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The Best Noise-Cancelling Headphones 2022: Top 15

November 1, 2022 15 min read


The Best Noise-Cancelling Headphones 2022: Top 15

Reading Time: 15 minutes

Tune in with the best noise-cancelling headphones

Noise cancellation is one of the most important features in any headphones. It helps you relax, focus on what you need to do and enjoy your favorite music without any interruptions.

Several types of noise-cancellation headphones are available in the market today, such as active noise cancellation and passive noise cancellation. While active noise cancellation refers to the technology used to cancel out unwanted ambient sounds, passive noise cancellation uses materials like cotton or neoprene to absorb vibrations from outside sources.

In this article, I will discuss some of the best noise-cancelling headphones under $1000 that have been reviewed by experts. These headphones are top rated for their amazing sound quality and comfort while wearing them. You can also use them while working out or commuting to school or work.

1. Sony WH-1000XM4

2. Sony WH-1000XM3

3. Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless

4. Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700

5. Sony WH-1000XM5

6. Shure AONIC 50

7. Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H95

8. Bose QuietComfort 35 II

9. Jabra Elite 85H

10. Apple AirPods Max

11. Sennheiser Momentum 3 Wireless

12. JBL Tune 750BTNC

13. Microsoft Surface Headphones 2

14. Urbanista Miami

15. Nura Nuraphone

The best noise-cancelling headphones 2022

1. Sony WH-1000XM4

Sony WH-1000XM4-headphones
REASONS TO BUYImproved noise-cancellation
DSEE Extreme audio upscaling
Multipoint pairing
REASONS TO AVOIDNot water-resistant

The Sony WH-1000XM4 are wireless noise-cancelling headphones that deliver excellent noise-cancellation and surprising sound quality all in a lightweight, comfortable design. While they don’t look significantly different from their predecessors, the Sony WH-1000XM3, a number of new features including multipoint pairing, DSEE Extreme upscaling, conversational awareness and auto-play/pause using a built-in sensor all help the WH-1000XM4 claim the title of best headphones in 2022.

By every possible metric, the Sony WH-1000XM4 is a wonderful pair of wireless noise-cancelling headphones. They deliver exactly what they promise and then some thanks to their exceptional noise cancellation and cutting-edge codec support. In our tests we listened to Janelle Monae’s absolute banger Make Me Feel. It sounded supremely powerful on the WH-1000XM4 headphones, from the bop of the percussion to the wall of sound that accompanies the pre-chorus.

On top of the adjustments listed above, the Sony WH-1000XM4 supports Sony’s 360 Reality Audio format that enables spatial audio on stereo headphones plus the LDAC codec that can send a bitrate of up to 990 kbps.

2. Sony WH-1000XM3

Sony WH-1000XM3-headphones
REASONS TO BUYOutstanding noise cancellation
30-hour battery life
Fantastic sound quality
REASONS TO AVOIDSmall tweaks from 1000XM2

Sony’s WH-1000XM3 are a great pair of headphones for anyone looking for a pair of cans that can do it all.

They’re comfortable, offer good sound quality, and have some great features – like battery life, which is about 30 hours.

Sony has been an industry leader in noise cancellation technology for years, and their new model is no different. It’s not quite as good as the older 1000XM3 models – which means they’re now out of their league – but they’re still pretty great!

The Sony WH-1000XM3 features aptX HD support and Sony LDAC audio streaming via Bluetooth 5.0. You can also use them with Google Assistant or Alexa if you have a compatible smartphone or smart speaker. They also have a well-balanced soundstage and decent mids that come through crystal clear. The bass is weighty enough to provide some real slam when it needs to but isn’t overwhelming at all times. If you’re looking for a pair of headphones that’ll work with both Android smartphones and Windows PCs, this is your best bet!

3. Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless

Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless headphones
REASONS TO BUYNeutral, crisp, detailed sound
Excellent ANC and transparency
Incredible battery life even with ANC
REASONS TO AVOIDA little plain aesthetically
Design doesn’t fold up into the headband

The Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless is the newest wireless over-ear headphones from Sennheiser. They have an incredible battery life, a likable app, an extensive feature set, easy on-ear controls, talented adaptive noise cancellation, and a zealous sound that’ll have you nodding your head happily wherever you go. 

