Categories: Reviews

9 Best Noise Canceling Headphones | Which Should you Buy?

The best noise canceling headphones use passive and active techniques to keep you focused on the task at hand. By delivering the reverse phase of the sounds picked up in your environment, the headphones are able to actively cancel out distracting low-frequency sounds around you.

Whether you are looking for an affordable headphone to help you concentrate in the studio or a top-of-the-range headphone to deliver the best sound in any environment – this review is for you.

Travel often for work? Alongside noise canceling headphones, a tablet for photo editing can be a great tool for those on the go.

TLDR

TLDR: The Bose 700 delivers the highest quality sound while removing distracting humming and droning sounds from the environment. As Pixelsmith Studio’s choice for the most comfortable and best sound delivering noise canceling headphones, this product leads the pack. It is the most expensive headphone in our review, so consider the Sony WHXB900N if you want similar sound quality on a lower budget.

Best Sounding Noise Canceling Headphones

The Bose 700 is Pixelsmith Studios pick for the best-sounding noise canceling headphones. Having led the headphone market for many years the Bose 700 is a reliable and stylish option. It delivers quality sound, which has only recently seen competition from Sony.

The following noise canceling headphones also deliver incredible sound:

Best Noise Cancelling Headphones Under 200

The Anker Soundcore Life Q20 is our pick for the best affordable noise canceling headphones. It boasts an incredible battery life and delivers impressive sound quality for the price. The active noise cancelation is not as effective as the Bose 700, but that is expected for one-seventh of the cost.

The following noise canceling headphones are also great affordable options:

Most Comfortable Noise Canceling Headphones

The Sony WH-1000XM4 is our pick for the most comfortable noise canceling headphone. It delivers incredible sound quality while the padded headband and thick ear cups allow for long periods of use. The passive and active noise canceling help contribute to making this the most comfortable noise canceling headphone in our review.

The following noise canceling headphones are also favored for comfortability:

Best Wired Noise Cancelling Headphones

The Sony WHXB900N is our choice of the best noise canceling headphone with a 3.5mm audio port. The headphone is more affordable than the leading Sony WH-1000XM4 while still offering great functionality. Noise canceling headphones have an improved battery life when connected to your device through an auxiliary cable.

The following noise canceling headphones also feature 3.5mm audio ports:

Noise Canceling Headphone Comparison Table

Easily find the most suitable noise canceling headphones using our table below. If you want to know all the details before you make your choice, read our in-depth reviews below.

The Best Noise Canceling Headphones Reviews

Great noise canceling headphones help to reduce distracting sounds while delivering incredible audio quality. It is important to consider the compatibility, comfortability, and battery life of the headphone. When using a pair of noise canceling headphones you are likely to listen to your music at a lower volume, helping to prevent hearing loss.

Read on for our reviews of the best noise canceling headphones.

Bose 700 Headphones Review

Pros
  • Lightweight design
  • Comfortable
  • 11 ANC adjustments

Cons
  • Expensive
  • App requires login
  • Only 20 hours battery life
  • Headband catches on shoulder length hair

The Bose 700 is our top headphone for noise cancellation while also winning our hearts with its stylish and comfortable design. It can be used with the supplied 3.5mm audio cable or wirelessly using Bluetooth to a distance of 33ft. It boasts six microphones for an impressive ANC and phone call capability.

  • 44 inch long audio cable
  • 5 db reduction using ANC
  • Leading phone call clarity
Click to Check Price

Sony WH-1000XM4 Review

Pros
  • Top rated sound quality
  • 98ft (30 meter) wireless connection
  • Great clarity on phone calls

Cons
  • No longer supports aptX or aptX HD formats
  • Not water-resistant

The Sony WH-1000XM4 is the leading headphone for active noise canceling. The audio quality is remarkable while offering practical functionality. It is able to connect to two devices, allowing you to listen to music on your computer before easily switching to a phone call.

The over-ear design is comfortable and has hinges for folding into a compact form. The thick ear cups fit well against the head and help with passive noise canceling.

  • Supports Sony’s 360 Reality audio format
  • Auto-play/pause sensor
  • Released in August 2020
Click to Check Price

Beats Studio 3 Review

Pros
  • Great bass
  • Comfortable
  • Fold up into a compact shape

Cons
  • Expensive
  • Micro USB for charging
  • Plastic construction may feel cheap

The Beats Studio 3 is a lightweight noise canceling headphone with an appealing design. They have six microphones to deliver the company’s pure ANC for both music and phone calls. The headphones use Bluetooth and can be plugged in the provided 3.5mm headphone jack.

