Our Picks

Best Over-Ear Noise Isolating Headphones   
Sony WH-1000XM3    

Best In-Ear Noise Isolating Headphones   
Bose QuietComfort 20   

The right pair of headphones form a buffer from noise and distraction, allowing you to work more productively. They’ll make your phone calls clearer. They’ll have all the comfort and battery life you need for all-day use.

How do noise-isolating headphones work? Some isolate you from noise through active noise-canceling circuitry, others create a physical seal, as earplugs do. The best headphones use both techniques. They can reduce that noise by up to 30 decibels—which amounts to blocking 87.5% of outside sound—a handy feature if you work in a noisy office, spend time in busy coffee shops, or want to be productive when commuting or traveling.

While reducing outside noise is important, it’s not the only thing you need in a quality pair of headphones. They need to sound good as well! In addition, they need to be durable, comfortable, and have decent battery life.

What style of headphones should you buy? You may prefer comfortable over-ear headphones or a more portable in-ear model pair. In this roundup, we cover the best of both. We include wireless and wired headphones, premium and affordable options.

Can’t wait to see our picks? Spoiler alert:

Sony’s WH-1000XM3 over-ear headphones are better at canceling noise than all of the competition, and their wireless sound is exceptional. They are comfortable and have long battery life and a premium price.

Bose’s QuietComfort 20 earbuds are our second pick. They have a wired connection that results in quality audio. Since the battery is only used for noise canceling, it lasts quite a while. You can continue using the headphones after the battery dies.

Most of the headphones in our roundup have a premium price. Why? I think it’s worth spending more money to get quality headphones. We do include two more affordable models, the Mpow H10 and TaoTronics TT-BH060, which cancel noise but don’t have the same build or sound quality as the others.

Quick Navigation

// Why Trust Us?
// Why Choose Noise Isolating Headphones?
// How We Tested
// The Winners
// The Competition

Why Trust Us?


My name is Adrian Try. I’ve been playing musical instruments for 36 years and was the editor of Audiotuts+ for five. In that role, I wrote about the latest trends in audio gear, including headphones. Here at SoftwareHow, I recently reviewed the best headphones to use in the office.

I’ve owned and used a wide variety myself—over-ear headphones and earbuds, wired and Bluetooth, headphones from leading brands like Sennheiser, Audio-Technica, Bose, Apple, V-MODA, and Plantronics.

My current over-ear headphones, Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT, have good passive noise isolation and dampen the ambient sound by -12.75 dB. The headphones included in this roundup do even better.

While writing this review, I made use of noise isolation tests performed by RTINGS.com and The Wirecutter and consulted reviews by industry professionals and consumers.

Why Choose Noise Isolating Headphones?

Why choose noise isolating headphones? There are a number of reasons.

Headphones Can Mask Distracting Noises

Do you work in a noisy office? Is your family distracting when you work from home? Noise-isolating headphones may be able to help you focus on your work.

Research shows that a noisy office is a leading cause of productivity loss and unhappiness among white-collar workers (Headphonesty). When you wear noise-isolating headphones, the distractions and frustration vanish.

They signal to your family or workmates that you’re in work mode.

Because you can’t hear noises from your surroundings, you’ll be able to play your music at quieter volumes. That’s not only good for your sanity but your long-term hearing health.

Passive Noise Isolation or Active Noise Cancelling

According to RTINGS.com, “Noise isolation is the headphones’ ability to block ambient noise passively and/or actively.” Active noise canceling (ANC) is far superior. Most headphones in this roundup fall into that category. Only the Shure SE215 uses passive noise isolation only.

Active noise-canceling headphones use microphones to pick up ambient sound waves and invert them. This process cancels out the original sounds, resulting in near silence. Some sounds, such as human voices, are more difficult to cancel and may still carry through. Passive noise isolation is a low-tech solution that doesn’t require batteries. Often passive noise isolating headphones are more affordable.

