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The best over-ear headphones you can buy

  • The perfect pair of over-ear headphones are both highly comfortable and sound great.
  • That’s why we think the Beyerdynamic DT 1990 PRO headphones are the best over-ear headphones you can buy.

Headphones can be hard to buy. There are so many different styles and types of headphones, and each kind is designed for different situations. There are in-ear headphones, which are great for portability and use during sports or activity. Then there are on-ear headphones, which still retain some level of portability while delivering improved comfort and often improved sound-quality. Last but not least are over-ear headphones, which are the ultimate in comfort and sound quality, but they aren’t always very portable.

If you decide that over-ear headphones are the right choice for you, then there are a few other things you should look for before you buy any old pair. For starters, you’ll want to think about whether you want wired or wireless headphones. Wired headphones generally sound a little better, though for the untrained ear it might not make a difference, while wireless headphones are more convenient because you cut the cord ut of the equation.

You’ll also want to consider the type of driver you want inside the headphones. This won’t matter for most people, but audiophiles who are looking for a pair of headphones that boast a ton of clarity and detail might want to consider a pair of planar magnetic or electrostatic headphones.

Perhaps the most important thing to think about when looking for a new pair of headphones is budget. Audiophiles will be the first to tell you that it’s easy to spend thousands on a great pair of headphones, but you’re probably not looking for a pair of multi-thousand-dollar headphones. With all this in mind, we’ve rounded up the best over-ear headphones in a variety of price points from $100 to $1,000 and everything in between.

Here are the best over-ear headphones you can buy:

  • Best over-ear headphones overall: Beyerdynamic DT 1990 PRO
  • Best wireless over-ear headphones: Sennheiser Momentum Wireless 3 headphones
  • Best noise-cancelling headphones: Sony WH-1000XM3 headphones
  • Best mid-range over-ear headphones: Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO
  • Best affordable over-ear headphones: Sennheiser HD280Pro headphones
  • Best expensive over-ear headphones: Sennheiser HD 800

Updated on 10/23/2019 by Christian de Looper: Added three new pairs of headphones. Updated prices and formatting.

The best over-ear headphones overall

The Beyerdynamic DT 1990 PRO headphones may not be cheap, but the sound quality of these cans makes them absolutely worth the price.

If you’re simply looking for the best over-ear headphones out there and don’t care too much about anything else, then the Beyerdynamic DT 1990 PRO headphones are the way to go. These headphones may be a little pricey at almost $600, but they’re built with the recording studio in mind, and they’re made specifically to deliver a powerful yet natural sound.

There are a few reasons these headphones sound so good. For starters, unlike most headphones these days, the DT 1990 PRO feature an open-back design. That means outside noise can get in, and your music can be easily heard by those around you, but it also helps create a much more natural sound with a nice wide soundstage. Open-back headphones are perfect for those who plan on listening at home by themselves a lot.

On top of the open-back design, the headphones feature plenty of padding, replaceable and removable cables, and more. The sound-quality on these headphones, however, is where they really shine. They’re slightly bass-forward with plenty of midrange support and a ton of detail in the high-end. With more detail, instruments sound defined and separate, which makes for an awesome listening experience.

So what’s the downside? Well, the main one is price. At over $500, these headphones really aren’t cheap. They’re also a little bulky, though considering they’re really built for home use, that may not be an issue for some.

Pros: Amazon sound quality, extremely comfortable, nicely designed

Cons: Expensive, bulky

The best wireless over-ear headphones

The Sennheiser Momentum Wireless 3 headphones are the complete package, offering excellent sound quality, a comfortable fit, and decent noise cancellation.

Sennheiser is known for building some of the best headphones on the market, and the Sennheiser Momentum Wireless 3 headphones are no exception to that rule. The headphones are beautifully designed, super comfortable, sound great, and even offer noise cancellation.

There are a ton of reasons to love these headphones, but the biggest reason is how great they sound. The headphones may not be the most accurate sounding headphones in the world, but they offer a fun listening experience.

For example, while there’s a little extra bass, it’s not too over-the-top. The mids are well-tuned, and the highs offer plenty of detail and clarity. They may not be as detailed as a pair of high-end wired headphones, but when it comes to wireless headphones, these are the best. 

The headphones offer some great smart features too. They have noise cancellation, and while it’s not quite as good as Bose’s or Sony’s, it’s still effective. They even have Tile tracking built into them, so you shouldn’t ever lose them.

What about the downsides? Well, the biggest is that the headphones are a bit pricey, coming in at around $400. Still, they seem to be absolutely worth it. Insider Picks Senior Editor Malarie Gokey tested them briefly at a tech conference and deemed them some of the best tech launched at IFA 2019.

