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Top 10 Best Noise-canceling Wireless Earbuds and In-ear Headphones Reviews and buyers guide

Noise-canceling wireless earbuds and in-ear headphones are significantly more compact and easier to carry for everyday use than their over-ear and on-ear counterparts. They are more breathable and have a more secure fit, which also makes them more suitable for blocking out ambient noise while running and working out.

Moreover, their passive noise isolation is usually better, with their earbud or in-ear design providing a tight seal, making them useful even when the active noise cancellation (ANC) is disabled. If you are in the market for the best noise-canceling wireless earbuds and in-ear headphones – whether for commuting, travel, office use, or sports use – the following products are the best options.

Table of Contents

Top List

  • Best Truly Wireless Earbuds: Sony WF-1000XM3
  • Best Earbuds for iOS: Apple AirPods Pro
  • Best Earbuds Under $200: Amazon Echo Buds
  • Best Neckband Headphones: Bose QuietControl 30
  • Best for Sports: Sony WI-SP600N
  • Best Cheap Headphones: TaoTronics TT-BH042

 

1: Best Truly Wireless Earbuds: Sony WF-1000XM3

Sony WF-1000XM3

If you want noise-canceling headphones in a truly wireless format, the two best options currently out are the Sony WF-1000XM3 and the Apple AirPods Pro. Both sell for more than $200 and have their own strengths and weaknesses. If you are not using an iOS device, the Sony WF-1000XM3 are the better option overall. Their single-charge battery life, app support, and sound quality are all better than the slightly more expensive Apple AirPods Pro.

The Sony WF-1000XM3 are well-crafted truly wireless headphones with a typical in-ear fit. While they are a bit bulky, they are lightweight and comfortable to use. Their overall build quality is good and feels premium. The same thing goes for the included charging case, which holds additional charges for extended playback. There are different sizes of silicone and foam ear tips included in the box, allowing you to choose the most comfortable fit for your ears.

Due to their extremely compact design, the Sony WF-1000XM3 are much more portable than regular over-ear and on-ear headphones and are easy to carry in your pocket. They are not as sweat-resistant as some sports-oriented models, though, but this shouldn’t be an issue for casual everyday use, especially if you are mostly going to use them at the office.

For controls, the Sony WF-1000XM3 feature a responsive and user-friendly touch control scheme on both earbuds. Using the touch controls, you can easily manage your calls and music and activate your voice assistant while on the move. Similar to the Sony WH-1000XM3, you can quickly turn down the volume and disable the ANC by covering the left earbud’s touch surface This allows you to monitor your surroundings or listen to a conversation without taking the earbuds out of your ears.

As mentioned, the charging case’s build quality is just as good as that of the earbuds. It is sturdy and protects the earbuds from scratches when not in use. It is similarly compact and easy to carry for everyday use, but compared to the Apple AirPods Pro’s case, the Sony WF-1000XM3’s case takes up more space. The case connects using a USB-C charging cable.

The Sony WF-1000XM3 are good-sounding truly wireless headphones, which is notable considering similarly designed headphones are not particularly known for their sound quality. You can modify the sound profile using the dedicated companion app, which also offers plenty of other customization options. Compared to Apple’s new AirPods Pro, these Sony headphones are more customizable, which is a big plus for many people.

On the other hand, the Sony WF-1000XM3 are inferior to the Apple AirPods Pro regarding noise isolation performance. Still, they block a decent amount of background noise and are suitable for commuting, travel, and office use. And with their minimal sound leakage, you can turn up the music volume to further mask ambient noise without disturbing people around you.

With their six-hour battery life per charge, the Sony WF-1000XM3 can last through a typical commute for most people. But for long road trips and extended hours at the office, you’ll need to pop them into the case for a recharge at least once. The case holds three additional charges, which translates to a total battery life of 24 hours. The earbuds charge fast, with 10 minutes of charging already providing 90 minutes of playback.

Overall, the Sony WF-1000XM3 are versatile truly wireless noise-canceling headphones that are suitable for everyday use. Their build quality, sound quality, touch controls, app support, and charging case are all good, while their battery life per charge and mic performance are both decent. They are the best among Sony’s current lineup of truly wireless headphones.

