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The 6 Best Travel Headphones - Summer 2022 Reviews

Best Travel Headphones

Whether you're planning an upcoming flight across the globe or just taking the subway to work every day, a good pair of travel headphones can be a total game-changer. Having something comfortable with great noise isolation can make your travels much easier to endure and even enjoyable at times.

When looking for travel headphones, you'll want something easy to use for when you're hunting down your gate or running to catch the bus, with a long enough battery life to last you throughout the day. While many people prefer over-ear headphones for long flights or train rides, earbuds or in-ear headphones are popular as well for their portability. Usually, models with active noise cancelling (ANC) do the best job at reducing the deep rumbling noises of bus or plane engines, but some in-ear headphones block out lots of noise passively.

We've tested over 670 pairs of headphones, and below are our recommendations for the best headphones for airplane use, traveling, and commuting. Also, make sure to check out our recommendations for the best headphones, the best noise cancelling earbuds, and the best noise cancelling headphones.

  1. Best Travel Headphones

    The best travel headphones with an over-ear design we've tested are the Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless. These over-ear headphones feel sturdy and very comfortable for long trips. They also have a fantastic active noise cancelling (ANC) feature to block out bass-range noises like bus and plane engines. If you're worried about battery life, they last about 37 hours continuously, so you shouldn't need to recharge them during a long trip.

    You can use them wired, and they come with an airplane adapter so you can listen to in-cabin entertainment. Keep in mind that they're over-ear headphones, though, so they're somewhat bulky and may not fit into smaller bags. Luckily, the ear cups swivel, making them easier to wear around your neck, and they come with a hard plastic case to protect them from falls and bumps.

    See our review

  2. Best Budget Travel Headphones

    The Anker Soundcore Life Q30 Wireless are the best commuter headphones under $100 that we've tested. These well-built headphones have an ANC feature you can set to three different levels in their app. When set to 'Transport' mode, it does an outstanding job of blocking out ambient sound, especially noise like the low rumble of bus and plane engines. If you're always on the go, the ear cups swivel to lay flat, making it easier to carry them around your neck, and they come with a hard case to protect them when you're on the go.

    They have a very long, 44-hour continuous battery life, which is great for long trips. Overall, they have a comfortable fit, but the padding on the headband is a bit thin, which may cause some discomfort if you wear them for a long time. Fans of EDM and hip-hop will enjoy their bass-heavy sound profile, but you can adjust it with a graphic EQ and presets in their app if you prefer a different sound. 

    See our review

  3. Most Comfortable Travel Headphones

    Some over-ear headphones can be tiring when worn for long listening sessions. If comfort is a top priority for you, then the Bose QuietComfort 45/QC45 Wireless are the most comfortable travel headphones we've tested. They clamp less tightly on your head than the Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless and have a lighter overall design.

    Like the Sony headphones, they have an ANC system that tackles the low rumbles of bus and plane engines, but their 20-hour continuous battery life is a bit shorter. It should still last you through long days on the go, though. Some users may also prefer their more neutral default sound profile, which can be customized using the graphic EQ and presets in their companion app.

    See our review

  4. Best Travel Earbuds

    The best in-ear headphones for travel we've tested are the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds Truly Wireless. Like the Bose QuietComfort 45/QC45 Wireless, these in-ears have a great noise isolation performance. Their ANC can tackle the low rumble of bus and plane engines, and you can even select different ANC levels via the presets from their companion app.

    In terms of sound, they have a very neutral sound profile that you can adjust to your liking using the app's graphic EQ and presets. They also have a continuous playback time of over seven hours, and their carrying case holds an additional two charges if you need it. Their build feels durable too, but they have a bulky design for in-ears, especially when compared to similarly powerful ANC earbuds like the Apple AirPods Pro Truly Wireless.

    See our review

  5. Best Budget Travel Earbuds

    The best budget travel earbuds we've tested are the Anker SoundCore Life P3 Truly Wireless. These in-ears have a few robust features that make them stand out from the pack. They have an excellent ANC system that can block out bass range noise like rumbling bus and plane engines and background conversations. Thanks to their companion app support, you can adjust their bass-heavy default sound profile to your liking using its graphic EQ and presets.

