The 8 Best Noise-Canceling Headphones to Buy in 2016

Tune out the background noise with these great headphones

Noise-pollution is everywhere and if you're looking to drown out that crying baby on your next long-haul flight, let us help you pick out which headphones will do the trick. The first thing to keep in mind about noise-canceling headphones is that they are about blocking out noise first and sound quality second. With that said, read on to see our top choices for active noise-canceling headphones.

Best Overall: Bose QuietComfort 25 Acoustic Noise-Canceling Headphones

Bose QuietComfort 25 Acoustic Noise-Canceling Headphones
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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 25 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, triple black and white 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. Buy from Amazon »

Best Value: Monoprice Hi-Fi Active Noise-Canceling Headphone

Monoprice Hi-Fi Active Noise-Canceling Headphone
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These aren’t the cheapest noise-canceling headphones on the market, but they do offer the best mix of performance and price. You can find noise-canceling cans for as low as $50, but they’re not likely to work as advertised. The Monoprice Hi-Fi headphones promise solid noise-canceling performance, with stellar reviews from Consumer Reports. The active noise reduction tech blocks out ambient noise of up to 22dB, and runs on AAA batteries promising up to 50 hours of use. It features a three-button remote that allows you to use them with your mobile device or VoIP applications. The design itself is pretty boring and there’s no Bluetooth compatibility, but when it comes to value these are about as good as it gets for the noise-canceling category. Buy from Amazon »

Best In-Ear: Bose QuietComfort 20 Acoustic Noise-Canceling Headphones

Bose QuietComfort 20 Acoustic Noise-Canceling Headphones
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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 QuietComfort 20 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 25’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 QuietComfort 20 are the right fit. Buy from Amazon »

Best for Comfort: Sennheiser PXC 450 Active Noise-Canceling Headphones

Sennheiser PXC 450 Active Noise-Canceling Headphones
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When it comes to comfort, hands-down the most comfortable headphone form factor is the over-ear design. These cans fit over your entire ear, which prevents the pressure that on-ear cans can place on the flaps of your ears, and the jawbone stress that in-ear devices can cause. Among over-ear noise-canceling headphones, the Sennheiser PXC 450 are the most comfortable. Tough, rugged materials ensure both reliability and durability. They also feature a unique TalkThrough function that allows users to communicate without taking off the headphones. Buy from Amazon »

Best for Style: BÖHM Wireless Bluetooth with Active Noise-Canceling Headphones

BÖHM Wireless Bluetooth with Active Noise-Canceling Headphones
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These are some pretty little headphones — and affordable, too. Unlike a lot of other noise-canceling headphones, these BÖHM cans include a rechargeable lithium-ion battery that lasts up to 18 hours. With two, high-end stereo drivers, you can expect some quality sound with a heavy bass presence. As an added bonus, these phones are Bluetooth compatible, meaning no wires are necessary. They come in two, equally stylish color tones, but we recommend the brown, tan, gold scheme for maximum wow factor. In addition to looking great, the BÖHM headphones are super comfortable. They feature light leather ear cups with a soft headband for stress-free listening. There’s even an inline remote and mic that allow you to take hands-free calls on the fly. Buy from Amazon »

Best Sound: B&O PLAY by BANG & OLUFSEN - BeoPlay H8 Wireless ANC Headphones

B&O PLAY by BANG & OLUFSEN - BeoPlay H8 Wireless ANC Headphones
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How about a pair of noise-cancelers that offer the best of each category, regardless of price? If that’s what you’re looking for, the Bang & Olufsen Play headphones are top of the line. With Bluetooth wireless tech, active noise canceling, rechargeable lithium-ion batteries, an aluminum touch interface and a luxurious design available in four different color schemes, these headphones are absolutely stunning. Weighing just half a pound, these are also among the lightest noise-canceling headphones on the market. You can also expect impressive sound quality whether the noise-canceling device is turned on or off. With all this, you must expect the hefty price tag, but such is the nature of premium technology, isn’t it? These are truly headphones for luxury-minded consumers. Buy from Amazon »

Best Design: AKG N60 Headphones

AKG N60 Headphones
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Portable, light and with an attractive design, the AKG N60 headphones are perfect for those on the go. With 30 hours of battery life and USB charging, the N60 design is made up of plastic wrapped in a premium leather that extends all the way to the ear cups. Active Noise canceling is present, but the real attraction of these headphones is the understated, but refined design and sound. There are excellent results in the highs, the mids are very clear and the lows have great depth and detailed bass. Buy from Amazon »

Runner-Up, Best Sound: Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 Headphones

Sennheiser Momentum 2.0 Headphones
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When it comes to exceptional sound, Sennheiser’s Momentum 2.0 deliver, and they're cheaper than our top sound choice. The headphones have a closed back, over-ear design featuring Bluetooth and NFC pairing, “Noise Gard” hybrid active noise cancelation (which uses four microphones for ultimate isolation) and 22-hour battery life. Available in both black and ivory, the Momentum 2.0 is foldable for easy storage, and the stainless steel headband is comfortable. Connecting up to two devices simultaneously is a snap and VoiceMax technology eliminates external noise for clear phone calls. Buy from Amazon »


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