2: Best Earbuds for iOS: Apple AirPods Pro

Apple AirPods Pro

If you are using an Apple device and prefer to stay within the Apple ecosystem, the Apple AirPods Pro are a better option than the Sony WF-1000XM3. They are more versatile than the AirPods 2, with their ANC technology making them suitable for both indoor and outdoor use. Their $249 pricing is not the most wallet-friendly, though, but that’s not surprising for an Apple product.

At first glance, the Apple AirPods Pro look similar to the AirPods 2, especially with the familiar stem extending out from the earbuds, but their overall design is different. Unlike the AirPods 2, they are closed-back headphones with a typical in-ear fit. You can change the ear tips, with the option to choose between three sizes, which contrasts with the universal fit of the AirPods 2.

The Apple AirPods Pro are well-built truly wireless headphones featuring soft silicone ear tips and an IPX4 rating for sweat protection. They are extremely compact, which makes them easy to carry with or without the charging case. Although they lack ear hooks and stability fins, they are very stable, staying securely in your ears even when doing physical activities. This makes them suitable for running and working out, especially considering their supremely breathable design.

With the force sensor on each earbud, managing your calls and music is easy. You can use the earbud controls to pause/play music, skip tracks, and answer calls. Activating Siri and disabling the ANC feature are also possible through the earbud controls. While not as generous in functions as with other truly wireless headphones, the control scheme is responsive, effective, and easy to use.

The included charging case looks just as premium as the earbuds themselves. It is more compact than the charging docks of most truly wireless headphones, measuring around 2.4 inches wide, 1.8 inches tall, and 0.9 inches thin. It supports Qi wireless charging and holds additional charges for extended playback, with the latter being the more important considering the Apple AirPods Pro’s single-charge battery life is rather short.

Unsurprisingly, the Apple AirPods Pro can seamlessly pair with Apple devices. However, they don’t have a dedicated companion app for customization. Their app support is significantly inferior compared with many other truly wireless headphones – including the Sony WF-1000XM3, the Jaybird Vista, and the Jabra Elite 65t. If you want more customizable headphones, there are far better options on the market, especially if you are using an Android device.

Compared to the Sony WF-1000XM3, the Apple AirPods Pro have much better noise isolation. Their in-ear design provides an effective seal for passive noise isolation, while their actual ANC feature is excellent at blocking out ambient noise in loud environments like public transport hubs and noisy offices. They are some of the best noise-canceling headphones currently out, capable of going toe to toe with some of Bose’s best noise-canceling headphones.

Whether you are commuting, traveling, or working out in a lively gym, you can count on the Apple AirPods Pro to block out unwanted noise. Their single-charge battery life with ANC enabled is rather short, though. They can run up to four hours and 30 minutes with both ANC enabled and the volume set to 50 percent, and up to five hours with ANC disabled. On the bright side, you get more than 24 hours of total battery life with the charging case.

On the whole, the Apple AirPods Pro are well-designed in-ear headphones that are suitable for different usages. Their build quality, stability, total battery life, noise isolation performance, and wireless range are all great, while their sound quality and controls are both decent. Although they are flawed in some areas, they are the best truly wireless noise-canceling headphones for Apple devices.

3: Best Earbuds Under $200: Amazon Echo Buds

Amazon Echo Buds

Selling for around $130, the Amazon Echo Buds are some of the more affordable noise-canceling headphones on the market. Like the Sony and Apple headphones above, they are completely wireless in-ear headphones that are suitable for different usages. Their overall build quality and performance are both good, making them a solid contender in the truly wireless category.

The Amazon Echo Buds are IPX4-rated headphones with closed-back earbuds featuring customizable touch controls on the backplates. They are lightweight, compact, and breathable and include stability fins for a more secure fit. There are different sizes of ear tips and stability fins in the box, allowing you to mix and match units for the best fit for your ears.

With their good sweat resistance and stable design, the Amazon Echo Buds are good for running and training both indoors and outdoors. Their totally wireless design means there are no cables that might get caught into something while working out. The included hard case, which serves as a secure container and charging dock, is compact and easy to store in your gym bag or waist pack.

