15 Best Noise Cancelling Headphones on the Market

By 06.04.13

Whether it's the annoying lady on the train in the morning that won't shut up, your girlfriend's nagging, or the construction going on outside your window, there's nothing on this planet worse than your music being interrupted or altered by outside noise. We've done our due diligence to help you do yours for your listening experience and put together a list of 15 of the best noise cancelling headphones you can find on the market right now. Some things to keep in mind when shopping for headphones from the guys at Lifehacker: know what kind of earphone you want before you start looking (in-ear, over-ear, etc.), try them on and try them out if you can, check up on battery life and the warranty before you buy, don't expect miracles from them (no headphone is gonna block out the entire cheer-leading team's practice) and remember, a premium product will come at a premium price.

15. Phiaton PS 20 NC – PURCHASE

At $150, these in-ear buds won't break the bank while still providing above-average sound quality and good noise cancellation. An in-line battery compartment on the cable that doesn't use rechargeable batteries serves as a drawback.

14. Soul by Ludacris SL300 – PURCHASE

Some may call it a bold move by Ludacris to go into direct competition with Beats by Dre but with more comprehensive active noise cancellation, a hard shell case and additional detachable cables for the same price, these are certified winners.

13. Parrot Zik – PURCHASE

Loaded with features including complete control of your audio experience right on the headphone itself, these wireless headphones produce studio quality sound if you tinker with the presets long enough.

12. Beats by Dre Executive – PURCHASE

While there's certainly a stigma that hovers above the Beats by Dre brand from audio purists, the Executive model ditches the cheezy plastics for a matte aluminum frame and paint job and refines the noise cancellation circuit from the standard models for superior sound quality.

11. Sennheiser MM 450-X Travel – PURCHASE

Superior active noise cancellation comes with a superior price tag although the TalkThrough option allows you to cut off your music and lift the noise cancellation to talk with a seatmate at the push of a button without  removing the headset.

10. Polk Audio UltraFocus 8000 – PURCHASE

Powerful headphones in terms of sound quality and the ability to hear deep basses and big highs. Noise cancellation leaves you with an audible hissing sound however and requires AAA batteries rather than the industry-standard rechargeable batteries.

9. Audio-Technica ATH-ANC1 QuietPoint – PURCHASE

With an Amazon price tag of less than $100 dollars, these headphones provide unbelievable value in a market where it's hard to find a pair of headphones under $300. While they're certainly not Bose quality, the highly portable design and above-average sound quality makes these a great buy.

8. AKG K495 NC Acoustics – PURCHASE

Easily one of the most sturdily built headsets you can find, the AKG K495 NC Acoustic headphones has the ability to recharge it's battery via USB cord which could be useful in a desperate situation.


High level sound quality and noise cancellation come with a big time price tag and tight fit for some users as well as an oft-cited 'thumping' problem during playback.

6. Able Planet Sound Clarity NC510B – PURCHASE

A great choice if you're looking for bang for your buck. You can find these bad boys on Amazon for as low as $125 with a noise cancellation circuit on par with some of the higher level products.



5. Sol Republic Tracks – PURCHASE

With the ability to customize the headband and endorsements from superstars like deadmau5, Steve Aoki & Tiesto, the $99 pair of headphones delivers big time bass at an affordable price.

4. Logitech Ultimate Ears UE9000 Bluetooth Wireless Headphones – PURCHASE

Bluetooth Wireless capability, built-in microphone, integrated amplifier and a boosted sub bass make this a great buy for most listeners although sound purists may find the sound quality to be a bit sub-par with the bass boost engaged.

3. Harman Kardon NC – PURCHASE

Although some claim they're not quite as comfortable as Bose's QuietComfort headphones, superior sound quality and top of the line noise cancellation make them a top pick.  They'll keep playing tunes even with no battery even though the built-in rechargeable battery doesn't charge via a typical Micro-USB cord.

2. Bose QuietComfort 15 – PURCHASE

All of the noise cancelling power you'd come to expect from a name like Bose with a price tag to match. The music dies with your batteries unfortunately but you keep extras with you right?


The active noise cancelling you'd expect comes with top of the line sound quality, best in class comfort and you can continue listening even after the batteries have died.

TAGSbeats by dreBest OfboseheadphonesSOL REPUBLIC

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