Active noise cancellation (often known as ANC headphones) work by primarily producing a mirror picture sound wave in your ear to electronically counteract, or “cancel out,” exterior noise. The know-how works best in environments the place there is a sustained din of noise, just like the droning of a jet engine — which is why Bose ANC wireless earphones grew to become a standing image at airports.

The know-how was once restricted to full-size over-ear headphones. But in simply the previous few years, it has been shrunken right down to earbud measurement. Sony’s 2018 fashions, the WF-SP700N and WF-1000X, have been the trailblazers, however Apple’s AirPods Pro have taken noise-canceling earbuds mainstream. To that finish, we have rounded up the best true wireless earbuds with lively noise cancellation, all of which I’ve personally used. As extra rivals preserve coming after Apple, we’ll see many extra fashions hit the market, and we’ll replace this checklist accordingly. 

Looking for ANC headphones in all kinds, together with on-ear headphones or over-ear headphones? Check out the best noise-canceling headphones of 2021. Keep studying right here to search out out which fashions I take into account to be the best noise-canceling wireless earbuds.


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Bose QuietComfort Earbuds: Best noise canceling



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It took Bose quite a while to get them into stores, but the new $279 noise-canceling QuietComfort Earbuds are finally here. In many ways, they’re excellent true wireless earbuds, particularly when it comes to their sound and noise canceling, which is arguably the best out there right now in a set of earbuds. Performance-wise, they clearly have a leg up on Apple’s best-selling AirPods Pro true wireless noise-canceling buds. However, the AirPods Pro’s smaller design, somewhat more comfortable fit and superior voice-calling capabilities make it hard to declare the Bose the straight-up champ. Ultimately, it depends on what your priorities are.

Read our Bose QuietComfort Earbuds review.

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The second-gen Momentum True Wireless 2 pair of headphones, available now, aren’t cheap at $300, but they’re better all around than the originals. These wireless headphones come with a slightly smaller, more comfortable design, active noise cancellation rivaling that of the AirPods Pro, improved battery life (up to 7 hours versus the originals’ 4) and better noise reduction and ambient noise blocking during calls. And if you don’t like them in black, a white version is available as well. Most importantly, though, the Momentum True Wireless 2 have the same stellar sound — for true wireless earbuds, anyway — clearly superior in sound quality to the AirPods Pro. That makes them arguably the best true wireless earbuds on the market today and earns them a CNET Editors’ Choice Award.

These use Bluetooth 5.1 with support for the AAC and AptX codecs (for devices that have AptX like Samsung’s Galaxy phones).

Read our Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 review.

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The Mpow X3 earbuds play loud and sound shockingly good for their low price of $52 (currently, there’s an instant 20% off coupon on Amazon), with good clarity, powerful bass and active noise canceling that’s fairly effective.

Mpow seems to be regularly tweaking its earphones, and the X3 model was briefly taken off Amazon for an update: “The new version upgraded the volume control [and] optimized its lively noise-canceling perform and name impact,” the corporate informed me. “It also added the supersoft ear caps, which [are] more comfortable to wear for a long time.”

They did match me comfortably and securely and I bought a good seal from the XL ear ideas. They’re totally waterproof (IPX7) and stand up to 7 hours of battery life at average quantity ranges with USB-C charging, in a charging case that appears like a fats model of the usual AirPods case. Call high quality is sweet — they’ve a sidetone characteristic that allows you to hear your voice within the ‘buds — however I’ve used different fashions with higher noise discount throughout calls. I observed a contact of audio lag when streaming a YouTube video however I had no points when streaming iTunes motion pictures.

The contact controls are a little bit wonky and take some getting used to, and it did not assist that the directions within the field gave the impression to be for the outdated X3 (I discovered the present directions on-line, which helped me determine issues out). But apart just a few minor downsides, the X3 is a good worth.

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Even if they do not sound as magical as you’d hope a $249 mannequin would, the AirPods Pro nonetheless manages to be an ideal pair of true wireless noise-canceling earphones. That’s largely because of their profitable design and ear match, improved bass efficiency, efficient noise cancellation and glorious name high quality. Yeah, these high-quality headphones are costly, however the excellent news is you will use them on a regular basis. It is price noting that you will most likely put on the battery down — it does degrade over time and is not replaceable — and have to purchase a brand new pair of earbuds in 18 to 24 months, in the event you do not lose these first. Regardless, man, will you look good when listening to your music.

Read our Apple AirPods Pro evaluation.

Samsung

The Galaxy Buds Pro — Samsung’s long-awaited lively noise-canceling mannequin — has arrived with upgraded sound and excessive expectation for $200. (Yes, the Buds Live additionally has noise canceling, nevertheless it’s fairly modest.) I’ve been largely impressed, significantly with the sound high quality and name high quality, and there are some good bonus options, together with an improved ambient noise mode with voice detection. There’s additionally a digital encompass characteristic that presently solely works with the brand new Galaxy S21 fashions however will slowly trickle out to different Galaxy gadgets. The noise canceling can also be efficient in the event you get a good seal from the included ear ideas. That stated, simply how good you assume they’re will in the end rely on how properly they suit your ears. Read the CNET evaluation.

