Updated on September 12, 2018, to reflect price changes and addition of Plantronics BackBeat Fit 505, V-Moda Crossfade 2 Codex and the Apple AirPods to notable mentions section
It seems more and more that we’re living an 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 the best headphones from Best Buy.
For the best headphones from Best Buy, pick up a pair of the Sony WH-1000xM2
These have received a lot of praise and for good reason. They provide the best active noise-cancelling experience on the market. They’re well-built, and the ear cushions are comfortable and passively filtering out noise, which only improves the already ingenious active noise-cancelling technology. Additionally, the intuitive touch controls make these easy to operate.
With the announcement of the Sony WH-1000xM3, we may see the WH-1000XM2 dethroned soon, but for now it’s still one of the best headphones you can get from Best Buy.
Sony WH-1000xM2Full Review
One of the things that active noise-cancelling headphones tend to struggle with is low-end noise. The WH-1000X M2‘s attenuation performance can be seen below, with the results color coded from pink to blue: pink is poor ANC, green and blue are commendable. Every 10dB reduction in noise is a reduction of half the loudness, so 20dB on this chart means outside noise is 25% as loud as it’d be without the headphones on (and so on).
What’s more, the app is what really sets the WH-1000xM2 apart from its competitors. You can make granular adjustments for a completely customized listening experience and tailor the soundstage to your liking. Though, it is worth mentioning that these particular adjustments can only be heard when using the SBC codec, so there’s a drop in audio quality accompanying customization. If you choose to forgo these adjustments, you can use Sony’s high-bitrate LDAC codec, which is now available to all Android phones running 8.0 Oreo. Overall, though, the WH-1000xM2 are an exemplar of what active noise-cancelling headphones can and should be.
If you need something portable, the Master & Dynamic MW50 are a high quality pair of headphones
At first-glance, you’ll notice that the Master & Dynamic MW50 are built from palpably premium materials. The detachable lambskin memory foam ear pads and grain cowhide leather headband looks and feels fabulous. And being the most compact pair of headphones listed, it’s surprising that this supra-aural cans are comfortable with glasses. It isn’t until the 1.5-hour mark that I’m forced to take a break from temple pain.
Master & Dynamic MW50Full Review
Regarding day-to-day use, there are few things worse than getting on the train only to realize that your headphones are out of battery. Fortunately, the MW50 provide 16 hours of playback, so that should be a rare occurrence. Once you get off the train and into the office, it’s important to roam freely throughout your workspace. Well, Master & Dynamic took this into account and has designed the MW50 with an anodized aluminum antenna, which grants a range of 30 meters. Note: The stability of this range varies greatly depending on your environment and the potential signal and physical barriers within it.
Now, with such a hefty fee to pay for headphones like this, you should expect exceptional sound quality. These? They don’t disappoint. Low-end frequency reproduction receives audible emphasis, without masking out the mids. Additionally, treble frequencies are reproduced clearly and don’t suffer from sibilance, partially due to the beryllium drivers that create a light and stiff diaphragm, reducing distortion.
The Plantronics BackBeat Fit 505 are 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 are 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 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
There’s one thing to note, if you have above average-sized ears, these may be a tad snug. If that’s the case, something like the Sennheiser HD1, may prove to be a better fit. That said, if that’s a non-issue for you——you’ll be able to enjoy the nearly perfect connectivity of the Crossfade 2 Codex. That’s right: one of the most aggravating things about Bluetooth is dealing with temperamental connectivity, but these maintain a reliable connection within the 10-meter range.
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.
The Jabra Elite 65t are the best true wireless headphones from Best Buy
The Jabra Elite line is fleshed out, and the Elite 65t are the shining star of true wireless earbuds. So far, they have the best battery life to date within their respective category. That’s right, according to our testing, they provide 5.85 hours of playback time, which other true wireless earbuds can’t touch with a 10-foot pole. Not only can you listen to them for hours on end, especially given that the charging case adds another two charge cycles, but they’re also IP55-rated. This means that they can easily resist dust, sand, and water sprays.
Jabra Elite 65tFull Review
If that wasn’t enough, the Jabra Elite 65t come with plenty of features. For one, each earbud houses a dual-mic system which effectively reduce wind and ambient noise during calls. Aside from that, they can also passively isolate noise to improve your listening experience. You can do this by using the app to adjust ambient noise permeation. If you’re wondering why you’d ever want to let more noise in, it’s really a great safety precaution to take when walking or exercising outside.
Since virtual assistant presence is inescapable at this point, it’s nice to have the option for voice commands across all platforms. With the Elite 65t, you can connect to Amazon Alexa, Apple’s Siri, and Google Now. Sure, true wireless still has a ways to go in terms of connectivity, but, these are one of the best choices you can make.
Picking up the 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 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.
Does Best Buy really price match?
So long as you refer your local Best Buy to an authorized dealer, say if Target has the Sony WH-1000xM2 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.
My Best Buy is out of stock, now what?
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.
What if I end up wanting to return the headphones?
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.
As general consumers, we know that there’s plenty of competitors in the running for the best headphones from Best Buy. Whether you frequent Best Buy because you need to try before you buy or because you want to support brick and mortar storefronts, it’s safe to assume that some of you will be interested in candidates other than the ones that we’ve highlighted here. Below are our notable mentions that put up an respectable fight against the best headphones from Best Buy.
- Apple AirPods: These are the best earbuds for iPhone users. They feature the company’s proprietary W1 chip and Class 1 Bluetooth, resulting in reliable connectivity.
- Bose QC 35 II: These are one of the best pairs of active noise-cancelling 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 Titanium. Have you ever heard of bone conduction technology? Well, that’s how the Trekz Titanium operate, 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-cancelling headphones, but don’t quite keep pace with the Sony WH-1000xM2. They’re also $100 more expensive.
How we chose the best headphones from Best Buy
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:
— Sound Guys (@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?
— Sound Guys (@realsoundguys) October 25, 2017
Things to know before purchasing one of the best headphones from Best Buy
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. Once this happens, the frequencies produced by the headphones are subject to being masked, or drowned out, by these external noises. For most of us, we’re compelled to increase the volume, which can work but doing so may put you at greater risk for noise-induced hearing loss—NIHL.
Another thing to note is that 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. It’s only after that outrageously extended period of subjecting your fresh headphones to pink noise that they’ll reach optimal performance. In short, it’s all of the “delayed” in “delayed gratification” without the actual gratification.
Finally, since we’re not focusing on studio headphones with this list, none of these products require an amp or DAC. Not only does this save you money on headphones that are, for the most part, already expensive, but it also means that you can skip the setup and get straight to listening.
Why you should trust us with the best headphones from Best Buy
Not only is this site our nine-to-five, but Adam, Chris and Lily each have multiple years of reviewing consumer audio products. We’ve kept tabs on the ever-changing world of audio, giving us the ability to parse apart the gimmicks from the gems.
As frequent visitors of SoundGuys already know, Chris hates Bluetooth more than pineapple on pizza, the Yankees, and stubbing his toe combined. The Bluetooth products have an insanely high bar to clear to get a nod from us. Adam, a SoundGuy for nearly three years, has heard everything on the market. Then there’s Lily with countless hours at a radio station working in a professional studio environment and reviewing audio products on her own time prior to joining SoundGuys.
We want you to be happy with your purchase—none of our writers see a dime from partnership deals or referral purchases—and nobody here is allowed to benefit from recommending one product or another. While the business itself is partially paid for with referrals, we maintain a complete separation between editorial and business.
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