Active noise-canceling headphones produce a phenomenon called “noise suck” that some users find uncomfortable. Those users may want to consider headphones that use passive sound isolation instead. For more information on the pros and cons of ANC, refer to the Wirecutter article: The Pros and Cons of Bose Noise-Cancelling Headphones.

Listening to Music Can Boost Productivity

Studies indicate that listening to music while you work may increase your productivity (Inc, Workforce). It triggers the release of dopamine in your brain, which eases work-related stress and reduces anxiety. Music can sharpen your focus and improve your mood, enhancing both mental and physical performance.

Some types of music are more effective than others, especially music you’re already familiar with and music without lyrics. Classical music helps you focus on mental tasks, while upbeat music helps you power through physical tasks.

Some people find natural sounds (e.g., the sound of rain or surf) work better than music. Everyone’s different, so experiment to see which sounds enhance your performance.

Headphones Can Improve Communication

Many noise-canceling headphones include a microphone that you can use to make hands-free calls. Some models can add significant clarity to calls by cutting out background noises, improving the quality of your at-work communication.

How We Tested

Effective Noise Isolation

To learn which headphones were most effective at blocking outside noise, I turned to reviewers (notably The Wirecutter and RTINGS.com) who systematically tested a wide range of headphones. The Wirecutter targeted their tests at blocking noise you encounter while flying, while RTINGS.com tested all frequencies.

Here is the overall noise-canceling quality (according to RTINGS.com) of each model we review. Note that for each 10 dB drop in volume, the perceived sound is half as loud.

  • Sony WH-1000XM3: -29.9 dB
  • Bose 700: -27.56 dB
  • Bose QuietComfort 35 Series II: -27.01 dB
  • Shure SE215: -25.62 dB
  • Bose QuietComfort 25: -25.26 dB
  • Bose QuietComfort 20: -24.42 dB
  • TaoTronics TT-BH060: -23.2 dB
  • Beats Solo Pro: -23.18 dB
  • Apple AirPods Pro: -23.01 dB
  • Bowers & Wilkins PX7: -22.58 dB
  • Sennheiser Momentum 3: -22.57 dB
  • Mpow H10: -21.81 dB

That’s not the whole story. Most headphones don’t isolate all frequencies evenly. Some struggle to block bass frequencies in particular. If you want to filter out deeper sounds (like engine noises), pay close attention to the models that block low frequencies. Here are RTINGS.com’s test results for bass, mid, and treble for each model. We sorted the list by those that blocked the most bass.

  • Bose QuietComfort 20: -23.88, -20.86, -28.06 dB
  • Sony WH-1000XM3: -23.03, -27.24, -39.7 dB
  • Bose QuietComfort 35 Series II: -19.65, -24.92, -36.85 dB
  • Apple AirPods Pro: -19.56, -21.82, -27.8 dB
  • Mpow H10: -18.66, -22.01, -25.1 dB
  • Sennheiser Momentum 3: -18.43, -14.17, -34.29 dB
  • Bose QuietComfort 25: -17.49, -26.05, -33.1 dB
  • Bose 700: -17.32, -24.67, -41.24 dB
  • Shure SE215: -15.13, -22.63, -36.73 dB
  • TaoTronics TT-BH060: -15.05, -17.31, -37.19 dB
  • Bowers & Wilkins PX7: -13.23, -22.7, -32.74 dB
  • Beats Solo Pro: -11.23, -23.13, -36.36 dB

That’s a lot of numbers! What’s the short answer here? RTINGS.com took all those results into account and gave an overall score out of 10 for noise isolation. This score is possibly the most helpful metric when choosing headphones with the best isolation. Check out these stats:

  • Sony WH-1000XM3: 9.8
  • Bose QuietComfort 35 Series II: 9.2
  • Bose QuietComfort 20: 9.1
  • Bose 700: 9.0
  • Bose QuietComfort 25: 8.7
  • Apple AirPods Pro: 8.6
  • Shure SE215: 8.5
  • Mpow H10: 8.3
  • TaoTronics TT-BH060: 8.2
  • Sennheiser Momentum 3: 8.2
  • Bowers & Wilkins PX7: 8.1
  • Beats Solo Pro: 8.0

Positive Consumer Reviews

In working through this roundup, I started with a long list of headphones that do noise isolation well. But being good at that one attribute doesn’t guarantee that they will have acceptable quality in other areas. To determine that, I turned to consumer reviews, which are often candidly honest about the effectiveness, comfort, and durability of the headphones the reviewers purchased with their own money.

