The 15 Best Headphones for Travel and Commute

With the best headphones for travel and commute, you can shut off the world around you and listen to music in peace, whether you are traveling by airplane or commuting via bus or train. From over-ear headphones to truly wireless earphones, the products listed here are the best options if you are shopping for commute and travel headphones. Almost all of them feature active noise cancellation (ANC) technology for better noise isolation.

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Top Picks

Sony WH-1000XM3Best Over-ear Headphones: Sony WH-1000XM3

If you prefer the all-around usefulness of over-ear headphones, the Sony WH-1000XM3 are the best headphones for travel and commute. Regarded as some of the best noise-canceling headphones out on the market, they are perfect for blocking out ambient noise in crowded places like airports and public transport hubs. You can get them for around $350, which puts them in the same price range as the Bose QuietComfort 35 II and the Beats Studio3.

The WH-1000XM3 are wireless headphones with closed-back ear cups. They are lightweight and are comfortable to wear for long hours, though their bulky design might suggest otherwise. Their build quality is great and feels more premium than that of the QuietComfort 35 II. Their headband and ear cups are both well-padded and durable. Their overall aesthetic is clean and minimalist, allowing for a more low-profile look.

Although they are not as compact and portable as other types of headphones, the WH-1000XM3 are easy to carry for travel and commute. Like many modern headphones, they fold into a more compact form, allowing them to take less space in your bag. They also include a hard case, which offers better protection against physical damage than a soft pouch.

With the on-cup touch controls, you can easily manage your calls and music, adjust the volume, and activate your voice assistant while on the move. You can also toggle between ANC and ambient modes and quickly switch to attention mode – which automatically lowers the volume and disables the ANC – by covering the right ear cup with your hand. You can map the controls using the companion app if you prefer a custom control scheme.

For accessories, the WH-1000XM3 include an airplane adapter and a 3.5 mm analog audio cable for switching to wired mode, along with the charging cable and the aforementioned hard case. Both the airplane adapter and the audio cable are convenient for frequent travelers; the latter is useful if you forget to charge your headphones overnight before a particularly long flight.

The WH-1000XM3 are good-sounding headphones that sound consistent, with good bass and mid-range performance. Compared to their chief rival, the QuietComfort 35 II, they don’t sound as good out of the box. But on the plus side, their sound profile is more customizable using the companion app, allowing you to modify their sound to your liking. Their integrated mic is also decent and performs well even in moderately noisy places.

Whether you are traveling by airplane, bus, or train, you can count on the WH-1000XM3 for blocking out background noise. Their ANC is one of the best in the business and can effectively block ambient noise like the sound of airplane and bus engines and chatter in public transport. Furthermore, their sound leakage is low, allowing you to turn the music volume up without disturbing other commuters and travelers.

Regarding battery life, the WH-1000XM3 are impressive. They can last up to 30 hours per charge in wireless mode with ANC enabled. That’s more than good enough for long flights and commutes and extended layovers. They also charge fast, with 10 minutes of charging already providing five hours of playback, allowing for quick charges at the airport between flights. If the headphones run out of battery mid-flight or while commuting, you can simply switch to wired mode using the provided audio cable.

Overall, the WH-1000XM3 are well worth their $350 price. They are some of the best noise-canceling headphones for travel and commute. They are comfortable to wear continuously for long hours, feature user-friendly on-cup controls, and offer excellent noise isolation. Their build quality, battery life, and app support are all great, while their portability is decent for over-ear headphones.

$348

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Apple AirPods ProBest Truly Wireless Earphones: Apple AirPods Pro

Nothing beats truly wireless earphones in portability. They are a lot easier to carry than over-ear and on-ear headphones and are even more compact than neckband headphones. If truly wireless earphones are your preferred audio equipment for travel and commute, check out the Apple AirPods Pro.

They are more versatile than the AirPods 2, with their ANC making them more suitable for travel and commute. While they look similar to the AirPods 2, their design is notably different. They still have the familiar stem extending from the earbuds, but instead of open-back, they are closed-back earphones with a typical in-ear fit. They are comfortable to wear for long hours, with Apple including three different pairs of silicone ear tips to choose from.

