Best Noise Cancelling Headphones in the UK

Review & Comparison, Last Update September 2, 2020
Turn on your headphones and turn off the world. Noise-canceling headphones can help you focus on the task at hand and make travel more pleasant despite all the distractions. And we can help you choose the best ones. ...Read more ...Read less
BEST 2020
PROS
CONS
OUR VERDICT
Type
Sensitivity
Frequency Range
Connection Type
Battery Life of Noise-Cancellation System
Additional Features
Warranty
 
PROS

The updated QN1 processor works according to an accelerated algorithm for reducing ambient noise, while consuming a very small amount of energy. And the adaptive sound control function automatically adjusts the playback volume, depending on the noise of the place you are in.

CONS

The two buttons on the left hand cup are awkwardly placed.

OUR VERDICT

These stylish noise-cancelling headphones allow you to completely immerse yourself in music. Their built-in battery is enough for 30 hours of continuous sound, and if the battery runs out at the most inopportune moment, you can always use the quick charge option. The model has a folding design and will be the best choice for travellers.

detailed parameters
Type

Over-Ear, Full-size

Sensitivity

104.5 dB

Frequency Range

20 - 40000 Hz

Connection Type

Bluetooth, NFC, Audio cable

Battery Life of Noise-Cancellation System

30 hours

Additional Features

Unique automatic personal NC, and Atmospheric Pressure optimisation, Adaptive Sound Control, High-quality audio with DSEE HX™ and LDAC, 10 minutes quick charge (for 5 hours of work), built-in microphone, Swivel foldable structure, Carry case with cable

Warranty

1 year

PROS

These headphones support original BOSE Connect App which unlocks various settings and opens more useful functions for the model control.

CONS

The model has some audible sound leakage.

OUR VERDICT

This model is comfortable for long listening sessions and has a good sound. One of its biggest advantages is a highly efficient ANC, which makes them a perfect choice for listening to in public transport.

detailed parameters
Type

Over-ear, Full-size

Sensitivity

not specified

Frequency Range

not specified

Connection Type

Bluetooth, NFC, Audio cable

Battery Life of Noise-Cancellation System

Up to 20 hours (wireless)

Up to 40 hours (wired mode)

Additional Features

Microphone, Multiple device support, Carry case, Audio cable, USB cable, Airline adapter

Warranty

1 year

PROS

The DSEE audio enhancement feature will restore the quality of compressed music files. Now your favorite songs will play again with bright colors and highly accurate sound reproduction.

CONS

The microphone transmits sound well only in a quiet environment.

OUR VERDICT

Functional and ergonomic headphones, with good sound quality and noise reduction, which can even be controlled via Google Assistant (after a software update). Undoubtedly all travel lovers will find these to be highly portable and pleasing to their ears.

detailed parameters
Type

Over-Ear, Full-size

Sensitivity

97 dB/mW

Frequency Range

20 - 20000 Hz

Connection Type

Bluetooth, NFC, Audio cable

Battery Life of Noise-Cancellation System

Up to 35 hours

Additional Features

Adjustable, slider headband, earcups with swivel design, audio cable, USB charging cable, built-in microphone

Warranty

2 years

PROS

AptX codec support with AptX Low Latency enables the headset to receive and transmit wireless audio without loss in quality or delays, and also helps to clearly synchronize sound with visual effects in games and videos.

CONS

Headphones feel a bit tight for longtime use.

OUR VERDICT

The Sennheiser HD 450BT are full-size headphones with an active noise reduction system and excellent autonomy that will give you the opportunity to enjoy sound without any interference anytime, anywhere. They have a folding structure, weigh only 238 grams and are delivered in a case.

detailed parameters
Type

Over-Ear, Full-size

Sensitivity

108 dB

Frequency Range

18 - 22000 Hz

Connection Type

Bluetooth, Audio cable

Battery Life of Noise-Cancellation System

Up to 30 hours

Additional Features

Active noise cancellation, dual omni-directional microphones, AptX codec support with AptX Low Latency, free Sennheiser Smart Control App, Foldable construction, Carrying case included

Warranty

2 years

PROS

Thanks to the fast 5-minute charge function, you can enjoy your favourite tracks for as long as 2 hours of continuous play.

