11 Best Noise-Cancelling Headphones in 2019

best noise canceling headphones
When you put on a pair of headphones, do you hope for total and complete noise isolation so you can listen to your audio without distraction? Are you looking for the best way to drown out the noises of loud, busy environments while still being able to travel and work with convenience? If you’re looking for headphones that reduce background noise, you’re going to need to find the best noise-cancelling headphones with high-quality performance and a comfortable design.

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How to Choose the Best Noise-Cancelling Headphones

Why choose noise-cancelling headphones over other types of headphones? A reliable pair of noise-cancelling headphones can be a great investment that will bring you years of enjoyment, no matter what type of lifestyle you have.

  • Work: If you’re someone who frequently travels for work, there’s a good chance that you’ll need a pair of noise-cancelling headphones that can help you focus and be more productive, even in crowded or loud environments.
  • Music: Whether you’re musicians or you just enjoy listening to your favorite tunes undisturbed, a pair of noise-cancelling headphones can bring out the sound of your music while minimizing the annoying noises from the world around you.
  • TV and Movies: Whether you’re on a plane or in the comfort of your own home, having noise cancelling headphones can make your movie and TV watching experiences much more enjoyable and captivating – no more having to rewind to figure out what the characters are whispering about!
  • Gaming: For a truly immersive gaming experience, you’ll need the best noise-cancelling headphones with microphone capabilities and great battery life so you can get the most out of your games without having to turn down the volume.

If you’re wondering how to choose the right noise-cancelling headphones for your needs, you’ll need to consider price, comfort, connectivity and overall quality.

Comfort, Features and Extras

Comfort: Wearing uncomfortable or ill-fitted headphones can lead to listening fatigue, rending you sore after wearing the headphones for too long. When using a pair of noise-cancelling headphones, you want them to be comfortable enough to wear for extended amounts of time. The cups need to be well ventilated with breathable material so that you don’t get sweaty ears. Depending on their form factor (in-ear, over-ear or on-ear), weight and shape may also be an important factor in overall comfort as well as portability.

Features: A popular and very useful feature, particularly for people with busy lifestyles, is quick charging. The best noise-cancelling headphones will only need to be charged for short periods of time, such as 5 to 10 minutes. Other features may include an inbuilt microphone to make or take calls and downloadable smartphone applications that you can use to enhance listening. Finally, the high-end canceling headphones will have practical and easy-to-navigate touch controls to quickly play, pause and skip your listening material.

Extras: Manufacturers always try to add some extras, including a high-quality carrying case to store your headphones while you travel. Not only will a compact carrying case make your headphones more portable, but it can also help extend the overall lifespan of your headphones by helping to reduce wear and tear. While not always necessary, many quality headphones also come with various cables and adapters, such as airplane adapters, for added convenience.

Sound Quality

What exactly makes a pair of headphones “noise-cancelling”? Noise-cancelling headphones are headphones specifically designed to reduce or eliminate ambient or background noises. The sound quality of noise-cancelling headphones can be the same as other types of headphones, with a focus on active noise control (commonly referred to as ANC). As part of this active noise control feature, some noise-cancelling headphones produce a static-like noise while they’re turned on. This will generally be most noticeable when no audio or music is playing, but the impact on overall sound quality can vary. Generally, decent noise-cancelling headphones will have noise isolation features that far outweigh the idle white noise that ANC can produce.

One of the biggest advantages to noise-cancelling headphones is the fact that you don’t have to turn them up to ultra-high volume in order to drown out background noises. This can potentially improve the sound quality of the audio you’re listening to while dueling reducing the possibility of damaging your hearing. Without the need for constantly having your headphones turned up to the highest volume, you can experience health benefits by opting for noise cancelling headphones over other alternatives.

Battery Life and Connectivity

When it comes to buying wireless devices, the battery life is often one of the top features to consider. Without a power running to your wireless headphones, there would be no ANC.

