Bose, the pioneer in the industry, was once again chipped away from Bose's lead, and it's now become a very competitive category with a wide array of over-ear active noise canceling (ANC) wireless headphones as well as many new devices that provide excellent ambient noise muffling abilities and sound quality.
The majority of the finest noise-canceling headphones are higher than $200, and some premium models are twice as high, respectively. Despite the fact that some of the models on the list are indeed expensive, I've included several value models that perform quite well for less money. This list has been completely reviewed or had extensive listening time with all headphones and ears, which is updated regularly as new models arrive.
No earbuds are perfect, but not everybody will love the design of the Sony WF-1000XM4 buds at any price. But if you're looking for dazzling earbuds with great noise canceling abilities, good voice-calling abilities and long battery life, these buds are sure to meet your expectations.
The QuietComfort Earbuds from Bose also have top-notch noise canceling and sound quality, but the Sony is right there with the Bose for noise canceling (and some might argue it's a bit better in that division), although the Sony also has a somewhat improved sound quality and a less compact design, especially in the case.
Sony's previous WH-1000XM3 model was fantastic. But it had a flaw, such as voice calling. This area has improved, and it allows you to connect two devices -- including your phone and PC -- at the same time. That means that when a call arrives, the audio will switch to your phone.
The Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 may still be a little better for voice calls, but the 1000XM4 headphones are arguably a tad more comfortable, besides improvements to noise cancellation and sound that make this model a great all-around choice. After launching at $350, they've regularly discounted to as low as $278, so look for them on sale.
The Bose QuietComfort 45 is basically identical to its popular predecessor, the, with the greatest design difference being a USB-C port instead of the previous Micro-USB. (At 238 grams, the QC45 weighs just 3 grams more than the QC35, which should be imperceptible.) And while the Bose 700 has a lot of fans, this QuietComfort design is somewhat more comfortable, and the headphones fold up and fold flat. It'
They are similar to the QC 35 II, with no disruption to the drivers. Where you'll see an improvement is with the noise cancellation (there's a transparency mode), which very well might be the best out right now. According to Bose, a new electronic package is capable of mimicking "unwanted sounds in the midrange frequencies" (voices) that you "normally encounter on commuter trains, busy office spaces and cafes."
I found that it was true and gave these the slight advantage over both the Headphones 700 and Sony WH-1000XM4 for noise cancellation. That said, there's no need to tweak noise cancellations as you can with those models, which offer a more robust feature set, particularly the Sony. However, after a firmware update, you may now tweak the sound in the app with equalizer settings.
The headset's performance has improved, with improved noise reduction during calls. These include a multipoint Bluetooth connection. The QC45 is now compatible with two devices simultaneously, such as a smartphone and a PC. Both devices are compatible with Bluetooth 5.1, but don't necessarily upgrade toaptX.
These are similar to the Headphones 700 and Sony WH-1000XM4, but they perform quite well, thus the 700 is also slightly less natural to sound while the Sony has more dynamic bass. So that makes selecting between these three models much more difficult.
Apple has released another set of earbuds this time from its subsidiary audio company, Beats. Unlike Beats' earlier and less expensive, the Beats Fit Pro includes Apple's H1 processor, which includes all of the features, including active noise canceling, spatial audio, and adaptive EQ. I'd like to say that these sports AirPods might be better for some users.
The No. 5909 are the first headphones from Mark Levinson, who is priced at $999. However, they are equally effective. They have a sturdy design that doesn't allow you to feel heavy on your head (read: they are substantial but not too heavy) and are comfortable to wear over prolonged periods thanks to their nicely padded (and replaceable) leather earcups and headband.
They also provide excellent noise canceling and excellent sound. They also have a multipoint Bluetooth connection, which allows you to pair them with two devices, such as a computer and a smartphone, simultaneously.
The No. 5909 is high-res certified with Sony's LDAC and Qualcomm's Adaptive codecs that allow for near-lossless Bluetooth streaming. Apple's iPhones and iPads don't support those codecs while certain Android devices do. Using the No. 5909 headphones over Bluetooth on my iPhone 13 Pro, it seemed a little more natural and refined than the AirPods Max (the No. 5909 had a more "pure" and precise sound).
