Best Noise Canceling Headphones Reviewed & Rated for Quality

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Traveling can be a long, boring and draining experience. The most tiring thing about flying is that you may have to sit there for long hours listening to someone else’s boring music because you don’t have a choice. The constant buzzing sound produced by plane engines can drive you insane. At other times, the sound of crying babies makes you regret why you had to travel with the airline in the first place. Any frequent traveler is familiar with these annoying occurrences that ruin the traveling experience. Many people will take the slightest opportunity to reduce or eliminate all the noise and enjoy the journey.

Bose QuietComfort
  • Bose QuietComfort
  • 4.8 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Excellent Comfort and Sound
  • Price: See Here
Beats
  • Beats
  • 4.7 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Long battery life
  • Price: See Here
Tao Tronics
  • Tao Tronics
  • 4.5 out of 5
    Our rating
  • Ergonomic ear cups
  • Price: See Here

This makes it important to have active noise canceling headphones to make the journey smooth and enjoyable. Many manufacturers of these gadgets have adopted the latest technologies to make superior products that deliver high-quality sound while blocking all the annoying sound from the nearby surroundings. If you want to leave the rest of the world behind while you go to your own personalized lively environment full of the music that you love then you seriously need to consider these gadgets. You cannot afford to be distracted while jogging because the process itself is not easy for many people. If you are having trouble choosing the most ideal headset for your morning runs, travel or music time, below is a list of top 10 best brands reviewed for quality.

 

10 Best Noise Cancelling Headphones

 

1. Bose QuietComfort

Bose QuietComfort 25 is one of the best-performing headphones from the company, with more comfort and superior sound. Putting these on change everything around you, as the music is deep and balanced. It also produces powerful sound while remaining so quiet that virtually every note sound can be heard clearly. The wired design will make you enjoy your air travel as the airplane roar fades away gently.
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Compatibility with Apple Products

Designed to work with Apple gadgets, this device will connect to the iPhone, iPad, and iPod. The hands-free feature allows complete control over various music functions to enhance the listening experience.

Better by Design

The lightweight design and pillow-like softness make them very comfortable to wear. They cushion the ear after a custom fine-tuned fit achieved by rotating the ear cups.

Cost and Value

These headphones will feel very soft on your ears and will allow you to connect to your iPod and other iPhone products to enhance your jogging or traveling experience. The price is modest.
Pros

Ideal for travel, work, and other situations

Comfortable to wear all day long

Allows users to control calls on Apple devices

Ear cups rotate to achieve a fine-tuned fit

Cons

The wiring can cause inconvenience

Does not turn off when left on accidentally

2. Beats

This model offers the most convenience when you are on the go, running or working out. The advantage it has over other brands is its capability to have a longer battery life of up to 22 hours and an additional fast charge battery feature. Moreover, you can enjoy its first class Bluetooth connection that is from the W1 Apple chip installed in the gadget.
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Battery Life

The brand guarantees up to 22 hours of battery life which is extremely convenient during long days of working out and even runs, in the morning and evening. Moreover, the fast charge feature enables it to have up to 3 hours of battery life after only 10 minutes of charging it.

Seamless Swithcing

The brand allows you to easily switch from your iOS system, straight from being on a phone call to using sound on your MacBook, whether you have iOS 10 or 11 with much convenience and ease.

Cost and Value

It is great for runners and listeners who would like to have complete control over their devices, laptop or phone. It is convenient for switching schedules on a busy day and allows you to enjoy a long battery life without the worry of losing out on the full experience making it worth every penny.
Pros

Complete control over the functionality of the item

Longer battery life

Seamless Switching function

Fast charge fuel

Has pure ANC

Cons

Some customers complain that they are uncomfortable to wear and cannot be used for more than 3 hours

Quite bulky

3. Sony

The Sony WH1000XM2 allows users to listen to their favorite music playlist in peace. It features powerful adaptive sound control, enabling smart listening and delivering a personalized listening experience. Downloading the Sony I Headphones Connect app allows you total control over your ambient sound settings. The equalizer enables the user to adjust sound levels. Take trips stress-free by losing yourself in rich-bass music without background interference.
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Smart Listening

The Sony WH1000XM2 features adaptive sound control by auto-detecting your activity based on background noise to balance canceling levels accordingly. It will adapt to your surrounding area to deliver a superior listening experience, regardless of whether you are at the airport, in a quiet cafeteria, or on a crowded street.

