How much are you willing to invest in your musical journey? If your answer hovers around $500, you’re in luck. We’ve got the best headphones under $500 for you! With a $500 budget, you’re sitting at the intersection of reasonable pricing and high-end quality. The best headphones under $500 excel in performance, no matter if you get in your groove to lo-fi beats, spicily samba to Latin jazz, or indulge in some intellectual inspiration by way of Mozart or Liszt, this corner of the market has you covered. The era of top-notch audio being exclusively for deep-pocketed music enthusiasts with dollars to burn is behind us.
We’ve meticulously scoured the market to pinpoint top-tier headphones that provide an outstanding auditory experience while respecting your (relatively) modest budget for a headphone investment. Whether you’re an audiophile with refined tastes or a gamer chasing immersive soundscapes for eSports triumphs, our selection of the best headphones under $500 wil cater to your desire for premium audio without emptying your wallet. So without further ado, let’s bring you to the end of your sonic expedition with our curated assortment of the best headphones under $500!
Product Comparison Table: Best Headphones Under $500
|Title||Price||Rating (Amazon)||Best in class||Buy|
|Sony WH-1000XM5L Noise Canceling Wireless Headphones||$$$||4.6 stars||Best Noise Cancellation|
|Aftershokz Xtrainerz Bone Conduction Wireless MP3 Swimming Headphones||$$||4.2 stars||Best Active|
|Logitech G PRO X 2 Lightspeed Wireless Gaming Headset||$$$||4.4 stars||Best Gaming|
|Audio-Technica ATH-R70x Professional Open-Back Reference Headphones||$$$||4.6 stars||Best Studio|
|Monolith M1570 Over Ear Open Back Balanced Planar Headphones||$$$$||4.3 stars||Best Planar Magnetic|
It was hard for us to decide which headphones could be counted as the best headphones under $500 in the noise cancelation stakes; technology in this field is swiftly advancing. For a long time we favored the Sony WH-1000XM4s. However, the Sony WH-1000XM5L Noise Canceling Wireless Headphones excel in a way no other headphones – even the previous generation of the same family – could.
The Sony WH-1000XM5L headphones are our best headphones under $500 with perfect noise isolation because they have an industry-leading Dual Noise Sensor system: two microphones on each earcup capture ambient noise, while Sony’s industry-leading Noise Canceling Processor QN1 creates signals that cancel out the ambience. A feature called Ambient Sound Control allows you to adjust the amount of ambient noise that is allowed through the headphones, so if your house is burning down, you’ll know about it. They’re Alexa compatible too.
- Touch control
- Sound enhancement with Edge-AI
- Industry-leading Dual Noise Sensor and Ambient Sound Control
- Relatively expensive
- Not exclusively studio headphones
Block out the outside world in style. No, the Sony WH-1000XM5L Noise Canceling Wireless Headphones are packed with more features than we’ve got space to describe – that’s why they’re on our list of the best headphones under $500. Plus the WH-1000XM5Ls are also top-drawer in terms of sound quality, not just blocking out ambient noise.
Swimming and headphones CAN mix. Active people need the best headphones under $500 that are sweatproof, waterproof, don’t fall out and work hands-free smoothly and simply – with total situational awareness. Aftershokz’ patented bone conduction technology is the only way to achieve this. Unlike traditional headphones, bone conduction headphones comfortably transmit sound vibrations through the bones of your skull itself directly to your inner ear, leaving your ear free!
What makes the Aftershokz Xtrainerz Bone Conduction Wireless MP3 Swimming Headphones our best headphones under $500 for truly any form of exercise is that you can stay comfortable and aware of your surroundings in or out of the water! Sweat will be no match for secure headphones that are also submersible in depths up to 2 meters for 2 hours. You could wear them in the bath if you wanted too.
- Patented bone conduction tech
- IP68 Full-Immersion Waterproof
- 8 hour battery life
- New tech can be scary for old-fashioned people
- Not Bluetooth compatible
Bone conduction technology isn’t the only reason why the Aftershokz Xtrainerz Bone Conduction Wireless MP3 Swimming Headphones are our best headphones under $500 for staying active. Load your favorite audio and dive into your workout with 4GB of built-in MP3 storage, holding up to 1,200 songs for 8 continuous hours of premium audio. They’re also great for showering.
