Do you want to know what the 10 best noise-canceling headphones in 2021 are? There are some excellent noise-canceling headphones on the market that will allow you to focus on your favorite tunes without being disturbed by external noise, whether that’s the roar of an airplane engine, the murmur of traffic, or the voices of your colleagues at work.
They will also be comfortable to wear because of pillow-soft ear cushions and headbands, as well as swiveling ear cups that allow you to move your head freely. The very best noise-canceling headphones will also have noise-canceling microphones for crystal clear phone calls too. And you don’t need to shell out loads of dollars to pay for them too, because there are some top noise-canceling headphones that are affordably priced.
Table of Contents
- View The Best Noise-Canceling Headphones Below
- Noise Cancelling Headphones Buyers Guide
- Passive Noise Cancelling Headphones versus Active Noise Cancelling Headphones
- Ear Pads and Ear Cups
- Wired or Wireless
- Is it possible to purchase active noise-canceling headphones that fit inside the ear?
- If you've enjoyed this review by Music Critic, please leave a positive rating:
To make sure you choose the best noise-canceling headphones, then consult this list of the 10 best noise-canceling headphones in 2021, as well as the buyer’s guide and breakdown that follows it.
- Three levels of noise cancellation
- Alexa enabled
- Bose sound quality
- Noise-cancelling microphone
- Bose AR enabled
- Active Noise Cancellation
- Huge wireless range
- Wide frequency range
- Comes with a carry case
View The Best Noise-Canceling Headphones Below
1. Bose QuietComfort 35
Bose is known for producing the best noise-canceling headphones on the market. This pair are outstanding and offer listeners three levels of noise cancellation. They are simple to connect too through Bluetooth. And they also feature an incredible noise-canceling microphone which gives you crystal-clear phone calls, even in windy environments.
Top noise-canceling headphones should give you an immersive listening experience so that you can enjoy your favorite music, and this pair certainly do that. If you’re an Alexa user then you’ll love them too, as they’re enabled for use of it, and you can use the mic on the headphones to access your music or make calls.
+ Three levels of noise cancellation
+ Alexa enabled
+ Bose sound quality
+ Noise-cancelling microphone
+ Bose AR enabled
Why We Liked It - Bose knows how to make noise-canceling headphones. This pair sound great, are easy to use, and the microphone is outstanding too.
2. Plantronics BackBeat
This set of wireless noise-canceling headphones by Plantronics feature an Active Noise Cancelling system. They give you twenty-four hours of playtime from a single charge, but they also include a cable that can be used if you’re unable to charge them and want to keep listening to the music.
They have 330ft of wireless range, which makes them perfect for roaming around the home or office. They come with a handy carry case made from nylon. The sound quality is high level, and they offer an impressive frequency range of 20 – 20,000hz. It is also possible to connect two devices to them at the same time.
+ Active Noise Cancellation
+ Huge wireless range
+ Wide frequency range
+ Comes with a carry case
Why We Liked It - The wide frequency range and perfect sound quality put this pair in the category of the best noise-canceling headphones in 2021.
3. Mpow H5 Bluetooth
These wireless noise-canceling headphones have incredibly soft ear cushions that are made from a protein material, which makes wearing them for a long time a comfortable proposition. They offer an outstanding thirty hours of playtime from a single charge. They are ANC headphones, which means they use Active Noise Cancellation technology.
These noise-canceling headphones are also very durable and have even gone through the 10,000+ bending test to ensure that breakage is extremely unlikely. They feature 40mm drivers, which gives you a huge amount of power, as well as thumping, pounding bass.
+ Perfect for bass fans
+ Soft ear cushions
+ Bluetooth enabled
+ 40mm drivers
+ Extremely durable
Why We Liked It - The low price tag makes these excellent headphones one of our picks as the best cheap noise-canceling headphones on the market.
