AWS: Your complete guide to Amazon Web Services & features

In the current age of cloud computing, there is now a multitude of mature services available — offering security, scalability, and reliability for many business computing needs. What was once a colossal undertaking to build a data center, install server racks, and design storage arrays has given way to an entire marketplace of services that are always just a click away.

One leader in that marketplace is Amazon Web Services, which consists of 175 products and services in a vast catalog that provides cloud storage, compute power, app deployment, user account management, data warehousing, tools for managing and controlling Internet of Things devices, and just about anything you can think of that a business needs.

AWS really grew in popularity and capability over the last decade. One reason is that AWS is so reliable and secure. It’s a gold standard and used by some of the most well-known brands in existence, such as Netflix, Uber, and Airbnb. What started as primarily a cloud infrastructure for computing power and storage evolved and scaled quickly (like the service offerings themselves) as companies kept looking for more and more products to help them do business.

One example of this is AWS Snowball, a highly unique service that involves a physical device that Amazon sends to you. Companies can off-load legacy data from tape back-up systems or from an entire data center (using multiple Snowball clients). When the migration is finished, an electronic label changes automatically so you can send the devices back. The data then becomes part of AWS and the cloud infrastructure and all the benefits that provides.

AWS is a leader but is also not alone in providing exemplary products and services. Both Microsoft Azure and Google Cloud and the two primary competitors in the space. IBM is also a major cloud provider. Perhaps one distinguishing characteristic of AWS is that Amazon uses its own cloud infrastructure to power Amazon.com, the most popular e-commerce website today.

Another important characteristic — the AWS Management Console is a single point of entry to most services, many of which are compatible with each other and work in conjunction. Even a tiny startup can sign up for an AWS account and get started with the console in a few minutes. There may be one simple “register here” button for AWS, but it opens up the door to a wealth of services and products to help businesses achieve their goals.

Jump to:

List of AWS services

The following Amazon Web Services are available:

AWS AMI: An AWS AMI (Amazon Machine Image) allows you to deploy instances in the cloud. In simple terms, it is like the portion of a local server in a data center or like a virtual machine that runs in the cloud. Without an AMI, the advantages of cloud computing really would not be possible.

AWS AppSync: AppSync is a cloud-based service that keeps mobile and web apps up to date, but only as needed and only at the scale you need for your particular needs. It uses a cost structure that is designed to maintain only critical data and leave data at rest untouched.

Amazon Athena: For companies that house their data in the cloud using a service like Amazon S3 (Simple Storage Service), Amazon Athena is a godsend. It’s a query service that allows you to run SQL queries in the cloud, which means there’s no need to operate a local database.

Amazon Aurora: For those who need to deploy a relational database in the cloud, there is one main option from Amazon called Aurora. This means you can rely on a high-performance database that can keep up with the needs of your applications.

AWS Batch: One of the key advantages to the cloud is that the infrastructure can scale as your needs change. AWS Batch is a batch processing service for Big Data projects. As your projects increase in size, the cloud infrastructure supporting it can adapt.

AWS CLI: AWS CLI (Command Line Interface) is a downloadable application you can use to control AWS functions. This command line introduces a new, powerful way to form commands, while making it simple for team members to execute them.

AWS CloudFormation: For companies that need to deploy and manage application stacks and resource, AWS CloudFormation is a way to “form the cloud” so that you can deploy web and mobile apps easily. For managing the cloud, you can use one main command line interface.

AWS CloudFront: A Content Delivery Network (CDN) is normally a difficult undertaking for companies to develop and deploy. AWS CloudFront is a CDN that runs in the cloud and can scale as your media streaming, messaging, and file distribution needs change and evolve.

AWS CodeDeploy: This service allows you to deploy apps in a cloud environment, such as Amazon EC2, AWS Fargate, AWS Lambda, or your on-premise infrastructure. It means faster, more efficient deployment for companies that want to reach a market segment faster.

AWS CodePipeline: Modern application development is a complex undertaking, but AWS CodePipeline allows companies to manage all of the steps involved, from building, testing, and production. It’s an efficient method because of a single point of management and control.

AWS Cognito: User account control is easy when it is part of a brand new app. You might only have a few dozen users. AWS Cognito can help when you start scaling up to hundreds, thousands, or even millions of users, helping with the management and authentication.

Amazon Connect: Amazon Connect is the ultimate way to improve customer service, especially for small businesses. It uses the cloud in order to save storage, it’s pay-as-you-go, and efficient and simple to navigate.

AWS Console: AWS Console is the primary source of controlling the services you use, scaling your cloud environment, and even deploying new services. It is like a one-stop shop for cloud computing needs. AWS Console is extremely fast, easy to use, and even offers support assistance if one of your services isn’t working properly.

Amazon Corretto: A production ready distribution of OpenJDK, Amazon Corretto allows you to create, run and deploy Java applications in the cloud. It’s designed to make this process more efficient and scalable so that you don’t have to overhaul your infrastructure.

AWS Data Pipeline: Data transformation is a term that can make your head spin, especially if you are in charge of the migration. AWS Data Pipeline makes this much more fluid and efficient, even if you are migrating and moving data in a complex environment.

AWS Direct Connect: AWS Direct Connect is a bridge between the old and the new. It’s a service that connects legacy and non-critical data to data stores that are actively deployed for your applications and infrastructure. The data becomes available for apps in real-time.

Amazon DynamoDB: Any garden-variety database running on a server just won’t cut it in the modern age of complex apps for the web and mobile devices. Amazon DynamoDB is a high-performance database that runs in the cloud, with all of the advantages of scale and reliability you’d expect.

AWS EBS: AWS EBS (Elastic Block Store) is a cloud service that allows you to store files in the more traditional block storage format that has existed for decades, which is helpful for legacy apps, Big Data projects, or archiving purposes.

Amazon EC2: Amazon EC2 (Elastic Compute Cloud) provides an IT infrastructure that runs in the cloud. It offers power, flexibility, and performance all at the same time. The biggest benefit of EC2 is that it offers quick, efficient scalability for users.

AWS Elastic Beanstalk: As the name implies, Elastic Beanstalk provides an adaptable, flexible way to scale applications without the usual setup, management, and configuration of the server infrastructure. It’s elastic in the sense that it can adapt and scale to your business needs.

Amazon EMR: Amazon Elastic MapReduce is a service for deploying the frameworks needed to do Big Data analytics in the cloud. It is often used for genomic research, drug discovery, analyzing materials used for new products, and other tests that require massive data analysis.

AWS Fargate: AWS Fargate is Amazon’s serverless compute engine that makes it easier than ever to update or develop an application without fear of a data breach, so that you’re constantly keeping up with new infrastructure demands.

