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The 6 Best On-Ear Wireless Headphones - Fall 2021 Reviews

Updated
Best On-Ear Wireless Headphones
649 Headphones Tested
  • Store-bought headphones; no cherry-picked units
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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 helpful 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 620 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.


  1. Best On-Ear Wireless Headphones: JBL Live 460NC Wireless

    7.6
    Neutral Sound
    7.4
    Commute/Travel
    7.3
    Sports/Fitness
    7.3
    Office
    5.8
    Wireless Gaming
    7.4
    Wired Gaming
    6.7
    Phone Calls
    Type On-ear
    Enclosure Closed-Back
    Wireless Yes
    Noise Cancelling Yes
    Mic Yes
    Transducer Dynamic

    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 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 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. That said, these well-built headphones offer a customizable sound experience with long-lasting battery life.

    See our review

  2. Better-Built Alternative: Beats Solo Pro Wireless

    Type On-ear
    Enclosure Closed-Back
    Wireless Yes
    Noise Cancelling Yes
    Mic Yes
    Transducer Dynamic

    If you want on-ears with a more premium and durable build quality, check out the Beats Solo Pro Wireless. Unlike the JBL Live 460NC Wireless, the Beats don't have an EQ or presets to help you adjust their sound to your liking. However, they have a great build quality that's solid and sturdy, thanks to their metal-alloy headband and thick padding. Their sound profile is fairly neutral, so they're well-suited for most kinds of audio content. Their ANC system also does a better job of blocking out ambient noise like office chatter, and their H1 chip allows you to seamlessly pair them with other devices in your Apple ecosystem. They have roughly 24 hours of continuous playback time, so you don't need to recharge them frequently. However, they aren't as comfortable as the JBL, and the headband may not expand far enough to accommodate users with large heads.

    Try the JBL if you're looking for more comfortable on-ears with sound customization features. However, if you prefer a more sturdy and premium design over all else, go for the Beats instead.

    See our review

  3. Best Noise Cancelling On-Ear Wireless Headphones: Bowers & Wilkins PX5 Wireless

    7.0
    Mixed Usage
    6.1
    Neutral Sound
    7.6
    Commute/Travel
    6.9
    Sports/Fitness
    7.4
    Office
    5.4
    Wireless Gaming
    6.9
    Wired Gaming
    6.5
    Phone Calls
    Type On-ear
    Enclosure Closed-Back
    Wireless Yes
    Noise Cancelling Yes
    Mic Yes
    Transducer Dynamic

    The Bowers & Wilkins PX5 Wireless are the best noise cancelling on-ear wireless headphones that we've tested. These sleek and high-end on-ears have an adjustable active noise cancelling (ANC) system. They can block out a decent amount of bass-range noise like the rumble of bus engines and are even better at cutting down office chatter.

    These headphones have an excellent build quality that feels high-grade and premium. Out of the box, their bass-heavy sound profile adds intense thump, rumble, and boom to your mixes, which should please fans of EDM and hip-hop. They also have over 37 hours of continuous playback time and have a standby mode to help conserve battery life when you're not using them. You can pair them with up to two devices at a time too, which is nice if you want to stay connected to your laptop and smartphone at the time.

    Although they have a companion app, it doesn't offer sound customization features like an EQ or presets, so you can't tweak their sound to your liking. They're also prone to inconsistencies in treble delivery, so you may need to adjust their fit and positioning on your head to get a more consistent sound. That said, these headphones offer a solid build and can isolate you from a great amount of ambient noise.

    See our review

  4. Cheaper Alternative: AKG N60NC Wireless

    Type On-ear
    Enclosure Closed-Back
    Wireless Yes
    Noise Cancelling Yes
    Mic Yes
    Transducer Dynamic

    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 filtering out background noise. They have a more consistent audio delivery and a more neutral sound profile overall, with a less overemphasized bass range. They support multi-device Bluetooth pairing and come with a 1/8" TRRS cable that allows 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.

