10 Best Noise Canceling Headphones in 2024 [Handpicked]

A pair of the best noise-canceling headphones are a must-have accessory for a freelancer, blogger, or content creator working from home or as a digital nomad. 

They create the ultimate peace and quiet you need to focus on your work or enjoy your quietude by blocking the background noise distractions from the world around you. 

I learned this long ago, and I have always included a set of noise-canceling headphones in my remote work gear for the last nine years!

It’s why I spent some quality time trying, testing, analyzing, and ranking the world’s best wireless, over-ear noise-canceling headphones for all budgets in this one-stop guide. 

The Sony WH-1000XM5 is my overall best pick due to its unmatched sound quality, great ergonomics for comfort, and unbeatable noise cancelation.

HeadphonesBluetooth TechnologyBattery with BT + ANCWeightPrice
Sony XM5Bluetooth 5.2Up to 30 Hours249gCheck Price
Bose 700Bluetooth 5.0Up to 20 Hours252gCheck Price
Space Q45Bluetooth 5.3Up to 50 Hours292gCheck Price
AirPods MaxBluetooth 5.0Up to 20 Hours385gCheck Price
Life Q30Bluetooth 5.0Up to 40 Hours265gCheck Price
Silensys E7Bluetooth 5.0Up to 30 Hours281gCheck Price
Momentum 4Bluetooth 5.2Up to 60 Hours293gCheck Price
Beoplay HXBluetooth 5.1Up to 35 Hours285gCheck Price
Bowers & Wilkins Px8Bluetooth 5.2Up to 30 Hours320gCheck Price
QuietOn 3.1N/AUp to 28 HoursN/ACheck Price

But you don’t need to spend $399.99 to get the Sony WH-1000XM5 if your budget is below $200, $100, or even as low as $50!

You can start your journey to quietude with a more affordable set of cans like the Anker Soundcore Space Q45, which I now use!

The Anker Soundcore Space Q45 is a bargain given its exceptional sound quality, super comfortable fit, industry-leading active noise canceling (ANC), and up to 50-Hour battery life, which is quite generous!

I have also shared tips, insights, and brutally honest answers to FAQs on choosing the best noise-canceling headphones for 2023 and beyond!

TIP: I’ve compiled this comprehensive guide with work-from-home professionals and digital nomads in mind. But, they will still work for other types of users, especially if you fly or commute frequently or are an entrepreneur in a busy office setup.

Best Noise Canceling Headphones - Peter Murage

Table of Contents

1. Sony WH-1000XM5 – Overall Best Noise-Cancelling Headphones with Mic 

Sony has reigned the wireless, over-ear noise-canceling headphones space since it released the updated flagship Sony WH-1000XM3 in August 2019.

It was later upgraded to the Sony WH-1000XM4, which still offered unmatched feature sets, and the moment it’s the Sony WH-1000XM5 on the reigns!

The Sony XM5 delivers industry-leading noise-canceling, top-notch audio performance, and excellent comfort to suit wearing for hours without hurting your ears.  

Sony XM5 Key Specs:

Best Noise Canceling Headphones - Sony XM5

Form Factor: Over-Ear

Active Noise Canceling: Yes

Wireless Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.2

Wired Connectivity: 3.5mm (1.2m Cable Included)

Microphone: Yes, 

Size & Weight: 249 g

Battery Life: 40 Hours (BT) or 30 Hours (BT+ANC)

Color Options: Black, Silver

The Sony WH-1000XM5 features two processors that control eight microphones to deliver exceptional active noise cancellation.

Four of these mics are beamforming and use Precise Voice Pickup technology to isolate your voice for flawless, hands-free calls. 

The built-in Sony Auto NC Optimizer automatically optimizes the noise canceling based on your surroundings. 

The Sony XM5 will run for 30 hours with Bluetooth and ANC. That’s long enough to last you an entire day!

At 249g, the Sony XM5 is super lightweight and extremely comfortable. You can wear them all day and lose yourself in your own world as you ace your workflows. 

Sony XM5 Pros:

  • It completely blocks all background noise and loud sounds. 
  • Multipoint connection to connect two devices simultaneously. 
  • 3 minutes of quick charging gets you 3 hours of playback time. 
  • Robust construction for durability that includes metal, plastic, and leather. 
  • Wear detection for instant pause and play. 

