The 10 Best Noise Cancelling Earbuds
This wiki has been updated 10 times since it was first published in May of 2019. If you're looking for active noise reduction but aren't interested in wearing a bulky and heavy pair of closed-back headphones, consider a pair of noise cancelling earbuds. While there aren't a ton of options on the market, there are several good pairs that deliver a clean and clear listening experience. Here are some of the best and most affordable. When users buy our independently chosen editorial choices, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. Skip to the best noise cancelling earbud on Amazon.
May 06, 2019:
Active noise cancelling in earbuds is a somewhat niche product, and it's important to have realistic expectations when you're looking for the right ones. Earbuds, by their very nature, can be hit-or-miss from person to person, because everyone's ears are shaped differently. Furthermore, ANC isn't meant to completely silence all external sound, so you can't ask the world of these things. But with the combination of active circuitry and a good seal, they can do a very good job.
Bang & Olufsen is known for audiophile-level audio products, and these are no exception, though their control implementation isn't quite up to par with their high cost. Similarly, Sony makes a true wireless pair with ANC -- which is not a common product to find -- and while they don't block as much noise as most of the rest, they do sound great. Sony also makes a more traditional neckband-style model that functions about as well as any, though that neckband doesn't have the sleekest design. Of course, if you're willing to shell out a bunch of money, Bose makes what many people consider the benchmark for noise cancelling earbuds.
If you don't want to spend a lot, though, you have plenty of options. In the mid range you can check out the Phiatons, which really don't have any downsides except for their ANC not quite being as good as that of the Bose pair. The SGNL and Audio-Technica offerings are just about as good. You can get by with spending even less if you so desire, as TaoTronics, the makers of a number of surprisingly good headphones these days, offers both a wired and wireless pair. If you're a stickler about sound quality, we'd advise getting the wired pair, as the Bluetooth model isn't even compatible with the CD-quality AptX codec. And we included the Shures because although they don't actually use ANC, they physically block sound better than most do electronically, so they're very much worthy of consideration. Plus, they don't ever need to be recharged.
Finally, take note that earbuds carry a little bit more risk than normal headphones as far as ear health goes. Unlike a comfy pair of over-ear cans, it's advised that you not use earbuds for extremely long periods, and avoid extremely loud music on these even more than you would using traditional headphones. Also don't stick them in too far. If you ever experience pain or discomfort, take them out and take a break, or re-position them so they're more comfortable.