(Last Updated On: November 11, 2020)

We picked the best travel-friendly noise-canceling headphones for you in 2020.

Visiting other countries and seeing new places can be a fantastic experience; however, traveling itself can get pretty stressful.

When you’re in transit, unforeseeable things can happen – some of them unavoidable, and others downright annoying. It can be difficult to relax even when you’re on vacation with the added bother of different intrusive sounds, like engine noise and noisy passengers.

One of the best ways to stay sane during those long hours spent in transit is just to tune it all out – and that’s where noise-canceling headphones come in.

Several factors ought to be considered when picking a pair of noise-canceling headphones, and ,the good news is, you don’t have to look far because we’ve compiled them all in this extensive guide. We’ve also put together a list of top-scoring headphones that hit many of the buying factors we’ve listed.

So, let’s dive in!

Product NameNoise Cancellation TypeAmbient Sound ModeBattery LifePrice
Jabra Elite 85h Best OverallAdaptive ANCYes36 hours with Bluetooth + ANC BUY
Sony WH-1000XM4 Strong Runner-upAdaptive ANCYes30 hoursBUY
Anker Soundcore Life Q20 Best BudgetHybrid ANCNo60 Hours (ANC off)BUY
Srhythm NC35 Most PortableFeedforward ANCNo40+ hoursBUY
Master & Dynamic MW65 Fastest Charging TimeHybrid ANCYesup to 24 hoursBUY
Sennheiser Momentum 3 Wireless Best for the absent-mindedAdaptive ANCYes17 hoursBUY
Bose 700 Most ComfortableHybrid ANCYes (11 levels)up to 20 hoursBUY
Avantree ANC032 Most LightweightFeedforward ANCNo18 hours wireless playtime without ANC (10 hours with ANC)BUY
Beyerdynamics LagoonHybrid ANCYes46 hours (ANC off), 25 hours (with ANC)BUY
Philips PH805Hybrid ANCYes30 hours ANC off, 25 hours ANC onBUY

How to Pick the Best Noise Cancelling Headphones for Travel?

Traveling can present many unpredictable scenarios, so naturally, the goal is to make it as stress-free as possible. Noise cancellation is undoubtedly one way to make those long hours spent in-transit more bearable, but there are also several other elements to consider to get the most out of your investment and travels.

To help guide you in choosing the best noise-canceling headphones to suit your travel needs, as yourself the following questions:

  • Which type of active noise cancellation is best for traveling?
  • Do the headphones have a long battery life?
  • Are the headphones portable?
  • How’s the build quality of the headphones?
  • Are the headphones comfortable?
  • How is the sound quality of the headphones?
  • How much do the headphones cost?

Active noise cancellation

When traveling, you’ll want a pair of headphones that can effectively eliminate unwanted background noise, and this is best achieved with active noise cancellation (ANC). In contrast to passive noise isolation, which only uses physical properties to block out noise and can be added to any headphones, ANC uses advanced technology built into the headphones to detect and combat unwanted ambient noise.

In fact, the first Active noise-canceling headphones were initially made for flights. After the tech was first patented in 1936, it was used mainly by airplane and helicopter pilots throughout the 1950s to help with the loud, constant drone of their engines.

Active noise cancellation is specifically geared towards blocking consistent, low-frequency noises such as the sound of engines humming.

Adaptive ANC

If you’ve already set your sights on a pair of ANC headphones, it’s important to remember that there are different types of active noise cancellation. The common types of ANC include feedforward, feedback, and hybrid, which only differ on how the dedicated ANC microphones are placed inside the ear cups.

However, if you’re someone who travels quite often or is easily bothered by the noisy disturbances we encounter while traveling, it’s more advisable to opt for adaptive ANC.

Adaptive ANC is essentially a hybrid ANC with built-in artificial intelligence. It’s designed to monitor the listener’s surroundings and make automatic adjustments depending on how loud or quiet the environment is. It continually does so as you move from one place to another.

This makes adaptive ANC perfect for travelers since the likelihood of being exposed to all manner of noises is expected. Adaptive ANC also eliminates the need to tweak your noise-canceling settings continually and is more known for better sound quality and battery life. But as with any product with built-in AI, you can expect it to be more expensive than other types.

Ambient mode

Headphones that come with Ambient Mode give users the option to actively hear any ambient noise or sound whenever they need to without taking their headphones on and off. This is a particularly useful function for travelers when they need to keep an ear out for airline announcements, warning notices, car horns, or conversations.

Battery life

The sheer horror of being on a long flight and knowing your headphones aren’t going to make it until the end is a feeling that most of us would rather avoid, which is why battery life is a priority.

ANC technology requires more power to work, which is why ANC headphones come with a built-in battery dedicated solely to powering the noise-canceling system.

When that battery gets drained, the ANC won’t run, even when the device is connected via an AUX cable. In addition to that, a solid battery will give you longer listening hours so that you can enjoy your music or your favorite podcast without worrying about charging.

While many ANC headphones can easily give users 15-40 hours of playtime, it’s also important to factor in charging time to get the most out of your money. Some ANC headphones have a fast-charging option, giving you 2-4 hours of playtime from a quick 5-10 minute charge, which can be helpful and convenient for those who are always on the go.

Portability

Another valuable feature for frequent travelers is portability. You’ll want a pair of headphones that are easy to pack and carry and won’t add on to your baggage weight, especially since some airlines can be unforgivingly strict about these things.

