The noise of everyday life can really take a toll on you, traffic, sirens, voices, construction, it can all be almost overwhelming at some point. Whats even worse is that we've come to accept this as normal, that we have to deal with these distractions everyday. That's where noise canceling earbuds come in, they allow for a discrete way to drown out the hustle and bustle of everyday life and leave you alone with just you and you're music.
For that reason, I've created a list of the best noise canceling earbuds of 2018 so you can pick a pair of earbuds that best fits your lifestyle whether it be for travel, the gym or everyday life, you'll be surprised at just how big of a difference a good pair of noise cancelling earbuds can make.
Below is our list of the best noise canceling earbuds of 2018, we've included a wide range of earbuds both in a price range and features so you're sure to find a model that meets your lifestyle perfectly.
If you're new to noise canceling earbuds you may want to check our buyers guide at the bottom of the page before making a purchase so you know exactly what to look for.
Best Noise Cancelling Earbuds
Bose QuietComfort (QC20)
Active Noise Cancellation
Phiaton BT 220 NC
Active Noise Cancellation
Active Noise Cancellation
Active Noise Cancellation
Bragi The Dash Pro
Active Noise Cancellation
Active Noise Cancellation
Active Noise Cancellation
Active Noise Cancellation
1. Bose QuietComfort (QC20) - Best Overall Noise Cancelling Earbuds
Surprise surprise the best noise canceling earbuds on the market are produced by, you guessed it, Bose. Bose is renown for their excellent audio and noise-canceling technology and the brand truly displays it with the Quiet Comfort QC20.
The Bose Quiet Comfort QC20 hits every check mark for a perfect pair of noise-canceling earbuds, they're comfortable, canceling out nearly all background noise, and have great audio quality. In this review well be taking a look at the specifics of these earbuds, and seeing if they're worth the hefty price tag.
Superior Noise Cancelling
When it comes to noise canceling the Bose Quiet Comfort QC20 sets the bar high, no other earbuds on the market are able to drown out background noise quite like these. When the noise cancellation feature activated you're immediately sent into your own little oasis consisting of only you and your music. Background noise such as traffic, voices and the sound of everyday life is close to nonexistent.
Bose is able to achieve this level of noise cancellation through a system active noise cancellation. The system works by picking up on external audio through individual microphones on each earbud, the microphones then respond with a corresponding audio frequency that works to cancel out external noise. This method of noise cancellation is used by almost all other earbuds on our list however Bose is far ahead of the competition. Let's take a look at some of the main highlights of the noise cancellation on these earbuds.
Our single complaint with the noise cancellation system is there's no auto power off feature. This led to many cases of me forgetting I had the feature activated and leaving it on, only to find it out of battery for my next use.
Comfort is a huge component when choosing a pair of earbuds, nobody wants to end up having to return a pair of earbuds because they don't fit right. Fortunately, the Bose Quiet Comfort come included with a variety of earbud tips that fit almost any ear shape, although the standard size worked great for me I still liked that I had the option to experiment with the different sizes and compare the comfort and noise cancellation.
Apart from the ear tip sizes, the headphones themselves are very lightweight so there's never any feeling of weight on your ear like some other models on the market. The lightweight design also means listening fatigue from long periods of use is not at all a problem.
Excellent Sound Quality
Audio quality on the Bose Quiet comfort QC20 sounds phenomenal. Bose does a great job of producing audio that feels very balanced and detailed no matter the type of audio you're listening to. The main thing I noticed was the amount of detail the audio had, this really stood out in audio with strong vocals. The Mids and high ranges also sounded clear and soft, while the earbuds provided plenty of bass to match.
The Bose Quiet Comfort is hands down the best choice for noise canceling earbuds on the market, Bose hits on every aspect of a perfect pair of earbuds with this product. The noise cancellation is far ahead of the competition, along with the comfort and audio quality to match. It does seem the only down side with the Bose Quiet comfort is the price tag however if you're serious about your audio and listening experience the Bose Quiet Comfort are the earbuds for you.
