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10 Best Noise-Cancelling Earbuds in 2023 (With Proven ANC)

Last updated: 8 months ago
11 min read

Here’s the latest list of the best noise-cancelling earbuds with powerful active noise cancellation (ANC) in 2023.

Find true wireless earbuds that dramatically reduce background noise in all situations.

The best part? Check our ANC tests to see exactly what to expect (can’t hear anywhere else: jump to the first test).

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Rating Price Battery Noise cancelling Connection Sound signature More info
Sony WF-1000XM4 Best overall
Sony WF-1000XM4
Under $280
8 hours (ANC off) + 16h in case
Bluetooth 5.2
Apple AirPods Pro Best for Apple
Apple AirPods Pro
Under $250
5 hours + 24h in case
Bluetooth 5.0
Slight mid-emphasis
Bose QuietComfort Earbuds Best stability
Bose QuietComfort Earbuds
Under $260
6 hours + 12h in case
Bluetooth 5.1
Under $150
6 hours (ANC on) + 20h in case
Bluetooth 5.2
Under $250
7 hours + 28h in case
Very effective
Bluetooth 5.1
Edifier NeoBuds Pro Best value
Edifier NeoBuds Pro
Under $130
5 hours + 15h in case
Bluetooth 5.0
Edifier W240TN Best under $100
Edifier W240TN
Under $80
7 hours + 14h in case
Bluetooth 5.3
Sony WF-SP800N Best for workout
Sony WF-SP800N true wireless earbuds
Under $130
13 hours + 13h in case
Above average
Bluetooth 5.0
Under $80
8 hours (ANC on) + 36h in case
Bluetooth 5.3
Under $180
7 hours + 21h in case
Bluetooth 5.0
CONTENTS (click to show more)

    Buying your first pair and wanting to upgrade? Here are the 10 top picks (active noise cancellation ANC) of in-ear models that have the most effective technology.

    Use them for traveling or just enjoying your music in peace. These small and versatile best noise cancelling earbuds are an excellent choice for all loud situations.

    Compare earphones with the most effective noise cancelling technology and choose the most fitting for your needs.

    After considering all the best noise cancelling earbuds on the market (30+), here are the top choices for 2023.

    Last update: Added new noise-cancelling tests, some styling changes.


    Best noise isolating headphones
    Best noise-canceling headphones (on & over-ear headphones)
    Best budget noise cancelling headphones

    Best Noise Cancelling Earbuds Reviewed

    1. Sony WF-1000XM4

    Sony WF-1000XM4 earbuds with case

    Sony WF-1000XM4 are the best sounding and best noise cancelling earbuds on the market, deserving our top spot.

    Sony WF-1000XM4 review

    Connection icon Connection: Bluetooth 5.2
    Driver size icon Driver size: 6mm dynamic
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: 20-20.000Hz (20-40.000Hz with LDAC)
    Type: True wireless | Battery life: 8h + 16h in case (with ANC) | Wireless range: 33ft (10m) | Noise cancelling: Yes | Charging: 1.5h + quick charge – USB-C & Qi wireless charging | Mic & Controls: Yes | Bluetooth codecs: SBC, AAC, LDAC | Water resistance: IPX4 | Features: Ambient mode, 360 Audio, Speak-to-chat, EQ, DSEE Extreme
    • Audiophile-grade sound quality
    • Unique, sweatproof design
    • Great battery life
    • Excellent active noise cancellation and ambient mode
    • Feature-rich app
    • In-depth custom EQ
    • Comfortable hybrid ear tips
    • No official ear tip replacements
    • Limited touch control customization
    • Poor microphone performance in loud places
    • Too bulky to fit smaller ears

    Here’s the Sony WF-1000XM4 ANC test:

    Sony WF-1000XM4 ANC Test – HeadphonesAddict

    The first true wireless earbuds on the list are also the best. Based on our extensive testing, the Sony WF-1000XM4 are not only the best sounding noise cancelling true wireless earbuds, but they also come with a ton of features.

    They have a well-balanced, dynamic sound quality, and detailed response. Sound is full even on lower volumes. Playing with EQ inside the app can make it even better.

    A combination of hybrid foam ear tips and excellent Sony’s active noise cancellation works wonders. Apart from the highest frequencies, everything else, like office noise and engine sounds in an airplane cabin, gets reduced to a minimum.