The headphones have gotten great reviews since their release, with Digital Trends giving them 8/10 and What Hi-Fi going a step further to a whopping 5/5.

Pros: Excellent design, great sound quality, comfortable, noise cancelling

Cons: Expensive

The best noise-cancelling over-ear headphones

The Sony WH-1000XM3 headphones look good, sound great, and offer the best noise-cancelling tech of any headphones.

Bose has been dethroned. The Bose QuietComfort line of headphones have a ton to offer, but the best noise-cancelling headphones currently available are the Sony WH-1000XM3 headphones. 

There are plenty of reasons to love these headphones. As mentioned, they offer excellent noise-cancellation tech, meaning they’ll be able to easily block out plane engine noise, noise from the train, or simply noise from the street. 

But the headphones go beyond great noise cancellation — they also sound awesome. Like other wireless headphones, they’re not the most accurate headphones out there, but they still sound absolutely awesome. There are plenty of low frequencies, a well-tuned mid range, and a ton of detail in the high-end, making for a great listening experience.

The headphones offer other great features too. They’re super comfortable, so they can be worn for hours on end with ease, and they have a whopping 30-hour battery life, which is better than most wireless headphones. There aren’t many downsides to these headphones apart from their price, and they’ve gotten excellent reviews, including a score of 4.5/5 from Tom’s Guide and from CNET.

Pros: Well designed, comfortable, great battery life, good sound quality, excellent noise cancellation

Cons: Expensive

The best mid-range over-ear headphones

The Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO headphones may not be the prettiest around, but their sound quality is unrivaled in this price range.

Beyerdynamic may claim the top spot on our list with the expensive Beyerdynamic DT 1990 PRO headphones, but it turns out the company makes some pretty great budget headphones, too. Case in point: The Beyerdynamic DT 770 PRO headphones, which come in at less than $200, and still offer excellent value for money.

While these headphones may not be wireless or have noise cancellation, they do offer an excellent sound quality. The DT 770 PRO boast plenty of bass without going too far over the top, a well-tuned midrange, and a good amount of clarity and detail in the high-end.

Of course, the headphones aren’t perfect. They’re largely suited for home listening rather than anything else, and they’re a bit bulky because of that. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but it’s still something to keep in mind. The headphones also don’t have a removable cable, which is a little frustrating for some.

Still, despite those issues, most reviewers love the headphones. PCMag gave them 4.5/5 stars, while CNET gave them 8/10.

Pros: Excellent sound quality, good value for money

Cons: Bulky, no removable cable

The best affordable over-ear headphones

The Sennheiser HD280Pro headphones may not be the fanciest ones out there, but they offer excellent sound for a pair of headphones in this price range.

Sennheiser doesn’t just make expensive headphones, it makes some stellar affordable ones too, like the Sennheiser HD280Pro headphones. These headphones may not be the flashiest ones out there, but they offer a comfortable fit and sound great, especially for a pair of headphones in this price range.

The best thing about these headphones is how great they sound. Sure, they don’t offer the same level of detail as more expensive cans, but they still boast a smooth and natural bass, well-tuned mids, and solid amount of clarity in the high end. They don’t have noise cancellation, but they’re pretty good at cutting out noise naturally.

The headphones are super comfortable too. They have plenty of padding in the ear cups and under the headband, so you should be able to wear them for a while without issue. 

The downsides? Well, it’s hard to complain in this price range, but they don’t have a detachable cable and they’re probably not the best choice for serious audiophiles. That said, the headphones scored an impressive 4.5/5 from PCMag, and have an average of 4.2/5 on Amazon.

Pros: Comfortable, great sound, inexpensive

Cons: Slightly boring design, no detachable cable

The best expensive over-ear headphones

The Sennheiser HD 800 headphones may cost a lot and require a headphone amplifier, but these are the best headphones for those who want the ultimate music-listening experience.

Looking for the best headphones around and don’t mind spending the cash for them? The Sennheiser HD 800 headphones are the way to go. Sure, they’re expensive, but if money is no object and you want the best over-ear headphones you could possibly get, these are the best choice.

There are a few things that make these headphones shine, but at the absolute top of the list is the fact that they sound amazing. They offer the perfect amount of bass, an excellently-tuned mid range, and a glorious amount of detail in the high-end. The headphones boast an excellent soundstage, too.

Thankfully, you can spend as much time as you want listening to great-sounding music, too, because these headphones are supremely comfortable. The Sennheiser HD 800 have plenty of padding in the ear cups so you should be able to listen to music for hours on end without issue.

There really aren’t any downsides to these headphones apart from the price, but there are a few points of consideration. These are really built for home use, and they require a decent amplifier to work properly, so you won’t be able to use these with your smartphone.

Pros: Amazing sound-quality, extremely comfortable

Cons: Very expensive, require additional equipment