Best over-ear headphones in 2024: All our top picks tested by audio experts

With so many designs to choose from, finding the best over-ear headphones for you can sometimes feel a bit overwhelming. There are hundreds of options at all kinds of different price points, so it's understandable if it feels tricky when to comes to tracking down a pair just right for you. 

Thankfully, we're here to help. Along with our regularly maintained guides to the best headphones overall, and the best cheap headphones, we've done all the hard work for you by selecting the most comfortable and best-sounding over-ear headphones at every kind of budget you can buy right now. 

All these models are durable, and offer high comfort levels as they fill your entire ear with sound. Whether you’re looking for a stylish pair of headphones made with luxurious materials that come loaded features, or something a bit more understated for on-the-go listening, all the over-ear headphones have been tested by audio experts who know everything about great sound.

Prices range from under $99 to near $700, and all are available to buy right now. Read on to find the best over-ear headphones right for your budget.

The Quick List

The best over-ear headphones you can buy right now

Best over-ear headphones overall

Sony XM5 headphones in ecru (off white) placed outdoors on a garden table

Best for features and performance overall

Specifications

Weight: 8.8 ounces
Battery life (rated): 30 hours (ANC on); 40 hours (ANC off)
ANC: Yes
Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.3 with SBC, AAC, LDAC

Reasons to buy

+
Articulate and engaging sound
+
Great control options
+
Impressive noise-cancelation

Reasons to avoid

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Redesign and eco credentials ups the price
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Gets hot around the ears during longer listening

As Sony’s XM-series flagship headphones, the XM5 launched in 2022 improve upon the already great XM4s with better active noise cancelation, call quality, sound, comfort and connectivity in streamlined design with signifacnt eco credentials. Although the majority of the performance changes aren't huge — though the first two are certainly noticeable — it's enough to ensure the latest version of the popular XM-series retains top ranking. 

The touch controls and battery life (30 hours with ANC on, 40 with it off) are also to be commended, as is the excellent Sony Headphones Control app, which lets you tweak the EQ to your preference. The slightly bland design might count against them for some buyers (the XM4s are still around and cost less), but overall there's no question that these are the best wireless headphones you can buy. If you're still not convinced then check out our Sony WH-1000XM5 vs. WH-1000XM4 face-off to see how they compare.

Best value over-ear headphones

Sennheiser Accentum on a cream-colored bench

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
Best value Sennheiser headphones with ANC

Specifications

Size and weight: 6.4 x 1.8 x 7.6 inches; 7.8 ounces
Battery life (rated): Up to 50 hours with ANC enabled
Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.2 with SBC, AAC, aptX HD
ANC: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Great ANC battery life
+
Effective noise canceling
+
Robust build and good comfort levels

Reasons to avoid

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No on-ear detection
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No carry case

Sennheiser Accentum are a mid-priced ANC pair of headphones with plenty of flagship features. Probably the most outstanding thing about the Accentum noise-canceling headphones, though, is the 50-hour battery life and quick charge that's achieves up to 5 hours of listening time from a 10-minute top-up. 

These low-cost Sennheisers are based around the Momentum 4 Wireless (ranked below), and although they have slightly smaller drivers, they master the company's signature sound. There are plenty of rich bass notes on hand to give whatever you're listening to the right level of energy without over emphasizing low frequencies. Everything feels nicely proportioned and there's plenty of mid-range clarity.

ANC is very effective at reducing background sounds to a pool of silence, and Transparency mode was effective during my testing, too. When it comes to taking voice calls, the Accentum has two built-in microphones and a dedicated wind-reduction mode. Multipoint seamlessly switches from one Bluetooth device to another, and there's an adjustable side-tone to help keep conversations feeling natural.

Best noise-canceling over-ear headphones

Bose QC Ultra Headphones listing image shown in smoke white held aloft in daylight on an urban street

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
Best-ever over-ear headphones for noise-cancelling

Specifications

Size and weight: 7.7 x 2.0 x 5.5 inches; 8.96 ounces
Battery life (rated): 24 hours (18 hours w/ Immersive Audio)
Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.3 with SBC, AAC and aptX Adaptive
ANC: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Modernized design
+
Effective Immersive Audio experience
+
Intuitive controls
+
Best-ever ANC

Reasons to avoid

-
High cost compared to most rivals
-
Middling battery life for a flagship design

The Bose QuietComfort Ultra Headphones are the best ANC headphones overall. As the replacement for the Bose 700, the company has raised the bar yet again for active noise-canceling headphones, effectively silencing outside world around you. The new model throws in Immersive Audio tech and plenty of extras including Bluetooth 5.3 with multipoint connectivity, aptX Adaptive support, and touch volume control. This all comes in an all-new modern and lightweight design that's comfortable enough to be worn for hours.

