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Best Noise Cancelling Earbuds (2023): Which ANC Earbuds Should You Buy?

In today’s fast-paced world, we’re constantly bombarded with noise – whether it’s the hustle and bustle of the city or the distracting sounds of a busy office. For those who want to escape the noise and immerse themselves in their music, podcasts or audiobooks, noise cancelling earbuds are a game-changer. The latest noise cancelling earbuds use cutting-edge technology to block out background noise, giving you a truly immersive audio experience. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at the best noise cancelling earbuds on the market and help you find the perfect pair to meet your needs.

Best Noise Cancelling Earbuds Comparison Chart

ModelPriceCategory
Bose QuietComfort Earbuds IICheck PriceBest active noise cancelling earbuds
Apple AirPods ProCheck PriceBest noise cancelling earbuds for iPhone users
Google Pixel Buds ProCheck PriceBest noise cancelling earbuds for Android users
AKG N400Check PriceBest sounding noise cancelling earbuds
Soundcore by Anker Space A40Check PriceBest noise cancelling earbuds under $100

Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II

Best active noise cancelling earbuds

best noise cancelling earbuds bose quietcomfort earbuds ii
The more compact design of the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II

Our pick for the best overall ANC earbuds are the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II. The earbuds feature an improved design compared to their predecessor, the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds Truly Wireless. This new iteration have a more compact form factor that fit comfortably in the ear. Here’s our comparison of the previous gen Bose QuietComfort Earbuds vs the QuietComfort Earbuds II. The earbuds also come with multiple ear tips to ensure a secure fit and provide a more reliable level of ANC.

The Bose QC Earbuds II’s ANC performance is unrivaled. They excel at blocking out low-frequency sounds like airplane engines, train noise, or busy traffic, allowing the user to enjoy their music or podcast without any unwanted interruptions. The earbuds’ ANC is adjustable, with various levels of noise cancelling that can be customized to suit the user’s environment. With the ANC turned on, the earbuds can last up to six hours of continuous playtime, and the charging case provides a couple more extra charges.

In terms of sound quality, the Bose QC Earbuds II are considered fairly neutral with a bit of boost in the treble and bass frequencies. The earbuds also have a wide soundstage, making it easy to distinguish individual instruments and vocals. The companion app allows users to customize the sound profile, with graphic equalizers and presets that cater to different listening preferences.

Apple AirPods Pro

Best noise cancelling earbuds for iPhone users

best noise cancelling earbuds apple airpods pro
The Apple AirPod Pro earbuds, along with the case, are small, lightweight and easily pocketable.

For iPhone users, the best noise cancelling earbuds are the Apple AirPods Pro since they are designed pretty much for Apple devices. The earbuds feature a streamlined and compact design that fits comfortably in your ears. The ear tips come in three different sizes, allowing you to find the perfect fit for your ears. The AirPods Pro also feature a pressure-relieving system that reduces discomfort and ensures extended periods of use are comfortable

Going toe-to-toe with the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II, the AirPods Pro’s active noise cancelling feature is exceptional. They come with microphones that cancel out external noise, while the ear tips form a secure seal to prevent sound leakage. The ANC feature is easy to switch on or off using the touch controls on the earbuds. In addition, the earbuds feature a transparency mode that allows the user to hear external noise while enjoying their music. This makes them perfect for use in busy environments or when you need to be aware of your surroundings.

This pair of earbuds also excel when it comes to taking and making calls. Because of that, they are also our pick for the best noise cancelling earbuds for calls. As for sound quality, they have a well-balanced sound profile that can be considered neutral. The earbuds feature adaptive EQ that adjusts the sound based on the shape of the user’s ear, ensuring that the sound quality is optimized for every individual. The bass is punchy, without overpowering the rest of the sound profile, and the midrange and treble are clear and detailed. In addition, the AirPods Pro also support spatial audio for movie watching and gaming.

Google Pixel Buds Pro

Best noise cancelling earbuds for Android users

best noise cancelling earbuds google pixel buds pro
The Google Pixel Buds Pro have a battery life of up to 11 hours, with the case giving a couple more extra charges.

The Pixel Buds Pro’s active noise cancelling feature is excellent. The earbuds also feature an adaptive sound feature that adjusts the sound quality based on the user’s environment. This ensures that the user gets the best audio experience possible. In addition to that, they also have an attention-aware feature that automatically lowers the volume when the user speaks.

