Best Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones For Flying/Travel

What Are The Best Noise Cancelling Headphones For Flying/Airplane Travel?

I have used noise cancelling headphones for a couple of years now. It’s amazing to be able to shut-off background noise no matter if it’s on a 12-hour airplane ride or a two-hour train ride.

Headphones with active noise cancelling (ANC) work by using microphones to find noisy frequencies around you, then reversing those frequencies to reduce the sound of them in your ears.

The technology works best in noisy environments like airplanes, trains, road noise, or even when you’re vacuuming. They don’t do as well with irregular noises, like crying babies or car horns.

Related Product: If you would rather have wireless earbuds than headphones, I recommend the Aukey EP-N5. They’re very similar to the AirPods Pro, with excellent audio quality, bass, and long battery life.

All of the headphones on the list today are wireless and connects to your phone, tablet, or computer via Bluetooth. They also have microphones so you can take calls, or use voice-assistants with most newer phones. Some also have 3.5mm ports.

people on airplane
Anyone traveling by air should own a pair of noise cancelling headphones.

Now, let’s take a look at how the different headphones compare when it comes to specifications, then I will review each pair separately.

Towards the end of the post, I am going to share my recommendations based on what you’re looking for. What is more important to you? The noise cancellation, the sound quality, the comfort, the battery life, or the cost?

Preview
Best Budget Headphones
Soundcore by Anker Life Q30 Hybrid Active Noise Cancelling Headphones with Multiple Modes, Hi-Res Sound, Custom EQ via App, 40H Playtime, Comfortable Fit, Bluetooth Headphones, Connect to 2 Devices
Beats Solo Pro Wireless Noise Cancelling On-Ear Headphones - Apple H1 Headphone Chip, Class 1 Bluetooth, 22 Hours of Listening Time, Built-in Microphone - Ivory
Jabra Elite 85h Wireless Noise-Canceling Headphones, Titanium Black – Over Ear Bluetooth Headphones Compatible with iPhone & Android - Built-in Microphone, Long Battery Life - Rain & Water Resistant
Best Overall
Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 — Over Ear, Wireless Bluetooth Headphones with Built-In Microphone for Clear Calls & Alexa Voice Control, Black
Runner-up
Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless Industry Leading Noise Canceling Overhead Headphones with Mic for Phone-Call and Alexa Voice Control, Black
Best Sound Quality & ANC
New Apple AirPods Max - Space Gray
Battery Life
40 hours (60 hours with ANC off)
22 hours (40 hours with ANC off)
36 hours
20 hours
30 hours
20 hours
Charging Port
USB C
Lightning
USB C
USB C
USB C
Lightning
Noise Cancelling
Built-In Microphone
Transparency Mode
Optional 3.5mm port
Wireless
Size
7.7 x 7.1 x 3.1 in
8 x 5 x 7.1 in
10.6 x 8.8 x 4.2 in
2 x 6.5 x 8 in
7.3 x 3.1 x 10 in
6.7 x 3.3 x 7.4 in
Weight
0.6 lbs
0.59 lbs
0.65 lbs
0.55 lbs
0.56 Lb
0.85 lbs

Best Budget Headphones

Preview
Soundcore by Anker Life Q30 Hybrid Active Noise Cancelling Headphones with Multiple Modes, Hi-Res Sound, Custom EQ via App, 40H Playtime, Comfortable Fit, Bluetooth Headphones, Connect to 2 Devices
Battery Life
40 hours (60 hours with ANC off)
Charging Port
USB C
Noise Cancelling
Built-In Microphone
Transparency Mode
Optional 3.5mm port
Wireless
Size
7.7 x 7.1 x 3.1 in
Weight
0.6 lbs
Preview
Beats Solo Pro Wireless Noise Cancelling On-Ear Headphones - Apple H1 Headphone Chip, Class 1 Bluetooth, 22 Hours of Listening Time, Built-in Microphone - Ivory
Battery Life
22 hours (40 hours with ANC off)
Charging Port
Lightning
Noise Cancelling
Built-In Microphone
Transparency Mode
Optional 3.5mm port
Wireless
Size
8 x 5 x 7.1 in
Weight
0.59 lbs
Preview
Jabra Elite 85h Wireless Noise-Canceling Headphones, Titanium Black – Over Ear Bluetooth Headphones Compatible with iPhone & Android - Built-in Microphone, Long Battery Life - Rain & Water Resistant
Battery Life
36 hours
Charging Port
USB C
Noise Cancelling
Built-In Microphone
Transparency Mode
Optional 3.5mm port
Wireless
Size
10.6 x 8.8 x 4.2 in
Weight
0.65 lbs

