When it comes to choosing the best headphones for you, there are lots of things to consider; how they sound, what kind of drivers they use, the design, the fit, and the price are all important aspects that should inform your buying decision.
But have you ever considered the environmental impact of your shiny new cans? It’s something that audio brand House of Marley takes very seriously indeed, using sustainable materials in its over-ear headphones, true wireless earbuds, portable speakers, and turntables.
If you’ve ever searched for audio gadgets like this online, chances are that you’ve come House of Marley – but are its headphones and speakers any good?
To help you make an informed buying decision, we’ve put together this handy guide to the eco-conscious audio company, with everything you need to know before you buy a pair of House of Marley headphones.
What is House of Marley?
Founded in 2008, House of Marley is an audio brand that manufactures headphones, earbuds, Bluetooth speakers, turntables, and accessories – all using sustainable materials.
According to its website, the company is “committed to delivering best in class products that will provide a lifetime of enjoyment and reliability”, while following “principles of superior quality, sustainability and a commitment to charitable causes”.
Latest news: House of Marley launches first noise-cancelling wireless headphones
The Exodus ANC wireless over-ear headphones are the company’s first model to come with active noise cancelation, allowing you to listen to your music in peace no matter how noisy your environment is.
With ANC turned on, they sport a battery life of 28 hours – but turn it off, and you get an outstanding 80 hours of music playback.
With 50mm drivers built-in, these cans should sound pretty powerful, while memory foam earcups and headband means that they should feel comfortable during long listening sessions.
An on-board microphone allows for hands-free calling and summoning your device’s voice assistant without digging out your smartphone, while the latest Bluetooth 5.0 tech means that the Exodus ANC should have fantastic wireless connectivity.
Costing £200 / AU$350 (around $260), they’re the most expensive headphones in the brand’s lineup, but if all those specs work as advertised, they could be well worth the money.
Is House of Marley related to Bob Marley?
Yes – the company was co-founded by Bob Marley’s son, Rohan Marley, in an effort to continue his father's legacy of “love for music and planet”.
It’s inspired everything from the charitable causes the company supports to the kind of audio gadgets it makes; in an interview with Adweek, Marley revealed that the brand’s turntables stem from a “lifelong passion for records [that] started from working at his father’s vinyl factory in Jamaica as a kid”.
House of Marley headphones: what are they made from?
Each product varies, but you’ll find that most House of Marley products sport a distinctive bamboo design with rubberized or metallic accents.
Its headphones, speakers, and turntables also use FSC-certified wood, recyclable aluminum, and the brand’s proprietary REWIND fabric, which is made from reclaimed organic cotton, recycled plastic bottles, and reclaimed hemp.
What do House of Marley headphones sound like?
If you need your headphones to be as good for the environment as they are for your ears, then House of Marley is a great brand to check out.
As well as being eco-friendly, its unique use of reclaimed materials means the products look attractive, and will stand out among a sea of black and silver over-ear headphones and wireless earbuds.
In terms of audio quality, the brand’s headphones and speakers are designed with the “smooth powerful bass, stunningly precise mids, and an energized high-end,” according to the website.
While we haven’t tested every pair of headphones in the range we've had comprehensive time with many of their top pairs; for instance, we awarded the Liberate Air true wireless earbuds 3.5 out of 5 stars in our recent review.
We did find these buds were very bassy: whether you think that’s a good thing or not depends on your personal taste, as well as what you plan on using your House of Marley headphones for.
A bassy sonic profile is great for bolstering your running performance for example, allowing you to match your pace to the beat of your favorite songs. However, if you’re looking for pure audio fidelity, you probably won’t like the way these earbuds sound – they’re just too warm and bottom-heavy to appeal to hardcore audiophiles who want to hear every detail of their music.
While we can’t extrapolate our findings to all House of Marley headphones, our sister site What Hi-Fi? has cited the same bloated bass frequencies in its reviews of Zion, Stir It Up, and Legend headphones.
How much do House of Marley headphones cost?
Generally, House of Marley over-ear headphones, on-ear headphones, and wireless earphones are at the cheaper end of the scale, ranging between $60 and $150 (around £50 to £115 / AU$70 to AU$215).
That cost does go up as you start looking at tech like active noise cancelation and true wireless connectivity though. The Liberate Air true wireless earbuds are available to buy for $149.99 / £129.99 / AU$249.95, while the brand’s first noise-cancelling headphones, the Exodus ANC will set you back £200 / AU$350 (around $260).
If that sounds a bit pricey, don’t forget that Black Friday and Cyber Monday are great times to pick up products like those from House of Marley. Last year we saw some fantastic Amazon Black Friday deals, with House of Marley products reduced across the board – so it’s well worth keeping an eye on Amazon from mid-November onwards, when we’re expecting the deals to start rolling in.
Today's best House of Marley deals
The new House of Marley product launches
House of Marley, the brand famed for its sustainable audio gadgets, has announced the Positive Vibration XL Wireless headphones.
These eco-friendly cans are a continuation of the company's popular Positive Vibration series, and are the first over-ear headphones in the range. They cost $99.99 / £99.99 / AU$149.95.
House of Marley says that the Positive Vibration XL offer "a more premium listening and comfort experience for everyday use, with longer battery life and USB-C quick charging".
House of Marley unveiled its first smart speaker at CES 2019. The Get Together Mini with Google Assistant is the latest addition to House of Marley's line of Bluetooth speakers, and is crafted from bamboo, aluminum (easily recycled), and the company's signature Rewind fabric (a combination of organic cotton, hemp and recycled plastics).
The speaker is equipped with Chromecast for multi-room playback, and even serves as a USB power bank for charging your phone. It went on sale in August 2019, priced at $199.99 (about £150 / AU$280).
House of Marley reviews
As a society, we’re more eco-conscious than ever, with many of us making the effort to buy sustainably and recycle our household waste – but when it comes to tech, it’s easy to feel left in the dark about which products are environmentally friendly.
Enter the House of Marley Liberate Airs: true wireless earbuds that are made from sustainable materials, including bamboo, recyclable aluminum, recycled plastic bottles, and sawdust.
They certainly sound like they’re good for the environment, but are they good for your ears too?
The No Bounds is a great little Bluetooth speaker - sustainably designed, smart looking, tough and lightweight. You won't be holding conversations with it any time soon, but it delivers great sound and is very reasonably priced.
If you’re looking for a robust Bluetooth speaker for traveling, the House of Marley No Bounds could be precisely what you need. It’s small and unfussy, with a tough design and great battery life.
It lacks the smart features you’ll find in top-end Bluetooth speakers, but for simply enjoying music on the road, it’s seriously impressive.
- The best portable speakers you can buy in 2019
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Olivia was previously TechRadar's Senior Editor - Home Entertainment, covering everything from headphones to TVs. Based in London, she's a popular music graduate who worked in the music industry before finding her calling in journalism. She's previously been interviewed on BBC Radio 5 Live on the subject of multi-room audio, chaired panel discussions on diversity in music festival lineups, and her bylines include T3, Stereoboard, What to Watch, Top Ten Reviews, Creative Bloq, and Croco Magazine. Olivia now has a career in PR.