Which noise-canceling earbuds are best? 

Traditional headphones are bulky and not comfortable to wear while exercising or going for a run. Or maybe you don’t prefer to use cumbersome headphones while riding on public transit. The much-smaller earbuds are then a perfect solution for discreet audio entertainment.

Just for a refresher, the tiny speakers of earbuds fit into the opening of your ear canal. So even though they don’t go in very deep, it is still enough to block out most ambient sounds. But if you want to listen to music or podcasts in total isolation, then noise-canceling earbuds are the way to go. 

How noise cancellation works

The ability of earbuds and headphones to block out ambient sounds is done through active or passive noise cancellation. Since headphones are much larger and the ear cups sit on your ears, the chances of noise creeping in are higher. 

To get around that, Active Noise Cancellation uses a series of microphones and speakers to block any external sounds electronically. So naturally, a system that uses ANC needs a battery to function.

ANC is less common in earbuds as they already do a pretty good job blocking the ear canal. For that reason, most earbuds use passive noise cancellation. Essentially, it means that the ear tips fit in the ear canal tight enough to prevent sound leakage while also reducing the surrounding noise. Most earbuds come with interchangeable tips to adjust the tightness according to the width of your ear canal.

Best noise-canceling earbuds

Best wired noise-canceling earbuds

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC33iS QuietPoint Active Noise-Canceling In-Ear Headphones

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC33iS QuietPoint Active Noise-Canceling In-Ear Headphones

What you need to know: Even though these earbuds are wired, they still manage to provide ANC through the small QuietPoint box between the headphones jack and the speakers.

What you’ll love: The rechargeable box lets you toggle the ANC function while also producing a noise-canceling wave against ambient sounds.

What you should consider: The cable is 4-foot long, and the QuietPoint box can last for about 60 hours.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Best wired noise-canceling earbuds for the money

Betron BS10 Noise-Isolating Earbuds

Betron BS10 Noise-Isolating Earbuds

What you need to know: These earbuds have a relatively large 12-millimeter audio driver with a flush design to comfortably fit your ear canal and provide passive noise cancellation.

What you’ll love: They have been made specifically for high-definition audio at any volume and come with three rubber ear tips. In addition, there is a control switch on the cable that lets you change the volume, skip tracks and take hands-free calls.

What you should consider: The tangle-free wire is only about 4 feet long.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Wired noise-canceling headphones worth checking out

Bose QuietComfort Noise-Canceling Earbuds

Bose QuietComfort 20 Acoustic Noise-Canceling Earbuds

What you need to know: These wired earbuds provide ANC through the attached QuietComfort box.

What you’ll love: You can toggle the ANC at the touch of a button, and the included microphone makes hands-free calls easier. The set also uses proprietary StayHear+ tips that use your ear’s cartilage for a better fit.

What you should consider: The earbuds are only compatible with Apple devices.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Best wireless noise-canceling earbuds

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2

What you need to know: The latest iteration of Samsung’s popular Galaxy Buds uses ANC with added bass to remove pesky sounds in the background.

What you’ll love: The Ambient Sound mode uses microphones to pick up surrounding audio so that you can hear what’s going on without having to remove the earbuds. The same microphones are also used for hands-free calling when you are on the phone.

What you should consider: The rechargeable batteries should give you about 5 hours of playtime.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Best wireless noise-canceling earbuds for the money

Jabra Elite Active 75t True Wireless Bluetooth Earbuds

Jabra Elite Active 75t True Wireless Bluetooth Earbuds

What you need to know: Jabra claims that they are the “best-fitting” earbuds with a special grip coating to ensure they stay in your ears.

What you’ll love: After you activate the ANC for the first time through the Jabra Sound app, you can change between active noise cancellation and Hear-Through (hearing ambient sounds while wearing the earbuds) with a single button.

What you should consider: You’ll only get five hours of playtime with ANC turned on, but 24 hours when it is off.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Wireless noise-canceling earbuds worth checking out

Bose QuietComfort Noise-Canceling Earbuds

Bose QuietComfort Noise-Canceling  Earbuds

What you need to know: The primary aspects of these earbuds are the Bose Controllable Noise Cancellation and Full Transparency Mode.

What you’ll love: The CNC lets you adjust the number of ambient sounds you want to block out, while the FTM lets you hear what is happening around you. The built-in Active EQ adjusts the sound’s equalizer depending on what you listen to.

What you should consider: The battery provides 6 hours of playing time.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Apple AirPods Pro

Apple AirPods Pro

What you need to know: The Pro version features ANC with a transparency mode so that you aren’t completely isolated from the world.

What you’ll love: It’s wireless, comes with three sizes of silicone tips, and the Adaptive EQ automatically tunes the music based on the genre. In addition, the wireless charging case gives you about 24 hours of listening time.

What you should consider: One full charge will only provide 4 hours of battery.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

Sony WF-1000XM4

Sony WF-1000XM4

What you need to know: These wireless earbuds use a new built-in processor to deliver high-definition audio while canceling more ambient sounds than other Sony earbuds.

What you’ll love: The earbuds use a bone-conduction sensor and a microphone to enhance the speaker’s voice for hands-free calling. They are water-resistant, and the Qi-compatible battery should get you around eight hours of playtime.

What you should consider: Their price tag might be too much for some to justify.

Where to buy: Sold by Amazon

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Charlie Fripp writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.
 

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