Best Noise Cancelling Headphones – Buyers Guide & Reviews 2021Last Updated: February 1, 2021
If you’re after a truly immersive audio experience, our team has reviewed a diverse selection of the best noise cancelling headphones from leading audio brands such as Bose, Sennheiser, V-MODA, Monoprice, Sony, Samsung, BÖHM and Audio-Technica.
Calling all audiophiles! Are you looking for that perfect sound, but aren’t getting it out of your current headphones? Looking for a better noise cancelling alternative? Well we’ve got you covered with this post. Welcome to our buyers guide to the best noise cancelling headphones, where we bring you our choice of the best noise cancelling headphones for 2021. Covering a wide range of products ranging from those more affordable to those more up-market headphones, there is something for everyone in our list.
At AGENT, we know you want bang for your buck. You’re looking for the headphones that will best suit your needs. We get that. Therefore, we have supplemented our reviews with a dedicated FAQs section where we discuss the different considerations you need to take into account before committing to a purchase.
Best Noise Cancelling Headphones of 2021
To help you in shopping around for the best noise cancelling headphones, our reviewers have looked at a diverse selection of the best headphones from the leading audio brands, including Bose, Sennheiser, V-MODA, Monoprice, Sony, Samsung, BÖHM and Audio-Technica.
Bose is one of the most renowned brands in the industry, and the Bose QuietComfort 35 bluetooth headphones are typical of the quality you can expect from this company. This unit features active noise cancelling technology; a dual microphone set-up that uses an anti-phase wave to cancel out any unwanted ambient noise.
With a battery life of approximately 20 hours on full charge, these headphones can be relied upon for long lasting use. Indeed, the battery life doubles if they’re used in ‘wired’ mode. It’s also worth noting that these headphones are very attractive from an aesthetics standpoint, with a sleek black finish and curved shapes.
|Bose QuietComfort 35 - Pros||Bose QuietComfort 35 - Cons|
|• Dual-mic system captures more sound than other systems.||• No in-line remote for volume adjustment or pause/play.|
|• Exceptionally long battery life on a single charge.||• Quite heavy -
Can cause aches in the neck.
Amazon Customer Reviews: 4,055
Average Customer Review Rating: 4.4 out of 5 Stars
2. Best Noise Cancelling Headphones – Bose QuietComfort 25 Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones (Wired)
As you would expect from a brand of this renown, here comes another product from Bose; the Bose QuietComfort 25 Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones. While the QuietComfort 25 is actually the predecessor to the QuietComfort 35, these are still very high quality headphones nonetheless. By providing excellent noise cancellation, users can enjoy sounds from across a wide range of frequencies, undisturbed by the noise of the outside world.
|Bose QuietComfort 25 - Pros||Bose QuietComfort 25 - Cons|
|• Very comfortable, lightweight product with ample padding.||• Doesn't have the "normal" 3.5mm cable jack (has 2.5mm jack).|
|• Superb sound performance across a wide range of frequencies.||• Only 12 hours of battery life per charge, which is less than average.|
Amazon Customer Reviews: 3,356
Average Customer Review Rating: 4.2 out of 5 Stars
If any other brand can match Bose’s industry topping reputation, it’s Sennheiser. Enjoy clear and crisp highs, and booming lows with the PXC 480, while also not having to worry about the outside world. Featuring an active system, these headphones use anti-phase waves to help you to fully immerse yourself in the sound of your favourite songs. These headphones are also remarkably light, and can fold together for added protection and storage space. Thanks to their ample padding and lightweight design, these headphones can be worn for hours at a time with no aches or pains occurring.
|Sennheiser PXC 480 - Pros||Sennheiser PXC 480 - Cons|
|• Outstanding 50 hour battery life on single charge.||• Can be quite hot to wear for long periods of time.|
|• In-line control for easy volume adjustment and playback options.||• Can be compression in the mid-range which can affect vocals.|
Amazon Customer Reviews: 15
Average Customer Review Rating: 3.3 out of 5 Stars
In the fourth spot on our list we have the V-MODA Crossfade Wireless Headphones. This product is truly something worth lending an eye too. At a glance, you can tell that these headphones are built to last, with much of its design aesthetic consisting of metal. Further, on this product’s design, users may rest assured that due to the the ample cushioning provided on the interior of these headphone’s cups, this product is quite comfortable to wear.
