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. Their lightweight design, well-padded ear cups, and comfortable headband make it easy to listen to your audio for long periods.
They have a balanced sound profile, making them great for most genres of audio. The bass in particular has excellent extension, giving you a boomy rumble. Because these headphones don't have active noise cancelling, they have 21 hours of continuous playback time, and if you're in a hurry, they only take only 2.5 to fully charge. These headphones also have multi-device pairing, letting you pair up to two devices at a time - a great feature for those who often switch between their computer and phone.
While they're light and fairly portable, they have poor noise isolation, making them more difficult to take with you on the go. They're also not compatible with Bose's mobile app, meaning that you won't be able to customize the default sound. However, most users will be pleased by the sound profile. Despite being light on active features, these headphones are great for those who value comfort and sound above everything else.
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. The bright, balanced sound profile of these headphones is well-suited for most audio genres including classical and R&B. Those who like EDM and hip-hop will especially be pleased with the deep, powerful bass.
Their signature retro black leather and gold detailing make them a decently comfortable and stylish choice. At 17 hours of battery life, these headphones are suitable for getting through a day's work at the office or a session at the gym. You can also use these headphones while charging if you need to listen to that new album before anyone else. Adjusting the controls is easy, as the multi-directional knob on the left ear cup gives good tactile feedback.
Unfortunately, their noise isolation performance is okay - they won't completely block out noise from bus or plane engines. However, if you're listening at home or in another quiet environment, you'll really be able to focus on their good neutral sound profile.
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. With over 42 hours of battery life, they'll last you an entire work week on a single charge.
With good and balanced audio reproduction, these headphones slightly lean into the bass, making them ideal for those who like a little more thump in their audio. These headphones provide a tight, stable fit that still comfortable, thanks to the heavily padded ear cups. You'll easily be able to pair with any iOS device, as they're compatible with Apple's W1 chip. Their wireless range is also excellent - you shouldn't experience audio cuts if your audio source is still near you.
However, while the high battery life can easily get you through the day, they don't have an auto-timer. If you forget to turn them off, their battery will continue to drain. However, if you really need to charge them in a pinch, 5 minutes will give you up to 2.5 hours of playtime, making them one of the best picks for battery life.
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.
03/06/2020: Minor text and structure changes. No change in recommendations.