Consider the following features:

  • Weight: The lighter your headphones are, the better portability they have. Headphones on the lighter end of the weight spectrum are no heavier than 0.55 lbs, while anything weighing 0.75 lbs or more is already considered quite heavy.
  • Foldable: You’ll want something compact and space-saving, particularly since some ANC headphones tend to be on the bulky side because of the materials. Check to see if the headphones can be easily folded into a smaller configuration to prevent packing headaches later on.
  • Accessories: Look for a pair that comes with a sturdy carrying case (ideally not one of those drawstring bags) that’ll let you carry it on its own and give ample protection on lazy days when you can’t be bothered to organize the contents of your luggage. Also, check to see if it comes with a flight adapter, which can be helpful on long flights.

Build quality

Adventurous travelers will want to place importance on build quality so that the headphones can endure environmental and climate exposure.

Build quality refers to the soundness and durability of the headphones’ overall design, and several factors can help you determine this.

Materials used

Headphones crafted with dense, high-quality plastics and metal frames will give better longevity. Likewise, the foam and padding used on the ear cups should also feel thick and sturdy enough to endure everyday wear and tear.

Foldable headphones will have joints in the headband, and it’s important to examine their quality, as they could be potential weak spots later on. They should move smoothly and have a decent amount of resistance to stay in position. If your headphones come with wires, thicker cables encased in rubber or fabric have better durability.

Warranty

Warranties don’t just assure you of added security; they’re also a great way to get a feel of the manufacturer’s confidence in their product’s overall design and performance. Warranties that provide two or more years of protection are good indicators that the company has invested a great deal in durability.

User reviews

Diving into user reviews is another good way to get a sense of a brand’s reputation amongst customers. Reading critical reviews, in particular, will give you a more well-rounded perspective on the quality of a company’s products and how they fare in the real world.

Comfortable fit

Headphones for travel are likely going to see most use during long flights, so comfortability is a huge factor to consider. It’s especially important since small nuisances, if prolonged and repeated, can flare up into bigger, more annoying problems.

Good fitting headphones don’t just assure comfort; they also give a better seal over the ears so that less sound leaks out and less noise comes in, effectively enhancing the ANC.

A sure-fire way of knowing how comfortable headphones are is to try them on, but if you’re buying online, other factors can help you determine the comfortability of headphones.

Clamping force

Clamping force refers to the headband’s tightness or tension and may affect people differently depending on the user’s head shape and size.

Go for headphones with a clamping force that’s firm enough to keep them securely in place and give your ears a good seal without making your head feel like it’s in a vice. If you cannot try on the headphones in person, your next best move is to look for reviews that talk about comfort and fit.

Padding

Aside from cushioning the ears, ear pads also act like a grip that prevents your headphones from sliding down and helps maintain good sound quality by blocking out noise. You’ll want to look for high-quality padding like memory foam, which is soft and springy yet dense and breathable. Regular foams may not offer enough support and can flatten over time.

The size or amount of the padding is also something to consider. Thin and shallow ear pads may not leave enough space between the ears and the hardware, while too-thick padding may compress the ears too much.

Adjustability

Adjustability refers to a headphones’ capacity to accommodate different proportions and is an important feature when looking for a comfortable fit. An adjustable headband that you can lengthen or shorten ensures that the ear cups are sitting flush over the ears, while rotating ear cups make sure pressure is evenly distributed over or on the ear.

Sound quality

Even if your only concern is blocking out ambient noise, given the hefty price range of good ANC headphones, it’d certainly be worthwhile to invest in something that sounds impeccable as well. Though we all may have different preferences regarding what sounds good, ultimately, good sound quality is determined by accuracy and clarity.

Accuracy and clarity of sound quality should give you a close-to-precise audio recreation of whatever it is you’re listening to, with less deviation between frequencies.

To get a better understanding of the sound quality of a pair of headphones, check the following:

  • Driver units: Drivers are small, speaker-like devices located inside the ear cups and are responsible for delivering audio to your ears by converting electrical signals into sound waves. There can be anywhere between 1 to 4 drivers in each ear cup, ranging from 20mm to 50mm in diameter. While these variations can affect sound quality, more often than not, it’s how well a driver is manufactured that makes the difference.
For a more in-depth look at how drivers work, check out 5 Types Of Headphone Drivers That You Should Know.
  • Frequency range: The average person has an audible frequency range of 20Hz to 20000Hz, which refers to the degree of high and low sounds they can perceive. Headphones that can reproduce a broader range of frequencies will give you better sound quality.
Read our article The Audio Frequency Spectrum Explained to better understand how your speakers and headphones work.
  • Sound signature: Sound signatures refer to a unique combination of frequencies and how each of those frequencies is amplified or decreased. The tricky part is that sound signatures are based entirely on personal taste, so it depends on what type of music you listen to and what sound qualities you like emphasized.

For example, a flat sound signature is the most natural-sounding and is ideal for jazz or classical music because it allows the listener to hear all the instrumental elements. Fans of pop or dance music should go for a V-shaped sound signature, enhancing the bass and treble, while a balanced sound signature is best for most music genres.

  • Bluetooth audio codecs: Bluetooth codecs are algorithms that compress, transmit, and receive audio data between devices. These codecs have different ways of compressing data that’s unique to them. It’s this combined with the bandwidth of the Bluetooth connection and the size of the audio file that can affect overall sound quality.

