Best on-ear headphones 2020: our pick of the best supra-aural cans

Should you’re in search of the proper headphones, the very best on-ear headphones (additionally referred to as supra-aural headphones) are a very good center floor choice between cumbersome over-ear headphones and diminutive in-ear earphones. For most people, they’re good. 

The title on-ear comes from the truth that their cushions sit on, fairly than over, your ears. This implies they’re extra compact and may journey with you with out taking over a number of area in your bag. However they’re additionally greater and most of the people discover they’re usually extra snug to put on for lengthy durations than in-ear headphones. 

The explanation you’d choose this model of heaphones over the opposite two is if you happen to journey quite a bit, commute and wish to take heed to music and podcasts whilst you do otherwise you’re a house listener who wants only a little bit of noise cancelation with out the majority of over-ears. It is a successful mixture, actually, and a type issue that we have examined extensively through the years.

To that finish, and that can assist you select an ideal pair of on-ear headphones, we have put collectively an inventory of our top-rated on-ear headphone critiques, with the intention to do all of your analysis and make a purchase order in a single place.

In search of an inventory of the best cans you should purchase in 2020? Take a look at our roundup of the finest headphones for our general winners in each class.

UPDATE: We have added the Adidas RPT-01 Wi-fi Bluetooth Sport Headphones to our checklist of the very best on-ear headphones this week. This sporty pair of on-ears impressed us throughout testing, which is why we awarded them four out of 5 stars and suppose they’re an ideal choice for listening to music whilst you’re understanding. 

What are the very best on-ear headphones?

grado sr60e

(Picture credit score: Grado)

1. Grado SR60e

Actually wonderful sound efficiency for a stellar value

Acoustic design: Open | Weight: N/A | Cable size: N/A | Frequency response: 20Hz-20,000Hz | Drivers: N/A | Driver kind: Dynamic | Sensitivity: 99db | Impedance: 32 ohm | Battery life: N/A | Wi-fi vary: N/A | NFC: N/A

Very snug

Spectacular definition for the worth

Extremely really helpful

No inline controls or microphone

In your cash, you possibly can’t do any higher than Grado’s SR60e. The third-generation of the Brooklyn, NY-based firm’s Status Sequence is its finest and most refined but. 

The SR60e specifically is a great selection if you happen to’re in search of an entry-level set of headphones that sounds prefer it ought to value you far more than it does. 

Their open-backed ear cup design makes them a extra breathable expertise than what most on-ear headphones can ship, though this does imply that they are not perfect to be used in loud environments the place sound can ‘leak’ in and disrupt your listening. 

That mentioned, when it comes to pure sound high quality, they’re our gold-standard with regards to on-ears.

(Our evaluation is for the SR60i, however the newer SR60e headphones are largely comparable in design and efficiency)

Learn the complete evaluation: Grado SR60e

[Replace: Seeking to reduce the wire? Take a look at our Grado GW100 wi-fi headphones evaluation for every little thing you must know before you purchase.]

philips fidelio nc1

(Picture credit score: Philips)

2. Philips Fidelio NC1

Govt seems with nice sound copy

Acoustic design: Closed | Weight: 155g | Cable size: N/A | Frequency response: N/A | Drivers: 40mm | Driver kind: Dynamic | Sensitivity: N/A | Impedance: N/A | Battery life: N/A | Wi-fi vary: N/A | NFC: N/A

Brilliantly balanced sound

Nice construct high quality

Respectable ANC capabilities

Some sound leakage

There’s a lot to like concerning the Philips Fidelio NC1 headphones: Not solely are they a pleasure to put on and supply up nice sound copy, however they’re additionally one of many lightest and most compact ANC headphones round. They’re finest suited to frequent vacationers who do not need to lug huge cans round with them all the time but in addition do not need to compromise on sound high quality. To that finish, they provide very good sound that is balanced and heat and whereas I’d like to see a wi-fi vary, the cable supplied within the combine is dextrous sufficient to not fear about it. 

