The Top 8 Noise-Cancelling Headphones of 2024: A Comprehensive Comparison

The Top 8 Noise-Cancelling Headphones of 2024: A Comprehensive Comparison

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Anders Lindsborg

Feb 5, 2024   •  31 min reading time

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In modern society, there is often nothing better than escaping the hustle and bustle of our busy lives. One of the best ways to achieve some serenity is with some peace and quiet.

Noise-cancelling headphones are the best solution for finding solitude even while surrounded by noise. They are versatile products that can be used in any environment and for any listening purpose, including phone calls, music, podcasts, and more. With a combination of superior comfort, exceptional sound quality, passive noise isolation and/or active noise cancellation, and plenty of unique and beneficial features, noise-cancelling headphones are suited to just about everybody.

Are you ready to find the best pair of headphones for your needs? Below, we’ll explore the best noise-cancelling headphones on the market and dive into their unique features and capabilities.

Why Trust Us

Why take our word for it? It’s simple, really: we tested more than 2 dozen noise-cancelling headphones, judging their muster in numerous categories. We assessed their noise-cancellation capabilities, sound quality, comfort, battery life, and connectivity experience. We only chose products that scored a 7/10 or higher to ensure we don’t lead you astray with a product that doesn’t meet all of our strict requirements.

1. Best Overall: Sony – WH-1000XM4 Wireless Noise-Cancelling Over-the-Ear Headphones

The Sony WH-1000XM4 headphones are our top pick for a number of reasons. When it comes to comfort, visual appeal, sound quality, connectivity, and noise-cancellation performance, these Sony headphones excel.

Sony’s proprietary LDAC technology and powerful a 40mm driver combine to create unparalleled sound quality for every type of audio experience. Capable of reproducing a full range of frequencies and featuring Sony’s DSEE Extreme technology for compatibility with high-resolution audio and upscale compressed files, there won’t be anything missing from your audio content.

The Sony WH-1000XM4 headphones are also equipped with a dual noise sensor and Sony’s QN1 HD noise-cancelling processor, both of which work wonders to eliminate background noise and immerse you in the serenity of your music, podcast, or audiobook.

The multi-point Bluetooth functionality of the Sony WH-1000XM4 headphones makes them the perfect option for people looking to buy headphones that only need to be connected to a device once. After pairing the headphones to each of your devices, you can seamlessly transition from one to the next anytime you wish to.

The overall design of these Sony headphones is spectacular. Well-placed buttons on the right ear cup allow you to control all of your audio settings. The adjustable headband and comfortable padding all around guarantee a comfortable listening experience, even for hours on end.

These Sony headphones can provide up to 30 hours of runtime on a single charge, and with a quick ten minutes, you can receive a 5 hour boost to get you through your day. A foldable design and protective case contribute to the travel-friendly nature of this model.

The Sony Headphones Connect app is another notable feature that dramatically increases the value. The companion app allows you to remotely control the sound settings, the level of noise cancellation, and even install firmware updates to keep things running smoothly. This app is required for the speak-to-chat functionality, so that is something to keep in mind.

Overall, the only drawback of these headphones is the cost. As a premium product in the noise-cancelling headphone industry, you have to pay the big bucks to get the big rewards.

Pros and Cons


  • Multi-point Bluetooth connectivity is supported
  • Sound quality is consistent across every genre
  • Design is comfortable for extended use
  • Noise-cancellation performance is excellent


  • Speak-to-chat functionality is only available with the Sony Headphones Connect app
  • Price is steep


  • Weight: 254g
  • Headphone Type: Over-ear
  • Battery Life: 30 hours
  • Battery Charge Time: 3 hours
  • Cable Length: 3.94 ft
  • Bluetooth Connectivity: Yes

2. Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700

The Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 are outfitted with one of the best noise cancelling systems available: the Acoustic Noise Cancelling technology. As a result, you will be able to easily focus on calls, music, and any other audio without any interference from the outside world.

Thanks to custom-designed drivers, the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 bring you some of the best sound quality in the headphone world. Whether you appreciate a deep bass or clear high notes most, you’ll be more than satisfied with the auditory experience.

Stylistic comfort is the name of the game for these Bose headphones. High-quality materials are integrated into a sleek design that ensures well-padded comfort for long listening sessions. Soft-touch plastics provide sophistication, and the adjustable headband guarantees a perfect fit for every adult user.

Speaking of style, the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 come in a variety of colours to allow everyone to choose their perfect match. Some of the highlights include Triple Black, Luxe Silver, and Soapstone.

