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Whether you wear noise canceling headphones to quiet chatter at the office or a screaming baby on a plane, we need them to do their job. Even though most headphones and earbuds can help drown out din, headsets with active noise canceling have built-in microphones that help them almost completely block outside racket. Because of that, they typically carry a higher price tag than similar headphones that don't feature the tech.
This roundup contains wired and wireless noise-canceling headphones of all sizes and price points. Find a pair that fits your lifestyle best, and enjoy your favorite tunes with less ambient noise.
The WH-1000XM3 headphones by Sony are the best noise-canceling option available today. A year after coming close to perfection with the previous generation, Sony has finally surpassed its rivals from Bose and Bowers & Wilkins, thanks to significantly better sound and battery life, as well as a superior noise-canceling experience.
Crucially, the third iteration of the Sony WH1000X series offers vastly improved comfort. Unlike their predecessors, which tended to cause fatigue during long listening stints, the WH1000XM3 headphones did not cause any discomfort during our testing.
With up to 30 hours of battery life, the Sony WH1000XM3 is the longest lasting option on this list. We love the headset's fast charging capability over a USB-C connector — you can get 5 hours of playback after only 10 minutes.
Editors from The Verge, Engadget, and Digital Trends have commended the Sony WH1000XM3 wireless headphones for their audio quality, noise-canceling tech, and top-notch battery life. There is an overall consensus that Sony's latest cans are better than the highly regarded Bose QC35 in this product category.
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Best Budget Buy
The Soundcore Space NC wireless noise-canceling headphones by Anker are the best budget-friendly pick available today. Priced below $100, they have an elegant design, excellent ergonomics, and up to a rather impressive 20 hours of battery life in wireless mode. In wired mode, you can get up to 50 hours of tunes with noise canceling on.
When it comes to sound, the Soundcore Space NC wireless headphones are entertaining, though they lack the detail of the product category's finest offerings. For such a great deal though, they're still worth your attention. The headset comes with a neat carrying case and an 18-month warranty.
Review editors from Gear Patrol and The Next Web noted that the Soundcore Space NC headphones offer a good set of features and solid performance at an attractive price point. Both editors observed that the headset's touch-sensitive controls are not perfect.
Best Noise-Canceling Earbuds
The impeccably styled Libratone Track+ are the best noise-canceling wireless earbuds available today. They have adjustable noise canceling and excellent audio quality. Plus, thanks to their soft rubber neckband, the Track+ earbuds are perfect for everyday use.
The sound of the Track+ wireless earbuds is enjoyable and good for most types of audio content. Libratone claims that the Track+ earbuds (which come in black or white) can last up to 8 hours between charges.
Reviewers from Digital Trends and Tom's Guide liked the design of the Libratone Track+, their enjoyable sound, and the vast amount of available features they offer. They also noted the lack of a bundled carrying case and the use of an older microUSB port for charging.
Best for Comfort and Ergonomics
With lightweight design and exceptional comfort, the second generation of the Bose QuietComfort 35 is the best option for using over extended periods of time, including long flights and lengthy work sessions. In this instance, the QC35 headphones have a minuscule lead over our favorite WH-1000XM3, thanks to their lighter build (they weigh about an ounce less) and better volume and playback controls.
The foldable headphones also offer long battery life (up to 20 hours) and a finely tuned sound signature. You can order them in black, silver, or blue.
Best Option With an Apple Lightning Connector
The Pioneer Rayz Plus Lightning earbuds have adaptive noise canceling and a Lightning input that allows you to charge your iPhone while you're using them. A dedicated app will let you calibrate the headset to your hearing and customize its controls.
Lightweight and stylish, the Rayz Plus also deliver great audio quality. There are two cool colors to choose from — bronze and graphite
Best Option With a USB-C Connector
The Libratone Q Adapt noise-canceling earbuds are the best option with a USB-C connector. They offer great design, impressive build quality, and a well-tuned audio signature.
Users can adjust the noise-canceling level of the headset via a dedicated button on the remote control. Libratone offers the Q Adapt earbuds in black or white. Note that despite their price tag, the earphones don't come bundled with a carrying case.
Best Design and Tactility
The Bowers & Wilkins PX wireless headphones have gorgeous design and craftsmanship, headlined by a mixture of metal with leather and ballistic nylon accents. Their audio quality is a contender for best in class, though it's worth noting that the noise canceling experience is not on par with the competition.
The PX headphones will automatically pause content when you take them off. They can last up to a robust 20 hours between charges, and they utilize USB-C for charging. There are two colors to pick from — gray and blue with soft gold accents.
Best for a Built-In Tile Tracker
The coolest bit about the Skullcandy Venue wireless headphones is their built-in Tile Bluetooth tracker. It ensures that you will easily find the headphones in case you accidentally misplace them.
As expected from a Skullcandy product, the Venue has a sound signature with a pronounced low range. The noise canceling feature works well, too.
Comfy fit and up to 24 hours of battery life round up the Venue's noteworthy highlights. We like that the headphones have a fast charging feature, which gives you 5 hours of tunes after 10 minutes.
Best Budget Wired Pick
Sony's MDR-ZX110NC wired on-ear headphones will help you tune out your surroundings on the cheap. Their audio quality is a bit bass-heavy, but we don't find this to be a deal-breaker at this price point.
The headset's noise canceling requires one AAA battery, which can last up to 80 hours, so you don't have to worry about replacement for days.
Best for Hi-Res Audio Support
The Sony WI-1000X wireless noise-canceling earbuds combine understated looks, comfy fit, and superb sound quality. The headset even supports Hi-Res Audio content for audiophile-grade experience.
Other key features of the headset include a customizable audio experience via a dedicated app, and up to 10 hours of battery life with noise canceling switched on. You can order the Sony WI-1000X in black or gold.