AWS Glue: With AWS Glue, there’s no need for advanced technology in order to keep all of your data in one place. AWS Glue is the “glue” that ties together different kinds of data, making it readily available for queries.

Amazon Kinesis: Amazon Kinesis provides real-time analytics for data as it flows in your cloud infrastructure. The service provides real-time analytics and reporting functions. The real power of Kinesis is that it can keep up with your apps and scale accordingly.

AWS Lambda: AWS Lambda is a computing service provided by Amazon that processes code and automatically operates computing resources as needed. As a cloud-based service, there is never a need to worry about power or storage.

Amazon Lightsail: Amazon Lightsail is a framework that allows developers to run applications on virtual servers in the cloud. Because it is a secure environment and is a compliment to other Amazon services like Elastic Compute Cloud (ECS2), it has a powerful use case.

AWS Outposts: What if you could run a replica of the cloud services Amazon offers, but in your own data center? That’s the idea behind AWS Outposts, a service that provides all of the features and functions of cloud services but in your local infrastructure.

Amazon RDS: Amazon RDS helps companies store relational databases in the cloud. It can be used for analytics, business dashboards, web applications or any app that uses a relational database. This provides added flexibility and an ability to scale to your needs.

Amazon Redshift: Amazon Redshift is an online data warehouse that provides its users with flexibility, ease of navigation, security, automatic updates — and it’s just as effective for large businesses as it is small ones.

Amazon S3: A well-known object storage service, Amazon S3 (Simple Storage Service) is a powerful, scalable, reliable service that meets the demands of even the most complex enterprise-grade apps and the largest companies and institutions.

Amazon SES: Amazon SES (Simple Email Service) is the best way to improve messaging. It’s pay-as-you-go, and it is designed to fit right into the current IT infrastructure your business uses. It can send several thousand messages without concerns about security or performance.

AWS Snowball: AWS Snowball is a data transfer service that helps businesses perform a more secure data migration. The data being moved will not go through the Internet, so the migration is quicker, safer, and more reliable for if you want to access the information later on. Snowball is extremely scalable, allowing businesses to transport any amount of data they need.

Amazon SNS: Modern applications are constantly communicating with servers and each other. Even simple changes like a new high-score in gaming app has to be transmitted. Amazon SNS (Simple Notification Service) manages, tracks, and controls these messages.

Amazon SQS: Amazon SQS (Simple Queue Service) is a message queuing service that runs independent of the actual infrastructure you are using. It makes sure messages between servers and apps run efficiently, securely, and reliably.

AWS Step Functions: Step Functions allows developers to create apps that uses multiple transactional services. Previous to cloud computing services such as Step Functions, linking to multiple sources was much more complex, which caused issues with reliability.

AWS Storage Gateway: AWS Storage Gateway is a hybrid storage option for companies with legacy data stores but who also are taking advantage of cloud storage. The service bridges the gap between the two, providing one console to control and manage both data stores.

AWS VPC: AWS VPC (Virtual Private Cloud) is, as the name implies, a secure virtual cloud that can help ease the minds of business owners launching a new website, app, or other service. AWS VPC is a separate portion of the Amazon cloud that offers a lot of flexibility and scalability.

AWS WAF: Not all firewalls run as a hardware device in a data center. AWS WAF (Web Application Firewall) is a cloud based firewall you use to protect apps and data in the cloud. Companies can add ore remove cloud security features depending on their needs.

AWS X-Ray: One of the most curiously named products from Amazon, X-Ray should not be confused with the Amazon Prime Video service for finding out more about actors. It’s a cloud service that tracks and manages all of the messaging that occurs between cloud-based apps.

Complete list of Amazon Web Services

Complete list of Amazon Web Services

The following is a list of every Amazon Web Service available at this time. It’s likely Amazon will expand the product offering in 2020, and we’ll update this list accordingly.

  1. Analytics
  2. Application Integration
  3. AR&VR
  4. AWS Cost Management
  5. Blockchain
  6. Business Applications
  7. Compute
  8. Customer Engagement
  9. Database
  10. Developer Tools
  11. End User Computing
  12. Game Tech
  13. Internet of Things
  14. Machine Learning
  15. Management & Governance
  16. Media Services
  17. Migration & Transfer
  18. Mobile
  19. Networking & Content Delivery
  20. Quantum Technologies
  21. Robotics
  22. Satellite
  23. Security & Compliance
  24. Storage

1. Analytics

Amazon Athena: Query Data in S3 using SQL

Amazon CloudSearch: Managed Search Service

Amazon Elasticsearch Service: Run and Scale Elasticsearch Clusters

Amazon EMR: Hosted Hadoop Framework

Amazon Kinesis: Work with Real-time Streaming Data

Amazon Managed Streaming for Apache Kafka: Fully managed Apache Kafka service

Amazon Redshift: Fast, Simple, Cost-effective Data Warehousing

Amazon QuickSight: Fast Business Analytics Service

AWS Data Exchange: Find, subscribe to, and use third-party data in the cloud

AWS Data Pipeline: Orchestration Service for Periodic, Data-driven Workflows

AWS Glue: Prepare and Load Data

AWS Lake Formation: Build a secure data lake in days

2. Application Integration

Amazon Athena: Query Data in S3 using SQL

Amazon CloudSearch: Managed Search Service

Amazon Elasticsearch Service: Run and Scale Elasticsearch Clusters

Amazon EMR: Hosted Hadoop Framework

Amazon Kinesis: Work with Real-time Streaming Data

3. AR and VR

Amazon Sumerian: Build and Run VR and AR Applications

4. AWS Cost Management

AWS Cost Explorer: Analyze Your AWS Cost and Usage

AWS Budgets: Set Custom Cost and Usage Budgets

AWS Cost and Usage Report: Access Comprehensive Cost and Usage Information

Reserved Instance Reporting: Dive Deeper into Your Reserved Instances (RIs)