SBC, for example, is one of the most common, universally-used codecs; however, it’s also known for producing poor sound quality due to its high lossy compression.

To ensure you’re getting the best sound quality possible, go for devices that support aptX, aptX-HD, and aptX-LL audio codecs. These codecs compress data more efficiently and have higher transfer rates so that less data is lost.

For the transfer of audio data to happen correctly, the audio source’s Bluetooth transmitter should support the same audio codec as the receiver. For a more in-depth look at how Bluetooth codecs work, check out Bluetooth Audio Codecs Explained.
  • User reviews: Doing a deep dive into reviews and discussions on sites like Amazon, Youtube, Quora can yield a wealth of information from actual customers with real-world experience with these devices. A little research can help you make a more informed choice.

Additional features

Sometimes, you may find yourself juggling several things at once while traveling – handling luggage, taking last-minute calls, getting directions from airport staff, etc. Some headphones are designed with extra features that make multitasking effortless for the busiest of travelers.

If you’re one such traveler, here are a few features to keep an eye out for:

Voice assistant integration

Headphones with voice assistant integration allow you to access your phone’s default voice assistant program, such as Siri or Google Assistant, by making specific voice commands. Through this, you can easily play your music, answer calls, send messages, or check other important information online without having to take out your phone or remove your headphones.

Smart Sensors

Some headphones have smart sensors that respond when they detect movement or speech. These sensors will automatically pause your music when you’re speaking or if the headphones are removed and resume playing when worn again. This is incredibly helpful if you need to take a call or quickly listen to something without fussing with buttons.

Intuitive controls

Some headphones have more intuitive touch controls as an alternative to physical buttons for play/pause and volume. While it does take some getting used to, it can be quite convenient to swipe a finger to skip tracks or adjust volume, or simply place a palm over your ear cup to pause your music when you need to listen to essential sounds in your surroundings.

Pressure-relief technology

Some headphones employ different methods to address pressure on the ears to make prolonged wearing even more comfortable. Some do this by using dense, super-soft memory foam to distribute pressure evenly over the ear, while others use technology that optimizes sound output despite the changing air pressure levels inside airplane cabins.

Price

Active noise cancelling headphones generally come at more expensive prices than headphones with passive noise cancellation.

While expensive headphones are often better than cheap ones, it’s essential to keep in mind that a high price doesn’t always mean high quality. Sometimes, what drives up those retail prices is how stylish or popular the brand attached to them is.

Essentially, the price differences come down to the quality of the noise-canceling circuitry, drivers, and materials used. Expensive headphones are outfitted with more plush, high-quality materials that enhance the noise-canceling effect and are equipped with larger, more sensitive drivers that give listeners a more expansive “soundstage.”

Budget ANC headphones, on the other hand, tend to use cheaper build materials and lower quality drivers, so the sound you’ll likely get won’t be as clear or dynamic. Some midrange ANC headphones have been able to marry quality and affordability, so you’re better off just sticking to a budget and look for specific features that best suit your needs.

10 Best Noise-Canceling Headphones for Travel [2020]

Here are our picks for the best noise-canceling headphones for travel:

1. Jabra Elite 85h

Close look at Jabra Elite 85h (From:Amazon.com).
Close look at Jabra Elite 85h (From:Amazon.com).

Key features for travel:

  • Adaptive noise cancellation of up to 20-35 dB
  • Eight built-in microphones for sound and call clarity
  • Long battery life with fast-charge
  • Wearing detection
  • Rain and water-resistant
  • Withstands tough temperatures

Combined with their SmartSound and HearThrough technology, the Jabra Elite 85h is designed for toughness and hands-free convenience and engineered with a sophisticated AI that adapts to your needs to deliver you superior sound quality.

Zero noise wherever you go

The Jabra Elite 85h comes with adaptive noise cancellation called SmartSound Audio, which works in tandem with the eight built-in microphones. SmartSound automatically analyzes the sound levels in your environment and implements customized sound settings that enhance your listening experience, which can be helpful if you’re traveling through different places.

You can personalize the different sound settings on the accompanying app called Sound+, along with call and voice assistant settings.

Hours of convenient, hassle-free playtime

The lithium-ion battery can easily give 36 hours of ANC listening on a single full charge. Charging concerns are also no longer a worry for those who are always on the move. Thanks to the fast-charge function, a quick 15-minute charge will get you 5 hours of battery life.

The on-ear wearing detection also eliminates the need to fuss around with buttons to pause your music or mute calls. Simply remove the device from your ears, and the headphones automatically do it for you.

Tough build meant for the outdoors

One thing that brought Jabra Elite 85h on top of this article’s list is the tough build quality.

The Jabra Elite 85h is solidly built to perform in the out and open – best for venturesome travelers. The headphones’ internal mechanisms are nano-coated, making them rain and water-resistant, and able to endure temperatures ranging from -5 to 45 degrees celsius. It also comes with a 2-year warranty against water and dust, so you know you’re doubly protected.

Woman Wearing Jabra Elite 85h (From:Amazon.com).
Woman Wearing Jabra Elite 85h (From:Amazon.com).

Drawbacks

Despite the impressive specs, the Jabra Elite 85h does have its fair share of shortcomings. The device is indeed reliable when it comes to delivering superior sound quality for music listening and ANC. Still, there are mixed reviews regarding call quality, particularly when pairing the headphones directly with a computer and taking PC calls. Additionally, some users report that the ANC may not work correctly during calls.

