The Best Noise Cancelling Headphones For 2020 - Purchase Guide&Reviews
Noise Cancelling Headphones
The best noise cancelling headphones are the ones that grant the gift of peace and quiet In a world of loud talkers, construction noise and screaming children, they silence your surroundings and allow you to enjoy music the way it was meant to be heard – loud, clear, and most importantly, uninterrupted.
Best seller 1 Sony WF-1000XM3 Industry Leading Noise Canceling Truly Wireless Earbuds Headset

Sony WF-1000XM3 Industry Leading Noise Canceling Truly Wireless Earbuds Headset

Industry leading noise canceling with HD Noise Canceling Processor QN1e 24bit Audio signal processing delivers dramatically improved sound quality Battery life up to 24 hours with carrying case (with 10min quick charge for 90min of play time) ...
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9.5
2 Bose QuietComfort 35 II Wireless Bluetooth Headphones, Noise

Bose QuietComfort 35 II Wireless Bluetooth Headphones, Noise

Limited-edition Rose Gold QC 35 headphones II Three levels of world-class noise cancellation for better listening experience in any environment Alexa-enabled for voice access to music, information, and more Noise-rejecting dual-microphone system ...
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9.5
3 Sennheiser HD 4.50 SE Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones – Black

Sennheiser HD 4.50 SE Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones – Black

Bluetooth 4.0 and aptX technologies deliver exceptional wireless sound quality. Connectivity Technology: Bluetooth Noise Gard active noise cancellation reduces ambient noise levels improving the listening experience Intuitive ear cup mounted ...
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9
4 Beats Solo Pro Wireless Noise Cancelling On-Ear Headphones – Apple H1 Headphone Chip

Beats Solo Pro Wireless Noise Cancelling On-Ear Headphones – Apple H1 Headphone Chip

High-performance wireless noise cancelling headphones in black Active Noise Cancelling (ANC) blocks external noise Transparency helps you stay aware of your surroundings while listening Features the Apple H1 Headphone Chip and Class 1 Bluetooth ...
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9
5 Anker Soundcore Life Q20 Hybrid Active Noise Cancelling Headphones, Wireless Over Ear Bluetooth Headphones

Anker Soundcore Life Q20 Hybrid Active Noise Cancelling Headphones, Wireless Over Ear Bluetooth Headphones

Soundcore is Anker’s audio brand, our signature sound is loved by 10 million+ people around the world. Hi-Res Audio Certified: Custom oversized 40 mm dynamic drivers produce Hi-Res Audio—a certification only awarded to audio devices capable of ...
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9
6 Bose Noise Cancelling Wireless Bluetooth Headphones 700

Bose Noise Cancelling Wireless Bluetooth Headphones 700

Keep your phone in your pocket and your head up to the world with easy access to voice assistants for music, navigation, weather, and more Turn any space into a workplace — with powerful noise cancelling, astonishing sound, unrivaled voice pickup ...
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9
Best seller 7 Sony Noise Cancelling Headphones WH1000XM3

Sony Noise Cancelling Headphones WH1000XM3

Digital Noise Canceling: Industry Leading Anc Lends a Personalized, Virtually Soundproof Experience. Phone Call: a built-in mic enables you to take hands-free calls Voice Assistant: Alexa Enabled for Voice Access to Music, Information and More. ...
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9.5
8 Apple AirPods Pro

Apple AirPods Pro

Active noise cancellation for immersive sound Transparency mode for hearing and connecting with the world around you Three sizes of soft, tapered silicone tips for a customizable fit Sweat and water resistant Adaptive EQ automatically tunes ...
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9.5

The Best Noise Cancelling Headphones For 2020

Buying guide and recommendation

What are the best noise cancelling headphones?

Based on our testing, the Bose 700 Noise Cancelling Headphones is the best noise cancelling headphones overall, as it offers superb ANC performance both when listening to music and making calls. It has an ultramodern design with sleek aesthetics, along with responsive physical and touch controls. Sound quality is also noticeably better than the company’s previous flagship mode, the QuietComfort 35 II, another great category option that shouldn’t be overlooked and is currently available at a lower price point.

Coming in a close second is the Sony WH-1000xM3, which rivals the Bose 700 in battery life, sound quality, and special features. Sony’s new QN1 processor is the horsepower behind the headphones’ phenomenal audio processing and noise cancellation. However, note that the Sony WH-1000xM4 has leaked, so you might want to wait until those headphones launch.

