The Best Over-Ear Headphones for 2023

Turn up the music and boost your mood instantly.

Best Over Ear Headphones

Haven’t we all gotten to that point where we just want to scream the noise away? Sometimes our individual worlds can get so loud with distracting noises, each of them with its own demands, that it becomes hard to focus. Most of the time, we try our best to silence the noise by using our favorite pair of headphones. Yet, these seem to eliminate only half the problem. Raising the volume to drown out the noise eventually gives us a headache, and sometimes all we want is soothingly low music to calm ourselves and separate us from everything else around us. That is where over-ear headphones come in.

What distinguishes these headphones from all other types is their ability to eliminate background noise without increasing volume. That way, you simply disappear into a peaceful place of serene music, or on other days, the musically artistic world of jazz, hip-hop, and rap. Our expert review makes sure that our picks will serve all your needs, and if well taken care of, will last for a long time.

 

How We Picked

  • Size and Size of Cups

    The size of a headphone and its cups matter. Cups that are too big or too small will make your headphones awkward and uncomfortable, which is the same for headphones that are just not the right size.

  • Comfort

    We made sure that the headphones we selected have both elegance and provide comfort. This depends on the cups, headphone size, its material, and how well it clamps on you.

  • Noise-Canceling Capabilities

    Why own a pair of headphones if they cannot give you alone time when you need it? While making our pick, we considered the headphones' noise-canceling capability to ensure that you can enjoy a peaceful moment with a little tuning.

  • Cost-Effectiveness

    For those who wanted to get the best product without spending too much, we made sure that our carefully selected pick provided the best sound service for its rates without missing out on the capabilities of the others.

Our Top Picks

Best Pick

Sony WH-1000XM5

Sony WH-1000XM5

You don’t just buy a device; you pay for peace of mind.

These headphones might be expensive, but the features they provide are everything you could wish for in a set of headphones.

Buy Now for $348.00

Even though these Sony ANC headphones are more expensive than the other models and most other headphones, they are the best available to headphone lovers and the best money can buy.

Runner Up

Bose Noise-Canceling Headphones 700

Bose Noise Canceling Headphones 700

The best overall headphone for noise cancellation.

Delicate and reliable, these headphones provide you with quiet moments where you can drown the world out and enjoy the luxury of good music.

Buy Now for $329.00

The headband of the headphones is made of a single piece of seamless stainless steel, which makes it stronger and gives it a tighter clamp than older models. The inside of the headband is made of a rubberized, air-filled, anti-sweat material that adds extra cushioning for comfort.

Most Cost-Effective

Anker SoundCore Life Q30

Anker SoundCore Life Q30

Affordable and efficient for those who want the best at the least cost.

These simple headphones provide you with the best sound quality for a cost below $100 and even come with hybrid features that are worth every penny spent.

Buy Now for $79.99

Anker's Q30 headphones come with ultra-soft protein leather ear cups with memory foam padding that fit securely over your ears, reducing neck strain and allowing you to enjoy music for longer periods. The product is indeed a package worth the penny.

Everything We Recommend

Best Pick

Sony WH-1000XM5

Sony WH-1000XM5

You don’t just buy a device; you pay for peace of mind.

$348.00

Buy Now

Runner Up

Bose Noise-Canceling Headphones 700

Bose Noise Canceling Headphones 700

The best overall headphone for noise cancellation.

$329.00

Buy Now

Most Cost-Effective

Anker SoundCore Life Q30

Anker SoundCore Life Q30

Affordable and efficient for those who want the best at the least cost.

$79.99

Buy Now

Who This Is For

In the event that you’re looking for a new set of headphones, you’ll have to choose between on-ear and over-ear designs. When it comes to listening to music, these minor distinctions can make a huge effect. Over-ear headphone designs are best for music lovers, gamers, and other audiophiles who prefer an immersive sound experience to the usual sound fade provided by earpieces and earbuds.

Over-ear VS In-ear VS On-ear Headphones
Headphones fall into three major categories. Over-ear, on-ear, and in-ear headphones. Over-ear headphones are characterized by their thick headbands and big ear cups which completely enclose the ears. Over-the-ear models tend to be larger than on-ear models which offer smaller ear cups and lower bass response. In-ear headphones on the other hand, under which earbuds also fall come with tiny tips that fit snugly into the ear canal or rest on the edge of the ear’s canal. Compared to the other two, in-ear headphones are compact, lightweight, and portable.

