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Best Sennheiser headphones: brilliant pairs for every style and budget

You probably already know this, but Sennheiser is a brand with a lot of prestige. Founded in 1945, it began as a manufacturer of microphones before soon expanding into other areas of audio. It claims to be the first company to have made an open-backed pair of headphones.

Today, it makes (a lot of) headphones to suit all styles and budgets – and (a lot of) very good-sounding ones at that. So good, in fact, that many pairs feature in our very best headphones for all budgets list. We've lost count of how many What Hi-Fi? Awards the brand has acquired over the years.

Whether you're after sporty earbuds for running and the gym, a premium pair for travelling, or a high-end pair of headphones for home listening, you'll find something here to satisfy you.

So, without further ado...

Best Sennheiser headphones

(Image credit: Sennheiser)

1. Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2

A fine addition to the world of true wireless headphones.

SPECIFICATIONS

Connector: N/A | Cable length: N/A | In-line remote and mic: N/A | OS support: Android/iOS | Bluetooth: Yes | Noise-cancelling: Yes | Battery life: 7 hours (28 hours with charging case)

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

(Image credit: Sennheiser)

2. Sennheiser Momentum 3 Wireless

Superb noise-cancellers that enhance Sennheiser’s reputation

SPECIFICATIONS

Bluetooth: Yes | Noise-cancelling: Yes | Battery life: 17hr | Charging: USB-C | Built-in mic and controls: Yes

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 these Sennheisers 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 you can get some great competitors for a fair bit less. But rhythmically speaking, these Sennheisers are cohesive and consistently dynamic too, making them quite the class leaders. Proof that you get what you pay for.

Read the full review: Sennheiser Momentum 3 Wireless

Best Sennheiser headphones

3. Sennheiser Momentum M2 IEi

A superb pair of in-ears for the money.

SPECIFICATIONS

Type: In-ear | Wireless: No | In-line mic/remote: Yes | 3.5mm connector: 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

4. Sennheiser CX 5.00i

A brilliant in-ear upgrade for those on a tight budget.

SPECIFICATIONS

Type: In-ear | Wireless: No | In-line mic/remote: Yes | 3.5mm connector: Yes | Weight: 16g

Reasons to Buy

Smart design
Wide, rich sound
Affordable

Reasons to Avoid

Cable could be tougher

If you're looking for another cheap and cheerful headphone upgrade, these could be for you. They cost only the price of a drinks round, look pretty stylish, and sound superb for the money. They have a rich, luxurious tone that makes music seem full but never clogged up. Bass is satisfying too. 

If you want a real sound upgrade but don’t have a huge budget, the Sennheiser CX 5.00is are now among the best budget wired in-ears that sporty types can buy. They look smarter than their price would suggest, too.

Read the full review: Sennheiser CX 5.00i

Best Sennheiser headphones

(Image credit: Sennheiser)

5. Sennheiser HD 450BT

Smooth, durable performers with typical Sennheiser appeal.

SPECIFICATIONS

Type: Over-ear | Wireless: Yes | Noise-cancelling: Yes | Battery life: 30 hours | 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

6. Sennheiser HD 820

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

SPECIFICATIONS

Type: Over-ear | Wireless: No | In-line mic/remote: No | 3.5mm connector: 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

7. Sennheiser HD 201

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

SPECIFICATIONS

Type: Over-ear | Wireless: No | In-line mic/remote: No | 3.5mm connector: Yes | Weight: 163g

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

11. Sennheiser PXC 550 Wireless

A very talented pair of wireless noise-cancelling headphones.

SPECIFICATIONS

Type: Over-ear | Wireless: Yes | In-line mic/remote: Yes | 3.5mm connector: 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

12. Sennheiser CX Sport

Talented in-ear headphones with a sporty twist.

SPECIFICATIONS

Type: In-ear | Wireless: Yes | In-line mic/remote: Yes | 3.5mm connector: No | 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

13. Sennheiser Momentum In-Ear Wireless

No wires, but excellent sound quality.

SPECIFICATIONS

Type: In-ear | Wireless: Yes | In-line mic/remote: No | 3.5mm connector: No | Weight: 313g

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

Best Sennheiser headphones 2020

14. Sennheiser HD 2.30

No funky stand-out looks here, just a solid Sennheiser sound.

SPECIFICATIONS

Type: On-ear | Wireless: No | In-line mic/remote: Yes | 3.5mm connector: Yes | Weight: 262g

Reasons to Buy

Chunky sound
Minimalist look

Reasons to Avoid

Boxy mids
Slightly limited bass depth
Could be comfier

These aren't the most stylish on-ears around, but then at this price they're not trying to be. They do have appeal in the sound department, however – it's a chunky, relatively smooth sound that works well across a wide range of genres and recordings. An attractive price is the icing on the cake.

Read the full review: Sennheiser HD 2.30