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Top headphones for 2017

Top three over-ear headphones for 2017

Article 3 of 3

We round up the best over-ear headphones of 2017 to help you find your ideal pair for comfort as well as top-quality sound.

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Over-ear headphones are the largest style of headphones, completely encasing your ears for the ultimate in comfort and sound. They're not as portable as the other headphone types, so you'll need space in your bag to carry them around though. 

Below we've listed the three best over-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 over-ear headphones

Sennheiser HD 630VB
Which? score 89%
Reviewed Mar 2016
Best Buy
Performance:
5 out of 5
Features:
3 out of 5
Comfort:
4 out of 5
Wireless:
Member exclusive
Cable Controls:
Member exclusive
Noise cancelling:
Member exclusive

Yes, the price tag on these headphones is premium, but so is the sound. This pair is a sound investment, and one of the best we've ever tested, thanks to clear punchy sound, packed with detail. They exude 'audiophile', and it's a well-deserved label for these headphones.

Audio-Technica ATH-MSR7
Which? score 83%
Reviewed Mar 2016
Best Buy
Performance:
5 out of 5
Features:
5 out of 5
Comfort:
4 out of 5
Wireless:
Member exclusive
Cable Controls:
Member exclusive
Noise cancelling:
Member exclusive

They might not be discreet, with their large earpads, but buy these super-sounding headphones and we think you'll be only too happy to show them off. Matching style, sound and comfort, they could be your favourite headphones yet.

Sennheiser Urbanite XL
Which? score 83%
Reviewed Nov 2014
Best Buy
Performance:
5 out of 5
Features:
5 out of 5
Comfort:
4 out of 5
Wireless:
Member exclusive
Cable Controls:
Member exclusive
Noise cancelling:
Member exclusive

These over-ear headphones provide plenty of bass, and are well built and comfortable. Chatterboxes will enjoy the built-in hands-free calling feature. They do a good job of blocking out outside noise, too.

Pricing, recommendations and test scores correct at June 2017.

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

And here are three over-ear headphones to avoid

Over-ear headphones are expensive, so it's important you make the right choice first time rather than wasting money on a dud. The worst models we've seen are uncomfortable around your ears and sound terrible - one even adds a background hiss to everything you listen to. You'll definitely want to avoid the models we've listed in the table below. 

Over-ear headphones to avoid

Sony MDR-RF811RK
Today's best price £39.99
Which? score 24%
Reviewed Mar 2015
Don't buy
Performance:
1 out of 5
Acoustic leakage:
4 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'll want to steer well clear of these headphones. They're actually meant for use in the home, so you can listen to your hi-fi or TV late at night without disturbing others. Unfortunately though, you're the one that will end up being disturbed if you buy these headphones. The sound is rotten - a distracting hiss swamps everything you listen to.

Bowers & Wilkins P7 Wireless
Today's best price £319.00
Which? score 43%
Reviewed Nov 2016
Don't buy
Performance:
2 out of 5
Acoustic leakage:
4 out of 5
Comfort:
3 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 expensive wireless headphones from a respected audio brand may look the part, but they don't get anywhere near justifying their price tag. The sound is unpleasantly bass-heavy and rumbles over everything you listen to. They're not particularly comfortable either - your ears will get unpleasantly warm during long listening sessions.

Advantages over on-ear 

The biggest advantage of over-ear headphones is comfort. It can be hard to find a pair of in-ear headphones that will fit your ears properly, and for longer listening periods in-ear headphones can become irritating. On-ear headphones have many of the same advantages as over-ear ones, however, they aren't quite as good at blocking out external noise. A solid pair of over-ear headphones provides a physical barrier between your ears and the outside world. 

Sound quality is slightly less clear cut. Technically it is possible for in-ear headphones to sound just as good as over-ear ones, but in practice this is completely dependent on how they fit inside your ear. Small movements inside your ear will have a big effect on the levels of bass and treble that you experience, so it's far easier for a manufacturer to produce a consistent-sounding over-ear model. 

Wireless over-ear headphones

Since Apple signaled the beginning of the end of wired headphones by dropping the headphone socket from the iPhone 7, wireless Bluetooth headphones have been gaining in popularity. Even for an over-ear pair, where portability and freedom of movement isn't your biggest concern, it's still nice to be free from tangled wires, and not have to worry about accidentally yanking the cable out if you step away from your computer for a second. 

Over-ear Bluetooth models benefit from a generally longer battery life compared with on-ear and in-ear models. This is simply because they're big enough to fit bigger batteries in. A good pair will give you over 20 hours of listening time - more than enough for even the most intensive day of use. 

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