We could all use a little serenity now and then. If you frequently use your headphones for commuting or when working, you may want something that effectively cancels out background noise. In the past, you needed bulky over-ear headphones to achieve effective active noise cancellation (ANC), but today you can achieve this with even small, compact in-ear or earbud headphones. Due to the fact that some in-ear headphones physically cover your ear canals, you can still get excellent isolation from noise even without an ANC feature.
Below are our suggestions for the top noise-canceling earphones to buy after testing more than 280 earbuds and in-ears. Check our suggestions for the best in-ear earbuds, best Bluetooth earbuds, or best overall noise-canceling headphones.
Bose True Wireless QuietComfort Earbuds II
The best noise-canceling earphones we’ve tested are the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II Really Wireless. These high-end earbuds have a superior ANC technology and are a predecessor of the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds Truly Wireless. These earbuds assist in isolating you from a remarkable amount of background noise, whether you’re on a noisy airline or working from a busy office. They can operate constantly for well over six hours with their ANC on. Their carrying case contains three extra chargers in case you need to top them off.
Vocals and sibilants are bright, and these headphones have a small u-shaped sound profile that gives them a little extra thump and punch. If you want a different sound, you can use the graphic EQ and presets in their accompanying app. Sadly, despite their expensive price, they lack capabilities like multi-device pairing, making it impossible to connect them to more than one device at once. These fit a little bulkier than some of the other choices on this list, but they are still rather comfortable.
Bose QuietComfort Earbuds 2
Our preferred pair of noise-canceling earbuds are the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds 2. These are an improvement over the first Bose QuietComfort earbuds, which are now lower on our list.
Given that the originals were our top pick for a while, the noise canceling has been significantly improved by this redesign, which is really saying something. But sound quality isn’t being sacrificed in the process. In our evaluation, we stated: “We cannot emphasize how excellently balanced the sound is, with tons of textures and subtleties audible. Moreover, the EQ in the app can be used if you still feel the need to adjust it.”
Although they cost the same as the Sony WF-1000XM4 earbuds, these new earbuds are pricey, and their battery life is barely adequate at 6 hours from the buds and a further 3 from the case. They are perhaps the best noise-cancelling true wireless earbuds available, though, assuming you can manage to spend a little extra.
In 2021 and a portion of 2022, Sony’s flagship WF-1000XM4 earbuds were undoubtedly the best available. They have superb voice calling capabilities, great noise cancellation, and excellent sound quality. They also have exceptional battery life. These are still excellent earbuds, but both Apple’s AirPods Pro 2 and Bose’s QuietComfort Earbuds 2 have improved upon them in various respects. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t take them into consideration, but look for them on sale.
AirPods Pro 2 by Apple
With a notable improvement for ANC, the AirPods Pro 2nd Gen represent a major advance over the original AirPods Pro. They are so highly ranked on this list as a result of this.
Our top picks for the best noise-cancelling earphones, especially if you own an iPhone, include the original Apple AirPods Pro. Yet, the Pro 2 are superior in almost every respect. Our testing revealed that the audio performance is outstanding, providing a rich sound regardless of genre and a broad and expansive soundstage—this is made possible by new drivers and amplifiers.
Yet noise cancellation is where the Apple AirPods Pro 2 really excel. The ANC in the Pro 2 earbuds was so effective that it was almost creepy, and for that reason they’re strong contenders to long-standing ANC favorites, including the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds at the top of this list. The AirPods Pro did a good job of blocking out external sounds. The transparency option for conversations is available, just like with other noise-cancelling earbuds, and it has recently been improved to better match your talks and make them sound more genuine. It significantly improves.
The AirPods Pro 2 are best suited for people with an iPhone and a large budget, as is always the case with Apple items. But if that describes you, here are some of the best noise-cancelling earbuds available right now.
Sony Wireless Earbuds WF-1000XM4
The market for active noise-cancelling true wireless earbuds is strong in large part because to Sony. Now with the WF-1000XM4, the business has more successfully than ever before paired this outstanding ANC performance with excellent sound, ergonomics, and build quality.
Even though they are more expensive, these new wireless earbuds provide considerable improvements in quality of life over their forerunners, the Sony WF-1000XM3, to warrant an upgrade. These headphones offered a spirited and enthusiastic presentation that was balanced by unquestionable control in terms of sound quality. They deliver bass sounds with depth, texture, and an absolute accumulation of detail at the lowest frequencies, though.
In terms of noise cancelling performance, the Sony WF-1000XM4 is surpassed by the Bose QuietComfort earbuds. But, these Sony noise-cancelling earphones are the only kind that even comes close to providing such outstanding quality throughout.
Really wireless Google Pixel Buds
The Google Pixel Buds Pro Truly Wireless are the best wireless noise-canceling earbuds we’ve tested at this price point if you’re seeking for noise-canceling headphones at a lesser cost. Similar to more expensive devices like the Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation) Truly Wireless, these earbuds provide a premium experience. Its ANC effectively lowers rumbling bus engines and background chatter, resulting in outstanding noise isolation performance for commuting or office work. Also, they have a continuous battery life of well over seven hours, and their carrying bag has almost two additional charges available.
Although these earbuds fit reasonably well, they may eventually come out, which will reduce the bass. They are a fantastic fit for rock and pop genres since they feature a v-shaped sound profile with rumbly bass and bright voices, but, once you find it. You can tweak their sound using the graphic EQ and presets provided by their program. Try the Sony LinkBuds S Truly Wireless alternative if you’re searching for earphones at this price point that are more comfy. As they are lightweight, they don’t fit as tightly in your ears. Their ANC, however, doesn’t eliminate as much bass range noise.