The Top 6 Best Noise Cancelling Earbuds 2021

The market for earbuds has seen an exponential growth, in particular for wireless noise cancelling earbuds ever since smartphones started phasing out the headphone jack. Today, we will be looking at the best noise cancelling earbuds in no specific order.

Best Noise Cancelling Earbuds 2020

Best for iPhone

Apple AirPods Pro

Apple AirPods Pro
  • Active noise-cancelling: Yes
  • Battery life: Up to 4.5 hours (with ANC on)
  • Connection: Bluetooth 5.0
  • Type: True wireless

It would be very inappropriate to start any list about earbuds without the mention of AirPods. When Apple announced the discontinuation of headphone jacks in its most recent iPhone, it was met with ridicule by its competitors.

However, when it successfully marketed the AirPods and ended up creating a billion-dollar industry for wireless earbuds, all of its competitors slowly ditched the headphone jack and rushed in with their own variants.

The AirPods Pro comes with active best noise cancelling earbuds 2021, which is among the best in the business. It also comes in a stylish case, which can be used to charge the AirPods once it is placed on top of the iPhone with the AirPods inside. Alongside this, you get handsfree Siri control.

These earbuds are also water-resistant to a certain level and certified to be sweatproof, making them ideal for the gym. Add a 5-hour battery life to all of the above, and you have a pretty sweet deal.

Sound

The sound quality is very mediocre but has come a long way since the original Apple AirPods.

Drawbacks

Being an Apple product, these earbuds demand a price that is in line with other Apple products. They are, hence, on the pricier side when compared to the best noise cancelling earbuds 2021. The sound quality is also mediocre at best, but this is very much in line with other Bluetooth earbuds.

Who Should Get Them?

If you pride yourself on owning Apple products or own an iPhone, you will enjoy these AirPods.


Best Wired Earbuds

Bose QuietComfort 20

Bose QuietComfort 20 Acoustic Noise Cancelling Headphones
  • Active noise-cancelling: Yes
  • Battery life: Up to 16 hours
  • Connection: Wired
  • Type: In-ear headphones

Let’s talk about wired earbuds for a change. We have the QuietComfort 20 by Bose. It is not surprising that buds made by the company that introduced active noise cancellation are mentioned in our list of the best noise cancelling earbuds 2021.

The noise cancellation by the QuietComfort 20 is unparalleled. It cancels out sounds from street traffic all the way to jets. It is offered with an aware mode, which makes it possible for you to hear people around you with just the touch of a button. It comes with 16 hours of battery life on a single charge.

It has no weak points in its design as the cable is protected with a nice amount of rubber and the tips are made of silicone. It is also lightweight, making it ideal to wear while working out. The microphone also makes seamless calls possible.

Sound

The audio is as expected from Bose. It comes with a high bass, and the background audio is well-processed. All in all, these buds could very well hold their own against some of the best active noise cancelling headphones out there.

Drawbacks

At the end of the day, the QuietComfort 20 are still wired buds, so they interfere with mobility and dexterity. Given their price, that’s a turn-off. There is also a very noticeable drop in sound quality when active noise cancellation is turned off, so you cannot get full use out of these buds without it.

Who Should Get Them?

If you are an audiophile who cannot make a compromise and still actively participate in physical activities, this should be your choice.


Best Wireless Earbuds

Sony WF-1000XM3

Sony WF-1000XM3 Industry Leading Noise Canceling Truly Wireless Earbuds
  • Active noise-cancelling: Yes
  • Battery life: Up to 6 hours (with ANC on)
  • Connection: Bluetooth 5.0
  • Type: True wireless

These earbuds are Apple’s biggest competitors when it comes to premium wireless earbuds. Although not as effective as over-the-ear headphones, the noise cancellation is still among the best you can find in a wireless earbud.

The WF-1000XM3 utilizes the latest Bluetooth 5.0 technology with a battery that lasts 6 hours on a single charge. Plus, just a quick 10-minute charge will give you an hour and a half of music time.

Another plus point is the adaptive mode, which automatically adjusts the level of noise cancellation according to your environment. The buds are comfortable to wear due to their unique design that distributes pressure at all points equally. Google Assistant support also comes with these buds.


Sound

These earbuds come with a dedicated app which can be used alongside the touch controls to control everything from app equalization to sound frequencies so you can boost the bass or tune up the vocals according to your mood.

Drawbacks

The WF-1000XM3 is not waterproof and does not have any sort of sweat protection, so wearing it to the gym or while running is going to be uncomfortable. There is also no way to control the volume without having to rely on the app, which you must download to get maximum functionality out of these earbuds. The case is also bigger and not as good looking as Apple’s.

The earbuds are also expensive for buds that are not gym friendly. Plus, the success of the noise cancellation feature on Android varies from phone to phone.

Who Should Get Them?

