We’ve got good news—there are countless headphone and ear bud models out there, which means there’s a pair for every possible need and budget. The challenge, though? It’s hard to find time to wade through all of them! Lucky for you, we’ve compiled a list of the best headphones of 2020 so you can figure out which style and brand work for you, your school-aged child or your teen.
What type of headphones are you looking for?
Best Headphones Overall
If you or your kids are avid headphone users, spending a little extra money on a high-quality set might be worth it. These Beats by Dr. Dre Solo Pro headphones are a bit pricey, but they’re wireless (meaning no tangled cord!) and have on-ear controls for music and phone calls. Another plus? The headphones feature two listening modes: “Active Noise Cancelling” for reducing unwanted external sound and “Transparency” for staying aware of your surroundings. You also get your pick of colours, including black, ivory and dark blue.
- These on-ear headphones last for up to 22 hours of listening time (or up to 40 hours when active noise cancelling and transparency mode is turned off). In a pinch, you can even get three hours of playback from a quick 10-minute charge.
- The headphones automatically turn off or on when you fold or unfold them, which helps preserve the battery power.
- Though they’re ergonomically designed for comfort, some users say these headphones catch on strands of hair or fit a little tight.
The sound quality on this pair of headphones is phenomenal. It literally sounds like you’re at a concert, which I love so much.
I love them. My only complaint is that it hurts my ears after like an hour.
Best True Wireless Earbuds
If compact and wireless is a must for your on-the-go lifestyle, then your best bet is a pair of true wireless earbuds. Samsung Galaxy Buds+ boast up to 22 hours of listening time thanks to the charging case that lets you power them up while you’re racing around town. Plus, they come with three eartip (the part that fits in your ear canal) and wingtip (the part that rests in your ear) sizes for maximum comfort. These earbuds may be in the mid-price range for true wireless, but their high-quality audio for music-listening and three microphones for clear call-taking makes them worth it in our books.
- The two-way speaker enhances base and treble for clear, balanced sound. You can even use the “Ambient Sound” mode to block out external noise.
- One inner mic and two outer mics allow your voice to be picked up during phone calls—even in a loud room—and you’ll be able to hear friends or colleagues clearly, too.
- Splash-resistant technology means these earbuds can handle rain, sweat and even a spill, which makes them a good option for busy teens. (These nifty tech gizmos might also suit your teen or university-aged child.)
Crystal-clear sound with sophisticated bass. Audio is very clear.
Ambient sound mode isn’t as natural sounding as I’d like. It has a bit of “tinny”/harsh sound effect.
Best Workout Headphones
When sweating it out in the living room or gym, the comfort of your headphones should be the last thing on your mind. JBL’s Endurance Run BT sports headphones are sweatproof and you can wear them in-ear or even with the cable looped over the ear for a fit that accommodates your workout style. They’re also the best headphones for running because they’re super lightweight and have TwistLock technology, which means they can maintain a secure fit even during the most rigorous activity.
- A thin cable connects these wireless buds, which may not be as convenient as true wireless headphones. However, it’s a plus that they can magnetically stick together and hang around your neck like a necklace when not in use.
- Bluetooth technology allows for hands-free listening and calls. With a press of a button, enable the call feature. Double press to activate Google Now or Siri.
- The six-hour play time per charge isn’t as long as other headphones on our list, but that might not matter if you use them primarily to train. (For nine hours without a charge, try Beats by Dr. Dre Powerbeats Pro.)
I needed light earbuds for working out and they are just that. They sound great and I don’t even know they’re there.
Sound comes through clean. Don’t expect to hear a lot of base. It’s not like [the JBL] car system.
Best Headphones for Gaming
Astro specializes in gaming products, so it’s no surprise that the brand created the best wired headphones for gaming: Astro A10. These gaming headsets are comfortable (so you or the kids can play for hours—sorry not sorry!) and durable (so you know they’ll last). Plus, they have a microphone that automatically mutes your voice when flipped up, which makes them perfect for moving between online play and chatting with family.
- Cloth-covered foam ear cushions help prevent headset fatigue and a plug-in system means you’ll never have to pause to recharge.
- The construction is super durable with a steel headband and damage-resistant rubberized cover… just in case the kids start throwing their set around.
- They’re compatible with Xbox One, PS4, Nintendo Switch, Mac and PC, so you bring the premium audio experience with you as you hop between consoles.
Definitely a must-have headset for any gamer looking to enhance your experience at a budget-friendly price. The microphone is great for others to hear you very clearly.
