Headphone or earphones are somewhat of a big deal in this present age. It is estimated that about 320 million headphone will be sold in 2017, WOW! Whether you are a DJ, a frequent traveler or simply an audiophile, finding the best noise cancelling headphones should be important to you. Noise cancelling headphones are considered a specialist headphones but with the urbanization of our dear planet, the need to have some quiet while enjoying our music is increasingly important. These headphones are a necessity when you have to focus on your sound and isolate yourself from anything noise. There’s nothing more frustrating than the roaring engines, wailing children or even the voices of people around you at a time you are trying to enjoy some really good music alone.

In choosing a noise cancelling headphone, we all have our personal preferences, while some of us are just concerned about the sound quality, cost is a factor for others. Long distance travelers are keen on battery life and a host of other features. Bottom line is you want value for your money and we are here to help you. Below is a quick comparison table of the best noise cancelling headphone (2017 update).

Top 10 Noise Cancellng Headphones Compared (Updated 2017)

 PRICEACTIVE NOISE CANCELLATIONFORM FACTORWIRELESSOUR RATING
Bose QuietComfort 25$299YesOver-EarNo4.7
Beats Studio Wireless$229YesClosed-BackYes4.5
Bose QuietComfort 20$249YesBinauralNo4.5
Bose QuietComfort 35$349YesOver-EarYes4.2
COWIN E-7$70YesTwo-EarYes4.3
BÖHM Wireless Headphones$110YesTri-FoldYes4.3
H501 233621 Headphones$70YesTwo-EarYes4.2
Sony MDR-1000X$398YesOver-EarYes4.5
Sony H.ear$170YesBi-FoldYes4.1
B&O PLAY$463YesTwo-EarYes4

The 10 headphones compared above are just a tip of the iceberg but they have been about the best noise cancelling headphones for a long time now. Though they are quite expensive usually above $200 there are noise cancelling headphones under $50 and $100. There are quite a number of other brand and models I have reviewed which can be found on the review section of this website.

You might be surprised to know there are noise cancelling headphones for kids and also some specifically designed headphones for sleep or snore.  As cheeky as this might sound there are people buying these gadgets for such interesting reasons.

Headphones Buyers Guide

There are several manufactures, brands and models of noise cancelling headphones available in the market that it is almost impossible for anyone to write about all of them. For proper comparison it is important that these headphones are compared along the lines of their similarities or better still on the basis of what a good noise cancelling headphones should have and do.

As an owner of some of these headphones and having read and listen to (good and bad) what people have had to say about their headphones, I have drawn 6 comparison criteria that top the list of a noise cancelling headphone expectation.

In order of importance, please find my comparison criteria below;

  1. Noise Cancellation: This is a given. What is a noise cancelling headphones without proper noise cancellation? This is its primary and most important criteria for a noise cancelling headphone. If the noise cancellation is not good enough then its
  2. Power Supply and Battery Life: Some of theses headphones come equipped with inbuilt rechargeable that you can charge when down while some others use a number of AAA batteries. In my opinion I do not think one is better than the other because at the end of the day it will be a decision made out of preference. For headphones with rechargeable batteries, it could be a tough task to get replacement batteries by the time they eventually unable to hold power. In many case people have had to ditch a good headphone because the battery cannot be replaced. Headphones with the AAA battery option could last a lifetime at least until AAA batteries are no longer being produced.
  3. Price: Our Prices are from Amazon.com and they vary regularly depending on promotions, availability and release. There is no defined price range for a good noise cancelling headphone just like it is for many other products. This is where our personal budget is allowed to tilt the scale.
  4. Color Variation: This list is endless but the most popular is black. One thing is certain, you will most likely find a headphone with the color that suits your personality.
  5. Form Factor: Noise cancelling headphones come in various design. Foldable, Non-Foldable, In-ear, Over-the-Head, Behind-the Neck. What I can guarantee is there is an design for whatever you are looking for.
  6. Rating: If you have read till this point then what others have to say about what you intend to spend on is important to you. Personally, when I am buying on Amazon, I always filter for products with 4stars review and above. I dont just settle there, I take some time to go through random reviews to learn what people love about the device those salient dislikes. Imagine a very good headphone but not suitable for a big guy with a considerable big size head. Comfort is key. I have saved myself several times from reading the good reviews too.

5 Best Noise Cancelling Headphones Reviews

1. Bose QuietComfort 25 Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones

bose quietcomfort 25

Bose QuietComfort 25 is one of the best noise cancelling headphone you might ever come across, at least in the immediate future. The first thing that hits you when you on your first look at the new Bose sound-canceling headphones is its particularly sleek and crisp design. While the QC15 had several buttons on the headphones, QuietComfort 25 is more discreet with only the Bose logo on each ear and the button on the right ear.