We found the design to be a bit boring. Sennheiser has ditched its slightly quirky anchored aluminum headband for a more business-like black plastic and fabric aesthetic. But as soon as we put them on, the design choices were forgiven.

They’re an evolution of the November 2019-issue Sennheiser Momentum 3 Wireless. We commended them for their excellent sound quality, feature set, built-in Tile tracking (so you needn’t lose them), and active noise-cancellation (ANC) but we were disappointed by the 17-hour battery life.

The sound quality and battery life are excellent here and the ANC truly shines. We particularly rated the tweakable ANC, which works a treat (you can control it by ‘pinching’ the right ear cup in the same way you would to pan in and out of photos on your smartphone).

4. Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700

The best ANC headphones for blocking out noise
REASONS TO BUYOutstanding noise cancellation
Fun, lively sound
Elegant design
REASONS TO AVOIDBattery life could be better

The Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 was a bit of a departure for Bose. Arriving in between editions of its famous QuietComfort, the NCH 700 included a bold new design and a more intricate approach to the control of the noise blocking, and they remain a favorite among members of the TechRadar team today as a result of these smart changes.

They fit in with Bose’s reputation for making some of the best noise-canceling headphones and that’s why they take a prime position in our best wireless headphones guide. They remain a great choice now even though the newer Bose QuietComfort 45 is out because they can generally be found for much cheaper than those, but the quality is still really high.

We love how controllable the noise cancellation is through the app – more controllable than the QC45, oddly – and we prefer the more modern design. However, they always fell slightly behind the Sony WH-1000XM3 in our estimation as the total package – balancing price, sound quality, and noise-stopping power – and with Sony continually dropping the price of the XM3 over time (and, indeed, the newer and better Sony WH-1000XM4).

5. Sony WH-1000XM5

Sony WH-1000XM5 headphones
REASONS TO BUYExcellent noise-cancellation
Wonderful sounding performance
Smart ambient features
An app you’ll actually want to use
REASONS TO AVOIDNew design is less portable
Still no water resistance
More expensive than previous models
Not a gigantic upgrade over the still-excellent WH-1000XM4

The WH-1000XM5 headphones by Sony are the best in their class, offering a stunning balance of comfort, sound quality and design.

The first thing you’ll notice is that they’re much lighter than their predecessor. The earcups are now designed to fold up completely into the headband (unlike their predecessors), which makes them far more portable and comfortable to wear for hours at a time.

And it’s not just about how light they are: these headphones also boast better noise isolation, thanks to their new 30mm driver. We did notice a slight loss of dynamism when we compared them to the 40mm driver in their predecessor—but it’s still a very impressive pair of cans, and wowed us with its balanced sound quality and incredible clarity.

If you’re looking for the best pair of cans on the market right now, the WH-1000XM5s is worth considering.

6. Shure AONIC 50

Shure AONIC 50 headphones
REASONS TO BUYExpansive, convincing sound
Sturdy construction
Good ANC
REASONS TO AVOIDNo touch controls

The Shure AONIC 50 are a fantastic pair of noise-canceling over-ear headphones, with an active design that blocks out all external noise. They feature an isolation rating of 30 decibels and a frequency response of 15Hz to 20kHz, making them great for the gym, or during plane rides or long drives.

These headphones are designed for audiophiles who want to experience the best sound quality possible without compromise. The Shure AONIC 50 have a premium price tag, but they’re worth it if you’re looking for high-quality headphones that can block out noise effectively and produce great-sounding audio in the process.

Despite their high price tag, these headphones sound much better than their competitors from Bose and Sony—and they’re more comfortable too! They offer a wide soundstage with plenty of detail and energy, which makes your music feel lively and emotive. While there aren’t any touch controls on these headphones, you can control playback through your smartphone app or via buttons on each ear cup.

Overall: If you want top-of-the-line noise cancellation at an affordable price, look no further than the Shure AONIC 50s!

7. Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H95

Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H95
REASONS TO BUYBeautifully built
Exceptional audio quality
Very good noise cancellation
REASONS TO AVOIDExtremely pricey compared to rivals
No auto-pause feature

We really like the Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H95. They’re beautifully made, offer a level of luxury that we’ve come to expect from the Danish audio brand, and they have an excellent control app. Noise cancellation is also very good, and we found it blocked out nearly all ambient sound—and like the audio, that’s fully adjustable to your liking, too.

