10 Best Noise-Canceling Earbuds in 2023

In the audio industry, noise-cancelling headphones are a rapidly growing subset. There used to be only a handful of expensive, niche products, but today consumers have a dizzying array of high-quality, affordable alternatives to choose from. 

We’ve taken the trouble to study the market, read reviews, and put various models through their paces to find the best noise-cancelling headphones currently on the market.

Best Noise-Canceling Earbuds

1. Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II

NEW Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II, Wireless, Bluetooth, World’s Best Noise Cancelling In-Ear Headphones with Personalized Noise Cancellation & Sound, Triple Black

  • Ambient sound modes: Noise canceling, Adaptive Transparency mode
  • Dust and water resistance: IPX4
  • Battery life: 6 hours with ANC, up to 24 hours with the case

In September 2022, something unexpected happened in the field of active noise cancelation. Before Bose and Apple launched their own noise-canceling earphones, the Sony WF -1000XM4 were our first choice. The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II are the most effective noise-canceling headphones on the market. There is barely a hiss to be heard when they block out the drone of an airplane or the hum of an air conditioner. The most amazing aspect, however, is the way they muffle speech. 

The annoying mid frequencies are cut off, so even soft music drowns out the background noise. The overall noise level of the Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation) is not nearly as low as that of the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II, but they come close to the performance of the latter.

In addition, the audio quality of the QCE II has been improved by incorporating a three-band equalizer into Bose’s Bose Music app. While not as precise as Sony’s offerings, it is still useful for reducing harsh frequencies and improving overall sound quality.

The app’s touch controls can be customised to skip tracks, access the voice assistant on your device, switch to ANC mode, and adjust the volume. All of these functions can be used together.

There are a few issues with the Bose. The biggest issue is the much poorer call quality outdoors. Any kind of wind or traffic noise can obscure your speech during a phone call, and even the slightest breeze can be distracting. 

There aren’t as many customization options in the app as the competition, and the active transparency mode isn’t as smooth as the AirPods Pro.

However, the Bose QuietComfort II Earbuds are the gold standard when it comes to noise cancellation.

2. Anker Soundcore Space A40

soundcore by Anker Space A40 Adaptive Active Noise Cancelling Wireless Earbuds, Reduce Noise by Up to 98%, Ultra Long 50H Playtime, 10H Single Playtime, Hi-Res Sound, Comfortable Fit, Wireless Charge

  • Battery life: 10 hours, up to 50 with the case
  • Ambient sound modes: Adaptive ANC, Transparency mode
  • Dust/water resistance: IPX4 rating

Anker has been a pioneer in the market for affordable noise-canceling earphones, and their latest offering, the Soundcore Space A40, is the best they’ve done yet. 

The Jabra Elite 5 earphones, which retail for $150, can’t hold a candle to these headphones. Airplane noise and the hum of an air conditioner are no problem for the adaptive active noise cancelation system. It muffles the sharpness of average conversations you hear at the local coffee store. 

Quiet music helps you tune out the outside world and focus on what you’re doing. When using the Soundcore app, you’ve the option to switch between two transparency modes: one that allows for wide audio playback and one that prioritizes voice communication.

Although the highs can be a bit shrill (especially with the cymbals) and the mids are a bit masked by the bass, the A40s have an overall excellent sound profile. The 8-band equalizer built into the software is a welcome addition to address such issues. 

The app includes Anker’s HearID Sound, which profiles your hearing over each ear and uses that information to create a EQ curve calibrated specifically for your ears. It does what it’s supposed to, and is a significant improvement over the factory settings. Both LDAC and high-resolution audio are supported.

Each of the three types of touch controls – single tap, double tap, and two-second hold – can be independently activated or deactivated and assigned to any function, including volume, track control, and, when held longer, ambient sound mode selection, voice assistant activation, and game mode switching.

The Anker Space A40s are the best noise-canceling earphones for under $100, and their wireless charging is just the icing on the cake.

