Why you can trust ZDNET : ZDNET independently tests and researches products to bring you our best recommendations and advice. When you buy through our links, we may earn a commission. Our process

'ZDNET Recommends': What exactly does it mean?

ZDNET's recommendations are based on many hours of testing, research, and comparison shopping. We gather data from the best available sources, including vendor and retailer listings as well as other relevant and independent reviews sites. And we pore over customer reviews to find out what matters to real people who already own and use the products and services we’re assessing.

When you click through from our site to a retailer and buy a product or service, we may earn affiliate commissions. This helps support our work, but does not affect what we cover or how, and it does not affect the price you pay. Neither ZDNET nor the author are compensated for these independent reviews. Indeed, we follow strict guidelines that ensure our editorial content is never influenced by advertisers.

ZDNET's editorial team writes on behalf of you, our reader. Our goal is to deliver the most accurate information and the most knowledgeable advice possible in order to help you make smarter buying decisions on tech gear and a wide array of products and services. Our editors thoroughly review and fact-check every article to ensure that our content meets the highest standards. If we have made an error or published misleading information, we will correct or clarify the article. If you see inaccuracies in our content, please report the mistake via this form.


What are the best headphones for music? Top picks from Sony, Bose, others

When you are listening to music, you want headphones with plenty of clarity and bass. ZDNET has rounded up the best headphones for music so you can immerse yourself in your favorite tunes.
Written by Lena Borrelli, Contributing Writer on
Reviewed by Allison Murray

Not all headphones are made the same, and that is never more evident than when you are listening to music. Whether it is vocal clarity or booming bass, the right pair of music headphones can transform your audio, regardless of whether you are listening to classic or jamming out to rock. 

The best headphones for music have fantastic audio, long battery lives, and a comfortable fit so you can get through even your most lengthy playlists. 

Whether you are a serious audiophile or a casual listener, we've rounded up the best headphones for music that you can buy. 


Pros & Cons
  • Extra-long battery life
  • Comfortable fit
  • Fantastic audio
  • Requires compatible music service
  • Does not fold all the way
More Details

Tech Specs: Dimensions: 8.85 x 3.03 x 10.36 inches | Type: Over-ear | Connectivity: Wireless | Weight: 8.8 oz.

The Sony WH-1000XM5 over-the-ear headphones are the best headphones for music that you can buy. They use wireless Bluetooth technology, so there are no pesky wires in the way while you're jamming out. There are two processors to manage eight different microphones, providing fantastic noise cancellation. 

The Auto NC Optimizer automatically adjusts to your surroundings, cutting down on any distractions that can interfere with your listening. There is also hands-free calling with a 30-hour battery life and fast charging. 

Read the review: Sony's WH-1000XM5 headphones are basically perfect

Pros & Cons
  • Extremely comfortable
  • Ambient aware function
  • Fantastic noise cancellation
  • Lacks EQ
  • Some USB-C challenges
More Details

Tech Specs: Dimensions: 3 x 7.24 x 6 inches | Type: Over-ear | Connectivity: Wireless | Weight: 15.5 oz.

The Bose QuietComfort 45 features a wireless, over-ear design with built-in noise cancellation and dual modes of Quiet and Aware to best match your surroundings. The TriPort acoustic build ensures depth and richness, offering extra customization with the Active EQ. 

For easier listening, they utilize Bluetooth with a range of up to 30 feet. In addition, you can download the Bose Music app for even more features and customizations. 

Pros & Cons
  • Booming bass
  • Great noise cancellation
  • Long-lasting battery life
  • No EQ
  • Mediocre call quality
More Details

Tech Specs: Dimensions: 8.7 x 8.2 x 3.7 | Type: Over-ear | Connectivity: Wireless | Weight: 8.9 oz.

When you want a budget-friendly option, the House of Marley Positive Vibration XL ANC Wireless Headphones are your best pick. They use 40mm high-definition drivers for excellent sound, plus ANC, so no exterior noise gets in the way of your listening. 

These headphones are comfortable, too, with ear cushions made of memory foam and extra padding in the headband. The accompanying app is compatible with both iOS and Android for easier management.