Sony XM5 Cons: 

  • It lacks NFC.
  • Not foldable. 
  • Not water-resistant!
  • Irritating on the neck when kept there for long! 

The Sony XM5 offers a remarkable mix of best-in-class ANC, refined sound quality with boosted bass, and improved comfort. In the package, you get a pair of headphones, a USB charging cable, a 3.5mm audio jack cable, and a premium carrying case.

2. Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 – Best Wireless Noise-Canceling Headphones

The Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 is the best pair of over-ear wireless noise-canceling headphones Bose has ever released. 

It offers superior noise cancelation in a comfortable, lightweight design that is perfect for people who use headphones for long hours, like frequent travelers. 

Bose 700 Key Specs:

Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 - Peter Murage

Form Factor: Over-Ear

Wireless Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.0

Wired Connectivity: 3.5 mm (Cable Included)

Microphone: Yes, 4 Voice Mics

Size & Weight: 252 g 

Battery Life: 20 Hours

Color Options: Black, Luxe Silver

I checked forums like Reddit, and most people want to know if Bose is better than Sony in a head-to-head hands-on review of the Bose 700 vs. Sony XM5

The honest answer is that most listeners think Sony XM5 are better headphones than the Bose 700. The XM5 has better noise-canceling performance and longer continuous battery life. 

You also get more talk-through controls with the Sony, which are handy for users who want to stay aware of their environment while listening.

But unlike the Sony XM5, Bose 700 offers more active noise-canceling adjustability. You can adjust the level of ANC on a scale from 0 to 10.

It’s quite a handy feature if you find that intense noise cancelation makes you uncomfortable due to “eardrum suck.” A feeling of pressure on the eardrums!

Bose 700 Pros:

  • ANC adjustability lets you find the level of ANC that works for you.
  • You can use them in wired mode with ANC engaged.  
  • A lightweight design that is comfortable to wear for hours. 
  • They fold flat for easy storage and portability. 
  • A simple and reliable wireless connection.
  • 15 minutes of quick charging gets you 3.5 hours of playback time. 
  • IPX4 water resistance. 

Bose 700 Cons:

  • The sound quality isn’t as crisp as that of the Sony XM5. 
  • It only affords 20 hours of battery life with ANC engaged. 
  • The app can be vexing. 

The Bose 700 features easy-to-use physical buttons and touch controls that you can access and adjust without looking. They are lightweight, super comfortable, and water-resistant, and they afford premium noise cancelation. 

Bose has also used better quality plastic for the 700. But the Sony XM5 wins on its crips sound quality with bass and comfortable fit around the ears. Both weigh almost the same and are not foldable!

3. Anker Soundcore Space Q45 – Best Value Noise-Canceling Headphones

The Anker Soundcore Space Q45 proves you don’t need to break the bank to get superior active noise-canceling headphones with exceptional sound quality. 

Space Q45 delivers the best adaptive noise canceling and ultra-long 50-hour playtime to last at least two days of continuous use, which is great for traveling!

Space Q45 Key Specs:

Soundcore by Anker Space Q45 - Peter Murage

Form Factor: Over-Ear

Wireless Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.3

Wired Connectivity: 3.5mm

Microphone: Yes, 2 mics with AI algorithm

Size & Weight: 292g

Battery Life: 60 Hours (50 Hours with ANC)

Color Options: Black, Blue, White

A simple Google search will tell you that the best noise-canceling headphones cost you about $250 to $500. Since headphones are just accessories, this price range seems like breaking the bank for most people.

Yet, most of us are looking for value-priced headphones with fairly good noise-canceling, sturdy build quality for comfort and durability, and great sound.

That’s where brands like Soundcore come in. They understand this niche of headphone users, and should you be one of them, the Anker Soundcore Space Q45 is your ideal fit. Its noise-canceling system reduces noise by up to 98%!

The Space Q45’s adaptive noise-canceling will automatically a suitable noise-canceling level to match your location. You can also use the Soundcore App to choose 1 of 5 noise-canceling levels. 

Space Q45 Pros:

  • Affordable and has a premium look and feel. 
  • Produces sound with intense bass and crisp treble
  • Does a fairly great job at ANC for a headphone of its price. 
  • 5 minutes of fast charges get you 4 hours of playtime. 
  • A harmonious design for an ergonomic fit. 