Best Overall

Preview
Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 — Over Ear, Wireless Bluetooth Headphones with Built-In Microphone for Clear Calls & Alexa Voice Control, Black
Battery Life
20 hours
Charging Port
USB C
Noise Cancelling
Built-In Microphone
Transparency Mode
Optional 3.5mm port
Wireless
Size
2 x 6.5 x 8 in
Weight
0.55 lbs

Runner-up

Preview
Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless Industry Leading Noise Canceling Overhead Headphones with Mic for Phone-Call and Alexa Voice Control, Black
Battery Life
30 hours
Charging Port
USB C
Noise Cancelling
Built-In Microphone
Transparency Mode
Optional 3.5mm port
Wireless
Size
7.3 x 3.1 x 10 in
Weight
0.56 Lb

Best Sound Quality & ANC

Preview
New Apple AirPods Max - Space Gray
Battery Life
20 hours
Charging Port
Lightning
Noise Cancelling
Built-In Microphone
Transparency Mode
Optional 3.5mm port
Wireless
Size
6.7 x 3.3 x 7.4 in
Weight
0.85 lbs

Note: Scroll left/right on tablets and phones

Noise Cancelling Headphones Reviewed

1. Anker Soundcore Life Q30

Soundcore by Anker Life Q30 Hybrid Active Noise Cancelling Headphones with Multiple Modes, Hi-Res Sound, Custom EQ via App, 40H Playtime, Comfortable Fit, Bluetooth Headphones, Connect to 2 Devices

Check Price at Amazon

Anker is known for its portable electronics like Bluetooth speakers, portable power stations, and portable power banks. But they also make some really good wireless headphones with built-in noise cancellation.

The model I have tested and recommend is the Soundcore Life Q30, but the older Q20 is also a very good option that actually offers a little bit more noise cancellation. I still prefer the Q30 though, because of some of the new features that have been implemented.

First off, the battery life of the Q30 is incredible. Anker advertises that they last up to 40 hours with ANC (active noise cancellation) turned on, and up to 60 hours with ANC off. That puts it at the top in terms of battery life.

Battery life is one of those things that is more important to some than others. If you don’t have access to USB ports to charge the headphones and are going on a very long flight or two that is going to last over 24 hours, the Q30 is excellent.

If you can plug the headphones into a USB port, they’ll give you 4 hours of listening in a short 5-minute charge. The charging port is a USB C port.

What I like about the Soundcore Life Q30 is that they’re very affordable for the number of features it packs.

Not only is the noise cancellation best-in-class for its price, but the sound quality is not bad. They’re more bass-heavy than the rest though, which can be seen as both a pro and a con depending on preference. Note that you can EQ this with the phone app.

They’re not quite as good as the more expensive headphones, obviously, but it’s good enough to listen to both music and watch movies with for a long time. They also get loud enough to hear it all.

Another great thing about the Life Q30 is how much you can control the headphones with Anker’s app. Choose between 22 different EQ presets, customize your own, choose noise cancellation mode, and control white noise soundscapes.

If you have an Android phone, you can use the built-in NFC to connect the headphones to your phone instantly. If you have an iPhone, the Bluetooth 5.0 will also quickly connect and pair to your phone. The Q30 can be connected to two devices at the same time for fast and easy switching.

It’s also possible to connect the headphones with the included 3.5mm cable, as long as your phone has a 3.5mm port.

A transparency mode can be turned on by touching the right earcup for two seconds. This lets you have a conversation with somebody without having to take the headphones off.

The Q30 are comfortable and didn’t hurt my head even after wearing them for several hours.

One thing that bothered me with the Q30 was the call quality, as the microphones aren’t that good, and they’re the worst pair in terms of call quality.

