We round up the best over-ear headphones to buy in 2016, from portable pairs to high-end home listening headphones, plus noise-cancelling and wireless cans.

While in-ear headphones make a lot of sense for portability, to get truly immersed in the music, we'd suggest over-ear headphones are the way forward.

While some of the biggest cans probably shouldn't be worn out and about, aimed squarely at the hi-fi home listener, others are more versatile - and the more stylish over-ear designs are increasingly popular for everyday use.

The 2015 What Hi-Fi? Awards ushered in nine winning pairs of on-ear and over-ear headphones, which coupled with our back catalogue of reviews, means we have plenty of headphones to recommend.

Best over-ear headphones under £100
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Tested at £250

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The AKG K550s have long been a favourite of ours and have won multiple What Hi-Fi Awards. Last year it was in no small part thanks to a drop in price, which sees them available now for under £100, which is an absolute steal.

These on-ears, relatively light and very comfy, are communicative too, natural and unforced. And they deliver bass with punch and precision.

MORE: AKG K550 review

 
Best over-ear headphones under £200
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Tested at £150

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These might have looked at home on the ears of a wartime radio operator, but they sound great. Stay at home, though: they’re leaky.

MORE: Grado SR125e review

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Best over-ear headphones under £300
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Tested at £270

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If you don’t mind the sound that leaks from them, you’re free to enjoy the fluid dynamics and wonderfully musical presentation.

MORE: Grado SR325e review

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Best portable over-ear headphones under £300
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Tested at £270

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We love the design but it’s more than just pretty – the Momentums 2.0s are comfortable on your ears and fold neatly off them.

Sound quality is a cut above the competition too.

MORE: Sennheiser Monentum 2.0 review

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Best over-ear headphones under £400
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Tested at £330

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Worth every penny. The solid build quality and comfy fit we expect, but the level of detail and dynamics sweeps you off your feet. 

MORE: B&W P7 review

 

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Best over-ear headphones under £500
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Tested at £430

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Once the music starts you’ll focus on the expansive, beautifully balanced sound. There’s agility, enthusiasm and genuine musicality too.

MORE: Shure SRH1540 review
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Best over-ear headphones under £1000
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Tested at £1100

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For outright insight you’d have to spend thousands more than this on speakers before you get close to the resolution and agility on offer here.

You can now pick up a pair for well under our original 'tested at' price.

MORE: AKG K812 review

Best noise-cancelling headphones
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Tested at £270

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These cans are a real treat. Their noise-cancelling capabilities are extraordinary, their clear, balanced sound a joy to hear.

MORE: Bose QuietComfort 25 review

 

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Best wireless headphones
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Tested at £380

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We love the design but it’s more than just pretty – the Momentums 2.0s are comfortable on your ears and fold neatly off them. 

MORE: Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 Wireless review

 

MORE: Best headphones 2015

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