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The 10 Best Noise Cancelling Earbuds in 2021

Last updated: 4 months ago
8 min read

Create your peace & quiet with the best ANC earbuds on the market.

Rating Price Battery Noise cancelling Connection Sound signature More info
4.3
Under $250
7 hours + 28h in case
Best-in-class
Bluetooth 5.1
V-shaped
Apple AirPods Pro Best for Apple
Apple AirPods Pro
4.8
Under $250
5 hours + 24h in case
Best-in-class
Bluetooth 5.0
Slight mid-emphasis
Bose QuietComfort Earbuds Best stability
Bose QuietComfort Earbuds
4.5
Under $260
6 hours + 12h in case
Very effective
Bluetooth 5.1
Balanced
Sony WF-1000XM3 Best Sony
Sony WF-1000XM3
4.2
Under $180
8 hours (ANC off) + 24h in case
Very effective
Bluetooth 5.0
V-shaped
Jabra Elite 85t Best Jabra
Jabra Elite 85t true wireless earbuds
4.3
Under $200
7 hours + 18h in case
Very effective
Bluetooth 5.1
Balanced
4.3
Under $280
10 hours + 30h in case
Very effective
Bluetooth 5.0
Neutral
Sony WF-SP800N Best for workout
Sony WF-SP800N true wireless earbuds
4.2
Under $130
13 hours + 13h in case
Above average
Bluetooth 5.0
Balanced
Aukey EP-N7 Best under $100
Aukey EP-N7
4.3
Under $70
5 hours + 20h in case
Above average
Bluetooth 5.0
Bass-emphasized
3.9
Under $120
11 hours + 20h in case
Above average
Bluetooth 5.0
Balanced
EarFun Free Pro Best budget
Earfun Free Pro true wireless earbuds
4.7
Under $60
7.5 hours + 25h in case
Good
Bluetooth 5.2
Bass-emphasized
Table of Contents

    The top 10 (active noise cancellation ANC) in-ear models that have the most effective technology.

    Use them for traveling or just enjoying your music in peace. These small and versatile NC earbuds are a great 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 2020.

    Related:

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

    Best Noise Cancelling Earbuds Reviewed

    1. Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2

    1st-place Best true wireless
    Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 noise cancelling earbuds

    Sennheiser made some small tweaks to an already best-sounding truly wireless earbuds on the market, also giving them the option for active noise cancellation.

    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 slightly V-shaped sound profile, but with an exceptionally natural midrange. Their audio performance always sounds full and detailed, no matter what you want them to play.

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

    The battery life offers up to 7 hours on a single charge, with another 21 hours 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 when you want to hear your surroundings.

    Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 review

    2. Apple AirPods Pro

    trophy Best for Apple
    Apple AirPods Pro white earbuds

    Apple AirPods Pro are definitely the best noise-cancelling earbuds if you’re a fan of iOS system.

    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 isn’t balanced or neutral but has 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.

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

    To make phone calls, you get to use the superb built-in mic that is clear and great at reducing background noise.

    On top of that, AirPods Pro are noise cancelling earbuds and do an above-average job at reducing sounds though some alternatives (WF-1000XM3) still have the edge over them.

    Apple AirPods Pro review

    3. Bose QuietComfort Earbuds

    trophy Best stability
    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, these do a fantastic job. It’s punchy and incredibly controlled without bleeding too much in the mids, which stay nicely clean and balanced.

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

    Bose QC Earbuds are big but also extremely comfortable for longer listening sessions.

    As expected, their 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 earbuds based on your preferences. You can change touch controls, toggle the intensity of the noise cancellation.

    There are 6 hours of playtime inside the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds, with the case having an additional 12 hours of battery power.

    4. Sony WF-1000XM3

    trophy Best Sony
    Sony WF-1000XM3 charging in case

    These Sony’s are the best noise cancelling earbuds on the market.

    Connection icon Connection: Bluetooth 5.0
    Driver size icon Driver size: 6mm
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: 20-20.000Hz
    Type: True wireless | Battery life: 6h (ANC on), 8h (ANC off) + 24h in case | Wireless range: 33ft (10m) | Noise cancelling: Yes | Charging: 1.5h + quick charge – USB-C | Mic & Controls: Yes | Bluetooth codecs: SBC, AAC | Water resistance: No | Features: ANC, Ambient Aware, mobile app with EQ
    • Great noise cancelling performance
    • Feature-packed mobile app
    • Solid battery life
    • Fun, punchy sound
    • Tri-Hold design isn't comfortable for everyone
    • No IP rating

    They sound great because you can adjust it to your liking. With the app equalizer, you can boost the bass, keep it balanced, or pop out vocals.

    The WF-1000XM3 have the same HD noise cancelling processor QN1e that you can find in the superb WH-1000XM3 over-ears.

    Change active noise cancellation power, turn on the adaptive mode that changes noise reduction automatically based on the environment, change the sound signature, and more.

    A quick charging battery lasts for a solid 6 hours, and a 10-minute charge gives you 1.5 hours of music.

    The WF-1000XM3 are the perfect companion for a demanding user who wants all the latest tech in small in-ears.