Sony I Headphones Connect

This application places more control over the device on your hands so that you can determine your listening experience. The equalizer allows you to achieve customized or desired sound levels.

Cost and Value

The ability to auto-detect the listener’s immediate environment and provide the most appropriate listening experience makes the Sony WH1000XM2 a powerful choice. While the user might have to part with a few hundred dollars, this will be compensated by the rich sound.
Pros

Automatically detects nearby surroundings to offer an enhanced listening experience

The smart app allows users to control their ambient sound settings

Touch control to play music and receive calls

Long-lasting battery of up to 30 hours playtime

Cons

Not sturdy construction

The noise canceling (NC) is good but not great

4. Tao Tronics

4. Tao Tronics
The Tao Tronics will give you a perfect quiet zone to enjoy all by yourself. The headset neutralizes all annoying ambient noises to leave you to enjoy an exceptional audio experience without interruptions. Ergonomically-shaped ear cups are built to last and will serve you for longer. The foam cushions are also designed to envelop the ears in luxurious comfort. They also deliver an impressive 25-hour playtime.
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Adjustable Fit, Maximum Comfort

There is no denying that Tao Tronics headsets are lightweight and comfortable to wear throughout your journey, no matter how long it is. Adjustable headband conforms to the shape and size of your head for a seamless fit.

Long-Lasting Music Playback

The model delivers up to 25 hours of playtime via the Bluetooth technology. The 90 degrees swiveling ear cups with soft leather envelop and cushion the ears to deliver extended luxurious comfort.

Cost and Value

They are great if you are on a lengthy flight and can’t seem to find anything else more interesting to do. The 25-hour long battery life will ensure you remain entertained for longer. In addition, they are quite affordable.
Pros

Provides a personalized quiet zone for uninterrupted listening

The ergonomic design means they are built to last

Adjustable headband to fit all head sizes

Long-lasting battery for longer playtime

Cons

People seated can hear the music, making them bad for use at work

The clamp pressure can be a bit high

5. Sennheiser

5. Sennheiser
This second generation wireless headset features wireless Bluetooth technology to eliminate the stressful wires that come with wired headsets. The active noise canceling headphones virtually get rid of unwanted ambient sound to produce the ultimate enhanced audio experience that every user is looking for. Joggers and runners will particularly like this because of larger ear cups that cover the entire ear and cancel the noise from the rest of the world.
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Superior Wireless Sound

If you are looking for wireless freedom to help you focus on other activities such as running and jogging, this item will enable you to wirelessly connect to Bluetooth-enabled devices to listen to high-quality music.

Premium Materials

Leather-covered ear cushions coupled with stainless steel headband deliver style while assuring durability. The iconic design gives the overall feel of fashion, style, and elegance.

Cost and Value

The iconic design is both stylish and durable, thanks to the premium materials used to make the headband and ear cushions. The truly wireless design eliminates the need for complex wiring. The price can be slightly above average but it is worth the cost.
Pros

Produces sound of high quality

Immediate pairing using ‘at a touch’ Bluetooth pairing

Durable stainless steel headband

Foldable headband for convenience

Cons

Noise-canceling may not be that great

Can be a little expensive

6. Sony MDR100ABN

6. Sony MDR100ABN
The Sony MDR100ABN/B delivers breathtaking sound via wireless Bluetooth technology. Lockout all the noise using digital buttons. The product also combines high-resolution sound compatibility with long-listening comfort and striking design to deliver real value for money. The easy, one-touch connectivity makes it ideal for athletes who want to listen to music while jogging without background sound distractions or annoying cables and wires but pure authentic sound to make people lose themselves in the music.
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Hi-Res Audio Compatibility

Users have an opportunity to listen to music at its best. Stream your favorite music live via Bluetooth connectivity and enjoy listening all day long. It also allows you to focus on music and lock out all the noise

Adapts to Surrounding

If you are a fan of smart listening, this Sony model will deliver smart listening features that adapt to the surrounding areas by performing active sound canceling based on your immediate surroundings.

