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Best noise canceling wireless earbuds

Want true wireless and noise canceling? There are a few unicorns out there.
August 8, 2023
The Best
Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro
On a white background is the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro in Bora Purple with the buds sitting outside the case.
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Sound quality
Bluetooth 5.3; SBC, AAC, and Samsung Seamless Codec
ANC is great
Touch controls work well
IPX7 rating
Some Samsung Galaxy-only features
App lacks custom EQ (has EQ presets)
The Bottom Line.
The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro offers excellent ANC and sound right out of the box. Samsung phone owners, this is the headset to get.Read full review...
Best iPhone
Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation)
The Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation) wireless earphones in white coming out of the MagSafe charging case which stands vertically.
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Good ANC
Great features
Four ear tip options
IPX4 rating for earbuds and case
Great auto-wear detection
Many iOS-specific features
SBC/AAC only, no aptX
The Bottom Line.
If you're using an iPhone, the AirPods Pro (2nd generation) is the best true wireless earphones you can buy.Read full review...
Best ANC
Sony WF-1000XM5
The Sony WF-1000XM4 noise-canceling true wireless earbuds in black against a white background.
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Excellent ANC and Isolation
SBC, AAC, and LDAC support
Four foam ear tips
360 Reality Audio
Feature-rich app (iOS/Android)
IPX4 rating
Default sound too bassy
The Bottom Line.
The Sony WF-1000XM5 is a special set of true wireless earphones with stellar active noise canceling.Read full review...
Best value
Anker Soundcore Space A40
Against a white background is the product shot of the Anker Soundcore Space A40 with the earbuds out of the case.
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Very good ANC
Sound quality and EQ
Bluetooth multipoint
Bluetooth 5.2 with LDAC, AAC, and SBC
IPX4 rating
Battery life
Mic is average
Case hinges are flimsy
The Bottom Line.
The Anker Soundcore Space A40 is an affordable entry that yields a (mostly) premium experience, undercutting competition.Read full review...
Best sound quality
Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless 3
Product shot of black Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless 3.
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Good sound with interchangeable ear tips and ear fins
Bluetooth 5.2; aptX Adaptive, aptX, AAC, SBC
App (iOS/Android) with custom EQ
Sound Zones is useful
IPX4 rating
Wireless and USB-C charging with fast charge
EQ tool is just okay
Connection stability could be better
The Bottom Line.
This sturdy set of buds from Sennheiser is about as premium as it gets, and its one of few headset to support aptX Adaptive.Read full review...

True wireless earbuds as a category have come a long way from the original AirPods, but in terms of features, they tend to lag behind on- or over-ear headphones. However, we’re happy to report that enough companies have brought their A-game to wireless earphones—and by “A” game, we mean active noise canceling (ANC). As we have several talented testers digging into the best noise canceling wireless earbuds, we’re constantly updating this list to make sure that the best ANC wireless options on the market appear here.

What's new?

  • This list was updated on August 8th, 2023, to include the recently released Sony WF-1000XM5 earbuds, more frequently asked questions, and notable mentions.
  • Check out our list of the best noise canceling headphones if you prefer more reliable isolation by wearing something over your ears.

The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro are the best pair of noise canceling wireless earbuds for most people

A hand holds the open case with the buds showing of the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro in front of green succulents.
If you want similar performance at a reduced cost, the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 are worth a look.

The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro has some of the best noise canceling we’ve tested and undercuts other flagships with its price, which isn’t cheap by any means. If you want a pocketable pair of ANC earbuds, this is your best bet. The sound quality is also very good and requires little tinkering. You can’t create a custom EQ in the Galaxy Wearables app (Android only), but you can choose from a handful of EQ presets. Plus, when you pair the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro with a Samsung device running One UI 4.0 or later, you can use Samsung’s Seamless Codec. This way, you can fully enjoy 24-bit audio streamed right to your new Galaxy Buds 2 Pro.

The Galaxy Buds 2 Pro drops the shiny exterior of the Galaxy Buds 2 and features a rubberized matte finish instead. These earbuds seal to the ear with the help of oblong silicone ear tips. Like the previous Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro, the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro buds merit an IPX7 rating, which means they withstand a drop in the pool.

Battery life is fine on the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro, but it’s not its strength. The earphones last 4 hours, 50 minutes on a single charge with ANC enabled, and the case supports USB-C and wireless charging. Battery life is longer when you disable ANC. Still, we highly recommend the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro for its excellent ANC, comfort, and features.