CONS

The case is rather bulky.

OUR VERDICT

The Hi-Fi noise-canceling headset gives you a clean, perfectly balanced Hi-Fi Sound. The headphones sit on the head very comfortably, without causing discomfort even after prolonged use. The headband is adjustable for a better fit.

detailed parameters
Type

Over-Ear, Full-size

Sensitivity

not specified

Frequency Range

not specified

Connection Type

Bluetooth, Audio cable

Battery Life of Noise-Cancellation System

Up to 30 hours

Additional Features

Active Noise Cancellation, microphone, Quick 5-minute recharge, Professional Protein Ear pad, 90° swivel ear cups, adjustable headband, Foldable, Carrying Case, 3.5 mm Audio Cable, Charging Cable included

Warranty

18 months

Sony WH-1000XM3

Immerse Yourself in Music

One of the greatest benefits of listening to music on high-quality headphones is that you get to surround yourself with only the sounds of your favourite tunes while drowning out all other distracting outside noises. This is especially the case with noise cancelling headphones, as they mute outside noises that can distract you from the high fidelity listening experience that they provide. Unfortunately, not all headphones work so well at removing all outside noises, even ones that claim to be noise cancelling, which means that you still tend to get distracted during your listening experience.

The Sony WH-1000XM3 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones are stylish headphones that allow you to completely immerse yourself in music by removing all outside distractions. Their built-in battery is enough for 30 hours of continuous sound, and if the battery runs out at the most inopportune moment, you can always use the quick charge option to extend your listening time. The model has a folding design that is quite compact when fully folded, and will be the best choice for travellers or for anyone who wants to immerse themselves in their favourite music while on the go.

Review of Sony WH-1000XM3 Wireless Headphones with Active Noise Cancellation

Advanced Processor

Many people may wonder exactly how noise cancelling technology works. Well, this can vary between different models of noise-cancelling headphones. This particular model, though, uses the updated QN1 processor, which works according to an accelerated algorithm for reducing ambient noise, while consuming a very small amount of energy. Along with this, the adaptive sound control function automatically adjusts the playback volume, depending on the noise of the place you are in, which enables the headphones to give you music at the most optimal volume for clear listening, preventing you from having to make any manual adjustments.

Plenty of other features are packed into these incredible noise-cancelling headphones. Included is a built-in microphone that lets you control the headphones through voice input, thanks to the compatibility with voice assistants like Alexa and Google Assistant. You can also control them through your smartphone through the Headphone Connect App, giving you the ability to adjust the equalizer along with the volume. The built-in Bluetooth even lets you connect to multiple audio inputs wirelessly, giving you plenty of choice with how to use them. Simply put, this model from Sony is one of the best noise-cancelling headphones that money can buy.

Sony WH-1000XM3 Wireless Headphones with Active Noise Cancellation in the use

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


 

Bose QuietComfort 35

Specifications

In this review, we decided to examine one of the best noise-cancelling models. BOSE always produced perfect headphones with an exceptional noise-cancellation, but they were wired only. The new QuietComfort 35 device is an advanced wireless model which provides a maximum comfort. When it comes to headphones wear style, the important feature for a customer is a design. These headphones are full-size and over-ear. Their ear cushions are durable, cosy, and soft. Even after 4 hours of wearing, they still feel comfortable. Though they do not allow the covered area to breathe, so you may feel uncomfortable when it is too hot. This model is also equipped with volume-optimized EQ in order to deliver balanced sound at any volume. We consider this model one of the best regarding noise-cancelling technology. The QC35’s noise-cancelling is very effective so you can use these headphones literally everywhere, regardless of how noisy the environment is. A great advantage of the QuietComfort 35 headphones is that they're able to operate for up to 20 hours on a single charge. They are rather expensive but such specifications are worth paying.

