5 Best Noise-Cancelling Headphones for Airplane Travel in 2017

Headphones:
Akshay Hallur

Reviewed by:
Rating:
5
On January 9, 2017
Last modified:January 9, 2017

Summary:

I've reviewed some of the good noise canceling headphones for travel and airplane travel.

If you are a frequent airplane traveler and are looking for some of the best headphones for airplane travel, you are in the right place. The headphones I’m going to mention here serve you well on your plane journey and as well in the airports.

When traveling in airplanes, the sound of the engine will be loud making you irritated. Isn’t it? If that’s the case, one of these travel headphones would be a good companion for your flight.

These will help you keep relaxed throughout your air journey.

Let’s dive.

What makes headphones suitable for airplane travel?

Noise cancellation: This noise cancellation technology is what that sets the airplane headphones apart from other headphones. This type of headphones come with a noise canceling mic. This mic does the job of canceling out background noise by producing a negative frequency of the noise. However, noise cancellation works great in canceling noise that is of low frequency and monotonous. Thus, noise canceling headphones perform well in canceling out airplane engine sound and possibly some chatter.

Portability: Traveling involves a lot of movement. The headphones should be compact and sturdy enough to withstand the abuse while traveling. Many headphones come with a compact design. The headband and the earcups can be folded in a way that the headphones take the least possible space to keep it in your bag. You may also find Bluetooth headphones handy if you would not like to mess up with the wires that tangle a lot and wish to store it in a compact manner.

Comfort: You’ll be wearing these headphones during long commuting hours. So, they should be comfortable enough so that you won’t end up trashing it. If you are a comfy seeker, don’t go for in-ear headphones, instead, you need to go for over-ear headphones that engulf your ears providing you good comfort.

Sound quality: Some of the noise-cancelling headphones, sacrifice the sound quality and details. Only a handful of headphones offers good sound quality along with noise canceling capabilities. You need to make a right choice while picking up a pair of headphones, and perhaps test it whether it serves your needs for the music genre you listen to.

Some Best Headphones For Airplane Travel

There are many differences between the regular headphones and airplane headphones. The headphones meant for airplane travel are made to cancel out the external noise effectively, as they are noise canceling. They’re also made to be extremely comfortable to accompany you in long air journeys.

Here are some of the good headphones for flying and air travel.

#1. Bose QuietComfort 25 Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones – Our Pick For Best Headphones For Travel

 

Quietcomfort 25

Noise cancellation: Undoubtedly, noise-cancellation is one of the important features any airplane headphones require. These Bose headphones have been one of the most popular noise-canceling headphones among the commuters. Once you wear these on your head, the loud airplane engine will be hardly heard as a whisper in your ears even when the music is not playing.

At low volumes, the headphones manage almost to fade away the ambient noise. At mid and higher volumes, you feel like you are listening to the music in a quiet outer space. You can hear nothing, but music. The noise-cancellation feature’s battery life is around 7-8 hours a day, which is quite significant. Nevertheless, in the remaining time, you can listen to music with no noise cancellation. You can switch on or off this feature with just a flip of a button.

Comfort: As the name says it all, the headphones are crafted taking the noise cancellation and comfort mainly into considerations. During travel, the comfort is more important than that of sound quality. At least, for me!

These headphones are very lightweight, and the earcups are relatively large. They surround your ears giving you a comfort like wearing pillows on your ears. The swiveling earcups also help you to adjust the headphones so that it fits perfectly on your ears.

The foam-filled headband rests comfortably on your head, without causing any pressure at all.

Sound quality: The sound quality is excellent. The headphones sound great right out of the box. But the headphones perform well after the burn-in period of  80 hours.

Most of the noise-cancelling headphones, sacrifice the sound quality to the noise canceling feature. But the Bose QuietComfort 25 headphones are different. These headphones produce great bass with the large drivers these headphones have. The bass certainly doesn’t overpower the mids and highs. The mids and highs are crisp clear and balanced.

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#2. Sony Premium Noise Cancelling Headphones (MDR1000X/B)

Sony noise canceling headphones

The great feature of these headphones is that on the left earcup there’s a touchpad. You can tap this pad to pause/play the music or swipe to change the songs. This is very handy.

Noise cancellation: The best part of these headphones is that they have a noise-cancelling button, which you can hold to let the headphones calibrate the noise canceling feature for the environment. In noise cancellation, the mic will adjust the noise cancellation according to the ambient noise in the environment. The headphones do the job of getting you rid of low-frequency sounds really well. If you wish to hear what’s going on outside you, you can just place the hand on your right earcup for activating “voice pass-through” which is a nice addition.

The dynamic noise cancellation is a nice addition. These headphones adjust the noise canceling strength according to the varying frequency and loudness of ambient noise.

Comfort: You can easily wear these all the time while commuting. It will not clamp down on your head like in the case of Beats Solo Wireless Headphones.

These headphones are super-comfortable, and you barely will be aware of the fact that you are wearing these on. Some of them prefer more cushioning for the earpads, but I think the cushioning it comes with is decent and offers good comfort for comfy-lovers.

Sound quality: These headphones sound more fuller and accurate in terms of sound quality than Sennheiser Momentum. You may have noticed that in the case of noise-cancelling headphones, it’s pretty rare to see the headphones that are flat in frequency response as these.

You can clearly hear the vocals and even the minute details of the song like singer’s breath with these headphones on. The sound quality is good than to that of Bose QuietComfort 25 that I’ve mentioned earlier, but in the case of noise cancellation, this still falls short to Bose.