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Pros:

  • »Adaptive noise cancellation that automatically adjusts to your environment
  • »Eight built-in microphones for optimum noise cancellation and call clarity
  • »Long battery life with up to 36 hours of ANC listening
  • »Fast-charge battery yields 5 hours of listening on a 15-minute charge
  • »On-ear detection pauses audio and mutes calls when the headphones are removed
  • »Rain and water-resistant
  • »Withstands tough temperatures
  • »iOS and Android compatible
  • »40mm drivers
  • »2-year warranty against water and dust
  • »Comes with Sound+ app that allows you to customize your sound settings further
  • »Comes in 4 sleek colors

Cons:

  • »ANC may not work correctly during calls
  • »May have reduced sound quality when connected directly to a PC to take calls

2. Sony WH-1000XM4

Close look at Sony WH-1000XM4 (From:Amazon.com)
Close look at Sony WH-1000XM4 (From:Amazon.com)

Key features for travel:

  • Adaptive noise cancellation reduces noise by 25-30 dB
  • Ambient sound control
  • Superior sound quality
  • Five built-in microphones for sound clarity
  • Long battery life with fast-charge
  • Hands-free controls
  • Wearing detection

Dubbed as having “industry-leading noise cancellation,” the award-winning Sony WH-1000XM4 comes outfitted with a slew of intelligent and adaptive tech that prioritizes premium sound quality.

The headphones gained two 5-star rankings in 2020 from TechRadar and What HiFi, as well as an additional Best in Class recognition from TechRadar.

Adjusts with you and the noise around you

The headphones are fitted with two microphones in each ear cup and a robust HD Noise Canceling Processor QN1 chip designed to pick up and analyze ambient noise in any setting. With these features, the ANC system can make as much as 700 real-time adjustments per second to give you the best sound quality no matter where you are.

The ANC capabilities are further enhanced with Atmospheric Pressure Optimizing, which detects the change in atmospheric pressure during flights, and Personal Optimizing, which examines the acoustic effects caused by glasses, hair, or head size and optimizes sound output accordingly.

The Sony WH-1000XM4 also comes with an adjustable Ambient Sound Control feature, which travelers can activate with a hand gesture and allows them to keep an ear out for transport calls and other audible warnings.

Listen to your favourite music like never before

The headphones are outfitted with DSEE Extreme™ software, which works in tandem with Sony’s own Edge-AI to bring superior sound quality. Together, they can better perceive the minute variations in instrumentation and vocals and enhance the overall quality by restoring compressed data almost to its original state.

The headphones are also fitted with Sony’s LDAC audio codec, which has three times the transfer rate as standard Bluetooth codecs, ensuring that less music data is lost and that you’re getting a quality sound experience on those long dreary hours in transit.

Easy controls that adapt to your needs

The Touch Sensor allows you to control your music and answer calls using simple tapping or swiping gestures over the headphones’ outer panel. Activating the Quick Attention mode is as easy as placing your palm over the ear cup. It automatically lowers music volume and lets ambient noise in – great for when you need to listen to boarding calls or voices quickly.

Its Speak-to-Chat and Precise Voice Pickup technology makes use of the five built-in microphones to listen and respond to your voice. Once you start talking, your music is instantly paused, and ambient noise is filtered in, making it easier to communicate or take calls when you can’t take off your headphones or have an armful of luggage.

The Sony WH-1000XM4 seamlessly adapts to you, regardless of where you are or what you’re doing. Wearing Detection senses when the headphones are removed and pauses playback accordingly while putting them on again resumes playback. Adaptive Sound Control also recognizes locations you frequent, which allows it to tailor your listening experience further.

Longer, more comfortable listening hours

The headband and ear cups are fitted with super-soft urethane foam and pleather padding designed to distribute pressure evenly. Its powerful battery also gives 30 playtime hours on a single full charge – great for undisturbed listening on long haul flights. The quick-charge function gives five hours of playtime on ten minutes of charging, handy when in a rush.

Man Wearing Sony WH-1000XM4 (From:Amazon.com)
Man Wearing Sony WH-1000XM4 (From:Amazon.com)

Drawbacks

While the Sony WH-1000XM4 gets an undisputed five stars for its superb sound quality and adaptive noise-canceling capabilities, the hands-free controls need a bit of familiarization. Some users report that the touch controls can be confusing at first, often triggering unwanted track skips or volume adjustments.

The Quick Attention mode can be overly sensitive and activate when not needed, a feature that can be easily turned off in the accompanying app called Sony Headphones Connect. Bluetooth pairing is also done through the said app, in contrast to other headphones with a dedicated button for pairing on the device.

