Updated

The 11 Best Noise Cancelling Headphones - Fall 2019
Reviews

Best Noise Cancelling Headphones
393 Headphones Tested
  • Store-bought headphones; no cherry-picked units
  • Retest after major updates
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Headphones with active noise cancelling (ANC) are geared towards listeners who wish to block the ambient noise of loud environments and have a well-isolated listening experience. These headphones actively cancel out the noise around you so that you can listen to your favorite albums or audiobooks at a lower volume, or just enjoy the silence.

So far, we've tested over 350 headphones and below are our recommendations for the best noise cancelling headphones you can buy in 2019. See also our recommendations for the best noise cancelling earbuds, the best budget noise cancelling headphones, the best office headsets, and the best noise cancelling headphones under $100.


  1. Best Noise Cancelling Headphones: Sony WH-1000XM3 Wireless

    Usage Ratings - Version 1.2
    7.2
    Mixed Usage
    7.2
    Critical Listening
    7.7
    Commute/Travel
    7.1
    Sports/Fitness
    7.7
    Office
    5.8
    TV
    5.4
    Gaming
    Type : Over-ear
    Enclosure : Closed-Back
    Wireless : Yes
    Noise-Cancelling : Yes
    Mic : Yes
    Transducer : Dynamic

    The best noise cancelling headphones we’ve tested so far are the Sony WH-1000XM3. These headphones also have one of the best ANC features we’ve tested so far and can isolate an outstanding amount of noise across the board. When you pair them with the Sony | Headphones Connect app on your phone, you get access to a nice graphic EQ, various room and positioning effects, as well as different audio codec options. They have an excellent 27-hour battery life and support NFC for easier Bluetooth pairing.

    Although their touch-sensitive control scheme is fairly easy to use once you get the hang of it, it doesn’t perform as intended in colder weather. The Jabra Elite 85h have a physical control scheme that provides better feedback and can be used without a problem in below zero temperatures, but their ANC isn’t as strong as that of the Sony. If cold-weather performance isn’t a concern for you, these are comfortable, well-built premium headphones that are suitable for most uses thanks to their customizability.

    See our review

  2. More Comfortable, Easy-To-Use Alternative: Bose QuietComfort 35 II/QC35 II Wireless 2018

    Type : Over-ear
    Enclosure : Closed-Back
    Wireless : Yes
    Noise-Cancelling : Yes
    Mic : Yes
    Transducer : Dynamic

    If you plan on wearing your headphones for hours and prefer the ease-of-use of a physical control scheme, then get the Bose QuietComfort 35. You can’t customize the way they sound like the Sony WH-1000XM3, but they have a very balanced sound and are among the most comfortable headphones we’ve tested so far. Unfortunately, a recent firmware update decreased their ANC performance considerably, and they’re also a bit leaky at higher volumes. The Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 have better noise cancelling and leak less sound, but they’re not quite as comfortable as the QC 35 II and they’re even harder to use than the Sony.

    Get the Sony if you want great ANC and customizability, but if you’re looking for noise cancelling headphones that blend great sound with a comfortable, easy-to-use design, you’ll want to go for the Bose.

    See our review

  3. Best Wired Noise Cancelling Headphones: Bose QuietComfort 25/QC25

    Usage Ratings - Version 1.2
    7.1
    Mixed Usage
    7.7
    Critical Listening
    7.0
    Commute/Travel
    6.4
    Sports/Fitness
    7.1
    Office
    6.3
    TV
    7.0
    Gaming
    Type : Over-ear
    Enclosure : Closed-Back
    Wireless : No
    Noise-Cancelling : Yes
    Mic : Yes
    Transducer : Dynamic

    The best wired noise cancelling headphones we've tested so far are the Bose QuietComfort 25. They're very comfortable headphones with a lightweight design that you can wear for hours with little fatigue or discomfort. They have excellent ANC and cancel noise especially well in the mid-range, which means they're a good choice if you want something specifically for blocking out lively chatter. They sound very well-balanced too and are suitable for all kinds of music, from hip-hop to classical.

