There are now so many different ways of listening to music. Not so long ago it was either through speakers or if you had a set, some quite primitive headphones.
How times have changed. We now have what we could call private listening in so many forms. Earbuds, Earpads, Over-ear headphones, some are noise canceling, closed back, open back, there is quite a choice.
But for us, one of the most important aspects after the sound quality is comfort. Are they comfortable to wear? Nothing will ruin your listening experience like an uncomfortable pair of phones.
So let’s go through the most comfortable headphones on the market and find the perfect pair for you…
- Top 10 Most Comfortable Headphones of 2023
- 1 Sony MDR1AM2 Wired High-Resolution Audio Overhead Headphones
- 2 Bose QuietComfort 35 II Wireless Bluetooth Headphones
- 3 Sennheiser HD 599 Open Back Headphone
- 4 Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Professional Studio Monitor Headphones
- 5 HE400i Over Ear Full-size Planar Magnetic Headphones
- 6 V-MODA XS On-Ear
- 7 Grado SR80e Prestige Series Headphones
- 8 Koss KTXPRO1
- 9 Audio Technica ATH-AD900X
- 10 1MORE Wireless Over-Ear Headphones
- So, Which Are The Most Comfortable Headphones?
Top 10 Most Comfortable Headphones of 2023
1 Sony MDR1AM2 Wired High-Resolution Audio Overhead Headphones
The range of headphones manufactured by Sony gets longer seemingly by the month. This latest edition is a follow-up and improved version of the popular MDR-1A model – the new MDR-1AM2. It doesn’t offer too much in the way of new technology focusing more on the delivery of quality sound, but also in improving the comfort aspect.
The new model has a design that is very lightweight, coming in at just 6.6 ounces. So light, in fact, you would hardly know you were wearing them.
There is a big advantage to headphones weighing so little, and that is the amount of pressure on your ears is reduced as is the actual weight on your head. Obvious statements, but it does reduce any stress involved. You can, therefore, listen for hours in comfort.
If the fit of the phones has been designed to improve comfort, then similar attention must be given to the construction and the materials used. The stitching that holds the materials together is seamless, and the actual materials used smooth to the touch. Earpads are made from soft synthetic leather, and the design includes pressure-relieving cushions making the phones sit neatly around your ears.
The comfort then has been improved, but we do have to mention the sound. A new 40mm driver with a liquid crystal polymer diaphragm drives the sound to 100kHz. The diaphragm is aluminum coated.
Included are two cables, a standard 3.5mm and also a 4.4m Pentaconn balanced audio connector. The larger connectors are becoming popular among those who prefer wired headphones and audio.
There is little doubt Sony has made improvements to the MDR-1A that has resulted in a more comfortable and better-sounding set of phones.
- New design for added comfort.
- Improved sound quality.
- Doesn’t have its own gain control.
2 Bose QuietComfort 35 II Wireless Bluetooth Headphones
Bose is well-known of course for producing world-class headphones and audio devices. And they are beginning to push the boundaries of what can be done with such a basic piece of equipment as a set of headphones.
The purpose of this review is to discover the most comfortable set of headphones. And to that end, we need to be focusing on the build quality and comfort levels rather than the technology that is utilized. It is therefore disappointing that Bose chooses to devote all of their descriptions to technical ability and very little to comfort.
Because you can have all the tech in the world, but if they are not nice to wear, then that’s it.
A quick inspection tells us that they are up to the Bose standard of build quality. The earpads are soft and easily adjusted and are made from a soft leather-like material filled with foam. They, therefore, sit on the ear with consummate ease but could be considered a little on the tight side.
They do actually cover the whole ear and Bose claim they are noise-canceling, but having said that the company doesn’t publish a noise reduction rating? Therefore, they should not be referred to or called noise canceling and are not designed to cut out the noise.
The headband is strong and adjustable but only has very limited padding on the inside.
Such as the Alexa enabled voice access to music, information, etc., the Bluetooth pairing qualities. The Bose AR version of augmented reality and the warnings about Bluetooth running the thing. But also how its functionality varies, putting most of this tech in obsolete mode. But none of that is relevant to its comfort.
