A quick intro to the Best Noise Cancelling Headphones
Noise canceling headphones are very crucial, especially if you work or live around a noisy place. These headphones bring the much-needed peace that won’t just shield you from the noisy world outside, but it will also help you to enjoy your music a lot better. When your headphones are actively canceling noise, it becomes much easier to receive even the finest of details in your audio files. Having tested hundreds of headphones, I can tell you that it is this kind of difference that separates the best headphones in the market from the rest.
So, which is the best headphone out there today? The Sony WH1000XM3 is the best noise canceling headphone in the market at the moment. Some people may even argue that these are the best headphones ever made. That’s simply because other than actively canceling noise; these headphones also tick all the boxes when it comes to delivering rich sounds, ergonomics, and overall designing. The Sony WH1000XM3 were released back in 2018, but they’ve still managed to remain way above their recently-released competitors, and this goes a long way to show just how brilliant they are.
Here is the thing though the Sony WH1000XM3 is definitely your best pick if you are looking for the best noise-canceling headphones that also perform very well in other aspects not everyone can get them, and that’s because they cost around $350! While these headphones are worth every single penny, we understand that certain people can’t spare some random $300+ to use on a pair of headphones and it’s for this reason that we’ve also tried to come up with other affordable options. Bear in mind that as you move down the prices, your options don’t just become limited, but you are also forced to compromise on performance. In that regard, we still went out in search of the best affordable noise canceling headphones where we landed on the amazing COWIN E7 Active Noise Cancelling Headphones.
Here is a more detailed breakdown on our top picks:
Sony WH1000XM3 Noise Cancelling Headphones
The Sony WH1000XM3 features the industry-leading HD Noise Cancelling Processor QN1 tech which makes sure that ears get to enjoy every single detail in your music, movies, and games regardless of the surrounding you are in. With its remarkable noise cancellation, these headphones are not just an incredible investment if you want to get more from your music, but also if you are simply looking to bring some peace and calmness into your life. To that end, Sony has also designed these headphones in a super ergonomic manner. Both the earcups and headband are perfectly sculpted to be super comfy to your head and ears. This has been achieved without making the headphones unnecessarily heavy. As a result, you can comfortably have these headphones throughout the day without witnessing any discomforts.
The Sony WH1000XM3 produce rich sounds, and this has been achieved in various ways. First, the headsets use 40mm drivers with LCP (Liquid Crystal Polymer) diaphragms which produce hi-res audio with frequencies going as high as 40Hz. They also feature 32bit audio signal processors which achieve just the right balance between signal and noise to make sure that sound quality is unmatched. We tested these headphones with different audio files including instrumentals, hip-hop, soul and pop albums, action and musical movies and shooters and open world games. The Sony WH1000XM3 performed brilliantly in all those categories. It may not be as great as the best gaming headphones, but it comes close.
The WH1000XM3 is also packed with microphones that are also great at rejecting noises. This makes communication much clearer whether you are on a phone call or engaging your colleagues while gaming.
We also love the Sony WH1000XM3 for the many extras included. First, you’ll get Alexa voice control, which allows you to access your music, general information, and other details through voice commands. Getting this feature to work is super easy. The headphone also pairs seamlessly with Bluetooth and NFC. This gives you more freedom to enjoy your content without having to worry about cables. Touch controls are also at your disposal, making it easier for you to switch between your tracks, adjust the volume, take and make calls, and activate the voice assistant.
There are those moments that you will have to interact with someone in a Starbucks or when you just want to be aware of what’s happening around you. When this time comes, you won’t have to completely remove the headphones thanks to the Quick Attention Mode. The presence of this mode is not as interesting as is the execution. To activate this mode, all you have to do is to lift your hand and place it on your right earcup. This will automatically reduce noise cancellation, enabling you to listen and communicate without having to remove the headphones.