    If you’re looking for the best noise cancellation with adjustable ANC, these are it.

    The ambient sound mode is also excellent, rivaling AirPods Pro and Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2.

    The feature-rich Sony app offers a ton of features:

    • DSEE Extreme up-scaling for Hi-Res audio
    • Wireless charging capabilities
    • Useful transparency mode
    • Adjustable EQ
    • And a decent level of customization.

    It’s the same app as in their over-ear headphones, which are arguably the best in class too.

    Plus, the ANC true wireless earbuds have LDAC codec support (exclusive to Sony Bluetooth headphones), which enables high bandwidth, Hi-Res wireless sound.

    The new model has an improved design and is now much more comfortable for long listening sessions. These are, by far, the best true wireless earbuds for music lovers.

    At a cheaper price point, the predecessor is still a noise-cancelling beast. Check our full review: Sony WF-1000XM3 review

    2. Apple AirPods Pro

    Apple AirPods Pro white earbuds

    AirPods Pro are the best noise-cancelling earbuds for Apple fans, with a well-balanced sound and good noise cancellation.

    in stock
    29 new from $140.00
    9 used from $114.99
    as of September 26, 2023 5:14 pm
    in stock
    in stock
    2 new from $249.00
    7 used from $196.71
    as of September 26, 2023 5:14 pm

    Apple AirPods Pro review

    Connection icon Connection: Bluetooth 5.0
    Driver size icon Driver size: n/a
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: n/a
    Type: True wireless | Battery life: 5h + 24h in case | Wireless range: 33ft (10m) | Noise cancelling: Yes | Charging: 2h + quick charge – Lightning | Mic & Controls: Yes | Bluetooth codecs: SBC, AAC | Water resistance: IPX4 | Features: ANC, Transparency mode, Dolby Atmos
    • Sound better than original AirPods
    • In-ear fit that’s suitable for moderate exercise
    • Effective noise cancelling and isolation
    • Seamless user experience with iPhone/iOS
    • Sweatproof with IPX4 certification
    • Expensive even among premium alternatives
    • No built-in volume controls
    • Cheap lid mechanism on the charging case

    The sound quality of AirPods Pro is fairly balanced, with a slight emphasis on the midrange, which might make some instruments pop out more than usual.

    You get to take advantage of the H1 chip for quick pairing and auto-connect function, which only works for iOS and iPhone users (but doesn’t work for Android phones).

    Also, you get the same hands-free Siri voice control, Spatial Audio, and programmable touch controls on the buds.

    The ANC buds are great for making phone calls. The built-in microphone sound is clear and great at reducing background noise.

    On top of that, AirPods Pro are noise cancelling wireless earbuds that do a good job at reducing ambient noise, though some alternatives (like Sony) still have an edge.

    The single issue is a somewhat average battery life of 5 hours, and extra 24 hours with a charging case should be enough for at least a few days.

    3. Bose QuietComfort Earbuds

    Bose QuietComfort Earbuds

    Long-awaited true wireless earbuds with noise cancelling technology from Bose.

    Connection icon Connection: Bluetooth 5.1
    Driver size icon Driver size: n/a
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: n/a
    Type: True wireless | Battery life: 6h + 12h in case | Wireless range: 33ft (10m) | Noise cancelling: Yes | Charging: Quick charge – USB-C | Mic & Controls: Yes | Bluetooth codecs: SBC, AAC | Water resistance: IPX4 | Features: ANC, Ambient mode, ear fin, mobile app, auto pause/play
    • Fun, energetic sound
    • Controlled bass
    • Excellent comfort and stability
    • Limited custumization in the app

    If you enjoy bass, wireless earbuds do a fantastic job. It’s punchy and incredibly controlled without bleeding too much in the mids, which stays nicely clean and balanced.

    Thanks to the Adaptive EQ feature, the low-end doesn’t go away when you lower the volume control.

    Bose QuietComfort wireless earbuds are big but also extremely comfortable to wear for longer listening sessions.

    As expected, their great noise cancellation is among the best on the market, easily competing with Sony, Apple, and Sennheiser at how successfully they combat background noises.

    Inside the app, you can tweak the Bose QC earbuds based on your preferences. You can change touch controls and toggle the intensity of the noise cancellation. And the mic quality for phone calls is good.

