The best over-ear headphones will deliver great sound and design to fully immerse you in your music in comfort, regardless of their style, whether you’re looking for a pair of wired over-ear headphones to indulge in a private listening session at home or to help you focus while working at your desk or wireless over-ears to take out and about.
Over-ear headphones sit around your ears, with the earpads completely enclosing them for a more private listening experience than on-ear headphones, whose normally smaller earpads lay on your ears. While over-ear headphones definitely enable you to lose yourself in music, on-ear and earbud styles do have their time and place.
1. Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless, for starters
After careful consideration, we predicted that the 2019 Sennheiser Momentum third-generation Wireless headphones (mentioned below) would eventually occupy the top spot in this buying guide, and they have. If Sony isn’t concerned, it should be since the Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless are the brand’s newest wireless over-ear headphones, due out in August 2022.
These headphones have a remarkable 60-hour battery life, a charming app, a wealth of features, simple on-ear controls, expert adaptive noise suppression, and a passionate sound that will have you nodding your head gleefully wherever you go. Admittedly, they have a somewhat simple appearance, but the proof is in the listening, and these headphones sound incredibly amazing for the price.
Sennheiser has crammed the Momentum 4 Wireless with features, including Sidetone to help callers hear your voice during conversations and “Sound Zones,” EQ and ANC presets that can be programmed to magically activate when you’re, well, in the zone. But make no mistake, the sound is still the headline-grabber. What a sound it makes, too! Consider words like vast, thorough, neutral, and crisp. It never gets too heated, crowded, or muddled through the bass.
There is a new set of cans in town, and honestly, they are just a tiny bit better overall than the Sony XM5…
2. Sony WH-1000XM4 3
The Sony WH-1000XM4 were the best all-around headphones we had heard since, well, its predecessor, the Sony WH-1000XM3, until a few weeks ago when Sony released the WH-1000XM5.
They not only have superb audio quality and noise cancellation, but they also manage to perform all of this wirelessly. The sound quality of some of the other over-ear headphones on our list may be better, but the WH-1000XM4 manages to strike the best balance between features and performance.
The XM4s from Sony have a number of new capabilities, including multipoint connection, DSEE Extreme upscaling, conversational awareness, and auto-play/pause utilizing a built-in sensor, even though they don’t appear all that different from the headphones that came before them.
The Sony WH-1000XM4 over-ear wireless headphones continue to be a fantastic all-around option for music lovers on the go because they provide all of this without charging significantly more than the competitors.
Although wireless headphones are currently all the rage, over-ear headphones still have a lot to offer. You can lose yourself in some of the best audio available to escape from strain and tension from the outside world.
With more immersive sound, you can alter your listening habits. To help you select the best over-ear headphones for your needs and budget, we investigated and tested the top models.
3. Austrian Audio 3. Hi-X15
With its first-ever line of wired headphones, Hi-X, Austrian Audio, founded by former AKG employees, has made a strong first impression.
The closed-back Hi-X15 headphones are what we’d call analytical cheap headphones, yet they nevertheless manage to make music enjoyable since they extract tons of information while preserving the spirit of your music. These headphones consistently produce excellent dynamics and outstanding detail levels across the whole frequency range. No sound played over the Austrian AudioHi-X15 headphones has even a hint of fat. Low frequencies have enough weight and substance, though, that you don’t feel like you’re losing out.
Although we wouldn’t need you to combine them with a proper DAC/headphone amplifier, if you do, you’ll be rewarded with a sophisticated-sounding set of headphones that are exceptional for the price.
4. Anker SoundCore Life Q30
The Anker SoundCore Life Q30 are our top selection for the finest over-ear headphones under $100. They also feature the best battery life, offering 60 hours of nonstop use. With advanced noise cancellation, you can block 95% of ambient noise when using the Transport mode for transportation and the Indoor mode to block out conversation. The 40mm drivers of the Life Q30 produce high-quality sound that can compete with models that cost more money.
Beyerdynamic Pro DT 1990
5. Beyerdynamic has a reputation for producing some of the best-sounding audio equipment on the market, even if it may not be as well known as its German sibling, Sennheiser. Many people praised their DT770, DT880, and DT990 over-ear headphones for their exceptional construction and sound quality.
Much better is the Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro. It’s an open-back variation of the Beyerdynamic DT 1770 Pro, a headphone that was selected as our Editor’s Pick for its imaging, style, and affordability. As both headphones cost the same ($599 / £589 / AU$1,159), there is no advantage to choosing one over the other. The sound of the two models is essentially what distinguishes them from one another.
These DT 1990 Pro open-back headphones are made for rigorous analytical listening at home or in the studio. In our testing, we discovered that although the open-back design allows some outside noise to enter (and some audio leakage, making these headphones unsuitable for crowded commuting), it also creates an incredible sensation of space. Even the most careless listener can place each instrument precisely where it is playing thanks to the expansive soundstage.
The greatest over-ear headphones, in our opinion, are the Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro. Nevertheless, for listening while on the go, we recommend the closed-back, more sociable DT 1770 Pro.