The best noise-cancelling headphones aren’t just great for everyday music playback. By engaging active noise cancellation (ANC) tech, they make irritating and distracting sounds from the world around you a lot quieter. With ANC tech enabled, the earth carries on of form but you can bask in a tranquil puddle of peace and serenity every bit the dissonance around you is cancelled out. ANC headphones can even assist to get a improve night’s sleep, or you tin simply play music and experience the audio of your favorite band or artist, or listen to podcasts and eBooks without distraction or interruption.
We’re maintaining a split up list of the best noise-cancelling earbuds as well, just our picks beneath represent the greatest ANC headphones across any form gene. The best over-ear headphones tin help the dissonance-cancelling effect past forming seals around your ears, though in-ear buds can still evangelize high-performance ANC, just in a more portable package. Whichever yous prefer, yous’re sure to find the correct pair in our all-time noise-cancelling headphones picks below.
What are the all-time noise-cancelling headphones?
Taking the top spot in our best racket-cancelling headphones list is the new over-ear Sony WH-1000XM5. These build on their similarly first-class predecessor the XM4 to alloy superb audio quality with elite active noise cancellation and comfy blueprint. Sony’southward companion app, meanwhile, is the best we’ve used, while we also applaud the headphones’ eco credentials.
Coming in a close second is the Bose 700, which have unrivaled ANC operation and intuitive tech features. Sound is crystal clear when listening to music and taking calls. We also dear the svelte, gimmicky design with comforting ear pads and impact controls.
The Bose Quiet Comfort earbuds come in third. Call back of these earbuds every bit the wireless in-ear variant of the Bose 700 (above), offering much of the same functionality to evangelize unbeatable ANC operation but with fewer mics. They come with 10 levels of ANC that can exist adapted in the Bose Connect app, which as well blends with an ambient listening style to allow full sensation of what’s happening around you.
The best noise-cancelling headphones you tin can buy (updated May 13)
Sony has been steadily endmost the racket-cancelling gap on Bose, and the new Sony WH-1000XM5 comes closer than ever to beating the Bose 700 (below) in this regard. It has 2 processors decision-making viii microphones, where the XM4 before it had but 1 processor controlling four, and the issue, in our testing, is about-seamless ANC. But the Sony’s overall quality would make the XM5 our #1 choice even if that weren’t the case.
Audio quality is superb, the 30-60 minutes battery life (with ANC) is splendid and everything from the impact controls to the power to tweak the EQ via the Sony Headphones Connect app is well thought out and seamlessly integrated. Call quality has also been improved profoundly and there’s really nothing to criticize here beyond the slightly bland styling and the $l toll increment over the XM4.
Read our full
Sony WH-1000XM5 review
It truly is a close run thing between the Bose 700 and the Sony WH-1000XM4 (in a higher place) for the best overall noise-cancelling headphone crown, and at that place is no denying that Bose has the most effective active racket cancelling engineering science on the marketplace. Menstruum.
The Bose 700s reap those benefits, boasting 10 levels of ANC that tin can be adapted in its Connect app and works flawlessly to silence the majority of external sounds. About importantly, the 700s achieve this without compromising audio quality, allowing listeners to enjoy clean, well-balanced audio reproduction. Bose’southward companion app also lets you adjust the EQ for personalized audio.
We love the ultramodern pattern, and the slim, sexy silhouette is as much of an engineering feat as the ANC performance. But we demand to accost the elephant in the room – battery life, which at 20 hours with ANC enabled and outperformed by the Sony.
Run across our full
Bose 700 review
The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds take the superlative spot in the wireless ANC earbuds category. Think of these earbuds every bit the wireless in-ear variant of the Bose 700 (to a higher place), offering much of the same functionality to deliver unbeatable ANC performance simply with fewer mics. They come up with 10 levels of ANC that tin can be adjusted in the Bose Connect app, which as well blends with an ambient listening manner to allow full awareness of what’s happening effectually you.
A software update introduces ANC profiles that were engineered for specific activities and places, every bit well as Aware Way, which automatically reduces “loud distractions as they happen,” returning to full transparency fashion when they laissez passer. Audio is warm and make clean, though call quality is the product’s unsung feature, producing excellent clarity whether y’all’re making or receiving a call.
Bated from the beefy blueprint (both earbuds and charging case), the simply thing holding Bose’due south flagship earbuds from perfection is the middling battery life. A single charge is rated at 6 hours, but that number drops quickly to 5 hours when factoring in the listening modes and heavy streaming. The charging case simply offers an additional 18 hours as well, a major letdown when seeing how huge it is.
