Best noise cancellation head phones
What does active noise cancellation on ANC headphones actually look like? We investigated this question using a special test setup – now you can judge with your own ears how well the following noise-cancelling Bluetooth headphones can block noise during air travel.
Update of 06/08/2022: Now we have our try for the second time done this time with current models: Soundcore Life Q35, JBL Live 660NC, Bose QuietComfort 45 and Sony WH-1000XM4. Watch the video here:
Here is our first video (December 2018) with Bose QuietComfort 35 II, Sony WH-1000XM3, B&W PX, Motorola Escape 800 ANC and TaoTronics TT-BH047:
Noise cancellation test: we tested these Bluetooth earphones
How does noise cancellation work? ANC headphones can’t conjure absolute silence – but they do reduce ambient noise a bit so you can listen to your music “in peace”. Technically, this happens with “noise canceling”, the hum of aircraft engines is neutralized with an inverted signal in the earpiece.
It therefore depends on the know-how (software and hardware) of the manufacturer how well this technology works in practice. Our comparison shows that there are in fact slight but clearly audible differences in the effectiveness of sound insulation. You can hear it for yourself in our video (above) by putting on your headphones while watching.
Here is an overview of selected Bluetooth headphones with noise reduction and prices (RRP). Detailed GIGA test reports are linked in brackets:
Noise canceling headphones in comparison: here’s how we tested it
So that you can experience for yourself how noise cancellation “sounds”, our editor put the Sennheiser Ambeo Smart Headset in his ears. Using tiny microphones in the earcups, it records exactly what our editor is hearing at the time. To do this, we used aircraft noise at 80 dB per speaker, then put on the five different noise-canceling headphones.
Our result: The Sony WH-1000XM3 Bluetooth headphones offer the best noise cancellation in the test field. The inexpensive Motorola Escape 800 ANC may end up in last place in the noise canceling test, but it’s still convincing: it also suppresses some of the power of distracting airplane noise and makes it more pleasant when ‘listen to music.
More ANC headphones in our in-depth buying guide: