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The Best Noise-Canceling Headphone Deals for Every Budget in 2024

The Absolute Best Noise Canceling Headphone Deals for Immersive Sound in 2023

Constant notifications, chatter, traffic, and other background noise can make it difficult to focus, whether you‘re working at the office, traveling, exercising, or just trying to relax with some music or a podcast at home. A great pair of noise canceling headphones allows you to block out distractions so you can fully immerse yourself in your audio.

After extensive testing and research, we‘ve compiled our picks for the very best noise canceling headphones you can buy in 2023:

  • Best Overall: Sony WH-1000XM5
  • Best for Comfort: Bose QuietComfort 45
  • Best Sound Quality: Sennheiser Momentum 4
  • Best for Calls: Bose NCH 700
  • Best Battery Life: Sennheiser Momentum 4
  • Best Value: Anker Soundcore Life Q30

But before we dive deeper into the details of each pick, let‘s go over the key factors you should consider when choosing noise canceling headphones.

What to Look For in Noise Canceling Headphones

Comfort & Fit: If you plan to wear your headphones for hours at a time, a comfortable, secure fit is crucial. Over-ear designs tend to provide the best long-term comfort. Look for models with well-cushioned earcups and headbands, as well as adjustability to accommodate different head sizes. Some people find that heavier headphones lead to neck strain, so consider weight as well.

Sound Quality: The best noise canceling headphones don‘t sacrifice sound quality for powerful ANC. Look for balanced, clear sound across low, mid, and high frequencies. Adjustable EQ is a nice bonus for tweaking the sound profile to your preferences. Supportive codecs like AAC and AptX also help maintain quality over Bluetooth.

Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) Performance: This is the headphones‘ ability to block low frequency background noise using built-in microphones and signal processing. The top models can dramatically reduce plane engine rumble, traffic noise, and HVAC hum without impacting audio quality. Adjustable and adaptive ANC is also available on some high-end headphones.

Battery Life: Most premium noise canceling headphones offer 20-30 hours of battery life, which is plenty for a full day of use. But if you regularly forget to recharge, look for a model with 30-40+ hours like the Sennheiser Momentum 4. Fast charging, where a short charge provides several hours of playtime, is another great feature.

Durability: Since they‘re designed for travel and commuting, your headphones should be built to last. A strong, flexible headband and high-quality materials are a must. Some models also have IP ratings for water/sweat resistance if you plan to use them for exercise.

Smart Features & App Support: Many noise canceling headphones work with companion mobile apps for customizing ANC, EQ, touch controls, and other settings. Other convenient features to look for include multi-device pairing, NFC touch pairing, audio passthrough mode, auto-pause, and virtual assistant support.

Price & Value: Expect to pay a premium for the best ANC – most of our top picks cost $250-$400. That said, you can find very solid mid-range options for around $100-$150 if you don‘t need the absolute cutting-edge in ANC tech and premium build quality. We‘ll share some tips shortly for how to get the best possible price.

Our Top Picks

  1. Sony WH-1000XM5 (Best Overall): Sony‘s latest flagship improves on the already stellar XM4 in almost every way. The design is sleeker and more comfortable, the sound is more refined, and the ANC is incredible, with dual processors and an array of mics that can tackle everything from airplane engine hum to chatty neighbors. 30 hours of battery life, a high-res audio mode, and granular app controls complete the package. They‘re pricey at $400 MSRP but look for them on sale for $50-$75 off.

  2. Bose QuietComfort 45 (Best Comfort): The QC45s feature an incredibly lightweight design and plush earcups that stay cozy even for all-day wear. Bose‘s ANC is nearly as impressive as Sony‘s, able to adaptively block a wide range of noises with the press of a button. 24-hour battery life is solid and USB-C quick charging is handy. Sound quality isn‘t quite as detailed as the XM5s, but it‘s still very good. Frequently goes on sale for $250-$280.

  3. Sennheiser Momentum 4 (Best Sound Quality): Sennheiser‘s new Momentum 4 over-ears deliver exceptionally clear, rich, spacious sound from their 42mm drivers – you‘ll pick up details in songs you never noticed before. ANC is excellent as well, and the 60-hour battery life is the best we‘ve tested. Not the flashiest design but sturdily built and comfy enough. Often on sale for $300.

