, the K72s are unbeatable value for money and ideal for home listening sessions.
Read the full review: AKG K72
If you appreciate life's simple pleasures, you'll be won over by the pared-down K52s: comfortable, budget headphones don't get much better. Given the £30 price, they're fantastically constructed and surprisingly expensive-looking. The solid metal frame is nice and light, and the cushioned headband cradles your head.
Timing is snappy, and there's a remarkable amount of balance and agility on show. For those on a budget, these are a no-brainer. That said, if you can afford to stretch your budget by £15, consider upgrading to the more polished K72s (above).
Read the full review: AKG K52
AKG's premium, wireless and noise-cancelling headphones are solid performers. Hinged for portability, they deliver effortless timing and a healthy dose of musicality, making them an easy, elegant listen. Battery life is 23 hours with Bluetooth and noise cancelling on, rising to 36 hours if you switch to a wired connection.
Noise cancelling is good, but not quite as effective as a pair of Sony WH-1000XM3s or Bose QuietComfort 35 IIs. Need to eavesdrop on the outside world? AKG's handy Ambient Aware button lowers the volume and the noise-cancelling. While the NC700NCs aren't class-leaders, they do offer a solid performance at a good price.
Read the full review: AKG N700NC
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.