Savings Plans: Save up to 72% on compute usage with flexible pricing

5. Blockchain

Amazon Managed Blockchain: Create and manage scalable blockchain networks

Amazon Quantum Ledger Database (QLDB): Fully managed ledger database

6. Business Applications

Alexa for Business: Empower your Organization with Alexa

Amazon Chime: Frustration-free Meetings, Video Calls, and Chat

Amazon WorkDocs: Secure enterprise document storage and sharing

Amazon WorkMail: Secure and Managed Business Email and Calendaring

7. Compute

Amazon EC2: Virtual Servers in the Cloud

Amazon EC2 Auto Scaling: Scale Compute Capacity to Meet Demand

Amazon Elastic Container Registry: Store and Retrieve Docker Images

Amazon Elastic Container Service: Run and Manage Docker Containers

Amazon Elastic Kubernetes Service: Run Managed Kubernetes on AWS

Amazon Lightsail: Launch and Manage Virtual Private Servers

AWS Batch: Run Batch Jobs at Any Scale

AWS Elastic Beanstalk: Run and Manage Web Apps

AWS Fargate: Run Containers without Managing Servers or Clusters

AWS Lambda: Run your Code in Response to Events

AWS Outposts: Run AWS services on-premises

AWS Serverless Application Repository: Discover, Deploy, and Publish Serverless Applications

AWS Wavelength: Deliver ultra-low latency applications for 5G devices

VMware Cloud on AWS: Build a Hybrid Cloud without Custom Hardware

8. Customer Engagement

Amazon Connect: Cloud-based Contact Center

Amazon Pinpoint: Personalized User Engagement Across Channels

Amazon Simple Email Service (SES): Email Sending and Receiving

Contact Lens for Amazon Connect: Contact center analytics powered by ML

9. Database

Amazon Aurora: High Performance Managed Relational Database

Amazon DynamoDB: Managed NoSQL Database

Amazon DocumentDB (with MongoDB compatibility): Fully managed document database

Amazon ElastiCache: In-memory Caching System

Amazon Managed Apache Cassandra Service: Managed Cassandra-compatible database

Amazon Neptune: Fully Managed Graph Database Service

Amazon Quantum Ledger Database (QLDB): Fully managed ledger database

Amazon RDS: Managed Relational Database Service for MySQL, PostgreSQL, Oracle, SQL Server, and MariaDB

Amazon RDS on VMware: Automate on-premises database management

Amazon Redshift: Fast, Simple, Cost-effective Data Warehousing

Amazon Timestream: Fully managed time series database

AWS Database Migration Service: Migrate Databases with Minimal Downtime

10. Developer Tools

Amazon Corretto: Production-ready distribution of OpenJDK

AWS Cloud Development Kit (CDK): Model cloud infrastructure using code

AWS Cloud9: Write, Run, and Debug Code on a Cloud IDE

AWS CodeBuild: Build and Test Code

AWS CodeCommit: Store Code in Private Git Repositories

AWS CodeDeploy: Automate Code Deployment

AWS CodePipeline: Release Software using Continuous Delivery

AWS CodeStar: Develop and Deploy AWS Applications

AWS Command Line Interface: Unified Tool to Manage AWS Services

AWS Device Farm: Test Android, iOS, and web apps on real devices in the AWS cloud

AWS Tools and SDKs: Tools and SDKs for AWS

AWS X-Ray: Analyze and debug your applications

11. End User Computing

Amazon AppStream 2.0: Stream Desktop Applications Securely to a Browser

Amazon WorkDocs: Secure enterprise document storage and sharing

Amazon WorkLink: Enable mobile access to internal websites

Amazon WorkSpaces: Desktop Computing Service

12. Game Tech

Amazon GameLift: Simple, Fast, Cost-effective Dedicated Game Server Hosting

Amazon Lumberyard: A Free Cross-platform 3D Game Engine with Full Source, Integrated with AWS and Twitch

13. Internet of Things

AWS IoT Core: Connect Devices to the Cloud

Amazon FreeRTOS: IoT Operating System for Microcontrollers

AWS Greengrass: Local Compute, Messaging, and Sync for Devices

AWS IoT 1-Click: One Click Creation of an AWS Lambda Trigger

AWS IoT Analytics: Analytics for IoT Devices

AWS IoT Button: Cloud Programmable Dash Button

AWS IoT Device Defender: Security Management for IoT Devices

AWS IoT Device Management: Onboard, Organize, and Remotely Manage IoT Devices

AWS IoT Events: IoT event detection and response

AWS IoT SiteWise: IoT data collector and interpreter

AWS IoT Things Graph: Easily connect devices and web services

AWS Partner Device Catalog: Curated catalog of AWS-compatible IoT hardware

14. Machine Learning

Amazon SageMaker: Build, Train, and Deploy Machine Learning Models at Scale

Amazon Augmented AI: Easily implement human review of ML predictions

Amazon CodeGuru (Preview): Automate code reviews and identify expensive lines of code

Amazon Comprehend: Discover Insights and Relationships in Text

Amazon Elastic Inference: Deep learning inference acceleration

Amazon Forecast: Increase forecast accuracy using machine learning

Amazon Fraud Detector (Preview): Detect more online fraud faster

Amazon Kendra: Reinvent enterprise search with ML

Amazon Lex: Build Voice and Text Chatbots

Amazon Personalize: Build real-time recommendations into your applications

Amazon Polly: Turn Text into Lifelike Speech

Amazon Rekognition: Analyze Image and Video

Amazon SageMaker Ground Truth: Build accurate ML training datasets

Amazon Textract: Extract text and data from documents

Amazon Translate: Natural and Fluent Language Translation

Amazon Transcribe: Automatic Speech Recognition

AWS Deep Learning AMIs: Quickly Start Deep Learning on EC2

AWS Deep Learning Containers: Docker images for deep learning

AWS DeepComposer: ML enabled musical keyboard

AWS DeepLens: Deep Learning Enabled Video Camera

AWS DeepRacer: Autonomous 1/18th scale race car, driven by ML

Amazon Inferentia: Machine learning inference chip

Apache MXNet on AWS: Scalable, High-performance Deep Learning

TensorFlow on AWS: Open-source Machine Intelligence Library

15. Management and Governance

Amazon CloudWatch: Monitor Resources and Applications

AWS Auto Scaling: Scale Multiple Resources to Meet Demand

AWS Chatbot: ChatOps for AWS

AWS CloudFormation: Create and Manage Resources with Templates

AWS CloudTrail: Track User Activity and API Usage

AWS Command Line Interface: Unified tool to manage AWS services

AWS Compute Optimizer: Identify optimal AWS Compute resources

AWS Config: Track Resource Inventory and Changes

AWS Control Tower: Set up and govern a secure, compliant, multi-account environment

