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The 9 Best Over-Ear Headphones - Spring 2023 Reviews

Updated
Best Over-Ear Headphones

Over-ear headphones, also called around-ear headphones, are among the most popular types. While they can be a little bulky and don't breathe as well as in- or on-ears, most people find them the most comfortable headphones for extended listening periods. They often have more features than many in-ear or earbud options and have longer batteries than their smaller, more portable counterparts.

We've tested over 340 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.


  1. Best Over-Ear Headphones

    The Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless are the best over-ear headphones we've tested. There's a newer version of these headphones available in the Sony WH-1000XM5 Wireless, but the previous generation offer better performance for their price. These headphones have an outstanding active noise cancelling (ANC) system that can isolate you from a wide range of ambient noise. Their bass-heavy sound profile also adds thump, rumble, and punch to your audio, making these headphones well-suited for genres like EDM and hip-hop. While mixes sound muddy to some users, you can customize their sound with a graphic EQ and presets in the companion app.

    These headphones have a premium build quality, a sleek design, and a very comfortable fit. Their roughly 37 hours of continuous playback time will easily last through long days on the go. They also support multi-device pairing, which is convenient if you often switch between your phone and computer. However, they may not be the best choice if you want a good microphone performance for phone calls since, compared to some of the cheaper options listed here, the mic makes your voice sound muffled and lacking in detail.

    See our review

  2. Best Upper Mid-Range Over-Ear Headphones

    If the Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless are just outside your price range, consider the Bose QuietComfort 45/QC45 Wireless. Although they're less feature-packed than their competitor, they have an excellent noise cancelling performance that easily blocks out sounds like plane engines and ambient chatter. With their ANC on, they also last over 21 hours continuously and are equipped with an auto-off timer to help conserve battery life if you forget to turn them off.

    Out of the box, their fairly neutral sound is versatile enough for most kinds of audio genres. Using their companion app's graphic EQ or presets, you can tweak them to suit your tastes. They also support multi-device pairing, meaning you can stay connected to your smartphone and PC simultaneously. They have a plasticky design, which can seem cheap at this price point. It helps them remain lightweight and comfortable enough for long listening sessions.

    See our review

  3. Best Mid-Range Over-Ear Headphones

    The Anker Soundcore Space Q45 Wireless are a great mid-range pick for commuters. An adaptive noise cancellation system that automatically adjusts the ANC to your surroundings allows them to block out other commuters' conversations and loud vehicle engines. Their plastic frame feels well-built and comfortable, though their headband has less padding than their predecessor, the Anker Soundcore Life Q35 Wireless, which may cause some fatigue during long listening sessions. While the manufacturer advertises them to last 50 hours continuously with their ANC on, we measured closer to 28 hours, which is still excellent for wireless noise cancelling headphones.

    Out of the box, these headphones have a V-shaped sound profile, with lots of thumpy bass and bright treble to make rock and pop music sound great. However, an underemphasized mid-range dulls instruments and vocals. If you want a different sound, their companion app has a graphic EQ and presets to fine-tune the profile to your liking. Unfortunately, these headphones have a high noise floor when the ANC is set to 'Adaptive' or 'Max' mode, which can result in an audible frequency that's persistent throughout your listening experience. It won't be an issue if you can tune it out by the sheer force of will. Otherwise, it can get annoying over time.

    See our review

  4. Best Lower Mid-Range Over-Ear Headphones

    If you want to spend under the triple-digit price point, look at the Wyze Noise-Cancelling Headphones Wireless. These over-ears have many of the features of more premium headphones, like ANC, but come in a much more affordable package. You may still hear some low bass from bus engines and wooshing trains during a commute, but you'll notice a significant reduction in ambient chatter in noisy offices. If you work somewhere quieter, like at home with a partner or roommates, they may hear your audio leaking at high volumes.

    These headphones have an excited, V-shaped sound profile out of the box. They have a touch of extra low bass, which will please fans of thumpy, rumbly hip-hop and EDM. The mid-range is well-balanced, so vocals and lead instruments sound present and clear, if not a little thin. However, the treble range is piercing and harsh, making sibilants like S and T sounds uncomfortable to listen to. Their companion app has a graphic EQ and presets if you want a different mix.

