10 Most Comfortable Headphones – Over & On-Ear Models For Happy Ears
Most comfortable headphones for whole-day listening.
- Comparison Table: 10 Most Comfortable Headphones
- 10 Most Comfortable Headphones
- 1. Sony WH-1000XM4 – best overall
- 2. Bowers & Wilkins PX7 – runner-up
- 3. Master & Dynamic MH40 Wireless – best build quality
- 4. HIFIMAN HE400i (2020 Version) – best planar-magnetic
- 5. Sennheiser HD 599 – best open-back
- 6. Meze 99 Classics – most unique design
- 7. Audio-Technica ATH-AD900X – best value open-back
- 8. Shure Aonic 50 – best premium
- Most Comfortable On-Ear Headphones
- How Can I Know What Comfortable Headphones Are?
- Which Type of Headphones is The Most Comfortable?
Comparison Table: 10 Most Comfortable Headphones
iClosed-back has better noise isolation. Open-back has better soundstage but worse noise isolation
|Bowers & Wilkins PX7||runner-up||4.2||$$$$$$|
|Master & Dynamic MH40 Wireless||best build quality||4.5||$$$$$|
|HIFIMAN HE-400i (2020 Version)||best|
|Sennheiser HD 599||best open-back||4.7||$$$$|
|Meze 99 Classics||most unique|
|Audio Technica ATH-AD900X||best value|
|Shure Aonic 50||best premium||4.1||$$$$$$|
|Beats Solo Pro||best on-ear||4.6||$$$$$|
|Status Audio BT One||best budget||4.4||$$$|
Everyone wants the best headphones they can get for the money. Audio quality is usually the first thing you think of when deciding on a new pair. The very next concern is probably the looks. At this point, almost all users stop and quickly press the “order” button. Only to later find out that they’re not comfortable enough for more extended listening sessions.
No matter how great headphones sound, you can’t listen to them if they aren’t comfortable to use. Your ears deserve to enjoy whatever headphones you put on your head. Because of that, they need to be comfortable.
With that said, we made a list of the most comfortable headphones that are also great for listening to music. We took into account everything from the build and sound quality, and, of course, earpads and headband comfort.
Note: In this guide, you will only find on and over-ear headphones. We have a separate article regarding the most comfortable in-ear headphones (earbuds).
10 Most Comfortable Headphones
1. Sony WH-1000XM4 – best overall
Sony WH-1000XM4 are one of the best headphones for active noise cancellation in a compact, travel-friendly design. On top of that, they are, in our opinion, the most comfortable headphones in 2020.
Despite the plastic body, these feel sturdy and can survive quite a bit of abuse. They are relatively light and very comfortable. They also fold and come with a hard carrying case, which makes them super portable.
These are one of the best noise cancelling headphones. If you travel a lot and don’t like the airplane noise, or just want to isolate the human voices in the cafeteria, these can block all of it.
They offer 30 hours of battery life and can also be hooked up with a 3.5mm jack. But even if your headphone runs out of juice, the 10-minute charge results in 5 hours of playtime.
Voice Priority mode sounds weird and unnatural.
The sound of these is quite energetic and extremely easy to listen to. They offer a fun and punchy listening experience, while remaining enjoyable even for more demanding audiophiles. They support LDAC, which is one of the best Bluetooth audio codecs.
Overall, Sony WH-1000XM4 are a small improvement over Sony WH-1000XM3, but still one of the most comfortable headphones and one of the safest buys right now.
2. Bowers & Wilkins PX7 – runner-up
Upgrading from an already amazing PX model, the PX7 improves on the overall construction and looks. And they’re also one of the most comfortable headphones right now.
Why Buy These?
The metal arms are now replaced with a carbon fiber composite, that looks very unique and durable. There is still a lot of fabric stitching along with the band and on the metal cups. The pads are now much cushier, providing better fit and comfort.