4. COWIN E7 Pro
Music fans will adore the sound produced by the 45mm large-aperture drivers inside these noise-canceling headphones. Not only do they offer great sound, but they have a high-quality, in-built mic that allows for clear, hands-free calls. They have a playtime of thirty hours from a single charge.
A lot of effort has gone into creating comfortable ear cushions which are made from protein, and the swivel ear cups also contribute to comfort, especially when worn for a prolonged period of time. The most important thing for noise-canceling headphones is their ability to cancel noise, of course, and these will reduce the roar of an airplane’s engine to a barely noticeable hush.
+ 30 hours playtime
+ Very comfy ear pads
+ Efficient Active Noise Cancellation Technology
+ High-quality microphone
+ 45mm large-aperture drivers
Why We Liked It - These active noise-canceling headphones are comfy, offer outstanding sound thanks to the 45mm large-aperture drivers, and also come at an affordable price.
5. COWIN E7 Active Noise
This pair are similar to the last set of headphones on this list of the 10 best noise-canceling headphones in 2021, but they are a more budget version. The drivers are slightly smaller at 40mm. But they still have an excellent microphone with NFC technology integrated into it.
They also have very soft protein earpads, as well as swivel earcups, both providing you will a lot of comforts. They are active noise-canceling headphones as well and will reduce all unwanted external noises both effortlessly and efficiently. They give you thirty hours of playtime from a full charge too.
+ Great value for money
+ Microphone with NFC technology
+ 40mm drivers
+ 30 hours of playtime
+ Swivel earcups
Why We Liked It - These are some of the best budget noise-canceling headphones around, as they offer a lot of premium features – such as an incredible mic and excellent Active Noise Cancellation technology – all at a super low price.
6. Bose QuietComfort 20 Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones
These are the best Bose headphones for people who want the benefits of noise cancelation, but who prefer an in-ear fit. They feature Bose’s StayHear+ tips, which offer both a secure fit, as well as a comfortable one.
`Aware Mode’ is a fantastic feature that allows you to switch off the Active Noise Cancellation technology by pressing a button so that you can become aware of the noise around you.
Controlling the headphones and your device is easy, as there is an inline remote. They come with a convenient carry case. And, like all Bose products, you can expect these headphones to last a long time.
+ StayHear+ tips for extra comfort
+ Aware mode
+ Includes a carry case
+ Inline remote
+ High-quality, Bose sound
Why We Liked It - They are wired noise-canceling headphones with an in-ear fit, and they’re made by Bose, so you’re ensured outstanding quality and comfort.
7. Mpow 059 Bluetooth Headphones
Mpow is known for producing the best cheap noise-canceling headphones, but the noise-canceling headphones that Mpow sells never feel cheap.
They have excellent, memory protein ear pads that remain comfortable, even if worn for extended periods of time and also help contribute to the passive noise cancellation that allows you to get lost in the outstanding sound that the 40mm neodymium drivers produce.
They function wirelessly through Bluetooth, but they also can be used with a wire too. If you use them wirelessly, then you get 20 hours from a full charge or 2 hours from a quick 10-minute charge.
+ 20 hours of wireless playtime
+ Quick-charge function
+ Soft memory protein ear pads
+ Passive noise cancellation
+ Great value for money
Why We Liked It - The sound from the 40mm neodymium drivers is incredible, which has to put them in the category for the best budget noise-canceling headphones on the market.
8. Bose QuietComfort 25
These are another great pair of noise-canceling headphones from Bose that offer you incredible sound quality. Besides outstanding sound, these wired noise-canceling headphones also offer wearers supreme comfort, which is a result of earpads that are as soft as a pillow and sit snugly around your ears.
The headband is equally as soft. Wearing these noise-canceling headphones for prolonged periods is a breeze, and they are especially good for flights because the noise-canceling technology will allow you to close your eyes and imagine you’re somewhere else, as you’ll no longer hear the roar of the engine or the noise produced by your fellow passengers.
