We all know that listening to our favorite sounds makes us more relaxed, boosts our mood and affects our state of mind in countless ways.

And if you’re anything like me, you need music like you need air to breathe!

I have many great pairs of headphones that help me brighten up my day, but recently I’ve been doing some research about the best noise-canceling headphones.

Why do I need another pair, you ask?

Well, ever since I tried on a set of Bose’s Quiet Comfort 35s, I realized there’s so much more to good headphones than just excellent sound quality:

A good pair can make you feel like you’re alone in a crowded room or help you focus in even the noisiest environments.

What are the Best Noise-Canceling Headphones for 2018?

There is actually no right answer to this question, but you already know that. What’s best for you depends on whether you value quality over noise cancelation strength or vice versa.

Hopefully, this Noise-Canceling Headphones Buying Guide will help you pick THE pair that’s right for you so you can enjoy music in the best possible way.

So, without further ado, here are our Top 6 picks of the best noise-canceling headphones of 2018. Whether you’re looking for a good pair for traveling or studying, we’ve got you!

Check out the reviews below.

Product NameBattery TimeBest FeaturesLearn More
Bose Quiet Comfort 35 II
(Editor's choice!)
Read the Review
Up to 20 hours wirelessNoise cancellation; ComfortCheck Price
Bose Quiet Comfort 35 I
Read the Review
Up to 20 hours wirelessNoise cancellation; ComfortCheck Price
Sony WH-1000xM2
Read the Review
Up to 30 hours wirelessSound quality; ComfortCheck Price
Bowers & Wilkins PX
Read the Review
Up to 22 hours wirelessSound quality; ComfortCheck Price
Sennheiser HD 4.50
Read the Review
Up to 25 hours wirelessSound qualityCheck Price
Sennheiser HD1
Read the Review
Up to 22 hours wirelessSound qualityCheck Price
Product NameBattery TimeBest FeaturesLearn More
Bose Quiet Comfort 35 II
(Editor's choice!)
Bose Quiet Comfort 35 I
Sony WH-1000xM2
30hSound quality
Bowers & Wilkins PX
22hSound quality
Sennheiser HD 4.50
25hSound quality
Sennheiser HD1

1. Bose QuietComfort 35 II – Most Comfortable Headphones and Best Noise Canceling Ability

Bose’s Quiet Comfort 35 noise-canceling headphones were already a bestseller for the company, but they released a second-generation model at the end of last year.

Bose promises superior comfort and high-quality sound, but do they really deliver? And is the second-generation actually better than QC 35 I?

We’ll take a closer look at these questions in our Bose Quiet Comfort 35 review.

Noise-canceling capabilities

Both QC 35 series headphones use active and passive noise cancellation mechanisms to block out surrounding sounds.

Out of all the headphones reviewed here, Bose’s QC is truly the best at canceling out background noises. You can feel it the moment you put them on: all surrounding sounds just fade away. Put on some music, and you are in your own little bubble.

Make no mistake though, they do not block out everything 100%, and you can still hear sudden noises such as loud bangs or shouting.

Sound quality

Coupled with the active noise cancellation technology these Bose headphones are supposed to offer a full range of sound. Meaning, theoretically, all genres of music are supposed to sound equally good with the QC 35s.

Now, the term “sound quality” is very subjective as we all hear music in different ways. When doing research for this guide, I read through a lot of reviews.

People generally agree (and from my experience, so do I) that:

  • The bass quality is good, and genres like hip-hop, reggae, electro, or even modern rock generally sound great.
  • The headphones are not so good for music with lots of vocals and guitar strings.

If your music taste ranges from classical to hip-hop, you might be better off with the Bowers & Wilkins headphones as they are able to deliver more consistent quality for different genres.


Bose promises comfort, and it definitely delivers with the Quiet Comfort series:

The headphone cups are wide, covering your ear in full. The padding of the cups is very soft so they feel super comfortable around the ears.

The frame also comes with soft padding, which means you can wear them for long periods without any discomfort. They offer a snug fit, but you won’t feel any clamping pressure around your ears.

The frame is adjustable, but it is not collapsible.

