Best Noise Cancelling Headphones

Want to enjoy the sweet sound of silence when you are working or when you are focusing on a task? Do you want to have headphones which actually let you listen to your music, canceling out any exterior noise that might bother you? Then you need to purchase a pair of noise cancelling headphones that will allow you to either listen only to the music you want to listen to or help you get the peace and quiet you are looking for. In the following, we will rank and compare the best headphones that cancel external noise on the market, so check the rest of the article out if you are interested in this subject.

Top 5 Noise Cancelling Headphones Comparison

1. Sennheiser HD1 Wireless 2. Bose QuietComfort 35 3. Sennheiser PXC 550 4. Sony MDR1000X 5. Bose QuietComfort 25
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Product Specifications

Brand Sennheiser Bose Sennheiser Sony Bose
Dimensions (H x W x D) 9.9″ x 7.5″ x 4″ 7.1″ x 6.7″ x 3.2″ 7.9″ x 5.9″ x 3.1″ 9.5″ x 6.3″ x 4.5″ 7.5″ x 6″ x 0.9″
Weight 7.4-Ounce 8.3-Ounce 8-Ounce 9.7-Ounce 6.9-Ounce
Cable Length 55.1″ 47.2″, 12″ 49.2″ 59″ 56″
Ear Coupling Circumaural Over-Ear Circumaural Circumaural Circumaural
Materials Leather, Stainless Steel Glass-Filled Nylon, Corrosion-Resistant Stainless Steel, Alcantara Stainless Steel, Padding Soft Synthetic Leather Canvas-Like Cloth, Padding, Corrosion-Resistant Stainless Steel
Battery Rechargeable Lithium-Ion Rechargeable Lithium-Ion Rechargeable Lithium-Ion Rechargeable Lithium-Ion AAA Battery
Color Black, Ivory Black, Silver, Midnight Blue Black Black, Beige Black, White, Triple Black


Passive Impedance 28 Ω 32 Ω 46 Ω 46 Ω 32 Ω
Active Impedance 480 Ω 600 Ω 490 Ω N/A 600 Ω
Transducer Dynamic, Closed Dynamic, Closed Dynamic, Closed Dynamic, Closed Dynamic, Closed
Headphones Frequency Response 16 Hz – 22000 Hz N/A 17 Hz – 23000 Hz 4 Hz – 40000 Hz 10 Hz – 800 Hz
Sensitivity -44dB V/Pa (1kHz) 113 dB 110 dB 103 dB N/A
Total Harmonic Distortion <0.5% <0.5% <0.5% <0.5% <0.5%
Bluetooth 4.0+EDR 4.1 4.1 4.1
Supported Profiles A2DP, AVRCP, HSP, HFP A2DP HPS, HFP, A2DP, DIP A2DP N/A
Attenuation Up to 25dB Up to 25dB Up to 22dB Up to 21dB Up to 25dB
Charging Time ≃3 Hours 2.25 Hours 3 Hours ≃4 Hours
Operating Time 22 Hours 20 Hours 30 Hours 22 Hours 35 Hours
Codecs apt-X apt-X apt-X, SBC, AAC, LDAC
Smartphone Compatibility All Bluetooth Enabled Smartphone Devices All Bluetooth Enabled Smartphone Devices All Bluetooth Enabled Smartphone Devices All Bluetooth Enabled Smartphone Devices Apple Devices, Samsung and Android Devices
Highest Decibel Cancellation 81.85dB 80.55dB N/A N/A 78.6dB