The headphone is also particularly light with its 205 grams on the scale. A lightness mainly due to the use of plastic for different elements, even though aluminum is used to reinforce the core of the arch. The cushion is very comfortable, even after long hours on the head. I have not yet found any noise cancelling headphones that handles the noise cancellation part more effectively than this Bose. The sound quality is great but some other headphones trumps it in this area. However, its design is intended for noisy environments, so their greatest virtue is precisely to isolate the noise.

Despite the lack of Bluetooth/Wireless functions, it is quite simple, the QuietComfort remains the reference in terms of active noise cancellation.  Bose QC 25 delivers an impressive performance. Comfortable, light, it also offers a sound that will please lovers of bass and fine-tuned audio quality.

WE LOVE: Comfort | Noise cancellation | Lightweight| Sound quality in active mode.
WE DO NOT LIKE: Microphone jack 2.5 mm | Battery | Audio quality in passive mode.

Buy from Amazon

 

2. Beats Studio Wireless Headphones

beats studio wireless

The Studio Wireless is the wireless version of the famous Beats Studio headphones which was at the origin of the spectacular commercial success of the Beats brand. Released in 2013, which greatly redefined and improved this model which has now become the most classic fashion headphones.

Beats Studio Wireless provides a Bluetooth wireless connection with a maximum range of 9 meters. It is equipped with a built-in microphone to take telephone calls and a volume control with two keys. Its built-in battery is recharged through a micro USB port. This battery powers both the wireless receiver circuitry, the amps and the active noise reduction system. The latter cannot be deactivated and offers two modes of noise reduction, one very solid and one more subtle. In addition, to save battery power, it is possible to run the Studio Wireless in wired connection, the maximum autonomy then passes at 20 hours against 12 hours in Bluetooth connection.

Compared to the classic Beats Studio that had been fairly impressive, the Beats Studio Wireless does not have landmark audio improvement from its predecessor but it still remains a well-designed headphone, a serious realization, an elegant finish, with correct performance. It is both functional and very comfortable.

WE LOVE: Comfort | Quality of finishing | Many accessories provided| Balanced sound response.
WE DO NOT LIKE: High price | Non-deactivatable noise cancellation | Slightly muffled.

Buy from Amazon

 

3. Bose QuietComfort 20 Noise Cancelling Earphones

bose quietcomfort 20

The Bose QuietComfort 20 and 20i earphones are compact in-ear headphones with high-quality sound, combined with good comfort, offering phenomenal noise reduction. The noise reduction is powered by a rechargeable lithium battery and can be used for 16 hours. Bose is already available on several headphones from the manufacturer, such as the QC15s or QC3s, and is now addressing the in-ear market with QC20 and QC20i (specific to Apple products). They are available from £ 299 on Amazon.

Why spend so much money for a pair of headphones? Well, there are many good reasons for this that we will list below, before also returning to some slightly less glorious points for these audio earphones. To begin with, the Bose QC20 fit perfectly and firmly into the shape of your ears and are particularly comfortable to wear. They weigh only 44 g and come with a handy zippered pocket to carry headphones when you travel.

At the design level, we are relatively close to what we had been able to discover with the Bose MIE2i headphones, which simply slip into your ears while leaving a little game to improve comfort. By themselves, the headphones incorporate the manufacturer’s TriPort design, with the benefit of having been improved to maximize the audio properties of the headphones and the addition of 2 microphones to control the surrounding noise. All external sounds are countered and allow you to fully listen to your music without being disturbed by the noise of cars or trains.

WE LOVE: Comfort | Unbeatable construction | Quality of sound | Works as a passive.
WE DO NOT LIKE: Requires a cable box.

Buy from Amazon

 

4. Bose QuietComfort 35 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones

bose quietcomfort 35The illustrious QuietComfort 25 is now replaced by one of the new products of the Bose 2016 cuvée, baptized without any QC35 fantasy. Wireless integration is the real novelty of this noise reduction model. Does this change completely change the QC 25?

If we were to briefly summarize this new Bose QuietComfort 35, it could be said to be a mix between SoundLink II and QC25 . Indeed, visually, this new reference has hardly evolved compared to QC25, if not a slightly wider arch and two new colors. Very flexible, this headphones can be folded to facilitate its storage in the hard case provided. The earcups can be oriented flat for a more comfortable wearing around the neck. The addition of the wireless has not weighed down the QC35 which remains extremely light (285 g). In any case, the design and choice of materials make it one of the very best in terms of comfort, for small as for big heads.

