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The Best Over Ear Headphones for Everyday Use in 2022

Whether you’re working out, working from home, listening to a podcast or catching up with a friend, these headphones are our top picks.
Best Over Ear Headphones_lead

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If you’ve been trying to narrow down your choices for best over ear headphones, we’re here to help. There’s no shortage of options in the over ear headphone category especially when you consider that new models are popping up all the time. But don’t fret. If you want to find out which over ear headphones deliver your ideal sound quality and are best suited for when, where and why you want to give the world its own soundtrack, you’re in the right place.

We’ve collected our top picks for the best over ear headphones available today and put them here, alongside a buyer’s guide on how to go about selecting the right pair for you.

Our Top Picks for the Best Over Ear Headphones in 2022:

Best Bluetooth Over Ear Headphones: Jabra Elite 85h

Elite 85h headphones_Jabra_product

Key Specs:

  • Weight: 10.5 ounces
  • Battery Life: Up to 41 hours with ANC off; up to 36 hours with Active Noise Canceling (ANC) on

Jabra designed its Elite 85h over ear headphones to give you nothing short of a fully immersive experience no matter what environment you’re in. These over ear headphones pull music and podcasts from your iPhone, Android or other smart device via Bluetooth connectivity. The headphones use special noise canceling technology to analyze the ambient sound around you and adapt performance accordingly, so your audio quality isn’t drowned out by rain, the people near you or any other noisemakers. Its built-in microphone uses the same technology to keep unwanted sounds and distractions out of your conversation. And being rain and water-resistant, the Jabra 85h headphones are also designed to withstand daily life beyond the desk.

With the noise canceling technology turned on, you can get up to 36 hours of battery life from a full charge or up to five hours of battery life from a 15-minute charge. The Jabra Elite 85h headphones come with a limited one year warranty from the date of purchase.

Pros:

  • Long battery life
  • Comfortable fit
  • Strong noise cancelation

Cons:

  • Headband may feel too tight for some users
  • A little on the expensive side

Buy Jabra’s Elite 85h Headphones


Best Budget Over Ear Headphones: Soundcore — Life Q20

Life Q20 headphones_Soundcore_product

Key Specs:

  • Weight: 9 ounces
  • Battery Life: Up to 60 hours with ANC off; up to 40 hours with ANC on

The Soundcore Life Q20 headphones were created to deliver the biggest perks of the over ear style without the budget-busting price tag of other designs. They’re Hi-Res certified for their ability to reach up to 40kHz frequencies and preserve audio clarity with oversized 40mm dynamic drivers. These headphones feature two active noise canceling (ANC) microphones and a proprietary digital noise canceling algorithm that work together to reduce ambient noises by up to 90% for high-quality sound, as reported by the brand.

The ear cups are constructed from memory foam to help them mold comfortably to your ears, and the headband has rotating joints that help the cups fit to your head snugly and securely. With the ANC microphones turned on, you can get up to 40 hours of playtime. And you can boost the battery life to 60 hours of playtime off a full charge with the ANC feature deactivated. They come with an 18-month limited manufacturer’s warranty, which isn’t shabby at all for ANC headphones under $60.

Pros:

  • Long battery life
  • Lightweight and comfortable design
  • Good audio quality for the price point

Cons:

  • Active noise cancelation impacts audio quality
  • Not a snug fit for users with smaller heads

Buy Soundcore’s Life Q20 Headphones


Best Over Ear Headphones for Working Out: Sony MDR-XB950BT

MDRXB950BT Headphones_Sony_product

Key specs:

  • Weight: 10 ounces
  • Battery life: Up to 20 hours (music and communication); up to 200 hours standby time

We dubbed Sony’s MDR-XB950BT over ear headphones as the best pair for working out because they’re lightweight, stay put and are supremely comfortable with easily accessible, intuitive controls. They’re also relatively sleek compared to a lot of other wireless over ear headphones, so these are about as minimalist as over ear headphones get. The leather-and-foam ear pads are designed to provide a comfy and snug feel around your ears, meaning you can focus on your fitness app and less on readjusting your headphones every few minutes. And if you like to pump up the bass while you’re pumping iron, the Sony MDR-XB950BT over ear headphones feature a special circuit designed to digitally boost audio performance.

