Best Noise Cancelling Headphones 2023: Noise Cancelling Earbuds From Bose, Apple, Sony, Beats, and more

The Best Noise Cancelling Headphones For any Budget can Improve Your Listening Experience.

Best Noise Cancelling Headphones 2023: Noise Cancelling Earbuds From Bose, Apple, Sony, Beats, and more
Best Noise Cancelling Headphones 2022

The best noise cancelling headphones aren't so much a luxury these days as they are a necessity, especially when the world is opening up again and we're forced to face it. If you're travelling, whether by plane, bus, foot, or some other means, they're ideal: they block out outside noise, enabling you to concentrate on whatever media you're watching. noise cancelling headphones suppress background noise, allowing you to listen to lower volumes without having to blast it away with sound.

Noise-cancelling headphones aren't simply for travelling. noise cancelling headphones are wonderful for lying back and relaxing, as well as for concentration — whether you're battling with an assignment, fighting the din of a distracting office, or simply want to block out (most) of the kids' wailing, noise-cancelling headphones will get the job done.

We've chosen the best noise cancelling headphones at a variety of price points for this list. You can absolutely spend a lot of money if you want to, and you'll generally get better-made headphones with better noise cancellation if you do, but it's also feasible to acquire some really good active noise cancellation (ANC) for a reasonable price. And we're not just talking about noise-cancelling headphones; whether you like over-ears, in-ears, on-ears, wired, or wireless, there's a noise-cancelling choice for you.

If you're only looking for buds, we have a special guide to the best noise-cancelling earbuds. If you're just looking for today's best noise cancelling headphones offers, go here, but you'll find the greatest prices for all of the headphones we recommend right here.


The Sony WH-1000XM4 is the best overall, balancing great audio, features, and noise-cancelling capabilities. They're comfortable, durable, and have a lot of chef's kiss ANC power. If you want to save a few dollars, the Sony WH-1000XM3, which this Sony replaces, is still available for a considerably cheaper price and is the best mid-range option.

The Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 (barely) take the cake for the best genuine ANC power. The JBL Tune 660NC is the best low-cost noise canceller.

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1. SONY WH-1000XM4

Best Noise Cancelling Headphones 2022

The best noise cancelling headphones you can buy overall

Type: Over ear
Battery life: 30 hours
Weight: 8.99 oz
Frequency response: 4Hz to 40kHz
Sensitivity: 104.5 dB
Impedance: 47 ohm
Cable length: 3.94 ft
Wireless range: 30 meters (98ft)
NFC: Yes
+Superb noise cancellation
+Stunning sound 
+Great battery life
+Very comfortable
-Could look more exciting

At 255g, the Sony WH-1000XM4 noise cancelling headphones are light and comfortable. The large, soft ear cups, as well as the surprisingly soft headband, sit perfectly on the head. They do get warm in your ears over time, but we're not sure there's a way to fix it. They also fold up cleanly, and the fabric case is one of the best in its class.

Moving on to the audio, the noise cancellation is absolutely outstanding. The best in the class. When there's no music playing, it's as if you've entered another universe or had a big bag thrown over your head. When it comes to coping with enormous problems like construction on congested streets, it makes the M2 edition of the WH-1000X seem ancient, and it's a significant step up from the M3. What about the sound quality? That's also fantastic. The bass is much deeper than on the PX, and the music is always vibrant, interesting, and engaging.

They're not particularly attractive, and you'll undoubtedly find sexier-looking cans elsewhere on this list, but they're also not objectionable. It's as if Sony held a five-hour design meeting, and when the doughnuts and coffee ran out, the frustrated outcome was to produce a pair of headphones that don't irritate anyone.

The touch/gesture controls aren't our favourite, but they work well enough once you've gotten used to them. Holding a cup to let in ambient sound works really well, even if it does make you appear a little odd. You can also alter the noise-cancelling button to operate with Google Assistant or Siri using the app.

They're not particularly attractive, and you'll undoubtedly find sexier-looking cans elsewhere on this list, but they're also not objectionable. It's as if Sony held a five-hour design meeting, and when the doughnuts and coffee ran out, the frustrated outcome was to produce a pair of headphones that don't irritate anyone.

The touch/gesture controls aren't our favourite, but they work well enough once you've gotten used to them. Holding a cup to let in ambient sound works really well, even if it does make you appear a little odd. You can also alter the noise-cancelling button to operate with Google Assistant or Siri using the app.

So there you have it: Sony's WH-1000XM4 noise-cancelling headphones are the best. If noise-cancelling headphones are the Champions League of portable audio, they are Real Madrid, Barcelona, Man City, and Juventus all in one. Our complete Sony WH-1000XM4 review can be found here.