Cost and Value

Whether you are at the airport or reading at the coffee shop, these headphones will actively listen to your immediate environment and deliver a custom-made listening experience based on the environment. The cost can be a bit high but the sound quality and powerful control features will compensate for that.
Pros

Hear your favorite music at its best

Wireless Bluetooth connectivity to eliminate the need for annoying cables

Adapts to surrounding for a personalized listening experience

Compatible with Apple devices

Cons

Relatively small ear cups

Can be uncomfortable to wear for long

7. Plantronics

7. Plantronics
Enjoy immersive audio with this on-demand headset. From natural mid-tones to crisp highs and rich bass, there is no limit to what you could get with Plantronics. A single charge could last you 24 hours and the strong, stable Bluetooth connectivity allows you to wirelessly stream audio from up to 330 feet away. With just a touch of a button, you could block the rest of the world from interfering with your enjoyment while jogging.
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Rich, Immersive Audio

It is now possible to escape from the rest of the noisy world with Plantronics signature audio. Whether you enjoy crisp high notes or rich bass, you will find all in one place.

Smart Sensors

This model is loaded with smart sensors to pause and play your music when you remove or put your headset back on. You don’t have to worry about the music playing continuously and draining your battery while indeed no one is listening.

Cost and Value

Loaded with smart sensors to pause your music when you remove them from your head and resume playback when worn over the head, this Plantronics product is the real deal. The cost is quite modest.
Pros

Pauses music when headphones are removed

24-hour long-lasting battery

Plantronics signature audio for rich, deep bass and high notes

Wireless freedom of up to 330 feet

Cons

A bit bulky and heavy

Shallow ear cups can put pressure on ears

8. Conambo

8. Conambo
Conambo CQ7 is great for those on a budget but in need of world-class quality. This product delivers enhanced audio performance but helps you save a few hundred dollars. City traffic noise and airplanes roaring as the airport can be a nuisance, but this model could free you from all that. Turning it on will almost always turn off the rest of the world around you.
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Wireless and Wired Playback

It gives the user a wide range of options for greater flexibility. Whether you prefer the wired or wireless option, music or calls, or various levels of noise canceling, you will get everything you need under one roof.

Lightweight and Comfortable

Weighing only 180g, this product is extremely light and yet features premium materials. It is much lighter than most other items in the same category. The perfect fit will also leave you feeling comfortable all day long.

Cost and Value

It is great for those looking to have a high-quality headset on a budget. The lightweight design will make it comfortable to wear no matter where you are traveling. In addition, it is extremely pocket-friendly.
Pros

Outstanding noise reduction

Allows both wired and wireless playback

Extremely light and comfortable

Quick control over the music

Cons

Weak noise canceling

Sound quality may not be as great

9. Esonstyle

9. Esonstyle
This brand and model reduces distracting ambient noise. With just a flick of a switch, the user could manage to reduce noise by up to 90 percent. It is great for those who want to remain disconnected from the city traffic noise that can be a nuisance and cause headaches. Users also get superior sound quality via wireless Bluetooth connectivity. Retractable headband design allows for easy storage.
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Easy to Store

The foldable, compact design makes it stress-free to store the gadget when not in use. When you are done with your routine morning runs, just fold and store it in its convenient storage pack (included).

Comfortable Ear Covers

The soft synthetic leather used to make the ear cups make the headset comfortable to wear. This Esonstyle model is made of protective silicone padding to cushion your ears and ensure they feel comfortable as you listen to music.

Cost and Value


They allow longer and comfortable periods of listening, thanks to the soft synthetic leather and protective silicone padding. The retractable design also makes them easy to store. In addition, they are very affordable.
Pros

Compact size and easy to store

Soft and comfortable on the ears

Superior sound quality with minimal distortion

Built-in mic for answering calls

Cons

Bulky and large

Noise canceling is not very good

10. AKG N60

10. AKG N60
The AKG N60 delivers high-quality sound guaranteed to impress any music lover. It utilizes superior active noise canceling capabilities to minimize annoying external sounds typical of public places and airports. The 30-hour battery life makes the headphones quite dependable and allows users to use them in passive mode even after the battery goes empty. Aluminum, leather and memory foam are some of the premium materials that accent this brand and model.
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The AKG Sound Expertise

The gadget delivers a crisp, classic acoustic signature sound with rich bass. Take your music-listening experience to another level by acquiring one of AKG’s sound masters.

Fully-Accessorized Travel Package

If you love traveling, you will enjoy the convenience of storage offered by this product. The convenient carrying case allows you to take your music with you wherever you go.

