Over-ear headphones, also called around-ear headphones, offer a simple design with large ear cups that fit around the ears. They can be a little bulky, but they generally offer decent noise isolation and are very comfortable to wear for extended periods.
We've tested 357 headphones, 183 of which are over-ear, and below are our recommendations for the best over-ear headphones to purchase in 2019. See also our recommendations for the best on-ear headphones, and the best earbuds and in-ear headphones.
The best wireless over-ear headphones we’ve tested so far are the Bose QuietComfort 35 II. They're one of the best options for commuters and are also a good choice for office use thanks to their excellent noise cancellation and comfortable design.
They sound great and are well-suited to a wide range of music genres, from hip-hop to classical. They’re a good choice for audiobooks and podcasts too, especially since they’re so comfortable. They have a very good battery that lasts for 20 hours, and they don’t take too long to charge. You can also use them passively with the included audio cable if their battery dies and you don’t have access to a charger.
Unfortunately, they aren't as well-built as the B&O PLAY Beoplay H9i, but they’re much more comfortable. Their app doesn’t have an EQ, though, so you may want to consider the Jabra Elite 85h and the Sony WH-1000XM3 if you prefer more customizable headphones. While the 85h don’t isolate noise as well, the XM3 have outstanding ANC and are among our best travel headphones. However, the Bose have a more neutral default sound, they're easier to use, and they're a bit more comfortable, which makes them a slightly better recommendation overall for most listeners.
If you’re looking for a versatile pair of headphones to complete your home theatre setup, get the SteelSeries Arctis Pro Wireless. They’re not as comfortable as the Bose QuietComfort 35 II, but they have lower wireless latency for gaming and watching TV. These headphones sound great and can mix audio from their wireless transmitter and a Bluetooth source at the same time. Their microphone control isn’t adjustable like that of the SteelSeries Arctis Pro GameDAC, but they’re much more versatile and make for good mixed-usage headphones overall.
If you prefer wearing over-ear headphones to the gym, the best over-ear headphones for working out that we’ve tested so far are the Sennheiser PXC 550. They’re not necessarily designed with sports and fitness in mind, but they have a lightweight, stable fit that’s surprisingly decent to work out with. They’re comfortable, well-built noise cancelling headphones that look great and feel sturdy.
They have great audio reproduction and are well-suited to a wide variety of music genres. If you’re not a fan of their neutral default sound profile, you can download the Sennheiser Captune app which provides a great parametric EQ so you can tweak the way the headphones sound to your liking, along with tons of other features like room effects and ANC control.
Being closed-back over-ear headphones with leather padding, they do trap quite a bit of heat under their ear cups. Their touch-sensitive control scheme can also be a bit difficult to use, especially while working out. The Beats Studio3 Wireless have physical buttons that are easier to use, but the headphones are bulkier overall. All things considered, if you really like wearing over-ears while working out, the Sennheiser PXC 550 are likely your best bet.
If you consider yourself a serious audiophile and are looking for the best sounding wired over-ear headphones that we’ve tested so far, then get the Sennheiser HD 800 S. They’re expensive, but when it comes to sound quality, they deliver the best audio reproduction that we've measured so far.
They have a spacious soundstage, great imaging, and a well balanced and neutral frequency response that caters well to all genres. They're a great choice if sound quality is your highest priority when getting headphones.
They're a significant investment – you need a powerful amplifier and a well-isolated listening room to experience them fully. If you already have the amp and dedicated quiet space but are looking for a less expensive option, the HiFiMan Ananda are worth considering. They perform nearly as well as the HD 800 S for significantly less money, but don’t feel as well-built and may not last as long.
If you’re passionate about sound but aren’t ready to drop big bucks on the Sennheiser HD S00 S, get the closed-back Audio-Technica ATH-M50x. They don’t have the soundstage of the HD 800 S, but they pack more bass. They’re affordable critical listening headphones with great audio reproduction and are a very good choice for anyone who cares about sound. They are often compared to the Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO, which feel better-built for their price but don’t have a detachable cable and can sound a bit too bright for some. The M50x provide slightly better value, since they sound a little more neutral and come with 3 different cables for increased ease-of-use whether you’re in the studio or waiting for the bus.
