Whether you're planning an upcoming flight across the globe or just take 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 the best 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, too.
We've tested over 620 pairs of headphones, and below are our recommendations for the best travel headphones. Also, make sure to check out our recommendations for the best headphones, the best noise cancelling earbuds, and the best noise cancelling headphones.
The best travel headphones that we've tested are the Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless. These comfortable, well-built over-ears have an ANC feature that does an outstanding job blocking background noises like bus and plane engines. Thanks to their over 37-hour continuous battery life, they're well-suited for the longest international flights.
They have a bass-heavy default sound profile that adds an extra thump and rumble to your favorite tracks. If you prefer a different sound, there's a graphic EQ and presets available in the Sony | Headphones Connect app to help you customize your listening experience. Unlike the Sony WH-1000XM3 Wireless, they allow for multi-device pairing, making it easy to switch your audio source from your laptop to your phone when you're on the go.
Unfortunately, like most over-ears, they have a slightly bulky design that isn't very portable. Fortunately, they fold down into a more compact format, and they come with a carrying case to help protect them from falls and scrapes. Overall, they have a decently versatile performance that should please many different listeners, making them among the best headphones for airplane, bus, and car trips.
If you're looking for a pair of travel headphones and comfort is your top priority, consider the Bose QuietComfort 35 II/QC35 II Wireless 2018. While they aren't as well-built as the Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless, these over-ears are extremely well-padded, so you can comfortably wear them for long periods without a lot of fatigue. They have a 20-hour continuous battery life that's ideal for your longest days on the go. Their ANC feature isn't as outstanding as the Sony, but they can still block out the sound of engines and other background noises well. Their default sound profile is quite balanced, with a little extra warmth and thump in the bass range. Unfortunately, they don't have any sound customization features, which may be disappointing for some listeners.
If you want better-built headphones with longer continuous battery life and more customization features, check out the Sony, but if you prefer a more comfortable option, consider the Bose.
The best commuter headphones we've tested with an in-ear design are the Apple AirPods Pro. These truly wireless earbuds are lightweight and don't fit too deeply in your ears, so they should be comfortable to wear for longer periods. They have an ANC feature that does a great job of blocking out sounds like the low rumble of bus and plane engines.
Their sound profile is neutral and well-balanced, making it suitable for a wide variety of content and genres, although they may not deliver enough thump and rumble for fans of bass-heavy genres like EDM or hip-hop. They hardly leak any audio, so you can turn up the volume on the bus without worrying about bothering people around you. While their continuous battery life of roughly five hours is on the short side, they come with a sturdy case that holds about five additional charges.
Unfortunately, their battery only provides roughly five hours of continuous playback, which is on the short side. However, they come with a sturdy case that holds around five extra charges, and they only take about an hour to recharge fully. Overall, if you're looking for a pair of truly wireless in-ears to use for travel, these are a great option.
If you're looking for more customizable in-ears, try the Anker SoundCore Life P3 Truly Wireless. While they don't feel as well-built, premium, or stable as the Apple AirPods Pro Truly Wireless, they have a companion app that offers a graphic EQ and presets so that you can adjust their sound. That said, out of the box, these headphones have a bass-heavy default sound profile that delivers intense thump and rumble to your mixes. Thanks to their ANC system, they can block out an excellent amount of ambient noise like the rumbles of plane engines and background chatter. They also have under six hours of continuous playback time, and their carrying case supplies roughly four additional charges.
Go for the Apple if you're looking for in-ears with better build quality. However, if you want to tweak your headphones' sound to your liking, check out the Anker instead.
The Razer Opus Wireless are the best travel headphones under $200 that we've tested. These over-ears have an ANC system that can block out a fantastic amount of ambient noise like the rumble of plane engines. They also have a great build quality and come with a hard carrying case to help protect them when you're on the go.
These very comfortable headphones have a neutral and very well-balanced sound profile out of the box. That said, if you're looking for a different sound, their companion app has a graphic EQ plus presets to help you adjust them to suit your preferences. They have over 32 hours of continuous playback time, which should last through long days on the road, and you can use them passively with their included audio cable if you run out of battery life.
Unfortunately, Razer has released an updated version of these headphones with different features than the original model, like Bluetooth 5.0 support. We tested the original variant, which you can still find through some retailers, but we don't know how the updated one performs. Luckily, if you want to know which variant you're looking at, Razer has put out instructions under the 'FAQs' tab.
If you want a more budget-friendly pair of over-ear headphones, consider the Anker Soundcore Life Q30 Wireless. They aren't as well-built as the Razer Opus Wireless and have a less comfortable, less stable fit, but they offer similarly fantastic noise isolation for a more affordable price. Their ANC feature effectively blocks out ambient chatter as well as the rumble of bus and plane engines, and they have a long continuous battery life of roughly 44 hours. Their excited, v-shaped sound profile may be too bass-heavy for some, but fortunately, you have access to a graphic EQ and presets through their companion app. They can connect with two devices at once, which is nice if you're always switching between your phone and laptop. Unfortunately, they leak a lot of audio, so if you listen to your music at high volumes, it can annoy people nearby.
If you want the option with better build quality or prefer headphones that don't leak as much sound, try the Razer, but consider the Anker if you're looking for outstanding noise isolation at a more budget-friendly price.
The TOZO NC9 Truly Wireless are the best budget travel headphones that we've tested. While their price fluctuates, they offer a good performance suitable for commuting or traveling. Their ANC system also does a great overall job of blocking out bus and plane engine noise.
These in-ears have a lightweight, breathable, and decently comfortable fit. They're also well-built and are certified IPX6 for water resistance. Their excited, v-shaped sound profile is well-suited for genres like rock and pop as they deliver extra thump, rumble, and boom while vocals and lead instruments are bright. Thanks to their in-ear design, they don't leak very much audio at high volumes either.
Unfortunately, they lack a companion app, so you can't adjust their sound to your liking. Their continuous battery life of roughly 4.2 hours is short. Luckily, their carrying case supplies about three additional charges if you need it, and you can use one bud while the other one charges, which is nice.
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.
Jul 29, 2021: Replaced the TaoTronics SoundLiberty 94 with the TOZO NC7 Truly Wireless as the 'Best Budget Travel Headphones' because the TaoTronics are out of stock.
Jun 01, 2021: Verified that picks still represent the best recommendations and that the products are in stock.
Apr 02, 2021: Added the EarFun Air Pro True Wireless as 'Alternative With Better Battery Performance' due to their ANC's great overall performance. Also verified our picks for availability and accuracy.
Feb 01, 2021: Replaced Anker Soundcore Life Q20 Wireless with TaoTronics SoundLiberty 94 Truly Wireless. Removed 'Cheaper Alternative' category and corresponding ENACFIRE E60 pick to 'Best In-Ear Headphones For Travel' main pick. Added new 'Cheaper Alternative' category to 'Best Travel Headphones Under $200' main pick. Added Anker Soundcore Life Q30 Wireless to 'Cheaper Alternative' category. Added Apple AirPods Max Wireless, Bose QuietComfort Earbuds Truly Wireless, Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 Truly Wireless, Jabra Elite 85t Truly Wireless, and JBL CLUB PRO+ TWS True Wireless to Notable Mentions.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best travel headphones 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.