Our list only includes headphones with a consumer rating of four stars and higher. Here are the ratings and number of reviews for each model:

  • Bose QuietComfort 35 Series II: 4.6 stars, 6,995 reviews
  • Sony WH-1000XM3: 4.6 stars, 5,986 reviews
  • Apple AirPods Pro: 4.6 stars, 572 reviews
  • Beats Solo Pro: 4.6 stars, 204 reviews
  • Bose 700: 4.4 stars, 1,668 reviews
  • Bose QuietComfort 25: 4.3 stars, 5,991 reviews
  • TaoTronics TT-BH060: 4.2 stars, 1,988 reviews
  • Shure SE215: 4.2 stars, 1,640 reviews
  • Bose QuietComfort 20: 4.2 stars, 1,434 reviews
  • Mpow H10: 4.2 stars, 152 reviews
  • Bowers & Wilkins PX7: 4.2 stars, 127 reviews
  • Sennheiser Momentum 3: 4.2 stars, 83 reviews

Suitable for Use in the Office

You may be interested in using your headphones in the office. RTINGS.com ranked each model for effectiveness in that environment:

  • Bose QuietComfort 35 Series II: 7.8
  • Sony WH-1000XM3: 7.6
  • Bose 700: 7.6
  • Sennheiser Momentum 3: 7.5
  • Bowers & Wilkins PX7: 7.3
  • Bose QuietComfort 20: 7.2
  • Bose QuietComfort 25: 7.1
  • Apple AirPods Pro: 7.1
  • Mpow H10: 7.0
  • Beats Solo Pro: 6.9
  • TaoTronics TT-BH060: 6.8
  • Shure SE215: 6.3

Wired or Wireless?

Wireless headphones are popular and convenient, but wireless models also have advantages. You can more easily connect to the entertainment center, they often sound better and cost less, and their batteries are likely to last longer.

These headphones are wired:

  • Bose QuietComfort 20
  • Bose QuietComfort 25
  • Shure SE215

These are wireless:

  • Sony WH-1000XM3
  • Bose QuietComfort 35 Series II
  • Bose 700
  • Apple AirPods Pro
  • Mpow H10
  • TaoTronics TT-BH060
  • Sennheiser Momentum 3
  • Bowers & Wilkins PX7
  • Beats Solo Pro

Battery Life

Active noise canceling and Bluetooth headphones require batteries. How long do they last? Most will get you through the day, even if you need to charge them.

  • Bose QuietComfort 25: 35 hours
  • Sony WH-1000XM3: 30 hours
  • Mpow H10: 30 hours
  • TaoTronics TT-BH060: 30 hours
  • Bose QuietComfort 35 Series II: 20 hours
  • Bowers & Wilkins PX7: 30 hours
  • Beats Solo Pro: 22 hours
  • Bose 700: 20 hours
  • Sennheiser Momentum 3: 17 hours
  • Bose QuietComfort 20: 16 hours
  • Apple AirPods Pro: 4.5 hours (24 hours with case)
  • Shure SE215: n/a

A Quality Microphone

Do you intend to use your headphones when making phone calls? Then you’ll need a quality microphone. Here are the models that offer a mic:

  • Sony WH-1000XM3
  • Bose QuietComfort 20
  • Bose QuietComfort 35 Series II
  • Bose 700
  • Bose QuietComfort 25
  • Apple AirPods Pro
  • Mpow H10
  • TaoTronics TT-BH060
  • Sennheiser Momentum 3
  • Bowers & Wilkins PX7
  • Beats Solo Pro

Read on to see our picks of the best noise-isolating headphones.

