The only thing better than blocking out the rest of the world during your morning commute is blocking out the baby two rows over during your flight. You can accomplish both these things with a great pair of noise canceling headphones. These are the best noise canceling headphones for 2015, over and below $200.
The Best Noise Canceling Headphones Over $200
1. Bose QuietComfort 15
Starting with the all around best, we have to put our recommendation behind the Bose QuietComfort 15 Acoustic Noise Canceling Headphones. You will find these at the top of almost any list for noise canceling headphones and there’s a reason for it. Not only are the Bose QuietComfort sleek and comfortable, they work.
These are the best headphones for drowning out background noise while giving you excellent quality for a pretty damn good price. Each pair uses AAA batteries to power the noise canceling feature and holds about 35 hours of battery life, each pair also contains an inline mic/remote for your iPhone or iPod.
Oh, and did we mention they won the Travelers’ Choice Award in 2012 and 2013 for Best Noise Canceling Headphones by TripAdvisor? Want to learn more about the innovative technology that goes into making these the best headphones on the market? Check out the video below and let the guys from Bose tell you what makes these headphones unique.
Find yours at Bose.com for only $299.95
2. Beats Studio Wireless
Beats Studio Wireless have definitely earned their spot at the top. The quality of sound is topnotch, with clear highs and deep lows to hear every note the way the artist intended it. They use active noise cancelation to keep what’s outside, outside and allow you to focus strictly on the Beats at hand.
The best part: unlike the standard Beats, which practically crumble if you squeeze the cheap plastic too hard, the Studio’s are made with aluminum gunmetal and will keep bumping well after a few drops and dings. The wireless option is also extremely convenient. You can run them on bluetooth and avoid getting tangled in the cord while laying on the couch or going for a stroll, and when the batteries are running low you simply attach reattach the cord and rock them like any other headphones.
Sure, they’re a little pricey, but they are worth every dollar. And with Apple set to buy Beats for $3.2 billion (yes, that’s billion, with a ‘B’) we can only expect there is more greatness to come. In the meantime, check out this video detailing the greatness that is Beats by Dr. Dre.
Beats Studio Wireless on Amazon, $379.95
3. Polk Audio UltraFocus 8000
Our second choice for the higher price point is the Polk Audio UltraFocus 8000. With 15dB of noise cancelation you get excellent clear, quality sound without any outside interruptions. Aside from the practicality of the headphones, we love the look.
Made of stainless steel and aluminum the Polk Audio UltraFocus’ are durable and sleek. A cool feature that Polk added that other companies haven’t all gotten around to yet? Adapters to give you the perfect experience on an airplane, for your mobile device, or for using Skype. Check out the video below to learn all the great features Polk added to these premium headphones.
Available at Polkaudio.com for $299.95
4. Harman Kardon Noise Canceling Headphones
These guys may be a small fish in a big pond, but their style is ahead of the game. The Harman/Kardon Headphones are some of the most stylish on the market. Oh yeah, they also can hold their own in the audio category.
Harman uses the same noise canceling technology used in luxury cars to block out street noise, and it works even better in a headphone. The close ear fit allows for superb quality even when the volume isn’t blasting. And you get up to 40 hours of battery life on the noise cancelation. A pretty damn good all-around package.
Available at Harmankardon.com for $239.95
5. Sony MDR-NC500D
Not all of our choices are companies that strictly deal with audio, the all around electronic giant knows what they are doing too. The Sony MDR-NC500D wins our vote for best digital noise canceling headphones. Using their own patented AI noise canceling system, Sony makes sure you hear only what you want to hear and nothing else. We love the functionality of these, but they are slightly bulky, so they will take up a little more room in your bag.
The other downside, they only have 28 hours of battery life. So while they noise canceling system is top of the line, it runs down your batteries faster than our other choices. But on the plus side, they have a built-in rechargeable battery, so as long as you remember to charge it you’re good to go.
Find the Sony MDR-NC500 at Bestbuy.com for $279.00
6. PSB M4U 2
These are the perfect headphones for a serious music listener on the go. Designed to bring you perfect sound no matter what your favorite genre is, these noise canceling headphones are also extremely lightweight, making them easy to toss in a backpack, a carryon or a briefcase.
The PSB’s have 55 hours of battery life and continue to kick out amazing sound even after the battery for the noise canceling feature runs out. These are sleek, comfortable, and they work perfectly.
Get the PSB M4U 2 at Crutchfield.com for $399.99
7. Bose QuietComfort 25
You’re probably wondering how much better the QuietComfort 25 is from the QuietComfort 15, and allthough that’s hard to quantify, one thing is certain: it is better. QC25 headphones are totally redesigned, with better audio performance and noise reduction, plus an improved folding design that allows them to fit in a more compact carrying case.
Another significant change is the shape of the headband. Bose has re-engineered it to sit closer to the head, so there’s less of a gap under the headband. Also the headband is covered in an “engineered fabric found in high-end automotive applications” with soft, leather ear cushions that have the same luxurious feel of their predecessors. If we trust Bose then these babies are worth the purchase!
