6 Things to Know Before Buying Over-Ear Headphones

April 15, 2021

As the audio industry continues to push the boundaries of technology, headphones are becoming increasingly accessible, providing better variety and more options. That being said, headphones aren't one size fits all. In this blog series, we'll be exploring the pros and cons of each type, helping you decide which is best for you.

In our final post of this series, we'll be looking at over-ear headphones. They're big, bulky, and not the least bit inconspicuous. They can also provide the best sound quality of any headphone type, full stop. Completely covering your ears, these headphones offer a deeply satisfying and immersive audio experience. You might not hear anyone talking to you, but you will hear every high, mid, and low with perfect clarity 

As always, be sure you're familiar with this type of headphone before purchasing. We've listed a few pros and cons about over-ear headphones below.


Sound Quality

All types of headphones make use of drivers to create and maintain sound. Larger drivers allow for wider, fuller audio. When comparing a set of earbuds to a set of over-ear headphones, you'll notice the earbuds sound more contained, while the over-ear headphones are rich and spacious. Pair that with better treble, base, and other sound frequencies, and you've got a serious set of headphones.


Over-ear headphones might be big and awkward, but they're not jammed into your head or smash against your ears. To prevent head and ear fatigue, most over-ear headphones compensate for their weight with comfortable pads and bands. Additionally, designers have developed unique and fashionable ways to redistribute weight, meaning your neck doesn't bear the brunt of it. 

Noise Cancellation

Over-ear headphones offer some of the best noise cancellation you can buy. Their cups fully surround and insulate your ears from any offending sounds near you. In fact, even without Active Noise Cancellation (ANC), the design of over-ear headphones can provide a level of sound insulation just from how they sit around your ears. Turn on ANC and the only thing you'll hear is your choice of music.



Over-ear headphones are big, bulky, and don't offer many convenient transportation methods. Some models fold at the earpiece or headband, but that doesn't offer much help. Over-ear headsets also struggle with active lifestyles. You won't see too many runners wearing them as they're heavy and have a tendency to fall off. 

Noise Leakage

More of an issue for the people sitting near you, over-ear headphones are notorious for sound leakage. This is actually by design and helps to create a wider, more vibrant sound space. Unfortunately, this also means anyone near you gets to enjoy your music as well. Open-back headphones suffer from this issue even more, but all headphone types can have sound leakage at high volume.


A lot of this post has shown the better aspects of over-ear headphones. Better comfort, better sound, better noise cancelation. The list goes on. When you're shopping for new headphones, you'll see all these pros reflected right on the price tag. Though over-ear headphones can be the best audio option, they're also often the most expensive. Better parts and better quality will cost you more up front. While these pros may well be worth the price for audiophiles, those looking for a solid, budget-friendly option may want to keep shopping around.

If you're ready for an upgrade, Progressive Leasing offers simple, flexible payment options from over 30,000 retailers. Find a store near you and discover your new headphones by visiting our website at progleasing.com.

Over-ear headphones not really your style? See if earbuds are a better fit with our 6 Things to Know Before Buying Earbuds