The 9 Best Noise-Canceling Headphones of 2019

Tune out the background noise with these great headphones

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

The Rundown

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Bose QuietComfort 35 II

Bose QuietComfort 35 II

Bose is perhaps best known for introducing the world to noise-canceling headphones, but the brand is also synonymous with high-end, high-quality sound. Bose’s QuietComfort 35 (Series II) over-ear headphones may not be the best sounding headphones money can buy, but they are certainly the most comfortable and most effective noise-canceling headphones around.

They come in black and silver color schemes, offering a healthy spectrum of styles. The cans themselves collapse into a convenient, travel-sized package. Sure, they're not cheap, but the noise-canceling technology developed by Bose has been perfected over decades.

Runner-Up, Best Overall: Sony WH1000XM3


The only pair of wireless noise-canceling headphones that can hold a candle to our top overall pick is the Sony WH1000XM3. These incredibly stylish and light headphones offer strong noise-canceling and high-end sound quality derived from 40mm liquid crystal polymer drivers. On top of being nice to look at, these headphones also have hidden touch sensor controls so you can play, pause, skip, turn volume up/down, and more by just tapping gently on the right earcup.

They’re also designed to be comfortable and can be worn all day. Battery life on these headphones is amazing with up to 30 hours of playback on a single charge. If you need to quickly recharge, you can get 5 hours of playback after charging for just 10 minutes. While a tad pricey at over $300, these headphones will surely satisfy the headphone lover in your life who demands good noise cancellation and sound quality.

Read more reviews of the best Sony headphones available to purchase online. 

Best for Comfort: Sennheiser PXC 550


Your search for the most comfortable noise-canceling headphones is officially over — the Sennheiser PXC 550s are phenomenal with an ergonomic design that pairs a padded headband with rotating earcups meant for long listening sessions. As an added bonus, the ultra-comfortable build doesn’t diminish portability as the PXC 550s collapse into an included travel case.

When it comes to sound, the mids and highs offer excellent detail and clarity, the bass is just right, and the volume is loud enough without being overwhelming. Even when cranked to max volume, the audio is rich and clear without any detail loss.

Wirelessly connecting to any of your devices via Bluetooth 4.2 or NFC, NoiseGard suppression technology — with an active impedance of 490 Ohm and passive impedance of 46 Ohms — keeps ambient sounds away from your ear in order to place focus on your music or calls. A triple microphone array adds stand-out call clarity that also benefits from NoiseGard tech.

Check out our other reviews of the best Sennheiser headphones available on the market today.

Best Bass: Sony WH-XB900N


Because they handle bass really well, the new WH-XB900Ns have a clear position in the larger Sony lineup of noise-canceling headphones. Now, normally, "extra bass" in headphones is a recipe for muddying up the sound, and we don’t usually recommend it out of hand (it’s why a lot of Beats products suffer). But the XB900Ns are an exception, first and foremost because they provide Sony's tried-and-true active digital noise-canceling, resulting in a sound floor uninhibited by artifacts and lossy compression. They also transmit frequencies across the full human hearing spectrum of 20-20,000 Hz.

The sound quality, while not quite on par with Sony’s flagship headphones, will work for most mainstream music, especially considering the added bass. But it isn’t all about sound quality. You’ll get up to 30 hours of use from a single charge, which is about 10 hours more than most of the primo options. These cans pack NFC and Bluetooth connectivity as well, in addition to built-in voice assistance and even intuitive touch controls. Plus, they sport a sleek design with soft, matte textures and comfy, leathery foam pads — making them appear every bit as premium as you’d expect. 

Best Splurge: Bose 700


The new 700 series noise-canceling headphones from Bose are, in part, a response to the massively popular Sony WH-1000XM3s. Positioned as an heir to the QuietComfort throne, this product takes cues both familial and inspired. At its core is Bose’s industry-leading noise-canceling, in full force, emanating a truly isolated sound which you can adjust using buttons planted right on the headphones. What’s more, these cans bolster a quiet sound floor located beneath a Bose's signature, expansive soundstage.

But the thing you'll notice first about the new 700s is how different they look from basically any pair of headphones from Bose or its competitors. The sleek headband comes down to a point that rests inside a canal on the outside of each earcup. It’s an interesting design choice and, combined with sleek one-tone earcups, it’s a good look. But, perhaps the most cutting-edge feature offered here is what Bose is calling "Bose AR." This protocol uses motion sensors built into the headphones themselves, along with location data (via the Bose Sound app) to augment the sound of certain apps, thereby further enriching your listening experience. The jury’s out on whether this technology will add anything meaningful, but still, it's a welcome sign of the innovation yet to come.

