Energetic noise cancellation or ANC headphones work by basically producing a mirror picture sound wave in your ear to electronically counteract (or “cancel out”) exterior noise. The know-how works greatest in environments the place there is a sustained din of noise, just like the droning of a jet engine — which is why Bose ANC wi-fi earphones turned a standing image at airports.

The know-how was once restricted to full-size over-ear headphones. However in simply the previous few years, it has been shrunken all the way down to earbud measurement. Sony’s 2018 fashions, the WF-SP700N and WF-1000X, have been the trailblazers, however Apple’s AirPods Professional have taken noise-canceling earbuds mainstream. To that finish, we have rounded up the very best true wi-fi earbuds with lively noise cancellation, all of which I’ve personally used. As extra opponents maintain coming after Apple, we’ll see many extra fashions hit the market, and we’ll replace this record accordingly. 

On the lookout for ANC headphones in all kinds, together with on-ear headphones or over-ear headphones? Take a look at the greatest noise-canceling headphones of 2021. Maintain studying right here to search out out which fashions I take into account to be the very best noise-canceling wi-fi earbuds.


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Bose QuietComfort Earbuds: Best noise canceling



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It took Bose quite a while to get them into stores, but the new $279 noise-canceling QuietComfort Earbuds are finally here. In many ways, they’re excellent true wireless earbuds, particularly when it comes to their sound and noise canceling, which is arguably the best out there right now in a set of earbuds. Performance-wise, they clearly have a leg up on Apple’s best-selling AirPods Pro true wireless noise-canceling buds. However, the AirPods Pro’s smaller design, somewhat more comfortable fit and superior voice-calling capabilities make it hard to declare the Bose the straight-up champ. Ultimately, it depends on what your priorities are.

Read our Bose QuietComfort Earbuds review.

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The second-gen Momentum True Wireless 2 pair of headphones, available now, aren’t cheap at $300, but they’re better all around than the originals. These wireless headphones come with a slightly smaller, more comfortable design, active noise cancellation rivaling that of the AirPods Pro, improved battery life (up to 7 hours versus the originals’ 4) and better noise reduction and ambient noise blocking during calls. And if you don’t like them in black, a white version is available as well. Most importantly, though, the Momentum True Wireless 2 have the same stellar sound — for true wireless earbuds, anyway — clearly superior in sound quality to the AirPods Pro. That makes them arguably the best true wireless earbuds on the market today and earns them a CNET Editors’ Choice Award.

These use Bluetooth 5.1 with support for the AAC and AptX codecs (for devices that have AptX like Samsung’s Galaxy phones).

Read our Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 review.

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The Mpow X3 earbuds play loud and sound shockingly good for their low price of $52 (currently, there’s an instant 20% off coupon on Amazon), with good clarity, powerful bass and active noise canceling that’s fairly effective.

Mpow seems to be regularly tweaking its earphones, and the X3 model was briefly taken off Amazon for an update: “The new version upgraded the volume control [and] optimized its lively noise-canceling operate and name impact,” the corporate instructed me. “It additionally added the supersoft ear caps, which [are] extra comfy to put on for a very long time.”

They did match me comfortably and securely and I acquired a good seal from the XL ear suggestions. They’re absolutely waterproof (IPX7) and stand up to 7 hours of battery life at reasonable quantity ranges with USB-C charging, in a charging case that appears like a fats model of the usual AirPods case. Name high quality is nice — they’ve a sidetone characteristic that permits you to hear your voice within the ‘buds — however I’ve used different fashions with higher noise discount throughout calls. I seen a contact of audio lag when streaming a YouTube video however I had no points when streaming iTunes motion pictures.

The contact controls are somewhat wonky and take some getting used to, and it did not assist that the directions within the field appeared to be for the previous X3 (I discovered the present directions on-line, which helped me determine issues out). However apart a number of minor downsides, the X3 is a superb worth.

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Even when they do not sound as magical as you’d hope a $249 mannequin would, the AirPods Professional nonetheless manages to be an awesome pair of true wi-fi noise-canceling earphones. That is largely as a consequence of their successful design and ear match, improved bass efficiency, efficient noise cancellation and wonderful name high quality. Yeah, these high-quality headphones are costly, however the excellent news is you may use them on a regular basis. It’s value noting that you’re going to most likely put on the battery down — it does degrade over time and is not replaceable — and have to purchase a brand new pair of earbuds in 18 to 24 months, if you happen to do not lose these first. Regardless, man, will you look good when listening to your music.

Learn our Apple AirPods Professional assessment.

Whereas the Elite 75t has been out some time, it is nonetheless the most effective true wi-fi earbuds on the market and just lately added noise canceling by way of a firmware improve. Earlier firmware updates improved voice-calling efficiency. 

The Elite 75t aren’t fairly as comfy to put on because the AirPods Professional, however they do sound higher, with clearer general sound and higher bass audio high quality definition, as long as you get a good seal.

The marginally extra rugged Elite Energetic 75t can be out there for about $20 extra, however with the brand new Elite 85t’s arrival we’re see some gross sales on the Elite 75t. 

Learn our Jabra Elite 75t assessment.

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I had Edifier’s TWS NB2 ($100) on this record after which the very similar-looking Earfun Air Professional got here alongside. No, it is not precisely the identical because the TWS NB2, which has a companion app, a “low-latency” gaming mode and a nicer textured end on its case. Nevertheless it’s very shut and prices an excellent deal much less whenever you think about additional reductions.