AWS Console Mobile Application: Access resources on the go

AWS License Manager: Track, manage, and control licenses

AWS Management Console: Web-based user interface

AWS Managed Services: Infrastructure operations management for AWS

AWS OpsWorks: Automate Operations with Chef and Puppet

AWS Organizations: Central governance and management across AWS accounts

AWS Personal Health Dashboard: Personalized View of AWS Service Health

AWS Service Catalog: Create and Use Standardized Products

AWS Systems Manager: Gain Operational Insights and Take Action

AWS Trusted Advisor: Optimize Performance and Security

AWS Well-Architected Tool: Review and improve your workloads

16. Media Services

Amazon Elastic Transcoder: Easy-to-use Scalable Media Transcoding

Amazon Kinesis Video Streams: Process and Analyze Video Streams

AWS Elemental MediaConnect: Reliable and secure live video transport

AWS Elemental MediaConvert: Convert File-based Video Content

AWS Elemental MediaLive: Convert Live Video Content

AWS Elemental MediaPackage: Video Origination and Packaging

AWS Elemental MediaStore: Media Storage and Simple HTTP Origin

AWS Elemental MediaTailor: Video Personalization and Monetization

AWS Elemental Appliances & Software: On-premises media solutions

17. Migration and Transfer

AWS Migration Hub: Track Migrations from a Single Place

AWS Application Discovery Service: Discover On-Premises Applications to Streamline Migration

AWS Database Migration Service: Migrate Databases with Minimal Downtime

AWS DataSync: Simple, fast, online data transfer

AWS Server Migration Service: Migrate On-Premises Servers to AWS

AWS Snow Family: Physical devices to migrate data into and out of AWS

AWS Transfer for SFTP: Fully managed SFTP service

CloudEndure Migration: Automate your mass migration to AWS

18. Mobile

AWS Amplify: Build and deploy mobile and web applications

Amazon API Gateway: Build, Deploy, and Manage APIs

Amazon Pinpoint: Personalized User Engagement Across Channels

AWS AppSync: Power your apps with the right data from many sources, at scale

AWS Device Farm: Test Android, iOS, and web apps on real devices in the AWS cloud

19. Networking and Content Delivery

Amazon VPC: Isolated Cloud Resources

Amazon API Gateway: Build, Deploy, and Manage APIs

Amazon CloudFront: Global Content Delivery Network

Amazon Route 53: Scalable Domain Name System

AWS PrivateLink: Securely Access Services Hosted on AWS

AWS App Mesh: Monitor and control microservices

AWS Cloud Map: Application resource registry for microservices

AWS Direct Connect: Dedicated Network Connection to AWS

AWS Global Accelerator: Improve application availability and performance

AWS Transit Gateway: Easily scale VPC and account connections

Elastic Load Balancing: Distribute incoming traffic across multiple targets

20. Quantum Technologies

Amazon Braket: Explore and experiment with quantum computing

21. Robotics

AWS RoboMaker: Develop, test, and deploy robotics applications

22. Satellite

AWS Ground Station: Fully managed ground station as a service

23. Security and Compliance

AWS RoboMaker: Develop, test, and deploy robotics applications

AWS Ground Station: Fully managed ground station as a service

AWS Identity & Access Management: Manage User Access and Encryption Keys

Amazon Cognito: Identity Management for your Apps

Amazon Detective: Investigate potential security issues

Amazon GuardDuty: Managed Threat Detection Service

Amazon Inspector: Analyze Application Security

Amazon Macie: Discover, Classify, and Protect your Data

AWS Artifact: On-demand access to AWS compliance reports

AWS Certificate Manager: Provision, Manage, and Deploy SSL/TLS Certificates

AWS CloudHSM: Hardware-based Key Storage for Regulatory Compliance

AWS Directory Service: Host and Manage Active Directory

AWS Firewall Manager: Central Management of Firewall Rules

AWS Key Management Service: Managed Creation and Control of Encryption Keys

AWS Resource Access Manager: Simple, secure service to share AWS resources

AWS Secrets Manager: Rotate, Manage, and Retrieve Secrets

AWS Security Hub: Unified security and compliance center

AWS Shield: DDoS Protection

AWS Single Sign-On: Cloud Single Sign-On (SSO) Service

AWS WAF: Filter Malicious Web Traffic

24. Storage

Amazon Simple Storage Service (S3): Scalable Storage in the Cloud

Amazon Elastic Block Store (EBS): EC2 block storage volumes

Amazon Elastic File System (EFS): Fully managed file system for EC2

Amazon FSx for Lustre: High-performance file system integrated with S3

Amazon FSx for Windows File Server: Fully managed Windows native file system

Amazon S3 Glacier: Low-cost Archive Storage in the Cloud

AWS Backup: Centralized backup across AWS services

AWS Snow Family: Physical devices to migrate data into and out of AWS

AWS Storage Gateway: Hybrid Storage Integration

CloudEndure Disaster Recovery: Highly automated disaster recovery

Amazon Managed Streaming for Apache Kafka: Fully managed Apache Kafka service

Amazon Redshift: Fast, Simple, Cost-effective Data Warehousing

Amazon QuickSight: Fast Business Analytics Service

AWS Data Exchange: Find, subscribe to, and use third-party data in the cloud

AWS Data Pipeline: Orchestration Service for Periodic, Data-driven Workflows

AWS Glue: Prepare and Load Data

AWS Lake Formation: Build a secure data lake in days

AWS Step Functions: Coordinate Distributed Applications

Amazon EventBridge: Serverless event bus for SaaS apps & AWS services

Amazon MQ: Managed Message Broker for ActiveMQ

Amazon Simple Notification Service (SNS): Pub/Sub, Mobile Push and SMS

Amazon Simple Queue Service (SQS): Managed Message Queues

Amazon AppSync: Power your apps with the right data from many sources, at scale

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Best cheap headphones: your guide to the best budget headphones in 2020

Looking for cheap headphones, but don't want to skimp on sound quality, comfort, and modern conveniences like noise cancelation and Bluetooth? You've come to the right place. 

Headphones are like pieces of art: while the real connoisseurs can spend a fortune on them, for most folks, budget models work just as well. Just like art, there's a big difference between finger painting and Picasso – with a happy medium somewhere in between – and the same is true for headphones. 

Here at TechRadar, we’ve sort of built a reputation for covering all of the latest, greatest and priciest technology in the world. However, even in the face of all of that high-end equipment, we still have a passion for finding great tech items that anyone can afford, and the best cheap headphones are a great place to start. 

It’s this passion for affordability that inspired us to create this list of the best cheap headphones on the market in 2020 – we’ve put our bargain-hunting prowess to great use and found a great deal of cheap headphones that you can buy without thinking twice about it.

Best cheap headphones at a glance

Cheap earphones: RHA MA390
Cheap wireless earphones: OnePlus Bullets Wireless 2
Cheap true wireless earbuds: JLab Go Air True Wireless Earbuds
Cheap on-ear headphones: Grado SR60e
Cheap on-ear wireless headphones: Audio-Technica ATH-S200BT
Cheap over-ear headphones: Monoprice 8323 Hi-FI DJ Style Headphones
Cheap noise-canceling headphones: Taotronics TT-BH040
Cheap studio monitor headphones: Beyerdynamic DT 240 Pro

What are the best cheap headphones?