    These headphones use AAA batteries, which can convenient during a road trip where you don't have access to a wall charger but isn't ideal if you don't have batteries on you. Although they can be used passively when the battery's dead, they lose a bit of audio quality. Thankfully, they give you nearly 33 hours of playback before the batteries run out. Unfortunately, they leak quite a bit of sound, which can be an issue if you work in a noise-sensitive office, but if you don't listen to your music very loud, you shouldn't have a problem.

    See our review

  4. Best Noise Cancelling Earbuds: Bose QuietControl 30/QC30 Wireless

    Usage Ratings - Version 1.2
    7.0
    Mixed Usage
    7.0
    Critical Listening
    7.5
    Commute/Travel
    7.6
    Sports/Fitness
    7.4
    Office
    5.6
    TV
    5.3
    Gaming
    Type : Earbuds
    Enclosure : Closed-Back
    Wireless : Yes
    Noise-Cancelling : Yes
    Mic : Yes
    Transducer : Dynamic

    The best noise cancelling earbuds we’ve tested so far are the Bose QuietControl 30. They have a comfortable neckband design that’s fairly easy to use and a stable earbud fit that stays put even during a light jog. They have great noise isolation and leak even less sound than the Bose QuietComfort 35 II, which makes them a decent choice for use while commuting or at the office.

    Although they look nice, the rubber sleeve that protects the neckband and in-line remote tends to split and peel off with time. The Sony WI-1000X feel better-built and are also more customizable thanks to the Sony | Headphones Connect app, but they’re less comfortable and their battery performance is inferior, so if you’re looking for the best ANC earbuds for an upcoming trip, the Bose are worth taking a look at.

    See our review

  5. Better-Built Alternative With A Decent Mic: Jabra Elite 65e Wireless

    Type : Earbuds
    Enclosure : Closed-Back
    Wireless : Yes
    Noise-Cancelling : Yes
    Mic : Yes
    Transducer : Dynamic

    If you like the convenience of wireless earbuds but need something with a decent microphone, then get the Jabra Elite 65e. They don’t sound as good or isolate as much noise as the Bose QuietControl 30, but they’re better-built and their Bluetooth microphone performs much better. They have a very complete control scheme that provides access to not only call/music and ANC control, but also mic muting and talk through. While they have great bass, they’re not ideal for more vocal-centric music. Thankfully, you can customize the way they sound with the Jabra Sound+ app.

    Get the Bose QuietControl 30 if you want ANC earbuds that perform better straight out-of-the-box, but if mic performance is a priority for you and you’re concerned about build quality, you’ll want to go for the Jabra Elite 65e.

    See our review

  6. Best Noise Cancelling In-Ear Headphones: Sony WI-1000X Wireless

    Usage Ratings - Version 1.2
    7.0
    Mixed Usage
    7.0
    Critical Listening
    7.5
    Commute/Travel
    7.5
    Sports/Fitness
    7.3
    Office
    5.8
    TV
    5.4
    Gaming
    Type : In-ear
    Enclosure : Closed-Back
    Wireless : Yes
    Noise-Cancelling : Yes
    Mic : Yes
    Transducer : Balanced Armature

    The best noise cancelling in-ear headphones we’ve tested so far are the Sony WI-1000X. They’re well-built wireless in-ears with a neckband design that feels pretty durable. Like the Sony WH-1000XM3 Wireless, they’re compatible with the Sony | Headphones Connect app for access to a ton of customization options and they have good 10-hour battery life. They have a good audio reproduction and you can EQ the way they sound in the app.

    While their neckband design ensures your music is always at arm’s reach, it’s not for everyone, especially since it’s very rigid. They also don’t have the most stable fit, so if you need to run to catch your bus you might want to hold onto the neckband so they don’t go flying. If you like a neckband design, though, they’re well-performing noise cancelling in-ears overall.

    See our review

  7. Best Noise Cancelling Headphones Under $200: Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2 Wireless 2016

    Usage Ratings - Version 1.2
    7.3
    Mixed Usage
    7.7
    Critical Listening
    7.4
    Commute/Travel
    7.1
    Sports/Fitness
    7.5
    Office
    6.2
    TV
    5.9
    Gaming
    Type : Over-ear
    Enclosure : Closed-Back
    Wireless : Yes
    Noise-Cancelling : Yes
    Mic : Yes
    Transducer : Dynamic

    The best noise cancelling headphones under $200 we’ve reviewed so far are the Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2. They’re well-built, comfortable over-ears with a simple physical control scheme that’s very easy-to-use. They have an exciting bass-rich sound that brings out the deep thump and rumble of more bass-heavy genres like EDM or hip-hop without being boomy or muddy, and they have an amazing 30-hour battery life. They even support aptX-LL (low latency), so you can use them to watch TV or while gaming, provided you have the right Bluetooth transmitter.