A pair of IPX4-rated earphones, the AirPods Pro are extremely compact and lightweight, making them easy to carry in your pocket. Their build quality is great and feels premium. They stay securely in your ears despite their lack of ear hooks and stability fins. They are much more breathable than over-ear and on-ear headphones since they don’t cover or press on your ears at all.

The AirPods Pro have a responsive and user-friendly control scheme, with both earbuds featuring force sensors. You get essential functions like track skipping and call management. You can also activate Siri and disable the ANC. Unlike with some truly wireless earphones – like the Beats Powerbeats Pro and the Jaybird Vista – there are no physical buttons on each earbud.

Like the earphones themselves, the included charging case is extremely compact and looks premium. It measures 2.4 inches wide, 1.8 inches tall, and 0.9 inches thin, making it more compact than most charging cases. It is just as lightweight and portable as the earphones and has a secure lid. It supports Qi wireless charging and holds additional charges to extend the total battery life, which is useful for long flights.

While their sound quality is inconsistent and varies among users, the AirPods Pro are decent-sounding earphones that are suitable for listening to music, audiobooks, and podcasts. They have an excellent wireless range and seamlessly pair with Apple devices. You don’t get a dedicated app for customizing the earphones, though, which is disappointing but not a deal-breaker.

Compared to the open-back AirPods 2, the AirPods Pro are much better at noise isolation. Their passive in-ear seal and ANC allow them to block a significant amount of ambient noise like the sound of bus and airplane engines. They are great at canceling the sound of chatter at airports and public transport hubs. Their sound leakage is also minimal even at higher volumes, which is beneficial for your fellow commuters.

One of the most notable weaknesses of the AirPods Pro is their mediocre single-charge battery life, which is a common issue among truly wireless earphones. They can run up to only four hours and 30 minutes per charge with ANC enabled and the volume set to 50 percent. The good news is that the charging case, as mentioned, holds additional charges. With the additional charges, you can get more than 24 hours of total battery life, which is great.

If you prefer truly wireless earphones due to their unmatched portability, the AirPods Pro are the best headphones for travel and commute. They have a comfortable in-ear fit, a decent control scheme, an extremely compact charging case, and an IPX4 rating for sweat resistance. Their noise isolation is one of the best for their type of headphones, but on the other hand, they are not as customizable as some competing products.

$249

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Sony WI-1000XBest Neckband Headphones: Sony WI-1000X

Of the best neckband headphones on the market, the Sony WI-1000X are the most suitable for travel and commute, edging out the more popular Bose QuietControl 30 by a slim margin. They are better-built and more customizable and include an airplane adapter and an audio cable. They are just as pricey as the Bose headphones, though, normally selling for almost $300.

The WI-1000X are noise-canceling headphones with a typical in-ear fit and an actual solid neckband, which separates them from other behind-the-neck headphones like the Jaybird Tarah Pro. They are available in two colors (black and gold) and include multiple ear tip sizes, allowing you to choose the best fit for your ears. They have thin audio cables that extend from the neckband, with their smart cable management making for a cleaner setup.

Like other in-ear headphones and earbuds, the WI-1000X have a breathable design that makes them comfortable to use for long hours. They are quite stable and don’t easily pop out of your ears despite lacking stability fins. They are easy to carry due to their compact and lightweight design and can be simply worn around your neck when not in use, which is convenient.

An airplane adapter and an analog audio cable are included in the box, along with a soft pouch and the charging cable. The audio cable is especially notable, as neckband headphones usually can’t be used in wired mode. You can connect the audio cable to pretty much any device that supports a 3.5 mm analog plug, either natively or with an adapter.

The controls are located on the neckband itself. They are easy to use, with the buttons providing decent tactile feedback. Using the neckband controls, you can easily manage your calls and music, adjust the volume, and disable the ANC while walking, with no need to take out your smartphone.

Optimized for Google Assistant, the WI-1000X are good-sounding for neckband headphones, with their companion app allowing you to customize their sound profile. They support NFC for faster pairing and are compatible with both iOS and Android devices. While their integrated mic is surprisingly decent, there are neckband headphones that offer better mic performance.

