Buying Guide | Headphones

Best Noise Cancelling Headphones in 2021: Buying Guide

I present to you all the noise-cancelling headphones that we have tested. We have put together detailed background information for you and also added a summary of customer reviews on the web.

We want to make the purchase decision easier for you and help you find the best noise-cancelling headphones for you.

You can also find answers to frequently asked questions in our buying guide.

The essentials

  • Noise-cancelling headphones are ideal for you if you want to avoid annoying noises while listening to music.
  • When buying noise-cancelling headphones, you can choose between in-ear headphones, on-ear headphones and over-ear headphones.
  • With noise cancelling headphones, the noise-cancelling function, wearing comfort and sound quality is particularly important.

Best in-ear Noise Cancelling headphones

Best In-Ear

Bose QuietComfort 20

  • Bose noise-cancelling technology reduces noise so you can focus on your music
  • Aware mode lets you hear what’s around you at the press of a button
  • Deep, clear sound from Active EQ and TriPort technology
  • Control your music and calls on Apple devices with inline mic/remote
  • StayHear+ tips provide a comfortable, secure fit for hours and hours

For in-ear headphones, the Bose QuietComfort 20 offers a powerful, balanced sound of your music in digital quality thanks to TriPort and Active EQ technology. The noise-cancelling function of the Bose QuietComfort 20 makes it special. So you experience a sharp sound on the go, while ambient noise is reduced.

With the Bose QuietComfort 20 you get high-end headphones either as Android or Apple version. The proud price is justified by the best noise cancelling, high wearing comfort and good sound quality.

If you are looking for solid noise cancelling headphones that are ideal for on the go and also adapt to your ears, then the Bose QuietComfort 20 is very interesting for you.

Best On-Ear Noise Cancelling Headphones

Best On-Ear


  • JBL Pure Bass sound
  • Wireless Bluetooth Streaming
  • Active Noise Cancelling
  • 16H battery life | 2H recharging time and speed charge (5mins = 1H)
  • Lightweight and foldable design

The JBL TUNE600 BTNC noise-cancelling headphones impress above all with their light and comfortable wearing comfort. With the noise-cancelling function, these headphones offer you music enjoyment thanks to the JBL Pure Bass sound even in very noisy environments. The battery life is 12 hours with a charging time of 2 hours.

The on-ear noise-cancelling headphones are made of a particularly light material that is even foldable. The headphones are also suitable for on the go and can be easily stowed in bags and backpacks.

These headphones are available in different colours. The headphones are delivered to you including a charging cable, a detachable cable and safety instructions as well as a quick guide.

Best Over-Ear Noise Cancelling Headphones

Best Over-Ear

Boltune Active Noise Cancelling Headphones

  • Portable for travel, busy office, crowded street, anywhere you go.
  • Soft Protein Ear Cushions
  • Bluetooth 5.0 and Built-In cVc 6.0 Microphone
  • 40mm Large-Aperture Drivers
  • Amazing Sound
  • 30-months free service.

Thanks to the AMS AS3435 technology, these headphones by Boltune suppress all noise, no matter where you are. With the built-in CVC 8.0 chip on the microphone, it is also possible to make calls in noisy places. Thanks to the ergonomic protein bionic leather with memory foam, these headphones are incredibly comfortable to wear.

These headphones also give you the option to choose between wireless and cable. With a charging time of one hour, you can listen to music for up to 30 hours. If you are looking for good quality noise canceling headphones at the best price-performance ratio, you will surely be satisfied with the headphones from Boltune.

Best Wired Noise Cancelling Headphones

Best Wireless

Xiaomi 15703

  • Hi-Res Audio certification
  • Type C
  • ANC noise-reducing earphones

The Xiaomi Mi Noise Canceling Type-C headphones are equipped with active noise cancellation for noise control. The headphones have a clean and precise sound with clear highs.

The headphones are wired and have a USB-C port. A controller on the cable allows you to adjust the volume of your music and pause your music without having to take your cell phone out of your pocket.

Best Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones

Best Wireless

Antimi Bluetooth Headphones

The wireless noise cancelling headphones are an in-ear variant. Thanks to the true wireless stereo technology, these headphones give you particularly deep bass and clear highs. The built-in microphone gives you an incredibly good sound quality.

