Best wireless earbuds with active noise cancellation

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Best wireless earbuds with active noise cancellation
Ever been annoyed by the crying baby two rows back on your long-haul flight, or your loud neighbors below if currently working from home? Also, maybe you find the size and heft of over-ear noise-cancelling headphones uncomfortable, especially when wearing such cans for long periods of time? 

Well, there's a great solution for all of that! Below we've listed the best of truly wireless (or simply "wireless") earbuds with active noise cancellation features that you may find perfect for your needs. 

Best wireless noise cancelling earbuds, a summarized list:

  • Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro
  • Sony WF-1000XM3
  • Apple AirPods Pro
  • Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2
  • Bose QuietComfort Earbuds
  • Razer Hammerhead True Wireless Pro
  • Amazon Echo Buds
  • Plantronics BackBeat Go 410
  • Sony WI-1000X

Best true wireless earbuds with active noise cancellation

Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro

Samsung's recently-released Galaxy Buds Pro boast the highest IP water resistance rating (IPX7) on Galaxy Buds yet, as well as intelligent ANC (Active Noise Cancellation). The latter means that the Buds Pro can switch ANC off automatically and let you hear nearby people's voices if it detects that you've started a conversation with someone. When the chat is over, the Buds Pro will turn ANC back on, again automatically.

And how good is the ANC on the Buds Pro? Well, it can't quite deliver AirPods Pro-levels of world silence, but it does manage to block lower-frequency noises pretty well. And as long as music is playing, you shouldn't be bothered by noises from your surroundings at all. On top of that, they can last up to 28 hours of music playback on a single charge!

Sony WF-1000XM3

Building on the veritable success of the crudely named WH-1000XM3 (our review here), Sony did the undoubtedly harder thing, and trued to shoehorn the technology into a pair of earbuds with active noise cancellation that are still above and beyond them all, even Apple's popular AirPods Pro

They last more on a charge and are cheaper than Apple's finest, but are bigger and less resistant to your sweat and tears while you work out. Tap on the bud, though, and immediately get a conversation through, and, with the latest software update from 11/26, Sony added Alexa support, as well the ability to adjust the volume using the headphones' touch sensor.

Apple AirPods Pro

Just as long rumored, Apple stepped in the wonderful world of true wireless noise cancellation with the new AirPods Pro buds that are on top of that water resistant, so brace yourselves for people on the treadmill next to you not hearing what you are shouting at them.

We kid, as the AidPods Pro do include a transparency feature that lets a bit of the surrounding noise in, just as any self-respecting isolation headphones should, so that you can survive in traffic for longer than the next crossroad. While we were expecting the Pro to be priced above the current AirPods + Wireless Charging Case = $199 bundle, and yet below the $250 that Apple wants for its PowerBeats Pro and their whopping 9 hours of listening time, Apple went for the jugular.

Yes, the new AirPods Pro don't cost $230 (or $199 on sale) as Sony's direct WF-1000XM3 competitors, but Apple is rather pricing them directly as much as the PowerBeats Pro, even though they last less on a charge than Sony's noise-cancelling buds. They are, however, more sweat resistant and more elegant-looking than the Sony pair, plus the fit and the call quality when paired with an iPhone is some of the best out there.

Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2

Sennheiser is also stepping it up a notch with the second generation of its Momentum Wireless earbuds. They offer amazing sound and some of the best active-noise-cancelling technology in the industry. They also look quite stylish with the Sennheiser logo on the side, showing that you know a little something about good audio. Battery life is also good at up to 7 hours on a single charge. 

The Momentum True Wireless 2 are IPX4 rated for sweat and and rain resistance, so as long as you don't drop them in a puddle, they should work as intended. The touch controls allow you to easily play/pause music or activate the voice assistant of your choice. 

Perhaps the only drawback is the price. They're on the expensive side, but if you catch them with a good deal, you can get them for about the same price as the AirPods Pro or even lower.

Bose QuietComfort Earbuds

Bose also has a pair of premium true wireless earbuds with ANC and they are definitely worth considering. Especially if you're a fan of the Bose sound, these won't disappoint you. Clear mids and highs and full, deep bass, all of it enhanced thanks to the active noise cancelling which can be fine-tuned to one of 11 available levels. Of course, there's also transparency mode so you can talk to people or just be aware of your surroundings without having to take the earbuds off.

