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The 10 Best JBL Headphones of 2021

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The RundownBest Overall:JBL Live 500BT at Amazon"The JBL Live 500BT are our favorite headphones from the brand."Runner-up, Best Overall:JBL JBL Live 650 BTNC at Amazon"A great option for anyone who specifically wants noise cancellation technology."Best Budget:JBL JBL Tune 290 at Amazon"The JBL Tune 290 earbuds provide sound beyond what you'd expect for the budget price."Best Value:JBL E55BT Wireless Headphones at Amazon"The reduced prices on the JBL E55BT make them a great value."Best Sport:JBL JBL UA True Wireless Flash at Amazon"Their incredibly compact design makes them a weightless and cord-free addition to your workout routine"Best Budget Sport:JBL JBL Endurance Sprint Wireless at Amazon"Another water-resistant option that's made for people in motion."Best for Gaming:JBL Quantum One at Amazon"If you're okay with the premium price tag, the JBL Quantum One is a wired headset that delivers on premium performance."Runner-Up, Best for Gaming:JBL JBL Quantum 600 at AmazonBest Splurge:JBL JBL Club One at Amazon"The Club One headphones from JBL are a solid addition to the premium headphone market and our pick for the best splurge."Runner-Up, Best Splurge:JBL JBL Club 950NC at Amazon"They deliver a sound that needs to be heard in order to be believed."

When it comes to audio hardware, JBL is a name that needs no introduction. The company makes a diverse range of products (e.g. loudspeakers, PA systems) catering to both consumer and professional markets. Even if we specifically talk about headphones, JBL's line-up features a wide variety of choices. These include entry-level wireless headphones like the Live 500BT, sports-oriented earbuds such as the UA True Wireless Flash X, and high-end gaming headsets like the Quantum One. So whether you want a basic pair of wired earphones or premium headphones with top-tier noise cancelation, the options are plentiful.

That being said, having so many choices can (and often does) make picking one a cumbersome task. To make things easier for you, we've rounded up some of the best JBL headphones currently available in the market.

Best Overall:JBL Live 500BT

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Good sound quality

Fast charging

Control over ambient noise level

What We Don't Like

No active noise cancellation

Fit is on the smaller side

Offering great performance at an affordable price, the Live 500BT are undeniably the best JBL headphones available out there. They come with large 50mm drivers that deliver a rich sound output with enhanced bass. Featuring Bluetooth 4.2 for wireless connectivity, the headphones also come with a 3.5mm audio port (as well as an aux cable) for wired listening. The “Ambient Aware” function increases nearby sound with the touch of a button, allowing you to stay alert of your surroundings and enjoy your music at the same time. Then there's the “TalkThru” mode that temporarily reduces music volume, so you can talk to people around you without removing the headphones. JBL Live 500BT can go up to 30 hours on a full charge, while a quick top-up for just 15 minutes lets you listen to your favorite tunes for up to two hours. Other features include a built-in microphone for hands-free calling and support for virtual assistants like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.

"Having features such as dual connectivity, virtual assistant support, and quick charge functionality in a reasonably-priced package, JBL's Live 500BT headphones are an easy recommendation."- Rajat Sharma

Runner-up, Best Overall:JBL Live 650 BTNC

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Good sound quality

Active noise cancelling

Built-in voice assistant

What We Don't Like

ANC significantly impacts battery life

If you're on the hunt for a well-rounded pair of headphones, look no further than JBL's Live 650BTNC. Their powerful 40mm drivers make for a balanced audio output, underlined by just the right amount of bass. The headphones come with"Active Noise Canceling"(ANC) technology that blocks out all ambient noise(s), thus making for an uninterrupted listening experience. You get Bluetooth 4.2 for wireless connectivity, and there's even a 3.5mm audio port for wired use if you wish to conserve the battery life. Speaking of which, the Live 650BTNC is rated for up to 20 hours of wireless music playback (with ANC enabled) on a single charge and can go up to two hours after being juiced for just 15 minutes. With their"Multi-Point Connection"technology, the headphones can effortlessly switch between two connected devices. Some other notable additions include a flat-fold design, configurable sound signature (using the companion smartphone app), and an integrated microphone for hands-free calls.

Best Budget:JBL Tune 290

Buy on AmazonBuy on Com.sgWhat We Like

Great price

In-line microphone

Pause/play controls

What We Don't Like

Weak bass

Not very durable

If there's one thing JBL's Tune 290 earphones prove, it's that great sound doesn't always have to cost an arm and a leg. Weighing a mere 2.5 ounces, these things pack way more punch than what their budget price tag might have you believe. The In-Ear Monitor (IEM) headphones boast 8.7mm drivers that result in a bass-heavy sound. You also get great build quality, with aluminum earpiece housings and a durable flat cable that doesn't get tangled up even with rough handling. Since they use a standard 3.5mm audio port for connectivity, the headphones can work with everything from smartphones and portable media players, to laptops and tablets. Backed by a one-year warranty, the Tune 290 feature a convenient in-line microphone for taking calls, as well as a simple one-button remote that lets you play/pause music with little to no effort. Also bundled with the earphones are three pairs of ear-tips (in Small, Medium, and Large sizes), and a carry pouch.

"Immensely lightweight yet durable, JBL's Tune 290 earphones offer everything from decent sound to in-line controls at a price that won't break the bank."- Rajat Sharma

Best Value:JBL E55BT Wireless Headphones

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Solid audio performance

Comfortable

Mid-range price

What We Don't Like

No active noise cancellation

Slightly shorter battery life

Packed with features yet priced reasonably, JBL's E55BT headphones offer a lot of value for your money. They include large 50mm drivers for a punchy and clean audio signature. Having an ergonomic around-ear design and a fabric headband, the headphones are suitable for all-day use. Moreover, their PU Leather ear cushions not only improve wearing comfort, but also provide passive noise isolation. While there's Bluetooth 4.0 for wireless connectivity, you get a regular 3.5mm audio port for wired listening too. Also, switching between two connected devices is quite seamless, with earcup-mounted controls making for fuss-free handling of music playback and calls. The E55BT are rated for up to 20 hours of wireless music playback on a full charge, and can be charged completely in about two hours. Among other noteworthy goodies are a built-in microphone, and support for popular virtual assistants such as Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. The headphones are backed by a one-year warranty.

Best Sport:JBL UA True Wireless Flash

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IPX7 waterproof rating

Secure fit

Control over ambient noise level

What We Don't Like

No built-in volume controls

True wireless earbuds have become the trend for sport headphones. Their incredibly compact design makes them a weightless and cord-free addition to your workout routine, and the True Wireless Flash earbuds are no exception. They're the product of a collaboration between JBL and Under Armour, meaning they're designed for both great audio and active lifestyles. The earbuds come with several different sizes of ear tips and wings so you can find a secure and comfortable fit, and they're engineered to sit snugly in your ears for your entire workout. The JBL UA True Wireless Flash also features an IPX7 waterproof rating, meaning they'll hold up to sweat and rain with no problem.

These earbuds include JBL's TalkThru and Ambient Aware modes. The first is a button you can press to temporarily lower the music volume when you're talking to someone. This lets you stay in the rhythm of your workout and means you don't have to remove and reinsert a tiny earbud. Ambient Aware mode allows more ambient noise into the listening experience and is an important safety feature for those who run on the road.

The 8 Best JBL Speakers of 2021

Best Budget Sport:JBL Endurance Sprint Wireless

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IPX7 waterproof rating

Affordable

What We Don't Like

Tricky touch controls

Limited battery life

Arguably one of the most feature-laden sport JBL headphones out there, the Endurance Sprint Wireless belie their humble price tag. Boasting 10mm drivers and an ergonomic yet stylish design, they are the perfect companion for your morning runs and gym workouts. The neckband headphones provide a snug fit, thanks to their hook-shaped earpieces. And since these earpieces are magnetic, it's easy to clip them together around anything (e.g. backpacks). There is Bluetooth 4.2 on-board for wireless connectivity, as well as an integrated microphone for hands-free calls. JBL Endurance Sprint Wireless also come with simple touch controls that make managing music playback to handling calls a cakewalk. As far as battery life is concerned, the headphones are rated for up to eight hours of wireless music playback on a full charge. Furthermore, the"Speed Charge"feature allows them to be used for up to an hour after topping up the battery for just 10 minutes.

