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Best noise-cancelling headphones and earbuds in Australia 2024

We spent hundreds of hours testing headphones to find the best noise-cancelling options in Australia.

The best noise-cancelling headphones and earbuds in Australia

There are a lot of noise-cancelling headphone options out there, including in-ear and over-ear models, wired or wireless. Finding the right pair is an important decision, as noise-cancelling headphones tend to come with a premium price tag.

Our team tested dozens of pairs of headphones with noise cancellation to come up with this list of products that we can happily recommend.

Finder's team of experts spent hundreds of hours testing and reviewing headphones. For each pair, we considered the design, performance, battery life and overall value for money.

Our editorial team selected the noise-cancelling headphones on this list based on the results from our testing as well as real customer reviews and key product features.

Read more about our methodology below.


Sony WH-1000XM4

Best overall noise-cancelling headphones

Sony WH-1000XM4
Image: Sarah Brandon/Finder

Finder Score:

★★★★★

Pros

  • Excellent noise cancellation
  • Can be paired with 2 devices at the same time
  • Speak-to-chat feature is surprisingly useful

Cons

  • No battery life improvements
  • Expensive
  • 360 Reality Audio is only compatible with a few streaming services

Why we chose it

These headphones were also included on our list of the best Bluetooth headphones. They sound fantastic and have some of the best noise cancellation on the market, with 2 microphones on each ear cup that detect sound and cancel it out.

They also have a sensor that captures ambient noise extremely effectively and can automatically adjust how much ambient noise to let in based on your location.

The Sony WH-1000XM4 headphones have on-ear controls and offer up to 30 hours of battery life with noise cancellation switched on. They can also pair to 2 devices at the same time.

Find out more in our full review of the Sony WH-1000XM4 headphones.

How do Australians rate Sony's headphones?

98% of surveyed Australians recommend Sony
4.4
Value for money
4.5
Overall
4.6
Performance
4.6
Ease of use
4.4
Features and design
4.5
Sound quality
How Sony compares

In the 2023 Finder Retail Awards, we surveyed over 34,000 Australians about their retail purchases to discover which were their favourite brands across 170 product categories and over 1,200 total brands.

For headphones, Sony was ranked 1st for value for money, 3rd for performance, 3rd for ease of use, 3rd for features and design and 4th for sound quality.

11 brands were rated across these decision criteria.


Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700

Runner-up best noise-cancelling headphones

Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700
Image: Lauren Chaplin/Finder

Finder Score:

★★★★★

Pros

  • Sleek new design
  • Adjustable levels of noise cancellation
  • Better sound than the QC35 II
  • Great battery life

Cons

  • Expensive
  • No wall charger included in box

Why we chose it

If you prefer Bose to Sony, we recommend the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700. The Bose 700s offer 11 different levels of noise cancellation so you can control how much ambient noise you want to hear.

The highest level of cancellation blocks out an impressive amount of noise, even if you're not listening to anything. They also offer 20 hours of battery life and have a quick charge feature that gives you 3.5 more hours of listening after a 15-minute charge.

These over-ear headphones have an extremely comfortable, lightweight design and come with a slim travel case.

For more information, check out our full review of the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700.

How do Australians rate Bose's headphones?

91% of surveyed Australians recommend Bose
4.3
Value for money
4.6
Overall
4.7
Performance
4.6
Ease of use
4.6
Features and design
4.8
Sound quality
How Bose compares

In the 2023 Finder Retail Awards, we surveyed over 34,000 Australians about their retail purchases to discover which were their favourite brands across 170 product categories and over 1,200 total brands.

For headphones, Bose was ranked 3rd for value for money, 1st for performance, 3rd for ease of use, 1st for features and design and 1st for sound quality.

11 brands were rated across these decision criteria.


Sony WF-1000XM4

Best earbuds

Sony WF-1000XM4
Image: Tegan Jones/Finder

Finder Score:

★★★★★

Pros

  • Incredible sound
  • Best-in-class noise cancelling
  • Great battery life
  • Water resistance

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Not the most secure in-ear
  • Comfort for long listening sessions needs work

Why we chose it

Sony is also responsible for the best noise-cancelling earbuds for the second generation in a row.