The problem with comfort is that it’s again very subjective. Some people report feeling pressure around their ears. Others say the cups were too big, etc. For me, the headphones offered a perfect fit. My girlfriend wouldn’t be able to wear them as the frame was still too big, even after adjusting it to the smallest fit.

You won’t know until you’ve physically tried them on, so I recommend finding a store where you can test them before making a purchase online.


You can control the Bose Quiet Comfort 35 headphones either by using the buttons on the unit or using their app on your smartphone:

  • The buttons are easily accessible on the right earpiece. You can use the buttons to turn music on or off, adjust volume and switch songs.
  • Bose’s mobile app is simple to use and gives you access to more control options. These include things like allowing you to control device connections, sound quality, update firmware, and a lot more.

The second-generation set comes with an Action button that is located on the left ear cup. This is the only difference between the old and new model!

The Action button allows you to connect to your Google Assistant without using your phone. If you choose to activate this function, the Assistant can tell you who’s calling, send texts, read out some notifications and more.

The best thing though is that you don’t have to use the Action button for Google Assistant:

Instead, you can use it to control noise cancellation levels. You can already do that through the app, but if you’re sensitive to the light pressure active noise cancellation can cause, you’ll welcome the ability to control the levels directly from the ear cup.

Bonus features

The QuietComfort 35s allow you to use the headphones during phone calls. There’s just one problem:

For some reason, the headphones amplify ambient noise, and everybody on the call can hear it. It might not be the best set for making business calls.

Charging and battery life

It takes about 2.25 hours to charge these headphones, which is pretty fast. The battery life is about 20 hours wireless and 40 hours wired – even when noise cancellation is turned on.

The battery is not removable, so the only way to charge it is through the micro USB cable.

Final verdict

If superior noise canceling capabilities and comfort are your key priorities, then these Bose headphones are worth considering. They are definitely the top contender for the best noise-canceling headphones title!


Most comfortable headphones
Unrivaled noise cancelation strength
Great bass
Multiple NC levels
Added function for Google Assistant
Access to Alexa coming soon
NC can be controlled from the earcup
20 hours of battery time


The Bluetooth range seems to be about half of what is advertised
Not so good for vocals and guitar strings
The built-in mic amplifies surrounding sounds when on the call

2. Bose QuietComfort 35 I Generation – Second Best Bose Noise-Canceling Headphones

The first-generation Quiet Comfort 35 headphones are an already-excellent product that got a minor upgrade for 2018. They are still a bestseller for the company, despite the release of the upgraded model.

The original pair is on our list as a great alternative to the newer model as you still get world-class noise cancellation and superior comfort at a slightly lower price.

Let’s see what this model can offer.

Noise-canceling capabilities

Like QC 35 II, the first-generation headphones use powerful active and passive noise cancellation technologies to block out both ambient and non-ambient sounds.

With the latter, loud bangs and other sudden noises are not so much blocked as they are slightly muted. This gives the headphones a huge advantage over models from Bowers & Wilkins and Sony that are not so effective against sudden sounds.

The Series I model comes with three noise cancellation levels: off, low, and high.

Controlling these levels is where the newer model is superior though:

With the I generation, you can only control the noise cancellation levels from Bose’s mobile app. With the II’s, you can switch between them directly from the left earcup if you set it up right. It might not be such a big deal, but for someone who is sensitive to the slight pressure active noise cancellation can cause, the newer model might be a better choice.

Sound quality

One of Bose’s key sound quality-improving features is the volume optimized EQ feature, which is supposed to balance the sound for better clarity and quality despite the volume you play at.

Don’t let fancy words fool you:

Despite promises of “full range of sound,” not all genres of music sound equally great with the QC 35s.

Yes, they bring deep bass and stable treble, but high-range frequencies sound a little flat and tinny. Especially so when compared to the Bowers & Wilkins model which offers much better quality across different genres.


The headphones have large padded ear cups with synthetic protein leather finishing. The large cups give an over-ear fit which is more comfortable than Sennheiser noise-canceling headphones.

