5 Best Over Ear Headphones 2023

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Introducing the “5 Best Over Ear Headphones of 2023” – a curated list of top-tier audio companions designed to elevate your listening experience. In this roundup, we’ll explore the pinnacle of sound quality, comfort, and technology, helping you discover the perfect over-ear headphones to immerse yourself in music, movies, and more. Get ready to embrace the future of audio excellence.

Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless
Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless

Bose QuietComfort 45
Bose QuietComfort 45

Sony WH-1000XM5
Sony WH-1000XM5

Soundcore by Anker Space Q45
Soundcore by Anker Space Q45

Apple AirPods Max
Apple AirPods Max

1. Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless

The first one on our list is the Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless Over-the-ear Headphone. The Momentum 4 is designed from the ground up to be a lot more comfortable and functional than previous versions, with a more understated look. The ear cups have plenty of adjustment and super-soft and plush cushions for a pressure-free fit on the sides of your head. The headband’s wide, soft-touch plastic lining stops it from sliding about on your hair, while an extra-soft bit right at its apex relieves pressure on the ridge at the top of your skull.

They are well-balanced and the most comfortable headphones we have worn in a very long time, even over eight-hour listening sessions. The headphones support Bluetooth 5.2 with the universal SBC and AAC audio formats for Apple devices and others. But they also support the very latest aptX Adaptive format, which offers higher audio quality, and lower latency and is backward compatible with the older aptX standard, which is common on Windows PCs and Android devices.

The Momentum 4 continues Sennheiser’s long tradition of fantastic sound. They are the sort of quality headphones that will have you hearing new elements in your favorite tracks, right up there with Sony, Apple, and B&W. They have a pleasing balance between powerful, deep bass, warm mids, and sparkling highs, without any one element overriding the others. They maintain the separation of tones and preserve detail even in the most complex tracks.

The headphones do an excellent job with all music genres, making them extremely adaptable while also handling action-filled movie soundtracks with suitable bombast and immersion. The Control app has an equalizer, bass boost, podcast mode, and a system that helps you tailor the sound of the headphones to your liking.

They have effective noise-canceling that can meaningfully reduce rumbles, fan, and road noise, and do a reasonable job on higher-pitched tones such as voices or keyboard taps in an office. The Momentum 4 lasts a full 60 hours of playback with noise-canceling turned on, which is double their nearest competitors and long enough so you won’t have to worry about charging them very often.

Overall, The Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless are some of the very best-sounding, long-lasting, and most comfortable noise-canceling headphones available.


  • Better noise cancellation than before
  • Outstanding sound
  • Reliable touch controls
  • Marathon 60-hour battery life


  • No more physical button controls
  • Flaky connectivity issues with the Smart Control app
  • Less unique design
  • Mic noise rejection

2. Bose QuietComfort 45

The next one on our list is Bose QuietComfort 45 Wireless Over-ear headphone, The Bose QuietComfort 45 are a rock-solid pair of noise-cancelling headphones. They’re easy to use and feel incredibly comfortable to wear for long periods of time. Those are traits that Bose has always been known for and they continue to live on here.

Of course, the QC45 isn’t without a few new tricks. Among them is an Ambient Aware mode that allows you to hear sounds around you at the press of a button as well as upgraded noise cancellation tech that’s more responsive than before. The headphones are still light, well balanced, and stay put on your head without needing to clamp particularly hard, aiding their long-term comfort. The construction feels robust and capable of taking a beating, similar to their longstanding predecessors that stood up very well to years of the rough and tumble of travel and our daily commute.

The QC45 is a standard set of Bluetooth 5.1 headphones supporting the universal SBC and AAC audio formats, which are compatible with most phones, tablets, computers, and other devices. They can connect to two devices at once, such as a phone for calls and a tablet for video, and have a rock-solid connection to iPhones and Android devices. You can use a cable for wired listening even when the headphones are out of battery. All Bose headphones have a signature sound that has proven divisive in audiophile circles, typically because they heavily process sound, which means music is considered to be removed from what the artist intended.

The QC45 sounds generally pleasant and better balanced than its rivals, producing a solid punch in the low end without it overriding other tones. Vocals are particularly clear, but the treble and highs can be over-accentuated, making some punk tracks with heavy use of cymbals a little overbearing. The separation between instruments and tones is excellent, even for very complex and overlapping tracks.

Despite lacking any virtual surround-sound feature, the QC45 does an excellent job of recreating the big booms, action, and vocals of movies. The QC45 lasts for about 25 hours of listening over Bluetooth between charges or significantly longer via cable. They fully charge via USB-C in 2.5 hours, with a 15-minute charge adding up to three hours of playback.

Overall, The QC45 has solid noise cancellation, but they’re bettered in sound quality by the class leaders.


