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Smiling man on plane wearing noise cancelling headphones

The 10 Best Noise-Canceling Headphones for Travel


With the state of travel today (we’re talking inappropriate and downright unruly passengers), it might be time to invest in a pair of headphones that almost completely block out the world around you. To achieve your own personal cone of silence, check out these headphones that incorporate active noise cancellation technology to help drown out background chatter and let you focus entirely on your music or movie. Many of these over-the-ear headphones have features that are great for listeners on the move too, from enhanced battery life to one-tap Spotify access.

Sennheiser PXC 550 Wireless

Side angle view and close up of ear cup on the Sennheiser PXC 550 Wireless headphones

Designed specifically for travelers, Sennheiser describes the feeling of putting on a pair of PXC 550 Wireless headphones like “upgrading to First Class”—no matter what it says on your boarding pass. The adaptive noise-canceling technology for these Bluetooth headphones are highly rated, and you’ll find other intuitive touches like 30 hours of battery life, fold-flat design, and “Smart Pause” that automatically turns off your music when you slide the headphones off. 

Soundcore by Anker Life Q30

Side angle view and lifestyle photo of man wearing the Soundcore by Anker Life Q30 headphones

If your budget is under $100, consider Soundcore by Anker Life Q30. This popular set of headphones punches above its price point when it comes to filtering out plane noise, thanks to a multi-mode noise canceling system that includes a “transport” setting designed specifically for that environment. The Bluetooth headphones also come with a lay-flat case and can go 40 hours between charges.

Bose Noise Canceling Headphones 700

Front and side views of the Bose Noise Canceling Headphones 700

These sleek Bose Noise Canceling Headphones 700 look luxurious (with the price tag to match). There are lots of bells and whistles, naturally: you can chat with voice assistants like Alexa and even access your Spotify playlist with only a tap. Eleven levels of high-tech adjustable noise canceling lets you decide how tuned in or out you want to be, with levels from low to medium to high.

Bose QuietComfort 35 II Wireless Bluetooth Headphones

Front and bottom views of the Bose QuietComfort 35 II Wireless Bluetooth Headphones

Get Bose’s famous quality for under $200 with the Bose QuietComfort 35 II Wireless Bluetooth Headphones. Like the more expensive Bose 700 option, these headphones are designed to “obliterate” cabin noise. They include built-in Alexa and Google Assistant voice access. You can also use that button to toggle between high or low noise cancellation.

Sony WH-1000XM4

Front and side views of the Sony WH-1000XM4

These stylish and highly-rated Sony WH-1000XM4 headphones have some very cool features that might make the expensive price tag worth it for travelers. Not only does it automatically pause your music when you slip the Bluetooth headphones on or off, a “speak to chat” feature cuts off your tunes when you start speaking. There’s even a way to toggle the high-tech noise canceling feature so you can hear announcements for when your plane is boarding and then crank it back up when you’re in your seat.

JBL Live 660NC

Front and side angle views of the JBL Live 660NC

Have a long flight with connections? Don’t worry about bringing a charging cord with these JBL Live 660NC headphones that last for up to 50 hours between powering up. You can even check the battery life status with just your voice, or ask questions of Alexa or Google voice assistants. The adaptive noise canceling technology includes options like “Ambient Aware” or “TalkThru,” which lets you have a quick convo without removing your headphones.

Sony WH-XB910N

Side angle view of the Sony WH-XB910N headphones and graphic showing the headphones collapsed into their carrying case

These Sony WH-XB910N headphones offer many of the futuristic options as the brand’s higher-end models (like a “traveling” mode for active sound canceling or “quick attention” setting that allows you to turn them off with a wave of the hand). You’ll also get 30 hours of battery life and a touch panel on the side of the headphones.

Apple AirPods Max

Front and side angle view of the Apple AirPods Max

If money is no object—or you’re an Apple superfan—the new Apple AirPods Max are a work of art. The audio is supposed to be theater quality, combined with high-tech noise cancellation and a headset design that gently cradles your ears in sound. Travel-friendly features include a special carrying case and 20 hours of battery life. 

Beats Solo Pro Wireless Noise Canceling On-Ear Headphones

Collapsed and side views of the Beats Solo Pro Wireless Noise Canceling On-Ear Headphones

The noise-canceling feature on Beats Solo Pro Wireless Noise Cancelling On-Ear Headphones is said to be stellar, drowning out noisy neighbors or sirens. If you sit next to a friend with a pair of Beats, you can even share audio together during your travels.

SuperEQ S1 Bluetooth 5.0 Over Ear Wireless Wired Headset 

Side angle view of the SuperEQ S1 Bluetooth 5.0 Over Ear Wireless Wired Headset and close u of ear cup

In the budget category, there’s SuperEQ S1 Bluetooth 5.0 Over Ear Wireless Wired Headset that clocks in around the $50 mark with noise cancellation that reviewers say works well for the price point. These headphones have nice features like three different modes for active noise cancellation, including a setting that allows you to hear ambient noise for safety. 

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