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Best noise-cancelling headphones in 2022

best noise-cancelling headphones 2022
(Image credit: Alex Bracetti/Future)

The best noise-cancelling headphones make it possible to hear our favorite songs, movies, and podcasts in peace and quiet. They are designed to block out the unwanted noise of planes, trains, and colleagues, while delivering unmatched audio, great comfort, and stable battery life. Some even come with smart features that enhance the listening experience on all devices.

Living in an obnoxiously loud world that makes it difficult to hear music the way it was meant to be heard – with sonic precision and free of distractions –is where active noise-cancelling headphones come to the rescue.

Since there are a lot of sound silencers out there, it’s easy to pick a pair you’ll regret spending money on because it either looked cool or was available at a super-cheap price on Amazon. Don’t fall for it. We vetted several of the top brands to find the best options for you. This includes big names such as Apple, Bose, Sony, and Sennheiser, along with newcomers to the category like Cleer.

If you’re looking for some of the best noise-cancelling headphones to pair with your all-new iPhone or laptop, look no further. Let’s get into our top picks.

What are the best noise-cancelling headphones?

Right now, the Bose 700 Headphones are considered the No. 1 best noise-cancelling headphones. The company’s latest model has set the new standard for noise neutralization on wireless headphones, featuring 10 levels of adjustable ANC and an eight-mic system that produces superior sound and call quality.  If you want something similar, but in true wireless form, it doesn’t get any better than Bose QuietComfort Earbuds, which harnesses the same innovative ANC technology and sound quality as the 700. Then there is the all-new Bose Quietcomfort 45, the latest over-ear release that retains the brand's signature ANC performance and increases battery life.

Coming in a close second on our best noise-cancelling headphones list is the Sony WH-1000xM5. Not only is the latest Sony flagship model one of the best-sounding pairs on the list, but it also has remarkable adaptive ANC that nearly rivals Bose’s technology. The extended battery life and special features like 360 Reality Audio (spatial audio), Digital Sound Enhancement Engine (DSEE) Extreme, and LDAC make them an ideal Bose 700 alternative. More importantly, this is an excellent option for music lovers who want to block out the ambient chaos around them. 

Not far behind is the Sennheiser Momentum 4 – the legacy audio brand’s latest noise-cancelling headphone. This sequel packs excellent ANC, hi-fi sound, and long-lasting battery life into an updated design. We’re fans of Smart Control, Sennheiser’s companion app that offers a variety of features to personalize performance, from the controls to noise cancellation. Joining the party is the Momentum True Wireless 3, it’s true wireless variant that’s blend excellent noise cancellation and dynamic, customizable sound into an award-winning design.

Bowers & Wilkins has made a major comeback with the PX7 S2. This sequel serves up premium noise cancellation and sound in an upgraded design that feels lighter than its predecessor. Strong specs and microphones were installed in these beauties to deliver high-end performance across the board.

There is something here for every type of listener. Here is our ranking of the best noise-cancelling headphones based on performance, style, and purpose.

The best noise cancelling headphones you can buy today

best noise-cancelling headphones: Bose 700

(Image credit: Laptop Mag)
The best overall noise-cancelling headphones

Specifications

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)
Special Features: Adjustable active noise cancellation and transparency modes, customizable EQ, charging case (optional)

Reasons to buy

+
Slick, attractive design
+
Excellent noise cancellation on calls and music
+
Precise, balanced audio
+
Smart, intuitive buttons and touch controls

Reasons to avoid

-
Battery life is the same as older Bose headphones

New design? Check. Enhanced noise cancellation? Check. Stronger specs? Check. Special features? Check. Reasonably long battery life? Check. Great audio performance? Check. The Bose 700 makes the strongest argument for best noise-cancelling headphones by offering all of this and so much more. Granted, noise cancellation is where these wireless headphones really stand out. With 10 adjustable levels, these are, by far, the most powerful ANC headphones that Bose has made to date.

