True wireless earbuds with active noise cancellation (ANC) were a new development in the audio scene just a few years ago, with the Sony WF-SP700N being the first pair to make a considerable splash when they landed in late 2018.
Fast forward to 2022 and the landscape for ANC true wireless earbuds has changed entirely. There are more options than ever before and all the heavy hitters — including Apple, Sony and Bose (finally) — have released their pair of wireless earbuds with active noise-canceling abilities.
Apple AirPods Pro Read More
Most Powerful Noise CancellationSony WF-1000XM4 Read More
Best BudgetAmazon Echo Buds (2nd Gen) Read More
Best TransparencyBose QuietComfort Earbuds Read More
Best for Hi-Fi SoundBowers & Wilkins PI7 Read More
What to Look For
Fit: The most important thing when it comes to wireless earbuds is fit. Period. Because if the earbuds don't fit in your ears it's not going to matter how the sound or how good their other features are — you're not going to like them. These days, wireless earbuds come in a wide range of styles, from stem-like AirPods to the more conventional "bulb" like the Amazon Echo Buds, so we recommend knowing which fits your ears best before hitting that purchase button.
Sound quality: No wireless earbuds can play to true lossless-quality audio because Bluetooth technology can't support it — the bandwidth for high-resolution tracks is too big. That said, there are some wireless earbuds that can play higher-resolution tracks thanks to support to various formats, like Sony's LDAC or Apple Music's spatial audio, but these wireless earbuds tend to more expensive and yet still aren't able to play as high-quality tracks as a good pair of wired earphones or headphones.
Other features: The more "premium" wireless earbuds are also likely to come with more advanced features, such as transparency modes, adjustable EQ, a wireless charging case and smart features (like support for various voice assistants).
Price: You can buy a pair of wireless earbuds with active noise-cancellation for less than $100 or for over $300, but the important thing to know is that not all active noise-cancellation. The higher-end wireless earbuds are going to have more built-in microphones and more sophisticated technology to do a significantly better job at blocking out ambient sounds.
We test a lot of different wireless earbuds — because there are a lot of them out there. When testing noise canceling wireless earbuds, we test them in a lot of different situations, such as noisy environments (like coffee shops and commuting trains) and quiet situations (when sound quality is more important than active noise-cancelation), as well as in other situations, like exercising and taking calls. As is the case with any wireless earbuds, the most important thing is fit; so even if we like a certain pair of wireless earbuds, it's important for you to know what kinds of earbuds fit you best because everybody's ears are a little different.