Best over-ear headphones 2019: wired, Bluetooth, noise-cancelling

Over-ear headphones are still one of the best ways to get lost in music or watch a movie. That's why we've picked out the best over-ear headphones for 2019.

But with choices so varied it's hard to know which to pick. From price and sound quality to connectivity and noise-cancelling, there are lots of factors you'll need to take into account when deciding which are the best over-ear headphones for you. 

We've tested pretty much all the options out there and refined that lot down to a list of the best over-ear headphones, separated by price and features like noise-cancelling and Bluetooth. Read on to meet your future favourite set of cans.

Under £50

Best over-ear headphones under £50

AKG K72

A solid, great sounding set of cans for those on a budget.

SPECIFICATIONS

Style: Closed-backed | Cable length: 3m | Wireless: No | Noise-cancelling: No | In-line remote and mic: No | Connector: 3.5mm | Weight: 200g

Reasons to Buy
Excellent value
Very comfortable
Reasons to Avoid
Coloured, boxy mids

If you want quality closed-back wired headphones, on a budget, then the AKG K72 are the best option out there right now. The solid build means these are going to last - AKG even bends the cable 80,000 times to test longevity. The padding is comfy while the three metre cable offers more than enough play for listening comfortably anywhere. The sound is expansive with the width, scale and bass you'd expect to find on a far more expensive pair of headphones. 

Under £100

Best over-ear headphones under £100

Grado SR80e

The SR80es are typical of the Grado brand: staunchly retro looks with great sound.

SPECIFICATIONS

Style: Open-backed | Cable length: Standard | Wireless: No | Noise-cancelling: No | In-line remote and mic: No | Connector: 3.5mm | Weight: 220g

Reasons to Buy
Excellent treble and midrange
Lively sound
Tight bass
Reasons to Avoid
Not the most relaxed sound

The Grado SR80e headphones look retro-cool, not only for a design win but out of necessity, so they can reproduce the best quality audio possible. As a result the clarity, detail and dynamics of these earphones are unmatched for the price. Their open-backed design lets a lot of noise through, so perhaps not ideal for public use, but they help make for a nimble and fast-sounding set of cans with clean and punchy bass. 

Under £200

Best over-ear headphones under £200

Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 Over-ear

Comfortable, portable and a fair bit cheaper than when we first bestowed five stars on them.

SPECIFICATIONS

Style: Closed-backed | Cable length: 1.4m | Wireless: No | Noise-cancelling: No | In-line remote and mic: Yes | Connector: 3.5mm | Weight: 190g

Reasons to Buy
Gorgeous design and sound
Foldable
Comfy fit
Reasons to Avoid
Nothing of note

The Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 headphones are a sensational option for the money. And, they've dropped heavily in price in recent years, which makes them as competitive as ever. As such you get stylish closed-back cans with excellent comfort. Sound quality is superb, with stunning precision and vocal definition and nuanced yet weighty bass.

Best over-ear headphones under £300

Best over-ear headphones under £300

(Image: © Grado)

Grado SR325e

Are you ok with the way they look? You are? Great - because these are truly outstanding headphones.

SPECIFICATIONS

Style: Open-backed | Cable length: 1.7m | Wireless: No | Noise-cancelling: No | In-line remote and mic: No | Connector: 3.5mm | Weight: 358g

Reasons to Buy
Tonal balance
Transparent across frequencies
Expressive dynamics
Reasons to Avoid
Noise leakage

If you like retro looks and demand the best sound for that sub-£300 price then the Grado SR325es are the best headphones out there. While the open back does bleed sound it helps the Grados deliver a superb audio experience. That means clearer and lighter sound than the SR325es mentioned above with distinctive, well-organised layers and a naturally cohesive sound. Beautifully sharp and truly delicate – you won't be left wanting.

Best over-ear headphones under £400

Best over-ear headphones under £400

(Image: © Shure)

Shure SRH1540

The Shures boast an expansive, wonderfully balanced sound with bags of agility, and genuine musicality.

SPECIFICATIONS

Style: Closed-backed | Cable length: 1.8m | Wireless: No | Noise-cancelling: No | In-line remote and mic: No | Connector: 3.5mm | Weight: 286g

Reasons to Buy
Expansive, open sound
Beautifully balanced
Cosy, roomy fit
Reasons to Avoid
Nothing

Thanks to an aluminium and carbon fibre build, coupled with oval Alcantara earpads these Shures are comfy and light enough to wear anywhere. Those 40mm neodymium drivers make for an utterly superb sound with impressive dynamics and awesome levels of detail. These are truly fantastic headphones.

Under £500

Best over-ear headphones under £500

Beyerdynamic Amiron

Consummate, comfortable and Award-winning all-rounders with a range of talents.

