On ear headphones, also known as supra-aural headphones, are designed to sit on your ears rather than around or in them. They are lightweight, portable, and often more affordable than over-ear models. With technology advancements, many on-ear headphones now also provide decent noise isolation and great sound quality for an immersive listening experience.
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In this article, we will look at the 10 best on-ear headphones you can buy on Amazon in 2023. We have chosen options across various price ranges to suit different budgets.
How to Choose On-Ear Headphones
Here are some key factors to consider when choosing on-ear headphones:
- Sound quality – Good headphones reproduce audio faithfully with clear highs, detailed mids, and full lows. Look for frequency responses that cover the full range.
- Noise isolation – On-ear headphones don’t block sound as effectively as in-ear or over-ear models. However, some provide decent passive noise reduction to minimize ambient noise. Active noise cancellation (ANC) can further help block constant low-frequency droning sounds.
- Comfort – On-ear headphones can feel uncomfortable after prolonged use due to the pressure on your ears. Look for soft padded earcups and headbands that don’t clamp too tight. Adjustability features are also useful.
- Wired/wireless – Wireless Bluetooth headphones provide cord-free convenience but need to be charged. Wired options have no battery concerns.
- Extra features – Look for features like onboard controls, microphone for calls, water resistance, etc. according to your needs.
- Budget – On-ear headphones are available across various price ranges. Determine how much you can spend for the features you need.
10 Best On-Ear Headphones on Amazon
Based on the above factors, we have recommended the best on-ear headphones across different price segments:
Best Overall: Sony WH-1000XM4
- Overview: The best overall on-ear headphones that excel in all areas
- Sound quality: Excellent sound powered by Sony’s HD Noise Cancelling Processor QN1
- Key features: Class-leading noise cancellation, multipoint Bluetooth, speak-to-chat, wear detection
- Price: $248 on Amazon USA, $398 on Amazon Canada, $348 on Amazon Australia
Sony’s WH-1000XM4 model tops our list for the best overall on-ear headphones you can buy on Amazon. These headphones feature industry-leading active noise cancellation that blocks ambient sounds very effectively.
The audio quality is superb with dynamic sound powered by Sony’s HD Noise Cancelling Processor QN1 chip. The headphones support LDAC, AAC, and SBC codecs for excellent wireless transmission. Speak-to-chat automatically pauses playback when you speak.
Other useful features include multipoint Bluetooth connectivity, adaptive sound control that adjusts ambient sound settings based on your activity, and wear detection that pauses audio when you take them off. The WH-1000XM4 headphones live up to their premium price tag by delivering phenomenal performance all-around.
Best Value: Anker Soundcore Life Q20
- Overview: Feature-packed headphones with ANC at a budget price
- Sound quality: Customized 40mm drivers produce rich sound
- Key features: Active noise cancellation, bass up mode, 60-hour playtime
- Price: $50 on Amazon USA, $64 on Amazon Canada
The Anker Soundcore Life Q20 headphones deliver surprisingly great quality for their low price point. They provide quality noise cancellation to block ambient sounds. The customized 40mm drivers produce excellent audio with rich bass.
You can boost the bass further using the dedicated bass up mode. The battery life is phenomenal at 60 hours of playtime per charge. The headphones are also comfortable thanks to the soft memory foam earcups. Overall, the Life Q20 model gives you great value by packing premium features into an affordable package.
Best Noise Cancelling: Bose QuietComfort 45
- Overview: The best noise cancelling experience from audio pioneers Bose
- Sound quality: Well-balanced sound signature optimized for noise cancellation
- Key features: World-class noise cancellation, 24-hour battery life, Quick charging
- Price: $279 on Amazon USA and Canada, $399 on Amazon Australia
If noise cancellation is your top priority, look no further than the Bose QuietComfort 45 headphones. As pioneers in noise cancellation technology, Bose leads the industry with the most effective ANC you can find.
The QuietComfort 45 model takes it even further with noise cancelling that surpasses its renowned predecessor. The sound quality is also fantastic, optimized to take advantage of the noise cancellation. Distinct mids and crisp highs immerse you into your music. The comfortable fit allows you to keep the headphones on for extended periods. With up to 24 hours of battery life per charge, the QC45 is the top choice for frequent travelers and commute riders.