When used in the wireless configuration, this product is expected to last about 12 hours. An impressive little fact about these award-winning headphones is that the dual-diaphragm 50mm driver was originally crowdsourced from the music-loving community, which means it must be pretty good.
|V-MODA Crossfade - Pros||V-MODA Crossfade - Cons|
|• Can be plugged in via a micro-USB instead of wireless use.||• Can be a little rough on the edges of the ear after long periods of use.|
|• Metal construction for significantly improved durability.||• Uses noise isolation instead of active noise cancellation.|
Amazon Customer Reviews: 492
Average Customer Review Rating: 4.1 out of 5 Stars
5. Best Noise Cancelling Headphones – Monoprice Hi-Fi Active Noise Cancelling Headphones with Active Noise Reduction Technology
If you’re on a limited budget, we recommend the Monoprice Hi-Fi headphones. Comfortable to wear, and fully capable of providing some high quality audio, these headphones carry all the necessary equipment to perform well with regard to noise isolation and cancellation, and output. Coming with an attractive storage case, simply fold your headphones when finished and place them in, for safe keeping. The active noise cancellation technology in these headphones runs on a single AAA battery for an estimated 50 hours.
|Monoprice Hi-Fi Headphones - Pros||Monoprice Hi-Fi Headphones - Cons|
|• Ear cups padded with memory foam for extra comfort.||• Relatively clunky - not the most attractive looking product on our list.|
|• Wide frequency response range reaching from 20 Hz to 20 kHz.||• Battery can drain quite quickly, which can be problem for people on the go.|
Amazon Customer Reviews: 297
Average Customer Review Rating: 3.7 out of 5 Stars
Perhaps one of the most aesthetically attractive products here, Sony’s Premium Noise-Cancelling Bluetooth headphones are a vision in matte black, with smooth curves and futuristic design. However, as these are Bluetooth headphones, battery life should be of primary concern. The battery life of these Sony headphones is expected to last about 20 hours on a single charge, although you can also use them in a wired configuration.
Additionally, Sony’s Digital Sound Enhancement Engine is at work here to bring more depth and texture to your favourite music. Finally, the active noise cancellation technology in these headphones can be toggled off or on by a touch sensitive button on the base of the ear cups.
|Sony Premium Headphones - Pros||Sony Premium Headphones - Cons|
|• Number of different modes available that will affect the sound.||• Noise cancellation takes a few seconds to adapt when you move your head.|
|• Comfortable, plenty of cushioning minimises long-term listening aches.||• Headband is quite fragile and can crack after extended use.|
Amazon Customer Reviews: 745
Average Customer Review Rating: 4.1 out of 5 Stars
Iconic electronics manufacturer Samsung makes quite an impression on our list with its Level On Noise Cancelling Headphones. These are capable of providing high quality sound, without costing you an arm and a leg. With Bluetooth functionality, and active noise cancellation technology, these headphones also score highly for their sleek touch controls (enabling convenient access to volume, playback, EQ settings, and NFC compatibility), and their foldable design for ease of storage and transport. Also included with this product is a stylish carrying pouch.
|Samsung Level On PRO - Pros||Samsung Level On PRO - Cons|
|• Delivers crisp and deeply textured lows, mids, and highs.||• Only 11 hours of battery life per charge, which is below average.|
|• Features both Bluetooth and NFC -|
easy to pair with your preferred device.
|• Not the most comfortable product on our list, as they squeeze the ears.|
Amazon Customer Reviews: 192
Average Customer Review Rating: 3.8 out of 5 Stars
8. Best Noise Cancelling Headphones – Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 Wireless with Active Noise Cancellation
Sennheiser’s Momentum 2.0 Headphones come in two variants, one for Android and one for iOS. Therefore, if you plan on using these headphones with a smart phone, do yourself a favour and make doubly sure that you are ordering the right type. Moving onto the actual specs of this product, it bears noting just how comfortable these headphones are to wear. With large ear cups and ample cushioning, these headphones can be worn for extended periods of time without causing aches or pains. Travelling is also no hassle, as these headphones fold up, and come with a stylish Sennheiser carrying case. Additionally, regarding sound quality, the Momentum 2.0 headphones excel at delivering crisp and clear vocals, which really shine when paired with the noise isolation and cancellation capabilities.
|Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 - Pros||Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 - Cons|
|• Ample cushioning provides a comfortable experience for most people.||• Additional cables must be purchased to link to different smart phones.|
|• Carrying case is quite stylish and durable, while also being compact and easily transported.||• Can be uncomfortable for some people based on ear size and shape.|
Amazon Customer Reviews: 308
Average Customer Review Rating: 4.4 out of 5 Stars
Böhm’s B66 Wireless Bluetooth Over Ear Headphones feature soft padding and ample cushioning, and can be worn for hours on end with no discomfort or irritation for the listeners. Using Bluetooth 4.0, these headphones are compatible with both Android and iOS. Switching on the active noise cancellation technology enables you to enjoy a high quality listening experience within a very short period of time. However, beware prolonged and extended periods of use. These have a battery life of 16 hours, but when they’re drained of power, they take approximately three hours to charge fully.
