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Noise-cancelling headphone reviews

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Last updated: 24 April 2018

Solitude doesn't come cheap, but your ears may thank you for some peace and quiet. We lab test and review the latest noise-cancelling headphones. 

  • Read our buying guide for a better understanding of their features.
  • To learn about our testing methodologies, see how we test.
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Our test covers in-ear, on-ear and over-ear models from brands such as Bose, Sennheiser, Sony, Beats by Dr. Dre and more.

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.

Our interactive comparison tool helps you find out which brands will continue to work if the battery is drained, if they're bundled with a travel bag and an adapter for use on an airplane. And our Recommended list will help you quickly see which models come out on top.

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List of brands we tested in this review.

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In $AUD as supplied by manufacturers.

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Adapter for airplane use

Comfort score

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The five people in our listening panel rate these headphones on how comfortable and adjustable they are, taking into account placing in or on ear, removing from ear, potential to accidentally fall out of ear and restrictiveness of the wire. We also consider how suitable the headphones are for left-handed users as well as those with weak grip, poor sight, poor hearing and colour-blindness.

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Listening 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.

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Type of fit

Test results

Battery life (hours)

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Specifications

Weight with cable (g)

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This measurement includes the cable and control unit.

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  • Overall score
  • Recommended
  • Listening quality score
  • Listening score – NC on
  • Listening score – NC off
  • Comfort score
  • Durability score
  • Battery life (hours)
  • Good points
  • Bad points
  • Price
  • Brand
  • Model
  • Status
  • Type of fit
  • Wireless
  • Detachable cable
  • Has controls on headphone or cable
  • Control on headphones
  • Control on cable
  • Can be used to make phone calls
  • Headphones fold
  • USB charging cable supplied
  • Adapter for airplane use
  • Cable length (cm)
  • Battery type
  • Weight with cable (g)
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