Sometimes we all need a bit of peace. If you use your headphones every day for commuting or while in the office, you may want something that will do a good job of blocking out background noises. In the past, you needed large over-ears to get good active noise cancelling (ANC), but you can now get impressive noise cancelling even in small and portable in-ears or earbuds. With some in-ear headphones, you can still achieve great isolation without an ANC feature due to them physically blocking your ear canals.
We've tested over 280 earbuds and in-ears, and below are our recommendations for the best noise cancelling earbuds to buy. See our recommendations for the best earbuds and in-ears, the best Bluetooth earbuds, or the best noise cancelling headphones overall.
The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II Truly Wireless are the best noise cancelling earbuds we've tested. These premium buds are the previous generation of the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds Truly Wireless and have a top-tier ANC system. Whether you're traveling on a noisy plane or working from a busy office, these buds help isolate you from an outstanding amount of ambient noise. With their ANC on, they last well over six hours continuously. If you need to top them up, their carrying case supplies an additional three charges.
These buds have a slight u-shaped sound profile that adds a touch of extra thump and punch, while vocals and sibilants are bright. Their companion app has a graphic EQ and presets if you prefer a different sound. Unfortunately, even though they have a high price tag, they're missing features like multi-device pairing, so you can't connect them to more than one device at a time. They have a somewhat bulky fit compared to other picks on this list, but they still feel decently comfortable.
If you don't want to sacrifice performance for price, look at the Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation) Truly Wireless. While their ANC doesn't block out nearly as much ambient noise as the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II Truly Wireless, they offer a few features unique to iOS devices. They have an H2 chip for seamless pairing with other devices in your Apple ecosystem, and they support Spatial Audio, a head-tracking feature that can help create a more immersive sound. Their ANC can still isolate you from an excellent amount of noise across the spectrum. With their ANC on, they last just under six hours continuously. Their carrying case also supplies four additional charges.
These premium buds have a comfortable fit, but the buds can wiggle out of your ears over time, which is a bit annoying. Their adaptive EQ also creates a warm sound profile with cozy vocals and instruments. Their companion interface doesn't offer sound customization features, but if you value adjustable earbuds at this price point, it's worth considering the Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless 3 instead. They offer a similarly powerful ANC performance and have a companion app with a graphic EQ and presets. They even have a better battery performance, but their design is bulkier and isn't as comfortable.
If you're looking for noise cancelling buds at a lower price point, you'll want to consider the Google Pixel Buds Pro Truly Wireless, which are the best wireless noise cancelling earbuds at this price point that we've tested. These buds offer a high-end experience that rivals higher-end models like the Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation) Truly Wireless. Their ANC delivers an excellent noise isolation performance for commuting or working at the office as it reduces rumbly bus engines as well as ambient chatter well. They also last well over seven hours continuously, and their carrying case supplies almost two additional charges if you need it.
These buds have a decently comfortable fit, but they can pop out of your ears over time and cause a drop in bass. However, once you get a good fit, they have a v-shaped sound profile with rumbly bass and bright vocals, making them a solid choice for genres like rock and pop. Their app provides a graphic EQ and presets to help you customize their sound. If you're looking for more comfortable earbuds at this level, try the Sony LinkBuds S Truly Wireless instead. They're lighter, and their fit doesn't go into your ears as deeply. However, their ANC doesn't block out quite as much bass range noise.
For those on a budget, you'll want to consider the Anker Soundcore Space A40 Truly Wireless, which are the best in-ear noise cancelling headphones we've tested at this price point. Despite their affordable price tag, they offer as many features as the Google Pixel Buds Pro Truly Wireless and even have a better overall noise isolation performance. Their adaptive ANC easily reduces bass range noise like plane engine rumbles, making them a solid choice for travel. They also have an excellent performance for mid to high-pitched sounds, like office chatter and the hum of an AC unit. They come with features like multi-device pairing and LDAC codec support, which is good if you like to stream Hi-Res content, making them quite versatile.
