The 9 Best Noise-Cancelling Headphones of 2021

Find the right headphones to help you stay focused

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Our Top Picks

Best Over-Ear: Bose Noise-Cancelling Bluetooth Headphones at Amazon

"The over-ear headphones are crafted from lightweight stainless steel, which makes them comfortable to wear."

Best Earbuds: 1More Bluetooth Earbuds at Amazon

"When the active noise cancellation setting is flipped on, these earbuds promise to reduce noise by up to 35dB."

Best Budget Over-Ear: Soundcore Bluetooth Headphones at Amazon

"The ear cups on these affordable over-ear headphones are crafted from memory foam, so they contour to your head every time."

Best Budget Earbuds: TaoTronics Noise-Cancelling Bluetooth Earbuds at Amazon

"The budget-friendly earbuds come with active noise cancellation to drown out ambient noise without reducing the sound of a voice."

Best Wired: TaoTronics Noise-Cancelling Earbuds at Amazon

"When flipped to the highest setting, these wired headphones promise to reduce ambient noise by up to 25dB."

Best True Wireless: Jabra Elite 65t Earbuds at Amazon

"A wireless, water-resistant pick to keep you hands-free, it promises to reduce both ambient sound and wind noise."

Best for Travel: Sony Bluetooth Earbuds at Amazon

"Ideal for traveling, their long-lasting battery keeps them going for 24 hours at a time so your tunes can stay close by."

Best for Working Out: Bose QuietComfort Noise-Cancelling Earbuds at Amazon

"They’re sweat-resistant and truly wireless—so you can tackle intense workouts without getting distracted by your tech."

Best for Kids: Puro Sound Labs Bluetooth Headphones at Amazon

"Flip these kids' headphones into active noise cancellation mode to reduce ambient sound by up to 22dB."

Best AirPods: Apple AirPods Pro at Walmart

"Apple's AirPods include in-ear headphones featuring active noise cancellation, which is great for immersion in high-quality sound."

Noise-cancelling headphones can be great when you’re trying to be productive. But the benefits of noise cancellation don’t stop there. Research has suggested that noise can cause stress, distract attention, and disturb memory. And environmental noise has been shown to be one of the most common sources of sleep disruption.

Given all this, it’s little surprise that many people have turned to noise-cancelling headphones to reduce some of the distracting ambient noise in their everyday lives. Whereas many headphones simply reduce noise, noise-cancelling headphones actively block it out using a feature called “active noise cancellation.” When noise-cancelling headphones detect a noise source, they release a soundwave of their own to drown that source out. This doesn’t result in absolute silence, but it can cut down on distractions. 

This makes noise-cancelling headphones a great pick for workdays, meditation sessions, and other activities that would be better off sans distractions. 

Here are the best noise-cancelling headphones on the market.

Our Top Picks

Best Over-Ear: Bose Noise-Cancelling Bluetooth Headphones

Bose’s Noise-Cancelling Bluetooth Headphones are a solid pair of headphones that put you in control of how much ambient noise you let in. Because the headphones boast 11 different levels of noise cancellation, it’s easy to customize your listening experience, based on your environment. The headphones are equipped with a strong built-in microphone that makes them great for phone calls.

The headphones are crafted from lightweight stainless steel, which makes them comfortable to wear. And since they’re water- and sweat-resistant, you can take them to the gym without giving it a second thought. On a full charge, the headphones can last for up to 20 hours at a time.

Bluetooth: Yes | Noise Cancellation: 11 levels of active noise cancellation without specification | Battery Life: Up to 20 hours on a full charge

Best Earbuds: 1More Bluetooth Earbuds

It can be hard to find a pair of earbuds that deliver solid noise cancellation. But 1More’s Bluetooth Earbuds promise to do just that. The headphones offer two levels of active noise cancellation—one of which is specifically designed to cut down on noise from wind. When active noise cancellation is flipped on, the headphones promise to reduce noise by up to 35dB. 

Since the headphones are equipped with a built-in microphone system, they’re great for phone calls. And their IPX5 rating means they’re more sweat- and water-resistant than a lot of comparable noise-cancelling headphones. A full charge will get you 20 hours of use with active noise cancellation off and 15 hours of use with active noise cancellation on, while just 10 minutes of charge time will earn you three hours of battery life. 

