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Noise-cancelling headphones review

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Last updated: 28 June 2022
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We lab test and review the latest noise-cancelling headphones from Bose, Sony, Beats and more. These include over-ear, on-ear and in-ear headphones which are wired, wireless and truly wireless. 

Our expert testers give every set of headphones a thorough workout to help find the models that:

  • have the best sound quality
  • are best at active noise cancellation
  • reduce noise through passive isolation
  • are the easiest to use.
 

Don't need to cut out the noise? Check out the results of our regular headphones review.

Read more

Our interactive comparison tool helps you find out which models fit over, on, or in your ears, can take a phone call, and have an adapter for use on an airplane. 

Our Recommended list will help you quickly see which models come out on top.

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Brand

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List of brands we tested in this review.

    Price

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    Recommended retail price at the time of testing. You may find better deals if you shop around.

    enter value/s in increments of 1 between 49 and 899

    Recommended products

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    Member only

    This test score is for members only. Join now to unlock our expert results.

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    Type of fit

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    In-ear headphones are often called "buds". On-ear headphones, which sit against your ear, and over-ear headphones, which surround your ear, are often called "cans". The design can also have an effect on noise reduction/cancellation.

      Wired or wireless

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      Wired headphones connect to your device or stereo via a cable. Wireless headphones connect via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, but have a band or cable connecting each can/bud. True wireless headphones connect via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth and do not have a cable connecting each earbud (such as the Apple AirPods).

        Sound quality score

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        This score is an assessment by a listening panel of the audio quality of the headphones when reproducing music, regardless of the noise-cancelling or isolation effectiveness.

        enter value/s in increments of i between 14 and 96

        Battery life (hours)

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        This is measured in hours. Note: turning off noise cancellation can increase battery life in some models.

        enter value/s in increments of i between 2 and 80

        Included in this review

        Members-only access
        • Overall score
        • Recommended
        • Listening quality score
        • Listening score with noise cancelling on
        • Listening score with noise cancelling off
        • Comfort score
        • Durability score
        • Battery life
        • Good points
        • Bad points
        • Price
        • Type of fit
        • Wired or wireless
        • Bluetooth
        • Detachable cable
        • Has controls on headphone or cable
        • Type of controls
        • Can be used to take phone calls
        • Digital assistant support
        • Foldable
        • USB charging cable supplied
        • Adapter for airplane use
        • Transport bag
        • Battery type
        • Cable length (cm)
        • Weight (g)

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