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

  • Best Overall: Bose QuietComfort 35 II at Amazon, “The most comfortable and most effective noise-canceling headphones around.”
  • Runner-Up, Best Overall: Sony WH1000XM3 at Amazon, “Offering strong noise-canceling and high-end sound quality.”
  • Best for Comfort: Sennheiser PXC 550 at Amazon, “The ultra-comfortable build doesn’t diminish portability as the PXC 550s collapse into an included travel case.”
  • Best Bass: Sony WH-XB900N at Amazon, "Sony's tried-and-true active digital noise-canceling [results] in a sound floor uninhibited by artifacts and lossy compression."
  • Best Splurge: Bose 700 at Amazon, "Positioned as an heir to the QuietComfort throne, this product takes cues both familial and inspired."
  • Best Adaptive Sound: Jabra Elite 85h at Amazon, "Over-ear cans, with a spread of enticing features that might just make them the right choice for you."
  • Best In-Ear: Bose QuietControl 30 at Amazon, “Offer the right mix of style, comfort, and tech.
  • Best Sound: Paww WaveSound 3 at Amazon, “Blocking out as much as 23 dB of unwanted ambient noise.”
  • Best Style: Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H8i at Amazon, “With a premium design and build materials to match, the Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H8i headphones are a beautiful choice.”

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 in to 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 ear pads 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. 

Tested by

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.

Test Results: Bose QuietComfort 35 (Series II) Wireless Headphones (Best Overall)


What We Like

  • Adjustable noise-canceling

  • Impressive sound quality

  • Great battery life

What We Don’t Like

  • A bit bulky

  • No microphone

Bose QuietComfort 35
Bose QuietComfort 35
Bose QuietComfort 35
Bose QuietComfort 35
Bose QuietComfort 35

Our testers found that these headphones’ noise-canceling ability is second to none. “When playing music, it's all you hear,” one reviewer wrote. Another plus? The noise-canceling levels can also be adjusted, which one of our reviewers said is “great if you're not looking to drown out the world.” Their sound quality is also stellar, according to another tester: “It measures up to studio-quality headphones I have that are similarly priced,” he raved.

Test Results: Sony WH1000XM3 (Runner-Up, Best Overall)


What We Like

  • Incredible noise cancelation

  • Amazing sound

  • High-quality build

What We Don't Like

  • Touch controls aren’t intuitive

  • Expensive

Sony WH1000XM3
Sony WH1000XM3 headphones
Sony headphones

“The noise canceling on these headphones is sort of astounding, almost to the point of being disconcerting,” raved one of our testers. According to our reviewers, the other major highlight of these headphones is the sound, which one of our testers said includes “a great smooth response, impeccable detail, and ample bass without being cumbersome.” In terms of the controls, one of our reviewers wished for “more physical buttons and an easier learning curve.” Our testers also noted the headphones are expensive, but they don't consider that to be a dealbreaker. Bottom line: “These are perfect for those who want heavy isolation,” declared one of our reviewers.

Test Results: Sennheiser PXC 550 Wireless Noise-Canceling Headphones (Best for Comfort)


What We Like

  • Unique design

  • Great sound quality

  • Modern, adaptive noise canceling

What We Don't Like

  • Slow charging time

  • Limited, finicky controls


These headphones stood out for their noise-canceling technology: “While there are other Bluetooth headphones with solid noise-canceling,” our tester explained, “Sennheiser's NoiseGard is among the most modern adaptive noise-canceling we've tried.” He also thought they were a great overall value: “For the price, you really get a lot for your money—amazing sound quality, top-notch battery life, and a nice, unique design.” The negatives? He thought that they were too slow to charge, and also pointed out that they had a slight learning curve “because they had no dedicated app and some finicky external controls.”