There are multiple levels of noise cancelation to balance the level of quiet with Aware mode (transparency) to suit your surroundings. Battery life has been extended to give up to 24 hours, while changes made to the controls and design make usability more practical and seamless. While the Bose 700 are a great alternative option to consider and can often be found discounted in our best headphone deals, the QC Ultra raise Bose's game and are as close to perfect as you’re going to get in the noise-canceling headphones category.

Best over-ear headphones for battery life

Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless headphones with case on window seat at reviewer's home

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
Best-ever battery life for a wireless headphone with ANC

Specifications

Size & weight: 7 x 7.67 x 1.82 inches; 10.3 ounces
Battery life (rated): Up to 60 hours (with ANC)
Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.2 with SBC, AAC and aptX Adaptive
ANC: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Spectacular battery life
+
Great sound
+
Effective noise-cancelling performance 
+
Reliable touch controls
+
Robust design with plain styling (if you like that sort of thing)

Reasons to avoid

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Anonymous styling
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Earpads may make ears hot
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Flaky connectivity issues with Smart Control app

Although the revamped design of Sennheiser's fourth generation Momentum Wireless headphones don't stand out quite like their classic-looking predecessor, the 60-hour battery life is a real crowd pleaser and makes them the one to beat. Add in the easy-going Sennheiser sound and effective noise canceling, and the Momentum 4 are one the most practical wireless headphones we've seen, perfectly built for a life on the road rather than tethered to a power socket needing regular battery top ups. 

During my testing, Sennheiser's smooth house sound handled a wide range of music content, from pounding beats to more mellow tunes with aplomb. They have Bluetooth 5.2 and aptX Adaptive support, and there's a supplied 3.5mm cable for audiophile wired connections. ANC performance was effective, and auto Wind Noise Reduction is very impressive when stood on a windy train platform on daily work commutes. The combination of great sound quality, high comfort levels and 

Best premium over-ear headphones

Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2e held in the air above a dining room table

(Image credit: Future)
This entry-level ANC is a great premium offering

Specifications

Size and weight: Not specified; 10.8 ounces
Battery life (rated): Up to 30 hours
Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.2 with SBC, AAC, aptX Adaptive and aptX HD
ANC: Yes

Reasons to buy

+
Great sound
+
Low-profile design with smart styling
+
Effective noise canceling

Reasons to avoid

-
No touch controls
-
Noise canceling isn't as good as its rivals 

Just like the Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2, the new S2e are an 'evolved' version of the company's entry-level headphones. They are priced at $399, which is exactly the same as the Sony WH-1000XM5 — see how they compare in my Sony WH-1000XM5 vs. Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2e face-off. 

They feel just as good as their predecessor and look identical. They are beautifully constructed and look much better than most price rivals in terms of build and finish. For example, several noise canceling headphone price rivals look plasticky by comparison, but the textured finish of the Px7 S2e looks stylish and doesn't show up finger marks in the way that some rivals do. On the other hand though, much like the S2 the new S2e version doesn't have much in the way of extended functionality. 

As an evolved version, the S2e takes inspiration and learnings from the company's Px8 flagship headphones together with a re-tuned acoustic performance and 24-bit digital signal processing (DSP). In short, they're designed to deliver the best wireless sound this sort of money can buy, and they do. In my review, I particularly liked the bass kick they brought to my music, which had a bit more energy than many of their price rivals. The rest of the frequency range felt nicely judged, and noise canceling was effective but not the strongest model around at the price. 

Overall, these are a great buy for anyone truly serious about sound quality, and less bothered about noise canceling or the latest features.

Best over-ear headphones for style and sound

Bowers & Wilkins Px8 headphone an a black leather sofa

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)
A great balance of luxury design and high-end sound