Audio is a relatively fickle industry when it comes to the choices of devices that one might want to use to listen to one’s favorite tracks, watch a movie, or simply as an alternative to a speaker set. Noise-canceling headphones are hardly a new market but have made considerable inroads lately as they become more affordable, function better, and overwhelmingly come in wireless offerings with different form factors.

Picking The Best Noise Canceling Headphones

Considering some of the best noise-canceling headphones involves a fair bit of research and personal preference to determine what works for users individually. If one is actively considering investing in or upgrading to a new pair of Headphones or Earbuds, they can follow a few simple guidelines to make it a more accessible and more rewarding experience as an end-user:

Noise Canceling: Noise canceling has historically been more of a ‘premium’ feature for headphones and earphones alike, and while it has become cheaper, some headphones manage noise cancelation better than others. This means picking a unit that has been tested to be more uniform than others at different noise levels. Most professional-grade reviews tend to have accompanying charts that show relative performance versus more mainstream benchmark headsets and ideal noise-canceling performance.

At the same time, many manufacturers take liberties with noise cancellation, often interchanging the terms “passive” and “active” noise cancellation. Active noise cancellation involves using microphones and software to ensure that outside noise is canceled out in real-time, while passive noise cancellation is all about isolating sound by leveraging the shape of the headphones/earphones.

Price: Noise-canceling headphones can range from entry-level units that cost anywhere from $50 to units that cost thousands of dollars. Finding an ideal pair that works for users without breaking the bank is crucial, especially for audio, with diminishing returns kicking in considerably faster than most other products to ensure value and better price-to-performance versus the competition.

Connectivity and Compatibility: Some of the best noise-canceling headphones and earphones are a mix of wired and wireless. This means using an adapter with some of the latest phones and devices that do not sport headphone jacks for the wired ones. At the same time, the wireless variants involve using different Bluetooth versions and wireless codecs to get the best performance. Not all mobile devices or hardware support the latest codecs, which could affect audio streaming quality.

Some headphones and earphones also have dedicated applications and EQ presets, which may not be available on all hardware, such as PC, iPhone, Mac, and Android, resulting in a more fractured experience across platforms.

Form Factor: Picking out the style of headphones is vital to ensuring they are comfortable for long periods. Debating different shapes and sizes can go on forever and be different for everyone. There is one question to make this search easier. Should the headphones be over-ear or in-ear?

Earbuds (especially wireless earbuds) are the way to go for those who want a lightweight, portable experience. Whether these earbuds are for commuting, the gym, or just lounging around the house, in-ear headphones will be way easier to carry around and have ready at a moment’s notice. For those who want a powerful sound and typically wear their headphones in lower-impact environments, over-ear headphones will probably be the way to go.


The Best Gaming Headsets in 2024

With so many options and conflicting information, it’s extremely difficult to determine which gaming headsets lead the pack.

The Best Nose Canceling Headphones And Earphones

Wireless Headphones discount december

Sony WH-1000XM5 Wireless Headphones

Best Overall Noise Canceling Headphones

The Sony WH-1000X Series has been one of the best wireless headphones for years. The fifth edition of the renowned product, Sony WH-1000XM5, features an industry-leading noise-cancelation technology with two processors and eight microphones working together to eliminate unwanted ambient noise. With the Auto NC Optimizer, filtering is optimized automatically to the environment. The headphones offer a 30-hour battery life and fast charging can provide three hours of playback with just three minutes of recharging. Clear hands-free calling is provided with four beam-forming microphones.


Battery Life
30 Hours (ANC), 40 Hours (Standard)

Synthetic soft fit leather

Bluetooth V5.2

Noise Cancellation
Yes, Active


Yes, 8


Black, Blue, SIlver

Supported codecs


Works with any BT-enabled devices that can transmit

8.85 x 3.03 x 10.36 inches

Battery charge time
3.5 hours

Carrying case

  • Some of the best noise-canceling performance within its price bracket
  • Charges much faster than most of the competition
  • Durable battery life with excellent longevity even with ANC on
  • Excellent, balanced base with decent (somewhat dark) sound without EQ presets

  • Not sweat/waterproof and/or carries an IPX rating to that effect
  • Priced somewhat higher than some of its direct competitors

The Sony WH-1000XM5 Wireless Headphones are a mainstay in most headphone guides as they provide excellent sound quality that makes even some higher-end studio-quality monitors sound dated while coupling it with some of the best noise-canceling available. The WH-1000XM5 is perfect for users who are looking to get a reliable set of headphones; while not the most affordable, they offer incredible value and deliver fantastic performance for a very reasonable price.