The technology not only works when you're listening to music or podcasts; the eight integrated mics ensure that the sound quality when you're making and receiving calls is just as good as when you're using only your smartphone. Bose also added easy-to-use touch controls and a slick companion app to set your default digital assistant (e.g. Alexa, Google Assistant, Siri) and cycle through ANC levels. While battery life is standard at 20 hours, this is shorter than what most competitive models offer, though you can pick up the 700 charging case (opens in new tab) for $80 to gain an extra 40 hours and store the cans safely.

Also, anyone working remotely who wants to advance their virtual collaborations can pick up the 700 UC edition (opens in new tab), a new model designed to work with third-party cloud services like Microsoft Teams, Google Meet, and Zoom.

See our full Bose 700 review. 

best noise-cancelling headphones: Sony WH-1000XM5

(Image credit: Alex Bracetti/Future)

2. Sony WH-1000XM5

The best Bose alternative

Specifications

Size and Weight: 10.36 x 3.03 x 8.85 inches, 8.8 ounces
Battery Life (Rated): 30 hours (ANC on); 40 hours (ANC off)
Bluetooth Range: 60 feet (18 meters)
Special features : 360 Reality Audio, adaptive ANC, adjustable ambient listening mode

Reasons to buy

+
Full, clear sound quality
+
Highly effective ANC
+
Great call quality
+
Long battery life
+
Some of the best sound features available

Reasons to avoid

-
Downgraded design

Sony’s latest noise-cancelling headphones welcome several new improvements that elevate them above any other ANC model other than the Bose 700. All of Sony’s proprietary technologies (e.g., 360 Reality Audio, LDAC) come part of the package, helping create an immersive and spacious soundscape to enjoy all media. Access to the Sony Headphones Connect app extends functionality by offering up several personalization tools to tweak sound. Sony’s QN1 ANC and V1 processors give the WH-1000XM5 stronger noise cancellation than its predecessor, plus the addition of more mics and stronger wind resistance fix the one issue that has plagued this series: call quality.

The all-new design is said to be more eco-friendly, and while greatly appreciated, it lacks the premium look and feel of past Mark Series releases.

Read our full Sony WH-1000XM5 review.

best noise-cancelling headphones: Bose QuietComfort Earbuds

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3. Bose QuietComfort Earbuds

The best noise-cancelling wireless earbuds

Specifications

Size and Weight: 1.54 x 1.02 x 1.06 inches, 0.3 ounces (per bud)
Battery Life (Rated): 6 hours, 12 hours (with charging case)
Bluetooth Range: 30 feet (10 meters)
Special Features:: Adjustable ANC, hybrid transparency mode, Self Voice mode

Reasons to buy

+
Best-in-class noise cancellation
+
Great audio quality
+
Chic, elegant design
+
Bluetooth 5.1

Reasons to avoid

-
Bulky, heavy case

Bose has outdone themselves once again by integrating the same category-leading active noise cancellation as the 700 headphones into these tiny buds. What you end up with is the absolute best ANC model in the true wireless space. Like its over-ear counterpart, the QuietComfort Earbuds grant access to 10 levels of adjustable noise cancellation, three of which can be saved on the Bose Music app, so you can easily cycle through them on the left bud. Bose transferred over its Active EQ technology and proprietary drivers to give these buds a warm, pleasant sound as well. And just when you thought the performance perks stopped there, the QuietComfort Earbuds boast a strong mic array that guarantees best-in-class call quality.

All of that functionality surely requires a lot of battery life to operate, which, sadly, is the QuietComfort Earbuds’ greatest compromise. Users are stuck with playtimes that are barely higher than the regular AirPods. On top of that, the charging case is ridiculously huge and doesn’t hold much portable power either.