Review of Bose QuietComfort 35 Wireless Bluetooth Noise Cancelling Headphones

Sound Quality

Due to the Bose QuietComfort 35over-ear close-fitting design the earphones isolate some external noise passively. But its ANC (active noise cancelling) technology lets you stay with your own thoughts and you can enjoy your favourite music in any environment. An important feature is that ANC allows you to listen to music even at low volumes in rush hour. These headphones will not block out all high frequencies and will provide perfect sound at low frequencies. We consider that as an advantage because sometimes you need to hear some warnings from the outside such as announcements or ambulance sirens.

Moreover, sometimes you don’t need noise isolation (for example, when you are at home) but there is no option to turn it off. ANC can affect the quality of the sound, but this model provides rather good smooth sound and controlled bass. Summing up all specifications we consider this model as a perfect noise cancelling device with a rather good sound quality, design, and price.

Bose QuietComfort 35 Wireless Bluetooth Noise Cancelling Headphones in the use

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


 

Sony WH-CH700N

No Compression

An issue that plagues most modern music is the one of compression. Compression is something that is done in audio recordings where the natural volume is made to be louder while compressing the audio signal, which in turn adds a harshness to the sound that can be a painful experience for many people. Along with that, much digital music uses compression as a means of reducing the size of a file, which tends to lessen the accuracy of the audio reproduction and remove some of the more subtle sounds in recorded music, causing the overall quality to be lower than it should be.

The Sony WH-CH700N Wireless Bluetooth Noise Cancelling Headphones help remedy this problem by providing EQ settings along with DSEE technology that let you adjust the audio settings to provide the most accurate and pleasant sounding audio playback possible, making your listening experience much more enjoyable. These work in conjunction with the AINC noise cancelling technology that works to cancel out ambient background noises, giving you just the audio you want to hear without any outside interference. This lets you enjoy high-quality music in peace without unpleasant distractions, something that is paramount to the listening experience of any headphones.

Review of Sony WH-CH700N Wireless Headphones with Active Noise Cancellation

One Touch Use

We would be remiss to leave out any mention of the wireless capabilities of these headphones. This model uses Bluetooth for wireless connectivity, providing you an easy way to pair the headphone with any Bluetooth capable music source with just the touch of a button. Despite the fact that many Bluetooth headphones tend to provide a sub-par listening experience, these headphones are an exception, giving you just as clear of a listening experience wirelessly as they would when using a wired connection.

The headphones contain minimal controls on the earpieces, giving you controls for power, Bluetooth pairing, and a standard audio jack for wired connectivity, but they really shine when used wirelessly in conjunction with the Headphones Connect App for Android and iOS devices, which let you customise the EQ settings to your preferred taste. You only need to do this once, as the headphones will then remember those same EQ settings afterwards. The headphones also include a built-in microphone that lets you answer phone calls or even control the headphones using the Google Assistant voice assistance technology. In short, these feature-packed headphones will provide you with an audio experience that is unlike anything else.

Sony WH-CH700N Wireless Headphones with Active Noise Cancellation in the use

Additional Info

User Manual     Manufacturer


 

Sennheiser HD 450BT

High-End Headphones

Take a poll of various audiophiles around the world in regards to their most trusted brands, and chances are that the top result will be Sennheiser. Their audio products have really gained a reputation for their excellent design and engineering which results with truly remarkable all-around devices, exhibiting both top tier sound quality and aesthetics that simply can't be matched. This same description applies to the Sennheiser HD 450BT Wireless Headphones with Active Noise Cancellation, a high-end product with a high-end design and sound listening experience.

These are not casual headphones of a quality that you'll find with most cheaper brands. Instead, these are top-end headphones with a well-engineered design both inside and out, giving you excellent sound reproduction on the inside with a stylish appearance on the outside. The headphones have a folding structure that let you easily store them away in the included case when not in use, helping to keep them in excellent condition and weigh only 238 grams, making them light on your head and in your hand. Unfortunately, the fit of these headphones tends to be quite tight, so they may not be your best bet for extended listening experiences, but for short term use they simply can't be beaten.

