Need to actually hearken to your report assortment or simply have better-quality sound out of your music streaming account? True audiophiles will discover that full-size around-ear or over-ear headphones are superior to the ever present earbud. They’re higher at filtering out background noise, have superior audio high quality (and higher bass) and encompass your ear canal with delicate and squishy cups. Prior to now, a listing of finest over-ear headphones would have included many wired fashions, however customers nowadays are inclined to choose lively noise-canceling expertise to drown out ambient sound.

So, with apologies to audio purists (however probably not, as a result of these all supply nice sound high quality and a top-notch listening expertise with out tethering you by an audio cable), here is a have a look at our present high picks for finest over ear headphones. We thought of elements like battery life, noise isolation, and the consolation of the ear cup (in addition to audio high quality, in fact). We included some inexpensive headphones and dearer choices, so you will discover a good earphone no matter your price range. We’ll replace this checklist repeatedly as we evaluation new merchandise.

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Sony’s earlier WH-1000XM3 mannequin was nice. But when it had a weak spot, that was voice calling, notably in noisier environments. The WH-1000XM4 mannequin has improved in that space and in addition provides multipoint Bluetooth pairing so you possibly can join to 2 units — akin to your telephone and PC — on the identical time. That implies that if a name is available in when you’re utilizing the headphones along with your pc, the audio will swap to your telephone whenever you reply the decision.

The Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 most likely nonetheless have a slight edge for voice calls, however the 1000XM4 headphones are arguably a tad extra comfy and now have another slight enhancements to noise cancellation and sound that make this mannequin an awesome all-around selection. Even higher: This mannequin has been promoting for $278 throughout vacation gross sales, down from its checklist worth of $350.

Learn our Sony WH-1000XM4 evaluation.

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Bose’s Noise Cancelling Headphones 700, the long-awaited successor to its QuietComfort 35 II fashions, is probably not a quantum leap ahead, however they provide barely higher sound, name and noise cancellation high quality for an optimum listening expertise. Alas, these Bose headphones value $400, however they are a sturdy all-around audio performer with as much as 20 hours of battery life on a single cost. That is numerous battery life!

Learn our Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 evaluation.

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V-Moda’s M-200 is a wired-only headphone and one of many few wired over-ear headphones on this checklist. Launched in late 2019, these clear and detailed sounding over-ear headphones have nice sound and wonderful bass response, and the soft ear cups imply they’re additionally comfy to put on. That includes 50mm drivers with neodymium magnets, CCAW voice coils and fine-tuning by Roland engineers — V-Moda is now owned by Roland — the M‑200 is Hello‑Res Audio-certified by the Japan Audio Society. Different V-Moda earphones are inclined to push the bass slightly, however this has the extra impartial sound profile that you simply’d count on from a studio monitor headphone. These studio-quality headphones include two cords, one in every of which has a built-in microphone for making calls. It might be useful if V-Moda provided Lightning or USB-C headphone cables for smartphone customers.

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On the subject of premium noise-canceling headphones, Bose and Sony have been the dominant sound gamers over the previous couple of years. However now Sennheiser has turned up with its new Momentum three Wi-fi and it deserves some consideration, notably from of us who’re followers of the Momentum line. It is in the stores now for $299 — even lower than Bose’s Noise Cancelling Headphones 700.

Not solely does it function enhanced audio high quality with improved noise-canceling options (goodbye, exterior noise) and wonderful sound and audio for listening to music, however it additionally performs properly as a headset for making calls in your iPhone or Android. Whereas its noise cancellation and luxury degree does not fairly measure as much as the noise cancellation and luxury of Sony WH-1000XM3’s, it has properly padded ear cups coated with sheep leather-based and I had no hassle rocking it for a two-hour music listening session, to say nothing of the battery life.

Learn our Sennheiser Momentum three first take.

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Whereas its noise canceling and luxury aren’t fairly on par with competing fashions from Bose and Sony, JBL’s Dwell 650BTNC measures up properly by way of sound — the most effective over ear headphones should you do not wish to spend quite a lot of hundred {dollars}. The listening expertise remains to be excellent, the ear pads are comfy and little or no ambient noise leaks by. These over-ear headphones are price contemplating should you do not wish to spend $300 or extra on noise-canceling headphones. We just like the sound of that.

Learn our JBL Dwell 650BTNC evaluation.

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I preferred Bowers & Wilkins’ authentic PX noise-canceling over-ear headphones, however they had been barely missing within the consolation and noise-canceling departments. The corporate’s new PX7, launched within the fall of 2019, improves on each fronts, with wonderful sound, 4 noise-canceling settings (Automated, Low, Excessive and Off) and a properly padded ear cushion in a sturdy, eye-catching design. There’s additionally an adjustable ambient “transparency” mode that means that you can hear the skin world.

