The Best Lightweight Headphones on the Market in 2018
One of the most important factors that determines the comfort of headphones is how lightweight they are. A heavy, bulky pair of cans can leave your ears feeling sore and painful, even causing neck and shoulder problems in the long run. Those wearing headphones with large and thick pads might find heat building up in them after some time. The pads might also slide out of position because of the sweat, forcing its wearers to constantly re-adjust them back into place. Having a pair of lightweight headphones can mitigate these problems.
Key Advantages of lightweight headphones
Thanks to advancements in technology, headphones are becoming lighter than ever. Some weigh no more than a few ounces, or around the same weight as a pair of sunglasses. Plastic and rubber are common materials used to make the casing and headband. Ear pads, on the other hand, feature soft and plush memory foam or pleather, which do not add much to the scales. This means that you’ll barely feel them on or around your ears. Lightweight headphones are not only comfy, most also have a sturdy build and will not break easily.
Comfort aside, there are many perks to lightweight headphones. They are portable and easy to carry around without adding extra weight to your baggage – making them ideal to bring on the commute or on your travels. They are also convenient when you’re listening to music at the gym, working out or wearing your best lightweight headphones while running outdoors. They usually feature a thin and compact design, which fits conveniently into storage spaces and can be tucked away neatly when not in use.
Weight is not the only factor to consider when buying headphones. Other features like performance and sound quality should not be compromised. Depending on what you’re using them for, there are different types of lightweight headphones to choose from, such as wireless and non-wireless options. If you’re planning to use them outdoors, you might want to go for a wired pair to connect to your MP3. On the other hand, if you’re using them mainly for gaming or watching TV at home, you might consider a wireless pair that works with a Bluetooth dongle, allowing you more flexibility to move around a room.
A headphone’s ‘style’ affects their weight. Earbud-type headphones tend to be the lightest as they are small and discreet, but there are also on-ear (supra aural) and over-ear designs that feel airy on the ears. We will be looking at the latter two types on this list.
TOP 10 BEST LIGHTWEIGHT HEADPHONES IN 2018 – COMPLETE CHART
|1. Bose SoundTrue Around-Ear Headphones||1.2 pounds||$$$||4.3|
|2. Panasonic RP-HT21 On-Ear Stereo Headphones||1 pound||$||4.3|
|3. Photive HF1 Lightweight Bluetooth Headphones||0.31 pound||$$||4.3|
|4. Sennheiser PX 100-IIi Supra-Aural Headset||0.5 pound||$$||4.3|
|5. Philips SHL1602 Ultra Lightweight Headphones||0.13 pound||$$||4.3|
|6. JVC HAS160B Flats Headphones||0.31 pound||$||4.3|
|7. AmazonBasics Lightweight On-Ear Headphones||0.23 pound||$$||4.3|
|8. Cyber Acoustics ACM-70B Headphones||0.1 pound||$||4.1|
|9. Koss KPH7 Lightweight Portable Headphone||0.18 pound||$||3.8|
|10. Maxell 190319 HP-100 Lightweight Stereo Headphones||0.15 pound||$||3.6|
While most around-ear headphones tend to be heavy and bulky, Bose’s SoundTrue breaks away from tradition, weighing in at only 4.9 ounces with the cable.
Featuring excellent sound quality, users can expect deep and clear lows, as well as detailed mids and sparkling highs. Designed with accuracy in mind, they aim to reproduce quality stereo sound that is as close as possible to the original audio. The acoustic design presents a wide soundstage that is natural and dynamic.
Although not noise-cancelling, the SoundTrue performs well in terms of noise isolation. Listen to music in peace without having to worry about bothering your neighbour on the commute. They also filter out external noises fairly well.
The headphones have a soft, padded headband and memory foam ear cushions for added comfort. The breathable material minimizes heat that might build up from your body or the environment, making them suitable for long hours of wear. An adjustable headband provides a customized fit, and the cups are also able to rotate to different positions.
The Bose SoundTrue best lightweight headphones come with a microphone and remote, with in-line controls such as volume dial, play and pause as well as fast forward and rewind buttons, allowing users to switch easily between calls and music. They are compatible with both iOS and Android systems.
