Best Noise Cancelling Headphones of 2024

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Bose QuietComfort Ultra
1
Bose QuietComfort Ultra

Skullcandy Crusher ANC 2
2
Skullcandy Crusher ANC 2

Sony WH-1000XM5
3
Sony WH-1000XM5

Beats Studio Pro
4
Beats Studio Pro

Sennheiser Momentum 4
5
Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless

Apple AirPods Max
6
Apple AirPods Max

1. Bose QuietComfort Ultra

The first one on our list is Bose QuietComfort Ultra. The new QuietComfort Ultra Wireless Headphones from Bose stand out as a top-tier noise-cancelling headset with premium design and innovative features.

Crafted with luxe-speckled aluminum and lightweight “protein” leather, the build oozes luxury while remaining comfortable at just 254g. The plush padding allows for hours of fatigue-free wear. 

Convenient controls include touch-sensitive sliders and buttons, although some may find the volume slider slightly inconsistent. The included case enhances portability and protection during travel.

The Bose Music app enables extensive customization from power-down timing to sound mode adjustments. 

A standout is the innovative CustomTune technology which adapts audio and noise cancellation to individual hearing and environments.  

Immersive Audio with head tracking provides an enhanced listening experience. Support for aptX Adaptive allows performance to dynamically adjust based on usage.

Performance excels across the board. Superb noise isolation blocks out ambient rumbles from transit, ideal for commuting. Active noise cancellation is similarly stellar for an immersive listening environment. 

Audio quality delivers a neutral sound profile fitting most usage scenarios. However, Immersive mode reduces battery life from 24 to 18 hours.

In summary, the Bose QuietComfort Ultra Headphones offer premium noise cancellation, innovative features like CustomTune, and luxurious yet comfortable design, earning them a top spot among high-end wireless headsets.

Pros

  • Great ANC
  • Good passthrough mode
  • Immersive audio modes with spatial effects

Cons

  • Expensive
  • No USB-C audio support
  • Adaptive noise cancellation might cause ear pressure

2. Skullcandy Crusher ANC 2

The second one on our list is Skullcandy Crusher ANC 2. The Skullcandy Crusher ANC 2 headphones offer a powerful audio experience centered around bass that truly stands out.

As the latest iteration in the beloved Crusher line, these combine the signature bass response with new active noise cancellation capabilities.

In terms of design, the Crusher ANC 2 manages to be both stylish and comfortable. Physical control buttons add a premium touch while the folding form factor enhances portability. Despite being slightly heavier than some competitors, the weight distribution ensures they remain comfortable over extended listening sessions.

The real standout is the headphones’ ability to deliver deep, impactful bass that literally vibrates your skull. A convenient adjustment wheel lets you fine-tune bass levels to suit your preferences. 

While not class-leading, the active noise cancellation effectively cuts down on external sounds. Personalized audio developed with Mimi Hearing Technologies provides customization options.

Battery life is impressive at 60 hours with ANC off and 50 hours with it on. Built-in Tile tracking also enhances the practicality.

However, the heavy bass emphasis can sometimes overpower higher frequency details, impacting overall dynamics.

In summary, the Skullcandy Crusher ANC 2 headphones provide a fun, bass-heavy audio experience augmented by stylish design, stellar battery life, and thoughtful extra features.

Pros

  • Robust construction
  • Rich feature set
  • Excellent battery life

Cons

  • Too much bass for most people
  • No aptX or LDAC support
  • ANC is only okay

3. Sony WH-1000XM5

The third one on our list is the Sony WH-1000XM5. The new WH-1000XM5 headphones from Sony represent a significant evolution for the acclaimed 1000X series with a refreshed design and enhanced audio performance. 

Moving from a dual to single hinge design allows the headphones to fold flat but not vertically. Despite a larger case, reduced weight of 250g and improved comfort make them ideal for long listening sessions.  

New synthetic leather ear pads are both durable and breathable, addressing heat buildup concerns. The stylish black and silver color options feature matte finishes that resist fingerprints.

Popular features like Quick Attention mode and Speak-to-Chat for hands-free use carry over. Upgrades include Bluetooth 5.2 and dual processors boosting noise cancellation and call quality. The four beamforming mics dramatically improve voice clarity in noisy settings.

Audio has been refined with 30mm carbon fiber drivers delivering a more balanced, accurate sound with tighter bass and better clarity. 

Impressive 30-hour battery life is maintained, with a quick 3-minute charge providing 3 hours of playtime. 

Whether you’re a Sony loyalist or want top-notch noise cancellation, the XM5 is a compelling choice. While some may debate vs the XM4, the distinct audio profile and intricacy of reproduction prove its worth.

In summary, the Sony WH-1000XM5 headphones uphold their status as a premier option for audio enthusiasts through enhanced noise cancellation, smart features, and upgraded sound quality.

