Reviewing The Best Noise-Cancelling Headphones For Travel

by Daniel | Last Updated February 12th, 2020

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Whether you're traveling by train, plane, or automobile or you need to drown out the office buzz, you're probably in the market for some noise-canceling headphones. 

But which ones are best for you?

The best noise-cancelling headphones, of course, vary in opinion. Which is why we made a list of some of the best, accompanied by our honest reviews. So, keep reading if you want to discover the perfect pair of noise-canceling headphones for your next travel adventure.

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The Best Noise-Cancelling Headphones

If it weren't for this wonderful technological advance, we'd be forced to listen to our music with a side of someone else's conversation. Not to mention, earbuds tethered to a wire tend to tangle and get caught on random objects. Not the best for people on the go.

We're also just going to go ahead and say it—wireless earbuds are pointless and they're not the most attractive thing to look at either. They're also easily lost, which is a bummer because they don't come with your phone purchase, and they don't come cheap.

Shopping for a decent pair of headphones that provide active noise cancellation can get a little overwhelming. There are a lot of products out there, and if you're not tech-savvy, then reading all of those descriptions can get a bit heady.

Of course, if you're traveling, then you probably only care about things like how long the battery lasts, portability, and comfort level. Let's be honest, these are really the most important things. Especially if you don't know the differences between treble and bass. Nonetheless, we're sure that sound quality is of some importance to you, which is why our list consists of a full price range.

So, without further adieu, here's our list of the best noise-cancelling headphones.

1. Sennheiser HD 4.50 BTNC Headphones

  • Item Weight - 7.84 ounces

 

  • Product Dimensions - 10.2 x 7.1 x 3.9 inches

 

  • Wireless Range - 30 feet
     

  • Battery Life -20 Hours

The Sennheiser HD 4.50 BTNCs may be on the affordable end of the spectrum, but they're still full of life. They have a simple, travel-friendly design. Combined with their price point, this makes these wireless Bluetooth headphones perfect for the world traveler who's on a budget.

The best part about these Sennheiser's is that there's no sacrifice in quality. The company's NoiseGuard technology and excellent audio quality allow the noise-canceling ability of these headphones to compete with those of Bose and Sony. 

At a maximum of 20 hours, you'll get nearly a full day's worth of battery use. They also have a range of 30 feet—which is more than enough for those long plane rides and busy workdays that require you to tune out the office buzz. 

Of course, we have found a few flaws: These headphones lack good ear ventilation and padding under the headband. And the NoiseGuard can take some effort to activate. At least they don't sacrifice the sound quality, which is a much more important feature in comparison. 

2. Microsoft Surface Headphones

  • Item Weight - 10.24 ounces

 

  • Product Dimensions - 8.03 x 7.68 x 1.89 inches

 

  • Wireless Range - 35 feet
     

  • Battery Life -15 Hours

The Microsoft Surface Headphones have gotten all-around good reviews—and for good reason. We were actually surprised that the Surface Headphones deliver a wonderfully warm sound quality as well as a great bass range. Of course, if you're a sound aficionado, you may be underwhelmed by the lower and mid-level frequencies produced by these headphones.

The Surface Headphones have a battery life of up to 15 hours, which is still pretty decent. However, their range is unknown. Fortunately, to offset this downside they offer active noise cancelation, which we've found to be very effective. We also found the controls to be very user-friendly.

Of course, they don't have the prettiest design, but we thought that their seamlessly working features make up for the price.

3. Jabra Elite 85h Headphones

  • Item Weight - 10.4 ounces

 

  • Product Dimensions - 9 x 7.6 x 3.2 inches

 

  • Wireless Range - 33 feet
     

  • Battery Life -36 Hours

The Jabra Elite 85h noise-cancelling headphones are the company's first model in terms of premium ANC wireless headphones. They make a pretty decent alternative to the Sony WH-1000XMQ3 too.

