Best noise-cancelling earbuds

The Best Noise Cancelling Earbuds in 2021

Whether you want to block out the world around you or truly become one with your music, noise-canceling earbuds can make all the difference. I personally love getting lost in my favorite songs, truly hearing every instrument my favorite bands play and feeling that masterpiece come together note for note.

Are you looking for the best noise-canceling earbuds in 2020? Now is a great time to buy them. With so much going on these days, I know music is my biggest comfort, and it’s probably the same for you too. Take control of what you can and take control of how you listen to your music.

Here are the 7 best noise cancelling earbuds for 2020.

1. Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2

Sennheiser created this second version of truly wireless noise cancelling earbuds. The difference from the original is the key noise cancellation though the battery life is much better. It takes a little getting used to the default settings and touch controls though. In fact, I’d call them a huge pain, but you can customize them, which makes this irritating default a non-issue.

These wireless noise cancelling earbuds give you great sound, excellent noise cancellation, and a longer battery life. They’re not cheap though, but if you’re in the market for top quality, Sennheiser is giving it to you.

Let’s talk about the fit now. They go snug in your ears for a comfortable fit, ensured by the 4 different sizes of included silicone ear tips. I definitely enjoyed using these though that’s because they fit so well. I’m not sure if some of you may find the need to get those wings to hold them into your ear by way of the outer cartilage though I think those ear tips will definitely fit you in some way.

Planning on using these while working out or perhaps running outdoors? They have an IPX4 rating, so if you do hit them with a little splash of water or sweat, they should be fine.

I also want to touch on the charging case, which is magnetic. The earbuds lock into place, which is good to know because you don’t want them falling out and suddenly losing your buds. One negative though is that while these earbuds can connect to 8 different devices, you can only connect to one at a time while actively using them. So if you want it connected to your phone and laptop simultaneously, that’s not going to happen.

In any event, the noise cancellation aspect of these earbuds is fantastic, as is the sound quality. If you can afford these in your budget, you won’t be sorry.

2. Sony WF-1000XM3

Now let’s move onto Sony’s WF-1000XM3 noise cancelling headphones. These truly wireless earbuds give you about 6 hours of battery power when actively engaged in noise cancelling (8 hours with ANC turned off) and 3 charges while in its case. If you recall the over-ear headphone model of WH-1000XM3, a superb choice for that style, it has the same high-def noise cancelling processor. The settings here make it a little less effective, but it is impeccable when it comes to truly wireless earbuds.

Tons of features and the most up-to-date Bluetooth tech await. You have intuitive touch controls ready to go out of the box, and for everything else, there are in-app settings that let you adjust pretty much anything, which I found wonderfully useful. You can change the ANC power, turn on the adaptive mode which adjusts your noise reduction depending on where you happen to be at the time, and so much more.

In a hurry? I know it has happened to me so many times where I need to get out the door, and I realize I haven’t charged something up. With these earbuds, you can give it a quick 10-minute charge and get 1.5 hours of music out of which is definitely a bonus. That should get you to work or wherever, allowing you to fully charge it up once you arrive.

If you are into the absolute latest in tech with a small profile in-ear earbud-style, these are for you. Though they’re not all perfect. There’s no sweat protection, so don’t even think about these if you’re planning on getting a pair of wireless earbuds to take to the gym or for outdoor exercising.

Another downside is that you need to install the app to get access to all the features. Not everyone wants to have tons of apps on their phones, and I get it. It’s an expensive set of earbuds, but the sound is really great. Yet again, though, you need that app because you can access the equalizer and fine-tune your bass or make those vocals pop. If you’re using these for solid tech and in a dry setting, these will make an excellent option.

3. Bose QuietComfort 20

It’s no surprise that Bose gets so much love. It’s one of the best in sound quality for all products. With these QuietComfort 20 noise cancelling earbuds, you’ll find much to love. It gives you up to 16 hours of battery life on a single charge, though these are wired, so you will have to decide if going completely wireless is what you’d prefer.

If you ask me, it really depends. After all, these have some of the best ANC around, and they are built to last. Yes, they’re pricey. They’re Bose for crying out loud! But for comparable prices, you can go fully wireless with ANC earbuds, so you need to decide what you’re willing to sacrifice.

