Best Over-Ear Headphones

In a Hurry? Editors choice:
Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro
Test Winner: Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro
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Admittedly, one of the toughest products to buy is a new pair of headphones. Perhaps no other technology device on the market is going to take more research and more thought to buy. Sure, you could simply buy a model that has received high reviews from various reviewers but that will not always guarantee you get what you desire. The reason is headphone quality is very subjective. While aspects like build quality and comfort speak for themselves, the sound quality is another story. What one user believes sounds good another will believe sounds miserable. And, if you are looking for top-notch sound quality, you will have to pay the price. Today, in specific, let’s focus solely on over-ear headphones, though. These devices will completely surround your ears, unlike other models. They are known for their exceptional comfort and sound quality but, again, it all depends on the specific brand.

Standout Picks

Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro
With advanced technologies, Beyerdynamic was able to design their DT 1990 Pro Headphones to stand head and shoulders above the rest of the competition. If you want premium then look no further.
Amazon Link
$597.00
Bowers & Wilkins P9
Bowers & Wilkins is one of the most popular manufacturers in the world of headphones. Could it be that their P9 is the greatest creation of their illustrious tenure? Yeah, that just might be the case.
Amazon Link
Bose QuietComfort 35
A list of this magnitude would not be complete without an appearance from Bose. They are known for their exceptional sound quality and their QuietComfort 35 Series II exemplifies that superbly.
Amazon Link
$299.00
Focal Elegia
Not too many of you reading this currently will be willing to spend this kind of money on this type of technology. Then again, despite the lofty price, you can’t deny the advanced design of the Elegia.
Amazon Link
$515.99
SONY MDR-1AB
This is the third straight model that has been designed by a world-renowned manufacturer. Sony is as elite as it gets and their wired, MDR-1AB more than delivers the goods.
Amazon Link
$299.00
Sennheiser Momentum 2.0
An emphasis has been placed on wired headphones but the Momentum 2.0 is actually wireless and is able to deliver sound quality that even the strictest of users will be fond of.
Amazon Link
$298.00
ORE Triple Driver
Now, this is a brand that you may have never heard of before until now. However, you will never forget their name after you see what they are capable of.
Amazon Link
$355.00
SONY WH-1000XM2
In this price range, you will be hard-pressed to find another pair of Bluetooth, over-ear headphones with superior sound quality. Of course, this model does fall short in other areas, admittedly.
Amazon Link
$129.95
Philips X2/27 Fidelio
This model resembles many of the other top-end over-ear headphones on the market, honestly. Various users have experienced quality control issues, though, and that does hurt its ranking on this list.
Amazon Link
$148.99
Mpow 059
Alright, perhaps you did not come here today looking to break your bank. The good news is there are high-quality, affordable options out there. And, while the Mpow 059 is not going to satisfy hardcore users, this is a good example of such.
Amazon Link

Criteria Used for Evaluation

Sound Quality

This is the reason why headphones can be downright expensive. But, it is also the most important criterion.

Above all else, this is the section that is going to be the most subjective and it was alluded to at the beginning of this guide. Oh yeah, and this is what is going to jack the price up. The reality is, you can buy headphones ranging from $30 all the way up to $1000. And, most of what you are paying for is the sound quality. But, what affects this? Well, it is a number of things but let’s break down some of it. For starters, you will often hear people reference both the driver size and the frequency range. Now, with the latter, it is not really that important to check the specific range that a model has as most headphones will be designed to fit into the human hearing bandwidth range.
As for the driver size, though, bigger does not always mean better. Yes, larger drivers will generate cleaner bass but they can also be less accurate at higher frequencies. Shooting for drivers right around 42 millimeters in size should do you just fine. Oh, and do not forget about noise cancellation. With active noise cancellation, unwanted background noise is going to be eliminated. However, understand that not all noise cancellation technologies will be the same (and some will be far superior to others). Also, keep in mind that engineers will often implement special technologies to enhance the overall sound quality of their headphones.