Learn the complete evaluation: Philips Fidelio NC1

akg n60nc

(Picture credit score: AKG)

three. AKG N60NC Wi-fi

Wi-fi noise-cancellation from the mid-range grasp

Acoustic design: Closed | Weight: 199.4g | Cable size: N/A | Frequency response: 10-22,000Hz | Drivers: N/A | Driver kind: N/A | Sensitivity: 111dB SPL/[email protected] | Impedance: 32 ohms | Battery life: 15 hours | Wi-fi vary: N/A | NFC: No

Nice sound

Compact design

Good battery life

Initially complicated controls

Lately AKG has dominated the funds and mid-range headphone area. Whereas most different headphones at these value factors chase after the bass-addicts, AKG has been content material to stay to what it is aware of finest; specifically headphones that provide a balanced, refined sound you’d usually discover in costlier cans. With the AKG N60NC Wi-fi headphones the corporate seems to be stepping out of its consolation zone a bit. The aluminium accented design is extra flashy than AKG’s normal fare, and the noise-cancellation mixed with wi-fi operation pushes the N60NCs to the higher finish of the corporate’s regular value factors. 

Learn the complete evaluation: AKG N60NC Wi-fi

b&w px5

(Picture credit score: Bowers & Wilkins)

four. Bowers & Wilkins PX5 Wi-fi Headphones

Low latency cans for cellular avid gamers

Acoustic design: Closed | Weight: 241g | Cable size: three.94 ft | Frequency response: 10-30,000Hz | Drivers: 35.6mm | Driver kind: Full Vary | Sensitivity: N/A | Impedance: 20 Ohms | Battery life: 25 hours | Wi-fi vary: N/A | NFC: No

Light-weight design

Help for aptX Adaptive

Pretty costly

Noise cancellation might be higher

Bowers & Wilkins have simply launched at least 4 new wi-fi headphones – and its PX5 Wi-fi on-ear headphones are aimed toward customers that need the immersive sound of over-ears with out the majority. 

Kitted out with Qualcomm’s aptX Adaptive audio codec, which is designed to ship low latency Hello-Res Audio, they’re among the many first headphones to sport the know-how. 

Battery life is superb, and whereas noise cancellation might be stronger, it’s fairly adept for on-ear cans that don’t have the identical passive noise-canceling talents as their over-ear friends.

Should you’re in search of compact headphones that can fit your commute, with out skimping on audio constancy, the Bowers & Wilkins PX5 might be a implausible selection. 

Learn the complete evaluation: Bowers & Wilkins PX5 Wi-fi Headphones evaluation

v-moda xs

(Picture credit score: V-Moda)

5. V-Moda XS

Avenue-wise wi-fi headphones with sensible options

Acoustic design: Closed | Weight: 195g | Cable size: 32 inches | Frequency response: 5 – 30,000 Hz | Drivers: N/A | Driver kind: Dynamic | Sensitivity: 105 dB | Impedance: 28.5 Ohms | Battery life: 18 hours | Wi-fi vary: N/A | NFC: No

Detailed and balanced sound

Bullet-proof construct

Compact for journey

Free match on the top

The V-Moda XS are the proper journey buddy for audiophiles. It’s balanced and detail-rich sound is a pleasure to take heed to, plus, it’s constructed like a tank. Whereas the bass might use a bit extra affect, we had little complain concerning the sound. Nevertheless, that mentioned, the XS has a unfastened match on the top and barely blocks out any sound, which isn’t perfect for understanding or for commuters. Should you’re a sedentary listener, nonetheless, these are nice. By way of competitors, the Klipsch Reference On-Ear II are a superb different that may block out extra exterior sound. Nevertheless, the commerce off is the prolonged and thrilling highs of the V-Moda XS because the Klipsch has extra excessive frequency roll-off.  

