12 Best Over-Ear Headphones in 2019

Best Overall

Bose QuietComfort 35 II

Bose QuietComfort 35 II
  • Utilizes three separate layers of noise cancellation technology
  • Employs a dual-cancellation microphone for clearer phone conversations
  • Easy control over important features using the Bose Connect app

 

Premium Choice

Sennheiser Over-ear HD 660 S

Sennheiser Over-ear HD 660 S
  • Comes with multiple detachable connection cords
  • 150 ohm natural impedance lets them connect directly to source
  • Facilitates a tremendously rich and natural sound stage

 

Great Value

Skullcandy Hesh 3 Over-Ear Headphones

Skullcandy Hesh 3 Over-Ear Headphones
  • Can run for 22 hours on a single charge
  • Foldable frame makes them great for travel
  • Available in five stylish colors

 

Earbuds may be becoming more popular for use in the gym, but there’s still no substitute for the sound quality a great pair of over ear headphones can provide. That’s because they thrust you in a completely immersive experience. Whether you’re listening to your favorite album, drawn into the world of a console or PC game, or sneaking in a blockbuster movie while the rest of your household sleeps, the best over ear headphones cloister you from reality and thrust you headfirst into a fantasy world.

That doesn’t mean all over the head headphones are made equally. There are a lot of shoddy options, and the demand for quality gear means there are a lot of great models that cost way too much. We’ve identified the 12 best over-ear headphones.

The Best Over-Ear Headphones

Best Overall

1. Bose QuietComfort 35 II

Bose QuietComfort 35 II

If you're looking for noise cancelling over ear headphones, there's one name that stands head and shoulders above the rest: Bose QuietComfort 35. This is an expensive pair of headphones, but no one has come close to matching them in terms of quality. If money isn't an issue and you're looking for dedicated headphones for your home theater or cans for your daily commute or plan ride, don't hesitate to pick up a pair of these.

Their noise cancellation technology is the best in the business, they offer a great level of balance across every meaningful frequency, and they're incredible comfortable to wear. And while the chances they've undergone over the years have been modest, Bose hasn't been afraid to stay ahead of the tech curve. The QuietComfort 35 ii is compatible with the Bose AR augmented reality platform and also works with both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.

Key Features
  • Utilizes three separate layers of noise cancellation technology
  • Employs a dual-cancellation microphone for clearer phone conversations
  • Easy control over important features using the Bose Connect app
  • Works in conjunction with Alexa and Google Assistant
  • Can connect to two sources at the same time
DesignClosedTypeWirelessFrequency Responsenot disclosedWeight0.52 lb
34 X
Very bad! Bad Hmmm Oke Good!
0% 0% 0% 0% 2.9%
Premium Choice

2. Sennheiser Over-ear HD 660 S

Sennheiser Over-ear HD 660 S

If you thought the Bose QuietComforts were expensive, meet the Sennheiser HD 660 S. And then remind yourself that expensive doesn't mean overpriced. Sennheiser's top over ear headphones are luxury models, but they deliver in terms of their largely unparalleled quality. The open-backed design make these a superb choice when you're looking to create a rich and fulsome sound stage. In that respect, they largely exist in counterpoint to the QuietComfort.

The fit is great. These are a tight pair of headphones, but the inclusion of top notch and strategically placed cushioning creates a sensation of them hugging rather than pinching your head, and the open backed design means they aren't prone to overheating. Both the cups and the cables can be replaced, so you can conceivably hold on to these wired over ear headphones for a good long time.

Key Features
  • Comes with multiple detachable connection cords
  • 150 ohm natural impedance lets them connect directly to source
  • Facilitates a tremendously rich and natural sound stage
  • Largely balanced but very dynamic sound quality
DesignOpenTypeWiredFrequency Response10 – 41,000 HzWeight9.17 oz.
Great Value

3. Skullcandy Hesh 3 Over-Ear Headphones

Skullcandy Hesh 3 Over-Ear Headphones

If you don't have hundreds of dollars to drop on over the ear headphones, that's okay. Something like the Hesh 3 from Skullcandy isn't going to offer the level of sound quality you'd find in the more high-end models, but everyone apart from the most ardent audiophiles will probably be fine with the sound reproduction these budget over ear headphones offer. Moreover, the fact that they're Bluetooth powered means they can work functionally on your commute, in the office, or even at the gym.

