The Best Work Headphones to Keep You Focused and Productive

Posted on January 27, 2024 | Updated on April 25, 2024

An excellent pair of work headphones will improve your focus and productivity regardless of your current project. It’s a good investment that will pay off as you go through countless meetings and calls by blocking noise and keeping your attention on the task. Here’s a list of our recommendations for the best work headphones and why we chose them.

Our Recommendations for Best Work Headphones

1. Sony WH1000XM5

An upgrade over its famous predecessor, the XM4, the new XM5 boasts even better features that make listening and calling a pleasurable experience. Sony improved its already excellent active noise cancellation (ANC) technology by integrating eight microphones to make better calls on both ends. The ANC of the XM5 can also block mid to high-frequency sounds depending on the wearer’s conditions and environment.

The XM5 provides high-resolution audio for wired and wireless modes thanks to its LDAC technology that can transmit more data than conventional Bluetooth. Other appealing features of the XM5 include the 30-hour battery life with ANC on, multipoint connection, speak-to-chat for hands-free talking, music connectivity and built-in compatibility with voice assistants like Google Assistant, Alexa or Siri.

The XM5 also boasts superior comfort for prolonged use. The deep, spacious earcups and ample padding can accommodate a wide range of ear sizes for better fit and comfort. It’s also light enough to be worn on extended sessions with less fatigue than heavier headphones.

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2. Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700

A popular choice among audiophiles and serious workers, the Bose NC 700 has various features that make work and casual use all the more appealing. One of its standout features is the clear voice pickup made possible by its excellent multiple microphone setup. The NC 700 allows clean and clear audio on both ends as the noise-canceling system blocks unwanted noise around the caller.

The NC 700 has an edge over its competitors regarding fit and comfort. The adjustment system allows for precise sizing, while the over-ear cups provide an excellent seal to block outside noise further. The headphones have soft, comfortable padding for long sessions and a battery time of over 20 hours with ANC turned on.

Other features that make the NC 700 still stand out even after years in the market are its high-resolution audio, customizability using the Bose app and multipoint pairing for simultaneous use with two devices.

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3. Anker Soundcore Q30

If price is a major consideration, then the Soundcore Q30 is a great candidate overall. It’s a decent performer on a budget and has some attractive features, even for the discerning professional.

The Q30 has decent audio quality thanks to its 40 mm drivers. It has reliable ANC capable of blocking office chatter and other mid-range noises. It can further reduce distractions with a 3-mode customization feature for transport, outdoor and indoor locations.

These headphones have a runtime of 44 hours with active noise cancellation and up to 60 hours in standard mode. The long battery life is an excellent fit for people on the go since a full charge can last up to a few days. 

The earcups are also quite comfortable and spacious enough for prolonged use. The drawback to this otherwise bang-for-buck option is the lower build quality expected from an offering at this price point. 

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4. Apple Airpods Max

The Airpods Max is a good choice if you work on an all-Apple ecosystem, as it can pair seamlessly and switch effortlessly between your devices. These premium headphones are far from affordable, but with a host of well-thought-out features that Apple is known for, it may very well be worth the investment.

The noise-canceling technology of the Airpods Max ensures you hear what the other person on the line is talking about and vice versa. Its ANC blocks unwanted noise and picks up your voice for clearer calls.

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How We Chose the Best Work Headphones for This List


While many consider audio quality the most important factor when choosing a pair of headphones, comfort should also be at the top. Work headphones should be comfortable enough for extended periods of use to reduce work fatigue. A good pair must have enough padding to make it comfortable to wear.

There should be multiple adjustments to ensure a perfect fit and the clamping force must strike an ideal balance between keeping the headphones in place and relieving discomfort while in use. The earcups should also be spacious enough to accommodate most ear sizes and let air in for proper ventilation.

Battery Life

A pair of headphones with the best audio, microphone, ergonomics and features sounds like a dream for audiophiles. Still, it can dampen anyone’s gear excitement if it has a short battery life and long charging times. Professionals who require serious commitment — even from their tools — need a pair of work headphones with enough juice to last the day.

It should be able to take call after call during a busy day and still have enough to play relaxing music during breaks. A good pair should also be able to charge relatively quickly to ensure it’s ready to report for work the next day.

Audio Quality

Headphones are primarily judged by their audio quality. Their ability to produce clear audio ensures clear communication during meetings and calls. A pair of work headphones should have good drivers that make decent to excellent audio.

Good audio quality is also helpful when watching presentations and seminars. It’s also ideal for listening to transcriptions and capturing minute audio details for video editing and similar projects.

Active Noise Cancellation

Active noise cancellation (ANC) is one of the most important factors when choosing a pair of work headphones. Every pair on this list has ANC to block unwanted noise that can disturb and distract callers from both ends.

ANC is crucial and helpful to work-from-home professionals, especially when vehicles and loud noises are expected. Good headphones typically allow users to turn the ANC feature on and off, depending on their needs. 

Build Quality

While it’s easy to get lost in beautiful features and appealing aesthetics, it’s equally important to consider the product’s build quality. Work headphones see a lot of action, mainly since they’re used daily and brought on business trips.

Good build quality and improved materials help the headphones survive the wear and tear from frequent use. Good work headphones are an investment any serious business owner or professional should be willing to make. They should be made with good manufacturing standards and durable materials to withstand the rigors of frequent use.

Choosing the Right Work Headphones

Discerning which headphones to get will boil down to your needs and preferences. While our recommendations are all solid options, consider your working habits, budget and other personal requirements before deciding. Committing to a pair of headphones can be costly if you decide on one factor alone.



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