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Angled shot of author John Higgins wearing a Bose QuietComfort II earbud in his right ear. Credit: Reviewed / John Higgins

The Best Noise-Canceling Earbuds of 2022

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Angled shot of author John Higgins wearing a Bose QuietComfort II earbud in his right ear. Credit: Reviewed / John Higgins

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Editor's Choice Product image of Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II
Best Overall

Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II

The Bose QuietComfort II Earbuds have the best active noise canceling we've ever heard, but aren't the best for making calls. Read More

Pros

  • Incredible noise canceling
  • Clear sound
  • Secure and light fit

Cons

  • Lackluster call performance
  • Missing some standard features
2
Editor's Choice Product image of Anker Soundcore Space A40
Best Value

Anker Soundcore Space A40

The Soundcore Space A40 set a new mark for earbuds under $100 thanks to great sound and noise canceling that outperforms many pricier options. Read More

Pros

  • Amazing ANC for the price
  • Customizable sound profiles
  • Great battery life

Cons

  • Little sizzly out of the box
  • Lows can cover vocals
3
Editor's Choice Product image of Apple AirPods Pro (2nd Gen)
Best for iPhone

Apple AirPods Pro (2nd Gen)

Apple’s updated AirPods Pro may look the same, but features like Adaptive Transparency and next-gen noise canceling make them the best buds around. Read More

Pros

  • Next-gen noise canceling
  • Adaptive Transparency mode
  • Sound and battery boost

Cons

  • No EQ or ANC adjustment
  • No separate app for Android
4
Editor's Choice Product image of Sony WF-1000XM4

Sony WF-1000XM4

Sony's flagship wireless earbuds aren't cheap, but they offer gorgeous sound, incredible battery life, and excellent noise canceling. Read More

Pros

  • Fantastic noise canceling
  • Superb sound
  • Next-gen battery life

Cons

  • No good solution for volume control
  • Missing some features
5
Editor's Choice Product image of Bose QuietComfort Earbuds

Bose QuietComfort Earbuds

Bose's pricey true wireless earbuds are chunkier than rivals, but a good fit, clear sound, and class-leading noise cancellation make them contenders. Read More

Pros

  • Top-notch noise canceling
  • Comfy, secure fit
  • Tight, present audio

Cons

  • Chunky design
  • Case has mediocre battery
  • Middling features for the price

For years, great active noise cancelation (ANC) was reserved for over-ear headphones, but that’s no longer the case. Now true wireless earbuds offer surprisingly good noise canceling, perfect for all kinds of use cases. We test dozens of pairs each year to find the cream of the crop.

If you want the best active noise-canceling performance available, the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II (available at Amazon for $279.00) are at the top of the ANC mountain, while also delivering great, if slightly colored, sound and solid touch controls. But there are plenty of other top performers listed below at multiple price points, so you can find the perfect pair to grant you the lovely sound of silence.

The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II sit on a cinder block in front of their charging case with a black gate in the background.
Credit: Reviewed / John Higgins

The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II offer the best noise canceling we’ve ever heard.

Best Overall
Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II
  • Ambient sound modes: Noise canceling, Adaptive Transparency mode
  • Dust and water resistance: IPX4
  • Battery life: 6 hours with ANC, up to 24 hours with the case

The active noise canceling world was shaken up in September of 2022. Until then, the Sony WF-1000XM4 had reigned supreme for a while, but then Bose and Apple released the two best noise-canceling earbuds we’ve ever heard. There’s nothing better at shutting out the world around you than the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II. They virtually eliminate airplane noise or HVAC, leaving barely a whisper of hiss. But hwo they attenuate conversation is the most impressive. Troublesome midrange frequencies are targeted to cause ambient conversation to disappear behind the most modest level of music. The Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation) come close to the performance of the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II, but their overall noise floor isn’t quite as low.

Bose has improved the QCE II’s sound performance as well by finally adding a 3-band EQ in the Bose Music app. It isn’t as detailed as what you get from Sony, but it allows you to tame some frequencies and take the edge off. The app allows customization of touch controls for track navigation, activation of your device voice assistant, ANC mode, and volume. All usable in conjunction with one another.

