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 260 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 Bluetooth-enabled noise cancelling over-ears have an amazingly comfy fit, with generously padded ear cups and a lightweight yet sturdy-feeling construction. Their ANC feature is quite effective, as it helps them block out a remarkable amount of background noise, from the low rumble of bus and plane engines to ambient office chatter, not to mention the high-pitched hum of an AC unit nearby.
They deliver audio quite consistently and have a very well-balanced sound profile, so they should suit a wide mix of musical genres and audio content. Their 20-hour battery life should also be sufficient to last you throughout overnight trips or long days at the office. They support NFC and multi-device pairing, allowing you to stream music off of your phone while remaining connected to your work computer.
Unfortunately, their companion app is somewhat limited in terms of overall functionality, as it doesn't provide you with any sound customization features like an EQ or even audio presets. Their integrated microphone also makes your voice sound thin, muffled, and a little difficult to understand. Overall, however, their rich feature set and comfortable design help place them among the best closed-back headphones that we've tested.
If you're looking for a pair of customizable wireless over-ears, consider the Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless instead. While they aren't as comfortable as the Bose QuietComfort 35 II/QC35 II Wireless 2018, they offer a graphic EQ and presets in the Sony | Headphones Connect app. Their default sound profile is a bit bass-heavy but still balanced enough to be suitable for lots of different types of audio content. Like the Bose, their noise isolation performance is outstanding, making them a solid choice for your commute or working in an office. They're very well-built and premium-looking.
If you prefer a more comfortable pair, check out the Bose, but if you want to adjust the sound of your headphones, consider the Sony instead.
The best over-ear headphones for audiophiles that we've tested are the Sennheiser HD 800 S. These open-backs are an excellent choice for neutral sound, and their wired design ensures that you don't have to worry about running out of battery. They're well-built and very comfortable, so you can enjoy long listening sessions without feeling a lot of fatigue.
They have a neutral sound profile that's suitable for listening to lots of different music genres. They have an outstanding soundstage thanks to their open-back design, so you can really feel immersed in your favorite songs. They perform consistently across different listeners, too, so their treble and bass delivery doesn't vary even if you wear glasses or position them differently on your head.
Unfortunately, like many open-backs, they struggle to reproduce low-bass, which can be disappointing for fans of bass-heavy music genres like EDM. Also, due to their open-back design, they have terrible noise isolation, and they leak a lot of noise. However, they're still a solid choice for listening to music at home, and they remain among the best audiophile headphones we've tested.
If you're looking for a more versatile pair of headphones for audiophiles, consider the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x instead. While their closed-back design doesn't offer as immersive of a soundstage as the open-back Sennheiser HD 800 S, it also helps prevent them from leaking as much noise. They're comfortable and well-built, and their wired design ensures that you don't have to keep track of their battery level while listening to music. Their neutral sound profile is still suitable for listening to lots of different audio content, and they can accurately reproduce low-bass. Unfortunately, they still struggle to block out background noises, but they can block out some higher-frequency noises like the hum of nearby AC units.
If you want open-back headphones with a better passive soundstage, check out the Sennheiser. However, if you prefer closed-backs that don't leak as much noise, consider the Audio-Technica instead.
The best headphones under $200 with an over-ear design that we've tested are the Razer Opus Wireless. 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 that's 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, these versatile headphones 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 of time 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 comfortable, and they have a stable fit that makes them suitable to wear during your workouts. Their battery life allows for over 24 hours of continuous playback, which is convenient for long days on the go.
Overall, they have a very neutral, well-balanced sound profile that makes them suitable for listening to lots of different audio content. There's even a bright EQ preset available in the Backbeat App, which gives you a little bit of control over their sound. They don't leak a lot of noise, either, so you can crank up the volume on your favorite tunes without bothering the people around you.
Unfortunately, although they have an ANC feature, they still struggle to block out background noises typically found during your commute or in an office setting. Also, they don't offer a lot of sound customization features, and their pouch can't really protect them from major falls or drops. However, if you're on a budget, these wireless over-ears are a solid choice.
01/06/2020: Added the Bose 700 Headphones to Notable Mentions.
11/05/2020: Replaced the Mpow H10 Wireless with the Plantronics BackBeat Go 810 Wireless to reflect changing availability.
10/09/2020: 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.
08/12/2020: 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.