Are you a music enthusiast but as much an environmental savior? Do you prefer eco-friendly options even when you are buying appliances, electronics, or furniture?
Over the years, we have observed an increasing inclination toward eco-friendly audio products and sustainable living among our readers. That’s when we decided to put on our innovation caps and search the market for eco-friendly headphones.
Yes, eco-friendly headphones exist, and we have got them covered for you right here.
Roundup of Best Eco-Friendly Headphones
|Overall Best Eco-Friendly Headphones||House of Marley Exodus ANC|
|Best Eco-Friendly Headphones for Gaming||Logitech G435 LIGHTSPEED and Bluetooth Wireless Gaming Headset|
|Best Eco-Friendly Earbuds||Earth-Budz – Genuine Wood Earbuds|
|Best Modular Eco-Friendly Headphones||AIAIAI TMA-2 Modular DJ Preset Headphones|
How to Find the Right Eco-Friendly Headphones?
Remember, all headphones with a “go green” label may not be eco friendly. There are certain factors that contribute to the sustainability of headphones and minimize their environmental impact.
Here’s a quick checklist of things to consider when buying eco-friendly headphones:
The first and most important factor you should look at is the headphones’ material.
Look for headphones made from biodegradable, recycled, or sustainable materials. Most of the eco-friendly headphones are made from the following materials:
- Recycled plastics
Avoid buying headphones made from materials that contribute to environmental hazards or take longer periods to decompose.
Along with the headphones’ material, ensure the packaging material is also eco friendly. Consider brands that use biodegradable, minimal or recycled packaging materials.
This will help in reducing the environmental footprint of the headphones and waste.
3. Energy Efficiency
Consider headphones comprising energy-saving features, such as automatic power on/off, low-power Bluetooth connectivity, etc., to reduce energy consumption and enhance the battery life of the headphones.
4. Repairability and Modularity
Another important factor to consider is the ability to repair the headphones. We recommend buying headphones that have a modular design or are easy to repair. With repairable headphones, you can replace individual components per your requirement instead of throwing away the headphones even if a single part starts malfunctioning.
Look for headphones with certifications awarded by organizations or institutions that evaluate and validate a product’s energy efficiency, environmental impact and overall sustainability.
Here’s a list of some certifications you can look for:
Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool (EPEAT)
EPEAT is a global rating system that assesses and evaluates electronic products per their environmental attributes. They cover the the following aspects:
- Energy efficiency
- And so on.
EPEAT rates electronics as EPEAT Gold, Silver and Bronze, per their compliances with specific EPEAT criteria.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) established the Energy Star certification to promote energy efficiency among practices and products.
Headphones with the Energy Star certification meet energy efficiency guidelines and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
TCO is one of the most popular and leading sustainability certifications for IT products, including headphones. Products with the TCO certification adhere to certain environmental and social responsibility criteria throughout their life cycle.
Forest Stewardship Council (FSC)
FSC certification ensures products tagged as eco-friendly or sustainable come from responsibly managed forests that deliver environmental, social and economic benefits.
6. Brand’s Manufacturing Practices
Along with assessing and evaluating the headphones’ features discussed above, also perform due diligence on the brand’s manufacturing practices.
Ensure the brand you are choosing prioritize fair labor conditions, sustainability practices and accountable management of resources.
7. Recycling Programs/Take-Back Initiatives by the Brand
Alongside the brand’s manufacturing practices, check if the brand offers take-back initiatives or recycling programs to promote environmental sustainability.
Look for brands with a strong commitment to reducing carbon footprint, increasing sustainability initiatives, or donating a portion of their profits to environmental initiatives.
Top 4 Eco-Friendly Headphones on the Market
It’s time to take a look at the best eco-friendly headphones on the market to choose from!
1. House of Marley Exodus ANC
Overall Best Eco-Friendly Headphones
- Eco-friendly and visually appealing design
- Made from FSC-certified wood, Rewind fabric and recyclable aluminum
- Durable and sturdy
- Comfortable for extended use
- Adjustable headband and soft ear cushions
- Excellent sound quality
- Deep and rich bass, clear mids and balanced treble
- Wide and impressive soundstage
- Great battery life USB-C fast charging
- ANC is not as powerful as some high-end competitors
- Slightly bulky design
Introducing the House of Marley Exodus ANC Headphones, a fantastic eco-friendly option for all the ANC enthusiasts out there. These headphones not only deliver exceptional sound quality, great battery life, and outstanding comfort but also emphasize sustainability and environmental consciousness in their design and materials. They are also one of the best Bob Marley headphones on the market right now.
