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Best Noise-Canceling Headphones in 2024

I think one thing we can all agree on is that the world is a pretty noisy place. We can also agree on the fact that no one likes that. And, at least sometimes, we’d ideally like to shut it all out. While that’s not possible, a pair of effective noise-cancelling headphones can make you feel like you’re in your own private world.

We thoroughly tested a number of ANC headphones and curated a list of the ones we liked the most. We have a pick for every user and every budget.

The editorial staff of Gizmodo independently tests and reviews each product found in our Buyer’s Guides. If you purchase something using our affiliate links, G/O Media may earn a commission. Affiliate linking does not influence our editorial content.

Best Overall Noise-Canceling Headphones — Sony WH-1000XM5

Photo: Dua Rashid / Gizmodo

These are easily the most comfortable wireless headphones out there, with amazing ANC, topping even Apple’s AirPods Max. ANC is typically most effective at cutting out lower frequencies, such as the roar of a plane’s engine. And while sounds of the simulated Boeing 777 still snuck in through the AirPods Max’s ANC, the WH-1000XM5‘s eliminated nearly all of it, leaving me feeling vibrations in the chair I was sitting in, without actually hearing the rumble causing them. Despite the extra processing going on, Sony still promises 30 hours of battery life with the WH-1000XM5, with just 10 minutes of charging needed for five hours of playback. Read More — Andrew Liszewski

Best Budget Noise-Canceling Headphones — Cleer Alpha

photo of the cleer alpha

Photo: Dua Rashid / Gizmodo

Cleer’s latest $200 headphones, Alpha, are pretty good for someone who’s on a budget and is looking for excellent ANC, a long-lasting battery life, and great sound. The ANC is powerful and significantly mutes ambient noise. As is the case with most ANC modes, the low-frequency sounds were muted better than high-frequency ones. The conversation three of my workmates were having right beside me was completely silenced, but the high-pitched constant creaking of a chair nearby was a little audible. The most common problem with ambient modes is the unnatural hiss they feature. Thankfully, the ambient mode on the Alpha steers clear of that issue. Read More — Dua Rashid

Best Midrange Noise-Canceling Headphones — Aonic 50 Gen 2

photo of the shure aonic 50 gen 2

Photo: Dua Rashid / Gizmodo

The $350 second-iteration of the Shure Aonic 50 headphones, the Aonic 50 Gen 2, is a great choice if you want powerful ANC with a battery that lasts for days. The ANC on these is so good you’ll want to make sure you turn it off on the streets to be safe. I can never be on the phone in a Subway station because of how loud it gets. The Aonic 50 Gen 2 completely silenced the rumble of the trains, and I was able to attend an entire work meeting at the station.

I rode the Subway with these a number of times (my ultimate litmus test for ANC) and cycled between modes to get a sense of its ambient mode performance. The ambient mode offered the perfect mix of outside noise and my music, and the ANC did such a fantastic job that I ended up missing my station because I couldn’t hear an important train announcement. Read More — Dua Rashid

Best Gaming Noise-Canceling Headphones — Turtle Beach Stealth Pro

photo of the stealth pro

Photo: Dua Rashid / Gizmodo

The Stealth Pro is the best gaming headset Turtle Beach has produced to date. It sports a unique design, and the two-battery feature gives it a long battery life. It hosts an easy and intuitive control layout and an extremely comfortable fit. The treble and sound imaging are great, and so is the noise-canceling. It significantly muted all the noise coming from the playground that I live right next to. And that is something not a lot of headphones are capable of. Sounds of all frequencies were quieted down; whether they were high or low pitch. Read More — Dua Rashid

Best Noise-Canceling Headphones for Apple Devices — Apple AirPods Max

photo of the apple airpods max

Photo: Caitlin McGarry / Gizmodo

Apple’s first pair of over-the-ear headphones offer sparkling sound with excellent ANC, seamless integration with other Apple devices, a comfortable headband, and a solid battery life. The active noise cancellation is actually top-notch. While I wasn’t able to test these headphones on a plane, I did test them by blasting an airplane cabin noise video on my Sonos Playbase, and the ANC silenced pretty much everything. I also prefer AirPods Max’s Transparency Mode, which you toggle on with the press of a physical button on the top of the right earcup, to other ANC headphones—voices sound much more natural and come in clear even when listening to music. Because of the standard seamlessness you get with your other Apple devices, these are a great choice for our Apple-ecosystem folks. Read More — Caitlin McGarry

Best Noise-Canceling Headphones for Android Devices — Beats Studio Pro

photo of the beats studio pro

Photo: Andrew Liszewski / Gizmodo

The Beats Studio Pro feature excellent ANC, support for Spatial Audio, a built-in DAC when the headphones are connected to a digital audio source over USB-C, and better compatibility with Android devices. Despite being a brand that’s owned by Apple, Beats’ headphones and earbuds include some features that are Android only. We recommend these as their ANC comes close to matching the performance of the Apple AirPods Max and the Sony WH-1000XM5, and Android users will be able to take advantage of easy multi-device switching. Read More — Andrew Liszewski

This list is updated regularly with new recommendations and product forecasts.

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