On-Ear Headphones

Those who love wearing headphones for comfort and portability, on-ear headphones can be a great choice. Though with the arrival of trendy, stylish, and truly wireless earbuds people tend to forget about full-size headphones, on-ear headphones still win the majority share of the headphone market.

On-ear headphones bring the best of two worlds, comfortability of the circumaural cans, and an ultra-portability of earbuds. It’s a mix of both. So, it can provide you basic comfort and portability.

Many brands offer on-ear headphones like JBL, Sony etc. Before you purchase the on-ear headphones and regret it, make sure to consider the important points that will help you make the right buy.

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What are the on-ear headphones?

On-ear headphones are the full-size headphones that rest on the ears and they are usually small, lightweight, and easy to carry around when compared to the over-ear headphones. They are also called ‘Supra-aural’ headphones.

On-ear headphones do not completely block environmental noise, they are safer to use while riding so that you can able to hear the traffic too.

Though they look similar to the over-ear headphones, on-ear headphones sit on the outer ear instead of enclosing the ear completely and can deliver good sound quality with less bass.

Types of on-ear headphones

On-ear headphones can be further divided into three groups as follows:

  • Wired on-ear headphones
  • Wireless on-ear headphone
  • Noise-canceling on-ear headphones

On-ear headphone vs Over-ear headphones – what’s the difference?

On-ear and over-ear headphones almost look similar at first glance but there are few differences between both.

On-ear headphones 

  • Rest on ears
  • Smaller than over-ear headphones
  • Rarely cause ear burns after prolonged use
  • Less comfortable than over-ear headphones

Over-ear headphones 

  • Fall over ears
  • Bigger than on-ear headphones
  • Ear burns are common after prolonged use
  • Comfortable to use than on-ear headphones

What are the features of on-ear headphones?

On-ear headphones have some distinct features that make them stand out among the wide range of headphones. 


The design of on-ear headphones is a bit different than that of over-ear.  Usually, they are more compact and smaller as compared to over-ear headphones which makes them easy to carry.

Ear Cups

 Though the ear cups are shaped like a can, they are a bit smaller than that of over-ear headphones. They also have slightly less bass than other headphones.

Wired or wireless

On-ear headphones are available as wireless and wired headphones so that users can buy whatever suits their needs. But we believe that wireless on-ear headphones are better as they can allow you to move freely while wearing them.


On-ear headphones are compact, smaller, and hence more portable than that of over-ear headphones but less portable than the in-ear headphones.

Though they are quite portable, remember they are external headphones and will never have the true portability that in-ear headphones can bring you.

Noise cancellation

Usually, on-ear headphones have fair noise cancellation capability. But they can still allow environmental ambient noise to pass through which usually doesn’t distract the user.

Some on-ear headphones are designed with active noise cancellation feature but they cost more.

Who can use on-ear headphones 

If you are an avid music listener and looking for headphones with better sound quality, a fair amount of portability but don’t like using in-ear headphones then the on-ear headphones can be a great fit for you.

Bicycle riders, runners, and fitness junkies can use these headphones but they are less comfortable to use in the gym. 

If you are a frequent traveler then this can be a good choice for you as it has good sound quality with less bass and allow ambient noise to pass through which means you stay connected with the world while traveling but still can enjoy the music.


Overall, on-ear headphones have some quality features and the best choice for many, there are some drawbacks using them for prolonged periods like ear fatigue.

 Though the truly wireless earbuds are taking over the market with the storm, on-ear headphones are here to stay with their strength and distinct looks.

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