Cost and Value

This gadget delivers AKG signature sound to boost musical enjoyment while reducing ambient noise. It comes with a convenient carrying case to make it easy to move around with it. The cost is modest as well.
Pros

Reduces ambient noise when in busy environments

Easy to store and carry on your trip

30-hour battery life for extended playtime

Accented with premium material for durability and comfort

Cons

Weak active noise canceling

Does not come with standard USB charging cable

Sometimes all we want is tune into our own world and leave the rest behind. Fortunately, there is a way to lock out the whole world and listen to soul-feeding music that can make you a better person. If you want to watch a recently released movie or listen to your motivational audiobook and podcast without constant distractions from the world outside, you should invest in cutting-edge technology noise canceling headphones that will give you the superior audio performance and the sound blocking ability you are looking for. It can be a noisy world full of distraction out there and any human being would love to choose what to listen to is they had that choice.

Criteria Used in Choosing the Best Noise Cancelling Headphones

Unpleasant sounds can take a toll on you and make you lose your mind. Luckily, there is a way to block all these unpleasant voices and focus only on what you want to hear. There are various headsets to help you completely tune out any unwanted audio from your world, allowing you to focus on soft music that helps you calm your nerves, even if it is short enough to last you the entire duration of the flight. Manufacturers of these gadgets have been using improved technologies to make better, superior products, and this has led to the overwhelming number of new choices on the market. If you are having trouble choosing the right one for yourself or loved ones, you need to know what you are looking for in a headset. Below are the criteria for evaluating the best products.

Comfort

How you feel when you put them on or after you remove them will determine whether you will enjoy wearing them. Some feel fine when worn but can leave the ears hurting after they are taken off. When shopping for you ideal headset, you should consider how it feels when you put them on or remove them after listening to music. The level of comfort is largely based on the material used to make the gadget and the design of the headset. If you can’t wear them for longer, then you’d rather not buy them.

Sound Quality

Despite being the last on the list, this is probably the most important feature. How they sound will greatly determine whether you would enjoy using them or not. It is worth noting that the quality of sound varies from one brand to another. However, do take your time to choose a product that will deliver the sound quality you are looking for.

Durability and Warranty

Most products do not last and become broken or dysfunctional after a while. This is perhaps why most people buy new ones often. If you are going to invest a lot of money in a product, you have to be sure it will serve you for longer. Durability is a very important factor that largely depends on the material used. If the product feels cheap, then there is a good chance it is. To get your money’s worth, take your time to select a high-quality product that will deliver high performance and outlast most other cheaper options on the market. You might also want to check whether it has a warranty in place to guarantee quality.

Other Factors Worth Considering

Noise Cancellation vs Noise Isolation

NC headphones sample the loud sound nearby and choose to play an inverted version in the listener’s ears, thereby blocking out all the noise in the immediate surroundings. They tend to be very effective at doing this, but the most obvious downside is that they can be a little more expensive than other variations. This is a very important factor to consider when shopping for these items. In the same regard, they tend to consume more power than other variations, and this means you will need batteries for them. Fortunately, they tend to have long-lasting batteries to take you through the whole period of flying. However, full-size ones are better than the ear pad option when it comes to blocking out the unnecessary sound.

On the other hand, sound isolation, which is often confused with the former, work by blocking the noise outside by erecting a physical seal around the ears to ensure the music remains in whereas the ambient noise stays outside. While they might not be as effective as the former, their battery consumption is often low. In fact, they don’t require a battery to function. Decent models can be found in stores for much cheaper prices than the other option.

Wired vs Wireless

This feature is rather self-explanatory. Wired models have been very popular for a long time until wireless technology came and took the world of electronic and technology gadgets by storm. The most notable and obvious difference between the two is that one has cables while the other is cable-free. Wireless headsets let you roam around freely without worrying about where your cables and wired getting entangled somewhere. The wireless option lets you connect with other devices wirelessly via the Bluetooth technology. Listening to music wirelessly via Bluetooth provides the freedom to move around the airplane without worrying about where the wires might get stuck. With wireless music streaming, you can play, pause, rewind and even skip music without touching your smartphone, iPad or iPod, as these buttons are built in.

Unfortunately, this function comes at a cost and the user has to compromise or give up something in return. More specifically, you’ll have to deal with the problem of constant recharging. The wireless option comes with the burden of having to be recharged often to enable them to function. Sometimes you have to swap out batteries as often as possible to continue enjoying your music or receiving your calls via the headset. Perhaps the most overlooked difference between the two is that the sound quality of wireless is never as good as that of wired headsets. Note that if you were to get the wired option of the same headphone it would be of better sound quality. In addition, just as with other wireless gadgets such as cordless phones, these wireless headsets do experience interference, which could affect the sound quality.