3. Apple AirPods Pro (2nd Gen)

Apple AirPods Pro (2nd Generation) Wireless Earbuds with MagSafe Charging Case. Active Noise Cancelling, Personalized Spatial Audio, Customizable Fit, Bluetooth Headphones for iPhone

  • Ambient sound modes: Noise canceling, Adaptive Transparency mode
  • Dust and water resistance: IPX4
  • Battery life: 6 hours with ANC (up to 7 without), up to 31 hours with the case

Not every successor is successful, even in the dynamic field of wireless headphones. Apple’s AirPods Pro were surprisingly popular, but the second-generation AirPods Pro are a big upgrade. 

Although the new AirPods Pro look quite similar to the originals, noise cancellation, sound quality, and battery life have all been significantly improved while maintaining a minimal profile.

The better noise cancellation is only part of the story. Only Bose’s improved QuietComfort Earbuds II performed better than the new AirPods Pro in our tests, making them our top recommendation. These two headphones are the best of the best, especially when compared to more expensive models like the Sony WH -1000XM5 over-ear headphones.

In addition, Apple claims that the Adaptive Transparency mode can protect your hearing from harmful environmental effects by dynamically lowering the volume of incoming sounds to 85 decibels below the original level. Combine this with the superior bass response, clearer and more finely tuned stereo separation, excellent call quality, and identical weight of barely 5.4 grammes, and you have the best headphones available.

While the general look hasn’t changed, the new case has a speaker system that makes the watch audible, making it easier to find, as well as improved location in the Find My app. It’s really hard to find a problem here. Battery life is decent, but could be better, and more audio settings like equalisation and active noise cancellation would be welcome. There’s also no Android app available.

If you’re looking for a new pair of earbuds, there’s no contest: Apple’s redesigned AirPods Pro are once again the best choice. An iPhone update is a sensible investment if you already own an iPhone and have the funds to do so.

4. Sony WF-1000XM4

Sony WF-1000XM4 Industry Leading Noise Canceling Truly Wireless Earbud Headphones with Alexa Built-in, Black

  • Battery life: 8 hours with ANC, 12 hours without, two full case recharges
  • Ambient sound modes: ANC, Transparency Mode
  • Dust/water resistance: IPX4

The WF -1000XM4 are excellent noise-cancelling earphones. Prior to the release of the Bose QCE II and the latest version of the Apple AirPods Pro, they were our top choice due to their fantastic sound quality, innovative design, and noise cancellation that outperforms almost all other ANC earbuds we tested.

When it comes to noise-cancelling headphones, the Sony XM4 are among the best you can buy. It’s tasty, easy to understand, and packed with fascinating information. And thanks to Sony’s state-of-the-art noise-cancelling technology, music playback is more enjoyable than ever. The peace and quiet you experience with these headphones is unlike any other headphones.

When paired with Sony’s Headphones Connect app, you can customise the XM4’s EQ and other settings to your liking for a truly personalised listening experience.

When the XM4 is connected to Headphones Connect, the earphones automatically switch between noise cancellation and ambient noise, depending on the user’s habits and the environment. The headphones are waterproof to the standard IPX4 rating.

Unfortunately, the XM4s’ touch controls can only be mapped to the touchpad in the Headphones Connect app, which prevents access to the headphones’ other features. 

A few additions, such as the ability to use the “Find My Earbuds” feature and multi-point connectivity, are features we’d expect in a set of ANC earbuds in this price range and would have been welcome. However, these are minor things, and the XM4s are still among the best all-around noise-cancelling headphones on the market.

5. Bose QuietComfort Earbuds

Bose QuietComfort Noise Cancelling Earbuds – True Wireless Earphones with Voice Control, Black

  • Battery life: up to 6 hours with ANC, up to 18 hours with charging case
  • Ambient sound modes: ANC, adjustable Transparency Mode
  • Dust/water resistance: IPX4

Known for their superior active noise cancellation technology, Bose’s QuietComfort earphones were designed with this in mind. They do a spectacular job in this area, offering ANC on par with Sony’s WF -10000XM4. Users of the QuietComfort headphones will appreciate the sleek design, crystal clear sound and snug, pressure-free fit.

These features would be great if they didn’t come with a high price tag and sacrifices in other areas of the design. The QuietComfort are one gramme per earbud heavier than the Sony XM4. 

The included charging case is bulky and only allows two charges, giving a total playback time of only 18 hours. Although they sound good overall, their sound signature occasionally gets a bit shrill in the higher registers, so they can’t quite keep up with our top earphones in this price range.

