With the proliferation of smartphones and other internet-accessing devices globally, headphones have become much more than a crucial accessory.
They have become an extension of ourselves. Generally, every smartphone comes with a free pair of earphones.
Though they are useful, they might not necessarily be the right pair that lets you listen to your favourite music on a crowded bus or enjoy a late-night movie without disturbing others in your home.
Would you like to go for an upgrade?
Are you confused by the variety and range of headphones available in the market?
This buying guide and the reviews for some of the best headphones available in India should help you to make the right choice.
Best Headphones in India
1. Bose Noise Cancelling Wireless Bluetooth Headphones 700
Bose is a reputed world leader when it comes to headphones. This Bluetooth headphone is one of the best noise-cancelling headphones in India.
The highlight of Bose 700 is its noise-cancelling feature. It allows you to personalise your environment with 11 levels of noise cancelling. Three settings, low, medium, and full noise cancellation are available on the left earcup. You can customise your preferences using the Bose Music app.
Controlling the headphone is easy using Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. One-click of a button is enough to activate the voice assistant. You can also manage your phone’s default voice assistant utilising this feature.
2. Sony WH-1000XM3
The name Sony is synonymous with quality. With Sony, you get full value for the money you spend. This Sony wireless over-ear headphone comes with excellent features, the most notable of which is the Active Noise Cancellation facility. The foldable feature is an attractive aspect of this headphone.
Sony Active Noise Cancellation features make this headphone one of the best wireless headphones. The presence of path-breaking technologies like Adaptive Sound Control, Quick Attention, and Smart Listening makes it one of the most sought-after over-ear headphones in India.
The highly advanced noise-cancelling processor QN1 allows you to personalise the experience to a different level. This feature blocks out almost every distraction to deliver an impressive acoustic performance.
The long-lasting battery is one of the best aspects of this headphone. Besides having a life of nearly 30 hours, this battery has a quick charging facility, whereby a ten-minute charge is enough to power the headphone for five hours.
3. Bose QuietComfort 35 II
Bose is the pioneer as far as manufacturing headphones are concerned. The highlight of Bose headphones is the noise-cancelling capability that paves the way for an incredible acoustic experience. Every Bose appliance is worth the amount you spend on it.
Bose QuietComfort 35 II comes with astounding features like built-in Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa to help navigate through the controls seamlessly.
These virtual assistants allow you instant access to millions of playlists. Thus, you can immerse yourself into wholesome entertainment with the simplest of audio commands.
The volume-optimised EQ feature accounts for the exceptional clarity you experience on your Bose headphones. The noise-rejecting microphone system allows you to attend to your phone calls with incredible clarity, even in the noisiest of environments. Hence, the Bose QuietComfort 35 II qualify as the best headphones available under Rs 30,000.
4. Sony WH-XB900N
If there is any headphone brand that can stand up to the Bose models, it has to be Sony. The striking aspect of Sony headphones is aesthetic designing. Besides, these headphones provide the most pleasing acoustic experience you can ever have.
Sony headphones are renowned for the excellent sound quality they produce. This headphone is no different as it delivers Extra Bass for a deep and punchy sound experience. The dedicated bass duct in the headphone housing is responsible for the production of such vocal clarity.
The ANC feature enables the headphone to cancel out every external distraction and deliver the purest sound for your ears. Bluetooth and NFC compatibility ensures the elimination of cables and the troubles that come with managing tangled wires.
The extended battery life of 30 hours is a fantastic feature present on Sony headphones. Besides, a 10-minute Quick Recharge facility allows you an additional 60 minutes of headphone usage.
Thus, it qualifies as one of the best headphones in India for conference calls and other business activities.
5. Audio Technica ATH-M50x
Headphones used in audio studios need to be different from the ones you use at home. These headphones can keep out distracting noises to enable the singers to listen to the right musical notes. Audio Technica ATH-M50x is one such professional studio headphone with excellent features.
This over-ear headphone is available in two variants, wired and wireless. The detachable cable allows for convenient storage as it prevents the tangling of wires.
