Best Noise-Canceling Wireless Earbuds Android Central 2020
Wireless earbuds have come a long way in the few short years they've existed. Early offerings like the first-gen AirPods were expensive and lacked a lot of features, but as time has gone on, prices have come down, and additional features have been implemented — one of which is noise cancelation. True wireless buds that can block out ambient sound are more common than ever before, and today, we're highlighting six of our favorite ones — including the Sony WF-1000XM3 as our top overall pick.
- Best Overall: Sony WF-1000XM3
- Best Alternative: Bose QuietComfort Earbuds
- Best Value: Mpow X3
- Best Premium: Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2
- Best Comfort: Samsung Galaxy Buds Live
- Best Battery Life: Dyplay True Wireless Earbuds
- Best Workout Buds: Sony WF-SP800N
- Best Personalized Sound: Soundcore Liberty Air 2
- Best Alexa: Amazon Echo Buds
- Best Bass: Bicboz Sabbat E12
- Best Apple: Apple AirPods Pro
Best Overall: Sony WF-1000XM3
Should you be in a position where the money isn't an obstacle and you want the very best wireless earbuds you can find, might we turn your attention towards the Sony WF-1000XM3. These are some of the most expensive earbuds of this form factor that you'll find, but the flagship experience they provide is well worth it.
A lot is going on with the WF-1000XM3, so here's the elevator pitch. These things sound outstanding. All of the earbuds on this list sound good, but the WF-1000XM3 kick things up a notch with rich, powerful sound and some of the best active noise cancelation you can find. Battery life is also strong with a 24-hour total endurance, and when you need to top-up the charging case, it's done via USB-C.
Another win for the WF-1000XM3 is the gesture control. Take one earbud out of your ear, and the music automatically pauses. Put it back in, and the music resumes. It's a small thing, but in day-to-day use, it is one of those conveniences that's hard to live without once you've experienced it for yourself.
- Some of the best ANC you'll find
- Outstanding audio quality
- Reliable 24-hour battery life
- Automatic play/pause gesture
- Case charges with USB-C
- Lacks water-resistance
- Charging case is huge
Treat yo' self
You'll pay a pretty penny to own the WF-1000XM3, but if you have a flexible budget, these are among the best earbuds you can get.
Best Alternative: Bose QuietComfort Earbuds
Bose has established a reputation for creating some of the best noise-canceling headphones on the market, and now, it's brought that same level of prowess to the earbud space. The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds have arrived, and as an alternative to the Sony WF-1000XM3, they're incredible.
Regarding noise cancellation, the QuietComfort Earbuds have 11 levels of the feature for you to play with. Whether you want to block out everything or just dull background sounds, you have that control. There's also a Transparency Mode, allowing you to easily hear everything around you even when you still have the earbuds on.
Audio quality is top-notch (as you'd expect), with the QuietComfort Earbuds delivering audio that's super crisp and detailed. You can expect up to six hours of continuous battery life, the charging case allows for another 12 hours of use, and there's support for Qi wireless charging when you need to refuel. There's also an IPX4 rating, helping to keep the Bose QuietComfort Earbuds protected against rain or sweat.
- 11 levels of noise cancellation
- Crisp and detailed audio
- IPX4 water-resistant
- Six hours of continuous playback
- Wireless charging
- Bulky design
Another great option
Not a fan of what Sony's offering? The Bose QuietComfort Earbuds may be a better fit, touting flagship features across the board.
Best Value: Mpow X3
If you can't justify the cost of the WF-1000XM3, check out the Mpow X3. Mpow may not be a household name, but the value and features you're getting with the X3 are hard to ignore.
Right off the bat, the Mpow X3 sound really good. They offer a big and balanced sound stage, big bass, and block out around 28dB of ambient noise so you can focus on your music. They're also backed by long battery life, getting up to 28 hours of total use between the earbuds and included charging case.
There are capacitive touch areas on both earbuds, making it super easy to control your playback without touching your phone. You can also use these controls for controlling the ANC and prompting the voice assistant on your phone.
- Good sound with deep bass
- Responsive touch controls
- Charges via USB-C
- 28-hour total battery life
- Cheap charging case
- Doesn't have wireless charging
Lots of features, lots of value
The Mpow X3 stands out as one of our top recommendations, offering a huge list of features at a wallet-pleasing price.
Best Premium: Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2
For shoppers that want to go all-out with some of the most premium wireless earbuds money can buy, the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 are bound to get your attention. We don't consider them to be the best overall pick given the enormously high price, but if sticker shock doesn't affect you, there's plenty to like.
Being audio gear from Sennheiser, it shouldn't come as any surprise that the Momentum True Wireless 2 sounds outstanding. With bass, mids, and treble that are all perfectly tuned, you end up with a listening experience unlike anything else. That's also accompanied by highly effective ANC, ensuring you can focus on your music and not distracting background noise. Similarly, Sennheiser includes a transparent hearing mode so you can stay in touch with the world around you when needed.