The Winners

Best Over-Ear Noise Isolating Headphones: Sony WH-1000XM3


Sony’s WH-1000XM3 Bluetooth headphones are the most effective at noise canceling in industry tests and leak little sound. That makes them perfect for busy offices where noise can be a serious distraction. They sound great, are quite comfortable, and have a battery that will last for days. They have a premium price and are available in black or white.

Get Them on Amazon

At a glance:

  • Current rating: 4.6 stars, 5,986 reviews
  • Type: Over-ear
  • Noise isolation overall (RTINGS.com): -29.9 dB
  • Noise isolation bass, mid, treble (RTINGS.com): -23.03, -27.24, -39.7 dB
  • Noise isolation score (RTINGS.com): 9.8
  • RTINGS.com office use verdict: 7.6
  • Wireless: Yes, and can be plugged in
  • Battery life: 30 hours
  • Microphone: Yes with Alexa voice control
  • Weight: 0.56 lb, 254 g

Tests performed by both The Wirecutter and RTINGS.com find these headphones the best at isolating ambient noise—an overall sound reduction of 23.1 or 29.9 dB depending on the tester—allowing for distraction-free listening. That includes blocking low-frequency sounds like engine noises, though the wired QuietComfort 20 (our in-ear pick below) is marginally better.

They are optimized for music listening. Users love the sound quality, though it’s a little heavy on the bass. You can adjust the EQ using the Sony Connect mobile app, as well as your levels and ambient sound settings. You can use either a wired or wireless connection. A carrying case is included.

Most users find them comfortable, though that’s an individual thing. They’re also reasonably durable. One user got three years of regular use from them, but another found a cosmetic crack in the headband after taking them on and off frequently in cold weather.

They are “smart” headphones that make automatic adjustments to the sound:

  • to compensate for your head size, glasses, and hair
  • when using active noise cancellation at high altitude
  • so that you can hear the outside world better when you want
  • and they turn the volume down when you place your hand over the earpad, so you don’t need to take the headphones off to speak to others

They can be controlled by using intuitive touch gestures. Answer the phone with a double-tap, swipe the panel to adjust volume and change tracks, and double-tap to interact with a virtual voice assistant. Unfortunately, gestures may be triggered randomly in cold weather.

They are highly-rated for commuting and office use, but are let down by the quality of the microphone when making phone calls:

  • One user reports sounding like a robot when talking on the phone
  • Another user found that the other party heard echoes of their voice
  • A third was frustrated that outside noises sounded louder than the voice on the call

Overall, these are excellent headphones, especially if you value being isolated from distracting or annoying noises. Their closest competitor is the Bose QuietComfort 35 Series II, which is not far behind in noise-canceling and sound quality, but ahead of the game with phone call clarity and, for many, comfort.

Best In-Ear Noise Isolating Headphones: Bose QuietComfort 20


The Bose QuietComfort 20 are the most effective noise-canceling earbuds in existence. In The Wirecutter’s test (which is optimized for noise experienced during air travel), they beat over-ear headphones as well. In part, that’s because they use a cable rather than Bluetooth. That cable can be handy when accessing in-flight entertainment, but not so convenient in the office. Two models are available: one optimized for iOS and the other for Android.

Get Them on Amazon

At a glance:

  • Current rating: 4.2 stars, 1,434 reviews
  • Type: Earbuds
  • Noise isolation overall (RTINGS.com): -24.42 dB
  • Noise isolation bass, mid, treble (RTINGS.com): -23.88, -20.86, -28.06 dB
  • Noise isolation score (RTINGS.com): 9.1
  • RTINGS.com office use verdict: 7.2
  • Wireless: No
  • Battery life: 16 hours (only required for noise canceling)
  • Microphone: Yes
  • Weight: 1.55 oz, 44 g

If portability and noise isolation are essential to you, these are awesome earbuds. The ANC is terrific; they don’t produce “eardrum suck” like other headphones. They’re compact and a good choice for your commute. When you need to hear what’s going on (say, an announcement at a railway station) Aware Mode can be turned on at the touch of a button.