    The auto play/pause function is there to conserve battery life, though it isn’t the longest.

    There are 6 hours of playtime inside the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds, with the charging case having extra two charges of battery life and fast charging capabilities.

    Bose Sport Earbuds are almost identical but lack active noise cancellation.

    4. 1MORE Evo

    1MORE Evo shining in case

    1More Evo are among the best noise-cancelling earbuds due to excellent ANC performance and a great price tag.

    1MORE Evo review

    Connection icon Connection: Bluetooth 5.2
    Driver size icon Driver size: 10mm dynamic+balanced armature
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: n/a
    Type: True wireless | Battery life: 8h + 28h in case | Wireless range: 40ft (12.2m) | Noise cancelling: Yes | Charging: 2h + quick charge – USB-C & Qi wireless | Mic & Controls: Yes | Bluetooth codecs: SBC, AAC, LDAC | Water resistance: IPX4 | Features: App, SoundID by Sonarworks
    • Great build with quality materials
    • Super-fast and Qi wireless charging
    • Good level of customizability
    • Splendid comfort & stability
    • Great active noise cancellation
    • Impressive microphone quality
    • Good bass performance…
    • but with harsh treble
    • Below average passive noise isolation
    • Mediocre Bluetooth range

    Here’s the 1MORE Evo ANC test:

    1MORE Evo ANC Test – HeadphonesAddict

    1MORE Evo have a hybrid driver design, one dynamic and one balanced armature driver. However, the sound quality is slightly off originally. But with custom EQ, you can make your very own personalized sound.

    Moving to the main star of the show, the active noise cancellation works almost on par with the Sony WF-1000XM4, one of the best TWS performers on the market.

    While there’s a slight background hiss when in the ANC-enabled mode, you shouldn’t hear it during playback or in noisy environments.

    The 1MORE app lets you toggle between 4 different ANC modes and 2 ambient sound modes, including transparency mode.

    You get a decent battery life of around 6 hours per charge with ANC on or 8 hours with it turned off.

    5. Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2

    Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 noise cancelling earbuds

    Sennheiser made small tweaks to an already one of the best noise cancelling earbuds you can buy today for sound.

    Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 review

    Connection icon Connection: Bluetooth 5.1
    Driver size icon Driver size: 7mm
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: 5-21.000Hz
    Type: True wireless | Battery life: 7h (5h with ANC) + 21h in case | Wireless range: 33ft (10m) | Noise cancelling: Yes | Charging: 2h + quick charge – USB-C | Mic & Controls: Yes | Bluetooth codecs: SBC, AAC, aptX | Water resistance: IPX4 | Features: ANC, Transparent Hearing, companion app, EQ
    • Refined, audiophile-grade sound with natural midrange
    • Above-average soundstage
    • Great comfort and secure fit
    • Good noise-canceling performance for truly wireless earbuds
    • Premium-feeling charging case
    • Good build quality with IPX4 water protection
    • Good overall battery life
    • Futureproof with Bluetooth 5.1
    • Useful mobile app
    • Responsive and intuitive touch controls
    • Bass could be tighter
    • No foam tips included in the box
    • Call quality could be better
    • Some audio lag when watching videos

    Earbuds have a V-shaped sound profile, but with a natural midrange and dynamic sound. Their audio performance always sounds full-bodied and detailed, with a wide soundstage to boost your immersion.

    Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 sports slightly more ergonomic housing with an improved, comfy fit than the predecessor. They’re also a fair bit smaller, which makes them less protruding.

    The decent battery life offers up to 7 hours on a single charge, with another 3 extra charges inside the charging case.

    To ensure that you can also use them while exercising, Sennheiser equipped them with an IPX4 rating of water resistance.

    Noise reduction works great, cancelling out a lot of noise. You can also use Transparent Hearing (transparency mode) when you want to hear your surroundings.

    6. Edifier NeoBuds Pro

    Edifier NeoBuds Pro earbuds

    Edifier NeoBuds Pro get the spot among the best noise cancelling earbuds with premium features.