As you might expect with a high-end pair of headphones from B&O, they’re extremely expensive. They won’t amuse vegans either given their use of genuine leather, but they’re gorgeous looking and feel great. If you want excellent quality and have the budget to match, then it’s worth considering this excellent pair of headphones.

Just be aware of the strange omission of an auto-pause function when you take them off.

8. Bose QuietComfort 35 II

Bose QuietComfort 35 II headphones
REASONS TO BUYBroad and clear soundstage
Amazing noise cancellation
REASONS TO AVOIDActive EQ an acquired taste
Boring looks

We’ve got no complaints about the Bose QC35 II NC. If you’re looking for a pair of headphones that will keep you comfortable during long commutes, provide excellent sound quality at a low price point, and make it easy to access Google Assistant, then this is the pair for you.

Coming in at number eight is the Bose QuietComfort 35 II – a nearly identical product to the already-excellent Bose QuietComfort 35 but updated with Google Assistant. This means you still get the class-leading noise cancellation Bose is known for, good sound quality, and incredible comfort, plus a convenient assistant to answer any inquiries you might have while traveling.

There’s no auto play or pause, or even instant mute, but that’s a relatively small quibble amongst some great comfort and sound. The tonal balance is relatively neutral with a slight mid-bass bump, and while the Bose cans aren’t as dynamic as the WH-1000XM4, we still found the audio performance enjoyable. 

Taken as a whole, the Bose QC35 II NC is an excellent pair of headphones for travelers and commuters. Bose has found a good balance of features that will satisfy most mainstream listeners—even if they could look more interesting.

9. Jabra Elite 85H

Jabra Elite 85H headphones
REASONS TO BUYClass-leading battery life
Excellent ANC performance
REASONS TO AVOIDLacks support for high-end codecs
Bass could be punchier

Jabra’s Elite 85h is the company’s first attempt at premium wireless ANC headphones, and they’re a great start.

Offering class-leading battery life, terrific style and plenty of personalization when it comes to sound profiles thanks to a useful app, the Elite 85h is easy to recommend. That said, purists will bemoan the lack of high-end codec support and there are punchier headphones on the market at this price point. 

When you consider that Jabra’s Elite 85h headphones are the company’s first attempt at premium wireless ANC headphones, the result is quite commendable. In our tests, we were impressed by the nicely balanced soundstage that favours warmth and clarity, allowing instrumentals to really shine without any of the muddiness found in the mids of bass-heavy headphones. They’re also comfortable to wear and offer fantastic longevity for those long commutes or those times you simply forget to recharge.

If you want an alternative to Sony’s WH-1000XM4, these are a great pair of noise-canceling headphones. We can’t wait to see what the company’s next premium ANC headphones will accomplish.

10. Apple AirPods Max

Apple AirPods Max headphones
REASONS TO BUYUnbelievable audio performance
Brilliant extra features for iOS
Great noise cancellation
REASONS TO AVOIDNo 3.5mm audio port
Limited features for Android

The AirPods Max was the most hotly-anticipated headphones for quite some time, having been the subject of rumor and speculation for two years. They come with active noise cancellation, superb audio quality, and a design that sets them apart from most noise-canceling headphones on the market.

While their exceptional audio performance and class-leading ANC impress, they’re let down by their eye-watering price, baffling carrying case, and lack of support for Hi-Res Audio codecs. Despite their high price, the AirPods Max isn’t exactly aimed at the audiophile crowd, owing to their lack of a 3.5mm audio port; instead, these cans are squarely targeted at card-carrying members of the Apple ecosystem, with nifty features for iOS users and an unmistakably ‘Apple’ design.

For Android users, the AirPods Max is simply a high-performance pair of noise-canceling headphones with an unusual design – but if you’ve already bought into Apple’s ecosystem (and have tons of money to spend), then you’ll definitely appreciate these headphones’ sound quality and ease of use.

But if you’re not an Android user – or if you simply don’t have tons of dollars lying.

11. Sennheiser Momentum 3 Wireless

Sennheiser Momentum 3 Wireless
REASONS TO BUYBrilliant audio quality
Cool design
Customizable settings
REASONS TO AVOIDBattery life isn’t great

When it comes to sheer sound quality, the Sennheiser Momentum 3 Wireless headphones are among the best. With high levels of detail and warmth in their bass, they sound brilliant. And their customizable noise cancellation is also good, but it doesn’t quite reach the class-leading standards set by the Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless headphones.