Overall, you’re not going to be disappointed with the Soundcore by Anker Q30. Great audio quality and customization, long battery life, solid ANC capabilities, easy to control, and comfortable to wear for hours on end.

PROS

  • Good noise cancelling
  • Good sound quality (bass-heavy)
  • Comfortable & lightweight
  • Long battery life (40 hours with ANC, 60 hours without)
  • Controlled with an app (Android/iPhone)
  • Transparency mode
  • Easy to setup (Bluetooth 5.0, NFC)

CONS

  • Not great for phone calls
  • Not as good audio & ANC as the rest

2. Beats Solo Pro

Beats Solo Pro Wireless Noise Cancelling On-Ear Headphones - Apple H1 Headphone Chip, Class 1 Bluetooth, 22 Hours of Listening Time, Built-in Microphone - Ivory

Check Price at Amazon

Beats, now owned by Apple, has been making headphones for many years now, and they have a popular noise cancelling pair called Solo Pro.

The Solo Pro has one thing that not a lot of other products have, and that is the Apple H1 headphone chip that makes it extremely effortless to use with one or several Apple devices.

There is no need to go through a bunch of Bluetooth settings to get it to connect, just bring it near your device, and your iPhone, iPad, or Mac will recognize it instantly.

Using these with an Apple device is great since you can use Siri and have messages read out loud. Siri can also be used to turn on and off the noise cancellation and the transparency mode.

But just because it’s made by Apple doesn’t mean, in this case, that it isn’t compatible with Windows computers and Android phones as well. It is, but to connect those devices you’re going to have to do it manually in the Bluetooth settings.

The Solo Pro have active noise cancellation (ANC) that is not quite as good as the newer AirPods Max, or Sony and Bose. It’s not way worse, but also not as good at cancelling out the lower frequencies.

Apple, or Beats, have done a great job when it comes to battery life, since the Solo Pro lasts up to 22 hours with ANC on, and up to 40 hours with ANC and transparency turned off.

The “Fast Fuel” charging makes it possible to get up to 3 hours of battery life from a quick 10-minute charge, which can be really convenient if you’re traveling and only have access to a USB port for a couple of minutes.

This leads me to the transparency feature, which is great for not only airplanes and flying when you want to have a quick conversation, but also when you’re walking down the street since you can allow outside noise to come in.

The Beats don’t have several levels of transparency though as the Anker and Bose do.

While the Solo Pro do not have a 3.5mm port, you can use a Lightning to 3.5mm cable if you want to plug it into a headphone output. The AirPods Max can also do this.

The audio quality is great, but not the best. I prefer it over the Sony, but not over the AirPods Max.

My biggest problem with the Solo Pro is that they’re not very comfortable on my big head. The earcups are a little bit too small and since they’re right on the ears (on-ear headphones) it doesn’t take long before it starts to hurt.

It’s possible that they get better over time, but I noticed a pain around my ears after only 20 minutes of use.

One thing it does better than the Anker Q30 is when it comes to phone calls. The sound is definitely clearer.

If you’re in the Apple ecosystem, these are great and more affordable compared to the AirPods Max. The ANC (active noise cancellation) isn’t up to par with the rest, and they’re not comfortable to wear for a long time if you have a big head with sensitive ears, but for a shorter bus or train ride, these do the job.

PROS

  • OK noise cancelling
  • Great sound quality (bass-heavy)
  • Lightweight
  • OK battery life (22 hours with ANC, 40 hours without)
  • Apple H1 headphone chip, great for Apple devices
  • Controlled with an app (Android/iPhone)
  • Transparency mode
  • Water-resistant

CONS

  • Not comfortable on my big head
  • Doesn’t pause music when you remove them
  • Not as good audio as the rest

3. Jabra Elite 85h

Jabra Elite 85h Wireless Noise-Canceling Headphones, Titanium Black – Over Ear Bluetooth Headphones Compatible with iPhone & Android - Built-in Microphone, Long Battery Life - Rain & Water Resistant

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I want to start out by saying that the name of these are a bit misleading, it might make it sound like the battery life is 85 hours, but it’s not. The model name is 85h.

The battery life is 36 hours with ANC turned on, and a quick 15-minute charge will add another 5 hours of battery life.

