- 1. Bose QC35 II Headphones
- 2. Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro Headphones
- 3. Cowon E7 Wireless Bluetooth Headphones
- 4. Apple AirPods Pro
- 5. AUKEY True Wireless Earbuds
- 6. AKG Pro Audio K612 PRO Open Back Headphones
- Frequently Asked Questions
6 Best Headphones for Audio Books
Audiobooks provide a convenient option for listening to your favorite stories or podcasts on the go or when completing other activities. You can listen to an audiobook while driving, doing the laundry, or sitting at home.
While it seems too easy to pick the Bose based on their reputation alone they do make an excellent set of headphones for listening to audiobooks. I’ve owned my pair for years and have never been disappointed in the sound quality, the comfort and most of all the airflow so your ears don’t get too hot which allows for long listening. Add on active noise-cancelling and you’ve got the perfect escape for listening to your audiobooks travelling, at home or anywhere.
Unfortunately, most devices that play audiobooks include weak speakers. To hear the audiobook narration, you typically need a pair of headphones.
Ideally, you want a set of headphones that are:
- comfortable for long audiobook listening
- potentially offer noise cancellation if you are listening in noisy environments
- offer good bass and depth to ensure you feel the maximum effect of the narrator
So, what are the best headphones for audio books? Here are six of my top choices.
I’ve personally curated this list from headphones I own, or headphones I’ve auditioned. I’ve chosen them based on either their sound signature, noise-cancellation features and/or their price.
There will be a set that are perfect for you in this list.
1. Bose QC35 II Headphones
The Bose QC35 II is a pair of wireless Bluetooth headphones. It features a standard over-ear design. The large padded ear pads cover your ears and cancel unwanted noise. However, the headphones also include three levels of active noise cancellation to further isolate your listening experience.
The Bluetooth connection is Alexa-enabled, allowing you to adjust the volume and mute your audiobook using voice commands.
The headphones come with a carrying case, charging cable, and an audio cable.
You should be able to get up to 20 hours of playtime on a single charge. With the provided audio cable, you can also use the QC35 II as a pair of wired headphones, such as when listening to audiobooks at home or when the battery dies.
- Exceptionally clear, natural audio
- Works with Alexa to provide voice commands
- Includes an audio cable for a wired connection
- The Bose Bluetooth app is a little complicated
- You may hear crackling noises occasionally due to connectivity issues
2. Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro Headphones
If you want to listen to audiobooks for hours on end, try the Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro headphones. These wired headphones have soft padded ear pads and a cushioned, adjustable headband. The design is so comfortable and lightweight that you might forget that you are wearing headphones.
The design also includes a single-sided cable, which keeps you from getting your hands tangled in the cable as you do chores. It includes the standard 3.5 mm audio jack and comes with an adapter for 1/4-inch audio connections.
These are professional-grade headphones with an impedance of 250 ohms, which improves audio reproduction. You get a natural sound, but it may be too quiet on some devices. To avoid using the headphones with the volume at the maximum setting, you may need a separate headphone amplifier.
- Superior audio with clear, crisp narration
- Provides good noise cancellation
- The comfortable design allows for hours of use
- May require a headphone amplifier
- Does not offer Bluetooth connectivity
3. Cowon E7 Wireless Bluetooth Headphones
The Cowon E7 headphones are the budget choice for those who want over-ear headphones with Bluetooth connectivity. They are affordable wireless headphones with up to 30 hours of playtime per charge.
The headphones come with a charging cable and an audio cable for using the headphones with a wired connection. They also have active noise-canceling technology and large 45 mm drivers, which provides deeper bass. When listening to your audiobooks, you should not be able to hear anything happening in the same room.
The Cowon E7 has a built-in microphone, which supports NFC technology and Bluetooth connections. Depending on your device, you may be able to use voice commands.
- Affordable pair of Bluetooth headphones
- Active noise canceling blocks outside sounds
- Voice commands may work with compatible devices
- May offer more bass than you want for audiobooks
- The sound is good, but not the same quality as professional-grade headphones
4. Apple AirPods Pro
The Apple AirPods Pro are wireless earbuds, using a Bluetooth connection to connect to your device. This is useful for those with a Kindle or another device without an audio jack.
The earbuds are also designed with active noise cancellation, helping to block more of the outside world for a more immersive listening experience. They offer exceptional clarity, allowing you to hear every detail in the narrator’s voice when listening to an audiobook.
After inserting the earbuds into your ears and syncing them with your Bluetooth-enabled device, the adaptive EQ automatically adjusts the audio to suit the shape of your ear. The controls are provided with voice commands. It even supports Apple’s Siri virtual assistant.
You can also listen for hours without recharging. The battery lasts several hours while the provided charging case offers more than 24 hours of battery life.
The Apple AirPods Pro earbuds stand out as the best wireless headphones for audio books when you need Bluetooth connectivity. However, they are also among the most expensive Bluetooth earbuds.
