Best Noise-Canceling Headphones for Travelling
Travel alot with work? You need the best noise cancelling headphones and you need them now. They’ll stop you having your music, podcasts and audiobooks ruined by the outside world, and allow you to listen at lower volumes, on average, potentially preserving your hearing.
While noise cancelling can occur by simply physically blocking sound, as with all in-ear and over-ear headphones, these use tech to add an additional level of noise cancelling that’s especially invaluable on planes, trains and city streets.
A few years back, noise cancellers were wired affairs with big batteries, big carry cases, and a distinct lack of style. Now, they’re increasingly Bluetooth rather than wired, and the batteries have shrunk, whilst battery life has got longer. But you do still usually get a carry case.
Our list detailing the best noise cancelling headphones for travelling as well which will help you cut through the noise in more ways than one.
1. Sony WH-1000XM3
Sony’s adaptive noise-cancelling 1000X flagships have been brilliant ever since version 1, but the 3rd iteration is where Sony has really nailed it. They’re incredibly comfortable, sound superb, and the ANC is next level.
The WH-1000XM3 is lightweight at 255g, and feels it. The broad, soft ear cups, compare favourably to the thinner, harder pointier pads of our former champ the PX, too, as does the remarkably soft headband, too. They still make your ears toasty over time, but I’m not sure there’s a solution to that.
They also fold neatly away, and the fabric case is among the smartest of its breed.
Onto the audio, and noise-cancellation is simply brilliant. Best in class. With no music playing, the moment you put them on, it’s like entering another world, or having a thick sack thrown over your head. It makes even the PX (and the M2 incarnation of the WH-1000X, come to that) seem antiquated when it comes to dealing with massive challenges like roadworks on streets streaming with traffic.
The touch/gesture controls are not something I’m entirely keen on but they work well enough once you’ve practiced a bit. Holding a cup to let in ambient sound works especially well, even if you do look a little special when doing it. You can also use the app to change the noise-cancellation button to work with Google Assistant or Siri.
PRICE :RS 29,990
Acoustic design: Closed | Weight: .8.99 oz | Cable length: 3.94 ft | Frequency response: 4Hz to 40kHz | Drivers: 40mm Dual-Layered Diaphragm | Driver type: Dynamic | Sensitivity: 104.5 dB | Impedance: 47 ohm | Battery life: 30 hours | Wireless range: 30 meters (98ft) | NFC: Yes
2. Bose QuietComfort 35 II
The QC35 is the headphone that kick-started the ANC revolution, being Bluetooth-connecting with a long battery life (about 20 hours), very solid audio and – for the time – jaw-dropping noise-cancelling.
Its successor keeps all that but adds Google Assistant – accessed via that button on the right ear cup.
The QC35 II is not as sexed up as the PX, Studio3 or Porsche Designs’ Space One, nor is it ruggedly square-jawed like Sony’s rival cans. It’s perfectly attractive in its own way though. Audio is the same – it’s very good, and the noise cancelling is like sorcery, but there isn’t the same sparkle as the other headphones in its little market.
The ANC does give you total immersion – flip the switch, and London’s roar disappears almost utterly. Airports, planes, tubes, trains are uncannily silenced – the QC35’s are your audio invisibility cloak made into chunky, silvery flesh.
The right-ear-based volume/play/pause,etc controls work, and the zip-up carry case is functional.Light and extremely well-padded, the QC35 II will remain comfortable even when they spend the whole day on your head. They’re also even more understated than their nearest rival, the Sony WH-1000xM2 (see above), with a jet-black appearance and a slimmer overall profile. The noise-canceling itself also bests Sony’s cans by a tad, with the longtime industry leader showing exactly how it made it to the top of the pile in the first place.
The sound quality? That is also brilliant. Bass seems even richer than the PX, and music always seems lively, exciting and involving.
Acoustic design: Closed | Weight: 0.68 pounds | Cable length: 3.94 feet | Frequency response: N/A | Drivers: N/A | Driver type: N/A | Sensitivity: N/A | Impedance: N/A | Battery life: 20+ hours | Wireless range: N/A | NFC: Yes
3. BOWERS & WILKINS PX
Bowers & Wilkins have been making big strides in wireless headphones since entering the market with the P5 and the PX is its first Bluetooth ANC headphone.
It has more attractive. it contemporary styling than the P7. it replaces, but still feels reassuringly expensive .
The level and type of ANC can be varied via an iOS and Android app – I find the ‘City’ setting sounds best. You can also turn it off – though I wouldn’t advise that as it sounds noticeably worse – and allow voices and ambient sounds to pass through, so you aren’t completely cut off from your surroundings.
The audio is highly listenable, with a noise-cancelled twist on B&W’s usual exciting, but well balanced, signature sound.
The PX Wireless aren’t just a great sounding pair of headphones, they’ve also got a number of other interesting tricks up their sleeve. They’ll turn on and off automatically depending on whether you’re wearing them or not, and they also feature the future-proof USB-C charging standard.
In our opinion their only downside is the sound quality.
Acoustic design: Closed | Weight: 335 grams | Frequency response: 10Hz – 20kHz | Drivers: 40mm | Driver type: Full range | Sensitivity: 111dB | Impedance: 22 Ohms | Battery life: 22 hours | Wireless range: 30 meters | NFC: No
4. SONY WH-1000XM2
They are so fantastic. it sound equal to the PX and noticeably more propulsive and exciting than the Bose QC35 II. Sony has got the bass weight absolutely spot on, and the result is hugely enjoyable to listen to. The noise cancelling is almost magical and equal to the PX and QC35 II.
There are various EQ settings. There’s also an Atmospheric Pressure Optimiser, which supposedly improves noise cancelling at altitude. I have to say, I don’t think either of them improve anything.
Great-sounding, feature-packed and just as affordable as the competition? The Sony WH-1000XM2 are a solid all-around pick for noise-cancelling.
Acoustic design: Closed | Weight: 23g | Cable length: N/A | Frequency response: N/A | Drivers: N/A | Driver type: N/A | Sensitivity: N/A | Impedance: N/A | Battery life: 10 hours | Wireless range: 33 ft | NFC: Yes
5.Sennheiser HD 4.50 BTNC
The Sennheiser HD 4.50 BTNC headphones are proof that you don’t need bottomless cash reserves to get decent noise-canceling.
While Bose used to own the noise-cancelling headphone market with its QuietComfort 35. Sennheiser has risen to be on par with the competition, combining supreme sound quality with noise-cancelling tech. So be assured: the HD 4.50 cans reviewer here are every bit as good as Bose.
The Sennheiser HD 4.50s are one of the most affordable noise-canceling headphones.
If you want to travel light, options have so far been limited, so Sennheiser has made the HD 4.50 BTNCs both lightweight and flexible. Weighing 238g on their own, they use fairly narrow, but thick cushioned and closed ear-cups.
To get the best from the Sennheiser HD 4.50 BTNCs you need to use them in noisy environments.
The NoiseGuard noise-cancelling tech uses dual omnidirectional microphones to monitor the ambient sound, which it then electronically cancels out.