- Comparison Chart
- Most Comfortable Headphones Buying Guide
Bygones are the days when headphones were so large and bulky that they were strictly seen as a stay at home accessory that was used to listen to 8-track tapes. Today, high-quality headphones are some of the most portable and advanced pieces of music technology currently in existence, which are designed to deliver home-theater quality sound, directly to your ears. However, unlike most of the other portable electronics, you must actually wear your headphones and because of this, the comfort that they offer is crucial.
You wouldn’t wear an old, worn out pair of sneakers, or a thick fleece sweater in the hot sun. Similarly, you shouldn’t spend your hard earned money unless you’re certain that you found the best sounding headphones, that are also the most comfortable. Are you looking for headphones that deliver the most powerful bass? Or maybe you want some noise-cancelling headphones? Others may go small and instead choose some Bluetooth earbuds.
In any case, the most comfortable headphones also happen to be some of the best sounding on the market, and are usually more expensive because of this. If you’re on a strict budget, feel free to check out our top lists for headphones under $100 or $200. This top 10 guide includes headphones ranging from $80 – $400, so you should have no problem finding the most comfortable headphones that fall within your price range.
Understanding what to look for, and how to buy the most comfortable headphone is crucial. Below our list of the top 10 most comfortable headphones is a guide and will help walk you through, in a step-by-step process, finding the most comfortable, and best sounding headphones.
Sony MDR-1A Headphone - Black (International Version)
Philips Fidelio L2 Audio Headphones with Accept Incoming Call Function and Microphone for Mobile Phone Black / Orange
Bowers & Wilkins P7 Headphones - Black (Wired)
V-MODA Crossfade M-100 Over-Ear Noise-Isolating Metal Headphone (Shadow)
Sennheiser HD 598 Over-Ear Headphones - Ivory
Sennheiser Momentum Headphone - Black
Bose SoundTrue Headphones Around-Ear Style, Black
Sennheiser Urbanite XL Over-Ear Headphones - Black
Grado Prestige Series SR80e Headphones
Sony MDR7506 Professional Large Diaphragm Headphone
1. Sony MDR-1A Review
The Sony MDR-1A is a lightweight, full-size headphone that happens to be very comfortable. The MDR-1A is an improvement from the discontinued MDR-1R model, with softer padding and cushions, and earcups that rest at a slight angle, allowing for a better and more comfortable fit to your head. In addition, the bass is now more direct, and the midrange and treble is more defined.
Without the cable attached, the MDR-1A is only 7.94 ounces, which is definitely considered a lightweight over-head headphone. The MDR-1A fits nicely to most head shapes and sizes without overly-compressing the ears.
Regarding audio performance, the Sony MDR-1A knows just how to do it. There is an almost perfect balance of bass, mids and treble, with a wide sound stage. The bass is never too beefy, and the highs are never too wispy – these headphones are best for music enthusiasts and audiophiles that just want to hear the music how the artist intended it to be played. The MDR-1A is a versatile headphone that sounds just as great when playing some chilled out acoustic-oriented music like Jack Johnson, as it does playing some bass heavy hip-hop like Nas or Wu-Tang Clan.
The lightweight design, the supple cushions and soft, slightly angled earpads that comfortably grip your head while delivering some exceptional sounding music are all responsible for being our top-pick for the best sounding and most comfortable headphones around. For those who want nothing but the best, the Sony MDR-1A are just for you.
2. Philips Fidelio L2 Review
The Philips Fidelio L2 is beautifully designed, very comfortable and sounds quite excellent. The Fidelio L2 is a semi-closed, over-ear headphone that delivers some hard-hitting bass with clarity. Due to its semi-closed design, the L2 sounds less constricted and more airy than the Sony MDR-1A we reviewed above, which is both good in some instances and bad in other cases. If you consistently plan on listening to your music in loud or crowded environments, or crowded but quiet environments (think a library), a closed-back design may be better for you.
The Fidelio L2 comes with two cables, both of which are covered in cloth. One of the cables has a built in microphone and remote that works seamlessly with your cell-phone (both Android and Apple products).
The Fidelio L2 weighs in at about 260 grams, which is a bit heavier than the Sony MDR-1A (about 225 grams). Overall, the L2 feels a bit more dense or sturdy than many of its competitors. The aluminum headband is nicely padded and comfortably rests on your head. The ear cushions are made with memory foam and are wrapped in supple leather to ensure a pleasant fit.