    Sony WF-1000XM3 review

    5. Jabra Elite 85t

    trophy Best Jabra
    Jabra Elite 85t noise cancelling earbuds

    This company’s latest premium noise cancelling earbuds replace a typical Jabra sound for a more balanced and detailed one.

    Connection icon Connection: Bluetooth 5.1
    Driver size icon Driver size: 12mm
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: 20-20.000Hz
    Type: True wireless | Battery life: 7h + 18h in case | Wireless range: 33ft (10m) | Noise cancelling: Yes | Charging: 3h + quick charge – USB-C & Qi wireless charging | Mic & Controls: Yes | Bluetooth codecs: SBC, AAC | Water resistance: IPX4 | Features: ANC, HearThru, mobile app, "find my buds" feature, multipoint support
    • Packed with extra features
    • Balanced sound
    • Qi wireless charging
    • Good noise cancelling performance
    • IPX4 is rather low compared to other Jabra's TWS models
    • Lack of aptX support

    Jabra Elite 85t have a more balanced audio performance, with an overall step up in sound quality compared to the brand’s cheaper models.

    Earbuds themselves are rather big yet keep the ergonomic shape of the lower-tier Elite Active 75t. Also, ear tips now come in different, proprietary shape, which should make them more comfortable inside your ear canal.

    Elite 85t are the first noise cancelling earbuds from Jabra, and they did a great job. They’re extremely effective at blocking background noises like a jet engine during a long flight.

    Extra features consist of changing EQ settings inside the app, supporting multipoint connection, and having a newer Bluetooth 5.1.

    6. Master & Dynamic MW07 Plus

    trophy Best premium
    Master & Dynamic MW07 Plus noise cancelling earbuds

    Unique design with high-quality components: these earbuds might be pricey, but they’re well equipped to justify the cost.

    Connection icon Connection: Bluetooth 5.0
    Driver size icon Driver size: 10mm beryllium drivers
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: n/a
    Type: True wireless | Battery life: 10h + 30h in case | Wireless range: 100ft (30m) | Noise cancelling: Yes | Charging: Quick – USB-C | Mic & Controls: Yes | Bluetooth codecs: SBC, aptX | Water resistance: IPX5 | Features: ANC, ear fins, 11 different color options,
    • Unique, durable construction with stainless steel charging case
    • Neutral sound with detailed presentation
    • Excellent battery life
    • Good noise cancelling performance
    • No AAC support for Apple users
    • No mobile app or EQ option

    MW07 Plus are best suited for audiophiles who enjoy the audio to be very neutral and faithful to the original mix.

    There is a bit of a treble boost, but no major sibilance. You can still expect amazing detail throughout the whole range.

    With their beautifully colorful housings, these sure can attract some looks. Inside the box, you get at least 5 pairs of earbuds and 3 pairs of ear fins to achieve the best fit and comfort.

    Earbuds have an IPX5 water resistance rating, ensuring sweat resistance, and come inside a shine charging case made out of stainless steel.

    The Plus model comes with a noise reduction feature, which can effectively dampen engines and other electric appliances at home.

    7. Sony WF-SP800N

    weights Best for workout
    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
    • Great battery life
    • Unreliable touch controls

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

    They come with ergonomically designed housing that fits nicely inside your ears, providing necessary comfort and fit when performing intense workouts.

    If you do your working out ina noisy gym, there is the noise cancelling feature that helps you drown out the ambient noise.

    However, ANC isn’t as effective because the earbuds lack a QN1 chip (found in WF-1000XM3 and bigger brothers).

    The companion app offers many customization and features, like in-depth EQ and 360 Reality Audio surround audio.

    More: Best workout headphones

    8. Aukey EP-N7

    dollar Best under $100
    Aukey EP-N7 on a stone

    These earbuds are a fantastic value, with great noise cancellation and fun sound.

    Connection icon Connection: Bluteooth 5.0
    Driver size icon Driver size: 8mm titanium dynamic
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: 20-20.000Hz
    Type: True wireless | Battery life: 5h + 20h in case | Wireless range: 33ft (10m) | Noise cancelling: Yes | Charging: 1.5h – USB-C | Mic & Controls: Yes | Bluetooth codecs: SBC, AAC | Water resistance: IPX5 | Features: ANC, Transparency mode
    • Excellent comfort
    • Good fit and stability
    • Impressive noise cancellation performance
    • Great call quality for the price
    • Decent overall battery life
    • Warm sound
    • … but with too much bass
    • You have to force SBC to eliminate video lag (Android)

    Their warm, bass-heavy sound profile is pleasant to listen to, but it can veil the midrange slightly.

    However, that should only matter to purists, while the rest will find plenty to enjoy on these.

    Active noise cancellation is rather impressive, especially considering the price.

    It eliminates a large portion of the frequency response, making the EP-N7 one of the best noise cancelling earbuds under $100.

    If you’re accustomed to making many phone calls on the go, these should also serve you well. The call quality is crystal clear, albeit a bit quiet.

    The overall user experience is further improved by great comfort and a secure fit, despite ear tips barely pushing into the ear canal.