2. Phiaton BT 220 NC - Best Wireless Noise Cancelling Earbuds
If you're unfamiliar with Phiaton, they're a fairly newer company established in 2008 with an aim to provide high-quality audio and cutting-edge technology. Within their short lifetime, they've been able to produce some solid noise canceling earbuds however they've never been quite able to reach that top level until the Phiaton BT220.
The Phiaton Bt 220 is actually the predecessor to Phiaton's first model the Phiaton BT PS 210, this model is new and improved in almost every aspect, it's slimmer, better looking, sound better, and has much better noise cancellation abilities.
A lot to love about these headphones
The phantom BT 220 is one of the best options on the market if wish to go the wireless route, these headphones touch on every in-demand features on a pair of noise-canceling earbuds today.
Every paid of headphones has it's flaws and the phantom BT 220 is no exception, heres a list of a few issues with these headphones.
The phantom BT220 is an all-around excellent pair of earbuds, the audio quality, and noise canceling system is among the best on the market. The only real drawback of these earbuds is the sensitive microphone that can distort phone calls, however, this issue is only really prominent when making calls outside. Overall these earbuds perform great with only a small design flaw making them one of the best choices on the market if you're looking for a pair of noise-canceling Bluetooth earbuds.
3. Shure SE215-K - Best in Class Audio
Shure is globally known for producing some of the highest quality professional earbuds on the market. They have earbuds that rang in the thousands of dollars, however, if you're like the 99.99% of people in the world that aren't willing to spend that kind of money on earbuds, Shure offers an entry-level model that is reasonably priced and still provides some excellent audio quality.
unlike most other earbuds on our list the Shure SE215-K uses a noise-isolating design to reduce background noise, in this review we'll go in-depth into the design and take a look at the pros and cons of this method vs. active noise cancellation.
Designed for Audiophiles
If there's one thing Shure knows, it's audio, Shure has been the go-to choice for many professional recording artists and audiophiles alike because of their top of the line audio quality. Let's go over some of the things that really set the Shure SE215K apart from other earbuds on the market.
Crystal Clear Audio
The audio quality on the Shure SE215K is practically unbeatable at the price point. The single dynamic driver is able to move a considerable amount of air resulting in a deep full sounding bass. The vocals and mid ranges sounded detailed and rich with a surprising amount of clarity for a pair of earbuds at this price point.
Overall the audio signature seemed very balanced leaning a little on the bass heavy side, any audio fanatic will be more than pleased with a pair of these earbuds, combined with an excellent noise isolating design these are a true music lovers choice.
Audio Isolating Design Works better than Noise Cancelling.
Unlike most other noise canceling earbuds on the market the Shure 215-K uses a sound isolating design instead of active noise cancellation, what does this mean? Well, audio Isolation works similar to earplugs, isolating you from the ambient noise through a physical barrier, in this case, the earbud tips. Active noise cancellation works by utilizing microphones that pick up on outside audio and produce a corresponding frequency to cancel it out. Each method has their pros and cons, for example, active noise cancellation works best at canceling out lower end frequencies making it the preferred choice for frequent flyers while audio isolating can cancel out a wider range of frequencies. Take a listen to a demonstration of background noise from an urban area with each type of earbuds.
Noise cancelling earbuds
Sound Isolating Earbuds
As you can tell noise isolating earbuds did a better job of reducing ambient background noise than the active noise canceling earbuds. That's not to say that noise isolating designs work better in every scenario but it, however, has its advantages. For me the biggest advantage would be the fact that noise isolating earbuds do not require any type of electronics so you're not limited to any type of battery life, in addition, noise isolating earbuds are able to cancel a wider verity of audio frequencies compared to just the low end on noise-canceling earbuds. The only downside is the fact that the noise cancellation is solely based on how tight of a seal is made between your ear and the earbuds.