    The battery lasts nearly 23 hours on a single charge, which is excellent. However, they're bulky over-ear headphones. While comfortable, their size means they may slide around on smaller heads. Check out the Anker Soundcore Life Q35 Wireless if you want slightly better ANC. They can cut out more low bass from background noise, making them better suited for commuting and travel. Their sound profile also has more low bass, which some fans of thumpier music genres may prefer. Unfortunately, they're bulkier than the Wyze, have worse consistency, and leak more audio at high volumes.

    See our review

  5. Best Budget Over-Ear Headphones

    The Anker Soundcore Life Q30 Wireless are the previous generation of the Anker Soundcore Life Q35 Wireless. While their microphone performance isn't as good, and they don't support the LDAC codec for streaming hi-res audio, their design is mostly unchanged, meaning you can expect the same comfortable fit for a budget price. Their multi-setting ANC also performs better than the Q35 Wireless, blocking our more rumbly bus engine noise. They also support multi-device pairing for up to two devices at a time.

    These headphones have a V-shaped sound profile that packs extra bass while vocals and lead instruments are bright. You can tune their sound to suit your preferences using their companion app's graphic EQ and presets. Unfortunately, just like the previous generation, there's a difference in sound quality depending on if the ANC is on or off. They also aren't very breathable, and some users have also experienced the headband of their units break or crack over time. On the upside, these over-ears last more than 44 hours of continuous use on a single charge and fit comfortably.

    See our review

  6. Best Cheap Over-Ear Headphones

    Anker dominates the lower-mid to the cheap range, and the Anker Soundcore Life Q20 are no exception. It's rare to find over-ears in this price range with ANC, let alone an ANC system that works as well as this one. While it won't block out all the noise from loud rumbly bus engines, you'll still feel well-isolated from chatty coworkers and whiny PC fans in an office setting. Considering their low cost, it's no surprise they lack extra features, like diverse ANC modes for you or an adaptive system that adjusts to the noise level. Fortunately, they're lightweight and comfortable enough to be used all day without fatigue.

    These headphones have a 'Bass Up' feature, which can help boost the low end of the mix to complement genres like hip-hop or EDM. With it on, they deliver an excited, V-shaped sound that will also suit modern pop and rock music, making them versatile enough when listening to most playlists. However, they aren't compatible with a companion app, so their sound profile can't be adjusted to your liking aside from turning 'Bass Up' on or off. Fortunately, these headphones have a nearly 33-hour battery life with ANC on, so you can use them daily for a good while before recharging. If the battery does run out, you can also use their included 1/8 TRS cable to listen to content passively.

    See our review

  7. Best Audiophile Over-Ear Headphones

    If you want headphones to enhance your audio experience, the Sennheiser HD 800 S are the best audiophile over-ear headphones we've tested. These headphones differ from the previous picks as they have an open-back design, allowing audio to leave the ear cup and interact with the space around you. The result is a wide, spacious, and out-of-head passive soundstage to help immerse you in your audio. The Sennheiser aren't for everyone, as their high price point puts them well out of reach of more casual users, and you still need to invest in a good amp to power them if you don't already have it.

    They have a very neutral sound profile and can accurately reproduce vocals and lead instruments, so they suit different genres. Their open-back design means they lack some rumble and punch in the bass range. They have a premium build quality and a very comfortable fit, so you won't feel fatigued when using them for long periods. They also have excellent frequency response consistency, meaning you won't experience deviations in bass or treble delivery once you achieve a good fit.

    They come with several additional accessories, including a USB memory drive and a 1/4" to 1/8" adapter, meaning you can connect them to a mixer or amp. They aren't designed for use outside your home or studio as they're open-back headphones, meaning they won't isolate you from ambient sound. Instead, they'll leak a lot of audio. The HiFiMan Arya are an equally high-end option for audiophiles. Their planar-magnetic drivers can deliver much more low-bass frequency, but they're much bulkier than the Sennheiser and may feel less comfortable if you prefer a lighter set of cans.

    See our review

  8. ฮ’est Mid-Range Audiophile Headphones

    Even though audiophile headphones can be expensive, various mid-range options exist. The HiFiMan Sundara 2020 aren't as well-built as the Sennheiser HD 800 S, but they still have a very neutral sound profile that delivers more low-bass due to their planar-magnetic drivers. That said, this driver design is more complicated and has more parts than traditional dynamic drivers, making them substantially heavier than other headphones on this list, impacting their comfort over long periods. On the plus side, their ski-band headband design helps evenly distribute their weight across the top of your head.