They’re also a good choice once you arrive at the office. They leak little noise; their noise isolation will let you work without distraction. Users report that the sound is clear on both ends of a phone call.

QuietComfort 20s are comfortable enough to wear all day and have excellent battery life. They will continue to work once the batteries are gone, although without active noise canceling. The only downside is that they’re cabled rather than wireless.

Their comfort is due to the StayHear+ tips which are designed to fit comfortably without being forced into your ears. Users report they are more comfortable than other earbuds, and they can be worn them all day.

Many users are satisfied with the quality of the sound of these earbuds, though many of the over-ear headphones we recommend are better. A bigger weak point is their durability. Several users found they needed to be replaced in less than two years, which is disappointing given their premium price. That’s not everyone’s experience, however—some have lasted for seven years before being upgraded.

Alternatives? If you prefer wireless earbuds I recommend the AirPods Pro, especially if you’re an Apple user. They’re highly-rated, have excellent noise isolation (especially in the bass frequencies), and all the smart features you could want.

The Competition

1. Bose QuietComfort 35 Series II


Bose’s QuietComfort 35 Series II has excellent noise isolation, and are great headphones overall. They are our pick for the Best Headphones for Home & Office Workers. They’re comfortable enough to wear all day and have more than enough battery life. They also add clarity to your phone calls. They’re an excellent alternative to our winning Sony WH-1000XM3s above.

At a glance:

  • Current rating: 4.6 stars, 6,995 reviews
  • Type: Over-ear
  • Noise isolation overall (RTINGS.com): -27.01 dB
  • Noise isolation bass, mid, treble (RTINGS.com): -19.65, -24.92, -36.85 dB
  • Noise isolation score (RTINGS.com): 9.2
  • RTINGS.com office use verdict: 7.8
  • Wireless: Yes, can be used with cable
  • Battery life: 20 hours (40 hours when plugged in and using noise-canceling)
  • Microphone: Yes, with an Action button to control voice assistants
  • Weight: 8.3 oz, 236 g

These headphones are excellent for office use. They’re among the best at noise canceling, allowing you to work without distraction, and have excellent battery life, though not as long as some of their competitors. But they do leak some sound which may distract others.

QuietComfort 35s have an effortless bass and automatically optimize the sound to match the type of music you’re listening to. The Bose Connect mobile app (iOS, Android) allows you to personalize your settings and offers artificial reality features.

Your phone calls will have greater clarity due to the noise-rejecting dual-microphone system. You can pair them with your phone and computer simultaneously. They will automatically pause the music on your computer when your phone starts to ring so you can answer the call from your headphones.

These headphones are engineered to survive life on the go and are made of hardy, impact-resistant materials. One user got six years of use out of their Series I headphones.

2. Bose 700


Another set of premium headphones from Bose, the 700 series has excellent noise cancellation, though not quite so good in the bass frequencies. They look sleek and are available in black, luxe silver, and soapstone.

At a glance:

  • Current rating: 4.4 stars, 1,668 reviews
  • Type: Over-ear
  • Noise isolation overall (RTINGS.com): -27.56 dB
  • Noise isolation bass, mid, treble (RTINGS.com): -17.32, -24.67, -41.24 dB
  • Noise isolation score (RTINGS.com): 9.0
  • RTINGS.com office use verdict: 7.6
  • Wireless: Yes
  • Battery life: 20 hours
  • Microphone: Yes
  • Weight: 8.8 oz, 249 g

These are The Wirecutter’s pick for the best over-ear noise-canceling headphones. The noise reduction settings are configurable, with ten levels to choose from. If you have a problem with noise suck, reduce the level of noise cancellation until the problem goes away.

They sound quite good and have decent battery life, though they are not best-in-class in either of those categories. Bose 700s are suitable for office use, and leak little noise. The four microphones are excellent, resulting in clear voices during calls. There is a mute button that you may find helpful during conference calls.

