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Best noise cancelling headphones for 2020

We've tested dozens of noise-cancelling headphones in various styles, from wireless noise cancelling headphones to wireless earbuds, and these are the very best noise cancelling headphones you can buy.  

To bring you this list of ANC headphones, we rate them based on comfort and fit, the effectiveness of the noise cancellation, audio quality, battery life and call quality. We also weigh special features, such as includes apps, and how easy they are to use.

Based on our testing, the Bose noise cancelling headphones 700 is the best noise-cancelling headphones overall, as it offers superb noise cancelling performance both when listening to music and when making calls. also sport a sleek new design with touch controls along with 20 hours of battery life.

Apple's AirPods Pro is the best wireless earbuds, which delivers great noise cancelling along with a Transparency mode to let in ambient sound (when you want it). The AirPods Pro is also water resistant and sweat resistant, which make it a great workout partner.

We're also on the lookout for the Audio-Technica QuietPoint ATH-ANC300TW and Shure's AONIC 50 Wireless Noise-Cancelling Headphones, which are set to launch in the next few weeks. 

There are lots of great options out there from Sony, Beats, Jabra and several other brands, so see our full list of the best noise cancelling headphones below.

The best noise cancelling headphones right now

Bose 700 noise cancelling headphones

(Image credit: Regan Coule)

1. Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700

The best noise-cancelling headphones overall

Size and Weight: 8 x 6.5 x 2 inches, 8.8 ounces | Battery Life (Rated): 20 hours (NC on);40 hours (NC off) | Bluetooth Range: 30 feet (10 meters) | Digital Assistant Support: Yes

Slick, attractive design
Excellent noise cancelling on calls and music
Precise, balanced audio
Smart, intuitive buttons and touch controls

Engineered with 11 levels of ANC, 8 individual microphones, and a revamped mobile app that extends functionality, the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 stands out as the best noise cancelling headphones and the best wireless noise cancelling headphones.

The ability to set and toggle between different ANC settings on the fly is an awesome feature, giving listeners full control of noise neutralization, which is incredible on these cans. Enabling the highest level will quiet most high-frequency noises effectively without disrupting the soundstage.

The call quality is even more impressive with Bose’s mic system pulling double duty to block out rumblings and amplify vocals for clearer calls, as well as voice command recognition. The 700s also deliver top-tier sound reproduction and don a svelte design that justifies its luxury price. 

See our full Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 review

AirPods Pro

(Image credit: Future)

2. Apple AirPods Pro

A huge step forward for AirPods

Size and Weight: 2.4 x 1.7 x 0.9 inches, 8.8 ounces | Battery Life (Rated): 4.5 hours (NC on) | Bluetooth Range: 30 feet (10 meters) | Digital Assistant Support: Yes

Modern, functional design
Great active noise cancelling
Expanded, easy to use controls
Comfortable semi-custom fit
Great sound
No companion app
Battery life could be longer

The AirPods Pro land on our list of best noise cancelling headphones because these wireless earbuds blocked noise quite well in our testing, whether we were commuting or walking around New York City. It's also easy to activate the ANC with just a long press on the earbud stem. And for those times when you need to be aware of your surroundings, there's Transparency mode that lets ambient noise in so you can listen to music and listen to the world around you.

The AirPods Pro offer a very comfortable and secure fit, which you can personalize thanks to three sets of included silicone tips and even a fit test you can run on your iPhone. And these buds are great for working out, as the AirPods Pro offer sweat- and water-resistance. The battery life with noise cancelling on is only 4.5 hours, but you can 24 hours of juice through the wireless charging case.

See our full Apple AirPods Pro review.

Sony WH-1000XM3

Sony WH-1000XM3

3. Sony WH-1000XM3

Class-leading sound in a deluxe package

Size and Weight: 10.4 x 7.3 x 2.9 inches, 9 ounces | Battery Life (Rated): 30 hours (NC on);38 hours (NC off) | Bluetooth Range: 30ft. (10 meters) | Digital Assistant Support: Yes

Unbeatable sound
superior noise cancelling
lengthy battery life
touch controls
companion app with sound customization options
Design feels less premium than previous version
not the best for phone calls

Advanced noise cancellation combined with intelligible features and a ton of sound-optimization features make the Sony WH1000xM3 one of the best noise cancelling headphones around. 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 wireless noise cancelling headphones 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.

See our full Sony WH-1000xM3 review.