Serving as a capable replacement to the WH-1000XM4, the WH-1000XM5 is not a necessary upgrade for those who already own the previous version, but there are a ton of worthwhile upgrades that make the overall experience of these headphones a bit nicer. While most features like ANC and 360 audio are mostly the same, the significant improvement comes with the battery life. The WH-10000XM4 lasts a measly 19 hours with ANC turned on; in contrast, the WH-1000XM5 can go 31 hours of continuous playback with ANC on. Whether users are commuting every day or going on an international trip, these headphones can last on a single charge.

The WH-1000XM4 already had quite impressive ANC performance, but the WH-1000XM5 takes the cake with better ANC across the frequency range rather than just lows and mids. With ANC on, users will be hard-pressed to hear their surroundings regardless of the environment. Plus, the redesigned earcups perform even better when it comes to passive isolation.

Black Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II

Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II

Best In-Ear Noise Canceling Headphones

$199 $280 Save $81

The newly updated QuietComfort Earbuds II from Bose now delivers even better features and a more immersive soundscape. These Bluetooth earbuds feature intelligent noise cancelation and sound performance that personalizes it to the user. The comfortable and snug fit allows it to stay in place securely no matter the activity.

The earbuds have a simple touch interface that allows the user to control everything they need. Using swipes and taps, the user can play and pause the music or change the noise cancelation level.


Battery Life
6 hours (earbuds), 24 hours (including case)

Noise Cancellation
Yes, Active Noise Cancelling

Mono Listening
Yes, Firmware update required

4 per earbud (for ANC)

Bluetooth, USB-C (charging only)

IP rating

Supported codecs

Weight (earbuds)
0.22 oz each

Dimensions (earbuds)
1.2″ H x 0.68″ W x 0.88″ D

Plastic + Silicone

No, Water-Resistant, not waterproof

USB-C Charging Case, Enclosed

Triple Black, Soapstone, Midnight Blue, Eclipse Grey

Qualcomm® S5 Audio SoC

  • Some of the best noise-canceling tech available for a pair of in-ear headphones
  • Excellent sound quality with a focus on clarity with decent bass in tow
  • Revamped to be smaller, lighter, and a better fit than the first-generation QC Earbuds
  • Excellent for attending calls on the go compared to its predecessor

  • Requires a firmware update to use in solo mode
  • Expensive versus the competition
  • Battery life somewhat subpar for high-end earbuds

The QuietComfort Earbuds II is Bose’s second attempt to capture a very competitive noise-canceling earphone market with one of the more premium offerings in the business, and it does not disappoint. Building on Earbuds’ success, it’s the replacement from the audio equipment manufacturer. As the company that practically invented noise-canceling technology, Bose does go out of its way to establish market dominance when it comes to that part of the equation and then some. For people who still want fantastic ANC performance but in earbud form, it is hard to go wrong with the QuietComfort Earbuds II.

Using four microphones per earbud and a proprietary technique Bose calls custom tune, these earphones cater to each user’s needs individually based on the size and shape of their ear canal. It is part of a robust ecosystem of Bose products coupled with some of the latest tech in connectivity thanks to its support for Bluetooth 5.3 with USB-C charging on the carrying case.

Noticeably missing from the equation is wireless charging which should be on offer for a pair of headphones at the price point the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II commands. One might also expect more robust battery life, which could help round out what is otherwise an excellent offering from Bose.

The Bose QC Ultra has replaced these earbuds, but while Bose is still selling these, the QC Earbuds II are a better deal for similar performance.

Soundcore Anker Life Q30 ANC Headphones

Soundcore Anker Life Q30 ANC Headphones

The Best Budget Noise Canceling Headphones

The Soundcore Anker Life Q30 ANC Headphones provide active noise-canceling, excellent battery life, decent audio, and comfortable memory foam cushions at a reasonable price point.

Battery Life
40 Hours

Yes, Bluetooth 5, NFC Pairing

Compatible With
Bluetooth-enabled devices, devices with Aux jacks

Anker Soundcore

Connection Type
Bluetooth Wireless or Wired Aux


Noise Cancellation
Yes, Active Noise Cancelling (2 mics)

IP rating


  • Excellent value, offering decent ANC at a price point of a standard pair of headphones
  • Outstanding battery life; rated at up to 60 hours without ANC
  • Has NFC pairing supported in addition to optional AUX connectivity for legacy or wired uses
  • Good build quality that doesn’t weigh too much, adding to the comfort of the headphones

  • ANC, while decent, is hardly the best available for headphones currently
  • No IP rating means these headphones are not rated to be sweat or waterproof

The Soundcore Anker Life Q30 ANC Headphones are an excellent pair of budget-oriented wireless headphones with decent ANC performance and some of the most popular features that much more premium noise-canceling headsets offer. With amazing battery life and support for wired audio (without ANC) and Bluetooth with NFC pairing, the Life Q30 covers all bases that need to be covered from a tech perspective while delivering decent performance from the get-go.

