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Best wireless noise-cancelling headphones 2020

Best wireless noise-cancelling headphones Buying Guide: Welcome to What Hi-Fi?'s round-up of the best wireless noise-cancelling headphones you can buy in 2020.

The best wireless noise-cancelling headphones are the equivalent of hanging a 'Do Not Disturb' sign on the door of your hotel room. Slip them on and they'll block out sounds – such as rumbling trains or loud conversations – that would otherwise ruin your moments of musical bliss. Whether commuting to work, travelling on a plane or seeking a bit of peace and quiet at home, a pair of wireless noise-cancelling headphones could be just the ticket. 

The best wireless noise-cancelling cans feature excellent wireless audio, strong battery life (over 24 hours, these days) and easy access to voice assistants. Some models simply allow you to switch noise-cancelling on or off, while others give you the ability to adjust the strength of the noise-cancelling. (You might want to allow some noise through when walking or cycling through a built-up area, for example.) 

So, what are the best wireless noise cancelling headphones in 2020? In this handy guide we'll give you the inside track on the best-performing models from the likes of Bose, Sony and Sennheiser. They come in various shapes and sizes, from plush over-ears to tiny, true wireless earbuds. Whatever your budget, you'll find the perfect pair of wireless noise-cancelling headphones below...

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Black Friday is a great time to buy new headphones. Manufacturers steadily reduce the prices of even their best models over the course of a year, but during Black Friday you often get big, temporary drops that are well worth pouncing on. Afraid of missing out? Bookmark our headphone deals page and we'll keep an eye on prices for you.

Best wireless noise-cancelling headphones 2020

(Image credit: Sony)

1. Sony WH-1000XM4

Sony’s premium wireless headphones deliver a sonic masterclass

SPECIFICATIONS

Bluetooth: Yes | Noise-cancelling: Yes | Battery life: 30hr | Charging: USB-C | Built-in mic and controls: Yes

Reasons to Buy

Dynamic, detail-rich sound
Sensational sense of timing
Lightweight, comfy and clever

Reasons to Avoid

No IP rating
No aptX support

The arrival of the Sony WH-1000XM4 wireless noise-cancelling headphones is probably the biggest headphone launch of 2020. Why? Well they just happen to replace the Bose-baiting, Sennheiser-slaying, What Hi-Fi? Award-winning WH-1000XM3s (below), one of the most popular pairs of headphones on the planet. They are quite a big deal and – good news – live up to their hype.

They’re as comfortable as their predecessors (which is very, by the way); they introduce new useful features that elevate the user experience (such as ‘Speak to Chat’, which allows you to talk to someone while the headphones are still on your head, all without moving a muscle); and, more importantly, you’re getting a serious hike in sound quality over the XM3s for the money (in part down to a new DSEE Extreme sound processor).

The line's sense of musicality and enthusiasm remains as addictive as ever here, but you can also hear big improvements over the XM3s across the board. The WH-1000XM4 sounds more composed and confident, especially when it comes to lower frequencies. 

We’re in no doubt these sensational Sony headphones will be tough to beat.

Read the full review: Sony WH-1000XM4

Best Sony headphones 2020

Best wireless noise-cancelling headphones 2020

2. Sony WH-1000XM3

Put simply, these Sonys are the best wireless noise-cancelling headphones you can buy.

SPECIFICATIONS

Bluetooth: Yes | Noise-cancelling: Yes | Battery life: 30hr | Charging: USB-C | Built-in mic and controls: Yes

Reasons to Buy

Detailed dynamic sound
Clever, intuitive features
Great noise-cancelling and battery

Reasons to Avoid

Nothing significant

While no longer Sony's latest (and greatest) wireless noise-cancelling headphones (that'd be the WH-1000XM4s above), they're still superb options – especially for those with tighter budgets; they've dropped in price a fair bit since their successors came along.

They're 2019 (and 2018) What Hi-Fi? Award winners and remain one of the most comfortable, best-sounding and most intuitive pairs of on-ears we’ve tested. Features include Sony's Atmospheric Pressure Optimiser which optimises the noise-cancelling for when you're flying, touchpad controls and an accompanying Headphones Control app. Thanks to a quick charging battery (done via USB-C), the WH-1000XM3s go from empty to full in three hours while a ten minute charge gives you a whopping five hours of use.