30 hours of playtime is a standard nowadays. They can also be fast-charged (15-minute charge gives you around 6 hours of battery).
These have also active noise cancellation, which is on par with the competition.
Headphones can’t fold for better portability.
The company has a long history of making great audio equipment. So there is no surprise these headphones sound fantastic. However, they are tuned to please the general public. Therefore the bass is boosted, but the overall sound is still crystal clear, packed with tons of details.
Despite the carbon fiber material, these are still on the heavier side. Apart from that, you should definitely check them out. The price is a little bit high, but so is the quality of the product, from audio quality to comfort.
3. Master & Dynamic MH40 Wireless – best build quality
Beautifully crafted wireless over-ear headphones that are made from exquisite high-quality materials. They truly deserve to be among the most comfortable headphones in 2020.
Why Buy These?
MH40 Wireless headphones look stunning. They’re made from a blend of steel and aluminum to create a sturdy yet lightweight body. The headband is covered in real leather with just enough padding to rest on top of your head gently.
However, the main attraction are the earpads. They’re filled with a thick block of memory foam and covered in lambskin leather, making them feel very luxurious. Pads go entirely around the ear, so you don’t feel any pressure points.
Otherwise, these headphones come with a pretty decent 18-hour battery and quick charge support. If you want to use them in wired mode, there is an included 3.5mm cable with a USB-C connector on the other end.
MH40 don’t support AAC codec, which can be a dealbreaker for Apple users.
No active noise-cancelling for this price.
These are very detailed and somewhat neutral headphones. The bass is toned down to leave other frequencies more room to breathe. However, the lack of bass can sometimes ruin the experience.
M&D MH40 Wireless look and feel beautiful. If you’re a fan of luxurious materials, you can’t get anything better.
4. HIFIMAN HE400i (2020 Version) – best planar-magnetic
HIFIMAN HE400i are oversized open-back planar-magnetic headphones for all the “big heads” out there.
Why Buy These?
To say these are big would be an understatement. They are massive, but big ear cups have their benefits. Built quality is good with quality materials and no weak points.
HIFIMAN HE400i are as comfortable as any big over-ear headphones can be. You can wear them for hours without discomfort. But you’ll only be able to wear them comfortably when not moving.
There’s one more thing to mention. These are open-back headphones and have basically no sound isolation. People around you will hear what you’re listening to, and you will hear your environment. Keep that in mind when deciding.
Since they’re so big and quite heavy, you won’t be able to “move around” or even less, do any sports activity with them. These are meant to be enjoyed at home relaxing on a nice sofa.
The sound quality is superb as well. A balanced sound signature with rich treble and bass, lots of details, and neutral tones. These aren’t basshead headphones, though.
In the end, HIFIMAN HE400i are one of the most comfortable headphones with planar magnetic technology on the market. They offer good sound quality and are excellent for listening to music at home.
5. Sennheiser HD 599 – best open-back
Sennheiser updated their famous HD598 with the HD599 model. It’s easy to miss since they are almost the same.
Why Buy These?
And if you want to have one of the most popular Sennheiser series, HD599 are one of the most comfortable headphones in the Sennheiser lineup.
The older model had air padded headband cushion which wasn’t the best. But with this new model, they improved the headband design to provide superb comfort.
The over-ear velour ear pads are super comfortable and replaceable as well. You can find a replacement part online. Built quality is solid too, as you’d expect from Sennheiser.
Due to their open-back design noise isolation isn’t very good, they leak sound. These are meant to be used at home or at least in peace where isn’t a lot of ambient noise.
The sound quality is great. Balanced frequency response with even slightly improved detail reproduction compared to HD598, though if you’re not an audiophile you might not notice a difference. All of the ranges come out beautifully and will make any audiophile happy for all types of music.
For one of the best home listening over-ear headphones, Sennheiser HD 599 are a great pick.
