The 4 Best On-Ear Headphones – In 2023 Reviews From A To Z
Even though on-ear headphones aren’t as popular as they used to be, many people still find them to be a good middle ground between in-ear headphones and over-ear headphones. They have smaller ear cups that fit directly on your ears. This makes them more compact and airy than over-ear headphones because you don’t have to put earbuds in your ears. But they tend to fit tighter than over-ears, which, depending on how they are made, can put too much pressure on your ears. The best on-ear headphones fit your ears well and have a sound profile that works with the music you listen to. Even better, the best ones have extra features like Bluetooth and noise canceling (ANC).
We’ve tried over 65 different pairs of on-ear headphones, and here are our top picks for the best ones. Check out our suggestions for the best headphones, the best over-ear headphones, and the best wireless Bluetooth headphones.
1. Wireless Beats Solo Pro
The best on-ear headphones we’ve tried are the Beats Solo Pro Wireless. Apple has stopped making them, but they are still easy to find at online stores. The H1 chip in these famous on-ear headphones makes it easy to connect them to other Apple products. When connected to an iOS device, they also have low latency if you like to stream video. They have ANC and block out background noise well, but they have trouble with the low rumble of bus engines. When their ANC is on, they can be used nonstop for 24 hours and can be charged with a lightning cable.
They are well made and come in a variety of colors to match your style. They’re not too heavy and are pretty comfortable, but if you have a big head, they might be a little tight, and the headband might not go far enough to fit you well. Even though their built-in mic isn’t very good and makes your voice sound muffled and lacking in detail, it still does a decent job of separating speech from background noise, which is important if you take a lot of calls while you’re on the go.
2. Wireless JBL Live 460NC
The JBL Live 460NC Wireless are the best on-ear wireless headphones we’ve tried in the middle price range. These are a good option that costs a lot less. They have a default sound profile that is well-balanced and good for a wide range of genres. They also work with a companion app that has a graphic EQ and presets for customizing the sound. They can connect to more than one device, so you can use your computer and phone at the same time.
Their battery lasts for about 29 hours of continuous use, which is more than enough for a long work day or flight. They have an ANC system like the Beats Solo Pro Wireless, but it doesn’t work as well at blocking out voices and other mid-range sounds. But it does a good job of cutting down on low-frequency noises like bus and plane engines that rumble. They are well-made and fit most people well, but some people may find that their clamping force gets too tight and uncomfortable over time.
3. The second Skullcandy Riff Wireless
Check out the Skullcandy Riff Wireless 2 if you want something that costs less. Even though these are cheaper, they have a good range of features. They work with a companion app that has a graphic equalizer and presets, just like the JBL Live 460NC Wireless. Their default v-shaped sound profile adds rumble and punch, and instruments and lead vocals are bright, so you might like it for rock and pop music. They also have batteries that last about 46 hours, so you don’t have to charge them every day.
But, unlike the first two picks, they don’t have ANC and don’t block out background noise, which could be a problem if you need headphones for the office or your commute. Most people don’t find them to be very comfortable, and they are made of thin, plasticky materials. They support multi-device pairing, which is nice for budget-friendly headphones. However, if you want a sturdier option, you might prefer the JBL Tune 510BT Wireless. They are better made and have a more neutral sound profile, which you might like. However, they don’t have any apps or ways to change the sound.
4. ATH-M60x by Audio-Technica
The Audio-Technica ATH-M60x is the best pair of on-ear headphones with a cord that we’ve tried. If you want wired headphones to listen to music or use every day, these are comfortable and don’t squeeze your head too much. They come with a cable that you can take off and two adapters that go from 1/8″ to 1/4″, so you can also connect them to a mixer or amp. Since they are for audiophiles, they don’t have a mic or controls like the Beats Solo Pro Wireless. So, you can’t use them to make phone calls or skip tracks easily while you’re on the go.
Their sound is neutral and well-balanced, so fans of many different genres and types of content can enjoy them. Even though most of the bass response is accurate, the high-bass range is overemphasized, which gives mixes a bit more boom and warmth. Still, the vocals and lead instruments sound clear and present. These on-ear headphones are also pretty comfortable, airy, and well-made. They even come with a soft pouch to keep dust off of them when they’re not being used.
Our suggestions above are what we think are the best on-ear wired and Bluetooth headphones for most people to buy right now. We take into account the price (cheaper headphones win over more expensive ones if the difference isn’t worth it), feedback from our visitors, and availability (no headphones that are difficult to find or almost out of stock everywhere).
If you want to choose for yourself, here is a list of all the on-ear headphones we have reviewed. Don’t let yourself get lost in the details. There is no ideal pair of headphones. Your personal taste, what you like, and how you usually listen will be more important in your choice.