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The time has come to hit the road or skies and listen to music and enjoy audiobooks. But what if you can’t do it through your smartphone’s speakers?
For those cases, it’s a great idea to get your hands on travel headphones. The devices, which are generally quite affordable, are compact. And since they can be easily folded, they can fit into your travel bag or suitcase with ease. Best of all, they offer nice-enough sound that you won’t feel bad leaving those big, bulky and expensive high-end headphones behind when you’re on the road.
But before you buy, you’ll need to consider a few things. For one, you’ll need to decide whether you want wired or wireless headphone options. You’ll also need to decide whether you want a microphone built in to make calls from the headphones. And if noise-canceling technology is something you find important to enhance your listening experience, expect to pay a bit more.
Ultimately, buying travel headphones means thinking seriously about how you want to use them and how much you’d be willing to pay. And the following roundup will give you a host of options based on how you plan to use your new travel headphones, so read on to find the best options.
Our Top Picks
Best Overall: MonoDeal Active Noise Canceling Headphones with Mic
If you’re looking for a pair of travel headphones that offer the proper mix of noise-canceling, compelling design, portability and affordability, the MonoDeal Active Noise-Canceling Headphones with Mic are the ideal choice.
The MonoDeal headphones come with a compact design that lets you fold them and put them in an included bag for easy travel. There’s a mic attached, so you can place calls with the headphones, and with a 120mAh rechargeable battery, you can listen to music for up to 20 hours on a single charge.
The headphones are designed to keep noise out, but also have active noise-canceling features that will dramatically reduce the amount of ambient noise when listening to music. In fact, according to MonoDeal, the headphones will reduce outside noise by a whopping 85 percent.
MonoDeal’s headphones have a handy control area that let you turn on and off the active noise-canceling. And if you want to answer or end a call, simply hit the button next to the noise-canceling switch.
One other perk: The headphones have overstuffed headphone cups to improve comfort.
Best Budget: AmazonBasics Lightweight On-Ear Headphones
One of the nice things about travel headphones is that they’re generally cheap. But if you want the most affordable headphones on the market and don’t want to sacrifice too much quality to save a few bucks, consider buying the AmazonBasics Lightweight On-Ear Headphones.
Amazon’s headphones are about as small as they come, with ear pads that aren’t overstuffed but should be comfortable during extended use. The headphones can be folded to easily tuck them away and are lightweight so they don’t feel too heavy on your head.
There’s no microphone with the headphones, but if it’s a solid sound you’re after, they deliver. The headphones have 101 decibels and 1000mW maximum input levels. And with a frequency range up to 22,000 Hz, all of that translates to outstanding sound.
The AmazonBasics headphones are wired, but the cord can be easily tucked away inside the lightweight carrying case that comes with the headphones.
Best Microphone: TRNDlabs Franklin Wireless
Although travel headphones tend to be small and easy to carry around, they can also pack a punch, as evidenced by the TRNDlabs Franklin Wireless headphones.
First things first, TRNDlabs’ headphones are easy to carry around, thanks to the option of folding the earcups in and flat and tucking them away in the included storage bag. Speaking of those earcups, they’re fully leather and are complemented by an adjustable headband that maximizes comfort.
The wireless headphones support Bluetooth 4.0 and work up to 33 feet away from an audio source and deliver 10 hours of battery life before they need to be recharged.
The built-in mic, however, might be the headphones’ best feature. It offers what TRNDlabs calls “crystal clear audio,” and since these are compact headphones, the microphone lives inside the earcup, creating a unique and still-nice-sounding experience.
Best Throwaway: JVC HAS160B Flats
Travel headphones are great to have around when you need to save some space and want to listen to some music. But what’s best about them is that they’re cheap. And if you’re the forgetful type, losing some headphones isn’t such a problem.
That’s exactly why the JVC HAS160B Flats are an outstanding option. The headphones are exceedingly cheap and simple, which means if you happen to lose them or simply decide to throw them away at the airport to save you some precious space in your bag, it’s not a problem.
The headphones come with a glossy finish, which makes them attractive, and the earcups can be folded in to enhance space-savings. According to JVC, the headphones have a maximum input of 200mW and sensitivity up to 105 decibels, which means they should sound quite good.
Best Portability: LASMEX Wireless Bluetooth Headphones
If it’s portability you’re after, the LASMEC Wireless Bluetooth Headphones are an outstanding option.
On the sound side, LASMEX’s headphones should deliver outstanding audio, thanks to 40mm drivers that will boom sound to your ears. These are both wired and wireless headphones, so you can decide to plug them in or connect to devices wirelessly via Bluetooth 4.1.
Like some other options on the market, the headphones come with hands-free calling support and have music and volume controls on them, so you can quickly control your music or end or place calls.
The LASMEX headphones, which boast 12 hours of battery life, aren’t the smallest headphones on the market, but they come with an outstanding design that allows them to both fold in and rotate to limit the amount of room they take up when you put them away.
Best for Kids: Edifier H650
When it’s time to hit the road, getting your kids a pair of simple and fun headphones is always a good idea. And that’s exactly why Edifier’s H650 headphones are so appealing.
Edifer’s headphones come with a colorful design that makes the H650 far more attractive than the boring black or gray headphones you’d typically find. They feature 40mm drivers, however, so you can expect the headphones to sound great. And since they fold in half, they’re ideal for saving room while you travel.
Since these are travel headphones, Edifer has reinforced their design with stainless steel to prevent damage. The headphones also come with a 12-month manufacturer’s warranty, so you can get them fixed if something goes awry.
Best of all, the headphones come with an affordable price tag few other options can beat.
Best Design: Conambo Active Noise Canceling
Headphones are often a fashion statement. So there’s no reason to not get a pair that will look nice on your head. And the Conambo Active Noise Canceling headphones might be the best-looking option.
The headphones feature a square design instead of a circular one and have a gorgeous leather finish to top them off. Combining older design philosophies with new-age look and feel, the Conambo headphones make a statement when you’re wearing them.
Aside from that, the headphones offer outstanding noise-reduction and active noise-canceling that will reduce ambient noise by 85 percent, so you can listen to the music you care about. And since they have 40mm drivers, the bass performance should be outstanding.
Conambo’s headphones are wireless and can last up to 18 hours on a single charge and feature a microphone, so you can place calls. Best of all, when you fold them up, they can fit into a pocket.