The Bose do have some flaws, though. Chief among them is their call quality, which suffers mightily outdoors. Traffic and wind—even a slight breeze—causes distracting whooshes for your call partner that can cover your voice. The app is also missing some customizability options that are found with competitors, and their active transparency mode doesn’t function as cleanly as the AirPods Pro.

Still, if you’re after the absolute best noise canceling you can find, the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds II are at the very top of that list.

Pros

  • Incredible noise canceling

  • Clear sound

  • Secure and light fit

Cons

  • Lackluster call performance

  • Missing some standard features

A man wearing the Anker Soundcore Space A40 earbuds while standing outside in front of a tree.`
Credit: Reviewed / John Higgins

The Anker Soundcore Space A40 earbuds deliver the best ANC performance you can get for under $100.

Best Value
Anker Soundcore Space A40
  • Battery life: 10 hours, up to 50 with the case
  • Ambient sound modes: Adaptive ANC, Transparency mode
  • Dust/water resistance: IPX4 rating

When it comes to inexpensive noise-canceling earbuds, Anker has been at the forefront, and the Soundcore Space A40 is their best offering yet. They’re at least as good as earbuds for $150, like the Jabra Elite 5. The adaptive active noise canceling ably handles low drones, such as airplane cabin noise or HVAC units. It even takes the edge off of midrange conversation that you’ll find at the local coffee shop. It doesn’t completely remove it, but if you’re listening to music at a low level it’s enough to keep you focused in your own world. Within the Soundcore app you can choose between two Transparency modes, one full range and one that puts the focus on letting voices through if you need to have a quick conversation.

The A40 have an overall nice sound profile, although their highs (especially cymbals) can be a tad piercing and mids are a little covered by the low end. Thankfully, the app includes an 8-band EQ to address these issues. Anker’s HearID Sound is included in the app, which profiles your hearing perception in each ear and creates an EQ curve customized to your ears. It works pretty well and delivers a nice improvement over the default profile. Hi-res audio and LDAC are both supported.

Touch controls—single tap, double tap, and hold for two seconds—can be turned on and off per control, and they’re also fully customizable, assignable to volume, track controls, and for the two-second hold the added options of Ambient Sound Mode select, Voice Assistant activation, and Game Mode toggle.

Throw wireless case charging on top of the features pile and the Anker Space A40 set a new standard for noise-canceling earbuds performance under $100.

Pros

  • Amazing ANC for the price

  • Customizable sound profiles

  • Great battery life

Cons

  • Little sizzly out of the box

  • Lows can cover vocals

An image of the Apple AirPods Pro in a case on grass.
Credit: Reviewed / Ryan Waniata

The Apple AirPods Pro (2nd generation) deliver significant upgrades to noise canceling, transparency mode, and sound.

Best for iPhone
Apple AirPods Pro (2nd Gen)
  • Ambient sound modes: Noise canceling, Adaptive Transparency mode
  • Dust and water resistance: IPX4
  • Battery life: 6 hours with ANC (up to 7 without), up to 31 hours with the case

Not every sequel’s a winner, even in the constantly evolving world of true wireless earbuds. But the AirPods Pro (2nd generation)—Apple’s refresh of its shockingly popular AirPods Pro—knock it out of the park. While the exterior remains (perhaps unsurprisingly) mostly the same, the updated AirPods Pro offer significant upgrades to noise canceling, sound, and battery life all in the same, sleek design.

The noise canceling isn’t just better, either. In our testing, there’s only one pair on the market that beats the new AirPods Pro is our Best Overall pick, Bose’s own upgraded QuietComfort Earbuds II. That puts those two pairs atop a very stalwart crowd, standing tall even against over-ear options like Sony’s WH-1000XM5 over-ears headphones.

Just as impressive is the Apple’s Adaptive Transparency mode, which is not only clearer and more natural sounding than before, but can also help protect your hearing from unwanted environmental blasts by limiting incoming sounds to 85dB in real time, according to Apple. Add that to the better bass response, clearer and more fine-tuned stereo spacing, fantastic call quality, and the same, barely their 5.4-gram weight, and it’s a recipe for the best buds around.