Over-Ear Headphones are a great option if you want a pair of headphones that are both comfy and large in size. As a general rule, they block out a fair amount of background noise, but they may leak more than other designs. In terms of comfort and noise cancellation, over-ear headphones perform better than all other designs and are not suitable for users who prefer more portable headphones. Though it has been noticed that a headphone’s design may influence some aspects of sound, there is no clear association. However, when it comes to headphones, all of the world’s top designs, in terms of sound quality, are over-ear models.

Why You Should Trust Us

Before writing this article, we made it a priority to find out which headphones were widely preferred by users. This we had to do by searching through several layers of customer reviews such as on Amazon where we found ratings for the Sony-WH-1000XM5, the Bose Noise Canceling Headphones 700, Anker SoundCore Life Q30, and Apple AirPods Max. We also made sure to seek out expert opinions and make our research from other single expert reviews before arriving at our conclusions.

How We Picked

Size, Fit, & Size Of Cups
In terms of size and weight, on-ear and over-ear headphones are very different. Over-the-ear headphones can be utilized in a portable situation, although they are often larger and heavier since they accommodate more hardware. So, listening to music for an extended period while wearing over-ear headphones might put a strain on your neck. Additionally, the on-ear design is assured to fit, whereas the over-ear style may not, depending on the size of your ears and head. Because of this, we made certain that the styles we chose could be worn by anyone.

As is typical of headphones, larger drivers (the components in each cup that vibrate to produce sound waves) result in larger cups. This leads to improved instrument separation, increased depth, and a sensation of distance between you and the music. Larger cups, however, don’t always equal better sound. Therefore, we evaluated cup sizes to ensure that the cups were comfortable without being too large for mediocre sound production.

Portability
Over-ear headphones, while foldable and some even come with a travel kit, are not particularly portable. They are the largest and least portable of all headphone kinds, making them a bit of a hassle to carry around, whether on the neck or in the hand. Therefore, we made our choice based on the headphones’ portability in the event that they must be carried about constantly.

Comfort
When you put on a pair of over-ear headphones, you feel like you’ve slipped into a music studio. The big ear cups completely cover your ears, so you don’t have to worry about your ears hurting. But some high-end over-ear headphones can get fairly heavy, so we made our selection based on pairs with padded headbands and comfortable pads on the ear cups that won’t make you sweat. We also made sure that size and weight were taken into account in case you had to wear the headphones for a long time.

Quality of Sound
Over-the-ear headphones have the biggest drivers among headphones, which means that they can play a wide range of sounds. Since the earcups completely cover your ears, these headphones block out a lot of outside noise while keeping a wide soundstage. We tested several headphones to make sure that our picks had the best sound range and delivered the quality of sound that they promised.

Volume Control
Although some may consider it unnecessary to include volume controls on the earcups or at the very least in-line controls on the audio cord, this is far from the case. If you have volume controls on your headphones, it saves you the stress of constantly having to reach for your phone to adjust the volume. Because of this, we made certain to choose headphones with ear cup volume controls.

Noise-Canceling
The major distinction between on-ear and over-ear headphones is ANC (Active Noise Cancellation). Both on-ear and over-ear headphones have earpads that passively block outside noise, but only a few provide the ultimate ANC feature. This feature was a factor in our selection, as it was important to us that the headphones we chose actively blocked out background noise and gave the user a really immersive sound experience.

Durability
When shopping for headphones, don’t forget to take durability into account in addition to other factors like sound quality and performance. The last thing you’d want is for your expensive headphones to snap or break in any part because you hastily removed them from somewhere or because they fell off a high place. Luckily, we made sure that you wouldn’t have to do the research yourself. For the price you’re paying, your headphones will last a long while.

Price vs Quality
It would be unfair to get an expensive product only to discover that it did not live up to expectations. That was why we decided to stick strictly to customer reviews when making our selection. The reviews were able to help us achieve a rating that helped us match price to quality and not just that, we were also able to select the quality at an affordable rate. Therefore, be rest assured that when you make your choice from our pick, you will have the satisfaction you desire according to your choice.

Style/Design
Yes, we value audio performance over everything else when we make our selection, but there’s no shame in getting a set that looks as beautiful as it sounds. Headphones that are unattractive, difficult to wear, or feature cumbersome controls aren’t enticing even if they sound wonderful. With that in mind, we made sure that our picks look as wonderful as they sound so that when you wear them, you feel as good as the sound they make.

