The Best Noise-Canceling Headphones for Developers in 2023

You know that feeling when you’re in the zone, and suddenly the construction outside or coworker conversation breaks your focus? If you’re working from home, you might hear your dog barking or family going about their day in the background. With increasingly open office spaces and the rise of remote work, distractions are everywhere.

Distractions are the enemy of productivity, and many developers choose to close in with a pair of headsets to get that laser focus they need to code. But with so many headset options in the market, which one is a good option for you?

Let’s find out!

Our Top Pick

Things to Consider

Before you invest in a pair of headphones, a few areas are worth thinking about first. The most significant factor when considering any purchase is, of course, your budget. Now luckily, many tech companies offer hefty equipment allowances. We’ve broken down our recommendation list by price range if this is an essential factor for you.

Another thing to consider is comfort. As a developer, you’re probably planning on wearing your headphones for hours. So look for what materials the headphones are made of as well as their weight.

Other areas we’ve covered are noise reduction level, battery life, compatibility with voice assistants, and more.

The Best Headsets for Developers in 2023

Apple AirPods (3rd Generation)

Best if you are in the apple ecosystem
Apple AirPods (3rd Generation)

Apple AirPods (3rd Generation)

The Apple AirPods 3rd generation offer seamless connectivity and high-quality sound, making them a great choice for anyone looking for a top-notch wireless earbud experience.

Reasons to buy:

  • Seamless connectivity with Apple devices
  • Good sound quality for wireless earbuds
  • Comfortable and lightweight design
  • Easy to use and convenient touch controls
  • Long battery life
  • Quick and easy charging with the included case

Reasons to avoid:

  • Relatively expensive compared to other wireless earbuds on the market
  • Limited compatibility with non-Apple devices
  • Lack of physical controls can be inconvenient for some users
  • Some users may find the design too minimalist or not secure enough for physical activity (myself included)
  • The case can be easily lost or misplaced

Alternative variants: Apple AirPods Pro

You may be surprised to find the Airpods as the first item on the list, but the truth is that they work the best for me. I use my headsets pretty much all day, and I tried a lot of over-the-ear headphones, and none of them are very comfortable after a bit.

So to try something different, I got myself the Airpods, and I loved them. I could take them all day, and I even forget they are still in my ears.

The microphone quality is surprisingly good for calls and meetings.

In the past, I had two pairs of headphones with me, one for working and another for walking and running; now, the Airpods are all I need for every situation.

Bose QuietComfort 45

Highest sound quality
Bose QuietComfort 45

Bose QuietComfort 45

One reason to loving Bose QuietComfort 45 is its exceptional noise-cancelling technology, which creates a truly immersive and peaceful listening experience by blocking out external sounds without sacrificing audio quality.

Reasons to buy:

  • Exceptional noise-cancelling technology
  • High-quality audio performance with deep bass and clear, balanced sound
  • Comfortable and lightweight design with soft ear cushions
  • 24-hour battery life for extended use
  • Quick charging capabilities
  • Intuitive touch controls for easy and convenient use

Reasons to avoid:

  • Relatively expensive
  • Some users may find the design too bulky
  • Limited customization options for sound preferences
  • The lack of an included headphone jack adapter may inconvenience some users

The Bose QuietComfort 45 has two levels of noise cancellation. You can choose from “quiet mode” (full noise cancellation, you won’t hear a thing of what’s going on outside your headphones) or “awareness mode”, where you will be able to hear the surrounding environment, great if you use them outside.

We are in 2022, so of course, it offers support for your phone’s assistant. Additionally comes with an app that is great for setting the EQ, changing modes, and getting information about the headphones.

You can alternatively adjust the noise level through the app, where you can also connect another pair of Bose headphones, so you and a friend or coworker can listen to the same thing simultaneously.

Compared to its predecessor, there have been good improvements in battery life, with them lasting for up to 24 hs, though in practice, I never got as much, but got me through three full days of work and music, without any problem.

Not a good option for gaming though as the sound may be a bit delayed compared to other options.

Sony WH-1000XM5 Wireless Industry Leading Noise Canceling Overhead Headphones

Premium headphones
Sony WH-1000XM5

Sony WH-1000XM5

The Sony WH-1000XM5 is a top-of-the-line wireless headphone that offers exceptional noise-cancelling technology, high-quality audio performance, comfortable fit, and advanced features, making it an ideal choice for audiophiles and anyone looking for a premium listening experience.

Reasons to buy:

  • Exceptional noise-cancelling technology
  • Adaptive Sound Control
  • High-quality audio performance with LDAC and DSEE Extreme technologies
  • Long battery life of up to 30 hours with fast charging capabilities
  • Comfortable and lightweight design with soft ear cushions and adjustable headband
  • Easy to use and customize with touch controls

Reasons to avoid:

  • Relatively expensive
  • The touch controls may not be as intuitive or responsive

These wireless headphones are truly premium (and come with a premium price tag as well). However, if you have the budget for them, then they are worth checking out.