The ATH-M50x headphone comes with significant 45mm Neodymium drivers with copper-clad aluminium voice coils for delivering enhanced performance. These drivers ensure an accurate and balanced bass response, thereby proving ideal for listening to all types of music.
The user-friendliness of this headphone makes it one of the most popular headphones. The portable nature of this headphone is another highlight that qualifies for ranking as one of the best headphones for travel in India.
The well-defined bass and treble response along with its fantastic noise isolation features deliver a fully-balanced audio experience to professionals and ordinary people, alike.
6. Marshall Major III
Bluetooth headphones have tremendous utility because they eliminate the use of cables and are therefore the most convenient to use. Movie buffs would love to own the Marshall Major III Bluetooth headphones because of its exquisite features.
Marshall Major III headphones come with the convenience of Bluetooth AptX technology to deliver an impeccable audio experience. Marshall has an excellent reputation for producing high-quality audio accessories. This ergonomically designed headphone is the latest product in the impressive Marshall line-up.
This headphone is amongst the most comfortable headphones available in India because of its plush straight-fit headband and cushioned earcups. The 3D hinges and the white-thicker loop wires give this headphone an attractive appearance.
The positive aspect of this Marshall Major III headphone is its fantastic battery life. It can deliver up to 30 hours of continuous wireless playing on a single charge.
7. Fire Boltt Blast 1200
The Bose and Sony headphones can be out of reach for many because of their high pricing. Fire Boltt brings a ray of hope for such people to enjoy the best headphone features at extremely affordable prices. Amongst, the lower-priced headphones, the Fire Boltt Blast 1200 ranks as the best headphones available in India under Rs 3,000.
The highlighting feature of Fire Boltt Blast 1200 headphones is its dynamic and unique glow light. It makes for an enchanting presence while delivering an impeccable acoustic performance at the same time.
This headphone comes with one of the most convenient designs, including padded headband and earcups. The stylish and lightweight design makes this product one of the most sought-after headphones under Rs 3,000.
The Dual Mode feature enables you to store your favourite MP3 files in a TF card and enjoy them at leisure. Similarly, you can connect your AUX cable to your device and have a great time enjoying live music.
This headphone features a built-in 1000 mAh battery capable of performing continuously for 20 hours on a single charge. These phones have a stylish and distinctive appearance because of the multi-colour lights.
8. boAt Rockerz 510
Among the lower-priced over-ear Bluetooth headphones, boAt Rockerz is the best appliance available in India because of its exquisite design and exceptional performance levels. Gamers love this headphone as it delivers quality sound without any sound leakage to disturb others. The boAt Rockerz 510 is thus the best headphone for gaming in India.
The exquisitely designed boAt Rockerz 510 headphone is ideally crafted to enhance your entertainment by delivering impeccable sound quality. The lightweight headphone is one of the most comfortable to wear.
The adjustable headbands allow placing the earbuds entirely over your ears to provide an exhilarating experience listening to your favourite music.
This headphone has dual compatibility. If Bluetooth connectivity is not available, you can use the aux cable to connect to your smartphones and other devices to continue listening to your favourite music.
9. JBL T460BT Extra Bass Wireless On-Ear Headphones
JBL headphones have a lot in common with Sony models. One of them is the excellent sound quality delivered by both these reputed brands. Secondly, JBL headphones come with a similar foldable design to make it one of the most comfortable headphones.
JBL headphones are a product of Harman, a leading manufacturer of audio devices. This company does not compromise on the quality aspect under any circumstances. With JBL T460BT, you get a dynamic, immersive, and vivid acoustic experience, at par with the best that electronics giants like Sony offer.
JBL brings with it an experience of nearly seven decades into engineering precise and impressive sound into its excellent devices. Dishing out deep and punching bass sounds has always been the hallmark of JBL audio devices over the years.
One of the highlighting features of the JBL T460BT is its flat-foldable, lightweight, and comfortable design. It allows you to fold the earcups comfortably and protect it from damage.
10. Infinity (JBL) Glide 500
Infinity Glide is another Harman product. Hence, you can expect the quality of the highest degree. This headphone lives up to its reputation of being one the best on-ear headphones in India under Rs 2,000. Fantastic discounts are available on Amazon on this product.
