X
Tech
Why you can trust ZDNET : ZDNET independently tests and researches products to bring you our best recommendations and advice. When you buy through our links, we may earn a commission. Our process

'ZDNET Recommends': What exactly does it mean?

ZDNET's recommendations are based on many hours of testing, research, and comparison shopping. We gather data from the best available sources, including vendor and retailer listings as well as other relevant and independent reviews sites. And we pore over customer reviews to find out what matters to real people who already own and use the products and services we’re assessing.

When you click through from our site to a retailer and buy a product or service, we may earn affiliate commissions. This helps support our work, but does not affect what we cover or how, and it does not affect the price you pay. Neither ZDNET nor the author are compensated for these independent reviews. Indeed, we follow strict guidelines that ensure our editorial content is never influenced by advertisers.

ZDNET's editorial team writes on behalf of you, our reader. Our goal is to deliver the most accurate information and the most knowledgeable advice possible in order to help you make smarter buying decisions on tech gear and a wide array of products and services. Our editors thoroughly review and fact-check every article to ensure that our content meets the highest standards. If we have made an error or published misleading information, we will correct or clarify the article. If you see inaccuracies in our content, please report the mistake via this form.

Close

The best over-ear headphones you can buy: Expert tested

I tested the best over-ear headphones from brands like Bose, Sony, Apple, and more to help you find the pair that best suits your audio, comfort, and battery life preferences.
Written by Jada Jones, Associate Editor
Reviewed by Kayla Solino
Bose QuietComfort Ultra | Best over-ear headphones overall
Bose QuietComfort Ultra in White Smoke
Bose QuietComfort Ultra
Best over-ear headphones overall
View now View at Walmart
Sony WH-1000XM5 | Best over-ear headphones for software fanatics
Sony WH-1000XM5 Headphones
Sony WH-1000XM5
Best over-ear headphones for software fanatics
View now View at Amazon
Sennheiser Momentum 4 | Best sound quality for over-ear headphones
Sennheiser Momentum 4 wireless headphones and case lying on a wooden table
Sennheiser Momentum 4
Best sound quality for over-ear headphones
View now View at Amazon
Apple AirPods Max | Best over-ear headphones for Apple users
AirPods Max at an Apple Store, captured by iPhone 15 Pro Max
Apple AirPods Max
Best over-ear headphones for Apple users
View now View at Amazon
Skullcandy Crusher ANC 2 | Best over-ear headphones for bass lovers
Skullcandy Crusher ANC 2 on top of a rock river
Skullcandy Crusher ANC 2
Best over-ear headphones for bass lovers
View now View at Amazon
Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT2 | Best over-ear studio headphones
Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT2 headphones in black
Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT2
Best over-ear studio headphones
View now View at Audio-Technica
Beats Studio Pro | Best over-ear headphones for mixed-device ecosystems
Beats Studio Pro headphones in Deep Brown in Jada's hand
Beats Studio Pro
Best over-ear headphones for mixed-device ecosystems
View now View at Amazon
Anker SoundCore Space One | Best budget over-ear headphones
Soundcore Space One headphones in Sky Blue hanging from a brick corner
Anker SoundCore Space One
Best budget over-ear headphones
View now View at Amazon
Show more (3 items)

If you're looking for a new pair of headphones, you may be tempted to buy the most popular pair. But popularity doesn't equal functionality, and despite the positive reviews, those headphones might not accommodate your preferences. 

Believe it or not, buying a pair of headphones is a highly personal choice. The headphones your best friend loves and recommended to you may not be a good fit for you, and vice versa. When you're looking for a new pair of headphones, consider which features you value most, whether it be sound, design, noise-canceling strength, or price, and make your decision from there.

I've tested many headphones over the last year, and my goal is to expose you to many options to help you choose the right pair. Some of the headphones on this list are from big names like Sony and Bose, some headphones are close to $400 while others barely scratch $100, and some headphones cancel noise better than others. Keep reading as I help you find your next pair of daily drivers.

What are the best over-ear headphones right now?

My top pick for the best over-ear headphones goes to the Bose QuietComfort Ultra due to its superior comfort, advanced ANC, and premium design. These headphones boast a list of future-proof software features while staying true to their most important features: strong noise-canceling and all-day comfort.  

