- 1 / 12
10 Pairs of Noise-Cancelling Headphones to Help You Block Out the World
There are many things to hate about living in civilized society. Long lines, the resurgence of Crocs, and people who don't wear face masks come to mind. So does human-produced noise. The thing about noise is that it is everywhere. Imagine that. Machines and social gatherings make silence a rare commodity. In some cases, the noise drives people to psychological distraction. It disrupts sleep cycles and pollutes the more peaceful hours of the day. This long-winded meditation leads us to one simple point, which is that noise-cancelling headphones are a hot commodity right now for good reason.
A pair of regular headphones does passively muffle some of the racket by virtue of nestling over your ears, but technological advancement has given us the gift of active noise cancellation: gadgetry within headphones that works to filter out and counterbalance atmospheric noise—airplane engines, subway trains, construction, your children—so that the only thing you can really hear is your playlist, podcast, or audio book. Active noise cancellation can be rudimentary (but inexpensive) or nearly perfect, and the general rule is that the more you pay for a pair of ANC headphones, the better the ANC is. Below, you'll find 10 pairs that fit along that spectrum in a variety of styles. All allow for calling, and many have integrated smart assistants and quick-charging features. (Keep in mind these won't be the headphones you wear for sweaty workouts, and all the headphones are wireless with the option to use a cable; only two out the 10 are truly wireless buds.)
A final argument for noise-cancelling headphones: Cooped up in houses with few places to go, many of us don't have much in the way of solitude right now. But solitude can be faked if you dampen the audible distractions around you and retreat into the quiet environment of headphones. Sounds peaceful, right?
- 2 / 12
Soundcore Life Q20 Active Noise Cancelling Headphones
This pair won't win you any beauty contests, as you can clearly see. The buttons are chunky and indiscreet, and the design is something your dad would deem "practical." But for a beater pair of wireless headphones that filters out most background noise, they're a sure bet. Anker isn't known for audio engineering, and as such your music won't have the depth you'd get from other headphones on this list, but the battery life is lenghty—and coupled with the price, a trade-off that might be work making.
Battery life: 40 hours with ANC, 60 hours without
- 3 / 12
Q Adapt Active Noise Cancelling Headphones
Compared to the Anker headphones, these are downright whimsical in style—lighter, minimalist, artful. Commands are performed by tap controls on the cans (which, granted, is not everyone's preferred method of control as that finger dexterity takes some getting used to). The feature that sets the Libratones apart is their four levels of noise cancellation, which you can switch between. The least intense level only filters out 20 percent of the outdoor noise, so it's well-suited to walking and talking in urban areas. The highest level filters out 90 percent of the outside world, so that's the one you'll go with on airplanes and subways, and in noisy work-from-home situations.
Battery life: 20+ hours
Yahoo News is better in the appStay in the know at a glance with the Top 10 daily stories
- 4 / 12
Venue ANC Over-Ear Headphone
Skullcandy, the brand you snagged in the drug store checkout line when you were 14 to plug into your MP3 player on school bus rides, makes a strong contender that's not impossibly expensive. The active noise cancellation is surprisingly effective for the price—it blocks a lot and only produces a little of that ANC static sound—and turning it off to hear your surroundings is as easy as pressing a button on the left ear. They're comfy headphones too. Good for commutes (remember those?) or extended wear to keep you distraction-free during work hours.
Battery Life: 24 hours
- 5 / 12
It’s passe verging on boring to gush about Apple products. But damn if these earbuds don't have great features for those who aren't keen to subject their entire head to a headphone strap. There are three modes: ANC (which is powerfully effective), transparency mode (which filters out enough to keep your music unmuddied, but still allow you to interact with the world), and au naturel (no sound filtration, just normal earbuds). Even better, the stick, which you click to control, isn't as egregiously long as that on the original Airpods.
Battery life: 4.5 hours + 24 hours with charging case
- 6 / 12
WF-1000XM3 Noise Canceling Earbuds
The other bud option here comes from Sony, a leader in the noise-cancellation field. The audio quality and noise cancellation on these are the best you can find in a pair of buds. The drawback is the design. They're bigger and heavier than the AirPods Pro, and they sit deep in your ear holes, so commit to testing out the fit before committing to the buds themselves. And if these work for you at the gym or for daylong wear, well, you have stronger ears than ours.