Previous the XM3s held this spot, but the XM4s have offered a few improvements to make them a worthy replacement. This includes water resistance as well as a smaller and more comfortable form-factor this time around. The case is also much smaller.

The audio quality and noise cancellation are also excellent thanks to the 7mm drivers and external microphones to measure noise and automatically adjust to the ideal level of noise cancellation for your environment.

They offer up to 24 hours of listening time with noise cancellation and up to 32 hours of listening time without it. They also have an extra 10-minute quick charge for 90 additional minutes of playtime.

They have a recommended retail price of $449.95, but you can find them at several retailers for a little less. They are also our pick for the best wireless earbuds in Australia.

How do Australians rate Sony's headphones?

98% of surveyed Australians recommend Sony
4.4
Value for money
4.5
Overall
4.6
Performance
4.6
Ease of use
4.4
Features and design
4.5
Sound quality
How Sony compares

In the 2023 Finder Retail Awards, we surveyed over 34,000 Australians about their retail purchases to discover which were their favourite brands across 170 product categories and over 1,200 total brands.

For headphones, Sony was ranked 1st for value for money, 3rd for performance, 3rd for ease of use, 3rd for features and design and 4th for sound quality.

11 brands were rated across these decision criteria.


Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3

Runner-up earbuds

Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3
Image: Tegan Jones/Finder

Finder Score:

★★★★★

Pros

  • Incredible audio quality
  • Excellent active noise-cancellation
  • Extremely comfortable

Cons

  • Pricey
  • Battery life is the same as the previous generation
  • Incremental upgrade

Why we chose it

It was quite difficult to choose between the Sony WF-1000XM4 and Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 as the best noise-cancelling earbuds.

While the sound quality and inclusions of the XM4s are a touch better, you're still getting truly spectacular buds here.

Sennheiser's active noise cancellation (ANC) and audio quality are sensational. And we find the Momentum True Wireless 3 to be more comfortable than the Sony XM4s. They also have great battery life and a smaller case than the previous generation.

How do Australians rate Sennheiser's headphones?

94% of surveyed Australians recommend Sennheiser
4.2
Value for money
4.5
Overall
4.6
Performance
4.6
Ease of use
4.3
Features and design
4.7
Sound quality
How Sennheiser compares

In the 2023 Finder Retail Awards, we surveyed over 34,000 Australians about their retail purchases to discover which were their favourite brands across 170 product categories and over 1,200 total brands.

For headphones, Sennheiser was ranked 4th for value for money, 3rd for performance, 3rd for ease of use, 7th for features and design and 2nd for sound quality.

11 brands were rated across these decision criteria.


Apple AirPods Pro

Best Apple earbuds

Apple AirPods Pro
Image: Alex Kidman/Finder

Finder Score:

★★★★★

Pros

  • Noise cancelling is quite smart
  • Much more comfortable fit
  • Fast pairing with iOS devices
  • Smaller microphone stubs make them less obvious

Cons

  • Relatively expensive
  • New case is wider than the originals
  • Fixed battery makes their future unclear

Why we chose it

The AirPods Pro are interesting because while they're up there in terms of price, they are nowhere near as good as the XM4s or Momentum 2 as ANC earbuds.

So why are we calling them out? While the ANC and audio are by no means best-in-class, they offer quality-of-life features. They connect to your phone instantly (if you have an iPhone), charge quickly, offer wireless charging, have great battery life and are super comfortable.

They are also in a form factor that doesn't fall out easily, which makes them versatile.

The AirPods Pro and their popularity are proof that oftentimes people just want something slick that works easily. And they do.

They were released in 2019, so you can now find them at several retailers for less than Apple's $399 asking price.

For more information, check out our full review of the Apple AirPods Pro.

How do Australians rate Apple's headphones?

94% of surveyed Australians recommend Apple
4.1
Value for money
4.5
Overall
4.6
Performance
4.7
Ease of use
4.5
Features and design
4.5
Sound quality
How Apple compares

In the 2023 Finder Retail Awards, we surveyed over 34,000 Australians about their retail purchases to discover which were their favourite brands across 170 product categories and over 1,200 total brands.