When I paired the No. 5909 to my Google Pixel 4 XL, which supports LDAC, and was using the one that provides high-res streaming, I noticed a difference. Overall, the sound showed a little more depth and texture, and there's a touch more sparkle, definition, and openness.
The Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700, the long-awaited successor to Bose, may not be a quantum leap forward, but these headphones offer slightly improved sound and noise cancellation along with excellent headset performance for voice calls. They're a solid all-around speaker capable of delivering up to 20 hours of battery life and a more robust design than their predecessors, but they have recently reduced in price. We've seen the white version decrease as low as $299, while the black and silver versions have
On the other hand, the new Sony WH-1000XM4 headphones, their closest competitor, have also received great discounts.
Even if the AirPods Pro may not sound as stunning as you expect for their price, they're still a great pair of true-wireless earphones. That's largely due to their impressive design and fit, improved bass performance, and effective noise cancellation, and they have now been, a new virtual-sound mode for watching movies and TV shows (only works with iPhones and iPads running iOS 14).
When you want to make a call or listen to music during your workout, these are excellent options. The good news is they tend to sell for 25% off their list price.
The Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 is among the best new true-wireless earbuds for 2002, while also making sure the ears stay longer in the ears securely. This is why the Sony WF-1000XM4 is running for money.
Bang & Olufsen's earlier Beoplay E8 earbuds were impressive, but they're still relatively inexpensive. They feature high-quality sound, adaptive noise canceling, and a natural sounding transparency mode. Multipoint Bluetooth connection allows you to simultaneously connect these headphones to a smartphone and computer. They also support three microphones, although they are minimal.
The premium design elements are here, according to the aluminum-shelled case, which opens and closes with precise smoothness, and the buds themselves have a aluminum accent on the outer surface where the touch controls live.
The buds are fairly large and stick out of your ears like Sony and Sennheiser premium buds. They fit me snug and snug and were suitable for sporting activities, with an IP54 splash-proof rating. A battery lifetime is rated at around 6.5 hours, with an additional two charges being charged from the case.
The sound is vast and dynamic, with a deep, well-defined bass and a wide soundstage. The mids sound is natural and the treble adds a nice touch to it. They are a pleasure to listen to and among the finest wireless headphones. These are also a must-see devices that support the aptX audio codec; they also have a Bluetooth 5.2.
Are they higher than the Sony WF-1000XM4, which costs a fraction less? The answer to that will depend partially on how well they fit your ears and how good a seal you get from the included ear tips. I personally ended up getting the best fit using Sennheiser's large tips, which works best for my ears. They are a great set of earbuds if you can afford them. Just get them from a retailer that has a good return policy in case you are unhappy.
As far as sound, comfort, and build quality, you'd be unable to beat Anker's SoundCore Life Q30 for the money. However, the product does not quite have the clarity or bass definition as some of the most popular headphones, and it cost about a quarter of the price, although it is fairly priced with punchy bass and there's an app that allows you to tweak the sound.
The only area in which the Q30 falls a bit short is for voice calls. It picks up your voice in quieter environments, but it just doesn't eliminate background noise all that well.
The Q30, similar to the Q20 (see below), has improved sound (it's not a big difference, but it certainly is a notch up) and a more premium design. Anker often offers the Q20 at a $10 discount at Amazon. Eventually, we should see something similar on the Q30.
The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds are excellent true wireless headphones, especially when it comes to their sound and noise canceling, which is among the finest in the world right now. However, the AirPods Pro's smaller design, its more comfortable fit, and superior voice-calling capabilities make it difficult to declare the Bose the straight-up champion. Ultimately, it depends on what you want.
The AirPods Max offer richer, more detailed sound than low-priced competitors from Bose and Sony. They also feature arguably the finest noise canceling on the market, along with premium build quality and Apple's virtual surround spatial audio feature for video watching. Despite their limitations, they seem to be surprisingly comfortable, although I had to adjust the mesh canopy headband to get a snug fit when I was walking with them. However, there will be limitations.
The new Shure Aonic 40 noise-canceling headphones are a bit smaller and more affordable than the company's well-received Aonic 50 headphones ($299) that were released in 2020. I'm assuming they're quite good with a clean, well-balanced sound that you can tweak in the Shure companion app for iOS and Android (you may choose from preset EQ settings as well as a customizable manual EQ setting).