Sound quality is very good, and the memory foam earcups provide for decent sound isolation capabilities. All tonal ranges are crystal clear, and the sound stage is open and spacious, one of the benefits of having a semi-open design. The bass is direct and abundant, though never muddles, blisters or pops. Less than stellar recording quality in music tracks seems to take a bit of a backseat with the Fidelio L2, possibly because of the expansive quality these headphones tend to bring to the music. The Fidelio L2 is warm-sounding with some low bass and sparkling highs, perfect for all genres of music.
If you’re looking for a highly comfortable headphone with the advantages in music quality that a semi-open design brings to the table, the Philips Fidelio L2 is the perfect fit for you.
3. Bowers & Wilkins P7 Review
Bowers & Wilkins is known for their high-end speakers while being relatively unknown in comparison, for their headphones. This is unfortunate as their headphones are of the same exceptional quality. The Bowers & Wilkins P7 is no exception to this generalization.
The Bowers & Wilkins P7 are more expensive than the other two headphones we reviewed above, but with that expensive price tag comes a luxurious product that excels in comfort, build quality, and sound. The P7 is heavier than many of its “comfort” competitors, weighing in at about 290 grams. This is hardly noticeable as the earpads are designed with a “dual-cavity construction” – paired with the soft and wide cushions, they seamlessly mold with the outline of the head and ears resulting in a snug and agreeable fit.
The P7 produces a rich, warm and detailed sound that is hard to compete with. The over-ear design blocks out external noise with ease. The Bowers & Wilkins P7 headphones sounded equally great with all genres that we tested. Percussion and drum sounds are impressive and the bass has quite a bit of power, all of which pairs nicely with the natural sounding vocals.
If you are looking for a nice package of luxury and warm, well-balanced sound, then the Bowers & Wilkins P7 rises above the rest. While not the most inexpensive on our list, the P7 has no trouble competing with other more expensive headphones out there in terms of overall comfort, sound quality, and aesthetics.
4. V-MODA Crossfade M-100 Review
V-MODA’s Crossfade M-100 is yet another excellent choice for those looking to buy a highly comfortable headphone that is stylish and sounds great. In fact, the M-100’s look as sexy as they sound. Sound quality is detailed, warm in some instances, yet bright in others.
The V-MODA Crossfade M-100 weighs in around 280 grams, which is comparable to the other headphones on our list – not the lightest but also not the heaviest. The ear cushions are made with memory foam and covered in soft faux-leather. The headband is padded, and applies just the right amount of pressure to the head to dispel any worries of failing to stay in place with movement. It is important to note, these were not designed to be the most comfortable. Rather, they are designed with durability, style and sound quality in mind – they just happen to be very comfortable as a by-product of superior build quality. If you are looking for the most comfortable headphones, check out our top 3 picks.
Sound quality is on par with some of the more expensive products on the market. If you are into deep and hard-hitting bass, the M-100’s won’t disappoint. The bass is rich and direct, with a noticeable punch in lower ranges. The mids and highs are commendable with exceptional clarity. For those who listen to more bass-oriented music, the M-100’s are a great pick as that is where they really excel in terms of audio performance.
One of the Crossfade M-100’s useful design qualities is the collapsible headband; the hinged design allows it to easily fold up into a much smaller package allowing for easy transport and pleasant travel. Another nifty feature is the customizable metal shields that sit on the ear cups – laser engraving of your own piece of artwork allows for added personalization that is not seen in other headphones within this category.
V-Moda is known for their durable headphones, and the M-100’s are no exception to this rule. They are designed to withstand impact from drops from a height of six feet onto a hard floor more than 70 times. Additionally, the manufacturer claims the headband can be completely flattened a number of times and still maintain its original bend.
5. Sennheiser HD 598 Review
Yet another truly comfortable headphone to add to the list – the Sennheiser HD 598’s are built with dense padding throughout the headband and ear cushions that result in a homelike and agreeable fit.