Find yours at Amazon.com for only $299
8. Bose QuietComfort 20i Acoustic
Don’t like a giant cup over your ear? Here’s a change of pace for you. Bose has clearly made a nice little home for themselves on our list, but these are definitely our new favorites. The earbud style allows you to move freely and have less bulk on your head while doing so. And the acoustic noise canceling gives you the same clear, crisp sound we’re accustomed to in the Bose family. Just make sure if you’re wearing these to workout you’re on a treadmill and not in the street. The noise canceling works, and you won’t hear that car.
Available at Amazon.com for $249.00
The Best Noise Cancelling Headphones Under 200
1. The Monoprice Noise Canceling Headphone
Our pick for the best noise cancelling headphones under 200 comes from a name a little less recognizable than the first, but that doesn’t mean they can’t play with the big boys. The Monoprice Noise Canceling Headphone with Active Noise Reduction Technology is a better bet than some of the big name models, but without the price tag.
The pros of these headphones? The obvious upside is that they are cheaper, yes. But they bring a lot more to the table than a nice number at checkout. On a single AAA battery these noise canceling headphones can last up to 50 hours. And they are just as good for getting some peace and quiet in a busy area as they are with music.
With a 92% reduction in linear noise pressure and a 99% reduction in linear noise energy, a busy airport can sound like your home office. Want to hear the guys at Monoprice tell you about their work of art? Check out the video below and learn all the ins and outs of these silence making wonders.
Get your Monoprice Noise Canceling Headphones at Monoprice.com for $115.99
2. Audio-Technica ATHANC7b QuietPoint
The QuietPoint noise canceling headphones from Audio-Technica are great headphones for a more than reasonable price. With active noise canceling technology and clear sound they are perfect for music lovers on a budget. Not as durable as some of the other high end models, these are made from plastic and unless you take extreme care won’t last you quite as long as some of the heavier hitters but they definitely get the job done.
If you want some great sound quality with little background noise for a price tag smaller than the big name companies, go for it.
Learn more and find out where to get your QuietPoint headphones at Audio-Technica.com, available for $179.95
3. Sony MDR-NC60
Sony discontinued this model when bringing out the superior NC500, but that doesn’t mean these aren’t worth taking a look at. The Sony MDR-NC60 has a lot of the same basic principals and design without the new patented software you find in the updated model.
Still widely available on Amazon for great discounted prices, if you can’t bring yourself to spend the extra cash and still want a big name headphone, this is a great bet. The NC60’s are lightweight, block out up to 85% of outside noise, and have Sony quality sound. Definitely a great bang for your buck.
Find the Sony MDR-NC60 on Amazon ranging from $60-$165
4. Sony MDR-NC200D
Sony MDR-NC200D Digital Noise-Canceling Headphones are some of the best mid level headphones. They comfortable, well designed, have a great sound, and do a good job of attenuating the ambient noise. These headphones produce some of the crispest sound that we have come across in the headphones. They are largely free of some sound distortions and thanks to the “active” noise cancellation technology, reduce the ambient noise a significant amount, and make it much more muffled and soft sounding. They will protect your ears in very noisy environments, such as the airplane takeoff and landing. However, if you are more interested in completely blocking the surrounding noise rather than enjoying music along the way, a pair of simple ear plugs will do the job for the fraction of the price.
The headphones fold up to fit into a convenient carrying case and can still play music without the noise cancellation engaged. They’re attractively designed and more affordable which makes these Sony MDR-NC200Ds worth your consideration.
Sony MDR-NC200D headphones at Amazon.com for $199.98
5. Audio-Technica ATH-ANC1 QuietPoint
Another great product from Audio-Technica is a real bargin. The ATH-ANC1 QuietPoint headphones from Audio Technica deliver natural sound and luxurious silence in a highly compact on-ear design. These fold-flat headphones incorporate Audio Technica’s acclaimed active noise-cancelling technology to block out up to 85% of outside noise, while delivering clear, detailed and natural sound. The active noise-cancelling circuitry is located in a handy external module attached to its connecting cord, for extremely light weight on-ear wear. The headphones also work when the noise-cancelling function is turned off, and operate in passive mode without batteries.
If you are looking for noise-canceling headphones for an MP3 player that deliver excellent sound reproduction at an affordable price, this product should be on your short list for consideration. These headphones are also well-designed. Whether you are a frequent air traveler or simply like to have your music player in your day pack for listening in a cafe or while shopping, the lightweight construction, and a fold-up feature makes these headphones easy to store and also protects them from damage.
Find the Audio-Technica ATH-ANC1 QuietPoint headphones at Amazon.com for $79.95
Our Final Thoughts on Blocking Out The Noise
Noise Canceling Headphones are a God-send and a must have for any traveler. While there are a few great options at lower price points, if you plan on using them often and want to keep them around for awhile spend the extra dollars and get something that will last. Remember, comfort and happiness is worth a big price tag and there is nothing that can ruin those two things faster than outside noise when you want some peace and quiet. So grab whichever pair best speaks to you and enjoy the serenity of your next flight.