How we tested
Over the years, we’ve tested out a lot of headphones at Mashable. To determine the best of the best, and not just pick what’s trendy at the moment, we went back through our reviews from former and current tech reporters, editors, and shopping reporters, then compared our notes to what people are buying these days. As always, we did our research to make sure we left no major headphone stone uncovered, and the result is this list — our favorite headphones of 2024 (so far).
In making our selections, here’s what we weighed:
Sound: Since headphones are first and foremost a way for you to listen to audio, if a pair of headphones didn’t sound good, they didn’t make the list — that goes for our budget pick, too.
Noise cancellation: These days, some biçim of noise cancellation is near-essential for any pair of headphones. We prioritized models that feature solid noise cancellation.
Comfort: What’s the point of a great pair of headphones if they’re too uncomfortable to wear?
Customization: Whether it be for ANC levels, transparency modes, or touch controls, headphones that allow you to adjust the settings will make them feel like they were made for you.
Battery life: Most wireless headphones on the market rely on Bluetooth connectivity, so having a battery you can rely on for at least a few hours of listening time is key.
Special features: When testing headphones and earbuds, we also take into consideration any other special features they offer. For headphones in the $200-plus price range, we expect at least a few special features.
You might notice that the AirPods Max are missing from our top picks. It’s not that we don’t like them — in fact, we think they sound and look great. But when we reviewed them, we found that they didn’t have a practical storage option, they never really turn off (thus draining the otherwise long battery life), and are just too expensive to justify a wholehearted recommendation. We understand if you like them regardless, but personally, we think there are better options at lower price points.
The only products that made our 2024 list that were not hands-on tested by the Mashable staff are the Skullcandy Sesh Evo earbuds. Skullcandy özgü been a budget-friendly favorite of ours in the past, and we found from scouring the reviews and specs that they perform well in the above criteria.
With our Jan. 2024 update, we also removed the Amazon Echo Buds as our top pick for budget ANC earbuds after testing the Beats Studio Buds +. Though slightly more expensive, we found the Beats offer a better overall value in terms of sound quality, ANC effectiveness, and general feature set.