  • Best-in-class comfort
  • Great active noise cancellation
  • New ambient aware mode
  • Can use ANC in wired mode
  • Increased battery life (24-hour)
  • USB-C charging


  • Lack support for audio over USB-C
  • No on-ear detection sensor
  • Lack of bass
  • No EQ
  • No way to turn off ANC without switching to aware mode

3. Sony WH-1000XM5

The third one on our list is the Sony WH-1000XM5 Wireless over-ear Headphone, The WH-1000XM5 shares many traits with the model that came before them but has received tweaks in a few notable areas. The most obvious change is a structural one. The WH-1000XM5 has what Sony describes as a “noiseless” design with a stepless slider along with seamless swivels and hangers connecting the headband to the earcups.

Sony has also ditched the 40mm drivers found in the XM4 in favor of 30mm carbon-fiber composite alternatives. The new drivers have high-rigidity domes and soft edges, which the Japanese manufacturer says improves clarity higher up the frequency spectrum and enhances noise cancellation efficacy.

That noise cancellation is also aided by an increase in the number of microphones. The mic count is up from five to eight on the WH-1000XM5 and Sony says that this, combined with the power of the Sony Integrated Processor V1 and Sony HD Noise Cancelling Processor QN1, results in its “biggest-ever step forward in noise canceling”.

Bluetooth connectivity now comes courtesy of version 5.2 with codec support extending to SBC, AAC, and Sony LDAC. The latter provides access to High-resolution streaming quality on most Android devices but can’t be used if you’re connected to two devices via Bluetooth Multipoint.

Battery life remains unchanged from the WH-1000XM4 at up to 30 hours of audio playback, a figure that jumps to 40 hours if you switch noise cancellation off. The convenience features that helped make the XM4 such a success have also made their way into the fifth-gen model. Adaptive Sound Control, Speak-to-Chat, wear detection, touch controls, Quick Attention mode and hands-free support for the Google and Alexa voice assistants are all present and correct, as are Sony’s DSEE Extreme upscaling algorithm and Precise Voice Pickup technology.

Like their predecessors, the WH-1000XM5 is compatible with the Sony Headphones Connect app, which provides plenty of ways to customize your experience and can also provide insights into your headphone usage if you’re willing to create an account.

Overall, The Sony WH-1000XM5 is a good pair of noise-canceling headphones for those who spend a lot of time outdoors or traveling. The active noise cancellation continues to be a strong suit of this series and coupled with good microphone performance and long battery life, We were quite happy using them outdoors.


  • Light and comfortable
  • More balanced, tighter sound
  • 30-hour battery life
  • Pairs with two devices at the same time


  • Don’t fold away completely
  • No major upgrade over 1000XM4
  • Occasional audio issues on macOS
  • Pricey at launch
  • Still no water resistance

4. Soundcore by Anker Space Q45

The next one on our list is Soundcore by Anker Space Q45 headphones, The Space Q45 headphones are Soundcore’s latest over-the-ear noise-canceling headphones aimed at helping you carve out personal space no matter where you are. Soundcore claims they feature a next-generation acoustic architecture that blocks out a wider range of noise, up to 98%, and is SGS certified.

The Space Q45 arrives folded inside its carrying case alongside USB-A-to-USB-C charging and 3.5mm analog audio cables. The plastic insert orienting them is the only slightly non-classy element of the entire out-of-box experience–but it’s easily forgotten when you feel how lush this headphone feels.

The matte plastic portions are a lot smoother than what you’ll find on many headsets. The Space Q45 feels positively velvety; there are even smoother semi-glossy plastic rings surrounding the cup bases, where the controls reside.

We tested these out with our white noise machine set to maximum volume, and the Space Q45 headphones were very effective at cutting out the noise, pretty much on the same level as our Bose QuietComfort 35 II headphones, maybe just a hair less effective but we had to really listen to find the difference.

The Soundcore app lets you turn on Adaptive Noise Cancellation, where the headphones will listen for the ambient sounds around you and adjust the level of Active Noise Cancellation automatically. You can also use the app to adjust the equalizer by selecting from one of Soundcore’s presets, or creating your own.

The sound quality on the Space Q45 is great, with strong bass and clear mids and highs. Soundcore states that these headphones have new 40-millimeter double-layer diaphragm drivers, which seem to do a great job with music and podcasts alike. The headphones also support Hi-Res Wireless audio and LDAC. Also worth noting: the cushioning on the earcups is very soft and comfortable, too!

In terms of battery life, the headphones can achieve up to 50 hours of playback with the Active Noise Cancellation feature turned on, which is over double the battery life found on the other competitor’s model. Overall, the Soundcore Space Q45 headphones give you great active noise cancellation and great sound quality with strong bass, making it a worthy alternative at a lower cost compared to the competition.