The headphones have an equally nice design to go along with their superb performance and light, sturdy build. They are available in a variety of colors such as black, mint, white and a black and mint combo. Also included is a detachable 1.7m cable. The earcups fold flat and the headband is collapsible for easy storage.
Although they are priced at the higher-end of the scale, these headphones are a worthy investment for true audiophiles looking for a seamless (and comfy!) listening experience. They are also available in an on-ear style.
The Panasonic RP-HT21 headphones might look a little jaded, with their black and silver color scheme and simple, no-frills headband – but you’ll be hard-pressed to find a lighter pair of headphones on the market. Clocking in at a feather-light 1.2ounces, you’ll barely feel them on your ears.
Despite their thin frame and flat earpads, the RP-HT21 carries large 30mm drivers with neodymium magnets on each side, which helps to produce high quality, distortion-free audio, with a stereo-sound that is rich and full-bodied. The headphones have a frequency response between 16 Hz to 20,000 Hz, and are able to play both low notes and high trebles with crystal-clear clarity.
If you love bass, then you’ll love the RP-HT21. The in-built XBS (Extra Bass System) port amplifies low frequencies to deliver a full, robust-sounding bass that is comparable to higher end headphones – making them perfect for listening to music with heavy beats such as techno, electronic dance, or even while watching action movies on your PC.
The RP-HT21 features an open-air, on-ear (supra aural) design, which sits snugly on the ears instead of cupping them completely. Although their noise isolation is not as good as over-the-ear designs, these headphones make up for that with comfort. The pads are covered with a soft, foam cushion , and the headband can be adjusted to fit different head sizes. They are even small enough for children and are easy to use.
Users can plug and play them with smartphones, since they are compatible with both Android and Apple systems. Each set comes with a 4.5ft cable that threads comfortably through bags and clothes. Best of all – the headphones are very affordable and truly embody the term ‘best bang for your buck’. For their price, they are surprisingly sturdy, although parts like the foam pads might need to be replaced after some time.
We’ve checked out two wired options on this list – time to do away with the cables! Sporting a sleek and elegant design, the Photive HF1 Bluetooth headphones are very lightweight at just five ounces and are a solid choice for those who dislike dealing with tangled cables.
Using advanced Bluetooth 4.0 technology with HD APTX codec, the HF1 delivers a rich and immersive sound profile that accurately reproduces audio content to what its maker intended. Sounds are clear and well balanced, with a rich warm bass, detailed mids and crisp trebles. The Bluetooth is compatible with virtually all smartphones, computers or tablets, and has a wide operational range of up to 33ft.
Featuring an ergonomic design, the headphones offer passive noise isolation and are good at blocking out external noise – great for listening to music on the train.
Instead of plastic, the HF1 is made from a light but sturdy aluminium material. They are tough, made to last and can withstand rough handling – so you can toss them into a bag while on-the-go. The pads swivel around for a customized fit over the ears, and are covered with plush leather that feels soft and luxurious on the skin. The headband is also padded for extra comfort.
With up to 12 hours of battery life, these headphones are perfect as a travel accessory, as you can listen to them on a long flight without having to recharge. Built into the headphones is a mic for making and answering calls, as well as inline controls for adjusting volume, skipping tracks and fast forward or rewind.
Choose between a smooth and sophisticated black color, or go for the metallic aluminum finish.
The Sennheiser brand is known for their quality headphones, and the PX100-IIi does not disappoint. Weighing just 3 ounces, they are extremely lightweight and have an open back design for accurate and detailed sound reproduction. Although not as good with noise isolation as closed-back designs, these headphones make for a more natural listening experience.
Large drivers equipped with neodymium magnets ensure minimal distortion, whilst also producing high quality stereo sound. For a pair of mid-range, portable headphones, the PX100-IIi delivers a remarkably well-balanced sound with solid bass, clear mid-ranges and crisp trebles – perfect for playing music across all genres.
The robust but flexible headband is made from steel with metal joints, and is adjustable for a customized fit. Meanwhile, soft ear cushions are padded for long hours of wear.