They produce an open, spacious sound that gives every instrument, effect and vocal room to breathe. Vocals sound focused and direct, but the instruments around them are delivered in a way that makes it feel as if you’re in the room with the band. Combine that spaciousness with greater detail, dynamic subtlety and loads of lovely deep bass and you've got a breathtaking noise-cancelling package. If you're looking for excellent noise-cancellers but can't afford the WH-1000XM4's outlay, you won't be disappointed with these.

Read the full review: Sony WH-1000XM3

Best wireless noise-cancelling headphones 2020

(Image credit: Sennheiser)

3. Sennheiser Momentum Wireless

Superb wireless noise-cancelling headphones that enhance Sennheiser’s reputation.

SPECIFICATIONS

Bluetooth: Yes | Noise-cancelling: Yes | Battery life: 17hr | Charging: USB-C | Built-in mic and controls: Yes

Reasons to Buy

Energetic, rhythmic presentation
Convenient usability features
Effective noise cancellation

Reasons to Avoid

Uncompetitive battery life

Got an even bigger budget? This pair showcases the considerable talents of Sennheiser’s engineering team. The third-generation Momentum Wireless – both the 1st-gen and 2nd-gen versions were instant knock-outs when they arrived – build on those past successes. Indeed, these cans are a big improvement over their predecessors in the sound department, promising a lively, energetic and insightful listening experience.

Aside from entertaining sonics, you get plenty of features too, including excellent built-in controls. One thing to note: the claimed battery life is only 17 hours, compared to the above Sony's 30 hours. 

Read the full review: Sennheiser Momentum Wireless

Best wireless noise-cancelling headphones 2020

(Image credit: Sony)

4. Sony WF-1000XM3

A new benchmark for wireless noise-cancelling earbuds.

SPECIFICATIONS

Bluetooth: Yes | Noise-cancelling: Yes | Battery life: 6hr (24hr with charging case) | Charging: USB-C | Built-in mic and controls: Yes

Reasons to Buy

Musical sound
Good noise-cancelling
Excellent battery life
Snug fit

Reasons to Avoid

No volume controls
No aptX HD support

There are wireless in-ear headphones and then there are truly wireless in-ear headphones. If you want to cut the cord completely, then the new Sony WF-1000X3 wireless noise-cancelling earbuds are the best we've seen so far. 

They're exceedingly lightweight and compact, which is quite the achievement given that the Sonys squeeze in batteries, playback controls, a Bluetooth receiver and active noise-cancelling. Battery life is six hours, although the supplied carry case doubles as a charger, serving up an extra 18 hours in total.

Sound quality is exceptional. Musical, tonally natural and brilliantly punchy, these true wireless buds combine great sonic ability with excellent noise-cancelling tech (it's even better than that of the preceding model, the Sony WF-1000X). 

If you want noise-cancelling but you don't want big over-ear headphones, the Sony WF-1000XM3 will almost certainly wow you.

Read the full review: Sony WF-1000XM3

Best wireless noise-cancelling headphones 2020

(Image credit: Bowers & Wilkins)

5. Bowers & Wilkins PX7

Hugely impressive wireless noise-cancelling headphones

SPECIFICATIONS

Bluetooth: Yes | Noise-cancelling: Yes | Battery life: 30hr | Charging: USB-C | Built-in mic and controls: Yes

Reasons to Buy

Lively, insightful sound
Three-tiered noise cancellation
Sophisticated, comfortable design

Reasons to Avoid

Earcups don’t fold inwards

B&W’s flagship noise-cancellers place highly in the style stakes but, more importantly, sound as good as they look. These high-quality entertainers can rub shoulders with the very best, and provide plenty of comfort to boot. 

The Sony WH-1000XM3s that top this list of best wireless noise-cancelling headphones might have pipped them to a What Hi-Fi? Award, but these are fine alternatives and great value for money – especially for those who like their sonic clarity with a dash of street-luxe style. A superb choice.

Read the full review: Bowers & Wilkins PX7 review

Best wireless noise-cancelling headphones 2020

6. Lindy BNX-60

The best budget wireless noise-cancelling headphones.