In fact, these headphones are generous around the board with their value. The battery life is very strong, and the noise isolation is way better than you should expect from a pair of headphones under the $100 price point. And while you shouldn't expect too great of sound quality from cheap over ear headphones like these, there is a nice sense of balanced bass here.

Key Features
  • Can run for 22 hours on a single charge
  • Foldable frame makes them great for travel
  • Available in five stylish colors
  • Affordable over ear headphones with mic
DesignClosedTypeWirelessFrequency Response20 – 20,000 HzWeight9.17 oz.

4. Sony WH1000XM3 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Sony WH1000XM3 Noise Cancelling Headphones

The noise cancellation technology in Sony's WH1000XM3 can't match that found in Bose's top shelf noise canceling headphones, but the depth of quality and breadth of features here more than make up for it. And unless you find yourself regularly listening to music in a building construction site, chances are the difference won't matter all that much to you.

What you get for less than $400 is phenomenal. Voice assistant technology is available via Alexa functionality, but you can also navigate your music with a handy set of controls built right into the cup. And the fast charging technology allows you to get going easier. It can provide you with up to five hours of performance on a modest 10 minute charge. Sony makes use if HiRes sound quality for better and richer performance, and the ANC can be adjusted to suit your environment.

Key Features
  • Offers up to 30 hours of life on one charge
  • Incredibly intuitive swipe-based controls
  • Smart Listening automatically adjusts ANC based on your environment
  • Compatible with Bluetooth, NFC, and Amazon Alexa
DesignClosedTypeWirelessFrequency Response4 – 40,000 HzWeight9 oz.

5. Beats Studio3 Noise Canceling Headphones

Beats Studio3 Noise Canceling Headphones

Let's get one thing out in the open. The noise cancellation offered by the Beats Studio3 cans aren't anything to write home about, but if you can overlook that, there's a lot here to look. Dre's trademark headphones are known for the power of their sound (and especially their bass), and that's a standard that rings true with these wireless over ear headphones too. The Studio3s are also a great looking pair of wireless over ear headphones. Their minimalistic design is well accompanied by the smooth matte finish, and they're available in a whopping 17 different colors.

This is an especially great pair of Bluetooth headphones if you're an iPhone owner. Beats' buyout by Apple ensures that all Beats headphones now come with a proprietary W1 chip that makes pairing a breeze. They also sport a great battery life and a comfortable fit.

Key Features
  • Calibrates audio in real time for responsive sound
  • Uses the W1 chip for easily connecting to Apple devices
  • Up to 40 hours of play time on a charge
  • Available in an extensive variety of different colors
DesignClosedTypeWirelessFrequency Response20 – 20,000 HzWeight1.9 lbs.

6. Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT

Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT

Audio Technica makes phenomenal headphones designed for the most serious of audiophiles. The $200 ATH-M50xBT is a great choice if you're looking for something to wear in your dedicated music room but probably a less ideal choice if you're seeking out a over ear headphones for gym use. The sound stage in these headphones is wide open, and there's a great resonance to the reproduction. That's particularly true of the weighty and meaningful bass.

Noise cancellation is absent, but that's to be expected from Bluetooth over ear headphones that are designed for use around the house. But that allows Audio Technica to offer a tremendous amount of aural clarity in a comparatively very cheap set of cans. These are comfortable headphones with great built-in controls and easy Bluetooth syncing that offers a reliable connection with little to no risk of latency.

Key Features
  • Microphone is crystal clear and well integrated
  • Controls are incredibly well designed
  • Decent noise isolation despite the lack of ANC
  • Offers up to 40 hours of continuous use
DesignClosedTypeWirelessFrequency Response15 – 28,000 HzWeight0.68 lbs.

7. JBL Live 500BT Over-Ear Headphones

JBL Live 500BT Over-Ear Headphones

JBL is known for producing good over ear headphones at some of the most reasonable prices around, and they sport a signature sound quality that some listeners really adore: rich, full bodied, and backed by some serious bass. The Live 500BT is all that and more. It retains both the frequency balance that JBL fans love and the value that the company has set as their bar while also packing in some modern quality of life features that elevate these over ear bluetooth headphones into the top tier for their price point.

