Best noise-canceling headphones for students 2022
Affordable headphones to block out the noise.
When you're a student, there are a lot of distractions. That can't be helped, but you can take action to reduce their impact on yourself and your studies. One great way is to invest in some noise-canceling headphones. Not only are they good at blocking out the world while you're trying to work, but they make commuting much less stressful.
As we head back to school, another benefit of headphones and earbuds with active noise cancellation is that by blocking and neutralizing background noise around you, you won't have to crank the volume up while jamming out to your favorite tunes. This helps with hearing health and prevents early hearing loss, since you're able to enjoy your beats at a more reasonable volume, sans distractions. Here are the best noise-canceling headphones for students.
It's impossible to recommend noise-canceling headphones without the wireless Bose QC 35 II at least being considered. Not only do they deliver stellar noise cancellation and a delightful sound stage with punchy, but not over the top bass, but they're lightweight, extremely comfortable, and have great battery life. If you use them with an Android phone, you also get NFC pairing and a companion app to help you really get the most from them. They're pricey but genuinely exceptional.
Sony's noise cancellation technology is second to none, and the company's slightly older WH-1000XM4 remains a solid choice for students on a budget. With a compact design where the earcups can fold in, the WH-1000XM4 is the decidedly more compact option when compared to the recently launched XM5 for travel. And going with a model that's slightly older means that you should be able to snag some good discounts. Here, you're still getting solid audio quality, touch sensors on the cans, and 30-hour battery life.
Premium in-ear experience
You don't need a bulky pair of headphones to get luxurious sounds. Sony's in-ear WF-1000XM4 delivers a solid audio experience with a similar noise cancellation technology that's used on the larger WH-1000XM4 headsets. These earbuds come with their own charging case, an app for phones for even more customizations, and long battery life. The WF-1000XM4's IPX4 water-resistance rating means that you can also take it to the gym for a workout.
An AirPods Pro alternative that works with Find My
Belkin's Soundform Immerse is a more affordable alternative to Apple's AirPods Pro. And because these buds support multipoint connect technology, it's perfect for students who rely on a mixed ecosystem of Windows notebooks, Apple phones, and Google tablets. Google Fast Pair is supported, and the buds can switch between multiple devices with ease. Like the AirPods Pro, these buds work with Apple's Find My app to help locate lost or misplaced buds and the charging case, and the earbuds come with 7 hours of battery life while the case delivers an additional 24 hours of top-up power. Terrific audio quality and solid hybrid noise-cancellation tech make these a great option for students.
Solid mid-range performance
The Philips PH805 delivers great audio performance on a budget. Since the headphone's release, prices on these cans have steadily dropped, making them an affordable bargain for what you're getting. With the PH805, you'll be able to enjoy hi-res audio on 25 hours of battery life with noise cancellation turned on.
Microsoft's latest headphones look great and, compared to their predecessor, cost less and also come in black. The sound quality is excellent, the battery life is solid, if not class-leading, and the active noise cancellation is definitely good enough for a busy school day. The Surface Headphones 2 also hook up to the new Surface Audio app on mobile and PC for easy updating and settings tweaks.
For active lifestyles
Jabra's Elite 7 Pro may look understated, but these earbuds come with water and dust seals, making them ideally suited for those with more active lifestyles. Unlike flashier earbuds, the muted aesthetic of the Jabra Elite 7 Pro means that these earbuds are versatile enough to go with you from the great outdoors to the confines of an office or classroom without looking out of place. You get adjustable noise cancellation, great microphone performance, and solid audio with these buds.
Silencing the sounds around you doesn't have to cost a fortune, and the budget-friendly Anker Soundcore Life A2 NC shows that you can get noise cancellation on a budget. These affordable buds can tune out 90% of the distraction ambient sounds around you, making them perfect to focus on studying or staying in the zone at the gym. You get 7 hours of playtime on a charge, and the battery case gives you up to four more recharges before you need to plug the earbuds in.
Great battery life
This pair of wireless noise-canceling headphones is not only affordable but has fantastic battery life. At a claimed 40 hours, you'll be able to get through multiple days of schoolwork on a single charge connected to your phone or your laptop. The Q20 is also Hi-Res Audio certified, so your tunes will sound most excellent, and you'll be getting up to 90% ambient noise reduction to help you concentrate.
Block out all distractions
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Whether you have a noisy roommate, a long commute, or just need to concentrate at the library, there are plenty of distractions associated with being a student. Luckily, there is a pair of noise-canceling headphones across multiple price ranges, so you can block out the noise and concentrate on what's most important.
You can't go wrong with any of these headphones, and if you have the budget, either the Bose QC35 II or Sony WH1000XM4 will be the absolute best of the bunch. They're a step up from everything else here, but you have to pay for the privilege, as there are a number of affordable picks on our list as well.
If you prefer earbuds, you're not left out, either. The Anker Soundcore Life A2 NC is a solid option for those who prefer in-ear headphones. The best feature about the Soundcore is that these earbuds are also wireless, ensuring you don't get tangled up in cables.
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Chuong's passion for gadgets began with the humble PDA. Since then, he has covered a range of consumer and enterprise devices, raning from smartphones to tablets, laptops to desktops and everything in between for publications like Pocketnow, Digital Trends, Wareable, Paste Magazine, and TechRadar in the past before joining the awesome team at Windows Central. Based in the San Francisco Bay Area, when not working, he likes exploring the diverse and eclectic food scene, taking short jaunts to wine country, soaking in the sun along California's coast, consuming news, and finding new hiking trails.
- Richard DevineManaging Editor - Tech, Reviews