Best Headphones 2017 in the UK

Best Headphones 2017 in the UK

Great music is everywhere nowadays, and because of services like Spotify, Tidal and Apple Music, you can listen to all your favourite songs at all times.

But, you can't always play music through speakers, as you'll disturb your neighbours or colleagues. This is where a set of headphones comes in handy. For listening to music on your morning jogs, to blocking out noise in a plane, there's a headphone or earphone that'll tick all the right boxes.

Unlike those terrible earbuds that probably came with your phone, the best headphones will bring your music to life, giving you great bass, crystal-clear highs and everything in between. There are loads of great headphones on the market in a wide variety of in-ear, on-ear and over-ear designs, so to make things easier we’ve collected the best headphones you can buy in every category.

The best in-ear headphones to buy

SoundMAGIC E10: The best in-ear headphones under £40

SoundMagic E10

The E10s are fantastic earphones for the money, particularly if you add a set of sound-isolating ear foams that would increase their ability to block noise; the E10s are compatible with the T-400 Comply fitting, although Soundmagic doesn't include any in the box. They ship with standard silicone tips, which generally do a good job, but for around £15 more you can turn them into superb isolating in-ears.

Key specs – Type: In-ear, Connections: 3.5mm jack plug, Weight: 11g, Cable length: 1.2m


Rock Jaw Alfa Genus V2: Brilliant sound quality for under £50

Rock Jaw Alfa Genus V2 jack

The Rock Jaw Alfa Genus comes with three different tuning filters that have a tangible effect on the sound produced. While we weren't fond of the Enhanced Bass tuning filter, the Reference and Neutral filters produce sound quality far beyond what we would expect for earphones at this price. This makes the Rock Jaw Alfa Genus great value for the money.

The build quality for an inexpensive pair of headphones was also very respectable and there's an integrated remote that works with iOS and Android devices. The Rock Jaw Alfa Genus V2 is our favourite reasonably-priced in-ear headphones.

Key specs – Type: In-ear, Connections: 3.5mm headset jack plug, Weight: Not disclosed, Cable length: 1.2m


Plantronics BackBeat FIT: The best sports headphones for under £100

Plantronics BackBeat FIT - Coil

The Plantronics BackBeat FIT are one of the most comfortable sports headphones you're likely to wear. They sit over the top of your ears, staying nice and secure, and the rubberised finish is both flexible and lightweight. They're not overly-isolating, so you can still get a grasp on your surroundings if you're a road-based runner. Sound quality is good enough to get your heart racing. The best news is that the price has dropped since its original release, and can now be had for around £60, which is a veritable bargain.


Gibson Trainer Ti100: The best in-ear headphones for running

Gibson Trainer Ti100 remote

As these are endorsed by Usain Bolt, you'll be unsurprised to hear they're geared specifically towards running. As such, they have some particularly runner-friendly features such as a flashing LED light that makes it easier to be seen at night and a mode that lowers the volume and bass so you can hear your surroundings. Wingtips and a solid fit help to keep these secured and, as they're Bluetooth, you don't have to worry about annoying cables getting caught. A handy magnetic clip keeps what little cable there is from flapping around.

Key specs – Type: In-ear, Connections: Bluetooth, Weight: 100g, Cable length: 1.3m


Brainwavz B200: The best earphones under £100

The Brainwavz B200 have two balanced armature drivers, which combine to produce a spectacular sound for under £150. The crossover between the two drivers is tuned to perfection - its bass is tight and extends well into the sub-bass regions. Its mid-range has an accurate reproduction that outclasses most in its price category. Its treble does lack extension, but still, has enough energy to keep your toes tapping. 

The B200's soundstage is similarly impressive. Unlike most earphones, these have a wide, deep soundstage with excellent instrument separation. The earphones are very well built too - with a braided cable and a lightweight plastic shell, these are extremely comfortable to wear. If you've got £150 to spend on earphones, look no further than the Brainwavz B200.

Key specs – Type: In-ear, Connections: 3.5mm headset jack plug, Weight: Not disclosed, Cable length: 1.2m


The best on-ear headphones

Skullcandy Grind: Snazzy on-ear headphones for under £20

Skullcandy Grind teaser

Available for less than £40, the Skullcandy Grind sounds far better than the price would lead you to believe, rivalling headphones costing far more. They have an exciting design available in different colours and they're also supremely comfortable thanks to the generously padded earpads. There's a built-in microphone you can use for hands-free calling with a one-button remote that can also skip tracks.

