Bose QuietComfort 35 II
The Bose QuietComfort 35 II keeps the excellent active noise-cancelling technology and crystal-clear audio quality and adds a dedicated Google Assistant button.
One of the best gets better, as the Sony WH-1000XM3 packs killer sound and noise cancellation into a slender design.
Jabra Elite 85h
Jabra's Elite 85h headphones are an industry leader with lengthy battery life and great audio.
In a world of noisy planes, screaming children and loud talkers, the best present you can give (or receive) is the gift of peace and quiet. A pair of good, active noise-cancelling headphones is just what the doctor ordered.
The Bose QuietComfort 35 II and Sony WH-1000XM3 are the two most coveted models in the category. Having pitted the two against each other in a recent face-off, we crowned Bose as the ANC champion. Granted, Sony’s boom-blasters are an incredible feat in sound engineering and worth the listen.
Note that Bose has just introduced the new Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700, which promises even better noise-cancellation (complete with 11 levels), support for AR apps and a sleeker design for $399. If you're looking for something cheaper, the Jabra Elite 85h headphones are a great $299 alternative.
Anyone who wants something even more affordable should consider bargain options, such as the Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2 and Sennheiser HD 4.50 BTNC listed on our best noise-cancelling headphones under $200 page. Both of these devices offer great bang-for-the-buck performance.
And if you’re curious to check out more cans for every use case and budget, take a look at our best headphones page. There’s also our best truly wireless earbuds roundup for those who want something more portable. And if you're looking for a specific brand, check our our Best Bose and Best Sony Headphones pages.
The best noise-cancelling headphones overall
The QuietComfort 35 II lets you go wireless while still enjoying Bose's superior active noise-cancellation tech. Screaming babies, subway cars and planes are no match for these premium cans, which are plenty light and comfy for enjoying the 20 hours of playtime on a charge. The controls are a cinch to use and the sound quality is top-notch among Bluetooth headphones. And if that wasn’t enough, Bose has added a dedicated Google Assistant button, so that you can quickly inquire about the weather, a new restaurant or last night’s game.
Read our full Bose QuietComfort 35 II review.
Class-leading sound in a deluxe package
Advanced noise cancellation combined with intelligible features and a ton of sound-optimization features make the Sony WH1000xM3 a superior upgrade over its predecessor. The all-new HD Noise Cancelling Processor QN1 improves noise neutralization and audio processing while achieving exceptional high-fidelity sound. Comfort is another area where these sound-silencers excel, taking on a lighter and more slender form than previous versions, for better wearability. Battery life remains a series highlight, and the addition of USB-C charging definitely ups the ante, rewarding listeners with 5 hours of use on a 10-minute charge.
Read our full Sony WH-1000xM3 review.
Feature-laden headphones with powerful battery life
Eight built-in mics, rain-proof aesthetics, three onboard digital assistants, and the highest-rated battery for noise cancellation – the Jabra Elite 85h stands out as the most ambitious wireless headphones available. The spec sheet is loaded with intuitive features, from ambient listening modes, to on-ear detection that controls call management and music. The audio is warm and customizable via Jabra’s mobile app. Jabra’s Smart Active Noise Cancellation technology is also well-engineered, scanning your environment to filter out background noises and enhance sound output.
Read our full Jabra Elite 85h review.
Best noise-cancelling headphone value
The Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2's Active Noise Cancelling (ANC) technology can put a serious kibosh on an otherwise noisy situation. The headphones lack the annoying white hiss that many competing headsets use to keep the outside world at bay. As if that's not enough, the cans also offer a whopping 24 hours of quiet, coupled with warm, rich audio and easy-to-use, integrated smart controls.
Read our full Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2 SE review.
Solid performance at a mid-range price
Thanks to their minimalistic design, comfortable fit, and clean, precise audio quality, the Sennheiser HD 4.50 BTNC headphones are the clear-cut winner against similarly-priced cans. While the NoiseGuard technology isn’t as dynamic as what you’ll find in Bose or Sony’s cans, the HD 4.50 ensures a quiet commute on the road and doesn’t affect the sound profile.
Read our full Sennheiser HD 4.50 BTNC review.
A noise-canceller for luxury audiophiles
The Bowers & Wilkins PX headphones are the company's first wireless cans to feature active noise-cancellation technology and offer smart sensors for automatic pause and play. The PX headphones also have a companion app that allows quiet-seeking music lovers the option of adjusting ANC modes and the amount of ambient noise the cans let in. The PX's premium price tag nets you remarkable audio quality, up to 22 hours of battery life, and a pair of headphones just as pretty as they are sturdy.
Read our full Bowers & Wilkins PX review.
Best noise-cancelling earphones overall
Sony's leading the charge on bringing ANC technology to truly wireless buds. The WF-1000XM3 earbuds successfully combines stellar sonics with impressive noise cancellation. Deep, rich bass and tonal balance give the buds an edge over the competition. Better yet, listeners have the option to play with the built-in EQ and create their own sound profile or choose from nine different presets as well as adjust the ambient sound levels. And with an estimated 6 hours of battery life (ANC on), you'll have a lot of time to enjoy your music, movies or podcasts.
Read our full Sony WF-1000XM3 earbuds review.
Ultramodern design with adaptive noise cancellation
Riding on the success of the Surface brand, Microsoft has expanded its reach into the audio space with the Surface Headphones. Engineered in-house by the Surface team, these active noise-cancelling cans borrow much of the same design elements as the product's computing brethren, while bringing forth dynamic sound and unique controls. The result is a stylish set of cans with solid audio performance and surprisingly potent active noise cancellation.
Read our full Microsoft Surface Headphones review.
A last-gen model with next-gen sound
Dynamic active noise-cancelling technology and sound quality packed into a comfy, business-class design, the Sony WH-1000xM2 delivers one of the most personalized listening experiences yet. Two modes are programmed into these cans – Ambient and Noise Cancellation – each highly efficient at drowning out environmental noise. Long battery life and smart features like Google Assistant are also highlights. However, the real sonic kicker lies in Sony’s Connect App, which grants users the luxury of adjusting the sound profile to their liking.
Read our full Sony WH-1000xM2 review.
Best noise-cancelling under $100
These budget noise-cancellers offer incredible value based on audio performance alone. TaoTronics’ 40-mm drivers produce crisp vocals and heavy bass; the additional aux cable improves frequency response for clearer sonics. The company’s Hybrid Active Noise Cancelling technology performs well, eliminating the majority of background noises when blasting music indoors or out. Battery life might be its most unsung feature, generating between 28 to 30 hours with ANC on, which is perfect for about a week of listening.
Read our full TaoTronics TT-BH046 review.
Credit: Tom’s Guide