Does the noise distract you from the music? Many of us are locked up, and many of us are working from home. Those who were used to quieter places to work may now be dealing with noise.
A normal headphone won’t work for you, you should try noise canceling headphones! Not only do they isolate internal sound, but they cancel external sound. They do all of this through internal chips that pick up external sound through a microphone and then synthesize an inverted wave to cancel out external sound. As you can see, it is something more sophisticated than simple padding.
In this review we have collected 5 of the best active noise canceling headphones. We hope you get something for yourself!
The Best Noise Canceling Headphones of 2021
Each product has its own particular value offering, but we find that the battery life with noise cancellation activated and its weight is elements that always matter when evaluating a product. For more details, we recommend reading the individual review.
Bose QuietComfort 35 II
If you have to talk about headphones, it is impossible not to talk about Bose. The model we chose from the leading brand in sound solutions has been the Quiet Comfort 35 II . We find it a very competitive option compared to options like the Bose 700, a model with slightly better noise cancellation but at a much higher price.
It consists of the elegant look that so many love. Clean, functional and with quality materials. It weighs about 236 grams and offers passive noise isolation thanks to its soft and full padding.
Speaking of the padding, it is silicone rubber covered in synthetic leather. Very glamorous, although somewhat hot.
On the right ear cup you will find the buttons for paid and power, Bluetooth mode, volume control, playback and the smart virtual assistant button. In the left earpiece you find one of the novelties of this model: the button to activate the Google assistant.
They sync via Bluetooth 4.1 or NFC, as well as wired connections to more than one device (two devices to a single headset, for example).
Active noise cancellation is very good, especially thanks to technologies like Active EQ to optimize frequency band cancellation and minimize distortion.
In the battery there has been an improvement, since it now provides up to 20 hours of continuous use with active noise cancellation and up to 40 hours when deactivated. If it turns off, connect it with its 3.5mm connector and voila, you have plan B.
Compared to the best models from Bose or other brands, Quiet Comfort has a great price. There are cheaper models, but if you are looking for the best balance between price and performance, we think that these headphones could be the answer.
Sennheiser HD 4.50 BTNC
If something can be assumed from the outset with these headphones, it is that they are expensive. However, Sennheiser, a respectable brand in the headphone world, brings us the HD 450 . It’s not exactly “cheap” but it offers all the benefits of active noise cancellation at a reduced price.
It has a smooth modern design with no harsh edges or shapes. It weighs about 238 grams and its pads are covered with synthetic leather that is pleasant to the touch.
The construction does not compare at all to higher-end models. Lots of plastic, although at least it has a nice matte finish and they are foldable.
The headband is adjustable with a triquet, so it has a set of adjustable positions to move from top to bottom. Not like the smooth glide of other models. It is still very practical and facilitates transport.
It uses physical buttons although its quality is questionable.
Its active cancellation is not sophisticated, but it does the job. Whether it’s on an airplane, the train, or near the washing machine, just touch the cancel button to isolate the sound. It works even without music on.
It pairs via Bluetooth 5.0 and aptX, and its range is very good. You can usually cross from room to room without losing signal.
The battery lasts up to 19 hours with active noise cancellation, and up to 25 hours with the cancellation turned off. If you run out of battery, the 3.5mm cable can save the day.
It doesn’t offer the active noise cancellation of the more expensive models, nor does it offer its sleeker design. But, at the end of the day, they block out most external sounds and it has an excellent frequency range. We recommend it to those on tighter budgets who only need active noise-canceling headphones.
Bowers & Wilkins PX7
Bowers & Wilkins have been on the market since 1966, with their first PX being one of the first (and best) active noise canceling headphones. Now they bring an improved version, the PX7 . It incorporates compatibility with the new codes on the market and they are very elegant.
They have a slightly more casual and warm design than the previous PX, and although the carbon fiber that makes up the construction is lighter, the headphones weigh about 302 grams. Lightweight, though not by much.
Now, if we delve into the details like the headband, the ear cushions and the padding of the band, we have really comfortable headphones.
On the left earbud you will find a button to cycle between the three active noise cancellation modes and on the right you have the buttons to manage playback, volume and Bluetooth connectivity.
One of the features we like the most is the proximity sensor: just pick up a headset to automatically pause the music.
In the noise cancellation section it has three modes: “Low” to filter most external sounds, “High” to filter virtually everything, and “Ambient” to allow you to listen to a conversation.
The battery lasts up to 30 hours with active noise cancellation and with just 15 minutes of charging it can last 5 hours.