(Image credit: Tom's Guide)

4. Beats Solo Pro

Beats first on-ear noise cancellers are a huge success

Size and Weight: 7 inches (height), 9.4 ounces | Battery Life (Rated): 22 hours (NC on), 40 hours (NC off) | Bluetooth Range: 30 feet (10 meters) | Digital Assistant Support: Yes

Sexy, colorful design
Powerful noise-cancelling technology
Great audio and call quality
Long battery life
Uses Lightning charger
App lacks equalizer

Beats first on-ear noise-cancelling headphones will surprise you. Not only do these ANC headphones provide 22 hours of battery life (NC one) the active noise cancelling is only a step below the Bose 700, our best overall headphones on this list. In addition, with Apple's H1 chip, you get seamless iOS integration, including near instantaneous pairing and hands-free Siri. And they sound as good as the look. 

See our full Beats Solo Pro review.

Bose QuietComfort 35 II

Bose QuietComfort 35 II

5. Bose QuietComfort 35 II

Size and Weight: 7.1 x 6.7 x 3.2 inches, 8.2 ounces | Battery Life (Rated): 20 hours (NC on);40 hours (NC off) | Bluetooth Range: 30 feet (10 meters) | Digital Assistant Support: Yes

Champion noise-cancelling technology
crisp, wide sound
lightweight, comfy design
stable connectivity
can listen in wired mode with ANC on
Google Assistant integration could be improved
same design as last-gen model

The QuietComfort 35 II lets you go wireless for a fairly affordable price compared to the Bose 700. Screaming babies, subway cars and planes are no match for these best noise cancelling headphones, 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 added a dedicated Google Assistant button, so that you can quickly inquire about the weather, a new restaurant or last night’s game.

See our full Bose QuietComfort 35 II review.

Jabra Elite 85h. Credit: Jabra

(Image credit: Jabra Elite 85h. Credit: Jabra)

6. Jabra Elite 85h

Feature-laden headphones with powerful battery life

Size and Weight: 7.6 x 8.8 x 3.2 inches, 10.4 ounces | Battery Life (Rated): 36 hours (NC On);41 hours (NC Off) | Bluetooth Range: 33 feet (10 meters) | Digital Assistant Support: Yes

Class-leading battery life
Adaptive noise cancellation
Personalized sound
Supports the most digital assistants
Listening modes cause distortion

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 one of the best noise cancelling 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. If you don't want to spend big, this is one of the best ANC headphones around.

See our full Jabra Elite 85h review.

Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2 (Credit: Plantronics)

(Image credit: Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2 (Credit: Plantronics))

7. Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2

Best noise-cancelling headphone value

Size and Weight: 9 x 8.1 x 7.8 inches, 10.9 ounces | Battery Life (Rated): 24 hours (NC On);180 hours (NC off) | Bluetooth Range: 35 ft. (10.6 meters) | Digital Assistant Support: Yes

Strong battery life
Vibrant sound
Pairs and connects to two devices at once
Overemphasized bass
Moderate noise cancellation

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. The cans also offer a whopping 24 hours of battery life, coupled with warm, rich audio and easy-to-use, integrated smart controls.

See our full Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2 SE review.

Sennheiser HD 4.50 BTNC

Sennheiser HD 4.50 BTNC

8. Sennheiser HD 4.50 BTNC

Solid performance at a mid-range price

Size and Weight: 10.2 x 7.1 x 3.9 inches, 8.4 ounces | Battery Life (Rated): 19 hours (NC on);25 hours (NC off) | Bluetooth Range: 30ft. (10 meters) | Digital Assistant Support: Yes

Neutral-sounding mids and highs
Relaxed fit
simple controls
NFC support
Mediocre battery
noise cancellation could be stronger

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 noise cancelling headphones, the HD 4.50 ensures a quiet commute on the road and doesn’t affect the sound profile.

See our full Sennheiser HD 4.50 BTNC review.

Bowers & Wilkins PX

Bowers & Wilkins PX

9. Bowers &Wilkins PX

A noise-canceller for luxury audiophiles

Size and Weight: 7.87 x 6.89 x 2.95 inches, 11.82 ounces | Battery Life (Rated): 22 hours (NC on);29 hours (NC off) | Bluetooth Range: 33 ft. (10 meters) | Digital Assistant Support: Yes

Beautiful design
adjustable ANC
smart features
USB-C charging
On the heavy side

The Bowers & Wilkins PX headphones are the company's first wireless noise cancelling headphones to feature ANC 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.

See our full Bowers & Wilkins PX review.

Sony WF-1000XM3 Wireless Headphones

Bose QuietComfort 20 (Image credit: Sony )

10. Sony WF-1000XM3

Great noise-cancelling earbuds that rival AirPods Pro

Size and Weight: 7.8 x 5 x 2.4 inches, 1.6 ounces | Battery Life (Rated): 16 hours (NC on) | Bluetooth Range: None | Digital Assistant Support: Yes

Stellar audio performance
Great noise cancellation
Tons of personalization via companion app
Excellent battery life across the board
Luxe, sharp-looking design
Touch controls could use some work
Poor call quality
Loose-fitting tips

Sony has done a great job 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.

