If you find over-ear headphones slightly too bulky or you don't like the deep fit of earbuds, on-ear headphones can be a great option. On-ear headphones have a unique design that some prefer for their portability and sound. Wireless design can be a useful feature to have for headphones, too, as there's little worry about snagging the audio cables on something. Although there are a lot of good Bluetooth earbuds on the market, it can be a bit harder to find suitable wireless on-ears.
We’ve tested over 590 pairs of headphones, and below are our recommendations for the best on-ear wireless headphones to buy. If you’re looking for more on-ear headphones, check out our recommendations for the best on-ear headphones or if you're more interested in a wireless connection, see our picks for the best Bluetooth headphones.
The JBL Live 460NC Wireless are the best wireless on-ear headphones that we've tested. These headphones have a decently comfortable fit and last over 29 hours continuously. They also have an auto-off timer to help conserve battery life when you're not using them, and you can even use them passively with their included TRS audio cable.
Right out-of-the-box, they have a neutral sound profile with a touch of extra thump and rumble that's suitable for a variety of audio content like pop, rock, or audiobooks. They're compatible with the JBL Headphones app, which offers a parametric EQ and presets so that you can really adjust their sound to your liking. They also have an active noise cancelling (ANC) system that does a decent overall job of blocking out noise around you, although it struggles more with bass-heavy sounds like the rumble of bus engines.
Unfortunately, their mic has a sub-par noise handling performance, and your voice may get drowned out if you're talking in a moderately noisy environment. Some users may also find that their clamping force is a bit uncomfortable, especially if you're wearing them for long periods of time. That said, these well-built headphones offer a customizable sound experience with long-lasting battery life.
If you're looking for pair of on-ears that feel better built, check out the Beats Solo Pro Wireless. While they aren't as comfortable as the JBL Live 460NC Wireless and don't have any sound customization features, the Beats have a high-end build quality that feels solid and sturdy. They have a pretty neutral sound profile out-of-the-box and are well-suited for most audio genres. Thanks to their great active noise cancelling (ANC) system, they can also block out more overall background noise than that of the JBL. They last roughly 24 hours continuously and have an H1 chip so that you can seamlessly pair them with other devices in your Apple ecosystem.
Take a look at the JBL if you're looking for more comfortable and customizable on-ears, but try the Beats if you want more premium and high-end headphones with an H1 chip.
The best on-ear wireless headphones for running that we've tested are the JBL Live 400BT Wireless. These Bluetooth on-ears are lightweight and clamp your head fairly tightly, so they shouldn't fall off your head or move around too much if you wear them while you're out on a run. They do a mediocre job of filtering out background noise, which could be helpful if you're run outdoors and want to stay aware of your surroundings.
They have a fairly well-balanced default sound profile that should suit most kinds of audio content, though their companion app features a parametric EQ that lets you fine-tune their audio reproduction in-depth if you're the type that prefers a little more thump and rumble in your music. They can also pair with two devices simultaneously, so you can stream music from your phone while remaining connected to your computer. They also supply more than 30 hours of runtime on a single charge, though battery life can vary with your usage habits, and offer full audio and mic compatibility on a wired connection thanks to their included 1/8" TRRS cable with an in-line mic.
Unfortunately, some users with larger heads may find their on-ear fit to be too tight. The plastic prominently used in their construction also feels rather cheap, and the headphones don't come with a carrying case or a pouch, which makes transporting them when not in use a little tricky. Still, their broad feature set and long battery life help make them some of the best wireless headphones under $100 that we've tested.
The best noise cancelling on-ear wireless headphones that we've tested are the Bowers & Wilkins PX5 Wireless. These premium on-ear headphones have an adjustable ANC feature that allows them to filter out a broad spectrum of ambient noises, from the rumble of a bus engine to the hum of an AC unit, not to mention the chatter of nearby coworkers. Their near 38-hour battery life should ensure that they easily last you throughout a couple of days in the office or throughout long overnight trips.
They support a broad range of Bluetooth connectivity features, including the aptX and aptX HD wireless codecs for high-quality audio as well as multi-device pairing, so you can stream music off of your phone while remaining connected to your work computer. They also have a fairly comprehensive control scheme that puts a lot of functionality at your fingertips, and the headphones themselves look and feel amazingly well-built.
Unfortunately, while fans of EDM and hip-hop music may enjoy their bass-heavy sound profile, their companion app doesn't have an EQ to fine-tune your listening experience, which is a disappointment at this price range. They also don't have a very consistent audio delivery, especially compared to the Beats Solo Pro Wireless, so they may sound a bit different depending on their fit, seal, and positioning on your head. However, they still offer the best noise isolation performance of all the wireless on-ear headphones we've tested.
If you're looking for noise cancelling on-ears but don't want to spend quite as much, consider the AKG N60NC Wireless. These Bluetooth on-ears aren't nearly as well-built as the Bowers & Wilkins PX5 Wireless and have less than a third of their battery life, but they're much cheaper and do a similarly impressive job of filtering out background noise. They also have a more consistent audio delivery as well as a more neutral sound profile overall, with a less overemphasized bass range. Like the Bowers & Wilkins, they support multi-device Bluetooth pairing. They also come with a 1/8" TRRS cable that allows for passive audio playback and microphone usage on a wired connection. However, they don't have a companion app to customize your listening experience.
Get the Bowers & Wilkins if you want better-built wireless on-ear headphones with far better battery life, but consider the AKG if you're looking to save some money without giving up some features.
The JBL Tune 510BT are the best budget on-ear wireless headphones. These headphones have over 38 hours of continuous playback time and recharge in less than two hours. They also support multi-device pairing, so you can connect them with up to two devices at a time, which is handy if you often switch between your smartphone and laptop.
Their slightly v-shaped sound profile adds a touch of extra punch and boom while vocals and lead instruments are bright. They have a reasonably comfortable and lightweight fit, although only the center of the headband is padded. Their ear cups can also swivel to lay flat, which makes them a bit easier to store in your bag when you're on the go.
Unfortunately, they have a mediocre build quality and are made of cheap-feeling plastic. They also really struggle to block out ambient noise like the rumble of bus or plane engines as well as office chatter around you. That said, if you're looking for wallet-friendly on-ears, they're a suitable choice.
Jun 16, 2021: Replaced the Beats Solo Pro Wireless with the JBL Live 460NC Wireless and made the Beats the 'Better-Built Alternative'. Also replaced the Status Audio BT One Wireless with the JBL Tune 510BT Wireless as the Status can no longer be found at this price point.
Apr 20, 2021: Verified that all main picks are still in stock and represent the best choice for their given category.
Feb 19, 2021: Restructured the article for greater clarity by adding the Beats Solo Pro Wireless as the top pick. Moved the Marshall MID ANC Wireless from 'Best for Neutral Sound' to a 'More Comfortable' alternative. Added the JBL Live 400BT Wireless as 'Best for Running'. Removed the Sony WH-CH400 Wireless and the BÖHM B-66 Wireless from Notable Mentions as they aren't widely available.
Dec 23, 2020: Removed Grado GW100 Wireless from recommendations due to current availability.
Oct 30, 2020: Substantial restructuring of article. Replaced Bose SoundLink On-Ear Wireless, Skullcandy Grind Wireless, Beats Solo3 Wireless, and JBL Live 400BT Wireless. Added Jabra Evolve2 65 Wireless, Bowers & Wilkins PX5 Wireless, AKG N60NC Wireless, and Status Audio BT One Wireless to main product recommendations.
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 wireless 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.