Review of Sennheiser HD 450BT Wireless Headphones with Active Noise Cancellation

Unparalleled Sound Quality

The meat and potatoes of any headphones would be in its sound reproduction, and in this case these headphones simply have no rival. For instance, they have the highest sensitivity (108dB) of all of the headphones in this review, and they incorporate a number of technologies to give you the most accurate sound reproduction experience. These wireless headphones include the AptX codec, which use the AptX Low Latency technology to give you wireless audio without any lag, while ensuring that you are getting the maximum sound quality. This lets you listen to audio synced perfectly with video, which is often a stumbling block when it comes to using wireless audio devices.

These wireless headphones utilise Bluetooth technology for wirelessly connecting to other devices, although they do also support a wired connection with an audio cable if you use them that way. The battery life of this unit is also exceptional, giving you up to 30 hours of music playback on a fully charged battery. All of this works in connection with the superb noise reduction technology which gives you completely clear audio while removing almost all background noise, letting you listen to your favourite music in peace. All said, these high-quality top-end headphones will give you an audio playback experience unlike anything else.

Sennheiser HD 450BT Wireless Headphones with Active Noise Cancellation in the use

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


 

Boltune BT-BH010S

Perfectly Balanced

Reading through the various pros and cons of many of the various noise-canceling headsets that are available will quickly reveal that when it comes to such headsets, there is almost always some kind of trade-off that you need to deal with. Many that have great sound reproduction and noise-canceling capabilities may be uncomfortable to wear, whereas those that are comfortable may not be able to compete with others in regards to their audio capabilities. Of course, this isn't true of all noise-canceling headphones, and the Boltune BT-BH010S Active Noise Cancelling Headphones are a great example of this. These headphones provide a great balance in all aspects of their use, delivering excellent sound quality, great noise-reduction capabilities, ample comfort, and even great battery life.

First things first, most people probably want to know how these work in regards to sound quality and noise-canceling. We are pleased to report that both of these aspects are fabulous. The headphones provide excelling Hi-Fi sound thanks to the high-performance stereo codec that is integrated into the unit. Along with this, the noise cancellation works excellent, actively working to reduce all outside non-musical noise that may interfere with the enjoyment of your music. Should you prefer to be more aware of your surroundings while using these headphones, though, there is the option to turn off the noise cancellation, giving you a choice of when and when not to use this feature.

Review of Boltune BT-BH010S Active Noise Cancelling Headphones (Bluetooth 5.0)

Fast Charging

With wireless headphones, one of the most important aspects to consider is the battery life, and with this model you will definitely not be disappointed. In fact, the battery life and charging features of this model really help set it apart from other headphones. Providing up to 30 hours of battery life, which is at least on-par with most of the other top models, what will really amaze people is how fast they charge. You can charge up the headphones to full battery capacity in less than an hour, letting you use them for quite a long time without having to wait forever for them to charge. Even more, though, is the fast-charging feature, which lets you charge it for only 5 minutes, which will give you up to 2 hours of use should you need to use them immediately.

What about the comfort of these headphones? Again, there won't be anything here to disappoint you. The headphones rest quite comfortably on the head, providing a secure grip but without causing discomfort with prolonged use. The protein earpads will feel nice when wearing it, and the swivelling earcups let you customise their positioning for the most comfortable use. The only complaint we can find with this set is that the carry case that comes with the headset is rather bulky, but this is really a minor complaint. All things considered, these headphones provide the perfect balance of functionality and comfort.

Boltune BT-BH010S Active Noise Cancelling Headphones (Bluetooth 5.0) in the use

Additional Info

    Manufacturer


 

What Are Noise Cancelling Headphones?

Headphones are an appliance, which has its pros and cons with millions of people using it every day. However, noise-cancelling headphones can bring listeners to an absolutely new level of sound experience! What's so special about noise-cancelling headphones? Unlike other headphones, they isolate all unwanted noises, preserving the original sound. With a pair of noise-cancelling headphones, you no longer need to turn up the volume to hear the music through environmental sound. Wearing noise-cancelling headphones, you can listen to clear sound in any place you want even if it is a crowded place or public transport.

If you often spend your time playing video games, you may want to use a decent-quality gaming headset to improve your gaming experience by delivering surround sound and effects of a pro level! In case you're not sure which type of headphones you'd really like to have, you can compare tech specs of wireless headphones, earbuds, and earphones and decide on the most suitable model.

