Are you on the market for the best noise-cancelling earbuds, but are not sure what to look out for? In this buying guide, we share some things that you need to think about when making a buying decision. You will learn a lot from this guide if you have never bought noise-cancelling earbuds in the past. This allows you to buy a product that suits your budget. At the bottom of the price list, you have to sacrifice a bit for the overall quality.
However, we have managed to find great options even at the low-end budget. Similarly, for the premium price range, we have selected the top players in the market that offer superior noise canceling earbuds. Moreover, we have found the main reasons why you should invest in the best noise-cancelling earbuds. Those of you who are sitting on the fence regarding the point of noise-cancelling earbuds can find out why they are worth buying here.
List of the best noise-cancelling earbuds
By the end of this buying guide, you are fully equipped to make the right purchase for your specific set of requirements.
Bose QuietComfort Earbuds
The best noise-cancelling earbuds overall
The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds has a few shortcomings that prevent it from being our choice for best wireless earbuds overall, but none of them have to do with its ANC. In terms of noise reduction, it is the best in the field of ANC earbuds, by a margin that even approaches the noise reduction of the Bose 700.
Sound quality is generally very good, and Bose has won another microphone with the QuietComfort Earbuds’ excellent performance for phone calls. The earbuds are a bit large and don’t have the longest battery life, but with the charging case, you should easily be able to extinguish engine noise on a long flight. For now, this is the best noise-cancelling earbuds that you can buy.
Even better ANC earbuds than the WF-1000XM3
The old Sony WF-1000XM3 had long been a member of the club of best ANC earbuds, and the heavily upgraded WF-1000XM4 sounds even better. Using a new Sony V1 chip, the noise cancellation on these earbuds is worthy of the high price tag, and a generally immersive sound helps you ignore even more distractions.
Battery life is also longer than the old model. The WF-1000XM3 lasted up to 6 hours with ANC on, while the WF-1000XM4 comfortably lasts between 7 and 8 hours. The housing can also be charged wirelessly, and the earbuds themselves have been updated and improved in numerous other ways. Overall, this is one of the best noise-cancelling earbuds right now.
Jabra Elite Active 75t
The best noise-cancelling earbuds for all-round performance
The Elite Active 75t was already an excellent set of earphones before Jabra added active noise cancellation; it sounds warm and rich in detail and has one of the most comfortable and secure fits of its kind. The battery lasts pretty long, too: we played music for 7 hours after one charge.
The ANC itself isn’t up to the level of Bose, but it works well enough to be a very welcome upgrade. It can suppress consistent thump noise as well as speech, something that lesser ANC earbuds have trouble with. And if you want to conserve battery life, you can turn off ANC and use the surprisingly effective passive noise cancellation feature instead. Overall, this is one of the best noise-cancelling earbuds right now.
Master & Dynamic MW08
ANC earbuds with premium design and sound quality
The Master & Dynamic MW08 beats some of the higher-ranking ANC earbuds in this list on criteria such as design, overall sound quality, and battery life; it is in this position because its noise-cancellation effectiveness is not quite on the same level as the QuietComfort Earbuds.
Still, there’s enough there to recommend it. Made of polished ceramic and water-resistant to IPX5 standards, it’s one of the best-designed pairs of earbuds in any category, and its powerful, bassy (but balanced) sound makes listening to any genre a pleasure. If you have the money to spare, the MW08 is an excellent high-end option. Overall, this is one of the best noise-cancelling earbuds right now.
Apple AirPods Pro
The best noise-cancelling earbuds for iOS users
As the top of Apple’s line of wireless earbuds, the AirPods Pro offers ANC where the standard Apple AirPods do not. And that’s not the only benefit of this high-end set of ANC earbuds, especially if you pair them with a recent iPhone or iPad. That way you get access to a range of features you wouldn’t get when using them with an Android phone, such as fast pairing and spatial audio.
The latter is particularly impressive: when watching videos with surround sound support, the starting points of the different sounds remain consistent with the position of the screen, even if you move your head, creating a 3D effect. Overall, this is one of the best noise-cancelling earbuds right now.
Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2
Noise-cancelling earbuds with top-tier sound quality
Sennheiser is known more for its audio quality than its ANC technology, but the Momentum True Wireless 2 is a successful marriage of both. The comfortable buds do a good job of silencing most outside noises while delivering some impeccably detailed, highly balanced sound into your ears.
This is one of the most expensive pairs of ANC earbuds on the list, and frankly, if it were cheaper, it would rank even higher. But then you’d be paying for real quality, which extends from the design of the earbuds to the performance. The mobile companion app is also excellent, giving you a very fine degree of control over the EQ, should you wish to adjust it. Overall, this is one of the best noise-cancelling earbuds right now.
Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro
The best noise-cancelling earbuds to pair with Samsung Galaxy phones
The Galaxy Buds Pro has its own version of spatial audio, called 360 Audio, but you need a relatively new Samsung Galaxy phone to make it work. But even if you don’t have one, you can take advantage of the ANC, which is a huge improvement over the old Samsung Galaxy Buds Live. This is a much better pair of earbuds overall, with a more stylish, better waterproof design and improved sound reproduction to complement that improved ANC. And it’s worth installing the Galaxy Wearable companion app for many more features and personalization options. Overall, this is one of the best noise-cancelling earbuds right now.
Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro
The best noise-cancelling earbuds on a budget
What if you’re looking for cheap noise-cancelling earbuds? Then you have two good options: the JLab Epic Air Sport (below), and the Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro. The latter is a bit more expensive, but still an excellent value for ANC earbuds standards – and it even comes with several modes, so you can tweak the noise cancellation depending on whether you’re indoors or outdoors.
Like the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2, this (much more affordable) pair also offers extensive EQ adjustment via the app, but its best noise-based feature is HearID. This analyzes how you hear different frequencies to create a personalized sound signature, which in our case sounded much better than the default settings. Overall, this is one of the best noise-cancelling earbuds right now.
Jabra Elite 85t
Premium noise-cancelling buds with serious sound quality
The Jabra Elite 85t, another high-end option, is one of the few pairs of noise-cancelling earbuds that come close to Bose in terms of ANC effectiveness. Three microphones on each earbud do a great job of muffling everything from traffic whizzing by to barking dogs. Battery life is mediocre, call quality is on the low side and there are some software bugs, but none of these can completely spoil the Elite 85t. If you want top-quality ANC without the somewhat clunky size of the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds, this could be a great alternative. Overall, this is one of the best noise-cancelling earbuds right now.
Beats Studio Buds
The cheapest noise-cancelling Apple earbuds
When the first rumors started swirling around the Beats Studio Buds, we weren’t sure if they would have active noise cancellation on them at all. But against all odds, this pair of earbuds combines an affordable price with full ANC – complete with ambient sound mode. Who would have thought Apple would come up with such a bargain?
The Studio Buds also surprise in that they are much more platform-agnostic than previous Beats headphones. That means that while there are some exclusive goodies for iOS users, Android owners can also benefit from fast pairing and Google Assistant support. Whatever mobile platform you’re on, this is another great way to get ANC without a premium price. Overall, this is one of the best noise-cancelling earbuds right now.
Bowers & Wilkins PI5
Premium ANC earbuds, effective indoors and out
The Bowers & Wilkins PI5 is a cheaper (but still premium) alternative to the PI7 and can even match the AirPods Pro in terms of noise cancellation. The ANC on these buds, which can switch to an equally impressive pass-through ambient mode, does a fantastic job at blocking out noise regardless of your immediate surroundings.
There are a few reasons why it doesn’t rank further down this list, such as its disappointing 4.5-hour battery life, its occasionally poor controls, and a fit that isn’t comfortable as the hours go by. Still, it doesn’t last any shorter than the AirPods Pro, and most in-ear headphones are no fun to take off anyway. If you just want top-notch ANC and are willing to pay for it, there are far worse options. Overall, this is one of the best noise-cancelling earbuds right now.