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Pros:

  • »Adaptive noise cancellation with sound optimizers
  • »Ambient sound control that allows you to listen to important sounds
  • »Five built-in microphones for sound clarity
  • »Long battery life with 30 hours of playtime
  • »Adaptive Sound Control adjusts sound quality based on your location
  • »Wearing Detection pauses playback when headphones are removed
  • »DSEE Extreme™ software and LDAC audio codecs ensure superior sound quality
  • »Quick Attention and Speak-to-Chat features enable you to communicate and hear essential sounds without removing your headphones
  • »High-quality plastic build with super-soft pleather and foam ear pads designed for pressure-relief

Cons:

  • »Sensitive touch controls can sometimes trigger track skips and volume adjustments
  • »Bluetooth pairing is done through an app instead of a dedicated button on the device
  • »Quick Attention mode can activate when not needed

3. Anker Soundcore Life Q20

Close look at Anker Soundcore Life Q20 (From:Amazon.com)
Close look at Anker Soundcore Life Q20 (From:Amazon.com)

Key features for travel:

  • Hybrid noise cancellation reduces noise up to 35 dB
  • Hi-Res Audio certified sound quality
  • Long battery life with fast-charge
  • Quick charge function
  • Comfortable and adjustable build

As one of the more affordable ANC headphones in the market, the Anker Soundcore Life Q20 offers decent noise cancellation and immersively clear sound quality.

Provides a more engaging listening experience

The Q20’s custom 40 mm dynamic drivers are Hi-Res Audio certified and equipped with Anker’s BassUp technology, giving listeners exceptionally clear highs, detailed midranges, and amplified bass. Sound quality is further improved by the hybrid active noise cancellation, which reduces unwanted low-frequency noise from airplane jets or car engines by up to 90%.

Use comfortably for long hours

A single full charge can yield a solid 40 hours of ANC listening, and you can get an additional 20 hours of use with the ANC turned off. If you’re transferring between flights and need to recharge your headphones quickly, you can easily get 4 hours of listening from a 5-minute charge.

The headphones are outfitted with memory foam ear pads that fit snugly around the ears, 90-degree rotating ear cups, and an adjustable headband. These don’t just make them comfortable after prolonged use; it makes them easy to store in your carry-on bag too.

Man Wearing Anker Soundcore Life Q20 (From:Amazon.com)
Man Wearing Anker Soundcore Life Q20 (From:Amazon.com)

Drawbacks

Hearing “popping sounds” when the ANC is activated is a common issue many users have with the Anker Soundcore Life Q20, particularly when the headphones are either jolted or exposed to percussive sounds. Some users have also reported that Bluetooth tends to disconnect at random times.

The upside is that Anker provides its customers with a 30-day money-back guarantee, an 18-month product warranty, and lifetime customer support for all its products.

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Pros:

  • »Hybrid active noise cancellation reduces 90% of low- and mid-frequency sounds
  • »Hi-Res Audio certified sound quality, further boosted with BassUp technology
  • »Long battery life with quick charge function
  • »Comfortable build with memory foam ear pads and adjustable headband
  • »Four built-in cVc 8.0 microphones for noise cancellation
  • »Affordable price for ANC headphones
  • »Comes with a micro USB charging cable and a 3.5mm audio cable

Cons:

  • »May hear popping noises caused by jolting movement or loud sounds
  • »Bluetooth may randomly disconnect at times

4. Srhythm NC35

Close look at Srhythm NC35 (From:Amazon.com)
Close look at Srhythm NC35 (From:Amazon.com)

Key features for travel:

  • Active noise cancellation reduces sound by up to 20-25 dB
  • Long battery life with fast-charge
  • Lightweight, adjustable, ergonomic design
  • Built-in microphones for noise cancellation and calls
  • 40 mm HD Stereo drivers

Labeled as having “world-leading digital ANC,” the Srhythm NC35 combines style with portability and practical design aesthetics, making it ideal for a lifestyle on the road.

Less noise in busy surroundings

The NC35’s feedforward ANC and improved Dual Noise Reduction sensor minimizes low-frequency ambient noise by 90%, making it ideal for office work and travel. Combined with the ANC and Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity, the built-in cVc 8.0 microphone ensures that calls are always crystal clear, stable, and hands-free.

Outstanding comfort you can enjoy for hours

The device itself weighs in at 0.40 lbs and comes with 90°-170° multi-angle rotatable ear cups and a Japanese-designed headband that can stretch up to 8 levels to accommodate all head shapes. Soft memory foam padding and protein leather allow more breathability so that you can keep your headphones on for as long as you like – perfect for those long layovers.

And if that wasn’t enough, Srhythm goes a step further with its air pressure balance technology, which reduces the air pressure produced by the headphones’ drivers, keeping your eardrums safe even with prolonged use.

For people who are always on the go

The 800 mAh lithium-ion battery provides up to 40 listening hours, thanks to the NC35s more energy-efficient ANC algorithm. Its fast charging function affords you three hours of playtime on just ten minutes of charging, so you never have to worry about running out of juice at inopportune times.

Sound quality you can love

Two powerful 40 mm HD drivers, coupled with the headphones’ one-of-a-kind sound chambers, takes care of tinny audio and delivers high-fidelity music. Simultaneously, the Bluetooth V5.0 CSR chipset also ensures a low latency audio connection up to 33 feet away.

Woman Wearing Srhythm NC35 (From:Amazon.com)
Woman Wearing Srhythm NC35 (From:Amazon.com)

Drawbacks

The Srhythm NC35 gets great marks in sound quality, comfort, and noise cancellation. However, some users have expressed frustration over some audio stutter issues when connecting the headphones to a PC and the lack of audible notifications for battery levels. Others have also reported the battery not charging after a few months.

