Noise canceling headphones might not seem like a necessity for a lot of you out there, but if you find yourself using your headphones outdoors or at your workplace you’ll definitely understand the appeal of a good pair of noise canceling headphones once you try them. These headphones are capable of drowning out background noise, hence the name, allowing you to enjoy your music (or just silence) without any interference. The technology is especially great for professionals who wish to focus on their work and not get distracted by all the things happening around them, and a good pair of headphones with active noise cancellation can really come in handy while traveling via air, as they can completely drown out the surrounding noise, allowing you to read or sleep in peace. So, without much further ado, let’s take a look at some of the best noise canceling headphones that you can buy right now:
Best Noise Canceling Headphones (2019)
1. Sony WH-1000XM3
At the top of our list is the new Sony WH-1000XM3, which is the best noise canceling headphone overall as it offers good noise cancellation capabilities, quality audio output, amazing battery life, a sleek design, along with some rather functional add-ons. The headphones feature large 40mm drivers that sound phenomenal, they’re rated for up to 38 hours of continuous playback, and they’ve got some really comfortable ear cups which ensure that you won’t feel any fatigue if you wear the headphones for long stretches of time.
The active noise cancellation (ANC) of the Sony-WH1000XM3 might not be the best out there, but Sony makes up for it by including a bunch of additional features that add a significant amount of value to the product. I especially like the gesture that allows you to pause the music briefly by covering an earcup and the touch-sensitive volume/playback controls on the earcups. All-in-all, the Sony-WH1000XM3 are the best noise canceling headphones you can buy right now, but they’re a bit on the expensive side.
Buy Sony WH-1000XM3: $348
2. Bose QuietComfort 35 II
The Bose QuietComfort 35 II takes the second spot on this list as it falls slightly behind the Sony WH-1000XM3 in the audio quality department which, I believe, should be the primary criteria in judging any headphones, even noise cancellation headphones. The headphones feature a compact and lightweight design with excellent earcups, making them one of the most comfortable noise canceling headphones out there, and they’re rated for up to 20 hours of continuous playback.
The headphones offer the best noise cancellation out there, even better than the Sony-WH1000XM3, which is probably the only reason why anyone would be prompted to go for this pair instead. Functionally, the Bose QC 35 II don’t offer as many features as the Sony-WH1000XM3 either, packing in just an additional dedicated voice assistant button, along with the volume and playback controls, and not much else. The Bose QC 35 II is a great buy for anyone who wants to experience the best noise cancellation and doesn’t care too much about the other factors.
Buy Bose Quiet Comfort 35 II: $349
3. Sennheiser PXC 550 Wireless
If comfort and long-time usability are some things that you prioritize over other factors, then you should consider getting the Sennheiser PXC 550 Wireless – a great pair from the German manufacturer that is by far the most comfortable noise canceling headphones out there. Not only do the headphones sound great, they’re rated for up to 30 hours of continuous playback and have some solid features that befit a headphone in this price range.
The Sennheiser PXC 550 Wireless offers decent noise canceling capabilities, a clean design, and some of the most comfortable earcups you’d find on any headphones (noise canceling or not) out there. On top of that, the headphones also pack some additional features, with the earcup trackpad being one of my personal favorites. The Sennheiser PXC 550 Wireless is a great buy for any user who tends to use their headphones for long hours at a stretch.
Buy Sennheiser PXC 550 Wireless: $240
4. AKG N700NC
After exceptional audio quality? Then the AKG N700NC are the headphones for you. When compared to other studio quality headphones, the AKG N700NC might not seem that great, but for a noise canceling wireless headphone, the audio quality doesn’t get any better than this. However, rated for up to 20 hours of continuous playback, the AKG N700NC doesn’t offer the best battery life at the price and the headphones aren’t as comfortable as some of the others on the list.
When it comes to noise canceling capabilities, the headphones perform quite well and the noise canceling is quite effective. On top of that, the headphones also feature an ambient aware mode, that lets you safely listen to music while being aware of whatever is going on in the surroundings. So, if you’re okay with the claimed 20 hour battery backup and the not-so-comfortable design, then the AKG N700NC is one of the best sounding noise canceling headphone you can get right now.
Buy AKG N700NC: $349.99
5. Microsoft Surface Headphones
Microsoft’s new Surface Headphones are also a great option for buyers looking for a solid pair of noise canceling headphones, as they offer a premium design, great wireless performance, and excellent noise canceling capabilities. On the downside, however, the headphones are rated for just up to 15 hours of continuous playback and they aren’t as comfortable as some of the headphones on the list.
Additionally, the headphones don’t come with support for AptX, AAC or LDAC, which means that the sound output isn’t as great and you might even encounter some issues while listening to music over a wireless connection. The control dials on the headphone are a nice touch and they make interacting with the headphone feel a bit more seamless. But the Microsoft Surface Headphones are great only for casual users who want a good noise canceling headphone, but at the price I’d probably go with the Sony WH-1000XM3 which sound far better and offer some cool features.