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Best Noise Cancelling Headphones 2022

The best noise cancelling headphones

Type: Over ear
Battery life: 24 hours
Weight: 240g
Wireless range: 9 meters (30ft)
+Impressive noise-cancelling 
+24 hours of battery life 
+Sound you can listen to for hours 
-Can’t turn off noise-cancelling entirely 
-No manual EQ settings 

When it comes to noise-cancelling headphones, not everyone is concerned with flashy added functions. After all, headphones are for listening to music, and the Bose QuietComfort 45 is extremely focused on that.

These headphones are simple and comfortable, with a design that isn't overly complicated. Don't get me wrong, they still look amazing, but this time Bose went with physical buttons and a matte plastic design instead of touch controls and a steel headband.

The noise-cancelling technology is actually great here, as it prevents sounds from your surroundings from distracting you from your music. You'll have a hard time finding somebody who does it better right now. When you put these on, you'll feel as if you're in your own musical bubble, as they block out everything from office noise to the sound of your commuter train.

You can listen to these headphones for hours on end without becoming tired of them, as indicated in the Bose QuietComfort 45 review. That's due to the way they're tuned; it'll suit a wide range of people and music styles, albeit it won't blow you away.

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Best Noise Cancelling Headphones 2022

The best noise-cancelling headphones on a budget

Battery life: 44 hours with ANC
Wired option: Yes
+Excellent noise cancellation
+Comfortable design
+Long-lasting battery
-Volume controls aren’t very intuitively placed
-Audio is very bass-heavy
-Prone to scratches

The JBL Tune 660NC offers great noise-cancelling features for those who want to immerse themselves in music without spending hundreds of dollars. They're actually rather startling. On-ear headphones aren't supposed to filter out sounds this well, yet they do. There's no way the outside world can distract you from your favourite music when they're paired with a hefty, powerful sound.

Another feature worth mentioning is the battery life: with ANC turned on, the JBL Tune 660NC can play for up to 44 hours. When turned off, it can last up to 55 hours. You'll just need to charge them once in a while. Despite the fact that they don't feel very high-end, the simple, compact shape is sure to look nice on any head.

This set of cans is proof positive that good ANC can be found at a low price point, and it ranks so high on our list mostly because of that — as well as the other factors detailed in our comprehensive JBL Tune 660NC review.

Don't get us wrong: spending more money gets you significantly better noise cancellation. They're a great purchase for individuals on a budget who just need some peace and quiet.

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The best noise-cancelling in-ear headphones

Battery life: 8 hours
Battery life (with case): 24 hours
+Fabulous audio
+Super-sharp ANC
+Decent battery life
-Looks could be divisive

While the WF-1000XM4's over-ear Sony headphones don't deviate too much from their predecessor's form, the XM3's odd rectangular driver enclosure has been replaced with a more bulbous but more subtle affair. Even if you don't like the way the WF-1000XM4 looks, one listen is enough to convince you that they have exactly what it takes to win you over.

The ANC isn't quite as good as the greatest over-ear choices, but it's still excellent; the overall sound is one of the best, most dynamic, and detailed audio experiences we've ever experienced with earbuds, and a significant improvement over the already excellent XM3s. This is due, at least in part, to the fourth-generation over-ears upgraded DAC, analogue amplifier, and the same DSEE Extreme audio processor with Edge-AI. Noise Cancelling Earbuds 

They have a long battery life of roughly eight hours on a charge, and they have rapid pairing and Find My support for Android smartphones — however no equivalent support for Apple devices, and no aptX HD on board. These are minor flaws in what is otherwise an excellent set of real wireless noise-cancelling earbuds. See our entire Sony WF-1000XM4 review for more information. Noise Cancelling Earbuds 

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Best Noise Cancelling Headphones 2022

The best noise-cancelling in-ear headphones for battery life

Battery life: 9 hours with ANC, 13 hours with no ANC
Battery life (with case): 25 hours with ANC, 35 hours with no ANC
+Phenomenal audio quality
+Excellent battery life
+Very effective noise cancelling
-Huge case and chunky buds
-Small amount of sound leakage

Looking for noise-cancelling in-ear headphones that you won't have to charge as often as you'd like? Take a peek at the Fidelio T1 from Philips. They're costly, but with up to 48 hours of battery life given by the earphones and charging case together, they're well worth it.

However, it isn't the only thing they excel at; these earbuds sound amazing, so audiophiles won't be disappointed. You can also choose from four different sound modes.

