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Best Noise Cancelling Headphones to buy 2015

Andrew Williams by

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If you're after the best noise cancelling headphones to drown out the sound of your morning commute, you've come to the right place. We've picked five of the best to buy.

It's worth investing in a good pair of noise cancelling headphones if you travel to work via train, bus or tube and like to listen to music or watch movies while you go. While noise isolating earphones are great, they can't match the best active noise cancelling pairs when it comes to silencing that rumble of engines, announcements and hurried footsteps.

Hit the dropdown menu above to head straight to our short reviews or read on for more buying advice.

See also: Best Headphones

Noise Cancelling Headphones – What to look for

When considering headphones like these, there are a few basic questions you need to ask yourself.

First and foremost, do you want in-ear models or the over/on-ear type? With in-ear pairs, all the cancelling gubbins is packed into a little remote housing that lies on the cable. It generally gets a bit annoying, unless you wear clothes that are happy to accommodate a shirt clip. Larger pairs, like Bose's mega-popular models, fit everything into the earcups themselves. They're therefore a lot neater and easier to live with.

A quirk of Bose ANC (active noise cancelling) headphones is that they will not output any sound at all unless cancellation is switched on. Run out of battery and you're well and truly stuffed. Some alternatives pull the same trick, while others don't. Bear this is mind if you know you tend to spend a long part of your day away from a charger.

However, the battery life of ANC headphones is improving. These days, you're looking at around 20 hours, though some offer up to 50 hours of use. Similarly, while many pairs use custom rechargeable units, plenty of others rely on good old AA/AAA batteries.

Last, but by no means least, there's the question of sound quality. Buying into this sector, you'll just have to accept that the sound won't quite match the very best non-ANC headphones at the price. It's not a tech that can simply be slotted in for free.

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