RHA MA390

Everyone's talking about true wireless, but there are still plenty of reasons to go wired. Two of the biggest reasons is sound quality and price. While there are cheap wireless headphones out there, they usually sound much worse than wired headphones for the same price. 

In the budget in-ear headphone category, you usually sacrifice sound and build quality for price. However, there are rare gems that are affordable, sound great, and are built well. The RHA MA390 is one of those headphones. 

While the RHA MA390 is the cheapest headphone the company makes, it doesn’t sacrifice on build quality, design, or sound: These headphones are beautifully crafted out of aluminum, feature a braided cable, and a universal remote that works with Android and iOS. While not perfect, the RHA M390 are an excellent value in the budget in-ear category. 

If these don't take you fancy, check out our roundup of the best earbuds for every budget. 

Read the full review: RHA MA390 in-ear headphones review

oneplus bullets wireless 2

OnePlus is most known for its “flagship killer” phones like the OnePlus 7 and OnePlus 7 Pro,, but the company also makes headphones – the best example of which are the company’s excellent Bullets Wireless 2, which offer an incredible value in the neck-bud headphone category. 

In terms of audio quality, they boast a lively sonic presentation and an accurate-feeling soundstage, although bass-heads may want to look elsewhere for headphones that pack a bassier punch. 

They may be $ 30 more expensive than their predecessors, but the improved battery life and sound quality makes up for that; it also makes it worth upgrading if you have the originals and are due a new pair of wireless earbuds. 

Read the full review: OnePlus Bullets Wireless 2 review

jlab go air

The JLab Go Air True Wireless Earbuds will cost just $ 29 / £29 when they’re released in March, and while we’re still waiting for official confirmation of pricing outside the US and UK, that works out at around AU$ 40. In other words, they're unbelievably cheap compared to the rest of the true wireless market.

The JLab Go Airs herald a new age of truly affordable true wireless earbuds – but you get what you pay for with these super-cheap buds. The sound quality is too poor for us to wholeheartedly recommend them, but the Go Airs are so cheap that they could make a good pair of ‘backup’ buds to stow in your bag and forget about until you forget your main pair or they run out of battery.

If you really can’t abide the poor sound quality on offer here (and it is poor, make no mistake), but you like the sound of JLab’s low prices, you could check out the JBuds Air Executive – at $ 69 (about £55 / AU$ 100) they’re a bit pricier, but they offer better sound and better battery life. 

Better yet, the Lypertek Tevi true wireless buds cost £99 (about $ 130 / AU$ 140), and are nearly faultless for the price. 

Read the full review: JLab Go Air True Wireless Earbuds review

Grado SR60e

For your money, you can't do any better than Grado's SR60e. The third-generation of the Brooklyn, NY-based company's Prestige Series is its best and most refined yet. 

The SR60e in particular is a smart choice if you're looking for an entry-level set of headphones that sounds like it should cost you way more than it does. 

Their open-backed ear cup design makes them a more breathable experience than what most on-ear headphones can deliver, although this does mean that they're not ideal for use in loud environments where sound can 'leak' in and disrupt your listening. 

That said, in terms of pure sound quality, they're our gold-standard when it comes to on-ears.

Read the full review: Grado SR60i review (our review is for the SR60i, but the newer SR60e headphones are largely similar in design and performance).

cheap on-ear

You, like everyone else, probably wants a set of headphones that nails the tricky blend of design, useful features and incredible sound. You might think that you need to flush your savings to enjoy such a pair of cans. Protip: you don't.

The Audio-Technica ATH-S200BT are a well-built, great-sounding, long-lasting pair of headphones. Their features constantly outweigh their modest price and we can’t get enough of that 40-hour battery life. While technological advancements usually mean a premium price, that's just not the case with the Audio-Technica ATH-S200BT. 

Read the full review: Audio-Technica ATH-S200BT review

monoprice

It’s easy to spend an arm and a leg on good over-ear headphones. Barring the exception of noise-cancelling and planar magnetic cans, they are the top dogs of the audio world. Really good over-ears should be the most comfortable, most versatile headphones in your audio arsenal. They should be just as adept with Hi-Def audio sources of 16-bit/44.1KHz as they are streaming from Spotify, and they should do so without sacrificing either end of the audio spectrum. 

In our testing we found a half-dozen that can do the job (the Status Audio CB-1 come to mind, as do the Sennheiser HD201 and Audio-Technica ATH-M20X) but, of them all, the Monoprice 8323 Hi-FI DJ Style Headphones are the cream of the crop. They’re a bit cheaper constructed than the others, but for their price they sound outrageously clear. Balanced and powerful, the Monoprice 8323 is the epitome of what the best cheap headphones should be.

over-ear headphones

If you’re not wedded to the idea of owning full-size headphones, there’s quite a lot of competition worth considering around this price. However, you can’t argue with the Taotronics TT-BH040s' value: while not packed with character, they carry themselves with a premium look above the affordable price tag, with aluminum touches and a generally pleasant design. 

From a distance, and even close up, few would guess they are so affordable … just don’t buy them expecting the same performance as the most desirable pairs from Beats, Sennheiser or Bose.

studio headphones

Beyerdynamic makes loads of equipment for both audiophiles and audio professionals, and some of it comes at a high price. But, the Beyerdynamic DT 240 Pro headphones find a sweet spot offering professional audio and a high standard in design for a lower price point.

The DT 240 Pro headphones cost $ 99 (£89, AU$ 139), making them more affordable than heaps of other studio monitor headphones. This price puts them in close competition with some of Audio-Technica’s cans, like the widely praised ATH-M40X or the wireless ATH-SR5BT, which can be found on sale in the same ballpark as the DT 240 Pro.

Beyerdynamic shines in performance with the DT 240 Pro. As studio monitor headphones, the sound produced is not very colorful, but that’s exactly as it should be. All the sound comes through clean and incredibly well balanced.

The bass is easy to pick up on without being thumpy, though with a subtle punch at higher volumes. From the bass on up to the high end, all the sounds mesh clearly, with the DT 240 Pros not boosting one register over the other.

They're neutral, perfect for recording and best of all, cheap.

Read the full review: Beyerdynamic DT 240 PRO review

 What to look for in cheap headphones 

 In order to create this guide, we’ve tested, listened to and compared over 25 headphones in every category, shape and size. When we found a great pair, we then put it against the rest back-to-back-to-back to make sure they still really deserved the title of ‘best cheap headphones’. 