Space Q45 Cons:

  • The design could be more elegant. 

Other reviews like SoundGuys claim the sound quality is average, but user ratings and my experience with these headphones say the sound quality is good, if not great. 

I think most people who use the Space Q45 have never used premium headphones like Bose 700 and Sony XM5. So, the Space Q45 is the best-sounding headphones they have ever laid their hands on!

In that regard, if you are shopping for mid-range priced noise-canceling headphones, Space Q45 delivers exceptional sound and ANC compared to headphones of the same price.

4. Apple AirPods Max – Best Noise-Canceling Headphones for Apple Enthusiasts

The Apple AirPods Max is a masterpiece! As Apple says, it offers a perfect balance of exhilarating high-fidelity audio and the effortless magic of AirPods.

And like the Bose 700 and Sony XM5, the AirPods Max delivers industry-leading active noise cancelation for an unparalleled listening experience and clarity. 

Apple AirPods Max Key Specs:

Apple AirPods Max - Best Noise Cancelling Headphones

Form Factor: Over-Ear

Wireless Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.0

Wired Connectivity: Lightning (Shared with Charging Port)

Microphone: Yes, 3 Mics with Beamforming for Clear Calls

Size & Weight: 384.8g

Battery Life: Up to 20hrs of Playback (BT+ANC)

Color Options: Silver, Space Gray, Sky Blue, Pink, Green

The Apple AirPods Max has plenty of useful built-in features like support for Siri Personal Assistant that will benefit Apple device enthusiasts. 

It combines advanced audio technology and superior active noise-canceling that uses six outward-facing mics to measure distracting ambient sounds and then neutralizes them with anti-noise.

Apple has also included two additional inward-facing mics to measure what you hear during playback. It then uses adaptive EQ to adjust frequencies for a consistent experience. 

Apple AirPods Max Pros:

  • Exceptional active noise-canceling with crispy-clear sound.
  • Apple Lighting’s 5 minutes of quick charging gets you 1.5 hours of playback time. 
  • A premium build with replaceable earpads for a super comfortable fit. 
  • A realistic Transparency Mode lets sound back in at a touch of a button!
  • Ultra-soft memory foam earcups for a comfy feel. 
  • Built-in sensors for on-head detection to auto-play/pause your audio. 

Apple AirPods Max Cons:

  • While you can connect them to an Android device or PC, they won’t work as effectively as Apple devices. 

The Apple AirPods Max is built for comfort and durability. The canopy spanning the headband is made from breathable knit mesh to reduce pressure on the wearer’s head. 

The stainless steel frame is wrapped with an ultra-soft material for an impressive combination of comfort, flexibility, and strength for durability! 

The anodized aluminum earcups are designed to rotate independently for improved comfort and balanced pressure. And the telescoping arms smoothly extend and stay in place.

The package includes Apple’s Smart Case that conveniently stores the headphones for portability and puts them into an ultra-low-power state to preserve battery life.

5. Soundcore by Anker Life Q30 – Best Noise-Canceling Headphones Under $100

The Anker Soundcore Space Q45 may be value-priced noise-canceling headphones, but they are not the most affordable if you’re shopping with a budget of under $100. 

In that case, I recommend considering the Soundcore by Anker Life Q30. You won’t get exceptional ANC or world-class sound quality, but it does the job!

Life Q30 Key Specs:

Soundcore by Anker Life Q30  - Best Noise Canceling Headphones

Form Factor: Over-Ear

Wireless Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.0

Wired Connectivity: 3.5mm (3.5mm AUX cable included)

Microphone: Yes

Size & Weight: 265g

Battery Life: 60 Hours (40 Hours with ANC)

Color Options: Black, Midnight Blue, Sakura Pink

I’m a huge fan of the Soundcore brand! They usually design affordable audio devices that perfectly balance great build quality and excellent sound features!

Life Q30 doesn’t fall short! It features advanced hybrid noise cancelation with dual noise-detecting mics that pick up and filter out up to 95% of low-frequency ambient sound.

You can also customize the noise canceling with three built-in modes. Transport mode cancels airplane engine noise, while Outdoor mode minimizes traffic noise and wind.

There is also an Indoor mode that minimizes the sound of busy offices and homes with people talking and moving in the background. It’s handy if you work from home with your little ones or young siblings. 