Battery life: 6 hours + 24 hours with charging case
- 7 / 12
Exodus Noise Cancelling Headphones
House of Marley
House of Marley's contenders have attitude to them: like an old AM radio receiver crossed with a '70s record player, with pads that fully engulf your ears without crushing your lobes, though the headband can feel tight after an extended listening session. The ANC switches on and off, and the audio itself is bass-rich and clear, but neither is the absolute greatest you can find. Beyond that, the controls are tactile and intuitive, the battery life is excellent, and the materials that give this pair its distinctive look are recycled and sustainably sourced. Gotta love that.
Battery life: 28 hours with ANC, 80 hours without ANC
- 8 / 12
Solo Pro Noise Cancelling On-Ear Headphones
Beats has earned all its cool-kid cred by putting out reliably good headphones with a modern design. What Beats does well is deep, foundational bass. The ANC in the Solo Pro model functions like Apple's (they share hardware), with active and transparency modes of noise filtration. Beats are also comfortable on your ears, even after hours of plowing through podcasts, though they aren't the sturdiest headphones. Wear them long, but carry them gently.
Battery life: 22 hours with ANC, 40 hours without ANC
- 9 / 12
WH-1000XM3 Noise Cancelling Headphones
Sony is the king of noise-cancelling headphones. Falling in the mid-to-high price range, you really cannot find a flaw with its latest over-ear model beyond a few functionality quirks. The noise-cancelling itself is industry-best, and very smart; the headphones sense the noise levels around you and adjust the noise filtration accordingly, no work on your end required. The design itself is lightweight and down-to-business—a serious pair of headphones for people who take noise and the lack thereof seriously.
Battery life: 30 hours
- 10 / 12
700 Noise Cancelling Headphone
While the effectiveness of Bose's noise cancellation doesn't stack up to Sony's—it's a close second—it's more customizable to the wearer, and that can be a feature worth paying for. Which you will, since the 700s cost a pretty penny. With a button on the left ear, you can switch between eleven levels of noise cancellation, settling on the one that makes your surroundings fade away to the extent you want them to. Beyond that, Bose uses a lightweight frame and cushy earpads, so you won't get a tension headache from wearing these for a full day of travel, or, more accurately, a full day of staring at a computer from home. And the look of them is a streamlined standout.
Battery life: 20 hours
Yahoo News is better in the appStay in the know at a glance with the Top 10 daily stories
- 11 / 12
MW65 Active Noise-Cancelling Headphones
Master & Dynamic
Though Master & Dynamic doesn't have the ANC prowess of Sony or Bose, you're buying these headphones for the craftsmanship. Specifically, the leather exterior and lambskin pads. Looks nice, doesn't it? Like most headphones, these have three levels of noise-cancellation—high and low and off. As for the playback, your music will sound gorgeous. Add 'em to your dream board.
Battery life: 24 hours
Like, Millie Bobby Brown's cute platform pair.From Seventeen
I own more sweatpants than I'd like to admit. I have baggy ones, ones that are cuffed at the ankle, tie-dye pairs . . . you name it, I own it. Since most of my days are spent working from home, I barely wear anything else (I'm not complaining though). The pair that I reach for time and time again though is my favorite for one reason: they're so lightweight. The Old Navy Mid-Rise Tapered-Leg Jogger Pants ($28, originally $30) has turned into my new go-to pair. My apartment doesn't have air conditioning and can get really hot in the afternoon, but I like staying cozy in my sweats. While all my other options are too fluffy and hot, these ones are just right. The next best thing about them is that they're actually stylish and presentable to leave the house in. If I have to run an errand to grab something at the store, they actually look cute with some sneakers and a denim jacket. I have them in a cute maroon shade, but they come in over 10 color choices and fun patterns. Plus, at just $28, you can't really beat the price. If you're looking for the perfect new joggers, these are definitely the ones. Keep reading to shop all the choices and snag a pair for yourself. Related: 23 Editor-Tested Products From Old Navy We're Happy We Bought - Just Read Our Reviews
There's enough bad in the world. Plop down and watch these for a quick rush of dopamine.From Esquire
From the blisteringly contemporary to the classic, the lighthearted to the weighty, here are our favorite one-sitting novels to get lost in.From Esquire
Take a scroll through the best of the best, so you can take it easy afterwards.From Esquire
Based on an Esquire article, the series will star Elle Fanning as a teenager who encouraged her boyfriend to commit suicide.
The Monarch butterfly is in great peril.
After grinding for years in New York's theater scene, Chalk's standout turn in Perry Mason finally has him on Hollywood's map. He's just getting started.
Looks like Mason, Della Street, and Paul Drake are our justice team from now on.