Beats by Dre are hands-down top-of-the-line headphones. From celebrities to sports stars, everyone seems to roll with the Beats headphones. But for working-class people who can’t shell out that much money for a pair of headphones, there are several alternatives to choose from. StudyFinds has done the research and put together a list of the best Beats Headphone dupes that are equally impressive in quality.
Hip-hop mogul Dr. Dre and legendary record executive Jimmy Iovine co-founded Beats in 2006. The company took off thanks in part to numerous celebrity endorsements, including LeBron James, Lady Gaga, and DJ Khaled. On top of Beats having high-priced musicians and athletes pushing their brand, the headphones are a high-quality product. They are consistently the most popular headphones on the market.
Dre and Iovine cashed in on Beats’ popularity eight years later when Apple paid $3 billion for the company in 2014. Despite their success, they also had to deal with legal drama. In 2014, Bose sued Beats over patent infringements for its noise-canceling technology. That lawsuit was settled out of court. The lawsuits didn’t end there because in 2015 Monster took aim at Beats, accusing the company of fraud. The Monster case was eventually dismissed.
Are you in the market for a new pair of headphones that won’t put a dent in your wallet? StudyFinds has put together a list of the top five best Beats dupes to try out. Did we miss one of your favorites? Let us know in the comments below!
The List: Best Beats Headphones Dupes, According to Experts
Sony was the pick to click as the top alternative to Beats headphones. One of their top models is the Sony WH-1000XM5. “The WH-1000XM5 has Bluetooth multipoint, and Bluetooth codecs including LDAC, which provides the best streaming quality at 990kbps. It doesn’t have as much of a bass boost as Beats by default, but you can use the Sony Headphones Connect equalizer. Moreover, the noise canceling on the WH-1000XM5 is some of the very best on the market,” writes Sound Guys. “If the main feature drawing you to the Beats Studio Pro Wireless and Beats Studio3 Wireless is noise cancelation performance, then the Sony cans should be your pick. Deciding what’s physically comfortable is more subjective, but we’re confident you’ll be happier with the Sony WH-1000XM5 than with the Beats headphones.”
“Sony’s flagship noise-canceling headphones are now in their fifth generation, and that means a new, more elegant look to go with improved sound and noise canceling. The WH-1000XM5 offer 30 hours of battery life and some of the best sound quality you’ll find, thanks to Sony’s clever processing and drivers,” notes Wired. “They cancel out the world better than nearly all competitors, and they even sense when you’re talking and automatically pause your music—you’ll rarely reach for the pause button. Smaller 30-mm drivers make for a punchy, convincing soundstage that can distract you from whatever you’re using music to escape from.”
Another popular Sony headphone is the Sony MDR-V55B. “Sony has an extensive range of headphones available, and these are an excellent option for those who want good quality and a well-known brand too,” says Sensible Reviewer. “Even though I know a brand name doesn’t outright mean brand quality, these headphones have really good sound for full immersive listening. The noise isolating feature will block out sound wherever you are, ensuring that the music is the only thing you can hear at all times. The headband is adjustable, so you don’t have to worry if you often struggle to find a pair of headphones which feel comfortable. The 1.2m long cable means you can comfortably keep your music player in a trouser or coat pocket without the worry of it being pulled out.”
The Jabra Elite headphones were voted the best alternative to the Beats Solo Pro by Bustle. “These sleek on-ear headphones from Jabra can stand up to long days of listening, with up to 50 hours of battery life per charge. They also boast an ultra-fast charging time — just 15 minutes of charging can give you up to 10 hours of listening. The 40mm drivers produce robust sound, but you can also customize your listening preferences using Jabra’s MySound app to prioritize different ranges or adjust volume for each ear. These headphones also work well with voice assistants like Siri, Alexa, and Google Assistant, and they have two internal microphones to reduce noise during phone calls. You can pair them to two devices at once, so it’s easy to hop between a call on your phone to music playing on your laptop or vice versa.”
“The Jabra Elite headphones have a customizable equalizer that allows you to adjust to exactly how you want your music to sound,” writes RetailMeNot. “But if you don’t know how to do that yourself, the Jabra technology will automatically adjust your settings to give you a perfectly tailored listening experience. It’s also compatible with Alexa, Siri and Google Assistant.”
And the best thing about the Jabra Elite headphones? They’re affordable. “Released in mid-2020, the Jabra Elite 45h was essentially billed as the best on-ear headphone for the money. While there’s nothing terribly fancy about it is one of the best on-ear headphone values right now, with good sound quality, a sturdy design and comfortable fit (for on-ear headphones, anyway),” notes CNET. “Additionally, this Bluetooth on-ear headphone performs well as a headset for making calls and includes a sidetone feature that allows you to hear your voice in the headphones so you don’t talk too loudly.”