While virtually identical to the older PX100-II, the IIi has an ‘upgrade’ as it features an in-built mic, allowing users to make and answer phone calls. They will also come in handy when communicating with teammates in a game. Controls are conveniently located about six inches down the cord, so users can adjust the volume, play, fast forward, pause and rewind at the push of a button.
Made for travel, they are portable and fold down for easy storage. The headphones snap into place, thanks to an interlocking groove design, so they won’t fall open accidentally even when tossed around. A single cable measuring about 4 ft trails out from the left channel.
Although compatible with most systems, including Android and Windows, they work best with later generation
Apple devices. Each set comes with a storage pouch and instruction manual.
The SHL1602 probably has one of the slimmest designs on this list. Weighing a little over 4 ounces, the headband consists of a single, thin strip ending in two flat pads that go on the ears. Despite its compact design, the headphones house two 30mm drivers that deliver decent stereo sound quality just like the other Philips headphones.
While they probably won’t be making it into the studio anytime soon, users can expect a reasonable audio performance. They are great for general use or as a cheap and handy pair of headphones for travelling. Sounds lack depth, but are generally clear with minimal distortion. However, as the headphones have a frequency response between 40Hz to 20,000Hz, they do not play bass very well and low frequencies might be lost. On the other hand, mids and highs are crisp and detailed.
The SHL1602 is fairly sensitive at102dB, with a low impedance of 32Ohms, which means that they work well with most portable music devices such as MP3s, MP4s, CD players and iPods.
Don’t be fooled by how thin and light the headband looks – it is actually quite flexible and able to hold its basic shape, even after being stuffed roughly into a bag. The headband is adjustable to fit different head shapes and sizes, while the earpads are cushioned for extra comfort. The headphones collapse down flat and can be folded for easy storage and portability.
The cord is of standard length, but since they are Y-shaped, users need to take care not to get them tangled. Match your personal style with a variety of colors, such as black, grey and pink. Considering the inexpensive price, the SHL1602 is a great value for money.
For their affordable price, the JVC HAS160B Flats delivers impressive quality, both in terms of build and performance.Clocking in at less than five ounces on the scale, they sport a lightweight and compact design suitable for long hours of wear. Their closed back, supra aural ear cups are designed to sit comfortably on the ears and isolate noises effectively, so users can enjoy privacy while listening to their favourite tunes, even in public. They also have passive noise reduction.
The stereo sound has a flat and neutral-sounding response, with natural bass, thanks to a large 30mm neodymium driver in each ear piece. Audio is well-balanced throughout and everything sounds clear, from lows to mids and highs. Although not studio quality, the sound is decent for their price and will do the job for most general applications. The headphones are fairly sensitive at 105dB and have a low impedance rating, making them most suitable for portable audio devices such as MP3s and CD players.
The HAS160Bs are big on comfort, with a slim headband and soft ear pads covered in a plush, pleather material. The pads swivel around so users can adjust them to the best fit, and fold down flat when not in use. This makes them easy to store or pack on trips.
The headphones come in six different colors to match with your personal style, including black, silver, red, purple, blue and pink. Each set comes with an iPhone compatible plug and a 4ft cord, although the latter is thin and feels rather flimsy.
Despite the label, these on-ear headphones are far from basic, with sound quality and performance that is on par with mid-range headphones. Comfortable and lightweight at 3.58 ounces (without the cable),they are suitable to be worn for long hours, since you’ll barely feel them on your ears. The supra aural design minimizes ambient noises so users can enjoy their beats better.
For its size, the AmazonBasics has impressive 36mm dome-type drivers to reproduce clear, high-quality stereo sound that captures subtle nuances in your soundtracks. The headphones have a sensitivity rating of 101dB and a maximum input level of 1000mW. They carry a frequency range between 12Hz and 22,000Hz, which means that they’ll be able to play both low and high frequencies well.
What we noticed is that the bass hits hard, the mids sound good, and the trebles are crisp and clear. For casual listening, they perform well, but don’t expect studio quality. The notes lack depth and space, falling short of a ‘live’ quality due to the limited equalizer range.
