Compared to on-ear and in-ear headphones, which are loved for their portability and generally low asking-price, over-ear headphones tend to be the best option to get if you’re looking for the most immersive sound experience and don’t mind a bigger set of headphones.
Each kind of headphones has its perks, but people gravitate toward over-ear headphones for a few key reasons: their sound and comfort. Sure, in-ear headphones are great for throwing in your bag and breaking them out at the gym, but if you’re looking for the best audio quality, over-ears are the way to go.
If you’re ready to bite the bullet on a set of expensive over-ear headphones, check out our list of the top-ranking options on TechRadar.
Here’s the Top 10 best over-ear headphones, ranked based on their price-vs-performance ratio:
Questions? Concerns? Comments? Let us know in the comments below!
1. Oppo PM-3
Closed back planar magnetic headphones from the gods
Acoustic design: Closed | Weight: 0.71 pounds | Cable length: 9.8 ft or 3.9 ft | Frequency response: 10-50,000Hz | Drivers: 55mm | Driver type: Planar Magnetic | Sensitivity: 102dB | Impedance: 26 ohms | Battery life: N/A | Wireless range: N/A | NFC: N/A
Stunning sound quality
Faux leather earpads
Less precision than open-back cans
The Oppo PM-3’s are a truly stunning pair of headphones. Make no mistake, we’ve reviewed a lot of headphones in the last 10 years but none have we become more fond of than the PM-3.
They’re equally comfortable being plugged into a headphone amp at home as they are commuting through the hustle and bustle of a big city, and they stand head and shoulders above rival products from bigger brands. We really can’t recommend them highly enough, they’re just amazing.
Read the full review: Oppo PM-3
2. Philips Fidelio X2
Brilliant headphones for a brilliant price
Acoustic design: Open | Weight: .85 pounds | Cable length: 9.8 feet | Frequency response: 5-40,000Hz | Drivers: Two 1.9″ speakers | Driver type: Dynamic | Sensitivity: 100 dB @ 1mW | Impedance: 30 Ohm | Battery life: N/A | Wireless range: N/A | NFC: N/A
The Philips Fidelio X2’s are a superb pair of headphones offering premium comfort and build quality with a sound that rivals even the most vaunted audiophile cans.
Read the full review: Philips Fidelio X2
3. Beyerdynamic DT 1770 Pro
Recording studio pedigree, at a price
Acoustic design: Closed | Weight: 1.5 pounds | Cable length: N/A | Frequency response: 5-40,000Hz | Drivers: N/A | Driver type: Dynamic | Sensitivity: N/A | Impedance: N/A | Battery life: N/A | Wireless range: N/A | NFC: N/A
Beautifully crafted soundscape
They’re a bit bulky
The Beyerdynamic DT 1770 Pros are a stunning pair of headphones. Are they expensive? To some no, to most yes; but for the sheer listening experience they deliver you’d be hard pressed to take them off after putting them on, even using them with portable HRA players and mobile phones.
That said, they really do push the boundaries of what you can do with a dynamic driver. All praise to Beyerdynamic for putting together such a wonderful product.
Read the full review: Beyerdynamic DT 1770 Pro
4. Audio-Technica ATH-MSR7
These over-ear headphones bring both performance and value
Acoustic design: Closed | Weight: .64 pounds | Cable length: 3.9 feet | Frequency response: 5-40,000Hz | Drivers: Two 1.7″ drivers | Driver type: Dynamic | Sensitivity: 100 dB | Impedance: 35 ohm | Battery life: N/A | Wireless range: N/A | NFC: No
Includes lots of goodies
Incredible sound performance
No inline volume control
It can be an expensive journey if you’re looking for a set of headphones that sound as good as they look. That’s why Audio-Technica’s MSR7 are a sight (and sound) to behold if good sound and sharp build quality are priorities.
These wired headphones retail for $250 (£199, AU$349), which isn’t cheap, but we think you’ll love these. Why? First off, the sound is incredibly well-balanced, pushing out crisp highs and deep lows without distortion. Second, the build materials and included goodies help to offset the cost.
Read the full review: Audio-Technica ATH-MSR7
5. Sony MDR-ZX770BT
Affordable wireless headphones that deliver big
Acoustic design: Closed | Weight: .52 pounds | Cable length: N/A | Frequency response: 20-20,000Hz | Drivers: Two 1.6″ speakers | Driver type: Dynamic | Sensitivity: N/A | Impedance: N/A | Battery life: 20+ hours | Wireless range: 30+ feet | NFC: Yes
Fantastic battery life
Light on bass
Sometimes, sacrifice isn’t necessary. Sony’s wizards stuffed a glut of features, cool design and a long-lasting battery into the MDR-ZX770BT, making this cheap set of wireless headphones a must-buy.