See our full Sony WF-1000XM3 earbuds review.

Microsoft Surface Headphones (Credit: Microsoft)

(Image credit: Microsoft Surface Headphones (Credit: Microsoft))

11. Microsoft Surface Headphones

Ultramodern design with adaptive noise cancellation

Size and Weight: 8 x 7.68 x 1.89 inches, 10.2 ounces | Battery Life (Rated): 15 hours (NC On) | Bluetooth Range: 35 ft. (10.6 meters) | Digital Assistant Support: Yes

Adjustable ANC levels
impressive sound
intuitive controls
pairs with 10 devices simultaneously
Battery life lower than the competition
Cortana app needed for most features

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.

See our full Microsoft Surface Headphones review.

Sony WH-1000xM2

Sony WH-1000xM2

12. Sony WH-1000xM2

A last-gen model with next-gen sound

Size and Weight: 9.81 x 7.29 x 2.92 inches, 9.7 ounces | Battery Life (Rated): 28 hours (NC on);38 hours (NC off) | Bluetooth Range: 30 ft. (10 meters) | Digital Assistant Support: Yes

Booming sound signature
similar battery life as successor
reliable noise cancelling
Sound customization via mobile app
Touch controls are finicky
price is still high

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.

See our full Sony WH-1000xM2 review.

TaoTronics TT-BH046

TaoTronics TT-BH046

13. TaoTronics TT-BH046

Best noise-cancelling under $100

Size and Weight: 6.9 x 7.9 x 2.2 inches, 7.6 ounces | Battery Life (Rated): 30 hours (NC On) | Bluetooth Range: 30 feet (10 meters) | Digital Assistant Support: Yes

Strong bass response
effective noise cancellation
stable battery life
simple controls
No EQ settings
Headband feels too snug

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.  

See our full TaoTronics TT-BH046 review.

Credit: Tom’s Guide

  • sexylady_lioness
    Hi Sherri,

    I would like the noise cancelling headphones, not to listen to music, but to block out all noise, so I can concentrate and study, and to tune out background noise while at work. My question is, re this headphones, must I listen to music/audio in-order to tune out all noise? If I do not want to hear any sound - including music - is that possible ? or the headphones silence works only to tune out noise while listening to audio?

    Also, which one is the best re no noise AND no white noise OR hiss?

    Thanks in advance.
  • jack_straw
    21457753 said:
    Hi Sherri,

    I would like the noise cancelling headphones, not to listen to music, but to block out all noise, so I can concentrate and study, and to tune out background noise while at work. My question is, re this headphones, must I listen to music/audio in-order to tune out all noise? If I do not want to hear any sound - including music - is that possible ? or the headphones silence works only to tune out noise while listening to audio?

    Also, which one is the best re no noise AND no white noise OR hiss?

    Thanks in advance.

    I use noise cancellation in the same scenarios as you are looking for help in (blocking noise while working or concentrating on studies).

    TL;DR: Bose QC35s work best for me. They're comfortable enough for all-day use, and have about the same noise cancellation as the best from Sony. I noticed a very slight hiss only from the Sonys when there was no music/voice playing.

    I used Sony's 1000XM3 for a while, and also tried Bose's QC35, since they had the highest ratings for noise cancellation. What I found was that the Sonys seemed to do a ever-so-slightly better job at noise cancelling, but they just were not comfortable for long-term usage. I've been much happier with the Bose QC35s because I can wear them 10+ hours per day without any pain or discomfort. The headband of the Sonys would slowly begin to hurt after 2-3 hours, and the earcups were not as comfortable, especially the lower part that pressed a little to hard behind my jaws. These may sound like minor issues, but when you wear headphones all day every day to block noise, comfort becomes a big issue.
    As for hissing, I don't hear any from the Bose, but I hear a slight hiss from the Sonys. If you get the Bose, be sure to update the firmware on them, because there was an older firmware that had issues with hissing.
  • Rastafarius
    I beg to differ with you on the Sennheiser HD 4.50 BTNC Wireless Headphones on only one statement, but a very important one. "omfortable fit"???? I am willing to bet big money you didn't wear those headphones for much more than 10-15 minutes. I bought a pair late last month, and they are not only uncomfortable sitting on top of my ears (only a midget could fit his ears inside those ear cups) from the moment I put them on, but cause sufficient pain in my left ear to force me to take them off after I have worn them for something like 1 1/2 hours. Take a look at the reviews on Amazon, at least half of which talk about what a shame it is the ear cups aren't bigger and more comfortable. In fact, every review I looked at of the HD 4.50 BTNC headphones criticized their comfort. I'm sending the headphones I bought back. They were quite clearly made for people with half my stature. I have a pair of Corsair HS70s that don't have quite the same sound quality as the Sennheisers, but still work just fine for me.