Bose makes great equipment, but we hope they keep their eyes on the important points. Tech, yes, but don’t ignore the importance of comfort.
- Earpads are soft and the headband adjustable.
- Just too much tech.
- Reliant for its operation on a system that is often unreliable.
3 Sennheiser HD 599 Open Back Headphone
We are not going to rattle on about how good Sennheiser are. Go into any pro studio around the world, and you are likely to find their equipment. This German company has been impressing us all with top-end products for years, but occasionally they offer us all the opportunity to participate in their quality and the HD599 does that.
You won’t find a Sennheiser that is poorly made. Often the more expensive headphones have a lot of metal-based parts, but with the 599 there is a fair amount of plastic. But it is tough and sturdy plastic it has to be said, and it is also lightweight, so it does have its plus points for use.
The earpads are nicely made and covered with a soft velour giving them a very comfortable feeling to the ear. These are over-the-ear phones, and so it is important to get the amount of clamping from the frame right and Sennheiser have managed to do that.
They will fit comfortably to most sizes as the clamping is not too tight. There is also an added velour padding on the headband for additional comfort. The earpads are designed to be replaceable. As we mentioned, they are lightweight coming in at just 8.8 ounces. There is a three-meter cable from the left side of the phones.
The sound quality is as you would expect from Sennheiser. Deep and warm bass sounds and plenty of top-end clarity and detail. If there is a criticism, it is that the mids are rather laid back in the sound threshold, which won’t help the vocals, but it is marginal.
Comfortable, yes. Sound quality, a lower level than usual for this company but reflected in the price. A good buy.
- Comfortable and adjustable.
- Good build quality.
- Mids might be a bit lacking.
4 Audio-Technica ATH-M50x Professional Studio Monitor Headphones
Audio-Technica has a good reputation for building quality headphones at very competitive prices, and the ATH-M50X is a good example of what can be bought without spending a fortune. They are part of the ATH-M series of mics and are a follow-up the ATH-40x phones which were and still are very popular.
If it was just on appearance, these might not get a chance. These phones appear quite large physically at first sight, but at just eight ounces are not heavy. They have the appearance of a tough, sturdy build which gives the impression they will be heavyweights. And are largely constructed of tough plastic and have in their design some interesting joints and rotations.
But they are all very secure and durable and do not feel like they will fall apart.
They have been designed for long sessions, either at home or in studios. The comfort level is, therefore, quite high. The headband is well padded and adjustable and easily made to fit. The ear cups too, have healthy padding, and both the headband and ear cup material is not only durable, but also soft and comfortable. To add to the comfort level, they have been designed with rotating ear cups allowing you to get the perfect fit.
These are ‘over-the-ear’ phones as against ‘on-ear’ phones which really describes the design of the earcup and is probably self-explanatory. Being over-the-ear, the sound is kept inside the ear cups and external noise largely dissipated.
Sound quality is good with 45mm drivers giving you great frequency response, and the closed-back design allows minimal bleed and good isolation of the sound you are hearing. After use, they have a useful folding away facility.
These are excellent phones for the money and represent great value.
- Well made with good materials.
- High comfort level and strength.
- Appear quite bulky.
5 HE400i Over Ear Full-size Planar Magnetic Headphones
The first time you see Planar’s HE400i, they do seem a little on the large side, and your first thought is – are they heavy? Surprisingly they are not too bad. At 13 ounces that is acceptable.
They are magnetic headphones designed for the person who wants to listen very closely and with a critical ear. No big tech explanations about magnets, but suffice to say Planar’s system mixes the principles of dynamic and electrostatic drivers to create the sound.
They are designed with a serious look about them but are actually quite user-friendly. They have a headband that has a new design for Planar. It features a soft perforated leatherette inner band that sits on your head with an outer overhead bar that is adjustable.
This design gives you a little more control over the pressure on the ears — an important factor when talking about comfort. In fact, once you get used to the structure, it feels quite comfortable with just the soft headband making contact.
The ear cups are made from a Polymer and are leatherette with a velour cushioning. And they have an angle built into the design to ensure a comfy fit, especially since that they are soft to the ears. The pressure on the ears generated by the headband is softened by the ear cups.
