Black Friday is the best time of year to score a great deal on a pair of quality noise canceling headphones or earbuds. Now that Black Friday is under way, we’ve picked out the five best headphones and earbuds you should consider. Whether you decide on the Sony WH-1000XM4, Bose QuietComfort 45, or Apple AirPods Pro, you’re bound to come away satisfied with whatever you choose.
The Sony WH-1000XM4 Noise Canceling Wireless Headphones Is Still One of the Best Noise Canceling Headphones Around
The Sony WH1000XM4 might have a generic name, but the quality of these headphones is anything but. In recent years, Sony’s WH1000XM series of headphones have shaken Bose’s long standing reputation for having the best noise canceling headphones on the market. Bose still has the edge in terms of better noise cancellation, but many reviewers tip their hats towards the Sony WH1000 for slightly better audio quality and more comfortable ergonomics. The WH1000XM4 also boasts up to 30 hours of battery life on a single charge. If you run out, charging for just 10 minutes will give you another 5 hours of playback. It charges via USB Type-C, which is a welcome upgrade over legacy Micro USB.
The Newer Sony WH-1000XM5 Somehow Finds Ways to Improve
The previous generation Sony WH-1000XM4 was widely praised as one of the best, if not the best, noise canceling headphones under $500. Even so, the Sony WH-1000XM5 is able to noticeably improve upon one very important feature, and that is noise cancellation.
On the digital noise suppression side, the XM5 is upgraded with double the processors and microphones dedicated to filtering out ambient noise. The result is a better reduction of higher end frequencies that the XM4 was previously unable to block. On the passive noise isolation side, Sony did a much better job of having the earcups more effectively seal out sound on the XM5; they’re shaped larger and wider to fully enclose your ear, and the foam material, despite being just as comfortable, does a better job of creating a proper seal. The difference in noise suppression is quite apparent.
The New Bose QuietComfort 45 Is a Worthy Competitor
Bose needs no introduction. No one can dispute the fact that the Bose QuietComfort headphones have set the bar for noise cancellation and sound quality for years and years. They’ve been the industry standard up until the upstart Sony WH1000XM series came along. Unlike the WH1000XM4 (there’s a WH1000XM5 currently released), the QuietComfort 45 is the newest model in the lineup. This is the first of the QuietComfort headphones to finally eschew the legacy Micro USB connector in favor of USB Type-C. The QC45 boasts up to 24 hours of battery life on a single charge, and charging for 15 minutes will give you another 3 hours of playback. In most other respects it feels and looks almost identical to the QC3. If it ain’t broke, why fix it?
Check Out the Apple AirPods Pro for a Noise Canceling Earbud Option
It has been almost three years since the first gen Apple AirPods Pro was released, so there are plenty of upgrades under the hood, even if the new AirPods Pro look cosmetically identical. The biggest upgrade is the new Apple H2 chip, which promises better audio quality and improved active noise cancellation. That, combined passively noise isolating nature of in-ear earbuds means that the AirPods Pro will provide better noise isolation than over-ear headphones like the Bose QuietComfort or the Sony WH1000XM5. There’s also a new feature called “Adaptive Transparency Mode”. This mode actually amplifies the ambient sound so that you can hear your surroundings better. In-ear earbuds traditionally have very good noise suppression even without active noise cancellation enabled, so this is a great way for people to listen in on the outside world without having to remove the earbuds.
The Sony WF-1000XM4 Are a Cheaper Alternative to the AirPods Pro
The Sony SF-1000XM4 is marked down to $178 for Black Friday, making it $50 cheaper than the AirPods Pro. There aren’t any significant drawbacks either. The WF-1000XM4 offers excellent sound quality and very effective noise cancellation thanks to its sealed passive noise isolation design much like the AirPods Pro. It’s also one of the longest lasting truly wireless earbuds around at up to 8 hours of playtime on a single charge. You get three different sizes of tips to conform to your ear size as well as a wireless charging case.
Runner Up: Samsung Galaxy Live Buds
Truly wireless active noise canceling earbuds from a reputable brand for under $100?? Yes, you heard that right. That’s a great deal, especially when you compare the price to the AirPods earbuds. The Samsung Galaxy Buds Live costs $120 less than the currently running Black Friday Apple AirPods Pro deal and $60 less than the 3rd gen Apple AirPodswhich doesn’t even have the noise canceling feature.
At such a low price, there’s got to be a catch, right? Well, yes, there is. Although the Galaxy Buds Live have active noise cancellation, they are not passively noise isolating. That is, the design of the earbuds does not create a proper seal. What this means is that the active noise cancellation helps mute ambient sounds, but doesn’t entirely eliminate them. That’s generally a big no-no in terms of noise canceling performance, but for the Galaxy Buds’ use case scenario, it actually works well. The Galaxy Buds eliminates enough of the background noise for you to enjoy your music or hands-free calls, but at the same time you’ll be fully aware of the environment around you. Noise canceling AND noise isolating earbuds usually have a mode that lets you listen in on the outside world, but then you’d turn off the noise cancellation entirely. That means you can do either or, but not both at the same time. With the Galaxy Buds Live, you can.
Is Noise Cancellation Worth It?
Unless you live in an anechoic chamber, then absolutely! Being able to drown out the background noise while listening to your music is an absolute game changer. Those of you who have already experienced it will probably agree, and those of you who haven’t will be in for an eye opening experience.
Looking for more discounts? Take a look at our best Black Friday deals of 2022.