Top Rated Programming Headphones & Earbuds for Focused Coding [updated 2020]

The nature of the job of computer programmers requires long hours of facing computer screens and constantly troubleshooting perplexing lines of codes. Headphones are usually the perfect companion for tasks like this, whether for isolating outside noise or just for listening to tunes. Choosing the best piece of headphones is essential; you would prefer it to be light as a feather for long comfortable hours of use. At the same time, you would not want to settle for headphones with lousy audio drivers, which will sound frustratingly unpleasant.

Choosing the perfect headphones is essentially selecting a balance of four things: Audio quality, Noise Cancellation, Comfort, and Value. The ideal balance is up for you to decide; however, here are our best picks. Check it out.

EARBUDS

They are virtually weightless, small, and relatively new in the audio hardware game, but there are some excellent options for those of you who prefer a more seamless and more modern-looking device.

Apple Airpods Pro

The Apple Airpods is among the most famous truly wireless earbuds ever. With improved audio quality compared to its predecessor, the newer Pro version packs a quite reasonable punch for its size. This latest installment from Apple is one of the first truly wireless earbuds to feature active noise cancellation. Comfort-wise, the Airpods Pro now has interchangeable rubber ear tips and a shorter stem. Pair the new transparency-feature, which allows you to hear your surroundings even when wearing the buds; with a total of 4.5 hours of listening time on a single charge, you will hardly find a reason to remove the Airpods Pro in your ears. For a price tag of $216.15, the Airpods pro is among the expensive yet a worthy programming companion.

Just released last April 27 this current year, the youngest earbuds on this list are the Pixel Buds 2—Google’s follow up on the original pixel buds. The new buds from Google features a 12mm dynamic drive; they are not the best-sounding, but it is nothing short of enjoyable. They also do not have active noise cancellation; however, its form factor allows it to seal out any background noise that you may hear otherwise. It also provides the right amount of physical sound isolation. Google being Google, claims to have analyzed thousands and thousands of pairs of ears to come up with a form factor that will best suit most users, so in terms of comfort, you can expect the pixel buds to be the most seamless among the selection. Its circular design resembles a Mentos candy and fits flush with very minimal protrusion. These buds, in addition to an always-on Google Assistant integration, also have an adaptive sound feature that claims to adjust sound volume in response to ambient sound. With a retail price of $179, the pixel bud is among the more affordable yet workable options for programmers out there.

The Sony WF-100XM3 claims dominion in the audio quality section among the earbuds on this list. The sound quality in these buds is spectacularly good for its size, and it also has active noise cancellation. Comfort-wise, however, each bud weighs around 8.5g, significantly heavier than both the Airpods Pro and the Pixel Buds 2 by about 2g. When worn, the WF-100XM3 has a significant overhang, which may be a big deal-breaker for some. The buds claim to last 6 hours on a single charge. It also has Amazon’s Alexa integration, a handful of color options, and a $228.00 price tag (on sale for $178), a reasonable price for the package.

The value king among the earbuds segment on this list is the triple driver earbuds from 1More. The good-sounding audio it offers is not far from the more expensive competition. The triple driver buds however, do not have active noise cancellation, but to be fair, that feature has yet to come for earbuds at this price point. In terms of comfort, these buds from 1More is nothing special. A plastic body in with a reasonable 6.5g weight, a slight protrusion when worn, and interchangeable ear tips. For $99, this is an excellent choice for a programmer tight on budget.

WIRELESS CODING HEADPHONES

They pack quite a lot of weight from all those powerful drivers embedded in their hardware, yet to some, the extra weight is just bearable trade-off to the audio quality these full-scale headphones bring to the table. Here are some of the best options for programmers out there, choose wisely. No one can go wrong with any of these.

As the latest successor to the previously gold-standard noise-canceling headphones—the Bose QC 25, the newer Bose QuietComfort 35II is a popular choice among in the headphone realm. The QC35II sounds great, but nothing mind-blowing. The noise cancellation however, is one of the best among its class. From the name itself, QuietComfort, Bose crafted this piece of headwear with comfort on top of its mind. Weighing around 233g, with cozy leather ear cuffs, and a price tag of $299.00, the QuietComfort 35II will make programming a little bit cozier. Pairing these headphones with a set programming monitor or coding keyboard, will boost your efficiency in python, ruby or php.

The Sony WH-1000XM3 draws the line between good and great sounding audio in the wireless realm. Its audio performance is arguably close to the quality of wired headphones. In terms of noise cancellation, this device also has one of the best active noise cancellation performance. On top of this, It also has a quick attention feature, which is quite helpful when trying to converse without popping the headphones off. Take note, however, that the touch-sensitive side panels are reportedly not working in freezing climates. At 255 grams, ample padding, and a $348 price tag ($248 through our link), this piece of tech may be your perfect coding pair.

Jabra’s entry in this list of best programming headphones is the Elite 85H. The sound quality of the Elite 85H is a little bit on the lacking side compared to other competitors, but it’s hardly noticeable for the average joe. The noise cancellation however, is effective and sufficient. Comfort-wise, the Elite 85H weighs 40g more than Sony’s 1000XM3, which is a noticeable weight bump. This pair of headphones is best to wear if you want a slight attention in the office; they are bulky and eye-catching. With a $183.00 asking price, the Jabra Elite 85H is among the budget-friendly options in the headphone game. The Elite 85H may be best for programmers eyeing for an entry-level full-scale pair of headphones.

The Bang & Olufsen’s Beoplay H9 is a great performer in terms of sound quality, but the performance alone does not justify the high price tag. This pair of over the ears features a workable active noise cancellation beneath the designer-built aesthetics. The ear cuffs are very comfortable; however, the headband is not ideal for long term usage. At $399, these pair of headphones are priced a little over its performance capability, but to some, the well-thought design and keen attention to detail may be worth paying extra. These are best for the stylish programmers who are eyeing that premium look.

The Momentum line-up is Sennheiser’s premium line of headphones, and the Momentum 3 Wireless lives up to that title. The superior sound quality and reliable active noise cancellation in this device are some of its best features. Design-wise, the Momentum 3 retains the famous silhouette from its predecessor. It features a leather finish and the original signature stainless steel yokes connecting the band to the backside of the ear cuffs. This design adaptation makes this piece industrial-looking yet elegant. Comfort-wise, the Momentum 3 weighs 303g, but the plush padding around the ears makes the weight quite bearable. With an asking price of $349, it is a great choice for the programmers who hail audio quality as one of the better-determining factors.

This Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700, another entry from Bose in this list, is a worthy competitor to the QuietComfort line. In terms of audio quality, this pair of headphones is nothing short of good; however, treble is a bit finicky at times. The noise cancellation in this model is outstanding, but there are no equalizer controls in the complementary app. This newer line-up from Bose also features a premature AR integration, which is a good attempt for a futuristic feature but currently does not live up to its promises yet. Comfort-wise, the Headphones 700, despite a slightly heavier build at about 255g, is a tad sleeker and more comfortable than the QC35II. For $309, this pair of over the ears is a refreshed design and a worthy choice for programmers. 

You have reached the end of the list. All the devices mentioned here caters to different programmers who are in the market for new a pair of headphones. For the audiophiles, the Sennheiser Momentum 3 is the best sounding among the bunch. For those seeking the most comfortable pair, the Bose’s Headphones 700 is the way to go. And for those looking for the most compact piece to bring everywhere, the Pixel Buds 2 is the best pick. All the devices mentioned on this list will do the job just fine, at least. The choice, however, is up to you and your specific needs and preference.

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