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6 Best Alternatives to Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless Headphones

Are you in the market for a pair of premium noise-cancelling headphones but not sure if the popular Sony WH-1000XM4 is the right choice for you? As an audio expert and tech enthusiast, I‘ve thoroughly tested and compared the leading alternatives to help you find the perfect pair to suit your needs and preferences.

While the Sony WH-1000XM4 are widely considered some of the best noise-cancelling headphones on the market, they may not be the ideal fit for everyone. Perhaps you want even better noise cancellation, longer battery life, a more comfortable fit, seamless connectivity with your devices, or a lower price point. Luckily, there are several outstanding alternatives that excel in different areas.

In this comprehensive guide, I‘ll walk you through the top contenders and explain how they compare to the Sony WH-1000XM4 in terms of key factors like sound quality, active noise cancellation, battery performance, comfort, design, special features, and price. I‘ll also share my expert opinion on which headphones are best suited for different needs and priorities.

Whether you‘re a frequent traveler looking to block out airplane noise, an audiophile who demands the highest fidelity, a professional who needs crystal-clear calls, or you‘re on a budget, there‘s a great pair of noise-cancelling headphones for you. Let‘s dive in and explore the best alternatives to the Sony WH-1000XM4.

Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700


  • Industry-leading noise cancellation with 11 levels of adjustment
  • Extremely comfortable and lightweight
  • Excellent voice pickup for calls
  • Sleek, premium design
  • Intuitive touch controls and app


  • Slightly less bass-heavy than Sony
  • 20 hours of battery life vs Sony‘s 30 hours
  • More expensive at $379 vs $349 for Sony

The Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 are my top overall pick for the best Sony WH-1000XM4 alternative. Bose has long been a pioneer in noise cancelling technology, and the 700 takes it to the next level with a remarkable 11 levels of adjustable noise cancellation. Whether you want to fully block out the world or let in some outside sound, the 700 has a setting that will suit any environment.

I was blown away by how effectively the Bose 700 eliminated low-frequency sounds like jet engines and reduced higher-pitched noises to a whimpa. Call quality is another major strength thanks to an adaptive four-microphone system that isolates your voice while rejecting outside noise.

Comfort is equally impressive – the streamlined stainless steel headband and angled earcups feel incredibly light and pleasant even after hours of use. Touch controls are highly responsive and the Bose app allows for lots of customization.

While the sound signature is more balanced than the bass-forward WH-1000XM4, the Bose 700‘s audio is exceptionally clear, dynamic and immersive. But the Sony headphones do pull ahead with 10 more hours of battery life. And the Bose 700‘s extra noise cancelling powers and premium design come at a higher $379 price vs the WH-1000XM4‘s $349.

Overall, if you‘re willing to pay a bit more for the ultimate noise cancellation and comfort, the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 are unbeatable.The Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 are my top pick for the best Sony WH-1000XM4 alternative overall thanks to their unrivaled adjustable noise cancellation, clear sound, exceptional comfort and premium design. While pricier and lower on battery life than the Sonys, the Bose 700 can‘t be beat if noise cancelling performance is your top priority.

Apple AirPods Max


  • Best-in-class transparency mode
  • Spatial audio for immersive movie watching
  • Seamless pairing/connectivity with Apple devices
  • Premium build quality with unique mesh headband
  • Physical controls


  • Very expensive at $549
  • Heavier than most competitors
  • Disappointing 20-hour battery life
  • Incompatible with higher quality Bluetooth codecs
  • No 3.5mm jack

For Apple users, the AirPods Max offer the most convenient and integrated listening experience with iPhones, iPads, and Macs. Like the AirPods Pro, the Max have unmatched ease of pairing, switching between devices, and features like spatial audio and audio sharing.

The AirPods Max also boast phenomenal transparency mode that makes it sound like you‘re not wearing headphones at all when you want to hear your surroundings. Build quality is top-notch with aluminum earcups and a soft mesh canopy headband that distributes weight nicely.

However, there are some significant drawbacks for the price. At $549, the AirPods Max are considerably more expensive than the Sony WH-1000XM4 while offering similar sound quality, active noise cancellation and much lower 20-hour battery life. They are also quite heavy at 385 grams vs the Sony‘s 254 grams.

Lack of a 3.5mm headphone jack for wired listening and incompatibilty with high-quality Bluetooth codecs are other disappointing omissions at this price point. And many of the AirPods Max‘s best features don‘t work with Android devices.

For these reasons, I only recommend the AirPods Max if you are fully committed to the Apple ecosystem and value the easy connectivity and premium design above all else. For most people, the high price outweighs the benefits compared to the Sony WH-1000XM4.