The right ear cup is the place where the controls lie. An intuitive system allows you to tap or swipe to seamlessly change the audio volume, skip tracks, and pause and play the music. These controls can be a bit finicky at times, though, and you’ll likely need some adjustment time to master the patterns.

Aside from the touchy controls, there are only two other drawbacks to the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700. The first is its portability; they are one of the only models that do not fold into a more compact form. As a result, they will be a bit more difficult to travel with. A solid protective case is included with your purchase, though.

The only other minor drawback of these Bose headphones is the price. This is a top-of-the-line model made by an industry-leading brand, and its high price point is a reflection of that.

Pros and Cons


  • Available in a number of colours to suit your style
  • Modern design crafted with high-quality, comfortable materials
  • Touch controls allow easy access to functions
  • Noise-cancellation technology is quite effective
  • Custom-designed drivers provide superb sound quality


  • High purchase price
  • Touch controls can be tricky
  • Portability is not as advanced as other comparable models


  • Weight: 254g
  • Headphone Type: Over-ear
  • Battery Life: 20 hours
  • Battery Charge Time: 2.5 hours
  • Cable Length: 1m
  • Bluetooth Connectivity: Yes

3. Best Buds: Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II Truly Wireless

If you used the first version of the Bose QuietComfort earbuds, the first thing you’ll notice about this updated model is the lighter and more compact design. Not only do these changes dramatically improve the aesthetic appeal of the earbuds, but they are also more comfortable for long wear times. Another noticeable benefit is that this design stays in the ear better, even during vigorous activity.

For such a slim and unobtrusive product, these earbuds do a remarkable job at reducing the evidence of ambient noise while using them. The adjustability of the ANC ensures that you are only using as much power and isolating your music as much as you absolutely need to. As a result, these earbuds are great for crowded environments and enjoying music at home.

Another standout feature of the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II is the transparency mode. This mode allows certain noises to break through the noise-cancelling defenses, enabling you to remain aware of your surroundings whenever needed. The transparency mode is therefore useful as a safety feature when exercising outdoors and as a convenience for engaging in conversation while wearing the earbuds.

From the perspective of an on-the-go employee or socialite, these Bose earbuds have improved remarkably in a key feature: call quality. Advanced microphone technology filters out background noise and ensures both ends of the call are crystal clear.

Like many other noise-cancelling headphones, the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II have a built-in equalizer setting in addition to customizable options. This allows you to set your own sound profile with the ideal ratio of bass, mids, and high tones for the perfect arrangement with every genre.

The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II are not perfect, but their drawbacks will not be major issues for most users. A 6-hour battery life is not the greatest, but since the case can deliver up to three full charges as well, you won’t be running out of battery all the time unless you forget to put the earbuds back in their case.

With sensitive touch controls, users may find that they are making accidental adjustments to their volume or skipping tracks accidentally: with some practice and familiarity, this problem can be solved too.

The one drawback that can’t be avoided is the high price. The exceptional quality of the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II does mean they are priced at the top end of the market; they won’t be accessible to everyone, but they sure are worth the investment as one of the top noise-cancelling earbuds on the market.

Pros and Cons


  • Case supplies battery power for three full charges
  • Ideal for travel and commutes
  • Best in class noise-cancelling technology
  • Offer a comfortable and stable fit


  • Not equipped with multi-point Bluetooth connectivity
  • Sensitive touch controls
  • Not super comfortable for long listening sessions


  • Weight: 6g
  • Headphone Type: Earbud
  • Battery Life: 6 hours per charge
  • Battery Charge Time: 3 hours
  • Cable Length: N/A
  • Bluetooth Connectivity: Yes

4. Best for Apple Users: Apple AirPods Max

The Apple Airpods Max are an innovative and durable model that are perfectly suited to Apple users. Their light aluminum frame, paired with mesh fabric on the ear pieces and headband, ensure a comfortable and stylish fit for every individual. Their bright and sleek design fits in perfectly with the rest of the Apple brand.

The sound quality of the Apple Airpods Max headphones is outstanding. With minimal distortion and the highly effective active noise cancellation system, every user will be fully immersed in their audio no matter their environment.

One design feature that was implemented to perfection is the user controls. With the combination of physical buttons and the digital crown controls, users have superior control over their volume, track settings, and call functionality, all without needing their device handy.

If you like to be aware of your surroundings while enjoying high-quality audio through the Airpods Max headphones, you’ll be extremely happy with the transparency mode. The transparency mode is highly effective at letting in the important sounds from your environment without allowing the monotonous drone of traffic or other conditions from the surroundings to affect your listening experience.