+ Extremely soft ear cushions
+ Excellent noise cancellation
+ Superior sound quality
+ Inline microphone and remote
Why We Liked It - The reason why Bose is recognized for manufacturing the best noise-canceling headphones is that they offer more than noise cancelling, but incomparable sound quality and premium comfort too.
9. Sony MDRZX110NC
Sony is famous for its affordable, exceptional audio equipment, and these noise-canceling headphones only enhance Sony’s reputation for quality. Audiophiles will adore the huge frequency response of 12 – 22,000 Hz.
The passive noise cancellation technology will also allow you to focus properly on the music, as they promise to reduce an enormous 95% of all ambient noise while you’re wearing them.
The outstanding sound is produced from 30mm neodymium drivers. The earpads are soft. And, above all, the incredibly low price tag makes them a contender for the best value noise-canceling headphones on the market.
+ Wide frequency response
+ Excellent value for money
+ Effective noise cancellation
+ Big bass
+ 80 hours of playtime
Why We Liked It - There are few other noise-canceling headphones in the same price range that offer such outstanding sound quality.
10. TaoTronics Active Noise
These active noise-canceling headphones come at a very affordable price, but also provide you with features that are found on more expensive headphones. They include dual large aperture, 40mm drivers that pump out great sound. They also have a noise-canceling microphone built into them too.
These are wireless noise-canceling headphones, so they need to be charged, but you get a whopping 45 hours from a full charge. Connecting your device to them is easy too, as they have 4.2 Bluetooth technology integrated into them.
Comfort is also assured due to the ergonomic design of the headband, the softness of the protein ear pads, as well as the swiveling earcups that allow better freedom of movement.
+ Noise-canceling microphone
+ 45 hours of playtime
+ Ergonomic headband
+ Protein ear pads
+ 40mm drivers for big sound
Why We Liked It - Besides the functional active noise cancellation, it is the powerful, balanced sound produced by the 40mm drivers that make these headphones some of the best noise-canceling Bluetooth headphones around.
Noise Cancelling Headphones Buyers Guide
To make sure that you choose the very best noise-canceling headphones for your needs, then there are several features that you need to consider, and then you need to choose which of these features are the most important to you.
Of course, the level of noise cancellation that you require is the primary decision that you must make. The amount of money that you are willing to spend will be integral to your final decision, though, as the more advanced the technology is that you choose, then the more expensive the headphones will be.
You also need to remember that noise cancellation is only one feature of the headphones, and if you’re planning on listening to music through the headphones, then the sound quality will be just as important.
It’s only worthwhile eliminating external noises if you are happy with what you’re listening to instead of these annoying noises. The following are the key elements to keep in mind when you’re choosing your next set of noise-canceling headphones:
Passive Noise Cancelling Headphones versus Active Noise Cancelling Headphones
The most important choice you need to make is between noise-canceling headphones that use passive technology or active technology.
Passive noise-canceling headphones manage to block out external noises through the design of the headphones themselves. The most important part of the headphones is the ear cups and the ear cushions.
They will form a seal around your ears. The materials used for the ear cushions will insulate your ears against external noises. Because of the availability of high-quality materials for low prices, manufacturers are now able to offer passive noise-canceling headphones at very affordable prices.
The level of noise cancellation is not as high as active noise-canceling headphones, but for people who want to block out the vast majority of ambient noise, then these headphones are a great choice. Passive noise cancellation also doesn’t require any kind of power source, so they can be worn without the need for charging the headphones.
Active noise-canceling headphones have circuitry built into the ear cups which requires a form of battery to power. This form of noise cancellation uses a highly technical process that basically allows for external noises to be canceled out by a signal that is produced by the mechanism inside the earcups.