Noise Cancelling Technology NoiseGard Hybrid with 4 Pick-Up Microphones Active NoiseGard Hybrid Adaptive Technology Active Active
Passive Play Option
Comfort Cushioning Memory Foam Synthetic Protein Leather, Silicone Bead Memory Foam Urethane Foam Synthetic Protein Leather
Adjustable Headband
Volume Controls Earcup Control On-Ear Earcup Control Earpad Control In-Line
NFC Connectivity
Microphone Dual Omni-Directional Noise Rejecting Dual System Triple Microphone Array Integrated Built-In
Other Features VoiceMax Technology Volume-Optimized EQ Rotating Earcups Dual Noise Sensor Technology Rotating Earcups
Multi-Device Compatibiliy Voice Prompts Fold-Flat Collapsible Frame Sense Engine Technology Bose Active EQ
Foldable Headband Dual-Microphone System CapTune Compatibility Swivel Folding TriPort Technology
Voice Prompts Multi-Point Technology Voice Prompts LCP Diaphragm LED Lights
3-Way Calling Automatic Shut-Off Selective Sound Modes Foldable
Built-In Limiter
Talk Through
Accessories USB Charging Cable USB Charging Cable Cable with Remote Carry Case Microphone Cable
Carrying Case Airline Adapter Carry Case Inflight Adapter Airline Adapter
Inflight Adapter Carrying Case USB Cable Headphone Cable Carrying Case
Audio Cable Audio Cable for Wired Connection IFE Adapters USB Cable AAA Battery


Product Warranty 2 Years 1 Year 2 Years 1 Year 1 Year
Customer Support
User Manual

Top Rated 2018 Noise Cancelling Headphones Reviews

1. Sennheiser HD1 Wireless

Customer’s expectancies are high when they invest in a pair of headphones that are supposed to cancel out external noise, so it is mandatory for the best product on this market to bring innovative features and to boast an unparalleled performance, effectively muting out surrounding sounds. The HD1 Wireless model produced by Sennheiser, one of the best manufacturers of these headphones, is by far the best option on the market at the moment.

What pops out when you first look at the headphones is their modern, impeccable design, of course. But it is not the way the headphones look that makes them a desirable investment but rather the capabilities. The highest decibel cancellation these headphones boast is 81.85 decibels, so you surely will not be bothered by the ongoing traffic or by the people who are talking around you when you are on the bus, on the plane, or walking down the street as you will not hear a thing.

The rechargeable lithium-ion battery the product features take only approximately 3 hours to fully charge. Also, it delivers a stunning 22 hours of continuous operation. The noise canceling technology the headphones use and make them so highly effective is the marvelous NoiseGard Hybrid with four pickup microphones that is proprietary to the Sennheiser brand. One of the biggest highlights of the product, a feature that you will surely use to the fullest is the VoiceMax technology which ensures perfect speech intelligibility due to the dual built-in microphones that are capable of dynamically canceling out external noise.

For convenience in use and to make it easier for you to take the headphones with you on your next trip or wherever you have business going, they boast a foldable headband design. Additionally, the memory foam comfort cushioning will make it a real delight to wear them as your ears will be covered by a plush surface.

2. Bose QuietComfort 35

Bose is another brand which is highly recognizable as it delivers the highest quality products on the noise cancelling headphones market. Their best product to date is the innovative QuietComfort 35 which perfectly combines style with an unsurpassable performance. If you do end up making this investment, you surely will not regret it as you will actually get to listen to your favorite music in peace no matter where you are, what you are doing, and what is surrounding you at that moment.

Being capable of blocking external noise as loud as 80.55 decibels, you will become addicted to using the headphones fast as they will literally emerge you into the world of the song you are listening to. The active noise canceling technology the product uses ensures a superior performance when it comes to blocking external, disruptive noise. The on-ear volume controls allow for a convenient and intuitive operation of the headphones.

Without a doubt, the biggest highlight of the product feature-wise is the Multi-Point technology it boasts and that allows a simultaneous connectivity to two devices. The comfort cushioning the headphones come with is made of synthetic protein leather and silicone beads so that you feel truly relaxed when listening to your favorite tracks. The noise-rejecting dual system of the microphones ensures that whenever you are taking a call, the person on the other line will hear you perfectly.

The volume optimized equalizer it features ensures a smooth, rich sound when using the headphones. Another aspect that is worth mentioning as it is highly important is the fact that it takes a little over two hours for the rechargeable lithium-ion battery to fully charge. Also, when it is fully charged, it provides up to 20 hours of continuous operation until the battery’s power is depleted.

3. Sennheiser PXC 550

Sennheiser makes yet another appearance on our top, this time with the PXC 550 model. But considering the innovative technologies the company uses in the manufacturing process of the headphones which it delivers, this is not a surprise. The PXC 550 stands out from its competitors through its stylish and modern design makes it perfect for all people, regardless of their occupation, age, gender, and any other criteria.