The 20-hour battery life is indicative of a smaller built-in battery or excessive power usage by the active noise cancelling technology; either way, this entirely average battery life may not be ideal for users that prefer to charge infrequently. On a similar train of thought, the replacement of a USB-C charging port for a lightning port will be a major inconvenience for users that prefer a single charging solution for all of their devices.

Although the Apple Airpods Max noise-cancelling headphones are equipped with best in class sound quality properties, your listening options will be quite limited due to the missing 3.5 mm headphone jack.

In addition, non-Apple users will struggle to take full advantage of all of the Airpods Max features. Both the proximity sensors and voice assistant activation features are unable to function with Android and Windows devices; unless you’re after truly simple functionality, this will likely be a deal breaker.

One last issue to mention is the so-called smart case that is included with your purchase. It is widely ridiculed as ineffective and designed poorly; if you’re keen on actually protecting your headphones, you’ll need to purchase an alternative.

Pros and Cons


  • Stylish and comfortable design
  • Transparency mode and ANC functionality are exceptional
  • Intuitive controls (button and digital)
  • Offers a stable Bluetooth 5.0 connection
  • Sound quality is excellent with minimal distortion


  • 3.5 mm headphone jack is missing
  • USB-C connector is replaced in favour of a lightning connector
  • Functionality is quite limited for Windows and Android devices
  • Smart case is poorly designed and offers minimal protection
  • Microphone quality is subpar
  • aptX and LDAC high-quality codecs are not supported


  • Weight: 385g
  • Headphone Type: Over-ear
  • Battery Life: 20 hours
  • Battery Charge Time: 2 hours
  • Cable Length: 1.2m
  • Bluetooth Connectivity: Yes

5. Best Battery Life: Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless

The Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 wireless headphones are the perfect fit if you’re someone who loves to tailor your headphone output to the unique audio you’re listening to—different settings for different music genres, for example. With a customizable 3-band graphic EQ and a number of presets, you’ll be all set for precise fine-tuning of your listening experience.

When it comes to battery life in noise-cancelling headphones, this model is very close to acquiring the honour of best in class. It offers up to 60 hours of continuous run time before it needs a recharge, perfect for travellers and all-day listeners. With its convenient USB-C charging cable included with purchase, you can plug in anywhere to give your battery a boost when it needs it.

The Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 wireless headphones are fairly unique in their user control setup. Rather than the standard physical buttons, this model is outfitted with touch controls that allow you to make changes to your play settings, control the volume, and manage your call functionality. Although these touch controls are very reliable, the absence of physical buttons won’t be ideal if you prefer tangible functionality.

One of the most notable benefits of the Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 wireless headphones is the comfort. Aside from sound quality, a good fit and long-term comfort are some of the most important areas for headphones to excel in. With plush ear cups, an adjustable headband, and the absence of overbearing pressure, the use of these noise-cancelling headphones for long periods of time won’t ever become uncomfortable.

On the other side of the coin, there are a couple drawbacks to these Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 wireless headphones that should be brought to light. In addition to the missing tactile buttons, this model is also equipped with a notably inferior soundstage. As a result, the audio experience won’t offer the same depth or spaciousness of sound as more advanced headphones. The other main issue with the Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 wireless headphones is the connectivity issues to the Smart Control app. Although flaky connectivity is not a constant hassle, it can still cause a fair amount of frustration for users when it does occur, and it is therefore something to be aware of before making a purchase.

Pros and Cons


  • Exceptional battery life
  • Touch controls are reliable
  • Sound quality is great
  • Offers presets and customizable 3-band graphic EQ
  • Comfortable fit for all users


  • Soundstage is subpar
  • Connectivity to Smart Control app is flaky at best
  • Complete lack of physical control buttons


  • Weight: 290g
  • Headphone Type: Over-ear
  • Battery Life: 60 hours
  • Battery Charge Time: 2 hours
  • Cable Length: 1.2m
  • Bluetooth Connectivity: Yes

6. Best Bass: Skullcandy Crusher Evo Wireless

The Skullcandy Crusher Evo headphones are some of the best you can buy. If you prioritize audio quality over anything else, you won’t find a better pair of noise-cancelling headphones for this price anywhere on the market.

Its most notable feature is the exceptional data transfer rate: it ensures your audio is always matched exactly to your visuals whether you are watching a movie or playing a game. There is nothing worse than mismatched video and audio, and with these headphones, you’ll always be able to rely on an outstanding experience.

If you’ve never heard of haptic bass before, you’re in for a treat. These Skullcandy headphones are equipped with an adjustable sensory bass to allow you to tailor the bass output to the unique needs of each audio source and individual song. If you want to feel truly enveloped by your music—especially bass-heavy songs—these are the best noise-cancelling headphones to accomplish that.

