If you ever tried to focus on a task in a noisy environment, you know that investing in a decent pair of noise-canceling headphones is an absolute must. Not only the quality of the noise cancelation is crucial, but also the audio quality and comfort when wearing.

In this article, we will be looking at a few models that we feel offer an optimal balance between comfort, sound quality, noise cancelation, and price.

WINNER

Sony WH1000XM2

  • Price range*:
    $$$ check the price on Amazon
    Between USD 250 and USD 350
  • This is Sony’s top of the range noise-canceling over-ear hearphone, and it shows. Excellent sound quality and fantastic noise cancelation, all at an acceptable cost. Read more.

 

RUNNER UP

Bose QuietComfort 35 II

  • Price range*:
    $$$ check the price on Amazon
    Between USD 250 and USD 350
  • A classic and considered by many the best wireless noise-canceling headphone, the QuietComfort 35 II has even support for Google Assistant. Read more.

 

THE REST

 

WINNER

Sony WH-1000XM2 Noise-Canceling Wireless Headphones

IN SHORT

Sony WH-1000XM2

This is Sony’s top of the range noise canceling over-ear headphone, and it shows. Excellent sound quality and fantastic noise cancelation, all at an acceptable cost

Price: $$$ check the price on Amazon
Between USD 250 and USD 350

Headphone type: closed, dynamic
Weight:  
9.7 oz (275 g)
Battery life: 
30 h
Rating4.8 out of 5 stars (4.8 / 5)

PROS CONS
  • Best in class noise cancelation
  • Excellent sound quality, with support for high-resolution audio
  • 30 hours battery life
  • Build quality around the hinges
  • Touch controls are a bit of a hit-and-miss

 

If you are looking for the absolutely best noise canceling headphone without breaking the bank, the Sony WH-1000XM2 is your best choice. The quality of noise canceling is truly superb, rivaling and even surpassing that of the Bose QuietComfort 35 II discussed below. Combine that with a long battery life of 30 hours, a superb sound quality that supports high-resolution audio (even if your audio source doesn’t support it) and excellent build quality, it’s clear that Sony offers a lot for the asking price here.

Two minor points though. First of all, the touch controls to control your music aren’t very intuitive. I prefer physical controls to this, as you need to be precise when executing them or they simply won’t work. Secondly, the hinges that connect the headband with the earcups are made of plastic, and not metal like the rest of the headphone. My expectation is that unless you really go rough on the WH-1000XM2 all will be fine, but it’s important to be aware of this (potential) weak point.

RUNNER UP

Bose QuietComfort 35 II Noise-Canceling Wireless Headphones

IN SHORT

Bose QuietComfort 35 II

A classic and considered by many the best wireless noise-canceling headphone, the QuietComfort 35 II has even support for Google Assistant.

Price: $$$ check the price on Amazon
Between USD 250 and USD 350

Headphone type: closed, dynamic
Weight: 
8.3 oz (235 g)
Battery life: 
20 h
Rating4.6 out of 5 stars (4.6 / 5)

PROS CONS
  • Fantastic noise-cancelation
  • Lightweight and very comfortable
  • Excellent sound quality
  • Google assistant integration
  • Plastic build
  • Expensive

 

You might get the idea that Bose is charging more than they should for the QuietComfort 35 II, just because they can. They really aren’t. These headphones are worth every penny and rightfully considered one of the best offers on the market.

My big grip with the older model, the QuietComfort was the use of AAA batteries. It’s just not so handy to manage as a rechargeable, built-in battery. The QuietComfort 35 has a rechargeable battery that lasts 20 hours, and that should be sufficient for most users.

On to the noise canceling. For a long time, Bose was the absolute leader in NC tech, and therefore, the best. In recent years, other manufacturers have successfully played catch-up, but that doesn’t mean Bose is getting behind. Proof of that is the quality of the noise canceling in the QuietComfort 35. It’s truly class leading, topped only by the Sony WH-1000XM2. This combined with the fantastic sound quality results in one of the best sets your money can buy.