Good headphones will have a battery life of at least 10 to 20 hours. Some high-end devices can even have 30 hours of performance before needing a charge. If you plan on using your noise-cancelling headphones frequently, you’re going to want to look for headphones that are rechargeable or capable of being used while wired.

Most ANC headphones are wireless and connect via either Bluetooth or Near Field Communication (or “NFC” for short). Of the two, Bluetooth is more readily available on the vast majority of devices, such as smartphones, TVs, laptops and tablets. Bluetooth also has a much larger range of connectivity with paired devices compared with NFC.

When it comes to making your headphones run as long as possible, NFC uses up a lot less battery life and may help extend how long you can listen to your audio. Unfortunately, NFC is much slower than Bluetooth; it may also have difficulty playing larger files, such as high-quality music files. Many of noise-cancelling headphones can have both Bluetooth and NFC functionality so you can use your headphones according to what works best for your preferences.

Active and Passive Noise Cancelling

If you’re looking at the world of noise-cancelling headphones, you’ll need to investigate passive and active noise-cancelling. These are the two types of noise cancellations that headphones use to isolate sounds.

Passive noise cancellation works by blocking out noise from the outside world through the actual, physical design and material of the headphones. Most of the time, the “donut” or headphone cup is completely enclosed.

Active noise cancellation uses electronic technology to cancel out the noises around you. The headphones detect the sounds around you using a microphone on the inside of the cup. It then produces its own sound wave which is exactly opposite of the noise that the microphone picks up. This is then sent to the headphone’s speaker where the noise isolation actually takes place.

Active: Active noise cancellation requires power to work. If you turn off or unplug the headphones (essentially removing the battery or power), then the ANC will no longer function. You will only have the passive noise cancellation to help block out the noise.

Passive: Passive headphones will usually cost less than ANC headphones, but their effectiveness depends entirely on the materials that are used in the construction of the headphones as well as the design of the cups.

Which One is Better: While the active noise cancellation feature comes at a premium price point, ANC headphones work much more efficiently at cancelling out noise than passive headphones. Additionally, they do not have to be playing audio to have the ANC. This means you could use your noise-cancelling headphones to block out sounds from the world around you in different scenarios, like a busy workplace or on an aircraft, without listening to actual audio. It all comes down to your needs for noise cancellation and how much you’d like to spend; investing in a quality pair of noise-cancelling headphones is likely the better choice if you consistently use headphones on a day-to-day basis.

11 Best Noise-Cancelling Headphones of 2019

Bose QuietComfort 35 Series II

Elegance, Comfort, and Silence

bose quietcomfort 35 series ii
The QuietComfort 35 are dubbed as being the most powerful noise-cancelling headphones from Bose yet. With an elegant and comfortable design, Alexa voice command integration, and a battery that offers up to 20 hours of continuous play, the story looks complete. However, Bose brings the icing on the cake with their revolutionary 3-level noise cancellation system.

The sound, noise cancelation, and other settings can be adjusted using the Bose Connect app that can be downloaded, for free, from the App and Play stores. With the app, the headphones are a fantastic audio system that offers the intimacy you want, regardless of location.

The sound quality is just as revolutionary, with a good bass presence and clear, crisp high notes. Furthermore, when paired with an easy to wear design and premium quality materials, the end result can’t be anything else than stellar!

Pros:

  • Padded headband for long-term wear
  • Premium materials
  • Impressive sound quality
  • 3-levels noise cancelation
  • Bose Connect app for increased control
  • Integration with Alexa
  • 20h battery life
Cons:

  • The mic picks up environmental noise during calls
  • Slight pressure due to ANC
  • Sound can be a bit muffled

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Sony WH1000XM3

Industry Leading Noise Cancelation

sony wh1000xm3
Sony took the world by surprise with their latest proprietary noise cancelation system! The purpose of this system is threefold as the ANC strives to offer perfect sound quality while the world happens around you, and the additional microphones help isolate the sound of your voice and cut out the environmental noise.