Pros

  • Light and comfortable
  • Best-in-class voice call quality
  • Impressive battery life

Cons

  • Higher price tag
  • No IP Rating
  • Larger carrying case

4. Beats Studio Pro

The fourth one on our list is Beats Studio Pro. The new Beats Studio Pro headphones offer a mix of familiar design with some modern upgrades. 

Visually reminiscent of the Studio3, they provide a recognizable aesthetic now available in stylish color options. The plastic exterior lacks a premium feel but contributes to a lightweight and compact build. They fit tightly yet stably, akin to a helmet, with new ear pads providing reasonable comfort.

On the plus side, noise cancellation and call quality are excellent, paired with a natural-sounding transparency mode. Added features like USB-C audio, one-touch pairing with Apple and Android, hands-free Siri access, and spatial audio with head tracking expand their appeal. Impressively long wireless range and a stable compact design are also highlights. 

In terms of tech, the Studio Pros utilize a proprietary Beats platform rather than Apple chips. This allows cross-compatibility between iOS and Android but loses some Apple exclusives. The ambient sound system impresses with strong noise cancellation abilities, and the transparency mode enables clear conversations. Audio quality shows improvement with a balanced profile, crisp highs, and robust bass. 

Battery life is a major highlight, exceeding 28 hours continuously with ANC on – perfect for long commutes and trips. 

The lack of auto-pause and an adjustable EQ may disappoint some users at this price point, however. 

In summary, the familiar yet upgraded Beats Studio Pro headphones deliver a neutral sound suitable for varied genres. Key advantages include excellent noise cancellation, battery life, and Apple/Android compatibility.

Pros

  • Excellent sound quality
  • Good battery life
  • Delivers punchy bass with bright highs

Cons

  • No ear-detection sensors
  • No Apple H1/H2 chip
  • Lacks adjustable EQ

5. Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless

The fifth one on our list is Sennheiser Momentum 4. The new MOMENTUM 4 Wireless headphones from Sennheiser represent an appealing evolution over the previous MOMENTUM 3 model with a sleek, contemporary design aesthetic. 

The build quality is generally solid though some users have reported potential quality control issues. Premium materials like plastic, cloth, and faux leather contribute to an upscale feel, although the plastic earcups attract fingerprints.

Controls have been upgraded with a touch-sensitive surface on the right earcup for intuitive operation. A unique pinching gesture allows you to adjust the strength of active noise cancellation and transparency mode – a nice customization option. 

For commuters and travelers, comfort and premium construction are big advantages, complemented by the sturdy included hard carrying case. 

Audio leans towards a neutral profile with an emphasis on bass, providing an immersive experience for EDM and hip-hop genres. While missing previous High-End Sound Tuning, the addition of aptX Adaptive support ensures low latency and high-res playback. 

A standout is the excellent frequency response, though initially skewed towards heavy bass – easily adjustable via the EQ in the Sennheiser app. 

Noise-canceling is very effective against ambient chatter but less so with low rumbles from vehicles. Battery life sees a big boost to over 60 hours, beating out predecessors and many competitors. 

In summary, the Sennheiser MOMENTUM 4 Wireless headphones present an appealing blend of style, comfort, and impressive audio, making them a formidable choice in the premium wireless market.

Pros

  • Better noise cancellation
  • Outstanding sound
  •  60-hour battery life

Cons

  • Underwhelming in-app EQ
  • No physical button controls
  • Middling call performance

6. Apple AirPods Max

The last one on our list is Apple AirPods Max. Apple’s AirPods Max headphones represent the company’s first foray into over-ear wireless audio, blending attractive design, innovative technology, and strong performance.

With a refined, minimalist aesthetic, the aluminum and knit-padded headphones come in stylish color options that showcase Apple’s design prowess. The closed-back build with premium materials equals excellent construction quality, though some users report condensation issues inside the drivers after prolonged use. 

A standout is the Adaptive EQ tech that automatically tailors the sound profile to the unique shape of the user’s ears. This results in a slightly warm signature with some added thump – suitable for most music genres. 

Noise cancellation capabilities are impressive, reducing ambient noise for an immersive listening experience. Apple’s H1 chip enables seamless pairing with Apple devices for added convenience.

For travel and commuting, the Max shines, especially after firmware updates enhanced noise reduction for low rumbles. Battery life is excellent as well for all-day listening on the go. The carrying case adds some portability despite limited protection.

Comfort is decent with plush-replaceable earcup padding. However, weight and clamping force can lead to fatigue over extended sessions. Unique rotational crown controls offer convenience, though some may miss a power button.

In conclusion, Apple’s AirPods Max headphones deliver a premium wireless audio experience centered around attractive design, adaptive technology, and outstanding noise cancellation.

Pros

  • Great ANC and spatial audio
  • Super comfortable
  • Detailed sound and top transparency

Cons

  • Lightning-only charging
  • Rubbish for Android users
  • Lacks 3.5mm audio jack

Conclusion