    Edifier NeoBuds Pro review

    Connection icon Connection: Bluetooth 5.0
    Driver size icon Driver size: Dynamic & balanced armature
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: 20-40.000Hz
    Type: True wireless | Battery life: 5h + 15h in case | Wireless range: 35ft (10.6m) | Noise cancelling: Yes | Charging: 1h + quick charge – USB-C | Mic & Controls: Yes | Bluetooth codecs: SBC, AAC, LHDC, LDAC | Water resistance: IP54 | Features: ANC, ambient mode, Gaming mode, app
    • Companion app with custom EQ
    • Excellent ANC and ambient mode performance
    • Great call quality in quiet & noisy places
    • Support for LHDC & LDAC audio codecs
    • 7 pairs of germ-free ear tips
    • Good sound quality…
    • … but not up to par with the competition
    • Mediocre Bluetooth connection range
    • Battery only lasts 4.5h with ANC, with no Qi charging

    Here’s the Edifier NeoBuds Pro ANC test:

    Edifier NeoBuds Pro ANC Test – HeadphonesAddict

    NeoBuds Pro have a pretty well-defined sound quality but with a slightly unresolved treble. Nevertheless, using our custom EQ (in the full review), they can faithfully reproduce your favorite artists.

    Earbuds have an AirPods Pro design, ensuring great comfort and a reasonably stable fit even for outdoor walking.

    Furthermore, since NeoBuds Pro are rated for an IP54, they can easily handle sweat. However, don’t drench them in water, as they aren’t fully waterproof.

    But the most important feature is active noise cancellation. They can thread blows with the best earbuds in this category, only marginally struggling with higher frequencies.

    Also, their ambient sound mode can quite faithfully capture outside noise, albeit you hear some static in the background.

    7. Edifier W240TN

    Edifier W240TN on a tree

    One of the best, if not the best deals under $100 if you seek full-package true wireless earbuds with great sound and ANC performance.

    Edifier W240TN review

    Connection icon Connection: Bluetooth 5.3
    Driver size icon Driver size: 10mm woofer + 6mm tweeter
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: 20-20.000Hz
    Type: True wireless | Battery life: 7h + 14h in case | Wireless range: 40 feet (12.1m) | Noise cancelling: Yes | Charging: Quick charge – USB-C | Mic & Controls: Yes | Bluetooth codecs: SBC | Water resistance: IP55 | Features: ANC, app, Game mode, EQ
    • Great sound quality (after EQing)
    • Comfortable & stable fit for long listening sessions
    • ANC and Transparency mode performance rivals the best
    • Solid build quality with an IP55 rating
    • Edifier app packed with features and customizations
    • Average battery life of 6+ hours per charge with ANC
    • ANC makes the sound noticeably bright and thin
    • Mediocre indoor Bluetooth range of around 40 feet

    Here’s the Edifier W240TN ANC test:

    Edifier W240TN ANC Test – HeadphonesAddict

    On top of having excellent ANC, the W240TN also play music very well. They output a balanced sound signature with a slightly boosted bass (after applying custom EQ, found in the full review).

    Speaking of the app, it offers control customization and EQ and lets you select the intensity of the ambient sound mode. The latter sounds full and even better than Sony WF-1000XM4.

    Moving to active noise cancelling, it’s almost on par with the best, reducing most of the noise without producing a hissing sound.

    As for the battery life, earbuds last around 6.5 hours with ANC, with extra 21 hours inside the charging case.

    Earbuds are pretty comfy, so you can easily wear them on a lengthy trip.

    8. Sony WF-SP800N

    Sony WF-SP800N noise canceling earbuds

    Trying to rival the Beats PowerBeats Pro, Sony made WF-SP800N with excellent battery life, IP55 water resistance, and noise cancellation support.

    Connection icon Connection: Bluetooth 5.0
    Driver size icon Driver size: 7mm
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: n/a
    Type: True wireless | Battery life: 13h + 13h in case | Wireless range: 33ft (10m) | Noise cancelling: Yes | Charging: 2.5h + quick charge – USB-C | Mic & Controls: Yes, built-in | Bluetooth codecs: SBC, AAC | Water resistance: IP55 | Features: ANC, ambient aware, EQ, ear fins, 360 Reality Audio
    • Fun sound
    • Stability for sports
    • Class-leading battery life
    • Unreliable touch controls

    Their initial sound profile is very safe and boring. However, using the app’s other sound profiles or EQ can bring these to life with punchy bass and crisper treble.

    They come with ergonomically designed housing with a good fit inside your ears, providing necessary comfort and tight seal when performing intense workouts.

