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 2019, it has 1,238 storefronts worldwide. Sure, these days it’s a lot more complicated to just walk into a Best Buy and pick something up, but there’s always delivery. If you can wait two days for the delivery of your newest gadget, stick around to learn about some great Best Buy headphones.
Editor’s note: this list was updated on April 8, 2021 to include the Apple AirPods Max and to move the Apple AirPods Pro to the notable mentions.
For the best Best Buy headphones, pick up a pair of the Sony WH-1000xM4
The noise cancelling Sony WH-1000XM4 had large shoes to fill after the seemingly endless praise received by the WH-1000XM3. This fourth iteration doesn’t detract from what was valuable about its predecessors, and actually excels in a few new areas. Despite the fact that the WH-1000XM3 still has some of the best noise cancelling performance on the market, the newer generation headphones beats it handily in mid range attenuation.
Sony WH-1000XM4Full Review
Just like the previous generation, you can get by using the WH-1000XM4 without ever removing your phone from your jeans pocket, thanks to the touch controls, though this generation’s implementation is occasionally a little too sensitive. 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-1000XM4 feature a consumer-friendly sound that will please a wide array of listeners. Oddly enough, LDAC is impressive, but only when using the 660Kbps or 990Kbps modes. If there’s any one disappointing aspect, it’s that the leap to a fourth generation left support for aptX behind.
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.
The Beats Solo Pro brings the audio quality without sacrificing style
Built for the fashion-forward audiophile, the Beats Solo Pro brings tons of features and rock solid audio in a premium package. These wireless on-ear headphones are great options for anyone on the go, especially if you’re an iPhone user.
Beats Solo ProFull Review
The Beats Solo Pro aren’t just pretty—they also bring ANC, accurate audio reproduction, and they last for just shy of 22 hours on a single charge. Unlike a lot of their previous headphones, Beats really nailed the noise cancelling with the Solo Pro, so these compact cans are great for noisy commutes.
If you’re using an iPhone, this supports Bluetooth 5.0 and high quality AAC streaming, so you’ll have access to the great wireless audio. Additionally the Beats Solo Pro contains Apple’s new H1 chip, which allows for hands-free access to Siri, fast pairing, greater power efficiency. The experience on Android isn’t quite so optimal, as AAC is a little unreliable on non-Apple devices and Google Assistant integration isn’t as streamlined.
If you have an Android phone, something like the Marshall Major III is probably a better bet, with its myriad supported codecs. They’re more reasonably priced, too.
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
If you need something durable, pick the sweat-resistant PowerBeats Pro
Looking for earbuds near the gym? The Apple Beats PowerBeats Pro is a great pair of true wireless earbuds and it’s sure to fit an active lifestyle like a charm.
PowerBeats ProFull Review
These earbuds aren’t waterproof, but they are IPX4 rated for sweat and water resistance, something of a rarity in the true wireless space. Couple that with the secure ear hook design, and these could be a great pair of workout buds.
The PowerBeats Pro also bring fantastic battery life, clocking in at 10 hours 52 minutes during our testing—double what the AirPods Pro can muster (and more than the regular AirPods), and better than any other true wireless earbuds we’ve tested. These ‘buds use Apple’s new H1 chip, so they’re more power efficient and they tie into services like Siri better. Android connectivity is a little shakier, due to the AAC Bluetooth codec, but everything else is still just as good.
iPhone users looking for simplicity should get the new AirPods Max
If you want the best possible iOS-compatible pair of Best Buy headphones, the Apple AirPods Max are it. The company’s first over-ear attempt, these are some of the best headphones on the market, and among the most expensive, too. The AirPods Max cost more than just about any high end consumer-oriented headphones, but it’s Bluetooth nature holds it back from being an Audiophile’s dream.
Apple AirPods MaxFull Review
Nevertheless, if you’re hooked into Apple’s ecosystem, nothing offers as well-tailored an audio experience. The built-in H1 chip makes the headphones pair with your macOS or iOS device extremely quickly, and from the Bluetooth menu or Settings app respectively, you can toggle between noise cancelling and transparency mode, or just turn off ANC entirely—it also gives you an accurate battery readout. This stuff may seem a little basic, but outside of the Apple ecosystem, most of it isn’t possible.
Speaking of noise cancelling, the AirPods Max offers better active noise cancelling than anything else on the market, full stop. Its thick and deep ear cups also bring fantastic isolation, making for a significant degree of attenuation. There are a still a few inconveniences, even on iOS—the lack of a power button first and foremost—but the AirPods Max are by far your best option if you’re searching for audio excellence in Apple’s walled garden.
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-1000XM3: These headphones are just as good as they were a year ago, and they’re easy to find at a discount these days. Plus, Android users will appreciate the aptX support that the WH-1000XM4 is missing.
- 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.
- Beats Powerbeats Pro: These earbuds outperform the AirPods in every way, save for price. Isolation is great and the bass-centric sound is manageable. The ear hooks promote a stable, secure fit for athletes and casual listeners alike.
- Apple AirPods Pro: If you’re turned off by the AirPods Max price, or you’re just more interested in earbuds than over-ear headphones, the AirPods Pro are still fantastic. These true wireless earbuds bring solid ANC, good sound, and that stylish form factor that’s become nearly ubiquitous in the last couple years. They’re also half the price of the AirPods Max.
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.