SPECIFICATIONS

Bluetooth: Yes | Noise-cancelling: Yes | Battery life: 15hr | Charging: Micro USB | Built-in mic and controls: Yes

Reasons to Buy

Great value
Detailed, solid sound
Noise-cancelling and Bluetooth

Reasons to Avoid

Treble a little muffled in standard mode

On a tight budget? The BNX-60s prove that it's possible to make a decent pair of wireless noise-cancelling headphones at a bargain price. They offer a comfortable, snug fit for average ears. One ear cup has a volume control, the on/off switch for the active noise-cancellation and a blue light that indicates when the ‘ANC’ feature is in use. The other cup has a USB input for charging, pause/play/skip track controls, a Bluetooth connection light and a standard wired headphone output. A full charge returns a good 15 hours of wireless music, or a little less with the active noise-cancelling. 

Given the bargain price, you'll probably be a little sceptical of their performance. Perhaps bright treble or booming bass will ruin the sound profile? Thankfully that's not the case. The BNX-60 headphones produce a balanced sound, defined vocals and are decent all-round performers. At this price, it's hard to grumble.

Read the full review: Lindy BNX-60

Best wireless noise-cancelling headphones 2020

7. AKG N60 NC Wireless

Portable wireless noise-cancellers with a punchy, balanced sound.

SPECIFICATIONS

Bluetooth: Yes | Noise-cancelling: Yes | Battery life: 30hr | Charging: Micro USB | Built-in mic and controls: Yes

Reasons to Buy

Clear, punchy sound
Musical; balanced
Smart design

Reasons to Avoid

Nothing

The AKG N60 NCs are some of the most compact and convenient headphones we've ever had the pleasure of reviewing. They boast a suitably-sleek design and offer great bang for buck thanks to a comfy fit and superb audio performance. 

Battery life is a decent 15 hours with noise-cancelling and Bluetooth switched on, or up to 30 hours with both technologies switched off.  Bass delivery is powerful yet transparent with detailed, elastic vocals, soaring highs and impressive dynamics. You'd be perfectly happy to wear these all day and for the money, they're still hard to beat.

Read the full review: AKG N60 NC Wireless

Bose QuietComfort Earbuds

(Image credit: Bose)

8. Bose QuietComfort Earbuds

Fantastic true wireless earbuds with brilliant noise-cancelling tech.

SPECIFICATIONS

Bluetooth: Yes | Noise-cancelling: Yes | Battery life: 6hrs (18hrs with charging case) | Charging: USB-C | Built-in mic and controls: Yes

Reasons to Buy

Exciting, entertaining sound
Superb balance
Impressive noise-cancelling

Reasons to Avoid

No volume controls
Average battery life

Historically, the vast majority of Bose's noise-cancelling headphones have been on- and over-ear designs, but the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds take the legendary line into the relatively new world of true wireless earbuds. And they do so with great success.

The Bose feel lightweight enough and we have no issues listening for a few hours at a time. For the average commute or exercise session (the QuietComforts are both sweat and weather-resistant) they are great to live with. Battery life is a claimed six hours from a single charge, with the charging case supplying an extra two charges, making 18 hours in total – a decent reserve, but by no means class-leading. And being able to customise some features and controls, and adjust the excellent noise-cancellation, in the companion app is handy.

The sense of enthusiasm and excitement conveyed by the Bose buds is highly infectious. There’s power, poise and a fantastic sense of dynamism. Bass notes sound full-bodied, go deep and the QuietComfort Earbuds squeeze out lots of detail.

All in all, the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds are great all-rounders, capable of impressive musicality and topped off with excellent noise cancelling. They’re more than a match for any rival at this level.

Read the full review: Bose QuietComfort Earbuds

Best wireless noise-cancelling headphones 2020

(Image credit: Bose)

9. Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700

Improved wireless and noise cancelling, same sonic ability.

SPECIFICATIONS

Bluetooth: Yes | Noise-cancelling: Yes | Battery life: 20hr | Charging: USB-C | Built-in mic and controls: Yes

Reasons to Buy

Next-gen noise-cancellation
Comfortable and stylish
Crystal-clear, upfront sound
Intuitive touch controls

Reasons to Avoid

Lack class-leading insight
Rivals have better battery life
Expensive

"Noise Cancelling Headphones 700" doesn't exactly trip off the tongue, but despite the clunky name these beauties are proof that Bose's quest to improve its noise-cancelling technology has paid off.