They have nowhere near the battery life of Sony’s headphones. They are also more expensive – which begs the question, why buy the Sennheisers when you could have the WH-1000XM4? Well, if built-in Tile tracking appeals to you, and you like the industrial design and premium materials of these headphones, that could be reason enough. And if you do opt for them over the Sony model, you won’t be missing out on any audio quality – they’re truly matched.

Listening to Girl Ray’s Stupid Things we were struck by how natural her vocals sounded coming across with crystal clarity as warm piano chords shifted below and shimmering treble notes glisten at the higher end of the mix.

12. JBL Tune 750BTNC

JBL Tune 750BTNC
REASONS TO BUYGood sound quality
Strong active noise cancelation
REASONS TO AVOIDNo waterproofing
Average battery life

If you’re looking for a pair of over-ear headphones that sound great, look good, and fit well – and you can get them for under $200 – then the JBL Tune 750BTNC is worth a look.

The JBL Live 650BTNC were a good product, but their successors have been even better. They’re just as dependable, which means that consumers know what to expect from the brand. The Tune 750BTNC are also very dependable in terms of sound quality – better than you might think given their price range.

One thing we didn’t like about the 650BTNC was their lack of waterproofing, which is a rather big deal when it comes to headphones. Fortunately this has been remedied on the Tune 750BTNC with an IPX4 rating, meaning they’ll be able to withstand rain and sweat without issue.

They also have a few other little features that make them feel more premium than they actually are – like an included carrying case and remote control adapter (which allows you to use your phone’s volume buttons or Siri commands with them).

In short: if you want something reliable and easy-to-use with strong noise cancellation capabilities at an affordable price point, then consider checking out.

13. Microsoft Surface Headphones 2

Microsoft Surface Headphones 2 headphones
REASONS TO BUYWarm, wide soundstage
Great controls
REASONS TO AVOIDSound could be more detailed
Slightly boring look

The Microsoft Surface Headphones 2 are the tech giant’s second pair of noise-canceling headphones. And, they offer a ton of great improvements over the original Surface Headphones, while retaining some of their best qualities.

Despite those improvements – which include a longer battery life and a more comfortable design – the Surface Headphones 2 are considerably cheaper than their predecessors, making them the obvious choice if you’re trying to choose between the two. Listening to Duster by black midi, we noted that the bass sounds robust, but tightly controlled though these cans don’t quite have the dexterity of the Sony WH-1000XM4 when it comes to handling complex rhythmic changes. 

However, their lower price also makes them a great alternative to the best headphones of 2022, especially as they’ve retained the winning design features of the original Surface Headphones, with built-in dials on each earcup to control your music and active noise cancellation. They may be a little boring looking but they make up for it with quality.

14. Urbanista Miami

Urbanista Miami headphones
Extended bass response
Excellent battery life and connectivity
REASONS TO AVOIDNoise cancellation isn’t the best
Audio could be more detailed

The Urbanista Miami headphones are a great headphone option for those on a budget.

The Urbanista Miami is an easy recommendation for those on a budget, who don’t want to sacrifice style or sound performance. 

Noise cancellation itself isn’t the best on the market, and while the audio could be more detailed, an extended bass response makes the Urbanista Miami ideal for pop and RnB. Rock works, too; in Catatonia’s Mulder and Scully, the soundstage felt fairly spacious, with good separation between the different frequencies. Driving guitars and drums had plenty of power behind them, but never overpowered Cerys Matthews’ distinctive vocals.

At this price, they lend themselves well to anyone not looking to spend a fortune on new headphones while not missing out on key features., including their battery life of 50 hours (which is pretty standard), their excellent connectivity options (including Bluetooth 5.0), and their compatibility with Android devices—all these features combine to make these a great alternative to pricier models such as the Sony WH-1000XM4 or Apple AirPods Max.”

