Car headphones have become one of the most common must-have audio accessories for music lovers and gadget owners. Over the years, the clunky styles have been streamlined, slimmed down, and improved with high resolution sound and better volume. Today, the best car headphones are packed with features that offer a combination of comfort, function, and impeccable performance.
Most headphones are marketed based on function (gaming, listening to music, or watching movies, type. They can be either wired or wireless [Bluetooth, Radio Frequency (RF), or Infrared (IR)]. Headphones are also categorized as in-canal, on-ear, or over-ear, circumaural (full size), or supra-aural. Ideally, wired headphones offer the highest quality in sound, but included here are some of the best Bluetooth headphones and wireless units in the market. Wire-free audio technology has improved tremendously over the past years. So much that users almost never experience audio delays when listening.
Best Car Headphones List
Beats by Dr. Dre 900-00059-01 Quick Review
Beats by Dr. Dre is a brand known worldwide, and its Studio series is one of its bestsellers. The folding Beats 00059 over-the-ear headphones weighs 260 grams, which is 13% lighter than earlier models. As one of the best wired car headphones, this unit has a clean acoustic sound with great bass.
It is easy to turn away from these headsets as they are priced a little higher than most headphones, but the features are worth the hefty price. In this case, you will love practically everything about it, and it’s one of those products where you’ll get your penny’s worth. The ear cups are made of leatherette, which is durable, well-crafted, and definitely up to our high standards.
The features that make the 00059 a product worth considering include:
- Ergonomic design with soft ear cups with no visible screws
- Adaptive Noise Cancelling, Sound Isolating
- Rechargeable battery with 20-hour charge
- Can be charged via mini USB
- Battery indicator
- Auto on/off
- Inline volume control with built-in microphone
- Digital Signal Processing (DSP) software, making it ideal for professionals to use the headphones in a studio
- Comes with its own 3.5mm jack cable, charging cable, power adapter, and remote talk cable
- 9 meter cord length
- Available in red, white, and black
- Comes with its own carrying case
- 1 year warranty on parts
The Beats 00059 a high five tops our list for being lightweight, comfortable, and stylish. Users can wear the headphones for several hours without experiencing any strain or pressure. The unit even comes with an Apple-friendly microphone and remote that may be used to receive or make calls on compatible Apple devices. Overall, it’s a great package to have for on and off-road use.
Skullcandy Crusher S6SCDZ-003 Quick Review
The Skullcandy Crusher S6SCDZ-003 is a quality headset at an affordable price. This circumaural headset has powerful bass and smooth frequency response that many music fans can appreciate.
Some of the key features of the S6SCDZ-003 include:
- Built-in adjustable Sensation 55 Driver – a bass boost amplifier with 40 hours playback using 2 AA batteries
- Acoustical porting to reduce distortion
- 32 ohms Impedance
- Frequency response 20 Hz to 20 KHz with REX 40 Driver
- Auto on/off switch
- Dual cup for comfort with long hours of use
- In-line remote microphone
- Foldable to 40% of its size
- Comes with a convenient carry case
- Lifetime warranty
This headset is designed for in-car use and delivers incredible clear, clean, and crisp audio, making it truly one of the best car headphones in the market today.
Audiovox MTGHP1CA Quick Review
One of the best value headphones on our list is the Audiovox MTGHP1CA Single Channel Wireless which retails for around $30. At a relatively low price, these headphones produce great quality comparable to other higher-priced. Usually, car headphones can easily break from wear and tear and rough use, but this pair of headphones does not break easily and while giving great audio quality at a fraction of the cost.
These wireless headphones are made specifically for in-car use only and they are compatible with most Audiovox monitors.
- IR transmitter compatible
- Carrier Frequency of 2.8 MHz for right channel and 2.3 MHz for left channel
- Frequency Response of 30 Hz – 20 kHz
- Built-in volume control
- Foldable with rotating ear pieces
- Auto shut on/off with red LED indicator light
- Adjustable to fit small to large head sizes
- Two Alkaline batteries included in box
- Light weight at 5.6 ounces
- 1 year warranty
The headset’s plug-and play design does not require any syncing – just insert the batteries and they’re good to go. However, it is a good idea to use a monitor or DVD player that is compatible with Audiovox specs.