    On the downside, their app doesn’t provide an EQ. They also don’t block noise as well as some of the more premium ANC models we’ve tested. but they provide fantastic value for their price. They are also rather bulky headphones and don’t have the sleekest look. If you prefer a more neutral sound and streamlined design, you may want to consider the Plantronics Backbeat Go 810, but they’re less comfortable and have even worse ANC performance. The Pro 2 perform well for their price overall and provide good value for anyone looking to buy decent noise cancelling headphones.

    See our review

  8. Customizable Alternative: JBL Live 650 BTNC Wireless

    Type : Over-ear
    Enclosure : Closed-Back
    Wireless : Yes
    Noise-Cancelling : Yes
    Mic : Yes
    Transducer : Dynamic

    If you're looking for noise cancelling headphones under $200 that you can customize to better suit your tastes, then get the JBL Live 650 BTNC. They don't have the same remarkable battery performance of the Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2, but their compatibility with the JBL Headphones app gives you access to a great parametric EQ so you can tweak the way they sound to your liking. They also have a dedicated Bluetooth Sync button and come with an in-line microphone you can use to take calls wired without using the battery. Unfortunately, their noise cancelling is even worse than the Plantronics, so they won't be ideal if you need really good noise isolation.

    Get the Plantronics if you prefer something with a longer-lasting battery, but if you're all about customizability you'll want to go for the JBL.

    See our review

  9. Best Noise Cancelling Headphones Under $100: Mpow H10 Wireless

    Usage Ratings - Version 1.2
    7.0
    Mixed Usage
    7.2
    Critical Listening
    7.1
    Commute/Travel
    6.8
    Sports/Fitness
    7.2
    Office
    6.3
    TV
    6.0
    Gaming
    Type : Over-ear
    Enclosure : Closed-Back
    Wireless : Yes
    Noise-Cancelling : Yes
    Mic : Yes
    Transducer : Dynamic

    The best affordable noise cancelling headphones we’ve tested so far are the Mpow H10. Their ANC is decent and they isolate noise fairly well across the board. They sound alright overall; their mid-range is a bit recessed, which affects the intensity and projection of vocals and lead instruments, but this likely won’t be an issue for most people, especially those who prefer bass-heavier music genres like rap or EDM. They have a great 23-hour battery life, can be used while charging, and feature a standby mode to help save power when not in use.

    Although they have much better noise cancellation than the Mpow H5, they leak a lot of sound. Though this shouldn’t be a problem on a loud flight, you may disturb your colleagues with the sound of your music. They also don’t feel as well-built as the Mpow H5, which are cheaper. However, they’re more comfortable and have a significantly better battery. They provide a satisfactory listening experience all around and provide excellent value for their price.

    See our review

  10. Best Budget Noise Cancelling Headphones: Mpow H5 Wireless

    Usage Ratings - Version 1.2
    6.7
    Mixed Usage
    7.3
    Critical Listening
    6.5
    Commute/Travel
    6.8
    Sports/Fitness
    6.7
    Office
    6.0
    TV
    5.8
    Gaming
    Type : Over-ear
    Enclosure : Closed-Back
    Wireless : Yes
    Noise-Cancelling : Yes
    Mic : Yes
    Transducer : Dynamic

    The best noise cancelling headphones in the budget category we’ve tested so far are the Mpow H5. They’re fairly well-built, especially for their price, and have a reasonably comfortable yet stable fit. They sound decent, with a reasonably balanced audio reproduction that works for most genres of music, and are easy-to-use. They have a good 12-hour battery life, can connect to two devices simultaneously, and even come with a great hard carrying case, which are all great features at this price point.

    Unfortunately, their noise cancelling isn’t the best. They do isolate a bit of noise overall, but not as much as the TaoTronics TT-BH060. Our TaoTronics unit had heavily mismatched drivers, though, and a dark and muffled sound quality. If you don’t need very much noise isolation and care more about having lots of active features, then the Mpow are a decent choice.

