The 8 Best On-Ear Headphones for 2024: Sony, Beats, Sennheiser and More

$55 at Walmart

Image of Sony WH-CH520

Top funds on-ear headphones

Sony WH-CH520

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$32 at Amazon

Image of Soundcore by Anker H30i

Best funds on-ear headphones for lower than $40

Soundcore by Anker H30i

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$100 at Amazon


Best on-ear headphones from JBL

JBL Live 670NC

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$30 at Amazon


Top on-ear headphones for underneath $40

Creative Sound Blaster Jam V2

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$70 at Amazon

sennheiser-hd-250bt sennheiser-hd-250bt

Affordable Sennheiser on-ear headphones

Sennheiser HD 250BT

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$41 at Amazon

skullcandy-riff-wireless-1 skullcandy-riff-wireless-1

Solid funds on-ear headphones

Skullcandy Riff Wireless

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$25 at Amazon

Image of Edifier WH500 Image of Edifier WH500

Top funds wi-fi on-ear headphones

Edifier WH500

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Though around-ear or over-ear headphones are inclined to ship the very best sound and listening expertise, not everybody needs to stroll round carrying full-size headphones, which may typically be just a little cumbersome. Though headphones that sit on high of your ears aren’t everybody’s factor, on-ear fashions with smaller ear cups are extra compact and travel-friendly, and have a tendency to value much less (a number of fashions on this listing are underneath $50). They’re additionally good for people with smaller heads, together with children. Note that almost all of on-ear headphones do not supply energetic noise canceling, although some do.

I’ve examined all of the fashions on this listing, evaluating their design, consolation stage, sound high quality, voice-calling efficiency and noise-canceling prowess (if they provide that function). They’re all wi-fi headphones, however most of them additionally supply a wired connection. I lately added the Beats Solo 4 and JBL Live 670NC to the listing and can proceed so as to add worthy on-ear fashions as they hit the market. If none of those headphones piques your curiosity, you possibly can take a look at CNET’s different headphone greatest lists, comparable to our greatest wi-fi earbuds listing and our greatest noise-canceling headphones listing.

Sony launched its new entry-level CH-720N noise-canceling headphones in 2023. They’re fairly good, however if you cannot afford them (they listing for $150), the corporate’s new funds on-ear WH-CH520 headphones are an intriguing choice for under round $50.

They lack noise canceling and are fairly no-frills, however they function good sound for his or her worth, are light-weight and fairly snug for on-ear headphones, and now have wonderful battery life (they’re rated for as much as 50 hours at average quantity ranges. Additionally, they’ve multipoint Bluetooth pairing, so you possibly can pair them with two gadgets concurrently (comparable to a smartphone and laptop) and swap audio. Voice-calling efficiency is respectable, although lower than the extent of what you get with the CH-720N. 

Note that there isn’t any wired choice — it is a wi-fi Bluetooth-only headphone. The CH-520 presents total balanced sound with respectable readability. The bass has some punch to it however does not pack a wallop, and you are not going to get fairly as broad a soundstage as you get from Sony’s costlier over-ear headphones. But these positively sound higher than Sony’s earlier entry-level on-ear headphones and sound higher than I assumed they might. I attempted the white coloration however in addition they are available blue and black. 

The Soundcore H30i are cheap on-ear wi-fi headphones that compete with the Sony CH-520 and JBL Tube 510BT (the Tune 520BT is its new-for-2024 successor). There’s no energetic noise-canceling and the headphones are fairly no frills, however they do function respectable sound high quality with ample bass for his or her low worth and you may pair them to 2 gadgets concurrently (multipoint Bluetooth). I’m barely extra a fan of the Sony CH-520, that are barely extra snug and sound barely higher (they’ve a tad extra readability). That stated, the H30i have a folding design, and whereas they do not include a carrying pouch, they do embrace a headphone twine for wired listening (the Sonys are wi-fi solely).

Battery life is spectacular — the H30i are rated for as much as 70 hours of listening at average quantity ranges. And when you should not count on nice voice-calling efficiency, it’s acceptable in quieter environments. I additionally appreciated that you could tweak the sound profile within the companion Soundcore app for iOS and Android.

In a nutshell, the Beats Solo 4 on-ear headphones have just about the identical look on the skin because the 3s, however some notable enhancements on the within bump their efficiency by about 25% to 30% in relation to sound high quality, battery life and voice-calling. 

Would I pay $200 for them? No, I would not. But when you have a look at what’s occurred with the Studio Pro’s pricing — they’re sporadically discounted to $200 or $150 off their listing worth and even dropped to $180 for Prime Day — the Solo 4s will not all the time be $200. I’m sure we’ll see them pretty quickly for what the Solo 3s now value, which is round $130. They make much more sense at that worth, notably when you’re on the lookout for a extra compact on-ear headphone and do not want energetic noise canceling.