You might be wondering what we were looking for through all this expansive testing? Sound fidelity was clearly the most essential detail – but we also made sure to consider comfort, design and other features also.

Like most people, we prefer our music detail-rich and well-balanced. We can live with our music sounding a bit warm with an emphasis on the mids and highs, but we still like to be able to feel the bass. Also, it’s important to look for headphones with reasonable battery life if they’re wireless, a robust, durable build that will stand up to the trials of everyday commute and comfortable padding to help make longer listening sittings nice and comfortable. 

Keep in mind though, that testing headphones will be, at least on some level, subjective, and our taste in tonal balance might not match yours (neither will the size of our head or the shape of our ears). Still, we’ve done our best to take subjectivity out of the equation and can present, through our expertise, the best cheap headphones that won’t hurt your wallet.

By their very nature, the headphones you prefer will ultimately boil down to your own personal taste. However, seeing as the headphone market is extremely saturated, it is genuinely hard to figure out what the best headphones for your tastes actually are. That’s where we come in. 

Now, bear with us – it’s impossible to get our hands on every affordable pair of headphones, but we won’t recommend anything we haven’t used ourselves. So if we missed your favorite pair of Beats headphones, it wasn’t on purpose, we assure you.

With this guide, we went through a process – exhaustively testing a huge amount of cheap headphones from all over the internet in every style under the sun. In-ear, over-ear, wireless – everything you can think of. 

We then took the results of all of this exhaustive testing, and measured each headphone against each other until we could confidently pick a few to proudly wear the ‘best cheap headphones’ badge. So rest assured, even if we didn’t pick your favorite headphone, there isn’t a single pair in this list that will disappoint.

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Best headphones 2020: Your definitive guide to the latest and greatest audio

If you're looking for the best headphones to buy in 2020 you've come to the right place.

A good pair of headphones are a necessity for many of us – aside from breathing new life into our favorite songs, they keep us entertained with music, podcasts, and audio books when we're working out, commuting, or just trying to disconnect from the world around us.

We spend a lot of time with our headphones – and if you're looking for some new cans, you're going to want a pair of the best headphones you can find that your budget allows. 

It's our mission to hook you up with the perfect headphones for your needs – and your budget. 

We encourage you to take a look at all the headphone lists here on TechRadar – however, if you're in a hurry and just want to find the best headphones your money can buy, check out our top picks below.

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sony wh-1000xm3

The Sony WH-1000XM3 Wireless Headphones are the best headphones you can buy in 2020 – for now, anyway. 

They're pretty consistent with what Sony has released in the last two years in the form of the Sony WH-1000XM2 and Sony MDR-1000X, improving on some already fantastic models. 

A dominant noise-cancelling pair of headphones, the Sony WH-1000XM3 can beat anything Bose has with ease.

That’s because, while Bose has done a tremendous job working out its noise cancellation algorithm over the years, Sony has spent that time perfecting audio playback while simultaneously creating an adaptable algorithm that doesn’t just create a single sterile sound barrier, but multiple kinds that can tailor itself to whatever situation you’re in. 

Beyond being exceptional at keeping external noises at bay, these impressive Sony headphones are Hi-Res Audio-ready, sporting aptX, aptX HD and LDAC codecs, and offer the smarts of Google Assistant right on-board. If you need a pair of headphones that can live up to any challenge and excel in any environment, these are the pair for you.

We could soon see a new contender for the top spot though; rumors of an imminent Sony WH-1000XM4 release date have been circling since an FCC filing from Sony revealed the model number of what could be a brand new pair of noise-canceling headphones

Read more: Sony WH-1000XM3 review

1More Triple Driver In-Ear Headphone

After spending a few weeks with both the 1MORE Triple Driver in-ear headphones, we were blown away by the great value for money they represent.

For $ 100 / £100 (about AU$ 168), it’s hard to think of a better-sounding and more well-built pair of earphones than the 1MORE Triple Drivers. (That said, if you want just that little extra refinement and luxury materials, the 1MORE Quad Drivers are still a bargain at twice the price.)

There’s very little we can fault the Triple Drivers for. Sure, the inbuilt remote feels a little cheap, but that's more than made up for by the lush sound quality offered by these luxe-looking earbud.

For the price, it’s impossible to do better than 1MORE's Triple Driver in-ear headphones. 

Read more: 1More Triple Driver In-Ear Headphone review

rha s500u

If you have a tendency to lose or break headphones, but you still value sound quality, it’s hard to think of a better value pair of earbuds than the RHA S500u. 

These in-ear headphones have no business sounding so good for $ 40 / £30 / AU$ 52, sporting a balanced soundstage with a slight mid-bass bump to power you through your workouts and make your music sound great. 

Bass is slightly emphasized but not egregiously and features good impact while maintaining good control – and highs, while sibilant at times, makes music sound more exciting. In short, these are the best earphones you can buy if you're on a strict budget.  

Read more: RHA S500u review

grado sr60e

For your money, you can't do any better than Grado's SR60e. The third-generation of the Brooklyn, NY-based company's Prestige Series are its best and most refined yet. 

The SR60e in particular are a smart choice if you're looking for an entry-level pair of headphones that sound far more expensive than they really are.

Their open-backed earcup design makes them feel more breathable than most on-ear headphones, delivering a wide, natural soundstage. In a few words, they're our gold-standard when it comes to on-ears.

(Our review is for the SR60i, but the newer SR60e headphones are largely similar in design and performance.)

Read more: Grado SR60e review

Urbanears Plattan II

While the original Plattan headphones were just fine for a pair of on-ear headphones, Urbanears wasn’t satisfied with being mediocre. The company took customer feedback to heart and addressed many complaints about comfort, sound quality and isolation. 

For the most part, Urbanears succeeded, making the Plattan II a worthy sequel to the company’s most popular headphone.  

In short, these are basic headphones without a ton of features. But, because they're feature-light, you get a good-sounding pair of wired headphones for significantly less than you would otherwise. 

Read more: Urbanears Plattan II review

best over ear headphones

While Beyerdynamic may not be as well known as its German brother, Sennheiser, the audio company has a history of creating some of the best sounding audio gear on the market – the company’s DT770DT880 and DT990 were renowned for their excellent build and sound quality. 

Above them all, however, stand the Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro, an open-back version of the Beyerdynamic DT 1770 Pro, which won our Editor’s Choice for its imaging, design and value for the money. Both headphones are priced the same ($ 599 / £589 / AU$ 1,159), so you won’t find a deal picking up one over the other. The difference here comes down to sound. 