The Shure SE215K are an excellent pair of earbuds through and through. They provide top of line audio along with the same build quality of Shures higher end models that range in the thousands of dollars. The over-ear audio isolating design eliminates the need for any type of chargers or battery life and actually cancels out a wider frequency of audio than most active noise canceling earbuds, making them perfect for everyday use.
4. Linner NC50 - Best Earbuds For the Gym
The Linner NC50 truly are a versatile pair of earbuds, their design and features make them a perfect fit for anyone looking for noise canceling earbuds for the gym, but also perform great for casual everyday use.
These earbuds provide a tremendous amount of value for the price. they offer a great audio quality, a comfortable design, and a solid battery life. Let's take an in-depth look at some of the main highlights that makes these earbuds so great.
Perfect Earbuds for the Gym
Picking a pair of earbuds for exercising often needs to meet different requirements than earbuds for everyday use. Below is a list of some of my favorite design features and overall highlights that make these earbuds such a nice choice.
Noise Cancellation works Great Too
Although the noise cancellation isn't up to par with higher end models such as Bose it does do a fairly good job at canceling out ambient background noise. With the noise cancellation feature activated ambient background noise was vastly dulled down to a hush. Another notable highlight of these earbuds is the noise canceling feature did nearly distort the audio as much as many other noise-canceling earbuds at this price point, although there still was a faint difference when switching between the two modes it was not at all an issue.
Issue to be Aware of
Overall the Linner Ac make for a great pair of earbuds for the gym or casual use, the lightweight and comfortable design made them easy to wear for long periods of time, while the Bluetooth connection gives you the freedom of movement when exercising. The audio quality is far above average at the price point, and the noise cancellation worked great at keeping me focused during my workout if you're an athlete looking for a pair of noise-canceling earbuds the Linner NC50 is a great choice for you.
5. TaoTronics Active Noise Cancelling Headphones, - Best Budget Noise Cancelling Earbuds
For the longest time quality noise canceling earbuds and headphones was only available from high-end audio companies such as Bose, however today we are beginning to see a shift towards more brands offering affordable options that still perform provide great quality. leading the way in this effort is TaoTronics.
TaoTronics offers an affordable pair of noise-canceling earbuds that provides some impressive audio quality and noise cancellation all at a reasonable price tag. In this review, we'll be taking a look at what makes these earbuds so special and how well they compete against higher end brands.
Great Design and Build
Although personal taste is just a preference, I don't know how anyone couldn't love the design of these earbuds. The sleek black finish and aluminum accents give it a nice minimal and professional feel to it.
The build quality on these earbuds is also surprisingly nice if you were to unknowingly pick up these earbuds you'd most likely guess a price tag around double of what these actually cost. These earbuds feel sturdy and durable unlike most earbuds at lower price points that tend to feel flimsy and break easily.
A lot to Love For Less
The TaoTronics are the best option for those looking for a great pair of noise canceling earbuds on a budget, these earbuds score high on durability, comfort, and audio quality all for at a reasonably low price point. Let's take a look at some of my favorite aspects of these earbuds.
Issues to be aware of
At the price point, it's tough to beat this pair of earbuds, they offer a quality build and professional design that you won't find on any other earbuds at this price point. The noise cancellation works great and we loved the fact that these earbuds also included an airplane adapter, making them a great choice for any traveler. Sound quality is above average and leaned a little on the bass heavy side of the spectrum, however, if audio quality is your main concern you may want to consider spending a little more and going with Shuge 215.
6. Bragi The Dash Pro - Best Smart Noise Cancelling Earbuds
Bragi began as a start-up company in with the aim to create one of the first truly wireless smart earbuds. In 2015 Bragi released The Dash, the company was on the right track, however, there were still many flaws that really took away from the overall experience of the earbuds.
With the release of the Dash, Pro Bragi is back with a new and improved model. These earbuds are a huge step up from the previous model in almost every aspect, and with an array of new technology and features, the dash pro is perfect for anyone who wants more from their current listing experience.
