We round-up the best of the best – from in-ear to on-ear, wireless to noise-cancelling – to bring you the ultimate headphones buying guide.

Headphones are your key to the vault of great music on your smartphone or portable music player. They're even handy for a spot of private listening at home. Whatever your needs, we've got a pair of headphones that'll suit you, whether you want the best wireless, Bluetooth or noise-cancelling cans, and whether you prefer in-ear or over-ear.

Feeling sporty? Maybe you want a pair that only work with your iPhone, or that cost a small fortune. As we say, whatever your preferences, there's a pair here for you.

MORE: Best headphone deals

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In-ear
Our Rating 
75%

Sennheiser Momentum M2 IEi

Reviewed on 10th February 2015 at
£90

Sennheiser's over-ear Momentum headphones are some of the best of their kind, and these in-ear versions are just as desirable - no wonder they're our headphone Product of the Year for 2016.

Modern look? Tick. Classy finish? Tick. Two versions available? Ditto. Choose from either the M2 IEi for Apple devices and the IEG, which carries the relevant control/mic combo for Android phones.

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On-ear
Our Rating 
85%

AKG Y50

Reviewed on 14th August 2014 at
£80

The Y50s also have a bold look, that might be a little out of character for the company, but it’s a smart step to attract a younger market. Don't worry, though, it's not style over substance - sound quality is superb for the money.

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Over-ear
Our Rating 
88%

AKG K550

Reviewed on 29th February 2012 at
£250

The K550s are big in every way - their large earpieces feature 50mm drivers, a broad headband, and a long, chunky cable. Despite looking like a pair of ear-defenders, they're relatively light and comfortable. Oh, and they sound fantastic too.

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Noise-cancelling

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Wireless

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Sports

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Budget

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iPhone
Our Rating 
75%

Sennheiser Momentum M2 IEi

Reviewed on 10th February 2015 at
£90

To make the most of the iPhone's audio quality and hear your music at its best, you'll need a decent pair of earphones, such as the Sennheiser Momentum In-Ears. They sound great and feature all the necessary in-line controls which make them a great alternative to the Apple EarPods,.

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Money-no-object

Focal Utopia

Reviewed on 5th April 2017 at
£3,250

These headphones more than match their high price - they boast amazing detail, awesome dynamics and plenty of finesse. They're super comfy on your ears, which makes them ideal for high-end, home hi-fi enthusiasts.

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