These circumaural headphones weigh in at just 9.5 ounces (269 grams) but actually feel lighter when worn. The cushions are designed with velvet, and we happen to love how they positively contribute to the ambiance that is desired in a pair of luxurious headphones such as these. Sennheiser is no stranger to comfortable headphones, but the 598’s are some of the most comfortable that we’ve had a chance to review.
The color scheme – tan, beige, and brown – is a nice change from the usual silver or black finishes that most headphones utilize today. The Sennheiser HD 598’s may be very comfortable and look especially relaxed yet the sound is pungent and to-the-point.
Sennhesier’s Eargonomic Acoustic Refinement technology is utilized, which employs acoustic baffles within the design and is responsible for ushering sound directly to the eardrums. Like most other headphones in the Sennhesier repertoire, the HD 598’s are designed for audiophiles with music accuracy in mind. Treble is very detailed, possibly more so than our other top picks. The bass is deep and accurate – sounds just like the artist intended. The sound stage is wide and carries a tonal balance that is pristine.
If you are looking for the music accuracy found in a pair of audiophile’s headphones, coupled with the materials and design quality that is found in the most comfortable over-ear headphones, the Sennheiser HD 598’s are a great choice. Unfortunately, no other color combination is offered – if you were seeking out the more standard grey-black color scheme, you may have to look elsewhere. Personally, we find the tan-beige-brown to be elegant and match the comfort and sound that these top-end headphones are responsible for.
6. Sennheiser Momentum Review
The Momentum is another success in the repertoire of high-end Sennheiser headphones. These headphones are designed with the audiophile in mind, bringing to the table an accurate representation of sound, an elegant design, and a very comfortable fit.
The Momentum is masterly finesse, and with a quality build and made from high quality materials. The headband in made with brushed stainless steel, which is further draped in soft leather. The ear cushions are heavily padded and gently rest in place. These over-ear headphones are noticeably lighter when compared to its competition, weighing less than 7 ounces at only 190 grams – this ensures a comfortable fit for extended periods with no need to worry about sore ears. Sennheiser is known for their comfortable headphones, and the Momentum only strengthens this reputation.
One potential negative for some consumers is the lack of hinges in the headband – unfortunately the Sennheiser Momentum has no way of folding flat. We believe this was intentionally left out of the design to increase durability as the hinge tends to be the weakest point and often responsible for many headphone breaks. If you are a frequent traveler or require that your headphone has the ability to fold, you should probably look elsewhere.
Sound quality is of high quality – an audiophile’s delight. Music is invigorating and detailed. The bass is direct and heavy (but not too heavy). Mids and highs are crisp and clear. What more could you ask for?
The Sennheiser Momentum is a high-performance headphone with exceptional comfort, an elegant and lightweight design, which produces a rich and detailed sound that is hard to come across at this price tag. If you can do without the foldable design, these may be just for you.
7. Bose SoundTrue Around-Ear Review
The Bose SoundTrue Around-Ear headphones are some of the most comfortable headphones around. This headphone doesn’t offer active noise cancellation as one might expect from a Bose headphone, though it does a very good job with noise isolation and filtering out most external noise.
The SoundTrue is very light, weighing less than 5 ounces (139 grams) with the cable. The ear cups rotate in a variety of positions and we find that overall the headphones are especially adjustable and should have no problems fitting any head shape. The headphones have a flexibility that cannot be compared with any other on our list.
Sound quality is excellent in all categories. The lows are deep and determined. The midrange has depth and clarity, which adds a completely new feel to the music. The highs sparkle just a bit and are highly detailed, not once did the music sound harsh to the ears. The SoundTrue are designed with accuracy in mind, though they still lean away from being designated a monitor headphone.
The Bose SoundTrue is not fully collapsible like some of the other headphones in our list – frequent travelers in need of a highly compact design may want to look elsewhere. Other than that, the SoundTrue is one of the most comfortable headphones around and also some of the best sounding. These weigh less than most of our other top-picks and this is one of its main selling points.
8. Sennheiser Urbanite XL Review
For those who want the Beats-type bass paired with the exceptional build and high-quality sound that Sennheiser is known for, the Urbanite XL is an excellent option. Sennheiser generally targets the audiophiles who are after accuracy in their music – the Urbanite XL deviates from this norm and is intended for the club-like, bass-heavy music lovers. It is important to note that although the bass gets some extra oomph, it is never overbearing and music of all genres still sounds great. These are high quality headphones in all categories.
