Not just for music
Originally noise cancelling headphones were designed for pilots to help their comfort level on long flights. The first consumer versions to come on the market, were aimed at airline passengers for the best noise cancelling headphones on an airplane. We’ll look at some of the best noise cancelling headphones for 2021 and with our best noise cancelling headphones comparison chart we’ll help make your choice a little easier.
The Best Noise Cancelling Headphones Comparison Chart
|Bose QC |
35 Series II
|Active Noise Cancelling||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes|
|Connection||Stereo 3.5mm||Stereo 3.5mm, Bluetooth||Stereo 3.5mm, Bluetooth||Stereo 3.5mm||Stereo 3.5mm|
Turn Down The Noise
ANC headphones turn down the noise of the world by about 30dB, the reduction ranges between 20dB and 45dB. This technology is more efficient for low-frequency sounds. Using noise-cancelling technology on its own, without music, is a great way to tune out the constant noise of the city.
Noise can be damaging
Heavy traffic generates noise levels of up to 85 decibels (dB). If we were to be exposed to this level of noise for several hours every day, it is high enough to cause permanent hearing loss. Noise damages more than just our ears. Research has found links between long-term noise exposure and increased risk of heart attack and stroke, low mood and difficulties with sleeping and concentrating. Negative forces on physical and mental health starts at around 65dB. A refrigerator puts out 40dB, and an office with an open floor plan is around 60dB.
Game Changing Technology
Using the noise-cancelling feature when on public transportation will mellow out the sounds of the engine and traffic. In the office, it eliminates the constant chit chat and can limit interruptions. Headphones are an item that you can’t forget to take with you when traveling. Noise canceling headphones can be a godsend when that baby on the plane starts to cry and you want to sleep. On an airplane, it’s a game changer when playing music or watching movies. You’ll wonder how you ever survived without them.
How Do They Work?
The technology, known as active noise-cancellation (ANC), uses microphones to pick up low-frequency noise and nullify it before it reaches your ears. A sound is generated by the headset that is phase-inverted by 180 degrees to the unwanted noise. The result is that the two sounds cancel out each other. Every pair of noise canceling headphones comes with a microphone that detects sound waves around you. It then sends out sounds waves of the same amplitude to cancel the irritating noise out. This means that even if the world around you is really loud, you can watch whatever you want without having to turn up the volume.
An Investment in Sound Quality
The headphones you want to invest in are active noise canceling headphones that cancel the noise more effectively. Passive headphones merely use insulation to soundproof which isn’t a completely effective process.
What Are the Best Noise Cancelling Headphones for 2021?
3. Sennheiser HD
If you are a traveler who prefers sound quality over good user interface or complete noise cancellation, then you can’t go wrong with the economical Sennheiser. It has a great battery life and isn’t a bad device to use for phone calls or communicating with phone assistants.
2. Bose Quiet Comfort
These headphones help in canceling noise with the basic push of a button. Depending on your environment you can adjust your headphones and regulate how much you want to hear. This optimization creates an amazing music listening experience.
Even when you’re on a call, the Bose Quiet Comfort will block out noise in the background which makes for very clear calls. It also uses both active and passive reduction methods so they are more effective.
1. The Sony WH-1000XM2
These are one of the most comfortable headphones that you will find and they have a long 30-hour battery life. If you are a frequent traveler, these will be perfect for you since Sony WH-1000XM2 also offers extra features for travelers. These are expensive headphones, but well worth the price. And probably the best noise cancelling headphones for travel, and the best wireless noise cancelling headphones for sound quality.
Quick Attention Feature
The Sony WH-1000XM2 has a quick attention feature that lets in sound when you need it to without being forced to remove the headphones. So while you’re ordering food or speaking to a colleague, you can use this feature to make your life easier.
Siri, Alexa, and Google Compatible
You can also adjust the volume, change the track, or talk to Siri, Alexa or Google without touching your smartphone. The right ear of the headset has numerous functions that aren’t offered by other devices.
On the whole, noise cancelling headphones have a lot going for them. Cancelling noise can be much needed while working, on a flight, on the bus, for making important calls, and in other situations for which you will need to invest in a good pair of noise cancelling headphones. The list of the Best Noise Cancelling Headphones for 2019 are designed to provide comfort, ease, and quality sound. They probably should be called the best noise cancelling headphones for everyday use.