This form of technology is more expensive to make, which means that the headphones cost more as a result, but it is a highly efficient way of blocking out external noises. Active noise-canceling headphones will usually have passive noise-canceling technology built into them too, meaning that you have a very low chance of any external noise penetrating the headphones while you wear them. Active noise cancellation requires power, so you will find that headphones of this type will need to be charged.
Ear Pads and Ear Cups
Besides offering passive noise cancellation, the ear pads are extremely important in terms of comfort. If you intend to wear the noise-canceling headphones for a prolonged period of time, then you must make sure that the earpads have been made from a protein material. Ideally, this will be a memory protein that will mold to your ears, and give you sustained comfort.
The ear cups also contribute to comfort. Swiveling ear cups allow you to move your head freely while you are wearing the headphones. If the ear cups don’t swivel, then you will find the headphones being much more restrictive, and this will reduce the amount of time you can comfortably wear the headphones.
Wired or Wireless
Noise-canceling headphones will be either wired or wireless. A wire means that the headphones will not require charging. Although, in some cases, if they are active noise-canceling headphones, then a battery will still be required to power the active noise-canceling technology, and this will either require charging or changing, depending on the battery type.
Wireless headphones use Bluetooth technology to hook up to your device – whether a smartphone, tablet, media player, or another such device – and this means that they will require charging. When active noise cancellation technology is being used, then this will significantly reduce the amount of playtime that you get from a single charge.
If you plan to use the headphones for regular, long commuted or journeys, then picking active noise-canceling headphones with a long battery playtime would be the best idea for you.
Battery playtime varies, but it is possible to find wireless noise-canceling headphones that offer you well over 50 hours of playtime from a single charge. You can also find headphones that have a quick-charge function, where a ten-minute charge can give you an hour or two of playtime.
A noise-canceling microphone is a common feature on the best noise-canceling headphones and this is recommended for anyone looking for ANC headphones that can be worn for making phone calls. Both wired and wireless noise-canceling headphones have microphones, with wired noise-canceling headphones having an in-line microphone built into the wire.
The drivers are what power the sound. The bigger the drivers, the more power and the wider the frequency response. 30mm is a sufficient size for affordable noise-canceling microphones, but if sound quality is valuable to you, then 40mm should be your minimum, and 45mm or 50mm would be the ideal for audiophiles.
Is it possible to purchase active noise-canceling headphones that fit inside the ear?
Generally, active noise-canceling headphones will have an over-ear or on-ear fit. The main reason for this is because it allows for passive noise cancellation too. There are some manufacturers, however, who have started to produce in-ear active noise-canceling headphones.
Bose is one of the best companies for active noise-canceling headphones of this type. Many people find in-ear headphones more comfortable to wear, as they are smaller, lighter, and there is less chance of becoming overheated while wearing them.
Active noise-canceling headphones are the best choice for people who want 100% noise cancellation, but they come at a cost. If you’re looking for the best budget noise-canceling headphones, then go for passive noise-canceling headphones instead, as they will still offer a lot of noise cancellation, but they won’t empty your bank account as a result.
Did you know?
Many linguists believe that the word ‘noise’ has roots in the word ‘nausea’, and anyone who is sensitive to noise will attest to the fact that it can lead to a certain sense of sickness, but fortunately noise-canceling headphones have been created to allow people who are sensitive to noise to be able to listen to more pleasurable sounds without external disturbances.
There are some fantastic noise-canceling headphones available in 2021 which are effective at silencing external noises, while also offering outstanding sound quality so that you can listen to your favorite music without any disturbance.
The best noise-canceling headphones will include a noise-canceling microphone, as well as extremely soft ear cushions that fit inside swiveling ear cups so that you can wear the headphones for a long period of time and remain comfortable.
Active noise cancelation is the most effective form of noise cancelation, but if you’re looking for noise-canceling headphones on a budget, then choosing high-quality headphones that have passive noise cancelation is a great choice too, and will reduce ambience noise significantly, allowing you to listen to your favorite music or podcasts without being bothered by external noises.
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