  4. Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 (Best for Calls): If you take a lot of calls on your headphones, Bose‘s NCH 700s are the way to go. A sophisticated mic array provides crystal-clear voice pickup, while 11 levels of ANC help block background chatter on both ends. Touch controls, a comfortable fit, and balanced sound round out this strong all-around package. MSRP is high at $400 but look for deals around $350.

  5. Sennheiser Momentum 4 (Best Battery Life): We‘ve already highlighted the Momentum 4‘s superb sound, but its 60-hour battery life also earns it another win. That‘s enough juice for two full days of use or a long international flight and then some. A 10-minute quick charge provides 6 hours of playback in a pinch.

  6. Anker Soundcore Life Q30 (Best Value): You‘ll be hard-pressed to find better noise canceling headphones for the price than Anker‘s Life Q30. The hybrid ANC system is shockingly effective for the money, with Transport, Indoor, and Outdoor modes to optimize performance. 40-hour battery life and a comfortable fit are also standout features. Sound is bass-heavy out of the box but can be adjusted via EQ. Fantastic value at its $80 MSRP and an absolute steal when it goes on sale for around $60.

Tips for Getting the Best Deals

Now that you have a sense of the top models on the market, here‘s some quick advice for scoring the best price:

Look for major sales events: Prime Day, Black Friday, and the holidays are when you‘ll see the steepest discounts on premium noise canceling headphones. Make a list ahead of time and be ready to pounce on a Lightning Deal.

Check deal roundups regularly: Sites like Kinja Deals do a great job surfacing fleeting discounts and comparing prices across retailers. It‘s a good way to see if there‘s a surprise sale you might otherwise miss.

Consider previous-gen models: Sticking with our Sony example, the XM4s are still excellent headphones and can often be found for $100+ less than the XM5s. Just be sure to check reviews to understand what features you might be giving up.

Buy refurbished or open-box: Amazon Warehouse, Best Buy Outlet, and Bose Certified Refurbished are all great places to look for discounted headphones in like-new condition. We‘ve seen models like the QC45 and XM5 for over $100 off this way.

Compare prices and stack coupons: Install a browser extension like Honey to automatically compare prices across sites and try any available coupon codes. Don‘t forget to check for student discounts as well.

Setting Up Your New Headphones

You‘ve ordered an amazing pair of headphones at an even better price – well done! Let‘s quickly walk through setup so you can get right to immersive listening:

  1. Fully charge the headphones using the included cable – most recent models use USB-C.

  2. If the headphones have a companion app for customization, go ahead and download it. Popular examples include Sony Headphones Connect, Bose Music, and Sennheiser Smart Control.

  3. Turn on the headphones and put them in pairing mode according to the manual. Then open your phone or laptop‘s Bluetooth settings, find the headphones, and connect.

  4. If the headphones support NFC pairing, you can also touch them to a compatible phone for instant setup.

  5. Once paired, try them on and adjust the headband and earcups for a secure but comfortable fit. The earcups should surround your ears without putting too much pressure on your head.

  6. Play some audio and try out the ANC. You‘ll likely hear a faint hiss when no audio is playing – this is normal and means the ANC is working. If there‘s a dedicated ANC button, try toggling through the different modes (if available) to see which one blocks the most noise in your environment.

  7. Open the companion app and take a few minutes to play with the available settings. Common customizations include an adjustable EQ, ANC/transparency mode, touch control mapping, and voice assistant preferences.

And with that, you‘re ready to start enjoying your headphones! Take a walk outside or hop on public transit to really put the ANC to the test – the near-silence can be a revelation in noisy environments.

Conclusion

Whether you‘re looking to boost productivity or just want to enjoy your music and podcasts without interruption, noise canceling headphones are a game-changer. And as we‘ve seen, you don‘t have to pay a huge premium for great performance – with a little patience and smart shopping, you can get a top-tier model like the Sony XM5 or Bose QC45 for well under their $400 list prices. Even affordable options like the Anker Life Q30 deliver shockingly effective ANC for the money.

Once you‘ve selected the perfect pair, be sure to take a few minutes to fine-tune the fit and experiment with any customization options in the companion app. Even small tweaks to the ANC and EQ modes can make a big difference in performance.

We hope our guide to the absolute best noise canceling headphones has helped make your purchasing decision easier. Here‘s to a lifetime of peaceful, immersive listening!