Worlds First Smart Earbuds
I know what you're probably thinking, what the hell are smart earbuds? and what can they do that my phone cant? Well, smart earbuds are more about convenience they offer an array of features that can be accessed without having to take out your phone, here's a list of features on these earbuds.
Great Audio Quality and a Comfortable Fit
Audio quality on the Bragi Dash Pro is fairly good for a pair of completely wireless earbuds, at the price tag, I would have liked to see a little more detailed audio and clearer mid ranges however the audio quality is nothing to complain about.
A comfortable and secure fit is essential for any pair of completely wireless earbuds, fortunately, Bragi nailed the design on these earbuds. The wedge-shaped ear tips allow for deep and secure fit while still maintaining a nice level of comfort. I rarely had to readjust these earbuds even when jogging or jumping rope.
Custom Noise cancellation
Similar to the Shure SE215 the Bragi Dash pro uses passive noise cancellation to block out background noise and the system works fantastic thanks to just how well the earbuds fit. With the right ear tips, all background noise seems like a faint mumble.
What really sets these earbuds apart is a feature called audio transparency, when activated the microphones on the earbuds pick up on external audio and project it through the earbuds while you're listening to music, think of it similar to a hearing aid. This feature works much better than other noise canceling earbuds on the market that simply have a feature that turns active noise canceling off. With audio transparency activated, I'm able to have a full on conversation while listening to music.
Issues to be Aware of
If you're looking for more out of earbuds the Bragi Dash Pro is currently the best smart earbuds available. Other smart earbuds on market such as the here one or IQ buds can't compete with the array of features and performance the Dash Pro offers. Although the price tag is high if you believe you'd use these features these smart earbuds are the best on the market.
7. B&O PLAY by Bang & Olufsen Beoplay E4 - Best For Travel
Bang and Olufsen is no stranger to the noise canceling game, the brand has been consistently producing high-quality noise-canceling earbuds and headphones for some time now, with their latest in-ear option, the B&O play, there's a lot to love that makes these earbuds a notable choice.
The B&O play is perfect for people who want to shy away from traditional Bose products but still achieve some serious audio and noise cancellation, in fact, these earbuds have even had some advantages over the Bose Quiet Comfort that make these earbuds especially great for travelers. Let's take a look at what makes these earbuds so special.
Perfect Noise Cancelling For Travelers
These earbuds do an amazing job at canceling out ambient background noise and should be any frequent flyers go to choice when looking for a pair of noise-canceling earbuds.
Great Quality Audio Too
Audiophiles alike will be impressed with the quality and clarity of audio B&O is able to provide, the sound signature does lean a little on the bass heavy side, but in no means is this a bad thing. The earbuds are able to provide some deep rumbling lows that will appeal to any fans of bass. The clarity and detail in the mids and high ranges are able to complement the lows perfectly.
Another great aspect of these earbuds is the fact that ANC has virtually no effect on the audio quality. This is a common issue with many active noise canceling earbuds on the market, however, Bang & Olufsen did a great job at making the quality consistent whether the feature is on or off, so you never have to feel as if you're sacrificing one or the other.
Design Could be Better
I'm not completely in love with the overall design of these earbuds, the black finish won't offend anyone's taste but my biggest problem is the placement and size of the control panel. The control panel is placed about three inches from the aux jack, leaving you with two options place it in your pocket or keep it outside and have weighed down your earbuds. If you're wearing loose clothing such as gym shorts this is less of an issue but when wearing tight pants you do run the risk of it scratching your device.
Overall these are a fantastic pair of noise-canceling earbuds, I'm not completely in love with the design scheme however the audio quality and noise canceling abilities can't be ignored. If you want to step away from Bose products and are open to trying a new brand the B&O play won't disappoint.