Life Q30 Pros:

  • The sound quality is impressive if you play with EQ.
  • Impressive active noise-canceling with 3 modes. 
  • Soundcore companion app with EQ customizations. 
  • Ultra-soft leather earcups with memory foam padding for comfort.
  • 5 minutes of quick charging gets you 4 hours of playtime. 
  • Multipoint support for seamless pairing with two devices.  

Life Q30 Cons:

  • The build quality feels flimsy.
  • Looks bulky on the wearer’s head. 
  • The bass could be better!

If your budget is below $100, the Life Q30 should give you value for your money. It balances sound quality, active noise cancellation, and overall build quality and comfort.

The main drawback of the Life 30 is its bulky design that lacks aesthetic appeal. But it’s super lightweight and comfortable if you don’t care how it looks!

6. Silensys E7 – Best Noise-Canceling Headphones Under $50

The Silensys E7 features advanced ANC technology that significantly reduces distracting sounds like airplane engines in wired and wireless modes. 

Its bulky, roomy interior also does an impressive job when isolating background noise, even when nothing is playing, and the headphones are off. 

Silensys E7 Key Specs:

Silensys E7 Best Noise-Canceling Headphones Under $50

Form Factor: Over-Ear

Wireless Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.0

Wired Connectivity: 3.5mm (AUX Cable Included)

Microphone: Yes

Size & Weight: 281g

Battery Life: Up to 30 Hours  

Color Options: Black, Blue, Green, Purple, Red, White, Yellow, & Navy

The Silensys E7 has a 750mAh battery that delivers up to 30 hours of playtime. And it supports quick charging, where 10 minutes gets you an hour of playback time. 

It features Bluetooth 5.0 and a built-in microphone. They both deliver true wireless freedom with a stable connection and a hands-free experience for all your calls. 

The manufacturer designed it with custom 45mm powerful drivers that produce superior sound quality with crystal crisp clarity and a well-balanced deep bass.

The internal parts of the earcups are well padded with natural protein earpads for comfort, and the headband and earcups cushions offer a pillow-like softness.

Silensys E7 Pros:

  • ANC can be used wired or wirelessly. 
  • A polished design for a budget pair of headphones. 
  • Available in various color options to suit your preference and taste.
  • Super lightweight and comfy.  

Silensys E7 Cons:

  • The design looks bulky and lacks aesthetic appeal.
  • It looks cheap and feels flimsy to the touch. 

The Silensys E7 is the perfect ANC headphone to reduce background noise for under $50. It affords great sound quality with deep bass, and the built-in microphone is a plus!

But for an extra $10 bucks, I would rather get the Soundcore Anker Life Q20. The Life Q20 is a cheaper variation of the Life Q30. It reduced ambient noises by up to 90%!

7. Sennheiser Momentum 4 – Best Noise Cancelling Headphones with 60-Hour Battery Life

Most Headphones enthusiasts and audiophiles agree that the Sennheiser Momentum 4 delivers much more balanced and detailed sound quality than the Sony XM5 and Bose 700. 

But it doesn’t measure up in active noise-cancelation and isolation performance compared to these premium headphones and even the Apple AirPods Max. 

Sennheiser Momentum 4 Key Specs:

Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Noise-Canceling Wireless Over-Ear Headphones

Form Factor: Over-Ear

Wireless Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.2

Wired Connectivity: 3.5mm

Microphone: Yes

Size & Weight: 293g

Battery Life: Up to 60 Hours with ANC

Color Options: Black, White

Sony headphones, especially the WH-1000XM5, are usually exceptional at canceling noise below 100Hz, which is where a lot of rumbling and droning sounds come from. 

The Momentum 4 falls short at this! But it still does a good job at ANC and passive noise isolation, which is great at helping you enjoy premium music quality all day!

You also get the Sennheiser Smart Control App that allows you to personalize your audio experience to suit your preferences and taste. 

Battery life is the main area where Sennheiser beats Sony, Boss, and Apple. The Momentum 4 delivers up to 60 hours of battery life with ANC. 

Sennheiser Momentum 4 Pros:

  • Sennheiser Smart Control App with custom EQ. 
  • Super comfy earcups with a well-padded headband. 
  • 5 minutes of quick charging delivers 4 hours of playtime. 
  • The fabric stitching gives it a more premium look and feel. 
  • Auto turns on when you pick them up. 
  • Auto shuts off to preserve battery life if they go 15 minutes without use. 
  • Audio playback automatically pauses when you take them off. 