Sony WHH900N Noise-Canceling Wireless Headphones

IN SHORT

Sony WH-H900N noise cancelling headphone

Not as fantastic sounding as the Sony WH-1000XM2 but still great sounding, the WHH900N has a long battery life of 28 hours and a very comfortable closed design that comes in several colors. The noise cancelation is not on the level of the WH-1000XM2 or the Bose QuietComfort 35 II, but is still pretty acceptable.

Price: $$$check the price on Amazon
Between USD 250 and USD 350

Headphone type: closed, dynamic
Weight: 
10.23 oz (283 g)
Battery life: 
28 h
Rating4.5 out of 5 stars (4.5 / 5)

PROS CONS
  • Great sound
  • Solid and comfortable build
  • Noise canceling is a bit disappointing
  • No hard case in the package

 

The Sony WHH900N are actually pretty amazing, considering the price. The noise canceling is a bit inferior to that on the top model WH-1000XM2, but it’s still pretty good. Let’s say it’s more than enough for everyday use, only in really loud environments their performance will be noticeably inferior to the top model.

The sound quality is, however, fantastic. The WH-H900N’s supports high-resolution audio, and a has built-in low-resolution audio upscaling. This means that your low resolution digital audio files will sound noticeably better when using these headphones. And they actually do!

Finally, we come to overall build-quality and comfort. The WH-H900N’s are very well built and sit comfortably on your head for prolonged usage. The material used is mostly plastic, but the headphone doesn’t feel cheap, far from it.

Sennheiser HD 4.50 Noise-Canceling Wireless Headphones

IN SHORT

Sennheiser HD 4.50 BTNC

Good quality noise canceling, audio quality, portability, AND comfort for a bargain price: the Sennheiser 4.50 BTNC don’t disappoint.

Price: $$ check the price on Amazon
Between USD 100 and USD 250

Headphone type: closed, dynamic
Weight: 
8.39 oz (238 g)
Battery life: 
25 h
Rating4.2 out of 5 stars (4.2 / 5)

PROS CONS
  • Decent noise-canceling
  • Decent audio quality
  • Lightweight
  • Average (but acceptable) build quality
  • Ergonomics (some buttons are hard to reach)

 

The Sennheiser HD 4.50 BTNC is by far the cheapest model in this guide, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t any good. On the contrary. These headphones don’t really excel in anything, but they offer decent quality all over the board: decent noise canceling, decent audio quality, lightweight (which is an important factor if you plan to carry these around your neck for a long time) and comfortable.

Sennheiser is known to deliver high-quality products that perform well at a very acceptable price, and the Sennheiser HD 4.50 BTNC is a very good example of that.

The battery should last you around 25 hours, which is a pretty good number, again, considering the price of this set.

Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H8i Noise-Canceling Wireless Headphones

IN SHORT

Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H8i

The B&0 Beoplay H8i are high-end headphones and therefore pricey, but you get back a lot for that: a lightweight yet very sturdy build, excellent noise canceling, premium audio quality and a long-lasting battery.

Price: $$$$ check the price on Amazon
Between USD 350 and USD 500

Headphone type: On-ear, dynamic
Weight: 
7.93 oz (225 g)
Battery life: 
30 h
Rating4.8 out of 5 stars (4.8 / 5)

PROS CONS
  • High-quality build in metal and leather
  • Lightweight so comfortable to wear on-ear
  • Excellent noise canceling and sound quality
  • Long battery life (30h)
  • Expensive
  • The on-ear design might not please everyone

 

Bang & Olufsen are known for their high-quality products, and the Beoplay H8i don’t disappoint. The price is high, but you get what you pay for: A high-quality build devoid of cheap plastics found on other models, excellent noise canceling despite this being an on-ear model and fantastic sound quality.

The long battery life of 30 hours is certainly worth to mention, as having to charge your headphones too often can quickly become a burden. The noise canceling is not at the level of our top picks, but it certainly comes very close to it and combined with the luxury feel, superb audio reproduction, and excellent build quality certainly appeal to people looking for the best of the best.