As a keen traveler, it doesn’t matter how you plan on seeing the world. Whether you’re after a city break in Rio, all-inclusive luxury in Costa Rica or backpacking in Cambodia, a budget beating pair of noise cancelling headphones have the potential to be your best friend. How though do you go about finding the best budget travel headphones?
With the world of technology advancing all the time, the choices you face when dipping your toes into the headphone market can be overwhelming. There is so much to choose from; are you after over-ear headphones or ear buds? Does it matter if they’re wireless? How much does sound quality truly matter? What does long lasting charge actually look like? It’s an awful lot to chew over.
Don’t worry though because our guide takes you through everything you need to know. We’ll be considering price, sound quality and, because you’ll be journeying the globe, the all-important battery life. Shall we get started?
Audio Technica ATH-ANC900BT
We kick off our list with headphones from Audio Technica. They are a company renowned for their premium quality audio equipment including the latest ATH-ANC900BT wireless headphones. This pair of over-ear headphones from Audio Technica feature some of the best noise cancelling technology on the market. They are a great option for travelers looking to invest in a premium product with a long battery life. When you pick up the Audio Technica ATH-ANC900BT QuietPoint headphones, the first thing that strikes you is their design. No, not because they’re bad looking but because they’ve been well-built. They are incredibly lightweight and can be folded away into their handy carry case.
These ANC900BT over-ear headphones have some of the best active noise cancelling technology (ANC) on the market. By using multiple microphones in each ear cup, these headphones help to cancel out a wide range of annoying background sounds. With 3 modes to choose from – airplane, on-the-go and office/study, freeing yourself from distractions has never been easier. Allow yourself the freedom to listen for longer with an outstanding battery life of 35 hours, and if that’s not enough a quick 15-minute blast will give an additional 3 hours of playback, so you’re always covered when you’re on the move.
This set of headphones from Audio Technica are comfortable to wear, lightweight and deliver top quality sound versus similar headphones at this price. With unrivalled sound quality and powerful noise cancelling properties, these headphones are a lifesaver for traveling with as they successfully cut out unwanted noise all at the touch of a button. So if you’re looking for an easy to use, high quality pair of travel headphones that offer as much comfort as they do value for money then these Audio Technica ANC900BT over-ear headphones are the perfect choice for you.
Let’s kick this product off with three questions. Noise cancelling technology? Check. Great sound quality? Check. Cheap wireless headphones? Check. If you’re looking to invest in your first pair of budget friendly, wireless travel headphones then the Sony WH-CH700N should be top of your list. Offering the most value for money at this price range, these Sony over-ear headphones are one of the best on the market, featuring Bluetooth connectivity, noise cancelling technology as well as great sound quality making them one of our favourites.
These Sony WH-CH700N wireless noise cancelling headphones are perfect for long-haul flights and lengthy train journeys as they deliver an incredible 35-hour battery life meaning you don’t have to worry about your music or favourite TV shows cutting out mid-journey. Should you forget to charge your headphones before you set off for your holiday, a simple 10-minute quick charge via the handy USB cable is enough to inject these stylish over-ear headphones with enough power for a full hour of listening. These Sony WH headphones also feature Artificial Intelligence Noise Cancellation (AINC) technology which analyses sound at the touch of a button, ensuring you get the best listening experience when you need it most – ideal for drowning out the hum of noisy airplane engines!
The headphones are available in black, blue or grey finishes. The Sony WH-CH700N are a great cheap wireless headphone option featuring everything you need for your music to sound great time and time again. These super lightweight headphones are incredibly comfortable thanks to their padded ear cups making them the perfect travel companion wherever you go – so whether you’re going long-haul or just a few hours away to the beach for the weekend, these Sony WH-CH700N over-ear headphones deliver the best quality at an even better price.
