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Best Noise-Cancelling Headphones 2019

(Image credit: Future)

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 new Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700, which deliver even better noise-cancellation (complete with 11 levels) than our old favs, the Bose QuietComfort 35 II, also boast support for AR apps and 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 out our Best Bose and Best Sony Headphones pages. 

The best noise-cancelling headphones overall

Bose 700 vs. Bose QuietComfort 35 II

(Image credit: Regan Coule)

1. Bose Noise Cancelling 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
Expensive

Engineered with 11 levels of ANC, 8 individual microphones, and a revamped mobile app that extends functionality, Bose’s latest flagship device stands out as the NEW gold standard for 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’s fitting of its luxury price. 

Read our full Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 review

Class-leading sound in a deluxe package

Sony WH-1000XM3

Sony WH-1000XM3

2. 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 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.
 

Benchmark noise cancellation with full sound

Bose QuietComfort 35 II

Bose QuietComfort 35 II

3. 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 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.

Feature-laden headphones with powerful battery life

Jabra Elite 85h. Credit: Jabra

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

4. 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
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)

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


Read our full Jabra Elite 85h review.

Best noise-cancelling headphone value

5. 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
intelligible features
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. 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

Sennheiser HD 4.50 BTNC

Sennheiser HD 4.50 BTNC

6. 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 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

Bowers & Wilkins PX

Bowers & Wilkins PX

7. 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
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.
  

Best noise-cancelling earphones overall

Sony WF-1000XM3 Wireless Headphones

Bose QuietComfort 20
(Image credit: Sony )

8. Sony WF-1000XM3 Earbuds

Best noise-cancelling earphones overall

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'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

Microsoft Surface Headphones (Credit: Microsoft)

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

9. 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.

Read our full Microsoft Surface Headphones review.
  

A last-gen model with next-gen sound

Sony WH-1000xM2

Sony WH-1000xM2

10. 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.

Read our full Sony WH-1000xM2 review.
  

Best noise-cancelling under $100

TaoTronics TT-BH046

TaoTronics TT-BH046

11. 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.  

Read our full TaoTronics TT-BH046 review.

Credit: Tom’s Guide