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The 7 Best Over-Ear Headphones - Spring 2022 Reviews

Best Over-Ear Headphones

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 320 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 Wireless Over-Ear Headphones: Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless

    The Sony WΗ-1000XM4 Wireless are the best wireless over-ear headphones we've tested. These well-built headphones offer a versatile performance, whether you're working at the office or travelling. They're equipped with an outstanding active noise cancelling (ANC) system that can isolate you from sounds such as the low rumble of bus engines as well as ambient chatter. 

    They have a bass-heavy default sound profile that adds extra thump, rumble, and boom to mixes, making them a solid choice for genres like EDM and hip-hop. While some users may find they sound muddy, luckily, their companion app offers a graphic EQ and presets so that you can adjust them to your liking. They also support multi-device pairing, so you can connect them to your laptop and smartphone at the same time. Their roughly 37 hours of continuous playback time should easily last through long days on the go too. 

    On the downside, their integrated mic has a sub-par noise handling performance, so if you're taking a call from a busy street, your voice can be drowned out by ambient noise. They also have high latency on PCs and you may notice a delay between your audio and visuals if you're streaming video. However, these headphones offer a well-rounded performance that's worth considering for casual use.

    See our review

  2. More Comfortable Alternative: Bose QuietComfort 45/QC45 Wireless

    If a very comfortable fit is important to you, you may prefer the Bose QuietComfort 45/QC45 Wireless. They have a worse noise isolation performance than the Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless, but their lightweight, well-padded design makes them even more comfortable. They also have an easier-to-use control scheme with physical buttons instead of touch-sensitive surfaces. They have a mic with significantly better recording quality, so your voice sounds much more clear and natural if you use them for phone calls. Their default sound profile is more neutral, which some may prefer, and it's also customizable in the headphones' companion app. Their roughly 20-hour continuous battery life is much shorter than the Sony headphones' but should still easily last you through a full day of use without recharging.

    If you want the headphones with better noise isolation or a longer continuous battery life, go for the Sony, but try the Bose instead if you're looking for a very comfortable fit or a better-performing mic.

    See our review

  3. Best Audiophile Over-Ear Headphones: Sennheiser HD 800 S

    The Sennheiser HD 800 S are the best headphones for audiophiles that we've tested. Thanks to their open-back design, they can create a wide, natural, and spacious passive soundstage to help immerse you in your audio. Although they seem a bit bulky, they also have a very comfortable fit, so you shouldn't feel fatigued when using them for long periods.

    These headphones have a very neutral sound profile and can reproduce vocals and lead instruments accurately. They have excellent frequency response consistency, meaning once you achieve a good fit, you shouldn't experience deviations in bass or treble delivery. They come with several additional accessories like a USB memory drive and a 1/4" to 1/8" adapter so that you can connect them to a mixer or amp.

    Unfortunately, their open-back design means they struggle to reproduce a thumpy low-bass. They won't block out any background noise and leak a lot of audio, even at regular volumes. To get the most out of them, you need an amp to power their drivers. However, if you plan to use these headphones to listen to high-fidelity audio, they're a solid choice. They're even among the best audiophile headphones we've tested.

    See our review

  4. Planar Magnetic Alternative: HiFiMan Edition XS

    If you prefer planar magnetic headphones, try the HiFiMan Edition XS. While they aren't as well-built or as comfortable as the Sennheiser HD 800 S, the HiFiMan have planar magnetic transducers that improve their bass performance. Even though they still lack a bit of low-bass, they have a touch of extra warmth to help balance out their sound. Overall, their sound profile is quite neutral with flat mids and a touch of extra treble, so vocals and lead instruments sound clear and bright. They also create a passive soundstage that's wide, spacious, and open, which can help immerse you in your audio. That said, their overall frame is quite large, so they may not fit well if you have a small head. 

    Consider the Sennheiser if you want more comfortable audiophile headphones with a more out-of-head passive soundstage performance. However, if you prefer planar magnetic headphones that can deliver more thump and rumble to mixes, check out the HiFiMan.

    See our review

  5. Best Over-Ear Headphones Under $100: Anker Soundcore Life Q30 Wireless

    The Anker Soundcore Life Q30 Wireless are the best headphones under $100 with an over-ear design that we've tested. These affordable wireless headphones have an adjustable ANC system that you can set to different modes to suit different situations. With their 'Transport' mode, they do a fantastic job of blocking out bass-range noise like the low rumble of bus and plane engines.

    Their default sound profile is v-shaped and packs a lot of extra thump and punch into audio, while instruments and lead vocals are bright and clear. If you prefer a different sound, you can customize them with a graphic EQ and presets in their companion app. They're also well-built, have a comfortable fit, and last for more than 44 hours of continuous use on a single charge. They also support multi-device pairing, meaning you can stay connected to your phone and computer at the same time.

    Unfortunately, they leak quite a bit of audio at high volumes, meaning that if you use them to listen to loud music at the office, it may bother people around you. They have sub-par breathability, so they can make your ears feel hot if you wear them for long periods. Otherwise, if you're looking for budget-friendly over-ear headphones, these are a versatile, customizable option.

