The 10 Best Isolation Headphones
Our Picks in Detail
If you have any questions regarding an item, please refer to our comments section for this article.
* Last update of prices was on 2019-01-18 10:20:24 via PA API. Prices or conditions may have changed in the meantime.
12 Best Isolation Headphone Alternatives
Isolation Headphone Buying Guide
Buying headphones can be a tricky process. Between the various brands and audiophile jargon, it can be frustrating trying to find the right pair for you. Here's the decision-making process you should go through when making a purchase. First, decide your price range. With headphones, what you pay is what you get. For example, the M6 PRO (listed above) has great sound quality relative to its price of $35 to $50 but it still won't match the quality of the Bose QuietComfort headphones, which cost $200. If sound quality is important to you, then you will have to naturally increase how much you're willing to pay. Trying to find that perfect bargain where you get $500 quality for $30 is just going to result in a lot of headaches. Before you even start looking, you should decide what your ceiling is and stick to it.
Second, ask yourself where you are going to use these headphones. This lets you prioritize certain traits and narrow down your choices. If it's going to be while travelling or exercising, then a pair of in-ear headphones would be preferable due to being lighter and easier to carry. In contrast, if you're going to be wearing these headphones for a long period of time, like in an office or music studio, comfort is probably going to be a higher priority. For example, the ETY-Kids headphones use deep-insertion tips for their earbuds, which can feel weird to some people, and thus might not be comfortable for long periods of time. That said, you might prefer their neutral sound versus the more bass-heavy M6 PRO. It's all about deciding what matters most to you.
Next, check the size of the headphone cups (if it's over-ear) or the buds (if it's in-ear). The last thing you need is to buy a pair of headphones only to find the cups are too small to cover your ears, or the tips are too big to fit inside your ear canal. The Sennheiser HD 4.5 has this problem, where it does not fit people with larger heads or ears. It really stings to spend $200 on a pair of headphones only to find out it doesn't fit. If you already own a pair of headphones that fit nicely, then you already have everything you need. Check the size on those and use that as a reference when shopping. If you don't have a pair of headphones that fit you, or the ones that you do have are a different type than what you're looking for, then try going to a store that will let you try on the headphones. If you have a friend that has headphones similar to what you're looking for, try them on to get a feel for what size you're looking for. Even if they don't fit you'll still have narrowed down the size range (this is too big, this is too small, etc.).
The other thing to do is to keep track of recurring compliments or complaints. If you see people are consistently complaining that a pair of headphones wear down quickly, then there is a good chance are those headphones aren't very durable. Likewise, if multiple people talk about how comfortable these headphones are, then you can be confident they will be comfortable. The key thing here is to look at multiple reviews, not just one or two. Sometimes companies will hire people to put good reviews of their products on websites like Amazon, so be wary of anything that reads as overly effusive.
Taking all these tips, here are some good headphones from the list above. If you want a cheap pair of over-ear headphones, the Sound Intone CX-05 has decent isolation along with a fairly sturdy build quality. If in-ear headphones fit your needs more, ETY-Kids is a solid choice. Don't be fooled by the name, while this brand advertises itself as being for children, the headphones are all-around high quality, and you can get tips for adult ears. There's also many solid mid-range options, such as the M6 PRO (in-ear) and the Shure SRH440 (over-ear). However, if you're looking to dive into the deep end, everyone and their mother has recommends the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x, and for good reason. Solid build and excellent sound quality, there's little to complain about here. However, you're not going to be left in the lurch if in-ear is your preference, as shown by the Mikros 70, with their excellent sound quality and clarity. There's a wide variety of options even outside of what I'm recommending here, so don't be discouraged if nothing here catches your eye. Just get out there, and use these hints to get yourself the headphones you deserve.