Read our full
Bose QuietComfort Earbuds review
The latest entry in the QC over-ear series is the best still, welcoming several improvements, including better active racket cancellation, sound, and bombardment life. ANC is as effective as it is on the 700, blocking out most xc percent of ambient audio at a high charge per unit. Bose’southward ambient-listening style (Aware) does a fantastic job of pipe in external sounds for increased awareness. The combination of proprietary TriPort acoustic architecture and a volume-optimized Agile EQ gives these headphones a refined, well-counterbalanced sound signature to enjoy most music genres. Having 24 hours of ANC playtime is also huge, considering all the older Bose models simply give you 20 hours.
Non being able to turn off ANC means the battery will bleed more quickly, plus the absence of some features found on the 700 and QC35 II might have you hesitant almost choosing this model over the others. Well, just know that the ANC, audio quality, and battery life brand up for any shortcomings.
Read our full
Bose QuietComfort 45 review
Although at that place’south simply one level of active noise cancellation on the ultra-premium AirPods Max, it works like a charm. The cans do a corking chore of blocking out ambient sounds, especially at the lower end of the frequency spectrum. It’s almost equally expert equally Bose’southward ANC, which is a fine showing for Apple’southward beginning pair of over-ears.
Elsewhere, the AirPods Max sound great, especially with the surround-sound spatial sound feature switched on, and there design standards and build quality are so high you lot can virtually forget that these headphones cost $549. That’due south a lot more than than the Sony and Bose headphones higher up the listing, so this is a luxury purpose, but tin very much be a worthwhile one.
See our full
Apple tree AirPods Max review
When the WF-1000XM3 launched, they gear up the standard for active noise cancellation on wireless earbuds. What would Sony practice for an encore? Release an even more advanced version that trumps the original and other category leaders in several areas, including ANC, battery life, design, sound, and touch controls. Sony tweaked its dissonance counterfoil to improve deal with louder frequencies and rumblings, while as well completely silencing mutual disturbances in home and part environments.
Audio remains unbeatable with the WF-1000XM4 given a more dynamic, well-divers sound profile ideal for all music genres, video content, and other media (e.g., podcasts, eBooks). The plethora of features in the Sony Headphones Connect app opens the lane to personalize your listening experience, from the multiple well-engineered EQs to spatial sound via 360 Reality Sound for immersive 3D sound. A total charge gets you 8 hours of ANC playback, some of the highest in the category,
The revamped design is sleeker and more practical than its predecessor, though the fit feels looser this time around.
Read our full
Sony WF-1000XM4 review
You’re probably wondering how a pair of $500 wireless headphones with adequate dissonance cancellation could sneak its mode onto this list. The answer is uncomplicated: spatial sound. Nosotros know these are 2 separate talking points, but hear usa out. The YH-L700A are an excellent-sounding model that have a better 3D sound feel than the AirPods Max. They’re equipped with accurate head-tracking engineering science and multiple well-engineered listening modes for different content. Even with spatial audio turned off, these headphones produce spacious audio with full bass presence, delivering rich lows, palpable mids, and crisp highs. And though Yamaha’s ANC won’t lucifer what Apple, Bose, or Sony offers, it’south still effective to relish premium audio in most environments.
You just have to live with its large, heavy blueprint and uneven battery life, which fluctuates when listening with 3D enabled.
Read our full
Yamaha YH-L700A review
The first-gen OnePlus Buds were a notable entry in the sound space for the Android mobile manufacturer, merely their noise-cancelling brethren take already left an even greater impression, rivaling the AirPods Pro in aesthetics, ANC, and sound. A more premium design with a dual-tone cease and aluminum plating, alongside IP55 water-resistant protection for the buds and an IPX4-rated charging example, testify OnePlus tin can create buds that complement their high-finish smartphones. The 11mm drivers produce well-balanced sound with substantial frequency range to enjoy a nice blend of lows, mids, and highs. 3-level ANC is also impressive, filtering noise levels most upwardly to 40dB. Warp Charge engineering generates x hours of use on a 10-infinitesimal accuse, which you’ll be grateful for since ANC playtime is shorter than specified.
Read our full
OnePlus Buds Pro review.
The AirPods Pro land on our list of best noise-cancelling headphones considering these ANC earbuds blocked out racket quite well in our testing, whether nosotros were commuting or walking around New York City. It’s also like shooting fish in a barrel to actuate the ANC with just a long press on the earbud stalk. And for those times when yous need to be enlightened of your surroundings, at that place’s Transparency mode that lets ambient noise in then you tin mind to music and heed to the globe around yous. The latest iOS 14 update brings new features similar automatic switching and spatial sound, which creates 3D-like sound for listeners, into the mix.