The active noise canceling is impressive, but not quite up to the levels of Sony's or Bose's and like the Aonic 50, they excel in making calls (Shure is known for its microphones) and you may connect them to your computer via USB-C. For those who have aptX-enabled Android devices, the headphones also have the ability to connect aptX HD Bluetooth streaming.
You don't get extra features such as ear-detection sensors that automatically pause your music when you remove the headphones from your head and resume playback when you put them back on. However, the headphones both fold up and fold flat, making them more compact than the Aonic 50's (its case is pretty large) batteries are rated at 25 hours with noise canceling on.
They're pretty good headphones, but they're also fairly inexpensive, although I found them not quite as comfortable as competing models from Bose and Sony. However, the top of the headband may put a little pressure on your head's crown, and the padding on the headband is excellent, but it might be better. They're also available in white.
The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 is a versatile speaker with four different sizes, both of whom have attractive glossy curvy edges and the same compact charging case as this new model. In fact, the Buds 2's design and fit are, for one reason, significantly smaller and 20% lighter than the Buds Plus, which makes them a potentially more likable alternative to the better-sounding Buds Pro.
The Buds 2 are equipped with active noise canceling, although all of the latest Galaxy Buds models now have an open design without ear tips. While the Buds 2 appear similar to the Buds Live, they just barely stick out of your ears, and are quite discreet. Because they are more flush with your ears and have that curved design they also pick up less wind noise. They're IPX2 sweat-resistant.
Beoplay HX, the successor to Bang & Olufsen's H9 series headphones, has a list price of $500, according to Amazon (some colors are discounted for the HX), which is similar to those of Apple's AirPods Max, which has an average price of 384.8 grams, depending on how large the pair is. I've found that the usual swanky B&O lambskin covered ear pads are equally handy in the comfort area.
The HX has custom 40mm driver, Bluetooth 5.1, and Qualcomm's Adaptive (which includes aptX HD) for high-resolution wireless streaming when you combine an aptX-enabled Android device with certain music streaming services such as Qobuz.
Their sound is quite similar to that of AirPods Max, which includes deep, well-defined bass, inviting detail in the treble (where vocals live) and a warm or darker feeling. In the Bang & Olufsen app for iOS and Android, the headphones may be altered to the EQ.
Although these are expensive, they offer a higher quality sound than the Sony WH-1000XM4. Their noise canceling is excellent, and voice-calling capabilities are quite impressive. Additionally, the Sony WH-1000XM4 has a dual-point connectivity capability, which allows you to connect the devices with a smartphone and a PC simultaneously (the Sony WH-1000XM4 also has this feature). Battery life is rated at 35 hours with noise canceling on and 40 hours with it off.
Although earlier Bang & Olufsen's models included a soft case (a pouch really), the HX is also equipped with a tough case. As I said, the small improvements over the previous Bang & Olufsen noise-canceling headphones help make the HX's case a viable alternative to the AirPods Max.
After a long wait, Bowers and Wilkins finally released a couple of true wireless headphones in 2021, the PI7 ($400) and PI5 ($250, both of which are fantastic and feature active noise canceling along with a transparency mode. The PI7 are arguably the best sounding set, though they also sound slightly better than the fantastic Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless II and Master & Dynamic MW08 models.
The PI7's noise cancellation is quite decent, but the Sony's noise cancellation is superior. I found that the Sony did better with voice calling (it has better noise reduction, so people can hear you better in noisy environments) and it has improved battery life.
The PI7's case has transformed into a Bluetooth receiver, so you may connect it to your laptop for Qualcomm streaming or an in-flight entertainment system. The PI7 is compatible with aptX Adaptive wireless transmission (which includes the aptX HD codec) from mobile devices, which allows for "high-resolution music transmission from suitable streaming services," according to the report.
They are IPX54 splashproof and have four hours of battery life when noise canceling on (that's a little depressing) and an additional four charges from the case.
The PI5 buds are a bit lighter than the PI7. As with all in-ear headphones, you must try them to see how they fit your ears. Bowers & Wilkins' buds may fit your ears better than Sony's and vice versa.