With 40 hours of battery life per charge, you won’t find yourself stranded very often. The charge time isn’t ideal at 3+ hours, but you’ll be able to use your headphones for days afterwards without fear of a low battery. A great way to get around the long charge time is to plug them in overnight.

Another standout feature is the user-friendly controls: they are designed for practicality and ease of use. Tangible buttons allow you to control the track settings, call functionality, and essentials like volume control. Considering the overwhelming benefits, the price for this model is incredibly reasonable, and absolutely perfect for those who like a lot of bang for their buck.

Of course, no review can be complete without mentioning the drawbacks. There are only a handful for this model, and most people won’t consider them deal breakers. The first issue to mention is related to the companion app; it isn’t uncommon to experience connectivity issues, and the functionality is just not quite up to our standards.

A soft-sided carrying case is also not ideal, as it doesn’t offer the same protection as a hard-sided case. If you plan on travelling with the headphones a lot, you should consider purchasing a replacement for this accessory to protect your investment a little bit better.

Lastly, we need to discuss the noise cancellation. With the well-fitting ear cups and closed-back design, the passive noise cancellation is top notch. However, the lack of active noise-cancelling technology does mean this won’t be the most effective pair of headphones for tuning out the ambient noises in the environment.

Pros and Cons


  • Price is fair
  • Sound quality is superior to most other models
  • Adjustable sensory bass to fine-tune settings
  • Data transfer rate is exceptional: great sync between audio and visual effects for videos


  • Carrying case doesn’t offer much protection
  • Only passive noise cancellation is used
  • App shows room for improvement


  • Weight: 312g
  • Headphone Type: Over-ear
  • Battery Life: 40 hours
  • Battery Charge Time: 3+ hours
  • Cable Length: 4ft
  • Bluetooth Connectivity: Yes

7. Best for Kids: PuroQuiets Noise-cancelling Headphones

The PuroQuiet noise-cancelling headphones by Puro Sound Labs is the perfect pair of headphones for children. If you want to help your kids focus better and listen to music on a higher level, these kid-friendly headphones can make it happen.

With a bass-driven sound profile and a smaller design, these PuroQuiet headphones are optimized for younger listeners. Plus, their high-quality, durable build means they can easily withstand the rougher treatment that comes with ownership by children.

One of the best things about this pair of headphones is the volume limit. It is set to 85 dB to keep kids safe while listening to music and ensure they don’t end up with any premature hearing damage. A 23-hour battery life guarantees kids will stay occupied and happy during long car rides and won’t have to think about charging too often.

If you’re looking for versatile connection methods in headphones for your child, this model fits the bill there too. While these are often used mainly as wireless headphones, there is also a cable included that allows the headphones to be used power-free for any duration of time; this cable is compatible with smartphones, laptops, and more. This is an excellent feature for low-battery scenarios or when wireless connectivity simply isn’t an option.

Since these over-ear headphones are outfitted with passive noise isolation technology as well as effective ANC, kids will be able to easily stay focused in busy environments and enjoy all the uninterrupted music they can handle.

While there are a lot of great features and capabilities built into these PuroQuiet headphones, there are also some features that aren’t quite up to par. One of these issues is with the fit; although the smaller headband and ear cuffs are designed for children, some kids find they are actually TOO small and uncomfortable for long periods of use.

The other main downsides are related to the audio quality. When the ANC is turned off, the audio comes out poorly, sounding closed-in and congested. When the ANC is turned on, a quiet hum becomes evident when listening to audio at lower volumes. Overall, the effectiveness of these active noise cancelling headphones is great, but the audio quality that comes with that tech is not.

Pros and Cons


  • Included cable allows for passive listening
  • ANC is effective for all types of ambient noise
  • Volume is limited to 85 dB
  • Outfitted with a bass-forward sound signature
  • Build quality is suited for longevity


  • Audio quality is affected by ANC
  • Not suited for kids with larger heads
  • Quiet tracks will be accompanied by a distracting hum
  • Audio will sound congested/closed-in with the ANC off


  • Weight: 167g
  • Headphone Type: Over-ear
  • Battery Life: 23 hours
  • Battery Charge Time: 3 hours
  • Cable Length: 1m
  • Bluetooth Connectivity: Yes

8. Best Budget: Anker Soundcore Life Q30 Wireless

The Anker Soundcore Life Q30 wireless headphones offer a lot of value for their price. Their noise cancellation properties are highly effective, enabling users to immerse themselves in their audio content without being distracted by ambient noise in the environment. Since the ANC is adjustable, you’ll experience the ideal performance in every scenario.