The headphones only take an hour to fully charge. With its 3000mAh charging box you have a running time of 90 hours. The headphones will be sent to you with a USB cable, earplugs and user manual. If you’ve always wanted to try out wireless headphones that also have a noise-cancelling function, you should definitely take a closer look at these headphones.

Best Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones for Sports

Best for Sports

iPossible Bluetooth Headphones Wireless

The wireless noise-cancelling headphones from iPossible are particularly characterized by their waterproof technology. This means that the headphones are resistant to water, sweat and rain and are therefore also suitable for strenuous training sessions outdoors.

In addition, thanks to the ergonomic design, the headphones are more stable and secure to wear, which thanks to the memory foam adapts perfectly to your ear. With its 120-hour battery life, you won’t run out of battery even during long training sessions.

These headphones are delivered to you including 4 pairs of earplugs, a charging box, a USB cable and a user manual. If you’re a real fitness junkie, these noise-cancelling headphones are definitely the one for you.

Buying Guide: Questions to Consider Before Buying Noise Cancelling Headphones

What types of headphones are there with noise-cancelling?

Regardless of whether you prefer to use earphones or shell headphones, Active Noise Canceling can now be found in all types. To give you an overview, we will briefly introduce you to the differences between in-ears, on-ears and over-ear headphones.

In-ear headphones are the smallest headphones. They weigh little and are easy to store . The earplugs are inserted directly into the ear canal . As a result, they seal the ear off from outside noise.

The shell headphones include the on-ear headphones and the over-ear headphones. As the name suggests, on-ears are placed on the ear . They are not quite as big as over-ears and are particularly suitable for people who wear glasses as they do not press on the temples. Due to their shape, they generally let outside noise through more easily. Thanks to the ANC, however, this is counteracted well.

The biggest headphones are the over-ears. They completely enclose the ear . As a result, they automatically screen out interfering noises from the environment. However, they are quite bulky and can be heavy. For both on-ears and over-ears, devices with foldable hangers are more advantageous if you want to store them in a space-saving way.

Which devices are compatible with NC headphones?

PC, tablet, television, music system, smartphone and MP3 player can be easily connected to the headphones. You only have to pay attention to the connection and, in the case of smartphones, to Android or iOs operating systems.

All three types of headphones are offered either as wired or Bluetooth models. So you can freely choose whether you prefer to listen to your music with or without a cable. An AUX cable is also included with Bluetooth products. This means you can continue to listen to music even if your Bluetooth battery is empty.

If you would like to use your headphones with your smartphone, you must definitely pay attention to the manufacturer’s description. Because some devices are only compatible with an Android or an iOs smartphone . Therefore, read the information on the model carefully to avoid a bad buy.

If you have an iPhone 7 and your headphones have a jack plug, you don’t have to worry about buying new earphones. Thanks to an adapter, you can still use your headphones even though the iPhone 7 no longer has a socket for headphones.

If you want to use your noise canceling headphones in conjunction with a smartphone, especially when you are on the go, pay close attention to the manufacturer’s instructions to avoid compatibility problems. (Image source: / Burst)

Which manufacturer or which brand suits me?

If you attach particular importance to a branded product, you have certainly already been able to find some favorites among the manufacturers for you.

Bose in particular continues to be the undisputed leader in the market for noise canceling. But other top-class brands such as Teufel, AKG, Senneheiser, Philips and Sony are also constantly improving their technologies and are among the best providers.

If you do not favor a particular brand and are also initially considering a cheaper model from a smaller manufacturer, you will of course get your money’s worth. Although the noise reduction is not as well developed here, it is much cheaper than a product from Bose.

On our brand pages you can find out more about the company and some of their noise-cancelling products from selected manufacturers, so feel free to drop by there too.

With noise cancelling, a distinction is made between active and passive noise cancelling. 

While passive noise cancelling uses sound attenuation to suppress noise, active noise cancelling works with technical support. 

Artificially generated sound – the so-called anti-noise – extinguishes existing sound – in this case, the ambient noise. Both methods have their benefits.

The main focus here should be on the purpose and the price.

Rico Detjen (Expert in sound engineering)

How do I want to connect my headphones to the devices?