They also have a wide adjustable headband with soft padding and leather lining. It is firm but not tight and the plastic frame which makes it light and therefore comfortable to wear for long periods of time.


You can control the headphones using Bose’s smartphone app. This gives you a lot of power in terms of control over functions like volume, noise cancellation, tracklist, EQ balance and much more.

They also have buttons to control power, Bluetooth connectivity, volume and track selection directly.

Some users find it annoying that important features such as noise cancellation can only be controlled from the mobile app. If this is something that concerns you, the Series II Quiet Comfort headphones might be a better choice (see above).

Bonus features

The noise-rejecting dual microphone is meant to let you receive calls without having to take off your headphones. The feature is buggy, to say the least:

The sound becomes muffled after a couple of minutes, and the microphone somehow amplifies surrounding sounds, making it audible for all participants of the call.

Charging and battery life

As with most other Bose wireless headphones, you get 20 hours of battery life for 2.25 hours of charging time. Plus, you can extend the battery time to up to 40 hours by using it wired.

If the battery is dead, you can still continue to listen to music in the wired mode, but neither noise cancellation nor Active EQ will work.

Final verdict

Bose is known for designing great headphones as far as comfort, sound and noise cancellation are concerned. The Series I headphones offer the same excellent quality as the new Series II model. Sure, it might lack regarding controls when compared to the QC II, but they are still an excellent choice!


Most comfortable headphones
Great at noise cancelation
Great for bass-heavy genres
Multiple NC levels
Up to 40 hours of battery time when wired
You can continue listening to music even when the battery is dead
Most features can be adjusted from the smartphone app


Not so great for vocals and other mid- to high-range sounds
The Bluetooth range seems to be about half of what is advertised
Can’t control NC from the earcup
The built-in mic amplifies surrounding sounds when on the call

3. Sony WH-1000xM2 – Best Sony Noise-Canceling Headphones

When it comes to electronics, Sony is the very definition of the term household brand. Their WH-1000xM2 noise-canceling headphones are marketed as the perfect combination of complete noise cancellation, high-quality sound, and affordability.

Below is a comprehensive review of the model’s key features to see just how true this is.

Noise-canceling capabilities

Sony’s WH-1000xM2 headphones are pretty much the only ones that can compete with Bose in terms of noise cancellation:

The Adaptive Sound Control and digital noise cancellation features do a great job at silencing most background noises. Like Bose, they aren’t perfect, but they do a decent job.

If you intend to use these headphones for studying or sleeping on a plane in a wireless mode, you should know that noise cancellation only works if the set is connected to Bluetooth. If it’s not connected, the headphones automatically switch off after 5 minutes.

Sound quality

Sony’s headphones are advertised as offering high-quality sound, but some competitors such as Bowers & Wilkins are clearly superior here:

The M2s seem to be heavily genre dependent:

The headphones lean more toward the low-end sounds, so genres like hip-hop and contemporary rock sound great with them. However, they can’t really handle the mid-range sounds too well. Jazz, classical music, instrumentals, and female vocals all sound too muddy.

Comfort features

Sony’s M2s are the second most comfortable headphones reviewed in this article:

The cups are slightly smaller than Bose QC 35s but nicely padded and generally comfortable to wear for long periods of time. The headband is also padded and doesn’t apply any pressure on your head.

The frame is foldable into a compact shape, so these headphones are very comfortable to use when traveling.

There have been many complaints about the original WH-1000 model as the headband seemed to crack easily. The new model doesn’t come with any visible structural changes, so it’s natural you’re wondering if this is the case with the M2s as well. Sony has stated that they narrowed down the problem to a specific batch of WH-1000x units, so it shouldn’t be a problem anymore.


You can control these headphones through a smartphone app, touch controls, and voice commands through Google Assistant.

The smartphone app is compatible with both IOS and Android systems. It allows you to access a wide variety of control options such as sound equalizer adjustment, playlist control and manual control over noise cancellation levels.

The main difference between the WH-1000x and WH-1000XM2s is a built-in self-adjustment feature:

The new feature should “optimize for atmospheric pressure” when you travel and automatically adjust to your altitude. While it’s great for those who are sensitive to air pressure when flying, you might not notice anything different with these cans.