However, we’ve to give Bose credit for giving the QuietComfort a volume control that’s activated by swiping up and down on the touchpad of the right earphone. The Bose Music app allows you to control the volume of your own voice during phone calls, the level of noise cancellation, and more.

However, the Bose QuietComfort earphones lack some features we’d expect from ANC earphones, such as the ability to skip tracks backwards or use an equaliser to change the sound character of the earphones.

You’re paying for a comfortable and solid fit and excellent noise cancellation, and that’s what you get; we just wish Bose had added a few extras.

6. Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3

Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless 3 Earbuds -Bluetooth In-Ear Headphones for Music & Calls with Adaptive Noise Cancellation, IPX4, Qi charging, 28-hour Battery Life,Black, 509180

  • Battery life: up to 7 hours per charge, up to 28 hours total with case
  • Ambient sound modes: Hybrid Adaptive ANC, adjustable Transparency Mode
  • Dust/water resistance: IPX4

Sennheiser’s new True Wireless headphones include all the great features of the previous generation and significantly improve the active noise cancellation of the Momentum series. With the TW 3, Momentum went back to the drawing board to develop ANC that is both responsive and powerful, allowing these earphones to compete with the best noise-cancelling earphones on the market.

Fortunately, the Momentum 3 continue everything we liked about the previous generation, which is the excellent sound quality of the product line. The Momentum 3 have a slightly brighter and more detailed soundstage than their predecessors.

If you are not happy with the sound, you can make some simple adjustments with the three-band control EQ (though more control would have been nice). Seven hours of operation per charge and 28 hours total with the charging sleeve are competitive.

A new wireless charging sleeve (finally) and standards like auto-pause and the ability to use only one pair of headphones at a time are also notable additions. Using the latest audio codecs like aptX Adaptive and AAC, they offer high-quality sound for Android and iOS devices.

The Momentum 3 are similarly waterproof (IPX4) to their predecessor, but their revised design makes them sportier and more comfortable to wear than ever before, thanks to interchangeable ear tips and fins.

While they probably won’t become your regular workout companions, you can use them for just about anything. The best news, however, is that despite all the upgrades, the MSRP is lower than for Sennheiser’s previous set.

Also, the charging cradle is heavier and thicker than most competitors, and we still don’t find these headphones as comfortable as semi-open pairs like the Jabra Elite 85t and Apple AirPods Pro. Just like Sony’s WF -1000XM4, these headphones don’t have a handy earbud finder and don’t yet support multipoint connectivity (though Sennheiser hopes to introduce that feature via a firmware update).

Sennheiser’s latest headphones have a lot going for them: great sound quality, a sleek and sporty look, and effective noise cancellation.

7. Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro

SAMSUNG Galaxy Buds 2 Pro True Wireless Bluetooth Earbuds w/ Noise Cancelling, Hi-Fi Sound, 360 Audio, Comfort Ear Fit, HD Voice, Conversation Mode, IPX7 Water Resistant, US Version, Bora Purple

  • Ambient sound modes: Active noise canceling, Transparency mode
  • Water resistance: IPX7
  • Battery life: Up to 5 hours with ANC (8 without), up to 30 hours with charging case

The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro are the best wireless earbuds on the market, and they are a must-have for anyone with an Android phone, especially a Samsung Galaxy phone. Their six audio settings all sound fantastic (Normal is our favorite, with its excellent midrange response and voice clarity), and their ANC capability does an excellent job of suppressing airline noise and enhancing the midrange just enough to hear clicking keyboards and casual conversations in a coffee store.

The overall size is 15% smaller than the Galaxy Buds Pro, making them more unobtrusive when worn. The IPX7 rating for water resistance and comfortable fit make them a practical option for the gym. We also like the new matte finish that Samsung has introduced over the glossy previous models.

The Galaxy Buds 2 Pro have many useful features, including “Easy Pair” and “Auto Switch,” “Bixby” voice control, “360 Audio,” and “24-bit High-Res” sound. There is no iOS app to access these features, and only select Samsung Galaxy devices support 24-bit audio. Battery life of 5 hours is on the low side (it was slightly below that in our test), but a quick 5-minute charge in the case is enough to listen for another hour.