Sennheiser Momentum 4 Cons:

  • ANC is subpar compared to Sony XM5 and Boss 700. 

The Momentum 4 are the perfect active noise-canceling headphones for traveling audiophiles. They deliver impressive sound quality in a super comfy design!

The built-in microphone is loud and clear enough to afford crisp, clear-sounding audio during your phone calls and Zoom meetings for a hands-free audio experience.

8. Bang & Olufsen Beoplay HX – Comfortable Build Quality for Long-Haul Flights

The Beoplay HX is not your standard noise-canceling headphones. It’s well-engineered with powerful ANC and lightweight, comfortable build quality. 

Bang & Olufsen has done an exceptional job with the sound quality! The overall experience is exquisite. The bass is well-balanced, and the vocals and instruments are crispy-clear!

Beoplay HX Key Specs:

Bang & Olufsen Beoplay HX - Best Noise Canceling Headphones

Form Factor: Over-Ear

Wireless Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.1

Wired Connectivity: 3.5mm (1.25m 3.5mm AUX cable included)

Microphone: Yes, 4 Mics with Beamforming Support

Size & Weight: 285 g

Battery Life: Up to 40 Hours BT (35 Hours BT+ANC) 

Color Options: Timber, Black Anthracite, Sand, & Dark Maroo

Beoplay HX features top-of-the-line construction for durability and comfort. The material includes aluminum, fabric, lambskin, memory foam, plastic, and polymer.

The build quality affords it a premium look and feel. The earcups are round and very comfy for people with small to “normal” ear sizes. 

The connectivity is top-notch. It features Bluetooth 5.1 that pairs instantly with the last used device when powered on and works great with multi-device. 

Beoplay HX Pros:

  • An ergonomic pressure-relieving headband for comfort. 
  • Adjustable noise cancellation and highly sensitive microphones.
  • Seamless multipoint connection. 
  • Premium build quality with comfy earcups design. 
  • Super lightweight and comfortable even over extended use. 
  • Custom-made 40mm drivers with neodymium magnets for superior sound. 
  • The package includes a hard fabric carrying case.

Beoplay HX Cons:

  • Quite pricey, given the more affordable alternatives like the Sony XM5 and Bose 700 offer better active noise-canceling.
  • People with large ears might feel them touching the earcups, which can be irritating when used for a long duration. 

The Bang & Olufsen Beoplay HX sports a sleek, sturdy, timeless design! It’s well-designed for sound quality and affords fairly good active noise-canceling. 

But I would only recommend this pair of headphones to frequent flyers looking for a stylish and elegant design over premium ANC, like what you would get with Sony XM5.

9. Bowers & Wilkins Px8 – Premium Designed, Advanced ANC Headphones with Great Sound Quality

The Bowers & Wilkins Px8 combines industry-leading audio performance, advanced active noise canceling, and premium build quality.

Its overall design looks luxurious and modern! It’s made from a single, sturdy diecast aluminum arm structure, and the headband is finished in genuine Nappa leather.

Bowers & Wilkins Px8 Key Specs: 

Bowers & Wilkins Px8 - Noise Canceling Headphones

Form Factor: Over-Ear

Wireless Connectivity: Bluetooth 5.2

Wired Connectivity: 3.5mm (1.2m AUX Cable Included)

Microphone: Yes, 2 Voice Mics

Size & Weight: 320g

Battery Life: Up to 30 Hours (BT+ANC)

Color Options: Black, Tan

The Bowers & Wilkins Px8 features 40mm custom-angled Carbon Cone drive units that deliver industry-defining sound quality. 

They are precisely optimized for accuracy and clarity. And you can adjust the EQ and transparency mode for ANC via the Bowers & Wilkins Music App.

Px8 features a 4-microphone active noise cancellation system. But despite the advanced ANC, it still trails behind Sony XM4 and Boss 700.

Bowers & Wilkins Px8 Pros:

  • Well-cushioned earcups for comfort. 
  • A premium, luxury look and feel. 
  • 15 minutes of quick charging gets you 7 hours of playback time.
  • Customizable multi-function button. 
  • Wear detection for auto-pause and play.  
  • The package includes a sleek, slim case. 