From the sound of airplane engines to ambient chatter in public transport, the WI-1000X are great at blocking out unwanted noise. Their noise isolation performance is one of the best among neckband headphones. Their sound leakage is also low even at higher volumes, preventing your loud music from disturbing your fellow commuters and travelers.

The WI-1000X have a much longer battery life per charge than the Apple AirPods Pro – one of the most notable advantages of neckband headphones over truly wireless earphones. They can last up to 10 hours in wireless mode with ANC enabled and up to 13 hours with ANC disabled. Their battery life with ANC increases to 14 hours while in wired mode, which is great for particularly long flights and road trips. On the other hand, their fast-charge feature is not as good as that of other wireless headphones, with 15 minutes of charging only providing 70 minutes of playback.

On the whole, the WI-1000X are recommended noise-canceling headphones if you prefer neckband headphones for travel and commute. Their noise isolation, build quality, app support, and battery life are all great. Their controls and sound quality are both good, while their integrated mic is decent. They are not the most budget-friendly neckband headphones, though.

$298

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Beats Solo ProBest On-ear Headphones: Beats Solo Pro

The Beats Solo Pro are more suitable for travel and commute than the older Solo3, with their ANC and better noise isolation being the biggest reason for that. They are wireless on-ear headphones that are available in different colors, including black, red, and light blue. They are significantly more expensive than the Solo3, selling for $300.

A pair of closed-back headphones, the Solo Pro have a stylish design that stands out, similar to the Solo3 and the Studio3. Their build quality is great and feels premium. They are noticeably bulkier than most on-ear headphones, appearing to be over-ear headphones at first glance. They are lightweight and breathable and have well-padded ear cups, but they are not as comfortable for long listening sessions as other on-ear headphones due to their very tight fit.

Like the Solo3, the Solo Pro fold into a more compact form, allowing them to take less space when stored in your bag. While they are not as compact and portable as other on-ear headphones, they are not too cumbersome to carry for daily commute despite their bulkier design. A soft case is included in the box for storage, which is a bit disappointing since many similarly priced headphones come with a sturdier hard case instead.

The Solo Pro have a user-friendly on-cup control scheme featuring the essential functions. You get controls for calls, music, and volume, along with a dedicated ANC button. You can turn on/off the headphones by unfolding/folding them, allowing you to quickly switch them on/off without fumbling for a small button on the ear cups.

Although they are not recommended for professional use, the Solo Pro are good-sounding headphones with a fairly balanced audio reproduction. They are consistent and are suitable for different music genres, including punk rock, reggae, hip hop, and heavy metal. They seamlessly pair with Apple devices and boast an excellent wireless range. However, unlike many other wireless headphones, they lack a full-fledged companion app for customization.

As mentioned, the Solo Pro are better than the Solo3 regarding noise isolation. They do a decent job blocking out the sound of airplane and bus engines. Moreover, they block a great amount of ambient chatter, whether you are at the airport or in a public transport terminal. Their sound leakage is also low, which is notable for on-ear headphones and is beneficial for people around you.

Regarding battery life, the Solo Pro are just as good as the Studio3. They can last up to 22 hours per charge while in wireless mode with ANC enabled and up to 40 hours with both ANC and transparency mode disabled. Their fast-charge feature allows them to gain three hours of playback after just 10 minutes of charging. Sadly, they don’t include an audio cable for switching to wired mode when the battery is low, which is disappointing for $300 headphones.

The Solo Pro are some of the most expensive on-ear headphones on the market. But if you prefer noise-canceling on-ear headphones for commute and travel, they are the best option currently out. Their build quality, control scheme, battery life, and noise isolation are all great. They are good for all-around use, but they are not as comfortable to wear for long hours as other on-ear headphones.

$300

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Anker SoundCore Space NCBest Budget Headphones Under $100: Anker SoundCore Space NC

Selling for less than $100, the Anker SoundCore Space NC are a more affordable alternative to the popular Sony WH-1000XM3. They are wireless over-ear headphones featuring a closed-back design and ANC for better noise isolation. While not as customizable and good-sounding as the Sony product, they offer good value for the money and are suitable for commute and travel.

