Over-ear headphones, also called around-ear headphones, are one of the most popular types of headphones. While they can be a little bulky and don't breathe as well as in-ears or on-ears, most people tend to find them the most comfortable type of headphones for extended periods. They often have more features than many in-ear or earbud options and have longer batteries than their smaller and more portable counterparts.
We've tested over 270 pairs of over-ear headphones, and below are our recommendations for the best over-ear headphones to purchase. Also, make sure to check out our recommendations for the best on-ear headphones, the best earbuds and in-ear headphones, and the best Bluetooth over-ear headphones.
The best over-ear headphones with a wireless design that we've tested are the Bose QuietComfort 35 II/QC35 II 2018. These well-built headphones have an amazingly comfortable fit and a versatile overall performance that can please lots of different types of listeners. Thanks to their ANC feature, they have outstanding noise isolation, and they can block out background noises like bus and plane engines and the sounds of people talking around you.
Out-of-the-box, they have a fairly neutral, though slightly bass-heavy sound profile that adds a little extra thump and punch to your audio without overwhelming vocals and lead instruments. They also last for twenty hours off of a single charge, so they're suitable for long listening sessions without a recharge. You can also pair them with up to two devices at the same time, which is handy if you like to switch your audio source between different devices frequently.
Unfortunately, they don't offer any sound customization features, which can be disappointing if you prefer a different sound. They also leak a bit of noise, so people around you may be able to hear some noise if you're listening to your music at loud volumes. That said, they still rank among the best closed-back headphones that we've tested.
If you want to be able to customize the sound of your wireless over-ears, try the Sony WH-1000XM4. Their sound profile isn't as neutral out-of-the-box as the Bose QuietComfort 35 II/QC35 II Wireless 2018, but they have a great app that gives you access to a graphic EQ and presets, so you can customize their sound to suit you. They also have a better build quality and better controls, including a 'Quick Attention' feature, which pauses active noise cancelling when you have your hand over the right ear cup, so you can hear ambient noise without taking off your headphones. Their ANC does an incredible job of blocking out noise, including bass-range sounds like rumbling engines. Unfortunately, they clamp onto your head a bit harder than the Bose and aren't as comfortable.
If customizable sound isn't a priority and you want more comfortable over-ears, try the Bose. If you want access to EQs and presets, the Sony are a solid alternative.
The Sennheiser HD 800S are the best headphones for audiophiles that we've tested. These open-backs are very well-built and comfortable, with spacious earcups, so you can use them for long listening sessions without a lot of fatigue. They're an excellent choice for neutral sound, and you don't need to worry about running out of battery, thanks to their wired design.
They have a neutral sound profile that should suit a variety of music genres. Because of their open-back design, they have a fantastic soundstage that sounds spacious and natural. They have very consistent bass and treble delivery, so their sound delivery doesn't vary for users who wear glasses or when you position them differently on your head.
However, they lack some low-bass, like many headphones with an open-back design, which may bother fans of genres like EDM and hip-hop. Their open-back design also means that they leak a lot of audio, and like most over-ears, they aren't intended to be portable. That said, they're among the best audiophile headphones we've tested and a great choice for listening to music at home.
If you want a more versatile pair of over-ears, try the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x instead. They have a closed-back design, so their soundstage isn't nearly as open or natural-sounding as the Sennheiser HD 800 S, but they leak much less audio. They're a good choice for neutral sound and have much better bass accuracy, so your mixes don't lack low-bass. You can use them for long listening sessions without much fatigue thanks to their comfortable fit, and they have a wired design, so you don't need to worry about battery life. However, they still aren't very good at passively isolating you from ambient noise, but compared with the Sennheiser, they do a much better job of reducing higher-frequency noise like humming A/C units.
Go for the Sennheiser if you want the headphones with a more open, natural soundstage. Try the Audio-Technica if you prefer closed-back headphones that don't leak as much audio.