Wired or Wireless
Although wired and wireless headphones have huge differences in audio quality and how they feel, wireless headphones are usually more expensive but are also becoming increasingly popular. When we made our selection, we did not discriminate between wired and wireless headphones. However, wired headphones were either a lot more expensive or did not pack the full features that the wireless headphones provided.

Power and Battery Life
Battery life for wireless headphones has substantially gone up in the last few years, and it would be too stressful to travel around having to continually hunt for where to charge. The batteries in the Bluetooth headphones we’re recommending last between 10 and 40 hours on a single charge. The amount of battery life you’ll get will depend on your listening volume and whether you engage in active noise cancellation and other features.

Charging Speed
When making our selection, we considered the fact that audiophiles will be glued to their headphones, and this means they will want fast-charging headphones. Our recommended picks, therefore, feature fast charging capabilities that extend from two to four hours of full charge that can last 40 hours at a single charge.

Our Picks For You

Our Top Pick - Sony WH-1000XM5

Our Top Pick

Sony WH-1000XM5

Sony WH-1000XM5

You don’t just buy a device; you pay for peace of mind.

These headphones might be expensive, but the features they provide are everything you could wish for in a set of headphones.

Buy Now for $348.00

Who It Is For:

The Sony WH-1000XM5 headphones are for those who listen to music in different places and situations throughout the day. Ideal for people in transit, students, workers, and basically everyone. They are great for people who talk on the phone a lot and will be appreciated by those who want higher-bitrate Bluetooth audio.

Why It Is Great:

Sony's WH-1000XM5 noise-canceling headphones are the best on the market thanks to their outstanding ANC and simple features. These headphones have a playback capacity of around 27 hours, making them ideal for long days spent traveling or relaxing, keeping you company for extended periods of time.

Potential Flaws:

At its price, you would hope that the Sony WH-1000XM5’s features would supersede those of its older M4 version. That is not the case. The Sony WH-1000XM5 feels less premium and portable than the previous version and is also not water resistant. This means that for rainy areas, sweaty ears, or the gym, these headphones will not be the right fit.

Price/Product Features:

Priced above $300 on Amazon, these headphones are thinner and provide a more noiseless design by fixing the parts that were affected by wind intrusion. This has left the WH-1000XM5 smoother than its older counterpart.

Made from Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene, this version is a lot more plastic and comes with hinges that let the earcups of the headphones fold flat but not smaller, so you have to be careful when folding them. This model also comes with memory foam in the middle of the headband, which is covered in synthetic leather all the way down to the earpads. This makes it much more comfortable to wear.

In addition to the changes in appearance, Sony upgraded the drivers to a 30mm carbon fiber composite dome that is light and rigid with an Integrated Processor V1. Increasing the model’s microphones from the XM4’s four microphones to eight aids its noise-canceling technology.

The noise-canceling technology is in line with Sony's Headphones app and the Adaptive Sound Control feature, which track your location to control the noise and are compatible with Sony's LDAC technology, which lets compatible devices stream high-quality audio at bitrates higher than those provided by regular Bluetooth.

With the Quick Attention feature, you can lower the volume and talk by covering the right earcup with your hand while the Speak to Chat feature automatically pauses the music when you talk. Also, Wearing Detection has been improved in this model, as the headphones stop playing when you take them off and resume once you put them back on. They can also connect to two devices simultaneously, making it easy to enjoy a movie on the laptop and switch to calls once any come in. These headphones also come with a single cord, providing a good old-fashioned Bluetooth alternative.

The best part is that these headphones feature a battery life of up to 30 hours with Bluetooth and noise cancellation on or 40 hours without. They also have Sony's Precise Voice Pickup technology, which uses four beamforming mics, AI-powered noise reduction, and wind noise reduction to make your calls sound as clear as possible. They are indeed money well spent.

Our Runner Up - Bose Noise Canceling Headphones 700

Our Runner Up

Bose Noise-Canceling Headphones 700

Bose Noise Canceling Headphones 700

The best overall headphone for noise cancellation.

Delicate and reliable, these headphones provide you with quiet moments where you can drown the world out and enjoy the luxury of good music.

Buy Now for $329.00

Who It Is For:

For individuals who prefer to be free of background noise, the Bose Noise Canceling Headphones 700 are the finest option. It doesn't matter if you're an audiophile or a casual music listener; these headphones are for you.