Do you prefer a model with a cable connection or do you prefer a Bluetooth device? It all depends on your personal habits and preferences.

The advantage of a wireless device is clearly the great freedom of movement and the end of the annoying tangled cables. With some products, however, there could be problems with the connection if the headphones start to have interference in the transmission even a few meters away from the connected device.

This is not the case with wired headphones. Simply connect the cable to the respective device and the connection is established. However, make sure that the cable is detachable and therefore replaceable. Even a cable break should not mean that the entire headphone has to be replaced.

Wireless headphones allow you freedom of movement. This means that you can also do sports with the right sound in your ears.

What functions should my headphones have?

Should the headphones of your choice also be suitable as a headset for making calls? Or is it enough for you to just be able to play music with it? Would you like to use it for sports and therefore need a non-slip and water-repellent model?

These are all important criteria that you should consider. Many of today’s models are also made for making calls thanks to the integrated microphone and coupling with the smartphone. The cell phone does not even have to be used to answer or hang up. This is done simply via the controls on the headphones themselves or on the remote control on the cable.

The buttons that are otherwise used to play, pause or skip songs are simply repurposed. The music you listened to before is stopped during the call and continues to play when the call is over. You don’t need to speak into your smartphone for the phone calls, because the microphones in your headphones do this.

In many sporting activities, fast, jerky processes are the order of the day. Accordingly, your headphones must be built in such a way that they do not fall out of your ear with every small movement. In the long run that would only annoy you and disturb you during your training. The product should also be made for outdoor sports so as not to give up the ghost in a small rain shower.

Some models even have the function of using the headphones to trigger the mobile phone camera. This is of course a very special gadget, which really not every headphone can offer. Therefore, pay attention to the manufacturer’s information and read through additional customer experiences. So you are on the safe side of buying the right product.

Did you know that as early as 2016, 50% of headphones were wireless?

Bluetooth headphones have had a boom for a long time: an estimated every second copy that went over the counter in 2016 was already wireless.

Which headphone design suits me?

The choice here depends entirely on your taste. It doesn’t matter whether you prefer shell headphones or small earplugs, because noise canceling can now be found in all three types, on-ear, over-ear and in-ear.

Over-ear headphones also have the advantage of being able to shield passively noises thanks to their circumaural nature. On the other hand, they are significantly heavier than in-ears and can slip more easily. With in-ears, it is important that you choose the right tip for your ears. This will prevent slipping out or uncomfortable pressure in the ear.

If possible, always try on the headphones before you make a final decision. Because nobody wants to have sore ears after just a few hours or even minutes, just because the headphones don’t fit properly.

Be open to trying out a different design. Because who knows, maybe you like an in-ear model better than expected, even though you usually used shell headphones.

Each type has its advantages and disadvantages. Rather, attention should be paid to the situations or places in which the headphones will be used most.

What kind of design should my headphones have?

Whether simple or flashy, large or small, everyone has their own taste here. In addition to classic colors such as black, white and silver, more and more models are being produced in bright colors. Blue, red or combinations of several colors can be found here. But elegant brown tones also join the color spectrum.

Some stars like Usain Bolt or Ludacris also give the headphones an extraordinary touch with their individual designs, which immediately attracts everyone’s attention. Some manufacturers also play with light elements on the ear cups of the headphones. Of course, these are particularly effective in the dark.

In addition, the design of the headphones is elegantly emphasized with metallic and wood-colored elements. So if you want to draw attention to yourself with your headphones or combine them as an accessory to your outfit, you no longer have to rely on monotonous colors.

But the simple and inconspicuous designs can also convince. You should definitely get your money’s worth here too.

Do the headphones sound good too?

In addition to noise suppression, sound quality naturally plays one of the most crucial roles. After all, what’s the point of expensive headphones if the music through them just sounds tinny and bleak?

The choice of the headphones that best suit you depends on your taste in music. Some models are equipped with rich bass, while others have clear highs.

Your choice should be based on what you value more when listening to music. Because hip hop without proper bass is just as terrible as classical music without a reasonable treble. In addition, the middle frequencies should not be neglected.

The experiences of buyers can also help you to get an impression of the sound range. Note, however, that everyone has a different perception of sound and the opinions here are subjective. What seems too flat in the sound to another can be a real sound experience for another.

