Looking for some comfy, high-quality headphones or earbuds to immerse yourself in an audiobook? No matter when you’re listening to an audiobook, be it while drifting off to sleep, on a long flight, or during your morning run, comfort is one of the most important factors when choosing a listening device. Sound quality, price, wireless functionality, and style are all other things to consider. In this guide, you’ll find our picks for all budgets for the best earbuds and headphones for listening to audiobooks.
- Audiobook Headphones Comparison Table
- Best Headphones for Listening to Audiobooks
- Best Earbuds for Listening to Audiobooks
- Audiobook Headphones and Earbuds Worth Mentioning!
- What makes a good pair of headphones or earbuds for listening to audiobooks?
- What is the difference between headphones and earbuds?
Audiobook Headphones Comparison Table
|JBL Tune 510 BT
|…those that are after a great all-rounder at a reasonable price.
|Bose QuietComfort 45
|Bluetooth or Wired
|…the audiophile that is serious about sound quality.
|Anker Soundcore Q45
|…the traveler that needs long battery life.
|…those that want a no-nonsense headphone with great audio quality and no fancy extras.
|Sennheiser HD 450SE
|…those wanting a decent mid-range set of headphones with a mic.
|Cambridge Audio Melomania
|…those that want excellent comfort and great battery life.
|JBL VIBE 100
|…someone on a budget that wants a decent all-rounder.
|…someone willing to spend the extra money for all the bells and whistles with great sound quality.
|Anker Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro
|…those after great noise canceling with earbuds.
|Apple Airpods Pro 2nd Gen
|…someone that doesn’t mind splashing the cash for some sleek-looking earbuds.
|…those on a budget that are willing to sacrifice sound quality for comfort.
|Shokz OpenRun Pro
|…those who want situational awareness while doing an activity (e.g. running).
Best Headphones for Listening to Audiobooks
The first thing to say about the JBL tune 520 BT is that the value for money here is outstanding. Coming in at around $50 this is the cheapest pair of headphones in our review. Despite being the cheapest, what you get for your money is really impressive.
These headphones are super comfy and go over the ear which is great when you’re wearing them for long periods of time. They are connected wirelessly using Bluetooth 5.0 and despite unfortunately having no option to use a cable they have a battery life of up to 40 hours and charge up in as little as 2.
JBL also claims that charging these headphones through the USB Type-C cable for just 5 minutes can give you an additional 2 hours of playtime when you’re in a rush. They also have some handy buttons on the headphone cup to allow you to easily pause or skip your audiobook.
Unfortunately, these headphones don’t have a noise-canceling feature so if you’re trying to drown out a noisy environment you’re out of luck. While these headphones sound great for the price and have a rich low-end frequency response that is great for a male voice the sound quality is certainly not the best on our list.
For those that are crazy about sound quality and want complete immersion, these aren’t for you. But if you want a great pair of headphones on a budget, these are seriously worth considering.
While these may be on the pricey side you certainly get what you pay for with the Bose QuietComfort 45. These over-ear headphones connect to your device wirelessly via Bluetooth but they also have the option to use a 3.5mm jack to listen for even longer than its already impressive 24hr battery life.
The audio quality is the real show-stopper here, these just sound great. It includes an active EQ that optimizes your listening experience based on the volume so it’s constantly working hard to give you the best sound quality.
Bose also has some of the best noise-canceling technology out there. They use tiny microphones to pick up on the ambient noise outside and use this information to cancel the incoming external noise with opposing phase inverted signals.
If you’re serious about sound quality, comfort, and immersion, and you’re willing to splash out on more expensive tech, these headphones are worth it.
The Anker Soundcore Q45 has a major selling point – 50-hour battery life. While this may not be necessary for the casual listener at home, if you’re planning on traveling, or you take a lot of long flights, then these are a great investment.
The noise canceling technology means you can drown out any background noise on a long flight. Anker even promises you can cut out some more acutely distracting noises such as a crying baby!
Comfort is a major area of concern for the prospective audiobook listener, as you will be wearing your headphones for a long time. I can confirm these are super comfy with almost no contact with your ears, meaning they don’t get sore even after hours of listening.
These headphones are the only ones on our list that offer solely a wired option. This is because the Audio-Technica ATH-M20X isn’t actually marketed for home listening but is actually designed for music producers in professional studios.
That being said they do offer a version with Bluetooth functionality as well, albeit at a slightly higher cost. Being headphones primarily designed for studio monitoring Audio-Technica has put most of its efforts into focusing on sound quality as opposed to extraneous features.
While these do not feature any electronic noise canceling, the over-the-ear foam cup (which is really comfortable) offers a decent level of noise reduction and will make a loud environment much more bearable.
If you want to spend your money focusing on the quality of the audio and aren’t too worried about any fancy extras these are a great bet.
These Sennheiser HD 450SE are some brilliant mid-range headphones. You know what you’re getting with Sennheiser at this point. They’ve been in the game forever and are experts in the audio field. At around $129 these are well-priced and have all the features you need.
These headphones are wireless and stream over Bluetooth 5.0 with no option to use an aux cable. It has a 30-hour battery life and supports fast charging via a USB-C cable so the likelihood of running into issues with the battery life is next to none for the average user.
One really great thing about these headphones is that it has some really intuitive controls in the form of buttons on the headphones themselves to help you easily pause or skip your audiobook.
These Sennheiser HD 450SE also have a built-in mic so that you can use it with your virtual voice assistant, whether that be Alexa, Siri, or Google Assistant.
We were also really impressed with how small they can fold up which makes them really portable while still unfolding into headphones that are big enough to be super comfy on your ears when wearing them for extended periods of time.