If you like the features of the Bose QuietComfort 35 II but find them too expensive, then get the Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2; they’re the best over-ear headphones under $200 that we’ve tested so far. They have a durable yet comfortable design, efficient and easy-to-use physical controls, and an amazing battery.
They have an exciting, bass-rich sound that's surprisingly well-balanced. Their 30-hour battery life is outstanding, and they have lots of power-saving features. They can pair to two Bluetooth devices simultaneously and, if you have the right Bluetooth dongle, can even support aptX(LL) for enjoying video content or gaming with less wireless latency.
Although they do a decent job at isolating noise overall, their noise cancelling isn’t quite as good as that of some of the more premium ANC headphones we’ve tested. They also have a pretty bulky design that some may find lacks a bit of polish. The Plantronics Backbeat Go 810 have a more stylish design, but they’re less comfortable and don’t feel as well-built as the Pro 2. All-in-all, they provide excellent value for their price and are very easy to recommend.
If you listen to a really wide range of music genres and don’t like taking a one-size-fits-all approach to the way your headphones sound, go for the JBL Live 650 BTNC instead. They’re not quite as feature-packed as the Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2, but their companion app, JBL Headphones, provides a great parametric EQ so you can tweak how they sound to better suit your needs. Unfortunately, they don’t have any power-saving features. Even though they have a great 22-hour battery life, if you forget to turn them off, their battery will keep draining. They also don’t have NFC for easier Bluetooth pairing like the Sennheiser HD 4.50. That said, they are better-built, more comfortable, and have easier-to-use controls.
If you’re shopping around for headphones but can’t figure out what the best over-ears under $100 are, then get the Mpow H10. They’re not as well-built as the Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2, but they have better ANC performance. They’re comfortable and provide a satisfactory listening experience for the price.
They have decent audio reproduction and are pretty well-suited to most genres of music. They have an impressive 23-hour battery life and have a standby mode to help save power, which is great. They also isolate a reasonable amount of noise across the board, which can help make your daily commute a bit more peaceful.
On the downside, they leak quite a bit of sound, so if you listen to your music too loud you might disturb those around you. They also feel cheaply made, especially compared to the more affordable Mpow H5. That said, they perform better overall, which makes them a decent choice if your budget permits. You may also want to consider the Anker SoundCore Life 2 which leak less and feel better-made for the price, but don’t have as good noise isolation as the Mpow H10.
If you don't mind a wired design and mostly use your headphones for gaming or listening to music, then get the Logitech G433 instead. They're not wireless like the Mpow H10, but they deliver a solid gaming experience with satisfying sound at a fraction of the price of other gaming headsets. They are great wired gaming headphones that will work with your PC, gaming consoles, and mobile devices thanks to their standard audio jack. The Corsair HS60 are a little bit cheaper and feel better-built than the G433, but they don’t come with an in-line remote and microphone, which makes them a bit more limited for casual use outdoors.
If you’re looking for budget headphones, the best over-ear headphones under $50 are the Mpow H5. They sound a bit muddy compared to the Mpow H10, but they provide a surprisingly premium-feeling experience, especially for the price. They feel rather well made for budget headphones and come with a great hard carrying case, which is a welcome addition at this price point.
They sound alright overall and are a decent choice for fans of bass-heavy music like hip-hop. They have easy-to-use controls, a good 35-ft wireless range, and a decent 12-hour battery life. They even support multi-device pairing, so you can keep your work computer and smartphone connected to your headphones at the same time and easily switch between them.
On the downside, they aren’t the most comfortable headphones we’ve tried and they feel rather tight on the head. Mpow has released an upgraded version that is supposed to relieve some of the uncomfortable clamping force; however, we haven’t yet tested the upgrade. Even though the version of the H5 we’ve tested are a little tight, these headphones still provide great value overall.
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.