The Best Battery Chargers Of 2012

The chargers featured below are some of the “smartest” out there — they have built-in protection to prevent overcharging or undercharging, and they also perform battery testing and recovery. You can also check out our review of the best AA Rechargeable batteries.


LaCrosse Technology BC-1000 Alpha Battery Charger

The LaCrosse Alpha BC-1000 Charger has sophisticated monitoring circuitry that controls the charging process, and it is also capable of “reconditioning” batteries by running a series of discharge-recharge cycles.

The charger shows battery voltage and charge status on its digital display. It has four separate charge channels so you can charge one, two three or four batteries at a time – even on individual charge programs. This allows you to test one battery while charging the others. It comes with four AA and four AAA batteries, four battery adapters (which convert AA sized battery to C and D sizes) and a carry case. Note, however, if you want to charge C or D size batteries, you’ll want to get the Ansmann chargers below.

Available from Amazon:


PowerEx MH-C9000 WizardOne Charger-Analyzer

This newly released charger could be a serious rival to the LaCrosse charger — we will post a full review soon.

The PowerEx MH-C9000 is available at Amazon for about $50


Ansmann Deluxe “Energy 8″ Charger

Ansmann Energy 8 Battery Charger For AAA, AA, D, C Size Batteries

Ansmann is a German company known for their range of high-end, intelligent battery chargers. Ansmann’s “Energy 8″ charger can handle both NiCad and NiMH (Nickel Metal Hydride) rechargeable batteries. When the batteries are inserted into the charger, they are analysed, and batteries needing reconditioning are automatically restored by several cycles of charging and discharging. The charger will also indicate if a battery has been damaged and cannot be charged.

This charger has six charging positions: four for AAA, AA, C or D sized cells, and two for 9V cells. A LED display shows the state of charging for each cell. This charger can be used worldwide — it accepts 100-240V and 50-60Hz AC.

It’s available from Amazon for around $56.


Ansmann Deluxe “Energy 16″ Charger

.Ansmann Energy 16 Battery Charger

This Ansmann “Energy 16″ is similar to the “Energy 8″ but it has ten charging positions: six for AAA, AA, C or D sized cells, and four for 9V cells. The six top positions can handle two AAA or two AA cells or one each of the larger C or D cells.  A LED display shows the state of charging for each cell. This charger can be used worldwide — it accepts 100-240V 50-60Hz AC.

It’s available from Amazon for around $87.


Maha PowerEx “Ultimate Professional” Charger

Maha PowerEx Battery Charger

The Maha’s Ultimate Professional Charger almost lives up to its hyperbolic name. This compact charger can charge any combination of 1 to 8 batteries. You can mix and charge AA, AAA, C and D sized cells at the same time on individual charging circuits. Each battery size also has its own fixed contact charging points (i.e. not a spring). An LCD display shows charging and conditioning status of each rechargeable battery.

Like the Ansmann chargers, Maha’s chargers can restore batteries to their optimal performance level by repeatedly charging and discharging them. It also has intelligent charging technology and overcharge protection. It also comes with an international AC adapter, and short-circuit protection.

It is available from Amazon for around $83. You can get a similar Maha charger for $64, but it doesn’t charge C or D size batteries.

You can also check out our review of the best AA Rechargeable batteries.


10 Titanium Pocket Tools

Titanium Spork

Ah titanium! It has the highest strength-to-weight ratio of any metal — approximately 40% stronger and 40% lighter than stainless steel. It’s also highly corrosion-resistant — even when exposed to sea water and chlorine. Oceanographers report that titanium immersed for 30 years in saltwater produces no measurable corrosion. This is because titanium forms a protective oxide film instantly, when it’s exposed to a trace of air or water.

All of these attributes make titanium an ideal metal for constructing durable pocket tools. However, note that many products labeled “titanium” are just titanium colored, or they only contain a thin coating of titanium. The tools listed here are made with solid titanium or an alloy containing more than 90% titanium.