They last up to 20 hours off a single four hour battery charge. The Sony MDR-XB950BT over ear headphones come with a one year limited warranty.

Pros:

  • Easy-to-reach controls
  • Large ear cups
  • Bass boosting technology

Cons:

  • Some users might find the design outdated in its appearance
  • Bass boosting can distort other frequencies

Buy Sony’s MDR-XB950BT Headphones


Best Over Ear Noise Canceling Headphones: Bose Noise Canceling Headphones 700

Noise Canceling Headphones 700_Bose

Key Specs:

  • Weight: 9 ounces
  • Battery Life: Up to 20 hours

The Bose Noise Canceling Headphones 700 model is designed for anyone who wants to take noise canceling to its limits. These headphones feature 11 levels of active noise-canceling technology and an adjustable equalizer that lets you tune into your audio and keep the unwanted stuff out of range. This noise-canceling capability is thanks to the microphones Bose put on both sides of the ear cups, which allow the headphones to catch unwanted noise and cancel it out before it can be heard.

And when you need to check in on the world around you, you can dial down the noise-canceling and pause your audio quickly. Another neat feature includes the touch controls for handling volume, starting and ending calls and managing music. There are also buttons that link up to a voice assistant like Amazon Alexa, Siri or Google Assistant. Get up to 20 hours of battery life on a single charge, and you can try them out on a 90-day risk-free trial before buying. If you make the purchase after the trial period, they’ll come with a one year limited warranty. A carrying case is included.

Pros:

  • Easy-to-use controls
  • An appealing design
  • Strong noise cancelation

Cons:

  • Lack of folding hinges makes it a tad less travel-friendly
  • A little on the pricey side compared to similar models

Buy Bose’s Noise Canceling Headphones 700


Best Over Ear Headphones Under $100: Sony MDR-7506

MDR7506 Headphones_Sony_product

Key Specs:

  • Weight: 8 ounces
  • Battery Life: N/A (wired)

The Sony MDR-7506 over ear headphones are part of Sony’s professional lineup of headphones for broadcast and recording studios—when listening to real-time audio or playback is crucial. They’re engineered with neodymium magnets (ideal for headphones since they’re light and small) and 40-millimeter drivers to deliver great sound, and the set’s cord runs nearly 10 feet in length and features a gold-plated plug. An adapter for ¼-inch jacks is included.

These wired over ear headphones offer incredible sound quality and the supple ear cups sit comfortably on your head so you can listen to music or podcasts for hours. If you’re on the go, these lightweight headphones can be folded up for compact storage making them easy to carry around. They come with a limited 90-day warranty.

Pros:

  • Long 10 foot cable
  • Comfortable fit
  • Durable quality

Cons:

  • No cable connection on the right ear (left-side connection only)
  • Cable may be too long for some situations and become a distraction

Buy Sony’s MDR-7506 Headphones


Best Wired Over Ear Headphones: Monolith — M565C

M565C Headphones_Monolith_product

Key Specs:

  • Weight: 13.7 ounces
  • Battery Life: N/A (wired)

Monolith designed its M565C planar magnetic headphones to be the audiophile headphones of choice. While they’re not great for traveling or commuting due to the fact they have a cord, they’re engineered with a planar driver for low distortion and balanced sound. Plus, their closed back design eliminates ambient noise and isolates your audio, making them a great choice when you’re stuck in a not-so-quiet location. For powerful and dynamic sound, Monolith included 66mm drivers and gave the Monolith headphones a frequency response of 15 to 50kHz. The Monolith M565C over ear headphones come with a five year replacement warranty and a 30-day money back guarantee.

Pros:

  • Durable construction and eye-catching design
  • Comfortable fit
  • 66mm drivers deliver powerful sound

Cons:

  • Ear cups may feel uncomfortable to users with bigger ears
  • Cable creates some unwanted microphonic noise

Buy Monolith’s M565C Headphones


Best Over Ear Headphones For Running: Sony WH-1000XM4

WH1000XM4 Headphones_Sony_product

Key Specs:

  • Weight: 9 ounces
  • Battery Life: Up to 30 hours

For runners, the ideal over ear headphones are ones that can erase just enough ambient noise so that you can simultaneously lose yourself to your audio while remaining alert to your surroundings. The Sony WH-1000XM4 over ear headphones are designed to do just that, with adaptive sound control technology that senses your environment and automatically adjusts to the ambient sound accordingly. They even feature technology that learns the sound dynamics of your favorite routes over time (plus the dynamics of any other location you frequent), so they can adjust the levels of noise cancellation to that specific environment faster and more consistently.

