- 1 The best over-ear noise-cancelling headphones
- 2 The best noise-cancelling earbuds
- 3 The best noise-cancelling headphones under $100
- 4 The best budget noise-cancelling earbuds
Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700
The best over-ear noise-cancelling headphones
The Bose 700 headphones deliver excellent noise cancellation in a comfortable, lightweight design that’s traveler friendly—but they carry a high price.
The Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 is the best wireless noise-cancelling headphones set that Bose has ever released. These headphones are expensive, but we think they’re worth the investment for the frequent traveler who puts a high premium on performance and comfort. They offer the superior noise cancellation that Bose is known for, plus more adjustability than on any other noise-cancelling headphones we’ve tested. You can adjust the level of the active noise cancellation (ANC) on a scale from 0 to 10, so if you find that intense noise cancellation causes a feeling of pressure or discomfort (what we call “eardrum suck”), as we noticed with the Bose QuietComfort 35 Series II—or if you just want a little more sense of your surroundings—you have more flexibility to find a level that works for you.
These noise-cancelling headphones also have a lightweight design that is comfortable to wear for hours, and they feature an easy-to-use combination of touch controls and physical buttons that you can access without looking. Plus, you can use them in wired mode with the ANC engaged if, for example, you want to access an in-flight entertainment system. They fold flat for easy storage in the supplied case, too. They aren’t entirely without flaws, however: The sound quality is good but not as crisp as on the best over-ear headphones we’ve tested, the app can be vexing, and the battery life isn’t the longest we’ve seen—though at 20 hours it’ll still get you through a very long flight.
1More Dual Driver ANC Pro
The best noise-cancelling earbuds
The ideal travel companion, this pair of earbuds offered the best noise reduction in our tests and allows you to listen via Bluetooth or an included cable.
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Perfect for commuters, the 1More Dual Driver ANC Pro is the updated version of our previous earbud pick. These collar-style Bluetooth earbuds (which have a flexible band connecting them) cancel an impressive amount of noise and have enough battery life to last through a long flight and beyond. (1More claims 20 hours with the noise cancelling off and 16 hours with it on, consistent with what we found in our tests.) The quick-charge mode will give you three hours of use after just 10 minutes of plug-in time. These earbuds also function corded—with the active noise cancellation on or off—for those trips when you want to use an in-flight entertainment system. The voice-enhancement mode lets you carry on a conversation by tapping a button to pass the sound through so you don’t have to remove the earbuds. Plus, unlike wireless earbuds that use a hard-plastic collar (such as the Bose QuietControl 30), this pair’s flexible collar allows them to coil up small enough to fit into a trouser pocket.
Anker Soundcore Life Q20
The best noise-cancelling headphones under $100
These over-ear wireless noise-cancelling headphones offer surprisingly decent sound, comfort, and noise cancelling at a low price.
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If you want good noise cancellation without all the bells and whistles, the Anker Soundcore Life Q20 over-ear Bluetooth headphones deliver. The noise cancellation is effective, the sound quality is pretty decent (though a bit bass heavy), and the lightweight chassis and soft foam earcups are comfortable. The 30-hour battery life is impressive for a model in any price range. You can use these headphones in wired mode, and the controls are easy to operate. Although the Life Q20 doesn’t come with EQ manipulation, adjustable ANC, touch controls, or always-listening voice activation, this pair does deliver on the ANC-headphone essentials, and it offers a shocking amount of quality for well under $100.
The best budget noise-cancelling earbuds
The wireless TT-BH042 pair offers good sound and okay noise cancelling at an amazingly low price.
The collar-style TaoTronics TT-BH042 is an exceptionally rare beast: a low-cost set of noise-cancelling Bluetooth earbuds that’s well worth buying. These earbuds sound quite good, their noise-cancelling performance is at least helpful, their design is practical and comfortable, and they carry an IPX5 moisture-resistance rating. Battery life is middling, around eight hours. The downside is that you can’t use them in wired mode, so you can’t connect this pair to in-flight entertainment systems without some type of adapter.
source: NY Times – Wirecutter