The headphones have a high level of integration with digital voice assistants, allowing you to leave your phone in your pocket while using your headphones as the interface. An augmented reality feature detects your body movement, head orientation, and location to offer tailored audio content.

700s are made from a single sheet of stainless steel and feel solid. Their soft-touch plastic feels great and reduces weight. They’re comfortable enough to wear all day.

3. Bose QuietComfort 25


The Bose QuietComfort 25 headphones are more affordable than the premium QC 35 model above (still not cheap) and have active noise canceling that is almost as effective. They are not wireless, which may be why they have the longest battery life of any headphones we recommend—the batteries are only used for noise canceling. Separate versions are available for Apple and Android devices, and they’re available in black, triple black, and white.

At a glance:

  • Current rating: 4.3 stars, 5,991 reviews
  • Type: Over-ear
  • Noise isolation overall (RTINGS.com): -25.26 dB
  • Noise isolation bass, mid, treble (RTINGS.com): -17.49, -26.05, -33.1 dB
  • Noise isolation score (RTINGS.com): 8.7
  • RTINGS.com office use verdict: 7.1
  • Wireless: No
  • Battery life: 35 hours (single AAA, only required for ANC)
  • Microphone: Yes
  • Weight: 6.9 oz, 196 g

These headphones are light and comfortable. They do leak some sound, making them a little less than ideal in an office situation. QuietComfort 25s are great for travelers, though. Their excellent noise cancellation will block most of the noise you experience while flying, and the wired connection makes connecting to in-flight entertainment much simpler.

Bose QuietComfort 25s have excellent sound quality, in part because of their wired connection, and sound even better when you “burn them in” after 100 hours of use. However, there are some negatives. They have a fairly high noise suck, and the noise cancellation isn’t adjustable like the Bose 700. Also, many user reviews report hinge breakages within a year, so they have questionable durability.

4. Apple AirPods Pro


Apple’s AirPods Pro are truly wireless in-ear headphones that offer excellent noise canceling, quality sound, and Transparency Mode that allows you to turn the ambient sound up instead of down. They have strong integration with Apple devices and will pair with them easily. While AirPods work with other operating systems, Windows and Android users may get better value from an alternative.

At a glance:

  • Current rating: 4.6 stars, 572 reviews
  • Type: In-ear (truly wireless)
  • Noise isolation overall (RTINGS.com): -23.01 dB
  • Noise isolation bass, mid, treble (RTINGS.com): -19.56, -21.82, -27.8 dB
  • Noise isolation score (RTINGS.com): 8.6
  • RTINGS.com office use verdict: 7.1
  • Wireless: Yes
  • Battery life: 4.5 hours (5 hours when not using active noise canceling, 24 hours with case)
  • Microphone: Yes, with access to Siri
  • Weight: 0.38 oz (1.99 oz with case), 10.8 g (56.4 g with case)

AirPods Pro have terrific noise isolation and are suitable for commuting, traveling, and office work. An inward-facing microphone picks up how much unwanted noise is coming through and ANC is automatically adjusted to remove it.

When you need to have a conversation, turn Transparency Mode on by holding the touch-force sensor on the stem, and voices will be amplified rather than attenuated. While the battery life is only four and a half hours, they charge automatically when placed in their case for a full 24 hours of use.

They sound quite good, but are a little light on bass, and without quite the same quality as other premium headphones. The inward-facing microphone can tell how the shape of your ear affects the sound and will adjust the EQ automatically to compensate.

AirPods Pro are quite comfortable. Three differently-sized sets of silicone tips are provided. Choose the ones that have the best fit and best seal outside noise for you.

5. Shure SE215


The Shure SE215 is the only model in our roundup that uses passive noise isolation rather than active noise canceling—and works surprisingly well. They are wired, in-ear headphones with excellent sound quality. Because they don’t use Bluetooth or ANC, no batteries are required. They’re also quite affordable.

