This pair of Sony headphones comes with a cable that gives you professional sound quality and is compatible with other cables. The headphones wrap around your head for added comfort and feature lots of foam padding.
BEST OVER EAR
Mpow Bluetooth Over Ear Headphones
The passive noise technology used by these headphones will muffle some of the noises around you. You can use this set as a wired or wireless pair to get more out of the battery.
With a low price tag and good audio, these headphones from Mpow are perfect for anyone who wants to save money. You can connect them to almost any device using Bluetooth to listen to music without wires.
These headphones are a little too large for some users, especially those with smaller heads. A handful of the reviews we read claimed that the sound produced came out slightly muffled.
JVC Full-Size Headphones
Often called the best affordable pair of headphones, this set from JVC produces good clarity and sound that you can improve even further with an amp. This set also has padding on both the collar and the ear cushions.
Thanks to a low sensitivity, these headphones will let you hear everything that you listen to with good quality. The included plug has gold plating on the top to further improve that quality.
Some shoppers found that they needed an amp to improve the sound quality of these headphones. You might have some issues with the included cable coming loose too.
Beyerdynamic PRO Studio Headphones
The large frequency range found on this pair of headphones ensures that you hear everything you need to hear. Many shoppers like that they can replace the ear pads on this pair too.
Designed for mixing beats in a studio, these Beyerdynamic headphones are also the best pair for gaming. They provide you with the clear audio sound you desire and block out background noises to help you focus on your games.
These headphones don’t fit quite as comfortably as other pairs do. The only real problem you might experience though is with the treble and bass balance.
Sennheiser HD 800 S Reference Headphone System
When you want professional sound quality and want to block out background noise, this is the pair for you. Most shoppers found that this pair is worth the price because of features such as a ring radiator and two connecting cables.
Similar to the headphones that professional audio producers use, these Sennheiser headphones will meet all your needs. This pair comes with two cables that you can use for connecting to any device.
These headphones cost more than any other pair we saw, which might turn you off. A few customers thought the sound quality could be better for that price.
Sony Premium Hi-Res Stereo Headphones
One of the highest rated headphones around is this pair from Sony, which has an adjustable headband and extra padding around the ears. It has a low sensitivity rating and is compatible with many different cables.
This pair of Sony headphones comes with a cable that gives you professional sound quality and is compatible with other cables. The headphones wrap around your head for added comfort and feature lots of foam padding.
The foam on the ear cushions may come loose after a few months to a year of use. You might notice a crackling sound coming through the wire too.
When you have the right type of headphones, you can escape from the sounds around you and have some time for yourself. Many people today prefer over-ear headphones, also called over the ear headphones. The best over ear headphones for 2021 are those that produce clear audio sound and those that are comfortable to wear. You can use a pair to listen to the gentle sounds of nature when falling asleep at night or to play loud action games as others in your home sleep. The best over ear headphones are also suitable for listening to music and watching films and television shows.
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Our shopping guide to the top over-ear headphones doesn’t simply give you a list of models and tell you to buy one of those models. We want to ensure that you know everything there is to know about headphones and that you feel confident making a purchase once you finish reading. You should start with the chart above that shows the top five pairs we found. The product descriptions located further down on this page tells you ever more about those headphones. You can then find out the benefits of over-ear headphones and which features you need.
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CNET and Tech Radar are just a few of the resources that you’ll find listed in the Resources and Further Reading section of our shopping guide. We used those websites and others to find out what shoppers looked for in headphones and which over-ear headphones professionals liked the best. Those experts offered their own feedback and opinions on which models were the top options for the year. We took their factors into consideration when choosing the top five models for 20. The experts that we consulted actually recommend more than 20 different pairs. Though some were better than others, we really wanted to find the best of the best.
In addition to seeing what audio and tech experts thought, we also wanted to get feedback directly from customers, which is why we used Amazon.
We looked at more than 1,000 reviews to narrow down our list to the top five headphones and to decide which of those headphones were right for different shoppers. We found pairs for those on a tight budget and those who like gaming. As you check out our shopping guide to the best over ear headphones, you’ll also find headphones that fit comfortably and those designed for professionals.
Though this pair does not protect against active noises such as others watching television in the same room, it does protect against passive noises. This technology blocks out some of the sounds that you would otherwise hear. The included battery lasts for more than 13 hours when using the headphones with your phone and up to 20 hours when listening to music. You can plug in the headphones and use them with a simple wire as the battery charges also. Thanks to Bluetooth, these headphones will connect to devices located more than 30 feet away. Some customers found that the headphones connect faster than others did too.