Design wise, the AmazonBasics is a stylish, savvy-looking pair of headphones. Available in three colors – black, blue and white – they feature a plastic body with a padded headband, as well as large circular ear pads. The pads are covered in a pleather material for softness and comfort. They swivel around for a customized fit, and can be folded down flat for compact storage.
Instead of a Y-shape, the 1.2m cord trails down from one side of the ear cup to minimize tangling and ends in a standard 3.5mm jack. Overall, these are a solid choice for casual listeners, although the plastic body does seem a little flimsy.
If you’re looking for something cheap and lightweight, then the Cyber Acoustics ACM-70B fulfills both criteria. At only 1.6 ounces, these headphones rank among the lightest on this list.
Their design is no-frills and very basic, with a thin black head band and two oval-shaped ear pads that go on the ears.The small and flat-looking ear pieces house two 27mm drivers for a dynamic sound range and reasonable audio performance.
The headphones have a standard frequency range of 20Hz to 20,000Hz. They are able to play music and audio while plugged into low impedance devices, such as laptops, computers and portable music players.
While compact and lightweight, we do not recommend bringing these headphones outside of an office or home. This is because they come with a long, 8ft cord that might be a hassle to carry around. They work best as a basic pair of headphones to keep in the office, or as an extra set at home. In this case, the lengthy cable is a blessing since it allows users to sit at a comfortable distance from the computer, with more flexibility to move around. The cord only attaches to one side so there is less chance of tangling.
The on-ear design sits lightly on the ears. They do not isolate noises well, but depending on the environment you’re working in, this can be a plus point – such as in an office where you need to be able to hear your co-workers.
The KPH7 is a basic pair of headphones that come at a very affordable price. Weighing just 2.88 ounces, they are extremely lightweight and sport a no-frills, functional design with two flat ear pads connected by a thin, plastic headband. Although their specs are not as good as some of the other cheap headphones on this list, they do their job adequately, and are suitable for general use.
The headphones have a sensitivity rating of 91dB and low impedance, so you probably don’t want to plug them into home stereo systems as these will blow the headphones out. They are better suited to smaller, portable devices such as laptops or MP3s. They have a rather weak frequency response, ranging from 80 to 18,000 Hz, so don’t expect heavy bass or crisp trebles. While audio sounds relatively clear with minimal distortion, users might find that the notes lack depth and sound flat.
They do come with an adjustable headband for a more secure fit, and the small size means that they can even fit children’s’ heads. The large but flat circular pads cover the ears instead of enveloping them, and come with soft memory foam pads. These might need to be replaced over time as they wear out quickly.
The set is made from plastic and comes with a choice of different colors, such as blue, green, red, violet, black and white. Also included is a standard 3.5mm audio jack and 4ft cord for more flexibility. What we did like is that the cord trails from one side of the ear cup to minimize tangles.
In conclusion, if you’re the type that is constantly losing your headphones, the KPH7 is a solid, functional choice and won’t have you crying out of a bleeding wallet if you ever misplace them.
Last but not least, we have the Maxell HP-100 stereo headphones. They look like your typical old-school headphones from the 90s, with minimal accents and basic functionality. Weighing in at just 2.4 ounces, they are very lightweight and sport an open-air design.
The HP100 plays stereo sound well, although the tones are flat and lack depth. They have a standard frequency range between 20Hz to 20,000 Hz – nothing too low or high. A low impedance rating makes them ideal for plugging in to portable devices, such as CD and MP3 players. No complex setup is required – users simply plug them in to their desired device, and start using them to play music or audio.
While they obviously won’t live up to studio grade, the HP100 has a few tricks up its sleeve. One of their best features is the small size, so even young children can wear them. Teachers will find them useful in the classroom as teaching aids, for the students to watch multimedia or learning materials on the school computer. The sliding headband can be adjusted to a customized fit. However, this does mean that it might not fit large heads. The foam on the ear pads wears out quickly, so you might want to have a few extra pairs on standby. .
Overall, these headphones are good for general use, and cheap enough for you to easily replace if lost or broken.