Headphones make a great present for any music lover, helping them get the best sound quality out of their MP3 player, iPod, iPad hi-fi or digital radio. Which? has rated more than 50 sets of headphones in our expert lab tests, ranging from £10 to over £100, so there’s no better place for headphone buying advice.
Whether you’re looking for a cheap and cheerful stocking filler or a top-end gift, here are our recommendations for the best headphones and earphones this Christmas:
Best for iPod, iPhone and BlackBerry owners: Klipsch Image X10i – around £200
At this price, these Klipsch X10i earphones aren’t just stocking fillers, they’re for someone who’s never without their iPhone. Their features and accessories make them ideal for iPod, iPhone or BlackBerry users who want to give their sound a boost. Weighing just 11g, they deliver bass with good impact and definition. Lucky recipients of these Klipsch earphones will also get five sets of earpieces, a carry case, storage box, shirt clip, cleaning tool and an aeroplane jack adaptor. Read the full review. Or as a cheaper alternative, we also rate the Klipsch Image S4i highly, which are available for around £85.
Best for wireless freedom: Sennheiser RS180 – from £162
These over-ear headphones transmit up to 100m wirelessly, are comfortable and lightweight, and offer impressive sound quality. You’ll need batteries, but they’re included. Read the full review.
Best for kids: Sony MDR-ED21LP – from £13
They’re not going to satisfy the most exacting music-lover but these affordable earbud phones have fine sound quality, occasionally lacking bass. They stay in the ears well, and are a worthwhile upgrade from the standard headphones that come with MP3 players. A great set of headphones for kids or teenagers. Read the full review.
Best for audiophiles: Bowers & Wilkins P5 Mobile Hi-Fi – around £250
Loudspeaker brand Bowers & Wilkins makes its first foray into headphones with this uniquely styled over-ear set. They’re pricey but come with two sets of detachable cables – one of them specifically designed for iPods and iPhones. Sound quality, as you’d expect, is very good. Read the full review.
Best in-ear headphones for commuting: Panasonic RP-HC55 – around £40
Some of the best in-ear headphones we’ve reviewed in the Which? Test Lab, these lightweight, well fitting Panasonic earphones also have an effective noise-cancelling function. You’ll need a AAA battery to power this, which should last for around 40 hours of listening. Read the full review.
Santa – Don’t Buy these headphones
Finally, before you head to the shops or online retailers, check out the list of Which? Don’t Buy headphones. We suggest Santa steers well clear of these models, described by our expert reviewers as ‘mediocre’, ‘harsh, nasal and compressed’ and scoring ‘the lowest possible rating for sound quality’.
See our Which? technology Christmas gift guide for more great present ideas, including cameras, laptops, games consoles, ebook readers, digital photo frames, mobile phones and more.
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