Amazon

#3. Bose QuietComfort 20 ANC Headphones – Best In-Ear Headphones for Travel

Bose quietcomfort 20

If you are looking for the best in-ear headphones for the price, Bose QuietComfort 20 won’t disappoint you.

Noise cancellation: Bose is one of the popular brands that is known for noise cancellation. In fact, Bose has the best noise cancellation circuitry in the market when compared to other headphones out there. In these earbuds, the inbuilt noise isolation of earbuds combined with the revolutionary noise cancellation mechanism of Bose will get you rid of the ambient noise entirely.

The noise cancellation is great and once you turn up the volume, you will not even hear the high pitch voice of a woman screaming! Forget about the roars of the jet engine while flying.

Comfort: These offer great comfort. These are quite large considering them to be earbuds, but they do the job of plugging in comfortably to your ears. You can even sleep with these with ANC on. Due to their big design, the earbuds won’t dig into your ears and hurt you. They just rest on your ear canal which is quite great when compared to the dangers associated with other bi-flange or tri-flange earbuds that dig deeper. Once you find the right size of included ear tips, you find these extremely comfortable.

Sound quality: Like that of all the Bose headphones, you get a little bit of extra bass even in the case of noise canceling ones like these. The fact is that in the case of ANC headphones, the lower bass is canceled out to some extent. But in these earbuds, the bass is quite great and balanced. But they definitely would not satisfy the bass-heads needs. The mids are detailed. The highs or treble is not harsh and is pleasant to hear.

The sound quality is great when the noise cancellation is turned on, but when it’s off sound quality suffers a bit and sometimes become quite muddy.

The sound quality is greater than other noise canceling in-ear headphones in this range.

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#4. Audio-Technica ATH-ANC7b (QuietPoint) – Best Budget Pick

Audio technica ath anc7b

Noise-Cancellation: For activating noise cancellation feature on these headphones, you just need to flip the switch located on the left earpad. The ANC feature does an excellent job of canceling out external noise. The noise cancellation can be compared to that of QC25. You can just wear these on without listening to music so that it helps you in getting rid of unwanted background noise and lets you concentrate on your work. This feature is good in getting you rid of the low-frequency noise.

The only downside of this noise canceling feature is that the noise leakage will be more when the ANC is activated. If you disable the noise-cancelation, the sound leakage will be less.

Comfort: These offer excellent comfort for long flights. When you compare the comfort of these headphones with Bose QC25, they are almost the same. But for extreme Comfy lovers, be ready to shell double the amount to buy Bose QC25.

The earpads in these headphones are thickly cushioned with soft material. Although the headphones clamp tightly to your ears for additional noise isolation, it will not cause any discomfort due to the soft padding. These offer great comfort like any other headphones for travel.

Sound quality: The sound quality on these headphones is good. But when compared to the SONY MDR-1000X that I’ve mentioned above, these headphones fall short. With large 40 mm drivers with neodymium magnet systems, these offer great bass, accurate mids, and highs. The bass is quite good when you listen to rock and hip hop music more often without ANC activated.

When the noise cancellation is activated, the bass is somewhat lessened.The treble part of the music will be highlighted. Like most of the ANC headphones, these are not that bass-heavy, but the treble or highs part of the music is pronounced really well with no harshness.

These are not bass-heavy headphones, but they perform really well in the mids and treble part of the music. These are great if you listen to classical music or podcasts while flying on the airplane.

#5. Sennheiser PXC 450 Active Noise-Canceling Headphones

Sennheiser pxc 450

Noise cancellation: These headphones come with NoiseGard technology that lets the headphones. It blocks up to 90% of ambient noise when noise cancellation is activated.

The TalkThrough feature enables you to talk to your co-passengers without taking off your headphones. When this TalkThrough feature is enabled, the ambient noise like airplane engine’s roar is still filtered out, but the voice of the other passengers is heard clearly.

As these are meant for noise-canceling, it does it’s job pretty well. The effectiveness of blocking out ambient noise can be compared to that of SONY MDR-1000X which I’ve reviewed earlier in this post. But surely I can say that at this price range Bose QC25 has a slight edge over these. The difference is little.

Comfort: Although, the earpads are large, you’ll not feel that heaviness when wearing these headphones on. The earpads are made of a very soft material, that ensures you excellent comfort and prevents your ears from heating up and sweating. The comfort is same as that of QC35, but the main advantage is that as these headphones are large, they grip comfortably on your head than other headphones. There’s nothing to complain about the comfort. I’m sure that you won’t feel these headphones at all after some minutes.

Sound quality: These headphones are not too boomy or like they won’t add any sort of noticeable enhancements to the songs by themselves. They sound flat. They lack in bass. The bass is the aspect where these headphones fall short to that of Bose headphones that I’ve reviewed earlier in this post. The mids and highs are excellent and not too harsh. Overall, the headphones do a great job of performing well in the entire frequency range.

Except for bass-heads, there’s nothing to complain about sound quality.

Wrapping up

These are some of the best noise canceling headphones for airplane and traveling. Make sure you find the right headphones that are a perfect balance between the price and the quality.

Please do also note that if you are an audiophile, noise-cancelling headphones that I’ve mentioned above may not be for you. In that case, you may go for wired audiophilic headphones that are good at noise isolation.

I've reviewed some of the good noise canceling headphones for travel and airplane travel.
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