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 590 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 out 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.
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 they can be comfortably worn 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 come with 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 Apple AirPods Pro are the best commuter headphones that we've tested with an in-ear design. These very small truly wireless earbuds have an active noise cancelling feature that effectively blocks out noises like rumbling bus and plane engines. They're also well-built and have a comfortable, stable fit.
They have a well-balanced sound profile that's suitable for a wide variety of content and genres, although fans of bass-heavy music like EDM and hip-hop may find they lack some thump and rumble. Their ANC also isolates you from distractions like ambient conversations, and they barely leak any audio, so you can turn up your music on the subway without worrying too much about bothering people nearby.
Unfortunately, their battery only lasts for roughly five hours of continuous playback time, which may not be enough to get you through a long trip without recharging. However, the earbuds recharge in a little over an hour, and their case stores roughly five extra charges. Overall, if you're looking for a pair of truly wireless earbuds to take with you on your next trip, these are a great option.
If you prefer headphones with longer continuous battery life, you may prefer the EarFun Air Pro True Wireless. They aren't as well-built as the Apple AirPods Pro Truly Wireless and don't feel as stable, but their continuous battery life of roughly nine hours is much longer. They also come with a case that holds about 2.5 additional charges. Their ANC feature isn't as effective when it comes to blocking out mid-range noise like ambient conversations, but it still has excellent overall performance and does a good job of reducing the rumble of bus and plane engines. These headphones have a well-balanced sound profile with a bit of extra bass, so they should be suitable for a variety of content and genres.
Consider the Apple if you're looking for the best noise isolation performance, but try the EarFun instead if you prioritize long continuous battery life.
The best travel headphones under $200 that we've tested are the Razer Opus. These ANC Bluetooth over-ears prove that you don't need to spend a fortune to get an impressive ANC feature packaged in a well-built and premium design. They look very similar to the Sony WH-1000XM3 Wireless and are just as comfortable. Their 33-hour battery life lasts longer than all of the other recommendations on this list, and they have easy-to-use physical buttons, come with a great hard carrying case, and look and feel very durable and well-built.
Their default sound profile is very well-balanced and accurate, making them versatile enough for most genres and content. While fans of genres like EDM or hip-hop may find they lack a bit of bass, their sound profile can easily be adjusted via a graphic EQ and presets within their dedicated companion app. Their ANC performance is remarkable, and they block low-bass sounds like bus or plane engines even better than the much more expensive Bose QuietComfort 35 II/QC35 II Wireless 2018.
Unfortunately, if you take a lot of phone calls while on the go, these may not be the best choice as their microphone performance is only mediocre overall. They also lack some additional features, like the ability to pair to two devices at once, making it more difficult to quickly switch between your phone and laptop. That said, they provide an outstanding price-to-performance ratio and are a great travel companion if you don't want to spend a ton on a pair of premium headphones.
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 TaoTronics SoundLiberty 94 are the best budget travel headphones that we've tested. While their price tends to fluctuate a bit, these budget-friendly headphones are also one of the best budget noise cancelling headphones that we've tested, thanks to their amazing ANC. It can block out the rumble of bus and plane engines as well as cut down ambient chatter so you can focus on other things while traveling.
They have a stable fit, are well-built, and are rated IPX5 for water resistance, although we don't currently test this. They also have a good, touch-sensitive control scheme that's easy to use when you're on the go. Their Bluetooth latency on iOS and Android is pretty low, so you can stream videos from your phone while you're traveling. Although their bass-heavy and dark sound profile might not be for everyone, it's well-suited for genres like EDM or hip-hop.
Unfortunately, they lack any sound enhancement features to help tweak their sound to your liking. They also have a short continuous battery life of under four hours, which may not be enough to get you through a long flight or bus ride. Luckily, their carrying case provides around three extra charges and they have an auto-off timer to help conserve battery life when not in use.
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.
Dec 01, 2020: Replaced Aukey Latitude Wireless with ENACFIRE E60 Truly Wireless. Replaced Mpow H10 Wireless with Anker Soundcore Life Q20 Wireless.
Oct 01, 2020: Replaced the Sony WH-1000XM3 Wireless with the Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless as 'Best Travel Headphones'. Added the Sony WH-1000XM3 Wireless as a Notable Mention.
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.