photo of Skullcandy Crusher ANC 2 Wireless Headphone

8 top wireless headphones with active noise cancelling

Truly isolate with these sound-blocking earphones

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The world is already a quieter place. Still, sometimes you want to isolate further, especially if you're stuck inside with family and roommates (and their questionable music tastes) for the coming weeks.

That's where headphones with active noise canceling technology, or ANC, come into their own. Using microphones on the outside, these listen to your environment and then play the opposite sound into your ears. The result is artificial silence and the perfect acoustic backdrop for listening to your own music (or podcasts, games, and audiobooks) in peace.

ANC technology was limited to large and often expensive headphones on or over your ears. But the technology has shrunk recently to the extent that even pocket-sized earphones boast ANC that can block out the worst of your roommate's music.

Sony WH-1000XM5 - $398

a photo of a male wearing Sony WH-1000XN5 headphonesThe Sony WH-1000XM5 has a class-leading 30 hours of battery lifeSony

Widely regarded as the best noise-canceling headphones available today, the not-so-snappily named WH-1000XM5 boasts market-leading ANC, up to 30 hours of battery life, Multipoint Connection, touch controls, and Bluetooth for wireless connection to your phone and other devices.

These headphones have an over-ear design, which means the cushioned ear pads are large enough to rest against your temple and jaw. That way, they don't apply uncomfortable pressure to your ears and should prevent you from getting too warm if you exercise with them. A USB-C port allows rapid charging and plugged in for 10 minutes; they promise an extra five hours of listening time.

Bose QuietComfort Noise Cancelling Headphones - $349

Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700Bose offers ANC headphones under the QuietComfort series.Bose

In a pre-lockdown world, stepping into any plane, train, or subway car would mean seeing a pair of Bose earphones on almost every head. That model, called the QC35, and still one of the very best headphone options, was replaced in 2019 by the Noise Cancelling Headphones 700. The latest version of the Bose QuietComfort series is the Bose QuietComfort and QuietComfort Ultra Headphones.

Although somewhat large and cumbersome (perhaps not ideal for squeezing into your messenger bag), the new Bose QuietComfort looks great and promises sound quality. The headphones also have an upgraded version of the ANC that was already considered one of the best, with 24 hours of battery life, adjustable EQ via the Bose app, and USB-C charging. The MSRP price for the Bose headphones is $349, but they are currently on sale for $249. And they come in four colors: Moonstone Blue, Black, Cypress Green, and Smoke White.

SoundPEATS Space Over-Ear ANC Wireless Headphones - $89.99

a photo of SoundPEATS wireless headphones and box on a countertopSoundPEATS Space Over-Ear ANC Headphones GearBrain

The least expensive ANC wireless headphones on our list are SoundPEATS Space Over-Ear ANC Headphones. These SoundPEATS ANC Headphones are engineered for immersive audio experiences, boasting Hi-Res Audio certification when used with an inner cable. These headphones have 40mm dynamic drivers that deliver punchy bass, making every track come alive with depth and clarity. One of their standout features is an astounding 123 hours of ultra-long battery life, ensuring you can enjoy your music, games, and calls for days without recharging. They also feature 35dB hybrid active noise cancellation, which isolates you from external noises, creating a perfect sound environment at home or on the go.

With Bluetooth 5.3, they support a stable multipoint connection, allowing seamless switching between devices. Additionally, the 65ms low latency game mode makes these headphones ideal for gamers looking for sync precision between visual and auditory cues. Whether for daily commuting or extended listening sessions, the SoundPEATS Space Over-Ear ANC Headphones are a top choice for those who value sound quality and innovative features.

SoundPEATS Space Over-Ear ANC headphones, which cost $89.99, are available in nebula black, creamy beige, and ceramic white. And if you look on Amazon, you will likely get a good deal on these ANC wireless headphones.

Skullcandy Crusher ANC 2 - $320

photo of Skullcandy Crusher ANC 2 Wireless HeadphoneSkullcandy Crusher ANC 2 Wireless Headphone GearBrain

If you want bass, the Crusher ANC 2 by Skullcandy should be high on your list. In addition to offering a powerful kick (and active noise canceling), they can be tailored via a smartphone app to adjust their sound based on your preferences.

Multiple profiles can be created (for different family members), and we found the setup process straightforward and simple. They aren't cheap, at $230, but you can find deals on these headphones on Amazon or the company site. Also, their large size won't be for everyone, but we like how Skullcandy is trying something different with the sound profile system, and we're sure for some audiophiles, that'll make them a must-have.

Apple AirPods Pro (2nd Gen) - $249

Apple AirPods ProCompact AirPods Pro 2nd Gen offer excellent noice cancellingApple

We quickly learned with the AirPods Pro that bigger isn't always better when it comes to noise-canceling headphones. Amazing, after trying Apple's $250 earphones on an 11-hour flight, we found their noise-cancellation technology to work better than on our trusty Bose QC35.

Apple can't match larger headphones for battery life, but a few quick charges via the AirPods Pro 2 charge case should be enough for most flights. They can manage 6 hours independently, but using the case for top-ups extends this to 30 hours. They are also very comfortable, come with three rubber tip options, and stay securely in our ears, even while running.

They aren't cheap for earphones — and the experience isn't quite as seamless for Android users — but if portability, comfort, and strong ANC are what you want, the AirPods Pro 2 delivers.

Sennheiser Momentum Wireless - $319

Sennheiser Momentum 3 WirelessThird-generation Momentum Wireless headphonesSennheiser

Sennheiser has always been a strong option for headphones, and at the top end of the market, the Momentum Wireless is no different. They have active noise cancellation, USB-C charging, and a premium design.

However, while applauded for their acoustic abilities, their battery life of just 17 hours is some way behind the competition. When Sony's equivalent offers 30 hours and even AirPods can manage 24 with a few quick top-ups from the case, 17 hours from Sennheiser might be inconvenient for some users.

Sony WF-1000XM3 - $299

Sony WF-1000XM3The WF-1000XM5 has eight hours of battery lifeSony

Another option from Sony is the WF-1000MX5, but this time in compact earphone form. Like the AirPods Pro 2, these offer true active noise canceling capabilities without a bulky over-ear design. Battery life is a claimed eight hours per charge and 24 hours with the charging case. It also comes with Quick charging. With a 3-minute charge, users can get up to one hour of listening. And if you are an Amazon Alexa user, these Sony headphones have Alexa built-in.

If your budget doesn't stretch to the AirPods Pro (or you don't find them comfortable), then the Sony WF-1000XM5 is a strong option for combining ANC with portability, battery life, and a compact in-ear design.

PuroQuiet - $139

a product shot of PuroQuiet Headphones for kidsThese headphones have ANC but are designed for childrenAmazon

Sometimes, children want a bit of peace and quiet of their own, and that's where the PuroQuiet headphones come in. These are wireless and have ANC, but they are much smaller and lighter than options from Bose and Sennheiser, making them comfortable and convenient for children.

The headphones are available in black, purple, red, blue, pink, and teal and have 23 hours of battery life or 35 if ANC is switched off. They are also limited to a maximum output of 85 dB, some way below the circa 110 dB regular headphones are capable of, in a bid to prevent damaging children's ears.

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