The best headphones and earbuds with noise canceling


With the elimination of headphone jacks from phones, wireless headphones are surging in popularity, and noise-canceling is a must-have feature for anyone who spends a lot of time in loud environments like airplanes, coffee shops, and busy streets. Though once a premium feature found only in extremely expensive headphones, these days noise-canceling is available in Bluetooth headphones of all price ranges and form factors.

Best overall

Sony WH1000XM3

The mark of a great pair of noise-canceling headphones is not having to give up on sound quality for isolation, and Sony has achieved a great balance. On top of offering class-eating noise cancelation, the 1000XM3s have intuitive gesture controls and a great sound signature. Plus, battery life is excellent, and there’s one-touch access to Google Assistant that works wonders on Android phones.

$348 at Amazon

Best of Bose

Bose QC35 II

Building on the success of its wired QC25s, the Bose QC35 IIs are lightweight and well-built and offer an excellent blend of pleasing mids, strong but not overwhelming bass, and highs that don’t fatigue. Sound quality isn’t quite up to par with the 1000XM3s, but the QC35s are smaller, more comfortable, and last just as long on a single charge. Other highlights include NFC pairing on Android phones, an easy-to-use app to control EQ, and dual microphones for clear phone calls. Check out our full review!

$299 at Amazon


Panasonic RP-HD605N

While not as well-established in the headphones game as Sony or Bose, Panasonic’s HD605Ns offer similarly great sound quality and impressive noise-canceling for significantly less money. Like Sony’s 1000XM3s, you can funnel ambient sound back into these headphones by placing your hand over the right earcup, a huge convenience that’s great to see on a sub-$200 pair of headphones. Learn more in our review.

$184 at Amazon

Best value over-the-ear headphones

TaoTronics Active Noise-Cancelling Bluetooth Headphones

TaoTronics isn’t a particularly well-known brand, but at under $60 the company’s well-made over-the-ear Bluetooth headphones offer incredible value. With lush sound and deep (though not quite accurate) bass, TaoTronics’ Bluetooth headphones provide around 70% of active noise cancellation of the Bose QC35 for less than a quarter the price. Better yet, they last up to 25 hours on a single charge.

$58 at Amazon

Best noise-cancelling earbuds

Bose QC30

Like the QC35s, the Bose QC30 offers the best noise-canceling experience in its form factor. With small directional tips that are comfortable to wear for hours, the beauty of the QC30 is how it allows you to raise and lower the active noise cancellation depending on the environment. While you’re not going to get the same level of bass as the larger over-the-ear headphones, the QC30 is more versatile and comfortable, and the headphones can be remanded to the neck when not in use thanks to the neckband base.

$299 at Amazon

Best value noise-cancelling earbuds

Phiaton BT 100 NC

Phiaton is a well-known name in the budget headphone space, and the BT 100 NCs are the best noise-canceling earbuds for under $100. Like the QC30s, the BT 100 NC come in neckbud form, with earbuds that effortlessly extrude from a cable. Neither the sound quality nor the ANC is as good as the QC30, but for $100 you’re not going to find a better compromise in this form factor.

$80 at Amazon

If you can afford them, Sony’s WH1000XM3s are the best noise-canceling headphones on the market, with handy gesture controls, great sound, deafening noise-canceling, and long battery life. If they’re too rich for your blood, though, you won’t go wrong with any of the alternatives — Panasonic’s HD605Ns are arguably a much better value, and the Phiaton BT 100 NCs come in a more convenient form factor.

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November 28, 2018 at 05:07AM