The self-adjustment feature should detect whether you’re sitting, walking or traveling and automatically adjust the noise cancellation levels. It’s a great idea and has a lot of potential, but unfortunately, it doesn’t work perfectly yet.

The controls on the right ear cup are not the best either as the headset sometimes mistakes pushing the button up for swiping forward and instead of adjusting sound, changes the song.

Bonus features

One of the unique features of the 1000xM2s is the “Quick Attention” mode, which is designed to allow you to react quickly when someone comes up to talk to you.

The feature is supposed to lower the volume automatically when you place your hand over the right ear cup. While it’s a great idea, in theory, Sony still needs to work on it to make it work perfectly.

Charging and battery life

Charging to full power will give you an impressive 30 hours of battery life. On top of that, you can also use the quick charge option, which only takes about 10 minutes but gives you up to 70 minutes of music playback when wired.

Final verdict

From all these features, it is safe to say that Sony delivered on the promise of high-quality sound and premium noise cancellation. Although not perfect, the M2s are definitely worth considering if you’re looking for an alternative for the already popular Bose brand.


Great for low-end sound frequencies (bass)
Noise-cancelation is second to only Bose
Very comfortable
The smartphone app allows you to adjust volume, change tracks, etc.
Longest battery life (30 hours)
Google Assistant compatible


Can’t handle mid-range sounds very well
Buttons can be uncomfortable to use
Not all features work as advertised

4. Bowers & Wilkins PX – Best Overall Sound Quality

When it comes to audio devices like headphones and speakers, Bowers and Wilkins is a force to be reckoned with. Their wireless PX Active noise-canceling headphones are among their best-selling models.

Are they worth all the hype? Below is a review of the key features to help answer this question.

Noise-canceling capabilities

Bowers & Wilkins PX uses digital sound canceling technology with three environment filter modes. This ensures customized noise cancellation whether you are in the office, on a plane or out and about in town.

Although not quite as good as Bose’s Quiet Comfort 35 series headphones, Bowers & Wilkins does a decent job in canceling out most ambient sounds. It doesn’t offer complete noise cancellation though as it can’t handle sudden noises such as shouting and loud bangs.

When you hear complaints about the quality of noise cancelation, it’s usually coming from people who want to wear glasses at the same time.

Unfortunately, it’s inevitable that noise cancelation is reduced when the earcups don’t fit tightly around your ears. Glasses with a thinner frame might be a solution here.

Sound quality

Bowers & Wilkins PX headphones offer the best sound quality across different genres. They are pretty much equally great for mid-to-high-range as well as low range sounds. Rock music, classical, vocals – all sound great with the PX.

Granted, some people say that bass is not strong enough as they lack bass enhancement that was present in previous models from the same company. They might not be that great for bass-heavy music then.


The headphones have a beautiful modern design and feature wide padded cups with soft lining material and a unique padded plastic frame.

The wide design of the cup, in particular, eliminates any strain or uncomfortable friction common with other small-cupped headphones. The padding over the frame also helps improve durability by protecting the plastic from scratches and breaking due to falls or mishandling.

Despite these comfort features, the headphones are pretty heavy, which means wearing them for longer periods could cause you some strain and discomfort.

The frame is adjustable for a better fit but not foldable, which makes storage and transport a bit of a hassle especially for travelers.


One of the most unique things about these Bowers & Wilkins’ headphones is the Intuitive Control feature, which allows you to automatically pause and play music:

When you lift an earcup or take the pair off, it automatically pauses the music. When you put them back on, the music is automatically resumed.

Although a great idea, the feature doesn’t always work flawlessly:

Sometimes, it turns itself off with slight movements. This can be a nuisance especially if you are wearing the headphones to bed or you are dancing.

Plus, it doesn’t always make a difference between them resting around your neck and you putting them back on – the music may start at the wrong time.

Besides the buttons on the headset, you can also control the headphones using the Bowers & Wilkins smartphone app. It allows you to control everything from volume and playlist to noise cancellation modes and sound quality.

