When it comes to listening to music, a great pair of headphones can make all the difference. But what about when you’re in a noisy environment and you want to shut out the world? That’s where noise-canceling headphones come in. These headphones use advanced technology to reduce or eliminate background noise, allowing you to focus on your music or podcast.
But with so many noise-canceling headphones on the market, it can be overwhelming to choose the right pair. Do you want over-ear headphones or in-ear headphones? Do you prioritize sound quality or comfort? And how much are you willing to spend?
In this article, we’ll break down some of the best noise-canceling headphones available, from high-end luxury models to budget-friendly options. We’ll also provide guidance on the factors to consider when shopping for active noise-canceling headphones, so you can make an informed decision and find the perfect pair for your needs.
- Sony WH-1000XM5 — Best over-ear noise-canceling headphones
- Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2 — Best over-ear noise-canceling headphones, runner-up
- Apple AirPods Max — Best over-ear noise-canceling headphones for Apple users
- Focal Bathys — Most luxurious noise-canceling headphones
- Mark Levinson No. 5909 — Most luxurious noise-canceling headphones, runner-up
- Anker Soundcore Space Q45 — Best mid-priced over-ear noise-canceling headphones
- Wyze Noise-Canceling Headphones — Best budget-priced over-ear noise-canceling headphones
- Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II — Best in-ear noise-canceling headphones overall
- Sony WF-1000XM4 — Best noise-canceling in-ear headphones overall, runner-up
- Anker Soundcore Liberty 4 — Best budget-priced in-ear noise-canceling headphones
- Google Pixel Buds Pro — Best in-ear noise-canceling headphones for Android users
- Apple AirPods Pro (second-generation) — Best in-ear noise-canceling headphones for Apple users
- What factors to consider when shopping for active noise-canceling headphones:
Sony WH-1000XM5 — Best over-ear noise-canceling headphones
When it comes to over-ear noise-canceling headphones, the Sony WH-1000XM5 is often considered the top choice. These headphones have received widespread praise for their excellent noise-canceling abilities, comfortable fit, and high-quality sound.
One of the most impressive features of the Sony WH-1000XM5 is the level of noise cancellation it provides. The headphones use advanced noise-canceling technology to block out external sounds, whether you’re in a noisy office or on a loud airplane. The headphones also have an “Ambient Sound Control” feature that allows you to adjust the level of noise canceling, so you can let in some external sounds when you need to hear your surroundings.
Comfort is another strong point of the Sony WH-1000XM5. The headphones have a soft, plushy ear cup that conforms to the shape of your ear, and a padded headband that distributes the weight of the headphones evenly across your head. These features make the Sony WH-1000XM5 comfortable enough to wear for long periods of time, without causing any discomfort or fatigue.
Sound quality is another area where the Sony WH-1000XM5 shines. The headphones have a rich, full-bodied sound that delivers deep bass, clear midrange, and detailed high-end. The soundstage is wide and spacious, making it easy to distinguish individual instruments and vocals in a song. Overall, the Sony WH-1000XM5 offers a listening experience that is both immersive and enjoyable.
In addition to the standard features, the Sony WH-1000XM5 also offers some unique features that set it apart from other noise-canceling headphones. For example, the headphones have a “Speak-to-Chat” feature that automatically pauses your music and turns off noise canceling when you start speaking, so you can have a conversation without taking off your headphones. Additionally, the headphones have touch controls that allow you to adjust the volume, skip tracks, and answer phone calls, without ever taking your phone out of your pocket.
Overall, the Sony WH-1000XM5 is a great choice for anyone in the market for high-quality noise-canceling headphones. The combination of noise cancellation, comfort, sound quality, and features make these headphones an excellent choice for a wide range of use cases, from commuting to listening to music at home.
Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2 — Best over-ear noise-canceling headphones, runner-up
The Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2 over-ear noise-canceling headphone is a fantastic choice for those looking for high-end headphones. While it may be the runner-up on our list, it is still a strong contender that delivers top-notch audio quality, design, and features. The Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2 has been meticulously designed with an emphasis on comfort, durability, and audio quality. The headphones are made with carbon fiber composite arms and are built to withstand the wear and tear of everyday use.
One of the standout features of the Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2 is the excellent noise-canceling technology. The headphones are equipped with a noise-canceling system that can block out up to 30 decibels of outside noise. This allows you to fully immerse yourself in your music or audio without any distractions from your surroundings. The headphones also come with an Ambient Pass-Through feature that allows you to hear your surroundings with the touch of a button.