What Features to Compare

Type

Roughly, all headphones can be divided into two main types: in-ear and over-ear. Which headphones are better? There is no simple answer. All depends on your preferences. In-ear models are usually much smaller and compact than their over-ear peers. Plus, they are definitely the best bet if you wear glasses. Yet, if you are looking for the best noise-cancellation possible, we suggest you considering over-ear headphones. Such models can reduce even loud low-frequency noises such as a humming sound of a plane engine.

Sound Features

When it comes to sound, there are several specs to evaluate, among which the crucial ones are sensitivity (measured in dB/mW) and frequency range (measured in Hz). The frequency range may vary a bit from a model to model, but the optimal one is from 15-20 Hz to 18-22 kHz which is within the human-perceivable range. Sensitivity is responsible for the volume of the sound produced by the headphones in response to an input signal of a given power. Roughly speaking, the higher the sensitivity is, the louder headphones will sound. For safe listening to music via your headphones, the volume shouldn't exceed 85 dB for 8 hours of listening with about 95 dB for 1 hour maximum and 100 dB for no longer than 15 minutes.

Operation Time

Just like common headphones, noise-cancelling headphones can connect to the sound source via a cord, Bluetooth or via NFC. However, what differs them from non-noise-cancelling headphones is that for active noise cancellation they use a battery and, thus, the operation time for these earphones usually amounts to around 10 hours. Basically, this time is pretty good and can be enough to provide non-stop listening experience for a long time. However, if you often go on long trips, several more hours on top of those 10 is a welcome feature. Also, many noise-cancelling headphones use a regular headphone connection cable.

Additional Features

Many of us would love to have not just a basic-functionality pair of headphones but something more hi-tech, something with additional features. Headphones can have a built-in microphone which allows answering a phone even without taking it out of your pocket. Some sets can be connected to several devices at a time wirelessly and, for example, allow you to watch a movie and talk to a friend. As for the carrying convenience, even a simple carrying bag can add to users' experience by making the transportation more convenient. So, we recommend reading our review to choose the best pair to cut yourself off from the outside world and dive into the world of sound!

Did you know?

The Problem.

There are lots of people who try to block an outside noise by cranking up the volume when listening to music or doing a phone call in headphones. But isn’t it harmful to our hearing? It obviously is. Such way of suppressing an ambient noise makes harm to our eardrums which can lead to a permanent hearing damage.

The Modern Solution.

Nowadays, there are much less harmful and effective solutions allowing you to enjoy your music without hearing the environmental noise. One of such solutions, an ANC technology (active noise control or active noise cancelling) became rather popular only recently despite the fact it was invented many years ago. The theoretical base for performing an active noise cancellation is quite simple and is based on the interference of sound waves. ANC headphones are equipped with microphones (that determine the level and parameters of ambient noise) and dedicated drivers, which create waves of the same amplitude with those of environmental noise but with their phase inverted (in antiphase). There is a mutual decrease in the resulting amplitude of these waves interfering with each other, in other words, the waves cancel each other. It is simple in theory to achieve the silence in such a way but when it comes to practice it is much more complicated. The idea of using a noise cancellation technology belongs to Paul Luega, a doctor of philosophy and medicine, who got a patent for applying wave interference principles in 1934. Active noise cancellation was actively used in aviation in 1950’s. Lawrence Vogel's systems were used to suppress noise in helicopters and aeroplanes. In 1957, Willard Meeker created the first over-ear headphones with active noise reduction system which were also used in aviation. The Meeker system was able to suppress noise in the range from 50 to 500 Hz with attenuation of 20 dB. In 1986, the first serial headphones with an active noise cancelling system were released by BOSE. The gadget was developed by Dick Rutan and Jeana Yeager and was also used in aviation where extraneous engine noises interfered with communication of pilots. In 1989, the company adapted the technology for domestic use carrying out the development of the specialised solutions at the same time.

Unresolved Issues.

