Having difficulty in finding the best noise cancelling earbuds?
Here’s one simple truth about in-ear headphones in general:
This style is well known to produce a weak and sometimes even complete lack of a sound reducing effect.
You might spend a lot of time in the air, travelling or any other circumstances where you feel that a noise reducing feature is an absolute necessity for you.
This is the reason that our team sought to find the best product available in 2018.
While this feature was the most important factor in our research, the quality of this isn’t the only factor which makes a great pair of in-ear headphones. In my opinion, the fit is probably the most important factor in choosing a product. What’s the point of excellent sound cancelling in-ear headphones when they keep popping out of your ears! Along with the fit, the comfort delivered by the design is also considered to be very important. Next, we have the quality of the actual sound quality.
Usually, the sound cancellation feature is probably the last thing you’ll concentrate on if you’re selecting earphones. However, considering this is the one feature we really want our product to possess, we’ll have to find products which are very well-rounded.
As I’ve already mentioned, our desired headphones are incredibly difficult to find. This usually means that we’ve to spend a premium price to buy the very best earbuds which comprise the highest quality of every feature. When it comes to this, there are a few sets listed below which really stand out for me.
However, the problem with this list is that it contains big brands which will cost a lot of money. While spending a few hundred dollars on a pair of sound cancelling in-ear headphones may be acceptable to some, most people try to find a great quality bargain. In order to accommodate both groups, we’ve added another list of the most affordable models. Not only are these sets affordable, they’ll possess the best sound cancelling in combination with other features within their price range.
Obviously, I wouldn’t expect these products to perform against other premium sets which might even be five to ten times more expensive. Just be aware of that and select your product based on this.
What are we waiting for then? Let’s have a look at detailed reviews of the best sets available on the market in 2018!
3 of the Best In-ear Noise Cancelling Headphones
|Product Name||Battery||Built-in Microphone||Wireless||Warranty|
|Shure SE535-V||No||No – accessory available||No||2|
|Bose QuietComfort 20i Acoustic||Yes (Rechargeable)||Yes||No||1|
|Shure SE215-K||No||No – accessory available||No||2|
|MEElectronics Sport-Fi M6||No||No – separate model available||No||1|
|Audio-Technica ATH-ANC23 QuietPoint||Yes (AAA)||Yes||No||1|
|JLab JBuds J4||No||No – separate model available||No||1|
Most of us are already familiar with the name and quality associated with Shure. For this reason, most of would be expecting a top quality set! When I had a first look at the SE535-Vs, they looked unique and absolutely fantastic in design.
I slowly scrolled the page up and shifted my eyes towards the price tag!
A whopping 499 dollars! It’s absolutely crazy right?
The problem is that these are Shures and this is usually a very expensive brand. If you’ve allocated a large sum of money to spend then go for this spacious highest-end set. Even though they’re very expensive, every feature incorporated into the SE535-Vs is absolutely top quality! Whether I’d actually recommend spending such a huge amount on a pair of earphones is uncertain but for those who can afford this model, they’ll be worth every penny.
The overall sound quality of the SE535-Vs literally represents perfection. The utilization of triple HD microdrivers, 2 subwoofers on each side along with 1 tweeter combines to deliver incredible sound with a highly impressive bass. I can’t emphasize how good the quality of the sound is. This means that the Shure SE535-Vs are truly a top quality pair of audiophile headphones. This model also possesses insulation value of 37dB which leads to one of the best passive sound cancelling effect in the business.
As I’ve already mentioned, the design looks fantastic. On top of this, the overall build is top-notch as well. These earbuds are light weight yet sturdy due to a strong shielded cable. Additionally, the comfort is exceptional if you manage to wear them correctly. This is aided by the inclusion of 6 bud sizes to suit most ear canal sizes and shapes. The buds also have a swivelling feature which enhances the comfort while also ensuring that the cord doesn’t tangle too much. This cord is also detachable and can be easily replaced.
In overview, I feel that these earphones are near perfection with it comes to every feature. This doesn’t really exceed my expectations as the SE535-Vs do cost a lot! The price is probably the biggest drawback but they’ll be worth it if you can afford them. Furthermore, if you have any problems after a few months of use, Shure customer service is known to provide exceptional guidance and support. For this reason, I would say these are the best noise cancelling earbuds.