At a glance:

  • Current rating: 4.2 stars, 1,640 reviews
  • Type: In-ear
  • Noise isolation overall (RTINGS.com): -25.62 dB
  • Noise isolation bass, mid, treble (RTINGS.com): -15.13, -22.63, -36.73 dB
  • Noise isolation score (RTINGS.com): 8.5
  • RTINGS.com office use verdict: 6.3
  • Wireless: No
  • Battery life: n/a
  • Microphone: No
  • Weight: 5.64 oz, 160 g

These headphones are excellent when commuting; one user even wears them under his motorcycle helmet. That’s a good indication of how well they isolate sound. That same isolation makes SE215s suitable for office use. Since they don’t have a microphone, however, they can’t be used for phone calls.

Not everyone finds them comfortable, especially some who wear glasses. The sound quality is excellent; many musicians use them for in-ear monitoring when playing live. However, the quality of premium over-ear headphones is better. A wireless version is available, but was not included in the noise isolation tests that I’m aware of.

6. Mpow H10


The Mpow H10 headphones are an affordable alternative to other over-ear, noise-canceling models. They have long battery life and decent sound quality. However, they don’t have the same build quality as more expensive headphones and feel a little bulky.

At a glance:

  • Current rating: 4.2 stars, 152 reviews
  • Type: Over-ear
  • Noise isolation overall (RTINGS.com): -21.81 dB
  • Noise isolation bass, mid, treble (RTINGS.com): -18.66, -22.01, -25.1 dB
  • Noise isolation score (RTINGS.com): 8.3
  • RTINGS.com office use verdict: 7.0
  • Wireless: Yes
  • Battery life: 30 hours
  • Microphone: Yes
  • Weight: 9.9 oz, 281 g

The H10s will allow you to work distraction-free due to their superb noise isolation. Unfortunately, they leak quite a lot of sound when playing music at loud volumes, so you may become a distraction to your fellow workers. When using them for phone calls, the other party will sound clear to you, but you may sound a little distant to them.

Users seem quite happy with them, especially for the price. One user wears them when mowing the lawn because he finds them comfortable and they do a great job blocking the sound of the mower. Another user purchased them so they can listen to podcasts while doing chores around the house.

7. TaoTronics TT-BH060


TaoTraonics’ TT-BH060 headphones are affordable, offer 30 hours of battery life, and provide decent noise isolation. However, RTINGS.com found their sound quality was quite poor.

At a glance:

  • Current rating: 4.2 stars, 1,988 reviews
  • Type: Over-ear
  • Noise isolation overall (RTINGS.com): -23.2 dB
  • Noise isolation bass, mid, treble (RTINGS.com): -15.05, -17.31, -37.19 dB
  • Noise isolation score (RTINGS.com): 8.2
  • RTINGS.com office use verdict: 6.8
  • Wireless: Yes
  • Battery life: 30 hours
  • Microphone: Yes
  • Weight: 9.8 oz, 287 g

If you can live with the sound quality, these headphones are suitable for commuting and the office. They’re compact, the sound isolation is great, and they leak little noise so that everyone can work distraction-free.
Many users are actually quite happy with the sound, especially for the price. Comfort is good; many users report wearing them without issue for hours at a time.

Not everyone is happy spending $300+ on headphones. These Taotronics headphones, as well as the Mpow H10s above, are reasonable alternatives with a much more palatable price tag.

8. Sennheiser Momentum 3


We’re back to premium headphones. The Sennheiser Momentum 3s look great and have reasonable noise canceling. They have microphones that make for clear phone calls and they will auto-pause your music when a phone call comes in. They sound good, but not as good as some other headphones in this price range.

At a glance:

  • Current rating: 4.2 stars, 83 reviews
  • Type: Over-ear
  • Noise isolation overall (RTINGS.com): -22.57 dB
  • Noise isolation bass, mid, treble (RTINGS.com): -18.43, -14.17, -34.29 dB
  • Noise isolation score (RTINGS.com): 8.2
  • RTINGS.com office use verdict: 7.5
  • Wireless: Yes
  • Battery life: 17 hours
  • Microphone: Yes
  • Weight: 10.7 oz, 303 g

If your priority is excellent noise isolation, these are terrific, but not as effective as our winners, the Sony WH-1000XM3. The Sonys are also lighter, and many users find them more comfortable, too.

