How to Choose Noise Cancelling Headphones

how to choose noise cancelling headphones

In the past, the best noise cancelling headphones had a reputation of being bulkier and less convenient than standard wired headphones – which is why most people never bothered with them. It wasn’t hard to figure out how to choose noise cancelling headphones, because they were pretty similar. But that’s no longer the case. While some newer models still require a wired connection to operate, others feature Bluetooth technology and rechargeable batteries for greater convenience. Finding the best noise cancelling earbuds is now an issue added to the mix!

If you want a moment of peace while you’re in the office, on the bus, or on your commute, now is as good a time as any to get noise cancelling headphones. According to the Washington Post, these headphones can even help protect your hearing.

In this post, we’ll be talking about how to choose noise cancelling headphones with all the great tech available today.

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How to Choose Noise Cancelling Headphones: 10 Main Features to Consider

noise cancelling headphones

1.   Choose Noise Cancelling Headphones with Hybrid/Active Noise Cancellation

There are a few types of noise cancellation out there; we’ve gone into the differences and what makes Hybrid Active Noise Cancellation (HANC) and Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) so great here. The best noise cancelling headphones use this technology to minimize distracting background noises, providing a comfortable listening environment in places with high ambient noise. They have a miniature microphone (audio processor) that picks up ambient noise and noise cancelling circuitry which creates a noise cancelling wave, acting like a noise eraser. This is far more effective than noise isolation tech, and will revolutionize the way you listen to your music.

2. On-Ear Headphones or Earbuds?

A lot of this comes down to personal preference. Which headphone type do you prefer? Ultimately, on-ear headphones offer the best of both worlds: the portability of in-ear headphones and the sound quality of over-ear headphones. They are perfect for those who want a comfortable fit in a compact design, as well as deep bass if they feature 40mm dynamic drivers. The best noise cancelling earbuds, however, are kings of compact portability. Their drivers are very small and their enclosures are not large, meaning they have slightly less bass and are less cumbersome for workouts. They often come with a pocketable charging carry case as well.

3. Cut the Cord

If you’ve previously used wired headphones, you know that it’s the cable isn’t just a pain for when it catches on things, or tangles. It’s the first part of the headphones that malfunctions. Detachable cables are much better than fixed cables because they disconnect if there’s too much pressure. In addition, if the cable stops working, you can simply get a new one – a cheaper option than buying a new set of headphones. Even better than all this? Cutting the cord completely and going for Wireless or True Wireless headphones.

4. The Case Matters

After shelling out money getting the perfect pair of headphones, it only makes sense to protect your investment by getting a hard case. The most important consideration for a headphone case is the fit. If the headphones don’t fit, the case will be practically useless; the best noise cancelling headphones will come with a suitable case included. Any case you choose should also be able to offer great protection for your audio gear.

headphone case

5. Battery Size

Built-in rechargable batteries are a technology taken for granted these days, but did you know some wired headphones still use AA or AAA batteries? The good news is that all of the best noise cancelling headphones and earbuds have built-in rechargeable batteries that are much better for the environment, and more economical in the long run. Indeed, the best noise cancelling earbuds should have over 30 hours playtime with a case, and the best noise cancelling headphones should have over 16 hours.

6.    Headband Tension

As you shop for the perfect pair of headphones, you’ll come across a few that look great but clamp down hard on the sides of your head. Some may put a lot of pressure on the top of your head because of their lack of cushioning. It’s a must, then, to look for a set of headphones with a headband and earpads that are very well cushioned. You’ll get the sound and design you like without sacrificing comfort. Of course, this isn’t an issue if you decide on a pair of the best noise cancelling earbuds!

7.    Storage Size

Have you ever been awed by foldable headphones? Perfect for traveling, they fold up to half their size and sit beautifully in the corner of your bag. Earbuds are even tinier, as all the people who have lost their Airpods are well aware of! When searching for your perfect pair, remember that the best noise cancelling headphones – and the best noise cancelling earbuds – should be compact for greater ease. Even massive headphones that are foldable shrink down in size and fit into handy compact cases.

8.    Cost

The audio processor and the circuit of noise cancelling headphones have a big influence on the price. Other features that also affect the price are the design, internal drivers, size, and construction. It goes without saying that premium tech will have a premium prince, and the noise cancelling feature usually increases the price tag of the headphones. However, you don’t have to break the bank; amazing ANC headphones and earbuds are available for under $100 if you know where to look.

9.    Warranty

Headphones are subject to greater wear and tear than a lot of electronic products. They’re often used daily, thrown in bags when finished with, and maybe accidentally stepped on or dropped (we’ve all been there!) When shopping for a pair, read reviews about the manufacturer, not just the headphones. The manufacturer should offer a full warranty of at least 12 months alongside great customer service policies. Reading Amazon and Facebook reviews is a good way to find out how people have been treated previously. Also, find out how you’ll get in touch with the company if anything goes wrong with your headphones.

10. Accessories

Some of the best noise cancelling headphones usually come with accessories like airplane adaptors, cushion kits, and cases. Some have add-ons such as audio cables, USB cables, adaptors, and even clothing clips. The accessories your headphones come with aren’t the most important feature to consider, but they will determine how easy it is to enjoy your headphones from the moment you receive them.

headphone accessories

How to Choose Noise Cancelling Headphones

There are five key points you need to consider when deciding how to choose your noise cancelling headphones.

Know How You Will Use Your Headphones

There are 3 different types of headphones available on the market: in-ear headphones, on-ear headphones, and over-ear headphones. These headphones can have different types of noise cancellation; they should have active noise cancellation at a minimum.

One of the most important factors when it comes to choosing headphones is their purpose. Do you want headphones you can use as you travel by plane or a set that will block out office chatter so you can get work done? More subtle earbuds might be great for an office, whereas over-ear headphones might be more your style for traveling with. Different headphones are ideal for different situations.

Have a Fixed Budget in Mind

As with everything else, your budget will determine the pair of headphones you buy. You can buy high-end pairs costing over $1,000, which are usually assembled and tested by hand. Much more budget friendly are headphones that aren’t hand-crafted, but have all the ANC features you need. Indeed, you can still get awesome sound for a fraction of the price – $400 and under for brands like Bose and Sony, and $100 or less for TaoTronics. Again, research and reading customer reviews is a great idea for figuring out a realistic budget.

how to choose noise cancelling headphones
Tune out the world with a pair of ANC headphones

Pick From a Variety of Types and Sizes

There’s so much variation in headphone type, size and shape at the moment, it can be hard to know where to begin! A good place to start is color – do you want headphones with an interesting colorway, or to stick with jet black or classic grey? If you choose over-ear headphones, do you want bigger or smaller ear cups? For earbuds, do you prefer pipe-shaped or barely visable? Remember, the headphones you buy will serve you for a long time, so setting aside a little time to research the different variations available will pay off when you get the right pair.

Check the Audio Quality

Audio quality is a measurement of accuracy and enjoyability. Reading reviews about others experiences can help determine which headphones have a great audio soundstage. You can also measure the accuracy of your headphones by fidgeting with their noise cancellation system. Put them on and listen attentively with no music playing to determine how well you can hear the surrounding noise. If you’re with your friends, have them simulate office chatter and try to hear them.

To measure enjoyability, focus on the fit. Are these headphones you will be able to wear the whole day or will they hurt your ears after a few hours? Will the wires tangle themselves as you go about your tasks? A secure fit adds to a crisp and clear audio experience as less noise escapes – plus you want to listen for longer.

Check the Battery Life

Don’t settle for anything less than 30 hours playback with the best noise cancelling earbuds, or 15 hours of continuous use with the best noise cancelling headphones. Whilst you wont need this much in one go, it shows that you can use your headphones all day without worrying about charging. Another excellent feature to look for is quick charge. Some of the best noise cancelling headphones offer 2 hours playback from 5 minutes of charging, perfect for if you’re in a rush.

Why TaoTronics True Wireless are the Best for Noise Cancelling Tech

the best noise cancelling earbuds for your commute
Cancel out the background noise on your commute with wireless or True Wireless earbuds

A big worry with how to choose noise cancelling headphones is which brands you can rely on. Enter TaoTronics.

With millions of customers worldwide to vouch for them, there’s a lot to love about TaoTronics ANC headphones and True Wireless earbud ranges. For starters, they offer great value for money. We recommend them to people who are looking for noise cancelling earbuds that don’t break the bank.

You have the choice of improved hybrid active noise cancellation significantly reduces low-frequency sound by up to 96% or advanced active noice cancellation tech. If headphones aren’t for you, there’s also a wide range of wireless and True Wireless earbuds to check out. What’s more, dynamic drivers create captivating bass and hyper-speed charging ensures you don’t have to wait for hours on end to use your headphones. Hi-Fi sound is added to the mix, giving the headphones spectacular sound quality.

With the TaoTronics noise cancelling headphones, you can finally say goodbye to noisy conversations in the office and a soundtrack of crying babies as you travel. These wonders of the modern era block out any unwanted sounds and make your music sound much better.

Turn your music on, switch the world off.

The Takeaway

best noise cancelling earbuds

Until recently, noise cancelling headphones were considered must-haves only for frequent travelers. However, noisy office workers, busy commutes, and the appeal of a quiet environment have made these headphones very popular. It’s getting hard to figure out how to choose noise cancelling headphones for yourself; even the best noise cancelling earbuds offer all the features you could want in a tiny package. Following this guide will cover all your bases.

If you’re in the market for a pair of the best noise cancelling headphones, we recommend the Taotronics ANC headphones range. Block out the background noise and enjoy some music – or some peace and quiet.

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Rebecca Lee has a penchant for writing about all things audio-related for TaoTronics. Her editorial endeavors include testing out the latest headphones to write in-depth product reviews that benefit our readers.

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