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Best Noise Cancelling Headphones

Best noise cancelling headphones can help you glide into the audio world, whether you’re commuting and trying to escape the noise of traffic and sniffing fellow commuters, on a long-distance flight and have to drown out the sound of screaming children, or want to get away from it all and be comfortable with your preferred music at home. Noise-canceling headphones are pure wonders of the modern age because they can completely tune out all the unwanted sounds. While at the same time making your music sound even better than any old pair of in-ear earbuds (except the fantastic Sony WF-1000XM3s, of course).

Best Noise Cancelling Headphones List

Sony WH-1000XM3

The best noise-canceling headphone

best noise cancelling headphones
  • Acoustic design: Closed
  • Frequency response: 4Hz to 40kHz
  • Drivers: 40mm Dual-Layered Diaphragm
  • Sensitivity: 104.5 dB
  • Battery life: 30 hours
  • Wireless range: 30 meters (98ft)
  • NFC: Yes

The Sony WH-1000XM3 is the best noise-cancelling headphone in the world, two years in a row. Sure, they may be a small refinement of last year’s excellent WH-1000XM2, but subtle adjustments such as using USB-C instead of micro-USB and adding padding along the bridge help make Sony‘s award-winning looks even better. For music lovers, the Sony WH-1000XM3 highlights aptX HD and Sony LDAC, two of the best methods to listen to Hi-Res music from your smartphone without wires.

Finally, all Sony headphones offer both Google Assistant and Alexa support, making them not only the best noise-canceling headphones on the market but also some of the smartest. We were able to see the Sony WH-1000XM4 wireless headphones shortly; rumors of an imminent release date have been circulating since an FCC file from Sony revealed the model number of the new noise-canceling headphones. For the time being, however, the WH-1000XM3s are still the cream of the crop when it comes to noise cancellation. Read our Sony WH-1000XM3 Review

Last update was on: September 20, 2020 4:25 pm

Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700

Leading noise-cancellation, but not the best battery life

best noise cancelling headphones
  • Acoustic design: Closed
  • Frequency response: N/A
  • Drivers: N/A
  • Sensitivity: N/A
  • Battery life: 20 hours
  • Wireless range: 33 ft
  • NFC: Yes

The y don’t quite knock the Sony WH-1000XM3s in terms of lifespan and price, but the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 is still a brilliant pair of over-ear headphones – and the best Bose headphones we’ve reviewed. Traditionally, the best noise-cancelling headphones are designed to block out the ambient noise around you so that you can listen to your music more precisely (or catch a bit of it on a noisy flight). This can be effective when listening to music.

However, if you make a phone call, the person you’re talking to can still hear everything that’s going on around you, whether you’re standing on a busy street or trying to talk on a rumbling train. The Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 try to remedy this by applying noise canceling to phone calls and music, which is a great feature. The sound quality is excellent, with a lively, vibrant character and a well-balanced sound image.

If you’re trying to pick between the Sony WH-1000XM3s and the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700, we recommend you go for first because of that lower price and better battery life. That said, you wouldn’t make a mistake if you chose the Bose cans rather (and we wouldn’t blame you if you did) – they sound great, look great, and the noise-cancellation is out of this world. Read our Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 Review

$379.00 $399.00
in stock
September 20, 2020 4:25 pm
Amazon Amazon.com
Last update was on: September 20, 2020 4:25 pm

Sony WH-1000XM2

Sony’s second-generation WH-1000XM2 is still great

  • Acoustic design: Closed
  • Frequency response: N/A
  • Drivers: N/A
  • Sensitivity: N/A
  • Battery life: 10 hours
  • Wireless range: 33 ft
  • NFC: Yes

The Sony WH-1000XM2 is still one of the best noise-cancelling headphones available: The y sound great, use dexterous noise-cancelling technology, and cost as much as a pair of Bose QC35s. The y could have a slightly shorter battery life than Bose’s flagship over-ear headphones, but Sony’s WH-1000XM2 outperforms the QC35 regarding performance and feature set. You’d want to pick these Sony over-the-Bose headphones because not only do they produce the same level of noise-cancellation, but they have three neat tricks that Bose doesn’t have on its older headphones.