Infinity Glide 500 comes with the Harman assurance of delivering exemplary performance under all circumstances. This headphone has the stylish looks to enhance your personality to a different level.
The Dual Equaliser feature available on this headphone enables you to enjoy bass, depending on your moods. Pressing the Volume button up or down can adjust the bass accordingly.
One of the critical aspects of the Infinity Glide 500 headphones is its battery life. This headphone comes with a battery life of 20 hours.
Besides, the 2-hour charge feature allows you to continue listening to your favourite music by seamlessly gliding from one playlist to another without stopping to recharge frequently.
11. Zebronics Zeb-Thunder
When it comes to purchasing over-ear headphones under Rs 1,000, Zebronics Zeb-Thunder is one of the best headphones option. This headphone is available in four attractive colours.
If you do not wish to invest heavily in a Bluetooth headphone, the Zebronics Zeb-Thunder should be an ideal option. While being priced below Rs 1,000, this headphone delivers exemplary acoustic performance.
This headphone is compatible with Bluetooth 4.2, an earlier version of Bluetooth. The device can deliver in the range of 10 metres without obstacles.
The earcups have controlling options to help you to adjust the volume and control the media input. The call function allows you to attend to phone calls without having to touch your smartphone.
The built-in rechargeable battery can deliver playback for a maximum of nine hours. The batteries can last for up to 200 hours in the Standby mode. The charging time of 2.5 hours compares with the best in the business.
Buying Guide for headphones
Purchasing the right kind of headphones can be a tricky affair. A greenhorn (an inexperienced person) can find the going tough. This buying guide will go into the details and help you to choose the right one.
We shall also discuss the points to keep in mind when shopping for the ideal headphone.
Let us begin by discussing the various types of headphones available on the market.
Various Types of Headphones
Everyone who has used a smartphone knows what a headphone or earphone is. Every individual has his/her requirements and preferences. However, we shall start with the basics and understand the different types of headphones available in India today.
The in-ear headphones are the most common ones available today. Usually, all smartphones manufacturers offer a pair of such headphones as a free accessory along with the product.
Apart from the wireless earphones, these in-ear headphones are the smallest of the lot. The portability of these headphones makes it popular among people.
- Portability – The in-ear headphones are light in weight and can fit into your shirt pockets or hand purses. Dangling them around your neck is also a popular way of carrying them along wherever you go.
- Excellent utility – The ease of using these headphones makes it a popular choice for people when working out. These headphones allow you to listen to your favourite music when exercising or doing any other work.
- Noise Isolation – As the earphones are placed snugly inside your ear, these appliances demonstrate excellent noise isolation. We shall discuss what noise isolation is at a later stage in this buying guide.
- Tangling of wires – The most annoying aspect of these in-ear headphones is that the cables can get tangled frequently. It can be a challenge to untangle the wires every time it occurs.
- Sound Quality – Though these headphones are good at isolating noise, the sound quality is usually not up to the mark, especially at the lower end of the pricing scale. Secondly, these earbuds use tiny drivers compared to the bigger headphones. The quality of the sound depends on these drivers.
- Cause discomfort – Extended use of these in-ear headphones can make your ears sore, especially if they do not fit properly into your ear.
We have seen that tangling of wires is a significant disadvantage of the conventional in-ear headphones. The wireless earphones/earbuds get rid of this challenge and enhance the comfort factor.
Similar to the in-ear headphones, the wireless earphones rest snugly inside your ear. These wireless earbuds come with tiny batteries to power these appliances. Generally, the earbud case acts as a charging device for such earphones.
- Portability – Similar to the in-ear headphones, the wireless earbuds are extensively portable. You can slip them easily into your pockets and take them wherever you move.
- Stylish appearance – As these earphones do not have wires dangling all over the place, they score high on the style quotient. The Apple Airpods are the perfect example to highlight the stylish aspect of these earphones.
- Excellent for exercise – The absence of wires makes it easy for you to use when exercising or even driving your vehicle. Secondly, these earbuds are usually sweat-resistant.
- Battery Life – The in-built batteries can get exhausted soon because they use more power compared to other earphones.