The fit itself is secure - short, squat, and almost comically padded. But that results in some of the most comfortable over ear headphones along with some decent noise isolation. These headphones also offer compatibility with Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant along with great equalizer settings and ambient modes. There's also a convenient talk through mode.

Key Features
  • Sports the beloved JBL Signature Sound
  • Delivers 2 hours of playtime on 15 minutes of charge
  • Detachable mic with excellent call clarity
  • Great equalizer settings let you customize your soundscape
DesignClosedTypeWirelessFrequency Response18 – 20,000 HzWeight0.51 lbs.

8. beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO

beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO

Most Beyerdynamic headphones aren't going to win any beauty contests, but the German company knows how to consistently turn out products with great build quality and exceptional aural performance. The DT 990 PRO is built for studio use, and it has flat and well-balanced sound quality to suit those needs. These are good headphones for music but great headphones for mixing music, and their soft and snug design allows you to wear them for hours at a time without feeling uncomfortable.

In pursuit of those studio needs, these are open headphones that leave a lot of space for the development of a sound stage, and they boast an impedance of 250 ohm for more reliable sound performance regardless of your source. These definitely aren't over ear headphones for working out, but if you want something to wear in the studio or attach to your record player, they're a great fit.

Key Features
  • Tremendous sound quality for less than $100
  • Very broad frequency response range
  • Flat, balanced sound that's perfect for producers and DJs
  • Open design creates a great sense of spatial depth
DesignOpenTypeWiredFrequency Response5 – 35,000 HzWeight1.3 lbs.

9. Sony WH-XB700 Extra Bass Headphones

Sony WH-XB700 Extra Bass Headphones

Finding a great pair of headphones isn't that tough. Finding an objectively great pair of headphones for under a hundred bucks? That's a different story entirely. That's why it's impressive how much Sony manages to pack into their WH-XB700 set. They deliver on the "extra bass" promised in the name with a low-end that's powerful without drowning out everything else. There's a real rumble to be had when playing hip-hop or EDM, but you can be assured the mids and highs aren't neglected here.

The design is equally as smart. The battery life on these wireless headphones are well above average, and the controls built into the ear cup are smart and intuitive. But if you find yourself worried about the length of the battery on long trips, these headphones can double as a wired set. Sony has also opted to include compatibility with both Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa.

Key Features
  • Great quality at a very affordable price
  • Exceedingly strong bass performance
  • Quick charging battery offers 30 hour life
  • Can connect to your phone through Bluetooth and NFC
DesignClosedTypeWirelessFrequency Response5 – 22,000 HzWeight1.17 lbs.

10. Plantronics BackBeat GO 810

Plantronics BackBeat GO 810

Plantronics' Backbeat Go is a powerful set of cans that packs in a lot of features that are usually seen as high-end fundamentals while still managing to keep to a price in the ballpark of $100. Plantronics has focused on three core things here: ensuring a strong battery life, packing in high value sound cancellation tech, and supporting a wide Bluetooth range. Those three aspects combined result in headphones that serve in something of a "do anything" role, but they're especially well suited for the office or the gym.

All of the core features of the Backbeat Go work perfectly fine even at a distance of 50 feet, and the FIT app allows you to modify the noise cancellation functionality to your specifications. The app in general works well, and there are even a number of equalizer presets you can use to adjust your personal settings.

Key Features
  • Strong but adjustable noise cancellation tech
  • Slim but well cushioned, ideal for exercise
  • Battery life of 22 hours with and 28 hours without ANC
  • Great integration with the Plantronics phone app
DesignClosedTypeWirelessFrequency Response50 – 20,000 HzWeight0.64 lbs.

11. Sony MDR7506 Professional Headphone

Sony MDR7506 Professional Headphone

When Sony markets their MDR-7506 headphones as "Pro", it's more than just a catchphrase. These relatively inexpensive wired headphones are built to work well in the studio. And while that means that they aren't going to be perfect for the casual listener, there's a lot to enjoy about them. The MDR-7506 is actually one of the recognized standard bearers for DJs, producers, and engineers, and it has been for years. That's due to the pristine sound quality: accurate, balanced, and intentionally flat.