The Galaxy Buds 2 Pro offer an unrivaled package for Samsung and Android lovers.

8. Jabra Elite 85t True Wireless

Jabra Elite 85t True Wireless Bluetooth Earbuds, Titanium Black – Advanced Noise-Cancelling Earbuds with Charging Case for Calls & Music – Wireless Earbuds with Superior Sound & Premium Comfort

  • Battery life: up to 5.5 hours with ANC, 7 hours without; up to 25 hours with charging case with ANC, 31 hours without
  • Ambient sound modes: adjustable ANC, adjustable Transparency Mode
  • Dust/water resistance: IPX4

The Jabra Elite 85t has it all: excellent active noise cancellation, a compact design, great features, and clear, balanced sound (ANC). While you don’t get the same performance as the best models from Bose, Apple, or Sony, it’s still more than adequate for everyday use, making these headphones a great investment.

The 85t’s semi-open ear design and powerful ANC are a great combination that will keep your ears happy for hours. The oval tips of these Jabra headphones ensure that you won’t be able to hear your own chewing, walking, or jogging, but the bulbous design means that the fit isn’t as secure as other Jabra headphones. Regardless, the ambiance created by the music and the suppression of ambient noise are very comfortable and productive.

The Elite 85t’s two easy-to-use buttons can be adjusted to your liking using Jabra’s excellent Sound+ software. 

Also changeable are the noise cancellation and transparent modes. The latter is one of the most realistic ways to be aware of your surroundings while still rocking your headphones – another nod to Apple’s AirPods Pro. You can also use the buttons with gloves to switch between ANC and transparent mode.

There are some drawbacks, such as a battery that’s not nearly as good as Sony’s WF -1000XM4, and a fit that’s not as stable as that of buds designed specifically for training, as mentioned above.

In conclusion, while you only need to use a single pair of headphones, they’ve to be the right one for the trick to work, which makes them less flexible than some competing products.

Otherwise, they offer almost all the features you could want. The Elite 85t offer excellent sound quality, a wealth of useful features, and the best ease of use on the market, all at a lower price than our top picks.

9. Google Pixel Buds Pro

Google Pixel Buds Pro - Noise Canceling Earbuds - Up to 31 Hour Battery Life with Charging Case - Bluetooth Headphones - Compatible with Wireless Charging - Charcoal

  • Ambient sound modes: Noise canceling, transparency mode
  • Dust and water resistance: IPX4
  • Battery life: 7 hours with ANC (up to 11 without), up to 31 hours with the case

Despite the company’s previous failures, Google has finally found success with the Pixel Buds Pro, a pair of wireless earbuds that rival the best on the market. With the latest Pixel Buds, you can (finally) keep up with the Johnsons, thanks to improved sound, longer battery life, strong active noise cancellation, and a transparency option.

The most notable change is the inclusion of ambient noise options (like noise cancellation and transparency). It may not be as innovative as the latest offerings from Apple and Bose, but it is competitively priced and can keep up with other models in its class.

The Pro has a styled rather than neutral sound, and we’d like to see more midrange. The highs are crystal clear, however, and bass response is richer and heavier in the sub-bass areas than any Pixel Buds before them. The call quality is also satisfactory and serves to suppress light background noise.

The Pixel Buds 2 design is almost as appealing as the first generation, with a tighter fit and a heavier build that doesn’t feel cumbersome. The controls are intuitive and easy to use (including the volume control), and there are a number of useful extras, especially for Android users, such as support for “Hey, Google,” Google Fast Pair, and multipoint pairing. We haven’t been able to use the latter feature yet; we’re waiting for Google to release a firmware upgrade so users like us can access it. Any new information will be posted here.

The Pixel Buds Pro aren’t ideal for Apple iPhone users, but they’re a wonderful choice for Android users, especially those with Pixel phones. The Pixel Buds Pro are Google’s first foray into the earbud market, and they’re fantastic in every way: design, usage, and innovation.

10. Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro

Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro True Wireless Earbuds, Targeted Active Noise Cancelling, PureNote Technology, LDAC, 6 Mics for Calls, 26H Playtime, HearID Personalized EQ, Wireless Charging

  • Battery life: up to 6 hours with ANC, 7 hours without, up to 26 hours total with case
  • Ambient sound modes: ANC, Transparency Mode
  • Dust/water resistance: IPX4

Anker’s Soundcore brand headphones have always been known for their excellent passive noise cancellation, but the Liberty Air 2 Pro are the first to feature active noise cancellation. We found the ANC to be pleasantly above average. 