The Amazon Echo Buds have a decent control scheme that is responsive and easy to use. Both earbuds include a glossy touch surface that allows you to manage your calls and music, activate your voice assistant, and switch between ANC and talk-through modes. Additionally, the earbuds automatically pause the music playback if you remove them from your ears. You can’t adjust the volume through the earbud controls, though, which can be inconvenient sometimes.

Capable of operating up to five hours per charge, with additional charges in the case, the Amazon Echo Buds are decent-sounding in-ear headphones with a balanced audio reproduction. They are suitable for different music genres, but they are not going to impress serious audiophiles. Unlike the Apple AirPods Pro, they are supported by a dedicated app that allows for a decent amount of customization, including options to tweak the sound profile and modify the earbud controls.

Equipped with Bose’s proprietary ANC technology, the Amazon Echo Buds are great at blocking out background noise in loud environments. Even with ANC disabled, they still block a good amount of ambient noise due to their excellent passive seal. The sound leakage is also minimal even at higher volumes, allowing you to turn up the music volume to further mask background noise without disturbing people around you.

For a company not exactly known for noise-canceling headphones, Amazon did an impressive job with the Amazon Echo Buds. The headphones are either decent or good in many aspects – including build quality, sound quality, noise isolation, app support, and battery life. They are suitable for all-around use and offer good value for the money.

4: Best Neckband Headphones: Bose QuietControl 30

Bose QuietControl 30

Totally wireless headphones are extremely portable and convenient to use every day. But they usually have a short battery life per charge and are more prone to being lost due to their small size and cable-free design. If you prefer wireless earbuds or in-ear headphones that last longer per charge and are not as easy to lose or misplace, check out the Bose QuietControl 30.

Unlike the previous three products in this guide, they are wireless neckband headphones, which means they are not completely cable-free. They are lightweight headphones with a comfortable earbud design, a sturdy neckband, and an easily accessible inline remote. Their closed-back earbuds feature silicone ear tips with stability fins for a more secure fit, while their all-black color scheme allows for a more low-profile look suitable for casual everyday use.

Although they are not as compact and portable as truly wireless headphones, the Bose QuietControl 30 are still more portable than regular over-ear and on-ear headphones. You don’t necessarily need to carry the included travel case for everyday use. You can simply wear the neckband and let the earbuds hang around your neck when you are not using them, which makes it easier to access them again if needed.

The Bose QuietControl 30 are suitable for sports due to their breathable and stable design, with their “StayHear+” ear tips allowing for a more secure fit. However, their sweat resistance is not as good as that of more sports-oriented headphones. In addition, their neckband design is not for everyone and can be cumbersome for some workouts.

For controls, there is a small inline remote integrated into the right earbud’s cable. You can use the remote’s main buttons for call and music management and volume adjustment. There are also smaller buttons on the remote’s side that are used for adjusting the ANC level, which is convenient. Overall, the inline controls are well implemented and easy to use despite the rather stiff buttons.

Featuring NFC technology for faster pairing, the Bose QuietControl 30 are decent-sounding neckband headphones that are suitable for listening to music, audiobooks, and podcasts. They have a solid 10-hour battery life, which allows them to last through a typical workday on a single charge. Compared to most truly wireless headphones, they are much more suitable for continuous use during long flights and road trips.

The Bose QuietControl 30’s noise isolation performance is great. Their passive ear seal and ANC technology allow them to block a good amount of ambient noise in loud environments. Their sound leakage is also minimal at higher volumes, which is beneficial for people around you, especially in the office. You can easily adjust the ANC level based on your current location, as some situations require you to have some level of awareness.

While they are very expensive, the Bose QuietControl 30 are the best headphones if you prefer to use noise-canceling headphones with a neckband design. Their noise isolation performance is one of the best among neckband headphones, while their overall build quality is good. There are three different pairs of ear tips included in the box, along with a hard case and a USB charging cable.

5: Best for Sports: Sony WI-SP600N

Sony WI-SP600N

The Sony WI-SP600N are noise-canceling headphones designed specifically for sports use. They are wireless headphones with a behind-the-neck cable and a typical in-ear fit. They are available in different colors, including yellow and pink. While they normally sell for around $150, their price often drops to under $100, which makes them a good option if you have a tight budget.

