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10 Most Comfortable Headphones – Over & On-Ear Models For Happy Ears

Last updated: 3 months ago
9 min read

Most comfortable headphones for whole-day listening.

Rating Price Type Back design Weight Replaceable earpads More info
Sony WH-1000XM4 Comfiest overall
Sony WH1000XM3 wireless headphones
4.7
Under $350
Over-ear
Closed-back
8.99 Oz (254g)
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Apple AirPods Max Runner-up
Apple AirPods Max
4.4
Under $550
Over-ear
Closed-back
13.6 Oz (385g)
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Bowers & Wilkins PX7 Best build quality
Bowers & Wilkins PX7 wireless headphones
4.3
Under $400
Over-ear
Closed-back
10.9 Oz (310g)
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HiFiMAN HE-400i (2020 Version) Best planar-magnetic
HIFIMAN HE400i (2020 Version) wired headphones
4.6
Under $170
Over-ear
Open-back
12.6 Oz (358g)
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4.6
Under $330
Over-ear
Closed-back
8.46 Oz (240g)
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Sennheiser HD 599 Best open-back
Sennheiser HD 599
4.7
Under $200
Over-ear
Open-back
8.8 Oz (249g)
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Audio-Technica ATH-AD900X Best value open-back
Audio-Technica ATH-AD900X
4.4
Under $200
Over-ear
Open-back
9.3 Oz (263g)
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Meze 99 Classics Most unique design
Meze 99 Classics Gold wired headphones
4.6
Under $310
Over-ear
Closed-back
9.2 Oz (261g)
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Shure Aonic 50 Best premium
Shure Aonic 50 wireless headphones
4.3
Under $400
Over-ear
Closed-back
11.7 Oz (331g)
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Beats Solo Pro Best on-ear
Beats Solo Pro wireless headphones
4.7
Under $300
On-ear
Closed-back
9.4 Oz (266g)
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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. And all the headphones are also great for listening to music.

We took into account everything from good sound quality, build, and, of course, earpads and headband comfort. Check our guide, it’s highly recommended.

Table of Contents

    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

    1st-place Best overall
    Sony WH-1000XM4 are comfortable Bluetooth headphones

    Sony WH-1000XM4 are one of the best headphones for noise cancellation in a compact, travel-friendly design. On top of that, they are, in our opinion, the most comfortable headphones in 2021.

    Connection icon Connection: Bluetooth 5.0
    Driver size icon Driver size: 40mm
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: 4-40.000Hz
    Type: Over-ear | Battery life: 38h (28h with ANC) | Wireless range: 33ft (10m) | Noise cancelling: Yes | Charging: 3h + quick charge – USB-C | Mic & Controls: Yes | Bluetooth codecs: SBC, AAC, LDAC | Water resistance: No | Features: ANC, Ambient mode, multipoint, auto play/pause, 360 Reality Audio, 3.5mm port
    • Outstanding noise-canceling performance
    • Audiophile-grade sound quality
    • Premium-feeling build
    • Useful Headphones Connect app
    • Great battery life
    • Support for LDAC
    • Amazing comfort and fit
    • The speak-to-chat feature is a gimmick
    • Voice Priority mode doesn’t work correctly
    • No IPX rating

    The sound of these is quite energetic and extremely easy to listen to. Very much like the previous Sony WH-1000XM3.

    These popular headphones 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.

    Thanks to plastic construction, they are relatively light and very comfortable. They also fold and come with a hard carrying case, which makes them super portable.

    Different touch controls, like changing volume levels, are helpful if you don’t like constantly touching your phone. You can further change Bluetooth settings in the app.

    These are some 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.

    2. Apple AirPods Max

    2nd-place Runner-up
    Apple AirPods Max are comfortable over-ear headphones

    The latest Bluetooth headphones from Apple with sleek design, sound, comfort, and high-end features. The list price is quite high, too.