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Pros:

  • »Feedforward active noise cancellation reduces ambient noise by 90%
  • »Good battery life with 40 hours of ANC listening
  • »Fast-charge function gets you 3 hours of playtime on a 10-minute charge
  • »Air pressure balance technology keeps your ears safe
  • »Built-in cVc 8.0 microphone for noise cancellation and call clarity
  • »Comfortable, lightweight, highly-adjustable design
  • »40 mm HD Stereo drivers
  • »Comes with a USB-C charging cable, 3.5mm audio cable, and flight adapter
  • »Comes in three colors

Cons:

  • »Audio may stutter when connected to PC
  • »May stop charging after a few months
  • »No audible notification for battery levels

5. Master & Dynamic MW65

Close look at Master & Dynamic MW65 (From:Amazon.com)
Close look at Master & Dynamic MW65 (From:Amazon.com)

Key features for travel:

  • Hybrid noise cancellation up to 20-25 dB
  • Long battery life with super-fast charging battery
  • Aluminum metal build
  • 40mm Beryllium drivers

Designed with remarkable attention to detail and engineered to last, the Master & Dynamic MW65 combines sophisticated style, durability, and impressive acoustics that will keep you entertained for hours.

Withstands daily wear and tear

A leather-padded headband and lambskin-wrapped memory foam ear pads give the MW65 a luxurious yet comfortable feel, while the anodized aluminum metal frame provides durability against the wear and tear of everyday use and travel. The ear pads are also removable and can be replaced if needed.

Suits any environmental noise

The headphones come with a dedicated ANC button and two ANC modes – high power and low power – which you can easily toggle depending on how noisy your environment is. It comes in handy if you’re moving from place to place and don’t want to remove your headphones.

Little to no downtime

A single full charge gives these headphones 24 hours of playtime, which you might think is relatively low until you realize how quickly you can get back on track once you’ve drained your battery. A speedy 15-minute charging session can yield a whopping 12 hours of playtime – enough to last an entire long haul flight.

Well-crafted sound quality you can enjoy

The MW65’s signature rich and warm sound is delivered through 40mm Beryllium drivers, giving you a balanced sound quality ideal for all music genres.

Woman Wearing Master & Dynamic MW65 (From:Masterdynamic.eu)
Woman Wearing Master & Dynamic MW65 (From:Masterdynamic.eu)

Drawbacks

The Master & Dynamic MW65 leaves nothing to be desired for noise cancellation and sound quality; however, some users feel that the over-ear ear cups may be too small and tend to squish the ears.

Other snags include weak mic gain that can’t be adjusted separately, making conference calls slightly troublesome. Some have also noted that the headphone where the charging port is located can get particularly hot while being charged.

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Pros:

  • »Adjustable hybrid active noise cancellation
  • »Decent battery life with super-fast charging function
  • »Dual built-in microphones for call clarity and noise reduction
  • »Bluetooth 4.2 with AptX audio codecs
  • »65-foot Bluetooth connection range
  • »Robust, stylish build
  • »40mm Beryllium drivers
  • »Comes with a USB-C charging cable, 3.5mm audio cable, and flight adapter

Cons:

  • »Ear cups may be too small for some ears
  • »Weak mic gain that can’t be adjusted separately
  • »Fast charging function can make the headphones quite hot

6. Sennheiser Momentum 3 Wireless

Close look at Sennheiser Momentum 3 Wireless (From:Amazon.com)
Close look at Sennheiser Momentum 3 Wireless (From:Amazon.com)

Key features for travel:

  • Adaptive noise cancellation reduces noise up to 20-30 dB
  • Ambient Sound mode
  • TILE technology
  • Wearing Detection
  • Decent battery life with fast-charge

Classy design aesthetics, straightforward controls, and excellent sound quality make the Sennheiser Momentum 3 Wireless an ideal all-around pick for the stylish traveler.

Keeps you aware when it matters

The Transparent Hearing feature allows you to be alerted to essential sounds by letting in ambient noise so that you never miss out on important information while in transit and addresses safety concerns when used outdoors.

Never lose your headphones again

Sennheiser’s integrated TILE technology helps you quickly locate your headphones in the event you misplace them – excellent for forgetful folks who are always on the go. The tracking app works via Bluetooth and notifies you by setting off an alarm tone on your phone or showing you your device’s last known location on a map in the app.

Physical and gesture-based controls that make life easy

The headphones have dedicated buttons for volume control, play/pause, ANC, and voice assistance that can be easily accessed. They also have gesture-based controls such as Smart Pause, which detects if you’ve removed your headphones and pauses your music accordingly, and Auto On/Off, which automatically turns off the headphones once folded.

Man Wearing Sennheiser Momentum 3 Wireless (From:Amazon.com)
Man Wearing Sennheiser Momentum 3 Wireless (From:Amazon.com)

Drawbacks

Some of the more common complaints from users involve poor sound quality when taking calls. Some users have also reported that the headband design can be uncomfortable for those who wear glasses. If you have glasses but are determined to go with this pair, however, feel free to check out our guide on how to wear headphones with glasses comfortably.