They are finished in a gloss charcoal black color. The build quality generally seems ok for what are a set of headphones at the lower end of the market, but there is a lot of plastic in the manufacture, so breakages are possible.
Sound-wise they are powerful. They are open backed so there will be plenty of leakage, but the sound is very good.
- Headband design gives a comfortable adjustment.
- Comfortable ear cups.
- The plastic in the build might make them vulnerable.
6 V-MODA XS On-Ear
The XS from V-Moda is a follow-up to their popular M80 design but with a few modifications. This is a company that works hard to improve their products and doesn’t just make a ‘good seller’ and then sit back and think, OK that’s it.
The actual physical design hasn’t changed that much. There is still the interesting hexagonal shape to the ear cups which immediately sets them apart from the competition. You will either like the shape or not.
They are also fitted with what they call shields on the outer of the cups. These are interchangeable with different colors, and you could even have a logo or design printed on them.
They have spent a lot of time on the design and the comfort level though and have used some quality materials. A leather-wrapped headband is one of the nice touches and gives these phones a certain style.
They are made from metal, but then the padding is added, making them tough and long-lasting. Leather is hard-wearing and attractive, but it can also get quite hot after long periods. To counteract that they have fitted a piece of cloth material inside the band to prevent this from occurring.
Similarly, the ear cups are made from leather and are well padded and extremely comfortable. Whilst all this care in design and material is great; there are one or two downsides to consider.
The earcups being leather are firstly prone to heating up as was mentioned when referring to the headband. Secondly, leather is not the most stable of materials, and the ear cups can move around a bit. They certainly wouldn’t work in the gym, but at a recording desk or at home where movement is minimal then they are fine.
The metals forks allow them to be folded up and a nice case is provided. Excellent value, a decent sound, and well made.
- Good design and construction.
- Excellent materials used in manufacture.
- A little bit prone to moving around on the ear.
7 Grado SR80e Prestige Series Headphones
These are an interesting set of headphones. And have a very retro design and look to them, even the lettering on the ear cups resemble something from a 1960’s railway station. They are the successor to the SR80s, and not much has changed really.
They have some interesting design ideas and are open-backed, but are designed to be on-ear rather than over-ear. The latter being the norm for open-backed phones. The open-nacked design can often add to the sound quality, and with these phones, the sound is good. The bands are cleanly separated and the bass, punchy as it is, does not bleed into the mids.
The earpads are certainly away from what is considered to be usual practice these days and again are reminiscent of a past age. Basically, they are two round pieces of foam that clamp straight on to your ears — not exactly the most appealing feeling.
They are not uncomfortable and are a bit rough to the touch. They do have at least one plus point, in that they don’t make your ears hot while in use. Once you get used to the strange feeling, they are fine.
The ear cups themselves are made of plastic but underneath the foam pads are metal grilles and there are metal rods that fix the cups to the headband. The headband is adjustable and made from synthetic leather.
The build is interesting, and some will say cheap looking. We would answer that by saying, yes, there is an air of cost-cutting about them, but the important parts are made of metal, and only the parts that take less of a strain are plastic. They should then be quite durable.
- Retro style and design features.
- Large foam ear pads
- Some may not like the feel on their ears.
8 Koss KTXPRO1
When we are looking for a pair of comfortable headphones, they will not all be for studio engineers or those that prefer the full-ear sound. There will be some headphones we should consider that might just be for use with smartphones or the best digital audio players, as opposed to using the earbuds that often come with them. The Koss KTXPRO1 falls into this category.
Koss has produced an on-ear set of phones that have a lightweight design and are a comfortable fit. They have an adjustable headband in a sling design. The headband itself is cushioned, soft and flexible, and the overhead supports are made from toughened plastic that is quite sturdy but also flexible.
You, therefore, do get some options when you are trying to adjust to get a good fit.
The ear cups have a soft foam padding that is adequate, but again the amount of padding is going to be reduced because of its designed use.
These are headphones that are designed to work with any and all your devices and will operate with smartphones, PC or laptop, DJ and studio equipment, tablets, or a portable DVD player. In fact virtually anything with a 3.5mm socket.
