Finest noise cancelling headphones and earbuds 2023: Audiophile examined and reviewed

Noise cancelling has grow to be vital function in any good pair of wireless headphones or earbuds, whether or not it is used to isolate listening on a morning commute, to drown out the drone of a jet engine, or chatter on the fitness center whenever you’re targeted on crushing a workout. And if you happen to’re working from dwelling, it’s probably price investing in a pair to drown out distractions and really hear your coworkers in digital conferences. The Pocket-lint opinions crew went hands-on to check each mannequin on our listing, weighing sound high quality, noise cancellation, consolation, and worth.



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With so many selections out there, discovering the very best active noise cancelling (ANC) headphones for you isn’t any straightforward job. Some pairs may have more practical noise cancellation, whereas others could sound higher, value much less, or fit your eye extra.

Hitting the proper stability to your tastes will be tough, however fortunately, our audio specialists right here at Pocket-lint take a look at the very best over-ear cans and in-ear buds at present in the marketplace that can assist you resolve which pair most closely fits your model and desires. Our prime choose headphones, the Sony WH-1000XM5s, have battled head-to-head with our premium choose, the Bose QuietComfort Ultras, all yr. Learn on to see why we selected Sony for the highest slot on this round-up.

Finest ANC headphones: Our prime picks

Sony WH-1000XM5

Sony WH-1000XM5

1. Finest noise cancelling headphones total

Sony’s merely excellent sound

$328 $400 Save $72

Sony knocked it out of the park with the WH-1000XM5, delivering distinctive noise cancelling and sound high quality in a feature-packed pair of headphones.


  • Excellent noise cancellation
  • Very good sound high quality
  • Snug to put on for lengthy intervals

  • No aptX help
  • Do not fold down just like the earlier fashions

The Sony WH-1000XM5s are a masterclass for his or her rivals to be taught from; pairing consolation, a daring new design and excellent efficiency — each by way of sound and lively noise cancellation.


Sony WH-1000XM5 review: Still an ANC masterclass

Sony up to date its flagship WH-1000X headphones in 2022, now in its fifth iteration. This time there is a change in design, on prime of different enhancements.

That makes for a really robust mixture. In the event you’re touring commonly and need to reduce out droning noise, or if you happen to simply need to lose your self in your music, the WH-1000XM5s are only a very slight reduce above the following finest choices. There are positively a few sore factors, corresponding to how the brand new design would not fold down as small as its predecessors, however anyone who desires the very peak ANC bundle should not look previous this flagship Sony providing. The worth for options provided inside these headphones is what edges out the remainder of the competitors total.

Bose QuietComfort Ultra

Bose QuietComfort Extremely Headphones

2. Finest premium noise cancelling headphones

Excellent noise cancellation, for a hefty worth

$379 $429 Save $50

The Bose QuietComfort Extremely headphones are Bose’s tippy prime canine within the lineup. They sounds nice, cancels noise among the many better of them, and it is surprisingly comfy.


  • Nice, detailed sound
  • Excellent noise cancelling
  • Straightforward to make use of

  • Undoubtedly costly
  • Immersion Mode is simply okay

The Bose QuietComfort Extremely represents the highest of the Bose product lineup. They mix the simplicity of the Bose QuietComfort QC45 and the design-focused nature of the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700. The combination is a headphone that’s not solely comfy, however sounds nice and has large noise cancellation. As well as, the headphones boast as much as 24 hours of battery life, a microphone, so you may discipline cellphone calls, and a cell app expertise that’s nicely above common.


Bose QuietComfort Ultra Headphones hands-on: Priced for performance

Bose’s flagship headphones value a reasonably penny, however does their efficiency make their price ticket add up? We took a primary hear to seek out out.

So, what is the draw back? Properly, these items go for north of $400 after they’re not on sale, no matter which colour you go for. That is the most important detractor. Many of the headphones on the listing are beneath $300 or simply over, so that is undoubtedly the most costly particular person pair of headphones on our listing. Nevertheless, in the course of the vacation gross sales seasons, it may very well be a good time to snag a pair of those unimaginable headphones for the uncommon, beneath $400 worth level.

The Immersion Mode is simply okay, however most individuals are carrying these to get good sound high quality whereas drowning out the encircling noise. Due to that, these headphones rank among the many finest. They landed on the prime of our listing for our Pocket-lint 2023 know-how awards, winning the best headphone of the year class for leading edge options and high quality.