6. Meze 99 Classics – most unique design
Yet another well-built comfortable headphones without a hint of cheap plastic on them. Only steel, soft pleather pads, and real wood.
Why Buy These?
Meze put a lot of details into the build quality. The first thing you notice are the ear cups made from real wood. That doesn’t only look cool but can help to shape the sound signature. To add to the robust nature of these headphones, the frame is made of stainless steel.
Of course, you can’t have a great listening experience without good comfort. Thankfully, 99 Classics excel at that, offering you comfortable memory foam earpads with pleather cover. They come in an oval shape, meaning you can squeeze your whole ears inside.
You get many items inside the box. Two detachable cables, one of which has an inline remote, a 6.3mm adapter, an airline adapter, and a hard shell carrying case.
Cables get easily tangled.
These headphones have a very smooth, warm sound signature. There is a slightly upper-bass bump to bring out the punch a bit more. Overall, 99 Classics are delightful to listen to.
Fortunately, Meze made sure their headphones look unique, have great sound quality, and can stay comfortable for a very long time.
7. Audio-Technica ATH-AD900X – best value open-back
Audio-Technica ATH-AD900X are very comfortable headphones with an open-back design. Meaning they have a more neutral, balanced sound signature and low noise isolation, but better soundstage.
Why Buy These?
For home listening these are superb. These are quite comfortable headphones since they were made for long listening sessions. Big and soft earpads give a comfortable feeling to your ears and the headband is barely noticeable.
With great comfort and sound quality, durability doesn’t disappoint either. Quality materials and proven design make them a great wired headphone.
Just keep in mind that open-back means almost non-existent noise isolation and you’ll love these.
They’re a bit light on bass quantity.
Apart from their amazing comfort, sound quality is their other main selling point. The open-back, or in this case, open-air design produces great soundstage which gives an open feeling when you listen to music. The ranges are neutral and natural sounding to satisfy even the more demanding audiophile.
If you want audiophile open-back, over-ear headphones with great comfort, then Audio-Technica ATH-AD900X are one of the best picks right now.
8. Shure Aonic 50 – best premium
These wireless noise-cancelling headphones come from a well-known company in the audio industry. Aonic 50 is yet another Shure’s product that doesn’t disappoint.
Why Buy These?
Luxurious looking Bluetooth headphones are built from high-quality materials, such as stitched leather and metal frame. This results in sturdy construction, while pillowy ear pads provide amazing comfort.
You get both the Environment mode feature and active noise cancellation technology. The latter is really good at canceling the outside noise, rivaling the best in class Sony and Bose headphones. You’re able to choose from many audio codecs, such as aptX HD, aptX Low Latency, AAC, and LDAC.
The battery is rated at 20 hours, which is not the best. Fortunately, there is a 3.5mm cable included in the box if you run out of juice.
The only downside is the call quality. Your voice can sound quite distant and slightly muffled.
Soundwise, the pair of headphones is very close to neutral. Everything in the mix sounds natural and not at all exaggerated. These audiophile headphones remain faithful to the original recording and are a perfect pick for those seeking excellent sound quality.
There is a lot to like about Shure Aonic 50 noise cancelling headphones. They are a worthy pick even for the most demanding users.
Most Comfortable On-Ear Headphones
9. Beats Solo Pro – best on-ear
The design itself is attractive and feels premium. Despite the on-ear cups, these are still very comfortable headphones. They’re however a little bit less comfortable if you wear glasses.
Why Buy These?
Featuring Apple’s H1 chip, these noise cancelling headphones offer an amazing iOS and macOS experience.
There is a feature called Transparency, which lets you hear the surroundings. The Bluetooth headphones also offer active noise cancelling. And it works really well.
With noise-cancelling turned on, you should get around 22 hours of battery life. When turned off, the battery life jumps to an impressive 40 hours.
They might not be a good pick for users with big heads. Also, you get the Lightning connector instead of USB-C.