Jabra wants you to bring these headphones onto an airplane so much that they include a “Flight Adapter” with the purchase, so you can plug these into most older media systems on airplanes. That’s a nice gesture, and it’s one of many reasons that these are great for airplane rides.

The Jabra Elite 85h are a great pair of over-ear headphones, that falls short when compared to the rest in terms of sound quality and noise cancelling.

They’re very comfortable and have a great design. They feel high-quality, a lot more than the Anker and the Beats.

Buttons on the side can be used to mute the microphone during calls and to set the volume. Smart assistants can also be used, with support for both Android and Apple devices. Amazon’s Alexa is built-in.

The call quality is great, a lot better than the Anker, and even the Sony. So if you’re going to be doing a lot of phone calls, the Jabra are among the best.

They’re also water-resistant so you can wear them when it’s raining (to a certain point).

The sound quality is alright, but not quite as good as the AirPods Max and Sony. They still sound good though, and you shouldn’t let the audio quality stop you from getting these.

Turning ANC on affects the audio quality in a negative way. The bass turns muddier and loses detail. The ANC, in general, is not quite as good as the Apple, Sony, and Bose, and let more noise through in the low frequencies.

It does better with mid and high frequencies, which is great if you’re near a lot of people talking or babies. For this reason, they’re a great option for traveling in general, even though they’re not the best ones for flying.

A so-called Hear-through mode works like a transparency mode, but it’s not as clear as the AirPods Max transparency mode.

There is a feature called SmartSound, which analyzes the sound environment around you and turns on and off the noise cancellation depending on where you are and how noisy it is.

While it sounds great, and it’ll hopefully get better, it didn’t feel reliable and I ended up turning it off rather quickly. I like the idea of it though and hope that it will be improved in the future.

There is both a USB C charging port and a 3.5mm port on the Jabra Elite 85h, which is awesome. Jabra also includes a carry case, an audio cable, and a USB C cable, in addition to the flight adapter.

I see the Jabra Elite 85h as a great all-around pair of headphones. Great for a lot of environments, comfortable, great battery life, looks great, comes in different colors, and great call quality. With a little bit better sound and ANC they would be more competitive. Overall a great pair of headphones.

PROS

  • OK noise cancelling
  • Good audio quality
  • Lightweight
  • Great battery life (36 hours with ANC)
  • Controlled with an app (Android/iPhone)
  • Comfortable
  • Pauses playback when headphones are removed
  • Includes carrying case
  • Hear-through mode
  • SmartSound mode (adopts ANC to your surroundings)
  • Excellent call quality
  • Water-resistant

CONS

  • Not as good audio & ANC as AirPods Max & Bose

4. Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700

Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 — Over Ear, Wireless Bluetooth Headphones with Built-In Microphone for Clear Calls & Alexa Voice Control, Black

Check Price at Amazon

The battle of the best noise cancelling headphones has for a long time been between Bose and Sony. With a new upgrade almost every year from these two, the market as a whole has quickly moved forward and the technology is better than ever.

In the past couple of years, other big players have joined the battle, with Apple being the most recent one with its AirPods Max.

Even though this review is of the Bose 700, I am going to compare it a lot to the AirPods Max, since they’re very similar and close in terms of features and the overall experience.

But some people really enjoy listening to music and movies in Bose headphones, and for you, the Bose 700 are the best choice right now. I also see these as the best headphones overall, but the AirPods Max might be the best for you if you’re in that ecosystem.

Now, what can the Bose 700 do? Well, they sound excellent, but the noise cancellation is also among the best. The AirPods Max is slightly better with the low frequencies, but Bose is not far behind.

Sony does a better job with the higher frequencies compared to both Apple and Bose though, which makes them a good option if the most important thing is to reduce the noise of conversations around you.

If you consider the price, the Bose offers better value for its money. How often can that be said with Bose products?

The Bose 700 sound great and have the “Bose-sound”. Some like it, some hate it, and you need to hear it to make up your own mind. I am one of those people that really enjoy it for certain genres of music.

It’s not as great as the AirPods Max and as I said above, it depends on whether you’re ok with missing some details. They’re not bad, but they’re not the most neutral sounding headphones.

Bose has done an excellent job when it comes to delivering the same audio quality no matter if it’s connected wirelessly or wired, or with ANC on or off. This is something that bothered me with the Jabra 85h.

