Noise Cancelling

The 10 Best Noise Cancelling Earbuds in 2020

Last updated: 7 days ago, Nov. 19. 2020
Article Contents

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

    Comparison: Top Noise Cancelling Earbuds

    Very effective, Good, Above Average, Decent.

    Noise Cancelling
    ConnectionSound Signature 

    best true wireless

    Sony WF-1000XM3

    4.16h (ANC on)
    8h (ANC off)
    $230Very effectiveWireless
    Bluetooth 5.0
    More info
    Apple AirPods Pro
    best for iPhone

    Apple AirPods Pro

    4.64.5h (ANC on)
    24h in case
    $250Very effectiveWireless
    Bluetooth 5.0
    More info
    Sennheiser Momentum Wireless 2
    best sound
    The 10 Best Noise Cancelling Earbuds in 20204.17h (ANC on)
    21h in case
    $270Very effectiveWireless
    Bluetooth 5.1
    BalancedMore info
    Sony WF-SP800N
    best for workout
    The 10 Best Noise Cancelling Earbuds in 20204.19h ANC on
    13h ANC off
    26h in case
    Above averageWireless
    Bluetooth 5.0
    BalancedMore info
    Bose QuietControl 30
    best neckband
    The 10 Best Noise Cancelling Earbuds in 20203.710h (ANC on)$250Very effectiveBluetoothBalancedMore info
    Master & Dynamic MW07 Plus
    best premium
    The 10 Best Noise Cancelling Earbuds in 20204.210h (ANC on)
    30h in case
    $300Very effective
    Bluetooth 5.0
    NeutralMore info
    QuietComfort 20

    best wired

    Bose QuietComfort 20

    Slight bass
    More info
    Edifier TWS NB
    affordable true wireless

    Edifier TWS NB

    3.95h (ANC on)
    11h (ANC off)
    20h+ in case
    $120Above averageWireless
    Bluetooth 5.0
    BalancedMore info
    Tozo NC9
    best under $100
    The 10 Best Noise Cancelling Earbuds in 20204.58h (ANC on)
    24h in case
    Above averageWireless
    Bluetooth 5.0
    Bass-emphasizedMore info
    Aukey EP-N5The 10 Best Noise Cancelling Earbuds in 20204.65.5h (ANC on)
    29.5h in case
    Bluetooth 5.0
    Bass-emphasizedMore info

    Table of Contents

      The top 10 ANC (active noise-cancelling) 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 ANC earphones on the market (30+) here are the top choices for 2020.


      Here are top passive noise isolation headphones
      Leading noise cancelling headphones
      Worthy budget noise cancelling headphones

      Best Noise Cancelling Earbuds Reviewed

      1. Sony WF-1000XM3 – best true wireless

      Sony WF-1000XM3 charging in case

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

      Read the Sony WF-1000XM3 review.

      Active noise-cancelling: Yes
      Battery life: Up to 6h ANC on (8h ANC off) + 3 charges in the case
      Design: True wireless
      Connection: Bluetooth 5.0

      Why Buy These?

      The WF-1000XM3 have the same HD noise-cancelling processor QN1e that you can find in the superb WH-1000XM3 over-ears. Though the “settings” make it slightly less effective, it’s the best noise cancellation you can find in true wireless earbuds.

      Plus, you get a ton of features and the latest Bluetooth technology. The touch controls are easy to use, and with in-app settings, you can control almost everything.

      Change ANC 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.

      The Bad

      No sweat protection, so not suitable for sports. Also, no built-in volume controls, no support for multipoint, and you need to install the app for full functionality. Plus a bit pricey.

      The Sound

      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.

      You have full controls over the frequencies, which will satisfy many different tastes in music. It’s easy to use, besides the sound is enjoyable out of the box without any changes.

      For the latest true wireless earbuds with ANC, Sony WF-1000XM3 are the top choice today.

      2. Apple AirPods Pro – best for Apple

      Apple AirPods Pro white earbuds

      AirPods Pro are definitely the best noise-cancelling earbuds if you’re iOS user.

      Active noise-cancelling: Yes
      Battery life: Up to 4.5h (ANC on) & 24h with the case
      Design: True wireless
      Connection: Bluetooth 5.0

      Why Buy These?

      If you’re a proud iPhone owner, then the Apple AirPods Pro make perfect sense for you. This time, they resemble in-ear headphones better with nozzles and ear tips, which improve the fit and sound quality.

      You get to take advantage of the H1 chip for quick pairing and auto-connect function, which only works for iOS.

      The battery life is solid, at around 5 hours with noise cancellation activated, and you can charge them wirelessly with Qi. Plus, you can take them to the gym as they are IPX4 sweatproof.

      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, these are noise cancelling and do an above-average job at reducing sounds though some alternatives (Sony Wf-1000XM3) still have the edge over them.

