Best overall

Bose QC35 II

There's something to be said for consistency, and there's a reason the Bose QC35 II is at the top of most lists of the best noise-cancelling wireless headphones. The mark of a great pair of noise-cancelling headphones is not having to give up on sound quality for isolation, and Bose has achieved a great balance. Plus, battery life is excellent, and there's one-touch access to Google Assistant that works wonders on Android phones.

Bottom line: Excellent sound and unmatched noise cancelation make for enjoyable flights, commutes, and work sessions.

One more thing: If you're looking for slightly better sound and can live with moderately worse ANC, Sony's WH1000XM2 are the same price.

Why the Bose QC35 II is the best

With the elimination of headphone jacks from phones, wireless headphones are surging in popularity, but Bose has been in the headphone game for longer than most people have had smartphones. Building on the success of its wired QC25 product, the Bose QC35 II's are lightweight and well-built and offer an excellent blend of pleasing mids, strong but not overwhelming bass, and highs that don't fatigue.

With 20+ hours of battery life and an in-box cord for when the battery runs out, Bose has crafted a product that most people will love. Other highlights include NFC pairing on Android phones, an easy-to-use app to control EQ, and dual microphones for clear phone calls.

Want a second opinion? The Wirecutter had this to say about the QC35's:

The QuietComfort 35 Series II are a fantastic noise cancelling Bluetooth headphone. They drop the highest amount of noise for their type, sound decent, fold small, are comfortable, and offer about the same noise cancelling as their wired counterparts, QC25.

In our subjective testing over the last few years, the QC25 and 35 always came out on top. While there are headphones that sound better, none offer as much reduction in the noise of the world around you, and isn't that the point? Being light and easy to wear is crucial too, and these are both as well.

Best value over-the-ear headphones

TaoTronics Active Noise Cancelling Bluetooth Headphones

TaoTronics isn't as well-known a brand as Bose or Sony, but at $70 the company's well-made over-the-ear Bluetooth headphones offer incredible value. With lush sound and deep (though not quite accurate) bass, TaoTronics' Bluetooth headphones provide around 70% of active noise cancellation of the Bose QC35 for less than a quarter the price. Better yet, they last up to 25 hours on a single charge.

Bottom-line: Value in the noise-cancellation space doesn't come easy, and TaoTronics truly delivers.

One more thing: TaoTronics also makes some great inexpensive noise-cancelling earbuds, if you're looking for a pair of those.

Best noise-cancelling earbuds

Bose QC30

Like the QC35s, the Bose QC30 offers the best noise-cancelling experience in its form factor — in this case, in earbud (or neckbud) form. With small directional tips that are comfortable to wear for hours, the beauty of the QC30 is how it allows you to raise and lower the active noise cancellation depending on the environment. That's not even possible on the QC35.

While you're not going to get the same level of bass as the larger over-the-ear headphones, the QC30 is more versatile and comfortable, especially when sleeping, and the headphones can be remanded to the neck when not in use thanks to the neckband base. At $300, these are not cheap headphones, but they're the best in their class.

Bottom line: Truly the best portable active noise cancellation experience around.

One more thing: If you don't require Bluetooth, you can pick up the equally-great QC20s for $249, and they come in a more traditional earbud format.

Best value noise-cancelling earbuds

Phiaton BT 100 NC

Phiaton is a well-known name in the budget headphone space, and the new BT 100 NC are the best noise-cancelling earbuds for under $100. Like the QC30s, the BT 100 NC come in neckbud form, with earbuds that effortlessly extrude from a string. This takes gravity out of the equation and allows for up to eight hours of continuous listening.

Neither the sound quality nor the ANC is as good as the QC30, but for $100 you're not going to find a better compromise in this form factor.

Bottom-line: Phiaton's BT 100 NC are an amazing pair of budget ANC earbuds that you'll never want to take off.

One more thing: Phiaton's older and less attractive PS 210 BTNC are a little smaller and have better ANC but worse sound quality. At $66, they're a good cheaper alternative.

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