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Best Google Assistant headphones

Ok, Google, what are the best headphones that support Google Assistant?
By
July 28, 2022
Best all-around
Sony WH-1000XM5
By Sony
Product shot of the Sony WH-1000XM5 in black on a white background.
8.7
Check price
Positives
Superb noise cancelling
Sound quality
SBC, AAC, LDAC, and wired
USB-C and fast charging
360 Reality Audio
Comfortable
Negatives
Price
The Bottom Line.
With these headphones, listeners don't have to compromise between sound quality, convenience, and top-end noise cancellation: these are the best of what’s around. Read full review...
Best design
Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700
By Bose
The Bose NCH 700.
8.1
Check price
Positives
Great ANC
Sleek design
Responsive touch controls
Sound quality
Negatives
No folding hinges
Cost
The Bottom Line.
This is precisely the upgrade that Bose needed to make and I think doing so has made the Bose NCH 700 the most desirable pair of noise cancelling cans on the market.Read full review...
Best value
Google Pixel Buds A-Series
By Google
The Google Pixel Buds A-series in white against a white background.
7.5
Check price
Positives
Bluetooth 5.0
Comfortable fit
Android integration
Touch controls
IPX4 rating (earbuds)
Negatives
Adaptive sound feature isn't great
No wireless charging
The Bottom Line.
If you're looking for something affordable and portable, check out the Google Pixel Buds A-Series.Read full review...
Best earbuds
Google Pixel Buds Pro
By Google
The Google Pixel Buds Pro noise cancelling earbuds and case against a white background.
7.5
Check price
Positives
ANC and Transparency mode
Hands-free Google Assistant access
Fast, wireless, and USB-C charging
Battery life
Fast Pair and multipoint
Negatives
No equalizer
SBC and AAC only, no aptX
Fit is a bit loose
Price
Missing features at launch
The Bottom Line.
The Google Pixel Buds Pro is the set of Google Assistant earbuds to buy if you want to dive deep into the Google ecosystem.Read full review...
Best bass
Sony WH-XB910N
By Sony
The Sony WH-XB910N on a white background product photo.
7.6
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Positives
Effective ANC for price
Battery life
LDAC, AAC, SBC codecs along with analog playback
In-app EQ
Comfortable
Negatives
Touch controls could work better
Even with the EQ the sound is imperfect
The Bottom Line.
The Sony WH-XB910N may not be the perfect headset for everyone, but it is a great pair of Bluetooth headphones for bass heads.Read full review...

As Amazon continues to push Alexa, and Apple’s Siri keeps chugging along, the race for the best virtual assistant rages on. Google, of course, is no stranger to this and has teamed up with a handful of brands for direct Google Assistant integration. If you want to receive notifications and take full control of your music by the power of your voice, this list of the best Google Assistant headphones is for you.

Editor’s note: this list was updated on July 28, 2022, to include the Google Pixel Buds Pro and Sony WH-XB910N in the top five. We also updated the Notable mentions section.

For our top five picks, you can find the isolation and frequency response charts at the end of each image gallery. You can learn more about how to read our charts here.

Why is the Sony WH-1000XM5 the best pair of Google Assistant headphones?

The Sony WH-1000XM5 has garnered plenty of deserved attention from media outlets and consumers alike: the WH-1000XM5 is the cream of the crop when it comes to noise canceling headphones. Not only does this headset effectively attenuate external noise, but it also features Bluetooth multipoint and ambient noise passthrough features.

Sony WH-1000XM5
Sony WH-1000XM5
8.7
Top-down view of the Sony-WH1000XM5 with the ear cups folded flat and upwardsThe Sony WH-1000XM5's ANC unit does a good job of canceling noise, but it also isolates very well.The Sony WH-1000XM5 boosts sounds up to 300Hz by about 5dB.
Sony WH-1000XM5

When you tap and hold the right ear cup’s touch panel, you can access your phone’s designated voice assistant, whether that’s Siri, Alexa, or Google Assistant. The WH-1000XM5 has other smart features up its sleeve like a custom EQ module in the mobile app. You can also select your preferred Bluetooth codec or choose to prioritize sound quality over connection stability (and vice versa).

Noise cancelling technology has come a long way in the past few years, and Sony has proven time and time again that it’s here to stay at the top of the pack. The WH-1000XM5 outperforms virtually every headset on the market, and really just the Apple AirPods Max gives the XM5 a run for its money when it comes to low-frequency ANC. Sound quality is impressive too, though the pickiest among us may want to use that in-app equalizer to lower the bass and treble.

