The 6 best over-ear headphones for every budget and listener type — Sony, Bowers & Wilkins, Bose and more

Headphones have evolved drastically over the years. But with so many options available at our fingertips, it can be overwhelming to find a pair that fully meets our listening needs.

Before getting into the best over-ear headphones on the market right now, it’s helpful to understand the difference between the three main types of headphones: in-ear, on-ear and over-ear. The difference among these doesn’t solely lie in their size. Other factors like sound quality, place of use and driver type (more on that here) also differentiate these three options.

Though in-ear headphones, like AirPods, are undeniably popular, many say this particular type is a much more worthwhile investment. Here’s why: Over-ear headphones feature a big cap that allows manufacturers to fit more components in the device and, ultimately, optimize the acoustic design. Because of this feature, many options now include noise-canceling technology, one of the most competitive features among headphones today.

There are thousands of options to choose from, making it almost impossible to find the perfect pair. To simplify your shopping, check out these top options for all your needs.

If you’re looking for the a pair that’s both visually striking while still offering best-in-class sound, noise-canceling technology and Ambient pass-through sound, the Bowers & Wilkins Px8 is definitely the one to buy.

Looking for something a bit cheaper, but still surpassing most of its competitors — including the AirPods Max — in sound quality and design? The best-selling yet still underrated Sony WH-1000XM5 Wireless Industry Leading Headphones would be my top recommendation.

And if you’re just not willing to spend more than $150, I’d get the Sony WHCH710N Wireless Noise-Canceling Headphones. They’re affordable but also produce incredible noise-canceling technology and crisp sound quality.

The 6 best over-ear headphones for every budget and listener type

2. Best Design/Crispest Sound:
Bowers & Wilkins Px8
3. Most Travel-Friendly:
Marshall Monitor II A.N.C.
6. Best Affordable Wireless Pair:
Sony WHCH710N Wireless Noise-Canceling Headphones

1. Best Overall: Sony WH-1000XM5 Wireless Industry Leading Headphones, $398

Sony WH-1000XM5 Wireless Industry Leading Headphones

What we like

  • Robust sound quality
  • Top-notch noise-canceling technology
  • Up to 40 hours of battery life
  • Both wired and wireless connectivity

What we don't like

  • Price may be more than some are willing to spend

These headphones check all the boxes that make a quality pair worth the money and are still cheaper than the AirPods Max.

They produce one of the absolute best active noise-canceling experiences I’ve ever heard in a pair of over-ear headphones, boast up to 40 hours of battery life on a single charge, have a wide Bluetooth range of 33 feet, great, easy-to-access control and touch options and a headphone jack for optional wired use (it also comes with a cable for wired connectivity).

Also, i you travel often, it comes with a hard carrying case that’s easy to store in your hand luggage or a desk drawer.

2. Best Design/Crispest Sound: Bowers & Wilkins Px8, $699

Bowers & Wilkins Px8

What we like

  • Nappa leather and aluminum build
  • Top-notch noise-canceling technology
  • Up to 30 hours of battery life
  • Both wired and wireless connectivity

What we don't like

  • Premium price — but it's worth it

If you’re looking for the ultimate investment piece that’s sure to last you forever, these are the headphones to buy. The perfect blend of luxury and practicality, these are the best headphones for audiophiles who want the best in both sound quality and design.

They come in three gorgeous colors, but the Royal Burgundy is a stunner that’s understated yet incredibly luxe — fully unlike any other premium headphones you’ll find anywhere at the moment. The Nappa leather finish makes these feel and look extremely durable (and they are) and the aluminum details make the headphones hefty without actually being heavy.

The Nappa leather motif continues with the memory foam cushions and headband but where these headphones truly sing is in the unmatched sound quality. They offer the crispest sound I’ve heard to date in a pair of headphones, both in noise-cancelation mode and Ambient Pass-Through mode. You’ll be glad you invested in these high-end headphones.

3. Most Travel-Friendly: Marshall Monitor II A.N.C., $319.99

Marshall Monitor II A.N.C.

What we like

  • Classic Vintage Marshall design
  • Advanced active noise-canceling technology
  • Up to 30 hours of wireless playtime with ANC and up to 45 hours without
  • Both wired and wireless connectivity

What we don't like

  • Ear cups may be a big too small for larger ears

This pair is a great pick for both the casual music listener or the aficionado who enjoys hearing every detail during the listening experience. If you’re a Marshall speaker and amp lover, these headphones have that same old-school, vintage design quality with fully modern and updated mechanics. 

4. Best Wired Option: Sony MDR7506 Professional Large Diaphragm Headphones, $84.99 (Orig. $99.99)

Sony MDR7506 Professional Large Diaphragm Headphones

What we like

  • A proven top pick among audio professionals
  • Comfortable and durable design
  • Affordable yet reliable

What we don't like

  • Exclusively wired

If you’re a musician, podcaster or casual listener who prefers practicality over advanced technology, go back to the basics with this classic Sony pair. Longtime audiophiles swear that these affordable headphones are some of the best you’ll find in both sound and quality. Some have had these for so long that they’ve passed them down for generations.

5. Amazon's Choice Over-Ear Headphones: Bose Headphones 700 Wireless Bluetooth Noise-Canceling Headphones, $299 (Orig. $379)

Bose Headphones 700 Wireless Bluetooth Noise-Canceling Headphones

What we like

  • Premium sound quality, performance and comfort
  • Lightweight design
  • Up to 20 hours of battery life

What we don't like

  • Head cushion is not as wide as other models

These best-selling Bose headphones work great for those who travel or commute often (especially by plane) and need a significant level of noise cancelation. With over 34,000 Amazon reviews and the coveted “Amazon’s Choice” label, they’ve been a top-rated go-to for years — and rightfully so.

6. Best Affordable Wireless Pair: Sony WHCH710N Wireless Noise-Canceling Headphones, $129.97 (Orig. $149.99)

Sony WHCH710N Wireless Noise-Canceling Headphones

What we like

  • Over 15,000 five-star Amazon reviews
  • Smart noise-cancellation
  • Up to 35 hours of battery life

What we don't like

  • None — these are worth the price!

It’s hard — almost impossible, in fact — to find a pair of high-quality over-ear noise-canceling headphones under $150, but these from Sony are one of the few pairs that exist and meet the mark.

They come in two colors and are one of Sony’s most popular and accessible releases of all time.

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