Also called over the ear headphones, over-ear headphones are products designed to fit over and completely cover your ears. You might confuse this type with something called on-ear headphones. With on-ear headphones, the foam padding actually sits directly on top of your ear. Over-ear headphones not only sit on your ear but wrap around it too. The main problem with on-ear headphones is that the band on the top can fit too tightly. You might also find that some of the background and ambient noise around you comes through because of gaps between the headphones and your ears.
Over the ear headphones do a better job of blocking out sounds and noises. While many cannot completely cancel those noises, most will block out much of that sound. The housing used on the outside is often larger in size and can accommodate larger parts and better technology that improves the sound coming through. We found both wired and wireless models available. To help you decide which type is better for you, we’ll do a direct comparison between the two models later. The only downside to headphones that fit over the ear is that they are large in size. You might feel tired when wearing a pair or have problems finding space to store them.
Headband / collar
Wire / cable
Ear pads / cushions
Located on one side of this pair is a long cable that you can plug into your console or cable. You can also remove this cable and use the headphones with one of your own. Both the headband and the ear pads come off this pair too. Some gamers will want to change out the ear pads when their old ones wear down or swap out the band with a different design. The ear pads provide you with a good balance and with good sound quality. Those pads feature a soft outer cover and multiple layers of foam that wrap around your ears.
Before we compare wired headphones to wireless models, we wanted to make sure that you understand how each pair works. Wired models have a single cable that extends down from one ear cup. This cable has a plug on the end that you can insert into the jack port on your computer or phone. The plug will work on most gaming consoles and other devices too. Experts often recommend cables with a gold plating on top of the metal because gold has strong conductive properties.
Wireless headphones rely on Bluetooth technology to stream your music and sounds. You must use the Bluetooth to establish a connection between the headphones and that device. Both types of headphones have some pros and cons that you should consider.
Pros of Wired Headphones
Cons of Wired Headphones
Pros of Wireless Headphones
Cons of Wireless Headphones
When you look at the two different types on paper, you might think that wired over-ear headphones are always better than wired headphones. The truth is that some shoppers still prefer wireless models. If you spend a lot of time moving or want headphones that you can wear anywhere in your home, a wireless pair is best for you. Those who play games or watch videos in the same spot might prefer a wired pair.
Though many shoppers want a simple pair of headphones that they can wear over their ears while relaxing at home, others want a professional pair that they can wear when producing tracks. Even if you don’t have your own studio booth, we highly recommend this Sennheiser pair for those who want professional sound quality. This pair features a classic design with headphones attached to a collar that you can wear on top of your head or across your neck. This collar has padding to help you work for hours without feeling any discomfort or fatigue. You’ll also find padding on each ear cushion. This keeps the larger headphones from weighing down your head and ears.
The ring radiator used in this pair is the largest available and will improve the sound that you hear. This set also uses absorption technology that actually absorbs and blocks background noises to help you focus on exactly what you want to hear. Many shoppers like the design of the ear cups, which puts the speakers at a slight angle against your ears. This allows more sound waves to reach you faster and helps you hear the slightest of noises. You also get two cables for connecting the headphones to your devices.
No matter how often you use your headphones, you might encounter an error message because a device cannot find the headphones. This can occur for a few reasons, including:
You’re out of range : Most headphones have a range of around 30 feet. If you are too far away from the device, it cannot detect the headphones.
Drivers need updating : You may need to update your console or a smart television. Until you finish that update, the device will not detect your headphones.
Dead or dying batteries : There is a chance that you might have a connection error because the batteries in your headphones are dead or dying. This can weaken the signal that the device looks for before creating a connection.
Electrical interference : Electrical interference is a common issue that can cause a connection error. This often occurs when you have too many devices running in the same room. You may want to remove some devices or turn off their Bluetooth features.
This is a wired pair that features its own cable, which is compatible with most devices. Sony extended the length of this cable to help you move more freely when using the headphones. This cable separates the different signals that come through to help the full and rich audio sound reach your ears. You can also use this pair with other compatible cables to connect them to other devices. Sony also gives you a carrying case for using the headphones while you’re away from home too.
Though you might consider throwing away your headphones because the cover on the ear pads wore down or because the foam inside broke away, contact the manufacturer instead. Many manufacturers offer replacement padding and covers. If your headphones are still under warranty, the company may repair them for you for free or a low price.
Though you might assume that all over-ear headphones are roughly the same size, manufacturers offer these models with ear pads that are slightly larger or smaller than others. There are some specific things you should look at to ensure that the headphones fit properly on your head.
Not everyone can afford to spend hundreds of dollars on a pair of headphones, but you can get the quality and sound that you want with this pair from JVC. Often called the best pair of headphones for under $50, this pair is perfect for those who want to play games and watch films at home.