Best Adaptive Sound: Jabra Elite 85h

Jabra Elite 85h

Jabra, a brand historically known for its Bluetooth cell phone peripherals, has made a name for itself selling high-end Bluetooth headphones. Like the Elite 65t before it, the Elite 85 headphones are over-ear cans, with a spread of enticing features that might just make them the right choice for you. Even when compared to industry leaders like Bose and Sony, their sound quality checks a lot of boxes. Their frequency range, for one, spans 10Hz to 20kHz (higher than the theoretical range humans can actually hear). With 40mm drivers and a solid seal around the ear, they should let out decent bass as well.

More interestingly, however, these headphones support Jabra's SmartSound technology. Using eight built-in microphones, they can examine your surroundings in order to ensure comfortable sound levels. This, in combination with the noise-canceling technology, should be enough, right? Well, with upwards of 36 hours of battery life depending on use, the Elite 85h are also categorically among the best in terms of battery life. All this, in combination with built-in Alexa and Google Assistant compatibility, rain resistance, and a two-year warranty make the Jabra Elite 85h a solid pair of Bluetooth headphones.

Best In-Ear: Bose QuietControl 30

Bose QuietControl 30
Courtesy of

As mentioned, when it comes to noise-canceling tech, Bose is the cream of the crop. Simply because it’s been in the game since the 1980s, the company has a leg up on the essential hardware behind noise-canceling devices. That’s why both its over-ear and in-ear flagship cans are the best noise-canceling headphones on the market.

The in-ear QuietControl 30 headphones offer the right mix of style, comfort, and tech to ensure reliability and performance. Some people find in-ear headphones, in general, to be uncomfortable for prolonged use, so for these users, we still recommend going with the QuietComfort 35’s. But if you don’t mind the feel of in-ears, or you don’t expect to use them for long periods of time, the QuietControl 30s are the right fit.

Check out our guide of the best earbuds available on the market today. 

Best Sound: Paww WaveSound 3

The WaveSound 3 headphones are designed first and foremost for travel, with an included traveling case and specific design features meant to help when you are on airplanes or trains. They block out cabin noise, talking and as much as 23 dB of unwanted ambient noise. And they include an airplane adapter meant for plugging into some in-flight viewing systems, which is way better than using the sub-par headphones you are often given on a flight.

On top of clear sound and noise cancelation, the WaveSound 3 has a built-in microphone for taking calls (please don’t do this on an airplane!), as well as a lightweight and durable metal construction that will be comfortable on your head.

The headphones are praised for being a great value for less than $100, and that they're especially useful for travel and dealing with ambient noise.

Best Style: Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H8i

With a premium design and build materials to match, the Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H8i headphones are a beautiful choice. The brand is known for quality and attention to detail — Bang & Olufsen promises that their products will withstand years of regular use — and the H8i is no exception. The leather headband feels tough and durable while the outer earpieces incorporate anodized aluminum. Inside, lambskin memory foam earpads are both stylish and comfortable.

Unlike most noise-canceling headphones, the H8i employ an on-ear design that doesn't encapsulate the entire ear. That makes their noise-canceling technology even more impressive. Activate "transparency mode" with the click of a button and ambient noise is drowned out.

Audio quality is just as good as the design. Balanced mids and highs pair with outstanding lows and while the bass isn’t terribly deep, it’s easy to overlook in lieu of the total package. The headphone's battery supports 30 hours of playback, and they offer 100 feet of Bluetooth range and fast charging via USB-C.

Still not sold? Check out our guide of the most stylish headphones available on the market today. 

How We Tested

We bought and tested three top-rated noise-canceling headphones on the market. Our reviewers spent more than 150 hours using them in all types of scenarios, including running errands, exercising, and commuting. We asked our testers to consider the most important features when using these headphones, from the style to the controls. We’ve outlined the key takeaways here so that you, too, know what to look for when shopping.

What to Look for in a Pair of Noise-Canceling Headphones

Active or passive - True noise-canceling headphones use active circuitry to analyze sounds in your vicinity and generate counter-signals to literally cancel them out. If you want the most isolated listening experience possible, you need active noise-cancelation. Passive noise-canceling just insulates you from the outside world with big earcups that form a strong seal against your head.

Headphone style - Active noise-canceling headphones are available in over-ear models (where the earcups cover your ear completely), on-ear models, and in-ear models. There was a time when only over-ear models were really effective, but today, the quality of the noise-canceling hardware is far more important than the style you choose.

Noise-canceling toggle - This is a feature that allows you to momentarily turn off noise-canceling, allowing you to hold a conversation or listen to something without taking your headphones off. It isn’t absolutely necessary, but it’s a nice perk.