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The best over-ear headphones available in Australia
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If you're looking for a new pair of cans, the over-ear headphone market has become increasingly crowded and competitive. You've got a lot more choices than you used to, which can be good and bad.
More competition means better products, but it can also make picking out a pair of headphones feel more overwhelming. To help, we've selected our favourite over-ear headphones from the models we've tested over the last few years.
In this guide we're specifically looking at over-ear headphones. If you're after wireless earbuds, read our best of here.
- : Best headphones for most
- : Best sound quality
- : Best battery headphones
- : Best noise cancelling headphones
- : Best headphones for phone calls
- : Best cheap headphones
Best over-ear headphones for most
The Sony WH-1000XM4s might be a generation old now, but they're still our top pick for the best wireless over-ear headphones for most.
To start, they're between $100 and $200 cheaper than the XM5s (depending on where you look), which represents a pretty significant saving. The XM4s also have a more compact, collapsible design that makes them more suitable for travel.
The newer XM5s definitely offer improvements in sound quality and noise cancellation, but for most, we'd say it makes more sense to go for the cheaper WF-1000XM4s.
Best sound quality headphones
Apple AirPods Max
When it comes to consumer-grade headphones, the AirPods Max have the best sound quality out of the bunch. And given the $899 RRP, you'd hope that would be the case. (Thankfully many retailers are selling them for around $700 these days.)
Not everyone will appreciate the audio prowess on offer, but the complete lack of distortion at high volumes, the throbbing-yet-balanced bass, and the spacious sound stage put the AirPods Max closer to audiophile territory.
The AirPods Max offer subtle improvements when compared to other high-end consumer headphones, but they're hard to beat if you're looking for exceptional sound.
Best headphones for battery life
Sennheiser Momentum 4
The Sennheiser Momentum 4s are basically unrivalled when it comes to battery life. You'll get a massive 60 hours per charge, with noise cancelling switched on. Better yet, a 10-minute top-up will take you from flat to about six hours of playback.
Best noise cancelling headphones
Over the last few years, Sony has been a surprise contender for the noise-cancelling crown, creating serious competition in a space where Bose used to dominate. While Bose, Apple, and Sennheiser have all made advancements with their noise cancelling tech late, Sony's new WF-1000XM5s are a step above if you care about blocking out as much as the world as possible. It helps they're always very lightweight and offer excellent sound quality.
Best headphone for phone calls
Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700
If you need headphones that will make it sound like you're taking a call from the office when you're actually at the pub, the Bose NCH 700s are the pair for you. On top of great noise cancellation, the NCH 700s can also reduce noise when it comes to phone calls, isolating your noise from background sounds. Your voice comes across crystal clear, even if you're strutting down a busy highway or waiting for a train.
Best Cheap Headphones
Sennheiser HD 458BT
While the Sennheiser HD 458BTs can feel a little cheap and look a little boring, you get great sound quality at a reasonable price. The noise cancellation isn't bad either!
Note that if you can't find the HD 458BTs around, the HD 450BT and HD 450SE are effectively the same, other than some slight aesthetic differences. Namely, the 458BTs have red racing stripes, while the other models are just black.
The HD 450SEs also benefit from Alexa support, which is missing on the standard models. We've linked out to the HD 450SEs as they're the cheapest option right.
Compare over-ear headphones
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How we review over-ear headphones
When we review over-ear wireless headphones, there are five main considerations:
- Sound: Do they sound good? Audio quality is pretty important for headphones, after all.
- Comfort & Design: Are they comfortable to wear over extended periods of time?
- Features: How long does the battery last? Is the connectivity reliable? Is the noise-cancelling good?
- Vibe: What's the overall experience?
- Value: Are they good for the money?
While audio products can be quite subjective for many reasons, we have standardised testing procedures across the team designed to help us look at the category in a consistent way. You can read more about how we review over-ear headphones here.
Over-ear headphone buying guide
If you're looking for a new pair of wireless over-ear headphones, you'll find options available at almost every price segment. In many cases, spending more gets you a more premium product, but there are also plenty of cheap options. If you're struggling to make up your mind, here are some key questions you'll want to consider.
- How long do you want the battery to last?
- Where are you going to wear these headphones? Are they for home, the office, commuting, or travel?
- Are you going to be taking hands-free calls with these earbuds?
- How important is noise-cancelling to you?
- Are you hoping to be listening to high resolution audio using these headphones?
- Do you care about having headphones that neatly integrate with the operating system of your connected device?
- How portable do you want your headphones to be?
- How much money feels like too much money to spend on a set of earbuds?
Everyone's needs are different, but getting a sense of the features you care about most helps when it comes to picking the right pair of headphones.