While the design hasn’t changed much, the new case does add a speaker system so you can find it in your house, and precision tracking in the Find My app. Frankly, it’s hard to find a flaw here. The battery life is solid, but could be better, and we also wish there was more control over audio such as an EQ and ANC control. There’s also no separate app for Android.

Otherwise, Apple’s updated AirPods Pro have once again made an easy argument as the best earbuds you can buy. If you own an iPhone, and you can invest the money, it’s upgrade time.

Pros

  • Next-gen noise canceling

  • Adaptive Transparency mode

  • Sound and battery boost

Cons

  • No EQ or ANC adjustment

  • No separate app for Android

Other Top Noise-Canceling Earbuds We Tested

Product image of Sony WF-1000XM4
Sony WF-1000XM4
  • Battery life: 8 hours with ANC, 12 hours without, two full case recharges
  • Ambient sound modes: ANC, Transparency Mode
  • Dust/water resistance: IPX4

With fantastic sound quality, innovative design, and noise-canceling that stands above almost every other set of ANC earbuds we’ve ever tested, the WF-1000XM4 are excellent noise-canceling buds, and were our Best Overall pick before the Bose QCE II and updated Apple AirPods Pro came around.

The Sony XM4 offer some of the best sound you’ll hear from a set of ANC earbuds. It’s sweet, smooth, accessible, and riddled with detail. And, thanks to Sony’s powerful noise cancellation technology, the audio they produce is all the more accessible. You’ll find tranquility with these earbuds on a level that’s hard to find with any headphones.

The XM4 are incredibly customizable, thanks to Sony’s Headphones Connect companion app, which lets you tweak its EQ, along with a variety of other features, to your heart’s content. With the XM4 connected to Headphones Connect, the earbuds become smart enough to know when to swap between noise cancellation and ambient audio, based on your routines and locations. They also offer standard IPX4 water resistance.

The XM4s touch controls allow you to map their volume controls to their touchpad using the Headphones Connect app, but only at the expense of losing access to other functionality, which is a shame. In addition to this, we would have appreciated seeing a few extras like Find My Earbuds functionality and multipoint pairing–features we expect from a set of ANC earbuds in this price range. Despite these minor complaints, the XM4 are still some of the best all-around noise-canceling earbuds you can buy.

Pros

  • Fantastic noise canceling

  • Superb sound

  • Next-gen battery life

Cons

  • No good solution for volume control

  • Missing some features

Product image of Bose QuietComfort Earbuds
Bose QuietComfort Earbuds
  • Battery life: up to 6 hours with ANC, up to 18 hours with charging case
  • Ambient sound modes: ANC, adjustable Transparency Mode
  • Dust/water resistance: IPX4

The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds were designed from the ground up for one thing: brilliant active noise cancellation. On that front they succeed immensely, offering world-class ANC that’s at least equal to the ANC offered by Sony's WF-10000XM4. QuietComfort users will enjoy their elegant aesthetic, clear sound, and their comfy, secure fit that keeps them in place under duress.

In order to get these features, however, you’ll have to deal with a hefty price tag and some compromises elsewhere in the design, which keeps them from the top of our list. What’s more, the QuietComfort weigh a gram more per ‘bud than the Sony XM4 do. Additionally, they come with a chunky charging case that offers only two recharges for a relatively low 18 hours of total listening time. Their stylized sound is good but doesn't quite match our favorite earbuds at this price point, sometimes becoming a bit sharp in the upper register.

On the other hand, we applaud Bose for adding onboard volume control to the QuietComfort, which can be accessed via swipes up and down on the right earbud’s touchpad. The Bose Music app allows you to adjust noise cancellation levels in multiple ways, the loudness of your own voice during phone calls, and other parameters. However, there are some features Bose excluded that we'd expect from ANC earbuds like these, including some form of EQ to switch up their sound signature and the ability to skip songs backward from using the QuietComfort’s on-earbud controls.

While we wish Bose would have thrown in a bit more for your money, what you're really paying for is a comfortable and stable fit and killer noise cancellation, and that's exactly what you get.