15. Nura Nuraphone

Nura Nuraphone headphones
REASONS TO BUYRich, full sound
Excellent noise isolation
REASONS TO AVOIDLimited controls on headphones
Form factor can be restricting

While we’ve been testing headphones for a long time, it’s always exciting when we come across something new. The Nura Nuraphone over-ear/in-ear hybrid is one such product—it’s the weirdest pair of headphones we’ve ever seen, but it also has some interesting features that could make it appealing to some people.

This pair of headphones comes in two parts: an earbud and an over-ear cushion that sits on top of your entire ear. The earbud part is what you’re used to: a traditional earbud with a cable running into your phone or MP3 player. The over-ear part of the device rests on top of your ear, so you have two physical barriers blocking sound from getting into your ears.

While more traditional over-ear headphones do a better job offering useful features at a reasonable price, the Nuraphone will appeal to the more experimental audio crowd looking to be on the bleeding edge of the next big thing. These may be increasingly older headphones but they still offer up some useful features to compare well against the rest of the pack.

How to Choose the Best Noise-Cancelling Headphones

When it comes to noise-cancelling headphones, comfort is key. A good pair of noise-cancelling headphones need to be comfortable for long listening sessions – look out for padded earcups and headbands in materials like memory foam for ultimate comfort. 

Padded earcups also help with passive noise cancellation – in other words, they physically block sound from entering your ears. This works in tandem with active noise cancellation, with the best noise-cancelling headphones using a combination of the two methods to get rid of outside noise. 

Not a fan of over-ear headphones? Our guide above is dedicated to headphones only — cups that sit over or on your ears with a band connecting them that fits over year head. But you can find true wireless earbuds with effective noise cancellation built-in, take a look at our best noise-cancelling earbuds guide instead.

As with any pair of headphones, the sound quality needs to be good, even if your focus is blocking out the world around you. How you define good sound quality depends on your taste. Do you like a warm, well-rounded sound, or do you prefer ultra high-fidelity that allows you?

What is noise cancellation in Headphones?

Noise-canceling headphones are the perfect way to enjoy music in peace, without the distraction of outside noise. They block out ambient sounds, allowing you to listen to your favorite songs without being interrupted.

Noise-canceling headphones use analog and electronic methods to block out the environmental sound around you, allowing you to listen to your music in peace without distraction. Most noise-canceling headphones make use of the following two approaches:

Passive noise cancellation: this is when the headphones physically block outside sound from reaching your ears, and this can be achieved in several ways. Noise-cancelling over-ear headphones typically have heavily padded earcups to achieve this, while in-ear headphones need to fit snugly in your ear to create a tight seal, stopping environmental sounds from entering.

Active noise cancellation: this method uses inbuilt microphones to analyze environmental noise and create ‘anti-noise’ frequencies that are mixed in with your music playback. This effectively cancels out the sound of your surroundings using analog or digital filters.

Are Noise Cancelling Headphones Worth It?

Noise-cancelling headphones are a must-have for anyone who is looking to get the most out of their music.

Much like with any purchase, it depends on how important noise-cancellation is for you. For most people, when wearing headphones, you want to be able to hear what you’re listening to and not be distracted by environmental sounds. 

While turning up the volume may help a little, a true pair of noise-cancelling headphones are able to filter out unwanted sounds more effectively without reducing the quality of the music or podcast you’re listening to. 

You’ll be surprised how soon you become accustomed to noise-cancellation headphones and enjoying the relative silence away from the world.

How we test the best noise-cancelling headphones

With so many noise-canceling headphones on the market, it can be tough to know which ones are worth your money. But we’ve tested every pair of the best noise-canceling headphones on this list and to include them here, we were looking for each product to excel at several things.

The first, of course, is effective noise cancellation. We tested for headphones that were able to block out sound effects, no matter whether you’re on a daily commute or simply taking a walk. We also looked at additional features like multiple noise cancellation modes or how well their transparency mode worked. 

Audio performance was a key consideration too. Good noise cancellation should never have to mean poor sound quality – and we made sure to check thoroughly until we were satisfied that each pair of headphones here offer clear and powerful sound, irrespective of the deployment of ANC. 

From there, we looked at Bluetooth connectivity. We tested for stable and reliable connections. After all, there’s nothing worse than losing a track just as it reaches the good bit.

Next up, we wanted to ensure the headphones were designed with comfort and style in mind. We tested how comfortable they were for long periods and assessed their looks, too, from minimal to suitably stylish.

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