Noise cancelling headphones are a favorite, indispensable gadget for lots of consumers who commute to work on a subway or train, travel to work, or simply want to get some well-deserved peace and quiet or me time without being disturbed. However, noise cancelling headphones can be pretty bulky, so scoring one that’s compact and easy to carry around may be quite tricky. Fortunately, there are some manufacturers who have responded to the clamor for less bulky noise cancellation technology, hence, the birth of noise cancelling earbuds.

Before we proceed to our curated list for the best noise cancelling earbuds, let’s discuss a few FAQs first:

What Are True Wireless Earbuds?

True wireless headphones or earbuds are IEMs or Bluetooth earbuds that have neither wires, cable or cords between them and are not also connected to an audio source such as tablet, smartphones, MP3 players, etc. Since they are wireless, the battery, volume control and mic are all in one place – built into the housing of the earbuds themselves. Noise cancelling earbuds are also available as true wireless earbuds.

What Is Active Noise Cancellation (ANC)?

Active Noise Cancellation or ANC is a technology that makes it possible for consumers to listen to audio without needing to raise the volume excessively as the product reduces unwanted background noise or ambient sounds with active noise control features. This feature is considered to be a premium need and a life saver for frequent flyers who can’t seem to avoid getting stuck with a crying baby during a flight. The popularity of noise cancelling earbuds in the demographic of travelers and frequent flyers is undeniable.

How Much Should You Pay for Noise-Cancelling True Wireless Earbuds?

It really depends on your budget – you can get a pair of noise cancelling earbuds via online deals with great discount slashed off the price or if you’ve got some extra cash, you can also opt for a premium product with high-end tech reviews along with a hefty price tag.

In this article, we will be featuring different levels of noise cancelling earbuds to help you decide the best suited pair for your needs and lifestyle.

Noise Cancelling Earbuds: Bose QuietComfort 20

What We Like:

  • Excellent ANC technology
  • Great sound quality
  • Comfortable fit

What We Don’t Like:

  • pricey
  • OS specific

Bose is not a new challenger in the realm of noise cancelling earbuds; in fact, Bose is one of the benchmarks for products that feature noise cancellation technology. That being said, the Bose QuietComfort has been getting rave reviews because of its overall performance.

The cable of the Bose QuietComfort20 has a 90-degree connector and the product also comes with a slim block where all the important components are housed. This pair of noise cancelling earbuds from Bose offers a battery life of 16 hours for music playback with noise cancelling technology.

Bose’s noise cancelling earbuds also comes with an Aware Mode button to help keep listeners stay aware of their surroundings. There’s a small control module on the bud wire to help users adjust volume and playback. A word of advice, make sure to check the model that you plan to purchase because they have their own version specific to either iOs (Apple Inc, iPhone) or Android (Samsung Galaxy, Sony, etc.)

Noise Cancelling Earbuds: Sony WI-1000X Neckband Headset

What We Like:

  • have three modes similar to Bose’s Aware Mode
  • supports high quality Bluetooth streaming
  • offers wired listening option

What We Don’t Like:

  • micro USB charging

If you are one of those consumers who are still not 100% sure that you’re ready to switch to true wireless earbuds, then Sony WI-1000X will be a good option for you. This pair of noise cancelling earbuds from Sony has a unique feature that smartly adapts to the environment by passing through three modes – waiting, traveling and walking. The modes vary in intensity, and the walking mode is similar to Bose’s Aware Mode feature where users can still be aware of any sound from the outside.

These noise cancelling earbuds from Sony use DSEE HX to retain the rich quality of compressed music files and implements effective reduction of lost data that may have been affected during compression. These noise cancelling earbuds from Sony also have aptX HD and LDAC to support high quality Bluetooth streaming. Another great offer from Sony’s noise cancelling earbuds is the fact that users can still enjoy full, high-resolution sound even if the battery dies, thanks to the 3.5mm cable converted from microUSB function.

If you are fond of AI assistants like Google Assistant and Alexa, you can enjoy these features with Sony’s noise cancelling earbuds. Alexa is built-in the headset while Google Assistant is made available by updating the firmware using the Sony | Headphones Connect app.  Sony WI-1000X comes with a full set of accessories – charging cable, carrying pouch plus an airplane adapter (perfect for frequent flyers out there).

Noise Cancelling Earbuds: Apple AirPods Pro

What We Like:

  • fits well
  • useful transparency mode
  • small and convenient charging case

What We Don’t Like:

  • average sound quality
  • no volume controls

While the original Apple AirPods sort of got a lot of flax for not having the ability to seal completely in the ear canal, the Apple AirPods Pro are getting a good reputation as noise cancelling earbuds. Aside from its nice, snug fit in the ears, these noise cancelling earbuds from Apple offers an amazing ANC technology.

A word of advice, if you want to buy the Apple AirPods Pro, you need to be sure of your correct eartip size because the size will definitely be a game changer or a deal breaker. Get a size too small, the noise cancelling earbuds might fall out; get a size too big and you might have to endure a painful, unpleasant experience.

Pairing with a smartphone is easy and does not require too much fiddling with the settings. If you’re looking for a pair of noise cancelling earbuds that’s an expert in blocking out distractions from the outside, the AirPods are a great choice. It has a transparency mode that allows users to still be aware of the sounds around them or join in on conversations with friends.

The stem that activates transparency mode has a design that is borderline functional and unsightly. It has been getting mixed reviews because some consumers think that it lacks a little on the aesthetic side. Nevertheless, that button or stem plays a big role in the performance of Apple’s noise cancelling earbuds, allowing users to skip to the next song, pause or play music. In terms of design, these noise cancelling earbuds from Apple have been redesigned well, with the eartips specifically designed for AirPods Pro.