In the best case scenario, you should try out the product yourself and play your favorite music over it. This is the best way to get an idea of ​​whether the headphones really meet your requirements.

In addition, you should keep in mind that many headphones with switched off noise cancellation get worse in terms of the quality of the music transmission. If Active Noise Canceling seems unimportant to you, you should accordingly rather use normal headphones with comprehensive sound quality.

The headphones should match your genre of music. The way the bass and treble of headphones are set varies and can make a significant difference.

Is it comfortable enough for me?

Here, too, the perception of a particular headphone is different for everyone. No model should press on or in the ears or become uncomfortable after several hours of wearing.

Good and soft padding made of high-quality materials can work wonders for shell headphones. No seams or anything else should affect the wearing comfort. Possible sweating under the headphones should also not occur, as this also becomes uncomfortable in the long term.

Circumaural models are often a little more comfortable in the long run than their smaller, supra-aural colleagues. These can rather press on the ear. If you wear glasses, you should always ensure that the headphone does not press the temples too much against the head. That too can lead to an unbearable feeling of wearing.

Headphones are usually adjustable in size and should therefore be adapted to every head shape. With in-ear models, the supplied attachments of different sizes offer the possibility of ensuring the right hold.

The weight of the headphones can also influence the wearing comfort. In the long run, heavy over-ear models can convey the feeling of pressing the head or even the cervical vertebrae. This problem does not apply to in-ear models, as they only weigh a few grams.

With trial and error and customer reviews, you can be on the safe side of being able to find a comfortable model for you that does not press even after a long period of use.

How much do active noise canceling headphones cost?

The price ranges from  20 to the upper class with a proud € 400. How much money you have available and you are willing to invest in high-quality headphones naturally depends entirely on you. In-ear headphones in particular are available from € 20 . However, high-quality models are only available from € 100 and up.

The medium-sized on-ears start at around € 25 . Here, too, the most expensive products can be found in the three-digit range. There is the largest selection of over-ear headphones. Here you can buy models from 30 € . The top price category starts at € 200 and is open at the top.

Where can headphones with noise canceling be bought?

In addition to the classic local electronics stores, there is a particularly large selection and variety of models to be found on the Internet. Here you can either browse through the homepage of certain brands for the products currently on offer or through popular online retailers such as Amazon. It is particularly worthwhile to compare the prices in specialist shops with those online.

Because the products are often cheaper to get hold of on the Internet. If there are also certain discount campaigns such as sales or Black Friday and Cyber ​​Monday, which are becoming increasingly well-known internationally, you can even get a real bargain.

Decision: What types of noise-canceling headphones are there and which one is right for you?

Basically, there are three types of noise-canceling headphones:

  • Over-ear headphones
  • On-ear headphones
  • In ear headphones

Depending on your preference and purpose, one headphone is better suited to you than the other. Since there are no particularly large differences in price between the types, there are other advantages and disadvantages for each of these designs.

In the following section, we briefly describe the differences between the individual headphones so that you can decide which noise-canceling headphones are right for you. We will show you the advantages and disadvantages of the individual types of headphones.

How do over-ear headphones work and what are their advantages and disadvantages?

Over-ear headphones encircle the entire ear. On the one hand, this ensures that they provide good protection from ambient noise even without noise canceling. On the other hand, they usually sit better and slip less than other types of headphones.


  • Shield ambient noise well
  • Adjustable
  • Firm fit


  • Bulky design
  • Heavy
  • Very hot in summer

However, they are comparatively large and powerful and therefore rather unsuitable for on the go. They are therefore better suited for use at home or in the office. The padded earphones do not rest on the ear and are therefore comfortable to wear.

However, in summer it can get very hot and uncomfortable under the auricles. The adjustable brackets allow you to adapt them exactly to your head size. Some over-ears even have foldable hangers to make them easier to transport.

How do on-ear headphones work and what are their advantages and disadvantages?

The on-ear headphones only rest on the ears and therefore do not fully encompass them. This makes them more manageable than over-ears and are therefore more suitable for on the go. The pressure that comes from putting them on your ears can become very uncomfortable after a while.