The audio quality of the Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2 is exceptional, with balanced and detailed sound across the entire frequency range. The headphones have 43mm drivers that produce rich, clear, and natural sound, making them perfect for a wide range of music genres. The headphones also support aptX Adaptive, which is a high-quality audio codec that ensures a seamless audio experience with compatible devices.
In terms of battery life, the Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2 can last up to 30 hours on a single charge, which is quite impressive. The headphones also come with a quick charge feature that provides up to 6 hours of playback time on just 15 minutes of charging. The headphones are also very comfortable to wear for extended periods of time, thanks to the soft and plush ear cushions and the adjustable headband.
Overall, the Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2 over-ear noise-canceling headphone is an excellent choice for those looking for high-end headphones. While it may not be the best overall, it is still a top-performing headphone that delivers exceptional sound quality, comfort, and durability. If you are willing to spend a bit more for the premium features, then the Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2 is definitely worth considering.
Apple AirPods Max — Best over-ear noise-canceling headphones for Apple users
These headphones are the best over-ear noise-canceling headphones for Apple users. The AirPods Max are Apple’s first over-ear headphones and they offer a premium listening experience for those who are looking for high-quality sound and noise cancellation.
One of the standout features of the AirPods Max is their sleek design. They feature an elegant, minimalist design with a premium build quality. The ear cups are made of a soft, breathable mesh material that is comfortable to wear for long periods. The headphones are also equipped with a digital crown on the top of the right ear cup, which can be used to adjust the volume, skip tracks, and activate Siri.
In terms of sound quality, the AirPods Max deliver exceptional audio performance. They feature a custom acoustic design with a 40mm dynamic driver that produces clear, balanced sound with deep bass and crisp high-end. The headphones also have active noise cancellation, which uses advanced algorithms to block out external noise and create an immersive listening experience.
The AirPods Max have a long battery life, offering up to 20 hours of continuous listening with noise cancellation turned on. They also have a quick charging feature that allows you to get 1.5 hours of listening time with just 5 minutes of charging. Additionally, the headphones come with a convenient Smart Case that puts the headphones in an ultra-low power state to preserve battery life.
Overall, the Apple AirPods Max are an excellent choice for those who want a premium listening experience and the convenience of Apple’s ecosystem. While they are quite expensive, they offer exceptional sound quality, noise cancellation, and a sleek design that sets them apart from other headphones on the market.
Focal Bathys — Most luxurious noise-canceling headphones
Focal Bathys is considered the most luxurious noise-canceling headphone. Focal is a French audio company that is known for producing high-quality audio equipment, and the Bathys headphones are no exception.
The Focal Bathys headphones have a unique design that sets them apart from other noise-canceling headphones. They are crafted with high-quality materials like genuine leather and stainless steel, giving them a premium and elegant look. The ear cups are spacious and comfortable, which makes them ideal for long listening sessions. Additionally, the headphones come with a hard-shell carrying case, which makes them easy to store and transport.
In terms of sound quality, the Focal Bathys headphones deliver exceptional performance. They have a warm and balanced sound signature that delivers a detailed and natural sound across all frequencies. The headphones use active noise cancellation technology that effectively blocks out external noise, making them perfect for use in noisy environments.
The Focal Bathys headphones also come with a range of features that make them convenient to use. They have touch controls on the ear cups that allow you to control your music playback, adjust volume, and take phone calls without having to use your phone. The headphones also support Bluetooth 5.0, which allows for seamless connectivity and high-quality audio streaming.
One downside of the Focal Bathys headphones is their high price point. They are considerably more expensive than other noise-canceling headphones on the market, which makes them inaccessible for many consumers. However, for those who are willing to invest in a premium pair of headphones, the Focal Bathys is an excellent choice that delivers exceptional sound quality and luxurious design.
Mark Levinson No. 5909 — Most luxurious noise-canceling headphones, runner-up
This headphone is a top-of-the-line product that delivers an exceptional audio experience, making it one of the most luxurious noise-canceling headphones on the market.
The Mark Levinson No. 5909 features 53mm dynamic drivers that produce clear, detailed, and powerful sound. Its advanced noise-canceling technology ensures that you can enjoy your music without being distracted by external noise. The headphones can block up to 90% of external sounds, making them ideal for use in busy environments such as airports, offices, and public transport.