Why It Is Great:

These headphones are incredible because of how much bass they make and how loud they can get. These Bose headphones also have noise-canceling technology that gets rid of background noise and puts the focus on the music you're listening to. This makes the music the only thing in your head, getting rid of distracting background noises.

Potential Flaws:

The quality of the sound is good, but not as good as our best pick. The headphones also come with an app, which most people have said they don't like. Apart from that, the battery lasts for 20 hours, which is long enough, yet can be improved. Also, the controls for the headphones are also easy to set off, which can be very annoying when someone is in the middle of a song while being occupied.

Price/Product Features:

These headphones currently sold for above $200 on Amazon are very comfortable and come with great noise-canceling features that work well when making calls. The headphones have extra features like hands-free use of Alexa and Bose AR. They also have noise-canceling levels that can be changed, which Bose calls "transparency mode."

However, it doesn't have a hinge, so it can't be folded up, and you have to carry it in its protective case which makes it uncomfortable sometimes.

The touch controls on these headphones also make them the first Bose headphones to possess such features. You can change the level of noise cancellation in the Bose Music app by using the controls on the right ear cup. Overall, the headphones are a delight if you don’t mind being careful with th

Our Most Cost-Effective - Anker SoundCore Life Q30

Our Most Cost-Effective

Anker SoundCore Life Q30

Anker SoundCore Life Q30

Affordable and efficient for those who want the best at the least cost.

These simple headphones provide you with the best sound quality for a cost below $100 and even come with hybrid features that are worth every penny spent.

Buy Now for $79.99

Who It Is For:

The Anker Soundcore Life Q30 headphones are ideal for commuters and long journeys. When you're on a bus or a plane, you don't want to hear the roar of the engines in the vehicles surrounding you. Affordable for everyone, these headphones are comfortable, well-built, and have a battery life of over 40 hours, which provides long playback times.

Why It Is Great:

It's hard to believe that the Soundcore Life Q35 Bluetooth headphones are half the price of the top-rated competitors while still providing impressive sound quality. Effective noise cancellation (ANC) and battery life that much outweigh their price tag make these headphones a great purchase.

Potential Flaws:

For their price, these headphones' flaws are not enough to be deal-breakers. The headphones do not have the beauty of more expensive designs and are simple, ordinary-looking headphones. When it comes to sound, users have reported audio leaks and problems with the bass, but not enough to keep it from being a budget-friendly favorite.

Price/Product Features:

Priced at $70 above, these headphones come equipped with a sophisticated hybrid active noise-canceling system (ANC). The Q30 is a massive improvement over the Q20, as, in addition to the dual noise-detecting microphones, which remove up to 95% of low-frequency ambient sound, it comes equipped with three different noise cancellation modes (transport, outdoor, and indoor) which help the Q30's noise cancellation system to handle a wide range of noise sources.

Thanks to the Hi-Res Music function, the headphones include updated 40mm drivers that increase the headphone's bass and treble and have been boosted to extend up to 40kHz, resulting in greater clarity. Surprisingly, in comparison to the other headphones on our list, the Q30's battery life is the best, with a guaranteed 40-hour playtime that can go up to 60 hours in standard mode.

Our Almost Made The Cut - Apple AirPods Max

Our Almost Made The Cut

Apple AirPods Max

Apple AirPods Max

Expensive and selective, but the best for iPhone users.

These headphones are also programmed to begin playing music when you put them on and pause when you take them off. Thanks to the microphones, calls are also audible and you can summon even when music is playing.

Buy Now for $599.00

Who It Is For:

If you have an iPhone with iOS 14.3 or up and want the best noise-canceling headphones, you should get the AirPods Max headphones, which are superior to the Sony WH-1000XM5 and XM4, as well as the Bose Noise Canceling Headphones 700.

Why It Is Great:

The AirPods Max headphones are the heights of aesthetics and artistic excellence. These headphones come with noise cancellation and a transparency mode that lets you hear what's going on around you with the click of a button. The body of the AirPods Max is also one of the smoothest available and is designed to make its owner feel the elegance of the Apple design.

Potential Flaws:

The first complaint we received is that these headphones are expensive, but that is a perk of owning an Apple product. Besides its price, the headphones could use more battery power as they only provide 20 hours of charged playtime. This design is also big, heavy, and does not fold.

At their price, the headphones should have been water-resistant. However, they are not, and they also lack a power button. This means that turning off these headphones is dependent on the case or allowing them to drift into standby mode, which does not help with battery preservation. For those who want the same music quality at the same price range, our two top picks are the best options.