The Liberty Air 2 Pro’s effective ANC with an equally adequate transparency mode is a serious achievement, especially considering the AirPods Pro-like semi-open fit and low price. Noise cancellation is not quite as noticeable as some of the more expensive earbuds in this guide.

The noise cancellation and equalisation of the earphones can be adjusted via Soundcore. However, we found that using Soundcore’s Signature mode consistently produced the kind of well-rounded sound that goes well with a variety of music styles.

The Liberty Air 2 Pro has a decent battery life of about six hours with ANC and seven hours without it. They are waterproof according to the IPX4 standard. That’s about average for this group, which is nice considering the price. 

While we like these earbuds, we would have liked to see Soundcore equip them with a more secure fit for workouts and additional controls. However, for a truly wireless earbud set in this price range, these are minor complaints.

The Liberty Air 2 Pro are hard to beat if you are looking for an affordable pair of noise-canceling headphones with remarkable performance and a design reminiscent of the AirPods.

What To Consider When Choosing Noise-Canceling Earbuds

When looking for noise-cancelling earbuds, look for sound quality, fit, durability, battery life, and charging options. The best products offer a good balance between these features.

Audio Performance

The price of a product is usually proportional to the quality of its sound and noise cancelation features. These functions require high-quality hardware and complex audio processing. Therefore, the higher the price, the better the product. The best wireless headphones currently available cost more than $200.

Comfort and Build Quality

Earbuds that block out ambient noise, fit well but comfortably, and have simple controls are highly recommended. The best models have an app that lets you adjust the volume and noise cancellation to your liking.

Look for earbuds with an ambient mode that allows you to hear your surroundings well when you want to use them on your way to work, in the office, or at the gym. Another useful feature is the ability to pause the music when you take out one of the true wireless earbuds.

Battery Life

Remember that the battery life of your wireless earphones will suffer if the noise cancellation feature is enabled. Most truly wireless earphones, with the exception of some models from Sony and Master & Dynamic, won’t even last a full workday before needing to be recharged. 

If you want to work for extended periods of time without distractions, invest in a wired or wireless neckband headset (e.g., for a busy workday or a long flight).

Charging Methods

If you need to charge your device on the go, look for a storage case that has a USB-C or Lightning port and is compatible with wireless chargers.

Here are some of the best noise-cancelling earbuds on the market. Prices range from very affordable true-wireless headphones to very expensive sets with lots of features.

Noise-Canceling Earbuds FAQs

What is noise cancellation in earbuds?

Some earphones and headphones have a noise-cancelling function so you can listen in peace and privacy. The microphones in the earphones pick up ambient noise and counteract it. 

A pleasant, low hum often remains in the background of other sounds after active noise cancellation is activated. Thanks to this feature, you can concentrate better despite background noise. However, some audiophiles find this problematic because the sound quality temporarily deteriorates.

Are noise-canceling earbuds worth it?

Anyone who frequently spends time in noisy or chaotic environments can benefit from investing in a pair of noise-cancelling headphones. 

With earbuds from ANC, you can have a much more pleasant experience in many situations, such as working out at the gym, watching a movie while flying, or concentrating in a busy workplace. You’ll be surprised how often you need these headphones, even if you don’t think you spend much time in noisy places. 

Most ANC earbuds have a transparency or attention mode that muffles some sounds and lets others through for your own protection. If you’re not ready to invest in an expensive noise-cancelling headphone, there are many affordable options you can consider.

Can noise-canceling earbuds hurt my ears?

Noise-cancelling headphones are safe to wear because they suppress harmless frequencies. However, if you’re concerned about your hearing, it’s best to limit the noise. When listening with headphones, it’s especially important to keep the level low.

Since everyone’s ears and ear canals are slightly different, it may take a few tries to find a pair of noise-cancelling earphones that fit well. Depending on the person, some degree of discomfort may be tolerable. Try on several pairs until you find the right one, and if you’re concerned, start with a loose pair.

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