Pros

  • Top-notch noise canceling

  • Comfy, secure fit

  • Tight, present audio

Cons

  • Chunky design

  • Case has mediocre battery

  • Middling features for the price

Product image of Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3
Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3
  • Battery life: up to 7 hours per charge, up to 28 hours total with case
  • Ambient sound modes: Hybrid Adaptive ANC, adjustable Transparency Mode
  • Dust/water resistance: IPX4

Sennheiser’s latest true wireless buds offer everything we like about the previous iteration while improving on the Momentum line’s active noise canceling in a big way. While the ANC was passable in the Momentum TW 2, the TW 3 go back to the drawing board for responsive and powerful adaptive noise cancellation that allows these earbuds to stand tall with the best noise-canceling earbuds in the business.

Happily, the Momentum 3 keep our favorite aspect of the previous generation in their line, namely, their fantastic sound quality. The Momentum 3 offer a more stylized soundstage that’s a bit brighter than we’ve seen in previous generations, but also a smidge clearer with more attention to detail. If you don’t love the sound as is, the three-band EQ allows for basic adjustment (though we wouldn’t have minded more control there). Battery life is competitive at seven hours per charge and 28 total with the charging case.

Other notable features include adjustable controls–including volume controls, which are switched on by default–a new wireless charging case (finally), and standards like auto-pause and the ability to use one earbud at a time. They also offer advanced audio codecs like aptX Adaptive and AAC for improved sound for Android or iPhone respectively.

While the Momentum 3 keep the same IPX4 water resistance as their predecessor, their new design makes them sportier and more comfortable to wear, thanks to multiple ear tips and fins options. They may not be your go-to running buds, but they’ll work in a pinch for most any activity. Perhaps the best news is that all the improvements come with a lower MSRP than Sennheiser’s previous pair—you can thank a competitive market there.

As for downsides, we still don’t find these buds quite as comfortable as semi-open pairs like the Jabra Elite 85t and Apple AirPods Pro, and their charging case is both heftier and bulkier than most competitors. Like Sony’s WF-1000XM4, there’s also no earbuds finder available and the buds don’t yet offer multipoint connectivity (though it’s something Sennheiser plans to add in a firmware update).

Sennheiser’s latest cook up a winning combination, mixing lots of features, a slimmer and sportier design, and powerful noise cancellation to go along with excellent sound.

Pros

  • Fantastic sound quality

  • Much improved ANC

  • Smaller footprint

Cons

  • Bulky, heavy case

  • No multipoint pairing

Product image of Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro
Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro
  • Ambient sound modes: Active noise canceling, Transparency mode
  • Water resistance: IPX7
  • Battery life: Up to 5 hours with ANC (8 without), up to 30 hours with charging case

For Android phone users, the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 Pro are the go-to choice, especially those with a Samsung Galaxy phone. Their six audio presets sound great (Normal, in particular has excellent midrange response and vocal clarity), and ANC performance delivers great low-end cancellation of airplane drone and a modest midrange improvement to handle clicky keyboards or coffee shop conversation.

The design is smaller than the Galaxy Buds Pro by 15 percent, giving them a slimmer profile when worn. Their fit is solid, and with IPX7 water resistance they’re a good workout solution. Samsung has also changed to a matte finish over the gloss over previous iterations, which is a look we prefer.

The Galaxy Buds 2 Pro are loaded with features such as Easy Pair and Auto Switch, Bixby voice control, 360 Audio, and 24-bit high-res audio. All of those features are Android-specific as there isn’t an iOS app, and the 24-bit audio support relies on certain Samsung Galaxy phones. Their 5-hour battery life is on the low end (and in our testing it came in a little under that number), but a quick five-minute charge in the case will get another hour of listening.

For anyone entrenched in the Samsung (or Android) ecosystem, the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro deliver a package that’s hard to beat.