One thing you should know is that while I put a check-mark in the table by “Optional 3.5mm port”, it’s only half-true since it’s actually a 2.5mm port. Bose includes a 2.5mm to 3.5mm cable, so you can use them with a standard 3.5mm headphone port on phones, tablets, and computers.

The built-in microphones deliver clear call quality and together with the handsfree control, they’re one of the best options if you do a lot of phone calls.

In addition to the 3.5mm cable, Bose includes a carrying case and a USB A to USB C cable.

The battery life lasts up to 20 hours, and the battery recharges with the included USB C cable. I appreciate that it has a USB C port since I have so many USB C cables nowadays that I use with other devices.

I also want to mention that the older Bose QuietComfort 35 II are still a good option as well, and if you can find them on a sale they’re worth it. The Bose 700 sound better, but the QC 35 has the same great noise cancellation.

The Bose 700 can be controlled with an app, but I didn’t find it as seamless and easy to use as the Jabra app. It’s still great to be able to change the EQ and other settings.

One thing that Bose has that none of the other ones do (Anker comes close) is how much you can adjust the noise cancellation. There are 10 levels to choose from, depending on how much or how little you want to hear your surroundings. This is a feature I would like to see more companies implement.

To control the music, you can either use your device or the buttons on the right earcup. Change the volume, track, and take phone calls. There is also a specific button for voice assistants and one that controls the ANC.

PROS

  • Excellent noise cancelling
  • Great audio quality
  • Lightweight
  • OK battery life (20 hours with ANC)
  • Controlled with an app (Android/iPhone)
  • Comfortable
  • Includes carrying case
  • Transparency mode, 10 levels
  • Excellent call quality

CONS

  • Not as good audio & ANC as AirPods Max
  • Doesn’t pause music when you remove them

5. Sony WH-1000XM4

Jabra Elite 85h Wireless Noise-Canceling Headphones, Titanium Black – Over Ear Bluetooth Headphones Compatible with iPhone & Android - Built-in Microphone, Long Battery Life - Rain & Water Resistant

Check Price at Amazon

Sony has been at the top for many years when it comes to headphones with noise cancelling. If you do a lot of traveling, I bet you have seen them in the wild.

Recently, Apple and Bose have surpassed them in ANC and audio quality, but they’re still a worthy competitor with a couple of features that stick out.

As I mentioned, Apple and Bose are better than Sony when it comes to active noise cancellation, but they’re still better than Beats, Jabra, and Anker.

They especially do a good job with high frequencies, which is where most conversations sit, so in areas where the noise is mostly people speaking, they shine.

They beat Apple and Bose when it comes to battery life, with the 30-hour battery life. That’s 10 hours more than Bose 700 and AirPods Max, which can be very useful to some.

The features that make them stick out include the adaptive sound control that automatically adjusts depending on where you are what you are doing. This will change the noise cancellation levels automatically without you having to do anything.

One useful feature that I like a lot is the “Quick Attention Mode” where you place your hand on the right ear cup to have a quick conversation. This turns off ANC and turns on transparency mode, so you can hear the person without having to take the headphones off completely.

The Sony WH-1000XM4 can also recognize if you’re talking, and turn off the ANC so you can hear the other person. Last but not least, they auto-pause when you remove the headphones and resumes playback when you put them back on.

To control the settings and the EQ, you need to use the Sony Headphones app. To control music, volume, voice assistants, and phone calls, Sony has put a touch sensor on the side of one of the ear cups. Some might like this, but I didn’t enjoy it and would rather have a button or two.

If you don’t want to connect these wirelessly, you can use the included 3.5mm cable and plug them into your phone, tablet, or computer. Note that while you can listen to music and movies this way, some battery power is required to use the ANC features.

So why get the WH-1000XM4 over the AirPods Max and the Bose 700? Well, if you need the extra 10 hours of battery life, or don’t like the Bose sound, they’re a great choice. They’re comfortable, and the AirPods Max might cause neck pain for some due to their weight.