Some people prefer wires. My friend Brett is one of those people who misplace big things, so imagine his discomfort trying to find wireless earbuds in his room. Exactly.

If you want the best in active noise cancellation, it’s truly hard to beat Bose. Travelers shouldn’t miss these, for they are ideal to make everything else fade into the background so you can listen to what you want to with absolute pleasure.

With these, you get incredible ANC as Bose is known for plus, they’re comfortable and durable while adding passive noise isolation to the mix. It’s really the best of both worlds. Sit on a plane and magically, the lull of the plane engine disappears. Street traffic and conversations are also partially blurred to finally give you peace on earth.

Another interesting feature is the Aware Mode. This lowers the level of noise reduction so you can still hear people around you with the touch of a button. That’s ideal at work when you need to know your boss is calling your name, or you’re walking on a busy city sidewalk and need to listen for any potential dangers like a car flying out of its lane and into your direct path.

One thing you’ll need to consider is that the battery that powers the ANC is not replaceable. While it will give you around 500 full charges in its life before it stops holding charges as well, it should last you long enough. The fit is customized a bit through the silicone ear tips in 3 different sizes, and to the untrained eye, they look a bit dubious, but let me reassure you these earbuds are fantastic.

Additionally, if you need to make calls, the mic is in prime position on the cable, so there’s no weird shuffling around to access it. Controls are convenient though older (and hence cheaper) Bose models still have outstanding noise isolation if you’d prefer a more budget buy.

QuietComfort 20 gives a good sound quality though if you want the best sound, you may find the other Bose options that go over the ear to be a better option for you. While you can hear that slight hiss from the ANC, the sound reduction balances it out and really makes it a minimal gripe. These are the earbuds I’d choose if I wanted amazing noise cancellation capabilities over audio quality, a must-have in your travel bag if you’re racking up frequent flier miles.

4. Apple AirPods Pro

Ok, Apple fanatics. These AirPods Pro are for you! With ANC that charges up to 4.5 hours with ANC on and true wireless connectivity via Bluetooth 5.0, any iPhone owner would delight in this selection.

The latest rendition of wireless earbuds from the technological fruit, these feature better nozzles as well as ear tips to give you a better fit and hence, better quality of sound. There’s also an H1 chip that makes for speedy pairing and auto-connect, only operational with iOS.

While the battery life isn’t extensive, 5 hours is quite a lot with ANC engaged, plus you can charge them wirelessly through Qi. That’s a pretty cool feature, but I also like that these are IPX4 sweatproof, so dash off to the gym and get busy with your workout without worrying.

If you like hands-free, you can catch Siri through voice control or use the programmable touch controls on the buds themselves. There are lots of options for easily navigating these earbuds. And if you need to make a call, the built-in mic is clear and reduces background noise for a better conversation with just about anyone (except maybe your boss who wants you to work on Saturday too). These provide great noise cancelling and reduce the sound around you, but they are a bit expensive, especially when you stack them up against high-end ANC options. Others complain that the design isn’t always a superb fit for everyone’s ears.

As for the sound, it’s a bit midrange, so some instruments will stand out more, and it is definitely better than the original AirPods, particularly in the fit. If you’re an Apple enthusiast, you will certainly get much enjoyment out of these though if you’re an audiophile, you may want to take your money and put it into one of the other options known for impeccable sound quality.

5. Master & Dynamic MW07 Plus

Now, onto Master & Dynamic’s MW07 Plus. With a battery life of 10 hours and a range of 100 feet, these are some of the strongest and longest-lasting ANC truly wireless earbuds around. There’s a feed-forward active noise reduction and a larger charging case that can recharge 3 additional times to give you 40 hours of listening time.

Luxury and fashionable, it gets rave reviews for its balanced shape and sound options. It’s more than an upgrade from the brand’s initial attempt at wireless earbuds. It carefully thought about the old flaws and fleshed them out for a worthy contender in the segment. You have enhanced listening performance, better battery life, and a canvas carrying bag that gives you 5 different sizes of silicone ear tips and 3 pairs of fit wings to help secure your assets firmly in place.

