The Best Noise-Canceling Headphones of 2021

The Best Noise-Canceling Headphones of 2021

Last updated on September 16, 2021

No Noise Here. Just Great Sound. 

We asked our World Wide Stereo audio experts to apply their decades of experience to pick today’s best over ear noise-canceling headphones and here is the list they came up with broken into their individual winning categories.  

Questions along the way? Don’t hesitate to pick up the phone and talk to one of our audio technicians at 1.866.961.7781 or email us here.  We love this stuff and want to help.  

2021 Noise-Canceling Headphone Deals

We’ve made it easy to find the best deals on noise-canceling headphones. Our deals update daily so you don’t miss a beat, and we’ve got your back through with our price match guarantee, 60-day returns, easy financing, and free shipping. Don’t see what you want on sale? Give us at 1.866.961.7781 or chat with an expert.

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1. Best Noise-Canceling Headphones Overall: 

Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless Noise-Canceling Headphones


The Sony WH1000XM4 headphones are super comfortable, not too tight, mushy in all the right spots, and the touch-sensitive buttons and voice control (Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant) are as good as it gets. Plus, they sound freaking awesome. This model replaces Sony's best-selling WH1000XM3 and, while they look similar, the WH1000XM4 boast a handful of upgraded features. They're a tad lighter, the earcups are a little cushier and about 10% larger. They've got a host of "smarter" technology built-in that can better tune and optimize for adaptive sound control. They can connect to two devices – such as your laptop and phone – simultaneously. And, they feature Sony's brand new audio processor – the DSEE Extreme.

Both the XM3s and XM4s last around 30 hours with noise-cancelling switched on, or around 38 hours with the tech switched off. Both have USB-C charging too. A 10-minute quick-charge will give you five hours of playtime - that alone makes these headphones worth a look. The new XM4s feature Wearing Detection, which automatically pauses the music when you take them off - extending the battery life even further than the XM3.

2. Best Noise-Canceling Headphones For Travel: 

Bose QuietComfort 35 II (QC35II) Wireless Over-Ear Headphones


Regular Price: $349.00

Save: $50.00 (14%)

These ultra-comfortable, lightweight, wireless headphones rest comfortably around your ears and connect to your smartphone or media player via Bluetooth and include a cable to connect to those devices that do not have Bluetooth built-in. These lightweight headphones are comfortable enough to wear all day long, and with a built-in lithium battery delivering up to 20-hours of continuous playback, that is not a problem. The Bose QuietComfort 35 II Headphones have a built-in microphone, and a convenient action button located on the padded earcup lets you take calls and activate your phone's voice commands using Google Assistant, so you can control your music, dictate texts, update your calendar, or ask Google questions. The Bose QC35 II's also now have Amazon Alexa built-in, giving you access to all of Alexa's voice commands and controls.

3. Best Budget Noise-Canceling Headphones: 

JBL LIVE 650BTNC Wireless Over-Ear Headphones


Regular Price: $240.00

Save: $110.05 (46%)

In your world, music is essential, so slip on a pair of JBL LIVE 650BTNC wireless over-ear noise-canceling headphones and elevate your day. Equipped with powerful 40mm drivers, JBL LIVE 650BTNC headphones deliver JBL Signature Sound punctuated with enhanced bass so every track on every playlist pops. And, when the music is the only thing that matters, the active Noise-Canceling technology allows you to block out ambient sounds so nothing disturbs your groove. Need some help getting through the day? Easily access the Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa with a tap on the ear cup and play your favorite playlist, text your friend, check the weather, and much more - without glancing at your phone. But, that’s not all. With a cool, lightweight, and comfortable design, you’ll enjoy up to 30 hours (20 hours with BT + ANC) of music streaming with 2 hours of recharging time, multi-point connection capabilities, and a convenient detachable cable with remote/mic that lets you play on even when the battery goes off. Rock out uninterrupted with the JBL LIVE 650BTNC headphones.

