How We Score

Effective January 2022 we have two scoring labels on the website:

  1. Award Score
  2. Reader’s Score

2022 Headfonics Award Score

Award Score

The Award score is given by our reviewers and Editor to products reviewed in the Calendar year and count towards our end-of-year Top Gear and Bang for Buck Awards. This was previously known as the ‘Editorial Score’.

It is effective for the calendar year only or until the Awards in December and then deleted from Jan 1st of the following year.

Therefore, the score you see on any review from the previous year will be the reader’s score and not an award score.

Note, award scores are contextual and can change throughout the year based on our awareness of technology, subsequent reviews of competing products that are better or worse or we find out bugs or issues later on in the year.

Reader's Score

Reader’s Score

The Reader’s Score is your score and is created by using the slider to add a score of your choice on the gear reviewed. This was previously known as the ‘Score’.

You will find it at the bottom of the subcategory labels in our scoring box at the top of the review.

 (Note some older reviews might have some legacy labels or no score, we continuously work to update all our old reviews so please be patient on this).

2022 Headfonics Score Guide

Scoring Guide

All Award Scores will be defined by the above overall score scale. This scale has been in force since January 2015 but for transparency purposes, we have listed it as above.

You may also use this as a guide for giving out your Reader’s Score. Each product will have roughly 4-5 categories with their own scores. The mean of these sub-category scores goes towards the overall Award Score each year. Once the year is over the sub-category scores will be deleted along with the Award Score leaving just the Reader’s Score.

The sub-categories upon which we give out individual scores are as follows:

Headgear (IEMs, headphones, etc)

  • Sound Quality
  • Design
  • Comfort & Isolation (IEMs, closed-back headphones),
  • Comfort (earbuds, open-back headphones)
  • Synergy


  • Sound Quality
  • Design
  • Synergy
  • Features
  • Software​

Amplifiers & DACs

  • Sound Quality
  • Design
  • Features
  • Synergy


  • Performance
  • Design
  • Handling
  • Synergy​


  • Sound Quality
  • Performance & Features (TWS, ANC BT headphones)
  • Comfort & Isolation (TWS, ANC BT Headphones)
  • Design

HiFi (Speakers)

  • Sound Quality
  • Design
  • Synergy

Category Color Coding

We have a different color code for each category score as follows:

  • Headphones – Orange
  • IEMs – Olive
  • Amplifiers – Green
  • Sources – Red
  • Wireless & ANC – Blue
  • Cables – Lavender
  • HiFi – Yellow
  • Accessories – Grey

Each category’s score is 100% independent of another category’s score. That means you cannot directly compare the score of an IEM with a headphone or with a wireless headphone. They have different weightings and are therefore completely self-contained within that category. 

This does not affect reader-voted scores as it is entirely up to you, the reader, as to what score you wish to give each reviewed item.

reader score

Readers Reviews

We recognize our opinion is but one opinion and our award score is a reflection of that.

You may agree or disagree and we feel strongly that you should be able to put forward both your own opinion and score for the product at hand should you already own it or heard it.

You can now write your own review in the comments section and submit your own scores also using the same categories we have chosen for the editorial score.

Best of List Score

Best Of Lists

At the end of January of each year we will have automatically generated our “Best Of Lists” as determined by the scores. These will be freely accessible web pages under our main menu Gear Guide.

They will cover the 20 highest ranked in each category but remember, new scores may dynamically change that list so it is not fixed in stone.

Editorial Notes

Note, all submitted reviews and votes are modded to prevent abuse of the system and troll or fake reviews. Those deemed original and true are allowed to be published.

That means only those readers that own the product can submit a review and no professional reviewers with commercial links will be allowed.

We also reserve the right to suspend voting on any review should we suspect abuse of the scoring system. We will try our best to avoid the ‘Amazon fake reviews’ phenom.

Headfonics also reserves the right to change any or all aspects of the scoring system at any time during the year depending on how the system is used by readers and our freelance reviewers.

Thank you!