What are the best headphones to buy in 2023?

Ready to splash out on a new pair of headphones but can't decide which ones to buy? You've come to the right place! Whether it's sound quality or battery life you're interested in, or you're just looking for the best budget headphones overall, we've got you covered.

Here are all the best headphones (and earbuds) to buy in 2023 and what you can expect from each model.

In this blog:

Best headphones overall

Sony WH-1000XM5

The Sony WH-1000XM5 headphones are the latest additions to the WH series and offer a range of premium features that outdo most other competitors.

With an upgraded design that oozes elegance and best-in-class active noise cancellation, you can't go wrong with these headphones – that is, if you can afford them. The only negative of these headphones is the price, but can you really complain when you're being given the best of the best?

The Sony WH-1000XM5 are over-ear headphones, so they have minimal audio leakage. They don't fold quite as well as their predecessors do, however, so the Sony WH-1000XM4 might be a better choice if you're looking for headphones that fold into a compact piece of gear. .

You can expect up to 40 hours of battery life with active noise cancellation (ANC) off and up to 30 hours with it on, which is pretty impressive. But where the Sony XM5 headphones truly shine is within their sound quality. You can experience low frequencies with newfound precision and clarity, and notes are played with unerring precision.

If you don't mind paying a premium price, the Sony XM5 are by far the best headphones on the market right now.

Best earbuds overall

Sony WF-1000XM4 Wireless Earbuds

If you're looking for earbuds, the Sony WF-1000XM4 wireless earbuds are the best out there when it comes to sound quality, fit and comfort.

These true wireless earbuds offer features such as auto-pause, quick-attention, speak-to-chat and you can even tune the buds to the shape of your ears. The Sony XM4 earbuds also come with an IPX4 water resistance rating, making them ideal for working out.

Those who prioritise battery life in their earbuds will be delighted to hear that the Sony XM4 earbuds promise 8 hours of power, with the case offering a further 16 hours.

The Sony XM4 earbuds have touch-sensitive controls and comfortable ear tips that provide excellent noise isolation which, when coupled with Sony's Integrated Processor V1, makes its noise cancellation one of the best out there.

Best for sound

Beats Studio3 Wireless

Although these headphones aren't as new as some of the other models on this list, the Beats Studio3 Wireless headphones are some of the best headphones for sound quality.

These headphones are over-ear, which gives them a better and more secure fit to improve sound quality and noise cancellation. They have a W1 chip that enables them to seamlessly pair with Apple products such as iPhone or MacBook devices.

The Studio3's clarity is quite impressive and the headphones have amazing bass performance, which is to be expected from Beats. Thanks to these features, complicated melodies sound crisp and aren't muddied by an overbearing bass.

You'll also find that the Beats Studio3 headphones have great vocal frequency distinction, a feature worth having if you listen to a lot of layered tracks.

One thing to note is that their sound delivery is dependent on the headphones' fit, positioning and seal, so you'll need to take the time to ensure a proper fit to get the most out of these headphones.

While these headphones do have decent ANC, it's not the best out there compared to other headphones. The Beats Studio3 Wireless headphones can easily block background noise such as ambient chatter, however louder noises like the rumble of a bus engine might slip through.

You'll also find that the Beats Studio3 headphones have plenty of power to last you through the day. Beats claim a battery life of 22 hours with ANC turned on and 40 hours without.

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Best for noise cancellation

Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700

Want to know what the best noise cancelling headphones are? Look no further than the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700. As the name suggests, these headphones were made for cancelling out noise and providing an excellent audio experience.

The Bose noise cancellation is superior and like no other headphones around, offering ANC on both music and phone calls. As for the sound quality, you'll find your music will play with vibrant, lively character that not many other headphones can pull off.

While the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 don't have aptX, the sound quality is still really good. And if you're not happy with how your music sounds, you can adjust the frequency emphasis in the Bose Music app through a basic equalizer.

Using ANC, you'll get around 20 hours of battery life with these headphones, which is more than enough to last you throughout the day!

Apple AirPods Pro (2nd Gen)

Best for iPhone

Looking for some headphones to pair up perfectly with your iPhone? Try the AirPods Pro 2nd Generation!

Although these are technically earbuds, they're the most impressive earbuds Apple has made and are actually more advanced than Apple's AirPods Max headphones, making them the best in-ear headphones for iPhone devices so far.

These in-ears are Apple's second-generation flagship wireless ANC earbuds and offer lots of upgrades when compared to the first generation, with a more powerful processor, active noise-cancellation advancements, a longer battery life and most importantly, better audio performance.

The AirPods Pro 2nd Gen work seamlessly with other Apple products and come with the Find My feature for those forgetful enough to misplace their earbuds. You'll benefit from Apple's latest H2 chip and spatial audio as well as improved ANC.

Thanks to the new chip and the optimised re-positioning of the acoustic vents and mics, the AirPods Pro 2nd Gen can block out twice as much background noise as the 1st gen earbuds, turning background noise into a mere murmur.

In terms of battery life, you'll get 6 hours more compared to the previous AirPods Pro model. In total, you'll get up to 30 hours with the charging case and six hours in the earbuds on a single charge (with ANC on).

Save when you Shop Apple AirPods Pro at musicMagpie!

Best budget option

Anker Soundcore Life Q30 Wireless

If you're looking for the best headphones around that won't cost you an arm and a leg, the Anker Soundcore Life Q30 Wireless headphones are a good option. While you won't get the premium specs and features that most of the other headphones on this list offer, you'll only be paying double digits rather than the £100+ price points the other headphones come with.

The Anker Soundcore Life Q30 Wireless headphones are an earlier version of the Q45 headphones that come with a better price and better overall ANC performance. The noise cancellation on these headphones isn't the best out there, but they'll do a good job when it comes to blocking out engine noises on commutes.

Their battery lasts for about 44 hours with ANC on and they're equipped with an auto-off timer to help save power, so battery life won't be an issue.

In terms of audio, these headphones have extra bass making them perfectly suited to genres such as rock and pop. You'll also be able to adjust the sound to your taste using the graphic EQ and presets within the Anker app.

Get your next set of headphones or earbuds for less when you buy headphones with musicMagpie! Plus, you can sell your old headphones with us for cash too. So what are you waiting for? Get saving now!

You'll even get your hands on affordable phones when you switch to refurbished iPhone models or explore our range of refurbished phones.