We live in an obnoxiously loud world that makes it difficult to enjoy music the way it's meant to be heard: with sonic precision and free of distractions. That's where active-noise-cancelling headphones come in.
These sound silencers make it possible to hear our favorite songs, movies and podcasts in peace and quiet. They can block out the ambient chaos that surrounds us on daily commutes while improving our focus at the office.
Since there are a lot of noise cancellers on the market, we vetted several of the top brands to find the best in the market. The following are the best noise cancelling headphones on the market.
If you're looking for a laptop to pair with your new noise-reduction cans, check out our Best Laptops of 2019 page. There's also our Best Tablets of 2019 roundup for media lovers who want something more portable and versatile for travel.
Here are the top noise-cancelling headphones of 2019
- Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700
- AirPods Pro
- Beats Solo Pro
- Jabra Elite 85h
- Sony WH-1000XM3
- Sennheiser HD 4.50 BTNC
- Sony WF-1000XM3
- Microsoft Surface Headphones
- Bose QuietComfort 35 II
The best overall noise-cancelling headphones
Size and Weight: 8 x 6.5 x 2 inches, 8.8 ounces | Battery Life (Rated): 20 hours (NC on);40 hours (NC off) | Bluetooth Range: 30 feet (10 meters) | Digital Assistant Support: Yes
New design? Check. Reasonably long battery life? Check. Great audio performance? Check. The Bose Noise-Cancelling Headphones 700 offer all of this and so much more, including easy-to-use touch controls and a slick companion app. But the noise cancellation is where the Bose 700 really stands out. With 10 adjustable levels, these are by far the best active noise canceling (ANC) headphones Bose has made to date. But the noise cancellation doesn't work only when you're listening to music or podcasts; the eight integrated mics also ensure that the sound quality when you're taking and receiving calls is just as good as when you're using only your smartphone.
See our full Bose Noise Cancellation Headphones 700 review.
The ultimate AirPods
Size and Weight: 2.4 x 1.7 x 0.9 inches, 8.8 ounces | Battery Life (Rated): 4.5 hours (NC on) | Bluetooth Range: 30 feet (10 meters) | Digital Assistant Support: Yes
The AirPods Pros are better than the AirPods in almost every way. 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). Add everything we loved about the original AirPods — seamless pairing, a strong Bluetooth connection and supreme comfort — and we have no reservations naming the AirPods Pros the best wireless earbuds available today.
See our full AirPods Pro review.
More balanced audio, now with noise cancelling
Size and Weight: 7 inches (height), 9.4 ounces | Battery Life (Rated): 22 hours (NC on), 40 hours (NC off) | Bluetooth Range: 30 feet (10 meters) | Digital Assistant Support: Yes
Beats headphones aren't just about looking cool anymore. The Solo Pros are proof of that. This sleek pair of on-ear headphones pumps out refined, balanced sound and features effective noise cancellation and a nifty transparency mode. Apple brings its H1 chip to the Solo Pros, which enables seamless pairing and a fun audio-sharing feature for when you want to listen with friends.
See our full Beats Solo Pro review.
Lots of features and long battery life
Size and Weight: 7.6 x 8.8 x 3.2 inches, 10.4 ounces | Battery Life (Rated): 36 hours (NC On);41 hours (NC Off) | Bluetooth Range: 33 feet (10 meters) | Digital Assistant Support: Yes
You want to talk versatility? The Jabra Elite 85 has a standout feature for every possible use. Let's start with 35 hours of noise-cancelling performance and wireless listening. Jabra programmed the headphones with physical and touch controls, along with on-ear detection gesture and voice command access to the big three: Alexa, Siri and Google Assistant. Smart Active Noise Cancellation adapts to environments to reduce high amounts of ambient noise. The Jabra Sound+ app optimizes sound using a customizable EQ and special calling options. Lastly, the ear cups have a nano-coating to protect the internals from water damage.
See our full Jabra Elite 85h review.
Excellent sound paired with great noise cancelling
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: 30ft. (10 meters) | Digital Assistant Support: Yes
Audiophiles who like dynamic noise cancellation and sound quality need these cans on their heads. Sony rebuilt its Mark 3 headphones from the ground up, incorporating the all-new HD Noise Cancelling Processor QN1, which enhances audio processing and ANC performance. What you get is natural, well-balanced sound with the company's signature bass profile leading the auditory charge. The noise cancellation is just as impressive, muffling most high-frequency noises without compromising the overall sound. Steady battery life with quick-charging and adjustable EQ and ANC settings round out the WH-1000xM3's superior hallmarks.
See our full Sony WH-1000XM3 review.
Good performance for an affordable price
Size and Weight: 10.2 x 7.1 x 3.9 inches, 8.4 ounces | Battery Life (Rated): 19 hours (NC on);25 hours (NC off) | Bluetooth Range: 30ft. (10 meters) | Digital Assistant Support: Yes
A mid-range pair of headphones with superior sonics and solid noise cancellation might seem unrealistic to some, but the Sennheiser HD 4.50 BTNC is an exception to the rule. There's much to admire here besides its affordability, including a relaxed fit, simple controls, and clean, tight sound. Sennheiser's NoiseGard technology doesn't match Bose's or Sony's ANC power, but it can silence outdoor rackets and up to 70% of airplane rumble. And what's not to love about the luxe design, which is highlighted by a matte-black finish with accented chrome?
See our full Sennheiser HD 4.50 BTNC review.
Powerful noise cancellation in a small, sleek package
Size and Weight: 7.8 x 5 x 2.4 inches, 1.6 ounces | Battery Life (Rated): 16 hours (NC on) | Bluetooth Range: None | Digital Assistant Support: Yes
The Sony WF-1000XM3 earbuds are a true wireless triumph that successfully combines stellar sonics with impressive noise cancellation. A plethora of features and solid battery life also elevate its status among the elite. Deep, rich bass and tonal balance give the WF-1000xM3 an edge over the competition. But as amazing as it sounds, noise cancellation remains the buds' true X factor
See our full Sony WF-1000XM3 review.
Microsoft's first ANC headphones are a surprising success
Size and Weight: 8 x 7.68 x 1.89 inches, 10.2 ounces | Battery Life (Rated): 15 hours (NC On) | Bluetooth Range: 35 ft. (10.6 meters) | Digital Assistant Support: Yes
Microsoft's first venture into the high-end-headphones space is a successful one that combines numerous smart features and quality sound into a distinctive over-ear design. The Surface Headphones were engineered for optimal listening with adjustable noise-cancelling levels and ingenious dial volume controls. Open sound with powerful bass is to be expected. Microsoft even equipped its cans with eight mics to better neutralize sound, which it does well, especially in drafty conditions. Connectivity is another strong point; you can pair the headphones with up to 10 devices.
See our full Microsoft Surface Headphones review.
The former king of ANC
Size and Weight: 7.1 x 6.7 x 3.2 inches, 8.2 ounces | Battery Life (Rated): 20 hours (NC on), 40 hours (NC off) | Bluetooth Range: 30 feet (10 meters) | Digital Assistant Support: Yes
The QC35 II remains a go-to for listeners who want to eliminate the mundane drones around them at an elite level. Bose uses a set of microphones and proprietary algorithms to clear the QC35 II's soundscape of unwanted noises across different frequencies. Buzzing vehicle engines and baby cries don't stand a chance. The QC35 II's profile accentuates bass but also keeps mids and highs sounding crisp no matter the song. Best of all, the ANC feature works in both wireless and wired modes.
See our full Bose QuietComfort 35 II review.