Here’s a quick look. You can learn more about how to read our charts or read our full review for more analysis.

The mic you get in the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro work well in most situations and cuts down on a sufficient amount of background noise. However, it isn’t perfect, and the person on the other end of a phone call will still hear some of your surroundings. Those with particularly low voices will sound a bit quiet or “tinny” compared to how they sound in real life.

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro microphone demo (Ideal conditions):

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro microphone demo (Office conditions):

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro microphone demo (Windy conditions):

How does the microphone sound to you?

6463 votes
Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 ProSamsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro
Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro
Comfortable fit • Enhanced noise-cancelling technology • Satisfying battery life
MSRP: $229.99
Samsung's reliable earbuds upgraded
The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro earbuds provide great sound and feature active noise canceling. They meld a great fit and comfort with a vast range of ear tips. Efficient ANC and five hours of battery life sweeten the deal.

For iPhone users, the Apple AirPods Pro (2nd gen) is the best noise canceling option

The Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation) case is open and laying at an angle to show the earbuds and their sensors.
The AirPods Pro (2nd generation) has much better noise canceling than its predecessor.

Apple updated its iconic AirPods Pro line with the Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation), with even better noise canceling this time. The AirPods Pro has four ear tip options to ensure a good seal, so you can get the most out of the ANC. The IPX4-rated earbuds also have an IPX4-rated case, making them even more workout friendly. You can also more easily find your lost earbuds with the new H2 chip and speaker in the case, which makes a sound to help you locate it when you’ve lost it.

The ANC can reduce most noises anywhere between 20 to 30dB, depending on the range, which is a massive improvement from the previous generation. For even better ANC in AirPods, we recommend either stepping up to the Apple AirPods Max—which outperforms even the best from Bose, Sennheiser, and Sony.

iPhone owners, if you want the best noise canceling wireless earbuds, get the AirPods Pro (2nd gen).

Unlike the Samsung model mentioned above, the batteries last north of 5 hours, and the Apple earphones also offer a few hidden perks like a constantly running DSP engine that alters the units’ performance to best match your ear. Additionally, you can take a break from blocking out the world to listen in to conversations by pinching one of the stems to activate transparency mode.

Here’s a quick look. You can learn more about how to read our charts or read our full review for more analysis.

The AirPods Pro microphones are very good and the stemmed design aids in clear voice transmission, but it isn’t the absolute best option for conference calls. Outside noise can make voices cut out though, so if you need to take a call, try your best to do that in a quiet environment.

AirPods Pro (2nd generation) microphone demo (Ideal conditions):

AirPods Pro (2nd generation) microphone demo (Office conditions):

AirPods Pro (2nd generation) microphone demo (Street conditions):

How does the microphone sound to you?

7093 votes
Apple AirPods Pro (2nd Generation)Apple AirPods Pro (2nd Generation)
Apple AirPods Pro (2nd Generation)
Impressive ANC • Comfortable fit • Wireless charging
MSRP: $249.00
One of the best true wireless earbuds for iOS users.
The Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation) modestly improve upon the first-generation AirPods Pro and feature the same iconic look. Apple's upgraded H2 chip begets better noise canceling and battery life, while the case's U1 chip and integrated speaker let you precisely locate the case. If you own an iPhone, the AirPods Pro 2 are an obvious choice.

The Sony WF-1000XM5 is our premium pick for Android and iOS

A hand holds the Sony WF-1000XM5 case with the buds in place.

All else being equal, if you want a solid pair of do-it-all wireless earbuds, you want to buy the Sony WF-1000XM5. Sony made several improvements to its noise canceling technology, and these earphones reign as king regarding raw ANC performance.

Wireless earbuds tend not to do such a great job at attenuating outside noise because they simply can’t devote a lot of power to the task, but Bluetooth 5.3 improves efficiency. You get the best of both worlds here: over 8-hours of battery life and effective ANC. The USB-C case provides two additional charge cycles and can fast charge the earphones. You can also place it atop a Qi wireless charging mat.

Sony equipped the WF-1000XM5 with two new processors: the Integrated Processor V2 and the HD Noise Canceling Processor QN2e to improve ANC performance. In combination, these allow the earbuds to process the signals from the six microphones (three on each bud). New dual feedback mics on the WF-1000XM5 are used to better monitor noise in the low frequencies.

