It seems more and more that we’re living in a world owned and operated by Amazon. However, Best Buy still has one thing over Amazon: as of 2018, it has 1,509 storefronts worldwide. If you can’t wait two days for your newest gadget to be delivered, stick around to learn about some great Best Buy headphones.
Editors note: this list was updated on March 14, 2019, to include the AirPods and new notable mentions.
For the best Best Buy headphones, pick up a pair of the Sony WH-1000xM3
The noise cancelling Sony WH-1000XM3 had large shoes to fill after the seemingly endless praise received by the WH-1000XM2. While the third iteration doesn’t detract from all that was valuable about the second-generation model, it does excel in certain areas. For one, it’s more future-proofed since it’s outfitted with USB-C charging. Additionally, the new model features deeper ear pads for increased comfort, making these the Best Buy headphones some of the, well, best.
Sony WH-1000XM3Full Review
Just like the previous generation, you can scrape by with the WH-1000XM3 without ever removing your phone from your jeans pocket, thanks to the intuitive touch controls. Additionally, these cans effectively insulate you from the environment, making them great for commuting, air travel, and general zoning out. Because the noise cancellation is so effective, you’re less likely to increase the volume and potentially damage your hearing.
Low-end reproduction is a tad more emphasized than the previous model, but the WH-1000XM3 feature a consumer-friendly sound that will please a wide array of listeners. Oddly enough, LDAC is impressive, but only when using the 660 or 990kbps modes.
Things to know before purchasing Best Buy headphones
- A proper fit and seal are both incredibly important and—quite frankly—necessary to produce optimal sound quality. Even something as innocuous as wearing glasses can drastically degrade sound quality by allowing for environmental noise to permeate the headphones.
- Burn-in isn’t a thing. If you’re unfamiliar with this variety of pseudo-science, just know that the philosophy of burn-in posits that—much like a new pair of work boots—your headphones need to be broken in. Really, it’s all of the “delayed” in “delayed gratification” without the actual gratification.
- Bluetooth quality can’t stick it to wired audio quality, but it’s worth keeping an eye out for aptX and aptX HD support, or AAC support if you’re an iPhone user. As far as LDAC is concerned, well, unfortunately, it’s not actually hi-res.
- Finally, since we’re not focusing on studio headphones with this list, none of these products require an amp or DAC.
Keep life quiet with the AKG N60NC
The AKG N60NC isn’t shy to our best lists as it’s also featured on the best on-ear headphones list. Now, this isn’t a mistake; no, these headphones really are that good. The active noise cancellation is effective given the compact, on-ear form factor.
AKG N60NCFull Review
Unfortunately, the battery won’t get you as far as the listed 30-hour playback time, but it will suffice for multiple international flights. If you are going to be listening for a long period of time, we recommend loosening the headband, since the pressure is felt after an hour or so.
When going the wireless listening route, the N60NC offers both aptX and AAC support. After listening for nearly 10 hours straight, Chris noticed a bit of connectivity stuttering, but on the whole, these cans are reliable.
The Plantronics BackBeat Fit 505 is a great value
The Plantronics BackBeat 505 FIT are essentially the same pair of headphones as the BackBeat 500—but approach sound from an athlete’s perspective, rather than that of a lay-person. So what’s new? The BackBeat 500 FIT include a P2i-rated sweat-repellent nano-coating and that might be it.
Plantronics BackBeat Fit 505Full Review
Like their twin, the BackBeat Fit 505 is supported by anodized aluminum rails that buttress the headband. Unfortunately, they feel cheap in the hand and look cheap on the shelf.
On the flip side, functionality makes up for appearances: that P2i nano-coating works wonders. I managed to drench the BackBeat Fit 505 in a downpour; yet, even after water seeped into the ear cup interior, they continue to work flawlessly. Aside from being durable, the controls are practical as well. The raised buttons on the rubberized panel are spaced far enough apart that using them is easy—absolutely crucial for running.
Additionally, these headphones pair quickly and reconnect immediately. Switching back and forth is simple with the multi-function button on the bottom of the right ear cup, and the connection is hardly interrupted as long as you’re within the 10-meter range. These may lack high-quality codec support, but they sound fine for workout headphones.
You might like: Best workout earbuds
Need something tough? You’ll like the V-Moda Crossfade 2 Wireless Codex
As Adam stated in our full review of the Crossfade 2, “V-Moda knows a thing or two about good build quality.” And the same can be said for the aptX and AAC supported V-Moda Crossfade 2 Codex.
Yes, at first glance they’re rather bulky, but the patented Cliqfold hinges make them compact and easy to transport. The memory foam ear pads are comfortable and do a great job passively isolating noise. This is great for two reasons: you’ll be able to ignore your office mate’s keyboard, and you’ll be less likely to increase the volume to drown out environmental noise. This is good for your auditory health and will help you avoid noise-induced hearing loss.