    See our review

  5. Best On-Ear Wireless Headphones For Running: JBL Live 400BT Wireless

    7.0
    Mixed Usage
    7.2
    Neutral Sound
    7.1
    Commute/Travel
    7.3
    Sports/Fitness
    7.0
    Office
    5.6
    Wireless Gaming
    7.2
    Wired Gaming
    6.5
    Phone Calls
    Type On-ear
    Enclosure Closed-Back
    Wireless Yes
    Noise Cancelling No
    Mic Yes
    Transducer Dynamic

    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.

    See our review

  6. Best Budget On-Ear Wireless Headphones: JBL Tune 510BT Wireless

    7.4
    Neutral Sound
    6.1
    Commute/Travel
    6.9
    Sports/Fitness
    6.3
    Office
    5.5
    Wireless Gaming
    5.3
    Wired Gaming
    6.5
    Phone Calls
    Type On-ear
    Enclosure Closed-Back
    Wireless Yes
    Noise Cancelling No
    Mic Yes
    Transducer Dynamic

    The best budget on-ear wireless headphones that we've tested are the JBL Tune 510BT Wireless. These affordable headphones have over 38 hours of continuous battery life, so you don't need to recharge them every day. You can also pair them with up to two devices at once, like your computer and smartphone.

    They have a fairly comfortable and lightweight fit that allows for some airflow around your ears. Their physical control scheme is also easy to use, and although they're limited in scope, you have all the essential commands like playing or pausing audio, track skipping, and answering or ending calls. Their slightly v-shaped sound profile is especially well-suited for genres like pop and rock as they deliver extra thump, rumble, and boom to mixes while brightening vocals and lead instruments.

    Unfortunately, they have a passable build quality that feels cheap. They also barely block out background noise, like the low rumble of bus engines or background chatter, which could be annoying if you commute to work. However, if you're looking for more wallet-friendly on-ears, these simple headphones offer a somewhat versatile performance that should please most users.

    See our review

Notable Mentions

  • Marshall MID ANC Wireless: The Marshall MID ANC Wireless are well-built on-ears with a sleek retro look and a slightly excited sound profile. While their ANC does an okay job overall of blocking ambient noise around you, it does a poor job of blocking out bass-range noise. See our review
  • Status Audio BT One Wireless: The Status Audio BT One Wireless are wallet-friendly headphones. While they don't have a lot of extra features and struggle to block out background noise, they support aptX and aptX-LL codecs. See our review
  • Bowers & Wilkins P5 Wireless: The Bowers & Wilkins P5 Wireless are premium on-ears with a great build and an impressive battery. They have a touch of extra bass, but their treble is dull and lifeless. See our review
  • Beats Solo3 2018 Wireless: The Beats Solo3 2018 Wireless offer a longer battery life than the Bowers & Wilkins PX5 Wireless but block out less ambient noise, aren't built as sturdily, and have a harder to use control scheme. See our review
  • Samsung Level On Wireless: The Samsung Level On Wireless are customizable on-ear headphones thanks to good app support on Android. Unfortunately, they have a cheap and flimsy build but a great battery life. See our review
  • JBL E45BT Wireless: The JBL E45BT Wireless have an excited sound profile but don't sound as good as the Marshall MID ANC and are fairly uncomfortable. See our review
  • JBL T450BT Wireless: The JBL T450BT Wireless are affordable wireless on-ears. They have a cheap and flimsy build, while their tight fit lacks comfortable padding. See our review
  • Sony WH-XB700 Wireless: The Sony WH-XB700 Wireless are fairly comfortable on-ears. They have a good set of controls but produce a dark sound. See our review
  • Jabra Evolve2 65 Wireless: The Jabra Evolve2 65 Wireless are among the most comfortable on-ear headphones we've tested, but their poor noise isolation means they aren't suitable for use on the go. See our review

Recent Updates

  1. Oct 08, 2021: We've checked our picks for product availability and accuracy. There hasn't been a change in our recommendations.

  2. Aug 12, 2021: We've checked the picks for accuracy and availability. There hasn't been a change in our recommendations.

  3. 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.

  4. Apr 20, 2021: Verified that all main picks are still in stock and represent the best choice for their given category.

  5. 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.

All Reviews

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.

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