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Top headphones for 2017

Top three on-ear headphones for 2017

Article 2 of 3

We round up the best on-ear headphones of 2017 to help you choose a pair that will give you crystal-clear sound for maximum enjoyment.

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On-ear headphones give some of the benefits of large, over-ear models, such as increased comfort and battery life for wireless models. They're nowhere near as portable as in-ear models, but are more portable than over-ear models - a happy medium.

Below we've listed the three best on-ear headphones on the market this year, so you can get great sound and stay comfortable whether you're on the go or at home. See all the best headphones by checking out our Best Buy headphone reviews

Only logged-in Which? members can view our recommendations in the table below. If you’re not yet a member, you can get instant access by taking a £1 trial to Which?.

Best on-ear headphones

Sony MDR-ZX330BT
Today's best price £67.95
Which? score 82%
Reviewed Jul 2015
Best Buy
Performance:
5 out of 5
Acoustic leakage:
4 out of 5
Comfort:
3 out of 5
Wireless:
Member exclusive
Noise cancelling:
Member exclusive

These Bluetooth on-ear headphones sound excellent across the board. The Bluetooth connection is simple to set up and lets you listen to your music without the frustration of tangled cables for more than 40 hours on a single charge.

Sennheiser PX 100-II
Today's best price £28.99
Which? score 80%
Reviewed Sep 2013
Best Buy
Performance:
5 out of 5
Acoustic leakage:
2 out of 5
Comfort:
4 out of 5
Wireless:
Member exclusive
Noise cancelling:
Member exclusive

These headphones gain full marks in our sound-quality test - considering their size they really pack a punch. A few features seen on top-end models are missing, but that doesn't prevent these from being made a Best Buy.

Grado SR60e
Today's best price £61.66
Which? score 72%
Reviewed Nov 2014
Best Buy
Performance:
5 out of 5
Acoustic leakage:
2 out of 5
Comfort:
4 out of 5
Wireless:
Member exclusive
Noise cancelling:
Member exclusive

This high-end audio brand has been making hi-fi equipment for decades, and these on-ear headphones are a modern take on a classic design. They sound fantastic - while they don't boast any fancy features, they do their number-one job really well.

Not found the product for you? Browse all of our headphone reviews.

And here are three on-ear headphones to avoid

You don't want to waste your money on a pair of headphones that won't do your music justice. The worst on-ear models will be horribly tight on your ears and make your music sound like a booming mess. Make sure you avoid the models in the table below - they're some of the worst on-ear headphones we've ever seen. 

On-ear headphones to avoid

Skullcandy Uproar
Today's best price £10.77
Which? score 29%
Reviewed Dec 2015
Don't buy
Performance:
2 out of 5
Acoustic leakage:
4 out of 5
Comfort:
2 out of 5
Durability:
3 out of 5
Travel Case:
Member exclusive
Weight (g):
Member exclusive
Cable Length (cm):
Member exclusive
Cable Controls:
Member exclusive

These headphones are cheap, but unfortunately they're not cheerful. Poor sound, an uncomfortable fit and a cheap feel mean that you'll be ruing the day you spent any money on these. They're so bass-heavy that everything sounds muffled, so they're no use for listening to anything apart from thumping dance music, and even that doesn't sound good.

Skullcandy Uproar Wireless
Today's best price £23.19
Which? score 31%
Reviewed Mar 2016
Don't buy
Performance:
1 out of 5
Acoustic leakage:
5 out of 5
Comfort:
3 out of 5
Durability:
4 out of 5
Travel Case:
Member exclusive
Weight (g):
Member exclusive
Cable Length (cm):
Member exclusive
Cable Controls:
Member exclusive

You'd be downright disappointed if you spent your money on these plasticky headphones. They're the wireless versions of the pair featured above, but they're every bit as bad at playing your music. Booming bass and a complete lack of detail mean that you'll be struggling to hear what your favourite artists are singing in their songs.

Gibson Trainer TH100
Today's best price £130.00
Which? score 34%
Reviewed Dec 2015
Don't buy
Performance:
2 out of 5
Acoustic leakage:
5 out of 5
Comfort:
2 out of 5
Durability:
5 out of 5
Travel Case:
Member exclusive
Weight (g):
Member exclusive
Cable Length (cm):
Member exclusive
Cable Controls:
Member exclusive

These headphones have been endorsed by a very famous personality, but we’d never give them our seal of approval. Sound is completely lifeless, and they're not comfortable either. Don't be fooled by marketing hype - there's very little going for these headphones and you could pick up a Best Buy pair for less than half the price.

Wireless on-ear headphones

There are quite a few models of wireless on-ear headphones on the market, with examples from all the most popular brands, including Beats, Sony, Sennheiser and Bose. The good news is that you don't have to spend too much to get a great on-ear wireless pair - we've reviewed an excellent Best Buy model for around £50.

As you go up the price brackets from here you'll get more features, such as noise cancelling. Some more expensive models come with a companion smartphone app that will allow you to change EQ and other settings on the headphones. 

Kids' headphones

If you're worried about your children damaging their hearing by listening to music too loud, there are quite a few on-ear models designed specifically for kids. These include built-in volume limiters so kids can't raise the volume to dangerous levels.  

The best headphones for your hearing, whether you're an adult or a child, will be ones that block out as much external noise as possible so you don't have to turn your music up too loud to hear it. Look for noise-cancelling models if you can, but even some standard headphones with a good, tight fit will block out a lot of the noise around you.

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