If you often struggle to focus on your work due to various distractions, you’re not alone. It can be highly frustrating to be constantly interrupted. But fortunately, there is a straightforward solution to help you concentrate on the task: noise-canceling headphones. In this article, we’ll share our top picks for the best noise-canceling headphones on the market. With these exceptional headphones, you can effortlessly block out all the background noise and concentrate on your work. So, keep reading to discover more!
Before we reveal our top picks, let’s answer an important question:
Headphones VS Earbuds: What’s Better At Noise Cancellation?
In general, noise-canceling headphones are much better at canceling out the noise than earbuds. Because of their shape, the ear cups create a seal around your ears, which helps block out external noise. The larger size of headphones also allows for the use of more advanced noise-cancellation technologies. Resultantly, they can block out a much wider range of frequencies.
Best Noise Cancelling Headphones On the Market
Bose 700 – Best Noise-Cancelling Headphones For Travel
With Active noise cancellation, Bose 700 delivers signature superior noise cancellation and more adjustability than any other over-ear headphones we’ve tried.
You won’t have to settle for a one-size-fits-all approach with these babies. You can fine-tune the level of active noise cancellation on a scale from 0 to 10, allowing you to find a level that suits your preferences.
These ANC headphones are designed with your comfort in mind. They’re lightweight, so you can wear them for hours without feeling weighed down. The combination of touch controls and physical buttons makes it easy to adjust your music without taking your eyes off your screen.
Plus, they’re versatile enough to use in wired mode with the ANC on, which is perfect for accessing in-flight entertainment systems. And when you’re not using them, they fold flat for easy storage in the included case.
Are they perfect? Of course not. The app can be frustrating, and the battery life isn’t the longest we’ve seen. But at 20 hours, they’ll still get you through a marathon flight without a problem.
- Excellent noise-cancellation technology
- Comfortable design
- Intuitive touch controls
- Crystal clear call quality
- 20 hours of battery life
- Lacks a 3.5mm headphone jack
Sony Wh-1000xm5 – Best Noise-Cancelling Headphones For Gaming
This fifth-generation headphone model was introduced in 2016 as the MDR-1000X Wireless headphone. And has only improved with each iteration.
The XM5 boasts a fresh design with significant changes to the headband and a carrying case that’s 20% bigger than its predecessor. At 250 grams, these headphones are lighter and more comfortable than the XM4, with snug-fitting ear pads made of durable synthetic leather.
When it comes to features, the XM5 doesn’t disappoint. Quick Attention and Speak-To-Chat modes are just a few features packed into these headphones. The touch controls work flawlessly, and users can swipe forward across the ear cup to skip tracks and swipe back to go to the previous track.
The XM5 is powered by dual processors – Sony’s QN1 and V1 chips. It offers superior noise cancellation with double the number of microphones compared to the XM4. There are even additional microphones dedicated to voice calls so you can take phone calls with crystal-clear clarity.
And don’t forget about battery life. With up to 30 hours of playtime on a single charge, the XM5 can keep up with even the longest flights.
- Top-tier noise-cancellation technology
- Great sound quality
- Touch controls are intuitive
- Can be controlled through an app
- Battery life lasts up to 30 hours
- Can be a bit heavy on the head
Anker Soundcore Space Q45 – Best Noise-Cancelling Headphones For Work
The Anker Soundcore Space Q45 Wireless headphones are a budget alternative to our top picks. The adaptive ANC system in the Anker Soundcore Space Q45 Wireless headphones is a game-changer, as it detects your surroundings and adjusts its performance accordingly.
This technology works wonders at blocking out noise across the board, making it a great choice for commuting or working in noisy cafes. Switching to manual ANC is possible via the companion app. It also lets you customize the ambient noise you want to hear while connected via analog.
These over-ear noise-cancelling headphones have a v-shaped sound profile, making them an excellent choice for rock and pop music fans. They deliver the thump and boom you need while keeping cymbals crisp. You can further tweak the sound using the companion app’s graphic EQ and presets.
The Anker Soundcore Space Q45 Wireless headphones have an impressive battery life of over 27 hours and support multi-device pairing, allowing you to stay connected to your PC and smartphone simultaneously.
If you’re looking for high-performing noise-canceling headphones without breaking the bank, the Anker Soundcore Space Q45 is your best shot.
- Adaptive noise-canceling
- Affordable price
- Solid sound quality
- Comfortable to wear
- Long battery life of up to 27 hours
- Sound quality can be inconsistent
- Build quality feels a bit cheap
Beats Studio 3 – Best Noise-Cancelling Headphones For Studying
The flagship wireless noise-cancelling headphones from the Beats are another excellent choice. The design is sleek and stylish, almost monotone, with a sturdy plastic body. The oval cut-outs in the pads are perfect for most ears, and the over-ear design eliminates the ear fatigue issues that plague on-ear headphones.
Moreover, the headphones come with Apple’s W1 chip, making the connection process smooth as silk when hooking up with iPhones or iPads. The controls on the left cup are compatible with both Androids and iPhones. The wireless performance is top-notch, regardless of the device used.
With Pure ANC, the Beats Studio 3 Wireless feature an extra layer of smart noise-cancellation technology. Although they are a bit more susceptible to wind noise than some other models, they are designed to avoid distortion caused by the cancellation of louder sources.
The headphones offer a battery life of up to 22 hours with wireless and ANC on and up to 40 hours when ANC is switched off. The wireless connectivity is great, and the Beats Studio 3 Wireless are a good investment if you can get them at half the original price or less. However, if you’re looking for better noise-canceling headphones with superior sound quality, you should look elsewhere.
