Expensive headphones may be a wise investment for elite audiophiles. But for the rest of us—those who appreciate high-quality sound but don't need the absolute best—there are plenty of affordable options.
To find the leading mid-range choices, we hit up our audiophile friends, consulted a range of online reviews, and tested a few ourselves. Here are the five that came out on top.
Skullycandy Sport Method Wireless ($60)
These wireless earbuds and the accompanying collar are designed to stay put even when you're sweating and bouncing around, making them ideal for the gym rat. You also get nine hours of battery life and a mic for phone calls.
Urbanears Plattan 2 ($50)
Designed in Sweden, the Plattan 2 have a bass-heavy sound and a minimalist aesthetic. We also dig that you can daisy chain the Plattan 2s and share music.
Waterfi SwimActive Waterproof Headphones ($50)
Built for swimmers, Waterfi’s headphones are waterproof down to 10 feet and are designed to hook into an iPod Shuffle that clips to your goggles. Bonus: the earbuds do a great job of keeping water out.
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC23BK ($70)
These buds, which are part of Audio Technica’s QuietPoint line, drown out the nearby ambient noise to create a better, cleaner listening experience. We particularly recommend them for commuters who have to sit on noisy buses or trains.
Plantronics BackBeat 500 ($80)
Bring these wireless headphones on your next international flight. Thanks to memory foam pads, they're comfortable enough to wear for extended periods of time, plus they have an 18-hour battery life.