D A life is exhausting enough without being exposed to the noise of others. Thankfully, noise canceling headphones can help remedy suppressive distractions, be it for flights, commuter traffic, or just in the office, with effective options that cost £ 80 and more.
Here's a quick guide to separating the wheat from the chaff.
Bose QC35 II
MSRP: £ 330 ̵
Bose was the first noise suppression manufacturer in 1986 and has since been the market leader for a good reason: Supereffective Active Noise Canceling (ANC).
The second repeat of the QC35 II is the best noise-canceling headset you can buy, delivering superior ANC and passive isolation with good sound, easy operation and reliable connectivity.
The Bluetooth headset can also be used A cable If you want to connect the entertainment system of an aircraft, they support AAC for higher-quality delay-free audio, can be connected to two devices simultaneously and have easy-to-use buttons for pause, playback, Track jump and volume. There is a button to enable Alexa or Google Assistant or to adjust the noise suppression level for your environment.
The QC35 II is characterized by unparalleled comfort. Small, pretty discreet and light, with clear ear-holes in the cups and the best fit. They also fold relatively compactly for travel and are durable enough to survive on the street that has just been thrown into a bag.
Battery life is about 20 hours via Bluetooth or cable. The loading takes only about two hours. They have a clear and powerful sound that is characteristic of Bose, which is good for most music genres, but there is no adaptation. Audiophiles may not like the active Bose EQ.
For those who can afford the hefty price, these are the most effective headphones that are extremely comfortable and built for the road.
RRP: £ 329 – Discount available from £ 282
Sony's long-standing Bose rival is now in its third iteration and better than ever. Finally, the MX1000M3 has Bose-matched noise cancellation, which can be adjusted manually or automatically depending on the ambient noise.
Where the QC35 II serves simplicity, Sony relies on options. These Bluetooth headphones support a variety of audio standards, including AAC, aptX, aptX HD and high-resolution LDAC. This means you get superior audio quality with virtually any Bluetooth device. It's no coincidence that these are some of the best-sounding Bluetooth headphones you can buy, and provide many customization options if you do not like the out-of-box sound.
Multi-device connectivity is difficult and not worth it. The Noise Reduction control button can trigger Google Assistant or Alexa. Playback control is performed by touching the right ear cup: Double-tap to pause or play back the playback. Swipe left or right to skip the track or up and down to adjust the volume. They work well, but not with gloves.
The MX1000M3 battery lasts about 30 hours between charges, the headset can be wired and charged via USB-C, which is great.
This is light, folds are quite compact, but are a bit larger and less comfortable than the Bose QC35 II. They also do not feel so robust, but have a similar subtle styling.
Buy these for the sound quality, but Bose for all day comfort.
Plantronics Backbeat Pro 2  RRP: £ 230 – From £ 120
Both the Sony and Bose headphones are great, but they're also pretty expensive. Thankfully, Plantronics BackBeat 2 Pro offers 80% of the experience for less than half the price. If you are unfamiliar with Plantronics, it is an American technology company that manufactured the headset Neil Armstrong used on the first moon landing.
These Bluetooth headphones are a few years old, but support AAC, aptX, and aptX Low Latency, which is a rarity, so they have solid connectivity to just about any device connected to two devices simultaneously. The battery lasts about 24 hours, and charging takes three hours.
They also sound pretty good with a strong but controlled bass. If you are looking for a more balanced sound you have to look elsewhere. The ANC masters the drones of engine noise or the like well, but neutralizes the more sudden noises of commuting less effective. You hear more conversations about Plantronics than with Bose or Sony.
The jog dial adjusts the volume of the left auricle and surrounds the keys for pausing, playing and skipping keys. A switch turns the ANC on or off and feeds the ambient sound into the headset to hear announcements. There is also a button for Google Assistant or Siri. Remove the headphones and the music pauses.
The headphone is quite large and the earpieces are pivotable, but do not fold, making them bulkier. They are quite comfortable, but a bit heavier than the competition.
Affordable, durable and comfortable ANC headphones.
RRP: £ 90 – From £ 80
A really cheap noise-canceling headset usually does not pay to use a standard over-ear headphone, but the Lindy BNX-60 is the exception. If you are unfamiliar with Lindy, it is an Anglo-German company dating back to 1932 in Mannheim.
Available for about $ 80, these headphones not only offer noise reduction, but also Bluetooth with support for AAC and AptX for higher quality and delay-free audio. Battery life is pretty good at around 12 hours, and everything is charged via USB. There is also an audio cable and an adapter for connection to in-flight systems.
Compared to more expensive models, some corners have been shortened: they are made of rather cheap plastic, they are quite tight on the head and they do not fold together, but lie flat, making them a little harder to pack.
The noise cancellation ensures good engine noise, but fights with other sources of interference. With ANC the sound is powerful and bright, the vocals are sometimes a bit shrill and the highs are accentuated. Turning off ANC will make everything a bit muddy and boring, but overall they are pretty good for £ 80.
The pause and track jump buttons on the left auricle provide playback while an ANC switch and manual volume control are on. The right auricle takes care of the rest. However, the track skip buttons on the left fit Also, if you hold down the volume on your smartphone, it's irritating that you need to set two different volume levels.
At £ 120, Plantronics are better at All-Round, but if £ 80 is your budget, the Lindy BNX-60 is not half bad.
RRP: £ 245 – From £ 179
If you're looking for top ANC but with a much more compact in-ear flavor, the Bose QC20 are the headphones for you , They are based on the same technology that makes the QC35 II the winners, with an outstanding ANC suppression motor.
They lack passive isolation, which means that they allow more sudden sounds to pass but compensate and pack them more easily. The cable-only earphones have a thin but bulky battery near the headphone jack that holds the weight on the ears, and in conjunction with the Bose silicone earbuds, they are also extremely comfortable for the duration of a transatlantic plane voyage.
The headphones last about 16 hours between charges and sound great with or without active ANC. Like the headphones above, they can be used without ANC when the battery is empty.
They are available in either Apple or Android versions, depending on whether the inline remote works with your phone or not. Since most new smartphones no longer have a headphone jack, you may also need a USB-C dongle, but at least an adapter for in-flight entertainment systems.
They are not cheap, the extra battery is irritating in the bag and cables of every kind are annoying, but the QC20 is a longtime favorite of street warriors for a reason.
Top Bose noise reduction without volume
Active noise cancellation technology neutralises unwanted sound with inverse sound waves. This is done through the use of microphones to detect disturbing noises such as the roar of an aircraft engine, and the inverses of this sound are emitted through the headphones of the headphone. The noise and the repressive wave simultaneously reach the eardrum and cancel each other out.
ANC works best with constant sounds, where sudden and changing sounds are the biggest challenge. The more sophisticated the technology, the greater the variety of sounds the ANC can remove.
ANC is often combined with passive sound isolation that absorbs or blocks sound from entering the headphones to prevent noise such as speech.  This article contains affiliate links. This means we may get a small commission if a reader clicks and makes a purchase. Our journalism is independent and in no way influenced by advertisers or commercial initiatives. By clicking on a partner link, you accept that third-party cookies are set. More information.