Give Dad the Gift of Silence With Noise-Canceling Headphones for Father's Day
Consumer Reports has recommendations for every budget
With Father's Day approaching, now's the time to find the perfect present. One option that's sure to bring a smile to any music-loving dad's face: noise-canceling headphones.
Whether dad needs a few minutes of quiet after work or just wants to lock into a podcast on his next long-haul flight, the right pair of noise-canceling headphones is one of the best ways to tone down a cacophonous world. And the best ones will also let him bask in the glory of high-fidelity sound.
Here are five of the best choices from Consumer Reports' headphone ratings.
Best Budget Choice
This over-ear wireless model from Monoprice is just under $50. But the bargain price doesn't mean the headphones are subpar. In our lab, the Monoprice BT-300ANC demonstrates superb noise-canceling performance, and the sound quality is above-average as well. The headphones feature integrated controls for calls, volume, and playback, and the ear cups fold in and swivel flat for easy storage and transport.
According to Monoprice, the battery will run 8 hours between charges with both Bluetooth and noise-canceling turned on, and you can keep the music going even longer by switching off Bluetooth and using the detachable audio cable that's included.
Best On-the-Go Performer
The JBL Everest Elite 150NC will let pop enjoy great audio quality and terrific noise reduction while avoiding the bulky profile that comes with an over-ear model. And if you shop around, you can pick up these earphones for as little as $200, which is a solid value for a noise-canceling model that performs so well.
This model features an integrated, variable noise-canceling control that lets you choose between more or less ambient sound, and you get an advertised 14-hour battery life with the noise-canceling technology turned on. The My JBL Headphones app provides additional functionality, such as a 10-band graphic equalizer.
The earphones clip together magnetically for easy storage, but the collar that connects them is a bit heavy, our testers say.
Best True Wireless Option
The Sony WF-SP700N has a true wireless design, meaning the earpieces aren’t connected by a cable. Our testers find the audio quality and noise-canceling performance to be above average, but not stellar.
The earphones are advertised as water-resistant with a 3-hour battery life (CR doesn’t test those claims). The battery life is short but not unusual for true wireless models. The model has a quick-charging function, and the carrying/charging case has a built-in battery that can recharge the earphones twice.
The Sonys feature controls for variable noise-cancellation, Google Assistant, calls, and music playback.
Best Low-Price Portable Option
You don't need to shell out the cost of a cross-country flight for portable noise-canceling headphones. At $100, the Bluetooth-enabled Audio-Technica ANC100BT is the cheapest option to earn a recommendation from CR's testers, and it provides superior noise-canceling tech and reliable sound quality.
Some of the electronics are housed in an external compartment that's small enough to slide into a shirt pocket or clip to a shirt. The extra space allows for higher battery capacity than you see for many competitors in this category. According to Audio-Technica, these earphones will operate for up to 10 hours with both Bluetooth and noise-canceling turned on.
The earphones feature controls for calls, volume, and playback, and come with a detachable audio cable for use with wired devices.
The Science Behind Noise-Canceling Headphones
Whether it's concentrating on work or blocking out undesirable sounds, noise-canceling headphones can be a huge help. On the "Consumer 101" TV show, Consumer Reports' experts Elias Arias and James Dickerson, Ph.D., explain to host Jack Rico the tech behind these handy devices.