Equipped with stability fins for a more secure fit, the Sony WI-SP600N are IPX4-rated headphones with closed-back earbuds and an inline remote. Their cable and earbuds are durable, while their inline remote doesn’t feel cheaply built. With their breathable design, they are comfortable to use for long hours at the gym. There are four pairs of ear tips and two pairs of stability fins included in the box, allowing you to experiment with different units to get the best fit.

The Sony WI-SP600N are great for running and working out, whether indoors or outdoors. Their sweat resistant is good while their adjustable fins increase their stability, which is especially beneficial during more intense workouts. They are compact and portable, but they don’t come with a carrying case, which is disappointing for headphones normally selling for around $150.

While the inline remote is bulkier than usual, it’s easy to use and offers the essential functions, with the buttons offering good tactile feedback. You can manage your calls and music using the multi-function button and adjust the volume using the small volume rocker. Moreover, there are separate buttons for switching between ambient and ANC modes and for the power and Bluetooth pairing.

With the separate ANC/ambient mode button, you can easily adjust the headphones depending on your current situation. You can either engage ANC mode to block out noise when working out in a crowded gym or switch to the ambient mode for better situational awareness when running outdoors.

The Sony WI-SP600N are fairly decent-sounding in-ear headphones, but their bass-heavy sound is not for everyone. They support NFC for faster pairing and have a companion app for customization, which is a common perk among Sony headphones. Their battery life is around six hours per charge with ANC turned on, which should be good enough for a couple of trips to the gym for most people. There are other similarly designed sports headphones with better battery life, but most of them are just regular headphones with no ANC.

Even when ANC is disabled, the Sony WI-SP600N block a good amount of background noise, with their closed-back earbuds providing an effective seal for passive noise isolation. Their sound isolation works both ways; in addition to their good noise isolation, their sound leakage is also minimal even at higher volumes. You can turn up the music volume to further mask ambient noise without disturbing the people around you.

All things considered, the Sony WI-SP600N are some of the best noise-canceling wireless in-ear headphones currently out. While they are made for sports use, they are also decent headphones for commuting and office use due to their compact design, easy controls, convenient wireless connectivity, and good noise isolation performance. This makes them an appealing option for those who are looking for a solid all-rounder for everyday use.

6: Best Cheap Headphones: TaoTronics TT-BH042

TaoTronics TT-BH042

The TaoTronics TT-BH042 are the best option if you are limited to a $50 budget for noise-canceling in-ear headphones. They are some of the most affordable noise-canceling headphones on the market, selling for less than $50. They are best used for reducing ambient noise in coffee shops and busy offices, among other similar locations.

A pair of neckband headphones, the TaoTronics TT-BH042 are decently built budget headphones with an IPX5 rating for water resistance. Their slim neckband is flexible while their earbuds include stability fins for a more secure fit. There are multiple pairs of ear tips and stability fins included in the box, allowing you to mix and match units for the best fit for your ears.

The TaoTronics TT-BH042 are compact and easy to carry for everyday use. Their small earbuds are magnetic. You can snap them together when not in use for better cable management – which is especially useful since the cables connecting to the two earbuds are longer than usual, as seen in some of the product images. On the other hand, the headphones don’t come with a carrying case, which hurts their overall portability.

Like in-ear headphones with a behind-the-neck cable, the TaoTronics TT-BH042 have an inline remote for controls, easily accessible on the right earbud’s cable. The inline remote is straightforward, with not many bells and whistles. You can use it for call and music management and volume adjustment and for enabling or disabling the ANC feature.

The TaoTronics TT-BH042 are surprisingly decent-sounding budget headphones that are suitable for listening to music, audiobooks, and podcasts. They can run up to eight hours on a single charge with ANC enabled and up to 16 hours with ANC disabled. Their eight-hour battery with ANC enabled is one of the better ones among noise-canceling earbuds and in-ear headphones. Unfortunately, their noise isolation performance is mediocre. They are decent enough for office use, but for commuting and flights, they are not recommended.