Pros

  • Small, lightweight, comfortable

  • Excellent audio performance

  • Solid ANC

Cons

  • No multipoint pairing

  • Samsung-only features

Product image of Jabra Elite 85t True Wireless
Jabra Elite 85t True Wireless
  • Battery life: up to 5.5 hours with ANC, 7 hours without; up to 25 hours with charging case with ANC, 31 hours without
  • Ambient sound modes: adjustable ANC, adjustable Transparency Mode
  • Dust/water resistance: IPX4

Jabra’s Elite 85t really have it all: smooth and balanced sound, comprehensive controls, a compact form factor, great features, and, of course, impressive active noise cancellation (ANC). While it's not on par with what you’ll enjoy from Bose, Apple, or Sony's top models, it's just a tier below them, and more than strong enough to make them a great choice as your go-to noise cancelers.

The 85t's robust ANC is all the more impressive given the earbuds’ semi-open design, which keeps your ears feeling comfortable for long periods. While a more bulbous design means the fit isn’t quite as secure as other Jabra buds, their oval tips assure you won’t hear yourself chewing, walking, or jogging in the same way as more sealed ear tips often allow for. Despite this, music and noise canceling are intimate and effective, respectively.

The Elite 85t’s controls are customizable through Jabra’s excellent Sound+ app, allowing you to configure the buds’ two easy-push buttons as you see fit. Also customizable are noise cancellation and transparency mode, the latter of which is among the most natural-sounding you’ll hear on the market to keep you aware of your environment in style—again, a direct shot across the AirPods Pro bow. The controls allow them to transition seamlessly between ANC and transparency modes, even while wearing gloves.

As for downsides, the battery isn't quite as good as what you'll get from Sony's WF-1000XM4, and, as referenced above, the fit isn't as stable as purpose-built workout buds. Finally, while you can use one bud at a time, only the right one will pull off the trick, which makes them less versatile in this use case than some competitors.

Otherwise, they've got just about any feature you can dream up. If you're looking for killer noise canceling and a brilliant range of features for less cash than our top pick, the Elite 85t deliver good sound, great features, and the best usability on the market.

Pros

  • Outstanding features and design

  • Rich, balanced sound

  • Impressive noise canceling

Cons

  • Not as sport-friendly as other Jabra buds

Product image of Google Pixel Buds Pro
Google Pixel Buds Pro
  • Ambient sound modes: Noise canceling, transparency mode
  • Dust and water resistance: IPX4
  • Battery life: 7 hours with ANC (up to 11 without), up to 31 hours with the case

Google has had its struggles when it comes to crafting a competitive pair of wireless earbuds, but the [Pixel Buds Pro](https://www.reviewed.com/headphones/content/google-pixel-buds-pro-review-real-contenders have finally put the mega-brand on solid ground. The latest addition to the Pixel buds family add better sound, next-gen battery life, and solid active noise canceling and transparency mode to (finally) keep up with the Johnsons.

The addition of ambient sound modes (noise canceling and transparency) is the biggest headline. While not on par with the latest from Apple and Bose, it’s competitive against most models in their class, at a similarly competitive price point.

The Pro’s sound signature is stylized rather than neutral, and we wish there was a bit more presence in the midrange. But the treble is very clear and bass response is richer and more thunderous in the sub-bass regions than any Pixel Buds before them, without blurring other registers. Call quality is also good, able to block out modest environmental noise well.

The physical design is nearly as tempting as previous Pixel Buds models, offering a comfy fit that’s heftier without feeling too cumbersome. Controls are simple and responsive (including volume control) and there are also some great features here, especially for Android users, from “Hey, Google” support to Google Fast Pair and multipoint pairing. That last feature is something we’ve yet to be able to access—we’re currently waiting for Google to offer a firmware update for users like us who don’t see it as an option in the app. We’ll update when we hear more.

While the Pixel Buds Pro aren’t a great option for iPhone users, Androidians and especially Pixel phone users will definitely want to consider them. With excellent style, good usability, and impressive new features, the Pixel Buds Pro have finally put Google in the earbuds game.

Pros

  • Solid audio and ANC

  • Excellent battery life

  • Stylish and comfortable

Cons

  • Lacking audio adjustments

  • Some features still buggy

Product image of Beats Fit Pro
Beats Fit Pro
  • Battery life: Up to 6 hours with noise canceling, 7 without; up to 27 hours with charging case
  • Ambient sound modes: Adaptive ANC, Transparency Mode
  • Dust/water resistance: IPX4

It’s been a long time since the Apple AirPods Pro hit the scene, but they’ve long maintained their status as the most popular true wireless earbuds for pairing with iPhones. But for savvy buyers, the Beats Fit Pro are an excellent option for iOS users. And, like the original AirPods Pro, they're also surprisingly solid noise cancelers.

