The best ANC headphones

Like if this guide is helpful

6 of the best active noise cancelling headphones to buy

If you spend any time on trains, boats or planes, a pair of active noise-cancelling headphones could be your new best friend. They use a built-in microphone to sample the ambient noise around you and then process the sound coming through the headphones to negate it. This may not get rid of loud conversations or the din in a busy workplace, but it’s brilliant for silencing engine noise, allowing your music or movie soundtrack to cut through. If separating your sound from the outside world sounds good, Stuart Andrews has six great sets of anti-noise cans for you.
Edit Link Remove
Add up to 3 more photos
Bose QuietComfort 15

Bose QuietComfort 15

eBay loves: The superb noise cancellation works exceptionally well.
Watch out for: Keep those batteries charged. Without them you’ll get no sound whatsoever.
RRP: £259.99

When it comes to cutting-out background noise, Bose’s QuietComfort tech is pretty hard to beat, so it’s no surprise that many frequent flyers swear by the QuietComfort 15. Microphones inside and outside the ear cup sample the sound outside, and Bose’s processing does an excellent job of filtering it out. There’s a three-button remote for taking calls and controlling playback on an iPhone or iPad, and the lightweight ear cups won’t crush your ears on a transatlantic trip.  The sound is clear and punchy, while the batteries last for 35 hours from a charge.
Edit Link Remove
Add up to 3 more photos
Goldring NS-1000 Expedition

Goldring NS-1000 Expedition

eBay loves: Decent noise cancelling at a bargain price.
Watch out for: Your ears — the Goldrings can get uncomfortable on a long flight.
RRP: £140

If your budget doesn’t stretch to Bose levels, don’t despair — you can still pick up a pair of over-the-ear noise-cancelling headphones for under £100. In fact, Goldring’s NS1000 Expedition headphones are widely available for around £70 and combine active-noise cancelling technology with large, closed-back ear cups to shut down unwanted noise. It’s an effective combo and the sound is good. too, with powerful bass, a clear mid-range and a nice, clean treble. What’s more, the single AAA battery lasts for up to 40 hours — though that’s just as well, as the sound isn’t nearly so crisp with noise cancelling switched off.
Edit Link Remove
Add up to 3 more photos
Beats by Dr. Dre Studio 2.0

Beats by Dr. Dre Studio 2.0

eBay loves: Big bass and that much-imitated signature style.
Watch out for: Switch noise-cancellation on and hiss creeps into the sound.
RRP:  £269.95

Are you paying for the style and the name with the Beats headphones? Well, yes, but the iconic Dr. Dre Studio 2 also does a fine job of getting rid of background noise. The new versions are 13% lighter than the originals, with softer ear cups and a more comfortable fit. They also sound better and don’t wallop your ears with an excess of bass. The Beats fold up nearly for carrying and the rechargeable Lithium Ion battery is good for around 20 hours. The active noise-cancelling technology brings a little hiss, but works wonders on jet engine racket.
Edit Link Remove
Add up to 3 more photos
AKG K391 NC

AKG K391 NC

eBay loves: Noise cancellation without the usual bulk.
Watch out for: The noise-cancelling box gets in the way.
RRP:  £149.99
You don’t have to have big, over-the-ear headphones just to cut down on outside noise. AKG’s K391 NC headphones give you digital active noise cancellation from a discrete set of earbuds working alongside a little silver box. This contains all the noise cancellation circuitry and does a decent job of holding back the ambient racket, though you might note a little bit of hiss when it’s switched on. Otherwise the sound is crisp and detailed, with a strong, extended bass. The built-in battery lasts a hefty 40 hours and charges through a mini-USB connection.
Edit Link Remove
Add up to 3 more photos
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC33IS

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC33IS

eBay loves: The batteries last forever and the sound still plays when they run out.
Watch out for: The sound is good, but far from the best. 
RRP: £65

Audio-Technica’s ATH-ANC33IS noise-cancelling earbuds are so compact and light that you might forget you’re wearing them — and they’re also one of the cheapest anti-noise options around. ‘QuietPoint’ technology dampens down any irritating noise and, while the sound won’t trouble premium in-ear monitors, the output is lively and well balanced. The ATH-ANC33IS runs for up to 60 hours from a single AA battery and you even get an in-line control with built-in microphone for hands-free calling. Cheap and very cheerful.
Edit Link Remove
Add up to 3 more photos
Klipsch Mode M40

Klipsch Mode M40

eBay loves: The premium looks and excellent sound.
Watch out for: They’re a little heavy and grip a bit too tightly.
RRP: £299

It’s not just the luxurious black and bronze finish that distinguishes the Klipsch Mode M40 headphones, but the comfort and the quality of sound. The memory-foam ear cups sit comfortably around your ear and help shut out the din outside, while the built-in active noise-cancelling circuitry keeps any remaining sound at bay. The sound, meanwhile, is rich and nicely detailed, with a well controlled low-end. A single AAA battery powers the circuitry for up to 45 hours and the headphones work in passive mode when the charge runs out. And while they look big on your head, they fold down into a smaller space for carrying.
Have something to share, create your own guide... Write a guide
Explore more guides