Read the full review: Sony MDR-ZX770BT
6. Sennheiser Momentum Wireless
Incredible audio fidelity backed by a serious price
Acoustic design: Closed | Weight: N/A | Cable length: 4.6 feet | Frequency response: 16-22,000Hz | Drivers: N/A | Driver type: Dynamic | Sensitivity: N/A | Impedance: 28 ohms | Battery life: 25+ hours | Wireless range: 30+ feet | NFC: Yes
Everlasting battery life
Finicky multi-function button
These no-holds-barred wireless headphones are oozing with positive qualities, but for many, they’re almost prohibitively expensive. However, if you’re an audio lover that can spare the expense, do not hesitate on this comfortable, hard-working set of headphones that will likely last for years.
Read the full review: Sennheiser Momentum Wireless
7. Bose QuietComfort 35
Bose cut the wires off its flagship cans with great success
Acoustic design: Closed | Weight: 0.68 pounds | Cable length: 3.94 feet | Frequency response: N/A | Drivers: N/A | Driver type: N/A | Sensitivity: N/A | Impedance: N/A | Battery life: 20+ hours | Wireless range: N/A | NFC: Yes
Broad and clear soundstage
Amazing noise cancellation
Active EQ an acquired taste
Bose has finally brought its fantastic noise-cancelling technology to a pair of wireless headphones and it’s done so without any of the traditional drawbacks of wireless headphones. They sound great, and their battery life is long enough for all but the longest of flights.
At $349.95 (£289.95 / AU pricing tbc) the QC35s sit firmly at the premium end of the spectrum, but if you want the best noise-cancelling headphones available right now then you can’t get any better.
Read the full review: Bose QuietComfort 35
8. Sony MDR-1000X
Noise-cancelling headphones that care about Hi-Res Audio
Acoustic design: Closed | Weight: 275 grams | Frequency response: 4Hz – 40kHz | Drivers: 40mm | Driver type: Dynamic | Sensitivity: 103dB | Impedance: 46 Ohms | Battery life: 20 hours | Wireless range: 30 feet | NFC: Yes
Quick Attention mode
Lengthy battery life
Finicky Ambient Noise mode
The MDR-1000X are definitely the closest competitor to Bose’s QuietComfort series I’ve ever had the pleasure of testing. Some high-end codecs (LDAC, AAC and aptX) help the 1000X sound even better than the QC35s, but ultimately the noise canceling is a bit less effective in Sony’s pair of cans.
What should drive your decision on whether to buy the MDR-1000X is your music player – if you’re a Sony Xperia owner, you’d be hard-pressed to find a pair of headphones that sound as good as these with noise canceling tech built-in. Even if you’re not, Sony’s wares are still worth a listen – and maybe a purchase – if you aren’t too put out by its $400 (£330 or AU$700) price tag.
Read the full review: Sony MDR-1000X
9. Status Audio CB-1
A great pair of budget over-ears
Acoustic design: Closed | Weight: .825 pounds | Cable length: 9.8 feet | Frequency response: 15Hz-30kHz | Drivers: Two 50mm drivers | Driver type: Dynamic | Sensitivity: 97 dB | Impedance: 23 ohms | Battery life: N/A | Wireless range: N/A | NFC: N/A
Bulky, with mixed build quality
Over-ear headphones are often the most expensive headphones out there, but you don’t have to spend a huge amount of money to get a pair of headphones that are comfortable enough to use for hours in your own home.
The Status Audio CB-1 are the perfect example of this. They’re bulky, so you won’t want to use them on the bus, but the flip side of this is that they’re an exceptionally comfortable pair of headphones.
Some compromises have been made to get to this price point. There are certainly better sounding headphones on this list, and the build quality of the CB-1s isn’t incredible, but if you’re looking for a pair of budget over-ear headphones then the CB-1s are a great buy for the price.
Read the full review: Status Audio CB-1
10. Denon AH-MM400
Walnut-finished with serious audio quality
Acoustic design: Closed | Weight: 0.67 pounds | Cable length: N/A | Frequency response: 5-40,000Hz | Drivers: 40mm | Driver type: Dynamic | Sensitivity: N/A | Impedance: N/A | Battery life: N/A | Wireless range: N/A | NFC: N/A
Great all-round audio experience
Well-built, well-designed chassis
The walnut finish will be divisive
Denon’s AH-MM400 headphones really impress. They do just miss out compared with the more expensive Oppo PM-3 headphones in a straight fight on separation and complete audio detail, but at this rarified end of the audio market the differences are marginal; you’d have to listen hard to discern where the planar magnetic drivers of the Oppos pull ahead of the standard dynamic drivers in the MM400s.
But that doesn’t stop the MM400s from being a lovely pair of headphones, with great, natural sound and a warmth of tone that easily justifies their price.
Read the full review: Denon AH-MM400
We’re constantly reviewing new over-ear headphones, but let us know if there is a set that you’d like us to take a look at.