The 700s use a new noise-cancelling system with everything from new acoustics to new digital signal processing – all running off Bose’s proprietary NC chip. It features an eight-microphone system (six to cancel noise, two for voice pick-up) and 11 increments (from 0-10) of noise-cancellation intensity to choose from, allowing you to transition from full isolation to full transparency. Zero doesn’t turn noise-cancelling off; it is a light veil that allows you to hear your environment. Turning the tech up to ‘10’ gives you the most extreme level of sound blocking. Whichever level we use, in whatever environment, the isolating effect is as good as we’ve experienced in a pair of headphones. 

For a hands-free experience, there’s built-in voice control, and when listening to music, the sound is bold, clear and well-defined. 

Read the full review: Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700

Best wireless noise-cancelling headphones 2020

(Image credit: Future)

10. Apple AirPods Pro

The new noise-cancelling AirPods can be beaten for sound, but are a joy to live with and use.

SPECIFICATIONS

Bluetooth: Yes | Noise-cancelling: Yes | Battery life: 5hr (+19hr from case) | Charging: Lightning | Built-in mic and controls: Yes

Reasons to Buy

Exceptionally comfortable
Strong noise-cancelling
Balanced, easy-going sound

Reasons to Avoid

Noise-cancelling impacts timing
Sony rival sounds more engaging

If you were searching for the best-sounding noise-cancelling true wireless earbuds on the market, we'd point you firmly in the direction of the Sony WF-1000XM3. However, for those who seek the lightest, most comfortable, most high-tech noise-cancelling buds (and the complete Apple experience), the AirPods Pro are a no-brainer.

Wireless performance (in terms of connectivity) is nothing less than flawless. The excellent Transparency mode allows external noise in so effectively that it's like using a pair of completely non-isolating headphones.

Unlike the standard AirPods, these new Pro buds come with bespoke, elliptical silicone tips that burrow far less deeply into your ears than most in-ear headphones and exert far less pressure, making them barely noticeable in everyday use. Handy if you plan to wear them while jogging or working out.

The sonics lack the punch and dynamism of the Sony buds, but they make up for that with a rich, easy-going nature that works well with any recording - including low-quality audio streams. A fine choice for iPhone fans.

Read the full review: Apple AirPods Pro

Best wireless noise-cancelling headphones 2020

(Image credit: Shure)

11. Shure Aonic 50

A solid debut pair of wireless noise-cancelling headphones from Shure.

SPECIFICATIONS

Bluetooth: Yes | Noise-cancelling: Yes | Battery life: 20hr | In-line mic and controls: Yes | Charging: USB-C

Reasons to Buy

Outstanding levels of detail
Clear and clean delivery
Solid bass

Reasons to Avoid

Noise-cancelling is a mixed bag
Not as engaging as class-leaders

Audio specialist Shure has designed some of the best wired in-ear and over-ear headphones we’ve heard over the years and its products are used by artists ranging from Haim to Hozier. But why stop there?

With the Aonic 50s, Shure is embarking on an ambitious journey to break into two new markets at once. Given this is new ground for Shure, the Aonic 50s are a solid first attempt at a pair of wireless noise-canceling headphones. They aren't the last word in engagement (they don't leave the same lasting impression as the Sony WH-1000XM3s or B&W PX7s above, for example), but they’re strong performers in a lot of areas.

Looking for a premium pair of noise-cancelling headphones with some of Shure’s famous audio pedigree, the Aonic 50s are worth a listen.

Read the full review: Shure Aonic 50

Best wireless noise-cancelling headphones 2020

(Image credit: Sennheiser)

12. Sennheiser HD 450BT

Smooth, durable performers with typical Sennheiser appeal

SPECIFICATIONS

Bluetooth: Yes | Noise-cancelling: Yes | Battery life: 30hr | Charging: USB-C | Built-in mic and controls: Yes

Reasons to Buy

Smooth, easy-listening balance
Excellent battery life
aptX Low Latency Bluetooth

Reasons to Avoid

Busy button layout
Bass emphasis won’t suit all

The HD 450BTs might look a bit plain, but it's always unwise to underestimate Sennheiser - and so it proves here. Considering the mid-range price, these are solidly built, very comfortable cans that offer a great battery life and solid noise cancellation.