Charging and battery life

On a full charge, the headphones offer up to 22 hours of battery life.

Unfortunately, the PXs are “active headphones,” which means they need power to work: you can’t use them when the battery is dead.

Final verdict

All factors and features considered, Bowers & Wilkins definitely didn’t disappoint with this pair of headphones. They look awesome, are designed for comfort and will give you the very best sound quality you can get from noise-canceling headphones. Although not perfect, they are a great choice for someone looking for an alternative to Bose.


Fantastic sound
Multiple NC levels
Modern design
22 hours battery time
Smartphone app to control volume, tracks, NC, etc.


Can’t be used when the battery is dead
NC is not as great as Sony’s or Bose’s
No bass enhancement
Advertised features don’t work as well as they could

5. Sennheiser HD 4.50
– Best Budget Noise-Canceling Headphones

The Sennheiser HD 4.50 is an upgrade of the brand’s earlier models including the HD1 noise-canceling headphones.

Below is a review of its features to show you why they are the best budget noise-canceling headphones for 2018.

Noise-canceling capabilities

The HD 4.50s use an active noise cancellation technology (ANC) called NoiseGard, which you can turn on or off at will. It’s definitely an advantage as it helps save on battery where noise cancellation is not needed.

The noise cancellation abilities of these Sennheiser’s headphones are surprisingly good for their price:

The tightly fitting ear cups block out most sounds even when NoiseGard is turned off. Switch it on, and you’ll find the silence truly impressive. Granted, they are not exactly as good as Bose or Sony, but they are not far behind either.


To activate ANC, you need to hold the up and down volume buttons at the same time for about three seconds. This move is a little complicated to get the hang of and a bit trickier when compared to other models that come with automatic noise cancellation sensors.

Sound quality

Again, considering their price, the sound quality of the Sennheiser 4.50s is quite impressive:

The headphones come with a wider frequency response than the HD1 and offer powerful bass with good definition. The treble is not bad either. Even the midrange sounds that many other headphones can’t handle sound pretty natural. And though the sound is not as crisp or clean as the Sony 1000X M2s, the HD 4.50s definitely give Bose a run for their money.

Comfort features

Comfort is one of the areas where Sennheiser had to compromise to offer lower-than-average price:

Although the new headphones come with padded cups, a padded frame, and soft leatherette lining, the headphones just feel less comfortable than those of Bose and Sony.

The problem may lie in the smaller size of the cups that tend not to fit well over larger ears. The foldable headband is also smaller than usual, and both the cups as well as the headband feel too tight for many people. You may feel uncomfortable pressure on your head when you wear them for too long.


You can find all the buttons to control the Sennheiser’s 4.50s at the bottom of the right ear cup. The controls include a power button, a slider for adjusting volume, and a button to change tracks.

There is no smartphone app to adjust volume, change tracks or control other features. That said, Sennheiser does have a mobile app called CapTune, which is a music player/sound optimization tool combined into one.

Charging and battery life

On full power, you get about 19 hours of listening time on noise cancellation mode, which is almost equal with what you get with Sony and Bose. Noise cancellation can be turned off and doing so extends the battery life to up to 25 hours.

Final verdict

The Sennheiser HD 4.50s are the best budget noise-canceling headphones for 2018. They offer surprisingly high-quality sound and great noise cancellation strength. The headphones don’t come with any bonus features, but if you’re just looking to escape the noise around you without compromising on sound quality, you’ve found the pair for you.


Great for midrange sounds
Powerful bass
Great NC abilities considering the price
Cheaper than most other noise-canceling headphones
Long Bluetooth range


No smartphone app for controlling sound, tracks, etc.
Not as comfortable as Bose and Sony
The touch controls feel too small for some people

6. Sennheiser HD1 Wireless Headphones – Highly Rated by Thousands of Users

Sennheiser is a German brand that has been in the business of making headphones for decades. Although their HD1 model has been on the market for a couple of years now, it is still among the company’s most popular models.

Our Sennheiser HD1 review explains why they are still one of the best noise-canceling headphones to buy in 2018.