PROS

  • Great noise cancelling
  • Great audio quality
  • Lightweight
  • Great battery life (30 hours with ANC)
  • Controlled with an app (Android/iPhone)
  • Comfortable
  • Includes carrying case
  • Transparency mode, smart listening, quick attention mode
  • Pauses playback when headphones are removed
  • Good call quality

CONS

  • Not as good audio & ANC as AirPods Max & Bose

6. Apple AirPods Max

New Apple AirPods Max - Space Gray

Check Price at Amazon

It finally happened, Apple released a pair of noice cancelling headphones. It only happened a couple of weeks ago, but they’re already out there in the wild, and they offer the best noise cancelling on the market right now.

Just like the Beats Solo Pro, they have the Apple H1 chip which makes the pairing with Apple devices seamless. It’s truly a joy to use devices with the H1 chip, and it’s hard to go back to pairing Bluetooth devices the old way.

If you want to connect these to an Android phone, you do have to do it the old way. Unless you have a Lightning to 3.5mm cable or an adapter.

The battery life of the AirPods Max are the same as the Bose 700, which is 20 hours. A quick 5-minute charge will give you about 1.5 hours of listening time though, so that’a big plus.

While the earcups on these are large and comfortable over my ears, they’re noticeably heavier. It didn’t hurt my head or neck, but I can see how it might bother some, especially if you’re trying to sleep with them on in an airplane.

A digital crown controls the volume, play/pause, phone calls, and Siri, which is the voice assistant. There is also a noise control button that turns on the ANC or transparency mode which lets you hear your surroundings.

Apple includes a carrying case with the AirPods Max, but it’s not a case that covers the whole headphones, and it’s awkward to pack them into a bag.

One thing that’s unique about the AirPods Max is the spatial audio feature, which only works with supported iOS devices. Basically, the iOS device is going to determine where you’re going to hear the sound from. If you turn your head left while holding your iPhone in front of you, you’re going to hear the sound in the right ear cup more, since that’s where the iPhone is, technically.

I’m not the best at explaining it, but it’s a pretty amazing feature that is possible due to the gyroscope and some other technologies that I am not going to go into in this post.

As you might notice, a lot of the features of the AirPods Max are only usable if you’re an iOS or Mac OS user. Sure, they still work as regular headphones with Android devices too, but you’re going to miss out on some of the things that make this Apple product, an Apple product.

The audio quality is excellent, and so is the active noise cancellation, so if you have the money for it, and plan on using these in noisy environments, they’re excellent.

PROS

  • Excellent noise cancelling
  • Excellent audio quality
  • OK battery life (20 hours with ANC)
  • Controlled with an app (Android/iPhone)
  • OK Comfort
  • Transparency mode
  • Apple H1 headphone chip
  • Pauses playback when headphones are removed
  • Good call quality

CONS

  • Heavy
  • Call quality not as good as Jabra

Conclusion And Headphone Recommendations

When you start traveling with noise cancelling headphones, you’ll never be able to travel without them again. They make airplane rides bearable, trains quiet, and let you enjoy your music and movies to the fullest.

But there’s more to headphones than noise cancelling. Great sound quality can bring out elements in your favorite songs that you’ve never heard before. Days worth of battery life will let you travel many miles without worrying about a charge.

Intuitive controls will be there when you need them, and never be in the way. And the most important thing, a pair of headphones will only be as good as their comfort. If you can’t wear them because your head starts to ache after an hour, the fancy features and long battery life won’t matter.

Here are my recommendations depending on what you are looking for.

Best Budget: Anker Soundcore Life Q30 – I truly believe that these are good enough for most travelers. The sound is there, the ANC is there, the extra features are there, and Anker has done a surprisingly good job with the Q30.

Best Noise Cancelling & Sound quality: Apple AirPods Max – Apple has done it once again. Great ANC and sound quality, but a little too heavy. If they can double the battery life without making them much heavier, they would beat Bose as the best option overall.

Best Call Quality & Comfort:Jabra Elite 85h – They don’t sound the best, or have the best noise cancellation. But they’re comfortable, and the best, in my opinion, when it comes to the call quality thanks to all of the microphones. Clear sound, great comfort. Apple and Sony comes in as close seconds.

Best Overall: Bose Noise Cancelling Wireless Bluetooth Headphones 700 – While these don’t win any of the specific categories above, they are the best overall.