Bluetooth: Yes | Noise Cancellation: Reduce ambient noise by up to 35dB | Battery Life: Up to 20 hours on full charge—15 hours with active noise cancellation and three hours with just a ten-minute charge

Best Budget Over-Ear: Soundcore Bluetooth Headphones

Though Soundcore’s Bluetooth Headphones headphones are budget-friendly, they offer active noise cancellation and promise to reduce ambient sound by up to 90 percent. The headphones are equipped with an algorithm that can differentiate between low-, mid-, and high-frequency noises. This high-tech feature—combined with a built-in microphone—will help you make crisp, clear phone calls that maximize your voice while minimizing distractions.

The ear cups on these headphones are crafted from memory foam, so they’ll contour to your head every time you put them on. These headphones can last a whopping 40 hours with active noise cancellation on. And if you flip active noise cancellation off, they can last you even longer—up to 60 hours at a time.

Bluetooth: Yes | Noise Cancellation: Reduce ambient sound up to 90 percent | Battery Life: Up to 40 hours with active noise cancellation and up to 60 hours without

Best Budget Earbuds: TaoTronics Noise-Cancelling Bluetooth Earbuds

These budget-friendly headphones are equipped with an active noise cancellation feature that promises to drown out ambient noise (like airplane engines, traffic, and buzzy machines) without reducing the sound of a human voice. This makes the headphones great for the office. And since they come with a built-in microphone, they’re great for phone calls, too.

The earbuds boast an IPX5 rating, meaning they can withstand a little sweat—or even a light rain. And since they’re magnetized, you can conveniently attach the earbuds to each other whenever you’re not using them. The headphones will last you up to eight hours with active noise cancellation on, up to 16 hours with active noise cancellation off, and yield a full charge in just two hours.

Bluetooth: Yes | Noise Cancellation: Clear Voice Capture (CVC) 8.0 cancels up to 30 dB of ambient noise around you on voice calls—features active noise cancellation without specification | Battery Life: Up to eight hours with active noise cancellation and up to 16 hours without

Best True Wireless: Jabra Elite 65t Earbuds

It can be hard to find a pair of noise-cancelling headphones that are truly wireless (meaning there are no wires that plug into your phone, or that connect the headphones to each other). But Jabra’s Elite 65t Earbuds are—and they offer pretty solid noise cancellation, too. The headphones promise to reduce both ambient sound and wind noise, and their built-in microphone promises crisp, clear calls every time.

The headphones boast an IP55 rating, which means they’re not just water-resistant but they’re dust-resistant, too. A full charge gets you five hours of battery life, but you can get an additional 10 hours when you put them in their wireless charging case. And just 15 minutes of charge time should earn you an hour of battery life.

Bluetooth: Bluetooth | Noise Cancellation: Features wind-noise protection | Battery Life: Up to five hours on full charge—additional 10 hours of battery life with wireless charging case

Best for Travel: Sony Bluetooth Earbuds

Sony’s Bluetooth Earbuds are equipped with an active noise cancellation feature that automatically flips on and off, based on your environment (you don’t have to manually switch between cutting out distractions and letting important announcements in—the headphones will do it for you.) And since these headphones come with a built-in microphone, they’re great for taking phone calls. 

These headphones will last you a full 24 hours when carried in their wireless charging case, making them a particularly good choice for travel. And since they recharge quickly (just ten minutes of charge time will earn you 90 minutes of battery life), they’re great to plug in during layovers and pitstops. 

Bluetooth: Yes | Noise Cancellation: Features noise cancellation without specification | Battery Life: Up to 24 hours with wireless charging case—a ten-minute charge will yield 90 minutes of battery life

Best for Working Out: Bose QuietComfort Noise-Cancelling Earbuds

Bose’s QuietComfort Noise-Cancelling Earbuds offer everything you need in a pair of workout headphones: they’re noise-cancelling, sweat-resistant, and truly wireless—so you can tackle intense workouts without getting distracted by your tech. The headphones offer 11 levels of active noise cancellation, so you can easily customize your listening experiences based on your environment. No matter what setting you have activated, the headphones promise high-quality, balanced sound.