#1 Sony WH-1000XM2, the best noise cancelling headphones wired or wireless in our tests.
Our #1 pick for the best noise cancelling headphones for 2021 is the Sony WH-1000XM2. It is a comfortable, excellent-sounding, headphone that is the best that we’ve seen in our research. Its battery life has been improved (up to 30 hours with noise cancellation) and it has some extra features geared toward frequent travelers. Automatically detects your current activity and adjusts for the ambient sounds you hear. Christmas is coming, what a great Christmas gift.
You can communicate without removing your headphones
All you have to do is put your hand over the right ear cup to the adjust the volume. Change a track, adjust the volume or use your phone by touching a headphone.
Go hands-free or plug in your headset while streaming with noise cancellation. Activate voice assistant on your phone with a simple touch on the right ear cup.
Stream your music and listen free from wires and noise.
Sony I Headphones Connect for Android
Download the Android APP to use Smart Listening by Adaptive Sound Control.
Sony I Headphones Connect for iOS
Download the iOS APP to use Smart Listening by Adaptive Sound Control.
All day power and quick charging
Long battery life and quick charging, up to 70 minutes of play with only a 10 minute charge.
Comes with airplane adapter plug for easy in-flight listening and more.
What’s In The Box
Plug adapter for In-flight use
Gold-plated stereo mini plug
USB Cable and manual.
Sony WH-1000XM2 Wired or Wireless
- Virtual surround sound
- Excellent noise cancellation
- 30 hour battery life with noise cancellation
- Great Design and Specifications
- So Comfortable you’ll forget you have them on
- Charges by Micro-USB, not the newer USB-C.
- Bottom Line: The Sony WH-1000XM2 has better audio performance than the previous generation. They are the best sounding headphones with noise cancellation available in this price range.
#2 Bose QuietComfort 35 Series II Wireless, noise cancelling headphones
Our #2 pick for the best noise cancelling headphones is the Quiet Comfort 35 Series II from Bose. The best noise cancelling headphones are very lightweight and extremely comfortable, so comfortable that you may forget that you are wearing them.
The sound quality of the QC35II is excellent, and any audiophile would be impressed. Has noise-rejecting dual-microphone system for clear phone calls and voice access to your phone’s default virtual assistant.
You Are in Control
Lets you adjust the level of noise cancellation to be relevant for your environment. Volume optimized equalization makes your music sound its best, whether you turn it up on an airplane, or turn it down while at work.
Easy to use Bluetooth
Incorporates Bluetooth and NFC, voice prompts make it easy to make wireless connections.
Up to 4o Hours Play Time
Up to 20 hours of wireless play time is available from a rechargeable lithium-ion battery, and up to 40 hours of listening in wired mode if battery dies.
Dedicated Google Assistant Button
The QuietComfort 35 II headphone adds a dedicated button for Google Assistant, other functions can be programmed as well.
Passive and Active Noise Reduction
Utilization of both active and passive noise reduction technologies. They use a proprietary electronics approach to active noise reduction, placing microphones both inside and outside the ear cups. You can listen to you music when the the battery power is dead. But with no power the active noise cancellation will not function.
Will allow QC35 headphones II to keep a connection to two devices at the same time.
Bose QuietComfort 35 Series II Wireless
- Excellent noise cancellation
- Very Comfortable
- Good Battery Life
- No instant mute
- Bottom Line: The Bose QC35 II NC is an outstanding headphone for people on the go, they have a good balance of features that will make this a good purchase for most listeners. If you are in the market for exceptional performing wireless on-ear headphones, the Bose QC35II surely should be something to consider. because they are one of the best noise cancelling headphones and most comfortable.
#3 Sennheiser HD 4.50 Bluetooth Wireless
Noise cancelling headphones
Our #3 pick for the best noise cancelling headphones is the Sennheiser HD 4.50 headphone. It is a great sounding headphone that costs a lot less less than Bose’s QuietComfort 35II. It has acceptable battery life and also operates as a headset for phone use.