Leatherman Charge TTi Titanium Multi-Tool

Weight: 8.2 ounces (232 grams)
Titanium Type: Alloyed Titanium Handles, S30V Stainless Steel Blades

The Charge TTi Titanium Multi-Tool by Leatherman is one of the few multi-tools that incorporates titanium into its construction. This tool has titanium handles and a titanium outer coating for extra strength, and a little bit less weight.

You can get the Charge TTi Titanium Multi-Tool on Amazon for about $150.


Schrade Titanium Keychain Pry Tool

Weight: 0.5 ounces (14 grams)
Titanium Type: 6AL-4V Titanium Alloy

This Titanium Key Chain Pry Tool by Schrade is made with solid 6AL-4V titanium — an alloy that is stronger than pure titanium (the exact chemical composition is: 6% aluminium, 4% vanadium, 0.25% iron, 0.2% oxygen, and the remainder titanium).

This is 6-in-One tool, it’s: a seal belt cutter, a bottle opener, a flat head screw driver, a wrench driver, a scraper, and a pry tool. It weighs just 0.5 ounces, and it’s 3.25″ long (8.2 cm).

 The Titanium Key Chain Pry Tool is available on Amazon for about $20.


Titanium Inka Pen

Weight: 0.45 ounces (12.7 grams)
Titanium Type: Solid Titanium

The Titanium Inka Pen is designed to be attached to a keychain. Weighing just 0.45 ounces, the pen’s case is constructed with titanium, the and pen components are built from carbon fiber composite. It has a pressurized ink cartridge, which means the pen will write wet or dry at any angle, any temperature, and any altitude. If you’re going to be writing for some time, you can unscrew the stainless steel fob and reconfigure your pen into Full-Size mode.

The pen is made by Inka, a company based in Colorado, and created by Greg Adelman, a former marine engineer who worked for the Scripps Institute of Oceanography.

Refills for this pen are available for about $4.

The Titanium Inka Pen is available from Amazon for about $32. You can get a stainless steel version for about $20.


Titanium Split Pea Lighter

Weight: 0.5 ounces (14.3 Grams)
Titanium Type: 6AL4V Series Titanium Grade 5 Alloy

The Titanium Split Pea Lighter can be used as an candle in an emergency and carried on your keychain. A removable lighter insert allows it to be used as a waterproof titanium pill vial. It sells for $30 from County Comm.


Titanium Split Ring

Titanium split ring can be used as the ultralight base of a keychain. You can find titanium split rings at the County Comm Store (3 for $6) or Berkeley Point ($5 – $6 each).

Titanium Money Clip

Weight: 1 ounce (28 grams)
Titanium Type: Pure Titanium

Weighing one ounce, this Titanium Money Clip is a lightweight version of the usual stainless steel money clip. It’s available on Amazon for about $50.

Arc AAA Titanium Keychain Flashlight

Weight: 0.95 ounces (including battery)
Titanium Type: 6Al-4V (Ti-64) Titanium Alloy

Designed for keychains, Arc-AAA flashlights are barely larger than the AAA batteries they contain. The exact dimension are: 2.5 inches in length, 0.5 inches in diameter, and 0.95 ounces in weight (including battery). The Arc-AAA is made in Phoenix, Arizona by Arc Flashlights. The company only makes keychain-sized flashlights, and put a lot of attention into the design of their lights (see the FAQ page for all the technical details).

The three titanium models range in price from $125 to $140.

20 Highly Rated Home Goods Made In The U.S.A.

Very few products are still made in the U.S., but we managed to track down some American-made products that get high ratings from buyers.


KitchenAid Artisan Mixers

Average Rating: 4.7 out of 5 (from 2037+ reviewers)

Since 1919, KitchenAid classic mixer have been assembled by hand in Greenville, Ohio. The KitchenAid mixer is one of a few consumer appliances trademarked specifically for its unique shape!

Buy on Amazon for about $267.


Lodge Logic Skillet

Average Rating: 4.5 out of 5 (from 901+ reviewers)

Lodge Cast Iron remains a family owned, family operated business in Tennessee. Lodge’s cast iron pans are known for their extreme durability. There are 100-year-old Lodge pans still in use in kitchens today!