The headphones are a tad heavy at 10.7 ounces (304 grams), however the construct high quality is top-notch — and it higher be, contemplating these are slightly dear at $400. Bowers & Wilkins additionally makes a extra compact on-ear mannequin, the PX5, which prices $100 much less and can also be fairly good. However this mannequin does sound slightly higher.  

The sound is wealthy and detailed with deep bass that is still properly outlined even at excessive volumes. This can be a fairly dynamic headphone, with a contact of additional power within the mid-highs. It isn’t laid-back like the sooner PX5 Wi-fi and its most direct competitor might be the Sennheiser Momentum three above. That Sennheiser is arguably superior for making calls, however this B&W most likely wins on design. 

These Bluetooth headphones help AAC and aptX, use Bluetooth 5.0, cost by way of USB-C and have as much as 30 hours of battery life at reasonable quantity ranges. Its noise canceling is not fairly on the degree of the Bose or Sony, however it’s not far off — as I stated, it is improved from the unique PX’s noise canceling.  

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When Jabra first introduced its new Elite 85h ($300, £280) over-ear headphones, it touted how it might be outfitted with always-on (hands-free) voice assistant management utilizing Amazon’s Alexa or Google Assistant. Alas, that function did not make it into the ultimate product — apparently it affected battery life an excessive amount of, and battery life is important — however the Elite 85h is nonetheless a wonderful noise-canceling headphone that makes music and different audio sound good. It is comfy to put on and in addition works properly as a headset for making calls — vital for over-ear headphones.

Learn our Jabra Elite 85h evaluation.

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Launched means again in 1991, the Sony MDR-7506 has lengthy been a favourite headphone of recording engineers and different sound professionals (sure, this can be a wired headphone). The origins of its design date even additional again, because the MDR-7506 is, in actual fact, a refresh of the Sony MDR-V6 that rolled out in 1985. Each fashions had been designed for the professional sound market, however stay massively common with customers.

Whereas the 2 headphones have the identical design and are very comfy, they do not sound equivalent. Each supply very well-balanced sound and wonderful readability for his or her modest costs — and each are nice general values. However the V6 makes slightly extra bass and sounds extra laid-back and mellow, whereas the 7506 is leaner with a extra accentuated treble vary, which makes it slightly crisper and livelier.

Learn our Sony MDR 7506 evaluation.

Sarah Tew

One other audiophile favourite, Grado’s Status Sequence SR325e has been round for some time — we reviewed these over-ear headphones again in 2014. It is an open-back wired mannequin, which implies it leaks sound (do not use it in an open-office atmosphere), however it delivers a number of the most open, detailed sound you will discover at this worth. 

Grado, which relies in Brooklyn, New York, and builds most of its merchandise there, has not modified the enduring exterior design of the headphones and like its SR325 predecessors (the earlier mannequin was the SR325i), his mannequin has the identical agency, bowl-shaped foam pads that apply slightly extra strain to the outer edges of your ears than the extra easy foam pads of the step-down SR80e, that are arguably extra comfy. The SR80e headphones are considerably lighter, however not of the identical construct high quality because the SR325e mannequin. Some folks like Grado’s earpads (they’re user-replaceable), however general we might say this mannequin’s consolation degree is not as much as the extent of its sound high quality: Consolation is sweet however not nice.

Learn our Grado Status Sequence SR325e evaluation.


Bang & Olufsen’s Beoplay H9 does not get talked about a lot within the dialogue of high noise-canceling headphones as a result of at $500, it is a actually dear pair of headphones. The newest third-generation model has been upgraded in a couple of vital ways in which make it higher than the sooner H9i. Battery life for this model has improved over the earlier model to 25 hours, there’s now a devoted button to your voice assistant, the padding on the ear cushions and headband is cushier and the contact controls have been tweaked. The sound remains to be good.

Some folks, notably weightlifters, prefer to work out in full-size headphones, and the BackBeat Match 6100 over-the-ear wi-fi headphones are a really stable selection for each the fitness center and on a regular basis use. The adjustable sport-fit headband has an IPX5-rated water resistant and sweat-proof design, 40mm angled drivers and noise-isolating ear cups with an “Consciousness” mode. Battery life is rated at 24 hours. They sound fairly good and actually keep in your head securely — you possibly can modify the strain within the headband, which is progressive and excellent for train headphones. 

They’re slightly costly at their checklist worth of $180, however typically the worth dips nearer to $100. They’re accessible in black, camo and grey.

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