Best for Gaming:JBL Quantum One

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3D audio positioning

Active noise cancellation

Clear microphone

What We Don't Like

Expensive

Advanced software features for PC only

Modern-day gaming titles feature hyper-realistic sound effects and breathtaking scores, and to fully appreciate them all, you definitely need something like JBL's Quantum One. Having 50mm neodymium drivers (with Hi-Res certification) and a specifically tuned sound signature, these gaming headphones work flawlessly with all popular gaming platforms like PC, Xbox, PlayStation, Nintendo Switch, and VR. They are comfortable enough to be worn for long periods of time, thanks to the lightweight headband and memory foam ear cushions. The headphones use"Active Noise Canceling"(ANC) technology to do away with background noise(s), and can even be configured (using the companion software application) on a per-user basis with sound profiles, equalizer settings, and a lot more. For wired connectivity, you get both USB and 3.5mm audio ports. Also included with the Quantum One is a detachable directional boom microphone, which uses echo-cancellation technology for a better in-game voice chat experience.

The 9 Best Over-Ear Headphones of 2021

"Crammed with goodies like RGB lighting effects, Active Noise Cancelation, and dual wired connectivity, JBL's Quantum One headphones are essential for any gaming system."- Rajat Sharma

Runner-Up, Best for Gaming:JBL Quantum 600

Buy on AmazonWhat We Like

Comfortable enough for prolonged use

RGB Lighting

What We Don't Like

Some firmware update issues

Powerful and feature-loaded in equal measure, JBL's Quantum 600 headphones are a must-have for any gaming setup. Their 50mm dynamic drivers work in tandem with advanced algorithms to simulate multi-channel audio, thereby creating a spatial soundstage for an immersive audio experience. Sporting a durable headband and leather-wrapped ear cushions, they work with all major gaming platforms such as PC, Xbox, PlayStation, Nintendo Switch, and VR. Major connectivity options include 2.4GHz wireless and 3.5mm audio, and the headphones are rated for up to 14 hours of use on a full charge. For improved in-game communication, the Quantum 600 are accompanied by a flip-up focus boom microphone that comes with auto on/off functionality and multiple muting options. Another feature worth mentioning is a game-chat balance dial, which lets you adjust audio levels on the fly. It's certified by Discord, and also works with other chat programs like Skype and TeamSpeak.

Best Splurge:JBL Club One

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Premium design

Built-in voice assistant

Amazing battery life

What We Don't Like

Expensive

Fit can be finicky and affect ANC

Want top-of-the-line audio quality and don't mind paying a premium for it? Say hello to JBL's Club One. Packing 40mm custom orange graphene drivers and Hi-Res certification, these headphones produce extremely clear and detailed sound. Their"True Adaptive Noise Canceling"technology responds to environmental changes in real time, compensating accordingly for sound leakage caused by external factors such as head movement. Then there's the"SilentNow"feature, which lets you enjoy some calm by keeping noise cancelation enabled even when no music is playing. In terms of connectivity options, you get Bluetooth 5.0, and dual 3.5mm audio ports (one on each earcup) for wired playback. The Club One can go up to 45 hours (with ANC turned off) on a full charge, and also support virtual assistants like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. Other salient features include multi-point connectivity,"Dual-Mic"technology for clearer voice calls, and customizable audio settings (via the companion smartphone app). The headphones are backed by a one-year warranty.

"Boasting pro-quality audio and more features than you can shake a stick at, JBL's Club One headphones are every bit worth their high asking price."- Rajat Sharma

Runner-Up, Best Splurge:JBL Club 950NC

Buy on AmazonWhat We Like

Configurable sound output

Incredible battery life

What We Don't Like

Built-in microphone isn't very good

While they are indeed expensive, JBL's Club 950NC headphones are crammed with so much goodness that the high price tag almost seems justified. Powered by 40mm dynamic drivers and certified for Hi-Res audio, they deliver a sound that needs to be heard in order to be believed. Thanks to"Adaptive Noise Canceling"technology, you can block out all unwanted noise(s) with the simple touch of a button.

The headphones have a foldable design that makes for easy portability, and their large ear cushions ensure all-day wearing comfort. For connectivity, both Bluetooth 5.0 and 3.5mm audio are included in the mix. The Club 950NC are rated for an insane 55 hours of wireless music playback (with ANC turned off), and can be fully charged in around two hours. You get support for virtual assistants such as Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, as well as"Dual-Mic"technology that cancels out ambient noise(s) for improved voice calls.