These are equally outstanding in terms of ANC. They'll almost completely block out annoying sounds in the High Noise Control setting, so you'll scarcely hear traffic, chatter, or even keyboard taps over the music.

You may also choose how much sound you want to let in, or you can use Adaptive mode to let the buds figure out where and when noise should be filtered out for you. In our Philips Fidelio T1 review, we go over these headphones in further depth.

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6. SONY WH-1000XM3

Best Noise Cancelling Headphones 2022

The best noise-cancelling headphones for a mid-range price

Battery life: 30 hours
Wired option: Yes
+Still-great ANC
+Cheaper than they once were
+Comfy and solid
-So-so looks

The XM4 may be king of the best noise cancelling headphones, but let's be honest: the previous version of XM3 cans is still fantastic ANC headphones. They're comfortable, have amazing noise cancellation, and sound great as well.

In fact, depending on your perspective, they might be a better investment right now. Stock appears to be ample, and considering that they've been superseded, they're now a lot less expensive than they were when they were first released. There are a variety of colours available - though the design is exactly as simple as its predecessor, so you won't be turning too many heads - and they provide a lot of connectivity flexibility.

Would we prefer them to the XM4s? No way. The XM4s are a true enhancement, as subtle as the difference may appear to the untrained ear. Would we prefer these to the inexpensive JBL headphones mentioned earlier? To be honest, if you can, we'd recommend saving up and going Sony.

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Best Noise Cancelling Headphones 2022

The best noise cancelling headphones for call quality

Battery life: 20 hours
Wired option: Yes
+Astonishing voice pick up
+Top-tier noise cancelling
+Very good sound quality
-Battery life is not great
-Not as many features as Sony

Bose's breathlessly-named cans – generally referred to as NC 700, which reads a little sexier – are a fantastic choice if you want a pair of noise-cancelling headphones for making calls and utilising voice assistants. They can not only cancel noise on the other end of the line, but they can also significantly reduce background noise in your environment. When using Siri, Alexa, or Google Assistant, this comes in useful as well, since it cuts down on the number of times you have to repeat yourself to your fumbling virtual assistant.

The Bose NC 700 – sorry, Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 – are great in terms of music sound quality, rivalling the brilliant previous-gen Sony cans but not quite matching them. We can't imagine someone listening to all three and concluding that the Bose sound superior, but that's not to say they don't. They're a little flatter in general, which makes them less interesting to listen to; nonetheless, they're very easy to listen to for hours on end.

Bose's audio AR... thing is also supported. The headphones' movement sensors identify where you're looking and modify what you hear accordingly. This might be used to create a kind of sonar for golfers as well as some surround sound effects. It's clever and intriguing, but at this point in its development, it may not be absolutely necessary.

Surprisingly, we think the Bose NC 700 is a more attractive pair of headphones than Sony's offering, something you couldn't say about the old QuietComfort 35. As our complete Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 review demonstrates, this is another superb pair of ANC headphones, and the Bose NC 700 are obviously a worthy purchase.

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Best Noise Cancelling Headphones 2022

The best noise cancelling in-ear headphones for noise blocking

Battery life: 6 hours
Battery life (with case): 18 hours
+Fantastic ANC
+Curved design
+Excellent sound
-Not as smart as the Sony XM4s
-Very expensive

Despite Bose's position at the forefront of noise cancellation technology (its creator reportedly scribbled his ideas for noise cancellation equipment on a napkin while on a noisy flight), this is the company's first set of ANC earphones.

With a large rectangular shell packing in some hefty drivers, the design is reminiscent of Sony's earlier buds. The noise cancellation is excellent, more than enough to compensate for the (somewhat) short battery life of 6 hours on a charge or 18 hours with the supplied case. That isn't a deal-breaker by any means, but it may be insufficient in long-distance travel situations. Noise Cancelling Earbuds 

What about the cost? Well, it's possibly a little pricey, especially when you consider that Sony's WF-1000XM4s are roughly at the same price point — and have a somewhat more detailed soundstage. But they're a great buy, and we go over all the intricacies in our thorough Bose QuietComfort Earbuds review. Noise Cancelling Earbuds 

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Best Noise Cancelling Headphones 2022

Excellent noise cancellers with hi-fi chops

Battery life: 30 hours
Wired option: Yes
+Great sound with ace ANC
+Handy motion-sensing features
+Stylish and comfortable
-Don't fold up

Even while these headphones aren't as stylish as Bowers & Wilkins' original noise-cancelling headphones (the PX), they're still better than Sony's. The sound quality and noise cancellation are also very similar to Sony's XM3s, so they are in good company.

