The 8 Best Noise-Canceling Headphones to Buy in 2018

Tune out the background noise with these great headphones

Noise-pollution is everywhere and if you're looking to drown out that crying baby on your next long-haul flight, let us help you pick out which headphones will do the trick. The first thing to keep in mind about noise-canceling headphones is that they are about blocking out noise first and sound quality second. With that said, read on to see our top choices for active noise-canceling headphones.

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.

These aren’t the cheapest noise-canceling headphones on the market, but they do offer the best mix of performance and price. You can find noise-canceling cans for as low as $50, but they’re not likely to work as advertised. The Monoprice Hi-Fi headphones promise solid noise-canceling performance, with stellar reviews from Consumer Reports. The active noise reduction tech blocks out ambient noise of up to 22dB, and runs on AAA batteries promising up to 50 hours of use. It features a three-button remote that allows you to use them with your mobile device or VoIP applications. The design itself is pretty boring and there’s no Bluetooth compatibility, but when it comes to value these are about as good as it gets for the noise-canceling category.

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 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 30 are the right fit.

Check out our guide of the best earbuds available on the market today. 

When it comes to comfort, hands-down the most comfortable headphone form factor is the over-ear design. These cans fit over your entire ear, which prevents the pressure that on-ear cans can place on the flaps of your ears, and the jawbone stress that in-ear devices can cause. Among over-ear noise-canceling headphones, the Sennheiser PXC 480 are the most comfortable. Tough, rugged materials ensure both reliability and durability. They also feature a unique TalkThrough function that allows users to communicate without taking off the headphones.

These are some pretty little headphones — and affordable, too. Unlike a lot of other noise-canceling headphones, these BÖHM cans include a rechargeable lithium-ion battery that lasts up to 18 hours. With two, high-end stereo drivers, you can expect some quality sound with a heavy bass presence. As an added bonus, these phones are Bluetooth compatible, meaning no wires are necessary. They come in two, equally stylish color tones, but we recommend the brown, tan, gold scheme for maximum wow factor. In addition to looking great, the BÖHM headphones are super comfortable. They feature light leather ear cups with a soft headband for stress-free listening. There’s even an inline remote and mic that allow you to take hands-free calls on the fly.

Check out our guide of the most stylish headphones available on the market today. 

The V-MODA Crossfade Wireless Headphones look like something out of science fiction with a two-tone industrial style that will make you look like a DJ from the future. But they’re not just stylish. They sound great, too. These headphones have a dual-diaphragm 50mm driver, which allows for crystal clear sound that separates thumping bass from bleeding into the mids and highs of a song.

Oh, and they’re crazy versatile, too. These headphones let you go wired or wireless depending on your circumstances. Say you have a smartphone with no jack and need wireless headphones, but you use wired headphones with your work laptop. The V-MODA Crossfade can handle both and you can sync the headphones to two devices simultaneously if you’re using, say, a phone and a tablet at the same time. These headphones can pump music wirelessly for about 12 hours on a single charge, but you can still use them wired if your battery runs out. It also comes in black, chrome, red and white/silver color varieties, so you can match the headphones to your new future DJ personality.

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.

Amazon reviewers say that the WaveSound 3 headphones are a great value for less than $100 and they’ve been extremely satisfied, especially for travel and dealing with ambient noise.

Portable, light and with an attractive design, the AKG N60 headphones are perfect for those on the go. With 30 hours of battery life and USB charging, the N60 design is made up of plastic wrapped in a premium leather that extends all the way to the ear cups. Active Noise canceling is present, but the real attraction of these headphones is the understated, but refined design and sound. There are excellent results in the highs, the mids are very clear and the lows have great depth and detailed bass.

Sign up for our daily deals newsletter

Disclosure: At Lifewire, our expert writers are committed to researching and writing thoughtful and editorially independent reviews of the best products for your life and your family. If you like what we do, you can support us through our chosen links, which earn us a commission.
Was this page helpful?