We like their over-all modern design and the variety of AI smart features that can be personalized on their Sound+ app. It also doesn't hurt that they boast a 36-hour battery life along with a 36-foot wireless range. (They're definitely giving Sony a run for their money with this one). 

Aside from the personalization of sound profiles, incredible design, and battery, these headphones provide great noise cancellation. And quite impressively, may we add. Our only gripe is the lack of high-end codec support, but the overall quality of soundy isn't disturbed much by this.

In fact, these headphones are often compared to the Bose QuietComfort ll in terms of their sound quality. They're also much more attractive in their overall aesthetics.

Having said that, these headphones are a great pick, especially for the price and features. And, we can't wait to see what Jabra does with their headphones next.

4. Bowers and Wilkins PX5 Headphones

  • Item Weight - 9 ounces

 

  • Product Dimensions - 2.8 x 6.3 x 8.7 inches

 

  • Wireless Range - 33 feet
     

  • Battery Life -25 Hours

The Bowers and Wilkins PX5 headphones are the Goldilocks of wireless headphones. In other words, they're just right. They have an impressive delivery of sound by combining an over-ear and inner-ear type of headphone—without the extra bulk. They're perfect for the everyday commuter who has to take their headphones on and off repeatedly.

These headphones were designed to deliver low-latency and high-resolution audio with their Qualcomm aptX Adaptive audio codec. They're also one of the first pairs of wireless headphones to use this type of technology. What's even better is that they come with four noise cancellation modes, so you can choose the amount of outside noise you want to hear.

They have a battery life of up to 25 hours and a 15-minute quick charge that will give you up to three hours of playback time. They provide a natural sound whether you're listening to music or watching a movie—something that audio junkies tend to really appreciate.

However, we think that the overall noise cancellation could be a little stronger for the price.

5. Sony WH-1000XM3 Headphones

  • Item Weight - 8.96 ounces

 

  • Product Dimensions - 7.3 x 2.9 x 10.4 inches

 

  • Wireless Range - 30 feet
     

  • Battery Life -30 Hours

Thanks to Sony's proprietary LDAC tech combined with an AptX wireless codecs, these wireless headphones offer even better sound quality than Bose. In addition, they have one of the best noise-canceling algorithms on the market today.

The headphones also come fully loaded with great features. One of our favorite features includes a Quick Attention mode that allows you to tune into all of the outside noises with the simple push of a button. It's perfect for placing a drink order on a plane without having to take the headphones off completely. 

We're also huge fans of the 30-hour battery as well as their 30-foot wireless range. If they have one flaw, it's their fragile hinges. Otherwise, these may be our absolute favorite pair of wireless and noise-cancelling headphones yet.

6. Beats Studio³ Wireless Headphones

  • Item Weight - 9.17 ounces

 

  • Product Dimensions - 9.0 x 6.4 x 4.9 inches

 

  • Wireless Range - 51 ft
     

  • Battery Life -22 Hours

Beats are very popular. These look nice, they feel nice, they fold up nicely, and they've got great bass. We're just not 100% positive that they're worth the price.

While they feel nice in your hands, they seem to strain under pressure—which is probably why they come with a hard case for storage. The overall quality of sound is good, but not as good compared to Bose and Sony. 

On the tech side of things, they utilize Apple's W1 wireless chip. This makes for an exceptional Bluetooth application and wireless stability. There's also been a huge improvement in the battery. They last up to 22 hours with noise cancellation and up to 40 hours without it.

It's also safe to say that an Apple design works much better with iOS software in terms of ease of use. Overall, we do like the Beats Studio 3 wireless headphones, but we don't love them for the price and sound quality. 

7. Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700

  • Item Weight - 8.8 ounces

 

  • Product Dimensions - 2 x 6.5 x 8 inches

 

  • Wireless Range - 33 ft
     

  • Battery Life -20 Hours

Bose is one of the best brands out there in noise cancellation technology, and these headphones are no exception in that greatness. The company really took the design of these headphones to the next level, giving them a uniform and sleek aesthetic.