The best over-ear headphones of 2024

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Comfortable
  • Superior ANC
  • Premium design
Cons
  • Not ideal for outdoor activities
  • Short battery for the price
More Details

The Bose QC Ultra headphones are great for people who spend a lot of time working at a desk or commuting. Their ANC does a great job at blocking out office chatter and the low hums of a plane, train, or car. The QC Ultra's all-day comfort and versatile use for casual mobile gaming, watching videos, taking calls, and listening to music make them the best over-ear headphones all around for people who like having one pair of headphones they can take anywhere. Reddit users seem to agree with me, as one user called out that the QC Ultra are very well-rounded.

Review: Bose QuietComfort Ultra

The Bose QC Ultra headphones are my favorite everyday headphones and I rarely complete a workday without putting these on my head. Plushy padding on the ear cups, improved sound quality, and insanely effective noise-canceling tech put these headphones above the rest.

Bose's latest release put the quiet in QuietComfort, as the QC Ultra headphones take the spot for best noise-canceling on this list. There's no hiss or hum, and only loud conversations in close proximity will cut through the Ultra's ANC. The QC Ultra's noise-canceling properties are a major high point, as it's more effective than any other headphones from Bose and is slightly stronger than the noise-canceling from Apple and Sony.

To go even further, the QuietComfort Ultra headphones are the best you'll get from Bose. The sound quality is clear, balanced, and detailed. Of course, the sound quality isn't as good as what you'll find in a pair of audiophile-centered consumer headphones like the Sennheiser Momentum 4. Still, Bose's QuietComfort Ultra's sound is definitely fuller than the XM5 headphones and clearer than AirPods Max.

Bose QuietComfort Ultra tech specs: Weight: 8.96 oz (254 g) | Battery life: 24 hours | Bluetooth: Yes (5.3) | Multipoint: Yes

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Best for your money's worth
  • Great audio quality
Cons
  • ANC not the best for the price
  • Mediocre portability
More Details

The WH-1000XM5 headphones offer every premium headphone feature you can think of. If you like highly personalized headphones, these are for you. If you want a pair of headphones that has it all -- and does it all well -- you'll want the XM5.

Review: Sony WH-1000XM5

Despite their impressive and extensive internal audio components, the XM5 over-ear headphones remain light and comfortable for long-term wear. While Sony's headphones aren't my top pick for sound quality or noise-canceling, Sony gives you great quality all around. ZDNET's Matt Miller tested the XM5 headphones, and called them "basically perfect," due to their simple design, effective ANC, and all-day comfort.

Sony's XM5 over-ear headphones also have a useful companion app that's full of personalization features and future-proof software capabilities. The XM5 headphones are highly popular, and that's for good reason. Amazon customers rave about the XM5's battery life, comfort, ANC, and warm sound.

Sony WH-1000XM5 tech specs: Weight: 8.8 oz (249.5 g) | Battery life: 30 hours | Bluetooth: Yes (Bluetooth 5.2) | Multipoint: Yes

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Superior sound
  • Marathon battery
Cons
  • Weak ANC
  • Mediocre portability
More Details

The Sennheiser Momentum 4 are the perfect headphones for anyone who likes to take high-quality sound on the go. Not to mention, their 60-hour battery life means you'll get through the week or through a days-long trek in and out of airports without needing to charge them.

Sennheiser's Momentum 4 over-ear headphones are the best wireless option for listeners with a trained ear. Sennheiser is known for its professional-level audio equipment and implemented its higher-caliber audio technology into a pair of consumer headphones.

Review: Sennheiser Momentum 4

The Momentum 4 easily tops Apple, Bose, and Sony in the audio department but certainly falls behind all three in the noise-canceling category. For wireless headphones, the Momentum 4 deliver incredibly clear and detailed audio and offers highly specific EQ settings on a five-band equalizer.

I recommend these headphones for at-home wireless listening or for people who like to remain aware of their surroundings while they commute, travel, or work in public spaces. When I tested these headphones, I found the Momentum 4 were effective at blocking out the lower pitches of droning noises, like a lawn mower or a running refrigerator, but the higher pitches of these noises will get past these headphones. 

However, I also found that the ANC doesn't degrade the Momentum 4's sound quality, something that's very common with other ANC-enabled headphones.