Best Earbuds for Listening to Audiobooks
Cambridge Audio is a very well-respected manufacturer in the audio industry perhaps most famous for their home hi-fi systems. These Cambridge Audio Melomania earbuds have superior crispness and clarity to them which makes them ideal for listening to the human voice.
They also have 9 hours of playback with an additional 41 hours of charging power stored in their rechargeable case, meaning that once you charge both the case and the earbuds you can be on the road for a combined 50 hours without needing to worry about charging them up!
These also happen to be some of the most comfortable earbuds out there thanks to Cambridge audio crafting these earbuds from data points collected from over 3,000 pairs of human ears. They just fit great.
These wireless Bluetooth earbuds are great for audiobooks and are really reasonably priced, if you are a fan of earbuds and want some super comfortable ones with crisp audio these are a solid choice.
JBL is back in with another budget option with surprisingly impressive results. This pair of wireless earbuds has Bluetooth connectivity and a rechargeable case. The JBL VIBE 100 earbuds are pretty comfy and come with 3 different sizes of changeable attachments to suit different individuals’ ears.
For under $50 these are a steal but the sound quality from the 8mm driver is not exactly the bee’s knees. If you’re serious about the quality of your audio you may want to consider paying for a pair of earbuds with higher-quality components.
The charge time that these headphones hold is also far inferior battery life to other products with just 5 hours in the headphones and an additional 15 in the case, so you’re going to end up needing to charge these pretty regularly.
With that being said, for the price, these are a great pair of earbuds from JBL and they are generally impressive in terms of comfort and quality.
The trusty earbud manufacturer Sennheiser has released their MOMENTUM range with an even heftier price tag than Apple’s AirPod Pro. These earbuds sound great and have all the bells and whistles such as the rechargeable case, various earbud sizes, and Bluetooth connectivity.
Sennheiser boasts a frequency range of 5Hz-21kHz and promises high fidelity sound and a superior bass response thanks to its TrueResponse technology using 7mm dynamic drivers. These sound great when listening to a high-quality audiobook and let you hear every nuance and detail.
The Sennheiser MOMENTUM earbuds have many other great features. They include adaptive noise canceling to help cultivate an immersive experience, they are splash resistant and have 7 hours of battery life in the earbuds with an additional 21 hours in the rechargeable case.
These are a great pair of earbuds, and if you want to splash out on some premium earbuds with all the extras then these are certainly a great choice.
Anker’s Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro earbuds have a personalized noise canceling feature which is absolutely brilliant and can help you drift deep into the story you’re listening to even in some of the noisiest environments. For a pair of earbuds as opposed to headphones, its noise-canceling ability is one of the most impressive features.
These earbuds are also super comfy in the ear after you’ve found the right size bud to suit your ears and even after long periods of listening they are far more comfortable than a lot of other earbuds on the market thanks to their sleek and ergonomic design.
Audiobook Headphones and Earbuds Worth Mentioning!
While the AirPods Pro from Apple is clearly a hugely popular earphone, we think they are a bit overrated and overpriced. They look great and come with digital noise canceling, brilliant auto-wear detection, and pretty decent audio quality. But for their price, there are better options out there that are more comfortable and have much better battery life. Still, if you are an Apple fan, we understand if you choose these AirPods anyway.
These Sleep Headphones are not the best in terms of audio quality, but we had to give them a quick honorable mention for the novel design and how comfy they are for sleep. If you don’t mind too much about sound quality and just want something comfortable for listening in bed these are worth a try!
These futuristic bone-conduction Shokz OpenRun Pro headphones transmit audio to your ears by vibrating the surrounding area of your skull. They still offer clean audio quality, but don’t cover your ears or block your ear canal. This is advantageous because they allow you to hear the outside world undisturbed, making them perfect for outdoor sports.
What makes a good pair of headphones or earbuds for listening to audiobooks?
When choosing a pair of headphones or earbuds there are three main areas to consider:
- Comfort – This is perhaps the most important one. When you’re listening to an audiobook you may be sitting there for hours completely immersed in a story. The last thing you want is to start getting the dreaded aching ear pain. Make sure you do plenty of research and consider what style of device you find the most comfortable.
- Controls – This is another one that we think is pretty important in a device. If you need to quickly pause your audiobook to do something else it’s great to have a handy button already strapped to your head. See the thing about wireless headphones is it means your phone isn’t at the end of the cable! Having controls on the headphones or earbuds themselves saves you from scrabbling for your phone to pause your audiobook when the postman knocks on your door and the dog starts barking.
- Sound quality – This is simple. The better the quality of the audio the more immersed you become in your audiobook. The amount of money spent, and the quality of the parts, are generally positively correlated, meaning you’ll get better quality audio from more expensive headphones. However, also consider noise cancellation as this can make all the difference when it comes to really getting lost in a great story.
What is the difference between headphones and earbuds?
Headphones and earbuds are the two main styles of headsets and although both can be equally great for listening to an audiobook the inherent differences mean that each may be more suited to different people and different situations.
Earbuds are generally considered to be more convenient as they are readily transportable, and easier to wear when lying down. However, a lot of people find that in-ear buds can make your ears sore quickly and they also tend to have inferior sound quality as the size of the drivers is limited to the size that can fit into the human ear.
Headphones generally sound better as they have more room for larger drivers and high-quality components. They are however quite awkward to wear in more relaxed positions such as lying down. While they are often more comfortable than in-ear buds they can tire the outer ear, especially if they are touching the ear itself.
What are the best headphones and earbuds for audiobooks you have tried?