I’d like it if the volume could go up higher and if it had a longer cord.
Best Headphones for Kids
If you want kids’ headphones that are affordable and safe for young ears, you’ll love the Rad Rascal Headphones from Wicked Audio. They’re easy on the budget and most importantly, they have a volume limit of 85 decibels to protect kids from hearing damage.
- In a sea of black and chrome, these brightly coloured headphones are full of personality and sized for smaller heads so you won’t need to keep adjusting the fit for your little one.
- They come with a sticker sheet (including lightning bolts and cute aliens!) for extra personalization.
- They fold and are compact enough to carry with you, but their wired design means they’re prone to tangling in your purse or your child’s backpack.
Seems great so far. My 2.5 yr old uses these without any issues. Sound is clear and not too loud.
I ordered two pairs… one for my 7 yr old and one for my 10 yr old. The older child found them tight and uncomfortable but the younger one loved them.
Best Budget Headphones
For a budget-friendly pair of headphones that’s made for adults, check out Sony’s ZX110. They cost a fraction of most other models and are made by one of the best headphone brands out there. While the sound quality may not compare to pricier options on this list, you can worry less about loss or theft, which makes them a good pick for teenagers.
- Some users claim the sound quality is average. Others say it’s better than pairs that are significantly pricier and that these headphones have clear audio and great noise-cancelling capabilities.
- You can trust these headphones to be comfortable for most people thanks to cushioned ear pads and a self-adjusting headband.
- They’re wired, so expect a 1.2-metre cord to be your constant companion. If you’re looking to watch TV from a distance, this length may not be enough for you. This pair of Koss headphones has a cord that’s about double the length—and double the price.
The sound quality is excellent compared to other headphones in a cheaper price range. The bass is deep and has a rich sound. They look and perform like more expensive headphones would.
I purchased the Sony MDR-ZX100 headphones to replace an older model, hoping they would be equivalent in performance and comfort. The new MDR-ZX100 sounds good, but they are not as comfortable to wear. They feel small, and the cord length is ridiculously short.
Best Noise-Cancelling Headphones
For ultimate productivity (especially in a busy household or open-concept office), a great pair of noise-cancelling headphones is a must—and Bose QuietComfort 35 delivers. These headphones use advanced technology to silence the zone outside your headspace—and you can set your preferred level of noise cancellation, too. Whether you’re working and want to limit distractions or are listening to music and simply don’t want to be bothered, this pair was made for you.
- They have the versatility to connect to your devices wirelessly for up to 20 hours with Bluetooth and NFC pairing (meaning you simply tap an NFC-enabled device to connect) or you can use an audio cable.
- With the intuitive design, press a single button to connect to your phone’s virtual assistant, then use your voice to ask questions or give commands.
- Given its high price, this pair is a major investment.
These Bose headphones have really exceeded my expectations from sound quality to durability. I love the noise cancellation and these are extremely comfortable on my ears.
These are a great pair of headphones, but I have to wear a headband to keep them on. They constantly slip.
Best Wireless Headphones
If you love over-ear headphones but want a wireless design, the Crusher 3.0 BT headphones from Skullcandy are a great choice. This pair of wireless Bluetooth headphones provides an immersive music-listening experience without all the tangled cords. They also have a noise-isolating fit (though they’re not entirely noise-cancelling), plus a collapsible design so you can easily take them anywhere in the included travel bag.
- Bluetooth connectivity and an impressive 40 hours of battery life allow these headphones to remain wireless all day (though you can plug them in with the back-up auxiliary cord if you prefer).
- Stereo-quality sound with an adjustable base rivals many pricier options, making the Crusher 3.0 headphones the ideal pair for listening to music. You’ll even feel the vibrations.
- Some users complain that the plastic feels a little cheap, or that the headphones don’t feel as padded as other models.
These headphones are a blast! I love the bass boost. What an experience. Vibrates my brain. My favourite over-the-ear headphones to date.
The biggest problem was that they were not comfortable to wear for long periods of time.
More Tech Essentials
- It’s a Noisy Planet. Are Volume-Limiting Headphones Safe for Your Child?
How we choose products: Simply put, we don’t recommend any products we wouldn’t buy ourselves. Our writers leverage a number of sources as a starting point, including reputable third-party reviews, Walmart.ca user reviews, and Walmart Canada’s category specialists. theHUB editorial staff has final say for all products included in this guide.
Any product claims noted are provided by the manufacturer, unless otherwise stated.
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