There are certain headphones on the market that provide their users the ability to let yourself completely enveloped in your music without outside noise interference. This type of headset has the ability to reduce or cancel any unwanted audio, which can really make a difference particularly when you’re traveling in noisy environments. This modern invention comes at a cost though, because true noise canceling headphones are usually expensive. If you’re considering making the investment in a reliable pair of headphones that provides noise isolation, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll analyze the best noise reducing headphones. Some work better than others and not all of them come with the same features and prices. The solution needed to navigate the comprehensive market of these headphones is to understand what would work best for your needs. Here are the essential features to look for:
1. Active vs passive noise canceling
Not all noise-reducing headphones deal with outside noises in the same way. The models we’ll be looking at and which you should consider for the best noise isolation are those that offer active noise canceling. As opposed to passive units which only partially try to put a stop to ambient noise, active noise canceling headphones go a step further. With the help of integrated microphones, they analyze the outside noise level and then create blocking sound waves accordingly. This will effectively create the impression that you’re shielded from the noises outside the cans.
2. White noise
The biggest downside of active noise canceling headphones is that you might experience an unintentional side-effect: white noise. Some models produce more noticeable white noise which can affect the audio quality of your tunes. High-quality headphones that rely on active noise cancellation should effectively shut out all the outside noise while keeping white noise to a minimum.
3. Battery life
As this article’s main focus is active noise cancellation headphones you will have to consider how long these headphones last. They rely on battery power so you need to be aware of every unit’s capacity. Usually, this type of headset should last approximately 15 to 20 hours before a recharging is required. In some cases, the headphones will still function after the battery gets depleted, just the noise cancellation feature runs out.
We’ve seen the main features to get the most out of your next pair of noise-reducing headphones. Now it’s time to check out some products to help you choose. The following selection is made up of active noise cancellation headphones which boast great features for their cost. Whether you’re interested in budget options or more premium-sounding headphones, you will definitely find something to your liking in here. You might also be interested in our articles about the best bone conduction headphones and the best earbuds with mics.
Bose is a familiar name for anyone who’s into premium audio devices. Those searching for noise-reducing headphones should definitely check out the QuietComfort 35 Series II. The upgrade to the old version comes with built-in Google Assistant and tons of powerful features. Noise-canceling has always been an important aspect in the creation of headphones for Bose. This unit represents the culmination of more than 40 years of innovation in the audio industry. These headphones don’t just allow for complete noise isolation, they also let you control the noise cancelation levels to adapt according to different situations.
This audio headset can be used in two ways, either wirelessly or in a wired mode using the included cable. Enjoying your music in high-definition is possible for a maximum of 20 hours with a fully charged battery in wireless mode. That’s plenty of time to engulf yourself in your favorite tunes while getting rid of any outside distractions. On the earbuds, there are some buttons placed for accessing the default virtual assistant and adjusting the active noise cancelation. There are also volume buttons for your convenience. Wireless connections can be made in an effortless manner thanks to lightning-fast Bluetooth and NFC pairing.
The audio quality of the headphones is on par with what you’d expect from Bose. To ensure a consistent sound quality, the headset makes use of a volume-optimized EQ. An advanced dual-mic system enables the user to enjoy crystal clear calls despite the noisy surroundings. To get the most out of your headphones, download the dedicated Connect app which boosts the functionality even more. All in all, the upgraded QuietComfort 35 from Bose is truly an incredible set of headphones. The price makes it not a suitable choice for anyone, but it’s safe to say the luxurious construction and premium quality of the noise cancelation features make this unit worth the expense. The sound of the headphones is extremely clean as well.
- Wireless headphones
- Volume-optimized EQ
- Bluetooth and NFC pairing
- 20 hours maximum play time
- Special action buttons
If your budget is more limited and you’re only focused on getting reliable active noise canceling headphones without any frills, the Cowin E7 might be just what you need. With the help of powerful noise cancelation technology and 40mm large-aperture drivers, you can benefit from solid audio quality even when it’s noisy outside. Making hands-free calls with this model is a breeze. The headphones come equipped with a built-in microphone and support NFC pairing. No need to tangle yourself in pesky wires as the headset can quickly connect to any compatible Bluetooth device, such as your smartphone.
When it comes to comfort, the headphones feature protein earpads with swiveling earcups. It seems the manufacturer managed to strike a solid balance between durability and comfort. The headphones feel light on your head making it comfortable during prolonged listening sessions, but they don’t feel too fragile to make you worry about their safety. Like any other wireless headphones out there, there’s an included battery which offers a respectable 30 hours of play time. Listen to your music without getting disturbed by outside interferences. The proprietary audio drivers can deliver a punchy bass even if the sound quality overall may not be as crisp as the one found on more expensive models.
There are multiple color choices to select from. If you’re bored of the usual black or white options, you can try going with the purple, blue, or red choices. When it comes to music control, the headphones provide touch controls on the earbud for adjusting the volume or taking calls. The sound quality may not be as clean and optimized like the previously reviewed headphones from Bose, but it’s decent considering the affordable price tag. Overall, the Cowin E7 offers a lot for its cost including soft ear pads, long battery life, and solid noise canceling. Everything in your music has a tendency to sound clearer when outside noises are shut off completely.