Sennheiser's flagship new true-wireless earbuds, the Momentum True Wireless 3 is a superior choice. Despite their appearance, the CX Plus is a pretty identical design to the standard CX buds ($130) but feature a glossy black finish on the touch-sensitive exterior surface; both are similar to the original CX400BT.
The CX Plus gives you the same excellent sound while rounding out the feature set with active noise cancellation and a transparency mode. These batteries are splash-proof, with an IPX4 rating. They do stick out of your ears a bit.
The noise canceling isn't quite as effective as the Sony WF-1000XM4 models, but I thought it was effective and the headset's performance was decent, although not stellar. These are all-around solid noise-canceling headphones that can count sound quality as their greatest strength.
Master & Dynamic's previous MW07 and delivered fantastic wireless sound, but they were a little lacking in the features department, particularly when it came to making calls. MW08, the latest upgrade, has several significant improvements, including the addition of robust noise canceling and call quality, that makes it one of the top models for 2022. Alas, it's expensive at $299.
The battery life on the MW07 Plus has improved a bit (up to 12 hours of battery life per day for the MW07 Plus), and the earbuds are equipped with Bluetooth 5.2, active noise cancellation with three microphones on each earbud, but the overall call quality has improved). The noise canceling on the MW07 Plus was also quite hazy; the MW08's are much more effective.
In the new M&D Connect app for iOS and Android, you may choose two levels of noise cancellation as well as two levels of transparency that allows you to hear the outside world. The app currently has no way to alter the sound profile (I'm okay with that because the sound profile is just fine for my tastes) and the ears have a physical touch on each bud to control playback, rather than touch controls.
These buds may not fit everybody's ears equally well, but they certainly have a distinct appearance as well as excellent sound and excellent listening experience if you get a tight seal (I was able to get a secure fit with the largest tip)). This model also has new 11mm drivers, which add a little punch to the bass and a hint of clarity. The MW08 works well with all musical genres.
The MW08 is available in a variety of colors, like their predecessors, but it also includes a swanky stainless-steel charging case (it charges via USB-C), which is compact but requires more weight than your typical buds cases. You also get a secondary pouch for safekeeping (yes, the charging case can be scratched up if you leave it in a bag).
According to Master & Dynamic, these truly wireless headphones now support both the aptX and AAC audio codes and have an extended range of more than 20 meters. They have an IPX5 water-resistance rating, which means they can withstand a long-term spray.
The Earfun Air Pro 2 both features a solid active noise cancellation, but their clarity is impressive for their relatively modest price, as a result of their overall well-balanced sound, excellent bass performance. Several of Earfun's buds have had a bit too much treble push -- sometimes called "presence boost" but these mostly manage to avoid that. They do sound better than the original Air Pro.
The earbuds have a number of features, including an ear-detection sensor (your music stops when you take the buds out of your ears), and a case that has USB-C and wireless charging, that you don't often find at this price. They're also splash-proof with an IPX5 rating, offering up to seven hours of battery life on a single charge at moderate volume levels, although you'll likely get closer to six hours with noise canceling on.
There's a transparency mode that allows ambient noise to be heard. It actually sounds pretty natural and is closer than I expected. There's no companion app that allows you to modify the sound or update the firmware.
Earfun highlights the Air Pro 2's voice calling capabilities, which include three microphones in each earbud, and I thought call performance was beneficial (). However, the Soundpeats T3 are also good for calls, although the Soundpeats T3 are better, because the Soundpeats don't have the ear-detection sensor. Also, the Earfun Air Pro 2 buds sound better, providing a richer, more dynamic sound.
The SoundCore Life Q20 headphones are arguably the finest value in the industry of noise-canceling headphones. Non-only do these over-ear headphones sound quite decent for their regular list price of $60 (they often sell for $10 less), but they're also comfortable to wear thanks to the safety of their earcups.
Yes, they aren't as good as Sony and Bose's premium Bluetooth headphones, but the audio quality is decent, which is what you can expect of noise-canceling headphones at this price. Also, the noise cancellation is acceptable and they're excellent as a speaker for making calls. A simple carry pouch is included.