Not only does it boast a truly amazing design, but it amazes with the out of this world capability to block out external noise as well. While we cannot give you a precise maximum number of decibels the headphones can block out, what we can say for sure is that it exceeds 80 decibels. Thus, you will actually enjoy quiet when wearing them or you will be able to calmly listen to your favorite music without being bothered by any external noise.

It features the 4.1 Bluetooth technology which enables it to connect to all smart mobile devices that are Bluetooth enabled. Therefore, you will be able to take phone calls without taking the headphones off in order to clearly hear the person who is on the other end of the line. Also, you will be able to play music from your phone due to this feature.

It takes only 3 hours for the lithium-ion battery of the headphones to fully charge, and once it is recharged, it provides an amazing 30 hours of continuous operation until the battery is completely depleted of power. The NoiseGard Hybrid Adaptive technology is what gives these headphones the capability of effectively blocking out any noises which might disturb your experience. In addition, the memory foam cushioning ensures comfort and relaxation as your ears will be surrounded by a plush texture.

4. Sony MDR100X

There no person out there who has not heard about Sony, one of the best manufacturers of electronics worldwide. Thus, there is no surprise to the fact that this brand makes an appearance on our top as well as it is predictable for it to keep up with this ever-evolving market. The model that makes Sony appear on our top is the MDR1000X. When you first look at these headphones, you will fall in love with their modern design and the clean lines they boast.

The soft synthetic leather used in their manufacturing ensures a luxurious feel when you will wear the headphones, while the urethane foam used as ear cushioning delivers a plush texture. Due to the fact that the volume controls are situated on the ear pads, you will have an easy time setting the volume higher or lower whenever you want to. The headphones feature and LCP aluminum-coated diaphragm which helps minimize distortion for your experience when listening to music to be as pleasant as possible.

Considering the fact that it takes only approximately 4 hours for the lithium-ion battery to fully charge, after which it delivers up to 22 hours of continuous use, you will not lose time too often recharging the battery. The swivel folding design the headphones boast makes them convenient for travel as you will be able to take them with you wherever you go, not occupying a lot of space in your bag, purse, or luggage.

The Dual Noise Sensor technology is able to effectively detect and offset ambient sounds due to the internal and external microphones that are featured. In addition, Sony backs the product during the first year after you purchase it, so you are further ensured of the headphone’s quality and durability due to this amazing lengthy warranty.

5. Bose QuietComfort 25

Last we have the QuietComfort 25 headphones produced by Bose, a product which we strongly recommend as it not only comes at a rather affordable price but because it is capable of perfectly canceling out external noise as well. With these headphones on, you will be able to sleep throughout the entire duration of your flight as you will not hear a single noise no matter how agitated people are. Also, when you will listen to music, you will actually hear the band or the artist singing instead of hearing the person sitting next to you talking on the phone.

The canvas-like cloth and the padding used in the manufacturing process make the headphones feel soft and plush, which is highly desirable considering the fact that you will most probably wear them on a daily basis. Of course, the synthetic protein leather used for the ear cushioning ensures complete comfort when wearing them. The rotating design of the ear cups makes it easy for you to find the perfect positioning when placing the headphones on your head.

Due to the fact that the headphones are foldable, they will fit perfectly even in your smallest purse and it will be easy for you to take them with you on your next travel. Unfortunately, there is a downside to this product, more precisely the fact that the battery used to power them is not rechargeable. It uses a single AAA battery which can last for up to 35 hours of continuous use, after which it must be replaced.

But considering the fact that few people spend more than 2-3 hours per day with the headphones on, this will not be a big inconvenience. On the bright side, the product is covered by a generous 1-year warranty for defects in parts and labor, so you will not have to pay a dime if anything happens to them during this period of time.

How We Rated the Headphones

Putting together a top of the best noise cancelling headphones on the market was not an easy task at all as there are many contenders which were very close to making it on our top. Nonetheless, we took our time and did the proper research so that regardless of the model you do buy if you purchase one of the headphones featured in our top, your expectations will be surpassed rather than being met. To better understand why we chose these specific products and why we ranked them the way we did, read the following lines to understand our rating system.

