Whether you’re planning an upcoming flight across the globe or just taking the subway to work every day, a good pair of travel headphones can be a total game-changer. Having something comfortable with great noise isolation can make your travels much easier to endure and even enjoyable at times.
When looking for travel headphones, you’ll want something easy to use when you’re hunting down your gate or running to catch the bus, with a long enough battery life to last you throughout the day. While many people prefer over-ear headphones for long flights or train rides, earbuds or in-ear headphones are popular for their portability. Usually, models with active noise cancelling (ANC) do the best job at reducing the deep rumbling noises of bus or plane engines, but some in-ear headphones block out lots of noise passively.
Best Travel Headphones
The best travel headphones with an over-ear design we’ve tested are the Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless. These over-ear headphones offer a premium design and are packed with high-performing features that are sure to please most users. They have a fantastic active noise cancelling (ANC) feature to block out bass-range noises like bus and plane engines as well as passenger chit-chat. If you’re worried about battery life, they last about 37 hours continuously, so you shouldn’t need to recharge them during a long trip. You can even use them wired in a pinch, and they come with an airplane adapter, all of which you can safely store in their sturdy carrying case.
Best Upper Mid-Range Travel headphones
The Razer Barracuda Pro Wireless are the best upper mid-range travel headphones that we’ve tested. These over-ears are a bit unique as they’re hybrid headphones designed for casual use and gaming. However, don’t let their gamer-centric features deter you. They have a great ANC system. While they don’t block out quite the same amount of bass range noise, like the low rumble of bus and plane engines, they can still easily tackle ambient chatter and the hum of fans. With their ANC on, they last over 34 hours continuously, and you can even use them while charging.
Best Mid-Range Travel Headphones
The best mid-range travel headphones we’ve tested are the Anker Soundcore Life Q35 Wireless. They’re less expensive than the Razer Barracuda Pro Wireless, so they lack the gamer-centric bells and whistles like non-Bluetooth wireless connectivity. However, if you’re looking for something at a lower price point and don’t need these extra, non-travel-centric features, they’re still worth checking out. They have a comfortable fit and are well-built, especially as they have a metal plate in the headband to help protect the headphones from damage. You can also store the headphones in their rounded carrying case when you’re not using them.
Best Budget Travel Headphones
The Anker Soundcore Life Q30 Wireless are the best commuter headphones under $100 that we’ve tested. If you’re looking for something a bit more affordable, it’s worth checking out the previous generation of the Anker Soundcore Life Q35 Wireless. They offer similar overall performance in most regards, but there are a few differences. The Q30’s noise isolation performance is significantly better, especially when blocking out the low rumble of plane engines. They also have a v-shaped sound profile that emphasizes bass and treble, which can make music sound boomy and sparkly. Their sound profile sounds more hollow and thin when the ANC is off, but luckily, their companion app has a graphic EQ and presets to help you tweak their sound.
Best Cheap Travel Headphones
The best cheap travel headphones we’ve tested are the Anker Soundcore Life Q20 Wireless. If you’re on a tight budget, you’ll want to check out the predecessor to the Anker Soundcore Life Q30 Wireless. This manufacturer is very predominant in the lower-mid-to-cheap range, and their products stand apart from other headphones at this price point. While they’re otherwise simple in design, they have an ANC system, which is uncommon for cheap over-ears. While they have trouble blocking out plane engine noise, they can still make a big dent in mid-range noise like ambient chatter.
Best Travel Earbuds
The Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless 3 are the best travel earbuds we’ve tested. If you prefer a lighter, more portable alternative to over-ears, these well-built buds have a noise isolation performance that outcompetes some over-ears at this price point like the Razer Barracuda Pro Wireless. Their ANC system does an excellent job of blocking background noise like the low rumble of bus and plane engines as well as passenger chit-chat. With their ANC on, they last over eight hours continuously, and if you need to top them off, their carrying case supplies an additional three charges.
Bose 700 Headphones Wireless: The Bose 700 Headphones Wireless are premium ANC headphones designed for business professionals. If you care about call quality, their mic offers a significantly better overall performance than the Sony WH-1000XM4 Wireless. Their ANC doesn’t block out quite as much bass-range noise, but they still do an excellent overall job of reducing ambient noise around you. See our review
Sep 30, 2022: We’ve rehauled this article to better align it with user expectations. We’ve added the Razer Barracuda Pro Wireless, Anker Soundcore Life Q35 Wireless, and the Anker Soundcore Life Q20 Wireless. We’ve also moved the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds Truly Wireless to the Notable Mentions and removed the Anker SoundCore Life P3 Truly Wireless and the Sony WF-1000XM4 Truly Wireless.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best headphones for airplane use, travelling, and commuting for most people to buy. We factor in the price (cheaper headphones win over pricier ones if the difference isn’t worth it), feedback from our visitors, and availability (no headphones that are difficult to find or almost out of stock everywhere).
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