The best noise-isolating headphones you can buy
- Noise-isolating headphones skip the fancy tech and cut out ambient noise naturally.
- The best noise-isolating headphones are comfortable to wear, but still effectively block outside noise.
- That's why we've chosen the Audio Technica ATH-M50x headphones as our top pick.
- They look great, have excellent sound quality, and isolate noise.
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Noise-cancelling headphones are getting more and more popular because they block out ambient noise, but there plenty of reasons why you might not want a pair. Noise-cancelling technology can often change the sound quality of the headphones, plus, headphones with active noise cancellation are often more expensive.
So what should you get instead? Well, it's worth considering a pair of noise-isolating headphones. What's the difference? Well, it's essentially that noise-cancelling headphones use special technology to cancel outside noise by using microphones to listen to outside noise and then use audio processing technology to "cancel" that noise with inverse sound waves.
In contrast, noise-isolating headphones simply physically block outside noise by covering your ear or sealing your ear canal. In other words, no special technology is needed in noise-isolating headphones, so the audio is more natural sounding.
Technically, almost all headphones are noise isolating to some extent, but some are better at blocking outside noise by nature of their design. Because over-ear headphones cover your full ear, they usually do a good job of isolating noise. In-ear headphones that fit snugly and seal off your ear canal entirely are also effective at blocking ambient sounds, though they may not be as comfortable for long-term wear.
Noise-isolating headphones come in wireless, wired, in-ear, and over-ear styles. There are a lot of great options out there, and it can be overwhelming to choose just one pair.
Thankfully, however, we've done the research so that you don't have to. Based on our research and testing, these are the best noise-isolating headphones money can buy.
Here are the best-noise isolating headphones you can buy:
- Best noise-isolating headphones overall: Audio Technica ATH-M50x
- Best wireless noise-isolating headphones: Master & Dynamic MW60
- Best in-ear noise-isolating headphones: Etymotic Research HF3
- Best noise-isolating sports headphones: Optoma NuForce Be Sport4
- Best on-ear noise-isolating headphones: Sennheiser HD 25
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Disclosure: This post is brought to you by the Insider Picks team. We highlight products and services you might find interesting. If you buy them, we get a small share of the revenue from the sale from our commerce partners. We frequently receive products free of charge from manufacturers to test. This does not drive our decision as to whether or not a product is featured or recommended. We operate independently from our advertising sales team. We welcome your feedback. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The best overall
The best wireless headphones
The best in-ear headphones
The best sports headphones
The best on-ear headphones
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