Those who listen to music occasionally and are not into AirPods should give these a shot.


Best Budget Option

Phiaton BT 120 NC

Phiaton BT 120 NC Black Qualcomm Bluetooth Wireless Noise Cancelling Earbuds
  • Active noise-cancelling: Yes
  • Battery life: Up to 8.5 hours
  • Connection: Bluetooth 4.2
  • Type: Neckband in-ear headphones

Let’s look at a budget option for a change of pace. These wireless earbuds are from Phiaton, which remains a reputable brand in the wearable audio industry. They offer a battery life of up to eight and a half hours. You also get an effective active noise cancellation feature that won’t rival any over-the-ear headphones but still serve its purpose.

These earbuds have a traditional simplistic style and are very light and comfortable. They are also sweat- and water-resistant, which makes them an ideal choice for workouts. In this price range, you will be hard-pressed to find better options.

Sound

There is an in-line remote to control the sound of your music. The audio from these buds is balanced and well-equalized but nothing too spectacular. Moreover, the sound quality does not show a noticeable change whether you have noise cancellation turned on or off.

Drawbacks

The noise cancellation lags behind the other options on this list. Furthermore, the battery life more than halves if you use the earbuds with active noise cancellation. The volume buttons are also not laid out in a very convincing manner and could cause confusion in a rush.

Who Should Get Them?

If you are looking to dip your feet into the active noise cancellation market without spending too much, these should be your choice. You get all the features of premium products, albeit the features are scaled down.


Best Multipurpose

Amazon Echo Buds

Echo Buds Wireless earbuds with immersive sound active noise reduction and Alexa
Wireless earbuds with immersive sound
  • Active noise-cancelling: No
  • Battery life: Up to 5 hours
  • Connection: Bluetooth 5.0
  •  Type: In-ear headphones

Amazon has expanded its lineup with these Amazon Echo Buds. They come with support for handsfree Alexa. The Amazon voice assistant can be activated by saying ‘Alexa’ and can be used to stream music, order a cab, play audiobooks and much more seamlessly. These earbuds don’t have active noise cancellation but rather use a feature to drown out ambient sound.

You will get around 5 hours per charge, but you will only need to charge for 15 minutes to get up to 2 hours of playback time. These earbuds are workout friendly because of their sweat and splash resistance. The handsfree calling is a reliable option as well due to the high-quality mic.

Sound

The Echo Buds does not offer a strong bass, but the sound clarity is high due to the secure fit. One thing to be noted is that there is a very noticeable difference between the audio when the noise cancellation effect is turned on or off. All in all, you get a decent music experience. You can also make any alterations to the sound equalization using the Echo app.

Drawbacks

The audio isn’t anything fantastic, and the calling experience isn’t up to the mark either. There are also some privacy concerns due to the strong integration of Alexa. The battery life isn’t that great either.

Who Should Get Them?

If you are part of an environment where you rely on Amazon devices and services, especially Alexa, these earbuds are for you. They will certainly help you get the most out of these products.


Best Neckband

Sony WI-1000X

Sony Premium Noise Cancelling Wireless Behind-Neck in Ear Headphones
  • Active noise-cancelling: Yes
  • Battery life: Up to 10 hours
  • Connection: Bluetooth 4.1
  • Design: Neckband in-ear headphones

No list about the best noise cancelling earbuds 2021 could be complete without the mention of Sony’s WI-1000X. It is certainly one of the best wireless active noise cancelling neckband earbuds.

The neckband design is a fashion statement in itself and, rather than just being earbuds, makes them a fashion accessory. These earbuds are light and portable, so carrying them everywhere is no hassle. Furthermore, they have a dependable 10-hour battery life even with active noise cancellation on.

The active noise cancellation in these earbuds is comparable to the best over-the-ear headphones. They also offer options like ambient mode, which adapts the active noise cancellation to walking, travelling or resting modes to make interaction with the outer world effortless.

The buds can be converted into wired ones using the provided cable and a 3.5mm convertible microUSB cable. This makes the earbuds usable even if the battery dies.

Virtual assistants of Google and Alexa are also fully supported. Alexa integration is so smooth that it can be enabled at the press of a button.

Sound

The sound quality overall is excellent, and the equalization can be adjusted using the app. The buds are equipped with the right codex to upscale any sound quality lost during transmission via Bluetooth. Hence, despite being wireless, you get high-definition audio.

Drawbacks

Although the earbuds look good as an accessory, they are not comfortable if worn for long durations because the neckband design has a tendency to shift.

Who Should Get Them?

If you are an audiophile looking to give wireless options a try, these are for you.


Conclusion

The list offers the best choices for every type of user. You are sure to find something here. If comfort and sound is your number one priority, the Bose QuietComfort 20 should be your preferred choice. It is ideal for both outdoor activities and indoor relaxation. It will also keep the audiophile inside of you content with its various options.