Bowers and Wilkins P3 Quick Review
The new folding P3 Series 2 offers more bass and greater comfort than its predecessor. It is made of sheep leather and brushed aluminum with black leather accents.
The P3 has an improved sound, making audio accurate and clear. It also comes with two microphone cables: one solely for Apple devices and another for other brands. What makes the P3 even more attractive is its lower price compared to the brand’s highly popular P5 series.
Some noteworthy features of the P3 are:
- Retro, classy look
- Built-in remote/microphone
- Dual 1.2 inch full-range drivers with bass port
- Acoustic mesh material on the ear pieces
- Universal cable
- Detachable cables
- Passive noise cancellation
- Remote with dedicated volume controls, track navigation and playback
- Expandable headband
- Comes in black or white
- Comes with a portable hard case
It should be noted that the Series 2 also won the PC Mag Editor’s Choice Award which speaks highly of its potential.
Concept CDC-IR10 Quick Review
The on-ear Concept CDC-IR 10 is an amazing car headset considering its price tag of just under $27. It is compatible with all types of in-vehicle video/audio apps that can use wireless IR technology. It is functional, well-designed, and user-friendly, all in one.
It’s packed with features such as:
- Two channel source with rotating earpieces, volume control, and adjustable headband
- IR transmission with IR signal range of 10 feet and 270-degree capture
- RF wireless
- A/B selector switch
- Frequency Response is 30-20,000 Hz
- 32 ohm impedance
- Noise cancellation and sound isolation
- Acrylonitrile butadiene styrene (ABS) plastic housing
- Can also be used wired
- Auto on/off with light indicator
- Batteries included
- One year warranty
The overwhelming reason the Concept CDC-IR10 made our list is because buyers get great quality but it’s easy on the pocket. While price should precede sound quality in list of priorities, one should not disregard great value for money – which is exactly what this headpiece is.
A headphone’s function is to deliver sound, and the products on our list do just that. Here is a brief rundown of the features that we consider when make buying an incredible set of car headphones:
Weight and Comfort – These two features go hand-in-hand because headphones should rest easily and lightly when in place. If not, it becomes cumbersome to wear and will affect your listening experience. In our opinion, the only way to test for comfort is to wear it for at least 10 minutes. If you feel any abnormal pressure from the headphones within this time, they’ll most definitely be uncomfortable after 30 minutes, or an hour plus.
High Fidelity – Sometimes called “hi-fi,” this refers to the high quality sound reproduction closest to the original sound, and enhanced by low distortion and noise filtering or cancellation.
Sensitivity – Sensitivity, or the Sound Pressure Level (SPL) number, refers to the maximum volume of a headset. It is measured in terms of decibels (dB) of SPL per milliwatt. While there is no dB-SPL/mw standard with headphones, the acceptable range is 85 to 120. Anything over 120 is risky, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, because it can cause damage to the ears due to prolonged use. All the units reviewed here do not go beyond 120 dB-SPL/mw.
Frequency Response – Measures the reproduction of audio frequencies with acceptable range from 20 to 20,000 Hertz (Hz). When selecting a headset based on FR, consider your sound preferences. For instance, if you particularly enjoy bass, then a set that supports lower bass frequency, which typically means a high FR, would probably suit you best.
Impedance – Measured in ohms (unit of electrical resistance), impedance level will tell how much power is needed for the headphones to deliver certain audio levels. The higher the impedance, the more power is needed. Most low impedance headphones have 25 ohms or lower, but the problem with this is the potential for a hissing background sound. However, using headsets with high impedance, but not compatible with your audio/video equipment, may lead to performance issues. It’s always ideal to test headphones before buying them, and it is advisable to test them with your gadget rather than the audio device in the store. This will make sure what you get is compatible with your source.
Total Harmonic Distortion – THD refers to the “cleanliness” of the sound. This is more apparent when using headphones than speakers because you are closer to the source of the sound. The best car headsets have a THD of less than 1 percent, but anything above it should not be a huge difference audibly as your hearing may not be sensitive enough to notice the distortion to begin with.
Other important factors to consider when looking at headphones for your car would be durability, cable length and dressing, portability, price, and warranty.