8. COWIN HE8D Active Noise Cancelling Bluetooth Earbuds - Best Wireless Runner Up
If you're looking to go the wireless route the Cowin HE8D is an all-around fantastic option, these earbuds perform great in terms of audio, noise cancellation and comfort, at a price that won't break the bank.
The term "you get what you pay for" does not apply to these earbuds, not only are the HE8D an excellent pair of wireless earbuds but the active noise canceling technology is up to par with earbuds double the price point, giving these earbuds an extreme amount of value for what you pay.
As previously noted these earbuds provide a tremendous amount of value for the price, which is why I chose them as a runner-up for the best wireless noise-canceling earbuds. Lets take a look at some of the major aspects that make these earbuds such a good choice.
Noise Cancellation works Wonderfully
Many times with lower priced earbuds the noise cancellation feature takes the hardest hit, thats far from the case with the Cowin HE8D earbuds. The noise cancelling feature is able to cancel out 28dB at 20Hz-2000Hz, this range is great for casual users who want a better listening experience, however some ambient background noise will be present. If you're looking for a more intense noise cancelling experience we'd recommend going with the Boise Quiet Comfort or the B&O Play, but at the price range the noise cancellation works better than expected.
Minor Design Flaws
One design flaw we noticed when testing these earbuds was the fact that the components strapped to the earbuds would often flail around too much especially when jogging or jumping. This caused for the need to readjust these earbuds quite often, however, this problem seemed to be nonexistent when walking or using the earbuds for causal use, but it does pose a problem if you're specifically looking for a pair of earbuds to use in the gym.
Over all the Cowin HE8D are an excellent choice if you're looking to go the wireless route, and offer a tremendous amount of value for the price. The noise canceling abilities of these earbuds works great and will easily meet your needs for casual use the audio quality and bass on these earbuds are far ahead of its competition although the design doesn't quite make these earbuds ideal for exercise they're still an all-around great choice considering the price and benefits.
9. 1MORE E1004 - For Apple Users
As newer generation apple user your options for headphones and earbuds are restricted tremendously, sure you can always use an adapter or go wireless, but everyone wants to go that route. Fortunately, 1More offers one of the only noise canceling earbuds on the market with a lightning port.
These earbuds offer a stylish design as well as great noise cancellation and audio quality that make them a notable pick on our list of best noise canceling earbuds. Additionally, these earbuds are reasonably priced and provide a tremendous amount of value.
Noise Cancellation For Everyday Life
If you're familiar with active noise cancellation you know that this method of noise cancellation is best used to cancel out low-frequency audio, making them an obvious choice for frequent flyers. Where ANC traditionally struggles is its ability to cancel out higher frequency audio such as voices, traffic etc. The 1MORE E1004 is specifically designed to target these higher end frequency's making them better for everyday use.
Here's a quick list of the many higher-end audio frequencies that the 1MORE E1004 is able to drown out better than most other ANC earbuds on the market.
Although these earbuds do a fairly good job at noise cancellation there is room for improvement, with these earbuds expect more of a reduction in background audio unlike the Bose Quiet Comfort or B&O play that nearly eliminates it. Still, these earbuds did a good job at reducing a wide range of background audio.
Great Audio Quality too
The 1MORE E1004 provided some pretty great audio quality as well. The audio signature on these earbuds seemed fairly balanced, not leaning too heavily in any direction. The bass response was fast and punchy without sounding distorted by any means. The mids and high ranges sound great too with a nice amount of detail to the vocals. Overall I was impressed with audio quality and
If you're an apple user who doesn't want to go the wireless route I can't recommend these earbuds enough. The ANC does an excellent job of canceling out a wide range of audio frequencies and the audio quality is very detailed and impressive at the price point. Although the noise cancellation feature may not be up to par with higher end noise canceling earbuds on the market it does provide a nice experience for those looking to enjoy their music with fewer distractions.
10. Huawei Active Noise Cancelling - Best For Casual Use
The Huawei Active Noise-cancelling earbuds are an all-around great choice if you're looking for a casual pair of earbuds that still provide great audio quality and noise canceling abilities.