Stay comfortable with the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700

If you keep pace with the competitive noise canceling headphone sphere, then you know that many pit Sony against Bose and are curious as to which company’s product is better. Well, it depends on what you prioritize. The Bose Headphones 700 features a revamped design, touch controls, and retains Google Assistant integration—oh, and it has an IPX4 rating.

Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700
Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700
8.1
The Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 onboard button controls.The Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 rest on a tree stump.The Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 on black surface.The frequency response chart for the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 which follows our house curve, though some bass emphasis is apparent.A plot showing the excellent active noise cancelling performance of the Bose Noise cancelling headphones 700.
Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700
Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700
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What’s more, the Bose brand is a household name and is recognized for its comfortable products. The Headphones 700 isn’t quite as comfortable as the QuietComfort 35 II, but that’s because this uses stiffer ear pads. The tradeoff is improved isolation over last generation’s model, which further improves noise-cancelling performance.

Connection strength is reliable and you can easily switch between source devices via Bose’s app. The same app allows you to adjust how aggressive ANC is; it can be adjusted on a scale of 1-10. Unfortunately, these don’t support any high-quality codecs aside from AAC, which doesn’t perform reliably on Android devices. What’s more, Bose uses a 2.5mm input for the included cable rather than a standard 3.5mm one. Even with the Headphones 700 quirks, these are a worthy update from the QuietComfort 35 II. Putting the Bose Headphones 700 against the Shure AONIC 50, now that’s a completely different story.

The Google Pixel Buds A-Series is great for true wireless fans

Google is unquestionably Apple’s greatest competitor, and it’s playing hardball with the Pixel Buds A-Series. Although it doesn’t feature noise cancellation as some hoped, it has other great features like Find Device, auto-pairing with Android, and hands-free Google Assistant access.

Google Pixel Buds A-Series
Google Pixel Buds A-Series
7.5
The Google Pixel Buds A-Series are sitting on a piece of driftwood at a beach.The Google Pixel Buds A-Series case is being put in a chest pocket of a shirt.A hand holds the open case of the Google Pixel Buds A-Series in front of a beach.The Google Pixel Buds A-Series on driftwood with a smartphone.This is the frequency response for the Google Pixel Buds A-Series.A chart showing the mediocre isolation performance of the Google Pixel Buds A-Series
Google Pixel Buds A-Series
Google Pixel Buds A-Series
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The IPX4 water-resistant Pixel Buds A-Series is more durable than the Apple AirPods and features a better design, thanks to the dedicated nozzles that actually seal to the ear. Unfortunately, even with this seal, isolation isn’t great. You’ll still hear a good amount of background noise. This isolation performance is technically an intended feature to keep wearers somewhat keyed into their surroundings. This design neatly compromises awareness benefits from nozzle-free buds like the AirPods while retaining slightly better sound quality.

The charging case is brilliant and supplies listeners with an additional 24 hours of playtime on top of the 5-hour standalone battery life. It also supports fast charging: 15 minutes in the case provides 180 minutes of playback. Unfortunately, the Google Pixel Buds A-Series does not support wireless charging like it’s rival, the Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus.

The Google Pixel Buds Pro can go anywhere and works with Google Translate

Google put everything it’s got into the Google Pixel Buds Pro noise cancelling earbuds. Unlike the A-Series, the Pixel Buds Pro is an expensive headset at $199 USD, but with that, you get greater durability, better battery life, and multipoint connectivity. The Pixel Buds Pro earbuds merit an IPX4 rating, and the case has an IPX2 rating.

Google Pixel Buds Pro
Google Pixel Buds Pro
7.5
A man faces right with a dark background and a bright monitor. He's wearing the Google Pixel Buds Pro.The Google Pixel Buds Pro case is open with the lid propping the case up, revealing the buds.A hand holds a Google Pixel 6 displaying the Google Pixel Buds Pro controls in the Settings app, with the true wireless earbuds on a wooden table in the background.On a wood surface the Google Pixel Buds Pro case is open with the buds out, and the two spare sets of ear tips.The Google Pixel Buds Pro lays on a wooden table with a Google Pixel 6 behind it.A noise cancelling and isolation chart for the Google Pixel Buds Pro, which shows very good low end attenuation for a pair of true wireless earbuds.A frequency response chart for the Google Pixel Buds Pro, which shows substantial bass range emphasis
Google Pixel Buds Pro
Google Pixel Buds Pro
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With these earbuds, you can just say “Hey Google” to get the assistant’s attention. When you integrate the buds with the Google Translate app, you can translate your native tongue into another language for someone. Conversely, you can also receive what someone says to you in a foreign language through the app and hear it translated through the Pixel Buds Pro. Its execution isn’t perfect, but this is a unique feature that will come in handy if you’re in a bind.

