Headphones with a comfortable headband and ear padding, booming bass, impressive battery life, and Bluetooth technology are great options for anyone who wants to hear their music, movie, or phone call come through crystal clear, but if outside noise is polluting your hearing space, those features won’t make much of a difference. That’s why when we shop for headphones, buying a pair that can block out ambient noise is imperative to the quality of our listening experience.
Not all noise-canceling headphone users require the same amount of sound blockage or features. For those who want to listen to their music, movies, or talk on the phone while hands free, the level of noise cancellation they require when sitting at a desk, commuting on public transit, traveling, or sharing a home space is not the same as those who work in noisy job sites or use heavy machinery at home that could result in hearing damage or complete hearing loss over time.
Headphones are not a one-size fits all product, which is why we’ve included three very different models below. The Mpow are an affordable option that blocks out some noise while giving customers the possibility of being wired or wireless while using Bluetooth technology or a wire to connect to their phone, computer, or tablet. The COWIN provides a more robust sound quality and eliminates a significant percentage of external noise while also boasting the most extended battery life while in wireless mode. Finally, the 3M is designed for those who need to protect their hearing while on noisy job sites or when operating heavy machinery, like a drill saw or riding lawn mower, at home.
If you’re ready to hear things more clearly and want a pair of affordable headphones that are suited to your audio needs, we have three great options that should satisfy any audiophile.
1. Mpow Bluetooth Headphones
Updated with improved battery life, you can block out some outside noise, listen to music with a High-fidelity stereo sound, and take calls thanks to a built-in mic with the Mpow Bluetooth Headphones.
Pros: The Mpow works for both blocking out ambient sound and providing a comfortable and luxurious listening experience. The Hi-Fi sound is boosted by a 40mm neodymium driver and CSR chip, with an over-the-ear memory-protein cushion design that engulfs your senses. Mpow has recently updated the headset so that when being used in the wireless mode, the headphones now last 20 hours of music or talking time on a single charge (the headphones can also be used in wired mode). The Bluetooth 4.1 connectivity works up to 33 feet, making these ideal headphones for pairing with phones, computers or TVs. The Mpow is also a fit for travelers, with the padded headband folding in its portable bag when not in use. Customers say that Mpow’s customer service is excellent.
Cons: Mpow notes that the headphones should be removed after one to two hours of use in hot weather to give ears and headphones a break. The Mpow isn’t completely noise-canceling, but they do block out ambient noise.
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2. COWIN Active Noise Cancelling Bluetooth Headphones
Made with active professional noise canceling technology, the COWIN Active Noise Cancelling Bluetooth Headphones can significantly reduce the amount of outside noise when used both in wired and wireless modes.
Pros: The COWIN uses proprietary 40mm large-aperture drivers for expert sound quality and a booming bass that allows for music and phone calls to come in clearly, with the headphones featuring Bluetooth technology. The built-in mic makes hands-free calling easy thanks to NFC Technology, which includes voice prompts that will instruct your Bluetooth device. Like the Mpow, COWIN also recommends removing their headphones at frequent intervals, suggesting every two to three hours and more often in hot weather. The COWIN also lasts longer in wireless mode than the Mpow with the ability to go for 30 hours on one four-hour charge, good news for those who like to travel with their headphones and zero wires.
Cons: The COWIN has the most features of all three options on our list, but they are also the most expensive.
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3. 3M WorkTunes Hearing Protector with AM/FM Radio
Built for users who are near dangerously noisy job sites and machines, the 3M WorkTunes Hearing Protector with AM/FM Radio provides ear protection and entertainment thanks to their radio and music player input capabilities.
Pros: The 3M feature a noise reduction rating of 24 dB that will protect your hearing around noisy work sites or when using loud machinery at home, like a riding lawnmower. With the ability to preset 50 radio stations with voice assistance technology and quickly flip between stations on the headphone’s controls, users can listen to the radio and block out noise in wireless mode. Auto-scan mode enables users to quickly locate their favorite stations, allowing you to find the music you want fast and get back to work. The 3M has three bass levels to choose from and comfortable padding on the headband and ear pads, as well as a redesigned battery coverage for added durability.
Cons: The noise-canceling and radio features can be used in wireless mode, but to listen to an MP3 or iPod, the 3M requires a wired connection. The headphones require batteries and don’t provide an option for USB charging like the Mpow and COWIN.
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