One of the most impressive features of the Mark Levinson No. 5909 is its build quality. The headphones are made with high-quality materials, including genuine leather and anodized aluminum. This gives the headphones a premium look and feel that is unmatched by most other noise-canceling headphones on the market.
The Mark Levinson No. 5909 has a battery life of up to 20 hours, which is decent for a headphone of this caliber. The headphones also come with a premium carrying case that is both protective and stylish. The case is made with genuine leather and has a soft interior that keeps the headphones safe from scratches and other damage.
Overall, the Mark Levinson No. 5909 is a top-performing noise-canceling headphone that is perfect for audiophiles who demand the best in sound quality and build. While it comes with a high price tag, the headphones are worth the investment for those who want a luxurious listening experience.
Anker Soundcore Space Q45 — Best mid-priced over-ear noise-canceling headphones
These over-ear headphones offer great noise canceling capabilities with Anker’s innovative noise canceling technology, which reduces ambient noise by up to 90%. The Soundcore Space Q45 also offers great audio quality with rich and deep bass, thanks to its custom 40mm dynamic drivers.
The headphones have a comfortable fit with memory foam ear cups and a headband that conforms to the user’s head. They also have touch controls on the ear cups, which allow users to manage calls, adjust volume, and control playback. The Anker Soundcore Space Q45 also has a built-in microphone, which offers clear voice calls and noise reduction.
Another notable feature of the Soundcore Space Q45 is its long battery life. It can last up to 40 hours with a single charge, which is impressive compared to other headphones in its price range. The headphones also come with a carrying case, a 3.5mm audio cable, and a USB-C cable for charging.
Overall, the Anker Soundcore Space Q45 is a great option for those looking for mid-priced over-ear noise-canceling headphones. Its noise canceling, audio quality, comfort, and battery life make it a solid choice for everyday use, whether you’re commuting or just listening at home.
Wyze Noise-Canceling Headphones — Best budget-priced over-ear noise-canceling headphones
The Wyze Noise-Canceling Headphones are the best budget-priced over-ear noise-canceling headphones available in the market. These headphones offer great noise-cancellation performance, and they cost only a fraction of what the top-tier models cost. With these headphones, you can experience a significant reduction in background noise, making them ideal for listening to music or watching movies in noisy environments.
The Wyze headphones have a modern, minimalistic design that feels both durable and comfortable. They feature ear cups that rotate and swivel, making it easy to find the perfect fit. The ear cups are covered in soft, protein leather material that feels great against your ears. The headphones also feature a padded headband, which adds to the comfort factor.
When it comes to sound quality, the Wyze headphones provide excellent audio performance. They have a balanced sound signature that works well across different genres of music. The bass is tight and controlled, and the mid-range and treble are well-defined. The headphones support the SBC and AAC codecs, which means that they work well with both iOS and Android devices.
The Wyze headphones feature touch controls on the ear cups, allowing you to control music playback, take calls, and activate your phone’s virtual assistant. The headphones have a battery life of up to 20 hours, and they charge via USB-C. The headphones come with a hard-shell carrying case that protects them during transit.
Overall, the Wyze Noise-Canceling Headphones are an excellent budget option for those who want a great noise-canceling experience without breaking the bank. They offer great sound quality, excellent noise-cancellation, and a comfortable fit, making them a great option for anyone looking for a budget-friendly option.
Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II — Best in-ear noise-canceling headphones overall
These in-ear headphones are a great option for anyone who values portability and convenience, while still seeking the benefits of noise-cancellation technology.
The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II offer excellent noise-cancellation capabilities, thanks to their advanced technology that utilizes both active and passive noise-cancellation methods. The earbuds come with different sized ear tips, allowing you to find the perfect fit and seal to block out as much noise as possible. They also have a Transparency Mode that lets you hear your surroundings without taking out the earbuds.
When it comes to sound quality, the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II do not disappoint. The bass is punchy and well-defined, and the mids and highs are clear and well-balanced. The soundstage is wide and expansive, making for a fully immersive listening experience. The earbuds also have touch controls that are easy to use and can be customized to your liking.
The battery life of the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II is impressive, with up to 6 hours of use on a single charge, and an additional 12 hours with the charging case. The earbuds also have quick charging capabilities, with just 15 minutes of charging providing up to 2 hours of use.
One potential downside of the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II is their size. While they are small and discreet, they may not fit comfortably in all ear types. Additionally, the earbuds are not the most affordable option on the market, but their premium features and advanced noise-cancellation technology make them well worth the investment for those who prioritize sound quality and noise-cancellation capabilities.