These well-built buds have a warm sound profile that you can customize via the graphic EQ and presets in their companion app. They also last over eight hours continuously, which will get you through long days on the go, and their carrying case holds an extra four charges. Unfortunately, if you need to make calls, the integrated mic does a poor job of capturing speech clearly, so your voice sounds distant and sharp, which isn't very pleasant for the caller on the line.
For something much cheaper, look at the TOZO NC7 Truly Wireless, the best wireless noise cancelling earbuds at this price point we've tested. It's somewhat uncommon to find ANC earbuds at this price point. However, although they're otherwise simple in design, they have an ANC system that can block out a great amount of ambient sound. Don't expect them to block out nearly the same level of noise as the Anker Soundcore Space A40 Truly Wireless. However, they're still a solid choice for reducing the rumble of plane engines as well as ambient chatter effectively. You can't turn off the ANC entirely, though. You can only switch between this mode and transparency mode, which allows you to hear your surroundings without taking out your buds. With their ANC on, they last over eight hours continuously, and their carrying case holds an additional two charges if you need it.
These buds have a slightly v-shaped sound profile that delivers a touch of extra thump and rumble to your mixes, while sibilants like cymbals are bright. That said, vocals and lead instruments are weak, and the headphones lack sound customization features to help you adjust their sound. These buds have a stable, decently comfortable fit and are certified IPX6 for resistance against immersion in water, making them a solid choice for sports and fitness.
If you're sensitive to the feeling of cabin pressure created by ANC, then the Anker Soundcore Life Dot 2 Truly Wireless are the best passively isolating earbuds we've tested. These buds rely on the seal they create inside your ear to block background noise. As a result, they have a good overall noise isolation performance and are best suited to cutting down office-like sounds like ambient chatter and the hum of computer fans. They won't block out as much bass-range noise like rumbly engines as earbuds with an ANC system like the TOZO NC7 Truly Wireless.
What makes these headphones stand out is their exceptionally long total battery life of almost 100 hours. They last over seven hours continuously, but their carrying case supplies an additional 12.5 additional charges. Their bass-rich sound profile adds a touch of extra thump, rumble, and boom to mixes, which will please fans of EDM and hip-hop. Unfortunately, they don't have a companion app or customization features, so you can't fine-tune them to your liking. That said, they have a well-built design for their budget-friendly price and are decently comfortable.
Jan 24, 2023: We've checked this article for accuracy as well as product availability. While we've made minor changes to the text, the picks haven't changed.
Dec 13, 2022: We've rehauled this article to reflect more powerful noise cancelling ANC earbuds. We've added the following: the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II Truly Wireless, Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation) Truly Wireless, Google Pixel Buds Pro Truly Wireless, and Anker Soundcore Space A40 Truly Wireless. We've also removed the following: the Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless 3, Bose QuietComfort Earbuds Truly Wireless, Anker Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro Truly Wireless, Anker SoundCore Life P3 Truly Wireless, and Apple AirPods Pro Truly Wireless.
Aug 30, 2022: We've adjusted the structure of this article to better reflect the noise cancelling earbuds market. As a result, we've replaced the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds with the Sennheiser MOMENTUM True Wireless 3 as the top pick, thanks to their excellent noise cancelling performance. We've also added the Anker Soundcore Liberty 3 Pro as the 'Best Mid-Range' pick and removed the Sony WI-1000XM2 since they're quite dated.
Jun 17, 2022: Renamed the Sony WI-1000XM2 Wireless as 'Best Noise Cancelling Earbuds For Calls'. Removed the Nura NuraLoop Wireless, Sony WI-C600N Wireless, and JBL Endurance Peak II True Wireless from Notable Mentions.
May 19, 2022: We've checked our picks for accuracy and product availability. However, there hasn't been a change in our recommendations.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best in-ear noise cancelling headphones and earbuds for most people to buy. We factor in the price (cheaper headphones win over pricier ones if the difference isn't worth it), feedback from our visitors, and availability (no headphones that are difficult to find or almost out of stock everywhere).
If you would like to choose for yourself, here is the list of all our reviews for noise cancelling earbuds and in-ears. Be careful not to get caught up in the details. There are no perfect headphones. Personal taste, preference, and listening habits will matter more in your selection.