Finding the best headphones can be a long and confusing process, and depends on your personal needs. These include your budget, the features you prioritize, and the preferences you may have about how they look and fit. Do you want over-ears with a headband or would you prefer true wireless earbuds that cut the cord entirely? The choice is yours.
To try to make that process easier, we’ve rounded up our top 5 picks for 2022 below.
Known as one of the best headphones on the market, the Sony WH-1000XM4 headphones deliver excellent noise-cancellation and sound quality in a comfortable and lightweight design.
They don’t look too different from their predecessors, the Sony WH-1000XM3, but new features, including multipoint pairing, DSEE Extreme upscaling, conversational awareness, and auto-play/pause using a built-in sensor, provides a significant upgrade. Both the headphones and packaging are made almost entirely from recycled materials, adding to its appeal. Whilst its design is leaning towards bland, the battery life bumps up the pros with 30 hours with active noise cancellation activated, and 40 hours without.
Top reasons to buy include the articulate and engaging sound, great control options, and impressive noise-cancellation capabilities. The downside is the redesign and eco credential increases the price, and some reviewers have reported the headphones get hot around the ears with longer listening times.
Sporting a smart design and impressive features, the Bose 700 is one of the best active noise cancelling headphones on the market. Equipped with eight microphones and 11 levels of adjustable active noise cancellation, working to neutralize noise across different frequencies. The battery life sits at 20 hours with active noise cancellation activated.
Smart assistant integration, touch controls, and multipoint technology also make these Bose headphones some of the most intuitive noise-cancellers for commuters and music lovers alike.
The AirPods Max is the noise-cancelling headphones Apple fans have been waiting for, and they don’t disappoint despite the high price. Once you try them it’s hard to take them off. The plush design and comfortable fit present an immediate feeling of luxury, and this grows once you start playing music. The 3D Spatial Audio feature uses head-tracking technology to create a surround sound effect, a definite game changer if you’ve never used it.
Featuring exceptional noise-cancelling, estimated battery life of 20 hours, a luxurious design and shimmery colour range, a sophisticated soundstage and clever computational highlights. However, the steep price and unconventional case can be difficult to overlook. If you are an Apple collector, then these are the best Apple headphones on the market.
With better sound, longer battery life, and waterproof protection, the Jabra Active Elite 75t has the AirPods Pro beat for best in the sports category. Jabra found a way to improve their classic wireless earbuds, packing substantial performance into a small waterproof design. The Elite Active 75t boasts better battery life and sound than the AirPods Pro, plus its charging case holds more portable power and feels sturdier. A much smaller battery life than the others on this list, with only 7.5 hours without the battery case, however that jumps to 28 hours with the battery case. Not surprising figures, considering their smaller size and earbud nature. Fitness fanatics will love the reliable comfort and fit they provide; sweat absorption is one of many unsung features on here.
No surprise, a second Apple product made it. The undisputed king of AirPods. The AirPods Pro is the ultimate wireless earbuds, offering noise cancelling, water resistance, and a customizable fit. They are the wireless earbuds to buy if you want noise cancelling without the bulk. Priced at AUD $399, you do get more for your money compared to the classic AirPods, including powerful ANC, a customizable fit and sweat and water resistance. The design is still rather weird-looking, reminiscent of the Pokémon Bellsprout, but Apple has shortened the stems on these earbuds whilst adding beneficial gesture controls.
The audio is significantly improved from the AirPods 2, producing clean and balanced sound to enjoy music, podcasts, and movies peacefully. Adding to its sonic capabilities are new features like spatial audio that were introduced with iOS 14 and create a theater-like soundscape that makes watching movies even more immersive. The active noise cancellation is effective, the outward- and inward-facing mics neutralize a large amount of ambient sound; low-humming noises and neighborly chatter will go completely silent. Hands-free Siri keeps getting better, while cool features like Announce Messages, Audio Sharing, and auto switching showcase the AirPods Pro’s multifunctional talents.