- Exceptionally clear audio
- Superior noise cancellation
- Easy to pair with Apple devices
- Costs a lot compared to other earbuds
- Non-Apple devices cannot use the Siri feature
5. AUKEY True Wireless Earbuds
If you want an affordable pair of Bluetooth earbuds, the AUKEY True Wireless Earbuds may be the right fit. These in-ear headphones cost a fraction of the price compared to the Apple AirPods and include many of the same features.
The AUKEY True Wireless Earbuds have rechargeable batteries and come with a compact charging case. After syncing the headphones with your device for the first time, you can enjoy one-step reconnection. To repair the headphones, you simply take them out of the charging case.
The sound quality may not quite match the Apple AirPods, but you get more playtime. The batteries provide up to five hours of sound on a single charge. The charging case is also equipped with a rechargeable battery, providing enough power for six charges and a total of 35 hours of playtime.
- Offers more playtime compared to the Apple AirPods
- Affordable price for Bluetooth earbuds
- The in-ear design helps cancel unwanted noise
- The sound quality decreases at high volumes
- The one-touch operation may be confusing for some people
6. AKG Pro Audio K612 PRO Open Back Headphones
The AKG Pro Audio K612 PRO headphones have an over-ear design with an open-back and unique headband.
The headband features a self-adjusting leather strap. After you place the headphones over your head, the band adjusts to accommodate the shape of your cranium. Along with the velour ear pads, the design of the K612 PRO headphones allows you to comfortably listen to audiobooks for hours.
These are premium studio headphones intended for professional audio monitoring. Instead of rumbling bass, you get clear, well-balanced audio, which is perfect for listening to audiobooks.
The clarity of the audio is due to the high impedance of the circuitry. These headphones have an impedance of 120 ohms, which filters out interference that may degrade the quality of the audio signal. However, you are also likely to notice that the volume does not get very loud.
Combining these headphones with an external amp can provide a superior listening experience. The drawback is that using an amplifier is not very convenient for listening on the go.
- High impedance helps deliver clear narration
- Comfortable design with self-adjusting headband
- Includes a three-meter cable with a gold-plated audio jack
- May sound quiet without the use of an amplifier
- Does not provide optimal noise cancellation
Frequently Asked Questions
Before comparing options and finding the right headphones for audio books, you may need answers to a few of the following questions.
How Do You Listen to Audiobooks?
Most iOS and Android smartphones and tablets provide access to e-readers and apps that can play audiobook files. Popular options include Kindle, Google Play Books, Audible, and iBooks.
The Kindle Paperwhite and Kindle Oasis also support audiobooks. However, Kobo eReaders do not currently provide a way to listen to audiobooks. The Kobo devices do not have audio playback capabilities, even with Bluetooth headphones. If you already have a Kobo account and want to buy audiobooks from the Kobo store, you need to use the Kobo Books app for iOS or Android devices.
Do I Need Bluetooth Headphones?
Finding the best headphones for audiobook narration depends on the type of device you plan on using. Some of the latest devices no longer include audio jacks for connecting a standard pair of headphones.
For example, the Kindle Paperwhite and the Kindle Oasis removed the audio jack found in the older Kindle Touch. If you use one of these newer devices, you need Bluetooth headphones or a special adapter that plugs into the charging port.
For those listening to audiobooks on laptops, tablets, or smartphones, you can choose almost any type of headphones.
Are Earbuds or Over-Ear Headphones Better for Audio Books?
Earbuds and over-ear headphones provide separate advantages and disadvantages. Earbuds are called a variety of names, including in-ear headphones and in-ear monitors (IEMs). They are designed to fit in the opening of the ear canal, allowing them to deliver more sound with smaller drivers.
Due to the design of the earbuds, they also provide superior noise cancellation compared to most over-ear headphones. The in-ear headphones act as plugs, blocking exterior noise, and filling your ears with the sound from your device.
Noise cancellation is useful when listening to audiobooks. It helps drown out distractions so you can focus on the story.
Bluetooth earbuds and rechargeable earbuds are also portable. They typically come with a small case that you can easily store in your pocket. However, some people may find the in-ear design slightly uncomfortable.
If you prefer comfort over noise cancellation, you may want a pair of over-ear headphones. These are the standard headphones with large padded ear pads that fit over your ears. The padding and adjustable headband offer increased comfort and a fuller sound due to the larger diaphragms. Some high-end over-ear headphones also offer adequate noise cancellation.
If you’ve got any question please drop them in the comments below and I will do my best to answer them!
Endless hours of experimentation, professional work, and personal investment in Home Theatre, Hi-Fi, Smart Home Automation and Headphones have come to this.
Former owner of Headphones Canada, a high-end headphone specialty retailer.
This post was last updated on 2023-03-21 / Some images from Amazon Product API & some links may be affiliate links which may earn us a commission from purchases.