Noise cancellation rivals the most expensive models on the market, although the best audio experience remains in the hands of that range. Worth it? If you’re looking for the best active noise cancellation for the money, the PX7 is an option to consider.
From Sony we could well have reviewed one of their many high-quality headphones, but we settled on the in-ear headphones, the WF1000XM3. We think they are one of the best headphones of this type on the market, and they perform very well considering the size.
Compared to its predecessor, it seems to us that they have a much more modern and attractive design. They weigh only about 100 grams, counting the charging case.
Being intraural, nothing to do with headbands or pads. Some people may find them less comfortable, but the truth is that for extended use (especially if you are on the street) nothing beats one of these. They are not warm, they are discreet, and the longer you wear them they will not give you neck pain.
The grip is great – it doesn’t squeeze your ear or cause discomfort, but it’s not loose either. The rubber is soft but high friction.
Active noise cancellation boasts a Sony-enhanced processor that not only gets the job done, it receives two audio signals (per earphone) instead of one and uses much less power.
The audio itself is wonderful. All frequencies are heard clearly and without distortion, and since each earbud has its own Bluetooth chip, they receive signals simultaneously instead of sending sound from one to the other.
With a quick tap on the earpiece you can lower the volume to chat quickly. What we don’t like too much is the battery, it lasts for six hours, and the charging case (very portable and attractive) offers 3 additional charges for a total of 24 hours (32 hours with noise cancellation off). Of course, 10 minutes of charging is equivalent to an hour and a half of sound.
They are not cheap at all, but it was to be expected. Do we recommend them? If you’re looking for the best in-ear headphones, Sony may be the answer to your problems. For this price, you can buy more or less similar helmets, so it becomes a matter of preference.
Libratone Track Air +
Maybe not a brand you’ve heard of before, but one worth mentioning to close our review. Libratone brings us the Track Air + headphones . All the comfort of noise-canceling in-ear headphones at an affordable price.
They have an elegant design, although not as discreet as Sony’s. The charging case isn’t quite as fancy as other earbuds, but it gets the job done and is magnetized to keep the earbuds steady. It weighs about 54 grams with the included charging case.
They are perfect for exercising thanks to their IPX4 degree of waterproofing, which gives them resistance to sweat and other splashes. A big plus over Sony’s intraurals that cost a lot more.
The package brings three different pairs of rubber bands to adapt your headphones to your ears. And although the most suitable control for these headphones are the music applications (Google Play Music, Spotify, etc.), the headphones have controls in the form of double tap, such as pause or play, skip tracks or change the noise cancellation mode.
It is compatible with virtual assistants like Google Assistant, Alexa, and Siri. Its battery lasts up to 24 hours, 6 hours of charge plus 3 full charges stored in the case.
It consists of 3 cancellation modes: manual, automatic and ambient. The “manual” allows you to manually set the degree of cancellation, the “automatic” chooses the degree of cancellation in real time depending on the environment and the “environment” allows you to listen to the environment without cancellation.
The audio frequencies are very good and can be heard clearly, no distortion. Something that is appreciated at this price point.
Includes preset sound profiles to apply enhancements to bass or treble. Very simple, no customizable equalization, but the option is.
From the outset we commented that the price was affordable, and that is one of its greatest advantages. Do we put it above other headphones? Virtually all high-end headphones have superior performance except for a few details. If you are one of those who listens to music while you exercise and you are looking for robust headphones, without cables and with noise cancellation, Libratone could help you.
Conclusion and buyer’s guide
This is just a bite of the headphone scene. They come in different sizes and with different extras, so we hope we have reviewed something that you like.
Nothing like good noise canceling headphones to immerse you in a series, video, movie, video game, music, or even audiobook. Please read our tips below to improve your purchase.
This is a sensitive issue. Many of these products are long lasting without noise cancellation , but that seems to us to go against the point. That is why we recommend that your headphones have a duration of at least 6 or 8 hours, and preferably fast charging. Otherwise, you can get a hassle.
Likewise, many of these work wired without the need for power, so it is an option to consider.
There are many marketing pitfalls about this, but the truth is this: The device either cancels noise, or it doesn’t. What do we mean by this? Only the intensity or sophistication of the device will vary, but if you have an audio canceling chip, it will do just that.
That is why we recommend that you examine what you are really looking for. If it’s canceling the external sound when you jog, you won’t have to look for the most expensive thing on the market to achieve it. It is not the same if you are looking to cancel much louder sounds.