Due to their breathable and stable design and good sweat resistance, the TaoTronics TT-BH042 are also suitable for sports use. Their magnetic earbuds keep them secure around your neck while you are taking a break. However, their long cable can be annoying sometimes and might get caught into something when you are working out.

While they are not as versatile as our other top picks above, the TaoTronics TT-BH042 are the best option if you have an extremely limited budget for noise-canceling in-ear headphones. Their build quality and sound quality are both decent for budget headphones under $50, while their inline controls are user-friendly. You should keep your expectations at a reasonable level regarding noise isolation performance, though.

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More Options

The following products are also good options if you are looking for the best noise-canceling wireless earbuds and in-ear headphones, whether for sports use, commuting, or office use. Some are good alternatives to our top picks, while others are simply more budget-friendly options.

7: Sony WF-1000X

Sony WF-1000X

The Sony WF-1000X are truly wireless headphones with a comfortable in-ear design and stability fins for a more secure fit. They are premium-looking headphones that feel durable, but they are a bit bulkier than other truly wireless headphones. Their control scheme is decent, with the option to quickly switch to ambient mode, allowing you to strike up a conversation or monitor your surroundings without taking off your headphones.

Suitable for both commuting and office use, the Sony WF-1000X block a decent amount of background noise with their ANC and passive in-ear seal. And since their sound leakage is minimal even at higher volumes, you can turn up the volume to further mask background noise. On the other hand, these Sony headphones have a short three-hour battery life per charge, which means they are not suitable for extended continuous playback. The compact charging case includes additional charges, increasing the total battery life to nine hours.

8: Sony WI-C600N

Sony WI-C600N

If your budget is limited to around $100, the Sony WI-C600N are another pair of noise-canceling headphones that are worth checking out. But unlike the Sony WF-1000X, they are in-ear headphones with a neckband design, which means they are not completely wireless. They come with four different pairs of ear tips to allow you to choose the most comfortable fit for your ears. However, they don’t include a carrying case, which hurts their overall portability.

The Sony WI-C600N are decent-sounding headphones with good noise isolation performance. Their build quality is satisfactory, while their control scheme – which has controls for call and music management, volume, and ANC – is good. The app support is also good, with the option to customize the sound profile. Regarding battery life, these Sony neckband headphones are more suitable for extended usage than the Sony WF-1000X, offering double the battery life per charge.

9: 1More Dual Driver BT ANC (E1004BA)

1More Dual Driver BT ANC (E1004BA)

The 1More Dual Driver BT ANC are wireless headphones with a flexible neckband, a comfortable in-ear fit, and decent noise isolation performance. Their earpieces are magnetic, allowing you to snap them together for better security and better cable management when they are inactive and simply hanging around your neck. Like most other neckband headphones, the controls are on the neckband itself. You can easily manage your calls and music and adjust the volume using the control scheme on the neckband’s left side.

Unlike most neckband headphones, the 1More Dual Driver BT ANC can be used in both wireless mode and wired mode. They connect wirelessly using Bluetooth, with a wireless range of 30 feet, and include an audio cable for switching to a wired connection when the battery is low. And speaking of which, their battery life is seven hours per charge, which is good enough for a typical commute. They also charge fast, with 10 minutes of charging providing three hours of playback.

10: Plantronics BackBeat Go 410

Plantronics BackBeat Go 410

Compact and portable, the Plantronics BackBeat Go 410 are wireless neckband headphones that are easy to carry for daily commute and travel. They have a discreet, low-profile design, featuring small earpieces that don’t protrude too much and a slim neckband. Their controls are integrated into the audio cable itself, instead of on the neckband, with the simple inline remote allowing for easy call and music management while on the move.

The Plantronics BackBeat Go 410 can run up to eight hours with ANC enabled and up to 10 hours with ANC disabled. You can also use them in wired mode using the included USB charging cable that can be converted into an analog audio cable. This makes them suitable noise-canceling headphones for long road trips and flights. When not in use, you can simply snap the two magnetic earpieces together to automatically disable ANC and disconnect from your device, therefore activating the power-saving mode.