Overall, the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II are a top pick for in-ear noise-canceling headphones, offering a balance of convenience, comfort, and high-quality sound.
Sony WF-1000XM4 — Best noise-canceling in-ear headphones overall, runner-up
Next on our list of the best noise-canceling in-ear headphones goes to the Sony WF-1000XM4, a sleek and stylish set of earbuds that deliver exceptional noise cancellation and impressive sound quality.
The WF-1000XM4 is equipped with Sony’s latest noise-canceling technology, which uses a dual noise sensor to pick up and cancel out noise. This technology is combined with a powerful noise-isolating design, which effectively blocks out external sounds.
In addition to the excellent noise cancellation, the WF-1000XM4 delivers a rich and detailed sound, with clear highs and deep, punchy bass. The earbuds also support LDAC, a high-quality Bluetooth codec that allows for higher bitrates and better sound quality.
The WF-1000XM4 is also packed with features, including support for both Google Assistant and Alexa, touch controls for music playback and phone calls, and an ambient mode that lets you hear the world around you without taking the earbuds out.
The earbuds are comfortable to wear for long periods, thanks to their ergonomic design and three sizes of ear tips included in the box. The earbuds also have a long battery life of up to 8 hours on a single charge, with an additional 16 hours from the charging case.
Overall, the Sony WF-1000XM4 is an excellent choice for those in the market for high-quality noise-canceling in-ear headphones. Its exceptional noise cancellation, great sound quality, and long list of features make it a top contender in the market.
Anker Soundcore Liberty 4 — Best budget-priced in-ear noise-canceling headphones
Anker Soundcore Liberty 4 is one of the best budget-priced in-ear noise-canceling headphones available in the market. Anker Soundcore is well known for producing budget-friendly earbuds and the Liberty 4 is no different. At its price point, these earbuds offer an impressive set of features, including active noise cancellation.
The Liberty 4’s noise-canceling feature is decent and can effectively block out low-frequency sounds such as the hum of an air conditioner or the engine noise of a car. However, it struggles with higher frequency sounds such as chatter or high-pitched noises. The transparency mode allows you to hear your surroundings without needing to remove the earbuds, which is a handy feature when you need to listen to announcements at the airport or train station.
The earbuds are compact and come with different sizes of ear tips to ensure a comfortable fit. They are also lightweight, making them ideal for use during long listening sessions. The earbuds have a touch-sensitive surface that you can use to control playback and activate your voice assistant. You can also use the touch controls to switch between noise-canceling and transparency modes.
Anker Soundcore Liberty 4 comes with an IPX5 rating, which makes them resistant to sweat and light rain. The earbuds have a battery life of 7 hours with noise-canceling enabled, and the charging case can recharge the earbuds up to three times. The earbuds take around 1.5 hours to charge fully.
In conclusion, the Anker Soundcore Liberty 4 is an excellent choice for anyone looking for a budget-priced in-ear noise-canceling headphone. The earbuds provide an impressive set of features, including noise-canceling, transparency mode, and touch controls. The battery life is also decent, making them an ideal choice for long listening sessions. The Liberty 4’s sound quality is also impressive, with a balanced and detailed sound signature. While it may not have the best noise-canceling feature in the market, it is still a great option for those on a budget.
Google Pixel Buds Pro — Best in-ear noise-canceling headphones for Android users
The Google Pixel Buds Pro are the best in-ear noise-canceling headphones for Android users, and for good reason. They offer a premium sound quality, excellent noise cancellation, and a comfortable fit.
One of the standout features of the Pixel Buds Pro is their adaptive sound technology. This technology adjusts the volume and noise cancellation based on your environment. If you’re in a quiet room, the Pixel Buds Pro will automatically lower the volume and reduce the noise cancellation. If you’re in a noisy environment, the Pixel Buds Pro will increase the volume and enhance the noise cancellation. This makes for a seamless listening experience, and ensures that you always have the right level of noise cancellation.
The Pixel Buds Pro also offer excellent sound quality. They have a balanced sound signature that works well with a variety of music genres. The bass is punchy and tight, without overwhelming the mids and highs. The mids are clear and well-defined, and the highs are crisp and detailed. Overall, the sound is well-balanced and enjoyable to listen to.