But that means that there aren't a lot of frills with these headphones. They're minimalistic in design and comfortably built without offering much in the way of padding or cushioning. They offer strong noise isolation but don't come with active noise cancellation. That would be a liability given what these cups are built for.

Key Features
  • Simple design offers great noise isolation
  • 9.8 inch plug is long, sturdy, and non-detachable
  • Some of the best, most neutral sound of any headphones
  • Can be folded up and stored away for travel
DesignClosedTypeWiredFrequency Response10 – 20,000 HzWeight8.1 oz.

12. Bowers & Wilkins P9 Signature

Bowers & Wilkins P9 Signature

We've covered a lot of expensive models in these over the ear headphones reviews, but nothing comes close to matching the P9 Signature. If you absolutely have to have the most opulent headphones around, here's your bragging rights. Their brown, Italian leather surface and smooth aluminum frame sets them distinctly apart from practically any other headphones on the market, and the $900 price tag earns you some of the best HiFi performance anywhere. The British Bowers & Wilkins have been in business for half a century, and they've decided to celebrate by making the most premium pair of headphones possible.

The great seal of the headphones creates noise isolation that doesn't require active technology, and these cups really shine on bass heavy songs. That it manages to offer such powerful performance on the low range without disturbing the higher frequencies is a real show of engineering talent.

Key Features
  • Constructed exclusively from premium materials
  • The best bass performance of any headphones
  • Backed by a full two year warranty
  • Angled drivers provide much more immersive sound
DesignClosedTypeWiredFrequency Response2 – 30,000 HzWeight14.57 oz.

Best Over Ear Headphones Buyer’s Guide

Open or Closed Back?

The decision between having an open or closed back on your headphones may seem like a no brainer to the uninitiated. After all, don’t you want the headphones that most securely fit around your ears and provide you with as much noise isolation as possible? In actuality, that depends on what your needs are. Open back headphones have long been popular along audiophiles and music technicians because they allow the sound coming into your ears to interact with the space around you and the acoustics of the room. This “sound stage” is a necessity if you want a clear and natural sound.

But that comes with some distinct disadvantages. Open back headphones offer little to nothing in the way of either leakage protection for the people around you or noise isolation for the listener, so open back earphones are going to be largely useless to you outside of the home, studio, or other environment where you can find some peace and quiet. Closed back headphones have the versatility to work in far more spaces, and their inherent design means that they’re usually sturdy and less prone to accidental damage.

To Mic or Not to Mic

Headphones serve one primary and obvious purpose: allowing you to listen to music comfortably without being distracted by the outside world or irritating those around you. But it’s very common to find over ear headphones with mic built in. The most obvious reason for investing in headphones with a mic is that they allow you to answer calls, but how much mileage you get out of that will depend on your situation. If you’re regularly using your headphones on a busy commute or while you exercise, the ability to go hands free for calls can be useful. Otherwise, the inclusion will probably be a bit extraneous.

But a number of different professions and hobbies can benefit from the inclusion of a microphone. They can serve as a way for multiplayer gamers to communicate with their teammates or trash their rivals, and they’re becoming increasingly popular with podcasters as a replacement for more traditional mic setups. Additionally, headphones with mics have obvious practical uses for music producers and DJs.

Most Bluetooth headphones come with some sort of mic, so if you need a mic, you’ll want to spend a little more time figuring out the quality of each model. Omnidirectional mics are pretty much a necessity, and many microphones come with their own noise cancellation tech.

What’s Frequency Response?

A good set of headphones does a good job of representing the low, mid, and high range frequencies that humans can register, and that’s a trait that’s typically evaluated by frequency response. Measured in Hz, frequency response tells you how well the headphones can produce varying frequencies. Most good sets of headphones will offer something at least in the range of 20 to 20,000 Hz, as that’s the generally recognized range for what humans can hear.

That said, the wider the frequency response, the better. Wider responses often result in a higher clarity of sound, but that’s not always the case. Frequency response should be a decision making factor for people who really want the most authentic listening experience, but investigating reviews and tracking down actual benchmarks can tell you a lot more than raw specs can.

Final Thoughts

There’s a decent amount of variety in the headphones we’ve covered here, but whether you’re looking to spend less than a hundred or close to a grand, there’s one unifying principle: all of them offer value proportionate to their pricing. Consider both your budget and what you need before deciding on which headphones you need.