If you’re fortunate enough to have a job you’re able to do from home, you probably haven’t been to the office in a while now. That’s good for public health (and maybe good for you if you hate changing out of your pajamas), but it comes with its own challenges. Chief among them: noise. Traffic, neighbors doing yard work, your kids. Noise-canceling headphones won’t completely block all of it, but they sure help. Here are some great options.
This one had to be obvious. If you know anything about ANC, you’re likely familiar with Sony’s work. Our review of the WH-1000XM3 was glowing, and they remain an easy recommendation for anyone looking for noise canceling in the $300 range. You can usually find them for a little under that at most retailers.
You would be forgiven for being less familiar with the WF-1000XM3 (Sony: you’re bad at naming things), but they’re basically what you’d imagine: high-end noise canceling in a true wireless package. We liked them very much, but they’re on the pricier end for true wireless buds at an MSRP of $230, and the case is pretty chunky.
Bose Noise Canceling Headphones 700
If you’re in the market for something really premium, consider the Bose Noise Canceling Headphones 700. Bose’s dominance of the noise-canceling market has been challenged by Sony lately, but the company still makes a mean headset. Whether things like premium design and build quality make them worth $400 is subjective — but if you can swing their price tag, you can grab a pair below.
On the absolute other end of the price spectrum, you’ve got the Mpow H5. Their noise canceling can’t keep up with the big guys, they charge with micro USB, and their build quality is… economical, but we still reviewed them favorably because they’re an absolute steal at an MSRP of $50. They have great battery life, to boot.
Amazon Echo Buds
Amazon’s Echo Buds have Alexa built in (surprise) and use Bose’s noise-canceling tech, so they’re a pretty solid deal at $130. Battery life isn’t particularly strong at five hours per charge, though, and they charge by micro USB like so many Amazon products. Still, if you’re deep in the Amazon ecosystem, they could be a good fit for you.
Libratone Track Air+
The Libratone Track Air+ are a bit pricier than Amazon’s offering at $169, but they offer a lot for the price: chiefly, better battery life and USB-C and wireless charging. Our review found that, although Libratone’s app isn’t great, the buds themselves are well worth your money.
They can’t keep up with the WH-1000XM3, but the WH-XB900N (seriously, Sony) are generally less expensive and pack more of a bassy punch while still offering a lot of the things people like about their more-expensive cousin. You can hook a set for about $250.
Plantronics BackBeat Go 810
They’re a bit older, but Plantronics’s BackBeat Go 810 have ANC, they’re pretty comfortable, and they’re nice to look at. We liked them when we reviewed them in late 2018, and since then, the price has fallen considerably: you can grab a pair for just 50 bucks on clearance at Fry’s Electronics, or $85 on Amazon.
Plantronics BackBeat Go 410
Prefer neckband-style earbuds? We got you. Our review found that the BackBeat Go 410 block noise even better than than the over-ear 810, probably by virtue of physically plugging your ear canals. They’re about a hundred bucks on Amazon right now.
If you’re an iPhone user, these are probably your default choice. AirPods are more or less unparalleled in the true wireless space when it comes to call quality, which could be a boon to you if your work requires talking to folks. Their noise-canceling is pretty great for such a small package, too. And yes, you can use them with an Android phone — and if you’ve got a wireless charger, you don’t even have to futz with a Lightning cable.