The Surface Headphones 2 is priced at $350, and the Headphones 2 is priced at $250. This is because it's quite good but not stellar, but because of its relatively limited design and excellent battery life, the brand's new lower price (especially when they're on sale) makes them more popular.
This feature from a work-from-home perspective is impressive, as well as making voice calls.
Bose and Sony have been the dominant headphones in the past few years. However, Sennheiser's, which premiered in late 2019, deserve some attention, particularly from fans of the Momentum line. They list for $400, but they have decreased in price (you may even find them for over $300).
The Momentum 3 headphones don't quite measure up to the standards, but I appreciated the well padded earcups with sheep leather and had no trouble rocking them for a two-hour music listening session, to say nothing about the battery life.
When the Sennheiser PXC 550-II was released in 2020, it was under intense competition from Sony and Bose. But we've seen it for less than $200 on Amazon and it's a great deal, with excellent sound (it's got a slightly warmer sound profile), good noise canceling, and solid voice calling. Battery life is impressive at around 30 hours with noise-canceling on.
The Solo Pro are among the finest on-ear noise-canceling headphones, backed by Apple's H1 processor, which allows additional feature for Apple devices. However, these headphones only offer the AirPods Pro, third-gen AirPods Max, and new Beats Fit Pro, which offers spatial audio for music listening, and are less attractive at a certain cost -- or less. Most colors are selling for $130 or so, but you may get them only if they're more discounted.
The well-designed Shure Aonic 50 is a noise-canceling headphone that is clear and articulate, but it may be a little underpowered for those who want more oomph. The noise cancellation is good, but it isn't quite up to the standard of Sony's most expensive noise-canceling brands.
The headphones are foldable, but they're a bit bulky as their case suggests. Shure is well-known for making excellent microphones, making excellent microphones, and they're a good work-from-home headphones that's comfortable to wear (although they may be a bit big for some people).
The Aonic 50 is a good headphone that seems to be capable of lifelong learning by USB-C. It also supports a wide spectrum of audio channels, including aptX, aptX HD, and Sony LDAC.
Sennheiser's new headphones, the 450BT, have been enhanced for years, including improved battery life (up to 30 hours with noise canceling on), USB-C charging, and improved comfort zones for smartphones. The 450BT noise-canceling headphones are available for $200, but they may cost $150, although they have dropped to $100 in flash sales.
The 450BT headphones don't have exactly the bass or clarity of Sennheiser's Momentum Wireless 3 headphones, but they are priced substantially less and deliver excellent well-balanced sound that's comfortable to listen to for long periods. I believe the 450BT model also worked quite well as a headset making calls, with the sidetone capability that allows you to hear your voice inside the headphones.
The only possibility is that regular headphones may not be the most comfortable for some individuals. I have a smaller head, so they perform fine, but they don't breathe quite as well as some earpad covers. However, if you can't afford premium models in the $300 to $400 range, this is a more affordable option that's well-designed and provides exceptional performance. The headphones fold up to fit into an included soft carrying case.
I liked Bowers & Wilkins' noise-canceling headphones, but they were marginally lacking in both the earcup comfort and noise-canceling industries. The PX7, which was released in the fall of 2019, improves on both fronts, with excellent sound, four noise cancellation settings (Automatic, Low, High, and Off) and well-padded earcups in a sturdy, eye-catching design. There's also an adjustable ambient transparency mode that allows you to hear the outside world.
The headphones are a tad large at 10.7 ounces (304 grams), but the build quality is phenomenal, and these are cheaper at $400, respectively. Bowers & Wilkins also makes a more compact on-ear model, the ($300, which is also quite good. These do however sound a little better.
The sound is rich and detailed, with deep bass that remains well-defined even at high volumes. These are pretty dynamic headphones, with a touch of extra energy in the mid-highs. They're not laid-back like the previous, and their most direct competitor is probably the Sennheiser Momentum 3 model listed above. This B&W is likely to win on design.
The PX7 headphones are compatible with AAC and aptX, have a Bluetooth 5.0 connection, a USB-C connection, and a battery life of up to 30 hours at moderate volume levels. In this roundup, the noise canceling isn't quite at the level of the Bose or Sony, but it is not far off -- as I said, it has improved from the original PX model's noise cancellation.