Best JBL headphones 2022

Woman wearing the JBL Under Armour Flash X earbuds.
(Image credit: JBL)

JBL isn't as popular as it once was, but the brand still makes some great headphones and other audio products, especially at reasonable price points. The JBL Live 660NC are our best overall pick for having excellent sound, battery life, and comfort. We've gathered a handful of other reliable options, for different budgets and lifestyles, to ensure you get your hands on the best JBL headphones for your needs.

Woman wearing the JBL Live 660NC.

(Image credit: JBL)

JBL Live 660NC - Wireless Over-Ear Noise Cancelling Headphones

Best overall

Reasons to buy

+
Long battery life
+
Solid and neutral sound signature
+
Great comfort in short bursts
+
Good ANC performance
+
USB-C and fast charging

Reasons to avoid

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Not a huge upgrade over 650
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Cumbersome build
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Earcups can get warm after extended use

The JBL Live 660NC are an incremental upgrade from their 650 predecessors, so a lot of what was already there will be easy to find here. One of the main draws was battery life, and that continues with the 660NC by raising it to 40 hours of playback per charge with ANC.

Not only that, but in a nod to attract a wider subset of users, JBL tweaked the default sound signature to feel more neutral, so the heavier bass presence is something you'll have to bring in via JBL's My Headphones app. Sound quality benefits, as a result, and the slightly improved active noise cancelation (ANC) performance is also nice to see. It continues to struggle a little in drowning out certain frequencies, but no less a step in the right direction.

While they are comfortable to wear, they can be cumbersome due to their size. However, JBL only made minor changes to the design, so these should ultimately feel very similar on your ears by comparison. The larger cups do a nice job of passive isolation, and generate warmer ears after wearing them for longer periods, so that you may need more frequent breaks in between. It is a subjective thing, though, so you may find them to be snug and cozy just the same.

JBL also upgraded the charging port to USB-C, so no need to worry about using a Micro-USB cable to fill them up. Using the faster throughput also enables fast charging, which should get you up to four hours of playback with just a 10-minute charge.

Running with the JBL Under Armour Flash X.

(Image credit: Under Armour)

JBL Under Armour Flash X

Best workout buds

Reasons to buy

+
IPX7 water resistance
+
Excellent comfort and stability
+
Fun sound signature
+
Superb battery life
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12-month Map My Run subscription

Reasons to avoid

-
Thicker body
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Lacks app support
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No fast charging

The JBL Under Armour Flash X are indeed a sequel to the previous pair bearing the same name, only the upgrade here is incremental, rather than a big leap. Still, there are plenty of things to like about this package, starting with the rugged IPX7 rating that all but ensures you can sweat and get these wet without worrying too much about it. Of course, you'd best stay away from salt water, but in a lake, pool, or tub, you won't go wrong. TalkThru and Ambient Aware can also keep you apprised of your surroundings as you work out or run, adding safety to your listening pleasure.

JBL kept things fresh with the sound signature, which has a more balanced tonality than you'd expect from workout buds. Instead of the bass dominating the soundstage, mids and highs get their time to shine, too. It makes for a more accessible sound to wearers who aren't always looking for the deepest thump on every track. Unfortunately, there's no proper app support to take the sound further, which is a shame for something at this price.

Battery life is excellent at up to 10 hours per charge, but expect that to drop further the louder you go. The case delivers another four full charges, so you shouldn't have to refill it all that often. Strangely, there's no fast charging, so if you are going to fill up, it will take two hours from empty.

The bulky design may not feel comfortable for all ears, so it's hard to say how good they'll feel. The ear tips and wings can keep them in place well enough, but what's critical is whether you can get a good seal or not.

Woman relaxing with JBL Tune 660NC headphones.

(Image credit: JBL)

JBL Tune 660NC

Best on-ear

Reasons to buy

+
Great sound quality
+
Decent ANC performance
+
Long battery life
+
Lightweight and portable
+
Color options

Reasons to avoid

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Comfort is OK
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Difficult passive isolation
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No app integration
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No IP rating

While not as popular as they once were, on-ear headphones are still fantastic for a handful of reasons, including great sound without complete isolation. Enter the JBL Tune 660NC, the best on-ear headphone the company currently offers.

The JBL Tune 660NC perform well, with a pretty balanced sound signature that will boost the bass enough to go with the slightly warmer highs. The on-ear design does make passive noise isolation more difficult, and that can affect how thick the bass turns out to be. Dynamic range is fine, though the soundstage sometimes forces sibilance, and there's no way to control that because there's no app to integrate these headphones with.

On the bright side, you do get ANC here, and it's not bad for a pair of on-ears. Don't expect to completely immerse yourself and deafen the outside world wearing the Tune 660NC, though you should at least notice a difference.

Then there's comfort. These headphones don't have the best build materials, so while they are nicely flexible, they don't always feel super sturdy. It's hard to tell whether your ears will feel constricted over longer listening sessions, but they are fairly lightweight and portable enough that they fold into a smaller footprint. No carrying case in the box, unfortunately.

Battery life is superb, with up to 44 hours on a single charge. In a pinch, you can plug in via USB-C for five minutes and get roughly two hours of playback. They also come with a 3.5mm cable to listen in wired mode without battery power. Great for those long trips where a charger isn't nearby.

Woman with tablet wearing JBL Tour Pro+.

