17 of the best headphones for students, according to reviews


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These are the best headphones for students going back to school.
Image: urbanears

Investing in a good pair of headphones is a must for any student, whether they’re studying for college finals or doing SAT prep in high school and just about everything else in between.

A really good pair of noise cancelling headphones is a great way to focus on studying or writing a term paper because they can block out background noise and free students from distractions. They can also create a distraction-free zone if you’re listening to music or an audiobook, or watching a movie on a laptop in a public setting. 

While great headphones can be really expensive, we picked pairs that have amazing audio quality that won’t break the bank. After all, being broke is pretty synonymous with being a student. And with our recommendations, you can save your money and spend it on more important things for school — like textbooks, laptops, and of course, ramen noodles for late night study sessions. 

Our pick for the best headphones is this pair from Audio-Technica, which deliver great audio at a reasonable price, while this pair from Urbanears is our pick for the best budget option. 

Here are 17 of the best headphones for students:

For the best audio, look no further than Audio-Technica.

For the best audio, look no further than Audio-Technica.

Image: Audio-Technica

If you’re looking for a pair of affordable yet durable noise-canceling headphones, then the ATH-ANC7B from Audio-Technica headphones are for you. Although this pair was first released in 2009, they were considered high-end for their day. However, since they are almost a decade old, the price has dropped considerably, but they’re still as functional and useful today as they were nine years ago. 

For less than $100, these headphones feature deep bass with excellent mid-range audio, while they also work very well at high volumes without distortion or degradation. The pair excels at blocking out true active noise from the outside world, which makes them ideal for students trying to study. The headphone’s cancellation unit runs on AAA batteries and works for up to 40 hours of use. However, if the batteries die, the pair still do a great job blocking passive noise. 

They’re also comfortable, with memory foam cushion and ear pads. Audio-Technica designed the headphones for long periods of use on airplanes, in offices, and while studying in libraries or other common areas. Moreover, their 3.5mm cord is also removable, so if it breaks, just replace it with a new one.

Image: Audio-Technica

BÖHM has noise-cancelling capabilities, making them great for watching movies.

BÖHM has noise-cancelling capabilities, making them great for watching movies.

Image: BÖHM

For under $100, the B66 Noise-Cancelling Bluetooth headphones from BÖHM deliver great sound quality with a wireless range that’s over 33 feet. While the bass isn’t as deep as other Bluetooth headphones, the B66s are ideal for watching movies and TV shows on a laptop, smartphone, or tablet because of the pair’s distinctive mid-range and sparkling high tones.

They’re also noise-cancelling for immersive movie watching or music and audiobook listening. The headphones have an 18-hour rechargeable battery, so you can watch a bunch of movies without losing its high quality and functionality. The headphones are also designed for comfort with faux leather padding wrapped around its cans and headband.

Amazon customer J. Lawrence writes:

“These are my new favorite wireless headphones under $100. They look and sound really good. Bass could be a smidgen tighter, but great for this price range. Very comfortable for on ear headphones. I wish they made them over the ear. Pairing was easy, and the range is good. The Bohm are tight, but hoping after a week or so they will loosen up since I wear glasses and can get head aches with on ear headphones. The noise cancellation is decent but there sound quality goes way down. They come with a cable if you don’t wish to use them wireless, or your battery dies. I didn’t notice a huge increase in quality with the cable over wireless. They come with a nice sturdy case.”

The BÖHM B66 Noise Cancelling Bluetooth are priced at $159.95, but we’ve seen them on sale for as low as $79.99.

Image: BÖHM

So cozy you won't even realize that these headphones are there.

So cozy you won’t even realize that these headphones are there.

Image: Creative Labs

For a good pair of headphones that feel light when you wear them, look no further than the Sound Blaster Jam headphones from Creative Labs. Weighing in at only eight ounces, the Sound Blaster Jam headphones are so comfortable that you might not even notice you’re wearing headphones at all. 

For less than $40, the pair are wireless, so you have the freedom to move around without being tied to a device, while they deliver up to 12 hours of seamless wireless audio with deep bass and smooth tones. They also feature full Bluetooth capabilities and NFC technology for easy pairing.