Along with having similar noise canceling and transparency modes to their original AirPods cousins, they also offer some clear advantages. They provide longer battery life (six hours with noise canceling, seven without), a more secure fit thanks to their rubbery fins, and comparable if not better sound quality. They're also a much better choice for Android users, thanks to the dedicated Beats app.

The Fit Pro also offer the full library of iOS features. There’s iCloud/Music Sharing, Hands-Free Siri, Spatial Audio with Dynamic Head Tracking, and Find My tracking so you won’t lose them. Right down to Apple’s H1 chip, the Fit Pro are essentially the AirPods Pro in a sportier, updated package.

That’s not to say the Fit Pro are perfect. During testing, their audio wasn’t quite as clear as the AirPods Pro when making voice calls in a windy environment. You also can’t wirelessly charge their case, and they can occasionally be finicky on Android phones.

But that's mostly nitpicking. The Beats Fit Pro are great iPhone companions for an unbeatable price—and they do a great job of holding back the noisy world around you, too.

Pros

  • Clear, balanced sound

  • Good noise canceling

  • Ample feature set

Cons

  • Can be finicky on Android

  • No EQ modes

  • Case lacks wireless charging

Product image of Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro
Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro
  • Battery life: up to 6 hours with ANC, 7 hours without, up to 26 hours total with case
  • Ambient sound modes: ANC, Transparency Mode
  • Dust/water resistance: IPX4

The Liberty Air 2 Pro’s are the first earbuds from Anker’s Soundcore line to offer active noise cancellation. We were pleased to find that the ANC they provide is surprisingly good. The amount of noise reduction is not quite as impactful as you’ll experience while wearing some of the pricier earbuds in this guide, but given their low price point, the Liberty Air 2 Pro’s effective ANC with equally adequate transparency mode is a serious feat—especially considering their AirPods Pro-like, semi-open fit.

Soundcore allows users to customize the earbuds’ ANC and equalization settings. However, we found sticking to the earbuds’ Soundcore Signature setting delivered the kind of balanced sound that suits most musical genres.

The Liberty Air 2 Pro feature IPX4 water resistance and a solid battery life of around six hours with ANC turn on and seven hours without it. Those numbers are about middle-pack for this category, but that’s nice to see considering their cost. We do wish Soundcore had made these earbuds fit more securely for workouts and found a way to offer more comprehensive controls. That being said, these are small transgressions for an otherwise value-packed pair of true wireless earbuds.

If you're looking for a budget pair of noise cancelers with impressive performance and AirPods-like styling, the Liberty Air 2 Pro are tough to beat.

Pros

  • Great sound for the price

  • Thick with features

  • Good noise canceling for the price

Cons

  • Not ideal for active usage

  • Limited controls

Product image of Jabra Elite 7 Active
Jabra Elite 7 Active
  • Battery life: up to 8 hours with ANC; 35 hours with the charging case
  • Ambient sound modes: ANC, Transparency Mode
  • Dust/water resistance: IP57

The Jabra Elite 7 Active, which step in to replace the Elite Active 75t, are the best workout headphones we've tried thanks to their nimble design, stable fit, and hearty IP57-rated dust and water resistance that lets you safely rinse them off after a sweaty session. But this is no one-trick pony—these buds also offer plenty of excellent usability features, including solid active noise canceling.

On top of that, the Elite 7 Active will net you nearly every bell and whistle you might need. A finder function makes sure you won't lose track of them. Transparency mode lets you hear the world around you, so you can stay aware in nearly any situation. Their mid-tier noise canceling is customizable for your environment, and Jabra even released a firmware update that adds multipoint pairing so you can pair them to your phone and work computer at the same time.

The Elite 7 Active offer solid audio performance, though their brighter sound signature may need some EQ to smooth things out. Still, their sound will satisfy most casual listeners and power users alike, especially once you take Jabra's personalization sound test.