Read our full Bose QuietComfort Earbuds review.

best noise-cancelling headphones: Sennheiser Momentum 4

(Image credit: Alex Bracetti/Future)

4. Sennheiser Momentum 4

Grade-A sound and noise cancellation

Specifications

Size and Weight: 7 x 7.67 x 1.82 inches; 10.3 ounces
Battery Life (Rated): 60 hours
Bluetooth Range: 100 feet (30 meters)
Special Features: Adaptive active noise cancellation, ambient listening mode, aptX Adaptive

Reasons to buy

+
Outstanding soundstage
+
ANC and call quality that nearly rivals the Bose 700
+
Everlasting battery life
+
Strong connectivity
+
Lots of adaptive and customization features

Reasons to avoid

-
Uncomfortable
-
Finicky touch controls

The battle for ANC supremacy has mostly been a back-and-forth battle between Bose and Sony, but Sennheiser just bogarted their way into the conversation with the phenomenal Momentum 4 wireless headphones. This fourth-gen model comes with rivaling active noise cancellation that effectively adapts to your environments and listening habits, while dishing out vibrant, depth-filled sound complementary of all music genres. There are some cool features to play with, including multipoint technology (pair to two devices simultaneously) and Sound Check to automatically adjust EQ to your sonic preference. Having up to 60 hours of ANC playtime is also amazing, tripling the amount of battery life offered by the Bose 700.

The extra weight doesn’t do much for comfort and the touch controls could use some work, but if sound is your priority, it would be foolish to overlook this gem.

Read our full Sennheiser Momentum 4 review.

the best noise-cancelling headphones: Sony WF-1000XM4

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Future)

5. Sony WF-1000XM4

The best wireless earbuds overall

Specifications

Size and Weight: 1 x 0.8 x 0.8 inches, 0.2 ounces
Battery Life (Rated): 8 hours (ANC on), 12 hours (ANC off), 24 hours (with charging case), 35 hours (with charging case and ANC off)
Bluetooth Range: 35 feet (10 meters)
Special Features: 360 Reality Audio, Adaptive noise cancellation, adjustable ambient listening

Reasons to buy

+
Immersive, full-bodied sound
+
Remarkable noise cancellation
+
Striking design
+
Long playtimes with ANC on
+
Loads of special features

Reasons to avoid

-
Unreliable fit

The Sony WF-1000XM4 is about as perfect as a pair of wireless earbuds come. Overall performance is dynamic, courtesy of Sony’s new V1 processor, which keeps the buds operating at a fast pace and simultaneously reduces distortion, while enhancing the audio quality. Music and movies sound excellent, thanks to Sony’s well-defined sound profile and 360 Reality Audio support for spatial audio. Noise cancellation is powerful. Features are practical and in abundance; you will feel overwhelmed when entering the Sony Headphones Connect app. Battery life is sufficient with 6 hours of ANC playback. The design has also been revamped for better durability, enhanced noise neutralization, and a more ergonomic fit.

The only real complaint that we have is the lack of a Find My Earbuds function (this is a must for any pair of $300 buds). Besides that, the WF-1000XM4 crushes nearly every mark.

Read our full Sony WF-1000XM4 review.

best noise-cancelling headphones: Bowers & Wilkins PX7 S2

(Image credit: Alex Bracetti/Future)

6. Bowers & Wilkins PX7 S2

Elite noise cancelation in a luxury package

Specifications

Size and Weight: Unspecified, 10.8 ounces
Battery Life (Rated): 30 hours
Bluetooth Range: 60 feet (18 meters)
Special Features:: Active noise cancellation, ambient listening mode, multipoint technology

Reasons to buy

+
Expansive soundstage
+
Stellar ANC
+
Luxe craftsmanship
+
Strong battery life and wireless performance

Reasons to avoid

-
Pricey
-
Tight fit

This sequel introduces better ANC, audio performance, call quality, and charging times, along with an updated design that’s been scaled and slimmed down from the original. B&W’s six-mic array shuts out unwanted noises at the same level as other top-tier models and does so without compromising sound. The PX7 S2 delivers an accurate and expansive listening experience, no matter the music genre. aptX Adaptive allows for near-lossless streaming on compatible services (e.g., Tidal, Qobuz) at up to 24-bit/48 kHz. Call quality is just as rewarding, allowing for crystal clear voice and video chats.