We like the low driver used in this pair and that it has a low sensitivity rating. Not only does this rating let you know that you can hear the lower background and audio noises in a song but that you can avoid some of the noises in the room with you. The headband on this model adjusts in seconds to fit your head and give you the comfort that you need. Both the headband and the ear cushions have padding to help you feel even more comfortable. We also like the structure of this pair, which puts the speakers inside as close to your ears as possible.
JVC designed this pair to use a simple wire with a plug that you can pop right into any device. You will notice that the plug uses gold plating to improve the quality of the sounds that you hear too.
The most important factor when picking new headphones is the overall sound quality provided. Cheap headphones often have poor quality. When you listen to music at a louder volume, you’ll likely hear some distortion that will prevent you from hearing words and notes. Many cheap models will produce a crackling sound when you use the headphones with newer phones and stereos. Reading customer reviews is the best way to find out if the headphones you want have the sound quality that you need. You should keep in mind that you can return headphones with a poor sound quality for a refund.
When shopping for corded or wired headphones, you must take a look at the length of the cord. The cord is the cable that runs from the headphones to your device. While the plug might add two inches or more to the total length, you should focus primarily on the length of the cord alone. Many of the headphones we saw have a cord that is between two and three feet in length. You may want a longer cord because your couch is on the opposite side of the room from your console or because you want to listen to music when falling asleep.
One advantage to wireless headphones is that you don’t need to worry about tripping over the cable that you plug into your device. You will need to worry about the overall battery life of that product though. Manufacturers seldom give you an exact time frame because they know that the battery will run down faster when you listen to music or talk on your phone. Most batteries will last for at least 10 hours when it active use and up to 20 hours or longer in standby mode. You may want to compare the battery life of the headphones with the battery life of your phone or music player.
There is nothing worse than spending money on a new pair of headphones and finding that they are not compatible with your favorite devices. You may want to check with the manufacturer of your device to see if they recommend products from other companies. Though most manufacturers of video game consoles make headphones for those consoles, you can also purchase compatible models from other companies. Compatibility may depend on the type of jack or input on your device and the type of plug used on the headphones. You may want to see if the headphones are compatible with devices from different companies too because you plan on buying new products later.
Whether you want to sit down on the couch and play games with friends for a few hours or lounge in bed with a good audiobook, you must make certain that the headphones you buy are comfortable. If the headphones are too heavy or light, you might find that you can only sit or lay down in one position. The weight of the headphones can also determine how comfortable you feel. While over-ear headphones are heavier than other types, they shouldn’t feel so heavy that you have a hard time holding your head upright or moving your head.
Sennheiser is one of the top names in the audio industry and makes products with professional designs. While we added a pair of headphones from this company to our list that retails for around $1,500, you don’t need to spend as much to get a pair that fits your budget. We found two different pairs that retail for less than $50 and came across a number of headphones that retail for $100 to $300. Once you set your budget, you can search for headphones from our list and those recommended by other experts that will fit all your audio needs.
Active vs. Passive Noise Canceling
You’ll find headphones that work on either active or passive noises. Active noise refers to sounds produced at the moment. These headphones have built-in microphones that will monitor the area around you and detect any possible noises. As soon as the microphone detects a sound, the headphones will work to muffle and block the sound. Those that work on passive noises will only protect your ears from sounds produced in the immediate vicinity. These headphones will not block sounds but will help isolate your ears from those noises. Active noise canceling headphones are often more expensive than passive noise canceling models are.
You should also make sure that the headphones you buy give you the option of updating them later, especially if you want a wireless pair. Wireless models use Bluetooth technology to create a connection. If you ever had a phone or a tablet that used Bluetooth, you know that this technology can change from one year to the next when a new version lands on the market. When you have headphones that use an older form of Bluetooth, you may have a difficult time connecting it to newer devices. Headphone manufacturers will often let you download new updates almost instantly.
Though audiophiles know what the word soundstage refers to, you might not understand what it means. When actors and directors work on productions, they work on stages and have microphones that pick up the smallest of sounds. When you watch the action on your own screen, you’ll see and hear everything. In terms of headphones, soundstage refers to the way in which sounds reach your ears. This tells you how well the headphones can make you believe that different noises occur around you. For example, you might hear a soft whisper in one ear during a dramatic film scene and hear laughter in both ears when watching a comedy. Those sounds act as cues and show you how to respond.
Head or Neck?
Headphones that fit over the ear often feature a headband that keeps each ear pad directly on your ear. Though you might assume that all bands sit on top of your head, you can actually choose a pair that sits on your neck. Those that sit on your head feature a band that lifts up from one ear pad and wraps over the top of your head to reach the ear pad on the opposite side. Some shoppers prefer models that sit on their necks because this keeps the band from messing up their hair. You might find that one model fits more comfortably.