    Connection icon Connection: Bluetooth 5.0
    Driver size icon Driver size: 40mm dynamic
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: n/a
    Type: Over-ear | Battery life: 24h (ANC & Transparency mode ON) | Wireless range: 33ft (10m) | Noise cancelling: Yes | Charging: Quick charge – Lightning | Mic & Controls: Yes | Bluetooth codecs: SBC, AAC | Water resistance: None | Features: ANC, Transparency mode, Adaptive EQ, Spatial Audio
    • Excellent, smooth sound
    • Excellent ANC and realistic Transparency mode performance
    • Tons of features (for Apple users)
    • Premium build with replacable earpads
    • Exceptional Bluetooth range
    • Good battery life (23h with ANC)
    • Degraded user experience on Android devices
    • Uneven clamping force (could cause discomfort)
    • Included Smart case is useless

    AirPods Max use a U-shaped sound signature, providing deep, rumbly bass response and sparkly highs without sibilance.

    They’re fantastic headphones for both music and movies, even for audiophiles.

    Quickly swappable earpads are made from a fabric, which increases comfort level, breathability, and airflow, preventing excess sweating.

    Also, the memory foam ear pads ensure luxurious comfort. A knit-mesh canopy gently rests on your head and successfully distributes the weight of the headphones.

    The build is exceptional, with each ear cup being made from a single slab of aluminum.

    You also get excellent active noise cancellation performance, Transparency mode, Dolby Atmos support, Siri voice control, and great microphones for taking phone calls.

    Apple AirPods Max review

    3. Bowers & Wilkins PX7

    trophy Best build quality
    Bowers & Wilkins PX7 over-ear headphones

    Upgrading from an already amazing PX model, the PX7 improves the overall construction and looks. And they’re also more comfortable than other headphones.

    Connection icon Connection: Bluetooth 5.0
    Driver size icon Driver size: 43.6mm
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: n/a
    Type: Over-ear | Battery life: 30h | Wireless range: 33ft (10m) | Noise cancelling: Yes | Charging: Quick charge – USB-C | Mic & Controls: Yes | Bluetooth codecs: SBC, AAC, aptX HD, aptX Adaptive | Water resistance: No | Features: ANC, auto play/pause, Ambient mode, multipoint support
    • Great sound quality
    • Many useful features
    • Sturdy build with carbon fiber composite frame
    • Pricey
    • Tight clamping force

    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.

    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 a comfortable fit, thus making these one of the most comfortable headset you can get.

    These can also actively remove background noises, which is on par with the competition. PX7’s excellent battery life lasts for 30 hours on a single charge, playing your favorite music even for long listening sessions.

    For cheaper ANC options, see the best budget noise cancelling headphones.

    4. HIFIMAN HE-400i (2020 Version)

    trophy Best planar-magnetic
    HIFIMAN HE400i (2020 Version) headphones

    HIFIMAN HE-400i are oversized open planar-magnetic headphones for all the “big heads” out there.

    Connection icon Connection: Wired 3.5mm
    Driver size icon Driver size: Planar magnetic drivers
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: 20-35.000Hz
    Type: Over-ear | Back design: Open-back | Noise cancelling: No | Mic & Controls: No | Impedance: 35 Ohm | Weight: 13 oz (370g) | Cable length: 4.9 feet (1.5m) | Features: Detachable cables
    • Warm, spacious sound
    • Great imaging
    • Comfortable earpads
    • Only for home/indoor use

    The audio quality is superb as well. A balanced sound signature with rich treble and bass, lots of details, and neutral tones.

    Though these aren’t the best bass headphones, since they don’t use dynamic drivers with neodymium magnets for the extra rumble.

    To say these are big would be an understatement. They are massive, but big 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 be wearing headphones 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. They’re most suitable for home use.

    5. Bose QuietComfort 45

    trophy Best Bose
    Bose QuietComfort 45 over-ear headphones

    Beautifully crafted wireless over-ear headphones that are made from exquisite high-quality materials.

    Connection icon Connection: Bluetooth 5.1
    Driver size icon Driver size: n/a
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: n/a
    Type: Over-ear | Battery life: 24h | Wireless range: 33ft (10m) | Noise cancelling: Yes | Charging: Quick charge – USB-C | Mic & Controls: Yes | Bluetooth codecs: SBC, AAC | Water resistance: None | Features: ANC, ambient mode, app, active EQ
    • Balanced sound
    • Lightweight & comfortable design
    • Excellent active noise cancellation
    • Good battery life
    • No custom EQ
    • You can't completely turn off ANC or ambient mode

    A successor to Bose’s most successful wireless headphones is better in every way, even in sound. It’s still nicely balanced and pleasant to listen to, with good detail rendition.

    Bose headphones have a super lightweight design, with just enough padded earcups to ensure excellent comfort. You can wear them for hours and forget they’re on your head.