Buy on Amazon for about $21.


Groom Mate Noise Hair Trimmer

Groom mate platinum xl nose hair trimmer 2

Average Rating: 3.9 out of 5 (from 578+ reviewers)

The Groom Mate Nose Hair Trimmer is made with brushed stainless steel. The trimmer doesn’t require any batteries — instead you twist the bottom with a gentle motion, and the rotary blades cut ear or nose hair without the risk of injury. It comes with a lifetime “no questioned asked” guarantee.

Priced at $18.88 from Amazon.


Wahl Clipper

Average Rating: 4.1 out of 5 (from 335+ reviewers)

Wahl has been making hair clippers since 1919, and they are still making their clippers in Sterling, Illinois.

Buy on Amazon for about $30.


Weber Kettle Grill

Average Rating: 4.6 out of 5 (from 178+ reviewers)

Weber, founded in 1893, still manufactures their classic grills in Palatine, Illinois.

Buy on Amazon for about $100.


Kahtoola Microspike Ice Cleats


Average Rating: 4.8 out of 5 (from 126+ reviewers)

Made by Kahtoola, a small company in Arizona, these Microspikes are ice cleats that attach firmly to your shoes, and require no special buckles or straps. The spikes constructed of hardened stainless steel. The Kahtoola company founders say:

Nearly every one of our products is designed and developed in-house, but we take it one step further – a large portion of our production is also kept in-house as well.

The Kahtoola MICROspikes are available from Amazon for $55.


1888 Mills 100% Organic Cotton Towel Set

Average Rating: 4.4 out of 5 (from 80+ reviewers)

Made by the last operating terry producing mill in the United States, these bath towels are made with 100% organic cotton.

Buy on Amazon for about $60.


Correlle Dinnerware

Average Rating: 4.4 out of 5 (from 75+ reviewers)

dinnerware is made with Vitrelle, a laminated tempered glass product, which is very durable and stain-resistant. A Corelle plate is created like a sandwich — a glass core is thermally bonded to two layers of glass glaze. The bonded layers give Corelle its strength, allowing it to be much thinner than other dinnerware. Introduced by Corning Glass Works in 1970, it is now manufactured and sold by World Kitchen.

Correlle Dinnerware is available from Amazon for about $46 per set.


Fischer Space Pen

fisher space pen Master List Of Well Designed, American Made Products

Average Rating: 4.3 out of 5 (from 77+ reviewers)

A classic American product, the Space Pen can write at any angle, in outer space, and in temperatures ranging from -30F to 250F.  Each Fisher Space Pen is precision assembled, hand tested, and carries an lifetime guarantee.

Buy on Amazon for about $16.


Pyrex Bowls

Pyrex bowl

Average Rating: 4.7 out of 5 (from 50+ reviewers)

Pyrex is another brand of tempered glass products that are renowned for their durability. Their glass bakeware products are to be found in an estimated 80% of American homes. The Pyrex brand was introduced by Corning Incorporated in 1915. Today, Pyrex is owned by World Kitchen, and Pyrex glass products are manufactured in Charleroi, Pennsylvania. Recently, there has been lot of rumors circulating about Pyrex products. The rumors suggest the following: Pyrex products made with inferior materials and are prone to breakage, and the Pyrex products now manufactured in China. However, this long article on the myth-busting website Snopes.Com, concludes that the rumors are false.

Pyrex Bowls are available from Amazon. $15 for a set of 3.


Granite Ware Oven Roaster

Average Rating: 4.2 out of 5 (from 44+ reviewers)

Granite Ware roasters are rated a “Best Buy” by Cooks Illustrated. Granite Ware has been made in Illinois since the 1870s. The company was created by Frederick G. and William Niedringhaus — they discovered an enamelware process whereby metal utensils could be coated with enamel to make them lighter and more resistant to oxidation.

Buy on Amazon for about $18.


Microplane Professional Grater

Average Rating: 4.5 out of 5 (from 36+ reviewers)

The Microplane rasp was invented in 1990 by brothers Richard and Jeff Grace in Russellville, Arkansas. They originally produced the rasp as a woodworking tool, and it took four years before people started using it in the kitchen as a grater (you can read the whole story in this New York Times article).