The best headphones under $200 with an over-ear design that we've tested are the Razer Opus. They're comfortable, well-built, and offer very good overall performance and outstanding noise isolation. Thanks to their ANC feature, they can block out bass-heavy bus and plane engines from your commute and the sounds of coworkers talking around you at work.
They have a neutral, balanced sound profile suitable for listening to lots of different audio content. You can even use the graphic EQ and presets in the Razer Opus app to help you customize their sound to your liking. With 32.6-hour continuous battery life, you can enjoy multiple long listening sessions without needing to recharge them.
Unfortunately, you can't pair them to multiple devices at the same time, which may be disappointing if you like to switch your audio source between your phone and your tablet frequently. Also, their integrated microphone doesn't have the best recording quality, so they're a mediocre choice for making phone calls. However, they still offer a great price-to-performance ratio.
The best over-ear headphones under $100 that we've tested are the Mixcder E9. These noise cancelling wireless over-ears have a reasonably sturdy-feeling construction and feel comfortable enough to wear for long periods without discomfort. Their ANC feature helps them block out a good amount of ambient noise overall, and you shouldn't hear much in the way of background chatter or the high-pitched hum of an AC unit.
They have a fairly well-balanced sound profile that should suit a mix of genres, with exceptionally well-reproduced bass and clear, full-bodied vocals and lead instruments. They supply over 18 hours of continuous playback time with their ANC system turned on, which should be enough for a couple of days at the office or long overnight trips. That said, they come with a 1/8" TRS cable that supports passive audio playback if you run out of charge.
Unfortunately, their integrated microphone makes your voice sound thin and muffled and does a mediocre job of isolating it from background noise. They're also somewhat bulky, though they do come with a fairly sturdy-feeling case to carry them around when not in use. Overall, their mostly well-balanced sound profile and effective ANC feature also help make them some of the best noise cancelling headphones under $100 that we've tested.
The best over-ear headphones in the budget category that we've tested are the Plantronics BackBeat Go 810. These over-ears are decently well-built, and they're a solid choice for most uses. Thanks to their over 24-hour continuous battery life, you don't have to worry about recharging them daily, which is handy.
Out-of-the-box, they offer a very neutral, balanced sound profile that's suitable for listening to lots of different types of audio content. If you prefer a different sound, there are even a few EQ presets available in the BackBeat App. They don't leak a lot of noise, either, and escaping audio sounds pretty thin, so you can crank up the volume on your favorite tunes without really bothering those around you.
Unfortunately, the overall build creaks a lot, and some users have even reported that their unit's headband has cracked or broken over time. Also, though they come with an ANC feature, they still struggle to block out bass-heavy background noises like bus and plane engines. On the upside, they perform a lot better against higher-frequency noises like voices and the hum of AC units, so they're more suitable for office use.
Apr 09, 2021: Verified that the best products are still being recommended and that they're in stock.
Mar 11, 2021: Minor changes to the text for accuracy; no changes in product picks after verifying their accuracy and availability.
Feb 09, 2021: Minor changes to the text and verification for accuracy. No changes in product picks after verifying their accuracy and availability.
Nov 05, 2020: Replaced the Mpow H10 Wireless with the Plantronics BackBeat Go 810 Wireless to reflect changing availability.
Oct 09, 2020: Replaced the Sony WH-1000XM3 Wireless with the Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless. Added the Sony WH-1000XM3 and the Jabra Evolve2 85 Wireless as Notable Mentions.
Aug 12, 2020: Replaced the AKG N700NC with the Mixcder E9 to reflect current pricing changes.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best over the ear headphones to buy for most people in each price range. We factor in the price (cheaper headphones win over pricier ones if the difference isn't worth it), feedback from our visitors, and availability (no headphones that are difficult to find or almost out of stock everywhere).
If you would like to choose for yourself, here is the list of all our reviews for over-ear headphones. Be careful not to get caught up in the details. There are no perfect headphones. Personal taste, preference, and listening habits will matter more in your selection.