SPECIFICATIONS

Style: Open-backed | Cable length: 3m | Wireless: No | Noise-cancelling: No | In-line remote and mic: No | Connector: 3.5mm | Weight: 340g

Reasons to Buy
Nice bass detail
Clear and organised
Handles treble well
Reasons to Avoid
Nothing of note

Beyerdynamic’s Amiron headphones are extremely comfortable thanks to Alcantara micofibres and microvelour used in the earcups and headband. The open back design means some sound leakage but the design also brings an awesome spacious quality to your music. That sound is superb with a good grip on high frequencies, a clear midrange and fantastic sense of rhythm.

Under £1000

Best over-ear headphones under £1000

B&W P9 Signature

Luxurious to look at, touch and wear - and possessed of exquisite sound.

SPECIFICATIONS

Style: Open-backed | Cable length: 5m | Wireless: No | Noise-cancelling: No | In-line remote and mic: Yes | Connector: 3.5mm, optional Lightning cable | Weight: 413g

Reasons to Buy
Stunning midrange clarity
Superb detail levels
Weighty, agile bass
Reasons to Avoid
Bass on the rich side

The B&W P9 Signature headphones were created to commemorate 50 years of Bowers & Wilkins and they certainly do them justice. The sturdy Saffiano leather is comfortable yet hardy and the memory foam headband enhances that comfort. Housed in the ears are 40mm driver units, angled for more natural listening.

After the first 50 or so hours these really loosed up for peak performance meaning a sense of space with vocals and perfectly layered instruments. They can grab a rhythm and hold it perfectly no matter what else is going on. The result is precision and enthusiasm with a perfect balance of pace and attack.

Under £2000

Best over-ear headphones under £2000

(Image: © Sony)

Sony MDR-Z1R

Staggeringly accomplished headphones and as complete as anything we've heard anywhere near the price.

SPECIFICATIONS

Style: Closed-backed | Cable length: 3m | Wireless: No | Noise-cancelling: No | In-line remote and mic: No | Connector: 3.5mm | Weight: 385g

Reasons to Buy
Excellent detail resolution
Even tonal balance
Powerful bass
Reasons to Avoid
Demand quality electronics

Connect them to the right source and these Sonys could be the best headphones you'll ever hear. The unique drivers feature a two-piece 70mm diaphragm made of a magnesium dome sitting in an aluminium-coated liquid crystal polymer ring. With an impressive frequency response that reaches to 120kHz and sensitivity of 100db/mW no expense has been spared on these high-end over-ears. It all adds up to a pair of headphones capable of seismic bass, immense dynamic reach, perfect tonal balance and a spacious yet detailed sound.

Best noise-cancelling over-ear headphones

Best wireless, noise-cancelling over-ear headphones under £500

Sony WH-1000XM3

Jack of all trades and master of all; the Sony WH-1000XM3 headphones are a superb all-round package.

SPECIFICATIONS

Style: Closed-backed | Cable length: 1.2m | Wireless: Yes | Noise-cancelling: Yes | In-line remote and mic: Yes | Connector: 3.5mm, USB-C | Weight: 254g

Reasons to Buy
Natural, all-round sound quality
The best noise-cancelling out there
Supremely comfortable
Reasons to Avoid
Touch controls feel fiddly at first
Good enough to expose weaker recordings

The third generation of Sony's fantastic wireless headphones is the best yet. Lighter than the XM2s, these are also more comfy with softer cushioning to the thicker headband. Tap and voice controls are neat features while the microphones have been improved making these great for calls. Even the noise-cancelling has been improved. Bluetooth sound quality is fantastic with a more open and spacious delivery than their predecessors, while still offering sensational levels of detail and enhanced dynamics.

Best wireless over-ear headphones

Best wireless over-ear headphones

AKG N60NC Wireless

A bit of everything here: noise-cancelling, Bluetooth, great sound, tempting price. Dive right in.

SPECIFICATIONS

Style: Closed-backed | Cable length: N/A | Wireless: Yes | Noise-cancelling: Yes | In-line remote and mic: Yes | Connector: 3.5mm, USB | Weight: 150g

Reasons to Buy
Great noise cancellation
Comfy build
Solid bass
Reasons to Avoid
Nothing of note

The AKG N60NC Wireless headphones are a more affordable alternative to the Sony WH-1000XM3s. Bluetooth and noise-cancelling are built-in. These are lightweight and comfortable yet offer up to 30-hours of battery life (15 with noise-cancelling on) and don't scrimp on sound quality. Bass has good weight while sound is clear and striking. Transparency is excellent and the balance between the bass, midrange and treble is spot-on.