Ear Pad vs Full Ear

The ear pad option came into existence long before people even thought of the iPod. However, ear pad headsets have retained their good features that make stand out. Some of these features cause them to be highly considered when shopping for good quality headsets. They often have small pads going over the ears but do not usually cover the whole ear. Because of their “open” design, they usually allow some sound to leak to the surrounding. This is probably why you would hear the music someone sitting next to you in a public place in listening to.

In most cases, sound leaks both ways, allowing those sitting nearby to hear music from the device whereas the user gets to hear some of the sounding coming from the surrounding environment. The upside is that they are very comfortable to wear because they rest on the outside of the listener’s ear. You can use them to listen to music for an extended period of time without getting your ears hot. They also produce good quality sound and can be great for running, jogging and exercising in general because you remain aware of what goes on in your immediate surroundings. The downside of that their situational awareness feature makes them less ideal to use in a noisy environment. They are not great at canceling the outside noise and you wouldn’t want to be using them in a very quiet environment like the library because you might interfere with other people. These open models do not also offer as much bass as closed models, as they do not cover the whole ear. If you want a portable, on-the-go option then you should probably consider the ear pad option.

On the other hand, full-size models are very much similar to ear pads, except that they cover the entire ear, thanks to the large ear cups. The most notable feature is the large size ear cups that wrap the entire ear in a cup to provide an enhanced listening experience. These can be a great choice if you are looking for a great bass response, enhanced clarity and effective isolation from the nearby environment. They are also extra padded for extra comfort on the head of the user. The downside, however, is that they often have a portability issue because of their unusually large size. You have to trade in portability for extra comfort, bass, and efficient sound cancellation. This large size can be uncomfortable for some people, especially athletes with larger heads because they extra padding can press hard against the head and ears. Over time, they make the ears hot and make it very uncomfortable to listen to music over a long period of time.

FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Are noise canceling and noise isolation headphones different from each other?

A: Both of these are designed to block out unwanted sound and help you focus on the music you want to listen to. However, there are important differences between the two. First, noise isolation uses physical means to block the sound. They create a physical barrier or an effective seal between the gadget and the ear. They take advantage of the snug fit design to block out the unwanted sound from the outside, thanks to the thickly padded cups.

On the other hand, sound cancellation involves audio processing through active sound control, which makes them consume more battery. The mic detects unwanted sound, such as a roaring airplane engine sound, and sends waves or frequencies that are completely opposite to the annoying sound to cancel the other, which generally results in silence. Perhaps this is where they get their name from. This allows the user to travel in peace.

Q: What are the best noise canceling headphones?

A: With technological advancement and advanced manufacturing practices, manufacturers have improved their product design and production. However, this has led to an overwhelming increase in the number of products on the market, which can get a little confusing for the consumer. A good headset should be able to achieve the object for which it was designed. It should also be comfortable to wear, with a snug fit design to lock the music in and lock the surrounding sound out. The sound produced should also be of high quality to enable you to listen to music for longer without getting irritated in your ears. They should also be durable to last long enough to give you a good return on your investment.

Q: How much does a good pair of noise-canceling headphones cost?

A: The cost of these gadgets largely depends on the manufacturer and product features. With enhanced technology, manufacturers have been able to produce superior products for less. As a result, headsets have increasingly become more affordable these days. The prices vary widely from a few dollars to a couple hundred dollars. However, you should not blow your entire life savings on a pair of headphones. You should always have a reasonable budget to determine how much to spend on sound technology devices. Also, do your research carefully to ensure you pick quality headphones for the best price.

Q: Where can I find reliable noise canceling headphones?

A: If you have the time, you can visit a physical store near you. Some of them include departmental and chain stores. In fact, you can physically try them on to determine the suitability of each pair. However, if you don’t have the time, you can log onto your computer and visit a top e-commerce website to place your order. The product description page often contains sufficient information to help you make informed decisions, but you need to do a little extra research to be able to pick the right one.

Sources

  1. Geoffrey Morrison, Are Noise Cancelling Headphones Worth It?, Article, Feb 21, 2014
  2. Jessica Furseth, Noise-cancelling headphones: the secret survival tool for modern life, Article, Mar 16, 2017
  3. Heba Soffar, The advantages and disadvantages of noise-cancelling headphones?, Article, Jun 22, 2015
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