When it comes to gadgets, we often focus first with our eyes on screens (as our Paleolithic brains are inclined to do) but the one sense that’s most often engaged in airports, planes, and long motorcycle rides is our hearing. Whether your jamming out to Taylor Swift or listening to Star Talk Radio, these headphones are best at canceling out ambient engine noise while providing crisp sound in reliable hardware.
1. Bose QuietComfort 25 ($299)
You need to try the noise-canceling feature of the Bose QuietComfort 25, a technology which has only improved since I reviewed the Monster Inspiration Headphones around Asia. Active noise-canceling technology in these headphones are powered by a single AAA battery which does a great job of cutting out airport racket or jet engine buzz. It’s worth mentioning that noise-cancelling can create a little feeling of pressure on your ears and if that’s been your experience prior, the Bose QuietComfort 25 greatly reduce this effect. Another great feature – they’re light – 196 grams (6.9 ounces).
2. Bose QuietComfort 20i Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones ($299) / Bose Sound Sport ($149)
These are the headphones I’ve been using for the past year and they’re incredible if you prefer in-ear buds. Although I run all over the world, I never do with headphones but if you’re the jamming jogging type, go with the Bose Sound Sport. Both of these headphones have volume controls and microphone so you can make calls with the big difference between the two being one has noise-cancelling and the Sound Sport doesn’t. A decision between the two really depends on how much music you listen to while you stay fit on the road.
3. V-Moda Remix Remote ($79)
There isn’t much fancy about the Remix Remote, they’re in-ear buds (an earlier version of which I used for over a year) but they do the most important thing an headphone can do – provide excellent sound quality. Although it’s nothing like true noise-canceling, the rubber bud ends also do a good job of cutting out outside sound. Reliable with heavy use I found they can easily last about two years before the wire casing becomes brittle enough to break.
4. Beats Studio Wireless ($379)
Wireless headphones make so much sense it makes you wonder why there are even wired options all together – until you think about battery life. (Erm, real wireless charging we’re all still waiting for you.) That said, on full charge you’ll get about 12 hours of listening assuming the Bluetooth device you’re connected to can last that long and 20 hours when connected with the audio cable the Beats Studio Wireless comes with. Like the Bose QuietComfort above, these over-ear headphones are very comfortable so you can wear them on long flights without any soreness.
What Are Some Of Your Favorites?
For me personally, I like the inconspicuous nature and small physical size of in-ear headphones. Noise-cancelling is also a feature that’s become a must have as even when nothing’s playing, it can drown out airplane engine noise or turn any cafe into a quiet digital nomad office. What headphones are you using? Any of my picks above or something I missed – let me know in the comments below!