We recently highlighted some of the best over-the-ear headphones for all that new tech you’re going to be wanting to tune into after the holidays. Well it turns out that after having seen, oh, 6,000 (roughly) over-ear headphones at the 2013 CES show and not nearly as much investment in earbuds, this is a trend that’s here to stay. Plus we’re seeing comfier styles, funkier designs, the convenience of Bluetooth, and even durability that parents in particular will appreciate.
Here, some of the standouts that we’re looking forward to. - Liz
These may win the award for comfiest headphones I’ve ever tried, and that’s saying something. Seriously, no pinching–not even with earrings on. Designed by an artist (see her in our roundup of the Women of CES) and perfected by top sound engineers, you can control the Bluetooth headset just by tapping those buttons on the ear that are cleverly disguised as part of the design. Plus I can’t believe how compactly they fold up. You’re going to get slightly better sound if you’re wired in, but if freedom of movement matters, the Bluetooth is a huge plus and gives you about 30 feet from your audio source, plus 10 hours of talk time/music on a charge. ($299)
Why Parents Will Like Them: Major comfort aside, wireless is a huge lifesaver, whether you’re on a plane trying to juggle a baby while you watch a movie, or listen to music while vacuuming like my sigOth does. The on-phone buttons really make them completely hands free.
We loved the House of Marley portable audio speakers but their eco-chic Rise-Up headphones series were a standout for comfort and a funky, laid-back Reggae style. Not surprisingly. The cushions are a comfy bamboo fiber, while the outside is a recycled alumninum coated with a blend of recycled cotton, hemp, and recycled PET. The sound is no afterthought, as you can imagine. There are some smaller versions out but these were by far the most comfortable. ($159.99)
Crosley Radio Amplitone Headphones
We’re sweet on Crosley in every way, and their upcoming, crazy affordable line of over-ear headphones are no exception. In the same cool retro-modern styling we love, they’re going to be delivering an affordable, stylish option for those of us not ready to spend a small fortune on cans to pop in our bag when we travel.
Why Parents Will Like Them: Price + style! If your kids are at the age where they’re starting to borrow your headphones, these are affordable enough that you don’t have to panic when you hand them over.
Wood, as you can tell, is another trend we’re seeing–nice break from all the flashy, blingy headphones of the last few years. Griffin’s sophisticated headphones in real walnut, sapelle or beech (my fave) are surprisingly lightweight, durable, and from what I could tell after a short trial, would be comfy for much longer than cheaper versions. The cable (with a built-in mic) detaches for travel, and even has buttons to control Siri if you’re connecting with your iPhone. And isn’t that wood pretty? Very nice option for a nice price. ($99.99)
Why Parents Will Like Them: Even if you care about audio, you may not want to spend over $100 for headphones. I also like that you look like an adult wearing them; not a wannabe deejay who missed your calling twenty years ago.
Jabra Revo Wireless Headphones
Why Parents Will Like Them: The durability and flexibility is beyond anything I’ve seen, and the sound is phenomenal. It’s an investment that can’t go wrong, especially if you have little kids prone to breaking your stuff when your’e not looking.
Why Parents Will Like Them: Sometimes a mama just wants a cool, serious tech accessory that’s as good-looking as her shoes and handbag and doesn’t go the cutesie route. Plus the tight tri-fold, leaves plenty of room in your bag for crayons, sippy cups and the other not-so-cool stuff lurking in there.