Best over-ear headphones in 2022 – XDA Developers
Looking to buy a pair of decent over-ear headphones? We have a few recommendations to help you choose the perfect cans.
While true wireless earbuds have taken over the wireless headphones space by storm, over-ear headphones are still in hot demand. Over-ear headphones are comfortable, provide more immersive sound, have superior battery life, and have more features. And since they cover your entire ear, they also better isolate the outside world even before you have turned on ANC. If you have sensitive ears and don’t like the feeling of silicone tips sitting deep inside your ear canal, over-ear headphones are a no-brainer.
Finding a decent pair of over-ear headphones that meet your expectations can be a little confusing because there are just too many options on the market, and brands keep releasing new models all the time. That’s why we’ve rounded up the best options for you, so you can choose the perfect pair of headphones without any hassle.
Sony's new WH-1000XM5 headphones take the cake as the best active noise-canceling (ANC) headphones on the market. Their incredibly effective ANC system block out most, if not all, external noise, including low rumbles of an airplane engine, office chatter, and other noises in your surroundings, offering a noise-free listening experience no matter where you are. The Sony WH-1000XM4 already delivered best-in-class ANC performance, and the WH-1000XM5 are somehow even better at isolating noise. The new model comes equipped with eight microphones and two processors, a step up from a single processor and four-microphone array on its predecessor.
Additionally, the WH-1000XM5 have a new Automatic Personal NC Optimizer, which adjusts the noise cancelation intensity based on the ambient noise. And with new synthetic leather and thicker padding on the earcups, the Sony WH-1000XM5 are more comfortable than their predecessor and can be worn for long listening sessions without fatigue. The sound quality is excellent for casual listeners, but should you not like the out-of-the-box tuning, the Sony Connect app has many settings and effects to play around with. You also get features like Speak to Chat and Quick Attention mode, which let you easily hear your surroundings without taking off the headphones.
With LDAC codec support, the headphones are ideal for streaming high-resolution music via Apple Music and TiDAL. The new model offers improved call quality thanks to the new beamforming microphones and has 30 hours of battery life, so you won't have to charge them every night. They might be expensive, but there are so many features on hand here that you'll definitely get your money's worth.
Sony makes some of the best audio products in the world, and the WH-1000XM5 headset comes with a new, sleeker design, even better audio, improved ANC with eight microphones and two processors, and 30 hours of battery life. It’s expensive, but it offers a fantastic experience.
You don’t have to pay a premium price to experience good sound and effective ANC. Anker’s Soundcore Life Q30 are a great value for money, offering fantastic ANC and superb battery life for just $80. Their design lacks the aesthetic appeal and refinement of more premium headphones on this list, but their performance more than makes up for that.
Large oval earcups with generous padding make the Anker Soundcore Life 30 comfortable to wear for long periods. And instead of finicky gestures, the headphones rely on the good old physical buttons to control ANC, media playback, and voice assistance. You get three levels of ANC: Transport mode, which focuses on reducing lower frequencies such as airplane and bus engine noise; Outdoors mode, which cuts down ambient noise; and Indoors mode, which minimizes human voices and other mid-range frequency sounds. You can switch between these modes and tweak other sound settings using the Anker Soundcore app.
When it comes to battery life, the Anker Soundcore Life 30 outclass more expensive headsets on this list, offering up to 60 hours of playback with ANC off and 40 hours with ANC on. They miss out on high-quality codecs such as LDAC and aptX, so they're not recommended for gaming or streaming high-resolution audio. For those use cases, check out the Soundcore Life Q35, which cost more at $130 and boast LDAC support and a better calling experience.
Premium headphones can get quite pricey, so if you want something more reasonable, the Soundcore Life Q30 are a solid option. Despite their low price, they still have features like ANC, and last up to 60 hours on a charge. These are great over-ear headphones for the budget conscious.
If you're an iPhone user, the AirPods Max are the best over-ear headphones you can buy. They offer excellent sound quality, a comfortable fit, and easy access to Siri, which is basically all you need from a pair of Apple headphones.
The AirPods Max are Apple's first over-ear headphones, and they deliver on the promise of great sound quality. The headphones feature 40mm dynamic drivers that provide rich, detailed sound while their effective ANC can block out the rumble of an airplane engine and other unwanted noise. Moreover, the headphones support Spatial Audio with head-tracking, which creates an immersive surround sound experience and gives you the feeling that sound is coming from all directions. Another noteworthy feature is Adaptive EQ, which automatically adjusts the audio frequencies based on the shape of your ear, fit and seal to offer a personalized audio experience.
