Which headphone brands are worth the money, and which aren’t worth your time?

We spent weeks compiling data on nearly 3,000 pairs of headphones across dozens of brands. We then scored each pair out of 100, based on expert reviews (75%) and raw specifications (25%). Finally, we determined the average score for 18 popular brands (we left out lesser-known brands and brands where we had a sample size less than 25 pairs.)

How did things turn out? We’ve got good news and bad news.

The Bad News –>


  • music81

    The “Sony MDR-7520 Professional Studio Headphones” beats everything you listed here. With its 5Hz – 80kHz frequency response, 108 dB sensitivity, all of these listed headphones goes right in the toilet. Best bass, clear crystal audio and set for a long run, what else do you need? http://www.amazon.com/Sony-MDR-7520-Headphones/dp/B004Z58VZ2

  • some guy from kentucky

    sony and shure are my 2 favorite headphone brands. anyways great article.

  • Carp Finley

    The Panasonic in the Bottom 9 has the same score as the Audio-Technica in the Top 9.

  • michael mc

    I have Shure SRH840s, they are truly very nice, very transparent. Also, Beyerdynamic D770 not mentioned? They are very nice also, very clear bass.

  • Tim Schutt

    Keep in mind that Grado has sub $100 models as well – I’ve got a set of lower-mid range SR80i’s ($100) that are incredible cans, and some beloved SR125′s that are ~21 years old and still sound fantastic.