    If you do your working out in a noisy gym, there is a noise-cancelling feature that helps you drown out the background noise.

    However, in many ways, noise cancellation isn’t as effective because the true wireless earbuds lack a QN1 chip (found in Sony WF-1000XM models).

    The companion app offers customization and useful features, like in-depth EQ and 360 Reality Audio surround audio (Sony’s spatial audio format) and transparency mode.

    More: Best workout headphones

    9. EarFun Air Pro 3

    EarFun Air Pro 3 earbuds

    These best noise cancelling earbuds are a fantastic value, with excellent noise cancellation and powerful sound (check Air Pro 3 ANC test below).

    EarFun Air Pro 3 review

    Connection icon Connection: Bluetooth 5.3
    Driver size icon Driver size: 11mm wool composite dynamic
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: n/a
    Type: True wireless | Battery life: 8h + 36h in case | Wireless range: 40 feet (12.2 meters) | Noise cancelling: Yes | Charging: 1h – quick charge – USB-C | Mic & Controls: Yes | Bluetooth codecs: SBC, AAC, aptX Adaptive, LC3 | Water resistance: IPX5 | Features: App, multipoint
    • Natural sound (after EQ)
    • Comfortable & lightweight design
    • Customization via companion app
    • Bluetooth 5.3, LC3 codec, & multipoint
    • Excellent battery life of over 8 hours per charge
    • Effective active noise cancellation & ambient sound mode
    • Not stable enough for sports activities
    • Background hiss when in ANC mode

    Here’s the EarFun Air Pro 3 ANC test:

    EarFun Air Pro 3 ANC Test – HeadphonesAddict

    The sound quality is boomy out of the box, but by taming it inside the app, it offers one of the best audio clarities below $100.

    Most importantly, the new Air Pro 3 have impressive active noise cancellation, almost matching the best earbuds in this category, if not even beating them in some areas. More on that in the full review.

    Ambient sound mode is equally good, providing a natural amplification of the outside world. There is some background hiss but nothing too bothersome.

    Moreover, the battery life lasts more than 8 hours on a single charge, much more than most ANC earbuds on the market.

    On top of that, Air Pro 3 support LC3 Bluetooth codec, Qi wireless charging, multipoint, and Game Mode. Their value is off the charts.

    Related: Best headphones under $100.

    Also see: Best bass earbuds

    10. JBL Live Pro+

    JBL Live Pro+ earbuds

    JBL Live Pro+ are affordable true wireless noise-cancelling earbuds under $150 (check the Live Pro+ ANC test below).

    JBL Live Pro+ review

    Connection icon Connection: Bluetooth 5.0
    Driver size icon Driver size: 11m
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: 20-20.000Hz
    Type: True wireless | Battery life: 7h + 21h in case | Wireless range: 33ft (10m) | Noise cancelling: Yes | Charging: 2h + quick charge – USB-C & Qi charging | Mic & Controls: Yes | Bluetooth codecs: SBC, AAC | Water resistance: IPX4 | Features: Ambient Aware, TalkThru, custom EQ
    • Great sound quality (after EQ)
    • Comfortable and stable fit
    • Feature-rich companion app
    • Compact charging case
    • Good battery life with fast & Qi charging
    • Responsive touch controls
    • App experience could be better
    • Manually selecting custom EQ after every pairing is frustrating

    Here’s the JBL Live Pro+ ANC test:

    JBL Live Pro+ ANC Test – HeadphonesAddict

    Live Pro+ have a U-shaped sound signature, with a boost in both sub-bass and upper high-frequency sounds. While they can be a bit bright and sibilant, you can correct them inside the JBL app.

    Noise cancellation is most effective at blocking lower frequencies, which makes them a great pair for traveling. However, the Live Pro+ still struggle with human speech and higher frequencies.

    True wireless buds can boost background noise, but the clarity is only decent. They will do for basic awareness, but for anything else, you’ll have to put them out of your ears. Fortunately, they’re fine for making phone calls.

    The battery life is more than 7 hours on a single charge and have another 21 hours inside the charging case—the latter has a compact design and supports fast charging and Qi wireless charging.

    Honorable Mentions

    Bose QuietComfort 20

    Bose QuietComfort 20

    If you value awesome noise cancellation before good sound quality (awesome for frequent travelers), you’ll love these, even if the price is a bit steep. You get what you pay for.

