I've never come upon a consensus of which translation is the "best." There are some where the translators obviously had an agenda, and are biased, but if the translator is sincere, then there will be something good in the translation.
For me, the "best" translations depends on what I intend to do with my reading. If I'm studying for meaning, then I'll stack half a dozen on the table, select a short passage to read, read that passage in each translation and then ponder on the meaning. Which Qur'ans I use depends on my mood at the time and it varies, since I own close to 20 now (yes, I'm a bit obsessive. It's my hobby, lol). Usually, this is what I study:
- a very different translation. Translations usually follow the same pattern, same word choice. Cleary conciously chose different words.
- uses the KJV-esque old english. I read this translation for his extensive footnotes, which draw on a wide variety of classical tafsir, commentary.
- simple english, straightforward.
- I just recently picked this one up and haven't read it all, but so far it seems promising. Easy to read, plus tons and tons of footnotes.
If I'm simply reading to read, I pick up the translation by the Bewleys
. The english is very readable and very understandable. Aisha Bewley is a very competent translator and has translated a bunch of classical arabic works into english.