Reduces Ambient Noise
The Sennheiser HD 4.50 BTNC headphone with the Sennheiser sound and the latest wireless technology. With Sennheiser’s NoiseGard™ active noise cancellation you will be able to enjoy your music that much more by reducing ambient noise levels. These are one of the best noise cancelling headphones to use on airplane.
Battery Free Listening
It has a battery life of up to 19 hours, and is supplied with connecting cable for battery-free listening. It comes with a nice canvas carrying bag.
State of the Art Wireless Technology
The headphone is built with state-of-the-art wireless technology and audio codec for reliable transmission. The wireless Hi-Fi sound is very good.
With its integrated microphones you can make and receive calls, change tracks, or adjust the volume.
Enjoy Long Music Sessions with less Fatigue
With its around-ear design and ergonomic ear pads, you can enjoy long listening sessions without fatigue. Besides, when you’re not on the move just fold the headset into its protective case.
Long Battery Life
The battery life on the HD 4.50 BTNC lasts for up to 25 hours
What’s in the box?
HD 4.50 BTNC Headphones
Audio cable with 2.5 mm and 3.5 mm jack plug
USB charging cable with micro-USB connector
Comes with a 2 year warranty when purchased from an authorized Sennheiser dealer.
Sennheiser HD 4.50 Bluetooth Wireless
- Good Noise Cancelling.
- Great Sound
- Excellent build quality
- Near Field Communication
- Too few app features
- Bottom Line: The HD 4.50BTNC headphones sound great and provide very good noise cancelling. For the price, these headphones are highly recommended and are one of the best noise cancelling headphones available in 2021.
#4 Beats Studio3 Wireless – Matte Black
Great noise cancelling headphones
Our #4 pick for the best noise cancelling headphones is the Beats Studio3 headphones, because they sound incredible and have better than normal noise cancellation.
Pair and Play with your Bluetooth device with a 30ft range.
Excellent Battery Life
Up to 22 hours of battery life. By turning ANC off, you can get up to 40 hours of playback without sacrificing audio quality. Fast charging, a 10 minute charge will give you 3 hours of playback time.
Extended Bluetooth Range
Class 1 Bluetooth® Technology gives you extended range with less drop-outs.
What’s In the Box
Beats Studio3 Wireless Headphone
3.5mm RemoteTalk Cable
Universal USB charging cable
Quick Start Guide
Beats Studio3 Wireless – Matte Black
- Adaptive Noise Cancellation is one of the best
- Good sound isolation
- Heavy and not as comfortable as other brands
- Bottom Line: These Beats Studio3 headsets have an incredible sound and better-than-normal noise cancellation and would be a welcome addition to any music lover that needs noise canceling headphones. If you do a lot of traveling or have a job in a loud environment, the adaptive noise cancellation is one of the best.
#5 Audio-Technica ATH-ANC7b Wired, noise cancelling headphones
Noise Cancelling Headphones
Our #5 pick for one of the best noise cancelling headphones is the Audio Technica ATH-ANC7b headphones. They perform better, feel more comfortable, and offer more features and functions than headphones costing much more.
Reduces Background Noise by up to 90%
These closed back headphones feature noise cancelling reduces background noise by up to 90%.
Excellent Bass Response
Featuring large aperture 40 mm drivers with neodymium magnet systems, therefore the bass response is amazing, and so is the treble.
Very Comfortable Design
These headphones are very light, compact in size, and are designed to fold flat and makes it great for traveling.
Functions in Passive Mode
Without the battery the audio functions in passive mode.
Fold flat design with included 3.5 mm mini plugs, a full size 1/4″ adapter, a specialized airline adapter for connecting to in flight entertainment systems, and a handy carrying case.
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC7b Wired Noise Cancelling Headphones
- Punchy Bass
- Good Price
- 90% Noise Cancellation
- One AAA battery gives up to 40 hours of active noise cancelling
- Carrying Case
- Tight Fit on The Ears
- A bit Heavy
- Bottom Line: These headphones have very good sound, up to 40 hours of active noise cancelling, good comfort and are very durable. For the price, the Audio-Technica ATH-ANC7B are most likely the best wired headsets with active noise cancelling under $100.
Need more information? Check out Tom’s Guide for noise canceling headphones