    Check QuietComfort 20 price

    Master & Dynamic MW08

    Master & Dynamic MW08 earbuds

    have a unique ceramic housing that screams luxury.

    But most importantly, they pack a solid ANC that’s decent enough for blocking low-end hum.

    Check MW08 price

    EarFun Free Pro 2

    EarFun Free Pro 2 buds and case

    With these affordable noise cancelling earbuds, you’re getting a great noise cancelling performance.

    Their energetic sound is suitable for bassier genres like hip-hop.

    EarFun Free Pro 2 review

    Jabra Elite 85t

    Jabra Elite 85t true wireless earbuds

    Earbuds switched the typical Jabra sound for more balance and details.

    Also, they’re extremely effective at blocking background noises like jet engine noise during flights.

    Extra features include adjustable EQ settings, supporting multipoint connection, and an ergonomic shape similar to Jabra Elite Active 75t.

    Check Elite 85t price

    Beats Studio Buds

    Beats Studio Buds

    The Beats Studio Buds are true wireless earbuds with a surprisingly tamed bass performance and good audio quality in general.

    Even more surprising is the lack of Apple’s chips, meaning they work equally for iOS and Android users.

    Check Studio Buds price

    Edifier TWS NB


    These offer a lot of value in all categories. You get Bluetooth 5.0 with aptX support for better sound quality and faster transmission, and a decent ANC.

    Edifier TWS NB review

    Phiaton BT 120 NC

    Phiaton BT 120 NC

    Still one of the top noise cancelling earbuds under $60 you can get today.

    They provide satisfactory ANC, great comfort, and enjoyable sound quality.

    Phiaton BT 120 NC review

    What ANC earbuds to avoid?

    We reviewed Samsung Galaxy Buds Live and were disappointed in their ANC. Avoid. (Samsung Galaxy Buds Live review)

    More headphone guides:

    Noise Cancelling vs Noise Isolation – Is Active Noise Cancelling Better?

    There is a lot of misconception about noise-cancelling and noise isolation. Here we’ll explain the difference.

    Noise Cancelling

    Noise cancelling also known as active noise cancellation is a powered system that requires a microphone and a battery to function.

    The microphone picks up the surrounding sounds and sends the opposite frequency (sound waves in opposite phase) to the drivers to negate the unwanted noise.

    ANC works nicely for constant, low-frequency sounds like the constant engine hum.

    When active noise cancelation is on, it feels like you’re in a quieter place, but it does not cancel out all background noise.

    The sound of background chatter, loud music playback, and every other non-constant frequencies, aren’t cancelled out, and you’ll still hear them.

    Usually, the combination of active noise cancellation and passive isolation offers the most effective results.

    Noise Isolation

    Passive isolation or passive noise cancellation, as many people like to call it, is more basic but effective. It uses no batteries or microphones, just simple noise blocking with isolation.

    For over-ear headphones, the use of tight-fitting ear pads plays a crucial role in blocking out all external noise. For in-ear monitors and earbuds, using double or triple-flanged earbud tips gives a more secure fit and better passive isolation.

    Find the best noise isolating earbuds.

    Good isolating earbuds will block up to 37 dB of noise which means complete isolation from normal conversation volume, especially once you play some music.

    Passive isolation blocks all outside sounds, from neighbors to loud kids. This makes them very useful when you just want to have some peace and quiet and not be bothered by the outside world.

    On the other hand, excellent sound isolation can be dangerous in public places, like walking on the street, when it’s good to know what is going on around you.

    What are the Benefits of Noise Cancelling Earbuds?

    Noise-cancelling earbuds get rid of environmental noise with special electronics. It’s most effective against lower sounds (like airplane hum, traffic, etc.) and less effective against higher frequency sounds (like human voices and birds chirping).

    How noise cancelling works?

    Once you press the button to activate ANC, part of the background sounds disappear, making the illusion of a quieter environment. It’s really surprising the first time you experience it.

    Noise-canceling earbuds are the best for traveling since traveling is often loud.

    Sleeping with headphones
    If you can’t sleep due to annoying ambient noise, noise-cancelling earbuds can improve your sleeping.

    What Does Active Noise Cancelling Up to 95% Actually Mean?

    Often you can read claims like “impressive ANC performance up to 28dB”. But what does that actually mean?