The Sony WH-1000XM5s adopted intently behind as our extremely counseled choose, which is why you see each fashions on the very prime of our greatest of information. The Bose QuietComfort Ultras excel with premium options, however that prime tier high quality comes on the highest worth on our listing. The worth of the Sony pair introduced them above the Bose for this listing, however when you’ve got the price range, the Bose QuietComfort Ultras are a superb choose. To see the 2 put in a head-to-head comparability take a look at our versus article beneath.


Bose QuietComfort Ultra vs Sony WH-1000XM5: Which is best?

Must you purchase into Bose or are you offered on Sony?

Bose Headphones 700

Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700

3. Finest light-weight noise cancelling headphones

Options Bose’s booming bass

$246 $300 Save $54

Bose’s noise cancelling must be heard to be believed, and the remainder of the bundle makes this a really rounded pair.


  • Excellent noise cancellation
  • Nice balanced sound
  • Cool design

Consider noise cancelling headphones and the probabilities are excessive that you’re going to consider Bose. Regardless of the unimaginative identify, the Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 ship a really imaginative sound high quality that rivals the very best competitors on the market. And the multi-level noise cancelling is fairly near being class-leading.

There’s additionally sensible assistant integration for Google Assistant, Amazon Alexa and Siri, a stable app for numerous customizations (however no EQ, sadly), and well-integrated touch-based controls on the correct earcup.


Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones 700 review: Bose is the ANC boss

The 2019 lively noise-cancelling cans from Bose are a step above the QC35 II. Improved consolation, multi-level ANC and beam-form voice isolation function.

Except for the Sony XM5s, there is not any higher choose to take in your travels. And, even then, we’re certain there are many individuals that may truly choose the general bundle delivered by Bose right here. The margins are very tight on the prime.

Bowers and Wilkins PX7

Bowers & Wilkins PX7

4. Finest luxurious model noise cancelling headphones

Prime of the road headphones from the premium B&W

$330 $399 Save $69

Supreme sound is backed up by stable ANC, making this mannequin one of many very prime choices to contemplate on this space.


  • Nice design
  • Wonderful sound
  • Actually stable ANC

The B&W PX7 headphones look nice, and so they sound even higher. B&W’s noise cancellation is on the prime of its class, and including options like aptX Adaptive help makes for smoother listening experiences and higher future-proofing. Actually impressively, the headphones are much more comfy than ever earlier than, making for a dreamy consumer expertise.


Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2 review: Pitch perfect

We gave the Bowers & Wilkins Px7 S2 a radical take a look at to find why these second-gen headphones are price contemplating.

About the one factor we want they might do is journey a bit higher. In the event you’re searching for headphones that may fold down and be stashed in your carry-on baggage simply, chances are you’ll need to look elsewhere. Nevertheless, we predict that is a reasonably minor nitpick for what’s in any other case a superb headphone.

Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II

Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II

5. Finest noise cancelling earbuds

A celebration in your ears

$199 $279 Save $80

In the event you’re searching for a refined sound and best-in-class noise cancellation, the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II are an outstanding selection.


  • Unbelievable ANC
  • Refined sound
  • Safe match

  • No wi-fi charging
  • No multipoint Bluetooth

The Bose QuietComfort EarBuds II enhance on their predecessors in just about each means, refining their design, bettering their match and luxury and honing the sound. With an RRP $279, they’re undoubtedly costly, even within the premium wi-fi market, however retailers have already begun knocking just a little off that on the time of writing — so it is price trying round.


Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II review: The sound of silence

Bose is again with its second stab on the true wi-fi market. Does it supply the “world’s finest” noise cancellation it guarantees?

If the worth tag would not deter you, you actually will not be disillusioned along with your funding. And whereas they sound nice, the true wow issue right here is the noise cancellation they’re able to as in-ear choices. In the event you want, need or crave close to silence when you’re listening to your music, these are the very best true wi-fi earbuds for the job — with out query.

It is also price noting that the most recent Bose flagship earbuds, the Bose QuietComfort Ultras, additionally simply made their debut. Whereas they earned a close to good rating in our review and supply nice efficiency, they are a bit costlier and do not supply an excessive amount of distinction from the QuietComfort II, so we advocate the QuietComfort II buds total if you happen to’re searching for the very best bang to your buck.

