Reviews

The Best Headphones and Noise Cancelling Headphones

The Best Headphones and Noise Cancelling Headphones

By Jordan Maxwell

January 25, 2021

Choosing the right set of headphones can be a tough task. There are a number of brands and specs to sort through but ultimately selecting the right pair comes down to your lifestyle and preferences. Whether you’re looking for the best wireless headphones, the best Bluetooth headphones or wireless earphones, the important thing to remember to consider what you need them for and as always, to find the best bang for your buck.

Ideally you want to find something durable, especially when it comes to wired in-ear headphones. One thing is for sure: technology is better than it’s ever been and companies are using new technologies to produce some of the best wireless headphones and noise-cancelling headphones we've ever seen.

What are the best noise-cancelling headphones for a gamer? What are the best wireless earbud for a runner/exerciser? What are the best noise-cancelling earbuds for a stroll after work or a ride on the subway? We’ve taken the time to analyze some of the best wireless headphones and noise cancelling earphones available for a variety of different uses.

1. Editor's Pick: Bose QuietComfort 35 II Over-Ear Noise Cancelling Bluetooth Headphones

ProsCons
  • Bluetooth: 4.1 and NFC pairing
  • Up to 20 hours of battery life
  • Bose Connect app allows you to customize noise cancellation levels
  • Takes up to 2 hours to charge

Key Specs

Battery Type: Rechargeable lithium-ion
Hardware: 3.5 mm audio
Mic: Dual Microphone
Model Year: 2017

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Bose is known for its impeccable sound quality and Bose QuietComfort 35 II are no different. The over-the-ear, noise-cancelling headphones seals the audio you’re listening to and features a built-in Google Assistant and Alexa setting that lets you control music. It also lets you get answers to questions about things like the weather, direction, nearby restaurants and more. Built for the travel and leisure user, these wireless headphones hold a charge for up to 20 hours. Its sound quality is almost second to none and the product itself is surprisingly lightweight — 234 g. While more on the expensive side, you really can’t go wrong if you’re looking to buy once and keep them for a few years.

2. Audio Technica ATH-WS990BT Over-Ear Noise Cancelling Bluetooth Headphones

ProsCons
  • Lightweight
  • Strong Bluetooth connectivity
  • Comes with storage pouch and charger
  • Charge time: 5 hours

    Key Specs

    Battery Type: Rechargeable lithium-ion
    Hardware: 3.5mm Audio, Bluetooth 5
    Mic: Dual Microphone
    Model Year: 2018

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    If you’re looking for a good pair of over-the-ear headphones, this noise-cancelling pair is a good bet for you. They are reasonably priced and come with settings that let you make or receive calls and control music through the headphones. The battery lasts for up to 30 hours and come with memory foam cushions that are designed to fully seal against your head, allowing for very little movement while you’re in motion.

    3. Apple AirPods In-Ear Truly Wireless Headphones

    ProsCons
    • Built-in mic, voice assistant built-in (Siri)
    • Wireless talk time: 18 hours
    • In-ear buds
    • Easy to lose

    Key Specs

    Battery Type: Wireless Charging Case
    Hardware: 3.5 mm audio
    Mic: Dual Microphone
    Model Year: N/A

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    If you have any of the latest iPhone or Apple devices, chances are that you’re familiar with the Apple AirPods. As the company has distanced itself from AUX jacks with its latest models, these headphones have become some of the most popular on the market. The wireless headphones come with the familiar voice-assistant that we’ve all come to know and love — Siri — and you can double-tap the earbuds to play or skip forward when listening to music. The AirPods hold a charge for 24 hours but you can get up to 3 hours of battery life when charging for just 15 minutes. These headphones are ideal in work settings, when walking and other light-duty activities. In addition to being good for adults, AirPods are also good for children.

    4. Sony WH-1000XM3 Wireless Noise-Canceling Over-Ear Headphones

    ProsCons
    • Up to 30 hours of playback
    • Tap controls for audio
    • Bass and noise cancellation above average
    • Microphone can be spotty during calls
    • Battery life closer to 24 hours on consistent play

    Key Specs

    Battery Type: Rechargeable lithium-ion
    Hardware: 3.5 mm audio
    Mic: Dual Microphone
    Model Year: 2019

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    Offering up to 30 hours of battery life, these over-the-ear headphones are a solid option for the travel and leisure listener. They come equipped with industry-recognized noise cancellation as Sony’s proprietary HD noise-cancelling processor eliminates a majority of the noise around you. It also comes equipped with Google Voice Assistant and Alexa. These pair of wireless headphones might be the best ones for recharging as it offers 5 hours of charge for 10 minutes on the dock, which is pretty attractive.

    5. JBL JR400BT Kids Wireless On-Ear Bluetooth Headphones

    ProsCons
    • Connect up to 15 meters away
    • Compact and foldable design
    • Great for kids
    • Can take a while to connect to external speakers or devices

    Key Specs

    Battery Type: Rechargeable lithium-ion
    Hardware: 3.5 mm audio
    Mic: Dual Microphone
    Model Year: 2019

    See Price

    Of course, we didn’t forget about the kids either. JBL headphones and speakers have long been lauded for its sound quality and performance. For a young child in grade school, these are a great option. Not only are they durable but they are easy-to-use as well. With easy-to-operate controls and a compact and foldable design, these headphones also allow you to listen to them wirelessly within 15 metres of your device. The JBL JR300BT’s also carry up to 12 hours of battery life and can charge 1 hour of battery life in just 10 minutes. If your kids love to watch videos on an iPad or want to watch a movie on a flight, these are perfect to keep them distracted the whole way through.

    Start Shopping for Headphones Today

    Whether you’re looking to purchase wireless headphones or noise cancelling earphones, just remember that battery life and durability are just as important as sound quality. There are many pros and cons for every option but ultimately it comes down to what’s best for you and your lifestyle. If you’re looking to splurge a bit for your weekly music deep dive or favourite podcast, feel free to check out our sidebar for deals on wireless headphones and learn more from our forums about the best noise cancelling earbuds and more.

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