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Pros:

  • »Adaptive noise cancellation with three modes to suit any setting
  • »Transparent Hearing that lets ambient noise in
  • »TILE technology keeps you from losing your headphones
  • »Decent battery life with fast charging function
  • »Wearing Detection
  • »Bluetooth 5.0 multi-device connectivity
  • »aptX LL, aptX, SBC and AAC supported audio codecs
  • »Premium leather and matte steel build
  • »Large memory foam ear cups
  • »iOS and Android compatible
  • »Foldable design
  • »Comes with a USB-C charging cable, USB-C to A adapter, and 3.5 mm cable

Cons:

  • »Sound quality for calls may not be the best
  • »Can be uncomfortable for those who wear glasses

7. Bose 700

Close look at Bose 700 (From:Amazon.com)
Close look at Bose 700 (From:Amazon.com)

Key features for travel:

  • Hybrid noise cancellation reduces noise up to 27-35 dB
  • 11 settings for Ambient Sound mode
  • Eight built-in microphones for noise cancellation and clear voice pick-up
  • Ultra-comfortable build
  • Long battery life with fast-charge

Popular for its exceptional noise-canceling capabilities and unmatched sound quality, the Bose NC 700 headphones gives you full control over what you want to hear and what you don’t. It’s hailed as “the best active noise cancellation you can buy” by PCMag and won the Red Dot Product Design Award in 2020.

Adjusts to your preferences

The headphones have a total of 8 microphones, 6 of which are dedicated to the ANC, and come with 11 different settings that allow you to customize the level of noise cancellation you’re getting. Together, they work to enhance audio quality and fine-tune the noise reduction feature.

You can choose a range of ANC modes from full noise reduction for loud, busy locations to full transparency, which lets you hear ambient noises, important warnings, or transit advisories when you need to. A single push of a button also activates Conversation Mode, which takes your headphones straight to full transparency mode without having to run through the other modes.

Truly clear calls on both ends

Six microphones work to inhibit unwanted background noise, and four microphones work to boost your voice’s clarity, To ensure you’re getting the clearest calling experience. These tweaks are consistently being done in real-time, allowing the headphones to adapt even as you move so that you can have smooth, straightforward conversations no matter where you are.

Outstanding comfort you can look forward to

The ear cups, furnished with luxurious protein leather, is designed to tilt at 15 degrees to accommodate the head and ears’ natural anatomy. So, if you’re the type of traveler that likes to shut out the world or even sleep for the entirety of a long haul flight, it shouldn’t be a problem with these headphones.

The stainless steel headband also comes with soft silicone-wrapped foam padding on its underside, and though it isn’t foldable, you can slide the ear cups up and down to adjust its size. As one of the most comfortable headphones on this list, the Bose 700 will have you looking forward to using them at any chance you get.

Woman Wearing Bose 700 (From:Bose.com)
Woman Wearing Bose 700 (From:Bose.com)

Drawbacks

The most common gripe that users have with the Bose 700 has to do with the Bose Music app. According to reviews, the headphones not only require the app to fully function, but users are also required to sign up for an account. The app also tends to be buggy, causing log-in difficulties and pairing problems with PCs and phones.

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Pros:

  • »Hybrid active noise cancellation with 11 Ambient Sound settings
  • »Eight mics for ANC and clearer voice calls
  • »Premium build made for comfort
  • »20-hour battery life
  • »Quick charging gives 2.5 hours of playtime on a 15-minute charge
  • »Multi-device connectivity
  • »Comes with 3.5 mm audio cable, USB-C charging cable, and carrying case

Cons:

  • »Users need to download and sign-up on the Bose Music app
  • »Users may encounter difficulties logging into the app or pairing the headphones to a PC or phone

8. Avantree ANC032

Close look at Avantree ANC032 (From:Amazon.com)
Close look at Avantree ANC032 (From:Amazon.com)

Key features for travel:

  • Active noise cancellation reduces noise up to 18 dB
  • Decent battery life
  • Lightweight build for on-the-go listening

What the Avantree ANC032 lacks in stellar, high-powered specs, it makes up for with a portable, practical build that provides decent sound quality and active noise cancellation for an affordable price.

Comfortable, weightless fit

At 0.39 lbs, the Avantree ANC032 is the lightest pair of headphones on this list. More lightweight headphones feel less stuffy over the ears after prolonged use and lessen the likelihood of experiencing ear, shoulder, or neck aches. Additionally, lighter headphones means more baggage space, especially for airlines with stricter weight limitations, making this a smart choice for travelers.

The headphones are designed for convenience and fully adjustable with swiveling ear cups padded with soft protein leather and a foldable headband that accommodates all head shapes.

Keep distractions away

The headphones are equipped with feedforward ANC that works to minimize low-frequency background noises from plane engines, buzzing crowds, or large household appliances so that you can focus longer and have a more enjoyable listening experience.

Woman Wearing Avantree ANC032 (From:Avantree.com)
Woman Wearing Avantree ANC032 (From:Avantree.com)

Drawbacks

Some users have reported the Avantree ANC032’s inefficiency at blocking out irregular, high-frequency sounds. However, it’s important to note that Avantree themselves put a disclaimer on ANC032’s noise reduction capacity for high-frequency sounds.

Other users also say that the plastic build can be prone to breaking over time, but the bright side is that you’ll be covered with Avantree’s 2-year warranty.