Amazon customer Chris writes:

“I bought these because of online reviews from online tech magazines, they sound great and are comfortable. these are the best bluetooth headphones that I have ever had, This is the first over ear bluetooth headphones that I ever purchased. i have had several bluetooth earbuds but I did not like talking on the phone with them because the voice quality was poor but I hear much better with these and I can wear these for hours without ear pain.”

The Creative Sound Blaster Jam Ultra-Light Bluetooth Headset cost $49.99, but we’ve seen them on sale for $37.99 on Amazon. 

Image: Creative Labs

Sony MDR-ZX110NC — Best high-end headphones

Although these headphones from Sony are pricey, they are a great bang for your buck.

Although these headphones from Sony are pricey, they are a great bang for your buck.

Image: Sony

Most of the time, a good pair of noise-cancelling headphones trade off superior sound quality for a more effective way to block ambient and active noise. However, the Sony MDR-ZX110NC are a great pair of noise cancelling headphones with up to 30 hours of battery life that don’t sacrifice  audio. But not only are these clear, crisp headphones fantastic for blocking out noise, they’re also smart.

The pair features “smart listening,” which automatically adjusts and balances audio during various activities, such as going through an airport, walking on a crowded street, or just sitting in a quiet space. You can also customize audio levels and ambient sound on the Sony Headphones Connect app for iOS and Android devices.

But don’t take our word for it. Amazon customer jordan alvarez writes:

“I got these babies for the gym because I can’t stand earbuds. These Sony Headphones look freaking slick. The touch controls are a brilliant addition, sure my shoulder will rub against it and pause it once in a while but switching volume/songs/pausing without needing your phone is a huge plus. The build has been great so far, I put them in my gym bag without the case a lot. I obviously don’t trash them because they’re $350 headphones but they have stood up through a lot of use. 

The battery is outstanding, and awesome having a battery indicator on your phone. The noise cancelling is so well done. These are better than Bose, plus the sound quality is pretty damn good. Bass is nice, clear crisp sound. I honestly am happy I spent the extra to get these headphones. Way better than Beats too. The ear cups are very comfortable, and Are not too hot for extended use.”

The Sony MDR-ZX110NC headphones are available for $348.00 on Amazon. The headphones also come in black and gold.

Image: Sony

1More made the best in-ear headphones for students.

1More made the best in-ear headphones for students.

Image: 1more

The Triple Driver In-Ear Headphones from 1More were designed for the clearest and brightest audio quality at a fraction of the price. Sound engineer and music producer Luca Bignardi finely tuned these in-ear headphones to deliver a precise and accurate audio experience. 

Each earpiece contains three audio drivers for balanced and deep bass and dynamic tones in a lightweight presentation that’s comfortable to wear in your ears for a long period of time. Even the earpieces’ wires are impressive with their “twine-like” look and texture. Students will love the in-ear headphones for their sound, style, and compact size, while parents will love them because they are under $100.

The 1More Triple Driver In-Ear Headphone typically retail for $99.99, but we’ve seen them go on sale for $82.97, or 17% off the retail price. The in-ear headphones also come in three colors: gray, silver, and gold.

Image: 1More

Feel good about leaving your charger at home with Plantronics.

Feel good about leaving your charger at home with Plantronics.

Image: Plantronics

For students who need the best battery life for long study sessions or late night term paper writing, the BackBeat Pro 2 from Plantronics are the perfect solution. The pair are wireless, so you don’t have to worry about stumbling over wires, while their battery life is a whopping 24 hours of use before it needs another charge. That’s crazy!

REVIEW: Plantronics BackBeat Pro are wireless headphones you’ll actually want to use

The BackBeat Pro 2 also sound very good, as they deliver comparable audio to Beats, Bose, and Sony, but at a fraction of the cost at just over $150. They even have the ability to pair two devices at once, so you can go from watching a movie on a laptop to listening to an audiobook from a smartphone with ease.

The Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2 are priced at $156.39 from Walmart. The wireless headphones are even a Mashable Choice product — read the full review here.

Image: Plantronics

RHA S500u — Best budget in-ear headphones

These in-ear headphones sound great and they're less than $40.

These in-ear headphones sound great and they’re less than $40.