- Smart listening via Sense Engine
- Noise-canceling can be switched on and off
- 30ft (10m) Bluetooth range
- 30-hours battery life (38 hours if the NC is switched off)
- Connect to Sony Headphones Connect App for increased functionality (available in both iOS and Android)
- Customize the equalizer through the very comprehensive Sony Connect App
- Hi-Res Audio Capability
- Swivel design
Bose QuietComfort 35 II Wireless Bluetooth Headphones
Bose headphones are popular for two key things; noise cancellation and comfort. The Bose QuietComfort 35 II is perhaps the ultimate pair of headphones from Bose that have more than nailed in both of those aspects.
The QC35 achieved remarkable noise cancellation, allowing you to enjoy your music and movies or focus on your other activities without the distractions from your surroundings. What steals the show here is the fact that you can actually adjust how much noise is getting to you. If you want total silence, then you can easily choose the option through virtual assistants or the action button. In case you want to be alert of your surroundings, you can reduce the noise cancellation to low where you’ll remain aware of what’s happening outside but without too much of the noise to stop you from enjoying your music. You can also decide to switch noise cancellation off.
In terms of comfort, the QC35 II is as comfortable as it gets. The headband is well sculpted to blend with the natural shape of a human head. This improves how the headset sits on your head, minimizing pressure points. The earcups have sufficient padding that works to both seals you from external noises and to enhance the contact between them and your ears.
Sound quality is also great. The headphones produce deep bass and dynamic trebles with an insane balance, which makes sure that sound quality is brilliant at any volume. We subjected this pair of headphones to the same sound quality test as the WH1000XM3, and the results were quite incredible.
The QC35 II also comes with an audio reality platform they are calling Bose AR. This feature brings together selected mobile apps and various Bose audio products to create real-world experiences for you to learn, play, travel, workout, and do other stuff more conveniently. This is further supported by the Alexa voice control, which allows you to skip tracks, make calls, and do your other day-to-day functions more easily.
- Bluetooth & NFC pairing
- Noise-rejecting dual mic
- Bose AR-enabled
- Multi-function button gives you access to smartphone’s virtual assistants such as Siri
- Adjustable noise cancelation
- 20-hours battery life
- Personalize the headphones through the Bose Connect app
- Supports music sharing
- Multi-directional motion sensor
COWIN E7 Active Noise Cancelling Headphones
The COWIN E7 is the bestselling headphone for good reasons. Not only are these headphones affordable, but they do punch well above their weight, giving the big boys a chase for their money. For a pair of headphones that cost less than $100, the E7 delivers excellent noise canceling and dynamic sounds that you rarely find within this price point.
The headset features active noise canceling (ANC) tech does a brilliant job in minimizing external noises. This technology is especially effective in canceling low-frequency sounds such as traffic, trains, airplane engines, etc. With the outside noise kept on the low, it becomes much easier for you to get the much-needed rest you deserve during your flight. It’ll also help to immerse you into the fine details of your music and movies since no distractions are struggling for your attention.
Here is the issue with the ANC tech utilized here; as we’ve pointed out, the technology is excellent in canceling low-frequency noises; however, it is not so great when it comes to high-frequency sounds. This means that noises coming from music, talking and other similar sounds will easily find their way in. While this may be useful in keeping you aware of your surroundings, it will also interfere with your experience, especially if you are trying to concentrate on your music in a noisy area. To some extent, we can’t blame them for this given how affordable they are.
The sound quality of these headphones is also amazing thanks to the 40mm large-aperture drivers. The headphones work well with different music genres, movies, and even some musical instruments such as guitars.
On the department of comfort, the COWIN E7 doesn’t disappoint. The headband has a little “cushioning” while the earcups are designed with professional protein padding that perfectly covers the ears for optimal comfort and noise cancellation.
The COWIN E7 is also compatible with smartphones, and it actually comes with buttons that can perform some shortcut functions like tuning, adjusting volume, answering calls switching the ANC on and off, etc.
- Built-in Mic
- Hi-Fi stereo
- 30-hours of battery life
- Bluetooth and NFC connectivity
- 90-degree swiveling earcups