The build quality on these earbuds is very impressive for the price point, the all-aluminum design feels high quality while not weighing down the earbuds. Unfortunately, these earbuds are only offered in gold that might not be fit everyone's taste.
Fantastic Audio Quality
Audio quality is main a highlight of these earbuds, lets take a look at some of the main highlights of the audio on these earbuds.
Noise Cancelling works Great Too
We were pleasantly surprised on just how well the active noise canceling worked on these earbuds. When ANC is turned on most if not all of the ambient background noise is brought down to an almost undetectable level.
Like most other ANC earbuds the noise cancellation works best for low-frequency audio such as airplane engines or air conditions, however we were pleased with just how well these earbuds cancelled out other background noises such as traffic or voices on a crowded subway, although the cancellation level isn't quite on par with Bose they work great at the price point.
Huawei Does just about everything right with these earbuds, they're exceptionally comfortable, so listening fatigue is never an issue, the audio quality is wonderful with a deep immersive bass signature to it. The noise cancellation also does a great job of canceling out white background noise. The battery life may not be the best for long plane flights, however, if you're looking for a solid pair of earbuds for everyday use these will more than meet your expectations.
What to Look For in a Pair of Noise Cancelling Earbuds
Wireless vs Wired Earbuds
The choice to go wired or wireless is mainly a personal preference each option has it's advantages and disadvantages, so it's best to think about your lifestyle when deciding between the two choices.
If you're an exercise fanatic you may want to go with a wireless option because of the freedom of movement it brings, or if you're constantly listening to music battery life is another thing to think about when making a decision. If you're more into audio a pair of wired earbuds may be your best bet because of the higher quality audio they provide (in most cases) it simply comes down to what you prefer.
Active Noise Cancellation VS. Noise Isolation
When it comes to noise cancellation there's typically two different methods, the first being active noise cancellation (ANC), and the second being passive noise cancellation, or sometimes called Noise isolation. Each method has pros and cons and it really comes down to how well the method is incorporated into the earbuds.
Active Noise Cancellation
Active noise cancellation works by using microphones to pick up on outside audio, a processor then creates an inverse frequency that cancels out the background noise. This technique works best against low end audio frequencies such as airplane engines, air conditioners etc, making them an ideal choice for any frequent flyer. Where active noise cancellation does fall short is it's ability to cancel out mid to high range audio frequencies such sirens or voices, this background audio will be canceled out to an extent but will be left with a muffled sound.
Passive Noise Cancellation
Passive Noise Cancellation works similar to earplugs in that the noise cancellation relights on a physical barrier between your ear the outside audio. This method can work great in some cases and not so great in others, it's all dependent on a good of a seal is made with the earbuds. Let's take a look at some important notes about passive noise cancellation
Passive Noise Isolation does do not rely on any type battery or electronics to cancel out background noise so you'll always a degree of noise cancellation whenever you're wearing them. Secondly, Passive Noise Isolation cancels out mid and high range frequencies much better than active noise cancellation so if you're looking to drown out voices passive noise cancellation may be the way to go.
Comfort is a huge component when deciding what earbuds to chose, every ear is shaped differently so it can be hard to judge what kind of ear tip is best for you based on someone eases recommendation.
Fortunately, almost every pair of earbuds on the market comes included with various shaped ear tips, however different earbuds are designed to stay differently based on the design, for me personally I found the over ear wedge-shaped design on the Shure SE215 and the Bose quiet comfort to be the most comfortable earbuds on our list, but again my recommendation may not be perfect for everyone.
Wrapping it up
Noise canceling earbuds are an excellent way to drown out the world around you and completely immerse yourself into your music, we've hoped you enjoyed our list of the best noise canceling earbuds of 2018 and feel free to let us know if we missed a notable option, also check out our other reviews below!
Check out our other reviews