Although there is nothing wrong with the PX7 mix, we believe the XM3 sounds somewhat more open and natural. There is a tiny reduction in bass weighting, which we don't care for - but if you want a less noticeable bottom end, you will, of course, have the opposite reaction.

That's not to say the B&W PX7 is unduly courteous; we'd say the same thing about the Bose NC 700. In fact, they sound more meaty and forceful than the Sonys in some forms of rock music. It's basically B&W's characteristic sound, which is both energetic and well-balanced.

The PX7 is outstanding in terms of comfort, while the WH-1000XM3 and WH-1000XM4 are, well, excellent. It's a little lighter. However, wearing the PX7 on a transatlantic flight is still a delight – and with 30 hours of battery life, there are no problems there either.

The noise cancellation on the PX7 is good, but not quite as good as the greatest. The level and type of ANC may be adjusted via an iOS and Android app or turned off completely - which we wouldn't recommend because it sounds substantially worse. To silence the PX7 and listen to announcements or talk to people, lift an ear cup away from your ear. Our complete Bowers & Wilkins PX7 review can be found here.

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Best Noise Cancelling Headphones 2022

Don't underrate these superb-sounding Beats noise cancellers either

Battery life: 22 hours
Wired option: Yes
+Remarkably effective ANC
+Great sound
+Rapid charging
-Rather iffy looks

In most ways, the Beats Studio3 Wireless noise cancelling headphones are comparable to the Bose, Bowers, and Sony cans. The way the noise control reacts to the sounds around you, whether it's engine noise, chit-chat, or even wind, is the standout feature here. Because noise-cancelling headphones employ microphones to monitor ambient sound, a stiff breeze is frequently their worst enemy. Beats, in collaboration with Apple, has devised a method to fade it out in a matter of seconds, and it actually works.

That wouldn't be a big deal if these Beats had the same flaws as their predecessors, but they're also the best-sounding Studio headphones to date. The bass isn't overpowering; instead, it creates a detailed, refined sound.

Unlike the other options on this list, there isn't much of a difference between the Studio3 Wireless with and without ANC. They offer good noise cancellation, but you don't 'hear' the cancellation process as much as the other ANC heavyweights.

Thanks to the W1 chip, Apple users can pair and switch devices as easily as they can with AirPods. Although, to be honest, Bluetooth isn't exactly known for being sloppy when it comes to pairing these days. The 'Fast Fuel' feature, which allows for a rapid charge, is a final bonus. From a ten-minute charge, you can play for three hours. If you run out of battery, you can turn off the ANC and quadruple your remaining battery life.

To be honest, the styling on them is rather bad, but you can't have everything.

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Best Noise Cancelling Headphones 2022

These noise-cancelling classics are still a strong option

Battery life: 20 hours
Wired option: Yes
+Great noise cancelling
+Very good sound
+Timeless, if dull, looks
-Its rivals are a bit snazzier, audio- and looks-wise
-Google Assistant is hard of hearing and limited of use

The QC35 is the headphone that sparked the noise-cancelling revolution, as it is Bluetooth-enabled, has a long battery life (about 20 hours), excellent audio, and – at the time – jaw-dropping noise-cancelling.

The Bose QC35II's successor preserved all of that but added Google Assistant, which can be accessed via the button on the right ear cup. The QC35 II has never been very interesting to look at, but its design has a timeless, understated charm to it.

The noise cancelling is timeless in its own right, with Bose admitting that the mechanism employed in the much newer NC 700 is essentially the same as the QC35 II. When you turn on the switch, the roar of the city fades almost completely, while transport hubs, planes, tubes, and trains become uncannily quiet. Sound quality suffers substantially when you turn it off, as it does with Sony and B&W headphones. However, Bose has improved its software, allowing you to adjust the amount of ANC applied. You can't progress through 11 levels of ANC like you can with the NC 700, but I don't think anyone needs to.

The volume/play/pause buttons on the right ear work, and the zip-up travel bag is functional. We're not sure what Google Assistant's purpose was in this situation given it has a hard time hearing you most of the time, but if you're willing to persevere/scream, its music controls and phone call-handling abilities might be pretty beneficial.

In the end, the QuietComfort 35 II remains an appealing option because it is frequently found for less money than Sony, B&W, and Bose's own, newer headphones. There's a reason Bose didn't retire it as soon as the NC 700 was released.