Buy Microsoft Surface Headphones: $349.99
6. Bose Quiet Comfort 25
In case you’re one of the many people who still prefer wired headphones over wireless ones, then you should go for the Bose Quiet Comfort 25. Even though the headphones are a bit old, they pack great noise canceling capabilities and sound quite good over a wired connection. The lightweight design coupled with the comfortable earcups make them really comfortable to wear over a long period of time.
The Bose QC 25 is powered by a single AAA battery which is capable of powering the active noise cancellation (ANC) for up to 35 hours of use, which is great in itself, but you can easily carry a spare battery and extend the battery life considerably, making the headphones even better. Since the QC 25 work over a wired connection, they’re also a bit cheaper, so you’ll even be able to save a couple of bucks if you go for these headphones over the wireless ones.
Buy Bose QuietComfort 25: $299.95
7. Anker Soundcore Space NC
Users on a tight budget can consider the Anker Soundcore Space NC, a decent pair of wireless noise canceling headphones that have a lightweight and sturdy design, decent audio quality for the price, good battery life, and a rather premium travel case.The headphones are rated for up to 20 hours of wireless playback at a stretch, which is decent for the price.
You can even extend the battery life by up to 30 hours just by using the wired connection. The Anker Soundcore Space NC also feature touch controls on the earcups, but they’re way too sensitive and might not appeal to some users. However, if you’re looking for a decent noise canceling headphone on a budget, you can’t go wrong with the Anker Soundcore Space NC.
Buy Anker Soundcore Space NC: $99
8. Plantronics Backbeat Pro 2
In case you have some wiggle room in your headphone budget, but don’t want to go with a super expensive pair, then you can consider getting the Plantronics Backbeat Pro 2 – a decent mid-range noise canceling headphone. The headphones sound good for a Bluetooth headphone, they’re quite comfortable to wear and have a great battery life.
The headphones are rated for up to 24 hours of continuous audio playback and they take about three hours to charge back up to full capacity. When it comes to noise canceling, the Plantronics Backbeat Pro 2 performs fairly well for a headphone in this price range and the tactile controls on the earcups are a nice addition.
Buy Plantronics Backbeat Pro 2: $199
9. Bowers & Wilkins PX
If great design is what you prefer over everything else, then you should probably go with the Bowers & Wilkins PX wireless noise canceling headphone. The headphones look stylish, have a very premium build quality and offer excellent sound. On top of that, the easily replaceable magnetic memory foam ear cups are a nice added touch.
Since the Bowers & Wilkins PX is a bit more expensive than competing headphones, I would only recommend them to you if you’re hell bent on getting a pair of headphones that looks cool. While the headphones aren’t bad by any means, they sure can’t justify the price with just the premium design and any of the other headphones on this list that offer better performance would be better choices.
Buy Bowers & Wilkins PX: $399.99
10. JBL Everest Elite 750NC
Rounding off the list is the JBL Everest Elite 750NC, the company’s new top-of-the-line wireless noise canceling headphones that pack a mean punch. As with most JBL audio products, the Everest Elite 750 NC delivers punchy bass heavy audio, with a companion app that allows you to further customize the sound profile as per your liking.
The headphones are rated for 15 hours of continuous playback, which isn’t exceptional, and their noise canceling capabilities aren’t as great as some of the other headphones on this list either. Even though I dig the design with the large comfortable earcups, I would only recommend the JBL Everest Elite 750NC to those who’re either JBL fans or like bass-y headphones more than flat sounding ones.
Buy JBL Everest Elite 750NC: $299.99
Get Yourself a Pair of Noise Canceling Headphones Today
A good pair of noise canceling headphones can really be a great purchase for several reasons and since they’re mostly high-end headphones, you’ll also notice an overall improvement in sound quality if you’re currently using just any other regular pair of headphones. Granted, the sound quality might not be as great as with some studio quality headphones, but for an average consumer, noise canceling headphones can be a great combination of functionality and great sound quality.
In case none of the aforementioned headphones catch your fancy, you can also check out the ATH-ANC 700BT ($149) from Audio Technica and the Beats Studio 3 Wireless ($279.95), which are also great options when it comes to sound quality, but don’t offer the best noise canceling features. It’s worth noting that if you’re on the lookout for a good noise canceling headphone for gaming, you can go with any of the aforementioned options, but keep in mind that you might face some latency issues with most wireless headphones that might compromise your gameplay.
So, that rounds up our list of the best noise canceling headphones you can buy in 2019. Have you tried any of these headphones before? Which one would you go for depending on your particular use case? Let us know in the comments section below.