For headphones, Apple was ranked 8th for value for money, 3rd for performance, 1st for ease of use, 2nd for features and design and 4th for sound quality.

11 brands were rated across these decision criteria.


Sony WH-1000XM3

Best value

Sony WH-1000XM3
Image: Alex Kidman/Finder

Finder Score:

★★★★★

Pros

  • Great battery life
  • Adjustable noise cancelling
  • Good audio for music
  • Light and compact for travellers

Cons

  • Touch controls are fiddly
  • App changes require reconnections

Why we chose it

The Sony WH-1000XM3 over-ear headphones were released in 2018, so you can now get them at most retailers for much cheaper than their original asking price of $499.95. At the time of writing you can find them for under $200 from some retailers.

Despite being a few years old, the Sony WH-1000XM3s are absolutely still worth buying. This is because they were incredibly future-proofed when first released. On top of having incredible ANC and audio, they had a lot of battery life and were one of the first high-end consumer headphones to utilise USB-C for charging.

While the newer Sony WH-1000XM4s top our list because they are best-in-class, the changes Sony made were incremental. The battery life is even the same as the previous generation.

Honestly, unless you have the budget to drop $500+ on headphones (that are admittedly great) I still recommend opting for the XM3s because they still hold up so well even 3 years later.

How do Australians rate Sony's headphones?

98% of surveyed Australians recommend Sony
4.4
Value for money
4.5
Overall
4.6
Performance
4.6
Ease of use
4.4
Features and design
4.5
Sound quality
How Sony compares

In the 2023 Finder Retail Awards, we surveyed over 34,000 Australians about their retail purchases to discover which were their favourite brands across 170 product categories and over 1,200 total brands.

For headphones, Sony was ranked 1st for value for money, 3rd for performance, 3rd for ease of use, 3rd for features and design and 4th for sound quality.

11 brands were rated across these decision criteria.


Apple AirPods Max

Best by Apple

Apple AirPods Max
Image: Alex Kidman/Finder

Finder Score:

★★★★★

Pros

  • Astonishingly good audio
  • Good battery life
  • Excellent noise cancellation

Cons

  • Case is laughably bad
  • Quite expensive
  • No included cabling or charger
  • Plays best only with Apple products

Why we chose it

When I first saw the $899 price tag attached to the AirPods Max I nearly choked. How on earth could Apple justify that when its rivals, which were already pricey, start at almost $400 cheaper?

I was determined to dislike these things but dammit, I just couldn't. Don't get me wrong, the price is still tear-inducing, even for Apple. But the audio, noise cancellation, sound (especially the 3D spatial audio) and design are truly spectacular. The mesh band is especially excellent during Australian summer.

The AirPods Max are better than they have any right to be, but they aren't without issues. They're quite heavy. And the protective case not only doesn't protect them but transforms an otherwise chic pair of headphones into what looks like a bra cross with a handbag.

The good news is that you can get them for a lot cheaper now. But even at around $700 these are still pricey. But if you're an Apple fan who wants a high-quality headset that will fit seamlessly into your gadget ecosystem, these are annoyingly good.

Read more in our full review of the Apple AirPods Max.

How do Australians rate Apple's headphones?

94% of surveyed Australians recommend Apple
4.1
Value for money
4.5
Overall
4.6
Performance
4.7
Ease of use
4.5
Features and design
4.5
Sound quality
How Apple compares

In the 2023 Finder Retail Awards, we surveyed over 34,000 Australians about their retail purchases to discover which were their favourite brands across 170 product categories and over 1,200 total brands.

For headphones, Apple was ranked 8th for value for money, 3rd for performance, 1st for ease of use, 2nd for features and design and 4th for sound quality.

11 brands were rated across these decision criteria.