Sound is good, too. Smooth, rich and full-bodied, they provide an effortless listen that's also lively enough to be engaging.

Their tonality is a little skewed towards the bottom end, sacrificing the midrange clarity that more neutral rivals, such as the AKG N60NCs, are capable of. That may not play into the hands of every music fan, but some will find favour in the Sennheiser’s modest bias.

Read our full Sennheiser HD 450BT review

Best wireless noise-cancelling headphones 2020

(Image credit: Philips)

13. Philips PH805

Seemingly premium on-ear noise-cancellers for a less than premium price

SPECIFICATIONS

Bluetooth: Yes | Noise-cancelling: Yes | Battery life: 30hr | Charging: Micro USB | Built-in mic and controls: Yes

Reasons to Buy

Controlled, full-bodied sound
Decent battery life
Good looks and build

Reasons to Avoid

Could handle more dynamism
Mild noise-cancellation

Philips’s strategy is to pack in most of the functionality of the current market-leaders, wrap it in a design not a million miles away from that of the current market-leaders, and then charge a fair bit less than the current market-leaders. The result is the PH805s.

These are stylish, comfortable, well-made headphones that on paper do everything you could reasonably expect. That said, the noise-cancelling is a good bit less effective than that of many rivals, and that will put some prospective buyers off.

Those who are happy to have only a little outside noise blocked will find the PH805's sonic delivery to be solid, weighty, warm and detailed, if a touch lacking in outright dynamics.

Read the full Philips PH805 review

Best wireless noise-cancelling headphones 2020

(Image credit: Beyerdynamic)

14. Beyerdynamic Lagoon ANC

Accomplished, grown-up headphones - if you can look past the guide lights gimmick

SPECIFICATIONS

Bluetooth: Yes | Noise-cancelling: Yes | Battery life: 45hr | Charging: USB-C | Built-in mic and controls: Yes

The Lagoon ANCs are Beyerdynamic’s most concerted effort yet to grab some of the premium wireless, noise-cancelling, over-ear action. They do that by throwing in every feature you would expect, plus one you might not - Beyerdynamic’s Light Guide System, which illuminates the inside of each earcup depending on what the headphones are up to.

The Light Guide System is entirely useless, especially as there are voice prompts to let you know what the headphones are up to. It manages to lower the tone of an otherwise-classy product to that of a provincial nightclub.

But look past that odd feature and there's much to like. The delivery is winningly neutral and even-handed, packed with detail and fast-paced. The noise-cancelling is effective, too. With a little more excitement and dynamic range, these would be five-star headphones.

Read the full Beyerdynamic Lagoon ANC review

Best wireless noise-cancelling headphones 2020

(Image credit: Technics)

15. Technics EAH-AZ70W

Technics' breaks new ground with this fine pair of wireless earbuds.

SPECIFICATIONS

Bluetooth version: 5.1 | aptX HD: No | Noise-cancelling: Yes | Battery life: 6 hours (+12 hours from charging case)

Reasons to Buy

Solid, punchy and spacious sound
Excellent bass response
Comfortable and easy to use

Reasons to Avoid

Not the most subtle sound

Technics' attempt to crack the wireless earbuds market starts with this premium pair of in-ears. The earbuds include Alexa voice control, touch controls, and 18 hr battery live (six from the earbuds with a further 12 provided by the case).

They include Technics' own noise-cancelling tech which uses three mics in each earbud to help reduce background chatter. You can alter the strength of the noise-cancelling in the Technics Audio Connect companion app, where you can also select from a range of different sound modes and even track down the whereabouts of your earbuds.

The connection is solid and stable, with the comfy earbuds favouring a lively, entertaining sound with plenty of punch. Bass goes particularly deep and sounds defined with it. These aren't the cheapest pair of wireless earbuds in this list by any stretch, but they are a pleasant and talented proposition worth considering.

Read the full review: Technics EAH-AZ70W

Best wireless noise-cancelling headphones 2020

16. JBL Tune600BTNC

A punchy, powerful pair of noise-cancelling Bluetooth headphones.