Noise-canceling capabilities

Like all headphones listed in this article, the HD1 uses active noise cancellation to block out surrounding sounds:

The technology implemented is fairly effective on ambient environmental noises. However, it doesn’t perform as well as Bose Quiet Comfort 35 or Sony in terms of cancellation quality and effect against non-ambient noise.

A definite disadvantage with these headphones is that you have no control over noise cancellation:

You cannot change noise canceling levels nor can you disable the feature. Not exactly ideal since you may not need NC at all times and it definitely affects battery life.

Sound quality

Sound quality is one of the best things about these headphones:

The bass is powerful enough and not overly heavy but may feel too weak for bass-dependent genres like hip hop or reggae.

High notes sound clear and crisp, and there’s a good balance between high, mid and low-frequency sounds.

Comfort features

The Sennheiser HD1 headphones are quite comfortable:

The set features padded ear cups that cushion the ears from strain when the headphones are worn for long. However, the cups are quite small, which may make them uncomfortable for people with bigger ears.

The padded headband frame feels soft around your head and your neck, but some people find the frame a little tight. If you’re wearing glasses, you should definitely try the headphones on before buying.

The frame is lightweight and adjustable, which makes the HD1s a great choice for frequent travelers.


You can control the headphones for pairing, turning them on/off, adjusting volume or changing tracks by using the touch control panels on the right ear cup.

Since the HD1s are a couple of years old, there’s no smartphone app to control these features. Sennheiser did create an app called CapTune to allow you to optimize the sound. It’s a great tool for those looking for ideal sound!

Bonus features

Like Bose Quiet Comfort 35, Sennheiser’s HD1 headphones feature a built-in mic for accepting calls. It’s not their best function though as there’s sometimes an annoying echo effect when you’re on the phone.

Charging and battery life

On full power, the headphones give you about 22 hours of listening time, and charging takes less than two hours. This puts them above Bose, at the same level as Bowers & Wilkins but way below Sony in terms of battery life.

The good thing is you can still use them even if the battery is dead (without the NC function): just plug the cable, and you’re good to go.

Final verdict

The Sennheiser HD1s have a great design, are easy to use and pretty comfortable to wear. They are perfect for someone who wants to (slightly) block surrounding sounds but doesn’t want to compromise on sound quality.


Beautiful design
Great sound quality
Trusted brand
22 hours battery time
You can listen to music even when the battery is dead


No smartphone app to control volume, tracks, etc.
Not as comfortable as Bose or Sony
NC could be better
NC can’t be turned off or adjusted
The bass may feel too weak for bass-dependent genres

How to Choose the Best Noise-Canceling Headphones – Buying Guide

Noise-canceling headphones can be a great investment. Maybe you need a little help zoning out so you could enjoy your favorite jams? Or perhaps you need something to help you concentrate when there’s too much happening around? Either way, noise-blocking headphones might be just what you need.


Shopping for a decent pair is not as easy as walking into a shop and picking out the first one you see. There are too many models and brands out there to choose from, and they all promise the same thing: good quality sound with maximum noise cancellation.

But what other qualities should you look for?

We’ve put together this buying guide to give you an overview of everything you should know and help you make a decision so you could get full value for your money.

But first things first: PRIORITIES

Before we go into details about the different features, there is one question you should ask yourself:

Do I care more about the sounds the headphones are supposed to cancel out? (noise canceling abilities)


Do I care more about the sound they actually produce? (sound quality)

Many people expect their chosen pair to do both perfectly, but the truth is:

Unless your willing to pay close to a thousand dollars (or more), you just can’t expect both.

So, before diving deeper into finding your perfect pair, make sure to understand your needs first.

Now, here’s a list of all the things to consider when buying noise-canceling headphones:

Noise-canceling vs. noise isolating design

You might not know this, but there’s actually a big difference between noise isolation and noise cancellation:

  • Noise cancellation is an active process where the noise reduction effect is achieved by using a special Digital Signal Processing technology. It is a mechanism that produces “counter-waves” when receiving sound waves from your surroundings. These counter-waves move in the opposite direction as the noise waves and as a result, “cancel” each other out when they meet.
  • Noise isolation, on the other hand, is a passive process, which blocks the sound more than it cancels it. Noise isolating earphones reduce the sounds you hear from the outside by creating a seal around the ear (usually with thick padding on the ear cups). This prevents the transmission of sound waves from your surroundings.