The XL is a very comfortable headphone. They are neither very heavy nor especially light for over-ear headphones. The earpads are soft and pleasing to the ears. They do a good job sealing off outside noise and preventing sound leakage. Metal hinges allow for a decent fold up which is great for those in need of a more compact design for travel.
Sound quality is great. The sound stage is sizable and worth every penny. Audio has a spacious feel to it. Sennheiser made sure not to overpower the bass to a point of muddling at high volumes – in fact, the lows are deep, direct and defined and never interfere with other aspects of the music. The mids and highs are smooth and detailed and don’t necessarily take a backseat to the pounding bass. Trebles shine in their own light and sparkle even at high volumes. A downside to this is that the Sennheiser Urbanite XL tends to shine a spotlight on the imperfections and irregularities of low-quality music – for example, tracks that are improperly recorded or saved in low kbps MP3 files (think 320 kbps vs. 128 kbps).
The Urbanite XL is a comfortable bass-driven headphone that holds onto the Sennheiser music quality that is often sought in a pair of high-quality headphones. While they are not intended for the die-hard audiophile, the everyday listener will certainly be pleased.
9. Grado SR80e Review
On-ear headphones often have difficulty competing with over-ear models as far as comfort goes, but the Grado SR80e is surprisingly comfortable to wear. These open-back headphones sound surprisingly good for the price tag and are a cheap alternative to our other top picks.
The Grado SR80e is lightweight and built with black foam pads that apply just the right amount of pressure to stay firmly on the ears. The SR80e is assembled by hand by Grado – an interesting note that helps it stand apart from competitors.
Because of the open-back design, the sound stage is wide and airy. This can be great in some instances, and the headphone’s downfall in others. Trying to listen to these in very noisy environments or quiet environments where sound leakage would be an issue, is a big no-no. Sound will seep in from around you and tends to leak out noticeably with the Grado SR80e. Sound quality is good with some hard-hitting bass and a smooth tonal center. The mids and highs are detailed and expansive.
For those looking for the most comfortable headphones on a budget, the Grado SR80e is a great choice if you are looking for an open-back design. One potential downside is the thick plug, which we found to be incompatible with certain phone cases. If you are set on this headphone but worried about the plug not fitting, you can always buy a plug extension for a few extra bucks on Amazon.
Most Comfortable Headphones Buying Guide
What is Wrong With The Average Headphone Regarding Comfort?
A lot! If you are looking for something that is high quality, comfortable and has the ability to deliver, then the average headphone hanging in the aisle should be a no-go zone. Among the factors that make it quite uncomfortable, especially for long term use is the cushioning on the ear cups. They tend use materials which are less than ideal for the padding. A good pair of comfortable headphones will be soft to the touch, and will have a supple feel as it grips your ears, ever-so-slightly.
The overhead strap is also usually not measured correctly in low-quality products. They are likely to either keep falling off with movement, or they may grip your ears way too tight – paired with low quality ear cushions, and you are left with some sore aching ears after a couple hours of use. Not fun! The most comfortable headphones should be able to stay in place during your most strenuous workout or run, without sacrificing comfort or precision in music.
What To Look For In The Most Comfortable Headphones?
The features that come with comfortable headphones differ depending on the design that you prefer, compared to their average and uncomfortable counterparts. Some of the distinguishing designs and features of comfortable headphones include:
Who Needs the Most Comfortable High-Quality Headphones?
The actual question should be, who doesn’t? While they are often sought out by people that would like to catch up with their entertainment while they travel, or when they are catching a nap, everyone given a chance should want a good pair of headphones that allows them to enjoy sound in a different way and in the best quality possible. Even minor irritation will make it hard to enjoy your music. However, your chances of getting the best and most comfortable headphones relies on you being able to spot the differences and make your decision – or better yet, have a look at the comprehensive top 10 most comfortable headphones guide, and we’ll help save you some time and point you in the right direction.
Latest posts by Lewis Drakken (see all)
- The Only 3 Radar Detectors Most People Need To Consider (Best of 2017) - May 23, 2017
- Cheap Earbuds (Best Under $50) - May 22, 2017
- Our Favorite Top-Quality Headphones (Best Under $200) - May 21, 2017