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Best Noise Cancelling Headphones 2022

Best Beats buds for impressive noise cancelling

Battery life: 8 hours
Battery life (with case): 24 hours
+Calmer than classic Beats
+Smart connectivity
+Good price
-Noise cancellation is not as strong as more expensive options

Let's be honest: Beats' buds are about as un-Beats as a Beats product can get, at least if you don't get the eye-searing red ones shown above. The previous strong, almost harsh mix gives way to something a lot more delicate, with more button-down than dramatic design. In other words, they're appropriate for people with whom Beats hardware may have previously clashed. Noise Cancelling Earbuds 

They're clever cookies, enabling both Android and iOS device-finding functions (so don't worry about Apple's purchase of Beats pushing these exclusively to iOS), and they're well-made. The battery life is mediocre, lasting only five hours with ANC turned on, and the noise cancellation is adequate but not exceptional.

The Beats Studio Buds, on the other hand, are almost half the price and have a far smaller shape than the Sony and Bose buds featured here, as our complete Beats Studio Buds review reveals. Noise Cancelling Earbuds 

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Best Noise Cancelling Headphones 2022

The best noise cancelling from a budget buy

+Really impressive noise cancelling
+Very comfortable
+Built-in Tile tracker
-Very plasticky

The best noise cancelling headphones are also quite costly. These aren't the best, but they're fantastic value for money.

If you require noise cancellation but don't want to spend a lot of money, the Skullcandy Hesh ANC headphones are a good option: their noise cancellation is more than capable of quieting your commute or assisting you at the workplace. These are some of the most affordable ANC headphones available.

The Skullcandy are inexpensive by ANC standards, as you can see from the live prices here – and it's evident where the corners have been taken because the all-plastic design won't trick anyone into believing you've got a pair of AirPods Max. However, unless you have really large ears, they're comfortable enough - the cups are a touch smaller than usual – and they're folding for simple storage. The on-cup controls are fashioned in a good way.

The audio is bass-heavy and doesn't compare to the top headphones in this category, but it's largely bright and vibrant if a little muddy. The noise cancellation helps a lot because it means you don't have to crank up the volume as much to get the complete audio experience: the Hesh struggle with powerful bass at high volumes.

If you're forgetful like us, the built-in Tile tracker will come in handy: if you can't find them, you can use the Tile app on your phone to locate them and hear where they are by playing a tune.

You're getting a lot for your money here, with active noise cancellation, 22 hours of battery life, and a foldable design with a protective case.

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Best Noise Cancelling Headphones 2022

Noise cancellers used to be bulky, connected devices with bulky batteries, carry cases, and a marked lack of flair. They're now more often Bluetooth than cable, and the batteries have shrunk as the battery life has increased. However, you will almost always receive a carry case. There are even additional in-ear choices, including those that are truly wireless.

As a result, noise cancellers are now more ubiquitous, blurring the distinction between ANC and Bluetooth headphones, where they used to be promoted very precisely on their ability to suppress background sounds — specifically airline noise.

Active noise cancelling headphones are still the subject of some debate. When it's quiet, they just don't sound as good as ordinary cans. When there is background noise, they obviously come into their own.

I don't want to exaggerate when I say that the greatest ANC headphones sound fantastic. If you want a more nuanced audio experience, a wired headphones without ANC will almost always sound better for the same price.

They also sound worse with the ANC turned off due to the way they're built – disabling noise cancelling is more of a battery-saving strategy than anything else.

However, the most recent possibilities are a significant advance over what was available a few years ago, when listening to music through an ANC can feel a little like listening to music in a vacuum chamber. They provide a better overall experience than ordinary headphones in noisy areas, such as trains, airlines, and, well, life in general.

Oh, and what is the significance of the term "active" noise cancellation? Because they use sound cancellation technology. This is in addition to traditional 'passive' noise cancellation, which involves padding the earcups of headphones or simply filling your ear canal with in-ear headphones to block out noise.

There are two types of ANC cans. The ones at the top of the list are, first and foremost, noise cancellers. The greatest over-ear ANC headphones, with the exception of the Beats Studio3, which was manufactured by witches, all sound worse when the noise cancelling is turned off.

The other category of top noise cancellers is more accurately described as good headphones with ANC as an added bonus feature. The noise cancellation isn't as good as the best-in-class cans, but it comes in helpful when there's a lot of background noise. When the noise cancellation is switched off, the headphones sound great.

Most noise cancellers, especially on-ear models, can be used with a wire without noise cancellation, which is useful if the battery dies. Some models can even accommodate wired listening with noise cancellation, making it feel like 2009 all over again.

When you turn off ANC on the higher-end noise cancellers, the audio quality suffers, but at least you won't have to stop listening until you can recharge.