Sennheiser Momentum 4 tech specs: Weight: 10.3 oz (292 g) | Battery life: 60 hours | Bluetooth: Yes (5.2) | Multipoint: Yes

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Superior ANC
  • Unique and stylish design
  • Spatial Audio
Cons
  • Expensive
  • Limited software capabilities
More Details

The Apple AirPods Max are the best headphones for Apple fanatics. If your tablet, smartphone, TV, and every gadget in between are made by Apple, these are for you. Their seamless integration with Apple devices makes them easy to use, but their hardware and software limitations might frustrate non-Apple users.

If you are deeply committed to the Apple ecosystem and you want to keep it that way, you'll want the AirPods Max. The sound quality is great, and Apple's Transparency Mode is easily the best out of all the headphones on this list. The AirPods Max noise-canceling is superior to Sony's XM5 over-ears and follows closely behind Bose's QuietComfort Ultra.

Review: Apple AirPods Max

However, in terms of functionality, the AirPods Max are not the best you'll find -- unless you have mostly Apple devices. 

To start, AirPods Max don't have any native EQ settings, and their almost five-year-old Apple H1 chip leaves them without the up-to-date software settings found in the AirPods Pro (2nd generation), like Conversation Awareness and Adaptive Sound Control.

You can seamlessly pair the AirPods Max to more than two devices, something Apple holds above other headphones with two-device multipoint connectivity. Still, seamless pairing won't work with AirPods Max unless they're connecting to other Apple devices. Should you connect AirPods Max to an Android or Windows device, you won't get Spatial Audio, wear detection, or access a virtual assistant.

Hardware-wise, AirPods Max don't have a headphone jack or a USB-C port for wired listening. You'll get the superior AAC codec when paired via Bluetooth to Apple devices and the standard SBC codec when paired with non-Apple devices. The lack of audio ports also means you'll have to keep them charged up, especially if you're likely to run down their short 20-hour battery life.

Apple AirPods Max tech specs: Weight: 13.6 oz (384.4 g) | Battery life: 20 hours | Bluetooth: Yes (5.0) | Multipoint: No, but connects to multiple Apple devices 

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Superior bass
  • Marathon battery life
  • Comfortable ear cups
Cons
  • Bass can be tough to tame
  • Heavy
  • Weak ANC
More Details

The Skullcandy Crusher ANC 2 are the best headphones for those who like an intense bass kick when they listen to music. I also recommend these to people who wear headphones to watch gaming streams or movies on the go. Their deep bass will get you fully immersed in whatever you're watching.

Skullcandy's Crusher ANC 2 are equipped with Skullcandy's patented Crusher Bass technology that delivers bass you can hear and feel. If you like all things bass, you're bound to find a lot of fun in the Crusher ANC 2. However, the Crusher Bass can be difficult to conquer, and it may be entirely too much for most people. 

Review: Skullcandy Crusher ANC 2

Amazon customers describe the Crusher ANC 2's bass as "killer," "crazy," "intense," and, sometimes, "unbearable." I can agree; when I wore the Crusher ANC 2 headphones, I made the mistake of maxing out the Crusher Bass, which gave me an instant headache.

Despite that, the Crusher ANC 2 handles low-frequency sounds very well, and the overall sound quality is good. At high levels, Crusher Bass will muddle a song's higher frequencies and will overwhelm you with songs that are already bass-heavy. You'll have to find the sweet spot in the EQ settings to get the most out of these, so be prepared to play with the sound for a few minutes.

The Crusher ANC 2's companion app is loaded with software, including Spotify Tap, voice assistants, and more. The only software feature Skullcandy omits from these headphones is wear detection.

Overall, Skullcandy's Crusher ANC 2 are not your first choice if you're looking for a practical pair of everyday headphones. Their build is bulky, and the bass can get out of hand. However, the Crusher Bass feature will make movie and video-watching more enjoyable than you can imagine.

Although I wouldn't recommend working out in over-ear headphones (more on that below), I can see why people would want to work out in these. The Crusher ANC 2 can reach and beautifully reproduce low-frequency sounds, and their sound is perfect for motivating you to lift some heavy weight or go on an intense run.

Skullcandy Crusher ANC 2 tech specs: Weight: 11.7 oz (332 g) | Battery life: 60 hours | Bluetooth: Yes (5.2) | Multipoint: Yes

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Superior balanced sound
  • Great for wired listening
  • Solid build
Cons
  • Heat buildup
  • Tight fit
  • No ANC
More Details

If you enjoy a balanced and clear sound, you'll enjoy Audio-Technica's ATH-M50xBT2 headphones. For those who mix and master music, whether you're learning about music production in college or running a business that requires you to focus on audio editing professionally, you should try these.

