Our Picks For ...

Noise-reduction headphones

By Christian Cantrell, Business 2.0 Magazine

(Business 2.0 Magazine) -- Sennheiser PXC 300 $200; ***

Pros Foldable and extremely compact. Sound quality and noise-reduction performance are excellent.

Cons The battery pack and electronic components are contained in a separate plastic unit that can be clunky when you move around. The compact size is convenient, but overall comfort is so-so.

Buy these if ... You insist on traveling light. The included travel case fits in a large pocket.

Sony MDR-NC50 $200; ***

Pros Good sound quality and a nice, tight, over-the-ear fit. The big "monitor" button on the left ear can be used to quickly silence music or a movie if you need to talk with a flight attendant or co-worker.

Cons Bulky and not particularly portable. Leave plenty of room for them in your carry-on bag.

Buy these if ... You work in a loud office. Given their size, the MDR-NC50s are probably more suitable for eliminating ambient cubicle noise than for use while jet-setting.


Bose QuietComfort 3 $349; ****

Pros Exceptional noise reduction, sound quality, and fit. The rechargeable battery delivers about 20 hours of use. Bose seems to have fixed the interference problems that some users experienced with the company's previous-generation headsets.

Cons The QC 3s don't work without power, so if your battery dies midflight, you not only lose noise reduction--you won't hear any sound at all.

Buy these if ... You want the very best and you don't mind paying for it.  Top of page

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