The improved foam ear tips are more flexible and do a great job of blocking out noise, providing better isolation than those supplied with the WF-1000XM4, reducing noise by up to 15dB in the low end and up to 50dB for sounds above 1kHz. That’s comparable to good earplugs.

These Sony earbuds may be expensive, but they do everything very well. If you have the money, you won’t be disappointed picking up these premium noise canceling wireless earbuds.

Here’s a quick look. You can learn more about how to read our charts or read our full review for more analysis.

Sony supplies four sizes of memory foam ear tips, so you can get the best, most comfortable fit. When you download the Sony Headphones Connect app, you can take the ear tip fit test to make sure everything fits properly. This is a must-have for noise canceling earphones as passive isolation is key to optimal noise cancelation.

Sony WF-1000XM5Sony WF-1000XM5
Sony WF-1000XM5
Great ANC • Improved sound quality • Comfortable fit with four ear tip options
MSRP: $299.99
The Sony WF-1000XM5 have even better noise canceling than the WF-1000XM4. Sony made these its most comfortable earbuds by shrinking them and including XS-L memory foam ear tips. The WF-1000XM5 support advanced features like multipoint connectivity and spatial audio with head tracking. You also get plenty of customization options through the free mobile app.

The best bang for your buck is the Anker Soundcore Space A40

The Anker Soundcore Space A40's case open with the earbuds inside, resting on a person's hand.
For less than $100, the Anker Soundcore Space A40 is a great purchase.

The Anker Soundcore Space A40 delivers excellent ANC without hurting your wallet. Not everyone has the dough to buy the flagships that pop up on so many lists, and Anker cleverly undercuts the prices of premium earbuds. The Soundcore Space A40 does not skimp on what’s important: good sound, excellent (at any price) noise cancelation, and connectivity. The ANC concentrates mainly on low-pitch noise. For example, at 100Hz, the Soundcore Space A40 filters up to 40dB of noise.

Out of the box, the earbuds sound fairly subdued, without any substantial exaggerations, however, the accompanying app has a large selection of EQ options to suit most people’s liking too. That the Anker Soundcore Space A40 utilizes Bluetooth 5.2 with LDAC, AAC, and SBC codecs is a boon for Android and Apple users alike, as is the Bluetooth multipoint feature included.

Covering most people’s case uses, the buds are certified with an IPX4 rating. Finally, the battery life reaches 7 hours, 55 minutes, according to our tests, which ought to get you through most work shifts. The only real qualm is that the charging case has somewhat unreliable hinges, requiring some extra attention.

Here’s a quick look. You can learn more about how to read our charts or read our full review for more analysis.

The microphone frequency response chart for the Anker Soundcore Space A40.
Bass is under-emphasized a bit, so your voice doesn’t sound too boomy.

Besides the flimsy case hinges, the mic is the other weakness of the Anker Soundcore Space A40. It’s fine for casual calls, but as you can see in the chart, it’s not exactly accurate. If you’re using it indoors, it’s fine. The mic system has some issues suppressing wind noise, which the person on the other end of the call will hear. Let us know what you think below.

Anker Soundcore Space A40 microphone demo (Ideal conditions):

Anker Soundcore Space A40 microphone demo (Street conditions):

Anker Soundcore Space A40 microphone demo (Windy conditions):

How does the microphone sound to you?

2654 votes
Anker Soundcore Space A40Anker Soundcore Space A40
Anker Soundcore Space A40
Solid battery life • Bluetooth multipoint • ANC
MSRP: $99.99
Effective ANC and lot of EQ customization options
The Anker Soundcore Space A40 true wireless earbuds have great sound and noise canceling. They support Bluetooth multipoint and LDAC connection.

The Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless 3 sounds great and works on any OS

A hand holds the open case of the Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless 3 with blurred rocks in the background.
The very strong case magnet hampers single-handed operation, but this also means it stays closed in your bag.

The Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless 3 (MTW3) has a great frequency response with bass and mids that closely follow our house curve. You can see this in the last two images of the gallery below. The treble response is slightly under-emphasized compared to our house curve, but this is easy to fix in the Smart Control app’s (iOS/Android) limited EQ module.

The headset uses Bluetooth 5.2 and supports the SBC, AAC, aptX, and aptX Adaptive Bluetooth codecs. This means you can enjoy high-quality audio to any source device, and with aptX Adaptive, your music quality will automatically adjust to balance connection stability (Android only).

