Lots of people prefer on-ear headphones for their blend of comfort and portability. Bluetooth wireless on-ear headphones are even more convenient since you don’t have to worry about a cable getting snagged on anything. There are lots of decent Bluetooth earbuds out there, but it can be hard to find a satisfactory pair of wireless on-ears.
We’ve tested over 400 headphones and below are our recommendations for the best on-ear Bluetooth headphones to buy in 2020. If you’re looking for our top picks for other on-ear or Bluetooth headphones, check out our recommendations for the best on-ear headphones and the best Bluetooth headphones.
The most comfortable on-ear wireless headphones that we’ve tested so far are the Bose SoundLink On-Ear. They have a lightweight design, well-padded ear cups, and a comfortable headband with minimal clamping force. While these headphones are fairly portable, using them on-the-go can be a challenge, as they have rather poor noise isolation. They perform well in the treble range, but won't do much to block out ambient chatter and the low rumbles of bus engines. The lack of active noise cancelling does help with battery life though, with 21 hours of continuous playback time and taking 2.5 hours to fully charge.
Unfortunately, these headphones are not compatible with Bose's mobile companion app for customization, but their default sound should please most people nonetheless. The bass has excellent extension, while the mids are slightly recessed, causing vocals and leads to sound a bit more distant. Another great feature is multi-device pairing, which lets you pair to two devices at the same time, making it easy to switch between them without having to go through the pairing process every time.
All in all, even though these headphones are light on active features, they're great for those who put comfort and good sound above all.
If you're shopping for a comfortable pair of headphones on a budget, check out the Skullcandy Grind. Though they cost significantly less than the Bose SoundLink On-Ear Wireless, they remain just as comfortable to wear for those long listening sessions. They have a fairly well-balanced sound, with great emphasis on vocals and leads, but the treble can sound a tad sharp for some. The 15-hour battery life should easily get you through a full work day and they take only 1.7 hours to charge. Sadly, they don't fare much better in terms of noise isolation, making them less ideal for commuting or traveling.
Overall, the Bose have a more balanced sound and better comfort, but if cost is a concern, the Skullcandy perform remarkably well for their price.
The best on-ear Bluetooth headphones for sound we’ve tested so far are the Marshall MID ANC. They’re stylish noise cancelling headphones that sport Marshall’s signature black and gold color scheme. They’re fairly comfortable and are well-built, sturdy headphones. They have a multi-directional control knob on the left ear cup that provides great tactile feedback and they are overall easy-to-use.
These headphones have a bright, balanced sound with deep, powerful bass. They’re well-suited for nearly all music genres, from EDM and hip-hop to jazz or classical. They have a 17-hour battery life, which is decent, and can be used while they’re charging.
Unfortunately, they have unremarkable noise isolation performance, which is disappointing for headphones with active noise cancelling. If you’re looking for better noise cancelling, consider the AKG N60NC Wireless; however, they don’t sound quite as good as the Marshall. Though their noise cancelling performance isn’t the best, these are still a good choice for critical listeners who prefer an on-ear fit.
If you prefer the sound of open-back headphones, get the Grado GW100. They're harder to find and don't feel as well-built as the Marshall MID ANC Wireless, but they have a much more open soundstage due to their open-back design. Their sound profile is decently well-balanced and they have more bass than most other Grado headphones, making them decently suited for a wide variety of genres. Because these are open-back headphones, they have poor noise isolation, though this is by design. This means they aren't the best choice for commuting or use in a noisy office as they also leak quite a bit of audio and may bother those around you. It's worth noting that at the time of writing, they only seem to be available to purchase online through the official Grado store.
Get the Marshall if you want a more versatile pair of headphones that can be used in noisier environments, but if you mainly listen to music at home and prefer a more open soundstage, go with the Grado.
The best on-ear wireless headphones for battery life that we’ve tested so far are the Beats Solo3. They’re well-built, compact headphones that are easy-to-use. They have a tight, stable fit but are still fairly comfortable thanks to their heavily padded cups. They have a great, long-lasting battery and are reasonably well-performing headphones all-around.
They have an outstanding 42-hour battery life, long enough to last you an entire work-week without charging, and support Apple’s W1 chip for easier pairing with iOS devices. They have good audio reproduction and sound decent overall. They also have an excellent wireless range, so you shouldn’t experience audio cuts if you don’t keep your audio source directly on you.
On the downside, they don’t have an auto-off timer, so their battery will continue to drain if you forget to turn them off. If you tend to forget to power off your headphones, consider the Bowers & Wilkins P5 Wireless. Their battery life isn’t as remarkable, but they turn off after 10 minutes of inactivity, which is a helpful feature. However, the Beats have a more balanced sound and are an overall better choice for most uses.
If you want great battery life but want to spend less, go for the JBL Live 400BT. They're less comfortable and don't feel as premium-built as the Beats Solo3 Wireless, but they're quite a bit cheaper and are customizable. Their battery lasts just over 30 hours and can be fully charged in less than two, which is fantastic. They also turn off automatically after 10 minutes which helps them save power, something the Beats don't do. They're compatible with the JBL Headphones app, which gives you access to their talk-through feature as well as a full parametric EQ.
Go for the Beats if you want headphones that feel more premium or have an Apple device and want more seamless pairing, but if you want to spend less and still want impressive battery life that should last you all week, get the JBL.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best on-ear Bluetooth 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 on-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.
01/07/2020: Minor text and structure changes. No change in recommendations.
10/31/2019: Only minor updates to the text and verification for accuracy; no changes in product picks.