    On top of that, the excellent noise cancellation is again top-notch. It’s on par with the competition, reducing a big chunk of background sounds.

    Other improvements are seen in better battery life, measuring around 24 hours per charge, and a switch to USB-C and fast charging.

    Strangely, you can’t completely turn off ANC or ambient mode, which can be annoying.

    6. Sennheiser HD 599

    trophy Best open-back
    Sennheiser HD 599 headphones

    Sennheiser updated their famous HD598 with the HD599 model. It’s easy to miss since they are almost the same.

    Connection icon Connection: Wired – 3.5mm
    Driver size icon Driver size: n/a
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: 12-38.500Hz
    Type: Over-ear | Back design: Open-back | Noise cancelling: No | Mic & Controls: No | Impedance: 50 Ohm | Weight: 8.82 oz (250g) | Cable lenght: 118 inch (3m) & 47 inch (1.2m) | Features: Detachable cable
    • Smooth, enjoyable sound
    • Lightweight and comfortable
    • Easy to drive
    • Poor noise isolation

    The sound quality is great. Balanced frequency response with even slightly improved detail reproduction compared to HD598. You might as well use them as studio headphones.

    And if you want to have one of the most popular Sennheiser series, HD599 are one of the best 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 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. If you can get them for a lower price, they’re a steal.

    7. Audio-Technica ATH-AD900X

    trophy Best value open-back
    Audio-Technica ATH-AD900X headphones

    ATH-AD900X are very comfy headphones with an open-back design. Meaning they have a more neutral, balanced sound signature and better soundstage.

    Connection icon Connection: Wired – 3.5mm / 6.3mm
    Driver size icon Driver size: 53mm
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: 5-35.000Hz
    Type: Over-ear | Back design: Open-back | Noise cancelling: No | Mic & Controls: No | Impedance: 38 Ohm | Weight: 9.3 oz (265g) | Cable lenght: 118 inch (3m) | Features: /
    • Airy, detailed sound
    • Impressive soundstage
    • Comfortable and breathable
    • Light on bass
    • Non-detachable cable

    Apart from their amazing comfort, sound quality is their other main selling point.

    The open-back, or in this case, open-ear design produces a great soundstage which gives an open feeling when you listen to music. Just be aware of the sound leakage and avoid noisier environments.

    The ranges are neutral and natural sounding to satisfy even the more demanding audiophile.

    For home listening these are superb. These lightweight headphones have a high comfort level since they were made for a long listening session.

    Big and soft earpads feel good to your ears and the adjustable headband is barely noticeable.

    With great comfort and sound quality, durability doesn’t disappoint either. Quality materials and proven design features make it a very comfortable headphone.

    8. Meze 99 Classics

    trophy Most unique design
    Meze 99 Classics Gold headphones

    Yet another well-built over-ears without a hint of cheap plastic on them. Only steel, soft pleather pads, and real wood.

    Connection icon Connection: Wired – 3.5mm & 6.3mm
    Driver size icon Driver size: 40mm
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: 15-25.000Hz
    Type: Over-ear | Back design: Closed-back | Noise cancelling: No | Mic & Controls: No | Impedance: 32 Ohm | Weight: 9.2 oz (260g) | Cable lenght: 4 feet (1.2m) | Features: Detachable cable
    • Beautiful design with wooden earcups
    • Warm, smooth sound with nice bass punch
    • Cables tangle very quickly

    These luxury headphones have a very smooth, warm sound signature. There is a slightly upper-bass bump to bring out the punch a bit more.

    Meze put a lot of details into the build. At the first sight, you notice are the earcups made from real wood. That doesn’t only look cool but can help to shape the sound signature.

    Of course, you can’t have a great listening experience without good comfort. Thankfully, 99 Classics excel at that, offering you comfortable memory foam pads with pleather cover.

    You get two detachable cables, one of which has an inline remote, a 6.3mm adapter, an airline adapter, and a hard shell carrying case.

    9. Shure Aonic 50

    trophy Best premium
    Shure Aonic 50 over-ear headphones

    These wireless noise-cancelling headphones come from a well-known company in the audio industry. Aonic 50 is yet another Shure product that doesn’t disappoint.