Jabra Elite 85t True Wireless Earbuds
Are you looking for the perfect pair of travel headphones that will offer everything you need and a little more? Then look no further than the Jabra Elite 85t; the latest offering from tech giant, Jabra. Penned as the company’s best true wireless earbuds to date, these compact headphones are ideal for storing neatly away in hand luggage. Offering industry leading sound quality as well as some of the best noise cancelling properties, you can’t go wrong with a pair of Jabra Elite 85t true wireless earbuds.
The Jabra Elite 85t true wireless earbuds are one of the best options if you’re looking to invest in a pair of next level noise cancelling earbuds. Upon first use, you are able to configure your earbuds from the Sound+ app allowing you to create a personalised audio profile to help fully optimise your listening experience. The noise cancellation features of these headphones are second-to-none giving you complete control over how much sound from the outside world you want to hear. Cancel out the noise you don’t want to hear with Active Noise Cancelling mode (ANC) and let in the sounds you do (such as important airplane announcements) with the HearThrough option.
These Jabra advanced wireless in-ears are a good option for travelers constantly on the move thanks to their 5.5 hour battery life, with an additional 25 hours provided by the compact charging case. As well as being able to charge these earbuds in the charging case, they are also compatible with QI-certified wireless charging pads too. Although on the higher end of wireless earbuds, the Jabra Elite are a worthwhile investment for anyone that travels a lot – whether that’s by plane, train or bus. These two independent ear buds deliver unrivalled audio quality and stable Bluetooth connection at a competitive price point.
Boltune True Wireless Earbuds
If you’re looking for true wireless earbuds that offer great noise cancelling, then you may want to consider these in-ears from Boltune. With Bluetooth, an IPX7 water-resistance rating and an incredible 35 hours of battery life you can’t go wrong with this pair of in-ear wireless headphones. The Boltune may look like another pair of wireless headphones, but when it comes down to design and fit, they beat many of the big brands. They are created with comfort in mind. These cheap wireless earbuds pop easily in the ears, providing a snug seal for optimal noise isolation.
This pair of in-ears from Boltone don’t just offer great battery life; they’re also portable too making for great travel headphones. With a small and lightweight design, this pair of headphones fits easily in to your pocket. The small charging case they come with is compact enough to stow away in your luggage too. A nice feature of the charging case is the USB-C connection; this allows for faster charging and a longer lasting product. You can get a full 35 hours of playback after just 90 minutes of charging! Ideal if you are backpacking.
These wireless in-ear headphones deliver above average sound quality, with powerful bass for a positive listening experience. Although these stylish in-ears offer active noise cancelling, it’s worth pointing out that some noises (such as keyboard clicks and people chatting) are still slightly audible. That being said, the Boltone headphones have many great features. One of which is that you can pair each earpiece one at a time; this is great if you’re someone that likes to make calls. Overall, these headphones from Boltune offer great value for money and are a sound purchase if you’re looking for a decent pair of truly wireless in-ear headphones for your travels. The fact they’re water resistant too means they’re great for wearing around surf spots.
BOSE Quiet Comfort Earbuds
On-ear headphones are perfect when you’re traveling long-haul. If, however, you’re going to be backpacking around your destination, they’re not the most practical. These Bose QuietComfort Earbuds are a great, practical solution for anyone looking for a pair of travel headphones that pack a tonne of quality into a compact piece of tech. Using a combination of patented active and passive noise cancellation innovations, this pair of headphones from Bose features all the noise cancelling performance of their best-selling over-ear headphones, just in the form of a compact, truly wireless model. That’s pretty impressive if you ask us.
When it comes to searching for the perfect pair of travel headphones, you’ll want to consider how long the battery life will last. These in-ear headphones by Bose state they should last six hours from a single charge. They come with a charging case supplying an additional 12; that gives you 18 hours in total. A decent amount, but by no means industry leading. What these compact earbuds lack in playback time, they more than make up for with their superb sound quality .