The active noise canceling is very good and rivals that of Bose and Sony. Sub-bass and bass frequencies sound up to one-eighth their original loudness when you have the MTW3 earbuds in with noise canceling on. Sennheiser provides three ear tip sizes to get you started though there’s no fit test here.

There’s nothing too fancy about these earbuds, though they do sport an IPX4 rating which makes them a fine pair of buds for the gym. Commuters will also enjoy this pair of earphones, again for its excellent noise cancellation and passive isolation performance. This is a great all-rounder headset if you can swallow the $249 USD price.

Here’s a quick look. You can learn more about how to read our charts or read our full review for more analysis.

The microphone system is just okay, really. This is a fine option for those taking calls from quiet rooms, but if you’re walking down the street or in a loud office, this will transmit a lot of background noise.

Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless 3 microphone demo (Ideal conditions):

Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless 3 microphone demo (Office conditions):

Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless 3 microphone demo (Street conditions):

How does the microphone sound to you?

3690 votes
Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3
SG recommended
Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3
Great sound quality • Feature-rich app with custom EQ • Broad codec support
MSRP: $249.95
These feature-rich earbuds exceed all expectations.
Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 show you can have great sound, great active noise-canceling, and a sturdy build all at once in a pair of true wireless earbuds.

When is it better to buy the Beats Fit Pro instead of the AirPods Pro (2nd generation)?

The Beats Fit Pro and Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation) next to each other in open cases on a wooden surface.

You’ll want to pick up the Beats Fit Pro over the AirPods Pro (2nd generation) if you switch between Android, Windows, and iOS regularly. The Beats Fit Pro does sport an H1 chip, so Apple users will get some features like spatial audio, but the experience on Android isn’t bad by any stretch. Android users get the Beats app, so you can toggle listening modes, do an ear tip fit test, and get firmware updates.

Noise canceling is pretty good, though not quite as good as the AirPods Pro (2nd generation.) It uses adaptive ANC, so the intensity of the noise canceling is calibrated in real-time. The sound is also pretty good, though it does have a boost in the bass range, in typical Beats fashion. It’s not as close to our target curve as the AirPods Pro (2nd generation), but people who like bass will probably like this sound profile.

This pair of earbuds made by Apple works just as well on Android phones as it does on iPhones, making it a good option for people who switch phones often.

Beats Fit ProBeats Fit Pro
Beats Fit Pro
Good fit and stabilizing ear wings • Android and iOS compatible • In-app ear tip fit test • ANC and transparency
MSRP: $199.95
Beats Fit Pro are true wireless noise-cancelling earbuds that work just as well with Android devices
The Apple-owned Beats Fit Pro are just as easy to use with an Android device as they are with an iPhone, fitting well with multiple ear tips, and boosted bass sound quality. The only downsides are the price tag and ANC issues.

Should you buy Bose QuietComfort Earbuds or Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II?

The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds noise canceling true wireless earbuds next to the Bose Sport Earbuds for a size comparison.
The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds I (left) is bulkier than the Bose Sport Earbuds (right).

As of April 14, 2023, we recommend buying the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II over the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds, even if the former isn’t head and shoulders better than the latter. With the latest update, you can now listen to either Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II bud independently of the other. With the first-gen QC Earbuds, you get great noise canceling and better frequency response, but extremely dedicated bassheads will like how the Bose QC Earbuds II sounds out of the box. Everyone else will need to patiently play with an EQ app to make the earbuds sound bearable.

It’s true the low-frequency noise cancelation is better with the QC Earbuds II compared to the original QC Earbuds, but the first-gen ANC is still great. In fact, we’re willing to bet some people will trade slightly less effective ANC for better sound quality.

Bose may update the QC Earbuds II to change the default frequency response, however. At first, you couldn’t equalize the sound from the OS-agnostic Bose Music app, but Bose has since released a software update that lets you equalize the frequency response, so it’s known to improve its products over time.

We like Bose QC Earbuds for their comfortable ear tips and IPX4 rating. The touch controls have a perfect degree of sensitivity which can’t be said of even our favorite ANC earbuds, the Galaxy Buds Pro from Samsung, or most of its wireless earbuds, really.

Bose QuietComfort EarbudsBose QuietComfort Earbuds
Bose QuietComfort Earbuds
Customizable ANC • 5h battery life • Various tip size
MSRP: $279.00
Bose QuietComfort earbuds offer high-quality sound. You can choose the degree of noise canceling and enjoy premium features like automatic ear detection.