Best for Working Out: Adidas RPT-01
- Overview: Stylish on-ear headphones optimized for workouts and sports
- Sound quality: Powerful JBL tuned drivers deliver energizing sound
- Key features: On-ear design, sweat resistance, headband-mounted controls
- Price: $119 on Amazon USA, $170 on Amazon Canada
The Adidas RPT-01 headphones are specially designed for workouts and active lifestyles. Their on-ear design stays securely on your head even during rigorous training sessions. The IPX4 rating makes them sweat and splash resistant. The antimicrobial headband and earpads minimize odor buildup.
JBL has tuned the 40mm drivers to produce punchy audio that keeps you energized. The headband houses intuitive controls for music and calls. The battery lasts up to 40 hours for extended uninterrupted playtime. With their sporty aesthetics and fitness-focused features, the RPT-01 headphones are perfect for the gym, running, or any active pursuit.
Best for iOS: Apple AirPods Max
- Overview: Premium over-ear headphones seamlessly integrated with Apple devices
- Sound quality: Crisp, clean audio powered by Apple H1 chip
- Key features: Unmatched integration with iOS, Siri support, spatial audio
- Price: $479 on Amazon USA, $629 on Amazon Canada, $899 on Amazon Australia
Apple’s AirPods Max takes headphones convenience to the next level for iPhone and other Apple device owners. The seamless integration is unmatched with instant pairing, Siri access, spatial audio, and more.
The sound quality lives up to the premium price tag with lush dynamic range and crystal clear details. The knit-mesh canopy headband and memory foam ear cushions provide a comfortable yet snug fit. While expensive, the AirPods Max gives Apple users the best headphones experience through deep iOS integration.
Best Budget: Anker Soundcore Life Q30
- Overview: Impressive noise cancelling over-ear headphones under $100
- Sound quality: Customized 40mm silk drivers produce hi-res sound
- Key features: Active noise cancellation, 60-hour battery life, comfort-fit headband
- Price: $80 on Amazon USA, $130 on Amazon Canada
The Anker Soundcore Life Q30 model offers surprisingly great features for under $100. The hybrid active noise cancellation can block out up to 95% of ambient noise based on internal testing. This allows you to enjoy music without distractions even in noisy environments.
The large 40mm dynamic drivers are tuned to deliver excellent audio quality covering an extended frequency range. The soft memory foam earcups and adjustable headband provide a comfortable fit for long listening sessions. With up to 60 hours of playtime per charge, the Life Q30 headphones are a budget-friendly option with stellar performance.
Most Durable: Sony WH-CH710N
- Overview: Long-lasting on-ear headphones with ANC and voice assistant support
- Sound quality: Well-balanced audio with deep punchy bass
- Key features: Active noise cancellation, Google Assistant/Alexa support, 35-hour battery
- Price: $98 on Amazon USA and Canada
If you need resilient headphones to withstand daily wear and tear, the Sony WH-CH710N is an excellent choice. The flexible headband and swivel design allow you to pack them easily without damage. The scratch-resistant earcups and durable materials can survive accidental drops.
Beyond durability, these headphones also sound great courtesy of Sony’s audio engineering. The active noise cancellation uses dual microphones to reduce ambient noise. You also get intuitive hands-free control using Google Assistant or Alexa. At under $100, the WH-CH710N headphones deliver robust construction combined with great audio.
Most Comfortable: Bose SoundLink II
- Overview: Feather-light on-ear headphones ideal for prolonged wear
- Sound quality: Crisp, detailed audio with rich depth
- Key features: Ultra-soft ear cushions, flexible headband, 15-hour battery life
- Price: $229 on Amazon USA and Canada
Bose is renowned for making superb comfortable headphones, of which the SoundLink II is one of the best. At just 150 grams, these are among the lightest on-ear headphones around.
The soft ear cushions don’t apply pressure on your ears while blocking ambient noise passively. The thin steel headband flexes and molds for a personalized fit. The sound reproduction is brilliant with crisp treble and full bass. NFC allows easy one-touch pairing with compatible devices. For all-day wearability, the SoundLink II on-ear headphones are hard to beat.
