I’m not sure why but autumn seems to be the time of year most people start to ask me about headphones. Maybe it’s the looming darker days, or how many of us are staring down long pre-holiday hours at work. In any case, headphone makers seem to have realized this because some of our favorite brands have dropped prices right now. It’s a good time if you’re in the market for some new earbuds or cans.
Be sure to read our guides to the Best Earbuds, Best Wireless Headphones, Best Workout Headphones, Best Cheap Headphones, and Best Noise-Canceling Headphones for more.
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Beats Fit Pro
These are our favorite headphones for anyone with an iPhone. The Apple-made buds (9/10, WIRED Recommends) have a super comfortable fit thanks to soft silicone earfins, and they have better noise canceling and bass than the first generation AirPods Pro thanks to a better seal.
Samsung’s peanut-shaped earbuds (7/10, WIRED Recommends) have one of the most unique designs we’ve seen, and yet they’re also some of the most comfortable earbuds I’ve used to date. They nestle right inside your ears, offering surprisingly good sound and awesome transparency for taking them out and about. I especially like them if you use a Samsung phone, and at this price, they’re a good buy.
Sennheiser makes some of the best in-ear headphones we’ve ever heard, and I’ve been particularly impressed by its latest IE 300 model, which have much deeper bass than you’d expect from such small buds. I like using them around my home recording studio, where I know that I’ll get faithful recreation of sounds without any microphone bleed. Detachable cables mean you won’t worry about snagging and breaking them permanently, which is nice for corded earbuds like this.
Photograph: JLab Audio
Wireless earbuds for $15? You’ll be surprised at how well these Jlab perform. That includes five hours of battery life and a nice fit. They’re even sweatproof too, so you can wear them at the gym. They are a bit bass-heavy though, and the case can attract dust and lint. Still, they’re just $15.
The Jabra Elite 7 are great for anyone that’s hard on their tech. If you’re frequently going on outdoor runs in any weather, these buds will last. They’re comfy, have good sound quality and noise-canceling tech, plus you get eight hours of battery life.
Over-Ear and Gaming Headphone Deals
Beats Studio3 Wireless
You probably think of Beats over-ears as plastic and terrible, but they’ve been good ever since Apple bought them a decade-ish ago. This pair (8/10, WIRED Recommends) are equivalent to higher-end models from Sony and Bose, but with the added party trick that they work better with iOS devices, courtesy of Apple’s H1 chip.
If you want to spend very little on a pair of headphones, these are a good option. They look attractive, are comfortable to wear, and they get up to 50 hours of music playback on a single charge. That’s remarkable.
Considering the price, these are some of the best noise-canceling wireless headphones you can get. They have great battery life (40 hours), and they sound pretty good for the money. They are a bit plasticky, so you’ll want to be careful with them.
You’re not getting a crazy deal, and yet if you’re an aspiring audiophile, you probably still want to take a peek at this sale on the iconic Sennheiser HD 650 over-ears. These open-back headphones offer some of the best sound you’ll get on your noggin this side of $1,000. Just be aware that sounds can leak out at high volumes, so don’t wear them to the library.