Have you ever watched a movie on your phone and saw an actor but couldn’t remember where you saw him before? With older headphones, you’ll need to pause the video and pull them off before doing a search on your phone. Some newer models are now compatible with voice assistant programs such as the Siri that iPhones use and the Google Assistant used on Android phones. This lets you press a button on the headphones and ask a question. You can get the answer that you want in seconds. You’ll also find models that will automatically perform a search based on the questions that you ask without requiring that you press a button.
As we mentioned in the section above on sound quality, you can return headphones that don’t meet your needs. This is often a waste of your precious time though. By the time the headphones arrive and you decide to send them back, a few weeks might go by. It can take even longer to get a new pair shipped to you. As you look at warranty information, you should see if the manufacturer offers a money back guarantee and how much time you have before the warranty runs out. The warranty should cover the ear pads and the band on the headphones as well as the radiator and other interior components.
Over the ear headphones will have volume controls located in one of two areas. Some put those controls on a small plastic component attached to the cable. Other models put the volume controls on the outside of one of the ear pads. The best type of volume control really depends on which you prefer. You might like having the cord on the cable because you can grab it and adjust the volume quickly. If you don’t want to take your eyes off the action as you change the volume, you’ll prefer controls located near your ears.
Open vs. Closed
Another feature to consider is whether you prefer an open or a closed back design. This essentially gives you an idea of how clear sounds will hear to your ears. Audiophiles often prefer open back designs because these headphones really open up the sounds that they hear. You might compare this type to the sound that you would hear while standing in the middle of a concert with open air areas all around you. Those with a closed back will sound just as clear but will push those sounds deeper into your ears. Audiophiles sometimes claim that these headphones let them hear music the way artists intended.
If you love listening to loud music but worry about damaging your ears, you should consider wearing a pair of filtered earplugs. Though similar to traditional earplugs, they block out some of the sound waves. You’ll still hear all the audio you want while also protecting your eardrums.
A good pair of headphones will let you focus on your game or show without worrying about anything happening around you. Though you can look at features such as sound quality and fit before you buy, there are some things you won’t find until you actually buy and wear a pair of headphones. The first time that you wear that pair, we recommend that you listen closely and make sure that you hear only certain things and not others.
There are certain frequencies that you cannot hear as you age. If you have a hard time keeping up with sounds and are over the age of 30 or 35, those issues might relate to your ears and not your headphones.
Some headphones today feature a built-in microphone that allows you to talk through those headphones as well as listen to music or watch videos. You’ll typically see a small knob on the cable that you can twist to turn on the microphone. Some models, especially wireless models, have a button on the outside of the ear cup that you can press to turn the microphone on and off. You may need headphones with a built-in microphone if any of the following applies to you.
No matter how often you use your headphones or where you use them, you’ll pick up germs and debris every day. This can occur because you stored a pair in your bag during the day or because you leave them laying on the floor. There are some clear signs that you need to clean your headphones though.
We don’t want to come right out and tell you that you should spend X amount of dollars on a new pair of headphones because we know that shoppers always have different budgets in mind. The best pair that we found retails for under $50. We also found that best pair priced at under $30. Before you shop with a budget in mind, you should sit down and write a list of the features that matter most to you. Most of the headphones we saw that have built-in Bluetooth capabilities and will work without wires cost more than wired models do.
Another thing to keep in mind is how you will use those headphones. If you are a professional sound engineer or a producer and spend hours in studios and boots, you need a pro model that can keep up with your busy schedule. Cheaper models may only last a few months.
Over-ear headphones now come in a range of prices that start at as little as $5 and rise to more than $1,500. The cheapest models are really only best for kids and adults who want to listen to music on their phones. You’ll want to spend at least $30 to $50 to buy a pair suitable for gaming and other activities.
A: Microsoft and Sony both make headphones designed specifically for consoles such as the Xbox One and the PS4. Other companies make gaming headphones that are compatible with those consoles. You do not need to buy a pair that only works with your console though. The headphones on our list of the best models will work with gaming consoles and many other devices.
A: Noise canceling headphones are models that specifically target the background noises that can be louder than what you want to watch or play. Some of these headphones have an over-ear design that will fit comfortably and block those sounds. Though you’ll find some over-ear headphones that cancel noises, many will only restrict the sounds that you hear from outside the ear cushions.
A: Though you can use a vacuum to clean your headphones and remove stuck-on wax and debris, you should only use those designed for cleaning hearing aids. These vacuums are quite small and feature a long hose that you attach to a box with a motor inside. Some come with different attachments that you can use on different parts of your headphones.
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