While the audio isn’t the best money can buy, it still offers decent audio quality and ANC support, and users could easily mistake these for a much more premium-priced pair of headphones with only audiophile-grade headphones truly being significantly different. The one thing Game Rant didn’t like is that Anker does not officially have an IP rating for the product, which means it’s not certified to be water or sweatproof and might be a poor choice for gym-goers given the lack of certification coupled with user reports of it getting warm relatively fast with extended use.

Anker Soundcore Liberty 4 NC Wireless Earbuds

Anker Soundcore Liberty 4 NC Wireless Earbuds

Best Budget Noise Cancelling Earbuds

The Anker Soundcore Liberty 4 NC wireless earbuds are the newest addition to the Liberty earbuds lineup. They feature a pretty impressive battery life of 10 hours on a single charge and 50 hours with the included carrying case, making it easy to get through a work week without recharging. The Liberty 4 NC has 11mm audio drivers to deliver crisp and clear sound, especially with the adaptive ANC, which blocks out 98.5% of outside noise.

Anker Soundcore

Battery Life
10/50 hours

Noise Cancellation
Adaptive ANC 2.0

  • IPX4
  • Comfortable to wear for long periods
  • Exceptional noise cancellation
  • LDAC support for Android devices

  • Sound profile out of the box is pretty bass-heavy
  • The carrying case is quite large

While not quite the same level as the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II, the Anker Soundcore Liberty 4 NC earbuds put up quite the performance for about a third of the price. Blocking out an impressive 98.5% of outside noise, these earbuds make it easy to tune out the world without spending an arm and a leg.

In Game Rant’s full review of the Liberty 4 NC, we found that Soundcore’s AI noise-canceling algorithm performed quite impressively, blocking out a wide frequency of sounds. However, to get the best performance, users first have to find ear tips that give them the best passive isolation. Luckily, Soundcore includes a wide range of ear tip sizes, so most people should be able to find an ear tip that fits them best.

While the ANC alone is pretty impressive, the sound quality backs it up quite nicely. Music sounds rich and full, although sometimes there is a bit of phasing during stereo effects. Thanks to the app, it is easy to customize the EQ, either using the HearID sound tool, which gives users a series of tones to help create the perfect custom EQ, or just using the manual 8-band EQ to dial in the sound.

Apple AirPods Max Wireless Over-Ear Headphones

Apple AirPods Max Wireless Over-Ear Headphones

Best Premium Noise Canceling Headphones

$450 $550 Save $100

The Apple AirPods Max Wireless Headphones are the highest-end consumer-grade headphones that Apple currently offers in its AirPod lineup. 

They offer excellent active noise canceling, a powerful transparency mode, and a custom Apple H1 chip, allowing them to deliver a superior audio experience backed by seamless connectivity to a variety of Apple products


  • Solid build quality
  • Amazing active noise canceling and transparency mode
  • Fantastic battery life
  • Comfortable ear pads and fabric headband

  • Uses a Lightning connector instead of USB-C
  • No aptX or LDAC high quality codec support

When it comes to premium ANC headphones, the Apple AirPods Max is one of the best options for those who can afford them. These are some of the best headphones currently available in the right scenarios, with fantastic ANC performance and incredible sound quality.

The AirPods Max’s ANC performance is currently unmatched. When users put on these headphones for the first time, all outside noise just melts away, whether it’s the hiss of heating vents or people talking. These headphones do an excellent job of making sounds either completely disappear or barely audible. Not only is the ANC excellent, but the transparency mode makes it easy to come back to the real world for a couple of moments to talk to someone and then go back to a noise-isolated paradise.

These headphones, while fantastic, are not quite as versatile as the Sony WH-1000XM5; for example, there is no direct way to use these headphones wired, so users will have to pick up a couple of adapters just to plug in a 3.5mm audio cable. However, as long as people plan to use these headphones via Bluetooth, there should be very little of an issue.


Apple AirPods Pro (2nd Generation) Wireless Earbuds

Best Noise Canceling Headphones For Apple Devices

The Apple AirPods Pro (2nd Generation) Wireless Earbuds are the latest wireless noise-canceling headphones available from Apple as an upgraded version of the AirPod Pro of yesteryear with meaningful upgrades such as the onboard H2 chip, Adaptive Transparency, volume adjustment controls, and precision finding.