Key specs – Type: On-ear, Connections: 3.5mm headset jack plug, Weight: 180g, Cable length: 1.2m


AKG K451: The best on-ear headphones under £50

AKG K451 teaser

If you're looking for a simpler design compared to the Skullcandy Grind, the AKG K451 is a great choice. They're are a few years old now but that doesn't stop them being a great budget on-ear choice. As they're getting on a bit, they're often available for a bargain price to boot. They come with a quality hard travel case and their compact, folding design make them great for regular commuters looking for an audio upgrade over their pack-in headphones. An inline remote control and microphone can be used for skipping tracks as well as making hands-free calls.

Key specs – Type: On-ear, Connections: 3.5mm headset jack plug, In-line remote and microphone; Weight: 120g, Cable length: 1.2m


The best over-ear headphones to buy

Creative Sound BlasterX H5: The best gaming headphones under £100

Creative Sound Blaster H5 - ear cups

Headphones aren't just for listening to music. You'll want better sound quality when gaming, too, and that's where a gaming headset will give you an advantage. While many gaming headsets are guilty of over-embellishing when it comes to garish lights and other superfluous additions, the H5 are surprisingly reserved. Sound quality for music, films and games is top-notch. If you want to jump into a game, you can plug in your microphone and use the headphone as a headset.

There's a new version of the H5, with better drivers and an improved microphone, under the name of the H5 Tournament Edition - we'd suggest this version if you're buying a new H5.

Key specs - Type: Over-ear headset; Connections: 3.5mm headset jack plug; Weight: 260g; Cable length: 2.5m


SoundMAGIC HP151: Fantastic headphones for the home

SoundMAGIC is known for their ultra-affordable E10 earphones, but little is known about the company making excellent headphones. At £120, the HP151 is affordable and yet sounds fantastic for the price. Its soundstage sets it out from the rest, with a wide and deep sound, you might mistakenly think they are open-back headphones; they're that good.

The overall sound presentation is accurate, with the bass or treble frequencies not sounding overdone or artificially boosted. With soft PU leather material on the headband and ample padding on the ear pads, the HP151's are very comfortable to wear for long listening sessions. Its 2.5m-long removable cable makes it ideal for home setups but does restrict you from taking it on commutes. If you're looking for headphones to use at home, and don't have a big budget, the HP151's should at the top of your wish list.

Read our SoundMAGIC HP151 review

Key specs - Type: Over-ear; Connections: 3.5mm headset jack plug; Weight: 288g; Cable length: 2.5m


Audio-Technica ATH-M50X: The best headphones under £150

Price when reviewed: £126

Arguably one of the most loved and popular headphones among consumers are the Audio-Technica ATH-M50X. These over-the-ear headphones sit under £150 and offer fantastic sonic capabilities. Its package contains a soft carrying pouch, a 6.3mm screw-on adapter, and three separate detachable cables: A 1.2-3m coiled cable, a 3m straight cable and another that measures 1.2m. The headphones can be folded, for easier transportation too.

Its soft pads and cushioned headband make them comfortable for long listening sessions. Its sound quality is what sets it apart from other headphones in its price category. Despite a slight V-shaped, warm sound - the headphones sound fantastic. Its bass extension and impact are impressive, the mids are accurately reproduced and the highs provide the right amount of sparkle to keep your toes tapping. Its wide soundstage also provides enough space for its 45mm drivers to breathe - this results in a wide and deep soundstage with excellent instrument separation. If you've set a budget of £150 on a set of headphones, get the ATH-M50X - they're simply phenomenal for the price.

Key specs - Type: Over-ear; Connections: 3.5mm headset jack plug; Weight: 285g; Cable length: 1.2/3m


Denon AH-MM400: The best over-ear headphones under £250

The wood-effect looks might not be everyone's idea of a classy pair of headphones, but the Denon AH-MM400 more than make amends for their potential fashion faux pas with astonishing sound quality. Music sounds full-bodied and realistic from the deepest bass to the highest treble, and where many rival closed-back over-ear headphones can tend to struggle to spread sounds far and wide, the AH-MM400 have no such problems. They work well with both smartphones and headphone amps/DACs, too. At their launch price of almost £400 they were brilliant 'phones - now that they're nearer £200, they're superlative.

Key specs - Type: On-ear; Connections: 3.5mm headset jack plug, In-line remote and microphone; Weight: 466g; Cable length: 1.2m/3m


Blue Microphones Mo-Fi: Kooky, yet brilliant over-ear headphones

Blue Microphones Mo-Fi headphones detail cups

As Blue Microphones’ debut pair of cans, the Mo-Fi sounds fantastic and the built-in amplifier really makes your music shine. They will, however, bring out the distortion in any low-quality encoded tracks you might have in your collection. They sound far superior to the Beats By Dr. Dre Studio headphones, which are available for the same price.

Key specs - Type: On-ear; Connections: 3.5mm headset jack plug; Weight: 466g; Cable length: 1.2m/3m

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