Best headphones available today
There is a set of headphones for just about every occasion. Be it running a marathon, sitting at home listening to your stereo or even taking a swim, there are headphones for every need.
At Pocket-lint, we want to make sure you buy the best, so we're keeping this is an updating list of what we consider to be the finest headphones around. The rules are that we have to have seen - or in this case, heard - them, either in a review, waiting to be reviewed or as a hands-on. We should emphasise though that if you're looking for pro, studio-grade equipment, you should look elsewhere.
We'll update this page every time we review a pair of headphones we think deserve a place on the list.
Best in-ear headphones
Phonak Audeo PFE 232, £399
Phonak’s high-end Audeo PFE 232 headphones might have a fairly substantial price tag, but it's more than justified. Included in the box is everything you would ever want from a set of top-quality in-ear headphones, from replacement cables to new passive filters.
A bit of tweaking on your music player’s EQ and you should have a truly incredible sounding set of in-ear headphones. Throw in some great noise isolation and top-notch build quality and this makes for one of our favourites.
Best on-ear headphones
For the money, we haven't heard a much better set of headphones than the B&W P3s this year. Combining comfort, isolation and sound quality near perfectly, these are among our favourite headphones.
The real trick of the P3s is that they are more portable than most headphones that sound this good. Folding right and left earpads keep them compact and the included plastic storage box stops them being damaged. The P3s are also very comfortable, allowing for long periods of listening.
Best headphones for home listening
Philips Fidelio X1
We love the X1s. Everything we listened to sounded great. From pop to electronic, from action films to serious TV drama, it all hit the exact spot we wanted. Of course, headphones are personal, so we suggest you try to get ears-on with these before splashing out, but if the price is right for you, then these are truly great performers.
They're the best of the Philips range so far, and we've been smitten with all of them up to now. They're certainly the most comfortable, although the slight looseness of the headband might be a problem for a few people. Build-quality, design, sound quality are all fabulous. The only possible downside is that they are home headphones only, wearing them out and about is just not practical because of the size, and noise leakage.
Best headphones for gaming
Turtle Beach Ear Force Sierra, £279
Over the top in nearly every way, these specially made Call of Duty: Black Ops II-inspired headphones come with every single possible tweak a gamer could want.
An included headphone EQ with specially pre-loaded gaming setting is attached to the headphone cable. You can choose special audio settings that give the illusion of super-human hearing in games, letting you hear every footstep or gunshot.
Best headphones for sound isolation
ACS/Etymotic custom earbuds
Not a set of headphones, but more a set of earbuds to go on your chosen in-ear setup. ACS will inject a sort of goo into your earlobes, take a mold of them, then come back to you with a headphone that fits your ear perfectly.
We have had it done and, hooked up to the right set of headphones, it can create incredible sound isolation. Expect not to be able to hear a single thing other than your music.
Best headphones for noise cancelling
A bit of a classic of the noise-cancelling world, the Bose QC-15s are still the go-to headphones for travelling and for all-round cancellation quality. Every set of noise cancellers we test comes up agains the QC15s and none has really surpassed them.
They perform extremely well in environments where you would most want to use them, say on an aircraft or the Tube. Great build quality also. Given their age, it is possible to grab a pair at great value off eBay.
Best budget headphones
Apple redesigned its bundled headphones with the new iPhone, producing the Earbuds. Having lived with them for a while now as our day-to-day headphones, we have been really impressed.
For £25 you get decent treble and a fairly balanced sound. A great replacement budget set of headphones.
READ:Apple EarPod review
Best Luxury headphones
Not cheap, but with stellar build quality, lovely sound and lots of bass to play with, these Denons are the go-to luxury headphones.
Most will be thinking of using them as a replacement for an expensive set of speakers - for which they'll do just fine. They're £500 a pop though, so get saving.
Best headphones for sport
Strong, rugged and securely fitting, the Sony XBA-S65s are ideally suited to sports and running. The real party trick is that they are washable and sweat-proof.
For the £89 price tag they are also quite good value. Audio quality is good, as is the all-round fit and finish of the headphones. They fit very securely and shouldn’t cause any issue when exercising.
Best headphones for kids
You want to make absolutely sure with headphones that those noise levels won’t be doing any damage to your little one’s ears. Griffin has ensured just that, with the MyPhones. They might be a bit long in the tooth, but they have stood the test of time.
With volume limiting hardwired in, there is less chance of hearing damage. Then there is the customisation possibilities for kids. A great, well-thought-out set of headphones.
READ: Griffin MyPhones review