On-ears, over-ears, cans, headbands, headphones, electroacoustic transducers… call them what you will. Over-ear headphones once seemed all but relegated to just studio and DJ use with the advent of in-ear buds for mobile use. But since the explosion of wireless cans, they’re back in a big way.
Here we guide you around the minefield of what’s best in both corded and wireless headphones for wearing on your bonce. What defines decent headphones for us is the quality of sound, the comfort on your ears and head, battery life (if wireless), durability and build quality. Plus that all-important aspect of whether they make you look like a massive wally or not.
With Amazon Prime Day just around the corner (July 15-16, we think), there could be bargains ahead – the prices below will give you an idea of what they're going for now.
We've scoured the web and worked with our in-house experts at TechRadar and What Hi-Fi to bring you the definitive best over-ear headphone deals right now.
Sony WH-1000XM2 Bluetooth headphones
Until last month TechRadar were describing these as the best Bluetooth noise cancelling headphones on the planet (they were only usurped by a new version of the same headphones), but at over £100 off at many retailers, they're a serious proposition at a pretty reasonable price.
Bose QC 35 II Bluetooth headphones
The Bose QC35 II shows why the company is so popular amongst travellers (not that kind) and commuters with class-leading noise cancellation and balanced sound. They may not be the most detailed or exciting-sounding headphones but they will sound great to most listeners. John Lewis do two year warranty.
Sennheiser HD 4.50 Special Edition, over-ear wireless headphones
There aren't many more respected names in the headphone game the Sennheiser, who were making quality gear way before Dr Dre and pals got in on the act. They're significantly cheaper than similar offerings Bose and Sony, and, as our friends at TechRadar say, "they're hard to find fault with."
Sennheiser Momentum-on 2.0 wired headphones
When they came out, TechRadar raved about these Sennheisers as "a really nice package let down by a price that's simply too premium for what's on offer". But now that price has been slashed.
Iron Maiden headphones by Onkyo
Beats EP On-Ear headphones
The Beats EPs are the affordable Beats: headphones for the masses. With a more balanced sound and cheaper price tag than their big brothers, they sound good and have the iconic logo's made them a household name in just a few years. At half price, they're even more of a steal.
Panasonic HTX80BE Bluetooth headphones
These over-ear headphones offer decent sound quality, a swanky retro design and are pretty comfy to boot. A built in mic lets you take your phone calls as you go, and have been designed to hold a long-lasting battery.
Sony MDRZX310 Foldable headphones
Able to deliver powerful bass and clear treble sounds, the MDR-ZX310 headphones have a slim folding design which is perfect for music lovers who enjoy strong beats and grooves while on-the-go. You can have any colour as long it’s metallic! Black, blue, red, or white.
House Of Marley Liberate XLBT Midnight Bluetooth Headphones
"Emancipate yourself from cable slavery," says HMV, "with Bluetooth headphone wireless technology." Well, it made us chuckle. And if you're a fan of these thoughtfully-made headphones, then this is a steal.
The inserts for each earpiece use wood approved by the FSC (Forest Stewardship Council), while the headband, earpieces and carry pouch all use ‘REWIND’, the company’s own fabric, blended from reclaimed hemp, organic cotton and fibres from recycled plastic bottles.
Sony MDR-ZX330BT Bluetooth headphones
These wireless cans were rated by TechRadar as being very light and comfortable with an impressive battery life. Although not heavily padded, they are still comfortable enough to wear on a long commute or while travelling, with an ultra-crisp sound.
Sony MDRXB650BTL.CE7 wireless Bluetooth headphones
Can’t get enough bass in your life? You’ll love these. Also connectable via Bluetooth, these feature Sony’s Extra Bass technology and an impressive 18-hour battery life. Plush cushioned leather makes both the headband and the ears super comfortable. Bass for your face. Bass. Yes.
Skullcandy Hesh 3 Bluetooth wireless headphones
No fancy features, these are just good no-nonsense and minimalist fun wireless cans with a very good bassy sound, so they’re ideal for rock or metal. They’re comfortable and sound quality is very good for the price and highs are extended and exciting without any annoying hissing.
Audio Technica ATH-AD700X headphones
Even at their original price, these were highly rated as a total bargain. TechRadar rated these as excellent value for sound and very comfortable and What Hifi gave them 5/5. They boast a hefty bass output. The treble can stand out a bit, but not unduly.