One of them is an ambient noise mode that only allows medium to high frequencies (announcements through a loudspeaker, for example), and another is the Quick Attention mode that enables you to let in all the outside noise without turning off the headphones. The final trick Sony has up its sleeve is the LDAC codec. Next to the widely used aptX HD standard, LDAC makes it possible to play Hi-Res Audio with the 1000XM2. The Sony WH-1000XM2 is a solid all-around choice for best noise-canceling headphones.

Last update was on: September 20, 2020 4:25 pm

Bose QuietComfort 35 II

Smart noise-canceling headphone

  • Acoustic design: Closed
  • Frequency response: N/A
  • Drivers: N/A
  • Sensitivity: N/A
  • Battery life: 20+ hours
  • Wireless range: N/A
  • NFC: Yes

Number four is the Bose QuietComfort 35 II – an almost identical product to the previously Bose QuietComfort 35 but updated with Google Assistant. This means you still get the industry-leading noise cancellation for which Bose is renowned, good sound quality and incredible comfort, plus a handy assistant to answer any questions you might have while traveling. Taken as a combination, the Bose QC35 II NC is an excellent pair of headphones for travelers. Bose has found a good balance of features that will satisfy most mainstream listeners.

Although we don’t like them as much as the better-sounding Sony WH-1000XM2, they are still the top of the class for noise cancellation. Despite the demand of the QC35s, Bose has rocked things up by releasing a completely new model of wireless noise-canceling headphones, with a focus on sleek design and “breakthrough” in audio technology: the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700. The y may not have caught Sony at the top spot of the best noise-cancelling headphones, but they are still a fantastic pair of over-ear headphones, coming in at number two.

Last update was on: September 20, 2020 4:25 pm

Sony WF-1000XM3 True Wireless

Best noise-canceling earbud

  • Acoustic design: Closed
  • Frequency response: 20-20,000Hz
  • Drivers: 6mm
  • Sensitivity: N/A
  • Battery life (on-board): 6 hours; (charging case): 18 hours
  • Wireless range: 30ft
  • NFC: Yes

It’s rare to find a pair of wired earphones, let alone a pair of real wireless earbud on a list of the best noise-cancelling headphones; given that it’s still rare to find the technology in earphones, the Sony WF-1000XM3’s are imposing, and fully deserve a place in this roundup. The Sony WF-1000XM3s manages to offer a level of noise cancellation that is very good for a pair of earplugs – they will not offer the same isolation as a pair of over-ear cans.

However, if you are looking for a slim form factor, then the compromise is worth it. Not only are these hands the best looking real wireless headphones out the re, but they combine serious noise-cancelling technology with fist-pumping musicality. If you don’t want the inconvenience of wearing big cans, they’re a convincing alternative. Read more in our Sony WF-1000XM3 Review

Last update was on: September 20, 2020 4:25 pm

Jabra Elite 85H

Another decent noise-canceling headphone

best noise cancelling headphones
  • Acoustic design: Closed
  • Frequency response: 10Hz to 20kHz
  • Drivers: 40mm
  • Sensitivity: N/A
  • Battery life: 36 hours
  • Wireless range: 10 meters (33ft)
  • NFC: N/A

The Elite 85h offers class-leading battery life, great style and plenty of personalization when it comes to sound profiles, and is easily recommended. That said, purists will complain about the lack of high-end codec support, and there are punchier headphones on the market at this price point. When you consider that Jabra’s Elite 85h headphones are the company’s first attempt at making the best wireless noise cancelling headphones, the result is very commendable. We can’t wait to see what the company’s next premium ANC headphones will achieve. If you want an alternative to Sony’s WH-1000XM3, this is a great option. Read more in our Jabra Elite 85h Review

Last update was on: September 20, 2020 4:25 pm

Philips Fidelio NC1

Executive look and great sound reproduction

  • Acoustic design: Closed
  • Frequency response: 7-25,000Hz
  • Drivers: Two 1.5″ Neodymium drivers
  • Sensitivity: 107 dB
  • Battery life: 25+ hours
  • Wireless range: N/A
  • NFC: No

Philips presents a more elegant noise cancellation solution with its NC1. The se on-ear headphones aren’t wireless like our top choice, but that’s hardly a reason to knock. Available for $299, the NC1 is a compact set with high comfort and long battery life. You get a lot for the money here. In the box comes the headphones, a hard case for storage, and the headphones rock a rechargeable battery that provides noise cancellation for almost 30 hours. But best of all, the sound performance is extremely well balanced and warm. This is our Philips Fidelio NC1 Review