You can expect around 28 hours of total battery life between the earbuds and the included charging case, which features a gorgeous fabric finish that stands out from the competition. Sennheiser's touch controls are also pretty great, allowing you to control music playback, prompt your phone's voice assistant, or enable/disable ANC and the passthrough mode through various customizable touches.
It's a shame that Qi wireless charging isn't offered, given how much money Sennheiser is asking for the Momentum True Wireless 2. Still, that omission aside, this is a truly elite package in every other way.
- Sleek fabric case
- Top-notch sound quality
- Transparent hearing mode
- Great touch controls
- 28-hour total battery life
- Doesn't have wireless charging
- Extremely expensive
Go above and beyond
The Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2 aren't for everyone, but if you want a thoroughly premium experience, they deliver.
Best Comfort: Samsung Galaxy Buds Live
If you've ever worn a pair of uncomfortable earbuds, you know just how irritating they can be on your ears. With the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live, that's not something you'll ever have to worry about. The Buds Live ditch the traditional earbud shape for something that looks a lot like a bean, and while it may be offputting at first glance, it actually works incredibly well.
Rather than forming a seal inside your ear, the Buds Live simply rest in the outer part of your ear. This means they cause little-to-no irritation after long listening sessions, don't give you that plugged up feeling other earbuds tend to be a victim of, and are an excellent fit for people that have a difficult time wearing "normal" earbud options.
That open design means the Buds Live don't have the best active noise cancellation we've ever heard, but for low-frequency sounds like a dishwasher or air conditioner, they get the job done. They also sound incredible, have a reliable battery life, and offer many extra features through the free companion app.
- Unique shape is extremely comfortable
- Fantastic audio quality
- Microphones are very good
- Lots of features in companion app
- Total battery life of 29 hours
- ANC isn't very strong
Your ears will thank you
Good comfort is a huge factor when buying a new pair of earbuds, and in these regards, the Galaxy Buds Live come out on top.
Best Battery Life: Dyplay True Wireless Earbuds
Continuing with our recommendations, this next set of truly wireless earbuds comes from Dyplay. Right off the bat, Dyplay's buds caught our attention with the stark red loop against the black charging case. I'm not sure how useful this will be for you in day-to-day use, but it's a unique design choice that helps the package stand out.
Bluetooth 5.0 is available to give you a strong and reliable wireless connection, along with support for AAC and SBC audio codecs for great-sounding music. Dyplay's earbuds also offer some of the best battery life you'll find, featuring up to seven hours of continuous use with a total life of 45 hours when you factor in the charging case.
As long as you don't mind the lack of a proper water-resistance rating, these buds are worth a look.
- Impressive 45-hour battery life
- Supports AAC and SBC codecs
- 25dB active noise cancellation
- Bluetooth 5.0
- Loop on charging case
- No water-resistance rating
Best Battery Life
Leave battery anxiety at the door
If you're frequently traveling or otherwise without a power source, Dyplay's 45-hour battery life is hard to ignore.
Best Workout Buds: Sony WF-SP800N
When working out with true wireless earbuds, you need a pair that can withstand the intensity of a long run, bike ride, or weight-lifting session. Sony's WF-1000XM3 mentioned above aren't the best in those regards, but their cousin, the WF-SP800N, certainly are.
These are earbuds that were designed with physical activity in mind, and that's readily apparent by the ultra snug and comfy design. Some may complain about the earbuds being too bulky, but as earbuds that'll stay in your ears with ease, they're excellent. You also get an IP55 rating, ensuring they aren't damaged by water or sweat.
Sony designed the WF-SP800N to sound great, emphasizing bass, which is what you want to see in sports-centric headphones and earbuds. You also get noise canceling (obviously), up to 26 hours of battery life, Alexa built right in, and a companion app that houses many customizable features and settings.
- IP55 water resistance
- Up to 26-hour battery life
- Bass-heavy audio that's customizable
- Powerful companion app
- Alexa built-in
- Design isn't for everyone
- No wireless charging
Best Workout Buds
Perfect for your next run or hike
In need of truly wireless earbuds that'll be able to keep up with your workout? The Sony WF-SP00N are up to the challenge.
Best Personalized Sound: Soundcore Liberty Air 2
Soundcore, Anker's audio sub-brand, has a mighty impressive pair of truly wireless earbuds on its hands with the Soundcore Liberty Air 2. There's a lot to talk about, so let's dive right in.
On the audio side of things, the Liberty Air 2 come with a feature called "HearID" that creates a custom EQ for the earbuds that are made specifically for your ears. It does this by mapping your hearing sensitivity at multiple frequencies, ensuring your music sounds just right. Adding to the impressive sound are diamond-coated drivers that deliver 15% more bandwidth and twice the bass, not to mention support for Qualcomm's aptX audio codec.