Image: RHA

Finding a great pair of in-ear headphones at a budget price is tough. Many times, manufacturers cut as many corners as possible to get the cheapest price on earbuds for consumers. The result is something that doesn’t last very long or sound very good. However, the RHA S500u earbuds are different. 

While they are inexpensive at under $40, the in-ear headphones also have very good balanced audio with a slight bump in mid-bass with the high tones making music more exciting and alive. The pair also features a handy universal remote and microphone for Siri and Google Assistant voice commands. The in-ear headphones might not be noise cancelling, but they are noise isolating with its sound-muffling silicone ear tips, which come in seven different sizes for a wide range of ear shapes.

The RHA S500u earbuds retail for just $39.95 on Amazon.

Image: RHA

BeatsX — Best stylish earbuds

These headphones sound great and look amazing.

These headphones sound great and look amazing.

Image: beats by dre

Beats by Dre are known for their high fashion appeal, as well as their cutting-edge technology for high audio quality. Since Apple acquired the company in 2014, Beats have incorporated Apple’s tech in their headphones for an unparalleled audio and stylish experience. 

The BeatsX wireless earphones deliver clear and crisp sound in a sleek and sexy design with a long eight-hour battery life. The pair are also very easy to tuck into a pocket, making them ultra portable, and comfortable enough that you can wear them all day studying, walking to classes, and hanging out on the quad with friends. They feature Apple’s W1 chip for fast pairing to iPhones, iPads, and MacBooks, while providing fast charging when the battery is low. Just five minutes of charge time can give them two hours of playback and talk time. Not to mention they also look good while you wear them.

Amazon customer ShannonM writes:

“These are great earbuds. I’m not the techy-type person, and these are so easy to use. It automatically paired up with all my products, my iPhone and my Mac with no special anything to do. Just be sure your bluetooth is enabled. I had my phone near me and as soon as I turned them on, they paired up. They are lightweight and comfortable in my ear and come with several sizes of the ear things to fit any size ear. And they are so easy to operate. All the controls are in easy reach. 

Oh and the sound is awesome. They also keep out outside noise very well. These would be great to have on a plane or something. I got these because I garden a lot and spend a lot of time outside and needed wireless earbuds because the corded ones always end up getting yanked out of my ears or my phone in the midst of working in the yard. I also needed some that would be able to keep me from hearing outside noises like neighbors mowing etc. I’m extremely pleased with these.”

The BeatsX are sold for $149.95, but we’ve seen them on sale for $109.00 from Walmart.

Image: Beats by Dre

Grado SR60e — Best open-back headphones

Always feel as if you're in same room with the music.

Always feel as if you’re in same room with the music.

Image: Grado Labs

While there are some advantages of traditional closed-back headphones (like noise cancellation), there are some really great uses for a good pair of open-backs, namely an authentic and organic sound. Headphones with open-backed ear cups allow the sound to feel like it’s in the same room as you and not just in your ears. For a great pair of open-backed headphones, we recommend the Grado SR60e.

For less than $80, the headphones from Grado are a great entry-level pair with superb audio that makes music a breathable and relaxed experience. Don’t just listen to music, but feel it too. The Grado SR60e deliver warm tones with full-bodied vocals and a smooth and dynamic sound. The headphones were also designed for beginner and advanced audiophiles alike, so you really can’t go wrong if you’re looking for a more natural sound.

The Grado SR60e retail for $79.00 on Amazon. 

Image: Grado Labs

LG Tone Pro 780 — Best wireless headphones

Who needs wires?

Who needs wires?

Image: LG / Mashable photo composite

A good pair of wireless headphones are important for enjoying music and podcasts from anywhere in your dorm room or quad. While most are really expensive, the LG Tone Pro 780 can give students the versatility and freedom of wireless headphones in a sleek design without breaking the bank. 

For less than $70, the headphones are lightweight and well-balanced with their advanced quad-layer speaker technology that produces excellent audio quality and short charging times. The pair were also built for receiving crisp and clear phone calls, so you’ll never get muffled when you call home to ask your parents for more money. They can even be paired with two devices at the same time, so you don’t have to re-connect when switching between a laptop or smartphone.

The LG Tone Pro 780 retail for $69.99 from Walmart. The set comes in blue, gold, and white.