V-Moda Crossfade 2 CodexFull Review
Not only are the V-Moda Crossfade 2 Codex built well, but they also sound good. They support aptX and AAC, the former of which is one of the most reliable and high-quality Bluetooth codecs out there. Despite the gruff and tough design, low-end reproduction is well controlled and only occasionally masks the mids. It’s worth stopping to pick up these Best Buy heapdhones and give them a try.
iPhone users looking for simplicity should get the AirPods
If you’re looking for an iOS-compatible pair of Best Buy headphones, the Apple AirPods are it. Sure, they sport what some may deem an unsightly build, and they don’t isolate external noise at all, but they work reliably with the iPhone and Apple ecosystem because of the W1 Chip integration.
Apple AirPodsFull Review
The AirPods provide 3.45 hours of constant playback and are afforded extra charge cycles from the case. With the inclusion of Apple’s W1 chip and AAC support, the AirPods maintain a 30.5-meter Bluetooth connectivity range. For the general-purpose iPhone user, the AirPods make the most sense—regardless of how silly they may look.
Picking up the Best Buy headphones
Now that you’ve decided on the headphones that you want there are a few ways to go about picking them up. The option that I’m most inclined to do is to just walk in, hope the Best Buy headphones are in stock and buy them then and there. If you have better foresight, you’ll benefit from reserving ahead of time. To do so, select your town next to “store pickup.” If the item’s already in-stock, it only takes Best Buy one hour to have it ready for pickup. Additionally, purchases that are $35 and up are eligible for free shipping directly to your house.
Best Buy headphones price match
So long as you refer your local Best Buy to an authorized dealer, say if Target has the Sony WH-1000xM3 for $20 less, Best Buy will match it. If you show the cashier a dubious Amazon vendor, though, you won’t receive a price match.
Unfortunately, this tends to happen with new releases that receive a lot of hype. If that’s the case, you can still reserve for in-store pickup or have it shipped directly to your house when the item is available. Sure, it’s not the most immediate approach, but there’s not much anyone can do when something’s out of stock. At least Best Buy occasionally provides customers with exclusive deals and promotions.
Best Buy return policy
You can certainly do that. Most products have a 15-day return window, as long as the product functions like new, shows no signs of wear, and is returned with all included parts. Certain devices, like cell phones, have a 14-day return policy though.
- Sony WH-1000XM2: These headphones are just as good as they were before the Sony WH-1000XM3, and if you want to save a few bucks while still getting excellent active noise canceling, these cans are the ones to get.
- Jabra Elite 65t: If you want to get true wireless Best Buy headphones, these IP67 ‘buds are a great choice. They can be fully submerged for 30 minutes in up to 1 meter.
- Bose QC 35 II: These are one of the best pairs of active noise canceling headphones available. If you’re already invested in the Bose ecosystem, these probably make more sense than the Sony WH-100xM2.
- Beats Solo3: Beats appeals to the fashion conscious, and if that’s what you’re looking for, these will appeal to you. That said, they don’t have the best sound or build quality for the price.
- AfterShokz Trekz Air: Have you ever heard of bone conduction technology? Well, that’s how the Trekz Titanium operates, they transmit sound from the skull to the inner ear, making these a safe option if you favor outdoor exercise.
- Sennheiser HD1: These are an excellent pair of over-ear, active noise canceling headphones, but don’t quite keep pace with the Sony WH-1000xM2. They’re also $100 more expensive.
- JLab Flex Sport Wireless: If you’re drawn to the Plantronics BackBeat Fit 505 but want something with more versatility and a more comfortable fit, these sub-$80 cans are a great choice.
- Marshall Major II: Guitar enthusiasts and trendy listeners alike should pay attention to these on-ear headphones. They provide around 30 hours of playback and fold up to a compact size for storage.
How we chose what Best Buy headphones are worth it
Being that we’ve been covering the audio industry for some time, we’re acutely aware of what the top of the market is. It’s not exactly a huge mystery which companies are great at this sort of thing, and which ones… aren’t as much. However, we give everyone their fair shot because we’re not all-knowing gods of consumer audio or anything, and there are always some surprises out there.
It’s also important to check our ideas about what people want at the door because we’re not the ones buying: you are. So from time to time, we take to Twitter to see just how people are actually buying these headphones. Like good journalists, we posted the question, and the results were a little surprising:
— SoundGuys (@realsoundguys) October 9, 2017
Though battery life seems to be the biggest draw for wireless consumers, sound quality reigns supreme when it comes to users of ANC, and wired headsets.
Hey commuters! What's the most important thing to you when buying Active Noise Cancelling (ANC) headphones?
— SoundGuys (@realsoundguys) October 25, 2017
Why you should trust us regarding Best Buy headphones
We’re each dedicated to SoundGuys as our nine-to-fives, and have tested plenty of headphones and earbuds because of it. In doing so, we’re well equipped to tell the gimmicks from the high-quality products and want you to enjoy what you’re listening through. Individually, Adam, Chris, and Lily each have multiple years keeping an eye out on the audio industry and understand the frustrations that come with being a general consumer. We’re here to streamline the research process for you, so you can get straight to listening to your Best Buy headphones.
None of us may benefit from nudging customers toward or away from a given product. If you’re so compelled our ethics policy is available here.
Disclosure: We may receive affiliate compensation in connection with your purchase of products via links on this page. Even though we may receive compensation, we always give our honest opinions, findings, beliefs, or experiences on each product. See our ethics policy for more details.