Bowers & Wilkins Px8 Cons:

  • Pricey. 
  • The voice mics lack beamforming support. 
  • It lacks multi-point support. 

The Bowers & Wilkins Px8 comes in a premium luxurious design for a comfortable fit. Its lightweight aluminum arms and soft Nappa leather with soft ear cushions deliver optimum comfort. 

The overall audio experience is exceptional. And if your priority is sound quality and comfort over premium ANC, then I highly recommend you consider the Px8. But for the best ANC, get the Sony XM5.

10. QuietOn 3.1 Sleep Earbuds – Best Noise-Canceling Headphones for Sleeping

I put the QuietOn 3.1 Sleep Earbuds at the end of the list for two reasons. One, they are not over-ear headphones; two, they are specifically designed for sleeping. 

These sleeping earbuds are designed with premium quality active noise-canceling technology that helps you enjoy a quiet and peaceful slumber!

QuietOn 3.1 Key Specs:

QuietOn 3.1 Sleep Earbuds - Best Noise Canceling Headphones

Form Factor: In-Ear

Wireless Connectivity: N/A

Wired Connectivity: N/A

Microphone: N/A

Size & Weight: N/A

Battery Life: Up to 28 Hours

Color Options: White

The world is advancing with smart technology; noise is coming from all directions, from our appliances to tech gadgets to transport mechanisms. And if you want to get high-quality sleep, you will want to invest in premium ANC earbuds. 

In the words of QuietOn, the QuietOn 3.1 sleep earbuds let you enjoy quietude. You don’t need to put on music; you don’t need Bluetooth connectivity or even masking sounds. So, there is absolutely no EMF radiation. 

If you’re looking for the perfect noise-canceling headphones for sleeping, I highly recommend you get them. I understand they are a little on the steep end of the budget, but they are worth every penny!

QuietOn 3.1 Pros:

  • Ultra-compact and super comfortable design that works well even for side sleepers. 
  • The package includes 4 sizes of comfortable and soft foam ear tips.
  • They use advanced ANC to block low-frequency noise. 
  • Up to 28 hours of battery life on a single charge. 
  • The included case delivers another two nights of battery charge. 

QuietOn 3.1 Cons:

  • They can’t be used as regular headphones. 

The QuietOn 3.1 Sleep Earbuds completely eliminate the sound of cars passing by, washing machines, and a side-by snorer for a quiet and peaceful sleep. 

But it doesn’t block high-frequency noises like alarm clocks. They are designed for sleeping, just like earplugs, so there is no Bluetooth connectivity or EMF radiation.

How to Choose the Best Noise-Canceling Headphones in 2023

Most headphone manufacturers are now designing average-quality wireless over-ear headphones and slapping them with the tag “noise-canceling.” 

Some headphone designers are getting it with the noise-canceling aspect but fail to include good sound quality and comfort feature sets.

Others are designing some of the best noise-canceling headphones with great sound quality but poor build design, which is usually a cost-cutting mechanism!

Simply put, the best noise-canceling headphones should ace it at the following five core features: 

1. Noise-Canceling

The noise-canceling feature sets are at the top of the core features of excellent wireless noise-canceling headphones. There are two types of noise-canceling headphones

  1. Active noise-canceling (ANC) and; 
  2. Passive noise isolation. 

Active noise-canceling headphones use microprocessors and tiny speakers (drivers) to generate sound waves that are “opposite” of the incoming sound

Such that when the opposite sound waves meet the incoming sound waves, they cancel each other out. Hence the name active noise-canceling!

It differs from passive noise isolation, which relies on well-designed headphone ear cups that seal out unwanted noise.

Passive noise-isolating headphones are usually more affordable than active noise-canceling due to their simple design that doesn’t include the ANC circuitry. 

Yet, passive noise-isolating headphones offer better sound quality since they don’t dramatically change the sound output, unlike the active ones. 

The noise-canceling headphones of your choice should have both active noise-canceling built-in and passive noise-isolation features. 

2. Sound-Quality

The primary essence of the headphones is sound output! As such, you want the best-in-class sound quality in your ideal noise-canceling headphones. 

Sound quality is usually a matter of personal taste and preferences. Audiophiles want headphones that reproduce natural sound without distortions or coloration.