Audio-Technica's ATH-M50xBT2 headphones are the most no-frills headphones you can find in a world full of confusing buttons, capacitive touch controls, and lengthy software updates. If you don't believe me, you can stick to wired listening and never connect these headphones to your device's Bluetooth and still get the most out of them. Very retro. 

Review: Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT2

However, "BT" is in the product name, and their Bluetooth connectivity is easy and stable. Aside from modern button controls and Bluetooth capabilities, the BT2 headphones aren't much different from their ATH-line of successors from the early 2000s. When I tested the BT2 headphones, I appreciated their simplicity.

These headphones' 45mm dynamic drivers deliver a very balanced and clear sound, as they're studio headphones made for mixing and mastering audio. The BT2 could definitely work as "baby's first studio headphones" since their $200 price tag is reasonable for what you get. Amazon customers say the BT2 headphones deliver a flat, balanced, and neutral sound, making them ideal for critical listening and audio editing.

You'll get AAC, LDAC, and standard SBC Bluetooth codecs, and you can listen losslessly with a 3.5mm headphone jack. You can also use the headphone jack if you're low on battery, but the BT2 will stick around for 60 hours before the battery dies.

Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT2 tech specs: Weight: 10.6 oz (303 g) | Battery life: 60 hours | Bluetooth: Yes (5.0) | Multipoint: Yes

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Superior interoperability
  • USB-C audio
  • Great voice-calling capabilities
Cons
  • No wear detection
  • Tight fit
  • Poor build quality for the price
More Details

You'll maximize your money's worth with the Beats Studio Pro if you have a mixed-device ecosystem. They intuitively work well with both Android and Apple devices, leaving some features reserved for one operating system and other features for the other operating system. If you want a visually stunning pair of headphones that are uniquely compatible with your Android and Apple devices, the Beats Studio Pro are for you. 

The Studio Pro supports Android Fast Pair, and iPhone users can summon Siri hands-free. Bluetooth multipoint pairing is available for Android users, and the Studio Pro can intelligently and smoothly connect to multiple Apple devices. However, if you have a Chromebook and an iPhone, you can't seamlessly switch the Studio Pro's connection between the two.

Review: Beats Studio Pro

For iOS users, you can add Studio Pro to your 'Find My' network. You'll also access Apple's Spatial Audio sound mode with your Apple devices. However, Apple users won't have access to USB-C wired listening or cabled lossless listening and will miss out on EQ settings. This also means they will rely on Beats's straight-out-the-box bass-boosted signature sound, as there's no Beats companion app on iOS.

For Android users, you can charge and listen to the Studio Pro while they're connected to your smartphone via a USB-C cord. With USB-C listening, you'll unlock audio modes fit for gaming and movie-watching, as well as lossless listening.

The Studio Pro's sound quality is good. It's the best from Beats but not the best in this list. If you have a pair of beloved Beats that need an upgrade, go with the Studio Pro. These headphones are also comfortable, but if you're looking for big, oval ear cups, these aren't for you. Their circular ear cup shape blends an over- and on-ear fit, which I wasn't overly excited about, and their clamping force is just right to keep them secure on your head.

Beats is known for its exaggerated bassy sound, and Best Buy customers say the artificial bass punch is what makes these headphones so great. If you like the Beats brand and want a new pair of everyday headphones, these will do the trick.

Beats Studio Pro tech specs: Weight: 9.52 oz (270 g) | Battery life: 40 hours | Bluetooth: Yes (5.3) | Multipoint: Yes

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Great bargain
  • Comfortable
  • Capable software
Cons
  • No carrying case
  • ANC struggles with low-pitch sounds
More Details

I recommend the Soundcore Space One headphones for anyone looking for a backup pair of headphones to take on their daily commute or on long traveling stretches. I'd also recommend them to anyone who wants an affordable pair of headphones that don't skimp on the software features.

The Soundcore Space One headphones are a capable and comfortable pair of headphones that won't break the bank. When it comes to sound, the Space One sound is great for their $100 price tag, but you shouldn't expect out-of-this-world sound quality. Best Buy customers say these headphones are a great catch for their price, and some recommend these headphones for kids.