Learn the complete evaluation: V-Moda XS

master & Dynamic

(Picture credit score: Grasp & Dynamic)

6. Grasp & Dynamic MW50+

Luxurious feeling – and sounding – headphones for discerning listeners

Acoustic design: Closed | Weight: 240g | Cable size: N/A | Frequency response: 5-30,000Hz | Drivers: 40mm Beryllium Diaphragm | Driver kind: N/A | Sensitivity: N/A | Impedance: 32 ohms | Battery life: 16 hours | Wi-fi vary: 30 meters (98ft) | NFC: No

Construct high quality and supplies

Sounds nice with all music

Soundstage might be wider

Noise isolation is not nice

Should you can afford the steep value, the Grasp & Dynamic MW50 – and newer MW50+ – is not going to disappoint. These headphones are a merely murals and really feel each bit as costly as their value instructions. They sound nice with all sorts of music and are one of the snug on-ear headphones we’ve ever examined. These in search of worth, nonetheless, will need to look elsewhere.

Learn the complete evaluation: Grasp & Dynamic MW50

klipsch reference on-ear

(Picture credit score: Klipsch)

7. Klipsch Reference On-Ear II

A superb-sounding pair of headphones with none frills

Acoustic design: Closed | Weight: .44 kilos | Cable size: N/A | Frequency response: 20HZ-20kHz | Drivers: Two 1.5″ drivers | Driver kind: Dynamic | Sensitivity: 110db | Impedance: 32 ohms | Battery life: N/A | Wi-fi vary: N/A | NFC: N/A

Splendidly balanced sound

Glorious construct high quality

Cable noise

Well mannered highs

The Klipsch Reference On-Ear II is the comply with as much as the earlier yr’s wonderful Reference On-Ear mannequin, a earlier resident of this checklist. Admittedly, this yr’s mannequin doesn’t change a lot when it comes to design or sound – however why repair one thing that’s not damaged? 

That mentioned, Klipsch stored it easy with the Reference On-Ear II, concentrating on sound, consolation and portability that can please audiophiles. Solely diehard audiophiles will even contemplate this wired-only headphone after wanting on the price ticket, however those that worth sound and luxury above all else shall be proud of the Klipsch Reference On Ear II.

Learn the complete evaluation: Klipsch Reference On-Ear II

grado gw100

(Picture credit score: Grado)

eight. Grado GW100 Wi-fi headphones

Grado makes the grade (once more)

Acoustic design: Open | Weight: N/A | Cable size: N/A | Frequency response: 20Hz to 20kHz | Sensitivity: N/A | Impedance: N/A | Battery life: 15 hours | Wi-fi vary: 10m | NFC: Sure

Improbable audio high quality

Cool retro design


Heavy sound leakage

The Grado GW100s sound completely beautiful; they boast an immersive, vast soundstage, clear highs, clean mids, and prolonged bass frequencies. In addition they look nice, with a kitsch, retro design that remembers Grado’s humble beginnings in 50’s Brooklyn – however, that mentioned, that vintage-style look received’t attraction to everybody, they usually do really feel a bit flimsy. 

Though the Bluetooth connection works very properly, we’re struggling to grasp the necessity for a wi-fi pair of open-back headphones; significantly if the design makes them unsuitable for commuting or listening in communal areas. Nonetheless, having the choice to hear wirelessly is undeniably handy once you’re pottering round the home, and audiophiles can use them with an AUX cable if they like. 

Total, we really feel the Grado GW100s are designed for a reasonably area of interest market of audiophiles who crave a large, pure sound, and who do the vast majority of their music listening at house. If that sounds such as you, you’ll most likely love the Grado GW100s. If not, chances are you’ll need to have a look at closed-back fashions as a substitute. 