The Space NC are well-built headphones with memory foam padding and a nice metallic finish on their plastic ear cups. They are lightweight and are comfortable to wear despite their bulky design and tight clamp. While they are not as breathable, they are much better for long listening sessions than the Beats Solo Pro, making them more suitable for long flights.

For a pair of bulky over-ear headphones, the Space NC are quite portable and not too cumbersome to carry for commute and travel. They fold into a more compact form for easy storage and include a hard case, embarrassing some high-end headphones that merely include a soft case or pouch. Their ear cups also swivel, which makes them easy to wear around your neck when not in use.

With their responsive and user-friendly on-cup controls, the Space NC allow for easy call and music management and volume adjustment while on the go. The control scheme is composed of a touch surface and physical buttons. In addition to the essential functions, you can also disable the ANC and activate your voice assistant using the on-cup controls.

Regarding audio reproduction, the Space NC are not bad, but they have a bass-heavy sound profile than some will not like. You can’t modify the sound profile to your liking, as there is no companion app for customization. On the bright side, they have a decent integrated mic and a good wireless range and easily pair with both iOS and Android smartphones.

Their battery life is also good. With both Bluetooth and ANC enabled, they can last up to 20 hours per charge, which is good enough for long flights and commutes. When in wired mode, their battery lasts up to an incredible 50 hours with ANC enabled, according to Anker. You can also still use them as regular wired headphones when the battery is fully depleted, which can’t be said for some wireless headphones.

The Space NC have good noise isolation, blocking out the sound of chatter and airplane engines in an effective manner. You can increase the music volume to further reduce background noise at particularly crowded or very noisy environments. You don’t need to worry about disturbing nearby people with your loud music because the headphones also have low sound leakage.

If you are limited to a $100 budget for noise-canceling headphones, check out the Space NC. They are easy to use and are comfortable to wear for long flights and commutes. They have good noise isolation, on-cup controls, build quality, and battery life, and their mic performance and portability are both decent. They offer good value for the money and are some of the best noise-canceling headphones under $100.

$99

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Aukey LatitudeBest Cheap Headphones: Aukey Latitude

The Aukey Latitude are sports headphones that are also great for travel and commute. They are wireless in-ear headphones with a behind-the-neck cable and an inline remote. They sell for around $30, making them even more affordable than the Anker SoundCore Space NC. While their build quality is not as rugged and premium as more high-end sports headphones, their noise isolation is great, which is impressive for headphones without ANC.

Featuring stability fins for a more secure fit, the Latitude have an all-black color scheme that makes for a more discreet look. Their overall build quality is decent for budget headphones, with their IPX4 rating meaning they are protected against sweat. Their earpieces are magnetic, which allows for easy cable management. There are different ear tip and stability fin sizes included in the box, giving you the chance to mix and match individual units for the best fit for your ears.

Like other types of in-ear headphones, the Latitude are very compact and lightweight and are much more portable than regular over-ear and on-ear headphones. Unlike the Sony WI-1000X, which have a less flexible neckband, they will easily fit in most pockets due to their extremely compact design. A soft pouch is included in the box, which is a plus since cheap headphones don’t usually come with any form of container.

The Latitude have a small inline remote for controls. You can use the remote for managing your calls and music and adjusting the volume. You can also use the multi-function button to cycle between the three preset sound profiles. Unlike with some budget headphones, the control scheme is easy to use and doesn’t feel cheaply implemented, with the buttons providing decent tactile feedback.

Performance-wise, the Latitude are decent overall. Their audio reproduction is surprisingly decent for cheap headphones, with good bass performance. You can use them for listening to music, audiobooks, podcasts, and other media. Their inline mic is also decent for phone calls even in a moderately loud environment, which is a big plus for some people. On the other hand, they lack a dedicated app for customization.

With their incredibly effective in-ear seal, the Latitude are good at passively blocking out ambient noise like airport chatter and the sound of bus engines. They are even better than some noise-canceling headphones selling for a much higher price. Their sound leakage is also minimal, allowing you to increase the volume to further block background noise without disturbing people around you.