  • Battery Type, Charge Time, and Operating Time

  • One of the most important elements we took into consideration when rating the headphones is the battery. We paid attention to the type of battery the headphones use, the charge time in case it was a rechargeable model, and the operating time offered by it. Of course, the models which scored highest were the ones that used rechargeable batteries as these headphones not only save you money in the long run because you will not have to purchase new batteries every 1-2 weeks but because they are a lot more convenient to use. When it came to this rating element, the model that received the most points was the Sennheiser PXC 550 which uses a rechargeable lithium-ion battery that takes only 3 hours to fully recharge and offers an amazing 30 hours of continuous operation until the battery’s power is depleted.

  • Highest Decibel Cancellation

  • The highest decibel cancellation point shows exactly how loud are the noises that the headphones can block. The bigger the better when it came to this number, obviously, and as you can see if you look at the comparison table at the beginning of the article, the headphones that scored highest are the Sennheiser PXC 550 which can cancel noise as loud as 81.85 decibels. With these headphones on, you will sleep like a baby when the plane takes off because you will not hear the engines at all.

  • Technology Used to Cancel Out the Noise

  • The technology that the headphones use to cancel out the noise is what shows the effectiveness of the devices. As we have previously discussed, it is important for the headphones to feature the active noise control technology as it is the best from this point of view, completely blocking out ambient sounds. All of the models in our top use a variation of the active noise control technology, so there is no need to worry about the quality of their performance as it is basically unsurpassable.

  • Passive Play Option

  • The passive play option played an important role when choosing the right headphones that can cancel out external noise as this feature allows the user to listen to music without the noise cancellation feature or Bluetooth. Considering how the noise cancellation capability of these headphones makes the battery slowly run out of power, it is important to have the option of listening to music without it as the battery will eventually be depleted, a moment when you would probably rather still listen to music even if it means the ambient noise will be present to interfere with the experience. Another reason why this feature is important is because it allows you to switch it on when you are walking on the street, keeping safe by hearing if a car is approaching you or you are in any other type of danger.

  • Multiple Device Connectivity

  • For versatility and convenient in use, the headphones should connect to two or more devices at once. We took this aspect into consideration when rating them, and as you can see, the Sennheiser HD1 Wireless and the Bose QuietComfort 35, the two best-positioned models in our top come with this capability. Even better, the HD1 Wireless model can connect up to 8 devices in the pairing list at once, so it is undeniable that this is the best option to go with when it comes to versatility in use.

  • Foldable

  • While it is not crucial for the headphones to be foldable, it is still a feature which comes in handy as it allows an easier and neater storage of the devices when you are done using them. As you can see, all of the models featured in our top can be folded, so storing them will be easy and not a lot of space will be occupied by them where you do decide to place them. Therefore, the headphones will be a perfect fit even if you will place them in a small and crowded purse or among your clothes in the luggage you carry with you at the airport.

  • Accessories

  • Some accessories are quite necessary when making the investment as they offer a bigger convenience in use. All of the models featured in our top come with their own set of accessories, the common ones being the carry case that allows a neat place to store the headphones when you are traveling or when they are not in use, the USB charging cable which allows you to recharge the battery from the computer, and the in-flight adapter.

How Headphones that Cancel Noise Work

Loud noises are the enemy of anyone who wants to enjoy the peace and quiet or to peacefully enjoy music, without being bothered by the people around or the ongoing traffic. Luckily for all of us, there is a device that can help us enjoy the perfect experience when listening to music or when we just want to sleep without being bothered by any ambient noise, this device coming in the form of noise cancelling headphones.

These amazing headphones do exactly what they promise, more precisely block out all external noise. But how exactly do they work? Unlike noise isolating headphones that do not provide complete quiet, noise canceling ones use the amazing active noise control technology to ensure not even 20 decibels of external noise will disturb you. The active noise control technology was developed by the founder of Bose, Amar Bose, who was annoyed by the loud noise produced by the jet engines of a flight he was on.

