Best Headphones Under $500 – All Types Reviewed

by Matthew David | Updated: July 17, 2020

If you have come here direct from our comprehensive headphones buyers guide, you are now armed with the knowledge necessary to make an informed choice concerning your purchase. If you haven’t, feel free to give it a look. It will give you an overview of some of the more technical terminology relating to the different variations of over the ear headphones and in-ear headphones available and will make sure you are making the right choice.

We wanted to put together a review list that offered you a lot of options. So we are looking at our picks for the best headphones under $500. We will have products ranging from near $500 to the cheaper end of the spectrum.

We have included choices from the four major variations of headphones, so you are certain to find what you need. We are going to be looking at three different units within each category. I will be offering my choice for the best selection in each section, but this does not mean the other choices are inferior by any stretch of the imagination. All the products we have listed have their own strengths in relation to Tech Vs Price that make them excellent picks.

So, let’s dive right into the list of the top headphones under $500 in every category.

Best Open Back Headphones Under $500

1. Sennheiser HD 600 Open Back Professional Headphone

We are starting off with my choice for the best over-ear open-back headphones under 500. Sennheiser is a well-known name in the audio world and their headphones consistently produce an incredible sound quality. Their products boast top-quality sound paired with sleek looks and are always comfortable to wear.

The HD 600 headphones keeps to this trend by utilizing Neodymium ferrous magnets within the speakers to reduce distortion levels. Audiophiles will be more than satisfied with this product as it creates a crisp and powerful sound.

The frame is made of lightweight aluminum, meaning it won’t put any strain on your head while wearing it, which is a huge plus in my books. Plus, the design of the backing grill creates an ambient immersion unlike any other. Long gaming or editing sessions will be comfortable and productive.

It is a wired connection, which means you will be getting a consistently solid sound every time. It falls into the middle ground in terms of price, which is a steal considering the quality of both the casing and the speakers. If you are worried about the price tag, it conveniently comes with a 2-year warranty as standard, so you’re covered for any eventuality.

2. Beyerdynamic 459038 DT 990 PRO open Studio Headphone

Our first runner-up in the Open Back headphones category is the Beyerdynamic 459038 DT 990 PRO. Quite a mouthful to be sure.

We have moved down the price range to the under $200 range, which is why this product is one of my favorites for any professional looking for the right gear for their working set up.

The DT 990 has focused its tech on creating a strong tonal depth. This means anyone with a keen enough ear will be able to pick up on even the slightest changes in sound quality, tone, or pitch. For audiophiles, or those working in the music production industry, this is a must-have quality that can’t be ignored.

This is paired with slight bass and treble boosting, something that is a huge boost for any product in my book. This means audio editors will have a wide range of options available to them, while simultaneously making these great for more casual listening as well.

The unit itself has a single-sided cable and padded headband, meaning it is extremely comfortable to wear and allows more freedom of movement while working.

3. SIVGA P-Ⅱ Over-Ear Open Back Walnut Wood Planar Magnetic Headphone

The SIVGA P-II wins the headphone style award as far as I’m concerned. This unit will be at home in any music lovers’ listening room.

The designers of this product wanted to put in a classic look of elegance and succeeded. The housing unit is made of natural walnut wood, handcrafted to a highly professional standard. This is paired with the comfortable padding and full 90degree speaker movement functionality to allow you to fit the product to your comfort needs.

All of this style does not come at the cost of sound quality. The P-II has included some top quality audio tech. The unit features Bass and Treble balancing combines with optimized sound layering to offer the user a unique listening experience.

For those who are interested in the specifics of the speaker tech, the P-II boasts a 97mm*76mm ultra-nano double-sided magnetic planar diaphragm unit as the driver. On its own, this would be impressive enough. But this driver combines with the wooden casing to create a rich, unique acoustic experience that utilizes the open back style to its advantage.

This unit falls into the upper-middle price bracket but is worth it for those with money to burn on a high end pair of over the ear headphones.