    All ANC ratings represent a measurement in perfect possible conditions.

    Usually, the effectiveness of noise cancelling is measured at specific, low frequency, and lower volume conditions since this is where ANC is most effective.

    It doesn’t mean noise cancelling buds with 95% rated effectiveness will cancel out 95% of outside noise. They will cancel various frequencies at different levels.

    Take the ANC ratings with a grain of salt as these don’t represent the exact behavior and effectiveness of the noise-cancelling technology. For this reason, we A/B test ANC buds, so you can hear which ones have better noise reduction.

    Can Noise Cancelling Earbuds Hurt Your Ears?

    Because noise cancellation technology doesn’t emit any kind of radiation or any other kind of harmful effects, it’s perfectly safe. You can use noise cancelling wireless earbuds or wireless headphones with a peace of mind.

    The technology is quite basic once you understand it. It cancels out ambient noise in a perfectly harmless way.

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

    Can you sleep with noise cancelling headphones?

    Yes, you can but only if they are comfortable for you.

    Smaller noise-cancellation earbuds are better for sleeping since they’re more comfortable, but that’s not always the case. Additionally, if you move around a lot during sleep, you might damage your earbuds. For some people, just getting regular earplugs works equally well.

    Are AirPods noise cancelling?

    Basic AirPods aren’t. They do have some passive isolation but don’t have noise-cancelling (ANC). ANC is a unique technology that requires more processing power which increases costs and power consumption, and AirPods are the basic Apple true wireless earphones.

    AirPods Pro do have ANC technology. These are the most expensive, premium buds which come with adaptive ANC.

    Is it worth getting noise cancelling earbuds?

    Yes. Not only do they help you make your daily commute or airplane travel more bearable, but active noise-cancelling earbuds can also protect your hearing. If you don’t hear as much ambient noise, you don’t have to crank up the volume as much.

    Is noise cancelling the same as hearing protection

    While they might be effective at blocking surrounding noise, they’re still not a hearing protection replacement. The problem is that most ANC earbuds don’t reduce an entire frequency response. Therefore, dedicated passive noise isolation headphones can better protect your ears.

    This was the list of the best noise cancelling earbuds for 2023. What do you think about it? Let us know in the comments, which model has impressed or which is downright bad. We love hearing your opinion.

    1. Bose. No comparison. I tried 3 brands. Kept going back to the Bose. Comfortable in the ear. 3 sizes of buds Expensive. Hell yes. But wouldn’t trade. Available for iPhone. YES


    2. Nice review and summary. Thanks!


    3. There is a Bluetooth version of the MDR-EX31BN headphones, sold as import from Japan.
      They have a small rechargeable BT receiver/DNC unit with AptX support and use the same 5-pin NC31 earbuds that work with Xperia phones, although this time supplied with a shorter cable.

      Multi-point connection, NFC and a call handling microphone on the receiver make them very flexible, the only downside is that they cannot be used when charging.


    4. Have used Phiaton NC220 for more than a year – absolutely fabulous. Use in gym regularly, and on 14 hr flights to Europe from Asia. Comfy, good ANC, long lasting battery, and fantastic sound.
      Only CON is the BT connection could be stronger…drops quite easily.


    5. Have you ever heard of the company senso? I ordered their passive noise cancelling Bluetooth earbuds from Amazon. Should receive in a couple of days. The reviews on the site were outstanding for sound and comfort, for a reasonable price ($36) If anyone has a pair let me know what you think. I will know soon enough I guess. I will write a review and let you all know what I think.


    6. I have the Sony MDR NC31E and I was truly impressed the first day I tried them on.
      I had to mow the lawn and the engine noise was reduced almost entirely… Then I went to a music store and tried the Bose QC 20 on display and the difference was not perceived by my non audiophile ears, so needless to say that for the price I paid, the Sony was a great choice, specially since it works with my recent XZ too.

      The downside is that if I want to use it with something else I might need to plug a short extender to “convert” the 5 pole.


    7. Just want to confirm do the TaoTronics actually offer Active Noise Cancellation? From what I can find it only seems to offer CVC noise cancellation (which if I understand correctly is only to support you voice during a call). I can’t find anywhere that says it offers ANC to block ambient sound for the user hears through the earbud. Please confirm because I am looking for a cheap pair of wireless earbuds with ANC, and Taotronics would would be good if it had any ANC.