Review: Anker SoundCore Space One

Despite that, their build quality is surprisingly well-made for their affordable price. You'll appreciate their nice build because you don't get a hardshell case to carry them in for storage and protection. The Space One's plushy and thick headband and ear cup cushions offered me a great deal of comfort when I tested them, and their relaxed fit is optimal for hours-long wear. However, the shallow ear cups interfere with sound quality and can cause discomfort for some.

The Space One also has many of the same software features you'll find in a pair of $400 headphones like the Sony XM5 over-ear headphones. Wear detection, conversation mode, EQ settings, software-to-hardware shortcuts, and ANC are included with the Space One. Their ANC, however, isn't anything to write home about, as it has a harder time blocking out the lower pitches of sounds like a running refrigerator, AC unit, or plane engine.

Anker SoundCore Space One tech specs: Weight: 9.3 oz. | Battery life: 55 hours | Bluetooth: Yes | Multipoint: Yes

What are the best over-ear headphones?

There's a saying that goes, "One man's trash is another man's treasure." That's how I feel about headphones. For every pair in this list, you can find reviewers and consumers saying your favorite pair of headphones are trash. But to you, they're the best thing since sliced bread.

There's no definitive answer to this question, even though I know I'm here to help you decide which pair of headphones are the best and which one you should spend your money on. However, keep in mind that there's no pair of headphones out there that can score a 10 all-around.

Some headphones are better at noise-canceling and don't have the best sound, while others have a longer battery life but may not be the most comfortable to wear for hours on end. So hopefully, this list helped you assess your audio wants and needs so you can make the best decision for what you want.

Remember that buying the right pair of headphones is a personal decision, and you should look for a pair that checks all of your boxes because you'll likely spend hundreds of dollars on them. 

This table gives a brief breakdown of important factors like price, battery life, and if the headphones have ANC. You can frequently find all of these headphones for a discounted price throughout the year, but what you'll see below are the standard list prices.

HeadphonesPriceBattery lifeANC
Bose QuietComfort Ultra$42924 hours (18 with ANC and Immersive Audio)Yes
Sony WH-1000XM5$40040 hours (30 with ANC)Yes
Sennheiser Momentum 4$38060+ hours (at least 60 with ANC)Yes
Apple AirPods Max$52920 hours (20 with ANC)Yes
Skullcandy Crusher ANC 2$22060 hours (50 with ANC)Yes
Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT2$19960+ hoursNo
Beats Studio Pro$34940 hours (24 with ANC)Yes
Soundcore Space One$9955 hours (40 with ANC)Yes

 *Lowest price at the time of writing. Please note that prices may vary based on retailer and available promotions, sales, or discounts.

Which are the right over-ear headphones for you?

It can be confusing trying to choose between all the headphones out there, so here are ZDNET's suggestions to help you quickly decide which of our pick best suit your needs.

Choose these best over-ear headphones... If you want...
Bose QuietComfort UltraHeadphones with top-tier comfort and noise-canceling.
Sony WH-1000XM5Headphones with all the software you can think of.
Sennheiser Momentum 4Headphones with professional-level audio quality.
Apple AirPods MaxHeadphones that will seamlessly blend into your Apple device ecosystem.
Skullcandy Crusher ANC 2Headphones to satisfy your need for heavy bass.
Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT2Headphones with clear and crisp sound quality.
Beats Studio ProHeadphones to accommodate your differing device operating systems.
Soundcore Space OneHeadphones that give you the most for an affordable price.

Factors to consider when choosing over-ear headphones

To find the best over-ear headphones, I considered several factors that may also help you with your search. Sound is a highly subjective metric, even though it can be measured objectively on charts and graphs. Despite that, it's one of the most important metrics when choosing a pair of headphones.

  • Sound: The ability to properly filter and highlight sound is critical in a pair of over-ear headphones, especially where noise cancellation is concerned. The headphones in this list have internal audio drivers that range from 30mm to 45mm in diameter. Drivers are responsible for converting audio signals into sound waves, and usually, the bigger the driver, the louder the headphones will be. However, there are many internal components that dictate sound quality, and sound quality is subjective and varies from person to person.
  • Comfort: Nothing is worse than a pair of over-ear headphones that are too tight, heavy, or hot. We tried all the headphones in this list and tried to find the best options to accommodate everyone's audio needs. Most headphones are comfortable for hours-long wear. However, others may only be suitable for short-term wear based on what you're doing, like watching a movie or editing audio.
  • Battery: Battery life is important to help ensure your headphones are ready when you need them. In this list, Sony, Apple, and Bose offer headphones with the shortest battery life, while Sennheiser, Soundcore, Audio-Technica, and Skullcandy offer the longest. Sony, Apple, and Bose headphones have a shorter battery life because the ANC is stronger, and the bonus audio features run in the background, which takes more battery. 
  • Cost: Budget is a concern for most shoppers, so we shop for affordable models that won't break the bank. However, we recognize that some people want to spend extra money on headphones in hopes that more expensive headphones will deliver higher-quality sound, comfort, and noise-canceling capabilities.