- Chances of misplacing – It is common for people to lose these wireless earphones as they can fall off from your ears without your knowledge.
- Cause discomfort – Similar to the in-ear headphones, the wireless earphones sit inside the ear canal. Continuous usage can cause pain to the ears.
You would have noticed that the in-ear headphones cause discomfort to the ears because they sit inside your ear canal. An ill-fitting pair can cause extreme pain to the ears. The ideal solution is to use a pair of on-ear headphones.
These devices sit on the top of your ears and not inside the ear canal. The two headphones are connected by a plastic or metal band that goes over your head. As the drivers are situated on your ear, these headphones deliver excellent sound quality.
- Portability – Compared to the in-ear headphones, these appliances are bigger. However, they are also portable because you can accommodate them in your handbag and carry with you wherever you move. Some of these headphones have hinges, whereby you can fold them and reduce them to half the original size.
- Longer battery life – These headphones are more prominent, and hence have more space to fit larger batteries. Therefore, you get more listening time. The wired on-ear headphones might not even require batteries to run.
- Better sound quality – The more significant drivers enable better sound quality.
- Hard to tag along – The in-ear headphones slip into your pockets easily. These on-ear headphones are comparatively bigger. Hence, they can’t fit inside your jacket’s pockets. You can toss them around inside your backpack easily.
- Wire tangles – The on-ear wired headphones can be irritating to use because the wires can get tangled at times.
- Less noise isolation – These headphones fit on your ear and not inside your ear. Therefore, they are not the best when it comes to noise isolation. Generally, some outside noise does manage to enter, especially in the case of the lower-priced on-ear headphones.
The over-ear headphones are similar to the on-ear headphones but comparatively larger. These appliances are available with wires and as wireless devices. They have more substantial padding in comparison to the on-ear headphones.
The latest ones available on the market have sealed ear cups to muffle the ambient noise.
Such headphones can block the ringing of a phone or a doorbell. Some headphones come with openings in the ear cups. These headphones can bleed out some noise, but they also allow more external sound to go in.
- Excellent sound quality – These devices have the most significant drivers among all earphones. Hence, they exhibit a better quality of sound compared to the other headsets. The Bose headphones concentrate on sound quality more than anything else.
- Fantastic battery life – Compared to the other headphones discussed here, these earphones have the biggest batteries. Hence, they last for extended periods.
- More comfortable – These headphones have larger earcups, thereby ensuring an even weight distribution. Some of the best over-ear headphones come with memory foam, leatherette, and other material to provide a higher degree of comfort and convenience.
- Not easily portable – These devices come in large sizes, thereby making it challenging to carry them along everywhere. They are generally available with specific carrying cases that you cannot insert into your jackets or pant pockets.
- Consume more power – Usually, these headphones display excellent battery life. However, the higher-end models might require the usage of an amplifier. Such appliances can use more power compared to other headphones.
- Pricing – The better the headphone quality, the higher is the pricing.
Bluetooth headphones have become popular today because they eliminate the need for wires.
Apple devices have removed the headphone jack from their latest gadgets to cash in on the popularity of Bluetooth headphones. Some of the Android smartphones have also followed suit recently.
- Absence of wires – The Bluetooth headphones are the most convenient to use because you do not have to fret over the tangling of cables.
- Excellent sound quality – Bluetooth technology has improved considerably over the years to deliver outstanding sound quality. However, you should ensure that your headphones and smartphones support the same Bluetooth standards.
- Wireless signals can vary – It is natural to notice interference in wireless signals that can affect the performance output of these Bluetooth headphones. You have to be in the range to receive the signals.
- Battery issues – The more massive the batteries, the better is the battery life. However, these batteries need frequent recharging.
- Compatibility – Bluetooth headphones usually have compatibility issues. Both the headphone and the connecting device must support the same standards because if the criteria do not match, the devices do not connect.
We have discussed the various types of headphones, depending on their structure. You can also classify them, depending on the usage. We shall look into these aspects, but it is better if you understand the technical jargon associated with headphones. It can make your job easy.
Technical Jargon Explained
Active Noise Cancellation
This specification informs the range of sound that the headphone can produce. A glance at the product specifications reveals a number in the field of 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz.