As I mentioned concerning the Edifier, the Earfun Air distinguishes itself with a cushty match, first rate noise-canceling (although not nice) and properly balanced sound with good readability and well-defined bass. They’re smooth-sounding earbuds.

Voice calling can be above common — noise discount outdoor was first rate and callers mentioned they’d no hassle listening to me (there is a mild sidetone characteristic that means that you can hear your voice within the buds as you discuss). Battery life is rated at up 7 hours with noise canceling on and these have a IPX5 ranking, which implies they’re splashproof and are high-quality for figuring out (I ran with them). The Edifier buds are listed as having an IPX54 ranking.

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Sony’s WF-1000XM3 earbuds have been out for some time and are most likely due for an improve within the not-so-distant future. In latest months, we have seen them discounted by $50 off their record value they usually stay a strong choose at that value. So far as sound high quality goes, they’re among the many best-sounding wi-fi earbuds and likewise characteristic wonderful noise-cancellation know-how to cut back ambient noise.

The one disadvantage is the WF-1000XM3 earbuds aren’t rated as sweat-proof or waterproof headphones. That mentioned, I’ve used them for mild exercises with a little bit of a sweat on the fitness center with out a downside. They use Bluetooth 5.zero with help for AAC however not aptX.

Learn our Sony WF-1000XM3 assessment.

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Sony’s WF-1000XM3 mannequin is taken into account the most effective units of true wi-fi noise-canceling earbuds. However to the dismay of some individuals, it lacks any form of water resistance, making it unsuitable for sports activities. It took some time, however now we lastly have a brand new true wi-fi noise-canceling sports activities mannequin from Sony: the WF-SP800N.

This is not fairly the WF-1000XM3 with a waterproof physique. It is lacking Sony’s QN1e processor, however there’s nonetheless lots to love about it, together with superb sound, strong noise cancellation and good name high quality. It is undoubtedly a pleasant improve over the WF-SP700N, which got here out in 2018, and its “arcs” (sports activities fins) lock the buds in your ears. Simply ensure you get a good seal from one of many included ear suggestions or else each the sound and noise canceling will likely be lackluster.

Learn our Sony WF-SP800N assessment.

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I am unable to keep in mind the final time I reviewed a Technics product — it has been that a few years — however the venerable audio model, which Panasonic introduced out of retirement in 2014, seems on the corporate’s line-topping noise-canceling earbuds. The Technics EAH-AZ70W earbuds’ record value of $250 places them squarely up towards Apple’s AirPods Professional ($250), Sony’s WF-1000XM3 ($230) and Sennheiser’s Momentum True Wi-fi 2 ($300). Whereas they’re somewhat massive, they stack up nicely towards that stiff competitors, with spectacular sound and noise cancellation.

Learn our Technics EAH-AZ70W assessment.

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WaterproofNo (Whereas a PR rep says they need to be high-quality for mild exercises, 1More hasn’t supplied a water resistance ranking but)

The primary technology mannequin of this headphone made the record, however the brand new upgraded model is THX-certified and has some tweaks, together with improved drivers and extra refined tuning. It already sounded good, now it sounds wonderful.

The earbuds match comfortably and securely in my ears (although they do stick out a bit), so I used to be in a position to get a good seal, which is essential for sound high quality and noise cancellation. The one important disadvantage is that they don’t have any water-resistance ranking, however they need to be OK for mild exercises. 

This mannequin has a bodily management button in addition to contact controls. Utilizing the contact controls you possibly can toggle between three modes: no noise cancellation, a pass-through “transparency” mode that lets ambient noise in, and lively noise cancellation. The noise-cancelling mode is efficient and I believed the voice-calling capabilities have been first rate, with strong noise discount once I hit the streets of New York. 

The earlier model had a little bit of treble push, however this up to date model sounds fuller and richer, with extra balanced, cleaner sound that is fairly dynamic (there’s AptX help for units like Samsung Galaxy telephones that help AptX). Battery life is rated at 5 hours with noise cancellation on and 6 with it off. There is a quick-charge characteristic that offers you 2 hours of use from a 15-minute cost. The USB-C-equipped charging case additionally expenses wirelessly. 

Sarah Tew/CNET

The Grasp & Dynamic MW07 Plus is the second technology of the corporate’s MW07 earbuds. They characteristic drastically elevated battery life (10 hours versus 3.5 hours), Bluetooth 5.zero and lively noise cancellation with two microphones on every ‘bud, although the noise isolation is pretty mild, not as sturdy because the Sony WF-1000XM3 earbuds’ noise-isolating characteristic. They could not match everybody’s ears equally nicely, however they actually have a definite look, in addition to superb audio and an awesome listening expertise if you may get a good seal. These in-ear headphones are recognized for extra of an audiophile sound profile, with {smooth}, well-balanced audio and well-defined bass, and the MW07 Plus mannequin delivers that sort of high-res audio.

Accessible in seven coloration choices for $199, these wi-fi earbuds embody a swanky chrome charging case that comes with a secondary pouch for safekeeping (sure, the case can get scratched up if you happen to depart it in a bag). The case, which has a built-in battery that expenses by way of USB-C, offers you an extra three expenses. These have help for AAC and AptX and have an prolonged vary of greater than 20 meters, in keeping with Grasp & Dynamic.

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