Just by the nature of their connecting options, they are for users that may be on the move and so the comfort levels are automatically reduced because of the design that has to be incorporated to not make them too bulky.
They are fitted with useful features like in-line volume control and a straight cord. The sound is acceptable to and delivered by a titanium layered diaphragm.
For their use, they are quite well made and not uncomfortable, and for those that require this sort of phones then they are certainly worth looking at.
Very inexpensive, which makes them a good option for people wanting sound on the move, or just a cheap headphone option.
- Headband and ear cups have adequate padding.
- Very inexpensive.
- Comfort level might not be for those that want real quality
9 Audio Technica ATH-AD900X
We have reviewed many Audio-Technica headphones and commented on their sound quality and cost-effectiveness but only ever made little more than an observational reference to their build. So let’s have a closer look at the build quality and comfort with the AD900X.
The earpads are the first thing you notice with these headphones. The mesh-like casing is made from aluminum, meaning that they are quite strong and durable but also very lightweight at just nine ounces.
The pads are given a generous portion of padding, which makes them soft and extremely comfortable. They are constructed from foam and covered with a velvet cushion material. The open-air design gives no pressure on the ears and allows a good sound reproduction.
The main body of the phones is made from magnesium alloy, which is also ensuring they stay lightweight. It also means that they have a firm and sturdy feel about them and a solid structure.
Audio-Technica refers to these having 3D wing support, and they will adjust themselves to fit any user, adapting to the shape and size of the head of the wearer. No adjustment is necessary; the headband and pads will automatically adjust when they are placed in position.
At first, this is a strange feeling because when you place a set of headphones on your head, you expect to feel an amount of pressure on the ears and head. With these phones, that isn’t so pronounced, as the wing supports find the ideal position for use. This system also means they are free from any vibrations coming through the phones.
As with all Audio-Technica products the sound is good, and with the build being so well manufactured they are certainly extremely good value for money at the price offered.
Could be, it will be close.
- Well-designed and manufactured.
- Comfortable position when in use.
- Earcups do not rotate or flex.
10 1MORE Wireless Over-Ear Headphones
1More is one of the new breed of Chinese companies that are intent on showing the world they can manufacture quality products and do it at a low price.
The perception still exists about Chinese products, of course, fuelled firstly by a certain snobbishness, but also not helped by the fact that every now and then they get it wrong. And when they do, they really do get it wrong. But with so many products now made there, half of the time without us even knowing, we should cut them a break.
One of the mistakes they often make is to try and make products a bit too colorful, and this set of headphones are a case in point. They are a little bit bright.
When you first go to pick them up, you are really expecting them to be very plastic and very cheap feeling. But they didn’t feel like that at all. Yes, the main material in their manufacture is plastic, but where necessary and important it is strengthened with aluminum. Strong but keeping it lightweight, and very lightweight, they are coming in at only 8 ounces.
The headband and extenders are made from aluminum and are quite strong, and when you make your adjustments for the size, they feel secure. The headband itself has a rubber-like material to give you a comfortable fit.
The ear cups are larger than the norm, and they have plenty of padding with an imitation leather look, and they are designed to be able to slide up and down to get the fit right. With a little bit of adjustment, they will give you a great fit with an adequate seal and plenty of comfort.
Well, we are concentrating on the build and comfort in these reviews, but for the price point, you cannot expect too much sound-wise. They are OK, is best for a description. They aren’t going to win any best sounding awards, but they are adequate.
- Aluminum build where it is necessary.
- Some won’t like the color.
So, Which Are The Most Comfortable Headphones?
So what are we looking for? Comfort, stability, a nice design, and to be able to adjust to fit. Yes, having a good sound would be nice, but this is all about comfort.
There really are some great manufacturers producing some quality stuff, and with some, comfort is still a priority whilst with others, it seems to fall down the pecking order compared to having more and more tech.
We wanted something comfortable, maybe something a little different, but phones that would allow us to just sit back and enjoy the music.
We have therefore chosen as the most comfortable headphones the…
Quality materials, nice design, and a sound that isn’t too bad either.
Our choice for most comfortable headphones.