- Stylish design
- Comfortable fit
- Decent noise-canceling technology
- Good battery life of up to 22 hours
- Easy pairing with Apple devices
- Build quality could be better
- Not ideal for non-Apple device users
1more Sonoflow – Best Noise-Cancelling Headphones For Sleeping
Want a stylish and comfortable pair of wireless noise-canceling headphones on an under $100 budget? Go for the 1More SonoFlow. While the noise cancellation may not be as amazing as the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700, it’s still effective. The sound can be easily adjusted to your preferences.
The lightweight design and soft foam earcups ensure a comfortable fit for hours. And if you’re a lady, you will appreciate the sleek design that won’t mess up your outfit. Plus, the five microphones ensure clear audio during calls and video chats.
One of the best features of the 1More SonoFlow set is the dual-device connectivity. Switching audio between your phone and laptop is super convenient without fiddling with Bluetooth settings. The battery life is also impressive, with up to 50 hours with ANC on (or 70 hours off).
Another bonus is that these headphones have a cable, so you can use them in wired mode when necessary. However, it’s worth noting that the ANC won’t work in wired mode. If you need a connection to the in-flight entertainment system in a place, you’ll have to choose between ANC and the wired connection.
If you want even more customization, you can download the “1 MORE App” on your phone to adjust the audio settings. Overall, if you’re looking for affordable noise-cancelling headphones under a $100 budget, the 1More SonoFlow set is worth considering.
- Affordable price
- Lightweight and comfortable
- Long battery life (up to 50 hours)
- Five microphones for clear calls
- Dual-device connectivity
- Noise-canceling is not as effective as higher-end models
- ANC is not available in wired mode
Honorable mentions: Other noise-canceling headphones worth considering
- Apple AirPods Max – The Apple AirPods Max are premium noise-cancelling headphones for iOS users looking to benefit from the Apple ecosystem. They have great build quality and come in different colors. They have a heavy design but are still well-padded and decently comfortable. The over-ears have a great noise isolation performance, and their ANC can block out a wide range of sounds. They have adaptive EQ and a fairly neutral sound. iOS users can also use EQ presets in their device’s settings to tweak their sound and access Spatial Audio.
- Bose QuietComfort 45 – Bose’s QuietComfort 45 headphones are a comfortable, lightweight option with USB-C charging and 24-hour battery life. These headphones are similar to the QC35II and are comfortable for long listening sessions. The updated active noise cancellation and transparency mode are also included. However, there is no way to turn off noise cancellation without activating transparency mode. Thanks to the February 2022 firmware update, you can now customize EQ. This makes sound quality more even-handed than the Sony 1000XM4s.
- Sony WH-H910N – The Sony WH-H910N/h.ear-on 3 Wireless headphones are another pair worth a mention. Although their ANC system is not powerful enough for bass-range noise like plane engines, they have a 40-hour continuous playback time and can be used with ANC while wired. Their bassy sound is suitable for electronica and hip-hop fans. Their companion app provides a graphic EQ and presets for sound customization. These headphones have a comfortable fit but only come with a double-lined carrying pouch that won’t protect them from impact damage.
A Tech-Junkie’s Guide to Choosing the Best Noise-Cancelling Headphones
Here’s what to consider when finding a suitable noise cancelling pair.
1. Headphone Type
Familiarize yourself with the different noise-canceling technologies. Consider whether you need active noise cancellation, passive noise cancellation, or adaptive noise cancellation.
- PASSIVE NOISE-CANCELLATION: This type of noise cancellation uses physical barriers to block out sound. It’s less effective than the other types, but it’s often found in earplugs and noise-canceling headphones. Noise-canceling headphones with ear cups designed to create a seal around your ears also use passive noise cancellation.
- ACTIVE NOISE-CANCELLATION: Active noise cancellation is more powerful than passive noise cancellation but requires batteries. Noise-canceling headphones mainly use active noise cancellation, but some earbuds also use it.
- ADAPTIVE NOISE CANCELLATION: This type of noise cancellation is the most powerful and expensive. It employs a microphone to pick up on external noise and creates a sound wave 180 degrees out of phase with the noise, effectively canceling it. Adaptive noise cancellation is less common than the other two types of noise cancellation.
Premium noise-cancellation headphones come with a premium price tag. Be prepared to spend significant money if you want great audio and noise cancellation. While bargains are available, cheap, flimsy headphones won’t cut it for long flights or noisy environments. Look for headphones in the hundreds of dollars, not the dozens.
3. Try Before You Buy
If possible, try on the headphones you’re interested in and toggle their noise-cancellation system. Pay attention to how well you can hear your surroundings without music playing. Also, consider the fit and whether you can wear them comfortably for extended periods.
4. Test Out All Features
Don’t just use noise-canceling headphones to block out noise; test their music and podcast capabilities too. Load up your smartphone or media player with your favorite music and see how it sounds with the noise cancellation on and off. Look for headphones that prioritize audio quality and noise cancellation.
5. Battery Life and Warranty
Active noise-canceling headphones have an audio processor that requires power, so check the battery life of the headphones you’re interested in. Look for models with a solid warranty and good customer service policies. You don’t want to invest in an expensive pair of headphones only to have them fail without the support of a good warranty or a helpful customer service team.
Noise-canceling headphones have come a long way in recent years, and 2023 brings some of the best options yet. As you’ve seen, many great options are available, from the Sony WH-1000XM5 to the Bose 700 and the Anker Soundcore Space Q45 Wireless. So, whether you are looking to drown out background noise on a flight or stay focused while working from home, invest in a good pair of noise-canceling headphones, and enjoy the peace they provide. Good luck!