Bose QuietComfort 45


  • Best-in-class noise cancellation
  • Improved microphone performance over previous QC35 II
  • 24 hours battery life
  • Very comfortable and lightweight
  • Folds for easy portability
  • Well-priced at $329


  • No customizable EQ or controls
  • Lacks some premium features like wear detection
  • Boring design compared to flashier competitors

The recently released Bose QuietComfort 45 is an excellent choice for those who want the brand‘s signature noise cancelling and comfort without the premium price of the Noise Cancelling Headphones 700.

Bose has refined its already industry-leading noise cancellation even further with the QC45. A new awareness mode also does a great job amplifying external sounds when you need to hear your surroundings. And upgrades to the microphone array make your voice come through louder and clearer on calls.

With plush synthetic leather earcups, a pillowy headband, and just 238 grams of weight, the QuietComfort 45 are some of the most pleasant over-ear headphones I‘ve ever tested, even edging out the Sony WH-1000XM4 for comfort. They also fold down into a compact case, making them ideal for travel.

Battery life is solid at 24 hours, just shy of the Sony‘s 30 hours. Sound quality is well-balanced, although some may find the default tuning lacking in excitement and bass oomph. Unfortunately, unlike the Bose 700 and Sony WH-1000XM4, there‘s no option to customize the EQ.

The QuietComfort 45 also lacks some higher-end features like the Bose 700‘s adjustable noise cancellation levels, the WH-1000XM4‘s speak-to-chat, and wear detection sensors. With an inoffensive yet bland design, they aren‘t much of a fashion statement either.

But at $329, the Bose QuietComfort 45 provide the best noise cancellation you can get at this price point along with fantastic comfort and very good sound. For many, that‘s what matters most in a pair of noise-cancelling headphones. If you can live without the bells and whistles, the QC45 is a compelling alternative to the $349 Sony WH-1000XM4.

Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless


  • Class-leading sound quality and detail
  • Impressive 60-hour battery life
  • Customizable EQ and controls via app
  • Comfortable and well-built
  • Fast charging capability


  • Noise cancellation falls short of Bose and Sony
  • Bulkier and heavier than competitors
  • Touch controls can be finicky
  • No instant pairing like Sony or Apple headphones
  • Expensive at $349

If your top priorities are audio fidelity and battery life, the Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless have a compelling edge over the Sony WH-1000XM4. These headphones produce the most detailed, expansive, and natural sound of any in this class thanks to their 42mm dynamic drivers and aptX Adaptive support.

From the textured bass to the crisp highs, the Momentum 4 Wireless brought out nuances in my favorite songs that I had never noticed before. EQ adjustments in Sennheiser‘s app allow you to further tweak the sound profile to your taste.

But the Momentum 4‘s standout feature is the absolutely insane 60-hour battery life, double that of the already impressive 30-hour Sony WH-1000XM4. You can literally use these for weeks without having to recharge. They also juice up quickly, with a 10 minute charge providing 6 hours of playback.

Noise cancellation is decent on the Momentum 4 Wireless, but doesn‘t reach the same level as what Bose and Sony offer. The headphones do a solid job reducing low-end frequencies but struggle more with voices and higher-pitched sounds.

Sennheiser‘s headphones are relatively bulky and heavy at 293 grams, but remain comfortable thanks to thick padding and a nicely balanced headband. The all-black design with silver accents looks minimalist and professional. I found the touch controls somewhat inconsistent, so I preferred using the physical buttons.

Priced at $349, the same as the Sony WH-1000XM4, the Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless arguably provide better value for those who prioritize sound quality and battery life over noise cancellation performance. But the Sonys are clearly the more portable and fully-featured option.

Final Recommendations

As you can see, each of the leading alternatives to the Sony WH-1000XM4 have their own unique strengths and weaknesses. Which one is the best choice for you will depend on your specific needs and priorities. Here are my expert recommendations:

  • If noise cancellation is your top priority and you have the budget, go for the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 for the most powerful and adjustable ANC.
  • If you want the most convenient experience with your Apple devices, the AirPods Max are a great premium (albeit expensive) choice.
  • For the most portable option with the best overall balance of ANC, sound, comfort and features, it‘s hard to beat the Sony WH-1000XM4.
  • If you want a more affordable alternative that still delivers excellent noise cancellation and comfort, the Bose QuietComfort 45 is your best bet.
  • For uncompromising sound quality and the longest battery life, the Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless can‘t be topped.

Ultimately, you can‘t go wrong with any of these top-rated noise cancelling headphones. They will all provide a far superior listening experience to lower-end models with their powerful ANC, detailed sound, and comfortable fit. It really comes down to your personal preferences and which features matter most to you.

I hope this in-depth guide has given you all the information and insights you need to choose the perfect pair of headphones to drown out the noise and enjoy your music, movies, and calls to the fullest. Let me know in the comments which ones you decide to go with and how you like them!