The Latitude can run up to eight hours on a single charge, which should be good enough for most people for daily commuting. However, compared to some of the best neckband headphones, their battery life is a bit shorter. On the plus side, they charge fast, only requiring around one hour and 30 minutes to be fully recharged.

All in all, the Latitude are highly recommended if you are in the market for cheap headphones that are suitable for travel and commute. They are surprisingly versatile headphones that are also good for office use and sports, which increases their value even more. Their sound quality, mic performance, controls, and build quality are all decent, while their noise isolation and portability are both great.

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More Options

If none of our top picks above are to your liking, check out the products below. All of them are also good headphones for commute and travel. The products include several Bose noise-canceling headphones, which are some of the best in their respective categories.Mpow H10Mpow H10

The Mpow H10 are wireless over-ear headphones featuring ANC for better noise isolation. They are even more affordable than the Anker SoundCore Space NC, selling for around $50-60. They have a bland aesthetic and don’t really stand out. They are comfortable to wear for long hours due to their soft earpads and lightweight frame. Their on-cup controls are decent and include essential functions like call and music management.

While they are not the most portable headphones, the H10 are good for travel and commute. They have an advertised battery life of 30 hours, which is especially beneficial for long flights and layovers. Their noise isolation with ANC enabled is also surprisingly good for budget headphones. They block a good amount of background noise like the sound of chatter and airplane engines. However, they are mediocre are preventing sound from bleeding out, so you’ll need to keep the volume at moderate levels to avoid disturbing fellow commuters and airplane passengers.

PurchaseBose QuietComfort 25Bose QuietComfort 25

If you don’t really care about wireless connectivity, the Bose QuietComfort 25 are a better buy than the popular QuietComfort 35 II and the Sony WH-1000XM3. They are significantly more affordable and can be bought for less than $150. They are just as comfortable to wear continuously for long hours as the QuietComfort 35 II, featuring a lightweight frame and soft earpads. Their noise isolation with ANC enabled is also excellent, making them suitable for blocking out ambient noise while commuting and traveling.

A pair of wired over-ear headphones, the QuietComfort 25 are not as big as some over-ear headphones and are quite portable. They are lightweight, fold into a more compact form, and include a hard carry case for a more secure container. Their audio cable ends with a regular 3.5 mm analog plug for universal compatibility with most mobile devices. An airplane adapter is also included in the box, along with an AAA battery for the ANC.

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Amazon Echo BudsAmazon Echo Buds

The Amazon Echo Buds are some of the most affordable truly wireless headphones with ANC, selling for $130, which puts them in the same price range as the Samsung Galaxy Buds. They have a stable and breathable in-ear fit, with multiple ear tips and stability fins to choose from. Their build quality is good, with their IPX4 rating meaning they are protected against sweat. Like many other truly wireless headphones, their control scheme is rather limited, but it offers essential functions like call and music management, along with ANC control.

Although they are not as good as the more premium Apple AirPods Pro, the Echo Buds are great at blocking out background noise – with or without ANC. They will allow you to listen to your music in peace during flights and commutes. And with their minimal sound leakage, you don’t need to worry about disturbing other people with your loud music. Their battery life per charge is short, though, which is a common issue among truly wireless headphones. They can run up to five hours per charge, but with the additional charges in the charging case, you get up to 20 hours of total battery life.

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Microsoft Surface HeadphonesMicrosoft Surface Headphones

Featuring a minimalist but appealing aesthetic, the Microsoft Surface Headphones are a solid pair of wireless over-ear headphones for travel and commute. They are not the most portable, which can be said for many other over-ear headphones, but they are comfortable to wear for long hours and boast good noise isolation performance and low sound leakage. Their battery life is 15 hours per charge, which is decent but not on par with that of other noise-canceling over-ear headphones.

The Microsoft Surface Headphones are well-built headphones that are lightweight and durable. Their tight clamp makes for a more secure fit. One of their highlights is their excellent on-cup control scheme composed of buttons, dials, and touchpads. With the on-cup controls, you can manage your calls and music, adjust the volume and ANC, and mute the mic. They have the most complete control scheme among the best headphones for travel and commute listed in this guide.

