Six of the best: noise-cancelling headphones
If you’re working from home, sometimes you need a bit of peace and quiet to focus, especially if the neighbours are making a racket. Here we look at six of the best noise-cancelling wireless Bluetooth headphones on the market right now. All are pretty good at keeping the noises of the outside world out (many have a transparency mode too if you don’t want noise reduction on the whole time). While generally over the ear designs are better than in-ear designs, all of these models will give you the peace and quiet you crave!
Apple AirPods Pro £189
Unlike previous AirPods, the AirPods Pro feature a silicone ear tip available in three sizes. This helps them feel more secure in the ear than before. Active noise cancellation works very well but not as well as some over the ear designs. Other features include quick access to Siri (just say Hey Siri) and a wireless charging case that Apple claims provides more than 20 hours of battery life.
Bose Headphones 700 £249
Available in black, silver and midnight blue, the Bose Headphones 700 combine excellent wireless audio with easy access to voice assistants and eleven levels of noise cancellation, so can personalise your listening to adjust the level of exterior noise that you hear. Either you can have it fully blocking distractions all the way down to no noise cancellation (transparency) at all. Or, for a quick pause or chat to someone nearby, press the button for Conversation Mode to briefly let the surrounding noise in.
Beats Studio3 Wireless £199
Now owned by Apple, Beats offers a wide-range of high performance, though not always cheap, headphones. Available in different colours (including red, black, blue, camouflage), these Beats Studio3 Wireless headphones now average around £199 – but they were originally £299. Featuring Apple’s W1 chip and pure adaptive noise cancelling (ANC), they promise up to 22 hours of playback from a single charge. With Fast Fuel, a 10 minute charge gives three hours of playback.
Huawei FreeBuds 3 £94
Also available in black or white as well as red, the Huawei FreeBuds 3 are the cheapest noise-cancelling headphones in this round up by some distance. The FreeBuds 3 uses a low-power Bluetooth chip for reduced power consumption and long battery life. A single charge gives users about 2.5 hours of voice calls or about 4 hours of continuous music playback. Each earbud has two MEMS silicon microphones featuring call noise reduction technology, effectively cancelling out background noise.
Sony WH-1000XM4 £278
Sony may not be the prestigious name in audio it once was, but these over the ear noise-cancelling headphones are among the best. Key features include HD Noise Cancelling Processor QN1, Speak-to-Chat (automatically pauses playback when you start a conversation) and Wearing Detection which powers off your headphones when you’re not wearing them. They provide 30 hours battery life (with Noise Cancelling on) plus fast charging (10 min charge for 5 hours playback).
Best of the rest
Bose QuietComfort 35 II Noise Cancelling Bluetooth Headphones -Wireless, Over Ear Headphones with Built in Microphone and Alexa Voice Control, Black – £195
Sony WF-1000XM3 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones with Mic – £169
Technics AZ70WE Wireless Earbuds, with Noise Cancelling and Bluetooth Functionality – £213