    See our review

  6. Alternative With Less Leakage: Mixcder E9 Wireless

    If you like to crank the volume when listening to your favorite tunes, check out the Mixcder E9 Wireless. While they aren't as customizable as the Anker Soundcore Life Q30 Wireless, the Mixcder bleed less audio at high volumes, so you're less likely to annoy others around you. These over-ears have a fairly neutral sound profile that's versatile enough for a variety of audio content. They also have a comfortable fit and last over 18 hours continuously, which is good for long days at the office or on the go. That said, although they have noise cancelling, they aren't able to block out as much ambient noise as the Anker. 

    Go for the Anker if you like to finetune your headphones' sound to your liking. However, if you enjoy listening to your music at high volumes and want to lower the amount of leakage that others hear, try the Mixcder instead.

    See our review

  7. Best Budget Over-Ear Headphones: Anker Soundcore Life Q20 Wireless

    The best budget over-ear headphones are the Anker Soundcore Life Q20 Wireless. Although they're the previous generation of the Anker Soundcore Life Q30 Wireless, they still offer a well-rounded performance at this price point. They have over 32 hours of continuous playback time, and you can use them passively with their 1/8" TRS cable if you prefer.

    These comfortable over-ears have an ANC system that does a good overall job blocking background noise. Although they have a harder time cutting down the low rumble of bus and plane engines, they can reduce mid-range sounds like office chatter well. They also have an excited, v-shaped sound profile that delivers extra thump, punch, and boom to mixes while vocals and lead instruments are bright, making them well-suited for genres like pop and rock.

    That said, they lack sound customization features like an EQ to help you adjust their sound to suit your tastes. They're mostly made of plastic too, and although they have a thin metal sheet to help reinforce their headband, the hinges feel prone to damage over time. However, if you're looking for wallet-friendly over-ears, they should please most users.

    See our review

Notable Mentions

  • Audio-Technica ATH-M50x: The Audio-Technica ATH-M50x are a viable alternative to the Sennheiser HD 800 S if you're looking for more wallet-friendly audiophile headphones. However, they aren't as comfortable or neutral sounding. See our review
  • Wyze Noise-Cancelling Headphones Wireless: The Wyze Noise-Cancelling Headphones Wireless are over-ears that support multi-device pairing and have a customizable sound profile. However, their noise isolation performance isn't as good as our top picks. See our review
  • Jabra Evolve2 85 Wireless: The Jabra Evolve2 85 are premium, versatile headphones with a comfortable fit, but their audio delivery isn't as consistent as our top picks. See our review
  • Sony WH-1000XM3 Wireless: The Sony WH-1000XM3 Wireless are very versatile headphones, but they don't have as many features as the newer Sony WH-1000XM4. See our review
  • Bose 700 Headphones Wireless: The Bose 700 Headphones are noise cancelling headphones with a balanced, neutral sound profile. However, they don't isolate as well as the Sony WH-1000XM4. See our review
  • Sennheiser PXC 550-II Wireless: The Sennheiser PXC 550-II are versatile over-ears with a surprisingly stable fit, which is great if you like to work out in over-ears, but our top picks perform slightly better overall. See our review
  • Sennheiser Momentum 3 Wireless: The Sennheiser Momentum 3 are comfortable wireless headphones with a well-built design and a good, bass-heavy sound profile. They can be leaky at high volumes and don't block noise as well as the Bose QuietComfort 35 II or the Sony WH-1000XM4. See our review
  • Mixcder E9 Wireless: The Mixcder E9 Wireless are wallet-friendly over-ears with ANC. While they have a more neutral sound profile than the Anker Soundcore Life Q30 Wireless, but they aren't as well-built and they lack sound customization features. See our review
  • Jabra Elite 85h Wireless: The Jabra Elite 85h are easy-to-use ANC headphones that sound very good and are highly customizable but don’t isolate very much in the bass range. See our review
  • Beats Studio3 Wireless: The Beats Studio3 are decently versatile wireless over-ears but don't have any sound customization features. See our review
  • HiFiMan Ananda: The HiFiMan Ananda are a good alternative to the Sennheiser HD 800 S if you're looking for audiophile over-ears at a much cheaper price. However, their build quality isn't as good as the Sennheiser HD 800 S. See our review
  • HiFiMan Arya: The HiFiMan Arya are a viable alternative to the HiFiMan Edition XS as their ski-band headband design is more comfortable. They also have a similarly immersive passive soundstage and a neutral sound. However, these headphones have been updated to use the manufacturer's 'Stealth Magnets' to reduce distortion, and we haven't tested this variant yet. See our review

Recent Updates

  1. Apr 22, 2022: We've replaced the HiFiMan Arya with the HiFiMan Edition XS as we haven't tested the new 'Stealth Magnets' Arya yet and don't know how they perform compared to the original model.

  2. Mar 23, 2022: Replaced the Bose QuietComfort 35 II/QC35 II Wireless 2018 with the Bose QuietComfort 45/QC45 Wireless because the QC35 II have been discontinued.

  3. Feb 15, 2022: Checked that picks represent the best recommendations in their categories and that the products are in stock.

  4. Jan 12, 2022: Checked that picks represent the best recommendations and that the products are in stock.

  5. Dec 13, 2021: Replaced the Plantronics BackBeat Go 810 Wireless with the Anker Soundcore Life Q20 Wireless as the Plantronics are no longer found at this price point.

All Reviews

Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best over-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.

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