Somewhere in between those bulky over-ear headphones and tiny earbuds is a more classic style: on-ear headphones. And with on-ear headphones, you really get to enjoy the best of both worlds.
That’s because on-ear headphones have the benefit of having speakers large enough to produce hi-fi sound (the way over-ear headphones do) while remaining compact enough to stow away for easy transport (like earbuds). The makers of quality on-ear options can pack the ear cups full of technology, like active noise cancellation and radio frequency tech, while ensuring that the headphones are still lightweight and produce great audio full of rich bass and crisp mids.
On-ear headphones typically have have adjustable headbands to fit all head sizes, plus padded cushions that relieve pressure on the ears, regardless of how expensive or cheap they are.
Are on-ear headphones better than earbuds?
There is no definitive answer to this question because ultimately, it comes down to personal choice. Some people prefer the all-encompassing feel of on or over-ear headphones, while others love that buds deliver tunes directly into their ears. There are benefits to both options.
On-ear headphones do tend to have higher-quality sound, and therefore audiophiles should focus largely on this style of headphones. Earbuds are more compact, portable, and inconspicuous, so they’re better suited to commuting, air travel, or taking to the gym.
Can you still buy wired headphones?
Wireless technology is certainly the preference at the moment, but that’s not to say wired headphones aren’t an option. They’re often the choice of serious audiophiles as Bluetooth can cause issues with decoding high resolution file formats. Good quality wired headphones have become harder to find, but they are still out there.
Do you really need noise cancellation?
Noise cancellation is a built-in feature that keeps out or suppresses external noise, allowing you to fully immerse in the music without any distractions. There are two basic types of noise cancellation:
Passive noise cancellation — This is achieved by the design of the headphones, which physically blocks out noise.
Active noise cancellation — This uses a system of small microphones to pick up incoming sounds and create anti-noise sound waves that cancel them out. There are other advanced modes, such as ANC that adapts to surroundings, or a transparency mode that allows in certain ambient sounds.
This technology is not an essential, but it’s something that a lot of users are looking for these days. Also, you can find noise cancellation for on-ear headphones, but it’s rare. Usually, noise cancellation is the domain of over-ear headphones, which — due to their design — are naturally better equipped for noise cancellation.
What are the best headphones brands?
We all know the big ones — Apple, Bose, Sony — but you’ll also find plenty of good (and often cheaper) options from lesser-known, less obvious brands. In fact, there are several mentioned in the list below.
What are the best on-ear headphones?
Since virtually every company claims its headphones produce the best sound, with the best materials, and with the best features available, we decided to turn to reviewers to see which on-ear headphones were the most worthy of your money.
These are the best on-ear headphones in 2022.