I like to listen to podcasts and music while I walk around the city… and a cheap pair of Bluetooth earbuds is usually all I need.

But hop on a noisy subway, bus, or airplane, and it can be hard to make out the words without cranking the volume up high enough to make your ears bleed.

A decent pair of noise-cancelling earbuds or headphones can work wonders in those situations, bringing down the perceived level of the jet engines or subway cars and making the audio I want to hear audible again.

You typically have to spend a lot of money to get a good set of noise-cancelling headphones. But today there are decent options available at a range of price-points, from $36 to $260.

For what it’s worth, I picked up a pair of the TaoTronics earbuds a few months ago, based on the WireCutter’s recommendation. They’re not the best-sounding noise-cancelling headphones I’ve ever used, but they’re compact and comfortable to wear for extended periods.

Here are some of the day’s best deals.

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5 Comments

  1. “I like to listen to podcasts and music while I walk around the city…”

    Brad, I’m just curious what’s your preferred method to control the playback in those situations. That is play, pause, skip back 15 seconds when needed. In those situations it happens that we lose track, right? Controller on the earphones (awkward), or on your phone (then you can drop it quite easily; and that phone is quite expensive.). This was easier for me in the days of cheap, dedicated MP3 players with physical buttons.

    1. Agreed. I miss buttons. But most of the time I’m listening to podcasts or audiobooks when walking these days. So all I really need is play/pause, and there’s a button on my earbuds that handles this without requiring me to remove my phone from my pocket when I step into a store or wait for a noisy truck to pass by.

      1. In some ways the advances feel like those RC cars with “Drives forward, or drives backwards while turning to the right.” I have a million million transistors in my pocket and not one will let me thoughtfully control what a linear audio playback does. Controls could include:

        Vol up/down
        Skip forwards/back
        Pause / Play
        Skip track forwards/back (But not if an album / audiobook is one file)

        Maybe we need a smartwatch for those controls? Then we get to the “software to kludge design problems” where you still have to look at a bright backlit screen to touch the section of a glass pane that means “Skip back, a bus drowned out those words.”

        1. I remember back in my S2 days there were some gestures in the earphones keys which let you pause, go to next file, previous file… Etc. Though I can’t remember whether you could skip backwards or forward when you need to.

      2. Thanks for the tip! You seem unlike most people, or at least me, who, when listening to something complex, lost the lines with audio more often, not only needing the pause when entering a store, etc., but when simply walking, need the button to rewind 15 seconds. For this reason I prefer the control to be in my hand.

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