As a result, these headphones are great for listening to your tunes in peace and have long phone calls. In terms of design, there’s nothing to stand out, but they are comfortable and quite elegant. The headphones are lightweight, and they don’t put pressure on your ears, but the overall wearing sensation is different for each person.

The sound quality is impressive due to the 40mm drivers with LCP diaphragms and Hi-Res Audio Compatible that helps reproduce a range of frequencies that goes up to 40kHz. Finally, the headphones can be easily packed, and they come with a neat and cool-looking protective case.

Pros:

  • Comfortable design
  • Impressive audio quality
  • World-leading ANC
  • Easy to carry around
  • Long battery life (up to 30h)
  • Easy to control
Cons:

  • Takes a bit to learn the control gestures
  • Charging cable is short
  • You don’t get a charging adapter
  • A bit on the large side

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Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2

Immersive Sound & Fantastic Comfort

Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2 Wireless Headphones
The BackBeat PRO 2 feature a bulkier design (than usual) but the overall level of sound and comfort is definitely improved! The sound is immersive, and you get to hear a spacious, clear and powerful musical representation. The mid-tones are natural, the bass is rich, and the highs are as crisp as you want them to be.

The Active Noise Cancelling system is well-designed and allows you to switch it on and off. While it won’t completely stop the ambient noise, it does minimize it, which is why these headphones are perfect for traveling or working.

The battery will hold for up to 24 hours of continuous play and there are integrated microphones, so you can use these for phone calls as well. The headphones also support a wired connection, for those moments when you don’t have the possibility to recharge them.

Plantronics BackBeat PRO 2 has a pretty good range, at about 330ft away from your audio source (usually a phone or a tablet). Also, the earcups swivel so you can lay them flat on any surface. This minimizes any damage and makes them easy to pack in a bag or backpack.

Pros:

  • Sturdy design
  • Premium materials
  • High audio quality
  • Long battery life
  • Long range
  • Supports two simultaneous connections
  • Smart sensors that automatically pause music
Cons:

  • Automatic pause doesn’t work with all apps
  • The fit is a bit tight
  • Bulky design
  • A bit on the heavy side

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Sennheiser PXC 550 Wireless

High-End ANC & Phone Call Quality

Sennheiser PXC 550 Bluetooth Headphones
The PXC 550 from Sennheiser offer you about 30 hours of operation, Bluetooth 4.2 technology with NFC pairing and NoiseGard adaptive noise cancellation. Besides this, their design is elegant and, due to premium materials, the headset is comfortable for long wear.

You can use the PXC 550 at home, to listen to your favorite tunes without wires or to watch movies and play video games. But you can also use them while traveling (NoiseGard is highly effective in keeping ambient noises out) or while at the office.

If you’re the kind of person who likes to go for a walk with the dogs while taking a conference call, the PXC 550 may be your best choice! Due to its triple microphone array, the sound of your voice will be heard clearly on the other side, even if you are in a noisy environment.

Finally, the sound quality is impressive, with rich bass, clear highs, and natural mid-tones. The headphones can be fine-tuned using Sennheiser’s CapTune app, so they are perfect for audiophiles and professionals. You’ll also love the touch controls on the right cup and the swivel on/off feature!

Pros:

  • Elegant and Lightweight design
  • Compatible with a wide range of audio devices
  • Collapsible and foldable
  • NoiseGard is effective
  • Clear and powerful sound
  • Great fine-tuning app
  • Amazing phone call capacity
Cons:

  • Touch controls need a bit of adjusting to
  • Vocal low battery warning can be annoying
  • Takes 2 to 3 hours to charge
  • It’s easy to forget them ON

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AKG N60 NC

Designed for Travel

akg n60 nc
With a lightweight and fresh-looking design, the N60 were created with the needs of a traveler in mind.
First, there’s the sound! These headphones deliver Grammy award-winning sound with 10Hz to 22kHz frequency response and a clear and warm acoustic signature. If you’re not used to listening to your music in style, these will blow your mind!