Best Trendy Design: Beats Solo3
Overview: Stylish on-ear headphones with Apple’s W1 chip
Sound quality: Punchy bass-driven sound Key features: Sleek design, hands-free Siri access, 40-hour battery life
Price: $150 on Amazon USA, $230 on Amazon Canada, $299 on Amazon Australia
With their sleek aesthetics, bold colors, and branding, Beats headphones are style icons. The Solo3 model is no exception with its slick design bound to earn you compliments. But besides looks, they also deliver great audio with punchy bass that beats to your tunes.
The Apple W1 chip provides seamless connectivity with iOS devices including hands-free “Hey Siri” access. The on-ear setup allows you to show off the headphones’ cool design anywhere while enjoying fantastic sound quality. With a battery stretching up to 40 hours, the Solo3 lets you groove in style all day long.
Best Compact: JBL Tune 510BT
- Overview: Ultra-portable on-ear headphones with 16-hour battery life
- Sound quality: JBL Pure Bass sound with good tonal balance
- Key features: Lightweight and foldable design, voice assistant support, USB-C charging
- Price: $39 on Amazon USA, $50 on Amazon Canada, $59 on Amazon Australia
The JBL Tune 510BT packs robust audio into a compact and portable profile. These super-light headphones weigh just 132 grams for incredible comfort. They fold up into a compact size that fits any bag or even a pocket.
The audio quality belies their diminutive size with punchy bass and pleasing tonal balance. The battery lasts up to 16 hours on a single charge. USB-C charging and Bluetooth 5.0 ensure connectivity versatility. Hands-free control using voice assistants like Google Assistant and Siri boosts convenience. If you want feature-packed on-ear headphones in a mini package, the Tune 510BT is perfect.
Most Feature-Packed: Jabra Elite 45h
- Overview: Loaded on-ear headphones with ANC and ambient sound modes
- Sound quality: Powerful custom drivers produce detailed sound
- Key features: Active noise cancellation, ambient sound modes, 50-hour battery life
- Price: $100 on Amazon USA, $128 on Amazon Canada, $198 on Amazon Australia
Jabra’s Elite 45h headphones are jam-packed with premium features that belie their reasonable price tag. The active noise cancellation uses 4-mic technology to eliminate ambient noise. You can let in sound from your surroundings when needed using the ambient mode.
Custom 40mm speaker drivers produce expansive, detailed audio. The soft ear cushions and adjustable headband ensure a comfortable experience during extended listening sessions. With 50 hours of playtime between charges, you can keep the headphones on all day. Overall, the Elite 45h model offers incredible value through a robust feature set.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Why choose on-ear headphones over in-ear or over-ear models?
A. On-ear headphones provide a middle ground between in-ear and over-ear models. They are more portable than most over-ear options while offering better sound quality and noise isolation compared to most in-ear options. On-ear headphones strike the right balance for many users.
Q. Should I choose wired or wireless on-ear headphones?
A. Wireless headphones provide more convenience and portability since you don’t have to deal with cables. However, you have to charge them routinely. Wired models don’t need charging but limit mobility. Choose wireless headphones if convenience is key and you don’t mind charging frequently. Opt for wired variants for uninterrupted listening.
Q. Which brands make the best on-ear headphones?
A. Sony, Bose, Sennheiser, and Apple’s Beats brand are well-known for making high-quality on-ear headphones. Lesser known brands like 1More also make competitively priced options. Ultimately, focus on specific models and user reviews rather than just brand names.
Q. How do on-ear headphones stay on while working out?
A. Sports-focused on-ear headphones use soft breathable earpads that gently grip your ears to stay on securely. The headband also maintains a snug fit. Some models have additional flexibility features or ear hooks to lock them in place during intense workouts.
Q. Do on-ear headphones work well for phone calls?
A. Many modern on-ear headphones come with integrated microphones that do a decent job of capturing your voice during calls. However, some ambient noise may creep in as they don’t form a tight seal around your ears. Over-ear and in-ear headphones generally perform better for calls by blocking more external noise.
That wraps up our ranking of the 10 best on-ear headphones you can buy on Amazon. We covered excellent options across diverse budgets and use cases. Models like the Sony WH-1000XM4 and Bose QuietComfort 45 lead the pack with their phenomenal noise cancellation and audio performance. More affordable picks like the Anker Soundcore Life Q20 provide surprising value.
Make sure to factor in your budget, preferred features, sound signature, and styling preferences. This will help you pick the ideal pair of on-ear headphones from our recommendations for your specific needs. Happy listening!