The best over-ear headphones available today

TechRadar's round-up of the best over-ear headphones

For the gym we'd probably recommend in-ear headphones, and for travelling on-ears provide a good balance of sound quality and portability. But when you're in the comfort of your own home and want to listen to music with absolutely no compromises on sound quality, then over-ear headphones are the way to go. 

Sure, they can be bulky, but the benefit of this is that by sitting over, rather than on, your ears, they're much more comfortable when worn for long periods of time. 

If you want to find a pair of the best over-ear headphones around, then scroll down for our constantly updated list. We've got picks from right across the price spectrum, so whatever you want to spend you should be able to find a pair of cans that are right for you. 

Here's the Top 10 best over-ear headphones, ranked based on their price-vs-performance ratio:

  1. Oppo PM-3
  2. Philips Fidelio X2
  3. Beyerdynamic DT 1770 Pro
  4. Audio-Technica ATH-MSR7
  5. Sony MDR-ZX770BT
  6. Sennheiser Momentum Wireless
  7. Bose QuietComfort 35
  8. Sony MDR-1000X
  9. Status Audio CB-1
  10. Bowers and Wilkins P9 Signature

Oppo PM 3

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
Great isolation
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

Philips Fidelio X2

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

Brilliant sound
Superb value
Lacks extras

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

Best over ear headphones

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
Sleek design
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

Audio Technica ATH MSR7

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

Elegant design
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

Sony MDR ZX770BT

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

Comfortable fit
Fantastic battery life
Cramped soundstage
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

Sennheiser Momentum Wireless

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

Best-in-class sound
Everlasting battery life
Finicky multi-function button
Terribly pricey

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

Best Over Ear Headphones

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
Boring looks

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

Best Over Ear Headphones

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
Noise cancellation
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

bowers and wilkins p7

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

Low price
Comfortable
Muddying warmth
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

Best over ear headphones

10. B&W P9 Signature

Bank-breaking premium headphones that justify the expense

Acoustic design: Closed | Weight: 0.91 pounds | Cable length: up to 5m | Frequency response: 2-30,000Hz | Drivers: 40mm | Driver type: Full-range | Sensitivity: 111dB/V at 1kHz | Impedance: 22ohms | Battery life: N/A | Wireless range: N/A | NFC: N/A

Exceptional level of detail
Tightly balanced sound
Incredibly expensive
Bulky 

There's no getting around the fact that you're going to have to part ways with a lot of cash if you want to get your hands on the Bowers and Wilkins P9 Signature. 

However, if you want headphones with an absolutely astounding level of detailing, separation and balance, then there are few headphones out there that can match them. 

Using these headphones you'll discover new details in songs that you've listened to hundreds of times before. 

Yes they're bulky, they're expensive, and they don't have the modern conveniences of other headphones like noise-cancellation or wireless operation, but they're a premium pair of headphones from a premium manufacturer, and there are few others out there that challenge their level of audio quality. 

Read the full review: Bowers and Wilkins P9 Signature