Instead of preventing outside sound from reaching your ear, what the active noise control technology does is to cancel out the ambient noise completely using destructive interference. This amazing process involves placing a microphone close to the position where the sound will be entering the ear, picking up on the frequencies of the noise, and generating a frequency 180 degrees out of phase with this unwanted noise. This anti-noise output perfectly cancels the input, the headphones being capable of canceling noise by up to 80 decibels or even more depending on the quality of the product you invest in.

If you are on a flight and you have this device with you, there is no possibility you may ever be bothered by the sound of the jet’s engines as it will be canceled out, letting you rest peacefully or listen to your music and actually understanding what you are listening to. The process through which the headphones work is not a complicated one, and this recipe for success is one of the main reasons why Bose is the leading manufacturer of headphones at the moment, taking care of an issue that has been bothering many people in the most effective manner possible.

Advantages of Buying Noise Cancellation Headphones

One of the first questions you might have regarding making this investment is whether it is truly worth making or not. The answer is yes, but our word should not be the whole proof you need for making this investment as concrete facts are better and more convincing. Thus, to truly understand why it is important to purchase noise cancelling headphones, read the following lines to see what are the advantages that these devices have to offer.

  • Complete Blocking of Ambient Noise

  • Let’s face it, no matter if what you are planning to do is to get a shut eye or just listen to music in peace, you will not be able to enjoy the experience at its fullest due to the ambient noise. Unfortunately, you cannot make it disappear as everything and everyone around you makes noise. Thus, the only viable solution is to somehow block the sound. This is where the headphones that cancel noise come in, unlike noise isolating headphones which only reduce the sound, these headphones actually blocking it. Therefore, you won’t ever be bothered by the ambient sound regardless of where you are and what you plan on doing.

  • There is No Need to Turn Up the Volume Too Much

  • Due to the fact that there will be no exterior disruptive noises interfering with your experience when listening to music, you will not need to turn up the volume too much either anymore. This means you will protect your hearing as there won’t be a need to listen to music loudly but rather at a much lower and calming volume. The listening experience will be a lot more relaxing and you will get to enjoy it to its fullest for the first time, not having the music scream in the headphones or being overlaid by external noise.

  • Perfect for Studying

  • When you need to study or read a book, you need to fully focus on what you are reading and your thoughts should not stray from the material sitting in front of you. Because of the annoying ambient noise, this is basically impossible as even the slightest sound will take you out of your focus zone, making you think about other things and losing your train of thought. This is where the headphones shine as they completely block out the external noise, ensuring that not even the cars honking outside of your house on the street will be heard by your ears. If you are a student, this is an important advantage as you need to focus on your studies when exams are approaching.

  • Take a Comfortable Nap On Long Flights

  • Some people travel more often than others as they are sent for business purposes from one location to another. If your line of work has you traveling often, you are already fed up of watching the beautiful sky through the window and you would rather get a shut eye until you reach the destination in order to be fresh when you arrive. This is especially important when there is a meeting or presentation being held at the time of your arrival, not affording to lack attention to what is happening because you are tired. With the headphones on during the flight, you will not hear the loud and annoying noise of the jet engines, the chatty people on the plane, and not even the screams of babies parents take with them on their flights. Being surrounded by complete peace and quiet, you will be able to sleep like a baby until the stewardess wakes you up as you have arrived at your destination.

  • Get to Relax When Doing Certain Activities

  • There are certain activities which require you to be in a calm state, activities like meditation and yoga. With the help of the headphones, you will reach that inner peace as you will not be bothered by any outside noise, but rather get to fully focus on clearing your mind of all negative thoughts. When you will do yoga or meditate with the headphones on, the results will be noticeable from the first session as you will actually be calm and feel serene, being absolved of all the worries that used to cloud your mind.

Top Brands on the Market

On this wide and competitive market, there are a few brands that stand out from the rest as they constantly provide customers with high-quality headphones. These companies are Bose, Sennheiser, and Sony, three names which you are probably already familiar with. In the following, we will look at what each of these companies stands for and how they got to the top of the food chain, helping you better appreciate them.