These Life Q30 headphones are also equipped with a customizable sound profile through the companion app Soundcore; this feature is usually reserved for higher end (and more expensive) models. With a number of presets and an option to create custom EQ settings, every user will achieve their perfect listening experience.

The Soundcore app also enables users to switch over to ambient sound mode, allowing input from the environment to be heard. An auto-pause feature can be enabled through the app as well, increasing the user-friendliness of the headphones even more.

ANC headphones rely on a strong battery life and, in the case of wireless headphones, a strong wireless connection. These Anker headphones have both. With 60 hours of battery life per charge with ANC off and 40 hours with ANC on, the headphones will be suited to even the longest listening sessions and can go multiple days without charging. The reliable Bluetooth 5.0 connection ensures seamless sound quality.

Unfortunately, budget-friendly products usually come with some disadvantages, and this model is no exception. Many users will find that these ANC headphones are quite heavy and bulky; this is not ideal for travelling or long listening sessions.

With a generic design and an overly bass-heavy default sound profile, these Anker headphones may not be suited to individuals that prefer a charge-and-go approach to their headphones or those that are style-conscious.

A final drawback is the severely limited touch control setup. The only built-in buttons are for pause/play and track skipping; this may be fine for casual listeners, but if you’re looking for more advanced controls, this isn’t the ideal pair.

Pros and Cons


  • ANC is great for the price
  • Sound profile is very customizable
  • Has a versatile companion app
  • Connectivity is reliable
  • Battery life is excellent


  • Aesthetic appeal isn’t great
  • Default sound profile is bass heavy
  • Quite heavy and bulky
  • Touch controls are extremely limited


  • Weight: 260g
  • Headphone Type: Over-ear
  • Battery Life: 40 hours
  • Battery Charge Time: 2 hours
  • Cable Length: 1.2m
  • Bluetooth Connectivity: Yes

Wrapping Up

Each product in this comparative guide was chosen with purpose, in the pursuit of offering a diverse selection that can meet everyone’s unique set of requirements and preferences. Each model offers a rich feature list that strikes a unique balance between noise cancellation efficacy, comfort, price, battery life, and sound quality. As the industry continues to advance, consumers can look forward to better features and more advanced performance.

When it comes to making the correct purchase decision, an individual’s budget and needs will be the driving factors. With the extensive comparisons provided in this review, you should now be confident in your ability to peruse the available headphones you can buy and make the right choice. In the long run, your headphones will minimise distractions, elevate your listening experience, and immerse you in your own world anytime you need an escape.

Some of The Best Noise-Cancelling Headphones That Didn’t Make it Onto Our List

Inevitably, some excellent noise-cancelling headphones had to be left off the list. If you’re interested in a different combination of features, strengths, and weaknesses, you aren’t alone. Below, we’ve highlighted some additional models that have a lot to offer but just didn’t quite make the cut this time around.

Sony WH-1000XM5

The Sony WH-1000XM5 headphones are one of the best in class. With a more balanced sound profile than the Sony WH-1000XM4 model, users are treated to a more enjoyable listening experience. Industry-leading active noise-cancelling features ensure that you’ll be able to enjoy perfectly clear and immersive music in addition to distraction-free calling. The companion app guarantees that everyone can tailor their headphones to their preferences.

With their impressive sound quality and sleek design, it’s no surprise this Sony model comes in at a pretty high price point. This may be discouraging for budget-minded shoppers. The touch controls are also more sensitive than the average pair of headphones, and this may result in some unintended setting changes.

Bowers & Wilkins PX7 S2

With an elegant design and adaptive noise cancellation technology, these Bowers & Wilkins headphones offer exceptional performance and user comfort. Designed for use in every environment, these ANC headphones bring superb audio clarity and a highly personalized listening experience into your daily life.

No product can be perfect, and the Bowers & Wilkins PX7 S2 headphones have their own downsides. The main sticking point is the price: the headphones are fairly expensive and may not be accessible to all consumers. The built-in touch controls are also not the most intuitive, so it will likely take some getting used to before you feel confident.

Bose QuietComfort 45

The Bose QuietComfort 45 headphones are a pleasure to use. They follow in the footsteps of the other QuietComfort products with exceptional sound quality and impressive user comfort. Thanks to Bose’s advanced noise-cancelling technology, these headphones are one of the best out there for a truly immersive experience.

For most users, the well-balanced sound profile makes up for the lack of customizable EQ settings. If you’re prioritizing user-friendly controls in your headphone checklist, The Bose QuietComfort 45 headphones have you covered there too. The higher price point of these headphones may make them inaccessible to some, but they are well worth the investment.