One user finds that the Momentums have better, warmer sound quality with more bass, and appreciates that they can pair with two devices at once while the Sonys only connect to one at a time. Another user finds that they distort less at higher volumes than either the Sony or Bose headphones.

The 17-hour battery life is acceptable, but significantly shorter than other models that offer 30 hours or more. One user returned the headphones due to constant Bluetooth disconnections.

If you care about style, you may be tempted by the Momentums. They’re sleek, and the exposed steel gives them a distinctly retro look. Their build quality is excellent.

9. Bowers & Wilkins PX7


Bowers & Wilkins PX7 are premium headphones with excellent battery life and reasonable noise isolation. Unfortunately, they don’t have much else going for them. Sound quality is questionable, not everyone finds them comfortable, and their microphones are not clear enough for phone calls.

At a glance:

  • Current rating: 4.2 stars, 127 reviews
  • Type: Over-ear
  • Noise isolation overall (RTINGS.com): -22.58 dB
  • Noise isolation bass, mid, treble (RTINGS.com): -13.23, -22.7, -32.74 dB
  • Noise isolation score (RTINGS.com): 8.1
  • RTINGS.com office use verdict: 7.3
  • Wireless: Yes
  • Battery life: 30 hours
  • Microphone: Yes
  • Weight: 10.7 oz, 303 g

Battery life is the strong point of these headphones. 30 hours is excellent, and a 15-minute charge will give you five hours of listening. However, other headphones (including our winners) have similar battery life.

Comfort is a little controversial. RTINGS.com reviewers loved wearing them, while The Wirecutter reviewers found them extremely uncomfortable and said that the headband had “an uncomfortable pinching fit, even on smaller skulls.” In general, users tend to find them comfortable and can wear them for hours, but your mileage may vary.

Neither reviewer had anything positive to say about the sound quality of these headphones, while many reviewers love the sound. One user compared them to the Sony 1000MX3, Bose N700, Bose QuietComfort 35 Series II, Sennheiser Momentum 3 and more, and concluded these sounded best by far.

There may be a reason why consumers enjoy the sound and reviewers don’t (besides the individual preferences of the listeners). Another consumer discovered that there is sound degradation when the maximum amount of noise cancellation is applied, which is likely what the reviewers were working with.

He said that the headphones sound warmer without ANC, and, worse, some type of limiter is applied when ANC is turned on, affecting the volume of some frequencies and spoiling the fidelity of the music.

10. Beats Solo Pro


The Beats Solo Pro has quite good noise isolation, but is not as effective as the other headphones in our roundup. They fold up for easy transport (and turn on automatically when you unfold them), have acceptable battery life, and are stylish. They are the only on-ear headphones in our review, and users who wear glasses may find them more comfortable.

At a glance:

  • Current rating: 4.6 stars, 204 reviews
  • Type: On-ear
  • Noise isolation overall (RTINGS.com): -23.18 dB
  • Noise isolation bass, mid, treble (RTINGS.com): -11.23, -23.13, -36.36 dB
  • Noise isolation score (RTINGS.com): 8.0
  • RTINGS.com office use verdict: 6.9
  • Wireless: Yes
  • Battery life: 22 hours (40 hours with no noise canceling)
  • Microphone: Yes
  • Weight: 9 oz, 255 g

These headphones have nice sound quality with enhanced bass and treble. They can be played loud without distortion. Like the AirPods Pro, they pair easily with Apple devices and have Transparency Mode so that you can have conversations and interact with your surroundings without taking them off.

However, sound quality on phone calls is not up to the high standards of others in our review, and while many users find the headphones comfortable, some find the fit a little tight. One user said that he would rather use his Sony WH-1000XM3s for listening sessions lasting hours.