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What are the best USB-C headphones?

The headphone jack is dead, long live the headphone jack. Instead, here are the best USB-C headphones to try.
By
May 8, 2021
Shure Aonic 50 noise cancelling headphones 1

USB-C headphones never took off as a replacement for 3.5mm headphones, but plenty of people still need them for wired listening. If you’re not a fan of wireless headphones and don’t have a headphone jack, 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.

This list of the best USB-C headphones comes from the audio experts at our sister site SoundGuys. Check out their in-depth take here.

Update, May 2022: This best USB-C headphones list was updated include the Razer Hammerhead ANC earbuds and categorize the Shure AONIC 50 as over-ear headphones.

Best USB-C headphones:

  • Shure Aonic 50 are great over-ear USB-C headphones that can connect with 3.5mm and Bluetooth as well.
  • Samsung AKG earbuds are a cheap and reliable option for anyone who doesn’t want to break the bank.
  • Razer Hammerhead ANC are a great noise-cancelling option for gamers, with memory foam tips for extra isolation and comfort.
  • 1More Dual Driver ANC Pro is a great versatile wireless option if you don’t always want to use your USB-C port.
  • AiAiAi TMA-2 MFG4 are the best on-ear option that are conveniently modular, so you can always upgrade them.
  • Get an adapter instead! If you already love your headphones, just get an adapter.

1. Shure Aonic 50 — best over-ear USB-C headphones

A picture of the Shure Aonic 50 noise cancelling headphones lifestyle
Lily Katz / Android Authority

The Shure Aonic 50 headphones are our top over-ear pick for the flexibility they offer. You can choose from USB-C, 3.5mm, 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, but the Aonic 50 boast up to 20 hours of battery life and support for all of the most popular codecs.

Shure Aonic 50
$399.00 at Amazon

2. Samsung AKG earbuds — best bang for your buck

usb c samsung akg
Amazon

USB-C earbuds don’t have to break the bank to fit the bill — take the Samsung AKG earbuds, for example. You should be able to find a pair for around $15 on sale, and they more than justify the price tag. All of Samsung’s latest Galaxy Buds are tuned by AKG as well, so you know that sound quality should be no issue. The built-in DAC, interchangeable ear tips, and volume controller should make it even easier to perfect your listening experience.

Samsung AKG Earbuds
$17.51 at Amazon
Save $12.48

3. Razer Hammerhead ANC earbuds — best USB-C earbuds for gaming

Razer Hammerhead ANC earbuds.
Sam Smart / Android Authority

Razer is best known for its gaming peripherals, but Razer also makes a phone that, believe it or not, has no headphone jack. Thankfully, Razer has a solid pair of gaming earbuds for USB-C, the Razer Hammerhead ANC. While the active noise-cancelling isn’t best-in-class like Bose, it’s not bad, especially considering the memory foam ear tips that come with the earbuds that help with isolation. If you’re looking to block out the world on your commute and play a game or two while you’re at it, these are a great option.

Razer Hammerhead ANC earbuds
$99.99 at Razer

4. 1More Dual Driver ANC Pro — best wireless USB-C earbuds

1More Dual ANC Pro 8 1024x576
Adam Molina / Android Authority

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-cancelling for the best experience, and an IPX5 rating means that these ‘buds should stand up to your daily life. While USB-C playthrough is 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.

1More Dual Driver ANC Pro

5. AiAiAi TMA-2 MFG4 – best on-ear USB-C headphones

Pictured are the AIAIAI TMA-2 MFG4 USB-C headphones on a dummy head.
AIAIAI teamed up with Google for these USB-C headphones with the release of the Pixel 3.

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 main components. You can easily upgrade them with the latest parts while keeping a comfortable frame that you know and love.

AiAiAi TMA-2 MFG4
$200.00 at Amazon

6. Master & Dynamic adapter — perfect if you already have a favorite pair of headphones

Hero image of the Master & Dynamic USB-C to 3.5mm cable.
The Master & Dynamic cable is a well-built connector that can plug right into any headphones with a 3.5mm input.

You don’t have to 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 save 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.

Master & Dynamic USB-C to 3.5mm adapter
$49.00

What should you know about USB-C headphones?

Pay attention to fit

Huawei freelace earbuds in ear (45 of 60)

As is the case with all headphones, how they fit your ears is one of the most essential 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 isolate outside sounds will make it easier to hear the music you actually want to listen to. Isolation is key, and it’s the reason why people spend extra to get a good pair of ear pads or ear tips for their favorite headphones.

Universal doesn’t mean compatible

We can’t explain why 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 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?

Google Pixel Buds - wired remote

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 Samsung AKG earbuds 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 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 should you trust SoundGuys?

Under Armour True Wireless Flash JBL: A woman wearing the earbuds.
Lily Katz / Android Authority

SoundGuys is the sibling site to Android Authority, and the team there has made it their goal to bring objective reviews and information to help educate people before they make a purchase they may regret. 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, and feel free to read their ethics policy.