|BÖHM B66 Headphones - Pros||BÖHM B66 Headphones - Cons|
|• Comes with a hard case for protection and transport convenience.||• Not very aesthetically pleasing when compared to the other headphones on our list.|
|• Crisp sound delivery with an admirable battery life of 16 hours.||• Can un-pair themselves from your device at times based on connectivity.|
Amazon Customer Reviews: 3,932
Average Customer Review Rating: 3.7 out of 5 Stars
10. Best Noise Cancelling Headphones – Audio-Technica ATH-ANC7B QuietPoint Active Noise-Cancelling Closed-Back Headphones
Audio-Technica’s ATH-ANC7B QuietPoint Active Noise-Cancelling Closed-Back Headphones use advanced noise cancellation technology to eliminate up to 90 percent of unwanted noise. Considerably lightweight, these headphones can actually be folded flat for easier storage or transport. Regarding the active noise cancellation technology, battery life will extend to approximately 18 hours, at which stage the battery will have to be changed. Also supplied with these headphones is a hard travel case, and an airplane adapter, meaning that you’ll be able to use these headphones in just about any scenario you could imagine!
|Audio-Technica ATH-ANC7B - Pros||Audio-Technica ATH-ANC7B - Cons|
|• Very good at noise cancellation, especially considering the low price-tag of the product.||• May not be very comfortable for everyone, again depending on ear shape and size.|
|• By far not among the more expensive items on this list, very good value for money.||• Although effective at sound isolation, sometimes sound can still get out if loud enough.|
Amazon Customer Reviews: 2,348
Average Customer Review Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Stars
Best Noise Cancelling Headphones – FAQs
Before we finish up our best noise cancelling headphones review, we’d like to run through and answer a few FAQs. When investing in a product like this, you owe it to yourself to read up on what to consider before throwing your money on the table. The FAQs and answers below will tell you everything you need to know about noise cancelling headphones before you make your purchase.
What is active noise cancellation technology?
Active noise cancellation technology implemented in headphones typically features mics on the exterior of the headphones. These monitor nearby unwanted ambient noise, allowing the headphones to counter it by creating an exact negative waveform, effectively cancelling out the noise.
What is passive noise cancellation?
Passive noise cancellation is far less exciting, but will cost you less, and doesn’t require charging. This is because passive noise cancellation comes from features like soundproofing etc., and not actual ‘active’ technology.
Are there any disadvantages to active noise cancellation technology?
Absolutely. Active noise cancellation technology, while very effective, requires frequent re-charging. However, this doesn’t mean the headphones will turn off, but rather the noise cancelling capabilities will cease to function. This isn’t a deal breaker by any means, but bear in mind that passive noise cancellation never ‘turns off’. Therefore, it is important to take this into account if you’re going to be using your headphones on long journeys.
Is comfort important?
Comfort is definitely a factor to consider. If you enjoy listening to music for long periods of time, you know the pains of various aches that can come about after the first few hours. This can be avoided by purchasing headphones that feature a decent amount of cushioning.
How do I budget for my headphones?
The prices of headphones can vary drastically. Therefore, the best way to approach budgeting for your headphones is to predict how you intend to use your headphones. Are you going to want to use them walking down the street, or exclusively at home? If the former, you’re going to need a set that is somewhat portable, if it’s the latter, size won’t matter.
What does this have to do with price? Well, the price range of headphones tends to change depending on what type you go with, generally speaking. Earbuds will not cost as much as supra-aurals, and supra-aurals will often be less expensive than circumaurals. Once you know what it is that you want from your headphones, you can come up with a reasonable price range, and apply it to our list above.
Are there different types of headphones?
Yes, there are really three sub-divisions of headphones. The first of which is circumaural headphones, these are quite large and cover the entire ear. Then you have supra-aural headphones, which cover the ear partially. Finally, you have earphones and earbuds, although we won’t go into depth on this third type, as there are no earphones/earbuds on our list.
The advantages of going with circumaural headphones are that they often have a better sound quality. Additionally, circumaural headphones are often noticeably more comfortable than other headphones. However, due to the size of these headphones they are not very portable, and can cost quite a bit of money.
Supra-aural headphones are a half-way point of sorts between earbuds and circumaural headphones. Typically more affordable than some of the best circumaaural headphones, supra-aurals cover the ‘outside’ of the ear, rather than encompassing the entire ear. Unfortunately, this can lead to some loss of sound isolation capabilities. A definite advantage that this type of headphone set has over its circumaural rivals is that it is far more portable, easily taken with you on a commute.
Finally, we come to the end of our best noise cancelling headphones buyers guide. Before we close up, we’d like to leave you with some parting advice. Brands will try to push you around, this is inevitable. However, only you know what headphones will suit your needs. Therefore, we advise using the information above, and applying it to our list of carefully selected products. Additionally, by writing up a brief budget, you can narrow the search down significantly. Decide upon what kind of headphones you need, your general budget, and the factors that matter most to you. Thus, you will be able to bypass hours of blind browsing.