    Their ear cups are smaller than the higher-end HiFiMan Arya, but they still have great frequency response consistency if you take time to ensure they're well-placed on your head. Their passive soundstage is also very immersive due to their open-back design. You'll perceive it as spacious and wide but a little close to the head rather than giving the impression that audio is coming from all around the room. Fortunately, unlike our pricier audiophile picks, their low impedance and included 1/8" TRS cable means you won't need an amp to drive them.

    See our review

  9. ฮ’est Entry-Level Audiophile Headphones

    The Philips SHP9500 are a solid choice if you're on a tighter budget. While you can expect they won't be as sturdy or premium as the HiFiMan Edition XS, they still offer a neutral sound with accurate vocals and instruments. They struggle to deliver a thumpy low-bass due to their open-back design, but they have a touch of extra high-bass to help add warmth back into your mixes. Their passive soundstage seems open, spacious, and wide.

    These headphones have a very comfortable fit, thanks to their large ear cups, which are well-padded. They also have a detachable audio cable, so if it gets damaged, you can easily replace it, and they come with a 1/8" to 1/4" adapter so you can use them on an amp. That said, parts of the build feel particularly fragile, like the padding, which can rip over time, and the swiveling ear cups, which could break under moderate stress.

    If you're interested in more hi-fi over-ears, check out our article on the best audiophile headphones.

    See our review

Notable Mentions

  • Bose 700 Headphones Wireless: The Bose 700 Headphones Wireless are premium noise cancelling headphones designed for business professionals, thanks to their very good overall mic performance and excellent ANC system. However, they don't block out as much ambient noise as the Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless and their continuous battery life of 20 hours is shorter. See our review
  • Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless: The Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless are the next generation of the Sennheiser Momentum 3 Wireless. They're comfortable, well-built wireless headphones with a bass-heavy sound profile that delivers extra thump and rumble to mixes. However, they're leaky at high volumes, and their ANC doesn't block out noise as well as their predecessor or the Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless. See our review
  • Jabra Evolve2 85 Wireless: The Jabra Evolve2 85 Wireless are versatile wireless headphones with a very good mic recording quality and an intuitive control scheme, which is great if you make many calls. They can receive audio via USB-A or their 1/8" TRS cable. However, the Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless are better built and can block out more background noise. See our review
  • Skullcandy Crusher Evo Wireless: The Skullcandy Crusher Evo Wireless are over-ears with a haptic bass feature, meaning you can customize the amount of thump and rumble in your mixes. This feature is great if you like genres like EDM and hip-hop, but it overwhelms and bloats vocals and lead instruments. Unlike the Anker Soundcore Life Q35 Wireless, they also lack more robust sound customization features. See our review
  • HiFiMan Ananda: The HiFiMan Ananda are a good yet pricier alternative to the HiFiMan Sundara 2020 if you're looking for audiophile over-ears with a more immersive passive soundstage. However, their elongated ear cups can be quite large for some heads and extend past your jaw, which may not be comfortable during long listening sessions. See our review

Recent Updates

  1. Jun 02, 2023: To better align with other articles, we've replaced the Logitech G435 LIGHTSPEED Wireless with the Anker Soundcore Life Q20 Wireless.

  2. May 02, 2023: Added the HiFiMan Sundara 2020 as an alternative to the HiFiMan Edition XS.

  3. Mar 10, 2023: Replaced the Anker Soundcore Life Q35 Wireless with the Wyze Noise-Cancelling Headphones Wireless and the Anker Soundcore Life Q20 Wireless with the Logitech G435 LIGHTSPEED Wireless.

  4. Feb 01, 2023: We've updated our article for accuracy and product availability. We've also removed the Razer Opus Wireless 2021 from Notable Mentions.

  5. Jan 06, 2023: Made the Anker Soundcore Space Q45 Wireless our 'Mid-Range' pick and recategorized the Anker Soundcore Life Q35 Wireless as a 'Lower Mid-Range' pick due to price changes. Replaced the Sennheiser MOMENTUM 3 Wireless with the Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless as a Notable Mention.

All Reviews

Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best headphones with an over-ear design 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.