You can also control the ambient sound yourself to decide how much external noise you hear as you make your run. These Sony headphones have a processor dedicated to detecting and filtering out high- and mid-frequency sounds in real time. To take advantage of this noise-canceling capability and achieve a high signal-to-noise ratio, the headphones also come with a built-in amplifier and 40mm drivers that reproduce frequencies as high as 40kHz. So, you should have no problem hearing distance updates from your fitness tracker.

Another nice feature for runners: These headphones offer simple controls that let you adjust the volume or make phone calls with a simple tap or swipe. You can double tap to make a call or use your Amazon or Google voice assistant. Get a five hour battery life off a 10-minute charge. Or get 30 hours off a full charge.

Pros:

  • Good sound (punchy bass, highly detailed)
  • Comfortable fit
  • High-quality ANC that can be customized via smartphone app

Cons:

  • An expensive price tag
  • USB-C port is for charging only (no audio capability)

Buy Sony’s WH-1000XM4 Headphones


A Guide To The Different Types Of Headphones

Before we dive into our top over ear headphone picks, let’s take a glance at the different headphone types. That way, we can make sure that the over ear headphone style is the best choice for you.

Over ear headphones

These are by far the largest style available, and they’re for people who want to immerse themselves in their listening experiences, full stop. When wearing over ear headphones, your ears are completely encompassed by the pair’s large ear cups. That’s why many of the best noise-canceling headphones on the market today are over ear styles. As a result of the cups being so big, the headbands are thick relative to other styles. Some pairs can feel a bit bulky, but the over ear category is great for people who want to plop on their headphones without the fuss of fidgeting with their ears.

On ear headphones

On ear headphones are a bit sleeker and compact in design than over ear headphones. Like over ear headphones, the right pair in this style can offer a comfortable fit quickly with minimal fuss. One drawback: Their more minimal design means they lack the same immersive, bass-fueled experience you’ll get from over ear headphones. This is due to on-ear headphones not fully encompassing your ears in the same way, along with the fact that a smaller design means less room for sound tech.

Earbuds

Earbuds are lightweight and designed for portability. You can throw them in your pocket or your backpack and keep them at arm’s length. The tradeoff is that you may not like how earbuds feel pressed against your ear. They’re also not as good at noise isolation as over ear headphones are. Earbuds have a small surface area, and they neither surround your ears nor fill your ear canals entirely. This means they leave small gaps for ambient noise to bleed through. Still, earbuds are great in a pinch when you need to travel light. There are also earbuds designed especially for working out.

In ear headphones

Unlike earbuds, in ear headphones fill your ear canal to block out unwanted ambient noise. They have the same great portability as earbuds—but they also have a similar issue when it comes to comfort. Unless your ear canal is the right size and shape, a pair of in-ear headphones may not feel that comfortable and could be prone to slipping out. And while they’re solid at blocking out the unwanted sound around you, they also do a great job of preventing leakage. Because in-ear headphones are directly in the ear canal, they don't have to be as loud or as powerful as other styles, and they'll dial down the audio leakage even more if they're a good fit.

How to Pick the Best Pair of Over Ear Headphones for You

If you’re still on the fence between two or more headphones, here are a few specifications and some functionality options to consider before you click the “buy” button. Compare headphone candidates using these characteristics, all the while keeping in mind what’s most important to you.

What to Look for in Over Ear Headphones

Battery life

Headphones that last under 10 hours on a full charge usually come with a charging case that helps you charge them when they’re not in use. (Of course, you’ll have to remember to bring the case and use it if you’re out and about.)

Other headphones can last up to roughly 45 hours on a full charge, depending on the model. Another consideration is how fast a pair of headphones can charge. As mentioned in the list above, some headphones can give you a 5-hour charge or more from 15 minutes of charging. Headphones with a cord take power from the device they’re plugged into, so battery life is a nonfactor! Also, be sure to take note of what charging cable comes with a pair of headphones, such as USB-C, to make sure you don’t need an adapter.