    Connection icon Connection: Bluetooth 5.0
    Driver size icon Driver size: 50mm
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: n/a
    Type: Over-ear | Battery life: 20h | Wireless range: 33ft (10m) | Noise cancelling: Yes | Charging: Quick charge – USB-C | Mic & Controls: Yes | Bluetooth codecs: SBC, AAC, aptX, aptX HD, aptX Low Latency, LDAC | Water resistance: No | Features: Ambient listening mode, mobile app, USB-C for wired listening, 3.5mm port
    • High-quality build
    • Plush, comfortable earpads
    • Great ANC performance
    • Neutral and very detailed sound
    • Uninspiring mic quality

    Soundwise, the pair of headphones is very close to neutral. These audiophile headphones remain faithful to the original recording and are a perfect pick for those seeking excellent sound quality.

    Luxurious-looking Bluetooth headphones are built from high-quality materials, such as stitched leather and metal frame.

    This results in sturdy construction, while pillowy pads provide amazing comfort.

    You get both the Environment mode feature and active noise reduction technology. The latter is really good at canceling the external 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. That’s basically all that Bluetooth technology has to offer.

    Most Comfortable On-Ear Headphones

    10. Beats Solo Pro

    trophy Best on-ear
    Beats Solo Pro headphones

    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.

    Connection icon Connection: Bluetooth
    Driver size icon Driver size: 40mm
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: n/a
    Type: On-ear | Battery life: 22h with ANC, 40h ANC off | Range: 33ft – 10m | Noise cancelling: Yes | Charging: Fast Fuel quick charging 10min – 3 hours of music | Mic & Controls: Yes | Bluetooth codecs: SBC, AAC | Water resistance: No | Features: H1 chip, auto on/off when folding, transparency mode
    • Comfortable on-ear headphones
    • Punchy bass that's great for popular music
    • Stylish with many color options and typical Beats design
    • Active noise cancellation with solid 20h+ battery
    • Modern features
    • Pricey

    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.

    Featuring Apple’s H1 chip, these noise-canceling 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 background noise-cancelling turned on, you should get around 22 hours of battery life. When turned off, the playback time jumps to an impressive 40 hours.

    You can find similar finds among the best headphones under $100.

    Honorable Mentions

    V-MODA XS – If you want comfortable on-ear headphones with good isolation and fun, bass-rich sound, V-MODA XS are your top pick. Their build quality is also top-notch, however, the price point is a bit up. (Check XS price)

    Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT – If you like bass and good comfort in closed-back over-ear headphones, then ATH-M50xBT’s are for you. You can also use them as studio monitor headphones. (Check ATH-M50xBT price)

    Sony MDR-1AM2 – Audiophile headphones with an insane response (3-100.000Hz) for detailed audio playback and excellent comfort with no pressure points. Bass sound is slightly boosted to make their presentation more fun. (Check MDR-1AM2 price)

    V-MODA Crossfade M-200 – If you want good build and comfort, these are a great pair for money. They have a more narrow frequency response than M-100, which makes them great for studio. (Check M-200 price)

    Bose QuietComfort 35 II – Previous version to the 45’s but still good pair of headphones from Bose that are comfortable to wear. Their sound quality and active noise cancellation technology are still excellent. The newest Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 are also quite good. (Check QuietComfort 35 II 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 more best cheap headphones. (Check KTXPRO1 Titanium price)

    How Can I Know What Comfortable Headphones Are?

    We all have a different head shape and head size, so there’s no other way to know unless you try them.

    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 extremely 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.

    But to give quick advice:

    • If you have a big head, try looking for bigger frames. Bigger headphones are less likely to have overly strong clamp force.
    • Look for bigger, over-ear earpads with thick padding. Of course, headphones can be comfy even without excesive padding. But if you can’t try them by yourself, and you have to pick one based on pictures, this is a good indicator of comfort.
    • Also, check for noise canceling headphones. You don’t have to crank up the volume as high as with non-canceling headphones (you will be less bothered by ambient noise), which is good for hearing protection.

    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 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 their small size and weight, they’re easy to put in your ear canal and forget about. The in-ear model’s comfort can be adjusted by 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 a secure fit. Bluetooth earbuds are the best since they lack wires.

    Check the most comfortable earbuds here.

    On-ear: These are the smaller brothers of over-ear headphones. The 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, which is their biggest problem. For all-day-wearing, over-ear or in-ear might be a great all-around choice for comfort. 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.