The Google Pixel Buds Pro is our pick for the best noise cancelling earbuds for Android users because they integrate seamlessly with the OS. Users can easily access the Google Assistant by saying “Hey Google,” and the earbuds respond immediately. The earbuds also feature a real-time translation feature that allows users to have conversations in different languages with ease. Furthermore, they also come with a companion app that allows users to customize the earbuds’ touch controls, adjust the ANC levels, and more.

As for sound quality, they have a consumer friendly sound. The earbuds feature a powerful bass that’s well-suited to hip hop and electronic music, and the treble is elevated to bring out the details in music. That said, it can be a bit fatiguing to listen to them if you’re not used to a V-shaped sound profile. Fortunately, you can adjust the sound via the graphic EQ and presets in the app.

AKG N400

Best sounding noise cancelling earbuds

best noise cancelling earbuds akg n400
If you value sound quality over ANC and other features, the AKG N400 earbuds are the best in the market.

Sound quality is the main reason why the AKG N400 is on this list. They are tuned to the Harman Target to provide an optimal listening experience for a wide range of audio content. The Harman Target is a sound profile that ensures that the audio is reproduced with high-fidelity, and the sound is well-balanced and clear.

The AKG N400 also comes with other features that contribute to its excellent sound quality. For instance, it has 8.2mm dynamic drivers, which deliver deep bass and clear treble. The earbuds also have a frequency response range of 10Hz-20kHz, which is more than enough to cover the entire human hearing range.

Although the ANC of the AKG N400 is not the best in the market, it is still decent. The ANC is not as effective in canceling out high-frequency sounds like voices, but it still does a good job in reducing them to a manageable level. They are effective in reducing low-frequency sounds like the rumble of an airplane or a train. Overall, the AKG N400 earbuds offer an exceptional listening experience, and they are an excellent choice for anyone who values sound quality above everything else.

Soundcore by Anker Space A40

Best noise cancelling earbuds under $100

best noise cancelling earbuds soundcore by anker space a40
The Soundcore by Anker Space A40 offer excellent noise cancelling for the price.

For those on a budget, the Soundcore by Anker Space A40 earbuds are worth considering. They are our pick for the best budget noise cancelling earbuds because of how feature-packed they are for the price, and also they have excellent noise cancelling performance that can rival expensive earbuds.

The adaptive ANC of the Space 40 is very effective in reducing low frequency noise, and it’s decent when it comes to high-pitched sounds such as chatter in the office. In addition to their excellent ANC performance, they also support various hi-res codecs such as LDAC for you to enjoy high quality wireless listening.

As for sound quality, the sound profile has an emphasis on the low frequency, which is expected since most of Anker’s earbuds have that bass-heavy sound. That said, the bass is not too overpowering and you can still hear details across the range. If you don’t like how they sound, you can play with the EQ settings in the app.

Verdict

These are our picks for the best ANC earbuds.

Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II

Best active noise cancelling earbuds

AKG N400

Best sounding noise cancelling earbuds

When it comes to the best ANC earbuds, the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II and AKG N400 stand out. The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II offer the best overall performance, with industry-leading ANC, comfortable fit, and user-friendly controls. Meanwhile, for audiophiles who prioritize sound quality above everything else, the AKG N400 is the way to go. With their Harman tuning, the AKG N400 offer a truly premium listening experience. Whether you go for the Bose or the AKG, you can be sure that you are getting a top-of-the-line pair of earbuds that will deliver an exceptional listening experience.

For Apple users, the AirPods Pro are the obvious best while for Android users, the Google Pixel Buds Pro offers seamless integration with the OS. If you are on a budget, the Soundcore by Anker Space A40 should be on your shortlist as they have excellent ANC performance for the price.

FAQs

๐Ÿ“Œ Which pair of earbuds has best noise cancellation?

The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II offer the best active noise cancellation, with the Sony WF-1000XM4 and AirPods Pro not far behind.

๐Ÿ“Œ Is it worth getting noise cancelling earbuds?

Yes, especially if you want to protect your hearing or if you want to reduce distraction caused by a noisy environment.

๐Ÿ“Œ What are the best noise cancelling earbuds for sleeping?

The ones that fit your ear comfortably are the best noise cancelling earbuds for sleeping.

๐Ÿ“Œ Are the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II waterproof?

They have an IPX4 rating. They are water-resistant, but not waterproof.

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Carlo Salvador

Senior Editor at Compare Before Buying. Writer and researcher passionate about fitness, gaming and music.