Noise Cancelling Earbuds: Plantronics BackBeat Go 410

What We Like:

  • Bluetooth 5
  • supports wired listening
  • sweat resistant
  • budget friendly

What We Don’t Like:

  • not recommended for running outdoors or walking down the street
  • mic position prone to brush against clothing

If your main purpose to purchase noise cancelling earbuds is to completely shut out the world around you, the Plantronics BackBeat Go 410 may be the perfect product for you. Its ANC technology automatically enters High Noise or Low Noise mode, depending on the context it picks up in a user’s current environment. The noise cancelling technology of Plantronics BackBeat Go 410 works so well that it’s not recommended when running outdoors or walking down a street. This pair of noise cancelling earbuds can work well on the subway or in a crowded coffee shop. Just remember that it’s not safe to run or walk outdoors and not be aware of your surroundings.

Plantronics BackBeat Go 410 gives listeners the option to use it wired, thanks to the dual purpose micro USB cable that comes along with it. However, your smartphone needs to have a headphone jack that’s compatible for the 3.5 mm plug if you want to enjoy wired listening. This pair of noise cancelling earbuds is also sweat resistance which is a bonus for hygienic freaks.

Noise Cancelling Earbuds: Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless 2

What We Like

  • built in equalizers to customize EQ
  • charging case
  • Transparent hearing mode

What We Don’t Like

  • average battery life

Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 has an ergonomic design perfect for all day usage; for making calls or listening to music on the go. This pair of noise cancelling earbuds from Sennheiser offer an unrivalled audio sound that works well with any music genre. Discerning audiophiles can also enjoy an amazing listening experience suited to their taste thanks to the built-in equalizers that allows users to customize EQ, echo and related frequencies.

Just like AirPods Pro, Sennheiser’s noise cancelling earbuds feature a Transparent Hearing mode, that allows listeners to enjoy high-fidelity audio while still being aware of the sounds around them. In terms of battery life, this pair of noise cancelling earbuds from Sennheiser offer an impressive 7 hours playtime and plus an additional 28 hours with the charging case.

Noise Cancelling Earbuds: Samsung AKG N400 Earbuds

What We Like

  • IPX7 rating
  • water resistant
  • longer battery life than AirPods Pro

What We Don’t Like

  • not yet available in the US

The AKG N400 are noise cancelling earbuds from Samsung with a neat and compact style. This pair of noise cancelling earbuds have been getting rave reviews because almost all of its features are better than the Samsung Galaxy Buds. One example is its IPX rating. While Samsung Galaxy Buds only has IPX3 (splash resistant), the AKG N400 boasts an IPX7 rating (water resistant).

If there’s a drawback to this pair of noise cancelling earbuds from Samsung, it would have to be its battery life. It only offers 5 hours of battery life with noise cancelling or 6 hours without noise cancelling. However, the AKG N400 battery life is still way better than that of the AirPods Pro.

The charging cable of this pair of noise cancelling earbuds can also provide an additional 6 hours of battery life and has a wireless-chargeable feature. According to Samsung, a ten minute charge of this noise cancelling earbuds can provide an hour of playback, which is pretty awesome. Just like other noise cancelling earbuds in the market, the AKG N400 links TalkThru and AmbientAware feature for transparency mode. This pair of noise cancelling earbuds are also compatible with Samsung’s voice assistant, Bixby.

As of April 2020, the Samsung AKG N400 is only available in Korea. Keep posted for updates if ever this pair of noise cancelling earbuds fresh from Samsung’s labs will be available in the US or Amazon.com.  For sure, this will really be a hit in the market as Samsung Galaxy Buds+ cannot compete head to head with Apple AirPods Pro because the former didn’t offer noise canceling features.

Noise Cancelling Earbuds: JBL Reflect Flow

What We Like

  • sporty wireless earbuds
  • 10 hours battery life

What We Don’t Like

  • bulky carrying case

The market for noise cancelling earbuds is really getting bigger, hence more audio companies are producing their own flagship item for this niche. JBL has ventured into the noise cancelling earbuds market with the JBL Reflect Flow.

JBL Reflect Flow are great noise cancelling earbuds especially for users who intend to bring it to the gym for some bass-heavy jams to play while sweating it out. The battery life of this pair of noise cancelling earbuds runs for 10 hours and the charging cable can add 20 extra hours. If you’re running a bit short with charging time, a swift 10 minute charge can provide 1 hour of playback.

In terms of fit and comfort, the JBL Reflect Flow offers the right fin and tip combination, giving its users a comfy yet stable fit that can withstand athletic or active lifestyles. This pair of noise cancelling earbuds also have an ambient mode which allows users to hold a conversation without needing to remove the earbuds. Several reviews have likened the JBL Reflect Flow to another popular noise cancelling earbuds, the Jaybird Vista.

Noise Cancelling Earbuds: Jaybird Vista

What We Like

  • deep, rich bass
  • excellent fit

What We Don’t Like

  • not so detailed 

The Jaybird Vista are noise cancelling earbuds that offer true wireless technology. The price of this pair of noise cancelling earbuds from Jaybird is really worth it because it boasts of an IPX7 rating which means that it is sweat and waterproof. You can enjoy intense workout sessions or get drenched in a heavy downpour without having to worry about the status of your noise cancelling earbuds. 

This pair of noise cancelling earbuds from Jaybird has USB-C charging and it beats the JBL Reflect Flow in terms of fast charging; for just 5 minutes of charging, users can enjoy up to 1 hour of playback. Discerning audiophiles can quickly tell that the Jaybird Vista is lacking sound detail. However, what it lacks in the detail department, it makes up for in the bass and beats department.

So that concludes our roundup for the best noise cancelling earbuds in the market. We hope that this article has helped you choose the best pair that suits your budget, needs and lifestyle.