Furthermore, they are equipped with superior ANC that allows you to fully get immersed in the music without being bothered by outside noises. You can use them on trains, in planes, and on the street due to the long-lasting battery (up to 30h), but they can also be used if the battery dies (using the supplied wire).

Because the producer only used premium materials (leather and memory foam for the earpads and headband and aluminum for the frame), they are lightweight and comfortable to wear during long hauls.

Finally, the headphones are designed to fold in a neat little package and are delivered with all the necessary features for a fantastic musical experience!

Pros:

  • High-end materials
  • Impressive sound quality
  • Lightweight & comfortable design
  • Long lasting battery
  • Full set of accessories
Cons:

  • They are a bit small
  • A bit weird to wear with glasses
  • They tend to slip off if you move too much
  • The design is a bit fragile

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Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H9i

Sound, Elegance & ANC in one Design

bang olufsen beoplay h9i
Bang & Olufsen is a high-end brand in the world of music, and they transposed the same attention to details that made them famous, into their H9i headphones. As a result, users get to enjoy premium materials, clever design, and immersive sound in one package!

The ANC feature is designed to block the voice of other people and low frequencies. This will improve your listening experience while traveling or working in a public space. Furthermore, the headphones are equipped with two dedicated microphones that catch your voice without interferences. This makes the H9i perfect for phone calls whether you’re calling friends and family or you’re actively participating in a business meeting.

The headphones can be controlled using the touch-sensitive aluminum interface on the right cup or using the B&O app. Furthermore, the producer promises up to 18 hours of battery life and they also feature a design where it’s easy to swap the battery. Finally, the 121ft range gives you freedom of movement.

Pros:

  • Elegant design
  • Comfortable due to premium materials
  • Good ANC functionality
  • Enhanced sound quality
  • Long range
  • Good battery power
Cons:

  • The phone app is basic
  • It takes a bit to get used to the control gestures
  • The proximity sensor may pose some problems
  • The battery door is difficult to remove

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Bowers and Wilkins PX

Feel the Music Wherever You Are

bowers wilkins px
The PX headphones are designed to respond to your movements and actions. For instance, when you want to talk to someone or listen to information, you can pause the music by simply lifting one earcup. Also, if you put them down, the headphones go to sleep, only to wake up when you put them on your head again. The music will continue from where you left off. As a result, the 22h battery will last just as advertised.

Bowers & Wilkins introduced all these features so people would stop worrying about the headphones and enjoy music more. And you should focus more on sound because these headphones feature a set of powerful drivers, angled to provide the most natural stereo perspective.

The PX headphones come with adaptive noise canceling that can be adjusted according to your situation. Also, they support aptxHD technology, so you can use them to watch videos, movies, and even play video games without any lagging.

Finally, like most wireless headphones nowadays, PX come with a companion app which allows users to fine-tune the sound, ANC, and other features.

Pros:

  • Comfortable & elegant design
  • They respond to users’ movements & actions
  • Long battery life
  • Impressive sound quality
  • Wide soundstage
  • ANC can be adjusted as needed
Cons:

  • Sensors can be disturbed by glasses
  • They need a breaking in period
  • The audio source must be good for the sound to be good

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Sennheiser Momentum 2.0

Perfect for Freedom of Sound

sennheiser momentum 2
The Momentum 2.0 features the legendary NoiseGard ANC system from Sennheiser but also come equipped with modern sound technology. As a result, you’ll have the opportunity to listen to your favorite tunes, in perfect harmony, without being disturbed by the world around.

The battery will last for about 22 hours of continuous play, but you can use them as wired headphones too (in case the battery gives in). They also work great for phone calls, due to the 2 built-in microphones that eliminate ambient sound and only send your voice.

You’ll also love the design, which is modern, comfortable, and elegant. The leather headband combines nicely with the aluminum frame, but the earcups may prove to be a tad small for some people (since this is an around-the-ear design).

Finally, they are easy to fold and come with a protective case that keeps them safe from any accidental damage.

