Best on-ear headphones for 2020: Bose, Beats and more

Looking for a more compact full-size headphone that sits on your ears rather around them? Here are our current top

Curated via Twitter from CNET News’s twitter account….

AKG’s N60NC headphones have been out a while, but they’re still good on-ear Bluetooth headphones with active noise cancellation and great audio quality.

The Solo Pro is the first Beats on-ear headphone to feature active noise cancellation and the first full-size Beats headphone to charge via Lightning.

Here’s a look at our current top picks for the best on-ear headphones based on key factors such as how effective they are at noise cancellation and how good they sound.

With the company more focused on its around-ear noise cancellation and true wireless headphones, it’s unclear whether this will get upgraded or even remain in the Bose headphone lineup.

It uses the company’s Pure Adaptive Noise Canceling (Pure ANC headphones), "derived from the over-ear Studio3 Wireless, with updated tuning to accommodate the on-ear form factor," Beats says.

With a tap of a button, you can turn off that noise cancellation to save battery life or hit the button a second time to enter an audio transparency mode that allows you to hear the outside world and ambient sound, not just the music you’re listening to.

Both are great headphones with slick designs, great sound and decent noise cancellation (it’s not as good as the Sony WH-1000XM3’s but it’s not far off).

Like other Grado headphones, the SR80e features an open-back design, which delivers nice open, articulate sound quality.

They’ve also evolved, with more models featuring active noise cancellation, noise isolation, a headphone amp and other advanced features that were once only found in larger over-ear models.

While it’s seen only minor upgrades over the years, I still rate it among the most comfortable wireless Bluetooth headphones you can buy, and this wireless headphone set works well for those with smaller heads (including kids).

Grado makes some great sounding wired on-ear models, including the entry-level SR60e ($80) and SR80e ($100), as well as the more expensive SR125e ($150) and 325e ($300).

They’re all wireless models except the Grado Prestige Series SR80e and Beats Ep wired headphone.

Beats makes plenty of headphones with high price tags, but its entry-level EP headphone is a surprisingly good value.

Available in multiple color options, it retails for around $50 and has puffy, pillowlike ear cups that make these comfortable headphones for an on-ear model.

While headphones that sit on top of one’s ears aren’t everyone’s thing, on-ear models with smaller earcups are more compact, travel-friendly and tend to cost less.

This is the wired on-ear headphone for those who want excellent sound for the money.

Once known as the Bose SoundLink Bluetooth On-Ear, the company’s lone remaining on-ear model is now simply called the On-ear Wireless and it comes in one color: "triple black".

It’s comfortable for an on-ear model and it’s more compact design travels better than some full-size models on this list.

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