As they’re open-back, the DT 1990 Pro are meant to be used at home or in the studio for serious analytical listening. Sound is able to get in and out, but the good news is that the open-back design gives the DT 1990 Pro a great sense of space. The soundstage is quite wide, too, allowing even the most lackadaisical listener to pinpoint the exact location of where each instrument is playing.  

If you've been searching for a pair of high fidelity cans that are used by some of the world's leading audio engineers, these are the best headphones for you.

Read more: Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro review

Audio-Technica ATH-SR5BT

In the past, audiophiles typically shunned wireless headphones because of poor sound quality. However, Bluetooth audio has improved tremendously over the years, and there are now plenty of wireless headphones that can please the music enthusiast, with Hi-Res Audio support being more and more prevalent.

Enter the Audio-Technica ATH-SR5BT, which boast outstanding sound quality for a pair of headphones under $ 200 / £150 – wired or wireless. 

These over-ear headphones play well with all music genres and offer a near-flat response curve. Plus, they're extremely comfortable for long listening sessions and are well built. 

Battery life is equally impressive with nearly 40 hours of playback from a single charge, and while they lack some features of more expensive wireless headphones like active noise cancelation and multi-device pairing, these are tradeoffs worth making for phenomenal sound.

Read more: Audio-Technica ATH-SR5BT review

Bose headphones

If the Sony WH-1000XM3s are the true king of noise-cancelling headphones, the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 are next in line for the throne – and for the sake of offering an alternative, we've included them in this list.

Traditionally, noise-cancelling headphones have been designed to block out the environmental sounds around you, so that you can hear your music more clearly (or catch some shut-eye on a noisy flight). 

This can be really effective if you’re listening to music. If you’re making a phone call however, the person you’re speaking to can still hear everything that’s happening around you, whether you’re standing on a busy street or trying to speak on a rumbling train.

The Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 seek to remedy this, by applying noise-cancelation to phone calls as well as music. The sound quality is undeniably good, with a vibrant, lively character and well-balanced soundstage.

If you’re trying to decide between buying the Sony WH-1000XM3s and the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700, we’d recommend going for the former because of that lower price and better battery life. That being said, you wouldn’t be making a mistake if you opted for the Bose cans instead (and we wouldn’t blame you if you did) – they sound great, look stunning, and the noise cancellation is out of this world. 

Read more: Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 review

JBL Live 650BTNC

At $ 200 / £180 / AU$ 250, the  JBL Live 650BTNC punch above their weight in terms of sound quality, build, and features. 

They offer a choice of either Google Assistant or Amazon's Alexa voice assistant, and sport an adjustable EQ thanks to the JBL Headphones app.  Battery life is rated at 20 hours with ANC and wireless enabled, while wired listening will get you upwards of 30 hours from a single charge.

If you don’t want to splurge on the Bose QC35 II or Sony WH-1000XM3, you’ll be satisfied with the JBL Live 650BTNC knowing that you’re getting 80% of the performance at 50% of the price tag.

JBL has just launched a new pair of noise-cancelling headphones, the JBL Tune 750BTNC – stay tuned to find out if they make it into this round up. 

Read more: JBL Live 650BTNC review

wireless headphones

Again, the Sony WH-1000XM3 are our true winners in this category, but if you want an alternative, the Jabra Elite 85h are a fantastic choice. 

Offering class-leading battery life, stylish design, and plenty of personalization when it comes to sound profiles, the Elite 85h are easy to recommend. That said, purists will bemoan the lack of high-end codec support and there are punchier headphones on the market at this price point. 

When you consider that Jabra’s Elite 85h headphones are the company’s first attempt at premium wireless ANC headphones, the result is quite commendable. We can’t wait to see what the company’s next premium ANC headphones will accomplish.  

Read more: Jabra Elite 85h review

Plantronics BackBeat Go 810

For years, the Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2 were among our favorite wireless headphones because of their excellent sound, build quality and features. Unfortunately, they were also kind of expensive. 

For a lot less ($ 150 / £140 / AU$ 240), Plantronics now sells the brilliant BackBeat Go 810, which use less premium materials but sound nearly identical to its more expensive predecessor – and sport an equally chic design. 

With that in mind, the BackBeat Go 810 are an affordable pair of ANC headphones that will please travelers and commuters who don’t want to spend too much money on headphones.   

Read more: Plantronics BackBeat Go 810 review

focal stellia

The Focal Stellias are perhaps the best-sounding headphones on the planet. Their wide-open soundstage and detailed, accurate sound treatment means they make any genre of music sound brilliant.

If you listen to songs you think you know inside out, the Stellias' precise separation of the frequencies means that you will probably hear details you’ve never noticed before.

If you like to keep things minimal in the headphones department, you probably won’t like the showy, opulent design of the Focal Stellias, and they can feel a little chunky for wearing on the commute into work. 

But if luxury is your thing, the full-grain leather cups, woven cables, brushed copper accents, and matching carrying case are likely to appeal. 

That luxury feel is translated right down to the presentation of the user manuals in a neat little leather-style wallet – and you may well expect to find this level of detail in exchange for parting with $ 3,000. Ouch. 

Read more: Focal Stellia headphones review

Optoma NuForce BE Sport4

The NuForce BE Sport4 wireless earbuds are a rare find: earbuds that are grear for basically all situations, whether you're looking to take them out on a run or just wear them around town. 

They're ideal for exercise, although any urbanite will also find their lightweight functionality and impressive sound isolation highly appealing when traveling on crowded trains or navigating busy streets. 

If you want proof that wireless earphones can now compete with the best wired earphones, look no further.

Read more: Optoma NuForce BE Sport4 review

Sony WF-1000XM3

Considering it's still rare to get noise-cancelation in wired earbuds at all, the fact that Sony has managed to pack it into a pair that are not only wireless, but true wireless is very impressive indeed. 

The Sony WF-1000X manage to offer a level of noise-cancelation that's very good for a pair of earbuds – they won't offer the same isolation as a pair of over-ear cans, but if you're after a sleek form factor then the compromise is worth it. 

That being said, in spite of a few minor problems we feel that Sony has knocked the ball out of the park with the WF-1000XM3: not only are these hands-down the best-looking true wireless earbuds out there, but they also combine serious noise cancelling tech with fist-pumping musicality. 

If you don’t want the inconvenience of carrying full-size cans, they’re a persuasive and smart alternative.

Read more: Sony WF-1000XM3 Wireless Earbuds review

The best headphones of 2020, at a glance

Choosing the right headphones for you can be an agonizing decision – but it doesn't have to be if you look for a few key features. 