While you get some noteworthy features like a bass/treble adjuster and Bluetooth multipoint (pair to two devices simultaneously), we felt more could have been added. The tight clamp might also make it a bit uncomfortable for listeners with low pain thresholds.

Read our full Bowers & Wilkins PX7 S2 review.

best noise-cancelling headphones: Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3

(Image credit: Alex Bracetti/Future)

7. Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3

Terrific ANC combined with Sennheiser sound

Specifications

Size and Weight: 2.7 x 1.7 x 1.3 inches (earbuds + charging case); 0.2 ounces (per bud); 2.34 ounces (charging case)
Battery Life (Rated): 6.5 hours (ANC on); 7 hours (ANC off); 28 hours (charging case)
Bluetooth Range: 80 feet (24 meters)
Special Features: : Adaptive noise cancellation, customizable EQ, location-based sound profiles

Reasons to buy

+
Superior sound quality
+
Excellent ANC
+
Beautiful design
+
Acceptable battery life

Reasons to avoid

-
Disappointing call quality
-
Pricey

The Momentum True Wireless 2 was a solid noise-canceller and its successor is even better. Sennheiser made the switch from active to adaptive noise cancellation, a gamble that pays off hugely, delivering noise neutralization that is nearly on the same level as the Sony WF-1000XM4. Sounds across the frequency spectrum are completely blocked out or reduced well enough not to compromise audio, which remains exceptional and makes the most of new customization features. These include Sound Check for fine-tuning audio to your hearing and Sound Zones to optimize the EQ by adjusting sound to your location. The all-new design is also gorgeous and has earned the buds a 2022 Red Dot Design Award.

Despite launching for $50 less than its predecessors, the Momentum True Wireless 3 is still considered pricey. However, given the market’s other high-priced models, several of which rank highly on this list, we feel it’s a worthy investment.

best noise-cancelling headphones: Cleer Enduro ANC

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Future)

8. Cleer Enduro ANC

Great mid-range noise-cancellers with unbeatable playtime

Specifications

Size and Weight: N/A, 10.22 ounces
Battery Life (Rated): 60 hours (ANC on)
Bluetooth Range: 30 feet (10 meters)
Special Features: Active noise cancellation, adjustable ambient listening mode, customizable EQ

Reasons to buy

+
Incredible battery life
+
Bold, customizable sound
+
Tenable ANC

Reasons to avoid

-
Unflattering design
-
Companion app lacks extra features

The Cleer Enduro ANC offers the most functionality in a pair of noise-cancelling headphones listed under $200. We’re talking a powerful soundstage that can be personalized via built-in EQ, quality active noise cancellation, multiple connectivity options (e.g., Google Fast Pair, NFC), and up to 10 levels of ambient listening. Then there is the Enduro ANC’s biggest hallmark, battery life, which is rated at 60 hours with ANC on. Do the math and that is triple the playtime of the Bose 700 and AirPods Max. Cleer also includes some nifty bonuses like an airline adapter and aux cable to use the headphones in passive mode.

Design-wise, these headphones aren’t the most appealing, especially when compared to the brand’s more premium offerings. The companion app needs more features as well. Even then, these are criticisms you can deal with when factoring in the attainable price point.

See our full Cleer Enduro ANC review.

best noise-cancelling headphones: Apple AirPods Pro

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Laptop Magazine)

9. Apple AirPods Pro

Practically perfect AirPods

Specifications

Size and Weight: 1.2 x 0.9 x 0.9 inches, 0.2 ounces
Battery Life (Rated): 4.5 hours (ANC on); 5 hours (ANC off) 24 hours (with charging case)
Bluetooth Range: 800 feet
Special Features: Active noise cancellation, “Hey Siri” voice activation, spatial audio

Reasons to buy

+
Extremely comfortable
+
Seamless pairing
+
Clear, balanced sound
+
Decent noise cancellation

Reasons to avoid

-
Battery life could be better
-
Not Android-friendly

No one thought Apple was capable of creating a solid pair of noise-cancelling wireless earbuds. Well, they proved the haters wrong, creating the absolute best mobile accessory for iOS/macOS devices: the AirPods Pro. The new sweat-proof design looks better and fits more securely in your ear, sound quality has been slightly improved, and the highlight feature — active noise cancellation — effectively reduces ambient sounds (just don't expect a miracle). We’re also fans of the new force sensors on the stems, which uses pinch gestures to execute commands and is more responsive than the tap control scheme employed on previous AirPods models.