Those looking for something identical in a smaller package should look at Sony’s WH-1000xM3 wireless earbuds; they offer best-in-class noise cancellation and remarkable sound. 

 

Apple’s AirPods Pro is currently the best noise cancelling wireless earbuds. It delivers surprisingly good ANC and has a Transparency mode to let in ambient sound (when you want it). Apple’s pearly danglers are also water-resistant and sweat-resistant, making the AirPods Pro an ideal workout partner. 

1 Bose Noise Cancelling Wireless Bluetooth Headphones 700

Bose Noise Cancelling Wireless Bluetooth Headphones 700

Keep your phone in your pocket and your head up to the world with easy access to voice assistants for music, navigation, weather, and more Turn any space into a workplace — with powerful noise cancelling, astonishing sound, unrivaled voice pickup ...
Added to wishlistRemoved from wishlist 0
9

Bose noise reduction wireless bluetooth headset 700

Size and Weight: 8 x 6.5 x 2 inches, 8.8 ounces | Battery Life (Rated): 20 hours (NC on) | Bluetooth Range: 30 feet (10 meters) | Digital Assistant Support: Yes

The Bose 700 Noise Cancelling Headphones are currently the best headphones and have a sexy new design and cool features that come with its high price tag. They’re equipped with a whopping eight microphones, six of which are employed to deliver Bose’s champion noise cancelation when listening to music or talking on the phone. It offers up to 11 levels of adjustable ANC that work equally well to neutralize noise across different frequencies. Bose even made improvements to sound quality, as the 700s produce clean, balanced audio for crisp highs and solid bass; lows are felt more when at max ANC level.

Despite sharing the same battery life as its predecessor, the QC35 II, it still holds up strong at 20 hours with ANC on. Apple also sells a special edition version of the 700 for $50 extra that comes bundled with a charging case offering an additional 40 hours of listening time; Bose sells the case individually for $80. Smart assistant integration, touch controls, and AR support also make these some of the most intuitive noise-cancellers for commuters and music lovers alike. 
Best seller 1 Sony Noise Cancelling Headphones WH1000XM3

Sony Noise Cancelling Headphones WH1000XM3

Digital Noise Canceling: Industry Leading Anc Lends a Personalized, Virtually Soundproof Experience. Phone Call: a built-in mic enables you to take hands-free calls Voice Assistant: Alexa Enabled for Voice Access to Music, Information and More. ...
Added to wishlistRemoved from wishlist 0
9.5

 Sony WH-1000XM3

Size and Weight: 10.4 x 7.3 x 2.9 inches, 9 ounces | Battery Life (Rated): 30 hours (NC on), 38 hours (NC off) | Bluetooth Range: 30 feet (10 meters) | Digital Assistant Support: Yes

Advanced noise cancellation combined with intelligible features and a ton of sound-optimization features makes the Sony WH-1000xM3 one of the best noise cancelling headphones money can buy. Sony’s all-new HD Noise Cancelling Processor QN1 is a powerhouse that improves noise reduction, while reproducing high-fidelity sound that is unmatched. Booming bass is still at the forefront of Sony’s signature and plays nicely with mids and highs to achieve natural, full audio. Access to a built-in EQ and several presets that lend themselves well to different music genres via Sony Headphones Connect app opens the lane for personalized sound.

Comfort is another area where these wireless cans excel, taking on a lighter and more slender form than previous versions, for better wearability. Battery life remains a series highlight, and the addition of USB-C charging definitely ups the ante, rewarding listeners with 5 hours of use on a 10-minute charge.

1 Apple AirPods Pro

Apple AirPods Pro

Active noise cancellation for immersive sound Transparency mode for hearing and connecting with the world around you Three sizes of soft, tapered silicone tips for a customizable fit Sweat and water resistant Adaptive EQ automatically tunes ...
Added to wishlistRemoved from wishlist 0
9.5

 Apple AirPods Pro

Size and Weight: 2.4 x 1.7 x 0.9 inches, 8.8 ounces | Battery Life (Rated): 4.5 hours (NC on), 24 hours (with charging case) | Bluetooth Range: 30 feet (10 meters) | Digital Assistant Support: Yes

The AirPods Pro land on our list of best noise cancelling headphones because these wireless earbuds blocked noise quite well in our testing, whether we were commuting or walking around New York City. It’s also easy to activate the ANC with just a long press on the earbud stem. And for those times when you need to be aware of your surroundings, there’s Transparency mode that lets ambient noise in so you can listen to music and listen to the world around you.