Pros & Cons
  • Lightweight
  • Solid construction
  • Excellent detail
  • Lacks sound isolation
  • Oversized
More Details

Tech Specs: Dimensions: 10.7 x 5.7 x 13.8 inches | Type: Over-ear | Connectivity: Wired | Weight: 11.6 oz.

The Sennheiser HD 800 S headphones use 56mm ring radiator transducers, which are the largest available and ensure excellent sound. These headphones use absorber technology to really highlight each note with strategically placed cups to ensure maximum audio. 

They utilize an open-back design that wraps around the ear for extra comfort and are wired, which may be a dealbreaker for some. Still, the audio quality you receive is far superior than many other models on the market, making it a great fit for audiophiles who like to listen to every note and key in a song.

Pros & Cons
  • Outstanding noise cancellation
  • Crisp sound
  • Super lightweight
  • Requires lightning cable
  • Poor battery
More Details

Tech Specs: Dimensions: 0.85 x 2.39 x 1.78 inches | Type: In-ear | Connectivity: Wireless | Weight: 0.19 oz.

Apple is known for the latest technology, and that is no different in the Apple AirPods Pro 2. These in-ear buds use wireless technology with an H2 chip, providing better noise cancellation that is two times better than the previous model. 

You can opt for Adaptive Transparency, which automatically adjusts loud noises around you for better comfort. Personalized Spatial Audio means better notes and clarity, but be sure to keep track of your case: you only receive six hours of battery without the case compared to 30 hours when you use the case.

 Read the review: AirPods Pro 2 offer two big upgrades but connectivity chaos hasn't been tamed

What are the best headphones for music?

The Sony WH-1000XM5 are hands-down the best headphones for music. They may not be the cheapest option out there, but their incredible value and performance cannot be denied. To see how they stack up, this is a summary of the best headphones for music. 

Best headphones for music




Sony WH-1000XM5




Bose QuietComfort 45




House of Marley Positive Vibration XL ANC Wireless Headphones




Sennheiser HD 800 S




Apple AirPods Pro 2




Which headphones for music are right for you?

It all depends on what you're looking for: we included budget-friendly headphones, headphones with ANC technology, and even wired headphones for you to choose from. Our expert suggestions can help you find the best headphones for music for your needs. 

Choose these headphones for music...


Sony WH-1000XM5

You want the best headphones on the market today

Bose QuietComfort 45

Noise cancellation is your priority

House of Marley Positive Vibration XL ANC Wireless Headphones

You want an affordable pair of headphones for music

Sennheiser HD 800 S

You don't mind a wired pair of headphones

Apple AirPods Pro 2

You are an Apple user

How did we choose these headphones for music?

When choosing the best headphones for music, we considered several factors before making our top picks. 

  • Type: The different types of headphones include over-the-ear headphones, in-ear headphones, on-ear headphones, open-back headphones, and more. Figure out which type you prefer before making your decision. 

  • Sound: We considered the type of sound and how well it is able to handle things like bass and clarity. Noise cancellation is another particular sound feature that many shoppers search for and appreciate.

  • Size: Both the dimensions and weight of headphones for music can make or break your listening experience. We looked for comfortably-sized headphones that are suitable for long periods of listening time.

  • Price: Cost is a factor for most shoppers, so we considered the price of each pair of headphones to help you find the best music headphones for your budget.

Who makes the best headphones for music?

There are many companies that manufacture headphones, but not all of them may be the best headphones for music. When it comes to crisp clarity and booming bass, some of the best manufacturers for music headphones include Sony, Bose, Sennheiser, Apple, and House of Marley, as seen here. 

Where do I buy the best headphones for music?

Several retailers sell the best headphones for music, but we are discriminating in the type of retailers we choose to help ensure affordability and authenticity. Some of the best headphones for music are sold by Amazon, Best Buy, and Walmart. 

How much do the best headphones for music cost?

Headphones for music can run the gamut in price, depending on special features like ANC, EQ customizations, and comfort levels. Overall, you'll find the best headphones for music range in price from $80 all the way up to $2,500, depending on the model you choose. 

Are there alternative headphones for music worth considering?

There are plenty of other headphones on the market that are great options to listen to music with. In our search, we found these additional headphones that may be worth a second look.

Editorial standards