Engineered with patented eartip technology, these Bose truly wireless headphones offer comfort that many wireless earbuds don’t. Their surface is soft silicone as opposed to plastic meaning they’re comfortable to wear for hours at a time. One of the fantastic features of these truly wireless headphones from Bose is that you don’t have to content with lots of buttons as each earpiece features an intuitive touch interface allowing you to control volume, playback and noise cancellation through a series of gestures which you can set-up in the Bose Music app.
These Bose QuietComfort Earbuds are great travel headphones, capable of amazing music quality and noise cancelling properties. They offer a lot more than most earbuds at this price range.
Beats Solo Pro Wireless
The Beats Solo Pro tick a lot of boxes when it comes to travel headphones. These wireless noise cancelling headphones – available in black, navy, white and gold – are well built, robust and offer incredible noise control, adapting to the ambient noise around you allowing you to drown out annoying ambient noise such as the humming of the airplane engine or chatter of passengers. Battery life is respectable at 22 hours (40 hours if you have noise cancelling switched off). It makes them one of the best options for long journeys. With easy-to-use features, pairing with your device has never been easier – just hold down the button on the side for a couple of seconds to activate pairing mode and you’re ready to go!
The noise cancellation feature on these over-ear headphones is excellent; this statement is particularly true when compared to other headphones at this price. They offer full cancellation of ambient noise as well as a transparency mode; this lets a little noise in so you can still hear important announcements as you travel. Beats headphones are popular amongst fans of bass-heavy music (such as hip-hop and rap) and have faced a lot of criticism due to mids and highs sounding a little lost, but that problem seems to have been fixed on these over-ear headphones. Now they provide a much more balanced sound profile for easy listening.
Lightweight and easily foldable for traveling, these over-ear headphones from Beats are some of the best cheap headphones we’ve used. With padded ear cups, decent battery life, unrivalled sound quality and amazing noise isolation, these wireless headphones offer everything you need for even the longest journeys. Worried what to wear? They are available in red, black, blue and pink too.
Anker Soundcore Life Q20
Until recently, it’s been hard to find a pair of noise cancelling headphones at a competitive price point, but that all changes with the arrival of these cut-price over-ear headphones from Anker. Offering noise cancelling technology at half the price of many high-end audio brands, these headphones feature some of the best sound quality, outstanding battery life (up to 32 hours) and active noise cancellation, all for under $60. They are a solid pair of headphones for the price. These Anker’s are a great starting point for anyone looking to enter the world of noise cancellation.
With a lightweight design, this pair of over-ear headphones from Anker feature an adjustable padded headband with foldable ear cups that rotate 90 degrees allowing you to neatly stow away in your luggage. One of the best features on this pair of cheap headphones is its incredible battery life. It comes in at a whopping 32 hours with ANC and 60 hours without. These are some of the most long lasting we’ve come across. They also charge-up fairly quickly, allowing you to have 4 hours of playback from a 5-minute charge.
When it comes to sound quality, the Q20 fairs well. It’s not as good as some of the more premium models like the Sony WH-CH700N but it does offer a well-balanced sound profile. It is all you can ask for from a model at such a cheap price. The active noise cancellation on these over-ears is impressive in filtering out most mid and low-end ambient sounds such as the rumbling of an airplane engine. With its well-built design, comfortable fit and long battery life, the Anker SoundCore Life Q20 makes for one of the most desirable best budget Bluetooth headsets on the market.
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Sennheiser HD 4.50 BTNC
These Sennheiser 4.50 BNTC wireless headphones are some of the best closed-back headphones with a wireless connection that we’ve come across. They’re comfortable, well-built and offer a well-balanced sound profile rivalling many high-end brands like Sony and Bose. Their 25-hour continuous battery life makes them one of the longest on the market. It means they’re a great option for any type of traveler. If you want to travel light, you might think that over-ear headphones aren’t for you but Sennheiser has made these closed-back headphones with the traveler in mind offering a lightweight, flexible solution that can be neatly stored away in your luggage.