The AirPods Pro offer a very comfortable and secure fit, which you lot can personalize thanks to iii sets of silicone tips and run an acoustical exam from your iPhone to make sure you’re getting the best audio. Sweat- and water-resistance hateful these buds are great for working out and battery life with noise cancelling activated gives only four.5 hours, merely yous can go 24 hours of juice through the wireless charging instance.
Run across our full
Apple tree AirPods Pro review
How’s this for an ANC headphones bargain: great sound, a modern and flexible design, ample features, a useful app, a full gear up of accessories and the best battery life in its class, all for $150? That’due south the Cleer Enduro ANC, currently the #three spot taker on our all-time cheap wireless headphones list.
The Enduro ANC aren’t without their foibles — there’s a fair bit of wind noise in ANC manner, and they are seemingly made with smaller ears in mind — but there’s no arguing about the incredible value for money. Cleer’s racket-cancelling headphones are particularly proficient for travelers, and we got 50 hours and 15 minutes of ANC playback time form a unmarried charge in our testing.
Read our full
Cleer Enduro ANC review
Take the Beats Studio Buds’ body, add wingtips and the coolest features from Apple’southward AirPods Pro, and you become Beats’ best wireless earbuds to date. The Fit Pro is an excellent conditioning companion that produces better clarity and punchier bass than Apple’s flagship buds, plus information technology comes with Spatial Audio to enjoy 3D-like audio when listening to select tracks on Apple Music, watching movies or jumping on FaceTime calls. Five of the six mics are used during calls, which, along with a vocalisation accelerometer, helps isolate spoken language for interference-gratuitous voice and video chats. We also capeesh the updated design — granted wingtips were the but real change, only they reinforce stability when performing lateral-heavy exercises.
Despite operating on the H1 chip, these buds lack a few features plant on electric current AirPods models, including Adaptive EQ and Enhanced Find My mode. The Android app doesn’t offer much extended functionality either. Too those complaints, these are a top-tier product for both fitness and casual music lovers.
Read our full
Beats Fit Pro review
How to cull the best noise-cancelling headphones for you
Active vs. passive racket cancellation
The offset item to check off the listing when shopping for the all-time racket-cancelling headphones is active noise counterfoil, which shouldn’t exist confused with passive noise cancellation. What are the differences?
ANC uses avant-garde circuitry and microphones to pick up noise signals and create inverse waves that cancel out these sonic disruptions, whereas PNC physically isolates high-pitched sounds through the headphone design and materials. Most headphones advertised with dissonance counterfoil are categorized under ANC.
Dissonance-cancelling headphones accept a reputation for sucking up lots of power, and so you’ll want a pair that holds a charge long plenty to go you through a long business organisation flight or weekly commutes. ANC wireless headphones can typically offer anywhere between 15 to twoscore hours, while noise-cancelling wireless earbuds are ordinarily rated for 4.5 to 8 hours.
ANC technology can compress sound and reduce dynamics, which may affect audio performance when turned on. In some cases, you lot’ll notice a groundwork hiss when listening to music. However, there are noise-cancelling headphones out in that location that limit these disruptions to deliver full, well-baked sound.
Design is but as important when selecting the all-time noise-cancelling headphones. Over-ear headphones tend to give the all-time dissonance cancellation, though some of the more recent wireless on-ear and in-ear models are proving to be simply as effective.
How we test noise-cancelling headphones
We’ve judged the best dissonance-cancelling headphones on several factors: audio performance, bombardment life, Bluetooth range, call quality, condolement and fit, and the effectiveness of the noise cancellation. We also weigh special features, such equally included apps, and how easy they are to use.
During the testing phase, our reviewers wear each pair of headphones for 2 hours at a time throughout the course of a calendar week, to test condolement over time.
ANC, meanwhile, is tested in both indoor and outdoor environments where ambient sounds are produced at high levels. This includes airplanes, city parks, convenience shops, offices, and public transportation. ANC headphones programmed with transparency modes are also tested thoroughly to determine how well the listener can hear their surroundings.
For sound quality, nosotros listen to many different sample tracks and span equally many music genres as possible, including hip-hop, rock, jazz, classical and R&B, while evaluating volume, clarity and fullness. Discover out what we listen for during our testing process and how to get the best headphone sound for you.
And now that more streaming music services are offering high-resolution sound, be sure to read our
audio codec FAQ
for all you need to know nigh FLAC files, MP3s and everything in between.
Once we complete our testing, we charge per unit headphones based on our five-point system (one = worst, 5 = best). If a product hits nearly every marker, information technology’southward awarded an Editor’s Choice bluecoat.