The best headphones on the market for commuters

Charity Lindsey

Free of wires that can tangle and snag on things, wireless headphones provide a highly convenient design for commuters who travel light.

Best everyday commuter headphones

Headphones are a regular commuter’s best friend. Whether you need to make business calls on the go or you want to block out the rest of the world and enjoy your favorite music or podcasts, a good pair of headphones is essential to the commuting lifestyle.

Among the industry’s top-tier and budget-friendly options, there’s the right pair for you. As you think about what product might be a great fit for your needs, one important question to consider is whether you want wired or wireless headphones. 

Wired vs. wireless headphones

Wired headphone pros

There’s no need to worry about charging your headphones when they come with a wire, essentially making their battery life infinite. In addition, if you’re a true audiophile looking for top-tier sound quality, wired headphones will always outperform their wireless counterparts.

Wired headphone cons

If you like to just toss your headphones in your work bag, wired headphones might frustrate you with how often their cords tangle and get stuck on other items.

Wireless headphone pros

Free of wires that can tangle and snag on things, wireless headphones provide a highly convenient design. They’re typically compatible with all Bluetooth-enabled devices.

Wireless headphone cons

The overall sound will typically be at least a bit inferior compared to studio-quality wired headphones. Additionally, wireless headphones are limited by how long their pre-charged battery can last, which can vary widely by product.

Best wireless in-ear headphones

Best of the best

Powerbeats Pro Wireless Earbuds: available at Kohl’s and Amazon.

Our take: With phenomenal battery life and sound quality that will please even the most enthusiastic audiophile, these Powerbeats truly cannot be beat.

What we like: For commuting purposes, these are ideal due to their sweat and water resistance, highly secure ear-hook fit and extensive battery life (more than 24 hours with the charging case). 

What we dislike: Quality comes for a price, and in the case of these headphones, that price is a steep $199.95 on Amazon.

Best bang for your buck

The Everyday Raycon Bluetooth Wireless Earbuds: available on Amazon.

Our take: For $79.99, these buds can become a part of your daily grind for the long haul, making them well worth the investment.

What we like: Raycon’s everyday earbuds have it all — comfortable fit, stable Bluetooth connection, water resistance, on-the-go charging, long-lasting battery life and premium sound.

What we dislike: If you’re planning on making any business or personal phone calls while using headphones, you might want to steer clear. Some everyday Raycon wearers report poor call quality from its microphones. 

Wired in-ear headphones

Best of the best

1MORE Quad Driver In-Ear Earphones: available at Amazon.

Our take: These headphones prove there’s no such thing as too many drivers, boasting four total — one diamond-like carbon dynamic driver and three balanced armatures. The result is an unbeatable depth of sound.

What we like: Careful design yields an exceptionally comfortable set of headphones that, with great noise isolation abilities, make them perfect for commuters.

What we dislike: These in-ears prove to be very bassy, so if boom isn’t your thing, you may want to look elsewhere.

Best bang for your buck

In-ear Earbuds Yinyoo KZ ES4: available at Amazon.

Our take: Yinyoo’s ES4 earbuds are designed with two drivers — one dynamic and one balanced armature — making them a surprisingly sophisticated pair of hybrid earphones for the price. 

What we like: With a detachable cord, these in-ears offer incredible sound — especially bass — on a budget at just $19.99. 

What we dislike: It’s a good thing the cord is detachable because it’s not the best. It can very easily become tangled and isn’t especially attractive.

Wireless over-ear headphones

Best of the best

Bose QuietComfort 35 II Wireless Bluetooth Headphones: available on Amazon.

Our take: If drowning out ambient noise is your commuting priority, these Bose headphones will not disappoint. Their noise cancellation is tough to beat.

What we like: QuietComfort headphones are aptly named because they both trick you into thinking the environment around you is silent and that you’re not even wearing headphones because they’re so cozy.

What we dislike: Although these can last you days before needing to recharge, charging them does take a long time, so we’d recommend charging overnight. 

Best bang for your buck

iLive Wireless Over-the-Ear Headphones: available at Amazon and Bed Bath & Beyond.

Our take: Top reviews on these headphones brag about their light, comfortable fit and impressive sound quality.

What we like: The on-ear controls allow wearers to easily manage volume, Bluetooth pairing and play/pause features. Featuring a built-in microphone, you can also easily make phone calls with these headphones. 

What we dislike: If you like to listen to your tunes on full blast, these aren’t for you. Even at their loudest setting, they will leave you wanting just a bit more volume.

Wired over-ear headphones

Best of the best

Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro Studio Headphones: available at Amazon.

Our take: Headphones like these are designed for mixing in the studio, not jamming on the subway, but with hard-to-top sound quality and durable features, they’re great for commuters and DJs alike.

What we like: The velour ear pads are replaceable and super comfortable while the exterior shell and cable are robust, making these heavy-duty headphones a long-lasting investment.

What we dislike: Some wish the cable was detachable rather than built-in, as it’s not the most flexible and prone to snagging on things. 

Best bang for your buck

OneOdio Wired Over Ear Headphones: available at Amazon.

Our take: The padding in these headphones’ ear cushions provides optimal noise isolation for long bus or train commutes.

What we like: The DJ-style coiled cord and 90-degree swiveling ear cups will appeal to both professional music mixers and everyday commuters. 

What we dislike: Not quite as lightweight or soft as some of its competitors, these headphones may not be the most comfortable for all ears.

Charity Lindsey is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.

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