The Elite 7 Active's signature Jabra playback controls are intuitive and customizable (thanks to the loaded Jabra Sound+ app) to make for one of the best user experiences in the true wireless game. The updated design, while more intrusive, proved more stable and comfortable than the 75t in our testing. They also offer around seven to eight hours of battery life per charge with ANC (and 35 hours with the case), which is a good step up from their predecessors.

The Jabra Elite 7 Active are a great pick for your workout and more, offering superb overall performance, durability, and a well-rounded user experience. In addition, if you need improved calling the Elite 7 Pro are nearly identical to their cousins but trade the grippier exterior of the Active model for additional calling software.

Either way, you'll be getting a great pair of durable earbuds that don't just cancel the noise, but also take on virtually any scenario you can throw at them.

Pros

  • Snug and stable fit

  • Great battery and waterproofing

  • Loaded with features

Cons

  • So-so default sound

Product image of Panasonic RZ-S500W
Panasonic RZ-S500W
  • Battery life: up to 6 hours with ANC, 6.5 hours without; up to 19.5 hours with charging case
  • Ambient sound modes: adjustable ANC, adjustable Transparency Mode
  • Dust/water resistance: IPX4

Panasonic's RZ-S500W won our favor with a brilliant combination of great sound and top-notch noise canceling at a price that easily undercut major competitors upon release. Since then, the buds have gotten plenty of competition, but they're still a very solid option in their own right.

The RZ-S500W serve up powerful noise cancellation across frequencies for a comforting realm of sanctity from barking dogs, yelling kids, and much more. From vacuuming to lawn mowing, they're up to the task.

While their treble region can occasionally be slightly tinny, the sound overall is clear and balanced, offering high-quality listening across musical genres, podcasts, and more. Panasonic’s app adds to the package, letting you adjust everything from EQ to noise cancellation and transparency mode (AKA ambient sound mode/hear-through mode) so you can choose exactly how much environmental sound you let in or keep out. With around six hours of playback per charge, the RZ-S500W aren't the tops for battery life, but it's still better than you'll get from Apple's AirPods Pro.

As for drawbacks, their charging case only holds two charges, meaning you’ll have to top it off more frequently than most rivals. On top of that, while we found the RZ-S500W quite comfortable, their fit can be tricky for some due to their somewhat bulky design. Even when they're properly sealed, they tend to jostle during rigorous activities, making them a much better fit for your office (home or otherwise) than your daily jog.

That said, the RZ-S500W offer generous features and good build quality, including IPX4 water resistance, positioning them as a fantastic value even at their original MSRP.

Pros

  • Excellent noise cancellation

  • Clean, balanced sound

  • Impressive feature set

Cons

  • Battery life is so-so

  • Fit may be tricky for some


How We Test Noise-Canceling Earbuds

The Testers

John Higgins is Reviewed’s Editor of A/V and Electronics. He’s been immersed in audio from a young age, starting with piano in the early 80s before discovering a variety of other instruments and recording techniques. After earning an audio production degree and post-grad in music performance, he began covering audio products with Home Theater Magazine in 2003 while working as a professional musician and sound editor for films.

Other contributors to this list include Reviewed's former Managing Editor Ryan Waniata, former Home Theater editor Lee Neikirk, and Reviewed contributor Nick Woodard, a tech journalist specializing in smart home products and all things related to home theater.

The Tests

True wireless earbuds all come with two individual buds—no wires between them—and a charging case.
Credit: Reviewed.com / TJ Donegan

True wireless earbuds all come with two individual buds—no wires between them—and a charging case.

For this list, we focused on several key pain points that consumers typically run into when buying both wireless and “true wireless” earbuds (those completely free of any wires): battery life, ease of use, controls, wireless range, sound quality, sound isolation, and comfort. And, of course, we put a laser-sharp focus on active noise canceling (ANC).

We put the earbuds through a battery of basic audio tests to judge noise canceling across low and high frequencies, as well as passive and active noise attenuation to see how well each earbud blocks outside noise. From there, we use all the earbuds extensively, playing a wide variety of test tracks ranging from classical to hip-hop, rock, jazz, and more.

