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 400 headphones and below are our recommendations for the best on-ear Bluetooth 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 Bose SoundLink On-Ear are the most comfortable on-ear wireless headphones that we've tested so far. They have a lightweight design with soft, well-padded ear cups and a headband that's comfortable even for long listening periods.
Their balanced sound profile is well-suited for most genres of music while their extra touch of bass adds thump and rumble especially suitable for EDM and hip-hop. Unlike other headphones in the Bose lineup, they don't have active noise cancelling but they offer 21 hours of continuous playback, which is great if you don't like to charge your headphones too often. They also have multi-device pairing with up to two devices, making it easy to switch between your computer and mobile device.
Although they have a light and fairly portable design, they don't really isolate noise well and aren't well-suited for loud environments. They also don't have access to Bose's compatible app, so you won't be able to customize the sound profile if you don't like it. All in all, even though they lack in active features, these headphones excel in comfort without minimizing sound.
If you don't want to sacrifice comfort for price, the Skullcandy Grind are a good alternative. While they're more affordable than the Bose SoundLink On-Ear Wireless, they're still comfortable enough for long listening sessions. Their fairly well-balanced sound profile places an emphasis on vocals and leads but some may find their treble a bit sharp and piercing. They also have 15 hours of continuous playback time which is great to get you through long work days. On the downside, they don't do any better than the Bose for passive noise isolation and are less than ideal for commuting or office work.
If you're looking for a more balanced sound right out of the box with a more comfortable fit, get the Bose, but if you're trying to cut down costs, the Skullcandy are an affordable option.
The Marshall MID ANC are the best sounding on-ear wireless headphones that we've tested so far. Their bright, balanced sound profile and wireless design are decent for most genres of audio, making them a suitable choice for home or studio use.
These comfortable headphones have a black and gold color scheme that can feel a bit retro but their wireless design modernizes their look. They have a deep, powerful bass that's well-suited for EDM and hip-hop, while fans of classical and R&B can enjoy the smooth, balanced sound. Thanks to their 17 hours of continuous playback time, these headphones easily last throughout the work day. The controls are easy and tactile too as they have a multi-directional knob on the left ear cup.
On the downside, they're only okay at active noise cancelling and won't completely reduce low bass noise like bus engines. However, it shouldn't a problem if you tend to listen to music in less noisy environments such as at the studio.
If you want a more immersive sound experience with an open-back design, check out the Grado GW100. Although they're more difficult to track down and lack a similarly great build quality as the Marshall MID ANC Wireless, their soundstage feels more open and spacious than a closed-back design. Their decently well-balanced sound profile suits a variety of audio genres while the added bass can especially please fans of EDM and hip-hop. On the downside, due to their open-back design, these headphones don't isolate almost any sound and can also leak a lot of audio, which may annoy those around you.
If you want a versatile pair of on-ears that can be used in noisier environments, get the Marshall, but if you're looking for a spacious sound experience for home or studio use, consider the Grado.
The Beats Solo3 are the best on-ear wireless headphones for battery life that we've tested so far. Their 42 hours of continuous battery life is not only impressive on paper but great for long listening sessions.
These sleek headphones have a tight, stable fit. Although their sound profile is fairly balanced, they have enough thump and rumble in the bass that fans of EDM and hip-hop may especially enjoy. As they have a W1 chip, they're easily compatible with any iOS device, making it simple to pair. They also don't take too long to charge up either and if you enjoy more flashy looks, they also come in a variety of colors, so you can find one that matches your style.
On the downside, if you're trying to save battery life, they don't have an auto-timer so it can be easy for the battery to drain if you forget to turn them off. They also don't reduce low bass noise like plane or bus engines and even have trouble cutting down chatter. Still, if you're looking for headphones that can go on for ages using a single charge, they're the best we've tested so far.
If you want a long-lasting battery but at a more affordable price point, go for the JBL Live 400BT. While they lack a premium build and they're less comfortable than the Beats Solo3 Wireless, they have a lower price point and offer customization features. Their 30-hour battery life is impressive and as they can be fully charged in less than two hours, you won't be away from your audio for too long. Unlike the Beats, they also have an auto-off feature after 10 minutes, which is great when you want to save power. They have access to the JBL Headphones companion app, and their full parametric EQ allows you to customize their sound profile to your liking.
Get the Beats if you're looking to expand your iOS ecosystem and like seamlessly pairing with your other Apple devices. However, if you're looking to save a bit of money but don't want to skimp out on impressive battery life, check out the JBL.
05/05/2020: Minor text and structure changes. No change in 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 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.