JLab Epic Air Sport ANC
Affordable and fitness-friendly ANC earbuds
The idea that noise-cancelling earbuds would ever be this cheap was unthinkable not so long ago. But the Epic Air Sport ANC succeeds, and you may be relieved to know that this isn’t a cheap and nasty pair of earbuds under a noise-cancelling sheen. On the contrary, it’s very practical overall, with great battery life and respectable sound reproduction.
Unlike similar earbuds with earhooks, the Epic Air Sport ANC rarely feels uncomfortable, and you can choose from a few different earbud sizes to find the perfect fit. Special mention should be made of the earbuds’ longevity: about 11 hours per charge with ANC enabled, more than twice as long as the AirPods Pro. Overall, this is one of the best noise-cancelling earbuds right now.
Things to know before buying the best noise-cancelling earbuds
Quality of noise-cancellation
The primary function we will look at is the noise cancellation of the earbuds. That is why it is the first function that we will investigate here. Even if the product description states that the earbuds have noise cancellation, this does not mean that you get a 100% noise cancelling. The actual quality of the function depends on how well the company has implemented the design. For example, in the product description, it can give a value of 95% to indicate the level of sound insulation you can expect. You can also completely disable the function with some of the more advanced noise cancelling designs.
This may be relevant for those of you who need to listen to audio and hear background noise. For example, if you call in your car, it is safer to have access to the audio from the road environment. Some earbud designs suggest that they have noise cancellation because of the in-ear channel setup, but they do not really offer active noise cancellation. In these models, the quality of noise cancellation will be poor compared to other products that are available. Noise cancellation is an excellent feature that can help improve the quality of audio and clarity. That is because the audio coming from the earbuds will not compete with the sounds of the environment.
Comfort and fit
A secure fit is desirable, so you do not have to adjust the earbuds every few minutes. When the fit is described as safe, you shake your head vigorously and the earbuds do not come loose. This is great if you want to participate in physical exercise and do not want to disturb the quality of fit at the same time. The specified number of ear-tip sizes indicates how adaptable the fit is. Expect for the most part 3-4 ear-sizes at the earbuds. Some manufacturers also provide backup tips that can be used when the primary is worn or just too dirty to use.
When you use a wireless set-up, the life of the battery will come into play. For example, if you regularly dislike charging your equipment, it is a good idea to opt for a product with a battery life of 10 hours. This means that you may have a sufficient battery life for a full week – it all depends on the number of hours you use per day. Also look for earbuds with a fast charging function. As the name implies, you get a quick boost in the battery life for a small amount of charging time.
Moreover, the battery will wear out while you constantly charge it over the years. Be on your guard when you opt for a wireless earbud setup. Wireless Earbuds are good when you’re on the go. You do not have to worry about hiding a thread under your clothes and the ability to participate in physical exercise has also improved.
Note the warranty information when buying a product such as earbuds, especially if you have chosen the premium end of the price list. It can be difficult to know how long a product will keep you, even if you have purchased one of the top brands in the industry. However, by supporting a 2-4-year warranty, you can be confident that a replacement unit will be delivered if your original is defective. Keep in mind that not all guarantees are the same. The number of things that are covered varies from manufacturer to manufacturer. Please read the small print of the guarantee procedure to know for which types of damage you are covered.
You must pay attention to the product description to determine the audio quality. In particular, look for the frequency range, the impedance and the quality of the bass. After all, you buy The Best noise cancelling earbuds for the purpose of the audio and you have to concentrate on that. For users who want to listen to music, the bass should be considered because it adds a lot to the experience. In addition, you want a high degree of clarity – noise cancellation helps the clarity of the audio somewhat.
So, as you have had the chance to see, there are quite different and the best noise-cancelling earbuds out there, each with its own unique characteristics. So, with our extensive buying guide, reviews, and quick summary, you should have an idea which of the models mentioned best suits you. We hope you found this article informative and that it has helped you. Thank you very much for reading and we’ll see you in the next one.