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 are just what the doctor ordered.
To bring you this list of the best noise-cancelling headphones, we've tested and reviewed dozens of models in various styles, ranging from over-ear noise-cancelling headphones to on-ear designs and wireless earbuds. We evaluate based on comfort and fit, the effectiveness of the noise cancellation, audio quality, battery life and call quality.
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 wireless earbuds roundup for those who want something more portable.
The best noise-cancelling headphones at a glance
- Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700
- Apple AirPods Pro
- Sony WH-1000XM3
- Beats Solo Pro
- Bose QuietComfort 35 II
- Jabra Elite 85h
- Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2
- Sennheiser HD 4.50 BTNC
- Bowers & Wilkins PX
- Sony WF-1000XM3
- Microsoft Surface Headphones
- Sony WH-1000xM2
- TaoTronics TT-BH046
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
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 justifies its luxury price.
See our full Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 review.
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
It finally happened. At long, long last, Apple has officially joined the ANC party, and it sounds really good. And that's saying something for a pair of truly wireless buds. And for those times when you need to be aware of your surroundings, there's Transparency mode that lets ambient noise into the soundstage so you can listen to music and listen to the world around you. ANC aside, the redesigned buds offer even more Siri integration, a truly comfortable fit and great audio.
See our full Apple AirPods Pro review.
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
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.
See our full Sony WH-1000xM3 review.
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
Beats first on-ear noise-cancelling headphones will surprise you. Not only do they 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.
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
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.
See our full Bose QuietComfort 35 II review.
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
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.
See our full Jabra Elite 85h review.
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
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.
See our full Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2 SE review.
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
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.
See our full Sennheiser HD 4.50 BTNC review.
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
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.
See our full Bowers & Wilkins PX review.
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
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.
See our full Sony WF-1000XM3 earbuds review.
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
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.
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
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.
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
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