- 40mm Large-aperture Drivers
- Built-in Microphone and NFC
- Professional Protein Earpad
- 30 hours of play time
- On-Board Mic pulse remote
If you’re looking to buy noise canceling headphones, a good option to try would be to check out Sony’s catalog. One of the most appreciated noise canceling headphones by audiophiles everywhere is their WH1000XM2 model. There are lots of amazing features included here including Google Assistant integration, touch control, quick attention mode, and 30hrs battery life. The first thing that stands out in this headset is the premium design which has been crafted using the highest-quality materials available. With the addition of touch control on the earbuds, you will be able to do many things such as turning down the volume, skipping tracks, or taking calls.
The battery of these wireless headphones lasts for up to 30 hours and features quick charging to get back into action as fast as possible. Get it plugged in for just 10 minutes and then enjoy more than an hour of play time. Sony includes a handy app to expand on the functionality of the noise canceling feature. It’s available to download for both Android and iOS. In terms of sound quality, it’s obvious that these headphones were built for the discerning audiophile. The secret behind the clean audio performance of these headphones lies in its drivers. They’ve been optimized for supreme sound fidelity thanks to the S-Master HX technology that keeps distortions to a minimum and allows you to notice the tiniest details in your music.
Those worried about Bluetooth headphones deteriorating audio quality should be aware that this headset relies on the LDAC technology which has a superior data transfer rate for excellent wireless sound quality. The 4 Hz-40,000 Hz frequency response provides pure audio enjoyment and when you combine this with industry-leading noise canceling, it’s safe to say these headphones represent the ultimate sound experience. The cost of this model is a bit high and that makes the Sony WH1000XM2 recommended for those not limited by budget.
- 4 Hz-40,000 Hz frequency response
- 30 hours of battery life
- Wireless and wired functionality
- Google Assistant optimizations
- Touch control
The original Bose QuietComfort 35 is still worth a shot if you’re looking for a premium pair of noise canceling headphones. They are a little cheaper than the improved version and the differences are minimal. In fact, you’re only missing out on the Action Button and the dedicated Google Assistant. The same powerful active noise cancelation can be found in the older unit so that’s great to know. Turn the world off and lose yourself in your favorite music by simply putting the headphones on your head. The primary operating mode is the wireless one via Bluetooth.
Approximately 20 hours of battery life mean you can use the wireless headset for almost an entire day without needing a recharge. That’s pretty nice, but if you need to conserve the battery, try out the wired mode which provides noise cancelation for double this time – 40 hours. Besides the necessary cables, the manufacturer includes in the package a stylish carrying case. Comfort-wise, these headphones don’t disappoint. The manufacturer decided on plush ear pads made from a synthetic protein leather optimized for the best comfort during extended audio listening sessions. The sound quality is as impressive as always and the capable volume-optimization EQ has a good balancing role for your music.
Making calls in windy environments or other loud settings can be difficult with ordinary headphones. The noise cancelation ability extends to your calls to ensure perfect clarity. This is achieved with the help of a noise-blocking dual-microphone system. Taking into account all its features, the Bose QuietComfort 35 (Series I) still represents a viable choice if you’re into noise canceling headphones. It’s a bit more affordable than the new version and doesn’t sacrifice too many abilities. World-class audio performance is still here and that may be all that matters for most people.
- Wireless headphones
- Volume-optimized EQ
- Plush ear cushions
- 20-hour battery life
- World-class noise cancelation
One of the most affordable ways to take advantage of the active noise canceling technology is by getting the Avantree ANC032. These inexpensive headphones don’t stand out due to a remarkable audio quality, but they boast some impressive features rarely found at such a low price. Obviously, the most interesting feature of this headset is the active noise cancelation. When you’re traveling by airplane or walking around loud crowds of people, the noise-blocking effect becomes quite noticeable. It works as expected as long as the outside noises conditions are consistent, so that means sudden sounds will still be heard.
In terms of design, the headphones come packaged in a stylish matte construction with swiveling ear cups. The material choices have been made with lightness in mind considering the surprisingly low weight of 0.4 pounds (180g). This doesn’t mean the headphones are flimsy, but you do pretty much get what you’ve paid for durability-wise. An advanced Bluetooth CSR chipset takes control of wireless connectivity. Together with the active noise cancelation feature, the battery will take a hit, so expect the headphones to last for a maximum of 10 hours. What’s great about this headset is that it comes with full compatibility for a wide range of Bluetooth transmitters with no audio delays.
There are controls placed on the earbuds to help you skip tracks or make calls in a hassle-free manner. Volume can be quickly changed and it’s nice to see a switch for activating or deactivating the active noise cancelation feature. The 40mm stereo drivers provide a decent audio experience combining nicely with the noise isolation ability. With so many great abilities for its low cost, the Avantree ANC032 is a solid entry-level set of active noise canceling headphones that work without issues. They’re comfortable and well-designed. At this price, you really can’t ask for more. The noise canceling won’t distort the music, so that’s a major plus.