Comfort

The last thing you want is to pop on a pair of headphones only for them to provide discomfort within a few hours, right?

If the emitted sound is the most important characteristic, then the comfort has got to be the second. In many ways, it can be just as vital and this is especially true if you enjoy wearing your headphones for longer sessions (such as for gaming or for work). But, when compared to earbuds, this is one nice factor of over-ear headphones. Because you do not need to literally insert them into your ears, they can be more comfortable for longer periods of time. However, they can also get quite warm and this is a common issue. This is amplified when you take into consideration that many top-end models will implement memory foam ear pads. Memory foam is an extremely comfortable material that will soften in reaction to your body heat. Yet, it also traps your body heat and has been known for its warmth (which can be a negative, in this case).
To combat this, look for models that implement breathable material in addition to the memory foam. Oh yeah, and also make sure that the headband has a sufficient amount of padding and that the model you pick is not too heavy (as these two factors can also affect the comfort).

Materials

Do yourself a favor and avoid going with cheap materials and poor craftsmanship.

Nothing more needs to be said than this. Do you really want to buy something cheap? Not price wise, per se, but in regard to the actual quality of the product? Everyone’s answer should be no but you know as well as everyone else that some products are just that, cheap. To avoid this issue for your new pair of over-ear headphones, look for high-quality materials and high-quality craftsmanship. The two really go hand-in-hand but you need to keep them both in mind.
For the materials, you probably want to opt against cheap plastic and fabrics that will tear within a few months of casual wear. Instead, shoot for materials such as aluminum, stainless steel, and leather. In regard to the craftsmanship, some of the best models are handcrafted in certain countries and are 100 percent authentic. This practically guarantees that the attention to detail will be present. Oh, and one last thing. Not too many models you see will be waterproof so it is best to avoid submersion or any contact with water.

Style

It comes down to this; do you prefer wired or wireless models? Yes, each have their benefits.

Before you settle on a specific model, you first need to ask yourself one question; do you want your headphones to be wired or wireless? To better answer this question; let’s take a look at the characteristics of both. Clearly, wireless models are ideal for convenience as you do not need to mess around with cables. For some situations, this is going to be the most feasible solution for you. But, when you assess the sound quality, this is where wired models rule. This is mainly because they minimize the risk of interference as the signal is being directed via a cable and not via wireless transmission.
Okay, so what about the power supply? With wireless models, you will need to recharge the battery when it is depleted. Yet, many wired models will not require a power supply as they will be connected to your technology devices. In reality, both styles are great and have their advantages. But, for a quick overview, wired options are great for their sound quality, simplicity, and lack of need for a power supply. Meanwhile, wireless options remain a go-to for their convenience, comfort, and Bluetooth compatibility.

Features

Outside of everything else, there are a few "other" features that you can look out for.

To be honest, none of what is about to be discussed is mandatory. All the above information is more important than these “extra features”. Yet, with that being said, you could call these bonus features and they can give you extra incentive to buy a specific model. One of them happens to be if they can be folded. Okay, so why does this matter (you may be asking yourself)? It is simple; if you want to take your headphones on the go, then it will be much easier to do so if you can fold them compactly.
Oh, and this is also where wireless models have their perks. Some of them will be engineered with special functions such as built-in compatibility with voice-activation programs (such as Alexa) and even touch control. For example, some designs will allow you to change the current track or adjust the current volume merely by touching a certain section of the headphones. Again, while not mandatory, this functionality is quite convenient.

OUR TOP PICKS FOR THE BEST OVER-EAR HEADPHONES

1. Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$597.00
Beyerdynamic DT 1990 Pro
Amazon Link

With advanced technologies, Beyerdynamic was able to design their DT 1990 Pro Headphones to stand head and shoulders above the rest of the competition. If you want premium then look no further.

Read more

Sound Quality
The main reason this is able to achieve such amazing quality is due to the latest Tesla driver technology. Of course, the open-back design also helps to ensure a wider and more dynamic stereo sound.

