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Best iPhone headphones 2019: budget, premium, wireless

Best iPhone headphones Buying Guide: Welcome to What Hi-Fi?'s round-up of the best iPhone headphones you can buy in 2019. 

The iPhone is one of the finest phones around. With thousands of apps, a user-friendly design and amazing camera, no wonder it's the handset of choice for millions of people around the world. The biggest draw for us, though, is the brilliant sound quality.

It's just a shame about those EarPods. Apple's wired buds don't come close to doing the iPhone's sound quality justice, while the AirPods are better but still good rather than great. To truly unleash its potential, you need a decent pair of headphones.

That's where we come in. We've selected only the best headphones from our recent reviews that are compatible with Apple's handset so you can get the very best audio from your iPhone. All styles are catered for, as are all budgets.

Remember: newer iPhones don't have a 3.5mm headphone jack, so some pairs on this list will require a Lightning to 3.5mm adapter. Check you've got access to one before you buy.

So which will you choose? Wireless or wired? Noise-cancelling or noise-isolating? In-ear, on-ear or over-ear? Have a look and see which jump out at you.  And with Black Friday around the corner, it's a good time to be keeping an eye out for bargains.

Best iPhone headphones 2019: budget, premium, wireless

(Image credit: sony)

1. Sony WH-1000XM3

Brilliant premium wireless headphones, perfect for your iPhone.

SPECIFICATIONS

Connector: USB-C | In-line remote and mic: No | Bluetooth: Yes | Noise-cancelling: Yes | Weight: 255g

Reasons to Buy

Well-rounded sound
Superb noise-cancelling
Very comfy

Reasons to Avoid

Can expose imperfections
Awkward controls

The bad news? These have a plastic headband, which feels less premium than their predecessors' metal one. But the upside is they're lighter, and hence more comfortable to wear for extended periods. Which you will do once you've had a listen - they sound superb, very open and spacious, giving every element of the track room to breathe. But there's also plenty of detail, and a subtlety to the dynamics that few headphones can match. Oh, and they're also some of the best noise-cancellers around. A great option for anyone able to spend a bit more.

Read the full review: Sony WH-1000XM3

Best iPhone headphones 2019: budget, premium, wireless

(Image credit: Cambridge Audio)

2. Cambridge Audio Melomania 1

True wireless in-ears with some serious sonic ability.

SPECIFICATIONS

Connector: N/A | In-line remote and mic: N/A | Bluetooth: Yes | Noise-cancelleing: No | Weight: 4.6g

Reasons to Buy

Lots of insight
Marathon battery life
Dependable wireless connection

Reasons to Avoid

Iffy fit
Could be sleeker

For true wireless headphones, the Melomania 1s sound phenomenal - they handle dynamic shifts within a track with barely a shrug, while the vocal detail on offer is second to none. But it's the battery life that's the real headline-grabber - they last a whopping 45 hours, thanks to the carry case which doubles as a portable charger. Noise-cancellation comes as standard, as does Siri/Google Assistant compatibility. They're sweat- and water-resistant, too. And all without a cable in sight. Madness.

Read the full review: Cambridge Audio Melomania 1

Best iPhone headphones 2019: budget, premium, wireless

(Image credit: Sony)

3. Sony WF-1000XM3

The best true wireless headphones around.

SPECIFICATIONS

Connector: N/A | In-line remote and mic: N/A | Bluetooth: Yes | Noise-cancelleing: Yes | Weight: 77g

Reasons to Buy

Musical performance
Ace noise-cancelling
Impressive battery performance

Reasons to Avoid

Lack volume controls
Don't support aptX HD

Unlike the SoundSport Wireless, these Sonys are truly wireless - there's not a cable in sight, just two earbuds you pop in your lug holes. Of all the true wireless models around - they're quite in vogue right now - these are the best. A new Bluetooth chip sharpens up music synchronization, while the noise-cancellation is second to none. And the sound? Truly fantastic - this is a clear, expressive, detailed performance that will delight any listener, even those skeptical of true wireless models. The future has arrived.

Read the full review: Sony WF-1000XM3

Best iPhone headphones 2019: budget, premium, wireless

(Image credit: Apple)

4. Apple AirPods (2019)

Impressive true wireless headphones, now with better sound.