      The Bad

      Quite pricey even compared to other high-end ANC in-ears. Somewhat questionable design that might not fit all people.

      The Sound

      It’s exactly what you’d expect. It isn’t balanced or neutral but has a slight emphasis on the midrange, which might make some instruments pop out more than usual.

      But considering that, the audio quality is considerably better than with the regular AirPods due in-ear fit.

      For an avid iPhone user, Apple’s AirPods Pro (review) are the absolute best noise cancelling earbuds right now.

      3. Sennheiser Momentum Wireless 2 – best sound

      Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless

      Sennheiser made some small tweaks to an already best-sounding truly wireless earbuds on the market, also giving them the option to eliminate ambient sounds.

      Active noise-cancelling: Yes
      Battery life: Up to 7h & 21h in the case
      Design: True wireless
      Connection: Bluetooth 5.1

      Why Buy These?

      While the new model looks identical to the predecessor, MW2 sports slightly more ergonomic housing with improved comfort and fit. They’re also a bit smaller, which makes them less protruding.

      Battery life jumped up in capacity, now offering up to 7 hours on a single charge, with another 21 hours waiting inside the charging case. To ensure that you can also use them while exercising, Sennheiser equipped them with an IPX4 rating of water-resistance.

      Of course, there is also ANC this time around, and it works great. Despite using only one microphone on each side, they can cancel out a lot of noise. You can also use Transparent Hearing when you want to hear your surroundings.

      The Bad

      Quite expensive.

      The Sound

      Earbuds are decently balanced, with a slightly forward midrange. They still sound full and detailed, no matter what you want them to play.

      Coming from Sennheiser, you can be sure these earbuds mean business. With great audio performance and noise-cancelling they’re a worthy alternative to the competition.

      4. Sony WF-SP800N – best for workout

      Sony WF-SP800N true wireless earbuds

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

      Active noise-cancelling: Yes
      Battery life: Up to 13h & 13h in the case
      Design: True wireless
      Connection: Bluetooth 5.0

      Why Buy These?

      If Sony WF-1000XM3 are a bit more classy, WF-SP800N are clearly meant to use for sports. 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 workout inside the noisy gym, there is the noise-cancelling feature that helps you drown out the environment. It does a decent job, but because the earbuds lack a QN1 chip (found in WF-1000XM3 and bigger brothers), ANC isn’t as effective.

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

      The Bad

      Touch controls are a mixed bag.

      The Sound

      Their initial impression is very safe and boring. However, using the app’s EQ can bring these to life with punchy bass and crisper treble. They’re still not suitable for pure bassheads.

      Sony’s new true wireless earbuds make a good choice if you explicitly want something to bring on your workouts. However, their price is a bit steep, especially compared to the competition.

      5. Bose QuietControl 30 – best neckband

      Bose QuietControl 30 neckband in-ear headphones

      If the wired approach of the Bose QuietComfort 20 isn’t for you, maybe check these out. QC30 come in neckband design, with the same awesome audio and excellent noise-cancellation.

      Active noise-cancelling: Yes
      Battery life: Up to 10h
      Design: Wireless (neckband)
      Connection: Bluetooth 5.0

      Why Buy These?

      When it comes to having wireless earbuds connected with a wire, neckbands are the best compromise. They’re much more comfortable, with a better overall fit. QC30 are made from plastic, but it’s quite durable, so you don’t have to worry if you twist the neckband too hard.

      These earbuds also come with ANC technology, which works great. The good thing about the ANC is that you can adjust the intensity from both the mobile app and the inline remote.

      Battery life is only decent, with 10 hours to get you through a day or two before plugging the charger.

      The Bad

      Neckband design isn’t for everybody.

      The Sound

      These earbuds are incredibly dynamic in its presentation, delivering very lively audio with a big soundstage. They’re overall balanced, with a fantastic midrange and treble clarity, but the punchy bass sometimes kicks a bit too hard.

      If you don’t mind the neckband, these wireless earbuds are the best in their category.

      6. Master & Dynamic MW07 Plus – best premium

      Master & Dynamic MW07 Plus true wireless earbuds

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

      Active noise-cancelling: Yes
      Battery life: Up to 10h & 30h in the case
      Design: True wireless
      Connection: Bluetooth 5.0

      Why Buy These?

      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. They’re very robust, with an IPX5 rating that prevents them from getting damaged by water.

      Earbuds come inside a shine charging case made out of stainless steel. The battery life measures at 10 hours per charge, with an additional 30 hours inside the steel case.

      The Plus model comes with an ANC feature, which can effectively dampen engines and other electric appliances at home.

      The Bad

      No mobile app.

      The Sound

      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 nothing major. You can still expect amazing detail throughout the whole range.

      If you want to look unique in the world of copycats, these are a great option.

      7. Bose QuietComfort 20 – best wired

      Bose QuietComfort 20

      Bose QuietComfort 20 are the best-wired noise cancelling earbuds.