    Although their under six hours of continuous battery life is a bit short for longer flights, they come with a case that holds about four additional charges, so you can top them up as needed. They're also well-built and have a comfortable fit. If you're on a tighter budget, you may want to check out the TOZO NC7 instead. They're a bit cheaper than the Anker and still have ANC, which is very uncommon at their price point. Unfortunately, they're otherwise low on features. 

    See our review

  6. Best Travel Earbuds For Battery Life

    In-ears and earbuds generally have a shorter continuous battery life than over-ears due to their smaller design. However, if a long-lasting continuous playback time matters to you, the Sony WF-1000XM4 Truly Wireless are the best travel earbuds for battery performance. They last over 10 hours continuously, which is good if you're on a long flight or commute, but if you need to top them off, their carrying case supplies roughly two additional charges if you need it.

    Like other picks on this list, they also have ANC, and while it struggles to block out background noise like bus and plane rumbles, they do a better job of cutting down passenger chit-chat. They have a comfortable and well-built design, and their small design is easy to put in your pocket or bag on the go. While some users may find their sound lacks thump and seems lispy, you can customize them to your liking using their companion app's EQ.

    See our review

Notable Mentions

  • Apple AirPods Max Wireless: The Apple AirPods Max Wireless are over-ear headphones with a premium design and a remarkably effective ANC feature, but they're very bulky, making it hard to carry them around when not in use. See our review
  • Apple AirPods Pro Truly Wireless: The Apple AirPods Pro Truly Wireless are a solid alternative to the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds Truly Wireless, thanks to their sleek and lightweight design. However, they don't block out as much bass-range noise, and they lack ANC presets. See our review
  • TOZO NC7 Truly Wireless: The TOZO NC7 Truly Wireless are a solid alternative to the Anker SoundCore Life P3 Truly Wireless if you're on a tighter budget. They have a great ANC system, but they're otherwise simple in design. See our review

Recent Updates

  1. May 24, 2022: Article overhaul to better match user expectations. Renamed the Bose QuietComfort 45/QC45 Wireless, Anker Soundcore Life Q30 Wireless, and Anker SoundCore Life P3 Truly Wireless. Added the Sony WF-1000XM4 Truly Wireless as 'Best Travel Earbuds For Battery Life'. Also removed the Razer Opus Wireless 2020, Sony WH-1000XM3 Wireless, Bowers & Wilkins PX7 Wireless, Bose 700 Headphones Wireless, JBL CLUB PRO+ TWS True Wireless, Jabra Elite 85t Truly Wireless, and the Bose QuietComfort 45/QC45 Wireless from Notable Mentions.

  2. Mar 24, 2022: Replaced the Bose QuietComfort 35 II/QC35 II Wireless 2018 with the Bose QuietComfort 45/QC45 Wireless because the QC35 II have been discontinued.

  3. Jan 17, 2022: Made the Bose QuietComfort 35 II/QC35 II Wireless 2018 the 'More Comfortable Alternative'. Added the Bose QuietComfort 45/QC45 Wireless to Notable Mentions.

  4. Nov 24, 2021: Moved the Razer Opus Wireless to Notable Mentions because they're currently hard to find in stock. Made the Bose QuietComfort 35 II/QC35 II Wireless 2018 the 'Best Travel Headphones Under $200' instead. Changed the category for the Anker Soundcore Life Q30 Wireless to 'Best Travel Headphones Under $100' and made the Anker SoundCore Life P3 Truly Wireless their 'In-Ear Alternative'. Also replaced the TOZO NC9 Truly Wireless with the TOZO NC7 Truly Wireless as the 'Best Budget Travel Headphones' because they're back in stock.

  5. Sep 27, 2021: Replaced the EarFun Air Pro True Wireless with the Anker SoundCore Life P3 Truly Wireless as the Anker offer more versatile performance. Also replaced the TOZO N7 Truly Wireless with the TOZO NC9 Truly Wireless as the NC7 are no longer available.

All Reviews

Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best headphones for airplane use, travelling, and commuting for most people to buy. 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 headphones, ranked by their suitability for commuting and traveling. Be careful not to get caught up in the details. There are no perfect headphones. Personal taste, preference, and listening habits will matter more in your selection, especially if you listen to audio at high enough volumes to drown out the ambient noise of your travels.

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