With Black Friday just around the corner, and the early deals already rolling in, it’s a great time to think about buying your next pair of headphones, whether you need a pair of hard-working over-ears for analytical listening or some convenient true wireless earbuds to power your workouts.
However, Black Friday deals can come in thick and fast, often selling out very quickly – so it’s a good idea to know what you’re looking for ahead of time, and that includes which headphone brands you want to keep an eye on in the run up to November 27.
One of the audio brands commonly discounted over Black Friday and Cyber Monday is JBL; in recent years it’s become something of a mid-range hero, offering everything from noise-cancelling headphones to wireless earbuds at lower prices than more premium brands like Sony and Bose.
Don’t let it’s middling price range put you off, though; JBL had a long and pretty distinguished history in the world of home audio (and beyond – its speakers powered Woodstock in 1969), and many of the JBL headphones we’ve tested recently have impressed.
And there are already plenty JBL headphone deals to be had already, as the retailer has launched discounts across its range (including Bluetooth speakers and soundbars) in advance of Black Friday – though you’ll need to act fast, as they’re due to expire on November 8.
Should I buy JBL headphones?
One of the main reasons for buying JBL headphones is that they often offer many of the same specs as more premium brands, but at a lower price; and while these prices range from super-cheap to well over $100, you can be pretty much certain you won’t be paying as much as you would for a pair of Sony headphones.
Despite their usually lower prices, some JBL headphones are truly fantastic at what they do. Take the JBL Tune 750BTNC for example; these solidly dependable noise-cancelling headphones come with good audio quality, decent ANC, and a classic design for just $130 / £120 / AU$200 (and discounts are usually available, too).
Even their older JBL Live 650BTNC are a good choice for those on a budget, thanks to their dynamic, punchy sound, and comfortable fit – and these wireless headphones are likely to be even cheaper over Black Friday, having launched a while ago now.
Now, while JBL headphones do generally sound pretty good, the models we’ve tested haven’t quite matched more premium alternatives like the Sony WH-1000XM4 – to some extent, you do get what you pay for with headphones.
If you want a pair of headphones for intense analytical listening or you crave the audio fidelity of a pair of true audiophile cans, you’ll want to look elsewhere. As consumer headphones, JBL’s cans offer lots of extras like the ability to summon your voice assistant hands free, wireless connectivity, and active noise cancellation – true studio-quality headphones tend to favor wired connections for uncompressed, high-resolution sound, and eschew modern conveniences in the quest to achieve the best sound possible.
If you’re looking for something a little less bulky than a pair of wireless over-ear headphones, JBL does sell a range of true wireless earbuds – and the latest model (the JBL Live Free NC+) comes with active noise cancellation like the AirPods Pro, but without the high price tag.
There is one caveat though; JBL true wireless earbuds don’t tend to have the longest battery lives on the market, with the Tune 220TWS only offering a measly three hours of on-board juice. If you do want to buy JBL earbuds, we’d recommend opting for one of the newer models with longer battery lives – or check out models from other brands like the Lypertek Tevi, which come with an outstanding 70-hour battery life at a very reasonable price.
Whatever headphones you go for this Black Friday or Cyber Monday, it’s important to take a good look at the specs before you buy, and make sure that your basic needs are being met. If you want a strong wireless connection above all else, look for Bluetooth 5 connectivity. If you like to take phone calls on the move, make sure their are inbuilt microphones that can pick up your voice, and onboard controls that allow you to accept calls without digging your phone out of your pocket.
If you’re not sure about what you’re looking for, check out our guide to picking the best headphones for you, where we cover all the specs, features, and headphone jargon you should be looking out for (or avoiding) this Black Friday.