But the average work-from-home professional or digital nomad wants headphones with just clear-enough, accurate, and enjoyable sound quality.

Most people prefer headphones with deep, strong bass emphasis. As such, I recommend getting a pair of headphones with an audio quality that matches your needs!

3. Comfortable Fit

An uncomfortable ear cup design on excellent noise-canceling headphones with great sound quality is a huge deal breaker. 

You want to pick comfy, well-fitting headphones with soft padding that won’t irritate your ears after extended use

You’ll never be happy wearing headphones that don’t fit comfortably, even if they offer world-leading noise isolation!

So long as you’re not using them at high volume, which risks damaging your ears, you can wear such secure, comfy-fitting headphones all day!

I usually wear my noise-canceling headphones for at least 6 hours daily but not in one sitting. It’s often in 1 to 3 hours time blocks with regular breaks. 

4. Build Quality

All-plastic headphones are lightweight and cheaper but flimsy and usually easily break from a simple accidental fall. 

You want to pick a pair of headphones with the best build quality for durability. Great headphones are expensive, so they should come with great construction!

At the minimum, the internal part of the headband should be metallic; they normally bend or break easily compared to other headphone parts

The best headphone manufacturers use aluminum to construct the headband and ear cups’ internal parts, making them sturdy but lightweight!

The outer parts of the ear cups and headband should feature soft cushioning for a comfortable fit, even after extended use, say on a long-haul flight!

Any moving parts should be designed with strong and durable material. And the plastic parts shouldn’t feel cheap and flimsy. 

The top-of-the-line headphones feature leather, metal, and carbon fiber material but are also pricer than all-plastic-made headphones!

5. Battery Life

Active noise-canceling headphones require battery power to power the microprocessors and tiny speakers that cancel the background noise. 

So, when the ANC is on, your headphones will use more power than when turned off. You want at least 20 hours of battery life when using ANC and Bluetooth.

Great noise-canceling headphones will get you about 30 hours of battery life when using active noise-canceling and Bluetooth, which is impressive!

Some headphones afford as much as 60 hours of battery life with the ANC turned on, but usually, they trade off other features like sound quality!

Once you have carefully considered these five core features of the best noise-canceling headphones, you can then consider the following secondary features:

6. Connectivity

All the best noise-canceling headphones in the world come with Bluetooth connectivity and a 3.5mm headphone jack as a standard. 

So, you will want to check and comfort your ideal pick that offers these. It’s also good to ensure you’re getting at least Bluetooth 5.0 technology!

The best premium headphones also offer multipoint connectivity support, useful for pairing two devices simultaneously. 

7. Microphone

Like Bluetooth connectivity, your ideal noise-canceling headphones should also have a built-in microphone for a hands-free call experience. 

The premium category of these headphones should have beamforming microphones support which offers exceptionally clear calls. 

8. Weight & Size

Usually, most noise-canceling headphones will fall within the 250g to 300g weight range. But some weigh as much as 385g, like Apple’s AirPods Max. 

That weight range allows them to house all the important feature sets properly and remain lightweight enough to stay on your head for a long time. 

Apart from weight, I highly recommend you consider the earcups’ bulkiness. Some come in sleek, slim designs, which is a huge plus!

9. Portability

The manufacturer should include a carrying case in the package for effortless portability as a standard. But some headphones are foldable to fit in your backpack easily. 

10. Of Course, Budget

In general, the best noise-canceling headphones come at a higher price tag. But this isn’t always true with all headphones, for example, the Bowers & Wilkins Px8.

It’s good you consider your budget and take time to analyze various headphones within that price range before settling on your ideal fit!

Final Verdict: Get the Sony XM5!

The Sony XM5 delivers industry-leading noise-canceling, top-notch audio performance, and excellent comfort to suit wearing for hours without hurting your ears. 

At 249g, they are super lightweight and extremely comfortable. You can wear them all day and lose yourself in your own world as you ace your workflows.

In the package, you get a pair of headphones, a USB charging cable, a 3.5mm audio jack cable, and a premium carrying case.

About Peter Murage

Hello, I’m Peter! A freelance technical content writer for tech blogs & SaaS startups. I'm also passionate about writing content related to tech gadgets and small kitchen appliances especially blenders and coffee makers!

Leave a Comment