11: Sony WF-SP700N

Sony WF-SP700N

Available in five different colors, the Sony WF-SP700N are truly wireless headphones with a typical in-ear design that some might find awkward at first. They are sports-oriented headphones, featuring stability fins for a more secure fit and an IPX4 rating for water resistance. They are suitable for both indoor and outdoor runs or workouts, with their ambient mode allowing for better situational awareness when running outdoors.

While they are bulkier than other truly wireless headphones, the Sony WF-SP700N are lightweight and comfortable to use. There are different ear tips and stability fins included in the box, allowing you to mix and match different units for the best fit for your ears. If you can get a good passive seal with the ear tips, the overall noise isolation is decent. You can also increase the music volume to further reduce background noise, as the headphones have low sound leakage. The battery life is only three hours per charge, though, which is disappointing.

12: Sony WI-1000X

 

Sony WI-1000X

The Sony WI-1000X are premium-looking neckband headphones featuring an in-ear design, a sturdy neckband, and an effective control scheme. They are recommended for commuting, office use, and flights, with their ANC and passive seal blocking a good amount of background noise. They can run up to 10 hours on a single charge while in wireless mode with ANC, which is good enough for a typical workday and daily commute. You can also use the headphones in wired mode with the included audio cable, which is notable for neckband headphones.

Optimized for Google Assistant, the Sony WI-1000X can easily pair with compatible Bluetooth devices and support NFC for faster pairing. Their build quality is good, but their neckband is not as slim and flexible compared with some neckband headphones. They have simple but effective cable management in the form of a thin cable slot running along the neckband. An airplane adapter and a carrying pouch are included in the box, along with different pairs of ear tips.

13: Jabra Elite 65e

Jabra Elite 65e

The Jabra Elite 65e are versatile neckband headphones for different usages. Their good noise isolation, easy controls, and decent eight-hour battery life (with ANC enabled) make them suitable for office use, travel, and commutes. Their mic performance is better than that of most neckband headphones, allowing for better call quality even in a moderately noisy environment. And unlike most non-gaming headphones, these Jabra headphones include a mic mute button, easily accessible on the neckband.

A pair of IP54-rated wireless headphones, the Jabra Elite 65e have a comfortable earbud design with a short stem extending out from each earbud similar to the Apple AirPods Pro. They are well-crafted headphones featuring a flexible and durable neckband. While they are not specifically marketed for sports use, they are also good for training and exercising indoors – their stability fins allow for a more secure fit while their IP54 rating means they are protected against both dust and sweat.

14: Master & Dynamic MW07 Plus

Master & Dynamic MW07 Plus

The Master & Dynamic MW07 Plus are truly wireless headphones with a stylish design, featuring a handcrafted acetate body and a stainless-steel charging case. They have silicone ear tips and stability fins for a more secure fit. There are different ear tip and stability fin sizes included in the box, giving you more freedom to get the right fit for your ears. The included charging case is just as premium-looking as the earbuds themselves and holds additional charges for extended playback.

With their 10-hour battery life per charge, the Master & Dynamic MW07 Plus are more suitable for long listening sessions than most truly wireless headphones. Their 10-hour battery should be good enough for a typical workday and longer commutes. You get three additional charges in the charging case, which translates to a total battery life of 40 hours.

15: Bose Hearphones

Bose Hearphones

The Bose Hearphones are wireless neckband headphones that are similar to the Bose QuietControl 30 in terms of design and build quality. They are unique among the best noise-canceling wireless earbuds and in-ear headphones listed in this guide. You can use them to either block out ambient noise or hear better in loud environments with their conversation-enhancing feature. Their convenient inline remote includes buttons for the noise cancellation, along with the usual call and music management controls.

Featuring NFC technology for faster pairing, the Bose Hearphones are lightweight and compact and include a hard case, which adds to their overall portability. Their discreet all-black design is suitable for casual everyday use, while their stability fins make for a more secure fit. They have an excellent wireless range and can run up to 10 hours on a single charge. Unfortunately, these Bose conversation-enhancing and noise-canceling headphones are some of the most expensive neckband headphones, normally selling for around $400-500.

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The post The 15 Best Noise-canceling Wireless Earbuds and In-ear Headphones appeared first on Improb.

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