These headphones are for human use, and humans can hear sounds in the frequency range of 20 Hz to 20,000 Hz.
Some products advertise a more extensive frequency range of 15 Hz to 25,000 Hz. Indeed, humans cannot hear frequencies below 20 Hz and above 20,000 Hz.
However, headphones with such configurations can make the sounds a little better to hear.
Generally, average consumers might not be able to distinguish the difference immediately. It is a marketing technique employed by many manufacturers.
Total Harmonic Distortion
Headphones with lower actual THD sound better than those with a higher THD.
Manufacturers advertise THD of less than 1%. However, this specification does not help predict sound quality.
Good-quality over-ear headphones can help to make the sound appreciably more transparent than others.
Open Back vs Closed Back
A lower impedance makes it easier to get higher volume. The headphones’ electrical impedance is also known as resistance.
A lower resistance level does not necessarily guarantee a higher volume capability, but consumers should always check out the loudness quotient before purchasing a pair of headphones.
Headphone resistance is measured in Ohms. The studio headphones have a high impedance of nearly 600 ohms because they require a high level of amplification to ensure desirable listening levels.
Generally, consumer-level headphones have a resistance level in the range of 16 to 64 ohms.
Stereo vs Mono
Stereo headphones come with two separate channels, the right and left channel. Thus, you hear different sounds in both the ears.
A stereo headphone is excellent for listening to music and while watching movies because one can appreciate the sounds coming from different directions.
In a mono headphone, there is a single audio channel. Thus, you hear identical sounds in both the ears.
One can identify whether the headphone is mono or a stereo by counting the number of rings on the headphone jack plug. A mono headphone will have one circle, whereas a stereo headphone will have a minimum of two.
Features to look for in a good-quality headphone
We have discussed the technical jargon and made it as simple as possible to understand. We proceed with discussing the crucial features to look for in a good headphone.
A headphone cannot cause every little sound to disappear, but a good appliance can cancel out the noise and ensure a better acoustic experience. Some of the top end over-ear headphones come with this feature.
Today, Bluetooth headphones are in fashion. Such headphones work on batteries. It is advisable to choose headphones that come with good battery life. Secondly, one should remember to recharge the batteries on time to prevent them from falling dead during your workout.
In-built microphone control
It can be annoying to receive a phone call while you are busy enjoying your favourite music on your headphone. However, emergencies can crop up anytime. Hence, the best headphones have an in-built microphone controlling option using which you can receive calls without having to remove the phone from your pocket.
These in-built microphone control can also help you to access your voice assistant and control the music played over the headphone. It is better to get used to handling these controls for a better acoustic experience.
We have seen that the over-ear headphones can be uncomfortable to carry along because of their bulkiness. Some of the latest headphones come with collapsible earcups that allow you to fold them and tuck away comfortably inside your backpack.
Using your headphone for extended periods can cause sweating in your ears. This water can seep into the microphone and damage it.
Therefore, the best headphones come with sweat absorbing materials on the earcups to prevent damage to the receiver.
Usually, headphones designed for fitness have extensive layers of sweat-absorbing sponge or other materials. It is better to ensure that your headphone has water-resistant properties.
Headphones cannot match the bass experience that the massive speakers or sub-woofers offer. However, the high-end over-ear headphones do come with a deep bass response or visceral dynamic range capabilities. The in-ear headphones and earbuds do not have this feature.
Comfort and weight
One should ensure that the earpads should not exert too much pressure on the ear lobes. At times, lack of proper air circulation can also cause excessive sweating that can lead to discomfort.
The leatherette earpads are not the ideal ones to purchase if you sweat profusely. The weight of the headphone is also a significant issue. Your head should not feel heavy after using the headphone. Hence, it is better to invest in a light headband-style headphone because they offer more comfort.
Cable length and dressing
The wireless and Bluetooth over-ear headphones are any days preferable to the wired options. If at all you choose a wired headphone, ensure that it has a Y-cable that connects to both the earpads.
Generally, the length of the wire is such that you can comfortably place the smartphone in your trouser pockets.