4. Best Designed Noise-Canceling Headphones: 

Bowers & Wilkins PX7 Wireless Over-Ear Headphones


The PX7 Wireless Over-Ear Headphones are designed for you to experience music at its highest level. Bowers & Wilkins has crafted some of the best-sounding noise-canceling over-ear headphones on the market. Discover a pair of wireless headphones that are so well-crafted you'll never want to take them off. With these headphones, everything is designed to be seamless, enhancing the way you traditionally listen to your music. The PX 7 obeys your every move. Lift an ear cup to hear what’s happening around you, and the music automatically stops. The 43mm drivers in the PX 7 are the largest in our headphone collection, built and tuned by the same engineers behind the Bowers & Wilkins 800 Series Diamond speakers used in Abbey Road Studios. These headphones have a 30 hour battery life. You can do a lot in 30 hours. You could fly from California to London and back, with some time to spare. You could also start a band or see every stage at the festival, twice. Listen uninterrupted on a single battery charge. And if that’s not enough, a 15 minute quick charge gets you six more hours.

5. Best Noise-Canceling Headphones for Phone Calls: 

Bose Headphones 700 Noise-Canceling Bluetooth Headphones


Regular Price: $399.00

Save: $20.00 (5%)

Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 delivers everything you expect — and things you never imagined possible. Bose has redefined what headphones can do, so you can get the most out of your smartphone while it stays in your pocket. Keep your head up to the world with easy access to voice assistants — perfect for music, navigation, weather, and more. Plus, you can confidently take a call or speak to your voice assistant anywhere. The headphones feature a four-microphone system that picks up and isolates your voice while canceling the noise around you. It adapts to your surroundings so you’ll hear, and be heard better than ever — even in noisy environments. They are optimized for the Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa so that you can choose the right service for you. Bose has even improved on what it is most known for. Instead of one level of noise-canceling, these have 11 — so you can truly master your environment. As you increase the noise cancellation, you incrementally minimize the distractions you hear in loud places. Alternatively, decrease noise canceling to the point where you hear the world as if you weren’t wearing headphones at all. For quick interruptions, use Conversation Mode, which pauses the music and utilizes the microphone system to let surrounding noise in with the press of the button — perfect to quickly place a coffee order or speak to a coworker.

Check out our full review of the Bose 700 headphones here.


$399.00 – $499.00

Save: $100.00 (25%)

Shure’s expertise in professional sound shows in these premium, high-quality headphones. The first-rate sound quality is enhanced by several helpful features. First, the Aonics support the latest codecs that facilitate the playback of high-definition, full-spectrum uncompressed audio. Second, Shure’s companion mobile app, ShurePlus Play Mobile, is itself a music player that handles uncompressed audio formats. In addition, Play Mobile has a graphic equalizer (EQ) mode that is intuitive yet effective, allowing you to dial in the EQ curves that suits your ears and music — it’s one of the best graphic EQ apps we’ve seen for headphones.

Third, the folks at Shure know what they’re doing when it comes to driver design and construction. Most music fans are likely to be very happy with the default EQ settings: The bass is warm and well-defined, but not overpowering. Highs are clear, and the sound field separates parts but keeps the blend. The headphone cups have a real leather covering, which is gentle on the ears, yet isolates you nicely. Shure’s active noise cancelling (ANC) is excellent, right up there with the leading ANC headphones. An Environment Mode pipes in sound around you, so you can stay aware of your surroundings.

The Aonics may be made of plastic, but the build quality and design are fantastic. These look and feel like high-end audio devices. They don’t fold down at all, and their carrying case is one of the largest headphone cases you’ll find. Even so, these would be ideal headphones for commuting, long flights, working in noisy office environments, or just relaxing with your music anywhere.

Still not sure? We got this.

If you’re still not sure which noise-canceling headphones are best for you, give us a call or send us an email. Tell us a little about how you will use them, and we will help you pick the perfect pair of headphones for you.

One more thing:

A last word of advice: buy your new headphones from a trusted dealer. The more experience and longer the track record, the better. A good dealer will take care of you in the event anything happens.

Speaking of trusted dealers...

World Wide Stereo is home to some 90+ industry-leading audio/video professionals who love what they do and talking about it, too. We opened our doors in 1979, gained a small yet die-hard following, won a slew of national awards for everything from killer car audio installations to customer service, grew the business online… and today we enjoy a faithful following of like-minded TV-watching, music-listening, gear-loving defenders of fun for the whole family. Our only rule: no one leaves unhappy.

Plus, shopping with us means you get Happiness Guarantee, which includes perks like free shipping, 60-day returns, award-winning support, and service long after the sale — always. Hence our rule: "no one leaves unhappy."

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