Headphones are expected to be a hot gift this year, according to Consumer Reports holiday poll. One big trend—celebrity-endorsed headphones.
Consumer Reports tested Dr. Dre headphones, along with traditional big names including Bose, Sony, and Panasonic.
They included studio-style headphones, which are good for listening to music at home, and portable ones, which are better on the go. Also tested—noise-canceling and noise-isolating earphones, which block outside noise to varying degrees.
Consumer Reports’ audio experts, who've tested hundreds of headphones, say you can't buy by brand. It turns out that some Monster’s Beats by Dr. Dre have done well in the tests. But one model, the “Solo,” which costs around $180, was one of the lowest-rated headphones tested.
Consumer Reports finds that you don’t have to pay for pricier celebrity headphones to get very good audio quality. The studio-style Sony PIIQ headphones are a Best Buy, at just $35.
If you’re looking for a portable set, the Sennheiser CX215 headphones are also a Best Buy, at $40. A plus—they reduce outside noise.
If you’re interested in wireless headphones, Consumer Reports did find a very good set, but they’re expensive. They’re the studio-style Sennheiser model RS180, for $330.