Urbanears Plattan 2 — Best budget on-ear headphones

Not only are these headphones our best budget pick, they're also very comfortable and stylish.

Not only are these headphones our best budget pick, they’re also very comfortable and stylish.

Image: Urbanears

If you live in a big city, then you probably noticed people wearing colorful headphones while on busy sidewalks. These cool cats are probably sporting a pair of Urbanears Plattan 2, which is our pick for best budget on-ear headphones. While they are stylish and vibrant, the Plattan 2 from Urbanears are mighty powerful and clear with a warm bottom-end, charming highs, and a deep and impactful bass.

For less than $35, the pair are comfortable to wear thanks to thick ear pads, yet durable and tough enough to stand up to a daily commute to and from school. The headphones offer up really good passive noise isolation with a stylish and fun look. They are also collapsible, so you can throw them in a backpack without giving up a lot of space. 

However, the best thing about them is the removable 3.5mm wire which allows you to place them in either the left or right ear cup. And since both sides have a 3.5mm jack, you can daisy chain two or more other Urbanears Plattan 2s together for the ultimate dance party or movie session with friends.

Amazon customer LOVE! writes: 

“I absolutely love these headphones! These are my very first pair of over-ear headphones, so I was nervous at first because I’ve only ever used earbuds, but they’re great! Extremely comfortable, amazing sound quality (in my opinion, as good of quality as my Bose earbuds!), and adjustable. I like how I can fold them up and stick them in my backpack, though I usually keep them around my neck. These headphones are so good that I rarely use earbuds now. I love the soft feel around my ears and the sound. Worth the price! Definitely recommend!”

The Urbanears Plattan 2 go for just $34.26 on Amazon. The headphones come in a wide variety of stylish colors like black, blue, gray, pink, purple, white, and much more. There’s also a wireless version that goes for $99.95, which is a bargain for such a stylish pair under $100.

Image: Urbanears

Audio-Technica QuietPoint — Best in-ear noise cancelling headphones

These in-ear headphones are compact and noise cancelling.

These in-ear headphones are compact and noise cancelling.

Image: Audio-Technica

There are a lot of advantages of buying a pair of noise-cancelling in-ear headphones: they are typically lightweight, stable, and ultra compact. A good pair are basically earplugs that can play killer tunes at the same time. The ATH-ANC23 QuietPoint from Audio-Technica are an older model, but they still deliver world class audio and high level noise cancelling at a considerably low price.

The in-ear headphones include a special adapter attachment, which run on AAA batteries for up to 60 hours, that achieves the pair’s noise-cancelling feature. It clips on to your belt or pocket like an old school pager, so it’s not the most stylish, but it gets the job done at the fraction of the price. The pair effectively reduces background noise, so it’s great for students who want to study in common areas like a cafeteria. They were also designed for comfort in your ears, along with preventing sound leakage.

The Audio-Technica ATH-ANC23 QuietPoint retails for only $35.00 from Walmart.

Image: Audio-Technica

Monster iSport Intensity — Best headphones for student athletes

Don't let your workout ruin your music.

Don’t let your workout ruin your music.

Image: Monster

If you’re a student athlete looking for a great pair of headphones that won’t ruin your workout, then look no further than the Monster iSport Intensity. For less than $25, you get a pair of in-ear headphones that have great audio and style. They were designed to keep the buds inside of your ears during all sorts of physical activities like long runs, vigorous workouts, and intense biking sessions. The in-ear headphones are durable and sweatproof to keep the music or podcasts going, while they also have handy controls right on the wire, so you don’t have to fiddle with your smartphone while using them.

Amazon customer Minbin40 writes:

“I have such a hard time finding earbuds because the buds don’t fit in my ear. These are amazing! Immediately when I put them in my ear they stayed and didn’t move which is rare for me to find. Would definitely recommend. The sound is a little more of a base then clear but it still sounds good and I don’t mind that.”

The Monster iSport Intensity are priced at $24.84 on Amazon.

Image: Monster

Go wireless with Audio-Technica!

Go wireless with Audio-Technica!