  • Adjustable
  • More compact than over-ears


  • Do not shield completely
  • Pressure can develop on the ear
  • Heavier than in-ears

The technology that filters out ambient noise is located in the auricle, just like with the overs-ear headphones. The on-ears also have headphones with adjustable and foldable arms that can be individually adjusted.

How do in-ear headphones work and what are their advantages and disadvantages?

These headphones are plugged into the ear canal and thus ideally close it off from outside noise. The ear stud is usually made of exchangeable silicone and therefore stays firmly in the ears.

These silicone plugs are often supplied in different sizes so that you can choose the right size for your ears. This is important because if they are the wrong size, they could slip out all the time. The wrong size can usually lead to a poorer sound.


  • Portable
  • Shield ambient noise well
  • Available in different sizes


  • Pressure can develop in the ear
  • No tight fit if the size is wrong

Most in-ears, unlike over-the-ear headphones, have a small box on their cable that contains the noise-canceling technology. The in-ear headphones are also the smallest and lightest of their kind.

They fit in almost every pocket and are perfect for on the go. For some people, the plugs in the ears become painful after a period of time. It is best to try out for yourself whether this applies to you as well before buying.

Purchase criteria: You can use these factors to compare and rate noise-cancelling headphones

In the following we would like to show you which factors you can use to compare and rate noise canceling headphones. This will make it easier for you to decide whether a certain product is right for you or not.

In summary, these are:

  • Sound quality
  • optics
  • Comfort
  • Furnishing

In the following paragraphs you can read what the individual purchase criteria are all about and how you can classify them.

Sound quality

We attach particular importance to the sound of headphones. But since everyone perceives sound differently, no general definition can be given.

Wear your dream headphones once before you buy them. This enables you to determine whether your favorite music is being played back the way you want it. The choice of headphones also depends on whether you want clear highs or deep, rich bass. Customer reviews and the manufacturer’s descriptions can give you additional impressions about the sound capabilities.


The exterior of headphones is increasingly coming to the fore. Because nowadays they also serve as eye-catchers or fashion accessories. Due to the variety of colours, designs and patterns, you have the freedom to choose your headphones according to your taste. Even the shape of the earplugs or the auricles can now be varied.


Regardless of how often and for how long you wear your headphones, they should definitely be comfortable to wear. It depends on which type of construction is most comfortable for you to wear.

There are some differences in wearing between the three models presented. Some find the feeling of in-ears in the ear canal uncomfortable, others, however, do not like to wear headphone headphones and with still others the headphones press on the glasses.

By testing the different types, you can find out which type of headphones is most comfortable for you and therefore best suits you. This is important so that you save yourself a bad buy.


The equipment can vary in size depending on the product. The battery for noise canceling is particularly important here. The scope of the additional features also depends on the price and quality of the product.

A particularly powerful battery is essential for long music enjoyment . The battery life varies depending on the model. Due to their small size, in-ears are less powerful than, for example, over-ears. You can also find out about the signs of wear and tear on the battery from customer reviews.

As already mentioned, an AUX cable should be included with Bluetooth noise canceling headphones. With wired models, the cable should be interchangeable if possible . So you can simply replace it with a new one if you have problems.

The controls are either located directly on the headphones or on the cable. So you don’t have to dig your phone out of your pocket to stop or skip a song. You can also use the buttons to accept calls and use the integrated microphone in the headphones.

The accessories usually include a storage bag, possibly an AAA battery if no battery is installed, as well as different earplug sizes for in-ears. Usually three sizes (S / M / L) are included. Upper class models sometimes even offer up to ten-piece attachment sets.

If you are clear about what features your headphones should have and which you can do without, then choosing your perfect noise canceling headphones will be easy for you.

Facts worth knowing about noise-cancelling headphones

What were headphones with noise cancelling actually designed for?

Asked in advance: what does noise canceling actually mean? Literally translated, noise stands for noise and canceling for suppression. Thus, headphones that have noise canceling technology should reduce noise or suppress noise.

Originally, these types of headphones were intended to protect pilots from noise. Active noise cancellation headphones can be used, for example, by helicopter pilots. They should enable the greatest possible, fatigue-free environment for the staff working in the cockpit.