In terms of noise cancellation, the Pixel Buds Pro perform admirably. They’re not quite as effective as some over-ear headphones, but they still do a great job of blocking out most external noise. The ear tips create a tight seal that helps to isolate your ears from your environment. This, combined with the active noise cancellation, creates a peaceful listening experience even in noisy environments.
Finally, the Pixel Buds Pro are comfortable to wear for long periods of time. They come with three different sizes of ear tips, so you can find the perfect fit for your ears. The earbuds are lightweight, so they don’t feel heavy in your ears, and they’re also secure enough to stay in place during physical activity. Overall, the Pixel Buds Pro are an excellent choice for Android users looking for a high-quality pair of noise-canceling earbuds.
Apple AirPods Pro (second-generation) — Best in-ear noise-canceling headphones for Apple users
Next up on our list of the best noise-canceling headphones is the Apple AirPods Pro (second-generation), which are the best in-ear noise-canceling headphones for Apple users. Apple is well-known for its sleek, user-friendly design, and the AirPods Pro are no exception. They feature a stem-style design with silicone tips that fit snugly into your ears, providing excellent noise isolation and a comfortable fit.
The AirPods Pro use active noise-cancellation technology to reduce outside noise and create an immersive listening experience. The noise-cancellation is adjustable, so you can decide how much outside noise you want to let in. There’s also a Transparency mode that lets you hear outside noise when you need to, such as when you’re walking on a busy street or talking to someone.
The sound quality on the AirPods Pro is excellent, with a balanced sound signature and powerful bass. They also feature Adaptive EQ, which automatically tunes the low- and mid-frequencies of the music to the shape of your ear for a more personalized listening experience. The AirPods Pro also have an impressive battery life, with up to 5 hours of listening time on a single charge, and up to 24 hours of listening time with the charging case.
Like all Apple products, the AirPods Pro work seamlessly with other Apple devices. They connect quickly and easily to your iPhone, iPad, or Mac, and you can control them with Siri voice commands. The AirPods Pro are also sweat and water-resistant, making them a great choice for workouts or outdoor activities.
Overall, the Apple AirPods Pro (second-generation) are an excellent choice for Apple users who want a high-quality, in-ear noise-canceling headphone. They’re stylish, comfortable, and provide excellent sound quality and noise-cancellation technology. While they may be more expensive than some of the other options on this list, they are a top-of-the-line product that is well worth the investment if you’re an Apple fan.
What factors to consider when shopping for active noise-canceling headphones:
Type of headphones:
The first thing to consider is the type of headphones you want. There are two main types of noise-canceling headphones: over-ear and in-ear. Over-ear headphones cover your entire ear and provide better noise isolation, while in-ear headphones are smaller and more portable. Both types can provide excellent noise-canceling capabilities, so the choice comes down to personal preference and usage.
The effectiveness of noise-canceling headphones varies from model to model. Look for headphones with multiple noise-canceling modes, as well as the ability to adjust the level of noise-canceling. This allows you to customize your listening experience based on your environment.
Noise-canceling headphones require a lot of power, so it’s important to look for a model with a long battery life. Most headphones will last between 20-30 hours on a single charge, but some models can last up to 40 hours or more. Additionally, some headphones come with a fast-charging feature that can provide several hours of playback time with just a few minutes of charging.
If you plan to wear your noise-canceling headphones for extended periods, comfort is key. Look for headphones with soft earpads and a comfortable headband. Adjustable headbands are also helpful, as they can help you find the perfect fit. In-ear headphones should come with multiple sizes of ear tips to ensure a comfortable and secure fit.
Noise-canceling headphones aren’t just for blocking out external noise; they should also provide high-quality audio. Look for headphones with a wide frequency response and a high signal-to-noise ratio. The best headphones will provide clear, balanced sound across the entire frequency spectrum.
Most noise-canceling headphones come with Bluetooth connectivity, but it’s important to check the range and stability of the connection. Some models also offer wired connectivity, which can be useful in areas with poor wireless connectivity or on long flights where Bluetooth connectivity is prohibited.
By considering these factors, you can ensure that you choose the best active noise-canceling headphones for your needs.
In conclusion, there are many great noise-canceling headphones available on the market, each with their own unique strengths and weaknesses. Choosing the right pair of headphones depends on your needs and budget, as well as the features that are most important to you.
No matter which pair of noise-canceling headphones you choose, you’ll be sure to enjoy a more peaceful and immersive listening experience. With so many great options available, it’s never been easier to find the perfect pair of headphones for your needs.
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