    Aukey EP-N7 review

    9. Edifier TWS NB

    Edifier TWS NB ANC earbuds

    Affordable true wireless noise cancelling earbuds under $150.

    Connection icon Connection: Bluetooth 5.0
    Driver size icon Driver size: 13mm graphene diaphragm
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: 20-20.000Hz
    Type: True wireless | Battery life: 11h (5h with ANC) + 20h in case | Wireless range: 33ft (10m) | Noise cancelling: Yes | Charging: 2h – USB-C | Mic & Controls: Yes | Bluetooth codecs: SBC, aptX | Water resistance: No | Features: ANC, ear fins, mobile app
    • Balanced sound with a bigger soundstage
    • Stable fit
    • Effective noise cancellation
    • Excellent passive noise isolation that works without ANC
    • Affordable price for ANC earbuds
    • Bulky construction
    • Irritating fit (can be slightly uncomfortable)
    • No built-in volume controls

    They have a balanced signature that fits most music genres and sounds good for the price you pay.

    Many noise cancelling earbuds cost a lot of money, but not all. Edifier TWS NB are one of the more affordable earbuds with ANC and the latest technology.

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

    On top of that, active noise cancellation is quite powerful though still lags behind the premium models (you pay half the price anyways).

    All in all, they’re solid ANC earbuds that work well even though they don’t reach the top.

    Edifier TWS NB review

    Related: Best headphones under $100.

    10. EarFun Free Pro

    dollar Best budget
    EarFun Free Pro earbuds

    With this pair of earbuds, you’re getting a decent noise cancelling performance with a great price tag.

    Connection icon Connection: Bluetooth 5.2
    Driver size icon Driver size: Dual composite dynamic
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: n/a
    Type: True wireless | Battery life: 7h + 25h in case | Wireless range: 50ft (15m) | Noise cancelling: Yes | Charging: 2h + quick charge – USB-C & Qi wireless charging | Mic & Controls: Yes | Bluetooth codecs: SBC, AAC | Water resistance: IPX5 | Features: ANC, ambient aware, ear fins, mono mode, touch controls
    • Solid build quality
    • Superb comfort
    • Enjoyable sound
    • Deep, controlled bass
    • IPX5 water-resistance
    • Can connect to 2 devices at once
    • Decent active noise-cancellation performance
    • Price
    • ANC picks up wind noise
    • Shallow fit
    • One right earbud can be used for mono mode
    • No way of remapping touch commands

    Free Pro are fun-sounding earbuds with a clear emphasis on bass and upper midrange. They sound exciting, with excellent dynamics for the price.

    See: Best bass earbuds

    Earbuds are pretty small and should fit the tiniest of ear canals. To improve stability, you get 3 pairs of ear fins along with slightly longer ear tips.

    The latter pushes them deeper into the ear canal, amplifying the noise isolation effect and overall active noise cancellation performance.

    Controls with a touch sensor on both sides ensure all essential commands for music playback. Also, decent microphones help with good call quality and voice control.

    The small charging case holds up to 25 hours of battery life and supports Qi wireless charging.

    EarFun Free Pro review

    Honorable Mentions

    Bose QuietComfort 20 – If you value awesome noise cancellation before 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)

    Sony WI-1000X – These are a great alternative to Bose neckband in-ear headphones, with similar specs and great sound quality. (Check WI-1000X price)

    B&O Beoplay E4 – B&O’s are among the best noise cancelling earbuds right now as long as you’re willing to pay a premium price and are looking for a wired connection. (Check Beoplay E4 price)

    Phiaton BT 120 NC – Still one of the best noise cancelling earbuds under $100 you can get today. They provide satisfactory ANC, great comfort, and enjoyable sound quality. Phiaton BT 120 NC review

    TaoTronics TT-EP002 – If you’re looking for a cheap way to get rid of noise with ANC in a small package, these TaoTronics earbuds are the best budget pick right now. TaoTronics TT-EP002 review

    More headphone guides:

    Noise Cancelling vs Noise Isolation – Is 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.

    This 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 ambient 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 is a more basic concept, but very effective nonetheless. It uses no batteries or microphone, just simple noise blocking by isolation.

    For over-ears, the use of tight-fitting ear pads plays a crucial role in blocking out all external noise. For in-ear monitors, using double or triple-flanged earbud tips usually gives the best results.

    You can find great noise isolating earbuds here.

    Good isolating headphones 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, complete 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 Headphones?

    ANC headphones will get rid of most background noise with their 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 will just disappear, making the illusion of a quieter environment. It’s really surprising the first time you experience it.

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

    Can Noise Cancelling Headphones 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 to use ANC headphones. The technology is quite basic once you understand it. It cancels out ambient noise in a perfectly harmless way.

    Can You Sleep with Noise Cancelling Headphones?

    sleeping with 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 headphones. For some people just getting regular earplugs works equally well.

    What Does Active Noise Cancelling Up to 95% Actually Mean? (or up to 28dB)

    Here’s an interesting fact.

    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 active noise cancelling headphones with 95% rated effectiveness will cancel out 95% of background 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.

    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.

    Apple AirPods Pro do have the ANC technology. These are the most expensive, premium model which comes with adaptive ANC.