With its lightweight design that’s perfect for travelers, this pair of closed-back headphones from Sennheiser perform remarkably well for a headphone under $200. With well-balanced sound quality when connected to a wireless device via Bluetooth, these headphones make your music sound great. It doesn’t matter where in the world you are. Available in a matte black finish, these headphones are nothing to write home about when it comes to style points, which is reflected in their price. What they lack in style they more than make up for with everything else though.
If you’re looking for a pair of the best cheap headphones, then the Sennheiser HD 4.50 BTNC could be the ones for you. They generally come in at under $200. These closed-back headphones are some of the best on the market. They deliver fantastic audio quality and noise cancelling technology that’s good enough to drown out almost every annoying sound around you. Their design is lightweight and comfortable with easy-to-use controls. It’s easy to see why these are some of the best headphones around.
JBL Tune 600BNTC
JBL offers some of the best cheap headphones below $100 and the Tune 600 is one of its best options. Featuring Bluetooth connectivity, noise-cancelling technology and boasting an above average battery life of over 10 hours, the JBL Tune 600 BNTC make for some of the best cheap headphones available. But with all that technology packed into an $100 headphone – does it deliver? After all, many tech giants are selling headphones with a similar specification for over double the price. Let’s take a look.
With a modern, sleek design the JBL Tune 600 feature an adjustable headband as well as rotating ear cups allowing them to be quickly and easily folded away in your luggage. An impressive feature of these over-ears from JBL is their battery life. They boast 12-hours usage with ANC. Although this is fairly low versus some of its high-end competitors it’s still enough for a train journey or transatlantic flight. They also charge-up quickly, giving you full charge after just 2-hours. For under $100, this set of headphones from JBL deliver premium quality sound offering punchy bass when paired with a device via Bluetooth.
When it comes to the noise isolation properties of these over-ears, they do fair well; they’re not the best but for under $100 you can’t complain. If you’re looking for a headphone that offers some of the best audio quality on the market, then the JBL Tune 600 over ear headphone offers a budget friendly option. These headphones are comfortable on the ears thanks to its lightweight design. They also feature easy-to-use Bluetooth connectivity. This pair of headphones from JBL offers the best value for money for travelers looking for top quality audio at a budget price point. You have a choice of colors too; choose from black, blue, white and pink.
Our Top Pick: The Winner
From the nine noise cancelling headphones we reviewed, one reigns supreme. Taking number 1 spot on our best buy list are the BOSE Quiet Comfort Earbuds, the latest offering from BOSE. These wireless earbuds blend industry leading sound and top-quality noise cancellation in to a luxe, compact design.
Although these in-ears sit on the more premium end of the scale when it comes to price, these Bose earbuds are a worthwhile investment. With a lightweight design (coming in at 8.5g), these QuietComfort earbuds offer unrivalled comfort for a pair of in-ears; this is all down to Bose’s StayHear Max ear tips which are made out of flexible silicone instead of hard plastic. When it comes to the audio quality and noise isolation properties, these QuietComfort Earbuds outrun the competition. They offer three customisable noise-cancelling settings. With a transparency mode that lets important sound in (such as flight announcements), these in-ears from Bose do one of the best jobs in cancelling out cabin noise on airplanes.
If you’re looking for a pair of travel headphones to join you whilst you’re globetrotting around the world, or are simply looking to invest in a new pair of headphones for everyday use then we couldn’t recommend the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds any more. Offering superb value for money as well as industry leading sound performance, this is one purchase you won’t regret.
What are the best headphones to use on a plane?
The best headphones to use on a plane are earbuds. There isn’t necessarily the best brand to recommend specifically for use on a plane but comfort and size become key requirements. That makes small earbuds more suitable for use on a plane than bulkier over-ear headphones.
Do noise cancelling headphones help on airplanes?
Noise cancelling headphones do help improve the quality of your journey on an airplane. A set of noise cancelling headphones don’t help with the change in pressure during take off and landing; they do, however, solve the number one complaint of airplane passengers. The number on complaint is noise from the engine and other travelers, which noise cancelling headphones can eliminate.