Pros:

  • Crystal clear sound
  • Elegant design
  • Comfortable to wear
  • Long battery life
  • Controls on the earcup
  • 16 Hz – 22 kHz frequency response
  • Detachable cable
  • Protective case & foldable design
Cons:

  • Earcups can be a bit small
  • ANC can’t be disabled while wireless
  • Uncomfortable with glasses

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Bose QuietControl 30

Designed to Control the Environmental Noise

Bose QuietControl 30
Besides the lightweight and practical design, the Bose QuietControl 30 are equipped with revolutionary technology that allows the user to fine-tune the amount of noise that goes through. The Bose Connect app is perfect for setting up the level of noise cancellation you want and gives you full access to the volume-optimized EQ system.

The headphones are easy to wear, due to the comfortable neckband, and look good in most formal and informal situations. Also, the Bluetooth and NFC pairing make it easy to find your favorite devices and switch between them. The headphones support a range of 10m, which is quite generous.

Moreover, the QuietControl 30 are equipped with noise rejecting dual-microphone that only picks up your voice. This makes them great for all sorts of phone calls. And, since the battery lasts for up to 10 hours, you won’t have any interruptions!

Pros:

  • Elegant & lightweight design
  • Impressive sound quality
  • Easy to fine-tune due to the app
  • Adjustable ANC
  • Comfortable to wear
Cons:

  • The microphone picks up ambient noise
  • The remote control is pulling slightly on the right earbud
  • Not designed for gym use

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Audio-Technica ATH-MSR7NC

The Best Way to Enjoy Privacy with your Music while in Public

audio-technica ath-msr7nc sonicpro
With a closed back design and an over-the-ear design, the Audio-Technica ATH-MSR7NC provide pretty good sound isolation. However, it’s the 360-degree omnidirectional noise canceling technology they feature that helps create those perfect oases of silence when you’re in public.

Moreover, the headphones are equipped with 45 mm True Motion Drivers, which deliver deep bass, natural mid-tones, and crisp highs, creating a spacious musical effect without any distortions. These headphones will help you find new nuances in your favorite songs!

To make things even better, the headphones are designed with premium materials, such as leather and ultra-comfortable memory foam for the ear pads. In addition, the ear cups have venting channels, to allow the air to move and cool your ears.

These headphones only support a wired connection, but the cables are detachable for your convenience. Also, the battery provides about 30 hours of ANC, so you can enjoy as much privacy as you want while in public.

Pros:

  • Hi-res sound
  • Premium materials
  • Comfortable design
  • Delivered with all the necessary accessories
  • Impressive ANC
  • Long battery life
Cons:

  • They don’t fold into a smaller package
  • There’s a lot of creaking plastic
  • The cable can be an inconvenience
  • A bit on the heavy side

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Beats Studio 3

Great Design & Impressive ANC Features

beats studio 3
Equipped with pure ANC that actively blocks any outside noise, the Beats Studio3 do a great job at shutting out the world. But don’t worry, you can let everyone back in by simply removing the headphones!

Although you may not want to since the sound is of premium quality! Moreover, they are armed with Apple’s W1 chip, which features Class 1 BT connectivity without lags or interferences. As a result, your music experience will be at the highest possible levels!

The battery lasts for about 22 hours of continuous play time, and the design is perfect for long-term listening sessions. The ear pads are soft, and the ear cups are designed with efficient vents that allow the air to move through.

Finally, the headphones fold in a neat-looking little package that fits in the included protective case.

Pros:

  • Great sound quality
  • About 100 ft range
  • Impressive ANC feature
  • Gorgeous design
Cons:

  • They feel a bit tight and heavy
  • The low end is a bit emphasized
  • The price is a bit steep

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Purchasing a pair of noise cancelling headphones, earbuds or an MP3 player can be an intimidating investment. Choose wisely and balance your wants for style with your needs for function!

2 Comments

  1. hetvi mistry October 24, 2017

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