SPECIFICATIONS

Connector: N/A | In-line remote and mic: N/A | Bluetooth: Yes | Noise-cancelleing: No | Weight: 38g

Reasons to Buy

Even audio
More sophisticated sonically
Excellent wireless performance

Reasons to Avoid

Divisive fit
Lack buttons
Can sound harsh

These improve on the original AirPods in every way - they're louder (very welcome seeing as they don't fill the ear cavity and so let outside noise leak in), with a cleaner sound that's blissfully free of artificial manipulation. The audio is more subtle and sophisticated than their predecessors too, not to mention more detailed. They're beautifully small and light, with impressive battery life and effortless usability. They're far from the finest headphones around, but they sound pretty decent, and none play more easily with the iPhone than this Apple-made pair.

Read the full review: Apple AirPods (2019)

Best iPhone headphones 2019: budget, premium, wireless

(Image credit: Klipsch)

5. Klipsch R6i II

These in-ears are stylish and sound miles better than the EarPods.

SPECIFICATIONS

Connector: 3.5mm | In-line remote and mic: Yes | Bluetooth: No | Noise-cancelleing: No | Weight: 13.3g

Reasons to Buy

Well built
Excellent timing
Ace bass

Reasons to Avoid

Could be more expansive

These in-ears picked up an Award in 2018 for their combination of excellent sound and affordable price. They're comfy, fitting snugly enough to stay put without ever causing discomfort, and the build quality is excellent. Pop them in your ears, and you're greeted with an enthusiastic and dynamic sound with an amazing sense of timing and organisation. It's all balanced very well, but the bass stands out as a particular highlight. The best in-ears for your iPhone currently available at this price.

Read the full review: Klipsch R6i II

Best iPhone headphones 2019: budget, premium, wireless

(Image credit: AKG)

6. AKG Y50

These excellent all-rounders are the perfect partners for any compatible iPhone.

SPECIFICATIONS

Connector: 3.5mm | In-line remote and mic: Yes | Bluetooth: No | Noise-cancelleing: No | Weight: 191g

Reasons to Buy

Brilliantly clear audio
Great timing
Dynamic, detailed, punchy

Reasons to Avoid

Sources need turning up
Heat your ears

A five-time What Hi-Fi Award-winner, the Y50s are some of the best on-ears of the last decade. They're mighty colourful too, coming in rather fetching red, yellow and teal finishes (as well as the rather more conservative black). They're exceptionally well made (not something that can be said of all headphones aimed at younger users) and they fold flat for easy storage. And the sound doesn't let them down - they're rhythmic, with excellent timing and punchy expression. The only downside? They're a touch quiet, so you might have to crank the volume to get the most from them. You'll also need a Lightning to 3.5mm dongle on hand.

Read the full review: AKG Y50

Best iPhone headphones 2019: budget, premium, wireless

(Image credit: Beyerdynamic)

7. Beyerdynamic Soul Byrd

These budget in-ears are real high-flyers.

SPECIFICATIONS

Connector: 3.5mm | In-line remote and mic: Yes | Bluetooth: No | Noise-cancelleing: No | Weight: 6g

Reasons to Buy

Even sound
Bags of detail
Good sense of rhythm

Reasons to Avoid

At this price? Nada

Weighing just 6g, these Byrds are light enough to take flight. But the sound is anything but lightweight. It's very well balanced, giving equal billing to the bass, midrange and treble, lending proceedings a well-rounded, weighty feel. Which is particularly impressive given the price. They're comfortable too, thanks to the five pairs of bundled ear tips, and they come in a robust, slimline carry case complete with elasticated strap. Another excellent budget option to partner with your iPhone (and 3.5mm dongle).

Read the full review: Beyerdynamic Soul Byrd

Best iPhone headphones 2019: budget, premium, wireless

(Image credit: Bose)

8. Bose SoundSport Wireless

Not truly wireless, but still great for sporty types.

SPECIFICATIONS

Connector: N/A | In-line remote and mic: Yes | Bluetooth: Yes | Noise-cancelleing: No | Weight: 20g

Reasons to Buy

Comfy
Fun
Very good wireless

Reasons to Avoid

Short battery life

These might have 'wireless' in the name, but they're not a true wireless pair - there's a cable connecting the two earbuds. But that sits around the back of your neck out of the way, so there's nothing tethering you to your music source. It's a winning design - secure enough for running or a session in the gym, while keeping your hands free. They're sweat-resistant too, while the sound is punchy enough to spur you on to go that extra mile.