Learn the complete evaluation: Grado GW100 Wi-fi headphones evaluation

bw p5

(Picture credit score: Bowers & Wilkins)

9. Bowers and Wilkins P5 Sequence 2

These increase the bar for design and efficiency

Acoustic design: Closed | Weight: .42 kilos | Cable size: three.9 ft | Frequency response: 10Hz-20kHz | Drivers: Two 1.5″ drivers | Driver kind: N/A | Sensitivity: 108db | Impedance: 22 ohm | Battery life: N/A | Wi-fi vary: N/A | NFC: N/A

Full, balanced sound

Very good construct high quality

Inline management is iOS solely

The Bowers and Wilkins P5 Sequence 2 aren’t probably the most feature-rich choice, however when it comes to sheer sound and construct high quality, they simply increase the bar for the competitors to comply with. 

They give the impression of being fantastically trendy, and sound simply pretty much as good. As long as you’ve got the cash, there’s not a lot else within the on-ear market that may match this bundle.

Learn the complete evaluation: Bowers and Wilkins P5 Sequence 2

audio-technica ath-s200bt

(Picture credit score: Audio-Technica)

10. Audio-Technica ATH-S200BT

On-ear headphones which might be straightforward on the pockets, nice on the ears

Acoustic design: Closed-back Dynamic | Weight: 190 g (6.7 oz) | Cable size: N/A | Frequency response: 5 – 32,000 Hz | Drivers: 40mm | Driver kind: Dynamic | Sensitivity: 102dB | Impedance: 32 ohms | Battery life: 40 hours | Wi-fi vary: 30 ft (10 meters) | NFC: No

Respectable sound

Nice value

Tight on the ears

Plastic look

You, like everybody else, most likely needs a set of headphones that nails the difficult mix of design, helpful options and unimaginable sound. You may suppose that you must flush your financial savings to take pleasure in such a pair of cans. Protip: you do not.

The Audio-Technica ATH-S200BT are a well-built, great-sounding, long-lasting pair of headphones. Their options consistently outweigh their modest value and we are able to’t get sufficient of that 40-hour battery life. Whereas technological developments normally imply a premium value, that is simply not the case with the Audio-Technica ATH-S200BT. 

Learn the complete evaluation: Audio-Technica ATH-S200BT

beats solo 3

(Picture credit score: Apple)

11. Beats Solo three Wi-fi

Style-focussed cans that cater to bass lovers

Acoustic design: Closed | Weight: 215g | Cable size: N/A | Frequency response: N/A | Drivers: N/A | Driver kind: N/A | Sensitivity: N/A | Impedance: N/A | Battery life: 40 hours | Wi-fi vary: 30+ ft | NFC: No

Glorious wi-fi stability

Good Bluetooth-phone interplay

Energetic, punchy sound

Lack constancy for the worth

Whereas the Samsung Degree On Professional Wi-fi are finest paired with a Samsung Telephone, these Beats headphones come into their very own when paired with an iOS gadget due to its W1 chip that makes for wonderful wi-fi connectivity. 

At first look, the Solo three Wi-fi seem nearly an identical to the Solo 2 headphones that proceeded them. The vast majority of the modifications Apple made to its class-leading cans come internally, baking its cell phone know-how into these headphones to ramp-up their wi-fi abilities and maximise battery life. 

By way of wi-fi efficiency, these $299 (£249/AU$399.95) headphones are as dependable as any on the market. Nevertheless, you will get considerably higher sound high quality on the value. (See: entries one by 9.)

Learn the complete evaluation: Beats Solo three Wi-fi

Image Credit: Adidas

Picture Credit score: Adidas (Picture credit score: Adidas)

12. Adidas RPT-01 Wi-fi Bluetooth Sport Headphones

Operating headphones with a marathon battery

Acoustic design: Closed | Weight: 209g | Cable size: N/A | Frequency response: N/A | Drivers: N/A | Driver kind: N/A | Sensitivity: N/A | Impedance: N/A | Battery life: 40 hours | Wi-fi vary: 30+ ft | NFC: No