Headphones. As you may have noticed, there are a lot of them out there. Now, more than any time in history, headphones are everywhere, invading our ears like a conquering horde. And like most hordes, headphones come in virtually every style, color, and flavor you can imagine. As reviewers, it can be daunting. As shoppers, it can be downright intimidating.
As such, we’ve compiled our master list of the best headphones you can buy, covering several price points and a wide variety of styles and sound signatures. These are the ringers. The value picks. The top guns. So stop tearing your hair out and peruse our curated collection of the absolute best headphones for you, your ears, and your wallet.
Why you should buy them: Brilliant sound, loads of style, and highly affordable.
Who’s it for: Anyone who wants to squeeze the best sound out of each and every dollar.
How much will they cost: $100-150
Why we picked the Sennheiser Momentum On-ear
Sennheiser may have moved on from the original Momentum On-ear, offering both an update and a wireless version, but we never have. From the moment we first heard these headphones, we were hooked. The Momentum are the Honda Accord of the Sennheiser lineup, offering that sterling mix of performance, style, and affordability that strikes at your deal hunting instincts like a dinner bell.
Let’s start with the on-ear design which really plays more like an over-ear, giving you better sound isolation than you’d expect, and a full and deep soundstage that allows your music to flow freely and ring purely. The design is also stylish and essentially customizable — the radio operator-style ear cups and band come in a wide variety of colors to mix and match. Cast from metal rather than plastic for durability, the band is layered in just enough padding for comfort and easily adjusts to fit. The look is unique, without calling attention — style and subtlety poured out in equal measure. The only design detraction is that the earpieces don’t fold in (something reserved for the update), but the cans come with a black suede case that’s still pretty packable.
The most important thing is that signature Sennheiser sound, of which the Momentum (both the on-ear and over-ear versions) serve as lead ambassadors. We’re talking about thrilling detail and loads of space to play around in, allowing you to explore the depth of each instrument, voice, or effect in three dimensions. The bass is punchy and warm, and that warmth spills into the midrange, which manages to be full and weighty, yet surprisingly accurate. Up top, details are revealed with clarity and precision, without ever getting sharp or sibilant.
While these headphones will eventually be retired, for now the original Momentum On-ear stand as an unmatched bargain in the headphone landscape — instant classics that won’t steer you wrong. (Incidentally, stepping up to the Momentum On-ear 2, or the wireless version will do you right as well, but for a bit more green.)