Get the Google Pixel Buds Pro for smart features and good ANC

The Google Pixel Buds Pro and Sony WF-1000XM5 right next to each other.
The Pixel Buds Pro are much more affordable than the WF-1000XM5.

While the Google Pixel Buds Pro looks very similar to the Google Pixel Buds A-Series, a few key differences separate these earbuds. With the Pixel Buds Pro, you get active noise canceling, wireless charging, better battery life, and multipoint connectivity. The noise canceling makes the Pixel Buds Pro a solid set of earbuds for your daily commute, which we can’t quite say for the A-Series. Indeed, the Pixel Buds Pro noise canceling isn’t as good as the Sony WF-1000XM4 or Bose QC Earbuds ANC, but few headsets are.

Android users will appreciate the Pixel Buds app, sparse as it may be because it lets you access firmware updates and customize the experience a bit. Unfortunately, the app doesn’t have a native equalizer, so you’re stuck with the bass-heavy sound unless you seek outside help.

Uniquely, the case comes with an IPX2 water resistance rating, and the earbuds have an IPX4 rating. An IPX4 rating is common for earbuds, but few cases have any kind of water resistance. This is a standout feature for those who live in unpredictably rainy climes. The Pixel Buds Pro isn’t a mind-blowing set of earbuds, but it comes in a nice package and works well. If you have a Pixel phone, you can access spatial audio with head tracking, which is a recent addition via an update.

A noise canceling and isolation chart for the Google Pixel Buds Pro, which shows very good low end attenuation for a pair of true wireless earbuds.
Slightly odd peaks and valleys here, but the Pixel Buds Pro generally performs very well.

Yes, the Pixel Buds Pro ANC is quite good, especially when it comes to low frequencies. The passive isolation is a bit inconsistent, but this is likely a consequence of the pressure relief vent built into each bud to mitigate that “clogged ear” feeling.

Google Pixel Buds ProGoogle Pixel Buds Pro
Google Pixel Buds Pro
Active noise-cancelling • Android integration • Google Assistant features
MSRP: $199.00
The Pixel Buds Pro introduce ANC to the series
The Google Pixel Buds Pro are the first in the line to offer active noise canceling. Obviously, they also have tight integration with Android and tons of support for Google Assistant commands, including the popular translation features.

What makes the Amazon Echo Buds (2nd Gen) a great value?

An aerial view of the Amazon Echo Buds (Gen. 2) in grey.
Though nondescript, the Amazon Echo Buds (Gen. 2) are unmistakably an Amazon product at a glance.

Amazon unveils its noise canceling technology with the Echo Buds (2nd Gen). If you’re a smart home fanatic with an array of smart products, these seem like a promising pair of affordable earbuds.

Alexa integration is the backbone of the new Echo Buds, and when you download the Alexa app, you get immediate access to a host of features like a custom EQ module, voice assistant preference, and Amazon’s Ear Tip Fit Test. This test tells you if the ear tips create a proper seal to your ear and instruct you to swap them out for another size if not. Apple offers this feature too, but it’s limited to its AirPods Pro series and only works with an iOS or iPadOS device, while the Amazon Alexa app is available on Android and iOS.

Active noise canceling is quite good and outperforms that of the AirPods Pro (1st generation) for significantly less money. If you want a solid set of wireless earphones with an IPX4 rating and a slew of software features, the Echo Buds is an affordable pick. Its limited availability dethrones it from our Best list, as it’s frequently out of stock, but worth a shot if you find it in stock.

A plot showing the isolation and active noise cancellation of the Amazon Echo Buds (Gen. 2).
Isolation and noise cancellation are quite good with these earphones, and among the best at the sub-$200 price point.

With the right fit, the Echo Buds (2nd Gen) has a fairly comprehensive span of noise isolation, although it’s not the best. The same can be said of the ANC, which does a reasonably good job, especially for the price point. It won’t attenuate the lowest of rumbles, but traffic will receive a good dose of filtering out.

Amazon Echo Buds (2nd Gen)Amazon Echo Buds (2nd Gen)
Amazon Echo Buds (2nd Gen)
Affordable earbuds • Alexa assistance • Good ANC
MSRP: $119.99
Better than ever for dedicated Alexa users.
The Amazon Echo Buds (2nd Gen) is a very solid set of true wireless earbuds with ANC and Alexa integration.