The Microplane Grate is made with surgical grade stainless steel. The microplane teeth are particularly sharp because the edges are created with ferric chloride instead of stamping.

The Microplane Professional Grater is available at Amazon for about $14.


American Kitchen Stainless Steel Cookware Set

Average Rating: 4.7 out of 5 (from 35+ reviewers)

This cookware set from American Kitchen is made in Regal Ware’s West Bend, Wisconsin facility. The dinnerware features a biodegradable “eco-satin” nonstick surface (PFOA-free). The dinnerware is guarantee for life.

Buy on Amazon for about $170.


Zeroll Ice Cream Scoop

Average Rating: 4.9 out of 5 (from 29+ reviewers)

The Zeroll Ice Cream Scoop was invented by Sherman Kelly in Florida in 1935, and the design has remained virtually unchanged since then. Kelly’s innovation was simple but effective — the scoop contains liquid freon inside, which is warmed by the user’s hand, allowing the scoop to slice through ice cream like butter. The one-piece, die-cast aluminum scoop is still made in Fort Pierce, Florida, and it is known for lasting decades. Just don’t wash it in a dishwasher — the high heat causes the freon to leak out.

The Zeroll Ice Cream Dipper is available from Amazon for about $17.


The Complete First Aid Kit

Average Rating: 4.9 out of 5 (from 29+ reviewers)

It’s a complete first aid kit made in the U.S. in a FDA approved facility.

Buy on Amazon for about $25.


Rada Cutlery Set

Average Rating: 4.8 out of 5 (from 25+ reviewers)

Rada Cutlery is a small company in Iowa that has been making knives since 1948. Their knives are constructed with a high carbon surgical stainless steel, and they feature dual serrations and hollow-ground blades. This construction is aimed to ensure a sharp cutting edge for years. Rada offers a lifetime warranty on all their cutlery.

Buy on Amazon for about $37.


Le Creuset Spatula Set

Average Rating: 4.6 out of 5 (from 22+ reviewers)

Despite the French name, these spatulas are made in the U.S. They are made with silicone, and are pthalate-free.

Buy on Amazon for about $25.


Estwing Hammer

Average Rating: 4.8 out of 5 (from 16+ reviewers)

Estwing is a company in Rockford, Illinois that has been forging tools since 1923. It was the first company to make an all-steel hammer that is forged in one piece, according to the manufacturing manager Dan Eisman. Before this time, hammer heads were forged separately, and attached to a handle. The hammer’s leather grip was added in 1930, and has remain popular due to its classical good looks and durability.

The Estwing Hammer is available from Amazon for around $28.


New Balance Classic Heritage Running Shoes

Average Rating: 4.8 out of 5 (from 25+ reviewers)

New Balance is one of the few companies still manufacturing running shoes in the U.S.

The company says:

One out of every four pair of shoes sold in the U.S. is made or assembled in the U.S. by our U.S. workforce using U.S. and imported materials. When possible, we obtain materials from domestic suppliers. At times, due to availability, economic or quality reasons, there is a need to import components from foreign sources.

Where the domestic value is at least 70%, we have labeled the shoe “Made in the USA.” Where it falls below 70%, we have qualified the label referencing domestic and imported materials

You can see their full “American-Made” line here.

Buy the New Balance Classic Heritage Running Shoes on Amazon for $25 – $84.


Other good sources of American-Made products: Need Supply, REI (Made In USA products), Filson, Carhartt, Orvis.

Buy It For Life: Classic Backpacks By Duluth Pack

In our “Buy It For Life” posts we feature products that are built to last a lifetime. We also give preference to products that are very durable, are warrantied for life, and are made in the U.S.

Based in Minnesota, Duluth Pack makes high durable work clothes (for both men and women), and classic bags.

This is their Paul Bunyan Canoe Pack, made with 18 oz canvas in the U.S. It sells for $230.

This is their classic Child’s Backpack, constructed with 15-ounce canvas. It sells for $75.