(Image credit: JBL)

JBL Tour Pro+ TWS

Best in-ear

Reasons to buy

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Great sound quality
+
Excellent comfort
+
Great app support
+
Improved call quality
+
Fast charging

Reasons to avoid

-
Bizarre grouping for onboard controls

The Tour Pro+ TWS represent a new line for JBL, and the focus seems to be on an expectation of quality above all else. There are certainly design treatments to make the aesthetics match the intentions, but in any case, these earbuds are among the best JBL has made to date. With a nice and effective sound to start with, it's JBL's My Headphones app that offers far more customization through its onboard EQ. Tinker with that, create and save your own presets, and you aren't likely to be disappointed.

JBL also made strides with call quality, delivering the kind of performance not really available in the Live Pro+ TWS earbuds. ANC performance is also better, suggesting that the Tour line will be a cut above the Pro line going forward.

As for comfort, the app does offer a fit test to help find the perfect seal for your ears. Assuming you get them right, the earbuds should feel sturdy, yet lightweight. The onboard controls are neat in that they audibly tell you when you tapped the right way, except the custom settings force you to go with "groups" of controls, not assigning them individually.

Battery life is reasonable at six hours per charge with ANC on. Turn it off, and you might stretch it to eight hours — all depending on volume level, of course. The case, which also supports wireless charging, gives you another three full charges. And when you need to add some juice, plug in for five minutes for an hour's worth of playback.

JBL Tour One headphones near man reading.

(Image credit: JBL)

JBL Tour One

Best over-ear

Reasons to buy

+
Very comfortable to wear
+
Solid sound quality
+
Certified for hi-res audio
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Hands-free Google Assistant
+
Excellent app support
+
Decent battery life

Reasons to avoid

-
Adaptive ANC isn't bulletproof

The JBL Tour One are not just any pair of over-ear headphones; they're a company making a statement. These headphones are packed with an array of features with the clear intention to compete against the best in the business. Sound quality is superb, and an improvement over what JBL has previously done. Hi-res audio fans will also love that the headphones go up to the 40kHz frequency range, certifying them for hi-res playback. Whatever your preference to hear those tracks, the Tour One can make it happen when you plug in with the included cable.

The My JBL Headphones app figures prominently throughout because it controls so many of the onboard features. Anytime you want to tweak the audio, use the app's EQ to do it. For example, adaptive ANC will adjust noise cancelation automatically based on how many background sounds you're immersed in. Likewise, SilentNow will kick in ANC without music when you need peace and quiet. Even Google Assistant will pipe up by simply saying the wake word — no hands necessary.

They are comfortable to wear, finding the right balance. And that matters when looking at 25 hours of playback with ANC on. Turn it off, and it goes up to 50 hours, depending on volume levels. Call quality is superb, thanks to the 4-mic array managing to amplify voices over all else.

Wearing the JBL Live Pro+ earbuds.

(Image credit: Ted Kritsonis / Android Central)
Best true wireless buds

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent audio quality
+
Comfortable fit
+
Decent ANC performance
+
More direct voice assistant access
+
OK battery life
+
Good app support

Reasons to avoid

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Finicky touch controls
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Inconsistent call quality
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Random audio cutouts

As we noted in our review, JBL put a heavier emphasis on good bass and a thicker overall sound signature with the Live Pro+ TWS, and that should feel perfect when you're looking for that kind of thump between your ears. The key to it all is the equalizer in JBL's My Headphones app, which helps orient sound how you might like it. Its presence is even more tremendous when considering how the default sound changes because of the onboard ANC.

They are comfortable to wear, in part because of the five different ear tips available out of the box. Finding a good seal shouldn't be hard with all those options, and their lightweight design makes them easier to enjoy while being leisurely. They aren't especially rugged with their IPX4 rating, but you could break a little sweat with them. Just keep them clear of too much water.

Bluetooth hiccups and inconsistent call quality sully what is otherwise a good pair of earbuds. A shame, too, since the ANC and ambient performance is solid. Battery life is also pretty good at up to six hours per charge with ANC on. The case, which also supports wireless charging, gives you another three charges for all-day playback.

Woman wearing the JBL Tune 130NC TWS earbuds.

(Image credit: JBL)

JBL Tune 130NC TWS

Best value

Reasons to buy

+
Good, bass-heavy sound
+
OK ANC performance
+
Superb comfort
+
Solid battery life
+
Decent app support
+
Affordable

Reasons to avoid

-
ANC has its limits
-
Not ideal for active situations

If you're looking for the best bang for your buck and want to stick with JBL, the Tune 130NC TWS are your best bet. They'll give you good sound, especially with a nice boost in bass, though you may not catch it out of the box. You would definitely need to run these earbuds through the JBL Headphones app and play around with the EQ to hear what they can truly sound like.

ANC performance isn't bad for a pair in this price range. They're not especially good at blocking out all sounds, and even low-frequency ones, like a plane, train, or bus might still squeak through. Ambient mode is good, letting you hear your surroundings when you need to.

They can also be comfortable to wear, thanks to their lightweight design. The only catch is that they will start to wiggle out of place if you use them in active situations. Not that the IPX4 rating is super high for sweaty workouts, but just the way they sit isn't going to be ideal for runs or workouts.

You get pretty good battery life to listen to tunes — up to eight hours per charge with ANC on (10 without), plus another three charges in the case. A quick 10-minute charge will get you up to two hours of playback when you need it.

Bottom line

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JBL may not be the kind of audio brand it used to be, but it still holds a steady reputation for making solid audio products, including headphones, at a reasonable price. This group of headphones partly represents a desire to change the perception and make the company more relevant. With the variety of choices, don't count JBL out. They're not on the best wireless headphones list, but could make a move there if this keeps up.

The JBL Live 660NC are the best all-around headphones the company makes. They offer excellent battery life, solid ANC performance, and a superb warm sound signature many people will love. The best the company has made to date, purely on performance and specs, would go to the JBL Tour One.