Audio Technica ATH-ANC900BT

Best for battery

Audio Technica ATH-ANC900BT
Image: Sarah Brandon/Finder

Pros

  • Excellent audio quality
  • 3 noise cancellation levels
  • Exceptional battery life
  • Can be used wirelessly or wired

Cons

  • Touch and swipe controls hard to use
  • High price tag
  • Fit not comfortable for small heads
  • Uses micro USB charging

Why we chose it

Audio Technica's ATH-ANC900BT over-ear noise-cancelling headphones boast an impressive 35-hour wireless battery life and a 60-hour wired battery life with active noise cancellation. They take around 5.5 hours to fully recharge.

They offer 3 levels of noise cancellation that you can adjust using the Connect app.

They have excellent audio quality, but they're not the most comfortable set of over-ear headphones that we've tested, especially for those with smaller heads.

How do Australians rate Audio Technica's headphones?

95% of surveyed Australians recommend Audio Technica
4.1
Value for money
4.4
Overall
4.5
Performance
4.7
Ease of use
4.4
Features and design
4.4
Sound quality
How Audio Technica compares

In the 2023 Finder Retail Awards, we surveyed over 34,000 Australians about their retail purchases to discover which were their favourite brands across 170 product categories and over 1,200 total brands.

For headphones, Audio Technica was ranked 8th for value for money, 6th for performance, 1st for ease of use, 3rd for features and design and 7th for sound quality.

11 brands were rated across these decision criteria.


Amazon prices last updated on 20 May, 2024 at 09:28 am
eBay prices last updated on 19 May, 2024 at 10:40 pm

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$130 off + FREE shipping on Apple AirPods Pro 2nd Generation with MagSafe Charging Case


How did we pick this list?

25
Brands considered
75+
Products compared
8
Best noise-cancelling headphones chosen
  • Our editorial team spent hundreds of hours testing and reviewing headphones.
  • We based our top picks on our own reviews, key product features and pricing.
  • The products on this list were chosen by our editorial team and were not selected based on commercial relationships.

Why you can trust our picks

We compared noise-cancelling headphones from the following brands and eliminated any products that weren't widely available across Australia:

  • Apple
  • Audio-Technica
  • Bang & Olufsen
  • Beats
  • Belkin
  • BlueAnt
  • Bose
  • Bowers & Wilkins
  • Google
  • Jabra
  • Jaybird
  • JBL
  • Kogan
  • Master & Dynamic
  • OnePlus
  • Philips
  • Pioneer
  • Plantronics
  • Razer
  • realme
  • Samsung
  • Sennheiser
  • Skullcandy
  • Sony
  • Urbanista

We then considered how the headphones performed when we tested them, comparing the design, performance, battery life, overall value for money and, of course, noise cancellation levels of each product. We ended up with what we believe are the 8 best noise-cancelling headphones in Australia.

Frequently Asked Questions

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Customer satisfaction rating breakdown

The Finder Customer Satisfaction Awards is an annual national survey conducted in partnership with research firm Dynata. With over 30,000 real shoppers participating, the awards serve as a reliable reflection of Australian consumers' preferences and opinions.

Here are the scores for headphone brands from 2024.

Brand Ease of use Features and design Overall Performance Sound quality Value for money Recommended Total Score
Bose 4.6 4.6 4.6 4.7 4.8 4.3 91% 4.59
Sony 4.6 4.4 4.5 4.6 4.5 4.4 98% 4.56
Apple 4.7 4.5 4.5 4.6 4.5 4.1 94% 4.5143
Beats by Dr. Dre 4.6 4.4 4.4 4.7 4.7 4 96% 4.5143
Sennheiser 4.6 4.3 4.5 4.6 4.7 4.2 94% 4.5143
Audio Technica 4.7 4.4 4.4 4.5 4.4 4.1 95% 4.46
JBL 4.4 4.1 4.4 4.5 4.5 4.4 94% 4.43
Samsung 4.5 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.4 4.2 94% 4.43
Skullcandy 4.4 4.4 4.3 4.5 4.3 4.2 92% 4.39
Philips 4.1 4 4.2 4.3 4.3 4.2 90% 4.23
Logitech 4 3.8 4.1 4.1 4 3.9 82% 4
Data: Finder Retail Brand Survey, 2023, Kantar. Metric out of 5 stars unless indicated. Methodology and more info. Kantar logo

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