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The best noise-canceling headphones money can buy 

The world today is a noisy place, be it commuting to work, sitting in your open-plan office or just walking the streets of your city. Noise is everywhere and what better way to block that out with a quality pair of noise-canceling headphones. Be it for listening to your favorite podcast, taking in the action from your favorite game or watching the latest episode of your captivating series. These are currently the best headphones money can buy to make sure your life is noise-free.

Sony WH-1000XM3

Sony has been ruling the noise-canceling market these last 2 years and the updated WH-1000XM3 looks set to continue this dominant run. This year’s version sees small refinements over last year’s excellent WH-1000XM2 but the addition of USB-C charging and added padding to the bridge ensures that Sony is still the king of cans. The biggest reason why these headphones are arguably the best in the business comes down to the noise-canceling, currently it is in a league of its own and with the addition of aptX HD and Sony LDAC, your music will sound amazing regardless if you’re on Bluetooth or wired. Finally, all of Sony’s flagship headphones offer both Google Assistant and Alexa support.

Acoustic design: Closed | Cable length: 3.94 ft | Frequency response: 4Hz to 40kHz | Drivers: 40mm Dual-Layered Diaphragm | Driver type: Dynamic | Sensitivity: 104.5 dB | Impedance: 47 ohm | Battery life: 30 hours | Wireless range: 30 meters (98ft) | NFC: Yes

Bose Noise-canceling Headphones 700

For many years, Bose has been the go-to brand for quality noise-canceling and the 700 series once again proves the boys at Bose know their stuff. What sets this pair apart from its competitors is that it doesn’t just add noise-canceling to media consumption but also to phone calls, which means you can safely take that call noise-free regardless of your surroundings. Bose has also redesigned the look of the 700 series and it offers a more slick and stylish look than the Sony pair, yet it does not quite offer the same impressive battery life than it’s Sony competitor.

Acoustic design: Closed | Battery life: 20 hours | Wireless range: 33 ft | NFC: Yes

Jabra Elite 85H

Considering this is Jabra’s first foray into the premium wireless ANC headphone market, the Elite 85H is quite an achievement. With a better battery life than the Sony option, great design and loads of personalization options the Jabra offering is highly recommended for someone looking for something new. The noise-canceling is great and stands next to the big boys when it comes to that essential offering. Small drawbacks are the lack of high-end codec support and the bass does feel a bit flat sometimes, but these are minor quibbles to a fantastic set of headphones. It will be very interesting to see what the company does next.

Acoustic design: Closed | Frequency response: 10Hz to 20kHz | Drivers: 40mm | Driver type: Dynamic | Battery life: 36 hours | Wireless range: 10 meters (33ft) | NFC: N/A

Philips Fidelio NC1

Phillips has been a mainstay in the headphones market now for ages and they bring all their expertise to the fore with their latest ANC offering. The NC1 has a very executive look and they are incredibly comfortable. Although they don’t offer a wireless option, the price point makes up for that. With rock-solid noise-canceling, and fantastic warm sound reproduction and excellent battery life, you get a lot of bang for your buck and the NC1 is a great alternative for any audiophile out there.

Acoustic design: Closed | Cable length: 3.9 feet | Frequency response: 7-25,000Hz | Drivers: Two 1.5″ Neodymium drivers | Driver type: Dynamic | Sensitivity: 107 dB | Impedance: 16 ohm | Battery life: 25+ hours | Wireless range: N/A | NFC: No

JBL Live 650BTNC

For those looking for great noise-canceling headphones but are irked by the price points of the above-mentioned cans, then the JBL Live 650BTNC is right up your alley. At almost half the price of other premium headphones, these cans deliver premium sound with great ANC as well as a compact design. Although the on-ear form factor can get uncomfortable during long listening sessions and the controls can be quite confusing in the beginning, the Live 650BTNC is still a great option if budget is your main driving force. With solid battery life and EQ customizations, you can do far worse than this JBL offering.

Acoustic design: Closed | Cable length: 3.93ft | Frequency response: 16Hz – 20kHz | Drivers: 40mm | Driver type: Dynamic | Sensitivity: 100 dBSPL@1kHz/1mW | Impedance: 32 ohms | Battery life: 20-30 hours | Wireless range: 30ft (10m) | NFC: No

Microsoft Surface Headphones

Although relatively new to the premium headphone game, Microsoft impresses with the Surface headphones. The sound quality is fantastic with stunningly warm and generous bass frequencies. The noise-canceling, although generally good throughout, can seem to struggle a bit in extremely noisy environments but it still does a great job overall. The design is unique and might be more appealing than the other offerings if you’re looking for a unique look to your headphone choices. The biggest issue might be the price point as the Surface headphones come in more expensive than Sony and Bose, yet if you’re a frequent Microsoft user, then these cans will be a smart choice. 

Acoustic design: Closed | Cable length: 3.94 ft | Frequency response: 20Hz to 20kHz | Drivers: 40mm Free Edge Driver | Driver type: Free Edge | Sensitivity: 115 dB | Battery life: 15 hours | Wireless range: N/A | NFC: Yes