Above all, sound quality is the most important thing to look for. That doesn't mean you have to buy the most expensive audiophile headphones on the market; it just means that you should have an idea of what kind of sound you like. 

How you define good sound quality depends on your personal taste. Do you like a warm, well-rounded sound, or do you prefer ultra high-fidelity that allows you to hear every single detail of your music? Are you a dedicated bass head or a classical music junkie?

If you're all about that bass, you'll want to look out for dynamic drivers that displace lots of air, leading to a bassy soundstage. If detail is everything, look for large frequency ranges – 20Hz to 20 kHz is the standard, so anything larger than this may allow for more detail in the highs and lows. 

It's also important to consider the soundstage as a whole; if you love a wide, open sound, try a pair of open-back headphones. Worried about sound-leakage when you're in the company of others? Try a pair of closed-back cans with a secure fit to stop your tunes bothering the people around you.

You also need to consider the design of your new headphones. Do you want the freedom of true wireless earbuds or the security of a pair of sturdy over-ear headphones?

Wireless or wired is also an important consideration. A few short years ago, we may have tried to dissuade you from buying a pair of wireless headphones (the technology had issues with wireless connectivity over Bluetooth and sound quality took a dive as a result). 

Nowadays however, advances in Bluetooth technology means that wireless headphones can sound fantastic and rarely experience annoying dropouts. If you're going for wireless headphones, make sure the battery life is decent, too.

You should also think about what you'll be using your new headphones for; if you need to soundtrack your workout, you'll want to look at headphones specifically designed for running or swimming.

Lastly, you need to consider price. You don't have to break the bank when your buying a pair of headphones, as evidenced by our guide to the best cheap headphones of 2020

Press on to page two to see how to pick out a good pair of headphones along more of our recommendations.

Check out our videos below for a roundup of the best headphones available.

There's usually more to a set of headphone than meets the eye. As such, we've provided a breakdown of what you can expect to find in each kind of headphone.

Not only will learning more about headphones help you make a more informed purchase, but you'll know when you're really getting your money's worth.

What headphones should you buy? Check out our video below for everything you need to know.

In-ear headphones

1More Triple Driver In-Ear Headphones

This type of headphone, more commonly referred to as an earbud or earphone, is usually the cheapest and easiest way to pump audio into your ears. If you've purchased an MP3 player, or more recently, the new iPod touch (7th generation), it's likely that a set was included with the purchase.

Earphones rest in or just outside the ear canal, creating a tight seal to keep air out and sound in. Compared to other types of headphones, these are the most discreet ones you'll find. Their small form-factor also makes them the king/queen of portability and the prime choice for athletes.

You're not likely to find strong performers at the low-end of the price spectrum. Their sound delivery is generally muddled, lacking bass and overcompensating for that with harsh mids and highs. That said, it won't cost you much money at all to find a value-packed option complete with inline controls and a microphone.

On-ear headphones

Grado’s GW100 Wireless on-ear headphones

While similar to over-ear headphones in appearance, they fit to your head a little differently. Instead of enveloping your ears with a soft cushion, on-ear headphones create a light, breathable seal around your ear. Thus, the noise isolation is much less effective than in-ear or over-ear options. This might be a dealbreaker for some, but there are big benefits to consider here.

On-ear headphones are usually more portable than their over-ear brethren, and as such they appeal to travellers and the fitness crowd. Taking a walk or a jog around town is also safer, as you can hear traffic go by and be aware of potential hazards.

Over-ear headphones

The Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro headphones

This ear-muff style of headphone generally provides greater richness and depth of sound, which allows listeners to pick apart the instruments and sounds much easier. Additionally, over-ear, or circum-aural headphones, go around the ear and offer a generous amount of padding.

The price range for a set of on-ear headphones begins around $ 100 and from there, the sky's the limit. For example, the Oppo PM-1, while excellent, are priced exorbitantly at $ 1,099. It's definitely not necessary to spend that much. That said, you tend to get what you pay for.

If your headphone budget is in the $ 2-300, you'll start getting into options that have excellent build quality, premium materials and amazing sound and features like ANC (active noise cancellation.)

Wireless headphones

The OnePlus Bullets Wireless 2 

Wireless headphones can be split into three different categories: wireless earphones connected via a neckband, wireless on-ear headphones, and wireless over-ear headphones – all are battery-powered and use Bluetooth to connect to your smartphone, laptop, portable music player, or even your turntable. 

For wireless over-ear and on-ear models, you simply lose the wire connecting them to your device – otherwise, they look pretty much the same as your regular pair of wired cans, and give you the noise-isolating prowess of over-ears without the need for cumbersome wires to connect to your device.

Wireless in-ear models, earphones, or earbuds (depending on your preferred vernacular), have a neckband connecting each earbud, making them ideal for runners who want the freedom of a wireless connection with the security of a wire keeping their earbuds firmly around their neck. 

Opting to go wireless will cost you a premium of anywhere between $ 50-100 over the price of wired cans. Going futuristic isn't cheap. One important thing to consider is that your music player must support the Bluetooth wireless protocol, as it's required to use this type of headphone.

Speaking of Bluetooth, it has become exponentially more reliable over time, but it's always susceptible to disturbances in the force.

True wireless earbuds

True wireless earbuds on the other hand, have no cord whatsoever; no wires to get caught in your zipper, and nothing to keep each bud connected to each other. For some, this means true freedom; for others, untethered true wireless means constant danger of losing their expensive audio kit down the drain – or terrible connections. 

The latter, at least, has changed now – thanks to advances in Bluetooth technology like aptX HD, the best wireless headphones have never sounded better.

These advances have also paved the way for true wireless earbuds to dominate the audio market. You just have to look at the popularity of the Apple AirPods (2019)Beats Powerbeats Pro, and Samsung Galaxy Buds, to understand how successful the true wireless market has become in recent years. 

Noise-canceling headphones

Bose’s QuietComfort 35 II headphones

This category, like wireless headphones, isn't limited to a form factor. You can find this clever mix of technologies integrated into the ear pieces of in-ear and over-ear headphones alike.

Many companies falsely claim to offer true noise cancelation with just the padding included around the ear cups. Don't believe it. This is PNC (passive noise cancelation), and it doesn't amount to much. You can even replicate this effect by cupping your hands around your ears, so why shell out the big bucks for it?

On the other hand, ANC (active noise cancelation) is the real deal. This technique employs a set of external microphones, which detect the decibel level outside. Once it has an idea of the incoming noise level, the headphone speakers inside transmit a noise generated to dampen the racket. The end result is an effect that hushes the outside noise, allowing you to focus.

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