The AirPods Pro offer a very comfortable and secure fit, which you can personalize thanks to three sets of included silicone tips and even a fit test you can run on your iPhone. And these buds are great for working out, as the AirPods Pro offer sweat- and water-resistance. The battery life with noise cancelling on is only 4.5 hours, but you can 24 hours of juice through the wireless charging case.

How to choose the best noise cancelling headphones for you?

The first item to check off the list when shopping for the best noise cancelling headphones is active noise cancellation, which shouldn’t be confused with passive noise cancellation. What are the differences?

 

ANC uses advanced 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 noise cancellation are categorized under ANC.

 

Next up is battery life. Noise cancelling headphones have a reputation for sucking up lots of power, so you’ll want a pair that holds a charge long enough to get you through a long business flight or weekly commutes. ANC wireless headphones offer anywhere between 15 to 40 hours, while noise cancelling wireless earbuds are 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’ll notice a background hiss when listening to music. However, there are noise cancelling headphones out there that limit these disruptions to deliver full, crisp sound.

Design is just as important when selecting the best noise cancelling headphones. Over-ear headphones tend to give the best noise cancellation, though some of the more recent Bluetooth on-ear and in-ear models are proving to be just as effective.

Noise Isolation vs. Active Noise Cancellation

This is one of those things that sound similar, but mean very different things. Noise isolation just means that the product physically sits between your ear and outside sound, thus blocking outside noise from entering your ear.

Active noise cancellation (ANC) works differently, though the end goal is the same. Products with ANC have tiny microphones in them that pick up outside sounds. The headphones then produce the opposite sound wave in order to actively cancel out the unwanted noise. It’s all based on physics and wave properties so as you can imagine, it’s not an easy thing to accomplish. When headphones claim noise cancelling we usually give their effectiveness a mention in our full reviews because it varies from product to product.

Soundstage

If someone whispers in your left ear, you’ll know to look over your left shoulder. In a sense, that’s what sound stage is. It’s the ability of a pair of headphones to reproduce spatial cues in a room. In other words, how good a pair of headphones are at tricking your brain into thinking that there are sounds coming from a certain direction.

This varies with headphones, but in general the larger over-ears are better at achieving this than smaller in-ears because the sound has a chance to bounce around your ear before reaching your eardrum. Earbuds pump sound directly into your ear, so there isn’t much room for sound to move around and create the illusion of space. This kind of leads into the next topic.

Open vs closed back

Closed-back headphones are probably the ones that are most familiar. The drivers in closed back headphones are enclosed in the ear cup save for the part facing your ear. This way sound bounces around but has nowhere to go but into your ear. These types of headphones are good if you don’t want outside noise entering the ear cup, and also if you don’t want the person next to you hearing your music (which is called sound leakage). This makes it a great option for commuters or anyone using headphones in a public setting, like an office.

As you may have guessed, open-back headphones are the opposite. They do not have their drivers enclosed in the ear cups. Instead they leave the driver exposed, so outside noise can pass freely into the earcup. Naturally this isn’t the ideal scenario if you commute or in typically noisy areas. The benefit of open-back headphones come when you use them at home or in a studio setting. Because they allow sound to enter the ear cups from the surroundings, the music has a much better soundstage. Of course, this also means that if you wear them out in public you’ll hear what’s going on around you fairly easily.

What is flat/neutral sound?

Many times you’ll hear someone refer to a pair of headphones as having a “flat” or a “neutral” sound. Basically this means that the headphones are reproducing the signal they are receiving from the source device with as little deviation from it as possible. It may seem like this is something that you’d want all headphones to do, but there are reasons why most do not.

In general, a flat sound isn’t a very exciting one. So many headphone manufacturers give a slight boost to certain notes in order to make them sound more appealing to the listener. This isn’t exactly a bad thing, since some people like more bass in their music while others prefer vocals and instruments to take precedence. A flat sounding pair of headphones is used while audio is being produced or mixed so that the audio will sound its best regardless of what kind of device it’s played on later. If you’re not producing or mixing audio, you don’t necessarily need a pair of neutral headphones unless you prefer that kind of sound.

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