The best noise canceling wireless earbuds: Notable mentions

Grell Audio TWS 1 earbuds in case next to a paper airplane cutout.
The Grell Audio TWS 1 was tuned by Axel Grell, formerly of Sennheiser.
  • Anker Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro ($109 at Amazon): Anker packs plenty of high-end features into this compact package. Adjustable EQ and ANC, alongside a multitude of ear tips and ear wings, provide a truly customizable fit.
  • Beats Studio Buds ($99 at Amazon): This pair of earbuds made by Apple works just as well on Android phones as it does on iPhones, making it a good option for people who switch phones often. It doesn’t have an H1 chip, so you miss out on some special features like battery optimization or hands-free Siri, and the ANC isn’t as good as the AirPods Pro.
  • Nothing Ear 2 ($149 at Amazon): There’s plenty to say about Nothing and its second installment of wireless earbuds. Directly competing against the AirPods Pro and other powerhouse products, the Ear 2 brings ANC, an IP54 rating, wireless charging, and a comfortable fit.
  • Grell Audio TWS 1 ($216.81 at Amazon): This is the first pair of buds from Grell Audio, a company of former Sennheiser chief headphone engineer Axel Grell. The TWS 1 focuses on sound quality above all else: there’s no fancy packaging or gimmicks. It supports the unusual combo of SBC, AAC, aptX Adaptive, and LHDC codecs. You get a solid set of ANC earbuds with a beautiful design for a reasonable price.
  • HONOR Earbuds 2 Lite (€69 at Honor): While the touch controls could be better and there’s a wonky app situation for North Americans, these buds offer a lot for the price. You get decent ANC and a good frequency response with that AirPods Pro-inspired aesthetic available to Android users.
  • HyperX Cirro Buds Pro ($79 at Amazon): These earphones are excellent gaming earbuds with a decent mic, good sound quality, and better-than-average ANC for less than $80.
  • Jabra Elite 7 Pro ($199 at Amazon): A tight fit brings a ton of passive isolation to the Jabra Elite 7 Pro. Throw in ANC on top, and these earbuds have no problems blocking out environmental noise.
  • Jaybird Vista 2 ($117 at Amazon): Jaybird adds noise canceling to its beloved Vista wireless earbuds and manages to make the whole package even more durable, from the earbuds to the case.
  • Logitech G Fits ($229 at Amazon): While not a noise canceling product, it uses a custom-molded tip to form directly to your ear to achieve very good isolation. For anyone who doesn’t like the sensation of ANC, this might be a viable alternative.
  • OnePlus Buds Z2 ($99 at Amazon): If you don’t mind the default sound, these IP55 earbuds have good noise canceling and auto play/pause functionality, you’ll find plenty to like about this headset.
  • Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 ($99 at Amazon): The Buds 2 earphones are a great pick for Samsung phone owners who don’t want to spend on the Buds 2 Pro from Samsung. You get very good ANC from these earphones and many of the same features as the latest flagship but for much less.
  • Sennheiser CX Plus True Wireless ($89 at Amazon): These earbuds build upon the success of the previous CX True Wireless, and this time around, Sennheiser includes noise canceling, which performs rather well on these nice sounding earbuds.
  • Sony LinkBuds S ($148 at Amazon): This pair of earbuds has ANC that rivals the WF-1000XM4 from Sony. If you don’t mind the plain design and average battery life, this hits a nice sweet spot.
  • Tozo NC2 ( $39 at Amazon): If you really need the best ANC possible for the least money out of your pocket, this product is it. The sound is a little odd, but for only $40, that’s hard to complain about.

What you should know about the best noise canceling wireless earbuds

Money surrounded by wireless audio products like the Bose SoundLink Micro speaker, Samsung Galaxy Buds Live, 1More Colorbuds, Jabra Elite 45h, JBL True Wireless Flash X, and Shure AONIC 50.
Audio products can be pretty expensive, and good noise canceling earbuds typically cost at least $150 USD.

If you’re in the market for noise canceling wireless earbuds, you need to know a few things about what you’re getting into. Wireless earbud fans probably already know what to expect from their new sets, but if you’re taking the plunge for the first time, there are a few things to go over. We don’t want you running into something unexpected, after all.

How should the best noise canceling wireless earbuds sound?

Noise canceling earbuds shouldn’t necessarily sound a certain way, but you’ll see commonalities between how the most popular headsets sound. Why? A majority of consumers prefer a sound profile with boosted bass and treble relative to the mids. Seeing how all of the earbuds we recommend here are marketed toward the general consumer, you’ll find a similar frequency response among these headsets.