We further test the noise canceling in a variety of environments, including using professional speakers blasting airplane engine drone, a pink noise generator, and a crowd noise emulator in an acoustically treated environment. We also test them in real-world scenarios, including (when possible) airplane travel, walking around busy streets, and yard work like mowing the lawn or using a leaf blower.

Other real-life tests include sweat proofing, short- and long-term comfort, measuring a full charge of battery life at medium volume, taking phone calls, and testing connectivity over distances and through obstacles like doors and walls. All of this data is compiled in our master rubric to determine rankings as scientifically as possible.

To account for durability, we noted any major issues that popped up in user reviews (where available), and retest the earbuds after firmware updates. We also use these earbuds over a prolonged period and update their firmware when available to test out the latest features.

Wireless earbuds across the board have struggled with durability, so this is a major cause of concern for us. We always reserve the right to re-evaluate our conclusions as we become aware of any major issues or pain points as time goes on.

What You Should Know About Buying Noise-Canceling Earbuds

Knowing the basic terminology of headphones, including noise-canceling earbuds, is the best way to estimate what you need. This will guide you toward deciding on which features you truly need, and where you may want to compromise to fit your budget. Below are a few important terms to know before you shop.

What is Active Noise Canceling?

Originally developed for pilots, noise canceling technology utilizes tiny microphones to reduce the impact of ambient noise around you using phase cancellation of unwanted frequencies. ANC headphones have become a mainstay for travelers, public transit commuters, gym-goers, and those working in distracting environments. All of our picks here feature at least mid-level ANC, though their effectiveness across frequencies varies.

What is transparency mode?

Called hear through mode, ambient sound mode, or transparency mode, this feature uses tiny microphones just like noise canceling, but in this case they pipe in sound to keep you aware of your environment. Not all transparency mode is created equal, and how a headphone’s hardware and software handle things like wind gusts can make a serious difference in the feature’s utility.

What are Bluetooth headphones?

Bluetooth headphones let you unplug from your source device, while "true wireless" earbuds offer totally wire-free listening with no cable between the earbuds. Bluetooth range defaults at 33 feet in its current iteration, though effectiveness will vary based on many factors, including antenna strength of both your source device and your headphones, as well as barriers like doors or walls.

Dust and water resistance ratings

IP is a rating used across a wide array of electronics designed to signify how well the device takes on the elements. You'll often see the code "IPX" with a number at the end, or you may see codes like IP67, etc. The first number is dust resistance—how well the product stands up to ingress/ The second number is water resistance. The higher those numbers, the better. You can find more info in our Water resistance guide.


Meet the testers

Lee Neikirk

Lee Neikirk

Editor, Home Theater

@Koanshark

Lee has been Reviewed's point person for most television and home theater products since 2012. Lee received Level II certification in TV calibration from the Imaging Science Foundation in 2013. As Editor of the Home Theater vertical, Lee oversees reviews of TVs, monitors, soundbars, and Bluetooth speakers. He also reviews headphones, and has a background in music performance.

See all of Lee Neikirk's reviews
John Higgins

John Higgins

Editor, Electronics & Audio/Video

@johntmhiggins

John is the A/V Editor for Reviewed. He is an ISF Level III-certified calibrator with bylines at ProjectorCentral, Wirecutter, IGN, Home Theater Review, T3, Sound & Vision, and Home Theater Magazine. When away from the Reviewed office, he is a sound editor for film and musician, and loves to play games with his son.

See all of John Higgins's reviews
Ryan Waniata

Ryan Waniata

Managing Editor - Electronics

@ryanwaniata

Hailing originally from Montana, Ryan parlayed his time working as a musician and audio engineer into a career in digital media in 2012. Since then he's had extensive experience as a writer and editor, including everything from op-eds and features to reviews on TVs, audio gear, smart home devices, and more.

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Nick Woodard

Nick Woodard

Contributor

@@nwoodard25

Nick Woodard is a tech journalist specializing in all things related to home theater and A/V. His background includes a solid foundation as a sports writer for multiple daily newspapers, and he enjoys hiking and mountain biking in his spare time.

See all of Nick Woodard's reviews

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