The House of Marley Exodus ANC Headphones are powered by 50mm HD drivers, offering an immersive music experience across the entire frequency range (20 Hz to 20 kHz). You can expect deep bass and well-defined treble, albeit with a slightly overpowering bass.
Thanks to their 100 dB sensitivity and 32 ohms impedance, these headphones are easy to drive and compatible with numerous audio devices, such as audio players, smartphones, laptops, and tablets.
Connectivity-wise, the headphones support Bluetooth 5.0 with aptX and AAC codecs for a reliable listening experience. Our testing in a crowded restaurant environment showcased their excellent noise cancellation capabilities, providing clear and crisp sound throughout.
One of the standout features of these headphones is their impressive battery life. With ANC enabled, the House of Marley Exodus ANC Headphones provide around 26-27 hours of use, which is quite close to the brand’s 28-hour claim. Without ANC, the battery life extends to nearly 78 hours.
Comfort is another highlight of these headphones, with large ear cups covered in memory foam, cozy and soft over-ear design, and an adjustable headband, making them perfect for extended use.
Now, let’s shift our focus to the eco-friendly aspect that sets these headphones apart. In line with the brand’s commitment to the environment, the House of Marley Exodus ANC Headphones are made from sustainable and eco-friendly materials, reducing their impact on the planet.
In conclusion, if you’re in the market for an all-rounder headphone with a focus on sustainability, the House of Marley Exodus ANC Headphones are a top pick. While their ANC performance might not be as exceptional as the Sony WH-1000XM5, they are an excellent choice for those seeking eco-friendly, non-audiophile ANC headphones. Additionally, you may want to explore the House of Marley Positive Vibration 2 headphones, which also feature a retro design and make our list of the best retro headphones.
View on Amazon: House of Marley Exodus ANC
2. Logitech G435 LIGHTSPEED and Bluetooth Wireless Gaming Headset
Best Eco-Friendly Headphones for Gaming
- Eco-friendly design
- Specially crafted for smaller heads
- Lightweight and comfortable
- Durable and sturdy
- Excellent battery life
- Great sound quality; deep bass
- Great microphone quality
- Available in different designs
- Multiple connectivity options
- Easy to set up and use
- Universal compatibility with different gaming platforms
- Controls are intuitive but slightly inconvenient to use because of their location
If you are a gaming enthusiast and a believer of sustainable living looking for a pair of eco-friendly gaming headphones, the Logitech G435 LIGHTSPEED and Bluetooth Wireless Gaming Headset is a great choice.
Per the brand’s claim, this headset is made from 22% post-consumer recycled plastic and G435 CarbonNeutral certified. Its paper packaging also comes from FSC-certified forests and is eco-friendly.
The overall design is comfortable, lightweight, and sustainable. The ear cups are covered with breathable fabric that prevents sweating during continuous gaming sessions and keeps your ears cool. We did not experience any issues even during the sweaty and sultry summer months.
The Logitech G435 LIGHTSPEED and Bluetooth Wireless Gaming Headset sounds fantastic. It comes with 40 mm neodymium drivers and a broad frequency range (20 Hz to 20 kHz), providing an immersive and comprehensive audio experience. The headset’s bass response is good and deep. Therefore, you can enjoy a bass-heavy gaming experience.
As per our expertise, the treble produced by this headset is clear and precise, enhancing the overall brightness of the sound and crispiness of the audio. The mid-range is balanced and accurate.
Per our experience, the headset’s dual built-in beamforming microphones reduce background noise and eliminate the need for a mic arm. The microphone clarity and sound quality is pretty impressive.
In terms of connectivity, the Logitech G435 LIGHTSPEED and Bluetooth Wireless Gaming Headset is easy to set up and use. The headset comes with two connectivity options: Bluetooth and LIGHTSPEED wireless (2.4 GHz connection). Therefore, you can seamlessly switch between Bluetooth and gaming devices per your requirements. We did not experience any connectivity or latency issues with this headset.
Lastly, this headset’s battery life is excellent. After a single, full charge, you can use this headset continuously for about 16-18 hours depending on the mode. Bluetooth consumes more battery than LIGHTSPEED wireless.
In conclusion, if you are looking for sustainable headphones for gaming, you don’t need to think twice before buying the Logitech G435 LIGHTSPEED and Bluetooth Wireless Gaming Headset. It has been Carbon Neutral Certified by the SCS Global Services. Also, it is compatible with Dolby Atmos, PC, PS4, PS5, Nintendo Switch, and smartphone. Therefore, whether you are a PC gamer or Nintendo fan, you can use this headset on any gaming platform.