The arrival of the wireless on this new QC35 could have left fear for the audio quality … it is not. If you are not fond of bass a bit highlighted, take the time to listen to it before you buy it. For all the rest, the QC35 retains all the excellent ergonomic qualities of the QC25: comfort, lightness, solidity, ease of use and effective noise reduction. And if some will regret the abandonment of the removable battery, the autonomy here is excellent. Bose sits the QC35 as one of the best wireless noise reduction headphones.

WE LOVE: Comfort | Overall sound balance and musical sound | Quality of sound | Excellent active noise reduction | Lightweigh and flexible construction | Complete accessories.
WE DO NOT LIKE: High latency Bluetooth | Removeable batteries | Size of supplied cables/2.5 mm microphone jack.

Buy from Amazon

 

5. Sony MDR-1000X 

sony mdr-1000xThe MDR-1000X really emphasizes the comfort of use. It is certainly a little less airy and lightweight than the Bose QC35, but we can undoubtedly rank it in the best noise cancelling headphones category. The pads are thick, supple and soft and naturally rest on the head and around the ears, whatever the wearer’s morphology. The weight, relatively contained for this type of helmet is very well distributed.

Sony MDR-1000X is positioned as one of the most successful mobile headsets of the brand. Thought to come to compete with the Bose QC35 on its own terrain, namely that of Bluetooth headphones with noise cancellation, it could well create surprise on this sector and establish itself as a true reference.

With the MDR-1000X, Sony finally holds its nomad wireless headset with active noise reduction to deal with the tenors of the genre. It offers an appealing experience and sound as well as well-integrated features. It does not match the qualities of the very best (noise reduction at Bose, audio quality at Plantronics, features at Parrot), but it heels them very closely.

WE LOVE: Comfort | Good active noise reduction | Quality of sound | Excellent active noise reduction | Fast pairing, NFC chip | Complete accessories.
WE DO NOT LIKE: Small lack of clarity and air in general | Pads attached to the ear cups.

Buy from Amazon

 

Noise Cancelling Headphones Review (by Category)

  • Noise cancelling headphones under $50 – Not all noise cancelling headphones come with a high ticket prices though without some features. Detailed review of the top 3 products in this category.
  • Noise cancelling headphones under $100 – If still on a tight budget but with a little extra to spend. Read how you can get a good noise cancelling headphones without breaking the bank.
  • Noise cancelling headphones for sleep or snore – Going to bed with an headphone is not a common practice but in some strange circumstance they are very essential. Also, detailed review of the top 3 noise cancelling headphones for sleeping.
  • Noise cancelling headphones for kids, babies and infants – Beyond the love of music, noise cancelling headphones for kids are an important safety device protecting them from noise hazards. A comparison guide of the top 10 products of this category and an extensive review of the top 5.

What is a Noise Cancelling Headphone?

inside a noise canceling headphone

Inside a Noise Cancelling Headphone

Here we take away the complexity of picking the noise cancelling headphones that is perfect for you. We highlight key features to focus on and a detailed comparison chart of the top 10 noise cancelling headphones for the year 2017. Before anything at all, some definitions in case you have been hearing people throw the word noise cancelling headphone around. Here are some key information for about noise cancelling headphones;

The fact that you have a headphone over your head that impair sounds coming into your ear doesn’t mean you have a noise cancelling headphone. Let’s get that confusion out of the way.

There are different types of ambient noise that could interfere or completely block out sounds from headphones. If you have ever tried listening to music on an airplane or train, you would know what I am talking about. The roaring engine disrupts every sound coming from the headphones. Noise cancelling headphones reduce unwanted ambient sounds with the use of active noise control. A combination of microphones in the headphone ear cup combined with some electronic circuit generate anti-noise signal to cancel out ambient noise getting into the headphones.

The first noise cancelling headphone was made by Bose. This was after its founder, Amar Bose found himself on a noisy flight and the in-flight headphone couldn’t block out the noise to allow him enjoy his music. Great innovation birth by frustration 🙂

Types of Noise Cancellation

  1. Active Noise Control (ANC), which is also referred to as noise cancellation, or active noise reduction (ANR), is a method for reducing unwanted sound or noise by the addition of a second sound which is specifically designed to cancel the first.
  2. Passive Noise Cancellation (PNC) is the sound/noise that headphones block out by the the physical design of the earcups. The headphone earcup design and how it fits on the ear determines to a large extent how much noise or sound it blocks out. In plain terms, passive noise cancellation is noise cancellation not electronically induced.