Even though their name suggests otherwise, their sound quality is very clean and balanced. Of course, you’re still getting that nice low-end thump, but it’s not overblown. The end result is a very entertaining music experience, best fitted for the general public.
Beats Solo Pro’s are a step in the right direction. Giving you many of the premium features, like Active Noise Cancellation and Transparency, and premium looks. And most importantly, a more balanced sound.
10. Status Audio BT One – best budget
Another on-ear pick on our list rivals the Beats Solo Pro in the overall performance. You don’t get the fancy features like noise cancellation, but for the price, these Bluetooth headphones are a superb choice.
Why Buy These?
These budget headphones are very small and lightweight. Even though they rest on your ears, they provide good comfort for longer listening sessions. The metals ear cups with the brushed edges are also a nice touch.
The battery life of 30 hours is really good for a headphone that small, offering a QuickCharge feature for a fast refill.
It is worth mentioning the great microphone quality, that is coming out of these. Many of the competition doesn’t do as well as the BT One does.
The plastic edges of the headband are a little bit sharp and cheap feeling.
They sound much bigger then they look. It is impressive how much clarity, detail, and power you can get from a pair of small on-ears. Overall the sound is still smooth enough so that you don’t experience any sibilance. They do however lose a little bit of clarity when you crank the volume up.
In the past 6 months, the price of this pair of headphones dropped significantly, which makes them an excellent value for money.
V-MODA XS – If you want comfortable on-ear headphones with noise isolation and fun, bass-rich sound, V-MODA XS are your top pick. Their build quality is also top-notch. (Check Price)
Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT – If you like bass and good comfort in closed-back over-ear headphones, then Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT’s are for you. (Check Price)
Bose QuietComfort 35 II – Slightly older pair of headphones from Bose that are comfortable to wear. Their sound quality and active noise cancellation technology are still excellent. (Check Price)
Koss KTXPRO1 Titanium – These old on-ear headphones might look strange, but their comfort is excellent. It’s mostly due to how incredibly light they feel on your head. (Check Price)
How Can I Know What Comfortable Headphones Are?
Because we’re different and that goes for head size and shape as well there’s no other way to know unless you try them. Now you probably already know if you have a big head and have difficulties finding comfortable headphones you’ll probably be looking for bigger frames.
Theoretically, you could visit your local tech store and try a lot of different headphones, but that’s not realistic since we all have busy lives. You will just have to make a decision and the best is an educated decision.
This is why we made a list of the most comfortable headphones according to our own research where we used not only ours but other people’s experiences as well. These are the models most people claim to be very comfortable for them so they’re more likely to be more comfortable for everyone else as well. It’s not a specific rule but more of general guidance.
Which Type of Headphones is The Most Comfortable?
Generally, the headphone design plays a big role and in our opinion, this is the most comfortable design:
Over-ear: These have the biggest ear cups and are sometimes heavy but they make up to it with lots of cushioning and big frames that fit even the biggest and unusual head sizes. You can wear them for hours on end without any discomfort. Many high-end over-ear headphones offer the option of changing the earpads which can even improve comfort. This is the standard and most comfortable overall headphone design.
In-ear: Or earbuds, as they’re also known, are the smallest headphones and that’s their advantage. Due to the small size and weight, they’re easy to put in ears and forget about. The in-ear model’s comfort can be adjusted with changing the ear tips. Since there are many sizes and shapes of ear tips as well as different materials (foam) you can really adjust the fit. For most people foam eartips offer the best comfort as well as tight fit.
On-ear: These are the smaller brothers of over-ear headphones. The ear cups and ear pads are smaller to fit on-the-ears instead of over-the-ears, hence the name. While most on-ear headphones can be very comfortable for hours if they have quality cushioning they do get slightly uncomfortable after many hours. For all-day-wearing, over-ear or in-ear might be a more comfortable choice. This is not a fact for all on-ear headphones but more of a general rule. Keep that in mind when buying a pair of headphones.