Featuring aluminum earcups with a satin finish and a mesh fabric build, AirPods Max are among the most luxurious wireless headphones available, and with a price to match. It's worth noting that they're also a bit on the heavier side, but they're comfortable to wear, thanks to the soft, over-ear cushions.
While the AirPods Max can be paired with any smartphone and laptop, additional customization and features like Spatial Audio require iOS or macOS. That's why they're best suited for iPhone and MacBook users.
The Apple AirPods Max are the best headphones for iPhone and Mac users, offering a premium design, rich sound, Spatial Audio, and great active noise cancelation.
Whether you're a seasoned competitive player or a casual gamer, a good gaming headset can elevate your gaming experience — and even give you a competitive advantage. While there are plenty of good options to consider when it comes to gaming headphones, the Astro A50 Gen 4 Wireless is our top pick.
This headset comes in a PlayStation or Xbox variant, though both can be used with a PC. It also uses a USB transmitter that delivers wireless audio with minimal latency while offering features like channel mixing, presets, and EQs. The headphones also support Bluetooth connection, so you can simultaneously connect them to your smartphone for taking calls or playing music.
Unlike many other gaming headphones, which rely on passive noise isolation, the SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro comes equipped with ANC to dampen unwanted background noise for a distraction-free gaming experience. The high-fidelity drivers produce clear and precise audio, and the retractable microphone with AI-powered noise cancelation ensures that you can communicate clearly with your teammates. The headphones offer a 360-degree spatial audio feature and are fully compatible with Tempest 3D Audio for PS5 and Microsoft Spatial Sound for Xbox. The SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro has a battery life of up to 25 hours and come with a spare battery, allowing gamers to easily hot-swap between using one battery while charging the other.
The SteelSeries Arcits Nova Pro is a premium gaming headset. It offers lag-free audio, a retractable microphone, effective ANC, multi-point connectivity, and up to 25 hours of battery life.
If faithful sound reproduction is what you value the most in a pair of headphones, the Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro are fantastic audiophile headphones that don't cost a fortune. These wired headphones produce a balanced sound, offering good bass and treble while leaving ample room for vocals and mid-range instruments to stand out. Unlike jack-of-all-trades office and gaming headphones, which are designed to be portable and packed with many features, the emphasis here is firmly on offering good sound quality. And to that end, the Beyerdymaincs DT 770 Pro blow any mass-market wireless cans out of the water. They have well-padded earcups with soft microfiber fabric for a comfortable listening experience. And while they lack ANC, their closed-back design provides good passive noise isolation.
Note that these headphones are meant for home listening; they have a bulky design and lack physical controls. For commute and office usage, you'll be better served by something like Sony WH-XM10005. A high-quality music source and a dedicated DAC are a must to unlock the true potential of these headphones — lossless MP3 or AAC files stored on your phone won't cut it. The only thing we dislike about the Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro is that their audio cable isn't detachable. That means should the cord gets damaged, you'll have no choice but to replace the entire headset.
The Beyerdynamic DT 770 Pro are great mid-range audiophile headphones that deliver pure, high-fidelity sound. They're well-built and have soft velour earpads for a comfortable fit.
It's hard to talk about over-ear headphones without mentioning Sennheiser. The company's fourth-gen Momentum 4 Wireless headphones not only sound exceptional and have all the bells and whistles you expect in a pair of premium wireless headphones, but they also deliver unmatched battery life.
While not as classy-looking as their predecessor, the Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless feature a comfortable fit and lightweight design, making them ideal for office and commute. Their ANC isn't as impressive as the Sony WH-1000XM5 or Bose 700, but it's good enough to dampen unwanted background noise, allowing you to enjoy your music without raising the volume to dangerous levels. They have a mellow sound with an extra bass kick, and with aptX Adaptive codec support, they are also great for gaming and high-res music streaming. You can fine-tune the sound, ANC and tweak other settings using the Sennheiser Smart Connect app. Finally, the Momentum 4 Wireless come equipped with four beamforming microphones and wind noise suppression, offering a crystal clear calling experience.
But the best strength of these headphones is their insane battery life. Sennheiser advertises up to 60 hours of battery life with ANC on, which is superior to almost every wireless over-ear pair of headphones out there. With ANC turned off, you can squeeze even more battery life out of these cans.
The new Sennheiser Momemtnum 4 build on an already great pair of headphones, delivering great audio quality and adaptive noise cancellation, paired with stellar battery life for up to 60 hours.
These headphones are merely a few of the many great options on the market, but we hope these will provide you with a good starting point in your search for the best cans. While over-ear headphones may provide superior sound and ANC, they cannot match true wireless earbuds when it comes to portability and convenience. If you’re looking to go truly wireless, be sure to check out our round-up of the best true wireless earbuds.