While the active noise canceling (ANC) headphones have been available for a long time, the technology has advanced significantly in the last few years and has become much more ubiquitous. ANC headphones can help you concentrate in a loud office or block out engine noise on aircraft, trains, and buses. Not every ANC performs the same, and there are now numerous alternatives in every price range, making it difficult to determine which ones are worthwhile. Let’s go through some of the Best Noise Cancelling Headphones.
Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless
The Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless is the greatest ANC headphones we’ve evaluated. While they are the previous iteration of the Sony WH-1000XM5 Wireless, these premium over-ears outperform their noise isolation counterparts. Its ANC system is excellent at masking the low rumble of bus engines, office chit-chat, and the buzz of computer fans. You may even utilize their ANC when connected via a wired connection, and with their, ANC turned on, they last for more than 37 hours continually. They have an auto-off timer to conserve battery life when not in use and support multi-device pairing, which means you may connect to two devices simultaneously.
The default sound profile of these over-ears is bass-heavy, delivering massive thump, rumble, and boom to mixes. If the bass overpowers the singers and lead instruments, their companion app allows you to customize it with a graphic EQ and presets. If you’re searching for ANC headphones with a more neutral default sound, consider the Bose QuietComfort 45/QC45 Wireless. While they still have a little additional bass, it’s not as exaggerated and bloated as the Sony. They’re also more comfortable because of their lightweight fit, which doesn’t clamp as firmly around your skull. Their ANC, on the other hand, does not block nearly as much background noise across the spectrum.
Sony WH-H910N/h.ear on 3 Wireless
The Sony WH-H910N/h.ear on 3 Wireless is the best upper mid-range noise canceling headphones we’ve studied. Although they don’t have the same luxury feel as the Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless, they do have an ANC technology that does an excellent job of blocking out background noise. It can help minimize ambient chatter and high-pitched noise, such as the hum of a computer fan, but it isn’t as effective at reducing low-frequency sounds, such as plane engines. As a result, their ANC performance is more suited for environments such as crowded offices rather than buses and planes. Yet, you may use their ANC while wired, and their 40-hour continuous playback time allows you to go through long days without stopping to recharge them.
Their bassy sound packs a punch and has enough thump and rumble to satisfy fans of electronica and hip-hop. If you wish to tweak their sound, their companion app includes a graphic EQ and presets. They have a good fit and are a good choice for long listening sessions. However, they just come with a double-lined carrying pouch, which will not prevent them from impact damage if you drop them.
Anker Soundcore Space Q45 Wireless
If you want more economical over-ears without sacrificing ANC performance, the Anker Soundcore Space Q45 Wireless is a good option. These over-ears, unlike the Sony WH-H910N/h.ear on 3 Wireless, offer an adaptive ANC technology that senses your environment and automatically modifies its effectiveness. This feature is excellent at blocking out noise across the spectrum, allowing you to enjoy bustling commutes and cafes in peace. If you want to adjust the amount of ambient noise you hear and use the ANC while connected via analog, you can switch to manual ANC via the companion app, which has five preset settings.
These comfy headphones provide a v-shaped sound profile right out of the box. It’s a good pick if you listen to a lot of rock and pop music because it has more thump and boom and crisp cymbals. You may customize their sound with their companion app’s visual EQ and presets to fit your tastes. They have a continuous battery life of over 27 hours and offer multi-device pairing, which means you may connect to your PC and smartphone at the same time.
Anker Soundcore Life Q30 Wireless
It isn’t easy to find affordable headphones that don’t fully sacrifice build quality or performance for the price. If you’re not worried by these limitations, the Anker Soundcore Life Q30 Wireless is a good alternative. Although they aren’t as robust as the Anker Soundcore Space Q45 Wireless, and some customers have complained that their unit’s headband or hinges fracture with regular use, their adjustable ANC technology provides a comparable noise isolation experience. They can readily reduce commuter noise, such as motor rumble, as well as ambient talk. Unfortunately, Anker disabled the option to use the ANC when connected in later product batches, so if you buy these, you will almost certainly receive a pair of headphones that do not support this feature. It’s a significant disadvantage if you want to use them for in-flight entertainment, but it’s less of a problem if you use them wirelessly in your daily life.
With the ANC turned on, these comfortable over-ears have over 44 hours of continuous battery life, which is ideal for long days on the go. They also allow multi-device pairing, which means you can link with two devices simultaneously. They offer an exciting sound straight out of the box, and they deliver tremendous thump, punch, and warmth to your mixes while keeping vocalists and instruments sharp. You may customize their sound with the graphic EQ and presets in their companion app.
Anker Soundcore Life Q20 Wireless
Check out the Anker Soundcore Life Q20 Wireless if you’re on a low budget. You read that correctly: we have three Anker selections in a row. This company dominates the low-to-mid-range over-ear market, particularly for ANC. They are no exception since they provide good overall noise isolation. Although they aren’t as powerful as their forefathers in combating the rumbling of bus and plane engines, they do a better job suppressing office chit-chat and the hum of AC fans. They, too, lack ANC settings, but they do support ANC when wired, which is useful if you want to view in-flight entertainment.
The v-shaped sound profile of these headphones offers strong bass to the audio, while vocals and lead instruments are bright and dazzling. Its added boom and punch muddy the rest of your mix. They lack sound customization capabilities to assist you in tailoring them to your preferences, unlike the Anker Soundcore Life Q30 Wireless. While they have a nice fit and can endure for more than 32 hours continuously, their low pricing reflects their build quality. Their hollow plasticky hinges are the weakest link in their frame.
Apple AirPods Max Wireless
Check out the Apple AirPods Max Wireless if you want a premium experience or are an iOS user hoping to benefit from the Apple ecosystem. These over-ears offer a sturdy aluminum body and comfortable replaceable ear cup padding. They also come in various colours, allowing you to pick a look that complements your personality. However, some customers have noticed condensation collecting on the drivers, which can occur even if you wear them at work. Its design is also weighty, but they are well-padded and comfy. If you wish to use them wired, you’ll need to buy lightning to analog cable separately because it’s not included. On the plus side, you can still use ANC when wired if you use this type of cable rather than lightning to the analog adapter with an analog cable.
These over-ears feature excellent noise isolation. While they don’t outperform our top option, their active noise cancellation may successfully block out a wide spectrum of sounds. They generate a lot of ear pressure when the ANC is turned on, so keep that in mind if you’re sensitive to this sensation. They have a pretty neutral sound thanks to their adaptive EQ feature, which allows the headphones to modify their sound based on the fit and seal of the headphones on your head. If you have an iOS device, you can also use the EQ presets in the settings to tune the sound and access Spatial Audio, which allows sound to follow your head motions.