JBL’s Live 670NC and Tune 670NC are among the many comparatively small variety of on-ear fashions that supply energetic noise canceling. They’re each comparatively reasonably priced, however the Live 670NC model has a extra premium feel and appear to it, with higher ear pads which might be clearly extra sturdy. It additionally has sound that is just a little higher, with 40mm drivers that supply good element and punchy bass. Battery life is rated at as much as 65 hours (or 50 hours with ANC on), and an additional 4 hours of battery with simply 5 minutes of cost. This mannequin contains the most recent Bluetooth 5.3 (with LE Audio) and multipoint Bluetooth pairing. It additionally has JBL’s Ambient Aware (transparency mode) and TalkThru options. It’s out there in black, white, blue and sandstone and comes with a twine for wired listening.

The headphones listing for $130 however frequently dip to $100.

I used to be a fan of Creative’s unique Sound Blaster Jam headphones that got here out in 2015 and had a decidedly retro feel and appear with good sound for the cash. Now the headphone is offered in a 2.0 model that has some key upgrades, together with Bluetooth 5.0, USB-C charging, improved name high quality and multipoint Bluetooth pairing that lets you pair it to 2 gadgets concurrently. Battery life is rated at as much as 22 hours.

I used to be capable of pair the headphones with a Mac Mini and an iPhone after which swap audio between them. Often when pairing Bluetooth headphones with Mac and Windows PCs, one can encounter some points, however as soon as I obtained the headphones paired with each my PC and telephone, they made a superb pair of work-from-home headphones. Also, the worth is correct for fogeys on the lookout for an honest set of youngsters’ headphones for distant studying and on a regular basis use.

Comfortable for on-ear headphones, the Jam V2 are light-weight and have properly balanced sound with good element and bass that is ample however not overpowering. Call high quality was good in my assessments with callers saying they may hear me effectively even on the noisy streets of New York. No carry pouch is included, however you do get an additional set of froth ear pads, which is sweet as a result of they may put on out over time.

The headphones have bodily buttons for controlling quantity and playback and there is aptX help for gadgets that help the wi-fi streaming codec.

The previous couple of years I’ve written up a good variety of new Sennheiser headphones, most of which have had extra premium worth tags. But the corporate additionally has a reasonably new $70 on-ear wi-fi mannequin, the 250BT, that ought to enchantment to these on a tighter funds. Equipped with Bluetooth 5.0, its options appear fairly primary, nevertheless it does have 25-hour battery life, in addition to help for the AAC and aptX audio codecs, and it additionally faucets into Sennheiser’s Smart Control app, permitting you to customise the sound a bit. 

Sennheiser describes the 250BT as having club-like sound, and that is a reasonably apt take. There’s a number of vitality within the bass and a few sparkle within the treble. This is what I prefer to name an thrilling headphone — dynamic, enjoyable. I can not say it is obtained premium construct high quality (it seems and seems like a extra of a funds mannequin). But it is light-weight and comfy for an on-ear mannequin, although it lacks any padding on the within of the scarf so I often needed to make changes to alleviate just a little stress on the crown of my head. 

You can use the 250BT as a headset for making calls — it really works moderately effectively for that — however Sennheiser does not actually discuss up the decision high quality, mentioning solely that the headphones have a built-in microphone. The noise-isolating ear pads lower the background noise, providing you with a greater listening expertise. This headphone is extra concerning the sound and it did develop on me over time. 

Skullcandy’s Riff is the religious successor to the Grind Wireless, which I appreciated for the cash. Available in a number of coloration choices, it retails for round $50 and has puffy, pillowlike ear cups that make these snug headphones for an on-ear mannequin. It additionally has nice sound for its worth, with open, detailed sound high quality and plump bass that is comparatively well-defined. My solely gripes about its ear cup design are that the highest does not function a padded headband (on the crown of your head) and it feels just a little low cost, with no steel elements. That stated, it is good and light-weight and has a dual-hinge that enables the headphone to fold up and fold flat. No carry pouch is included. Battery life is rated at solely 12 hours, however a quick cost function permits you to get 2 hours of juice from a 10-minute cost (this has micro-USB charging not USB-C).

There’s nothing terribly fancy concerning the Edifier WH500 on-ear headphones. They’re light-weight and comparatively snug for on-ear ‘telephones, and so they sound respectable for the cash. These do have a companion app, so you possibly can improve the firmware and customise their sound (there are some EQ settings to mess around with). Battery life is rated at as much as 40 hours, and the headphones work simply advantageous as a headset for making calls (simply not nice). They’re out there in three coloration choices.

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