SPECIFICATIONS

Bluetooth: Yes | Noise-cancelling: Yes | Battery life: 22hr | Charging: Micro USB | Built-in mic and controls: Yes

Reasons to Buy

Powerful, punchy sound
Tight, deep bass
Good noise-cancelling

Reasons to Avoid

Bass can be overpowering
Slightly aggressive balance
Plastic scratches too easily

If you're on a tight budget, these JBL on-ear wireless noise-cancelling headphones are well worth considering. They serve up a decent 22 hour battery life, feature built-in volume/playback controls and offer powerful, punchy sound.

The exciting dynamics are impressive for the money, even though the beefy bass can overwhelm at times. The plastic ear cups aren't the finest quality, but that's a minor grumble. Overall, these talented headphones offer good value for money and decent sonics.

Read the full review: JBL Tune600BTNC

Best wireless noise-cancelling headphones 2020

17. Sony WH-CH700N

Very capable wireless noise-cancellers for not a lot of money

SPECIFICATIONS

Bluetooth: Yes | Noise-cancelling: Yes | Battery life: 35hr | Charging: Micro USB | Built-in mic and controls: Yes

Reasons to Buy

Detailed, musical sound
Tight, weighty bass
Impressive battery life

Reasons to Avoid

Not the most refined sound
Noise-cancelling could be better

Sony's already snaffled a couple of places in this list and now we've got another pair of its wireless noise-cancelling headphones for you to consider. The WH-CH700Ns sit at the more affordable end of the spectrum and boast a solid Bluetooth connection, an impressive 35-hour battery life and tight, detailed sound. Noise-cancelling is okay for the money, but isn't as accomplished as the tech in Sony's more expensive cans. Again, if your budget is strict, you could do a lot worse.

Read the full review: Sony WH-CH700N

Best wireless noise-cancelling headphones 2020

(Image credit: Beats)

18. Beats Solo Pro

These Beats have an audio performance to match their design

SPECIFICATIONS

Bluetooth: Yes | Noise-cancelling: Yes | Battery life: 22hr | Charging: Lightning | Built-in mic and controls: Yes

Reasons to Buy

Full-bodied and clear sound
Excellent noise-cancelling
Premium feel

Reasons to Avoid

Bettered for timing and dynamics
Tight fit

Soggy bass response used to be a bit of an issue with Beats headphones, but these wireless noise-cancelling headphones are the most mature-sounding Beats we've heard. The Solo Pros have plenty of low-end thump, full-bodied tonality and offer an extremely well-balanced, entertaining and detailed sound.

They’re held back somewhat by loose timing and a lack of low-level dynamics when compared to class leaders such as the Sony WH-1000XM3, but the design, build and noise cancelling ability of the Solo Pros will be more than enough to tempt many buyers to open their wallets. An accomplished effort.

Read the full Beats Solo Pro review

Best wireless noise-cancelling headphones 2020

19. Bose QuietComfort 35 II

Wireless noise-cancelling smart-headphones that are great on-the-go.

SPECIFICATIONS

Bluetooth: Yes | Noise-cancelling: Yes | Battery life: 20hr | Charging: Micro USB | Built-in mic and controls: Yes

Reasons to Buy

Detailed sound
Impressive noise-cancellation
Google Assistant built-in

Reasons to Avoid

Tough competition at this price

Think of noise-cancelling headphones and you probably think of Bose, the first brand to launch the tech into the consumer audio market. While the QC35 IIs aren't the latest Bose cans on the market, they serve up great sonics and are some of the best-sounding Bose headphones we've ever heard.   

There's no shortage of competition at this price point, including the outstanding Sony WH-1000XM3s, but these QCs are very competitive. You get noise-cancelling tech that is among the the best in class, a comfy fit and entertaining sound. The fact Google Assistant is built-in only broadens their appeal.

Read the full review: Bose QuietComfort 35 II

  • hybridauth_Twitter_2348481284
    I am almost offended by your lack of inclusion of Dali's excellent IO6, while the NC may not be as good as that offered by Sony they do sound better than any of the cans on your list
    Reply
  • Sound P
    Sony's WH-XB900N most definitely should be in there too. Almost as good as the XM3s for less, and at least in par with a lot in that list. First in their XB Extra Bass range that actually sounds good all-round.
    Reply