  • Bose

  • The history of how Bose started producing headphones which cancel noise is quite interesting, especially considering the fact that this is the company which produced the first pair of noise reduction and cancellation headphones. What determined Amar Bose, the founder of this company, to design and manufacture these high-end headphones that completely eliminate ambient sound was the fact that the engines of a jet he was on were too loud, making him feel uncomfortable. Now, due to the ingenious idea and determination of Amar Bose, we can all enjoy peaceful flights and we can listen to our favorite music no matter where we are without having to turn the volume up too much to understand the lyrics.

  • Sennheiser

  • If you are into audio devices, then you are no stranger to Sennheiser, a company that has been around for 70 years. During this time, it has used the experience accumulated to innovate the audio market and improve people’s experience when listening to music or watching movies. The goal of the company is to always be at the top of the market, working hard on developing new and better products each year to not only surpass competitors but to satisfy customers as well. If you are setting out to invest in headphones which do not meet your expectations but rather exceed them, Sennheiser is the company to purchase from.

  • Sony

  • Undoubtedly, Sony is the most recognizable brand that we have talked about as it does not only stop at producing audio devices, being the leading company in numerous other markets as well. The Sony company produces consumer electronics, mobile devices, gaming devices, professional products, it offers financial services, and it even produces movies. Chances are you already own at least one product manufactured and released by this company in your own home as the wide array of high-end products ensure a worldwide popularity for this brand. Thus, it should come as no surprise that Sony has manufactured one of the best headphones which cancel out noise, more precisely the Sony MDR1000X.

How to Purchase the Right Headphones

The noise cancelling headphones market is filled with numerous models that come from various brands and all have different features and specs to offer. Thus, it is rather difficult to stick to a certain choice, and it is pretty hard to figure out what is the best option to go with as well if you are not properly familiarized with what you should look for. In the following, we will show you how to make the right purchase, this way ensuring your money will be well spent and the headphones you do end up buying will be by your side for a long time.

  • Decide What Style Suits You Best

  • These headphones come in different shapes and sizes, and it is important for you to decide what the best type for you to go with is before you start the searching process as you will be able to eliminate the models that do not fit with your preference easier. There are three basic types of headphones from this point of view, more precisely in-ear, circumaural, and over-ear. In-ear headphones are cheaper as not much is used in the way of material when manufacturing them. They are worn in the opening or the canal of the year, and they deliver a flexible, high-quality sound. Circumaural headphones are worn around the ear and they create a seal, blocking out more sound due to their design. Over-ear headphones sit on the ear and they have a soft padding which makes them comfortable to wear. When it comes to choosing the type that best suits you, there is no clear indicator of what you should go with except for your personal preference.

  • Pick the Active Noise Cancelling Technology

  • The active noise cancelling technology is what you should aim for the headphones you invest in to come with. This technology processes digital signals to cancel out the ambient sound, coming with a microphone and a processor that have the role of constantly monitoring the surrounding noise and adjusting according to what they pick up so that you will not be disturbed by any noise whatsoever.

  • Check for the Battery Life to Be Good

  • The audio processor used for the active cancelling technology requires power, a power that is provided by a battery. When making the purchase, make sure the life of the battery featured by the headphones is generous, offering as many continuous operating hours as possible. As you can see, all of the models featured in our top use batteries that provide enough power for the headphones to effectively block out external noise continuously for at least 20 hours. Some models use rechargeable batteries while other models require standard batteries, and what we recommend you choose are headphones which use rechargeable batteries as you will save money in the long run due to not having to change the battery once every 1-2 weeks.

  • Convenient Placement of the Volume Controls

  • For the experience of using the headphones to be as convenient as possible, you need for the volume controls to be located in an optimal place. The most convenient placement of the volume controls in on the ear cups, all you will have to do to turn the volume up or down being to tap on the ear cups according to the setting you want to go with.

  • Do Not Cheap Out!

  • Last but not least, make sure you do not cheap out when making the purchase. While it is true that a high-quality pair of headphones which block out external noise can cost a few hundreds of dollars, it is better to invest in a more expensive model as it comes with more features, it delivers a superior listening experience, and it is made with more durable and comfortable materials as well. After all, you cannot expect high quality without paying for it, so if your budget allows you to buy high-end headphones that cost a little more, do it because it is an investment you surely will not regret.

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