Battery Life
6 hours (30 hours w/case)

Charging Case Included?


Bluetooth 5.0

IP Rating

0.14 oz each

Noise Cancellation
Yes, Active with transparency mode

Supported codecs

  • Improves on Apple’s last-gen offerings in multiple ways, the most notable being adaptive transparency
  • Currently available at a discount versus MSRP
  • Carries a decent IPX4 rating that makes these ideal for gym and outdoor use
  • Works seamlessly well with Apple devices
  • Excellent sound quality

  • Is more of an upgrade than a new pair of earphones
  • Still somewhat pricey versus the competition
  • Some features are only Apple-exclusive and limited to that platform

The Apple AirPods Pro (2nd Generation) Wireless Earbuds are a sizable upgrade to the first-generation AirPod Pros, which were Apple’s first take on consumer-grade noise-canceling earphones. While the AirPods Max is excellent for premium users, Apple users looking for a good pair of daily driver headphones that are reasonably priced will not be disappointed by the AirPods Pro (2nd generation).

At this point, AirPods are the typical go-to choice for most Apple users, and for good reason. Very few other headphones are as seamless with Apple products as AirPods Pro. From the outside, these earbuds look very similar to their predecessor. Still, the shape and overall lightweight design quickly became a fan favorite for a good reason, so Game Rant can’t fault Apple for keeping it pretty much the same.


The Best Earbuds for iPhone in 2024

The best earbuds for iPhones are AirPods Pro, right? While that is the answer for some iPhone users, the search doesn’t end there.

The most significant upgrade for the second generation is the move to the H2 chip, which has vastly improved the overall sound quality and ANC performance. The ANC blocks out the majority of outside noise without giving that weird inner-ear feeling that is created with heavy ANC. However, a lot of the noise-canceling depends on how well users can get the earbuds to fit. While the rest of the updates don’t really seem like enough reason for first-generation AirPods Pro to upgrade, this massive step up in ANC performance makes it well worth it.

SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless Gaming Headset

SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless Gaming Headset

The Best Gaming Noise Canceling Headphones

$302 $349 Save $47

The Arctis Nova Pro Wireless gaming headset from SteelSeries is a serious gamer’s tool. A gamer who wants the convenience and quality of a feature-rich wireless gaming headset need not look elsewhere. The headset’s premium high-fidelity drivers deliver a clear soundscape and a fully customizable experience with the Sonar Software. It supports 360-degree spatial audio for a more immersive gaming experience and helps the user to hear every audio cue around them clearly. 
With active noise-canceling technology enhanced by a four-mic hybrid system, gamers can use transparency mode to tune out any annoying background noises.

Retractable, Noise-cancelling

PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, Bluetooth Devices


Surround Sound

Noise Cancellation

339 grams

Battery Life
36+ hours with swappable battery

Ear Cushions
Vegan Leather & Memory Foam

  • Features an innovative hot-swap battery mechanism that allows gamers to stay wireless as long as they like
  • Excellent sound quality that rivals some high-end casual use headphones
  • Works via Bluetooth and 2.4GHz simultaneously
  • Offers an outstanding bi-directional noise-canceling mic

  • Considerably pricey when considering the average price of most gaming premium headsets in the market
  • Need two different versions for each console (Xbox/PlayStation)

The SteelSeries Arctis Nova Pro Wireless Gaming Headset is an excellent gaming headset that firmly lodges itself as one of the best gaming headsets money can buy. It offers considerable noise-canceling clout thanks to its above-average active noise-canceling performance and a noise-canceling microphone.

It has the unique ability to stay wireless as long as needed, offering a hot-swap solution for its battery packs for end users, allowing them to stay wireless as long as needed without any disruption essentially. Thanks to support for both low-latency 2.4GHz audio and Bluetooth, the Arctis Nova Pro Wireless is compatible with far more devices than some of its other gaming headset competitors while offering excellent sound quality.

The price, however, might be somewhat restrictive for most users looking for a cheaper option. Still, it does come out noticeably ahead when competing with similar products at premium price points, making it a no-brainer purchase for those looking for the best possible gaming headset with noise-canceling technology.


Q: Does the Apple AirPods Pro work with Android devices?

The Apple AirPods Pro does work with Android-based devices but does not have any dedicated OS-level support for the hardware or charging case. They are simply recognized as standard Bluetooth headphones.

Q: How does Active Noise Canceling work?

Active Noise Canceling (ANC) works by harnessing one or a series of microphones near the audio source to detect external sound and help by ‘canceling’ out its sound to avoid interference with audio from the headphones.


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