What are the best noise cancelling headphones?

If you could pick any headphones for travel, which would you choose? Reader K is in a lucky situation!

Hi RW! I just got a new job that involves lots of travel. My uncle wants to get me a pair of noise cancelling headphones to celebrate. He has traveled for work for years and says his Bose headphones have saved his sanity. He recommends the QuietComfort 35 but said I can choose which ones I want. Which do you suggest?

Congratulations on your new job! And what a generous gift from your uncle! He’s right, a good pair of noise cancelling headphones can work wonders–blocking out annoying talkers, crying babies, rattling carts, and making you feel like you’re in your own little cocoon.

Bose is generally regarded as a business traveler favorite, and the QuietComfort 35 that he has are their top-of-the-line pair. However, they *just* released an upgraded version that includes Google Assistant. While I can’t really imagine talking to my headphones in the middle of a plane, this review from CNBC rates this as a very handy feature.

If you’re not sure you want the bulk of a traditional over-the-ear headphone, there are a few excellent earbud options. The QuietComfort 30 are bluetooth earbuds that offer adjustable noise cancelling, and the QuietComfort 20 are their regular wired earbuds.

A couple of things to consider–if you have an iPhone you’ll either need to have a bluetooth version or your lightning adapter all the time. The downside is that bluetooth headphones are one more thing to remember to charge before a trip.

I have an older version of the bluetooth earbuds and love them because they work great, and are easily packable. But I’m interested in hearing what others would choose!

Readers, what are your favorite noise cancelling headphones?


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  1. I have the 35s and they did not muffle out crying babies. This is why I took them back. Maybe I had a bad unit.

  2. I have the QC 20s and love them. I’ve used them on weekly flights for the last 4 years, and they are showing their age. I’ve considered going to the QC 30s, but there are a fair number of less than positive reviews. Additionally, I do like to plug into aircraft audio to watch the occasional movie. I strongly prefer earbuds for comfort as well as not adding weight to my bag or taking up much space.

  3. Bose QC35 all the way! Not only do they sound great and have good noise cancellation, but they just fit really well, are reasonably lightweight, and have a quality feel to them that is hard to articulate.

  4. I have Bose QC25s. They are the only ones that fit over my ears, and I hate the in-ear types – you can’t lie comfortably on your side with them on, if you are lucky enough to fly in Business or First.

    They are the wired version the QC35s are bluetooth. If you buy the bluetooth version you will need a dongle to plug into the plane’s entertainment system. If you buy the QC25s, there’s a very nice bluetooth adapter that can be bought from AirMOD to free you from wires if you desire it.

    FYI to the complainant above, NO noise-cancelling headphones can shut out babies screaming completely. They are best at low-level background drones, like the sounds of the airplane engines. They do cut down on external noises, but not completely. That would actually be unsafe anyway.

    Hubby has a pair of Sonys he’s happy with too.

  5. I have the bluetooth Bose 35s and the Parrot Zik. The Bose are better for noise cancelling but the Zik’s are more comfortable. I almost always take the Bose with me.

  6. This can transmit through walls and has a fairly large wireless range.

    Each and every unit is a touch different the reason is, however you can discover these selections should you some looking at
    the connection menus. Within the $70 range you will be able
    to acquire quality sound earphones but the functions might be
    limited compared to higher range models.

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