View on Amazon: Logitech G435 LIGHTSPEED and Bluetooth Wireless Gaming Headset
3. Earth-Budz – Genuine Wood Earbuds
Best Eco-Friendly Earbuds
- Extremely lightweight
- Easy to set up and use
- Come with a tangle-free cord
- Great sound quality
- Eco-friendly design
- Pocket-friendly price
- In-line microphone with one-button control
- Not waterproof or water-resistant
If you are looking for eco-friendly headphones with a simplistic design, the Earth-Budz – Genuine Wood Earbuds can be a suitable buy. These earbuds are made from forest-extracted walnut wood and are FSC certified.
Per our experience with these earbuds, the overall sound quality is impressive. They support a broad frequency range (20 Hz to 20 kHz) and produce natural sound with deep bass, crisp treble and balanced mid-range. Their impedance is 32 ohms; therefore, you can use them with different audio sources, such as smartphones, tablets, media players and so on.
In terms of design, the Earth-Budz – Genuine Wood Earbuds look chic, elegant and stylish. The earbuds come with ear tips of three different sizes to provide the best fit possible. The earbuds are lightweight and comprise a tangle-free cord.
In conclusion, the Earth-Budz – Genuine Wood Earbuds are one of the best and most affordable eco-friendly earbuds on the market. They are easy to use too. All you need to do is insert the earbuds’ 3.5 mm jack into your audio device’s input. We did not experience any connectivity or sound quality issues. However, if you are looking for truly wireless earbuds, we recommend exploring the House of Marley Rebel True Wireless Earbuds.
View on Amazon: Earth-Budz – Genuine Wood Earbuds
4. AIAIAI TMA-2 Modular DJ Preset Headphones
Best Modular Eco-Friendly Headphones
- Eco-friendly modular and repairable design
- Great sound quality
- Comfortable and durable
- Great noise isolation
- Value for money
- We did not experience any issues with these headphones
Even though the AIAIAI TMA-2 Modular DJ Preset Headphones are not made from sustainable materials, they are considered eco-friendly due to their modular design, which promotes repairability. Therefore, we highly recommend checking them if you are looking for eco-friendly headphones with excellent sound quality. While it’s true these headphones are best for DJing, per our experience, they are also good for audiophiles and music enthusiasts.
The AIAIAI TMA-2’s modular design allows you to replace individual components instead of disposing off the entire headphones. As a result, the brand is attempting to reduce electronic waste and enhance the headphones’ life cycle.
Modular components in these headphones include the ear cups, headband, cables, and speakers. You can easily assemble or replace them per your requirements. The modularity also allows you to customize or upgrade the headphones per your preferences in terms of aesthetics, comfort, durability, design, and sound.
Different modularity options in these headphones are speakers (S01, S02, S03 and S04) with different sound signatures, cable options (3.5 mm, USB-C), earpad options (on-ear with E01 and E02; over-ear with E03, E04 and E08) made from different materials such as Alcantara, microfiber and PU leather, and so on.
In terms of sound, these headphones sound great. The SO2 speakers comprise titanium drivers and sound heavier toward the bass end. The highs are decently crisp and the mids are balanced. We did not experience any sound distortion or sound quality issues during evaluation. These headphones are suitable for listening to heavy metal or rock music.
In conclusion, the AIAIAI TMA-2 Modular DJ Preset Headphones look sleek and stylish. They sound great and comprise ear pads that provide good noise isolation. They are also durable and sturdy. The best thing about these headphones is that you can rebuild them per your requirements.
View on Amazon: AIAIAI TMA-2 Modular DJ Preset Headphones
Frequently Asked Questions About Eco-Friendly Headphones
No. This is a myth. Eco-friendly or sustainable headphones do not compromise on sound quality. Many eco-friendly headphones such as the House of Marley Exodus ANC Headphones deliver excellent sound quality along with their eco-friendly design.
The cost of eco-friendly headphones can vary depending on the brand, model and materials used. Some eco-friendly headphones may be costlier than regular headphones due to their premium and sustainable materials and manufacturing processes.
When your eco-friendly headphones reach the end of their life cycle, you must discard them responsibly. We recommend contacting the brand and checking if they offer recycling programs or take-back initiatives. Alternatively, you can also look for e-waste recycling facilities around you.
Now that you know eco-friendly (or sustainable) headphones exist, you don’t need to compromise and buy regular headphones if you strongly believe in sustainable living.
Out of all the eco-friendly headphones we evaluated, we simply loved the House of Marley Exodus ANC. These headphones comprise “everything” you need in a pair of headphones, whether you are an audiophile or casual listener. They are 100% sustainable and built to last.