Some headphones come with automatic volume limiting features designed to maintain the volume at a maximum of 85 decibels. It is a protectionist feature that should be ideal for preventing children and other users from ear damage due to high volume.
This feature proves extremely useful to cut off the background noises and concentrate on the conversation. The sound amplification function helps in reducing the distraction by amplifying the sound from the compatible device to deliver a better acoustic experience.
Bone-conducting headphones come with a unique design where the appliance does not rest on your ears but the cheekbones in front of the ears. Such headphones deliver the sound through the vibrations in the bones in you hear and not through the eardrum.
These headphones are excellent for people who love to listen to their favourite music but do not want to drown out other external noises. Joggers use such headphones so that they can hear the traffic sounds while enjoying their music during the workout.
Such headphones perform a dual responsibility by gathering information from your ears to monitor your heart rate. Fitness enthusiasts prefer such headphones as it allows them to keep tabs on their heart and pulse rates without using any additional device.
Classification of headphones depending on usage
We have already seen the classification of headphones based on their structure. Let us now discuss them based on usage.
Listening to music while exercising is a popular pastime. Fitness enthusiasts should use headphones that cause the least impedance to their fitness routines.
The in-ear headphones or the wireless earbuds should be the best appliances for such people. Bluetooth headphones should also be an excellent choice as they eliminate the presence of cables.
Secondly, fitness enthusiasts should concentrate on headphones with water-resistant qualities. These people sweat a lot. Water seepage into the microphone can damage it. Such people should also opt for biometric headphones or headphones with bone conduction features.
The sedentary worker
The quintessential worker should choose an over-ear headphone with noise cancellation features. It will ensure to cancel out the distracting external noises and keep their music private.
An in-ear headphone should also be an ideal one if they do not want the over-ear headphone to mess with their hairstyles. A built-in microphone should help them to attend to calls while listening to the audio.
The travel enthusiast
Portability is a critical aspect to consider for travel enthusiasts. The headphone should be light and easy to carry along. The in-ear headphones are the most portable of the lot. If you choose to purchase an over-ear headphone, it is advisable to go for the one having foldable features.
Noise cancellation feature is also a crucial one to have, especially when you are travelling on a train or a bus.
Home entertainment headphone
Avid gamers play for extended periods. The action-packed games like PUBG and others require constant interaction between the different members of the team. It is also significant to hear the minutest of sounds to enable the gamer to gain the upper hand.
Hence, an excellent over-ear headphone with a deep bass volume with the least amount of distortion should be the ideal choice.
It is better to introduce good habits in children. Listening to music on their smartphones using headphones prevents any disturbance to others. Today, children use their laptops and smartphones for attending online classes.
Hence, a good-quality over-ear headphone should be the ideal one for kids. However, you should ensure to choose headphones having volume limiting features to protect the children’s delicate eardrums.
Accessories to look out for when purchasing headphones
Generally, headphones come with a range of accessories. One should ensure that the package contains all the accessories mentioned in it. Here are some standard accessories that come with each pair of over-ear headphones.
We have discussed an exhaustive buyer’s guide that should simplify your task of purchasing the ideal headphone, depending on your requirements. However, some doubts can persist. This FAQ should put all your doubts to rest.
Frequently Asked Questions
Headphones are available at all leading stores selling mobiles and accessories. You can also order them online on e-commerce websites like Amazon. However, it is always preferable to opt for a genuine brand because the market is flooded with cheap and spurious brands. The authentic brands offer warranties on the product
It depends on your requirements and your budget. An expensive headphone doesn't need to be the best. A lot depends on your usage and preferences. If you find comfort and convenience with a less expensive headphone brand, you should unhesitatingly opt for it.
No, it is not necessary to invest in a new headphone immediately, especially if you are satisfied with your existing appliance. Replacement ear tips are available on the market.
Headphone amplifiers are useful accessories. One can purchase them if the audio performance of the electronic device is not up to the mark. The cheap electronics players do not have quality amplifiers. Hence, the volume output is low.
Under such circumstances, you can purchase headphone amplifiers. However, it is not necessary to buy one every time you buy a headphone.
Some of the best headphone brands are Bose, Sony, Audio Technica, Marshall, Boat, JBL, and Zebronics