- 40mm stereo drivers
- Bluetooth CSR chipset
- Lightweight durable design
- Full headphone control
- Super soft earpads
It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that Bose is the leading force in the world of active noise canceling headphones. Although a bit older by now, the QuietComfort 25 is still one of the best choices for this type of headphones. It would be a particularly great solution for those who prefer wired models. Many streets and working places can be noisy environments so without noise canceling headphones you will inevitably get distracted when listening to music. The advanced technology incorporated in this noise canceling headset should solve any such issues to make traveling and other activities enjoyable again.
Similar to the QuietComfort 20, this wired model comes in two versions. One that’s been optimized for Apple devices and another that’s better suited to handle the needs of Android users. Choose according to the device you’re using for playing music. The lightweight design found on the wireless models is found here as well. Even though you may be a bit bothered by the wire coming from your left earbud, you’ll quickly get used to it after you experience the clean and detailed sound of the headphones. The bass is tight and the vocals feel clear. It’s safe to say you’ll quickly fall in love with the crisp precision of the audio quality.
To make it more convenient during your travels, you need a compact pair of headphones that neatly fit in a bag. The earcups on this headset pivot and fold flat. A case designed specifically for them comes in the package. It strikes an ideal balance between ruggedness and low weight to ensure maximum protection and portability. All in all, the QuietComfort QC 25 can still represent a worthy solution if you wish to find a more affordable model which still comes with the same level of reliable quality and signature sound from Bose. The active noise canceling of these headphones works as expected and the comfort doesn’t disappoint either. An excellent choice for a headset designed to make traveling a better experience.
- Deep and powerful sound
- Lightweight design
- Comfortable padding
- Android and Apple devices control
- Carrying case included
Sennheiser is a leading brand in the world of high-quality headphones and their best active noise canceling model is the PXC 550. This wireless headset is equipped with the latest Bluetooth technology, NoiseGard adaptive noise cancelation, and an impressive triple microphone array. Created for the business traveler, these compact headphones promise the reliable sound quality you can expect from Sennheiser and the ability to isolate yourself completely in your music. There are selectable sound modes for making the right adjustments according to the source material.
The most interesting feature of this headset is definitely the NoiseGard technology which smartly modifies the ambient noise for listening without interruptions. This technology enables the user to take advantage of an adaptive noise canceling which allows you to focus on your favorite tunes and nothing else. As these headphones are geared towards travelers, the manufacturer added some special enhancements for ensuring a comfortable wearing experience in the long run. The headband presents soft padding with rotating earcups to help you during long sessions of music listening. Due to its collapsible frame, the wireless headset can be folded away in a travel case in an effortless manner.
Similar to other wireless headphones, this model comes with a battery to extend your enjoyment. A maximum of 30 hours for the battery life is pretty good meaning you can sit back and relax in tranquility for quite some time. In case you forget to charge the battery, the headset is still functional with the remote cable. Many intuitive touch controls will help you when it comes to taking calls or to change the current track. Voice prompts are also available. All in all, the Sennheiser PXC 550 is worthy of your consideration if you wish to invest in a high-quality pair of active noise cancelation headphones. Everything from audio quality to comfort and user-friendliness sets this model apart from the crowd.
- Bluetooth 4.2 wireless technology
- NoiseGard adaptive noise cancellation
- Triple microphone array
- Intuitive user control
- Collapsible design
Those who are looking for something more portable and prefer In-Ear headphones will probably like the Bose QuietComfort 20. This unit may not provide the same level of noise cancelation compared to Over-Ear headset types, but it still does a superior job for its class. There are two styles to choose from regarding these headphones. You can either go with the model specifically tailored to Apple devices or the one for Android units. It all depends on what operating system you use primarily for your mobile devices. In all other regards, the headphones are identical.
These headphones provide a decent active noise cancelation and it’s nice to see that Bose gives you a choice here. You can always switch on the Aware mode which turns off the noise-blocking effect. Getting rid of surrounding distractions is preferable most of the time, but sometimes you need to remain aware of your environment. One problem with In-Ear headphones is that they’re usually less comfortable than Over-Ear models and there’s also the risk of falling out. To counter this issue, the headphones come equipped with the proprietary StayHear+ tips designed for comfort and remaining firmly positioned in your ears.
The sound quality is one of the best you can find for this style of headphones. Bose clearly poured every technological innovation available into these little drivers to create an engaging sound. Some great examples are the Triport technology and the Active EQ. In terms of battery life, these noise-reducing headphones are capable of working up to 16 hours on a single charge. That’s assuming average usage patterns. There are lots of great accessories provided in the package including a stylish case for traveling, a clothing clip and different sizes for the tips to accommodate multiple users.
If you’re not a fan of those big and bulky Over-Ear headphones and wish to find a more portable alternative, the Bose QuietComfort 20 represents an excellent solution. The build quality could be considered somewhat of a disadvantage as the headphones feel less durable than other models. Just make sure you take special care when handling them.
- StayHear+ tips
- TriPort technology
- Aware mode
- In-Ear design
- Android and Apple versions