How We Score

Scoring On Headfonics Reviews

With regard to our main reviews, we will be implementing a new site-wide score policy starting in January 2020. The scoring system is as follows:

Scoring Guide

All initial review scores we award will be defined by the following scale and will only apply for the current calendar year. All previous year’s scores will be deleted.

  • 1-5 – basically broken or very bad
  • 5-6 – poor
  • 6-7 – average
  • 7-8 – good
  • 8-9 – excellent
  • 9-10 – world-class

Each category of product will have roughly 4-5 categories with individual scores which are then automatically cumulated and averaged to produce the final overall score. The sub-categories 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
  • Functionality
  • Software​

Amplifiers & DACs (portable, desktop etc)

  • Sound Quality
  • Design
  • Features (replacing functionality)
  • Synergy


  • Performance (sound is controversial for me)
  • Design
  • Handling
  • Synergy​

Wireless (covers things like TWS, streamers, ANC BT headphones)

  • Sound Quality
  • Performance & Features (TWS, ANC BT headphones)
  • Comfort & Isolation (TWS, ANC BT Headphones)
  • Design
  • Synergy (for gear with a wired option)

HiFi (Speakers)

  • Sound Quality
  • Design
  • Synergy

Note, some sub-category scoring can be high, and some low and the final scoring is a mean of all. Therefore some category scores may not be reflected in the final overall average.

For example, a score of 9 for sound quality and a 2 for build quality is an average final score of 5.5.

Score Color Coding

From January 2021, we will be implementing 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 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 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.

We Score, You Score

There will also be two sets of scores, our score or the Editorial Review score and the readers’ review or vote score. Both are separate values with the editorial score available from the moment the review is published and the readers voting score cumulating with an average after the review is published.

Our score is valid for the current calendar year, the readers’ review or vote score is valid for all time. Therefore, the score you see on anything from the previous year will be the readers’ score and not ours.

Editorial Score

The Editorial Score is fixed for the calendar year and will form part of the “Annual Race” for the Top Gear Awards feature at the end of the calendar year. Those with the highest scores in each category will win an award.

At the end of the year, we will delete all scores for that year and start the “Annual Race” again for the next calendar year.

Note, editorial 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.

Score Rating slider

Readers Votes & Reviews

We recognize our opinion is but one opinion and our 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.

Therefore you have two options to contribute to the overall review of the product on Headfonics as a reader.

  1. Vote – you will see a small slider bar in the scoring section. You can slide to score the product at hand there.
  2. Submit your own review. 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.

reader score

Best Of Lists

At the end of January 2020, 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.

best of lists

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!