Best Closed-Back Headphones Under $500

1. Massdrop x Beyerdynamic DT 177X GO Over-Ear Closed-Back Headphones

This product is my winning choice when it comes to Closed-Back Headphones. Two brands coming together to create an absolute beast of a product. There are a few reasons I consider these the best over-ear closed-back headphones under $500.

This unit’s strengths lie in its speaker technology, which is sure to please any audiophiles or tech-heads. It features a 45mm Tesla neodymium driver that creates an unparalleled sound quality, making use of the closed-back style to fully immerse you in your music.

The 32-ohm impedance means you can achieve amp, quality sound without causing your ears any damage or disturbing those around you. This product is great for both musicians utilizing electric instruments, music professionals in the editing studio, and audiophiles looking to step up their private listening.

In terms of comfort, the DT 177X makes use of sheepskin ear covers to make sure you can listen for as long as you like without any discomfort setting in. This product does range on the pricier side, but the price tag is representative of the high-quality product you will receive.

2. Sennheiser Momentum 3 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones

Our first runner up in this category is an excellent selection for personal listening use while on the go. Sennheiser continues their streak of top quality audio with the Momentum 3.

The big advantage of this product is the wireless functionality, which would be stellar on its own. But the Momentum, true to its name, seizes on this and takes it a step further. These headphones come with a companion app allowing you to make use of the inbuilt equalizers to create a personalized listening experience.

The Noise Cancelling function on these headphones is a huge plus in our books. If you want to get lost in the music while on the go, noise-canceling lets you do it. And this isn’t just the natural noise cancellation of a closed-back system, this is integrated, adaptive noise canceling.

The headset also features control functions built-in, so you can have complete control over your music playback without needing to get your phone out of your pocket.

The unit takes comfort into consideration as well. The speaker units are fully customizable in terms of height, so you can adjust it to fit your head snuggly.

3. Sennheiser Momentum 3 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones

No headphone product list is complete without an entry from Sony. And this product is a solid one at that. It provides a strong performance mixed with portability and all at a reasonable price.

The standout feature of this product is the Noise Cancelling, or as Sony is marketing it ‘Smart Noise Cancelling.’ The system is able to respond to your environment and match the level of noise cancellation to meet it, making these perfect for travel.

The smart systems don’t stop there. The speaker units feature a smart touch sensor control panel, that allows you to control music playback and adjust the volume. It even offers quick touch volume reduction for when you need to converse with someone. It also features full Alexa support, which is a neat bonus.

Sony prides itself on how their products look and feel. And this is no exception. The ergonomic design fits your head snuggly, while the padding is comfortable to wear. Boasting a 30 Hour battery life as well, this unit is well worth its price tag, sitting at the lower middle range of prices.

Best On-Ear Wireless Headphones Under $500

1. AKG Y500 On-Ear Foldable Wireless Bluetooth Headphones

My winning selection for best On-Ear Wireless Headphones for less than 500 belongs to the AKG Y500. At a glance, you might see the price and think this unit can’t be all that powerful. But you would be wrong.

Starting off with the sound, the 40mm drivers put an emphasis on multidimensional tones, rather than focusing on bass or treble. What this means is the system allows every part of the music to shine through and lets you take in the whole experience, rather than focusing on one aspect. For those seeking a casual, yet powerful listening experience, you won’t be disappointed.

The system boasts a 33-hour battery life, meaning you won’t ever be caught unaware and out of charge. It is compatible with fast charging too, so you can get back to it quickly. The system is wireless, which is a huge plus in our books but also boasts a double Bluetooth connection, so you can switch between devices with ease. As a fun extra, the system has sensory awareness that auto-pauses your music when you remove the speakers from your ear.

All of this, combined with the cheap price-tag, make this pair of wireless headphones an excellent product for the casual listener looking to step up their game.

2. AKG Noise Cancelling Headphones N60NC Wireless Bluetooth Headphones

The first runner up in this wireless headphone category is the N60NC. And you can probably tell why this unit is on the list.