The Pixel Buds Pro has quite good active noise cancelling and uses pressure-relief vents to mitigate that “plugged ear” feeling. You’ll need the app to listen in “normal mode.” By default, the onboard controls let you toggle between just the ANC and transparency modes, the latter of which filters external noise in through the headset.

While listeners are unlikely to find the Pixel Buds Pro frequency response offensive, the bass and treble are boosted a bit too much for our taste. You may find the need to download a third-party EQ app to make the frequency response a bit more palatable.

Bass heads, it’s time to get the Sony WH-XB910N

Bookending this article, we have another Sony headset. This time, we’re looking at the Sony WH-XB910N. The “XB” in the name stands for “extra bass,” and Sony brings it on through these headphones.

Sony WH-XB910N
Sony WH-XB910N
7.6
A set of hands holds the Sony WH-XB910N above a wood tableA woman faces slightly left looking at a laptop while wearing the Sony WH-XB910N.Shot from the side to show the Sony WH-XB910N controls on the left ear cup.Close up image of the Sony WH-XB910N propped up in its case with the ear cups folded flat.The Sony WH-XB910N is partially folded into its open case, showing the cables.The isolation and ANC performance of the Sony WH-XB910N as shown in a chart.This frequency response chart of the Sony WH-XB910N shows a significantly exaggerated bass and under-emphasized mids.
Sony WH-XB910N

Bass is significantly emphasized through the headset, and forces you to strain to hear vocals in certain songs. Even the most dedicated bass heads could find this response to be a bit too much. In that case, we recommend you play around with the equalizer within the Sony Headphones Connect app to temper the bass response to your liking. That said, if you want bass and nothing else, more power to you.

These over-ear headphones are equipped with ample padding that works in tandem with the around-ear design for solid passive noise isolation. Pair the isolation with the ANC performance, and you’ve got your headset with performance that’s very similar to the older WH-1000XM3 headphones.

The best Google Assistant headphones: Notable mentions

The Google Pixel Buds in the open case next to the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro.
The Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro and Google Pixel Buds (2020) are both great sets of true wireless earbuds, specifically for Android handsets.
  • Bang & Olufsen H9: This is a premium set of noise canceling headphones with Google Assistant integration. The performance and value aren’t as great as either the Sony or Bose ANC headsets, but if you prioritize build quality, this is worth saving for.
  • Bose QuietComfort 35 II: Although the QC 35 II is a few years old, it still keeps up with the best of them from Sony and Sennheiser. Bose keeps its QC 35 II rocking with regular firmware and software updates. If you want some of the most comfortable headphones around, get these.
  • Bose QuietComfort 45: The new Bose cans can also be hooked up to your smartphone’s assistant. If you’re looking for great active noise cancelling and a comfortable fit, this is worth checking out.
  • Microsoft Surface Headphones 2: If you find the Bose Headphones 700 and Sony WH-1000XM4 headphones interesting, then the Surface Headphones 2 should be on your list. These support Google Assistant, and seamlessly execute Bluetooth multipoint connectivity.
  • Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro: The Galaxy Buds Pro support onboard Google Assistant access through the touch panels, and direct voice access to Bixby. These are the second true wireless Samsung earbuds with ANC, but unlike the Galaxy Buds Live, the Buds Pro seal to the ear.
  • Sony WF-1000XM4: Traveling listeners who don’t have room to spare in their bags should pick up a pair of Sony’s famed noise cancelling earbuds. These buds fit extremely well and remain comfortable for hours on end. The company supplies listeners with a wide array of ear tips, so you can get the best fit and enjoy optimal audio quality.
  • Sony WH-CH710N: This lower-tier over-ear, noise canceling headphone model is great for frequent travels as the headphones are lightweight and rotate for easy storage. For a more affordable option, you may want to get the Sony WH-CH700N.
  • Sony WH-1000XM4: Sure, the WH-1000XM4 is last year’s model, but it’s still a standout headset. This has phenomenal ANC, though not quite at the same level as the WH-1000XM5.

Frequent Amazon users should get the Amazon Echo Buds (2nd Gen)

The Amazon Echo Buds 2nd Generation earphones sitting on a wooden desk, with case and plant in background.
The Amazon Echo Buds (2nd Generation) are a solid set of true wireless earphones, if nothing Earth-shattering.

