Headphones:

Best noise-canceling headphones

Updated

These headphones hush ambient sounds by creating frequencies that obviate the noise at your ear. They won't eliminate everything, but the better models significantly reduce the whoosh of airplanes' air-conditioning systems and crowd chatter. Noise-canceling headphones come in all forms, from full size to ear buds, and since you no longer have to crank up the volume to overcome background noise, this type of headphone lets you listen at lower levels. You'll also hear more low-level detail in your music.

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PSB M4U 2

The PSB Speakers M4U 2 Active Noise Cancelling Headphones combine above-average noise cancellation with excellent sound quality that's well worth the price for dedicated audiophiles looking to eliminate ambient noise.

Price: $399.00 - $399.99 Check prices

4 stars Excellent

Harman Kardon NC

While they may not be quite as comfortable as Bose's ultrapopular QC 15 headphones, the Harman Kardon NCs offer slightly better sound and have a built-in rechargeable battery to power the active noise-cancellation circuitry.

Price: $284.94 - $299.95 Check prices

4 stars Excellent

Bose QuietComfort headphone

With the QuietComfort 3s, Bose has done a remarkable job of shrinking its popular noise-canceling headphones while achieving similarly impressive sound quality--but that engineering feat doesn't come cheap.

Price: $314.00 - $349.95 Check prices

4 stars Excellent

Soul by Ludacris SL300

Although they won't satisfy audiophiles and purists, we prefer the Soul by Ludacris SL300 headphones over the competition for their sexy light-up earpieces, supreme comfort, and street-savvy noise cancellation.

Price: $49.99 - $229.99 Check prices

4 stars Excellent

AKG K495 NC Acoustics (Black)

The AKG K495 NCs aren't as comfortable and don't sound quite as good as the Bose QC 15s, but they're built better, offer very good noise-cancellation, and recharge via USB.

Price: $289.00 - $349.95 Check prices

3.5 stars Very good

Sony MDR-NC200D (Black)

If you can't afford Bose's QuietComfort noise-canceling headphones, the attractively designed and more affordable Sony MDR-NC200Ds are worth your consideration.

Price: $165.99 - $286.82 Check prices

3.5 stars Very good

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC1 QuietPoint

The Audio-Technica QuietPoint ATH-ANC1 headphones are a great option for frequent fliers, thanks to their compact, lightweight design, noise cancellation functionality, and good overall sound quality.

Price: $77.95 - $79.95 Check prices

3.5 stars Very good

Monoprice Noise Canceling Headphones (with Active Noise Reduction Technology)

Monoprice's Noise Canceling Headphones are about 70 percent as good as the Bose QC15s for a little more than a third of the price.

3.5 stars Very good
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