Bose has several quality headphone models to choose from, including the QuietComfort 35. “The Bose QuietComfort 35 headphones are generally pretty well-designed and sound pretty good, but perhaps the best thing about them is that their noise cancelling technology is unrivaled,” writes Headphone Review. “The headphones are an excellent choice for those that like to be able to focus on their music.”
“One of the best options for anyone after great sound quality. If you’re looking for the ultimate Beats by Dre Studio alternatives, these could well be just what you need,” says Sensible Reviewer about the QuietComfort 35 model. “What makes them so great? Tiny microphones continuously monitor the noise going on around you, playing the opposite so quietly in the background of your music that the outside noise disappears, and you’re left with a pure, musical experience. The noise cancellation from Bose is up there with some of the best you can buy. That might sound ridiculous, but it really works. They have all the usual whistles and bells, buttons to help you control the songs and your calls, comfy cushion pads so you can listen for hours. But on top of all of that, their sound quality is difficult to rival, and they look slick enough that you won’t mind being seen in public with them. A full charge provides 20 hours of battery life, and 40 hours if you use them with wires.”
Bose’s QuietComfort model also comes in earbud form. “Bose claims these earbuds are home to the ‘world’s best noise cancellation,’ and we may have to agree. In our testing of Bose’s first-generation QuietComfort earbuds, all external noise was blocked out due to the impressive active noise-canceling tech, and that was coupled with the expected impressive Bose sound quality,” notes Good Housekeeping. “Our pros love that these second-gen buds have an improved, compact design over their predecessor (they’re 30 percent smaller!), and we expect these to be just as comfy and lightweight when we test them in our Lab. The pair comes with three sizes of silicone buds to choose from so you can get a good fit. They also have an IPX4 rating, which means they’ve been tested to be sweat and weather-resistant. Touch controls are relatively simple: just tap or double-tap for different functions.”
If you’re looking for the most affordable knockoff Beats headphones, CNET says Sennheiser’s 250BT headphones could be the ones for you. “Equipped with Bluetooth 5.0, its features seem pretty basic, but it does have 25-hour battery life, as well as support for the AAC and aptX audio codecs, and it also taps into Sennheiser’s Smart Control app, allowing you to customize the sound a bit. Sennheiser describes the 250BT as having club-like sound, and that’s a fairly apt take. There’s lots of energy in the bass and some sparkle in the treble. This is what I like to call an exciting headphone — dynamic, fun. I can’t say it’s got premium build quality (it looks and feels like a more of a budget model). But it’s lightweight and comfortable for an on-ear model, though it lacks any padding on the inside of the headband so I occasionally had to make adjustments to relieve a little pressure on the crown of my head.”
If you want long battery life out of your earbuds, Major HiFi is a fan of Sennheiser’s Momentum True Wireless 3. “It’s becoming clear the Beats Fit Pro aren’t winning in terms of battery life. The Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 (MTW3) beats it again with 7 hours of active use, and another 28 hours in the case…Also unique to these buds are their unusually wide sound stage that provides an engaging and immersive listening experience that is further enhanced by their clear and natural balance. Easy touch controls and transparency mode are also featured, as well as multiple ANC options.”
Rounding out the top five is Audio-Technica. SoundGuys recommends the ATH-M50xBT2 model as a great alternative to Beats headphones. “There’s not much ‘studio’ sounding about the Beats Studio3 Wireless with its exaggerated mids and bass tuning. Whereas the Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT2 hails from a storied lineage of studio headphones, and is optionally wired or wireless. At the outset, the sound sits between studio and consumer friendly, but you can use the app to adjust EQ to your tastes. Like the Beats Solo3 Wireless, the ATH-M50xBT2 relies solely on isolation to block noise, but the on-ear fit of the Solo3 Wireless means it wears less comfortably and blocks less noise than the ATH-M50xBT2 over-ear design. With a battery life of 64 hours and 51 minutes, the ATH-M50xBT2 outdoes most wireless headphones. The folding design, and plush padding alongside quality codecs like LDAC and AAC mean that the Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT2 is a music focused set of headphones that fits in multiple scenarios.”
“The Audio-Technica ATH-M50X offers audio that gives you clear, crisp vocals for pop playlists and deep, even bass for EDM rolled into a comfortable design with soft pleather ear pads that make you never want to stop listening,” notes BuzzFeed. As an added bonus, you get three removable, durable cables so you’re not fighting wires all the time or breaking them when you’re jamming out.
Wired calls Audio-Technica the best cheap headphones. “Audio-Technica has been a fan favorite of DJs and content creators for decades for their durable build quality and great sound…They have excellent sound quality for the money, and they have an astonishing 60 hours of playback time between charges. It’s also great that they come with a cable for wired listening, if for some reason you lose power for… an entire work week.”
You might also be interested in:
- Sound Guys
- Headphone Review
- Major HiFi
- Good Housekeeping
- Sensible Reviewer
Note: This article was not paid for nor sponsored. StudyFinds is not connected to nor partnered with any of the brands mentioned and receives no compensation for its recommendations. This article contains affiliate links.