The headphones come with three different earbud options, so you can select the size and shape that best suit your ears. A single charge will keep your headphones going for 6 hours at a time. And if you carry them in their wireless charging case, you can get an additional 12 hours of battery life. 

Bluetooth: Yes | Noise Cancellation: 11 levels of noise cancellation without specifications | Battery Life: Up to six hours on a single, full charge—additional 12 hours with the wireless charging case

Best for Kids: Puro Sound Labs Bluetooth Headphones

Lots of kid-friendly headphones are noise-reducing, but Puro Sound Labs’ Bluetooth Headphones are genuinely noise-cancelling. And since they’re cordless, you won’t have to worry about your little one getting tangled up if they love to dance around in their headphones. Flip these headphones into active noise cancellation mode to reduce ambient sound by up to 22dB (for context, this could cut city traffic down to the volume of a normal conversation—or a buzzy refrigerator down to the sound of a whisper).

The headphones boast one-touch Bluetooth pairing, so they should be easy to set up. A full charge will keep your little one going for up to 22 hours with active noise cancellation off, or up to 16 hours with active noise cancellation on. 

Bluetooth: Yes | Noise Cancellation: Reduces background noise up to 22 dB—volume won't exceed 85 dB (the maximum recommended dB by OSHA) | Battery Life: Up to 16 hours with active noise cancellation and up to 22 hours without

Best AirPods: Apple AirPods Pro

Apple AirPods Pro

 Courtesy of Walmart

Not all AirPods are noise-cancelling, but Apple’s AirPods Pro are. The in-ear headphones come with an active noise cancellation feature, which is great when you want to be immersed in high-quality sound. Notably, the Airpods Pro can have a “transparency mode” if you’d rather hear what’s going on around you.

These headphones come equipped with adaptive technology that automatically tunes music based on the shape of your ear, so you can rest assured knowing the sound you’ll hear will always be crisp and clear. With an IPX4 rating, the Airpods Pro are sweat-resistant (and suitable for your workouts). And if you keep them in their wireless charging case, they can last up to 24 hours at a time.

Bluetooth: Yes | Noise Cancellation: Features noise cancellation without specification | Battery Life: Up to 24 hours with wireless charging case

Final Verdict

Bose’s Noise-Cancelling Bluetooth Headphones are a best-in-class option for anyone looking for noise cancellation and solid sound quality. The headphones will let you choose between 11 different noise cancellation settings, making it easy for you to adapt your listening habits to different environments. If you’d prefer a budget-friendlier, in-ear option, you can’t go wrong with 1More’s Bluetooth Earbuds. The durable headphones boast a long-lasting battery, and they’ll effectively drown out distractions. 

What to Look for in Noise-Cancelling Headphones

Design

Headphones come in a variety of styles. You can choose between over-the-ear headphones and in-ear earbuds. And you can also choose between wired, wireless, and truly wireless options. (Wired headphones include a wire that plugs into your device. Wireless headphones do not plug into your device, but may include a wire that connects the headphones to each other. True wireless headphones boast no wires, and connect using Bluetooth.)

Active Noise Cancellation Settings:

Some headphones boast more active noise cancellation settings than others. Some higher-tech options will allow you to scale the intensity of your active noise cancellation up and down, while others simply come with an active noise cancellation mode that you can switch on and off.

Battery Life

If your headphones are wireless or truly wireless, they’ll likely need to be charged between uses. Pay attention to the battery life and charge time different options offer. Some headphones can last up to 24 hours on a full charge, while others will need to be charged more frequently.

Why Trust Verywell Mind

As a seasoned health and wellness writer, Lindsey Lanquist understands how vital quality product recommendations can be. She is careful to recommend products that are reliable, comfortable, and genuinely well-reviewed by those who’ve tried them.

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Article Sources
Verywell Mind uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Makopa Kenda I, Agoub M, Ahami AOT. [Noise effects on mental health: a review of literature]. Sante Ment Que. 2014;39(2):169-181.

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