How I test over-ear headphones

Although sound can be measured objectively on charts and graphs, sound quality varies from person to person. When I test headphones, I include my opinion of their sound, but I also use them in real-world scenarios to help you better understand their effectiveness.

I wear headphones in coffee shops, grocery stores, libraries, and other public places to test how much of my environment I can hear with noise-canceling enabled. I also wear headphones for hours on end to decide how comfortable they are to wear.

Finally, I test a pair of headphones for at least two weeks before writing about them, as your experience with a pair can greatly differ from day one to day 12.

What are the best over-ear headphones for working out?

It's my job to be honest with you. So, with that in mind, I would not recommend over-ear headphones for exercising. Over-ear headphones are simply not built for rigorous, strenuous, or super-sweaty workout sessions.

Consumer tech companies get their products independently tested to receive an internationally standardized IP rating. Most over-ear headphones don't have an official IP (ingress protection) rating. Your smartphone probably has an IP68 rating, which means it's fully protected from water and dust. This high rating is why you can fully submerge your smartphone in water for a short period, and it (hopefully) won't incur severe damage. 

On the other hand, your over-ear headphones most likely did not receive a formal IP rating. In fact, none of the headphones featured in this list have an official IP rating. The lack of an IP rating means the company did not formally test the headphones for dust or water ingress, meaning you should assume your over-ears are unprotected from solids (dust) or water splashes, droplets, and sprays.

Many over-ear headphones, especially ones with hybrid or active noise-canceling properties, have speakers and microphones on the outside of the ear cups. Water can easily pass through the openings that house the speakers and mics, which can hinder the device's performance.

If you choose to exercise in your over-ears or wear them in the rain, your sweat or rainwater may damage the ear cup fabric or the internal audio components. You also risk water seeping into the buttons or accumulating on the ear cups, which can hinder the buttons' functionality or interfere with any tap/swipe controls on the ear cups. Not to mention, you'll increase the heat buildup inside the ear cups if you choose to exercise in your over-ear headphones, which can make them uncomfortable to wear.

I suggest investing in a pair of earbuds for exercising, which usually have an IPX4 rating or higher. This rating makes them splash and sweat-resistant and more suitable for rigorous workouts.

What are over-ear headphones?

Over-ear headphones sit around the ear, rather than on or in the ear. They are designed to provide a more immersive listening experience by completely enclosing the ear and blocking out external noise. The ear cups on over-ear headphones are also typically large and padded, providing comfort for extended use. 

Over-ear headphones come in both wired and wireless versions. They are typically larger in size compared to other types of headphones, and they are often preferred by audiophiles, music producers, office workers, students, and gamers -- especially because some of the high-end models have active noise cancellation to further block out noise.

Which over-the-ear headphones are most durable?

Sony's WH-1000XM5, Bose's QuietComfort Ultra, Soundcore's Space One, and Apple's AirPods Max all have great build quality and durability.

However, Apple and Soundcore don't include a hardshell protective case in your purchase, so if you're traveling, you'll want to keep these headphones close to your person to avoid scratches and scrapes.

Which over-ear headphones are most comfortable?

The Bose QuietComfort Ultra headphones are the most comfortable headphones on this list, as their ear cups and headband are padded by a soft, plushy protein leather material. I wore the QuietComfort Ultra headphones for at least six hours a day for a week with no discomfort. 

That said, Apple's AirPods Max, Sony's WH-1000XM5, and Soundcore's Space One are honorable mentions, as the ear cups sport soft, thick padding that can withstand an entire day's worth of wear.

Are there alternative over-ear headphones worth considering?

Yes! While the headphones listed above are what we consider the best over-ear headphones, there are plenty of other headphones on the market that may be worth a second look. 

View at Sony ElectronicsView at JBLView at Bose
Editorial standards