  • Big sound with plenty of bass
  • Lengthy battery life
  • Loaded with special features
  • Effective ANC
  • Bluetooth 5.3 with multipoint and LDAC support


  • Clunky
  • Digital assistant needs work
  • Call quality could benefit from better wind resistance
  • No Find My Headphones function
  • No support for aptX codecs

5. Apple AirPods Max

The last one on our list is Apple AirPods Max Wireless Over-Ear Headphones, The AirPods Max plays the part of luxury headphones extremely well. The stainless steel headband and aluminum ear cups feel sturdy, and we don’t feel like they’ll break if we toss them in our backpacks. All that metal means the AirPods Max is also really heavy, weighing in at 385 grams. That’s much heavier than the other top noise-canceling headphones we’ve tested, and you feel it. That’s not to say these aren’t comfortable, though. The headband is brilliantly engineered to distribute the weight evenly.

The plush padding and light fabric headband feel really nice. The ear cups feel amazing—they’re without a doubt our favorite thing about the headset. They are comfortable and you can easily pop off the padding to replace them as needed.

The AirPods Max has top-notch noise canceling and a transparency mode to let you hear what’s going on around you with the click of a button. Volume and playback controls are assigned to the digital crown at the top of the right ear cup and it is insanely smooth. At times we find ourselves accidentally raising or lowering the volume when trying to readjust the headphones. Tiny sensors on the inside of the ear cups also auto-pause playback when you take off the headphones. Resuming playback is as simple as putting the headphones back on.

The connection with the AirPods Max is generally pretty solid, which has to do with the H1 chip. Like the smaller AirPods Pro, this uses Bluetooth 5.0 with AAC and SBC Bluetooth codecs. These headphones do not support Bluetooth multipoint connectivity. When it comes to audio fidelity, the AirPods Max sounds very good. In particular, we think the midrange has gorgeous presence and clarity — something that you don’t get as much of from the Sony XM4 since they have had a bump in the mid-bass that tends to crowd the vocal range.

Apple claims that Airpods Max has around 20 hours of battery life, which seems to track our daily use experience. After a full 8-hour day of wearing the headphones, there was still a little over 50% of battery life left.

Overall, we love the AirPods Max. The AirPods Max is one of the most premium headphones on the market and it comes with a price tag to match.


  • Super comfortable
  • Excellent build quality
  • Terrific, balanced sound quality
  • Very effective noise cancellation
  • Easy to set up


  • Just 20-hours battery life
  • Very expensive
  • Lacks 3.5mm audio jack
  • Big and bulky
  • Not foldable

Buying Guide: 5 Best Over-Ear Headphones of 2023

When it comes to immersing yourself in music, movies, or gaming, over-ear headphones are a top choice for delivering excellent sound quality and comfort. In 2023, the headphone market is brimming with options, making it essential to consider various factors before making a purchase. To help you find the perfect pair, we’ve compiled a list of the 5 best over-ear headphones for 2023, along with a comprehensive buying guide.

Factors to Consider When Buying Over-Ear Headphones:
1. Sound Quality
Sound quality is paramount when choosing over-ear headphones. Look for models with high-quality drivers, a wide frequency range, and good bass response. Audiophiles should consider headphones with support for high-resolution audio formats like FLAC or DSD.

2. Comfort
Over-ear headphones are designed for extended use, so comfort is crucial. Look for models with plush ear cushions and an adjustable headband. Memory foam earpads can provide superior comfort by conforming to the shape of your ears.

3. Noise Isolation/Cancellation
If you want to block out ambient noise, consider headphones with active noise cancellation (ANC) technology. This feature can significantly enhance your listening experience, especially in noisy environments like airplanes or busy streets.

4. Battery Life
For wireless headphones, battery life matters. Check the battery specifications to ensure they can last through your intended usage. Some models offer 20 hours or more on a single charge, while others can go well beyond that.

5. Wired vs. Wireless
Decide whether you want wired or wireless headphones. Wired models are typically preferred by audiophiles for their reliability and audio quality, while wireless headphones provide more freedom of movement. Many modern wireless headphones support Bluetooth 5.0 or higher for a stable connection.

6. Build Quality
Look for headphones with durable materials and a solid build. Premium materials like metal and leather not only enhance the durability but also add a touch of luxury to the design.

7. Connectivity
Consider the connectivity options. Apart from Bluetooth, check if the headphones have a 3.5mm headphone jack for wired connections. Some models also offer NFC for quick pairing with compatible devices.

8. Brand Reputation
Consider reputable brands known for their quality and customer support. Read reviews and seek recommendations from trusted sources to gauge the reliability of a particular brand or model.

9. Extra Features
Some headphones come with extra features like touch controls, customizable EQ settings, voice assistants, or multipoint connectivity. Evaluate which features align with your preferences and needs.

10. Conclusion
When choosing the best over-ear headphones for your needs, consider your budget and specific requirements carefully. Whether you prioritize sound quality, comfort, or noise cancellation, there’s a perfect pair of headphones waiting to elevate your audio experience in 2023.