Portability

If you want to listen to audio while you’re out and about, then over ear headphones with a cord are likely not your best bet. All the wireless headphones listed here should be easy to pack away and tote around. If you pack light when traveling or want to keep your stuff limited to a single laptop bag, look at over ear styles that fold for an easy fit into tight spots. The same holds true if you plan to toss them in your gym bag before you hit the gym.

Noise canceling ability

This is a big one. We’ve already discussed how over ear headphones are among the best at canceling out ambient noise, so you’re in the right spot. From there, things get a bit complicated. Every brand has its own mix of standard and proprietary technology to cancel noise. Generally, the better the seal of the ear cups to your head (meaning the better they fit) the better the noise canceling will be straight out of the gate. Beyond that, take time to study up on the kinds of technology a pair of headphones uses to cancel out any noise. This can include things like microphones that detect and counter unwanted frequencies.

What Different Headphone Specifications Mean

If you’ve ever tried to read the technical specs on a pair of headphones and immediately regretted it, this list of terms can help you make sense out of what different acronyms mean and how they’ll affect your listening experience.

Audio codecs

The term “codec” stands for encode/decode. An audio codec is the software that Bluetooth technology uses to shrink (encode) audio files playing from your device, transmit it to your headphones, and transform it (decode) back into a playable audio file that your headphones can process. There are many codecs available, including:

  • AAC
  • AptX Adaptive
  • AptX (HD)
  • LC3
  • LDAC
  • LHDC
  • SBC

Each one varies in how fast they work to encode and decode audio files. The faster a codec works, the shorter your latency—and that’s a good factor to consider when looking for the best wireless headphones you can find.

Bass

The “bass” sound is the pitch that occupies the lowest part of the musical range. The opposite of bass is “treble,” meaning the highest part of the musical range.

Closed-back headphones

These are sealed headphones, meaning there is no intentional audio leakage venting from the ear cups. For context, all the over ear headphones on our list are closed-back designs. Closed-back headphones are great when blocking out ambient noise around you matters most. For comparison, open-back headphones allow audio to flow through the speaker and into the surrounding atmosphere. People who prefer these headphones claim they produce a more natural sound, though they’re not ideal for noisy environments. Headphones with an open-back design might be preferable for at-home listening sessions instead.

Drivers

Each individual phone in the headset contains its own driver, which is the component that produces sound from electrical signals. Each driver contains voice coils (to generate sound from electricity), a magnet (to enhance sound), and a diaphragm (to generate sound from vibration). The larger the size of the drivers, the greater the loudness the headphones can achieve. However, larger drivers don’t automatically translate into superior sound. Smaller drivers made from high-end materials than larger drivers can produce the best sound.

Frequency response

This is the range of bass frequency that a pair of headphones can produce, from high to low. Say, for example, you see frequency response listed as 15 to 50kHz. 15kHz is the deepest bass frequency achievable and 50kHz is the highest. The lower the deepest number and the higher the highest number, the better. Note: 1 kilohertz (kHz) equals 1,000 hertz (Hz). 

Impedance

When you compare the impedance levels of two headphones, remember this: headphones with lower impedance levels need less energy to produce audible sound. For example, low-impedance headphones that produce audio at 50 ohms work well with most consumer devices. That’s why most headphones you’ll find have low impedance ratings. Conversely, headphones with high impedance ratings require more energy to produce sound. The tradeoff is that high-impedance designs have the build quality to withstand the additional power requirements.

Latency

This is the time it takes an audio signal to move from your smart device to your headphones. Bluetooth headphones tend to have a higher latency than wired options. This is because the audio signal must transmit through the air versus a physical cord.

Sensitivity

Also known as sound pressure level (SPL), this is a measure of how loud your headphones will play at a given energy level. Headphones with a higher sensitivity number will produce louder sound at a lower point on the volume dial than headphones with a lower sensitivity number. Sensitivity isn’t much of a factor when deciding which headphones to buy, so don’t sweat over a pair of headphones with a lower sensitivity rating versus another pair.

Total harmonic distortion

Or, THC, is essentially a way to gauge how likely the diaphragms are to distort at lower volumes. The closer this number is to zero, the better.

Prices are accurate and items in stock as of publish time.