      Active noise-cancelling: Yes
      Battery life: Up to 16h (only powers ANC)
      Design: In-ear headphones
      Connection: Wired, 3.5mm

      Why Buy These?

      Some might not like Bose products, but when it comes to ANC, they are the best in business. With QC 20 not only do you get highly effective active noise cancellation, but also very comfortable, durable, and good sounding buds, all in one package.

      The battery needed for noise cancellation is unfortunately not replaceable but has about 16 hours of battery life (USB charging), which is quite good.

      The silicone ear tips are well made and provide a tight fit. Cables are protected by a nice amount of rubber and there seem to be no major weak points in the design.

      The Bad

      With ANC off, audio quality takes a dive.


      Generally, the sound is still very “Bose-like”. With emphasized bass and treble slightly overshadowing mids. Yet the sound seems more balanced than with previous models, these have better mid-range than any ANC Bose earbuds before.

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

      8. Edifier TWS NB – affordable true wireless

      Edifier TWS NB ANC earbuds

      Affordable true wireless noise cancelling earbuds under $150.

      Read the full Edifier TWS NB review.

      Active noise-cancelling: Yes
      Battery life: 5 hours+ per charge, 20h more in the case
      Design: True wireless headphones
      Connection: Bluetooth 5.0 (aptX support)

      Why Buy These?

      Many noise cancelling true wireless earbuds cost a lot of money, but not all. Edifier TWS NB are one of the more affordable true wireless 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.

      The ambient mode, built-in controls, and effective isolation.

      On top of that, active noise cancellation is quite powerful though still lags behind the premium models (you pay half the price anyways). It works well enough for you to focus on music and forget about the environment.

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

      The Bad

      No volume controls and bulky design that can be irritating.

      The Sound

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

      If you’re looking for quality ANC true wireless headphones with the latest tech that don’t cost a small fortune, check these out.

      Read more in the Edifier TWS NB review.

      9. Tozo NC9 – best under $100

      The 10 Best Noise Cancelling Earbuds in 2020

      Even though you probably never heard of the brand, these true wireless earbuds are a fantastic value, with good noise-cancellation and fun sound.

      Active noise-cancelling: Yes
      Battery life: Up to 8h & 24h in the case
      Design: True wireless
      Connection: Bluetooth 5.0

      Why Buy These?

      The unboxing experience is straightforward to keep the cost down. However, the earbuds themselves are nicely made, from part matte black, part glossy plastic, shaped ergonomically. You can wear these for more extended periods without discomfort.

      These earbuds come with both excellent noise isolation and cancellation. That means you can save a little bit of battery since the passive noise reduction is already good. Speaking of battery, you’re getting around 8 hours per charge with 24 extra hours inside the sleek charging case.

      You can operate them by pressing the touch-sensitive surface on the outside of the earbud. Controls feel very responsive, registering commands accurately.

      The Bad

      Some connection issues, but they’re not frequent.

      The Sound

      If you are a bass lover looking for the right ANC earbuds, you just found them. Low-end on these is punchy and goes deep. Interestingly, the strong bass doesn’t ruin the rest of the frequencies. The mids are full and warm, while the treble stays nice and smooth.

      A perfect pick for a basshead seeking an affordable ANC earbuds.

      10. Aukey EP-N5

      Aukey EP-N5 inside the case

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

      Active noise-cancelling: Yes
      Battery life: Up to 7.5h & 27.5h in the case
      Design: True wireless
      Connection: Bluetooth 5.0

      Why Buy These?

      They come in a stylish matte black charging case similar to the AirPods Pro in size and shape. Even earbuds themselves mimic Apple’s Pro model, providing excellent comfort and decent fit, despite their stem design.

      Aukey’s come with noise-cancellation that works reasonably well when trying to eliminate constant noise in your house, like a dishwasher or air conditioning. However, they’re not very useful when it comes to human speech or other louder noises.

      You can expect around 7.5 hours of battery life if you don’t plan to use ANC. But if you do, you can still get approximately 5.5 hours out of these, which is one hour more than advertised.

      The Bad

      EP-N5 only supports the SBC codec, which is terrible news for Apple users.

      The Sound

      Quite bassy, but not to the point of being too muddy. That makes them very warm and punchy, providing a pleasant listening experience no matter the music genre.

      If you’re not an iOS user, these are a great value, with fun sound, excellent comfort, and ANC feature.

      Honorable Mentions

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

      B&O Beoplay E4 (check price): B&O’s are definitely one of the best ANC in-ears right now as long as you’re willing to pay a premium price and are looking for a wired connection.

      Phiaton BT 120 NC (check price): Still one of the best noise cancelling earbuds under $100 you can get today. They provide satisfactory ANC, great comfort, and enjoyable sound.

      TaoTronics TT-EP002 (check price): 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.

      How we do reviews?


      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 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 human voices, loud music, 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 eartips 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.

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

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