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Pros:

  • »Hybrid ANC reduces low-frequency noises
  • »Good battery life yields 48 hours of wired playtime with ANC, 18 hours with Bluetooth only, and 10 hours of listening with both Bluetooth and ANC activated
  • »FastStream, SBC & AAC audio codecs
  • »40 mm stereo drivers
  • »Comes with 3.5 mm audio cable, micro USB charging cable, and carrying pouch

Cons:

  • »The ANC may not block sudden high-frequency sounds
  • »The plastic build may break after a few months

9. Beyerdynamics Lagoon

Close look at beyerdynamics lagoon (From:Amazon.com)
Close look at beyerdynamics lagoon (From:Amazon.com)

Key features for travel:

  • Hybrid noise cancellation reduces noise by up to 20 dB
  • Long battery life
  • Built-in microphone with Qualcomm cVc
  • Lightweight, comfortable build

The German-made beyerdynamics lagoon won recognition from the CES Innovation Awards in 2019 and Goldenes Ohr in 2020 for its excellence in sound quality and noise cancellation, as well as its intuitive MOSAYC sound personalization feature.

Hours of topnotch sound quality

Equipped with hybrid ANC, the headphones come with 3 ANC modes – off, level I, and level II – and are geared towards canceling out those ever-present low-frequency droning sounds characteristic of planes, trains, and automobiles, without compromising sound quality.

Combined with a battery that yields as much as 24 hours of ANC-activated listening and integrated Qualcomm aptX, aptX LL, and AAC audio codecs, you can rely on the beyerdynamics lagoon to deliver hours’ worth of pristine sound quality from your iOS or Android device.

Using the MOSAYC sound personalization app by Mimi Defined, you can further adjust your sound quality preferences by taking the in-app hearing test and improve the audibility of your voice for calls.

Excellent voice call quality anywhere

As a company that knows how to manufacture reliable microphones, you can be sure that the beyerdynamics lagoon won’t disappoint in that arena. The headphones are fitted with a built-in microphone with Qualcomm cVc designed to make sure all your voice calls are uncomplicatedly clear, whether indoors or outdoors, making this a great all-rounder choice for traveling.

Designed for comfort and compact storage

The rotatable circumaural ear cups are cushioned with soft, high-quality memory foam and artificial leather and are designed to accommodate the natural anatomy of the ear so that you can wear it longer without problems. The headphones can also be easily folded into a more compact size, making it easy to pack into your luggage or carry-on.

Man Wearing beyerdynamics lagoon (From:Beyerdynamics.com)
Man Wearing beyerdynamics lagoon (From:Beyerdynamics.com)

Drawbacks

The headphones’ accompanying Light Guide System (LGS) is either a hit or miss for users. The unique lights installed inside the ear cups work by flashing in specific combinations of 6 colors and patterns to alert the user to battery levels, calls, and Bluetooth connections.

It’s an innovative idea; however, some users have found it confusing and cumbersome to remember what each pattern means without whipping out the user manual every time.

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Pros:

  • »Hybrid noise cancellation with 3 ANC modes
  • »Long battery life gives 46 hours of non-ANC listening and 25 hours with ANC
  • »Built-in microphone with Qualcomm cVc for clear calls
  • »MOSAYC sound personalization for further sound customization
  • »Qualcomm aptX, aptX LL, and AAC audio codecs
  • »Sturdy plastic and leather build
  • »Hands-free controls

Cons:

  • »Light Guide System may be challenging to get used to

10. Philips PH805

Close look at Philips PH805 (From:Amazon.com)
Close look at Philips PH805 (From:Amazon.com)

Key features for travel:

  • Hybrid noise cancellation reduces noise up to 27 dB
  • Long battery life with fast-charge
  • Ambient Sound mode
  • 40mm neodymium acoustic drivers

The Philips PH805 blends reliably good specs with a sturdy premium build and decent noise cancellation for a more affordable price, making it an excellent choice for traveling.

Choose what you hear

The PH805’s effective active noise cancellation takes care of distracting background noise, so you can enjoy your music or favorite podcast without turning your volume up to ear-damaging levels. When you need to get back to the real world, activating Awareness Mode helps you stay connected with what’s going on around you without needing to remove your device.

Extended listening experience you can enjoy

The headphones’ 40mm neodymium acoustic drivers are Hi-Res Audio certified and deliver detailed, balanced sound quality with clear midrange frequencies suited for many music genres. The battery yields as much as 25 hours of ANC-activated listening, and its fast charging function gets you 6 hours on a 15-minute charge, making sure you’re covered for long flights.

Man Wearing Philips PH805 (From:Philips.com)
Man Wearing Philips PH805 (From:Philips.com)

Drawbacks

While the Philips PH805 performs decently when it comes to sound quality and noise cancellation, some audiophile users have reported that the bass quality can be a little weak compared to similar models.

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Pros:

  • »Hybrid noise cancellation
  • »Long battery life gives 30 hours of playtime and 25 hours with the ANC on
  • »Rapid charge function gives 2 hours of playtime on a 5-minute charge and 6 hours on a 15-minute charge
  • »Awareness Mode keeps you connected to your surroundings
  • »Built-in microphone with echo cancellation
  • »40mm neodymium acoustic drivers
  • »Memory foam and leather-padded ear cups
  • »Compact, foldable design

Cons:

  • »Bass quality may not be up to par with other headphones on this list

Conclusion

Ultimately, when it comes to buying noise-canceling headphones specifically for traveling, don’t let high prices or fancy aesthetics drive you to make a purchase. Take the time to do research and read reviews, and if you’re on a budget, choosing headphones with good ANC, sound quality, and comfort at the very least will still give you the most out of your investment.

How did you find our list? Did you like our recommendations? If you think there are other devices that should’ve been on this list, please share them in the comments section below. We’d love to hear your thoughts!