Here's a public service announcement:
The earbuds that come with your iPhone, those stock white "EarPods" that don't really fit into anybody's ears and send all the sound out into the room instead of keeping it to your private listening enjoyment? They suck.
Instead, opt for these, the most stylish, best-performing headphones on the market this year, priced from lowest to most expensive. Your ears (and neighbors at the office/subway/airplane) will thank you.
AmazonThese little buds from Shure ($49) are a steal, according to Digital Trends, which included them in their roundup of best in-ear buds.
They're "likely the most bang for your buck," reviewers said, because they offer a good bass-to-mid range as well as cancel out sound (an upgraded model offers an in-line mic).
AmazonYou have to consider a lot when it comes to wireless in-hear headphones: battery life, how they fit in the ear, how they sound through the ether, price -- a lot can be a deal-breaker.
The Wirecutter reviewed 145 sport-specific headphones and considers the JLab Epic Bluetooth Wireless headphones ($99) the best: "They're stable, sturdy, sealed to block out distractions, and ... worked for all of our panelists equally well."
AmazonIf you're looking to make a style statement, the Onkyo ES-CTI300(SS) On-Ear Headphones with Control Talk ($149.99) are a sleek option for the office. Form meets function with a remote that controls Apple devices -- you can answer calls, change the song, etc. -- and it was The Wirecutter's choice for best on-hear headphones that include a mic for taking calls.
AmazonSennheiser's second version ($249) in its popular Momentum series improves on the comfort and audio quality of its predecessor, CNET says in its review, calling it one of the more versatile headphones on the market and one of the best sets of the year.
MasterOpen-back headphones can be tricky: Unlike closed-back sets, they open up the sound of your music to being heard by the rest of the world. Because the back isn't closed off, sound bleeds out (making them great for listening to music in your room), producing a much fuller sound than noise-canceling headphones can. They look good too, which is why these closed-back MH40s, from Master & Dynamic ($399), offer the appearance and style of an open back set but with all the silence you can appreciate from a soundproof pair.
"Even at high volumes, my coworkers couldn’t hear anything coming out of them -- and even at low volumes, I couldn’t hear anything they were saying when I had them on," the Wired wrote in its review.
Beats By DreSay what you want about wireless headphones, but this seems to be the direction we're all headed (especially if those rumors of Apple taking out the headphone jack in a future iPhone model are true).
CNET considers the Beats Studio Wireless ($379.95) set as the best wireless headphones on the market this year, but we're sure the competition will get tighter the more options that hit the market.
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