The battery lasts up to 30 hours with noise cancellation, and up to 40 hours without. But if that’s not enough, you can fully charge the headphones in three and a half hours.

You can pair multiple devices and reviewers say they switch between them seamlessly. This will come in handy if you like to listen to music on your phone but need to switch to meetings on your computer throughout the day.

The headphones are the most beautiful looking, and there are touch sensor controls to activate your voice assistant, skip songs, up the volume, answer calls or play and pause. Your music will automatically pause when you take them off and pick up where you left off when you put them back on.

They use dual noise sensor technology, which means there’s one sensor picking up outside noise and one picking up your voice, so they know which one to cancel out. In addition, your music will play smoothly with the Edge-AI technology, which Sony developed with their music studio in Tokyo.

SENNHEISER Momentum 4 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones



The SENNHEISER Momentum 4 offers premium sound quality, sleek design, and advanced noise-cancelling technology, making it a great choice for audiophiles and anyone looking for a top-of-the-line wireless headphone.

Reasons to buy:

  • Exceptional sound quality
  • Dynamic bass and clear, balanced mids and highs
  • Sleek and elegant design
  • High-quality materials and comfortable fit
  • Outstanding noise-cancelling technology
  • Intuitive touch controls
  • Up to 17 hours battery with fast charging capabilities
  • Customizable sound settings and equalizer

Reasons to avoid:

  • Relatively expensive
  • The touch controls may be overly sensitive

Sennheiser is a German audio company that makes headphones meant to last. They’re the most durable headphones on this list and are so worth the price tag if you can afford them.

While the arms don’t look as sleek as the Sony headphones, they’re made of steel, so they’re extra sturdy (in case you sit on them by accident — it’s happened to us before too).

Speaking of things we’ve done before, you can track your headphones down with the app if you’re constantly misplacing your items. The tracking technology is by Tile, the mega-popular Bluetooth tracker device company.

You can choose from three different noise-canceling modes or the transparency mode. They can automatically detect background noise and adjust the noise-cancellation accordingly. They have three buttons on one side to control volume and pick up a call quickly, but you can also pair it with your voice assistant of choice.

In true luxurious fashion, the padding on these headphones is made of genuine leather. Cue the red carpet. All jokes aside, genuine leather is much more comfortable and breathable than leather.

Did I mention that they promise 60hrs of battery life? I have the momentum 3 headphones, and they are amazing; now with the release of momentum 4, and the upgrades in battery life, Sennheiser took it to a completely different level.

Soundcore By Anker Life Q20 Hybrid Active Noise Cancelling Headphones

Best for budget
Soundcore By Anker Life Q20

Soundcore By Anker Life Q20

The Soundcore By Anker Life Q20 offers impressive noise-cancelling capabilities, long battery life, and comfortable design, making it a great choice for budget-conscious buyers looking for a high-quality over-ear headphone.

Reasons to buy:

  • Noise-cancelling technology
  • Long battery life of up to 40 hours for extended use
  • Comfortable and lightweight design
  • Affordable price
  • Good sound quality
  • Easy to use with intuitive touch controls

Reasons to avoid:

  • The noise-cancelling technology is not great
  • Feels cheap
  • Limited customization options for sound preferences
  • The microphone may not provide the best voice clarity in noisy environments

We’ll start this list with the cheapest headphones of the bunch. Normally, we’d recommend investing a little more in your day-to-day tech, but these will do the trick if you need something you won’t lose sleep over if left at the office.

We like them because they’re made by Anker, an electronics company founded by an ex-Google engineer known for their product affordability and excellent quality. You’ll see this brand come up a couple of times throughout this list.

The hybrid ANC (active noise cancellation) works with four microphones and an algorithm that can detect and filter out up to 90% of low- and mid-frequency sounds. For the price, you probably shouldn’t expect total “tune out the world” level ANC. Nevertheless, they’re probably the best option for this price.

They have a built-in microphone so you can make calls, and the battery lasts up to 40 hours in ANC or 60 in standard listening mode. The headphones also include an AUX cable that you can use to listen when the battery is dead.

Other Headsets We Also Recommend to Developers

Razer BlackShark V2 Gaming Headset

Best for gamers
Razer BlackShark V2

Razer BlackShark V2

The Razer BlackShark V2 offers excellent sound quality, comfortable fit, and an impressive noise-cancelling microphone, making it a great choice for gamers and anyone looking for a high-performance wired headset.

Reasons to buy:

  • Excellent audio quality with THX Spatial Audio technology
  • Comfortable and lightweight design with memory foam ear cushions
  • Impressive noise-cancelling microphone
  • Durable build quality with a detachable cable
  • Easy to use and customizable

Reasons to avoid:

  • Wired connection may be inconvenient for some users
  • Not very sleek or stylish design
  • THX may not be compatible with all games or applications
  • The bass-heavy sound profile may not be suitable for all types of music

Perhaps not your everyday driver for work, or being outside, but this wired (yep, no wireless) gaming headphones will not disappoint.

I’m not a big gamer myself, but I thought about trying some options that would do great for coding, while being fantastic for gamers, as I do realize many of you code and play.