Sound quality is what matters here, for quiet notifications, the sound of enemies sneaking behind you, or horror games with terrifying jumpscares. If all this is as important to you as a gamer as it should be, look no further than the Logitech G PRO X 2 Lightspeed Wireless Gaming Headset if you want the best headphones under $500! Logitech’s 50mm graphene drivers provide enhanced audio frequency response with lower distortion; if you’re no sound technician, that means all games sound bright, clear – and awesome.
These audio specs combine with a crystal-clear 6mm cardioid detachable microphone and advanced Blue VO!CE technology to make your voice and game sound better than ever, minus and clicks and pops. What’s more, LIGHTSPEED Wireless Technology delivers lossless and industry-leading wireless connection to make sure that the audio always stays synced to your game. And if you decide to use the Logitech G PRO X 2 for music listening (or want to drop out of chat), just detach the boom mic and you’re good to go.
- Strong connectivity
- Multi-console compatible
- Detachable boom mic with Blue VO!CE tech
- Requires charging
Anybody who’s ever played the DOOM franchise knows how vital it is for your gaming headphones to be the best they can be. With the Logitech G PRO X 2 Lightspeed Wireless Gaming Headset, Logitech proved why they’re among the top selling gaming peripherals brands in the United States – these are the very best headphones under $500 for gaming fanatics like you.
There are three reasons why you’d choose studio-monitor-style headphones: one, the technically killer sound, two, the cozy comfort of headphones made for long-term listening, or three, you’re actually a professional in the studio. The Audio-Technica ATH-R70xs deliver on all three counts, but most (un)surprisingly on the second! Lightweight, super-breathable and padded like clouds, the ATH-R70xs offer unparalleled comfort – alongside the sound quality that makes this particular Audio-Technica headphone family so renowned among professionals.
In addition to being comfortable for 8+ hours of low-pressure wear, the adjustable ATH-R70xs are our best headphones under $500 in the studio category because they offer the flagship application of the same professional-grade drivers used in all Audio-Technica’s legendary ATH headphones. This means wide frequency response, great noise isolation, and both high and low reproduction accurate enough for audio forensics.
- Legendary headphone lineage
- Accurate sound reproduction (15 to 28,000Hz)
- Lightweight and comfortable
- Not wireless
- Open-backs not for everyone
A flagship improvement on an existing industry favorite, the Audio-Technica ATH-R70x Professional Open-Back Reference Headphones are our best headphones under $500 here because they make the ATH family proud. Not content to produce just one pair of studio-grade headphones famous for pairing comfort with performance, Audio-Technica just had to get even better – in both technical stats and ear-feel.
Ever heard of planar magnetic headphones? You’re missing out, audiophile. Instead of boring old normal drivers, planar magnetic headphones use a thin, lightweight diaphragm with embedded conductive circuitry, driven by fancy magnetic arrays. This means the best headphones under $500 with sound so beautifully crystal clear that it’s not just music you’re hearing, it’s an *audio experience*.
The Monolith M1570 Over Ear Open Back Balanced Planar Headphones have a trademark sound. These open-back headphones combine ultra-light components with 106mm planar drivers and a dual linear symmetry magnet array to deliver an airy, open soundstage through the specially-designed grille backplate. In terms of stellar comfort, each pair of M1570s comes with a pair of memory foam lambskin earpads and a pair of memory foam velour earpads, so you can pick your fave.
- Trademark flawless planar magnetic sound
- All-round design perfection
- Lightweight and comfortable
- Not wireless
If you only buy one pair of headphones, the Monolith M1570 Over Ear Open Back Balanced Planar Headphones are the best-sounding entry on our best headphones under $500 list. They’ve also got a bright neutral sound profile that doesn’t lose that trademark planar magnetic quality. If you’ve never experienced planar magnetic headphones before, now’s your chance. Iconic is the only word we could use!