    See our review

  11. In-Ear Alternative With Better Passive Isolation: AUKEY Latitude Wireless

    Type : In-ear
    Enclosure : Closed-Back
    Wireless : Yes
    Noise-Cancelling : No
    Mic : Yes
    Transducer : Dynamic

    If you prefer the compact form factor of wireless earbuds, then get the AUKEY Latitude Wireless. They don’t have ANC like the Mpow H5, but their in-ear fit isolates even more noise passively. They also hardly leak any sound, so they’re a good option if you like to listen to your music a bit loudly but don’t want to bother anyone. They sound decent and are easy-to-use. Unfortunately, their great noise isolation comes at the expense of comfort since their earbuds fit quite deeply in the ear canal.

    If you prefer over-ears, you’ll want to stick with the Mpow H5, but if you want something more portable with even better noise isolation, go for the AUKEY Latitude.

    See our review

Notable Mentions

  • Jabra Elite 85h Wireless: Comfortable over-ears with an easy-to-use control scheme and balanced sound, but don't isolate as well as our top picks. See our review
  • Sennheiser PXC 550 Wireless: Versatile headphones with a customizable sound. Mediocre noise cancelling for ANC headphones. See our review
  • Beats Studio 3 Wireless: Sleek and comfortable over-ear headphones with decent sound and much better isolation than the original Studio Wireless. See our review
  • B&O PLAY Beoplay H9i Wireless: Excellent build quality and great design. Average sound quality and mediocre-at-best noise cancelling for the price. See our review
  • Dolby Dimension Wireless: Premium wireless headphones that are very comfortable and remarkably well-built but sound okay-at-best and have mediocre battery life. See our review
  • Microsoft Surface Wireless Headphones: Well-built wireless headphones with an outstanding control scheme that’s intuitive and easy-to-use but sound overly warm and bass-heavy. See our review
  • AKG N700NC Wireless: Wireless noise cancelling over-ears that sound very good and have decent noise isolation, but may not provide as much value as the Bose QuietComfort 35 II or the Sony WH-1000XM3. See our review
  • Audio-Technica ATH-MSR7NC: A good-sounding and well-built noise cancelling headphone. Their isolation is mediocre and they're slightly pricey for their relative lack of features. See our review
  • Sennheiser HD 4.50 BTNC: Fairly well-rounded noise-cancelling headphones that isolate a decent amount of sound but aren't as comfortable or ergonomic as the Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2. See our review
  • Plantronics BackBeat Go 810 Wireless: Stylish over-ears with a great, neutral sound and long battery life but feel less comfortable and durable than the BackBeat Pro 2. See our review
  • Anker SoundCore Life 2 Wireless: Wireless budget over-ear headphones that are comfortable and sound decent but have weak ANC. See our review
  • Marshall MID ANC Wireless: On-ear headphones that sound very good but have mediocre noise cancelling. See our review
  • AKG N60NC Wireless: Decent noise cancelling on-ears that isolate noise fairly well but sound a bit boomy. See our review
  • Sony WI-SP600N Wireless: A good sports alternative with a decent noise cancelling feature. Average sound quality with overemphasized bass; more expensive than the Jaybird Freedom. See our review
  • Jabra Elite Active 65t Truly Wireless: A good portable truly wireless headset for most uses, with strong passive isolation. No active noise cancelling. See our review
  • Jaybird Freedom F5 Wireless 2016: Great sports in-ears with very good passive isolation, but not as good as the AUKEY Latitude, especially for the price. See our review
  • Sony WI-C600N Wireless: Decent wireless in-ears with good isolation performance. Sound alright and are quite portable, but aren’t as comfortable nor well-built as the Jabra Elite 65e. See our review

All Reviews

Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best noise cancelling headphones to buy for most people in each price range. We factor in the price (cheaper headphones win over pricier ones if the difference isn't worth it), feedback from our visitors, and availability (no headphones that are difficult to find or almost out of stock everywhere).

If you would like to choose for yourself, here is the list of all our reviews for noise cancelling headphones. Be careful not to get caught up in the details. There are no perfect headphones and the level at which you play your music will naturally drown the ambient noise of lower amplitudes.

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