For frequent flyers or commuters on public transit, reducing the noise around you is the difference between enduring a trip and enjoying it. Noise-cancelling headphones can make your music easier to hear and your world a little more peaceful. We recommend the over-ear Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 and the in-ear 1More Dual Driver BT ANC, depending on which style of headphone you prefer.
The Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 is the best wireless noise-cancelling headphones set that Bose has ever released. They’re 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 noise-cancelling headphones we’ve tested. You can adjust the active noise cancellation (ANC) level on a scale from 0 to 10, so if you find that you are experiencing the uncomfortable “eardrum suck” issue that 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 you want to access an in-flight entertainment system. They fold flat for easy storage in the supplied case. 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.
The ideal travel companion, this pair effectively cancels airplane noise, coils up for easy transport, and allows you to listen via Bluetooth or an included cable.Buy from 1More
May be out of stockBuy from Amazon
*At the time of publishing, the price was $100.
Perfect for commuters, the 1More Dual Driver BT ANC collar-style Bluetooth earbuds (which have a flexible band connecting them) cancel a respectable amount of noise and have enough battery life to last through a pretty long flight. (1More claims 7 hours, but we got 8.5 hours in our test.) 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 flicking a switch, without removing the earbuds. Plus, unlike wireless earbuds that use a hard-plastic collar (such as the Bose QuietControl 30), these earbuds coil up small enough to fit into a trouser pocket.
These over-ear wireless noise-cancelling headphones offer a surprisingly decent sound, comfort, and noise-cancelling at a low price.$60 from Amazon
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 very comfortable. The 30-hour battery life is impressive for a model in any price range. You can use them 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 wireless TT-BH042 offers good sound and okay noise cancelling at an amazingly low price.$46 from Amazon
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 similar to that of the 1More Dual Driver BT ANC, around 8 hours. The downside is that you can’t use them in wired mode, so you have no way to connect this pair to in-flight entertainment systems.