This is their Wildland Firefighter Backpack which is constructed with 18-ounce canvas, and reinforced at critical stress points with thick leather and hand hammered copper rivets. It sells for $450.

Duluth guarantees their products for life.

For some reason, Duluth Pack’s website only has illustrations of their products — somewhat obscuring them from public view! However, you can see their full range of U.S.-Made products on Amazon.


The 20 Highest Rated Earbuds & Headphones For 2012

In this post, I’ve compiled an updated list of the best rated earphones and headphones for 2012. This list has evolved over a couple of years — I’ve tried to include the most vetted headphones and earphones available, as well as a couple of new headphones that are getting great reviews.

I’ve tried to cover all the basic types of headphones available today: earbuds, wireless earphones, sport earphones, noise-cancelling headphones, full-sized headphones and wireless headphones.

LG Tone HBS-700 Bluetooth Earphones

Average Amazon Rating: 4.5 out of 5 (from 264+ reviewers)

Despite selling for under $50, the LG Tone HBS-700 is the highest rated bluetooth headphone currently available. It received an 8 out of 10 rating from CNET, which makes it their Editor’s Choice for a bluetooth earphone. Reviewers at CNET say it is  one of the most comfortable earphones they’ve tried, and that the audio reproduction was impressive. PC Magazine liked the long battery life, but said that the bass reproduction was “thin”, but gave it an overall rating of “Good”.

The LG Tone HBS-700 is available from Amazon for about $45.


Klipsch Image S4 Earbuds

Klipsch image s4

Average Amazon Rating: 3.9 out of 5 (from 1211+ reviewers)

The Klipsch Image S4 Earphone is the highest-rated wired earbuds under $100. Reviewers like the audio clarity of the earphones, and its comfortable fit. Reviewers say these earphones provide audio quality equivalent to earphones that cost hundreds of dollars more. The Klipsch Image S4 Earphone received an Editors’ Choice award from PC Magazine, and an “Excellent” rating from CNET.

If you carry your earphones in your pocket a lot, or are generally rough with them, you might want to consider the more durable Shure SE215-K Earphones — these come with detachable cables (see details below).

The Klipsch Image S4 Earphone is available from Amazon for about $76.


Klipsch Image S4i Earbuds

Klipsch Image S4 1

Average Amazon Rating: 3.7 out of 5 (from 500+ reviewers)

If you will be using earphones with a iPhone or iPod, you should consider getting the Klipsch Image S4i, which provides the same comfortable fit and sound quality as the Image S4, but also incorporates an integrated mic and call answer button, as well as volume controls and remote playback for the iPod.

The Klipsch Image S4 sells for about $99 at Amazon.


MEElectronics M6 Earbuds

MEElectronics M6 Earphones

Average Amazon Rating: 4 out of 5 stars (from 329+ reviewers)

These M6 Earbuds by MEElectronics are more durable and provide better sound than comparable earphones in their price range. CNET rated them 3.5 out of 4 stars saying “A great value for bass addicts”. These earphones incorporate a “memory wire” and an angled ear tip, making them good earphones wear while  engaged in sports.

You can get the MEElectronics M6 at Amazon for about $20.


Shure SE215-K Earphones

Shure SE215 K

Average Amazon Rating: 4.0 out of 5 (from 115+ reviewers)

The SE215-K Earphones by Shure produces some of the best audio you’ll hear from earbuds prince under $100. A solid design, which includes detachable cables, makes these earphones quite durable. Six pairs of tips – small, medium and large in foam and silicone – ensure a nice snug fit no matter what your ear canal’s shape or size. recommends the SE215s as their budget pick in Lifehacker’s recent headphone buying guide. The Head-Fi community, a discerning bunch of listeners, have rated these earphones five stars in a couple of interviews.

Buy the Shure SE215-K Earphones at Amazon for about $100.


Klipsch Image S5i Rugged Earbuds

Average Amazon Rating: 3.9 out of 5 (from 50+ reviewers)

Klipsch has released a ruggedized headphone, the Image S5i. The earphones are weather resistant and feature extra large buttons which can be operated while wearing gloves. So far, they are getting good reviews on Amazon.