Straight off the bat, any unit that features active noise cancelling is a winner for me. Considering this unit is an On-Ear, rather than In-Ear, it is even more impressive that is has this feature. You will have all the comfort of On-Ear, paired with noise cancellation.

The system can get up to 30 hours of battery life without the noise canceling on, but only 15 with it on. Not the best, but still impressive to be sure. AKG emphasizes balance with their sound, rather than bass boosting, and this unit is no different. You will get a smooth, varied sound letting every aspect shine through.

The wireless feature is always a plus, and the system is foldable, making it ideal to store away and transport about. This is great as you are getting a more powerful unit with all the compactness of a classic wired pair of headphones.

For what you get, the price is more than fair. But, in my opinion, it could have included a bit more for it.

3. Sony WH-CH510 Wireless On-Ear Headphones

These wireless headphones are fantastic as they have the Sony name-brand guarantee of quality while carrying a more than reasonable price tag.

The sound quality is good enough. Considering the price of the product, and the other features it has, you get the solid audio quality you would expect from a Sony speaker.

The unit has a 35 Hour Battery life, with fast charging capabilities, which is a huge plus in our books. This is paired with the use of a USB-C port, meaning it is compatible with your newer chargers.

The system is compatible with your phone’s voice assistant, meaning you can control music playback or carry out other tasks without having to get your phone out. This is a lovely feature that not a lot of On-Ear headphones have, so big plus for that. And the product comes with a lovely carry case as well.

Best In-Ear Headphones for Under $500

It should be noted that in-ear headphones are different to earbuds. Take a look at our headphone guide for more information and if you’re looking for the best earbuds then our other review will help you.

1. Sony WF-1000XM3

My number 1 choice for In-Ear Headphones are the Sony WF-1000XM3. They combine all the power you would associate with Sony, stylish looks, and an impressive feature list.

The system is a truly wireless one, offering your maximum mobility and comfort while listening. And this is paired with 24-hour battery life. The included charging case is fast charging compatible offering 90 mins of charge for every 10 mins it is charging.

The system utilizes 24bit sound processing to create a powerful and responsive sound, paired with inbuilt noise-canceling features, making use of a QN1e noise-canceling processor to boost the innate noise-canceling properties of In-Ear design.

Sony has gone the extra mile and included Smart Listening. This changes the audio style dependant on your surroundings and what you are currently doing. So you can trust your listening experience will be perfect wherever you go.

All of this comes with a stylish look that goes with any outfit. Sony is a powerhouse in both tech quality and style, and this product meets that on every front.

2. SoundMAGIC Noise Isolating Earphones

Our first runner up for overall In-Ear headphones and the top choice for the best in-ear wireless headphones under $500, is the SoundMAGIC Noise Isolating Earphones. I love this product as it is an excellent budget option that doesn’t sacrifice quality to meet a lower price tag.

The system uses 10mm dynamic drivers to offer a solid sound that allows every aspect of your music to shine. This is paired with a wired connection, which you might not like, but it means the sound is going to be consistent and powerful every time you listen.

Speaking of the wired connection, the cable is silver-plated copper designed to be completely tangle resistant. This removes the most pressing issue that faces wired headphones altogether. The housing units are made of machined aluminum, meaning they are sturdy enough to travel in your bag without sustaining any damage.

3. Bose SoundSport, Wireless Earbuds

Just like an athlete, we are finishing strong with a Bose unit. The SoundSport Earbuds are fantastic for anyone looking to invest in a quality product for their workout sessions.

The system uses Bose active EQ to make sure your sound stays consistent, no matter the volume. Perfect for quiet runs, or busy gym environments. They are fully water-resistant; this includes sweat as well so you can be sure they will keep working through the most intense workout sessions.

They only feature 6 Hours of Battery life, which is perfect for a workout session. The sacrifice of battery life is made in the interest of top-quality sound and strong wireless connectivity to keep you connected at all times.

The tips are specially designed to make use of On-ear shaping, paired with In-Ear functionality, to make sure they don’t come loose at any point during your workout.

Last update on 2020-09-04 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API