The relationship between you and your headphones is a special one. Headphones transform average audio from your laptop or phone into a symphony of sound. External noises can sometimes ruin the party, though. Noise cancellation is an invaluable feature for those who use headphones at work, while driving through traffic, or use headphones for working out at the gym. The best noise canceling headphones offer uninterrupted enjoyment in places where regular headphones would simply be drowned out.
Key Features to Consider
The best noise canceling headphones retain your audio integrity while reducing or outright eliminating background noise. There are two methods used to achieve this:
- Active noise cancellation is the most powerful. This technology uses exterior microphones to detect incoming sound waves. It then produces counter signals that stop noise from ever reaching your ears. This is an effective but energy intensive process, usually requiring a battery or USB charging. The best noise canceling headphones use active technology.
- Passive noise isolation is less effective at eliminating outside noise. Passive noise isolation is done by creating a sound barrier in or around the headphone that physically blocks or absorbs incoming sound. Unfortunately, passive noise isolation will still distort your audio, simply muffling environmental noise instead of eliminating it.
Most of the headphones on this list use active technology simply because it is the best way to eliminate outside noise.
Many of the best noise canceling headphones today are wireless. This is thanks to strides made in noise cancelling technology making it smaller and more energy efficient. Noise canceling headphones were also once thought to have inferior sound quality to their standard counterparts. But, the headphones on our list will defy that stereotype. They represent the best in both sound quality and noise canceling functionality.
10 Best Noise Canceling Headphones Comparison Guide
Reviews of the Top Rated Noise Canceling Headphones
Widely regarded as the best noise canceling headphones on the market, these Bose QC35 wireless cans will meet your every expectation. Bose understands that noise cancellation isn’t just about reducing outside noise, but also retaining the audio output quality despite it all. You can listen to these headphones as quietly or loudly as you like without losing audio integrity, no matter what’s going on around you.
The craftsmanship of these headphones can’t be overstated. At a little over half a pound, they feel solid yet flexible, and use memory foam on the ear cups for ultimate comfort. You won’t have to worry about wireless sound quality either, as the Bose QC35s use Bluetooth 4.1 to ensure the best digital transfer. With noise cancellation activated, these headphones last 40 hours plugged in and up to 20 hours unplugged. Expect minimal downtime with a 2.5 hour charging time.
The noise canceling technology in these headphones can handle anything from ambient coffee house chatter to power-tool happy neighbors. Bose has also made improvements to the sound quality of these headphones since the last generation giving them near studio quality audio. You will also love the free app that lets you easily select devices and control settings. Passive headphones simply can’t recreate the pure, isolated musical experience that premium active headphones like the QC35s can provide.
Over-ear headphones are good for some people, but if you’re always on the move, in-ear may be the way to go. With the BeoPlay H3s, you won’t have to sacrifice incredible noise cancellation or audio integrity for your active lifestyle.
Beyond their active noise canceling technology, these are not your average in-ear headphones. Made with an aluminum casing, these refined headphones are resistant to scratching and chipping. They are ultra-light and feature a tanglefree cord. Inner drivers are developed by Bang & Olufsen for trusted audio quality with impressive bass, balanced midranges, and brilliant high notes. The BeoPlay H3s will make you question everything you thought you knew about in-ear headphones.
The BeoPlay H3s are so good at blocking environmental noise, they are reminiscent of wearing ear plugs when not playing audio. They’re great for noisy train rides, loud work sites, or busy gyms thanks to their compact and portable design. The battery lasts for 20 hours on a single charge, and you can continue listening to music even if the battery wears out.
The Bose QC35s and BeoPlay H3 are without a doubt the best noise canceling headphones available today. They may also be out of your budget. For a more affordable option, take a look at BÖHM’s wireless offering.
They sound as good as any headphones in their price range and feature a respectable frequency range between 20Hz and 20kHz. We were particularly impressed with the clarity of midrange tones. The bass is hard enough for even the pickiest EDM fan. The active noise cancellation lasts 18 hours on one charge and should be good enough for loud traffic or busy offices.
The BÖHM Wireless NC Headphones may be more affordable than the competition, but they are packaged and constructed like a luxury brand. They are made from aluminum and leather and feature soft, comfortable, ear cups with cushioning foam. These most comfortable headphones are a great value, backed by BÖHM’s lifetime guarantee.
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