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Shut out the noise and shut in the sound with our favorite noise-canceling headphones

Trains, plains, and automobiles have never been particularly quiet. We live in an age where our morning commute is often alive with the sounds of passengers and mechanics steadily at work, all of which have a tendency to perforate our eardrums whether we want it to or not. Planes drone, trains whine, and non of that adds positively to the experience of listening to Kendrick spit rhymes over a bed of saxophone and bass.

Related: These 9 headphones offer up sweet sound from a pint-sized package

Thankfully, noise-cancelling headphones are better sounding and more efficient than they’ve ever been, allowing you to essentially drown out ambient noise and low-frequency sounds with a microphone and some tricky circuitry. And while they typically run a little pricier than comparable headphones that lack noise-cancelling capabilities — technology is rarely cheap, after all — the offerings below manage to deliver a commendable combination of style, comfort, and sound.

The Best

Bose QC25 ($299)

Bose QC25

Bose practically wrote the book on noise cancelling technology — and the Quiet Comfort 25 represent the physical embodiment of that innovation. The headphones revel in a slim profile that’s made of lightweight, high-impact plastic for a framework that is super comfortable and as suitable for your morning commute as a marathon flight to the United Kingdom. A single AAA battery powers the noise-cancelling technology, and though they’re wired with a thick detachable cord, the battery won’t fizzle out until around the 35-hour mark since there’s no Bluetooth chip to power. Moreover, the QC25 offer superior sound over their predecessor, the QC15, with plenty of bass, a pleasant rendering of treble, and solid dynamics.

Read our hands-on impressions

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Audio-Technica ATH-ANC9 ($153)

audio-technica-ath-anc9-review-noise-cancelling-switch-angle-1000x626

Active noise-cancellation is one thing, but when you couple it with outstanding sound engineering? Well, the results are nothing short of tremendous. The Audio-Technica ATH-ANC9 offer exactly that, letting you combat unwanted sounds with the help of four microphones, a single AAA battery, and faux-leather memory foam ear pads. The taut nature of the latter supplies a fair amount of passive noise isolation and comfort, while the former aids with delivering a sprawling, warm midrange and defined treble that’s designed to rise above the noise outside. The headphones also capitalize on three different modes — transit, office, and home — which let you change the target frequency of the noise cancellation for greater control over the sound (and battery consumption).

Read our full review

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Phiaton BT 100 NC ($100)

Phiaton BT 100 NC

A $100 is chump change for a pair of headphones, especially for an admirable pair of earbuds that happen to include noise-cancelling technology and Bluetooth wireless connection. The Phiaton BT-100 NC feature both Bluetooth 4.0 and AptX support within a sporty, lightweight frame, one you can literally shoulder with you on the go. The array of included silicon tips allow for a proper seal designed to dampen the sound of your surroundings, which, when combined with their excellent comfort and subtle build, render them perfect for your morning commute on the bus. The vibration notifications and the IPX4 rating are convenient features for phone calls and workouts.

Read our hands-on impressions

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Amazon Best Buy Brookstone

Phiaton BT 330 NC ($180)

Phiaton BT 330 NC

The Phiaton BT 330 NC are not impeccable, or downright awful, in any one department. They’re a well-rounded pair of headphones with a futuristic, collectible design that’s built on a matte plastic headband and two supra-aural earcups. To their credit, though, the Bluetooth headphones manage to deliver punchy lows and a full-bodied midrange using 40-millimeter drivers, which work in conjunction with the same noise-cancelling technology that’s found in the BT 100 NC. Furthermore, the headphones can connect to two devices at once, so you can listen to music on one device will screening calls from another. Battery life also hovers around 14 hours with noise cancellation, though you can always plug in the included audio cable for wired listening.

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Best Buy Brookstone Audiogeeks

PSB M4U2 ($300)

PSB M4U2

PSB Speakers doesn’t have quite have the name recognition of, say,  Bose or Sennheiser, but that doesn’t mean the company’s Canadian wears are any less capable. The PSB M4U2, one of the company’s two flagships, deliver decent noise cancellation and sound with a style all their own. The gloss-finished polycarbonate exterior exudes a retro vibe, though, with modern components that give it an edge. The “gyro” suspension system and soft padding make for an excellent fit, while the embedded toggle switch allows you to quickly jump between the M4U 2’s three modes, including active noise cancellation (ANC), active mode, and passive mode. The result is phenomenal instrumental separation and balance, ripe with pristine treble and exuberant bass response.

Read our full review

Buy them now from:

Amazon Best Buy Brookstone

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