11 Cool Headphones That Sound Great

Last Updated: September 26, 2016

Unless you’re an audiophile, you probably don’t give much thought to your headphones. In fact, you might still be using the ones that came with your iPhone or iPod to listen to music—or maybe you stepped up to a $20 pair of earbuds when they broke. But when you get into the next level of headphones, you’ll hear an amazing difference in your music, and you’ll be blown away by what you’ve been missing. These 11 sets of headphones set themselves apart with great looks, cool features, and awesome sound. Be sure to share your favorites in the comments, too!

11 of the coolest headphones out there

LSTN Troubadors ($150)


If you’re into companies that support good causes in the world, you’ll love LSTN. Every purchase helps them travel the world with the Starkey Hearing Foundation to give hearing aids to people that wouldn’t have been able to afford them. How cool is that? And the headphones themselves are great—the wood accents are gorgeous, and the grain makes each pair unique. Combine that with great sound, and you have an absolute winner of a headphone. (I personally prefer the zebra wood, but the cherry and ebony are really good-looking, too.)

Where to Buy: Amazon.com

Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 ($243)


The set of headphones that I’ve been using for the past couple years, the Momentums are hard to beat on sound quality for the price. They’re comfortable, quite adjustable, and have great sound over the entire range. They’re also available in a number of cool colors. The new 2.0 also brings a foldable steel headband to the table, making them highly portable. Be sure to get the Android or Apple model, depending on what you’re going to be using them with, to get the most out of your new cans.

Where to Buy: Amazon.com

Bose Quiet Comfort 25 ($299)


If you’re looking for a pair of noise-cancelling headphones, the Quiet Comfort 25s are tough to beat. Bose is legendary for the sound quality of their gear, and they’ve been at the forefront of noise cancelling for a long time. The Quiet Comfort’s around-ear format means it can block out a lot of ambient noise while providing you with great dynamic sound. These headphones are also notably lightweight, making them great for taking with on a trip or down to the local coffee shop.

Where to Buy: Amazon.com

Sennheiser Urbanite XL ($123)


The Urbanite XL is one of the most economical options available from Sennheiser, and their cool looks top off the great value. There are a wide variety of colors, so you can get the pair that fits your style best—but at this price, you may be tempted to get a couple! These are designed to be durable headphones, so you can fold them up and toss ’em in your backpack without worrying about them getting destroyed. The XL version of the Urbanite sports an over-ear design, giving you the best sound possible, though you can get the non-XL version for an on-ear fit that’s a bit smaller.

Where to Buy: Amazon.com

Sony MDR10RBT ($200)


These might not look like anything special, but the fact that they can be used in Bluetooth or wired mode makes them one of the more versatile pairs of headphones out there. Rock them in Bluetooth mode when you want maximum portability, and use the wire when you you’re at home and don’t want to use up the battery. They’re also NFC-capable and support one-touch pairing and listening if you have a phone that supports it. The looks aren’t out of this world, but for $200, it’s hard to get a more well-rounded pair.

Where to Buy: Amazon.com

AKG Q460 ($100)


This pair of headphones was my introduction to the world of high-quality audio, and it still stands out as one of the smallest, lightest, and most portable sets out there. While you won’t get professional-quality sound from a $100 pair of headphones, these will give you some of the best audio you could ask for at this price. Their foldable design, leather on-ear pads, and legendary AKG sound (endorsed by Quincy Jones) make them a fantastic value.

Where to Buy: Amazon.com

Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBL ($188)


The Audio-Technica name is a well-known one, and for good reason. Their headphones give you solid sound for a reasonable price . . . but they aren’t very often all that exciting. The ATH-M50xBL, however, breaks that pattern with some seriously cool styling. They come in a standard black color, but the blue, white, and green cans really stand out from the crowd. And the over-ear design makes sure you get the most out of every song you blast through them.

Where to Buy: Amazon.com

V-MODA XS ($170)


The passive noise isolation in the XS gives you clear sound, even when ambient noise is high—and it doesn’t require battery power or extra processing. This, combined with the small size and easy folding, make this a good pair of headphones for traveling. But what really sets them apart from other options is the metal construction, available in matte black and white silver. This makes these headphones not only look really cool, but put up with heavy abuse, as well.

Where to Buy: Amazon.com

Plantronics Backbeat Pro ($162)


Although the looks are rather bland, the Backbeat Pro packs a lot of great features. Noise-cancelling makes it easier to hear your tunes, wireless connection gives you freedom to move around (up to 330 feet with Bluetooth), 24 hours of battery life mean you don’t have to worry about recharging constantly, and comfort-focused construction mean long hours with them on won’t drive you nuts. All for less than $175. It’s tough to beat that.

Where to Buy: Amazon.com

AKG Y50 ($90)


In general, AKG headphones don’t stand out for their looks—but the Austrian sound powerhouse decided to change that with the Y50s. Black, blue, red, and yellow options on the Y50s help you show off your style when you’re jamming, and the always-solid AKG sound ensure that you’ll appreciate your music to the fullest. Highly portable, the Y50 includes the same 3D-Axis folding technology as the Q460s, but gives you a larger on-ear cup to improve the sound quality.

Where to Buy: Amazon.com

Beats by Dr. Dre Studio ($180)


The Beats name has a rather negative reputation for sound quality, but the Studio has been re-engineered, and it’s been getting a much more positive reception than previous models released by the Dr. Dre-endorsed line. These studio-level headphones bring dual-mode adaptive noise cancelling, an over-ear design, a 20-hour rechargeable battery, and a new streamlined design worthy of the Dre name—even if the rest of the line is still too bass-heavy to be recommendable.

Where to Buy: Amazon.com

SEE ALSO: Top 10 Portable Bluetooth Speakers

Don’t Compromise on Sound

You might think that your Apple earbuds are fine for listening to music when you’re walking around town, but give one of these pairs of headphones a try and you’ll be convinced in just a few seconds that you’ve been missing out on the best that your music has to offer. Fuller bass, higher trebles, richer mids . . . you’ll be amazed at what you’ve been missing. Don’t be put off by the price tags on these cans—buy a pair and you absolutely will not regret it.


Dann is a freelance journalist who helps people lead happier, more balanced lives through technology and spending time in nature. He writes about the topics that people deal with every day: productivity, organization, and finding the precarious balance between using tech and being addicted to it. To get in touch, tweet him @dann.albright.