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Full-size around-ear or over-ear headphones tend to be more more comfortable to wear and sound better than on-ear headphones, but not everyone likes them because they can be a little bulky and make your ears steamy on warmer days. On-ear models with smaller ear cups are more compact, travel-friendly and often cost less. While many can be fairly low frills, some on-ear models do feature active noise cancellation and other advanced features.
I’ve tested all the models on this list, evaluating their design, comfort level, sound quality, voice calling performance and quality of their noise canceling if they offer that feature. They’re all wireless headphones except for the Beats EP, which offer a wired connection. I’ll updated this list as new worthy on-ear headphone candidates hit the market — I recently added the Sony CH-520 to the list — and if none of these models piques your interest, you can check out CNET’s other headphone best lists, such as our best wireless earbuds list and best noise-canceling headphones list.