With the release of iOS 14 comes new features like automatic switching and spatial audio, which creates a three-dimensional soundscape that gives movies an extra layer of immersion. Add everything we loved about the original AirPods — excellent call quality, seamless pairing, a strong Bluetooth connection, and supreme comfort — and we have no reservations naming the AirPods Pros the best overall wireless earbuds. 

See our full AirPods Pro review

best noise-cancelling headphones: Sony WH-1000xM4

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Laptop Magazine)

10. Sony WH-1000xM4

Champion sound paired with excellent ANC

Specifications

Size and Weight: 9.94 x 3.03 x 7.27 inches, 8.95 ounces
Battery Life (Rated): 30 hours (ANC on), 38 hours (ANC off)
Bluetooth Range: 40 feet (12 meters)
Special Features: Adjustable active noise cancellation and transparency modes, customizable EQ, multipoint technology

Reasons to buy

+
Class-leading sonics
+
Powerful active noise cancelling
+
Plethora of sound customization options
+
Longer battery life than Bose models

Reasons to avoid

-
Finicky touch controls

Sony’s ANC technology is right up there with Bose’s, employing a series of advanced technologies (e.g. Dual Noise Sensor, QN1 processor, feedforward mics) to block out ambient noise at the highest level. Sound is more bountiful on the WH-100xM4 with the 40mm drivers pumping out emphatic and precise sonics to enjoy music selections from all genres. Adding to its sonic capabilities are the several customization options in the Sony Headphones Connect app to tweak the soundstage to one’s liking, from the adjustable EQ to the multiple presets to Sony’s 360 Reality Audio feature.

The only thing holding back the second best noise-cancelling headphones from perfection are the touch controls, which have a tendency to misunderstand touch gestures and execute the wrong commands.

See our full Sony WH-1000xM4 review.

best noise-cancelling headphones: Bose QuietComfort 45

(Image credit: Regan Coule/Future)

11. Bose QuietComfort 45

The best Bose noise-cancelling headphones for battery life

Specifications

Size and Weight: 7.25 x 6 x 3 inches, 8.5 ounces
Battery Life (Rated): 24 hours (ANC on)
Bluetooth Range: 30 feet (10 meters)
Special Features: Two-mode active noise cancellation, pairable with other Bose products, volume-optimized Active EQ

Reasons to buy

+
Excellent active noise cancellation
+
Sculpted sound
+
Very comfortable
+
Improved battery life

Reasons to avoid

-
Can’t turn off ANC
-
Doesn’t have as many features as Bose 700

We’ve anticipated the Bose QuietComfort 45’s arrival since the leaks and rumors starting surfacing on the Net weeks ago. The latest entry in Bose’s popular wireless noise-cancelling headphones series doesn’t disappoint. You’re given two different ANC modes: Quiet for traditional noise cancelling and Aware for ambient listening. Thanks to the “new electronics package” employed by Bose, these headphones handle mid-range frequencies better. Like its predecessor, the QC45 lets you use ANC when in wired mode. The series also receives an increase in battery life, which is bumped up to 24 hours over the standard 20 hours featured on past models.

As much of an upgrade as the QC45 is, the model isn’t flawless. Not being able to turn off ANC mode means the headphones are always using energy. The lack of extras (e.g., adjustable ANC, EQ) compared to the Bose 700 might be a deal-breaker for some as well.