While the earcups may seem a little big and bulky, we can assure you that they are lightweight and comfortable. And it's a good thing too, as these headphones have a battery life of 20+ hours. 

The engineers of these headphones had more than just music and long commutes in mind. They also took into consideration that noise cancelation doesn't necessarily apply to the party on the other end of your phone calls. And so, they've installed 11 modes of noise cancelation settings accompanied by an 8-microphone system. All of which can be controlled via the free Bose app that can be downloaded on Google.

The overall audio quality is fantastic and well-balanced, with a great deal of clarity. Of course, we feel that the battery life could be a lot better for the price, so these headphones still come in second to their greatest competitor: the Sony WH-1000XM3 wireless headphones.

8. Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H9 (3rd gen) Headphones

  • Item Weight - 10.4 ounces

 

  • Product Dimensions - 7 x 1 x 7 inches

 

  • Wireless Range - 33 ft
     

  • Battery Life -25 Hours

The third generation Beoplay H9 headphones by Bang & Olufsen, like that past two generations, definitely don't skimp on design and material. Of course, if they did skimp, they may have been able to improve the overall quality of sound and performance. 

These headphones were designed to fit over your ear rather than sit on top of it, which lends a very comfortable feel. Unfortunately, they produce a whole lot of bass and not much balance in the sound department. They're kind of like glorified Beats. On the flip side, they do have the option for a wired connection which significantly improves the sound quality.

The features come up short as well. There's a lack of Bluetooth accessibility, so you have to pair these headphones manually. There's also a lag in response time when skipping tracks or adjusting the volume. On the plus side, the ear pads and battery pack is replaceable, so you don't have to throw the whole setup away if the battery dies.

In terms of noise cancellation, these headphones fair well. However, when noise cancelation mode is activated, there seems to be a slight pressure on the ears that come with it. Battery life lasts up to 25 hours give or take, and with the touch of a button, you can summon Google Assistant. 

9. Apple AirPods Pro

  • Item Weight - .19 ounces

 

  • Product Dimensions - 0.94 x 0.86 x 1.22 inches

 

  • Wireless Range - 46 ft
     

  • Battery Life - 24 Hours (with charging case)

The new Apple AirPods Pro are a step from the already very popular first-generation AirPods. They now offer even better sound quality and fully customizable active noise cancellation which basically gives you the option to either shut out ambient noise so you can focus more on your music or conversation whilst on a call or you can choose the transparency mode which will give you the ability to hear what is going on around you.

For all of these new updates comes quite a price increase, the previous model pricing was $159 USD but the newer AirPods Pro are now $249.


Is it worth the $90 price increase? I guess it depends on how much you want to have the latest and greatest Apple product.

The fit of the new AirPods Pro is better than the previous model, the new silicone ear tips are more useable for a larger range of different sized ears. With this more secure fit, you are able to work out or run without having to worry so much about the AirPods falling out and they are now sweat-proof. 

 

Overall the noise-canceling AirPods Pro are a nicely designed product with great sound quality that pretty much fits in your pocket. Should you but them? It depends on how much you want to spend and if you prefer over-ear or in-ear headphones.

Give Your Ears the Best

The best noise-cancelling headphones are ideally also the most comfortable on your ears. You should never sacrifice comfort for bells and whistles, otherwise, your next plane ride won't be as smooth as it could be.

You also don't want to spend a lot of money only to have them break or get stolen. (Just something to think about if you plan on traveling a lot).

Speaking of travel, we have a lot to offer. From luggage to pillows, we have plenty of travel accessory tips. We also have plenty of destination suggestions—just refer to our blog. For all other travel questions or if you're feeling spontaneous and would like to book a flight, you can contact us here.

ABOUT DANIEL

Welcome to LuggageGuru!
My name is Daniel and I am a full-time world traveler and constantly on the move.

My goal with luggageguru.com is to provide helpful information about travel-related products and accessories and also useful travel tips to make your vacation or trip more enjoyable!
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