The battery life is okay at 6 hours on a single charge. A bonus in the battery/charging department is that the QuietComfort Earbuds case is Qi-certified, so you can charge it wirelessly at any Qi-compatible charger. The pair is also IPX4 certified for improved durability in splashy conditions, such as rain or heavy sweating. Basically, these tick all the boxes on the premium-ANC-wireless-earbuds list. The price is also in the premium range, however, but that's to be expected.

Razer Hammerhead True Wireless Pro

Well what do you know, Razer also have their own true wireless earbuds with active noise cancellation, the new Hammerhead True Wireless Pro. So, if you're into Razer's black-and-green aesthetic and were looking for a pair of earbuds that can tone down your surroundings, these are perfect for you. But just because they're gamery doesn't mean they can't sound good as well. The Hammerhead Pro are THX certified for a "rich, balanced soundstage for all your movies, music and gaming", according to Razer.

They don't skim on other premium features as well, such as an IPX4 rating and transparency mode for when there's something around you don't want blocked by the ANC. They also come with 7(seven!) sets of tips you can choose from that differ in size, finishes and even materials. 

Unfortunately, the battery life of the Razer earbuds is a bit lackluster at only 4 hours on a single charge. On the bright side, they're priced a bit more competitively than all other pairs mentioned so far. 

Amazon Echo Buds

Due to the sheer power of the brand and its marketing reach, Amazon's faux-cancellation Echo Buds are proving a very popular budget alternative. They offer Bose's Noise Reduction technology which doesn't completely tune out the ambient noise but is better than earphones that simply try to isolate the sounds physically like the Galaxy Buds. In fact, anecdotal evidence from Joe Sixpack say they are good enough to cancel out the noise of the leaf blower across the street, for instance.

Unfortunately, Bose, the creator of this ANC market niche, is keeping a next generation proprietary noise-cancellation tech for its own mysterious Earbuds 700 that are to appear in 2020 and presumably climb be on top of the noise-cancelling pile but we'll review and compare when time comes.

Best noise-cancelling wireless earphones with neckband design

Plantronics BackBeat Go 410

Despite getting the last year's tech treatment, Plantronics' BackBeat Go 410 have a few undeniable advantages before the abovementioned buds - they are wireless but not truly wireless, so you won't have to deal with searching for the left one under the couch, or lug a charging case with you at all times. 

They are priced at entry-level, since syncing and battery spacing are non-issues with the neckband design. There are other advantages, like cutting off the battery-chugging ANC by simply dropping the buds down so they magnetically attach to each other.

Sony WI-1000X

If you have wisened up enough to realize the advantages of the neckband design and aren't worried about the respective "OK boomer" memes, our last proposition may be your best bet on the quest to find the ultimate ratio of excellent active noise cancellation and great battery life. Again, Sony isn't doing itself any favors by naming the WI-1000X as it did, but managed to churn out a product worthy of carrying the brand that was once synonymous with quality audio. 

While Bose's QuietControl 30 should have been the gold standard when it comes to wireless earbuds with active noise cancellation, this pair of Sony buds have been raved about оn precisely that count. Sony uses its proprietary on-chip solution and the earphones are on top of that attuned to frequent fliers with the Atmospheric Pressure Optimizer feature. This combo has proved excellent to provide dynamic ANC where the Sony buds automatically recognize the situation you are in - walking on a busy street, sitting in an office, etc. - and adjust the level of active noise cancellation accordingly. 

On top of that, the neckband design provides solid 10 hours of battery life with ANC on - the best battery life of the bunch here - as well as aptX HD Bluetooth that can play 24bit/48kHz streams if you have them handy. Audio quality is very balanced with a still-punching bass, and if your battery runs out, you can just plug them in a regular jack with the provided adapter cable. For a Benjamin less than the Bose with the same great ANC and sound but more features, these Sonys are a no-brainer for those who don't mind neckbud wireless designs.

Best active noise cancelling earbuds specs comparison

All in all, Sony's somewhat clumsily named WF-1000XM3 and WI-1000X are the best (not budget) options if you are looking for wireless bud sets with good audio and active noise cancellation to lessen that droning jet sound on long haul flights. The AirPods Pro are best if you are in the Apple ecosphere, while the Echo Buds and BackBeat Go 410 are good options for those who are looking to tune in and zone out on a budget.


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