$149.00
in stock
September 20, 2020 4:25 pm
Amazon Amazon.com
Last update was on: September 20, 2020 4:25 pm

Bose QuietComfort 25

Excellent value for money

best noise cancelling headphones
  • Acoustic design: Closed
  • Frequency response: N/A
  • Drivers: N/A
  • Sensitivity: N/A
  • Battery life: 20+ hours
  • Wireless range: N/A
  • NFC: Yes

A few years ago, the Bose QuietComfort 25 was one of the best noise-cancelling headphones we’ve ever used. The low, mid, and high came through as clear as day and never crossed. The music of all kinds sounded predictably unbelievable. With the noise-canceling enabled, we never felt more immersed and concentrated than when we let the QC25 flood our ears.

But that was a few years ago, and time has evolved ever since. Bose has released not one sequel to these headphones, but two: the QC35 and QC35 II with built-in Google Assistant, which we would both recommend above the QC25. But it’s not all bad. If you don’t mind using the older, wired headphones, the QC25’s are a sophisticated set of cans that deliver over 35 hours of excellent noise-canceling performance with one AAA battery. Read more in our Bose QuietComfort 25 Review

$154.95
in stock
September 20, 2020 4:25 pm
Amazon Amazon.com
Last update was on: September 20, 2020 4:25 pm

Bowers and Wilkins PX Wireless

Noise-canceling headphones with a few tricks up the sleeve

  • Acoustic design: Closed
  • Frequency response: 10Hz – 20kHz
  • Drivers: 40mm
  • Sensitivity: 111dB
  • Battery life: 22 hours
  • Wireless range: 30 meters
  • NFC: No

Bowers and Wilkins are a little late in the noise-cancellation game, but their first outing makes an impression. The PX Wireless aren’t just great sounding headphones; they’ve got some other interesting tricks up their sleeve too. The y turn on and off automatically, depending on whether you’re wearing them or not, and they also feature the future-proof USB-C charging stand. In our opinion, their only drawback is the sound quality, which lacks the depth of the flagship Bose and Sony headphones. But if you have been a fan of the look of B&W’s headphones in the past, the PX Wireless is worth listening to. Read our Bowers & Wilkins PX Wireless Review

$172.49 $229.99
in stock
September 20, 2020 4:25 pm
Amazon Amazon.com
Last update was on: September 20, 2020 4:25 pm

Sennheiser Momentum Wireless

Headphones that don’t skimp on smart features

best noise cancelling headphones
  • Acoustic design: Closed
  • Frequency response: 6Hz – 22,000Hz
  • Drivers: 42mm
  • Sensitivity: N/A
  • Battery life: 17 hours
  • Wireless range: N/A
  • NFC: Yes

In terms of pure sound quality, the Sennheiser Momentum Wireless headphones sound brilliant, with a high level of detail, warm bass, and natural-sounding treble. The adjustable noise cancelation offered here is also good but does not quite reach the leading standards set by the Sony WH-1000XM3 Wireless headphones. The y are far from having the battery life of Sony’s headphones, and are more expensive – which begs the question, why buy the Sennheisers if you could have the WH-1000XM3?

Well, if the built-in Tile-tracking appeals to you, and you like the industrial design and high-quality materials of the Momentum Wireless, then that could be reason enough – and if you choose these headphones over the Sony model, you won’t miss out on any sound quality. As far as that’s concerned, they’re attuned to each other. Overall, this is one of the best noise-cancelling headphones that you can buy right now. Read more in our Sennheiser Momentum 3 Wireless Review

Last update was on: September 20, 2020 4:25 pm

FAQ

What Is Noise-cancelling?

Noise-canceling headphones, or noise-cancelling headphones, are headphones that reduce unwanted ambient noise by means of active noise cancellation. This is different from passive headphones which, if they already reduce ambient noise, use techniques such as noise isolation.

Is Noise Cancelling safe?

Unlike mobile phones, noise-cancelling headphones do not emit low levels of radiation and do not represent any of the potential dangers that may result from the frequent use of a mobile phone held next to the ear…. Acute loud noises can damage hearing, disturb sleep, increase blood pressure and stress levels and cause headaches.

How much noise do noise Cancelling headphones cancel?

A feature called “Phone Noise Cancellation” is available on the iPhone that aims to reduce background noise during a phone call, but for some users, it may sound strange and make their phone calls sound weird, or worse. This may be due to the ambient noise created by the feature.

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