Image: Audio-Technica

Audio-Technica is known for delivering the best audio quality at a moderate price compared to other manufacturers like Sony, Beats by Dre, and Bose. The ATH-SR5BT headphones feature a great value for students and audiophiles alike with their 45mm drivers for quality audio, NFC “tap-and-touch” pairing for up to eight devices, and soft and comfortable memory foam ear pads that were designed for long periods of music listening and movie watching. 

The headphones’ battery even provides up to 38 hours of use with 1,000 hours of standby time on a full charge. The pair can also trade between wireless and wired listening whenever the battery runs dead. In this way, you don’t have to wait to re-charge it. Just plug in the wire and you can continue to enjoy podcasts, audiobooks, music, and movies on the go. Audio-Technica includes all of these wonderful features in a compact package that’s under $150.

Snag the Audio-Technica ATH-SR5BT as part of a bundle deal (it includes a sports armband, charger, and more) at Walmart.

Image: Audio-Technica

Corsair HS50 — Best headphones for gaming

Play your video games with this headset from Corsair.

Play your video games with this headset from Corsair.

Image: Corsair

If you’re a gamer (what student isn’t these days) and you’re looking for a quality pair of headphones with a built-in microphone, then the Corsair HS50 model our recommendation. For under $50, the headphones are durable with a metal construction, while they also sound great with precision tuned speaker drivers inside for immersive audio that has a wide range and accurate sound.

Its microphone reduces ambient noise, so the gamer on the other side won’t hear background chatter, while it’s also removable, so it doesn’t get in the way if you want to use the headphones for something else — like listening to music or watching a movie on your laptop. The pair is also comfortable to wear for long periods, so you won’t get ear fatigue during those marathon gaming sessions. 

The Corsair HS50 retails for only $49.99 on Amazon. The headphones are compatible for PC, Xbox One, PS4, and Nintendo Switch, along with various mobile devices.

Image: Corsair

Rest assured, these headphones are fully waterproof!

Rest assured, these headphones are fully waterproof!

Image: H2O Audio

Accidentally dropping a pair of headphones in a pool, or getting them wet during a downpour between classes is definitely not ideal. You’re already soaking wet and now you’re headphones are dead. However, there is a solution with this waterproof pair of in-ear headphones from H2O Audio.

For less than $40, you’ll receive a great pair that are IPX8 rated for 100% waterproofing in heavy sweat, rain, and complete submersion for up to 12 feet of water. They even come with five high quality earplug tips for you to find the perfect seal for your unique ear shape. 

The pair was designed to fit comfortably, yet snuggly, in your ears for long periods of time, so you should feel good about wearing them during a workout or just go swimming with them. 

Amazon customer I was jealous of dry land writes:

“These waterproof earbuds as all regular earbuds don’t have superior home theater sound, but the music doesn’t sound bad either. All waterproof earbuds rely on an airtight seal to conduct sound waves. Which means you need to experiment with the different sizes provided and don’t expect to get a real good work out that first day. As a safety mechanism the bud does go out when water comes in direct contact with it but it is easily fixable. So far the soft blue pads have held up pretty long. When they do finally wear out, they’re pretty cheap to replace. This product offers a wider variety of sizes with good quality that has lasted me. Once I found my correct fit for each ear the buds hardly fall out. If they do its because of my error.”

The H2O Audio Headphones retail for just $39.99 on Amazon.

Image: H2O Audio

JLab Audio Diego — Best tangle-free solution

Avoid the dreaded wire tangle with these headphones from JLab.

Avoid the dreaded wire tangle with these headphones from JLab.

Image: JLAB

Getting wires tangled can get really annoying and can hold back a good pair of headphones. While you can just go wireless, the good people at JLab offer a tangle-free solution with the Audio Diego in-ear headphones.

Although most wires are often round, which is why they get tangled so easily, the durable wires of the JLab Audio Diego in-ear headphones are flat, so they’re tougher to wrap up in themselves. The sleek and sexy pair are also rugged and flexible, while comfortable and affordable for students with a price that’s under $15. They come with JLab’s signature audio and sound that features solid and strong bass with crystal and crisp mid and high tones.

The Audio Diego in-ear headphones from JLab retail for the low price of $14.99 on Amazon. The pair come in four stylish color combinations, such as midnight black and gunmetal, sport yellow and grigio gray, pacific blue, white, and midnight black, and Miami-purple and mint.

Image: Jlab

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