      1. You’re right. The ANC is only for the voice but they also do have good passive noise isolation. For sound ANC you won’t find them so cheap, cheapest models that do a decent job are still around $80. We are looking into a good replacement as we speak.


        1. It would be really nice if you could tell us what models have ANC for the mic as well. Not only would I like to hear whom I am talking to in a noisy environment, but, I’d like them to hear me. And they won’t, unless the unit has a noise cancelling mic as well.


    8. Good article, thanks! What I need is a good Noise Cancelling in-ear pods which will be used only when I am mowing the lawn. I am not so naive to think that any in-ear solution will block out all the noise of the lawnmower but it would be great to block out enough that I can actually hear the music. So, since I am only wearing while I cut the grass, the noise cancelling feature is more important that the sound quality (it still needs to be “good” sound but not audiophile). For sound quality I own a pair of Bose in-ear pods and Audio-Technica over-headphones. Any suggestions?


    9. Check out the Rowkin earbud’s reviews. Not quite a noise cancelling specialist but all the features are awesome.. One of the best in the best in the market.


    10. It would be nice to know two things about the models you’ve mentioned:

      1. Does it have an active noise cancelling mic so that whomever I’m talking to can hear me as well (the Phiaton’s do, and that’s why I have them).

      2. Does the unit power up when plugged in for charging. Many don’t. I’d be pretty annoyed if my battery died and I couldn’t use them until charged again. Could you imagine if you had a cell phone that didn’t work when it was plugged in for charging?

      As an aside, you said: …The microphone picks up the surrounding noise and sends the opposite frequency to the headphones to negate the unwanted noise…”

      Not a real good explanation. There’s no such thing as an opposite frequency. Why don’t you say what everybody else says…It sends same exact signal, but 180 degrees out of phase with the original, thereby cancelling the background noise.


    11. This article is somewhat helpful as a list, but not enough info to actually choose one. On a site called “headphone addict”, I expect more.

      Can you list the weight of each headphone in ounces, including batteries? Do any of these use standard batteries in addition to rechargable, for a fast swap without waiting to charge? What is the charging time? What connectors are used? Is a lightning adaptor included? Which headphones are on-ear vs over-ear?


      1. Adding weight info is a good recommendation.
        None use standard batteries, ANC earbuds like that don’t exist. They all come with built-in rechargeable batteries.
        The charging time for a full charge is usually under 2 hours. There are no big differences among models in this regard.
        Connectors are visible under “connection” in the table.
        Lightning adapters are not standard accessories. You either buy Lightning earbuds or a separate adapter.
        These are all in-ear headphones/earbuds. On-ears and over-ears are a different type of headphones.
        Hope it helps 🙂


    12. I’ve had two pairs of the Bose earbuds. The noise cancellation is, in a word, magical. Battery life is awesome.

      But, after about a year, the insulation started to degrade to the point where copper was exposed over 80% of the cable. The wires are so fine that it’s basically impossible to replace the cable. The device still worked great, as long as you don’t wiggle the cable too much, which can cause an internal short when the wires are exposed.

      This happened to both pairs, and is apparently due to substandard materials. The InterWebs have literally thousands of accounts of this happening. Bose has made no effort to correct this issue, and only offered a small discount on a replacement when I contacted them.

      I could understand if the battery started to give out, or if I had not properly stored or cared for these items (they were always kept in the supplied pouch, no super-tight winding up of the cable, etc.). But, I took care of these things and they still fell apart. It’s as if the cable insulation is biodegradable.

      I’ll not be buying any more Bose products. Planned obsolescence is annoying enough. Knowingly selling a product that you *know* will fall apart in a year is just terrible business.


    13. your cute table is not sortable by “noise canceling”. also why are there 3 years old comments under this 2 weeks old article?


      1. Thanks for the comment, we’ll try and figure out a solution to make it sortable.
        The article is actually older than 3 years, but we update it frequently, so you’ve probably seen the date of the last update.


    14. At least ONE pair of earbuds with normal wires would be considerate, given we don’t all have a month’s rent available twice a day when the astoundingly predictable endemic failure of wireless microgadetry reveals precisely why the whole idea is BEYOND idiotic : once they get knocked (or fall) out, their geometry makes their trajectory so unpredictable, even bending down to check the leaves is pointless.


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