This technology has lots of advantages but is not perfect. It uses active components that require a power source for their operation. The problem of necessity and use of additional power source was grappled with many companies providing various engineering solutions such as increasing the battery capacity, using specialized units with standard batteries, and using additional power circuitry and pins in portable audio players which resulted in the development of non-standard connectors (common for SONY headphones and players). However, the ANC technology use has some by-effects. Among the reviews on NC-headphones, you can find out reports that the ANC long use causes various side effects, for example, headache, physical discomfort during listening to music as well as psychological discomfort. According to some statistical research, about 5-7% of people who regularly use headphones can’t stand devices with an ANC implemented. The reason is that during the life a person adapts to a certain noise level. When you are listening to music in noise-cancelling headphones, your brain has to adapt to a new sound and noise level which can lead to a fatigue. Thus, being a breakthrough the ANC technology has its pros and cons, which, however, makes listening less harmful and more convenient for people who use their headphones in a crowded and noisy environment.

FAQ:

Q: What is noise cancelling technology?
A: Such technology (NC for short) reduces unwanted sound using active noise control. Noise cancellation lets you listen to music in crowded space, transport or elsewhere clearly without any outside noise. Nowadays, NC headphones can even be used as a sleeping aid by people who suffer from insomnia.

Q: What is the difference between active noise cancellation and passive noise isolation?
A: Active noise cancellation technology mostly reduces the amplitude of low-frequency sound waves (due to unpredictable reinforcement and cancelling of high-frequency sound waves) while passive noise isolation just blocks ambient noise in the whole perceivable range with the help of ear pads and ear tips covering your ear.

Q: What is an operating range in relation to wireless headphones?
A: It is a maximum distance you can be away from any of your Bluetooth devices used as a signal source and still receive sound signal on your wireless headphone.

Q: Do headphones made from different materials sound different?
A: For sure, the case material plays its part while choosing headphones. For example, models with plastic ear cups are typically cheaper and are usually equipped with cheaper and less sophisticated audio drivers and other components. Because of this, they produce a thinner or more artificial sound than their more expensive peers. In contrast, metal body headphones are sturdier than plastic ones and can provide a better performance as their cases resonate less with the driver and add less distortion to the sound. Which results in crisper and smoother sound than you usually get from headphones encased in plastic. As for the headphones with wooden ear cups, this material also has some benefits in terms of resonance and case vibrations and falls between plastic and metal. As a rule, wooden headphones are more pricey than plastic and metal ones. However, the material of headphones case is not that important as the material of diaphragms of their drivers, which together with drivers' technology contributes most to the resulting sound.

Q: What are advantages of noise-cancelling headphones?
A: The main advantage of noise-cancelling headphones is a very effective outside noise isolation and cancelling. With such headphones, you can do your work or other activities and enjoy your playlist in any noisy environment. You are free to listen not only to music but also to audio books which may turn out not only a very educational but relaxing occupation too. People who don’t use headphones with noise cancelling technology often have to raise the volume higher in order to reduce outside noises, but this can be dangerous and may harm your hearing. ANC technology is a perfect invention to prevent the problems with hearing by enabling you to listen to your music at lower volume while preserving a high-quality sound.

Q: What are disadvantages of noise-cancelling headphones?
A: The biggest disadvantage of ANC model,s from the customer point of view, is their price. A set of ANC headphones may cost around 10 times as much as other non-ANC peers. Also, such type of headphones requires an additional power for their operation. Some of these gadgets use replaceable internal batteries and some built-in rechargeable batteries. You also have to keep in mind that even ANC technology can’t block all the ambient noise, providing the attenuation of up to 90% of the noise.

Sources:

1. Headphones Buying Guide, Best Buy.

2. Daniel Nissenbaum How to buy the best headphones, Which?

3. Tara Tuckwiller Wireless Headphone Buying Guide, ConsumerSearch. November 29, 2016.

4. Whitson Gordon How to Choose the Perfect Pair of Headphones, Lifehacker. November 5, 2011.

5. Choosing the Right Wireless Headphones, eBay. March 3, 2016.

6. How to buy headphones in 2017, CNET.

7. Alan Henry How do I choose the best noise cancelling headphones, Lifehacker. March 6, 2013.

Other reviews
Comments
0 Comments

Your comment was successfully sent

Error! Please try again later

Publish Date: 2017-11-22 11:42:45