We round up the best on-ear and over-ear headphones to buy in 2014, from fantastic £50 portables, to £330 pairs of engineering brilliance

Earphones can provide a good sound thanks to noise isolation, but for truly impressive and immersive sound reproduction, on-ear or over-ear headphones are the way to go.

While some sets of cans are simply too big to wear in public, others can prove to be top-notch performers. Still others are perfect for serious hi-fi listening at home.

So, whether you're looking for portable, wireless, noise-cancelling or just an accomplished pair for home, here are the best pairs of on-ear headphones to buy in 2014...

Best portable on-ear headphones under £100

AKG K451

Five stars

Tested at £130 (Now available for £50) 

Serving up impressive detail and clarity in a good-looking and portable guise, the AKGs are by far the best portable on-ear headphones at this price. A recent price-drop has made them an even more attractive buy.

MORE:  AKG K451 review

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Best portable on-ear headphones under £200

Philips Fidelio M1

Five Stars

Tested at £160 

The Fidelio M1s are a classy, comfortable and capable set of headphones. They provide fantastic detail and will be your best friend over long listening sessions.

The M1s ran away with the Award for best pair of portable on-ears in the £100-£200 category this year.

MORE:  Philips Fidelio M1 review


Best portable over-ear headphones under £300

Sennheiser Momentum

Five Stars

Tested at £260 

One of the more stylish pairs on our list are the Sennheiser Momentum headphones. Taking a different path to other fashion-conscious cans, the Sennheisers offer a balanced presentation with full-bodied bass and stupendous amounts of detail.

MORE:  Sennheiser Momentum review

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Best home headphones under £200

Grado SR80i

Five Stars

Tested at £110 

The Grados are a perfect example of what can be achieved from a set of over-ear headphones when an open-backed design is used. They leak sound by the bucket-load, but compensate for by providing a wonderfully detailed performance.

MORE:  Grado SR80i

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More after the break

Best home headphones under £300

AKG K550

Five Stars

Tested at £250 (Now available from £130) 

We said earlier how big headphones can look a little embarassing in public… well, the K550s are no different.

However, with great size comes great capability. The AKGs are able to deliver a balanced presentation, while also providing comfort for those longer listening sessions.

MORE:  AKG K550 review

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Also consider:  AKG K551

Also Consider:  PSB M4U 1


Best home headphones under £400

B&W P7

Five Stars

Tested at £330 

Taking top honours in the most expensive category, the Bowers & Wilkins P7s come in over the £300 mark, but they sure are worth it. They can handle any genre with comfort, which, combined with a good-looking design, and foldable ear-cups for portability, make them a worthy investment.

MORE:  B&W P7 review

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Best wireless on-ear headphones

Philips Fidelio M1BT

Five Stars

Tested at £250

Like their non-Bluetooth counterpart, the Philips M1BTs provide superb sound reproduction. However, wireless connectivity, higher-quality aptX streaming support and the ability to work with hands-free calls make them a very desirable package.

MORE:  Philips Fidelio M1BT review

Best noise-cancelling headphones

Bose QuietComfort 15

Five Stars

Tested at £280 

The only noise-cancelling headphones that have consistently wowed us over the years. Bose has been the champion in noise-cancelling headphone tech for ages now, and the QuietComfort 15s are a testament to that.

MORE:  Bose QuietComfort 15 review

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Also consider:  Logitech UE9000

Also consider:  PSB M4U 2



MORE:  Best headphones to buy in 2014 

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Janet X.'s picture

Audiotechnica ATH-PRO700

Thanks, man. Great review. Was a bit surprised not to see Audiotechnica in the list. I recently got TH-PRO 700 DJ Edition, and they rock!!! Great sound for this money (ca. $100). Got a great deal from Amazon, btw, it is still there. http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004KCLIFA/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B004KCLIFA&linkCode=as2&tag=thougpictuand-20&linkId=3JNH6TT4QIUTKZBF
Yohan Star's picture

No classics?

I've tried most of the above and my vote would go to either the Sony MDR-V6 or the Audio Technica ATH-M50X, a new kid on the block is the TakStar Pro80 which is a kind of BeyerDynamic DT 770m clone but in all honesty is a great set of cans in its own right, the only difference is like the DT770 it doesn't fold but sounds 10 times it's price tag. I find that companies that make good microphones generally make the best cans