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If you’ve gone back to commuting to work in 2022 (or are finally back in the gym), you might have realised that your old headphones or earbuds just don’t cut it anymore. After all, two years have passed since we were getting on trains and buses regularly, needing to make our tunes private instead of, you know, blasting them out of the speaker in our homes.
Luckily, tech companies have kept up with the times, even if we kind of didn’t. There are loads of top-rated new headphones and earbuds on the market right now, from affordable options that have garnered rave reviews to high-quality tech designed for those who need their audio as crisp and clear as possible.
What Is Better, Headphones or Earbuds?
It really comes down to what you’re looking for. Overall, if muting background noise is paramount, you’ll want headphones — these go over your ear and usually include noise-cancelling tech to drown out chatter and noise. For ease of use, earbuds take the top spot because they won’t mess with your hairstyle, can easily be packed down into a case (which often charges them, even when not connected to a power source) and weigh next to nothing.
Headphones traditionally have a clearer, crisper sound, and most will beat earbuds in this area. However, some of the new release earbuds have incredible sound, so you don’t necessarily have to forgo great audio for ease of use.
Below, find our top picks for the best headphones and earbuds of 2022.
Best Headphones Of 2022
Bose QuietComfort 45 Headphones, $499.95
Bose makes some of the best headphones in the business, and the QuietComfort series has seen several top-rated iterations in-market. The latest, QuietComfort 45 ($499.95), focuses on a blend of comfort and noise cancelling sound via softer-than-ever cushioning on its ear covers, and a switch that flips your headphones into noise cancelling mode. Bose’s noise cancelling technology took them fifty years to develop, which is why their headphones and earbuds have such superior sound optimisation.
Sony WH-1000XM5 Headphones, $548
Sony’s latest headphones in the noise cancelling space are all about ease of use. From swift connection to your laptop and phone through to adaptive sound control that senses where you are, and the ability to adjust to an ambient sound setting accordingly, the WH-1000XM5 ($548) headphones do the thinking for you. One of the best new additions, for example, is an instant pause feature, where your music will stop when you take the headphones off.
Kogan EC-65 II Pro Active Headphones, $79.99
You may not have considered Kogan for headphones, but you should — especially if you’re on a budget but still want quality sound. The Kogan EC-65 II ($79.99) has over 200 reviews and maintains a 4.5/5 rating, with one reviewer raving about the quality after she replaced her expensive headphones with these for “a fraction of the price”.
Best Earbuds Of 2022
Sennheiser CX Plus SE True Wireless, $259.95
Sennheiser has made some of the most popular earbuds over the years, and while their three current options, which include the Momentum and the Sport, are all top quality, we love the CX Plus SE for its slightly more affordable price point ($259.95). These are truly noise cancelling earbuds, and come with four different earbud sizes, so you can adapt them to your ears for the perfect fit. They feature splash resistance, up to 24 hours of playtime and controls you can personalise via the Sennheiser app.
Beats Studio Buds, $199.95
The Beats Studio Buds ($199.95) are the best choice if you’re on a budget but need high-quality audio that lasts. Active Noise Cancelling continuously blocks outside sound, and plenty of tech went into the acoustics, so expect professional level audio.
Bose QuietComfort Earbuds, $399.95
Another great set from Bose, the QuietComfort Earbuds ($399.95) feature a lot of similar tech to the QuietComfort headphones, including noise cancellation. Once again, comfort is key here, and the addition of specially moulded tips that come in three sizes means these in-ear buds won’t irritate your body after hours of wear. The best part? One tap on the outside of the earbud switches from noise cancellation to ‘Aware’ mode, which allows for outside sounds. Great if you run into someone in the street.