Comfort
Not only are the ear pads designed of memory foam but they also sport high-tech textiles. This combination drastically enhances the overall comfort.

Materials
Being handcrafted in Germany, you know that the DT 1990 Pro is exceptionally built. It is high-end for a reason and one of those reasons is that this is going to outlast nearly every other model.

Style
This is a wired model and it comes with two individual cables. One of them is a short coil cable and the other is a long straight cable.

Features
What is really nice is the seller includes two ear pad variants with your purchase. They can be swapped out and they will each alter the sound quite a bit.

Overall
If you are willing to spend the money, and that is a big if, then this is arguably your best option. Make no mistake about it; for hardcore headphone users, this will be money well spent.

Amazon Link
$597.00

2. Bowers & Wilkins P9

Where to buy
Amazon Link
Bowers & Wilkins P9
Amazon Link

Bowers & Wilkins is one of the most popular manufacturers in the world of headphones. Could it be that their P9 is the greatest creation of their illustrious tenure? Yeah, that just might be the case.

Read more

Sound Quality
Though some users were not thrilled with the sound quality of the P9, it is still going to mightily impressive for most of you. This is headlined by the proprietary piston diaphragm speaker drivers and the advanced drive unit that provides precision at higher frequencies.

Comfort
In conjunction with the high-quality leather, the P9 is also designed with vented multi-later memory foam cushions and this combination ensures a comfortable experience.

Materials
Bowers & Wilkins did not go cheap with their P9 that much is for sure. It is equipped with Italian leather and forged aluminum arms for enhanced durability.

Style
This is yet another wired model and it is equipped with a standard 3.5-millimeter stereo jack.

Features
A handy, and often overlooked, feature for headphones is the ability for them to be folded. Bowers & Wilkins did not overlook this feature and did implement it into their P9.

Overall
When you own a product such as this, it proves that you are in the game for nothing but the best. This will be out of the price range for many of you so be aware of that, however.

Amazon Link

3. Bose QuietComfort 35

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$299.00
Bose QuietComfort 35
Amazon Link

A list of this magnitude would not be complete without an appearance from Bose. They are known for their exceptional sound quality and their QuietComfort 35 Series II exemplifies that superbly.

Read more

Sound Quality
Not only does this have built-in noise cancellation technology but it implements it in three different levels. All in all, this is the sound quality you expect from a pair of Bose headphones (though the bass is a bit weak).

Comfort
The general consensus from various users is that the QuietComfort 35 Series II is indeed comfortable. It is often compared to Sony models with many users claiming this is superior in the comfort area.

Materials
With Bose, the last thing you are going to get is a poorly-made product. That is on full display here as only premium materials have been utilized for construction.

Style
Unlike many of the other models on this list, this is a wireless option. It utilizes Bluetooth technology and can be paired with the Bose Connect app. As for the battery life, it will vary, but you can expect up to 20 hours on a single charge.

Features
Even though you can answer phone calls with this model, various users have criticized the functionality (mainly saying too much background noise can be heard). Also, this can connect to Alexa so that is a big plus.

Overall
It is fair to make the argument that this is the most practical entry on this entire list. The QuietComfort Series II offers superb sound, is wireless, comfortable, and is also compatible with the top-end voice-activation program, Alexa.

Amazon Link
$299.00

4. Focal Elegia

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$515.99
Focal Elegia
Amazon Link

Not too many of you reading this currently will be willing to spend this kind of money on this type of technology. Then again, despite the lofty price, you can’t deny the advanced design of the Elegia.

Read more

Sound Quality
Wow, is there a better word to say than wow? This is equipped with drivers that are shifted toward the front of the ear cup for enhanced sound and a four-millimeter frameless, copper voice coil. Oh yeah, and the M-shaped inverted dome enhances the surface area.