Wyze Noise Cancelling Headphones

Budget headphones
Wyze Noise Cancelling Headphones

Wyze Noise Cancelling Headphones

The Wyze headphones offer long battery life, and affordable pricing, making them a great option for budget-conscious buyers looking for a noise-cancelling wireless headphone.

Reasons to buy:

  • Affordable pricing
  • Good sound quality
  • Long battery life of up to 20 hs with fast charging
  • Easy to use with touch controls

Reasons to avoid:

  • The noise-cancelling technology is not great
  • Feels cheap
  • The microphone doesn’t perform well in noisy environments

Wyze is another great tech company that primarily makes smart home products but entered the headphone world with this excellent pair.

They have voice-isolating microphones, built-in Alexa (or you can use your device’s voice assistant), and hybrid ANC that you can turn on or off to use transparency mode.

Reviewers commented on how good the range is on these headphones, which is ideal if you like walking around the office without carrying your devices with you.

The battery life isn’t as long as some of the other options on this list, at only 20 hours of listening time. However, they do have quick-charge capabilities so you can get 4 hours on a 10-minute charge.

Soundcore by Anker Life Q35 Multi-Mode Active Noise Cancelling Headphones

Soundcore by Anker Life Q35

Soundcore by Anker Life Q35

The Soundcore by Anker Life Q35 is a premium noise-cancelling Bluetooth headphones that offer a range of impressive features at a competitive price point.

Reasons to buy:

  • Affordable price point
  • Excellent noise-cancellation capabilities
  • High-quality sound with customizable EQ settings
  • Comfortable fit for extended use
  • Long battery life (up to 40 hours) with fast charging capabilities
  • Easy-to-use controls

Reasons to avoid:

  • Bulky design
  • May not fit securely for some head sizes and shapes
  • The ear cups may get warm after extended use
  • No support for high-quality Bluetooth codecs like aptX HD or LDAC

These are Anker’s more premium wireless headphones that are basically the upgraded version of the Q30. It has many of the same features, like the three noise-canceling modes and 40-hour battery life, but the main difference with the Q35 is improved sound quality. This is due to the new support for LDAC technology, which transfers three times more data than other Bluetooth codecs, giving you a crisper sound.

Other upgrades featured with the Q35 are ear detection, beamforming microphones with AI noise reduction, wired usability when the battery is dead, and a more compact hardshell case.

The AI noise reduction is particularly interesting (especially for programmers) because it can reduce the sound of non-stationary noises like keyboard clicking.

Jabra Elite 85h Wireless Noise-Canceling Headphones

Jabra Elite 85h

Jabra Elite 85h

The Jabra Elite 85h is an excellent choice for those seeking superior noise-cancellation, long battery life, and customizable sound options, all in a stylish and comfortable design.

Reasons to buy:

  • Excellent noise-cancellation capabilities
  • Long battery life (up to 36 hours)
  • Comfortable fit with durable and stylish design
  • Personalized sound with customizable EQ settings
  • User-friendly controls with voice assistant integration
  • Water and dust resistant (IP52 rating)

Reasons to avoid:

  • Bulky design
  • Limited ear cup rotation for compact storage

Jabra is a Danish brand that specializes in sound solutions, and these headphones are part of their extensive roster. We think these are the best headphones for being on the go.

The headphones have eight built-in microphones, six of which enhance call quality and block out external sounds. They feature smart ANC, and it’ll switch on automatically when background noise is detected.

The battery life is 36 hours when the ANC is on and can fast charge 5 hours in 15 minutes. It works with Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant.

Two nice features about these headphones are that they are water-resistant and can withstand temperatures between 23 to 113 degrees Fahrenheit. While this might not be super relevant in a work setting, it’s good to note if you’ll also be using them for exercise or during your commute.

How We Picked These Headphones?

This is important to clarify, as some of these items are affiliate links (meaning I may receive a small commission for sales with no extra cost to you), and I do not want to be just another list of random headphones for programming.

The list of products here suggested was tested by myself when buying my own headsets, and on each update of the article, I gave them another round of test to see where they stand, if new options entered the market, etc.

Since I don’t get these products for free, and they are quite expensive, I don’t buy them all to try them, but instead I visit stores, ask questions and try them all in the store experience.

What do I consider as a factor to build the list?

  • Sound quality, clarity, volume, balance, etc.
  • Noise cancellation quality
  • Price
  • Comfort and fit (though this is more of a personal attribute)
  • Build quality
  • Design

How to Choose Headphones for Programming?

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Juan Cruz Martinez - Author @ Live Code Stream

Juan Cruz Martinez

Juan has made it his mission to help aspiring developers unlock their full potential. With over two decades of hands-on programming experience, he understands the challenges and rewards of learning to code. By providing accessible and engaging educational content, Juan has cultivated a community of learners who share their passion for coding. Leveraging his expertise and empathetic teaching approach, Juan has successfully guided countless students on their journey to becoming skilled developers, transforming lives through the power of technology.