Grell Audio TWS 1 frequency response chart
Closely following our ideal frequency response for consumer headphones, the Grell Audio TWS 1 sounds great.

In the chart above, you can see an example of a pretty standard frequency response from the Grell Audio TWS 1 noise canceling earbuds. This headset very closely follows our target consumer curve, though it boosts sub-bas a bit more than we recommend, but it remains tasteful. Perhaps you’re in the minority who really likes bass or have an aversion to it; in that case, you may need to EQ the sound.

Are noise canceling earbuds actually good?

Yes, noise canceling earbuds can be quite good and effective, but one constant we’ve found among ANC wireless earphones is that the ANC performance is inconsistent. Active noise canceling works best against loud, droning sounds that don’t have a lot of changes to them over time. You’ll find that people talking near you still come through, but computer fans, office noise, and engine sounds get muted out.

Jabra Elite 7 Pro in open charging case outside
The Jabra Elite 7 Pro’s ANC is inconsistent but still better than no ANC at all.

Because wireless earbuds generally don’t have the space to cram in the hardware necessary to cancel out a ton of noise, it’s a miracle they’re able to work at all. Major props to any company that can get an ANC unit working reasonably well in this form factor! Bear in mind that you also need to get a proper fit with your earbuds in order to get the best isolation. Good isolation yields the best possible ANC because it means there’s a physical barrier between your ear canals and the outside world.

Active noise canceling is extremely important to listeners because it not only allows you to listen at a lower volume but it also improves the perceived quality of your music. That said, you may find that the difference between having ANC on and off isn’t really all that big, and in fact, you may want to turn the feature off sometimes to squeak out some extra battery life. While you only get, on average, 20-40 minutes more, it could help out in a pinch.

Battery life isn’t great, even on the best noise canceling wireless earbuds, so get used to it

A hand inserts the Mobvoi Earbuds Gesture case into a breast pocket.
Wireless earphones rely on their carrying case to charge when you’re not using them.

Because wireless earphones can only fit so much battery into a teeny-tiny housing, they’re unsurprisingly terrible at the whole “not needing to recharge” thing. That’s why most wireless earphones stash a bigger battery in their carrying case to recharge the individual buds when you’re not using them. This way, they appear to have much better battery life than they actually do. If you’re on a long commute, however, you’ll notice that your buds drain faster than they ought to.

Thankfully, battery life tends to last more than the average four hours required by most people to get to and from work without a recharge. Well, that would be true if the nature of wireless earphones didn’t put immense wear on the tiny cells they have.

Have you noticed battery life degradation with your true wireless earbuds?

878 votes

Because of the fact that you’re going to be charging and depleting wireless earphones so many times more than you would a normal set of Bluetooth headphones, you’ll find that they hold their charge less and less over time. Some owners of the original AirPods find that after two years, the buds only seem to hold their juice for about 15 minutes at a time. Obviously, that’s a huge bummer, but don’t let that dissuade you: just be aware that buying wireless earphones isn’t an investment in the future, just so long as you recycle them when they die.

Noise canceling earbuds are not hearing protection

Loop Experience Plus earplug in the ear of a B&K5128 test head.
SoundGuys and testing fixtures agree: AirPods are not hearing protection.

Though the products may cancel noise, earbuds with ANC are not hearing protection and should not be counted on for this purpose. If you want something to protect you from the din of a concert or commute, you need something that’s actually meant for the job. You need hearing protection.

Why you should trust SoundGuys

The Jaybird Vista 2 in black on top of a wood surface.
The Jaybird Vista 2 is a great workout headset but didn’t quite cut it as the best noise canceling wireless earbuds.

Not only is this our day job, but we’ve tested the best of the best out there for as long as “true wireless” has been a thing. But we’re a little different at SoundGuys: we show our work and take our integrity very seriously. Our singular mission is to lay the facts bare as they are, and we have the expertise, drive, and ethics to do it. At the end of the day, we want you to find what you’re looking for and enjoy it enough to keep it.

We don’t do paid reviews. We go out of our way to make sure that our reviews and lists are backed up by objective testing wherever possible so that you don’t have to take our word for anything—you can examine the facts for yourself if you want.

Frequently asked questions

No, generally, noise canceling earbuds are not as good at blocking out noise as noise canceling headphones. Headphones generally have better passive isolation which yields more effective active noise canceling. Headphones are also just bigger and can house more microphones to record and bock out noise through destructive interference.