Read the full review: Bose SoundSport Wireless

Best iPhone headphones 2019: budget, premium, wireless

(Image credit: Jaybird)

8. Jaybird Vista

Among the best wireless earbuds you can buy, especially for running.

SPECIFICATIONS

Connector: N/A | Cable length: N/A | Bluetooth: Yes | Noise-cancelling: No | Weight: 6g

Reasons to Buy

Upbeat, entertaining sound
Robust bass
Great fit for the gym

Reasons to Avoid

Lack a little detail

Apple's EarPods and AirPods don't offer an amazing fit, which can make them less than ideal for the gym or running. The Jaybird Vista earbuds, on the other hand, offer good sound and an even better fit. They're true wireless earbuds with IPX7 water- and sweat-proofing, robust enough to withstand daily training sessions and the great outdoors.

Power up the clever Jaybird app and besides pairing you can also tweak their sound for your ears and reassign the controls on each earbud. There's USB-C charging - a five minute 'super-charge' is enough for one hour, while a full charge gives you six. You get 10 extra hours from the charging case too. And it's all topped off with a hefty and upbeat sound.

Read the full review: Jaybird Vista

Best iPhone headphones 2019: budget, premium, wireless

(Image credit: SoundMagic)

9. SoundMagic E11C

A great upgrade for not a lot of cash - these SoundMagics are a fine option.

SPECIFICATIONS

Connector: 3.5mm | In-line remote and mic: Yes | Bluetooth: No | Noise-cancelleing: No | Weight: 11g

Reasons to Buy

Entertaining to listen to
Simple to drive
Equipped for handsfree calls

Reasons to Avoid

Could time better

At a few pennies under £40, these are some of the most affordable decent headphones money can buy. But just because they're cheap doesn't mean you'll be selling your iPhone short - the sound is bursting with energy, remaining well-balanced and very entertaining. There's depth and warmth, and the treble never veers to the wrong side of bright. If it's a no-nonsense, full-bodied sound you're after on a budget, look no further. Don't forget, you will need that 3.5mm dongle, though.

Read the full review: SoundMagic E11C

Best iPhone headphones 2019: budget, premium, wireless

(Image credit: AKG)

10. AKG Y500 Wireless

A tempting mix of fantastic design, good audio and clever features.

SPECIFICATIONS

Connector: 3.5mm | In-line remote and mic: Yes | Bluetooth: Yes | Noise-cancelleing: No | Weight: 230g

Reasons to Buy

Clean sound
Buttery presentation
Great build quality

Reasons to Avoid

Lack energy

These are a little more grown-up (and expensive) than the Y50s mentioned further up this list - gone is the massive AKG branding on the earcups, and in comes a more subtle colour palette. They lack the energy of their cheaper counterparts, but in exchange you get a more refined listen - there's lots of detail on offer, and tracks remain composed and clear. Timing is handled confidently, and the overall presentation is a lot more polished. Build-wise, they're satisfyingly sturdy, while remaining lightweight enough to wear for hours. Hugely enjoyable.

Read the full review: AKG Y500 Wireless

Best iPhone headphones 2019: budget, premium, wireless

(Image credit: B&W)

11. B&W PX

Excellent sound quality, successful noise-cancelling and a smart design.

SPECIFICATIONS

Connector: 3.5mm | In-line remote and mic: Yes | Bluetooth: Yes | Noise-cancelleing: Yes | Weight: 335g

Reasons to Buy

Great detail and dynamics
Time well
Intuitive features

Reasons to Avoid

Not much

Sadly, these headphones don't fold down completely (the earcups merely fold flat), so they're not as portable as some. But that's about the only fault we could find with them. They're B&W's first wireless pair with noise-cancellation, though from their superb build quality and performance, you'd never know it. The noise-cancellation does a fine job of muting the outside world, while there are some neat features that are well thought through - lift one earcup and the music pauses, for example, or put them back on after a short break and the track picks up where you left off. The sound quality is excellent, too, full of purpose, with a level of refinement not often seen in wireless pairs. A premium upgrade for your premium iPhone.

Read the full review: B&W PX

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