Final Verdict

Even though all of the products detailed above are amazing, our overall vote goes to the JBL Live 500BT. These headphones include features like balanced sound, dual connectivity, and long battery life, all at an affordable price. On the other hand, if you absolutely need"Active Noise Cancelation"(ANC), we suggest getting the JBL Live 650BTNC. These headphones have a feature set that's almost identical to that of the Live 500BT, but the Live 650BTNC benefit from ANC, resulting in an even better audio signature.

What to Look For

Wired vs. Wireless - JBL makes both wired and wireless headphones. Wired headphones require a cable connection to your audio device, almost always through a standard 3.5mm headphone jack and occasionally through a USB port (in cases where the headphones have advanced software features). But most of JBL's offerings are wireless at this point. Wireless headphones use Bluetooth technology to connect to your phone or computer without any cables. If you want to listen to music on an older device like a stereo or MP3 player, you'll need to make sure that the device is Bluetooth compatible.

Fit - JBL offers several different types of headphones with very different fits, so you want to look for designs that are comfortable and match your lifestyle. “In-ear” designs sit in the ear canal. These kinds of headphones usually come with multiple sizes of ear tips for adjustability, and some have plastic hooks that go around the ear or brace against the outside of the ear for a snug fit. In-ear designs can also be wired or wireless. Some connect to your device via Bluetooth but are tethered to each other with a cord. “True wireless” earbuds have no cords at all, which makes a secure fit especially important. These designs are light and low-profile, so almost all sport headphones are in-ear. If you find this fit uncomfortable or want something for more long-term wear, look into on-ear or over-ear designs. These kinds of headphones have ear cups connected by a headband. These types of headphones are bulkier, but they also provide a very immersive sound experience. For maximum comfort, look for lightweight materials, plenty of cushioning, and an adjustable band. Features like rotating ear cups also make for a more customized fit.

Sound Quality - It's hard to know how a pair of headphones will sound before you actually listen to them. Generally speaking, specs like driver size don't have much of an impact on sound quality. But you can keep an eye out for certain descriptors to get a sense of how the headphones have been tuned and what kinds of music they're most suited to. Headphones that are “bass-boosted” can be a plus for fans of bass-heavy music, but they might sound distorted to those that prioritize high-fidelity audio. Headphones with adjustable sound profiles or EQ apps can give you the power to adjust audio levels from your smartphone, but you may want to read others' reviews on how effective these software features are.

Battery Life - Wireless headphones rely on battery power to operate, and it's frustrating to have to constantly recharge or have your music cut off unexpectedly. When you're shopping, look at the specs to see how many hours you can use them between charges — most mid-range headphones can go for at least 15 hours. Premium headphones should be able to last longer than that, while budget headphones will need more frequent charging. Advanced features like active noise canceling can also have a big impact on battery life and may drain your power faster when they're turned on. Several models of JBL headphones include fast charging, which provides a few hours of playback time after only a few minutes on the charger. Some of their true wireless headphones also come with a charging case for a power boost on the go.

Extra Features - Many of JBL's mid-range and premium headphones come with a host of extra features. These can really bump up the price, so it's good to know which features will actually be useful to you so you don't spend more than necessary. A lot of the headphones on this list have active noise cancellation, which is great for people who want to block out as much ambient noise as possible. Other models include microphones and built-in virtual assistants that allow you to take phone calls, set reminders, dictate texts, and more without having to pull out your phone. For those who listen on their commute or while exercising, some JBL headphones feature ambient noise controls that let you adjust how much of the outside world you can hear. This can be a good safety measure for those who use headphones while running on the road or in any other situation where environmental awareness is important. Athletes will also want to keep an eye on the IP rating for water resistance (look for IPX4 or higher) to make sure their headphones can stand up to sweat.

About our Trusted Experts

A technology journalist with seven years of experience in the field, Rajat Sharma has tested/reviewed dozens of headphones over the course of his career. Prior to joining Ach5, he was associated as a senior technology writer/editor with two of India's biggest media houses.

Emmeline Kaser is a former editor of Ach5's product round-ups and reviews. She has several years of experience researching and writing about consumer tech.

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