While the Elite 75t has been out some time, it is nonetheless one of many best true wireless earbuds on the market and lately added noise canceling by way of a firmware improve. Earlier firmware updates improved voice-calling efficiency. 

The Elite 75t aren’t fairly as snug to put on because the AirPods Pro, however they do sound higher, with clearer general sound and higher bass audio high quality definition, as long as you get a good seal.

The barely extra rugged Elite Active 75t can also be out there for about $20 extra, however with the brand new Elite 85t’s arrival we’re seeing some gross sales on the Elite 75t. 

Read our Jabra Elite 75t evaluation.

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I had Edifier’s TWS NB2 ($100) on this checklist after which the very similar-looking Earfun Air Pro got here alongside. No, it is not precisely the identical because the TWS NB2, which has a companion app, a “low-latency” gaming mode and a nicer textured end on its case. But it’s extremely shut and prices a very good deal much less while you consider further reductions.

As I stated in regards to the Edifier, the Earfun Air distinguishes itself with a cushty match, respectable noise-canceling (although not nice) and properly balanced sound with good readability and well-defined bass. They’re smooth-sounding earbuds.

Voice calling can also be above common — noise discount outdoor was respectable and callers stated that they had no bother listening to me (there is a gentle sidetone characteristic that permits you to hear your voice within the buds as you discuss). Battery life is rated at up 7 hours with noise canceling on and these have a IPX5 ranking, which suggests they’re splashproof and are positive for figuring out (I ran with them). The Edifier buds are listed as having an IPX54 ranking.

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Sony’s WF-1000XM3 earbuds have been out for some time and are most likely due for an improve within the not-so-distant future. In current months, we have seen them discounted by $50 off their checklist value they usually stay a strong decide at that value. As far as sound high quality goes, they’re among the many best-sounding wireless earbuds and likewise characteristic glorious noise-cancellation know-how to cut back ambient noise.

The solely disadvantage is the WF-1000XM3 earbuds aren’t rated as sweat-proof or waterproof headphones. That stated, I’ve used them for gentle exercises with a little bit of a sweat on the fitness center with no drawback. They use Bluetooth 5.0 with assist for AAC however not aptX.

Read our Sony WF-1000XM3 evaluation.

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Sony’s WF-1000XM3 mannequin is taken into account one of many best units of true wireless noise-canceling earbuds. But to the dismay of some folks, it lacks any form of water resistance, making it unsuitable for sports activities. It took some time, however now we lastly have a brand new true wireless noise-canceling sports activities mannequin from Sony: the WF-SP800N.

This is not fairly the WF-1000XM3 with a waterproof physique. It’s lacking Sony’s QN1e processor, however there’s nonetheless so much to love about it, together with superb sound, strong noise cancellation and good name high quality. It’s undoubtedly a pleasant improve over the WF-SP700N, which got here out in 2018, and its “arcs” (sports activities fins) lock the buds in your ears. Just be sure you get a good seal from one of many included ear ideas or else each the sound and noise canceling can be lackluster.

Read our Sony WF-SP800N evaluation.

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I can not bear in mind the final time I reviewed a Technics product — it has been that a few years — however the venerable audio model, which Panasonic introduced out of retirement in 2014, seems on the corporate’s line-topping noise-canceling earbuds. The Technics EAH-AZ70W earbuds’ checklist value of $250 places them squarely up in opposition to Apple’s AirPods Pro ($250), Sony’s WF-1000XM3 ($230) and Sennheiser’s Momentum True Wireless 2 ($300). While they’re a little bit massive, they stack up properly in opposition to that stiff competitors, with spectacular sound and noise cancellation.

Read our Technics EAH-AZ70W evaluation.

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Water-resistantNo (While a PR rep says they need to be positive for gentle exercises, 1More hasn’t offered a water resistance ranking but)

The first era mannequin of this headphone made the checklist, however the brand new upgraded model is THX-certified and has some tweaks, together with improved drivers and extra refined tuning. It already sounded good, now it sounds glorious.

The earbuds match comfortably and securely in my ears (although they do stick out a bit), so I used to be capable of get a good seal, which is essential for sound high quality and noise cancellation. The solely important disadvantage is that they haven’t any water-resistance ranking, however they need to be OK for gentle exercises. 

This mannequin has a bodily management button in addition to contact controls. Using the contact controls you may toggle between three modes: no noise cancellation, a pass-through “transparency” mode that lets ambient noise in, and lively noise cancellation. The noise-cancelling mode is efficient and I assumed the voice-calling capabilities have been respectable, with strong noise discount once I hit the streets of New York. 

The earlier model had a little bit of treble push, however this up to date model sounds fuller and richer, with extra balanced, cleaner sound that is fairly dynamic (there’s AptX assist for gadgets like Samsung Galaxy telephones that assist AptX). Battery life is rated at 5 hours with noise cancellation on and 6 with it off. There’s a quick-charge characteristic that provides you 2 hours of use from a 15-minute cost. The USB-C-equipped charging case additionally costs wirelessly. 

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