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Best Noise Canceling Earbuds

May 6, 2024
Stephanie Valente
Written by
Stephanie Valente
Stephanie Valente
Lead Editor
Reviewed by
Lead Editor
Lead Editor

Soundly conducts in-depth research to guide prospective hearing aid wearers. Our work is funded through reader support. When you buy through our links, we may earn a commission.

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Some things in life just go together: Like noise cancelation and earbuds. When it comes to easy and distraction-free calls and listening, earbuds are personally my go-to choice. Basically, earbuds are comfortable (especially for my small ears), travel well, and recharge rather quickly. 

While I’m still a big fan of over-ear headphones, I’m often reaching for my earbuds because of the convenience factor (aka, slips into a small bag or jacket pocket and long battery life). 

Impeccable sound quality is tantamount to an all-around impressive listening experience. Which means that noise cancellation is a part of that (and transparency modes, too) effect. 

For me, noise cancellation is a must-have feature for my daily life. I live in Brooklyn, so extraneous noises and sounds are distracting whether I’m heads-down on a project or studying in an office setting, commuting by subway or bus, and taking calls. To add to that, I also find overly noisy environments (whether it’s at home or in a bustling coffee shop) overstimulating, so it’s always important for me to have a pair of earbuds or headphones with noise cancellation on hand.

And not to mention, what I also dig about earbuds is my ability to switch seamlessly between listening, taking calls, and joining meetings with ease. So having this feature tucked into a small and simple product like an earbud is a total win-win for my lifestyle.

What is Active Noise Cancellation (ANC)?

Essentially, Active Noise Cancellation, also known as ANC, is a system that utilizes relies on built-in microphones which picks up both external and internal sounds, an ANC chipset that inverts these soundwaves, and an internal speaker that emits counteractive waves to cancel out external noise—a process akin to mathematical equilibrium. 

Want a more direct example? Think of it as a math equation in which you’ll add +2 from outside to -2 from the inside, resulting in zero (i.e., a balanced silence). So earbuds with ANC technology work to dissipate sound waves as they come in while increasing in-ear sound.

What should I look for in earbuds with ANC?

Obviously, you’re in the market for a product with active noise cancellation so that is your top priority. 

Here’s a few things to consider while you’re browsing:

  • Price: A budget helps you stay within range for a pair of earbuds that suits your lifestyle and your needs.
  • Connectivity: Connectivity is an important feature that makes transitioning from one task to another and listening in itself seamless, pleasant, and convenient.
  • Noise cancellation: While this is the main feature you’re seeking, it’s a vital one. This mode helps you stream audio at safe volume levels and provides a clear and consistent channel for calls, listening, and more.
  • Passive noise cancellation: The reduction of external noise achieved through the physical design of the earbuds themselves, rather than through electronic means. This includes ear cups and a snug fit which helps support blocking ambient noise.
  • Adaptive active noise cancellation: Automatic adjustments of the microphone and speakers to your surroundings.
  • Transparency mode: Connect with the world around you any time, without ending a call or removing the earbuds.
  • Adjustability: Features and modes that let you adjust and fine tune the level of background noise you hear through manual adjustment (or via an app).

Keep scrolling for our best picks for noise canceling earbuds. 

HIFIMAN Svanar Wireless
$500

HIFIMAN Svanar Wireless

HIFIMAN Svanar Wireless

$499.00
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Fit: In-Ear
Connection: Wireless
Battery Life: Up 7 hours of listening
IP Rating: IPX5

Ready for a top-of-the-line sound experience? HIFIMAN Svanar Wireless is first up and they’ve got noise cancellation completely covered, too. Ergonomically designed with the Topology Diaphragm, which is a diaphragm that features a special nanoparticle coating applied to its surface and yields a detailed and natural soundscape, deep noise cancellation, dual amplifiers, and a microphone that can reduce noise at up to -35dB. Pretty neat, huh? It’s also worth noting that these earbuds are water resistant and have the highest rating in this round up.

Customer Review |“Stylish and good noise cancellation.” - Vincentch

Soundly Scorecard
+
No items found.
Pros

High-definition audio, case fits most silicone tips

Cons

Can be cost prohibitive

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Bang & Olufsen Beoplay EX
$400

Bang & Olufsen Beoplay EX

Bang & Olufsen Beoplay EX

$399.00
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Fit: In-Ear
Connection: Bluetooth
Battery Life: Up to 8 hours
IP Rating: IP57

Next up, combine all-encompassing and crystal clear sound with clarity and a snug fit. These wireless earbuds are supremely versatile with an ergonomic design and soft ear tips for prolonged wear, day or night. But the real star of this product is its high-fidelity and 9.2mm drivers in each bud with active noise cancellation that monitors ambient sound (inside and outside) and adapts to your environment. And if you need to tune into the world around you, Bang & Olufsen’s impeccable transparency mode brings you right in. Note: Battery life is listed as up to six hours with ANC and up to eight hours without ANC.

