zolo earbuds

As long as there are phones, computers, tablets, and movies with sex noises in them that you’d rather not blare out loud on an airplane, headphones will be an essential part of modern life.

We love ‘em all, from the cheap as dirt wired variety to the big honking over-ear Bluetooth noise-cancelling gadgets churned out by the big brands. Headphone tech is changing every day and it’s hard to keep up. To that end, we’ve built a list of our very favorite headphones, earbuds, and everything in between for 2018 and beyond.

The Cheap

You can’t go wrong with the TaoTronics Bluetooth Headphones which exist at the perfect intersection of quality and affordability. The Taotronics use Bluetooth 4.2 and feature a modern, sweatproof design and deep bass to make a pair of these one of the best bargains of the year. [Amazon, $31.99]

Another budget pick this year is the POP VIEW Premium Earphones which combine the design of Apple’s long-beloved earphones with a slightly higher sound quality, and a 3.5mm audio jack because, hey, most gadgets still use that port for something. [Amazon, $15.99]

The Unsung Heroes

Aukey's flagship Bluetooth Headphones on Amazon
Aukey's flagship Bluetooth Headphones on Amazon

The AUKEY Latitude Wireless Headphones might be the best pair of headphones I’ve ever tried, pound-for-pound. The sound quality is rich, the Bluetooth connection stays strong without blips or even momentary drops, and the build is solid. This is the best affordable pair of Bluetooth headphones going right now, and it’s hard to see how they can be improved. [Amazon, $27.99]

For the more extreme audiophile who values comfort as well as sound, the over-ear COWIN E7 Active Noise Cancelling Headphones are your best bet, with a 4.6 star rating from more than 7,000 customer reviews. They’re big but not intrusive, cozy but not lightweight, and most of all, they sound amazing with over 30 hours of playtime from the internal battery. Pick a pair up for just $50.

High-End Headphones At Low-End Prices

Bose QuietComfort
Bose QuietComfort

The Bose QuietComfort 35 Bluetooth Headphones were the hit of Amazon Prime Day, and even at this price, they’re worth picking up before Amazon sells out for the holiday season. Unrivaled sound and a seriously strongly-built pair of headphones make these the perfect investment. Trust us, you won’t be needing a replacement pair for years and years. [Amazon, $349.00]

Move over, Apple AirPods. The Zolo Liberty Total-Wireless Earphones may be tiny, but pack a punch when it comes to delivering top-of-the-range sound, and the charging case provides 24 hours of additional charge on top of the earbuds’s amazing 5-hour playtime. Don’t sleep on this amazing piece of tech. [Apple, $98.95]

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