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Bose QuietComfort 20Bose QuietComfort 20

If you still prefer the straightforward design of wired earbuds, check out the Bose QuietComfort 20, which sell for around $250. They are some of the best wired earbuds for travel and commute, with their ANC feature allowing them to block a great deal of ambient noise. They are more comfortable to wear for long hours than typical in-ear headphones and can last up to 16 hours per charge.

With their compact and lightweight design, the QuietComfort 20 are very portable and easy to carry for everyday use. Similar to other Bose earbuds, they have stability fins for a more secure fit. Their audio cable ends with a regular 3.5 mm analog plug for universal compatibility with most devices. A small remote and a separate control module for the ANC are integrated into the long audio cable – both of which are user-friendly and don’t feel cheaply built.

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Bose QuietControl 30Bose QuietControl 30

The Bose QuietControl 30 are wireless neckband headphones that are great for all-around use. They are more comfortable to use for long hours than typical in-ear headphones, making them more suitable for long flights. They have stability fins for a more secure fit, but the ear tips and the stability fins are a single unit, which means you can’t mix and match different sizes for a customized fit.

Although their neckband is not as flexible as that of other neckband headphones, they are portable and easy to carry for travel and commute, with their hard case protecting them from physical damage when not in use. Their noise isolation with ANC is great and can be easily adjusted using the inline remote, which also allows for basic functions like call and music management. They can last up to 10 hours per charge – a good mark for noise-canceling neckband headphones.

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Sennheiser PXC 550-IISennheiser PXC 550-II

The Sennheiser PXC 550-II are wireless over-ear headphones featuring closed-back ear cups with soft padding. Like all the other over-ear headphones on this list, they are equipped with ANC technology for better noise isolation. They are lightweight and more breathable than most over-ear headphones, making them comfortable to wear for long flights and commutes. They have an efficient and user-friendly control scheme that allows for easy call and music management while on the go.

For commute and travel, the PXC 550-II are better headphones than the original PXC 550. Their noise isolation performance is better, which is important for blocking out ambient noise in crowded places and when traveling by plane or bus. They are also good-sounding headphones that are suitable for most music genres. Their battery life is 30 hours per charge, with the option to switch to wired mode when the battery is low.

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Bose QuietComfort 35 IIBose QuietComfort 35 II

If you like the Bose QuietComfort 25 but want the convenience of wireless connectivity, consider the QuietComfort 35 II instead. They are wireless over-ear headphones that are just as expensive as the Sony WH-1000XM3, selling for around $350. They are some of the best and most popular noise-canceling headphones on the market, not only for commute and travel but also for office use.

Compared to the WH-1000XM3, the QuietComfort 35 II are better-sounding out of the box and are more comfortable to use continuously for long hours. Their on-cup control scheme is also simpler and easier to use. On the other hand, they are less customizable and have a shorter battery life of 20 hours per charge in wireless mode with ANC enabled. They also leak more sound at higher volumes, so you’ll need to be mindful of your music volume if there are people sitting beside you during flights and train or bus rides.

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Bowers & Wilkins PXBowers & Wilkins PX

A pair of wireless over-ear headphones, the Bowers & Wilkins PX are premium noise-canceling headphones with excellent noise isolation performance and build quality. With their ANC enabled, they block an incredible amount of ambient noise, from the sound of bus and airplane engines to chatter in crowded places. They have a simple on-cup control scheme and can last up 22 hours per charge in wireless mode with ANC enabled. When used in wired mode with ANC enabled, the battery life increases to 33 hours.

The PX, however, are not the most comfortable headphones for long listening sessions. They have a very tight clamp, especially out of the box. Moreover, they are the least portable among the over-ear headphones in this guide, mainly because they don’t fold into a more compact form. Their soft pouch is also disappointing for such an expensive pair of headphones. But despite their flaws, they are still some of the best headphones for travel and commute and are the best-built among the noise-canceling over-ear headphones listed here.

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