This is necessary because the rotor noise contains particularly low frequencies that can only be slightly attenuated by normal headphones. However, this also shields higher frequencies such as speech signals that are required for communication. This is why the volume of the headphones has to be increased extremely in order to be able to understand air traffic control at all.

If, however, the deep rotor noises are shielded by the noise reduction, the volume for communicating with the headphones can be significantly reduced at the same time. In contrast to standardized headphones, NC headphones require their own power source. This can either be a class AAA battery or a rechargeable battery.

What is the positive effect of noise cancelling?

Buyers of headphones without active noise cancellation often complain that they hear annoying outside noises while listening to music. These can greatly reduce the sense of music. Especially when the music is used to switch off and relax, for example, background noises are particularly annoying and annoy the music listener.

That’s why headphones with Active Noise Canceling are ideally suited for blocking out these interference frequencies. Low frequencies in particular are very well shielded by the headphones.

In doing so, however, the manufacturers ensure that certain noises, such as announcements at the airport or train station, penetrate at the push of a button, so that the wearer does not miss any important information regarding their travel options.

This makes headphones with NC ideal for frequent travelers. Whether for work or on vacation, they are perfectly suited to ensure that noisy neighbors no longer disturb you. So you can confidently read through a few documents for the upcoming meeting or take a little nap.

Of course, especially in road traffic, care should be taken to ensure that an approaching car is not overheard when crossing a street. The use of such headphones should therefore always be used with caution in such situations.

If the music should also serve as a motivator, the ANC helps you concentrate better on your respective activity and not be distracted from outside. When training in the gym, for example, voices, snorting etc. are no longer heard by other people.

So you can fully focus on your exercises. But headphones with NC are also ideal in your own four walls. When playing games on the console or PC, certain models can also be used as a headset.

Advantages of noise canceling

  • Shielding from outside noise
  • This improves music enjoyment
  • Helps you switch off and relax
  • Made for all types of headphones
  • Also available for smaller budgets

How does noise suppression actually work?

Put simply: Active Noise Canceling or active noise suppression filters noises out of the environment and thus ensures undisturbed music enjoyment. A distinction is made between active and passive noise suppression. This already happens when you cover your ears or put earplugs in your ear, for example.

With active noise suppression, the sound from the environment is also picked up by small microphones. An integrated signal processor then creates an exactly matching, opposing sound.

This counter-sound collides with the sound of the outside noise. This way they neutralize each other. All of this happens within fractions of a second and enables an interference-free music experience. The energy source required for this is provided by a rechargeable battery or an AAA battery. These are either integrated on the cable or directly in the headphones.

Passive noise cancellation does not require batteries and works with adjustable ear sets for in-ears and with additional padding of the auricles for on-ears as a physical barrier.

However, headphones with active noise reduction cannot completely eliminate background noise . On the one hand, this is due to the fact that everyone has a different inner and outer ear shape. In order to achieve one hundred percent isolation , a precise adjustment would have to be made in the laboratory .

However, this would be associated with unbelievable effort and high costs. On the other hand, our body itself transmits sound to the eardrum via the skull bone. This is known as “structure-borne noise” . Even if this proportion is perceived to be relatively low compared to the outside noise, it cannot be influenced by active noise canceling alone.

NC works particularly well with low, monotonous tones such as in the subway or on airplanes. It is more difficult at high frequencies, such as a crying baby or the running vacuum cleaner. How well the environmental noise is ultimately shielded depends above all on the respective product.

There is usually a small switch on the ear cups of the product or on a remote control on the cable to turn on active noise canceling. Some models have a small LED lamp that signals the activation of the noise reduction. For others, a short signal sounds.

The Active Noise Canceling is then supplied with energy via an integrated rechargeable battery or batteries . If the battery is empty, the headphones can still be used to listen to music, regardless of whether it is a Bluetooth or a wired model.

However, then there is no noise cancelling. With some models, this can lead to the quality of the music playback being significantly reduced. Headphones with a rechargeable battery are charged using the supplied micro USB cable.

Operation is child’s play and you don’t have to worry about anything else. Headphones on, noise-cancelling and favourite music on, outside noises off! So take a look at our other pages, find out more about different manufacturers and try out noise-cancelling yourself. You will definitely feel the difference to your normal headphones immediately.

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