USB-C headphones never took off as a replacement for 3.5mm headphones, but there are still plenty of people who need them for wired listening. If you’re not a fan of wireless headphones and you don’t have a headphone jack, then that leaves you with USB-C headphones as your only option. While the category had a slow start and an even quicker death, there are still a few notable options that might be worth your money depending on what you’re looking for. Here are our picks for the very best USB-C headphones you can buy.
Best USB-C headphones:
- Shure AONIC 50
- OnePlus Type-C Bullets
- Razer Hammerhead ANC
- 1More Dual Driver ANC Pro
- AIAIAI TMA-2 MFG4
- Get an adapter instead!
Editor’s note: For a more in-depth look at each product listed here as well as some other useful information, make sure to check out the full article over on our sister site SoundGuys.
1. Shure AONIC 50 – best on-ear option
One of the few new options on the list, the Shure AONIC 50 headphones are our top on-ear pick for the flexibility they offer. You can choose from USB-C, 3.5mm Aux, and Bluetooth connections so you can listen comfortably from just about any device. Lily Katz put the AONIC 50 through their in-depth paces, and you can read all of her thoughts right here. They’ll cost you more than any other pair on this list, but the AONIC 50 boast up to 20 hours of battery life and support for all of the most popular codecs.
- Choose between Bluetooth 5.0, 3.5mm aux, and USB-C connectivity.
- Large removable earpads are easy to clean and replace.
- High-end sound is great for working from home or commuting.
2. OnePlus Type-C Bullets – best bang for your buck
USB-C earbuds don’t have to break the bank to fit the bill — just take the OnePlus USB-C Bullets for example. You should be able to find a pair for around $35, and they more than justify the price tag. For starters, OnePlus chose a flat connecting cable so you won’t have to untangle them when you take the ‘buds out of your pocket. You might want to use your own ear tips though, that way you can get a better seal for isolation.
- Can typically be had for just $35.
- A good seal is achievable with your own ear tips.
3. Razer Hammerhead ANC – best for active noise canceling
These USB-C headphones from Razer offer a similar design to that of the OnePlus Bullets, though they crank it up to 11. Of course, you get the obligatory glowing Razer logo, but we’re really impressed by the overall build quality. The Razer Hammerhead ANC may not run with the best earbuds in terms of noise-canceling, but they prove to be a competitive USB-C option. They offer solid isolation straight from the box thanks to an included set of memory foam ear tips.
- Top-notch build quality, though the glowing Razer logo can be a bit much.
- Decent noise canceling if you want to block out some ambient noise.
- Come with a pair of Comply memory foam ear tips in the box.
4. 1More Dual Driver ANC Pro – best wireless earbuds
It’s not cheating if headphones can connect via USB-C but you’d rather use them with Bluetooth, right? These earbuds from 1More take a behind-the-neck approach that keeps the wires completely out of your way. You can choose between two levels of noise-canceling for the best experience and an IPX5 rating means that these ‘buds should stand up to your daily life. While USB-C playthrough is definitely possible with the 1More Dual Driver ANC Pro, it’s easier to plug in these USB-C headphones for three hours of playback on 10 minutes of charging.
- Three hours of playback after 10 minutes of charging.
- IPX5 rating ensures that you can put these earbuds to the test.
- The wireless design allows for USB-C playback or Bluetooth connection.
5. AIAIAI TMA-2 MFG4
While these AIAIAI USB-C headphones may be one of the older options on the list, they were designed with Google for enduring quality. Originally launched alongside the Pixel 3, the TMA-2 MFG4 headphones have a timeless minimalist design and modular options for all of the main components. You can easily upgrade with the latest parts while you keep a comfortable frame that you know and love.
- The minimalist black design is appealing and the on-ear design keeps the size down.
- Good sound quality and don’t move around on your head too much.
- Can always upgrade parts as almost every major component is modular.
6. Master & Dynamic adapter – perfect if you already have a favorite pair of headphones
You don’t have to go spend money on a new set of headphones to find a perfect USB-C setup. If you already have your perfect match, why not just grab an adapter and keep things simple? That way you can keep the presets and EQ that you may have already tuned without taking much extra time. The braided design feels luxurious and it ensures that your cable can handle bends and folds for a long time to come.
- Keep your favorite pair of headphones and update the connector.
- The cable is braided for durability and metal components should handle wear and tear.
- Comes in white or black color options so you can match your style.
What you should know about USB-C headphones?
Pay attention to fit
As is the case with all headphones, how they fit your ears is one of the most important aspects. This is doubly true with earbuds. When you don’t have a proper fit, not only do you have to worry about them constantly falling out but you’re also going to have a lot of outside noise to contend with. Having earbuds that help to isolate outside sounds will make it easier to hear the music that you actually want to listen to. Isolation is key, and it’s the reason why people spend extra to get a good pair of earpads or ear tips for their favorite headphones.
Universal doesn’t mean compatible
For reasons we can’t explain, some manufacturers have decided to ignore the fact that USB-C is supposed to be universal. In our full testing, we found that some headphones simply didn’t play nice with some phones. An example of this is the HTC U-sonic headphones which are incompatible with non-HTC devices.
We’re essentially saying that if the ‘buds didn’t make this list then it might be a good idea to stay away. There’s nothing worse than buying a new set of USB-C headphones and finding out that they don’t work.
What about the Google USB-C headphones?
In short, don’t bother to buy a pair. While we were looking forward to Google releasing their own inexpensive pair of USB-C earbuds and providing a good option, the ‘buds that come with the Pixel phone are far from perfect. That said, nothing beats the price tag of “free”, but if you were going to go out of your way to purchase these don’t bother. Just go with the OnePlus Type-C Bullets instead.
While access to the Google Assistant at the press of a button is pretty nifty, it doesn’t make up for the terrible isolation resulting in you maxing out the volume on your phone just to get it to listening levels. They’re also somewhat uncomfortable because of the loop adjustment system that basically wedges them in your ear.
Why you should trust SoundGuys?
SoundGuys is the sibling site to Android Authority, and the team there have made it their goal to bring objective reviews and information to help educate people before they make a purchase they may end up regretting. How you listen to music and enjoy sound is subjective, but the technical aspects of a pair of headphones or a Bluetooth speaker can be measured objectively. That’s where SoundGuys come in. Make sure to check it out if you have any interest in all things audio!