After years of traveling without active-noise cancelling, I decided it was time to take the step and move from sound-isolating earbuds to over-the-ear headphones. Though not the quintessential Bose QuietComfort25 [affiliate link], I am thrilled with my Audio-Technica ATH-ANC7B [affiliate link].
I detailed some features of the ATH-ANC7B below, as well as some other headphones and earbuds that might appeal to you. Let me know what you use in the air!
The ATH-ANC7B has a microphone on each ear-cup offering a solid 90% noise-cancellation in addition to the noise-isolation that the cups themselves provide. These headphones come with two lines as well as a sturdy carrying case.
One thing to keep in mind is that the version of the ATH-ANC7B that I purchased does not have an in-line microphone for phone calls. For that, you would have to use the ATH-ANC7B SVIS [affiliate link].
Bose QuietComfort 25 [affiliate link]
In addition to an amazing feel on your head, the QuietComfort 25 comes with an in-line microphone and some of the best noise-cancellation and built-in equalization available. Boasting upwards of 30 hours of use on a single AAA battery, few headphones come close. This makes it ideal for long days of flying!
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC9 [affiliate link]
The ATH-ANC7B’s big brother! In addition to the comfort of the ATH-ANC7B, the ATH-ANC9 offers three different isolation profiles that target specific frequencies common to various environments: airplane, office, and study. The noise-cancellation is more advanced, as well, coming in at 95%. This is achieved by the presence of two microphones on each ear-cup.
Bose QuietComfort QC20 [affiliate link]
The QC20s are the in-ear version of the QC25. Though it lacks the additional isolation provided by the over-the-ear form of the QC25, the proprietary eartips make a big difference. I strongly advise against using these for the gym, however. There is nothing more frustrating than damaging expensive technology because a weight rolled over it! Though they are pricey, you do get what you pay for.
BeoPlay H3 [affiliate link]
The BeoPlay H3 by Bang & Olufsen is easily on-par with the Bose QC20. Unlike the other headphones listed here, the H3 uses a built-in Lithium Ion battery that offers 20 hours of ANC playback. You get the stylistic appeal and quality audio that B&O is known for, along with memory-foam tips on the earbuds.
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC23 [affiliate link]
Don’t discount this pair from its price alone. The ATH-ANC23 boasts a solid 90% noise reduction for less than $60! You also get a carrying bag, extra ear-pieces so you can ensure a comfortable fit, and an extra adapter to use on planes that use the two-pronged audio plug. If you would like to have earbuds with a microphone, you will need to opt for the ATH-ANC33iS [affiliate link], though.
I can’t say enough good things about the eneloop Rechargeable Battery Pack by Panasonic [affiliate link]. Other than the B&O H3, all headphones listed above use AAA batteries, and having a charger you can travel with is crucial. Amazon makes a charger with USB port [affiliate link] if you have Ni-MH batteries already. Both chargers will handle AAA and AA batteries, so you are set for other devices you have that need them, as well.