Looking at other areas of the Air 2, the good news continues. There's an IPX5 rating for sweat and water-resistance, and the case can be topped up wirelessly on a Qi charger. If we had to complain about something, it'd be battery life. Don't get us wrong, 28 hours of total use is excellent, but you can also spend less money on the Dyplay earbuds for substantially longer endurance.
- Quad-mic noise reduction
- Diamond speakers and aptX
- Creates custom EQ based on your ears
- Wireless charging support
- IPX5 water-resistance
- 28-hour battery life is good, but not the best
Best Personalized Sound
Creates sound just for your ears
Thanks to the unique HearID feature, the Liberty Air 2 create an EQ profile just for your ears. Pretty cool, huh?
Best Alexa: Amazon Echo Buds
After popularizing Alexa with its Echo speakers, Amazon has now brought the iconic digital helper to true wireless earbuds. The result? Echo Buds.
The Echo Buds utilize Bose Active Noise Reduction Technology, which, while not quite as powerful as full-blown ANC, still does a great job at blocking out unwanted ambient noise. Sound quality is also excellent, and there are built-in settings for changing the Echo Buds' EQ.
Being an Echo product, it only makes sense that Alexa is baked in. Just say "Alexa" at any time while wearing the Echo Buds to set a timer, ask about the weather, get turn-by-turn directions, and more. We also love the 20-hour total battery life and the addition of sweat-resistance.
The downsides? The charging case plugs in using Micro-USB, and at this price, we would have loved to see support for wireless charging.
- Audio is great
- Bose Active Noise Reduction Technology
- Hands-free Alexa
- 20-hour battery life
- No wireless charging
- Case charges via Micro-USB
Help whenever you need it
With built-in Alexa, the Echo Buds can tell you about the weather, set timers, and more no matter where you go.
Best Bass: Bicboz Sabbat E12
If your top priority with true wireless earbuds is a great sound, look no further than the Bicboz Sabbat E12. With support for Qualcomm aptX and bass-heavy speakers, the E12 buds are a joy to listen to. Music is rich, loud, and full of life in a way other options at this price can't always compete with.
Outside of the impressive sound, the Sabbat E12 deliver in plenty of other ways, too. You get between 6-8 hours of continuous battery life, there's an IPX5 rating for water-resistance, and the charging case has both USB-C and Qi wireless charging. Adding icing to the cake are the varied colors that Bicboz has for you to choose from.
Bicboz's charging case is a little on the bulky side for our liking, but that's about the biggest drawback to the Sabbat E12. If you can afford them, you're getting a lot for your money.
- High-quality audio with Qualcomm aptX
- 6-8 hours of continuous use
- Lots of colors to choose from
- IPX5 water resistance
- Qi wireless charging and USB-C
- Bulky charging case
Bring your music to life
The Bicboz Sabbat E12 kick out mind-blowing sound for such a small form factor, including big bass and aptX support.
Best Apple: Apple AirPods Pro
Moving right along with our list, we need to talk about the AirPods Pro. Easily some of the most popular truly wireless earbuds in existence, the AirPods Pro deliver an excellent user experience in return for the high price.
Like the Sony WF-1000XM3, the AirPods Pro offer some of the best noise cancelation you'll find in the true wireless segment. The amount of background sound these little buds can block out is darn impressive and easily one of the main reasons to consider picking them up. Similarly, the Transparency mode does the exact opposite and allows you to clearly hear everything around you when wearing the earbuds.
You can technically use the AirPods Pro with an Android phone, but you miss out on some of the features that make AirPods so great in the first place. As such, we're more inclined to recommend these if you have an iPhone.
- Noise cancellation is top-notch
- Unique and effective stem gestures
- Very enjoyable sound
- Transparency mode is incredibly useful
- Qi wireless charging
- Charging case uses Lightning
- Loses features with non-Apple devices
Have an iPhone? Get these
While that value proposition isn't as good for Android owners, the AirPods Pro are an easy recommendation if you have an iPhone.
In just about every regard, the WF-1000XM3 come out on top. Sound quality is excellent, the noise-canceling effect is in a league of its own, and we have no complaints about battery life.
We also like the Sony goes the extra mile with its smart features, such as the ability to place your hand over the left earbud to hear the world around you and pause music by just taking a bud out of your ear.
Unfortunately, while wireless earbuds have better noise-canceling than ever before, it's still not the best way to experience true noise cancelation. For that, you'll likely need a pair of over-ear or on-ear headphones. Luckily, there are still plenty of options for this. If you've decided that you want more true wireless earbuds to choose from, regardless of noise cancelation, we've got a list for that, too.
Credits — The team that worked on this guide
Joe Maring is Android Central's Senior Editor and has had a love for anything with a screen and CPU since he can remember. He's been talking/writing about Android in one form or another since 2012 and often does so while camping out at the nearest coffee shop. Have a tip? Reach out on Twitter @JoeMaring1 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org!
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