They’re the complete package and as long as you’re OK with the Bose-sound, these are excellent. Lots of options in terms of EQ and ANC levels, great sound, OK battery life, and comfortable to wear for hours.

Last but not least, the Bose 700 has USB C and the option to connect a 3.5mm cable (2.5mm to 3.5mm cable included).


What I Use

My choice for flying has been the Bose QC35 headphones, and the Bose QC 20 earbuds.

I have both the over-ear and in-ear because sometimes I want the more portable option. The downside with the over-ear is that they make my ears sweaty.

The great thing about the QC35 is that they’re wireless, so they’re more comfortable to wear around in the trailer when vacuuming or doing dishes.

I also recently got a pair of the Aukey EP-N5, which is a pair of wireless earbuds, very similar to the AirPods Pro. I was surprised by the audio quality and I have been using them more and more recently due to this.


What To Look For In Noise Cancelling Headphones

Before you choose what to buy, it’s important to consider the different aspects of a pair of noise cancelling headphones. There is more to it than just sound.

Here are a couple of things that I believe are the most important aspects.

Comfort – Comfort is always important. It’s going to matter more if you’re going to be wearing them for hours on end. No matter what, comfort can either make or break the experience. The best way to know whether comfort is good or not is to go to an electronics store and try the different models.

Audio/Sound Quality – Believe it or not, sound quality is not the most important feature of headphones to some people. Some care more about the active noise cancellation and other features. If you only listen to podcasts, you might want the pair that do the best with high frequencies in noisy environments, for example.

Battery Life – Another thing that depends on how and where you’re going to use them. If you’re going on a 20-hour airplane ride, this is going to matter more than if you only want to listen to music on the 20-minute bus ride to work or school.

Water/Sweat-Resistance – If you’re going to exercise, you’re going to want at least some water- and sweat-resistance. Not all models have this, and you don’t want to have to worry about some light rain or sweatdrops.

Connectivity/Charging Ports – Not all headphones have a 3.5mm port anymore (thanks Apple), and while most of them use the new standard USB C, not all of them do. What devices do you have, what ports or outputs do they have, and how are you going to connect your headphones?

Cost – Cost is always a factor. How often are you going to be using them? Can you wait until Black Friday or another sales-event? Can you buy them cheaper online?


Frequently Asked Questions About Noise Cancelling Headphones

Can I use noise cancellation when my headphones run out of battery power?

First, we must know that there are two kinds of noise cancellation, active and passive. In most new headphones, the noise cancellation is active, which means that it’s actively reducing frequencies.

This uses battery power, so the answer to the question is: No when the battery runs out you can’t use active noise cancellation.

Can I turn on noise cancellation without having any music or movie playing?

Yes, you can use noise cancelling headphones as earplugs to shut off the noise around you. I use my headphones on airplanes this way.

What is the difference between noise cancelling and noise isolating headphones?

Headphones that isolate your ears from the outside noise blocks the sound by covering your ears, passively.

The noise cancelling feature we see in the products in this article are so-called active. This means that the headphones are actively cancelling out noise by using a technology where a microphone listens to the noise and blocks out these specific frequencies.

Since noise cancelling headphones uses microphones and is an electronic process, it requires a battery or a power supply.

Therefore, isolating headphones might be the better option for you if won’t have access to electricity to recharge your noise cancelling ones every now and then.

How does active noise cancellation work?

There’s a small microphone on headphones with active noise cancellation.

This little microphone analyzes the noise in the environment around you. Then a circuitry in the headphones looks at what frequencies the noise is in, and emulates a sound to cancel out those frequencies.

Can I turn my current headphones into noise cancelling ones?

Since the technology works by using the microphones in the headphones and reversing the noisy frequencies, it’s not possible to turn your current headphones into noise cancelling ones.

There might be a product or adapter available in the future with a microphone built-in to do this, but I am not aware of any as of right now.

Will other brands use Apple’s W1 chip in the future?

Apple hasn’t shown any intentions that they plan on allowing other companies to sell products with a W1 chip. We can only hope that they open up and more products are released with it.

Have any questions? Leave a comment below.

by Jesse
Jesse has always had an interest in camping, technology, and the outdoors. Who knew that growing up in a small town in Sweden with endless forests and lakes would do that to you?

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