Strong sound and flexible without cables: Bluetooth headphones in the form of large over-ear models allow you to immerse yourself in your favorite music. They connect wirelessly to a smartphone or tablet. The Stiftung Warentest tested 13 new headphones in October 2021. We show the best models.
After headphones have been getting smaller and smaller for years and it was considered chic to be out and about with tiny in-ear headphones, the opposite trend can currently be observed. Many – especially young – people are again using large and eye-catching headphones that are worn over the ears. This type of headphone is called headphone or over-ear headphones because the auricles completely cover both ears. The Stiftung Warentest has in their current test 13 models put under the microscope, including models with and without active noise cancellation. These are the test winners:
From Teufel, Sennheiser, Marshall to JBL to Huawei, Philips and Bang & Olufsen – im current test 13 Bluetooth headphones from leading manufacturers were considered. The test candidates were examined in the assessment categories of sound, active noise reduction, wearing comfort and handling, battery and durability. In addition, product components such as ear and head pads were examined for harmful substances. It was positive that almost all models received a “very good” rating for the pollutant assessment category.
Music fans will be pleased with the result: Almost all of the products tested received an overall rating of “good”. The test winner among the wireless over-ear headphones is the AirPods Max from Apple with the “test” quality rating “good (1.9)”. The live 660 NC from JBL excellent.
In the battery category, headphones without active noise suppression won. Of the Major IV from the popular Marshall brand was able to secure the partial grade “very good (0.6)” for its operating and running time as well as the charging time of its empty battery. It is particularly gratifying that that too cheapest model from Philips was able to achieve a passable “test” quality rating with an overall grade of “good (2.5)”. The average online price is 45.50 euros.
Noticeable: The first five places only go to branded products with active noise cancellation.
The test results: The AirPods Max from Apple is the current test winner and received the “test” quality rating “good (1.9)” from Stiftung Warentest. The model impressed in the most important category of sound and was given the grade “very good (1.5)”. No other over-ear headphones tested have such a good sound quality as this model from Apple. The testers also rated the durability as “very good (0.6)”.
Product details: The wireless headphones inspire in proven Apple quality. The manufacturer promises an optimal and unique listening experience with hi-fi audio and industry-leading active noise cancellation. The headband made of breathable mesh fabric and the seamlessly extendable telescopic arms should ensure more comfort and good adaptation to all head shapes. With an average online price of 510 euros, these are the most expensive headphones in the current test. The battery life after just one full charge is up to 20 hours.
Test results: JBL’s 660NC headset headphones are just behind the test winner from Apple with the same “test” quality rating of “good (1.9)”. For the most important assessment criterion sound, the model was given the grade “good (2.0)”, and the battery even received the grade “very good (1.2)”. The headphones also impressed in the durability category and received the grade “very good (1.0)”. In terms of comfort and handling, the model even did better than the test winner.
Product details: According to the manufacturer, the headphones from JBL ensure an intense listening experience without any background noise thanks to active noise suppression. Thanks to the ambience-aware mode and the so-called TalkThru technology, it is possible to listen to music, talk to friends and perceive the surroundings at the same time – all with just one push of a button. The over-ear headphones offer a long battery life of up to 50 hours (without noise cancellation) and after a charge of just ten minutes, the model offers a battery life of up to four hours.
Test results: The model with the “test” quality rating “good (2.3)” convinced Stiftung Warentest with the best battery in the current test. The headphones received the grade “very good (0.6)” for the category. Compared to the test winner, the Marshall model is a little further ahead in this regard. The headphones can also score with a “good” durability.
Product details: The headphones from the well-known manufacturer offer more than 80 hours of wireless playing time. Thanks to the practical quick charge function, you can listen to music for 15 hours straight after a short charging time of just 15 minutes. The model has a classic and ergonomic design and scores with special drivers that are supposed to deliver a booming bass and powerful sound.
The test results: The Philips Bluetooth headphones TAH5205BK received the “test” quality rating “good (2.5)”. The cheapest model in the current test was able to convince with a “good” battery despite the low price. There was also the sub-rating “very good (1.0)” for the pollutants criterion. For the sound, however, the testers only gave the sub-grade “satisfactory (2.6)”.
Product details: With a battery life of around 30 hours, the inexpensive Philips headphones outperform the test winner. The pleasantly light, padded headband and the soft, adjustable ear cups are supposed to ensure better wearing comfort. It is particularly practical that the headphones can be stowed away to save space: the ear cups can be folded flat and turned inwards with ease. So the compact headphones can be found in every pocket. A special highlight is also the bass boost button, which delivers a particularly deep bass at the push of a button.
All wireless headphones presented here were rated “good” in the test and were able to shine particularly well in various categories. They are all recommendable and suitable for enjoying music in everyday life, for making phone calls or for work.
Our favorite is this Test winner from Apple, which can especially inspire with the excellent sound quality. He was also able to convince us Marshall headphones, which received the best rating in the current test for its battery. We are also enthusiastic about the short charging time and the playing time of over 80 hours. If you have to pay close attention to your budget when buying new headphones, you will also hit the cheap Philips model a good choice.
The so-called headphone headphones usually impress with their relatively large cushions that surround the ear. Therefore, they are often referred to as over-ear headphones. On the one hand, so little noise is emitted to the outside world, on the other hand, disturbing outside noises are kept away by optimal noise suppression.
This property is called noise canceling. Especially in a very noisy environment, this feature helps to ensure unadulterated listening pleasure.
The different names provide information about the design of the headphones. Over-ear models completely enclose the ear. This is the best way to shield outside noise. In summer, however, it can get warm under the cushions. On-ear headphones rest on the ears. With these models, it is particularly important that they sit optimally and do not press. In-ear headphones are the popular little plugs that you put in your ear. Not everyone likes that. The small headphones are particularly practical for on the go and for sports. You don’t have to compromise on sound quality either. Large over-ear models usually sound a bit fuller and wider, but the small headphones also impress with a rich sound.
Above all, pay attention to a comfortable seat. This is not only important for comfort, the sound quality also deteriorates if the seat is poorly. Everyone is different when it comes to personal sound perception. So think about what is important to you and what music you listen to: Do you prefer particularly strong bass or clear hearing? The equipment also depends on the intended use. Headphones for on the go are practical without cables, so pay attention to Bluetooth and active noise cancellation for even more peace and quiet.
More size doesn’t necessarily mean more sound. What is still true with speakers is no longer a crucial point for headphones. In-ear models also sound full and score points above all with a strong bass. Over-ear models, on the other hand, can develop a stronger surround sound. Above a certain price range, the most important thing is the equipment.