JBL is arguably best-known for its cheap and cheerful Bluetooth speakers, but the US brand also makes some pretty great headphones. They’re typically characterised by lively, entertaining sounds with plenty of bass and colourful designs – just like its speakers. What’s not to like?
Haven’t heard of JBL? The firm is part of Harman, whose other audio brands include AKG, Harman Kardon and Mark Levinson. Harman is responsible for providing audio for consumers, companies and connected cars all over the world. So you could say it knows a thing or two about sound quality.
We’ve rounded up the best JBL headphones on the market, from its five-star true wireless earbuds, the sporty Reflect Flows, to its many pairs of bass-laden over-ears inspired by DJs. So, whatever your style or listening need, you’ll find something to suit you. And chances are they won’t break the bank either.
With no shortage of true wireless sports headphones around, JBL had its work cut out in this popular market. The highly anticipated Reflect Flows don’t disappoint. They deliver a bass-heavy sound that’s ideal for the gym, especially if you don’t want to resort to massive cans (which, if you’re moving a lot, many people won’t).
Battery life is impressive too, standing at 10 hours, or 30 hours with the case. The finish started to rub off after only a few days of testing – which isn’t ideal – but otherwise, they impress us. Sound-wise, they’re crisp with plenty of detail, and they time very well indeed. Bass is suitably cavernous, while the instruments sound distinct no matter how complex tracks become. That makes them one of the best cheap true wireless earbuds out there.
Read the full review: JBL Reflect Flow
These on-ears offer wireless Bluetooth connectivity, noise-cancelling and a double-figure battery life. Par for the course for premium on-ears, you might think, but one glance at the price and you’ll do a double take.
They certainly look very appealing, although, again, the finish is not quite as hardwearing as we would like, Still, as compromises go, it’s preferable to sacrificing sound quality. And it seems JBL agrees. Bass is punchy and tight, with plenty of weight and power. It lends low frequencies a depth and heft that’s not matched by many headphones in this price bracket.
Dynamic shifts are handled with aplomb, while they sound expressive and confident through the whole frequency range. The one snag is that the bass can at times be a little overbearing.
The noise-cancelling is impressive as is the battery life (12 hours with wireless and noise-cancelling, 22 with noise-cancelling turned off, or 30 when plugged in with noise-cancelling on). For the money, these are truly stellar wireless on-ears.
Read the full review: JBL Tune 600BTNC
The wireless Club 700BTs are aimed at DJs on the move – they offer a bulky on-ear design that goes heavy on the bass.
They also boast a marathon battery life (50 hours!), and support for Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant voice assistants. Yet despite these feature offerings, they manage to remain pretty affordable.
How? There’s no noise-cancelling, which helps keep the price down and the battery life up. There’s also no aptX support.
Still, there’s plenty to like. They’re built to withstand life on the road, and charging is very quick at under two hours. The controls are intuitive – much more so than many rivals – and the TalkThru mode lowers the music volume so you can chat with someone without taking the headphones off.
Performance-wise, they pick out a decent amount of detail and provide a real sense of space. As you would imagine for a pair of club headphones, there is plenty of bass to enjoy – at times, in fact, a little too much. But if you like your tunes with plenty of low-end, these are the cans for you.
Read the full review: JBL Club 700BT
These wireless, noise-cancelling over-ears are cheaper than the Club models above – and more compact too, able to fold down to be stashed easily in a coat pocket or bag.
Battery life is impressive, standing at 15 hours with Bluetooth and noise-cancelling activated, 22 hours with Bluetooth alone, or 30 when wired with noise-cancelling switched on. They juice up in just two hours, too.
If you want to save some battery by deactivating noise-cancellation, you’ll be pleased to know the over-ear design cuts out plenty of noise on its own.
The audio is towards the low-end, which sacrifices some tonal balance throughout the frequency range. But for the price, this is a trade-off many will be happy to make.
The bass gives tracks plenty of energy, making for an undemanding listening experience. It doesn’t work as well for all genres of music, but if dance, hip-hop or rock is your particular cup of tea, it certainly gives an engaging listen.
Read the full review: JBL Tune 750BTNC
These are positioned as higher-end than the JBL Club 700BT headphones in this list. That said, like their stablemates, they offer a beefy, bass-heavy sound inspired by some superstar DJs on JBL’s books, like Armin Van Buuren and Nicky Romero.
As such, bass is very much the order of the day, not only in the form of a dedicated Bass Boost button but also in the tonal balance, which is skewed towards the low-end. Fans of head-nodding music will love it, but if you’re looking for something a bit more refined, you may be better served elsewhere.
There are also different EQ presets to try out, some related to JBL’s vinyl-spinning ambassadors. Fun, sure, but we favour the standard audio, which is very good indeed – it provides a lively, fun listen that’ll have you thinking of your favourite club nights.
There’s ample battery life to get you through most outings, too: 22 hours with Bluetooth and noise-cancelling activated, a mammoth 55 hours with noise-cancelling switched off, or 30 hours when plugged in using the supplied cable with noise-cancelling turned on.
Fun and exciting with lashings of bass, these are very decent headphones for mobile DJs on a budget.
Read the full review: JBL Club 950NC