Ergonomically, the tapered styles give comfort and lock in place easily. Each earbud has a sensor that can tell when it has been taken out or inserted so it can pause or resume on intuition. You have easy access to call and replay controls through the buttons on your earbud, plus a volume rocker is on the top of the left earbud. On the right side, the multifunction is available to help you navigate, skip songs, or take calls.

The stainless steel charging case is bigger and features magnetic closing functions that stay put and won’t unlock unless you unlock it, keeping these earbuds safe and sound. And speaking of sound, the performance is one of warmth with a mild overall tone. The highs are never harsh. In short, if you like both audio and fashion, these stunning earbuds will be well-worth your investment.

6. Sony WF-SP800N

Ok, so I have another Sony option for you, one that is a mid-range choice for wireless earbuds. They’re more affordable than the WF-1000XM3 model as they don’t provide the same level of noise cancellation or sound quality, but the are perfect if you are thinking about buying noise cancelling earbuds for use with your fitness. They have an IP55 water-resistance rating and are among the elite for those that habitually go running or spend hours in the gym to their own soundtrack.

Yes, you get ANC here but in a made-for-sport design. There’s an ear wing that gives you that extra measure of security in knowing you can go full force with your exercise without dropping one. The previous model of the WF-SP700N didn’t fit well into the charging case, which resulted in faulty charging or none at all. This has been corrected in the WF-SP800N to be just like the top tier WF-1000XM3 in that they snap right into place via magnetics, and you know you’re getting them charged.

I’m not going to lie…these are not the earbuds for the best sound quality. It’s not that they’re horrible, not by a mile. But if your primary concern is impeccable sound quality, you should go with something else. These were made for active people that want to work up a sweat to their favorite songs to supercharge workouts. They offer some freedom in customization too, which surely helps, but if you’re looking to get lost in the music, look elsewhere. If you’re looking for the truest workout pal, you can find, this is your jam.

It’s nowhere near WF-1000XM3 in terms of that stellar quality, but durability and battery life make these excellent wireless ANC earbuds that you’ll always want with you when you’re exercising indoors or outdoors.

7. Plantronics BackBeat Go 410

And finally, there’s Plantronics BackBeat Go 410. With 8 hours playtime with ANC on (10 hours with it off), this accurate-response set of earbuds is truly outstanding. The noise cancellation system also features passive components that block surrounding noise. And the bass, oh man, is it great. You get that low-bass and thump in a well-balanced way for your favorite styles of music from hip-hop to EDM or even when you’re quietly watching films without waking roommates or partners as they sleep.

They look nice too with a matte finish and thick ear cup padding. They’re much like the BackBeat Pro 2 and come in a choice of 3 on-trend colors if you’d like to match them to your style. With a lightweight feel, these take the strain off your head and neck through the headband and offer a control scheme that makes life easier.

Cups are a bit touch-sensitive, but the left ear is where you’ll find the music control keys. Different volume settings and Bluetooth buttons, as well as presets make it easy to do what you want to do. You can easily navigate between defaults with simplicity.

And that midrange efficiency is truly marvelous with these in-ear headphones. I’d venture to say it’s almost flawless, and for this reason, these are ideal for audiophiles who want to hear that voice, that instrument, that phenomenal sound like it’s your own private concert.

A long-lasting battery life at 24 hours makes it easy to always find yourself powered up and ready to go. You can even play it continuously for about 3 hours, and it’s really ideal for all genres of music.

One thing to note is that it’s versatile in connectivity so you can connect it with Bluetooth and 2 computers without a fuss. This is ideal when you want to switch from your smartphone and work computer, for example. So, in short, these are what you want when you want to really enjoy music. They’re not in-ear buds though they are wireless, so if you’re looking for something that goes over the ears and gives you that sound that dreams are made of, choose these.

Conclusion

Noise cancelling earbuds can really come in handy when you want to feel alone with your music, have busy commutes by subway or plane, or work in an office setting where you don’t want to be distracted by the hullabaloo surrounding you. Most of them are rather costly, but these are the best performing earbuds in 2020 and will give you something good out of this year.

I did include an over-ear option at the end because not everyone wants earbuds. I’ve also included wired options though, at the end of the day, the tech is there for wireless experiences that deliver on the sound quality you so desire. Which one fits your life? Only you can decide what matters most, but I’m betting you’ll find it right here.

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