  • Features Pure Adaptive Noise Cancelling
  • Uses an Apple W1 chip
  • Released in December 2017
Click to Check Price

Sony WHXB900N Review

Pros
  • Comfortable memory foam
  • Supports aptX and aptX HD
  • Great active noise canceling

Cons
  • Earpads can get hot during long listening sessions
  • Strong bass
  • Bluetooth 4.2

The Sony WH-XB900N offers great noise canceling functionality with an easy-to-use design. It supports wireless connection through Bluetooth or can be connected with the provided 3.5mm cable. The over-ear cups are comfortable and assist with passive noise cancelation.

The Sony Headphones Connect app lets you choose from twenty different levels of noise canceling. If you prefer not to use the app, the device uses adaptive sound control to automatically adjust the level. The left ear cup has a power button and a custom button which are slightly raised for ease of use.

  • USB-C
  • Supports connection to two devices
  • Released June 2019
Click to Check Price

Jabra Elite 85H Review

Pros
  • Incredible battery life
  • Rain resistant
  • Excellent active noise canceling

Cons
  • Doesn’t support HD codec
  • Lacks bass
  • SmartSound not suitable for use in a noisy city

The Jabra Elite 85H delivers great active noise canceling while offering the longest battery life of the headphones in our review. Using eight microphones and an over-ear design, the headphones are able to reduce outside noise by 16.2 dBs. It works wirelessly with Bluetooth or with the provided 3.5mm audio cable.

The comfortable design has great functionality like Jabra’s SmartSound and an auto-pause feature. SmartSound automatically adjusts between the best settings for public, private, and commuting environments depending on what the noise canceling headphones microphone detects.

  • Supports Alexa, Siri, and google assistant
  • ‘HearThrough’ allows you to hear your environment if desired.
  • Released in April 2019
Click to Check Price

Sony WHCH710N Review

Pros
  • Long battery life
  • Comfortable memory foam
  • 30ft connection without issues

Cons
  • Lacks wireless LDAC support
  • Shallow earcups
  • Mid and high frequency sounds lack clarity

The Sony WHCH710N offers great noise cancelation. The lightweight design has a comfortable plush memory foam on the ear-cups and headband. The headphones can be used wirelessly with Bluetooth or wired with the provided 3.5mm cable. Made from plastic, the headphones tend to squeak when swiveled 90 degrees to lie flat.

The two pairs of microphones allow for phone calls. When wireless, it delivers a compressed-sounding voice. Once plugged in via the 3.5mm headphone jack, the phone’s microphone will be used.

  • Ambient mode lets you hear your surroundings
  • Connect quickly to Android devices with NFC
  • Release in April 2020
Click to Check Price

Anker Soundcore Life Q20 Review

Pros
  • Affordable
  • Great battery life
  • Lightweight

Cons
  • Bass heavy EQ
  • No EQ manipulation
  • ANC not adjustable

The Anker Soundcore Life is the ideal choice for an affordable noise canceling headphone. It has soft foam, which is comfortable to wear for prolonged periods. The sound quality is decent in comparison to the more expensive market-leading headphones. It is charged with a micro USB.

These Anker over-ear headphones can be used wirelessly with Bluetooth or wired with the supplied 3.5mm audio cable. The ear cups are rotatable and can fold inwards for safe and compact storage. Large buttons on the left cup allow the ANC to be turned on, power, and pairing. The buttons located on the right side control playback, BassUp, and your phone’s voice assistant.

  • 5 min charge gives 4 hours of music playback
  • Supported by Bluetooth 5.0
  • Released in November 2020
Click to Check Price

Anker Soundcore Life Q30 Review

Pros
  • Affordable
  • Great battery life
  • Can remain connected to two devices

Cons
  • Voice calls not suitable for loud environments
  • Bass definition could be improved
  • Bulky design

The Anker Soundcore Life Q30 is an affordable noise canceling headphone and provides more functionality than the Q20. The EQ and level of ANC can be adjusted using the app on your phone. The Q30 has an improved design and uses stronger plastic which have made it heavier than the Q20.

The left ear cup has buttons to enable ANC or Transparency Mode and a power button. The right side houses the controls for volume, playback, and pausing, as well as a 3.5mm audio port. The device supports hands-free assistance from Alexa, google assistant, and Siri.

  • Charged by USB-C
  • EQ controlled by Soundcore App
  • Released in September 2020
Click to Check Price

TaoTronics BH090 Review

Pros
  • Headband size can be adjusted
  • Wireless up to 33 ft
  • Compact fold away design

Cons
  • Not suitable for large heads
  • Materials feel cheap
  • Only connects to one device at a time

The TaoTronics BH090 offers an affordable noise canceling headphone with decent sound. It is perfect for home or office use but will not perform as well as the high-end models when used in a noisy city.