The Klipsch Image S5i Rugged Earbuds are available on Amazon for about $100.


Etymotic HF5 Earphones

Average Amazon Rating: 3.9 out of 5 (from 52+ reviewers)

One of the best sports earphones available. Etymotic succeeds in creating a balanced realistic sound. Bass-enthusiasts may be disappointed with the thin reproduction of low-frequencies. CNET rates them “Very Good” and iLounge gave them a “A-” rating.

The Etymotic hf5 earphones are sold on Amazon — they are available in RedBlue, and Black. They sell for about $95.

If you are looking for an Etymotic with iPod/iPhone/iPad controls included, consider the Etymotic ER23-HF3.


Monster iSport Immersion Earphones

Average Amazon Rating: 4.3 out of 5 (from 131+ reviewers)

The iSport Immersion Headphone by Monster is designed to be used while engaged in activities like snowboarding, running and working out at the gym. They are durably built and completely sweatproof. In fact, they can even be put in the wash for cleaning.

Available at Amazon for about $150.


Klipsch Image x10i Earbuds

Klipsche earbuds x10i

Average Amazon Rating: 4.1 out of 5 (from 168+ reviewers)


The Klipsch Image X10 earbud headphones are tiny, but powerful. They feature contour ear gels that are intended to slip right into the ear canal comfortably. Five different sized ear tips come with these earbud headphones, and a 50-inch vinyl cable is included.

The Klipsch Image X10 are available at Amazon for $137.


Gradio SR80i Headphones

Grado sr80

Average Amazon Rating: 4.5 out of 5 (from 330+ reviewers)

The Grado SR60 headphones are made in Brooklyn. Their black-plastic design doesn’t exactly exude high tech, but as soon as doubters hear the SR80, their objections usually melt away. Converts gush about the headset’s rock-solid bass, extraordinary detail, and clarity. The SRS0 has been on the market for more than 10 years, perennially garnering raves in audiophile magazines around the world.

The SRS0′s earpieces have large cushions, but we’re not about to claim that these headphones set a new standard for wearability. After spending a few hours with all that foam clamped over your ears, you’ll need a break.

Buy the Grado SR60 Amazon for around $100.


Grado SR125i Headphones

Grado headphones 125i

Average Amazon Rating: 4.5 out of 5 (from 64+ reviewers)

Basically, the Grado SR125 is a slight upgrade to the SR80i — the SR125 is tweaked for slightly better sound. The improved detail can be difficult for some to hear. Grado makes use of the larger sized 1/4 inch plug on this headphone and a very thick cord. Grado doesn’t really intend this headphone for use with a portable MP3 player, but if you want to connect to a portable player or an inexpensive home stereo with the smaller 1/8th inch connection, you’ll need to get an adapter. Whether the sound quality is any better than the SR80i might depend on the quality of the recording and the quality of your music player.

It’s available from Amazon for about $200.


Audio-Technica ATH-M50 Headphones

ATH M50 headphones

Average Amazon Rating: 4.7 out of 5 (from 2037+ reviewers)

The Audio-Technica ATH-M50 is the highest rated headphone on Amazon — many enthusiastic reviewers say this the best headphone you can buy for under $150. I haven’t seen any formal reviews of this headphone yet.

The ATH-M50  is available at Amazon for about $137.


AiAiAi TMA-1 Headphones

Average Amazon Rating: 4.7 out of 5 (from 26+ reviewers)

AIAIAI is a new headphone company from Denmark, and they’ve recently released their first set of DJ headphones, dubbed the TMA-1, which stands for “Tycho Magnetic Anomaly 1″ — the name of the monolith in 2001 A Space Odyssey. The monochromatic design was conceived by Danish design studio KiBiSi. The sound reproduction of the phones is apparently very good — the bass, in particular, being quite impressive.

The AIAIAI TMA-1 gets an “Excellent” rating from CNET and an average of 4.7 out of 5 reviewers from 26 reviewers on Amazon.

The headphones are available from Amazon for about $200.


