The 6 Best On-Ear Headphones

Hear us out: These are the best on-ear headphones out today

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The Rundown
"The star of the show is the high-quality Bluetooth functionality, which outperforms all other wireless headphones on the market."
"These headphones sport a lightweight cosmopolitan design."
"Crisp mids and highs are matched with an adequately deep bass."
"The stainless steel headband is both flexible and durable, perfect for throwing in a backpack."
Best for Noise Cancelation:
Libratone Q Adapt at Amazon
"Four levels of noise control offer an amazing way to experience sound."
"The real standout feature is the rotatable dial on the earcup that controls the level of noise cancellation."

The best on-ear headphones are an exercise in perfect balance. They borrow much of the portability and lightweight design of in-ear headphones/earbuds, but also replicate the quality (and even some of the noise-blocking) of over-ear models. On-ear headphones also stand alone for many people in terms of comfort. They're not invasive in the way that earbuds are, nor do they surround your ear in hot material that can leave you sweaty and uncomfortable. We found the best options that serve as perfect hybrids, and also have some noteworthy features that neither over-ear nor in-ear alternatives can boast.

If you're looking for a great phone to plug one of these sets into, jump over to our list of the best iPhone deals happening now, or read on for our picks of the best on-ear headphones money can buy.

Best Overall: Beats Solo3 Wireless

Beats Solo3 Wireless

Beats have a reputation for being a bit overpriced for the sound quality, but the Beats Solo3 finally deliver a product worthy of the hefty price tag. The star of the show is the high-quality Bluetooth functionality, which outperforms all other wireless headphones on the market. They use Class 1 Bluetooth to sync up with multiple devices in the area and have a range of over 30 feet, making them perfect for the gym or working around the house, where you can walk around without worrying about disconnecting.

A 40-hour battery life and comfortable on-ear cups mean you can listen all day. If you run out of charge, plug them in for five minutes and you will have three hours of playback. Finally, fine-tune acoustics offer an immersive experience that delivers on-point bass without any coloration of the mids. Choose one of eight sleek designs for the classic Beats style.

Best Luxury: Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H4

Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H4

For those who want a pair of headphones that look and feel as luxurious as they sound, the Beoplay H4 headphones from luxury audio manufacturer Bang & Olufsen will satisfy your desire. Designed with clean lines and pure materials, these headphones sport a lightweight cosmopolitan design blending leather, aluminum and steel. From the soft lambskin leather headband to the memory foam ear cushions, to the durable braided textiles covering the cords, this pair of headphones looks and feels better than any other pair on this list.

The sound also delivers for the price tag, with a frequency range of 20-22,000 and Bang & Olufsen Signature Sound offering a perfectly balanced bass and treble with a clear midrange and a wide soundstage. Bluetooth 4.2 pairs easily with your devices, while intuitive on-device controls allow you to seamlessly select your sound without missing a beat.

Best Budget: Skullcandy Grind Bluetooth On-Ear Headphones

Lightweight and comfortable, Skullcandy’s Grind Bluetooth on-ear headphones are the absolute best option in the budget category. Built from premium materials, the plush on-ear pillows ensure the Skulls are enjoyable for hours of uninterrupted listening. The metal headband is covered in a soft leather that won’t slip or adjust on its own. The headphones' audio is top notch thanks to 40mm drivers. Utilizing Skullcandy’s Supreme Sound technology, music of all types sounds remarkable. Crisp mids and highs are matched with an adequately deep bass ensuring no music genre is left out in the cold. Controls for play/pause, answer and end calls, as well as skipping tracks are found on the left earcup.

The headphones deliver 12 hours of battery life, but should you exhaust that, the included AUX 3.5mm cord with microphone connects to any device. Charging up the battery from zero to full requires just under 2.5 hours. The on-ear design won’t match the same noise cancellation as over-ear, but they block out most external sounds. The headphones are available in an array of colors including black and chrome, beige and teal, and blue.

Best for Kids: Edifier H650 Headphones

These foldable headphones from Edifier are great for kids, thanks to a portable folding design and an array of fun color options. They are available in fun neon colors such as blue, orange, pink and purple, and all are accented by a silver band on top. Equally important, the stainless steel headband is both flexible and durable, perfect for throwing in a backpack without worry of damage. They can even be folded to fit in a tight space, so they're easy to transport on the bus or plane. Soft leather ear-cups make for a comfortable listening experience, while no-tangle wire saves headaches. The headphones also use a neodymium magnet driver for a nice clear sound.

Best for Noise Cancelation: Libratone Q Adapt

Experience the sound of silence with the amazing noise-canceling technology on this pair of Libratone headphones. Perfect for busy city streets and quiet library study sessions, four levels of noise control offer an amazing way to experience sound at the level you feel comfortable. CityMix adjustable noise cancelation goes from passthrough, when you need to be able to hear the world around you, to immersive silence when you need to lose yourself in your music without any background noise. The technology matches the frequency of your music with the frequencies of the outside world, making for the perfect listening experience. Take advantage of this noise-canceling technology and the included microphone to make calls anywhere without worrying about hearing the other end.

The headphones are also wireless, using Bluetooth to pair your devices for 20+ listening hours. Experience a full range of sound, with deeper bass than most wireless headphones, but still delivering full midrange and lively treble. The premium build looks and feels luxurious, while on-ear controls make for easy use.

Best Design: Microsoft Surface Headphones

Microsoft is offering some truly unique features with their new Surface headphones. They have an appealingly minimalistic design with a sleek, monochrome look that matches the rest of the Surface line. Plus, at only 0.64 pounds, they won’t weigh you down like some other on-ear options. But the real standout feature here is the rotatable dial on the earcup that controls the level of noise cancellation. You can turn it one way to increase the amount of noise cancelation, or twist it the other way to let in more ambient sound. Tap the ear cup to call up Cortana (it seamlessly connects with Surface devices) or the smart assistant of your choice.

The sound quality seems to be right in the middle of the pack — the headphones offer loudness levels up to 112dB with pretty solid-looking 40mm drivers. That will also cover a frequency spectrum from 20Hz to 20kHz, so it has all of your lows and highs covered. You’ll get up to 15 hours of music playback on a single charge (it can fully charge in just two hours using a USB-C connection). Being fairly expensive, these headphones fall squarely in the “premium” category, but they include a sturdy case along with those unique design features.

Still not sure which one is right for you?

Check out our ultimate headphones buying guide.

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