Noise cancelling headphones use something called “active noise control” to mask loud background noises. Active noise control means that the headphones counteract unwanted sounds by cancelling it out with another sound.
This means consumers can listen to their music or watch a video without having to turn up the volume to a damaging level.
Such headphones are especially useful during noisy commutes or long aeroplane journeys. Students might also want to consider investing in a pair of noise cancelling headphones as the elimination of background noise can help improve concentration when studying.
It can be difficult to know what set of headphones are worth investing in. There are a ton of headsets out there on the market. Many people may know the big names such as Bose and Sennheiser but could be unaware of which pair would best suit their needs.
These headphones often aren’t cheap either. In the tech world, you get what you pay for. If you have decided that noise cancelling headphones would be worth investing in, or are simply curious, continue reading to discover iTHINK Magazine’s top noise cancelling headphones for 2019.
The Sony WF-1000XM3 will appeal to those looking for premium noise cancelling wireless earphones. These earphones currently retail around £219. Sony’s flagship wireless earphones contain the latest active noise cancelling chip – the QN1e.
These earphones perform extremely well in both sound quality and noise cancelling ability. Battery life lasts approximately 6 – 8 hours before requiring charging. The design may not appeal to everyone, however.
The earbuds themselves are on the heavier side and are not designed for those exercising while using them. There is also a lack of manual volume control.
It does feature some cool extras. Such as sensors which pause playback when removed from the ear, and intuitive controls on each earbud. These earphones would particularly appeal to those looking for a quality gadget to take hands free calls. The Sony WF-1000XM3 comes in a choice of two colours: silver and black.
Bose QuietComfort 35 II
The Bose QuietComfort 35 wireless headphones II offer a luxurious alternative from a brand known for their quality. These headphones possess an excellent build quality. Featuring a soft headband and lightweight frame, these headphones are great for listening to music for an extended period of time.
The Quiet Comfort 35 II also has a superb battery life – lasting on average 20 hours between charges. Priced at around £260 across many retailers, like many of these noise cancelling headphones, it doesn’t come cheap.
Bose are a brand trusted for their sound quality. Like many of the top noise cancelling headphones, it offers automatic volume optimization for clearer audio, voice calls and better noise cancelling capabilities.
There is even a Bose Connect App which enables users to adjust the level of noise cancellation via smartphone. This feature seems counter intuitive – surely for the premium price consumers should be able to control such levels in a more direct manner. The App can also be used to connect two Bose headphones and share music with a friend. While a nifty extra, there are more important features to consider in noise cancelling headphones.
Like many of the top headphones, this headset features voice assistant integration. By holding a button at the back of the headset, consumers can complete tasks with the assistance of Alexa and the Google Assistant.
Jabra Elite 85H
The Jabra Elite 85H currently retails for around £270. The battery life is impressive for this headset – it lasts roughly a whopping 30 hours. This beats many of the noise cancelling headphones on the market. However, the Jabra Elite 85H is not the go-to choice if you are overly concerned about audio quality.
While these headphones have good noise cancelling capabilities, the sound quality may not impress audiophiles. It may sound flat in comparison to other models. For those without any prior comparisons, it may satisfy your needs.
This headset is very comfortable with a faux leather headband. The design features woven fabric and gives off an air of build quality. Despite the headphones’ ability to automatically adjust noise cancelling depending on the environment, some consumers may find the headphones too bulky for use in public.
This is of course from an aesthetic standpoint – while they are fully functional outside, some people prefer to wear lighter frames.
The Lindy BNX-60 is an excellent choice for consumers looking for a cheaper option. Currently retailing for a much more affordable price of £90, these wireless headphones will appeal to many. The question is: with a cheaper price, is quality drastically reduced?
Fortunately, the answer is no. The Lindy BNX-60 performs surprising well considering its lesser-known brand and cheaper price point.
The noise cancelling feature is effective, however it does affect sound quality. There is a notable dip in sound quality when the noise cancelling features are turned off.
Many consumers who look to purchase noise cancelling headphones are likely to use them for this main feature, rather than solely audio playback so it likely isn’t a deal-breaker scenario. These headphones last for an impressive 30 hours between charges.
The drawback to these headphones is mainly in its design. As a trade-off for the price, the plastic frame seems cheap in comparison to competing headphones. These headphones also feature buttons for playback, noise cancelling and to adjust the volume. The Lindy BNX-60 is a well-performing option for those on a budget.
Sennheiser HD 4.50 BTNC Wireless Headphones
Sennheiser have established themselves as a brand synonymous with audio quality. While the Sennheiser HD 4.50 BTNC Wireless headphones don’t necessarily live up to this they are still a good choice when it comes to affordability.
For starters they currently retail for around £120, and have an estimated battery life of up to 25hrs. So far, so good. These headphones also boast excellent noise cancelling capabilities. The cheaper price point does mean some trade offs of course.
For one, the body of the headphones. The frame is robust and lightweight, featuring memory foam on the cups. However, for long periods of use these headphones can be a tad uncomfortable. For shorter listening periods, there should be no issues.
Secondly, the sound quality is not up to par in comparison with premium noise cancelling headphones. While satisfactory, this may displease audiophiles. Buttons on the ear cup also form the controls for playback and volume.
In all, the Sennheiser HD 4.50 BTNC Wireless headphones are a good choice if you primarily care about price and noise cancelling capabilities. These headphones would be a particularly good option for use on air travel.
The tech giant Sony also top the noise cancelling headphones chart, as well as offering a decent wireless earphones alternative. The WH-1000XM3 has been touted in the tech world as the supreme choice for noise cancelling. It’s easy to see why.
The WH-1000XM3 represents the flagship of Sony’s noise cancelling headphones. It is the third improved version of the popular WH-1000X series. As such, it currently costs around £270 – initially retailed for a price of £330.
For consumers concerned with getting the best, these premium headphones are an excellent choice.
A solid all-rounder, the WH-1000XM3 boasts a 30 hour battery life and quick charging capabilities. Noise cancelling works well, although it isn’t the absolute best on the market for this feature. Sound quality is especially great, and the headphone frame is comfortable even for extended listening.
Like many of the top wireless headphones it features touch controls on the ear cups and virtual voice assistants. These headphones are available in silver and black.
Whatever your needs are when it comes to noise cancelling headphones, there exists the right gadget for you. Consumers willing to pay a premium amount in exchange for a premium product could do no wrong but opting for the solid all-rounder Sony WH-1000XM3 headphones. The Bose QuietComfort 35 wireless headphones II are also a luxurious alternative.
The Lindy BNX-60 and Sennheiser’s HD 4.50 BTNC Wireless headphones will appeal to consumers on a budget, albeit on different price points. Both of these headphones perform well in accordance with their retail price. While they do not blow away the premium models, they serve well and hold their own in this regard.
For those who prefer wireless earphones to headphones, the WF-1000XM3 is a premium choice.
Investing in a pair of quality noise cancelling headphones or earphones can be expensive and confusing. Hopefully, this article will have shed some light on the noise cancelling audio options currently out there on the market.