Noise-canceling headphones are usually more efficient in reducing sounds from the outside, although neither technology can cancel out ALL background noise.

Noise-canceling capabilities

When it comes to headphones with active noise cancellation, not all models are the same:

One of the key differences lies in the type of sounds that are silenced.

Most pairs can handle constant ambient sounds in the immediate environment such as noises from traffic, people talking or even annoying birds chirping in your ceiling space.

There are very few that block out non-ambient sounds including things like sudden bangs or people shouting.

Another thing to consider is whether the noise cancellation works both ways – not only keeping the noise out but also keeping the wanted sounds in. Meaning: can other people around you hear music from your headphones or not.

Sound quality

It’s important to understand that sound quality” is a subjective term and people usually evaluate quality based on their own musical preferences.

True, a good set of headphones should be able to handle all sound frequencies well, but that is not always the case.

  • Some headphones focus more on bass (so-called low-range frequencies), which is usually great for styles like hip-hop, electronic dance music, or reggae. Often, mid-range sounds like vocals and guitar strings lack clarity with these types of headsets.
  • Other headphones focus more on high-range frequencies which have a treble-enhancing effect. In this case, you hear higher pitched instruments including string instruments, vocals, and pianos a lot better. Such headphones are perfect for fans of pop, Rock ‘n Roll, country, classical and folk music.

It’s not possible to say which headphones fit with which style exactly so try to get this information from consumer reviews!


Besides sound quality and noise cancellation abilities, the second most important thing to consider is how comfortable it is to wear the headphones:

  • Some headphones create a lot of pressure around the ears to offer maximum noise cancellation, while others feel more comfortable around that area but let in more noise from the outside.
  • Some pairs are uncomfortable to wear because the frame sits around your head too tight and others are not quite tight enough.

Comfort is another feature that’s highly personal, so the best thing would be to try a couple of pairs in a brick and mortar shop before buying online.

Weight, dimensions and practical design

These determine just how easy and comfortable the headphones are to wear.

Regarding weight, the average sets range from 100 to 400 grams. Lighter headphones are easier to carry around and wear for long periods of time. Note that the weight doesn’t necessarily determine the overall quality of the headphones.

When it comes to size and design, one of the most important factors to consider is adjustability. Most high-quality sets allow you to adjust the earphones to suit your head shape and size.

Whether or not the headset is collapsible is also important to consider, especially if you travel often


Controls determine how easy it is to use the headphones. There are two types available:

  • Headphones with controls on the unit itself. These allow you to do different things, like change volume, switch songs, pause, receive calls and more.
  • Headphones you control through your phone or other devices. In this case, the pair is connected either through Bluetooth or Wi-Fi with an app on the device that gives you access to different functions.

Charging specifications and battery life

There are two important questions you need to ask while shopping for headphones:

How long does it take for the headphones to charge? And how much play time do you get after that?

The average charging time for most noise-canceling headphones is 2-3 hours, but battery life from a full charge ranges between ten to thirty hours. Some high-quality pairs can offer up to 50 hours of listening time.

Wired vs. Wireless

You can either choose to have wired or wireless designs, although most new pairs are all wireless with the option to plug them when you want.

Wired headsets consume way less power, which significantly improves battery life.

Wireless ones, on the other hand, need to be charged more often but they offer free and a fuller range of movement.

Bottom line

As you can see, there are quite a few things to pay attention to when picking the right pair of headphones. That said, noise cancellation capabilities, sound quality, and comfort are the three main things you should concentrate on.

I hope you find this buying guide helpful! If you have any questions or comments, please leave a comment below.

About the author

Max is a 29-year-old blogger, passionate about new technologies, outdoor activities and travelling.

He is an online marketing professional, currently working as a Head of SEO in a web agency.

Best Noise-Canceling Headphones 2018 – Buyer’s Guide
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