The mention of Amazon Alexa in an article about Google Assistant headphones may be technological sacrilege, but the fact remains that the Echo Buds are a great option for those who want a cheap alternative to the AirPods Pro or Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro. For just $139 USD, you get good active noise cancelling, hands-free access to Alexa, and a slew of ear and wing tips.

What you should know about headphones with Google Assistant

A picture of a man holding open charging case with new Pixel Buds inside with plant in background.
The Google Pixel Buds (2020) support Google Assistant, so users can speak directly to the virtual assistant without lifting a finger.

Headphones with Google Assistant integration are officially certified by Google to work seamlessly with the company’s voice assistant software. For some headsets, this means hands-free access to Google Assistant, while for others, it means a dedicated Google Assistant button. Listeners can use their voices to receive notifications along with other comprehensive controls without ever having to reach for their phones. Their functionality is comparable to the Apple AirPods Pro, which features Apple’s H1 chip for hands-free Siri access.

If you’re someone who’s frequently on the go and are overwhelmed by responding to messages and alerts, Google Assistant integration makes life easier: you can respond to incoming messages as they come in without wasting any time to fumble with your phone. Moreover, using headphones with integrated Google Assistant functionality yields faster response times than their counterparts that only support, not integrate Google Assistant access. If you’re really interested in upgrading your audio products, it may be worth considering a smart speaker. Be aware, though, that they come with their drawbacks, too.

Again, this is most comparable to any headset which allows for virtual assistant access compared to a headset with Apple H1 chip integration. The former will let you talk to Siri by holding down a multifunction button on your headset, but it isn’t the same instantaneous effect as using proprietary Apple hardware like the AirPods Pro or Beats Powerbetas Pro.

What Bluetooth codecs do Google Assistant headphones support?

Our list of headphones ranges across brands, so you’ll find a wide variety of Bluetooth codec support. Google’s earbuds only support SBC and AAC, which is pretty common. Android phone owners who want the best sound quality should look for something with aptX or LDAC support—better yet, just get a pair of wired headphones for lossless audio playback.

It’s no secret that wireless cans can’t compete with wired contenders, which is fine for most people because we either 1) can’t tell the difference between streaming quality or 2) go wireless for the convenience of it. If you’re an iPhone user, it’s worth looking out for headphones that support AAC for improved, lag-free playback. On the other hand, Android fans should stick to aptX because AAC streaming is unreliable on Android. This isn’t the fault of the codec, but rather how the operating system handles it.

How should headphones fit?

A photo of the Beats Solo Pro on-ear noise cancelling headphones being worn by a woman using the right ear cup controls.
Android users need to hold the “b” logo down for a few seconds to access Google Assistant.

Isolation is a necessity if you want accurate sound reproduction. If you’re unable to create a proper seal between the headset and your ears or head, then you’re bound to experience auditory masking. When it comes to headphones, over-ear options do a better job at insulating listeners since the ear cups encompass the ears—as opposed to on-ears, save for the Beats Solo Pro which use excessive force to clamp against the head. As far as earbuds are concerned, invest in third-party ear tips; it makes a world of difference.

Can headphones cause hearing loss?

A picture of Sennheiser earplugs on a table.
Earplugs are an effective form of hearing loss prevention and a must-have for concert-goers.

Hearing impairments comes in a variety of types, ranging from sensorineural to conductive hearing loss, but there exist some basic precautionary measures we can take to prevent hearing loss for our children and us. When it comes to Google Assistant headphones, listeners who frequently commute and spend their time on noisy subway platforms should consider any of the noise cancelling options listed. By actively filtering out external noise, they reduce the likelihood of you turning the volume up to drown out the environmental din. Alternatively, if you don’t want to shell out for premium ANC cans, you can go the budget route, which is unlikely to feature Google Assistant integration.

How we chose the best Google Assistant headphones

We did our research to ensure that each product integrates Google Assistant, which is not to be confused with simply supporting it. Surprisingly, there aren’t nearly as many offerings as one might expect, hence why we see Sony popping up on this list twice.

Of course, while we are focusing on Google Assistant integration, the headphones have to be comfortable, easy to use, and sound good too. Extra marks, of course, if a pair of headphones or earbuds also received some sort of water-resistance certification or support passthrough technology, which allows users to become temporarily aware of their surroundings.

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Frequently asked questions about Google Assistant headphones

Between the AirPods and Pixel Buds, only the new Pixel Buds support hands-free Google Assistant access. That said, you can still access Siri via Pixel Buds with a basic tap-and-hold gesture. Now, regarding battery life, the Google Pixel Buds outperform the AirPods; the same applies to sound quality. If you have time, be sure to check out our in-depth Google Pixel Buds vs. Apple AirPods article.