Sadly, no. In order to update the firmware of your AirPods Pro, you’ll need to connect it to a compatible iOS device—an important limitation to consider when buying these earbuds. If you’re looking for earbuds outside of Apple’s ecosystem, check out our list of the best AirPods Pro alternatives.

The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro is better than the Sony WF-1000XM4 with regards to noise canceling. It’s not by a lot, but the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro cancels out low-end noise better than the WF-1000XM4, giving it a slightly higher score in our testing. For more on how the two compare, check out our article on Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro vs Sony WF-1000XM4 here.

No. Lossless audio is not a thing with Bluetooth. However, you may find that you don’t actually experience much benefit from it while you’re commuting or are in other high-noise environments, so it’s not a big concern.

Yes, if you often find yourself in noisy environments (e.g., commuting, traveling, or working in a bustling office) and value clarity in audio or peace in silence, noise canceling earbuds can significantly enhance your listening experience.

Active noise cancelation (ANC) is generally the most effective noise canceling technology for earbuds. It uses microphones to pick up external sounds and produces opposite sound waves to cancel them out.

Yes, in the sense that they can allow you to listen to content at lower volumes since background noise is reduced. This can potentially reduce the risk of hearing damage caused by prolonged exposure to loud sounds. However, like any earbuds, they should be used at safe volumes and not for excessively long periods.

  • Cost: They tend to be more expensive than their non-noise-canceling counterparts.
  • Battery Dependency: Active noise cancelation requires power, so there’s a need to charge or replace batteries.
  • Possible Pressure Sensation: Some users report a sensation of pressure or “ear suck” with certain noise canceling headphones.

Prolonged use of any headphones or earbuds can lead to ear fatigue or even contribute to hearing loss if played too loudly. Noise canceling feature per se isn’t harmful, but it’s recommended to take regular breaks to give your ears a rest and ensure you’re listening at safe volumes. Also, being overly isolated can be unsafe in certain situations, like walking near traffic.

The AirPods Pro (2nd generation) is the better option for you since you own an iPhone than the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II. With the AirPods Pro (2nd gen), you can actually disable the ANC and access features like personalized spatial audio. Unlike the Bose QC Earbuds II, the AirPods Pro (2nd gen) case supports wireless charging, but the QC Earbuds II case charges via USB-C (instead of Lightning), which is nice.

The frequency response comparison chart for the AirPods Pro (2nd generation) and the QuietComfort Earbuds II, which shows that the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II is much bassier than the AirPods Pro.
That bass boost on the QuietComfort Earbuds II is just a little too much for our liking.

Compare how the AirPods Pro (2nd gen) and Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II sound, and you’ll find the AirPods Pro 2 comes out on top. As of October 17, 2022, Bose’s earphones wildly boost bass notes. While dedicated bassheads may like this, the masses won’t. At least with Bose’s earbuds, you can create a custom 3-band EQ from the app (something you can’t do with Apple’s AirPods unless you download a third-party app).

Firstly the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro are discontinued. Otherwise, the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 is a very good set of noise canceling earbuds; in fact, its ANC edges out the Galaxy Buds Pro. What holds the Galaxy Buds 2 back is that the Buds Pro has a more durable IPX7 rating and has a slightly better frequency response for most listeners.

There’s a less exaggerated difference between lows, mids, and highs through the Buds Pro compared to the Buds Plus. This is important as neither the Galaxy Buds 2 nor the Galaxy Buds Pro has iOS app support, so what you hear is what you get. When you use the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 and Pro on Android, you can at least use the Galaxy Wearable app to choose from a handful of EQ presets to adjust the sound accordingly.

The Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 noise canceling true wireless earphones in the open charging case on top of a Samsung Galaxy S10e smartphone in pink.
The Galaxy Buds 2 supports Wireless PowerShare like all the Galaxy Buds that came before it.

If you want to save $50 USD and feel that an in-app ear tip fit test would help you figure out which ear tips to choose, the Galaxy Buds 2 is a great pair of earbuds. For most listeners, however, the greater durability and better sound quality of the Buds Pro is worth the extra cash.

iOS 14 added new features to the AirPods and AirPods Pro headsets: Spatial Audio was a highlight, which is Apple’s approach to the in-ear surround sound experience. Spatial Audio on the AirPods Pro makes it feel as if you’re at a live concert or in the middle of a war zone, depending on the content you’re playing. Another new feature is automatic device switching, which lets you effortlessly move from one Apple device to another.