Comfort
As impressive as the sound is, the comfort could be even better. This is thanks to the memory-foam ear pads that are covered in plush microfiber fabric.

Materials
For this price, the materials better be high in quality and they most certainly are. This is headlined by the black and silver aluminum and premium leather accents.

Style
Now, the cable that is included is quite thick and stiff. Yet, it is able to deliver the exceptional sound quality that makes it all worth it, in the end.

Features
Focal spent most of their time mastering the sound and the comfort of their Elegia. That said, there are not too many extra features to speak of.

Overall
If you are not somewhat enthralled by this model then your expectations are simply too high. In 20 years, this may be obsolete but currently, this is the cream of the crop.

Amazon Link
$515.99

5. SONY MDR-1AB

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$299.00
SONY MDR-1AB
Amazon Link

This is the third straight model that has been designed by a world-renowned manufacturer. Sony is as elite as it gets and their wired, MDR-1AB more than delivers the goods.

Read more

Sound Quality
In addition to the Responsive Liquid Crystal Polymer (LCP) driver which offers a more precise and consistent sound across the frequency range, the MDR-1AB is also equipped with Beat Response Control which reduces the amount of heavy bass distortion.

Comfort
As is mentioned, this feels as good as it looks. This is thanks to the sleek metal headband that is fully padded and the black leather ear pads that are equipped.

Materials
In spite of the seamless stitching and high-quality materials, there have been previous buyers who have had issues with the build quality of this model.

Style
Yes, this is a wired model and a 3.94-foot cable comes with your purchase. This allows you to manually connect to any compatible technology device.

Features
If you ever wanted to take the MDR-1AB on the go, it would be easy to do so thanks to the foldable ear cups and the sliding metal headband.

Overall
Much like with Bose, it really is difficult to go wrong with Sony. They are a juggernaut in the technology industry and their MDR-1AB is a prime example of why.

Amazon Link
$299.00

6. Sennheiser Momentum 2.0

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$298.00
Sennheiser Momentum 2.0
Amazon Link

An emphasis has been placed on wired headphones but the Momentum 2.0 is actually wireless and is able to deliver sound quality that even the strictest of users will be fond of.

Read more

Sound Quality
One of the reasons the Momentum 2.0 has such impressive sound is due to the advanced noise cancellation technology that has been integrated. It uses four different microphones to drown out any background noise.

Comfort
The good news is the Momentum 2.0 is ergonomically designed and is outfitted with memory foam cushions. In spite of this, though, the ear cups are on the smaller side and the padding on the band is not very thick.

Materials
Though the comfort is questionable, the materials and durability are certainly not. The build quality is top-notch with stainless steel and leather being the main contributors.

Style
Even with both Bluetooth and the noise cancellation enabled, you can still achieve up to 22 hours of battery life on a single charge. Yes, as was mentioned before, this is a wireless model.

Features
In addition to the fact that this is foldable, there are two built-in microphones that allow you to take phone calls. During such, the background noise will also be masked.

Overall
It would not have hurt for Sennheiser to optimize their model more for comfort. The sound and build quality do make up for it, though, without question.

Amazon Link
$298.00

7. ORE Triple Driver

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$355.00
ORE Triple Driver
Amazon Link

Now, this is a brand that you may have never heard of before until now. However, you will never forget their name after you see what they are capable of.

Read more

Sound Quality
What helps to deliver enhanced sound is the 40-millimeter graphene dynamic driver and the bass reflector. Of course, this model was also expertly tuned by Luca Bignardi (who happens to be a Grammy-winning sound engineer).

Comfort
During longer sessions, it is not uncommon for this to provide discomfort. Yet, it is designed with leather-cushioned ear cups and an adjustable headband that is padded.

Materials
One thing is for sure; you can’t question the utilized materials here. This state-of-the-art design is outfitted with anodized aluminum alloy ear cups and a stainless steel headband.

Style
One of the reasons this is able to deliver such impressive sound is due to the audiophile-grade oxygen-free copper wire. Indeed, this means the model is wired and not wireless.

