A good set of headphones are an absolute necessity in this increasingly noisy world. There are few greater pleasures than sticking on a set of headphones and losing yourself in great-sounding tunes. Which is helped by a near-endless music selection in your phone.
Not only is this a tried and tested method of relaxing, it’s also pretty effective at blocking out everything that’s going on around you. All-in-all, an essential bit of “you time”.
The prospect of living in your own little sound bubble is pretty appealing. The good news is that there are plenty of devices out there that can help you step inside and lose yourself. And it won’t cost a fortune to escape. These days, you don’t need to be loaded to get access to the best tech. There are lots of great budget headphones available.
What are the best headphone brands?
You can pick and choose from a wide selection of devices and a lengthy list of brands. You’ve almost certainly heard of Bose, Sony, and Apple, but there are lots of lesser known brands to consider as well.
Sticking to the top brands definitely has its advantages. You’re taking less of a risk by investing in one of the bigger names, but that doesn’t mean it’s always the way to go. You can often find much better value by looking at some of the smaller brands, and you don’t need to sacrifice comfort, style, or sound quality.
What features should you consider when shopping for headphones?
You might be surprised at all the features included with modern headphones — even at a budget price point. Here are some key features to consider when choosing new headphones:
Bluetooth — This allows you to connect to your phone or music-playing device wirelessly. It’s fairly standard with up-to-date headphones but usually for convenience rather than sound quality. Wired headphones are still the best for audio aficionados.
Sound quality — Serious audiophiles might want to spend a bit more to get the richest, expertly engineered sound. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get great sound for a low price. Look out for reviews that credit the lows, mids, and highs (these describe the different frequencies of music). Also, look for headphones with drivers of 50mm and under. Drivers are bits of internal tech which convert electronic signals into sound.
Microphone — It’s the age of connectivity and most headphones will connect to your phone and allow you make calls via an internal mic, built into the headset or the cable.
Manual controls — Many headphones include buttons on the headset for manually controlling the volume, playback, or making calls. Sounds simple, right? Not entirely. Be sure the controls are easy to access and are easy to differentiate from each other by touch alone.
Closed-back/open-back — Closed back headphones have completely sealed ear cups, which direct sound to your ears and keeps out ambient noise. Open-back headphones let air into the ear cup but can cause sound leakage that goes both ways — both in and out. This is sometimes found on very expensive headphones for clearer, more natural sound, but closed-back are often the go-to choice for commuting and noisy environments.
Noise cancelling — Much like it sounds, this is a feature that cancels out ambient and surrounding noise to create a completely immersive experience. Some headphones are built to physically keep out noise. Others include specific tech that further cancels it out. That’s called “active noice cancellation” (ANC).
How do you choose the most comfortable headphones?
This is down to personal preference and — of course — what best fits your head size and shape. Some headphones are designed with comfort in mind, with padded ear cups or adjustable headband for getting the fit just right. Others are made with practicality in mind, and may fold up for added portability.
We would always recommend spending some time researching everything, but we appreciate that not everyone has the time or the energy to do this.
What are the best headphones for under £50?
We have done all the hard work and tracked down the best headphones for under £50. This list includes some names you probably don’t know, some budget models from the biggest brands, and everything in between. There really is something for everyone in this list.
We recommend taking your time and carefully considering all the options, and then selecting the set that best fits your requirements. Sounds good, right?
These are the best headphones for under £50 in 2022.