Ever since Apple bought Beats in 2014, the headphone brand has gone from strength to strength. Seen on high streets, in airports and clamped on to the heads of professional athletes, Beats are a go-to choice if you want to spend that little bit more on headphones.
Although Beats headphones work with any Bluetooth device, they are best when paired with your iPhone, iPad, iPod or Mac. Many feature the great W1 and H1 chips also found in Apple AirPods, which make connecting with Apple devices easier than ever.
But which Beats headphones are right for you? In this article we compare the various options and find the outstanding choices in terms of audio quality, fit and design, value for money and features. For more general help, jump ahead to our Beats headphones buying advice.
Best Beats headphones 2020
- Reviewed on: 16 August 18
The Studio 3 Wireless are the most fully featured Beats headphones and have a decent claim to be the best you can buy. This also means they are the most expensive, but their RRP still undercuts similar products from Bose and Sony.
They work best with an iPhone or iPad but it's great that you could use them with any other Bluetooth device should you want to. Sound quality is close to as good as you'll find on headphones for this price, but they may not be the ones to go for if your main musical love is loud, guitar-led rock music.
That said, it's hard to fault the Studio 3 headphones and they stand out further thanks to exceptional comfort and class-leading battery life.
Read our Beats Studio 3 Wireless review.
- Reviewed on: 31 March 20
The Powerbeats (2020) are a classy pair of Bluetooth headphones that will suit runners with a penchant for bass-heavy music. They're good value for money, too.
They fit snugly, resulting in solid passive noise isolation and very little chance of them falling out of your ears; this is backed up by both ear hooks and a neck cable which might even be overkill, and do make the headphones difficult to put on and take off.
Audio quality fulfils all the promises and the Powerbeats are particularly good at delivering that essential bass punch. But they're not one-trick ponies, and gentler tracks were still rendered with warmth and detail.
Finally, battery life is excellent, and while Fast Fuel wasn't quite as effective for us as the manufacturer predicted, it remains a useful option for quick-charge emergencies.
Read our Powerbeats (2020) review.
- Reviewed on: 16 January 20
If you can afford them, then the Solo Pro are excellent headphones and easily one of the best pairs of Beats you can buy. They are, of course, especially good for iPhone users.
While they don't move things on a huge amount compared to the Solo 3, the design has been tweaked, they sound better and namely add active noise cancelling.
Nothing is exactly ground-breaking but these are the on-ear wireless headphones to get if you want the best to go with your iPhone. Look to the Solo 3 if you want something cheaper and don't need noise cancelling.
Read our Beats Solo Pro review.
- Reviewed on: 16 August 18
If you're looking for a stylish, discreet pair of earphones, the BeatsX are an ideal option. Featuring a variety of wingtips and eartips to find the perfect fit, the BeatsX stay securely in your ears no matter what you're doing. They're incredibly lightweight and comfortable to wear, thanks in part to the Flex Foam cable.
The highlight of the BeatsX is, surprisingly, in the battery department. It features Fast Fuel tech that provides two hours of playback with five minutes of charging, and can go from flat-to-full in only 40 minutes.
In the sound department, the BeatsX don't disappoint. The bass is punchy but not overpowering like older Beats headphones, providing nice, balanced audio with warm mids and crisp highs.
Our one disappointment is that these sporty earphones don't offer any kind of water- or even sweat-resistance.
Read our BeatsX review.
5. Beats EP
- Reviewed on: 6 December 18
If you just want a simple and no-nonsense pair of Beats headphones then the EPs fit the bill.
They're affordable and get the job done with minimal fuss. Plug them in, put them on and you're away. Considering the price difference to some pairs, we're impressed with the build quality and sound performance.
These are the everyman's Beats.
Read our Beats EP review.
- Reviewed on: 26 September 18
If you must have Beats and you want in-ear wired headphones then the urBeats3 are the best you can get. Their audio is similar to the wireless BeatsX but with the advantage of a headphone jack.
Comfort was a slight issue for us over extended periods, but you might find otherwise. With an RRP at under half the price of the BeatsX, the urBeats3 are a bit of a steal.
Read our Beats urBeats3 review.
- Reviewed on: 19 November 18
The Beats Solo 3 Wireless are potentially amazing headphones - assuming you're happy with the familiar plastic (and durable) design to start with.
We're impressed with the features on offer here, particularly the best battery life we've ever seen on a pair of wireless headphones.
Sound quality is good, but more than most headphones you need to be a fan of bass-dominant music for the Solo 3 Wireless to suit you. If you're likely to listen to other genres far more, then we'd recommend looking elsewhere.
Read our Beats Solo 3 Wireless review.
Generally speaking there are three kinds of headphones, and they are all represented in the Beats line-up. In-ear, on-ear and over-ear headphones each serve different fits, tastes and looks.
In-ear Beats will come with multiple sizes of tips to suit different sizes of ear. On-ear and over-ear have a similar design, but the latter completely covers the entire ear and sometimes offers active noise cancellation to tune out the outside world.
How much should you spend on Beats?
It depends on your budget and what you want from a pair of Beats. There are cheaper options in the range, but if you want the classic Beats look with the on- or over-ear design then the price will edge over £200/$200. There are some options well under £100/$100, though.
We've opted to review some of the more premium Beats headphones for this roundup - these are the best Beats, after all. But you can get a pair of headphones with excellent sound quality, fit and connectivity with your iPhone and other Apple gear without spending top whack.
If you're after sales and discounts, have a look at our guide to the best headphone deals.
Do you need wireless Beats?
Most of the Beats models here are wireless, so you'll need to keep them charged to work over Bluetooth. The on- and over-ear models come with a headphone jack attachment, though, in case you're caught short when out and about.
The urBeats3 are wired and have a headphone jack or Lightning connector depending on which model you go for. The EP on-ear headphones are wired.