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. Its sound quality is pretty great too.

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 around that are compatible with Apple's handset so you can get the most from your phone. All styles are catered for, as are all budgets.

Remember: newer iPhones don't have a 3.5mm headphone jack, so not all pairs on this list will work with every iPhone available. Check 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...

(Image credit: sony)

1. Sony WH-1000XM3

Brilliant premium wireless headphones.

SPECIFICATIONS

Connector: USB-C | In-line remote and mic: No | Bluetooth: 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

(Image credit: Cambridge Audio)

2. Cambridge Audio Melomania 1

One of the most detailed performers at this price.

SPECIFICATIONS

Connector: N/A | In-line remote and mic: N/A | Bluetooth: Yes | 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

(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 | 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: 11 ways to upgrade your iPhone's sound

(Image credit: Apple)

4. Apple AirPods (2019)

Impressive true wireless headphones, now with better sound, and with new features on the way...

SPECIFICATIONS

Connector: N/A | In-line remote and mic: N/A | Bluetooth: Yes | 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)

(Image credit: Klipsch)

5. Klipsch R6i II

These in-ears are stylish and sound great. First class.

SPECIFICATIONS

Connector: 3.5mm | In-line remote and mic: Yes | Bluetooth: 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 last year for their brilliant 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 currently available for under a ton.

Read the full review: Klipsch R6i II

Best iPhone headphones: 11 ways to upgrade your iPhone's sound

(Image credit: AKG)

6. AKG Y50

Thanks to their excellent build quality, these are the perfect partners for any compatible iPhone.

SPECIFICATIONS

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

Reasons to Buy
Brilliantly clear audio
Great timing
Dynamic, detailed, punchy
Reasons to Avoid
Sources need turning up
Heat your ears

An Award-winner five years in a row, 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. A small price to pay.

Read the full review: AKG Y50

(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 | 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.

Read the full review: Beyerdynamic Soul Byrd

(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 | 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

(Image credit: SoundMagic)

9. SoundMagic E11C

SPECIFICATIONS

Connector: 3.5mm | In-line remote and mic: Yes | Bluetooth: 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.

Read the full review: SoundMagic E11C

(Image credit: AKG)

10. AKG Y500 Wireless

Fantastic design, good audio performance and clever features ensure the Y500s are a crowd-pleasing hit.

SPECIFICATIONS

Connector: 3.5mm | In-line remote and mic: Yes | Bluetooth: Yes | 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 in the number two slot in 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: 11 ways to upgrade your iPhone's sound

(Image credit: B&W)

11. B&W PX

A fantastic package, boasting excellent sound quality, successful noise-cancelling and a smart design.

SPECIFICATIONS

Connector: 3.5mm | In-line remote and mic: Yes | Bluetooth: 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 more than worthy upgrade.

Read the full review: B&W PX

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