Features
Due to the fact that the design is fully collapsible, you can take these headphones anywhere you want to go with ease.

Overall
Even though there are other models on the market that are superior, this remains a high-quality option with excellent sound quality.

Amazon Link
$355.00

8. SONY WH-1000XM2

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$129.95
SONY WH-1000XM2
Amazon Link

In this price range, you will be hard-pressed to find another pair of Bluetooth, over-ear headphones with superior sound quality. Of course, this model does fall short in other areas, admittedly.

Read more

Sound Quality
Again, if nothing else, the sound quality of the WH-1000XM2 is utterly superb. This is thanks to industry-leading noise cancellation, Sony’s DSEE HX software for hi-resolution audio and S-Master HX technology that reduces distortion.

Comfort
This is a model that often gets compared to the QuietComfort Series from Bose. One area where this is inferior, though, is the comfort. Longer sessions will not be ideal for the WH-1000XM2.

Materials
A persistent problem with this model is that the headband can crack. Be very careful to treat this with care as even though it is not cheaply made, the last thing you want is for the headband to break.

Style
It is up to you as you can go wireless or wired with this model. For the former, you can enjoy up to 30 hours of use on one charge (while subjective, this is fantastic battery life).

Features
Sony equipped this with all sorts of extra features. This includes voice assistant capabilities, touch control, quick attention mode and smart listening. All these modes enhance the intuitiveness of this design.

Overall
It is easy to see why previous users have raved about these over-ear headphones. Yet, the comfort and longevity concerns are apparent and this is something you need to take into consideration.

Amazon Link
$129.95

9. Philips X2/27 Fidelio

Where to buy
Amazon Link
$148.99
Philips X2/27 Fidelio
Amazon Link

This model resembles many of the other top-end over-ear headphones on the market, honestly. Various users have experienced quality control issues, though, and that does hurt its ranking on this list.

Read more

Sound Quality
Above all else, the pre-titled and the Layered Motion Control (LMC) drivers enhance the overall sound of this model. The latter is a unique feature that enhances the drivers in a layer of dampening gel.

Comfort
Though this is a tad heavy, the deluxe memory foam and the breathable material enhance the overall comfort. Also, the 3D mesh ensures a perfect fit which also helps.

Materials
Okay, so Philips did not skimp on the materials. However, quite a few users have had quality control issues with most of them receiving damaged components.

Style
A 3.5 to 6.3-millimeter adapter is included with your purchase and that is ideal given that this is a wired model.

Features
To ensure a tangle-free experience, there is a dedicated cable management clip that has been integrated here.

Overall
Granted you actually receive an undamaged product, you can enjoy the high-quality that is provided by these headphones. Do note, though, that this has been an issue for some previous buyers.

Amazon Link
$148.99

10. Mpow 059

Where to buy
Amazon Link
Mpow 059
Amazon Link

Alright, perhaps you did not come here today looking to break your bank. The good news is there are high-quality, affordable options out there. And, while the Mpow 059 is not going to satisfy hardcore users, this is a good example of such.

Read more

Sound Quality
The best way to describe the sound quality of the Mpow 059 is average. It is to be expected with an option at this price range. Also, this does not have noise cancellation but does sport passive noise isolating.

Comfort
Though this option does not have the most supreme comfort, the memory-protein ear cushions are suitable and the softly padded headband is solid.

Materials
For the price, the craftsmanship and utilized materials are actually pretty impressive. Most notably, this features stainless steel.

Style
If you desire, you can use this with the provided audio cable. Of course, the option is there to use this wirelessly thanks to the built-in rechargeable battery.

Features
One of the better features of this design is the fact that it is foldable. Oh yeah, a portable bag is also included with your purchase.

Overall
No, this is not for hardcore users or anyone that is seeking top-notch sound quality. The price simply does not warrant that but as an affordable option, this is fantastic.

Amazon Link