Best Noise-Cancelling Headphones 2019

Product Use case Rating
Bose QuietComfort 35 II Best Overall 4.5
Sony WH-1000XM3 4.5
Jabra Elite 85h 4
Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2 4
Sennheiser HD 4.50 BTNC 4
Bowers & Wilkins PX 4
Bose QuietComfort 20 4
Microsoft Surface Headphones 4
Sony WH-1000xM2 4
TaoTronics TT-BH046 4

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. We'll keep you posted on our review. 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.

Whether it's elite-sounding headphones to enjoy your Spotify playlists in peace, or portable cans to shut out the world, there's something out there for every music lover. Here are the best noise-cancelling headphones money can buy.

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.

Bose QuietComfort 35 IIBose QuietComfort 35 II

1. Bose QuietComfort 35 II

The best noise-cancelling headphones overall

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

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

Pros: Champion noise-cancelling technology; crisp, wide sound; lightweight, comfy design; stable connectivity; can listen in wired mode with ANC on

Cons: Google Assistant integration could be improved; same design as last-gen model

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.
 

Sony WH-1000XM3Sony WH-1000XM3

2. Sony WH-1000XM3

Class-leading sound in a deluxe package

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

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

Pros: Unbeatable sound; superior noise cancelling; lengthy battery life; touch controls; companion app with sound customization options

Cons: 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 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.
 

Jabra Elite 85h. Credit: JabraJabra Elite 85h. Credit: Jabra

3. Jabra Elite 85h

Feature-laden headphones with powerful battery life

Rating: 4/5 stars

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

Pros: Class-leading battery life; adaptive noise cancellation; personalized sound; supports the most digital assistants

Cons: Heavy; 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 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.
 

Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2 (Credit: Plantronics)Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2 (Credit: Plantronics)
Read our full Jabra Elite 85h review.

4. Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2

Best noise-cancelling headphone value

Rating: 4/5 stars

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

Pros: Strong battery life;vibrant sound; intelligible features; pairs and connects to two devices at once

Cons: 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. 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.
 

Sennheiser HD 4.50 BTNCSennheiser HD 4.50 BTNC

5. Sennheiser HD 4.50 BTNC

Solid performance at a mid-range price

Rating: 4/5 stars

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

Pros: Neutral-sounding mids and highs; Relaxed fit; simple controls; NFC support

Cons: 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 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.
  

Bowers & Wilkins PXBowers & Wilkins PX

6. Bowers & Wilkins PX

A noise-canceller for luxury audiophiles

Rating: 4/5 stars

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

Pros: Beautiful design; adjustable ANC; smart features; USB-C charging

Cons: On the heavy side; pricey

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.
  

Bose QuietComfort 20Bose QuietComfort 20

7. Bose QuietComfort 20i

Best noise-cancelling earphones overall

Rating: 4/5 stars

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

Pros: Excellent noise cancelling; extremely comfortable; ambient listening mode;plays audio when battery dies

Cons: Not the best-sounding Bose earphones; bulky in-line mic and battery module

Bose extends its industry-leading noise-cancelling technology to these premium in-ears, which do an amazing job of silencing background fracas, while maintaining a balanced sound signature. NC mode is powered through the integrated, rechargeable battery pack that provides up to 16 hours of use. The buds also feature an Aware mode, to pipe in surrounding noise without stopping the music. Bose’s patented StayHear tips come bundled with the package as well, and rest comfortably on the ear; the wings provide a secure fit for added stability and noise isolation as well. 

Read our full Bose QuietComfort 20i review.
  

Microsoft Surface Headphones (Credit: Microsoft)Microsoft Surface Headphones (Credit: Microsoft)

8. Microsoft Surface Headphones

Ultramodern design with adaptive noise cancellation

Rating: 4/5 stars

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

Pros: Adjustable ANC levels; impressive sound; intuitive controls; pairs with 10 devices simultaneously

Cons: 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.

Read our full Microsoft Surface Headphones review.
  

Sony WH-1000xM2Sony WH-1000xM2

9. Sony WH-1000xM2

A last-gen model with next-gen sound

Rating: 4/5 stars

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

Pros: Booming sound signature; similar battery life as successor; reliable noise cancelling; Sound customization via mobile app

Cons: 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.

Read our full Sony WH-1000xM2 review.
  

TaoTronics TT-BH046TaoTronics TT-BH046

10. TaoTronics TT-BH046

Best noise-cancelling under $100

Rating: 4/5 stars

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

Pros: Strong bass response; effective noise cancellation; stable battery life; simple controls

Cons: 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.  

Read our full TaoTronics TT-BH046 review.

Credit: Tom’s Guide

3 comments
    Your comment
  • 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
    2827618 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. "[C]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.