Sony WF-1000XM5

Sony WF-1000XM5

6. Finest light-weight noise cancelling earbuds

Tiny however mighty

$248 $300 Save $52

The Sony WF-1000XM5 is the present technology of a lineup of very competent noise cancelling earbuds. They function nice sound, good consolation, fairly good battery life, and extra enhancements over the prior mannequin.


  • Nice sound
  • Wonderful ANC
  • Improved battery life

  • Fairly chunky
  • Not low cost in any respect

Sony has utilized its audio experience to noise cancelling earbuds, not simply over-ear headphones. We have seen what the corporate can do with a pair of over-ears, so we had mighty excessive expectations for the fully wi-fi in-ear mannequin — the Sony WF-1000XM5 — now in its fourth technology type.


Sony WF-1000XM5 review: Still great, but the competition looms large

Sony’s widespread noise-cancelling buds are again for spherical quantity 5, however can they nonetheless land the knock out blow to the competitors?

These wi-fi in-ears ship a well-balanced sound that leans neither too closely on bass, nor larger ranges. We discovered it to be excellent. The noise cancellation is simply as achieved, as nicely, successfully blocking out the final humdrum of on a regular basis life, in addition to aircraft and prepare noises.

In fact, being small in-ear buds in a conveyable case makes them very straightforward to hold round in your coat pocket or purse.

Sennheiser Momentum 3 True Wireless Noise Cancelling earbuds

Sennheiser Momentum True Wi-fi 3

7. Finest Sennheiser in-ear noise cancelling earbuds

Subtle and compact

$190 $280 Save $90

The Sennheiser Momentum True Wi-fi 3 are wonderful earbuds from the audio specialists. They’re cheaper than the final model, have improved in-ear consolation and supply the identical wonderful sound with ANC, that does just a little bit greater than earlier than. There are some very minor foibles, however a stable choose for a dependable set of earbuds.


  • Clean design
  • Nice case
  • Wonderful sound
  • Improved ANC

  • Undergo from wind noise
  • Sub-par transparency mode

These Sennheiser Momentum True Wi-fi 3 are a transparent step up on their predecessors with no actual downsides and loads of enhancements. They appear sharper, are extra comfy and nonetheless sound simply as nice — with higher ANC than earlier than and a really stable software program expertise. That Sennheiser has managed to take action whereas additionally chopping the worth is much more spectacular.

Name high quality won’t be class-leading, however that is a typical sufficient concern and one which should not be a deal-breaker. They’re dependable, superbly designed and sound nice. Properly worthy of consideration.


Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 review: A welcome improvement

These wonderful earbuds enhance on an already stable basis from Sennheiser. Here is our full verdict.

airpod pro second gen uscb

Apple AirPods Professional 2nd Era (USB-C)

8. Finest in-ear noise cancelling headphones for Apple customers

An improve cult traditional

$200 $250 Save $50

The great thing about AirPods is their comfort, and the AirPods Professional 2nd Era (USB-C) aren’t any completely different. The improve to USB-C solely provides to this, whereas the additional options and extra software program enhancements make for an total wonderful expertise.


  • Wonderful efficiency
  • Added controls for contact sensor
  • Additional options, like Precision Discovering
  • Nice ANC

  • No lanyard included
  • Not price it for AirPods Professional 2nd gen lightning house owners

For Apple customers, the AirPods Professional 2 demand a spot in your shortlist if you happen to’re out there for wi-fi ANC earbuds. We cherished the originals, however these second technology buds carry with them some nice new additions, together with higher noise cancellation, Adaptive Transparency, contact controls and improved battery life.


Apple AirPods Pro 2nd Generation (USB-C) review: Do you need to upgrade?

The AirPods Professional 2nd Era now have a MagSafe and USB-C case, plus another enhancements, however must you purchase them? Here is my overview.

There are nice additions elsewhere too, just like the speaker and U1 chip within the charging case, and we love that you would be able to now use an Apple Watch charger to cost them as nicely, decreasing the variety of cables we have to preserve with us.

Whereas the design of the second technology AirPods Professional could have remained similar to its predecessor, and so they do not come low cost, the enhancements they’ve made the AirPods Professional 2 an distinctive pair of wi-fi headphones and one iPhone customers particularly ought to have on their shortlist.

