The best wired headphones you can buy – updated September 20212
So in many cases you're either supposed to buy an adapter, or alternatively, just cave in and buy Bluetooth wireless earbuds or wireless headphones.
Best wired headphones, summarized:
- Sennheiser HD 600 – open back, under $400
- Audio-Technica ATH-M50X – closed back, under $200
- Pioneer HDJ-CUE1BT – can switch between wireless and wired, under $100
- Sony MDRXB800 Extra Bass – closed back, under $100
- AKG Pro Audio K92 – closed back, under $100
- Sennheiser HD 300 – closed back, under $50
Sennheiser HD 600
These legendary headphones have been around for decades and are still many professional music producers' favorite choice to this day. Unlike most other headphones on this list, these are open back, meaning they have zero isolation and your music will bleed out, so they're not suitable for on-the-go music listening, but for enjoying or even making music in the comfort of your home or studio.
These headphones deliver clear, flat sound, meaning you can enjoy jazz, classical music and other such genres without distortion or a heavy, artificial emphasis on bass. If you're looking for strong bass or more casual headphones for electronic dance music and hip-hop, you'll be better off with one of the other options on this list.
Audio Technica ATH-M50X
Like the HD 600 above, these headphones by Audio Technica are well regarded by professionals, but are closed back, so they can be enjoyed on the go and among people just as well as in the comfort of your home.
They come with three detachable cables, which are in different lengths, ending with a 3.5mm jack that can plug into your phone, tablet or PC. You also get a 3.5mm to 6.3mm adapter, should you need it.
They're somewhat flat-sounding, meaning great for production and monitoring, but do have a mild emphasis on bass and mids also, so they should also satisfy most casual listeners.
What if you can have the best of both worlds – a pair of fun headphones that can connect wirelessly with your no-headphone-jack phone, but also come with a 3.5mm cable you can attach to them at any time for use with your other devices?
These headphones by respected DJ gear brand Pioneer are affordable, have good sound with solid bass, and can switch between a Bluetooth connection and a 3.5mm connection on the fly. You can choose to completely ignore their Bluetooth functionality if you wish, just attach the pack-in cable they come with right away.
Who knows, maybe these will help transition you into wireless? In any case, for that price, these headphones are a great choice, so long as you're not looking for the cleanest and flat sound out there.
Sony MDRXB800 Extra Bass
As the name so subtly suggests, these are the "fun" type of headphones, meaning they don't aim to offer flat or ultra-clear sound, but punchy one for modern music such as EDM, trap, hip-hop and the likes.
Also, these are very affordable for what they are – fairly portable, wired headphones for casual music listening on your phone.
AKG Pro Audio K92
AKG is known for making some fantastic studio headphones, but the company also offers super affordable ones for casual listening, and the K92 are one of those.
They're not quite flat-sounding, top quality audio equipment, but for enjoying some modern music on your phone, and especially for that price, the K92 are worth considering. Their design allows for some good noise isolation, meaning your music shouldn't bleed and annoy others around you.
Sennheiser HD 300
Speaking of affordable wired headphones from beloved brands, we can't overlook the HD 300 by Sennheiser. These headphones are super affordable, lightweight, have good noise isolation and are perfect for use with a phone, on the go. Thanks to their design, they can fold up to save space in your backpack, and their cable is even detachable.