Read our full Bose QuietComfort 45 review.

best noise-cancelling headphones: Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro

(Image credit: Alex Bracetti/Future)

12. Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro 2

Excellent ANC and hi-fi sound in a Samsung package

Specifications

Size and Weight: 0.19 ounces (per bud); 1.53 ounces (charging case); 0.7 x 0.85 x 0.7 inches (per bud); 1.97 x 1.97 x 1.1 inches (charging case)
Battery Life (Rated): 5 hours (ANC on); 8 hours (ANC off); 18 hours (charging case with ANC on); 29 hours (charging case with ANC off)
Bluetooth Range: 70 feet (21 meters)
Special Features:: 360 Audio, 24-bit Hi-Fi audio playback, active noise cancellation

Reasons to buy

+
24-bit audio playback and 3D sound
+
Spacious sound
+
Powerful ANC
+
Smaller, more ergonomic design
+
Excellent connectivity

Reasons to avoid

-
Disappointing battery life
-
Bixby needs some work

Replacing the Galaxy Buds Pro as Samsung’s flagship noise-canceller is the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro. This sequel has all the upgrades necessary to compete with the category’s top contenders, including powerful ANC, sleek aesthetics, terrific connectivity, and a wide soundstage with convincing 360-degree audio. Samsung made the design 15 percent smaller than the Galaxy Buds Pro and added a new windshield that allows for more airflow to reduce pressure when using ANC. The compact charging case stores the buds handsomely and holds a decent amount of battery life (up to 29 hours).

Our only complaints are that Bixby voice activation doesn’t work as well as it has on previous models and ANC playtime is too short at 5 hours.

How to choose the best noise-cancelling headphones for you

The best noise-cancelling headphones often come at a premium, so you’ll want to make sure you’re getting top-notch noise neutralization for your dollar. Seek out models that advertise active noise cancellation (not to be confused with passive noise cancellation). The difference is ANC uses microphones to pick up incoming ambient sounds and creates inverse waves that cancel them out in real-time, while PNC physically isolates these sounds through the headphone design.

Audio should be your second priority. Clearly, you want headphones that sound great when indulging in your music collection and jumping on Zoom calls. See if you can find headphones with powerful drivers, along with special features like adaptive sound (e.g. AirPods Pro) and customization settings to tweak the sound profile to your liking.

Next on the checklist is battery life. The standard playtime for ANC headphones is about 20 to 25 hours, though some manufacturers have launched models that can generate up to 35 hours or more. There are even some headphones that let you use ANC in wired mode (e.g. Bose 700).

Design plays a pivotal role as well, especially if you’re someone who spends a majority of their time on the road. Ideally, you want headphones that are lightweight and portable, and come with some sort of travel case to easily store them. They should also feel comfortable and provide a stable fit.

Connectivity should not be overlooked either. While Bluetooth 5.0 is the best way to go for fast and strong wireless performance, you may find certain models with less powerful Bluetooth protocols (e.g. Bluetooth 4.1/4.2) that can still operate reliably.

How we test the best noise-cancelling headphones

Laptop Magazine takes several factors into consideration when putting together our list of the best noise-cancelling headphones. This includes design, comfort, sound, and overall value. We also compare each model to similar ones in the noise-cancelling category in terms of features, fit, and pricing.

Noise-cancelling headphones are worn over the course of a week for 2 to 3 hours at a time. We assess how accurate and powerful the noise cancellation is by testing these headphones in both indoor and outdoor environments where ambient sounds are produced at high levels. In addition, our reviewers listen to songs across multiple music genres (e.g. classical, hip-hop, jazz) to analyze audio quality, along with clarity, depth, and volume. Furthermore, we test these models on streaming music services that offer hi-res audio.

Lastly, we test battery life, digital assistant support, ease of setup, wireless range, and any app-enabled features compatible with mobile devices, laptops, desktops, and gaming consoles.

After testing is completed, our reviewers rate each model on a five-point system (1 = worst, 5 = best). Any product considered truly exemplary is awarded a Laptop Magazine Editor’s Choice badge.