Whereas that is the up to date newer model, the Apple AirPods Professional 2 second technology with out USB-C and VisionPro are nonetheless an unimaginable choose that many Pocket-lint editors even choose to their USB-C counterparts. Learn extra in our comparison the place we put the 2 face to face.

Sony WH-1000XM4

Sony WH-1000XM4

9. Finest noise cancelling headphones for consolation

All day put on

$228 $348 Save $120

The Sony WH-1000XM4 is probably not the latest addition to Sony’s lineup, but it surely certain is a traditional. Whereas the WH-1000XM5 is an enchancment in nearly each means, the 1000XM4 continues to be the extra comfy total headphone. Because the new mannequin is out, this mannequin additionally goes on sale lots, making it a great discount.


  • Very good cancelling
  • Wonderful sound
  • Nice seems and battery life

They could now not be the newest headphones, however the Sony WH-1000XM4 headphones are wonderful at chopping out exterior noise, with solely a slight drop-off in comparison with the newer XM5s.


Sony WH-1000XM4 review: The best just got better

Sony’s over-ear wi-fi headphones for 2020 sport improved noise-cancellation and audio efficiency. Does that end in the perfect headphones?

In comparison with the XM3s, the design tweaks add high quality and refinement, whereas a extra highly effective chip supplies the grunt to cancel out extra noise. The outcomes are sensational, with the 1000XM4 not solely sounding nice as a set of headphones, but additionally being a few of the only at combatting exterior noise by way of extra selectable ranges. It is an impressive bundle — and one which’s naturally out there at a less expensive price than its newer sibling.

The underside line: What are the very best noise cancelling headphones or earbuds?

From our listening and testing in all surround-sound conditions, the Sony WH-1000XM5s are Pocket-lint’s best choice for the very best noise cancelling headphones cash should buy, due to the headphones’ superior sound and noise isolation capabilities.

Sony WH-1000XM5 Wireless Headphones

Sony WH-1000XM5

Editor’s Selection

$328 $400 Save $72

With a smooth light-weight form-factor and Bose’s classically nice sound, the Bose 700 are an in depth runner-up. And naturally, the most recent Bose QuietComfort Extremely over-ear cans are a masterclass noise cancelling choice and the best choice, when you’ve got the price range for these expensive premium headphones. In the event you’re out there for an in-ear bud choice quite than over-ear cans, the Bose QuietComfort II buds supply, just like the identify suggests, excessive consolation with restricted stress build-up, booming bass, and ANC that is nearly too good.

How to decide on noise cancelling headphones

Whereas lively noise cancellation (ANC) was as soon as uncommon, there are actually numerous units that supply it to select from — listed here are some questions that can assist you slim issues down.

Would you like over or in-ear headphones?

With regards to ANC, you have acquired a serious selection in your arms between over-ear headphones and in-ear earbuds, each of which will be discovered with the tech and supply completely different advantages. Earbuds are means smaller and extra transportable, so they’re handy for on a regular basis use in our expertise, whereas over-ears have a tendency to supply the very best isolation however are bulkier, making them extra suited to dwelling use or longer journeys.

It is actually as much as private choice, as nicely — some individuals merely do not discover earbuds as comfy, and others cannot stand the stress of over-ears, so when you’ve got a powerful leaning in both course, that may most likely inform your pondering.

Are you on iOS or Android?

Whereas most choices in the marketplace now cater fairly equally to each cell working techniques, there are nonetheless some events whenever you’ll discover a gadget works higher on one than the opposite — significantly with regards to Apple’s personal merchandise, which favor iOS. This should not lock you out of any purchases, however it could make you extra more likely to go along with a product, since tighter integration usually results in simpler consumer controls and pairing.

What are ANC headphones and earbuds we would additionally advocate?

The Sony WH-1000XM5 could also be Pocket-lint’s choose for the top-performing ANC headphones, however we additionally know that they will not be the correct pair for everybody. That is why we additionally advocate another nice choices, together with earbuds and headphones from Bose, Apple and Bowers & Wilkins.

What’s a great price range for noise cancelling headphones?

In the event you’re going into this form of buying course of, we advocate that you just work out what you are comfortable to spend forward of time, otherwise you may discover that you find yourself spending greater than you meant. In spite of everything, ANC continues to be typically the protect of fairly premium choices, so lots of the alternatives out there are pretty expensive.

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