The over-ear design uses comfortable memory foam earpads covered in a protein leather. It charges fully within 45min and offers 2 hours of playback from a 5-minute charge.

  • Supported by Bluetooth 5.0
  • Uses a micro USB for charging
  • Released in January 2020
Click to Check Price

Best Noise Canceling Headphone Accessory Reviews

Knowing that music can help us focus at the office, while traveling, or in the home environment; here are some accessories that are worth mentioning. The headphones which offer 3.5mm audio ports alongside Bluetooth connection are recommended. If the headphones you want don’t have a 3.5mm port, consider a Bluetooth transmitter.

When traveling it is important to have the correct adapter to allow you to watch in-flight movies with your noise canceling headphones, which you can find below.

TaoTronics Bluetooth 5.0 Transmitter and Receiver

Transmit audio from your television or computer that doesn’t support Bluetooth with this transmitter and receiver from TaoTronics. The device offers 10 hours of playback and can be used while it’s charging. It offers high-quality sound with a low latency.

Connect the transmitter to your device with the supplied 3.5mm audio cable and transmit the sound to your noise canceling headphones over a distance of 33 ft (10m).

Click to Check Price

Tranesca Airplane Headphone Adapter

Noise canceling headphones can be a life-saver during long flights. The two-pin 3.5mm audio ports on airplanes limit the compatibility with headphones, while the complimentary headphones do not offer good noise reduction.

The Tranesca airplane headphone adapter is suitable for headphones that have a 3.5mm audio port. The gold plating delivers the audio without degradation. You can confidently set off knowing your headphones will work seamlessly during your flight.

Click to Check Price

iDARS Inflight Bluetooth Transmitter

The iDars inflight Bluetooth transmitter allows you to connect your noise canceling headphones to the dual 3.5mm headphone jack found in most airplanes. The device is versatile and can also be used as a single 3.5mm port to transmit audio from a computer or television.

It offers great sound with low latency over an 8-hour battery life. The device can be charged while in use with the supplied USB-Micro to USB cable.

Click to Check Price

Best Noise Canceling Headphones Buyers Guide

What is the best noise canceling headphone? To answer this question, we look at the three most important factors contributing to a great pair of headphones. How good is the headphone at reducing outside noise passively and actively, the quality of the sound experienced by the user when wearing the headphones, and the battery life?

Efficacy of the Noise Canceling Headphones

How do noise canceling headphones work? As mentioned before, noise canceling headphones use both passive and active approaches to reducing outside noises. The passive techniques include an over-ear design and a tight-fitting ear cup against your head.

Active noise canceling reduces low-pitched humming and droning sounds by listening to the environment through microphones and then producing the opposite (phase-reversed) version of that sound into the speakers.

Watch the following short video for an explanation of this principle below:

Sound Quality of Noise Canceling Headphones

The quality of the sound produced by a set of noise canceling headphones is determined by the driver, frequency range, and the connection to the device. As a general rule, the larger the driver, the better the sound quality, especially for bass. The headphones in our review all feature 35mm to 40mm drivers.

The frequency range represents the ability of the driver to produce low frequencies (referred to in our article as bass), middle frequencies, and high frequencies.

The connection between your device and the headphones can impact sound quality. A reliable 3.5mm cable can deliver the sound without interruption or loss of quality. The Bluetooth 5.0 supported by many of the headphones listed above is excellent at providing sound without interruptions or loss in quality up to 33ft (10 m).

Battery Life of Noise Canceling Headphones

The best noise canceling headphones boast a long battery life and quick charging times. All of the noise canceling headphones in our review offer more than 20 hours of playback and allow you to relax while listening for long periods of time. When wired, noise canceling headphones typically experience a longer battery life.

Last Thoughts on the Best Noise Canceling Headphones

Whether you are buying a pair of noise canceling headphones to increase your productivity in the office or to reduce distractions while working from home, you will find a suitable pair from our list above. The affordable options are reliable and deliver great results, while the top-of-the-range headphones provide incredible sound and the best noise cancelation.

Considering your personal preferences and your budget, you can confidently buy the best noise canceling headphones for your needs.

Found our article on noise canceling headphones helpful? Read our review of the best 21-inch monitors.

Written by Matthew


Matt is about 80% nerd, 10% writer, 10% animal lover. His love for PC's started at the tender age of 4 and his love for animation and motion graphics fairly soon after. You can normally find him behind a computer screen or playing with his dog Rusty.

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