Customer Review |“Noise cancellation could be better but it is still no slouch and the power of the music will still block out most of the noise for the most part.” - Chandler

Soundly Scorecard
+
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Pros

Robust bass, sound quality, design

Cons

Some reported connectivity issues, battery life

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Sony WF-1000XM5
$300

Sony WF-1000XM5

Sony WF-1000XM5

$299.00
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Fit: In-Ear
Connection: Wireless
Battery Life: 8 hours
IP Rating: IPX4

Looking for noise canceling earbuds with killer sound? Sony WF-100XM5 is just the ticket. This lightweight pair has a competitive edge over other earbuds on the market—with its notable and impressive ANC technology (check out the product reviews for the fanfare). Not to mention, these wireless buds are loaded with features like elevated, noise isolating ear tips (for better suction and fit in the ear canal), water resistance, Speak-to-Chat (to pause sound when you start talking), and dual feedback microphones.

Customer Review | “The sound is exquisite. Music sounded crisp and precise. At times I was noticing details, such as reverberation, that is recorded into the music track that other speakers didn't play as accurately. The noise canceling feature is why I'm posting this comment. It is stellar! Being an in-ear headphone they will cancel noise mechanically. But the ANC processing nearly eliminates any additional sound that would typically leak by. At times it can be slightly disorientating where a crowded shopping center hushes and my music comes through. I can listen at a lower, more comfortable level when ANC is turned on. If I want to turn off the ANC it's as easy as tapping my left ear.” - C.Reed

Soundly Scorecard
+
No items found.
Pros

Speak-to-chat, call quality, touch controls

Cons

Battery life

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Beats Fits Pro
$200

Beats Fits Pro

Beats Fits Pro

$199.00
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Fit: In-Ear
Connection: Wireless
Battery Life: 6 hours
IP Rating: IPX4

Using the same tech platform as AirPods Pro, the Beats Fits Pro utilizes immersive sound technology to deliver a high-quality audio experience. On the noise canceling front, securely fitted wingtips, spatial audio for immersive sound while gaming, streaming, or watching video, built-in microphones, and three distinct listening mode like Active Noise Canceling, and Transparency Mode, and Adaptive EQ that can block out sound waves and ambient noise as it filters in. While these earbuds are handy and mighty—plus they’re water and sweat resistant—the battery life is short with up to six hours of playtime.

Customer Review |“The sound quality is great (I'm by no means picky, just as a casual listener they're great). I love the noise canceling ability—but I love that you can turn it off even more. It can be dangerous to go out in public with noise canceling on. You can turn it off when you're out and about and turn them back on at home. I also really like the transparency setting that let's background noise come through easier- which would probably be nice if you had kids you had to keep an ear out for.” - Wendy M.

Soundly Scorecard
+
No items found.
Pros

Three listening modes, call performance, spatial audio

Cons

Battery life, mixed reviews on comfort

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JLab JBuds ANC 3
$100

JLab JBuds ANC 3

JLab JBuds ANC 3

$59.99
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Fit: In-Ear
Connection: Wireless
Battery Life: Up to 42 hours
IP Rating: IP55

You can certainly find a solid pair of noise canceling earbuds for under $100. That pair? It’s JLab JBuds ANC 3. Users can control how they hear and receive sound with three modes: ANC On, ANC Off and Be Aware (this last mode lets you pass through outside noises). These earbuds also come with a smartphone app so you can toggle between custom Noise Control settings anytime you like and set levels based on your personal preference. Noise canceling is all about listening safely, too. The JLab JBuds also feature Be Aware Audio mode so you can tune into ambient noise when you want or need to (think, bicycling on a public road). Even sweeter? Calls and audio are crystal clear with a noise-canceling MEMS microphone in both earbuds.

Customer Review |“I recently purchased the JBuds ANC 3 earbuds and I must say, they exceeded my expectations in every aspect! The active noise canceling gives me the best listening experience for all my music and podcasts. Perfect for when I need some extra silence around the house. I love how I can control the noise cancellation, volume and Siri from the earbuds themselves or their app. 

They fit perfectly in my small ears and way better compared to my airpods and are at a way better price.” - Kenz

Soundly Scorecard
+
No items found.
Pros

Battery life, sound quality, value

Cons

Good fit for small ears, but fit might be hard for others

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