Ultrasone HFI-580 Headphones

HFI 580+Foldable+Closed Back+Headphones+ +NEW+2008+MODEL 1

Average Amazon Rating: 4.5 out of 5 (from 28+ reviewers)

If you are looking for a pair of portable headphones that won’t disturb your fellow travelers, you might consider the Ultrasone HFI-580. Unlike many closed-style headphones, the HFI-580 performs very well connected to portable players like the iPod. The headphones have Ultrasone’s patented S-Logic technology, which creates a wide soundstage, making for an incredibly open and clear sonic presentation. PC Magazine rated it 4 out 5 stars, as did “What Hi Fi?” Magazine. CNET gave it a rated of “Very Good” or 3.5 out of 5 stars.

The Ultrasone HFI-580 is available at Amazon for about  $180.


Bowers And Wilkins P5 Headphones

Average Amazon Rating: 4.5 out of 5 (from 175+ reviewers)

Bowers & Wilkins is a legendary name in British Hi-Fi. Recently, they have been attempting to appeal to a more mainstream audience. Thier P5 Headphone is made for listening with a portable player. These headphones block out a lot of external noise, but they contain no active noise-cancellation circuitry. The P5s feature a detachable cord with an integrated volume control that will work with some iPods and iPhones.

Consumer Reports rated this headphone the highest in their portable category. CNET rated it “Excellent” and Trusted Reviews gave it 9 out of 10 stars (their 2010 “Best Headphone Gear” Runner Up).

Many reviewers note that these headphones are extremely comfortable. They have sheep leather ear pads, which are soft, but they may become sticky in hot weather.

The Bowers & Wilkins P5 Headphone is available at Amazon for about $295.


Sennheiser RS-170 Wireless Headphone

Sennheiser RS 170

Average Amazon Rating: 4.4 out of 5 (from 172+ reviewers)

This is the highest rated wireless headphone on Amazon. The Sennheiser RS-170 makes use of the high-fidelity Kleer technology, thus give you CD-quality audio over its wireless connection (superior to Bluetooth in this respect).

You can buy the Sennheiser RS-170 Wireless Headphone at Amazon for about $280.


Bose QuietComfort 15 Noise-Cancelling Headphones

Bose quietcomfort 15

Average Amazon Rating: 4.4 out of 5 (from 222+ reviewers)

The Bose QuietComfort 15 received a rating of 74/100 from Consumer Reports (the 2nd highest for noise-canceling headphones, just behind the Sony MDR-NC500D). CNET rates the Bose QuietComfort 15  as their number one noise-canceling headphone, giving it an “Excellent” score.

The Bose QuietComfort 15  is available for $300 from Amazon.


Audio Technica ATH-ANC7B Active Noise-Cancelling Headphones

Audio Technica ATH ANC7b Active Noise Cancelling Headphones

Average Amazon Rating: 3.9 out of 5 (from 355+ reviewers)

The ATH-ANC7B headphone by Audio Technica is the best rated noise-cancelling headphone under $200. However, CNET only gives them a “Good” rating, saying that they just sound “OK” and that the headphone’s noise-cancellation feature was not impressive. Still, the ATH-ANC7B  gets an impressive Amazon rating of 3.9 of 5 stars from 355+ reviewers.

Another positive note — these headphones do work when the noise-canceling function is turned off, or when their battery is dead. In contrast, Bose noise-cancelling headphones do not operate without a charged battery.

The ATH-ANC7B is available from Amazon for about $121.


Jabra Halo 2 Stereo Headset

Jabra HALO2

Average Amazon Rating: 4.2 out of 5 (from 30+ reviewers)

Jabra Halo 2 is a highly rated wireless stereo headset. Reviews like its reliable wireless connectivity, and its minimalist design.

The speakers fold up like sunglasses when you’re not using them, and immediately switch on, without the need of a button, when you open them back up again. But reviewers did some reservations about the overall durability of the joins on the headphone.

You can pair two wireless devices at once with the Jabra Halo 2, including your mobile, with the added functionality of answering calls.

The Jabra Halo 2 Stereo Headset is available from Amazon for about $77.