Price/Product Features:

The Apple AirPods Max are the most expensive headphones on our list and are even more costly based on their color. Apple's AirPods Max is the company's first over-ear headphones. To use them, you'll need at least iOS 14.3, iPadOS 14.3, macOS Big Sur 11.1, watchOS 7.2, and tvOS 14.3. The headphones contain oval ear cups, a knit mesh headband, and ear cushions that uniformly distribute the product's weight and relieve head pressure. In addition, the headphones can be adjusted to accommodate a variety of head sizes. Additionally, acoustically designed memory foam produces a seal for an immersive audio experience.

The Digital Crown on these headphones allows you to adjust the volume and utilize gestures to play/pause/skip tunes, answer/end phone conversations, or activate Siri. Even at maximum volume, the AirPods Max's 40mm dynamic driver plays high-quality music with clear high-frequency extensions and less than 1 percent harmonic distortion across the audible range.

In addition to Active Noise Cancellation (ANC), the headphones feature Transparency mode, Adaptive EQ, and spatial audio. Quite to everyone’s displeasure, the battery life of the headphones is 20 hours when fully charged. However, it comes with a Smart Case that may be used to charge or preserve the battery when the headphones are not in use.

Care and Maintenance

We use headphones all the time, in different ways, and put them in different places. We use these things all the time, but it doesn’t occur to us that earwax, grease, and dust are often stuck in the tiny cracks of our headphones. This means that headphones need to be cleaned just as often as any other device.

Cleaning And Wiping Your Headphones
To clean your headphones, you have to, first of all, put them off. If they have removable batteries, you should also take them out before starting. Once that is done, take off the earpads if they are removable. If they are not, proceed to the next step, which is to wipe the headphones with a clean damp cloth. Make sure that the cloth is not wet enough to drip water into the headphones, as this could cause damage to the electrical components. For extremely dirty areas, you can use mild soap and scrub a little, but not enough to scratch the ear pads.

Removing Dust And Earwax
After that first cleaning process, use rubbing alcohol or hand sanitizer on a small cloth and gently wipe down the outside of the earpads. Then, dip a Q-tip, cotton bud, or hand sanitizer pad into alcohol or hand sanitizer and use it to clean the interior of the ear pads.

When that is done, use a dry, soft toothbrush to carefully brush the wire mesh to remove any dirt or clogged ear wax from the driver unit. After that, gently tap the earphones on the non-mesh side or the logo side to remove loose particles.

If, on the other hand, you prefer an advanced cleaning method, you should get a hearing aid vacuum. With the help of its tiny pumps, this device can effectively remove earwax and dirt.

Preventing Damage To The Connector Port/Wire
You don’t want to buy your headphones and end up being the one who carelessly causes them damage. Here are some tips to make sure that your headphones’ ports and cord remain in perfect condition.

Pull the plug instead of the cable. Whether it is the headphone’s wire or the charger, when you want to pull it from a port, make sure to grip the connector firmly and pull it slowly out of the audio source, as pulling it sharply might cause damage. Remember that if you pull on the cord, you’re increasing the tension on the connector.

In addition, it’s a good idea to unplug your headphones’ cords when they’re not in use. That’s because if the cable gets caught on something when you’re trying to get up or move, you could damage a port, the cable, or both. The best option is to roll them when they’re not in use.

Cord Maintenance
Tangled headphones can be a problem and usually lead to cable damage. To make sure that your cord is always in good shape and untangled, you should roll the cord and then use a medium-sized binder clip to hold it in place.

Although some people may suggest that you wrap the cord around an item, such as your phone or another object, this is not usually safe as wrapping it around an item can make the cord stretch, which can lead to any of the tiny wires inside getting loose. Therefore, it is always best to roll it safely away.

How To Store Without Causing Damage
To avoid crushing or bending, headphones should not be kept in bags, backpacks, or pockets with your other belongings. These devices have a special way of being stored.

Have you ever wondered why the most expensive headphones come with cases? That is because it is exactly how they should be stored. The best place to store your headphones is in their case, and make sure that nothing is kept on the case so that the headphones are not damaged.

For those whose headphones do not come with cases, you can always store your headphones in the safest place possible. They can be placed where they will not be damaged by falling, weight being placed on them, or moisture. Also, make sure to constantly check the earpads to see if they need to be replaced so that your headphones will always be in their best condition.