Next up is the famous Bose QuietComfort 20i. This model is one of the flagship headphones created by Bose and as expected it’s very expensive. Pushing up to the $300 mark, the QuietComfort 20is would be considered unattainable for the most people. Despite this, they remain around 200 bucks cheaper than the Shure SE535-Vs we’ve just discussed above.
In terms of the feature that’s most important to us, Bose promise the best noise reducing earbuds which can go head to head against most full-size earphones. This is completely accurate as this feature performs exactly as promised. So if you’re on an incredibly noisy flight, you can count on this model to completely block out this sound!
The sound is absolutely fantastic too! The high to low range is absolutely superb with great crisp to it. No matter what genre of music you’re listening to, you’re going to be very pleased with the sound quality. I should also mention that this top-notch sound is delivered while the noise reduction feature is turned on. However, once you switch this feature off, the sound quality does seem to deteriorate!
This pair of Bose earphones is a part of the QuietComfort series for a reason. We’ve already discussed the quiet part so let’s move on to the comfort. Firstly, there are 3 sizes of ear tips included which will probably not cater for every ear size. While this is a drawback, the overall comfort associated with these 20is is exceptional. The tips included comprise of the StayHear+ technology which combines a sort of a mushroom shape which ultimately leads to a great fitting and comfortable model. So if you’re moving around or staying in one place, you can be confident that there won’t be any ear fatigue experienced.
In my opinion, this is obviously a great product! Spending 300 bucks does seem a bit too much initially but we’re getting a completely rounded set of earphones in the Bose QuietComfort 20is. However, I’d only recommend them if the sound reducing feature is an absolute necessity for you.
Another creation from Shure, the SE215-Ks would probably be considered as the most affordable yet one of the best noise cancelling earbuds available right now. This is indicated by the fact that it is considerably cheaper than the other 2 sets we’ve already discussed in this list of premium models.
The sound reduction is fantastic as most of the external noise is blocked out while the music is kept in. The overall quality of the sound is very impressive too as we’re able to experience the weakest of notes with great clarity and balance. While the bass is quite powerful, it doesn’t seem to be problematic for your head or ears. From some customer reviews shared with us, we’ve noticed that due to the tight seal, the SE215-Ks can cause a little bit of a pressure in the ears. If you experience this then make sure you don’t use these for an extended period of time and you take them off to relieve this pressure.
The comfort and the fit associated with the design is the disappointing aspect of these effective noise cancelling in-ear headphones. This model is quite bulky and fits around the ears. This makes it difficult to put them on sometimes. Once they’re fitted in, I noticed that even slight movements caused the buds to be removed. Despite this, not all people experience this. As a matter of fact, most other customer reviews actually appreciate the firm fit provided by the Shure SE215-Ks. At the end of the day, everyone is different!
Whenever I see a product made by Shure, I’m convinced that it’ll be associated with top quality. This is definitely the case here with the SE215-Ks. If you need a branded pair of headphones with great noise isolation at an amazing price, go for this model. You won’t be disappointed!
Noise Cancelling Earbuds Ratings – Affordable Sets
The Sport-Fi M6 created by MEElectronics is the most affordable set of in-ear headphones on our list. As a matter of fact, this is also the number 1 bestseller within the “Recording Headphone & In-Ear Audio Monitors” category on Amazon. Priced at just 18 bucks, these M6s would be the ideal choice for most of us. But are they any good?
When it comes to the sound reduction, these headphones do really well to block out most of the external sound. This feature is surprisingly very impressive for a product that doesn’t cost much at all. On top of this the sound quality is great too. Obviously we’re considering all of this within this specific price range so we can’t really compare the M6s against higher-end in-ear headphones. However, I was very impressed with this set in general!
In terms of the comfort, there are 6 ear tips included in the packaging. This should enable these in-ear headphones to be suitable for most ear sizes. The over-the-ear design further enhances the fit while the light weight might even make you forget that you have these headphones on. In general, this product is very comfortable and shouldn’t cause any discomfort in your ears.
While most of us aren’t too bothered by this factor, the M6s are also available in a wide range of colours. This can be considered as a huge advantage for some people. Furthermore, there is a travel case included which is surprising for such a cheap pair of earphones.
Looking at the advantages and disadvantages of this model, I think that the M6 is a fantastic product which I’d definitely recommend to most!
We all know that Audio-Technica is very well known when it comes to the quality headphones. Quality is exactly what we should be expecting from the ATH-ANC23 QuietPoints. The sound cancellation associated with this model is actually fantastic. If you travel a lot and are fed up of engine noises then these will do the job for you. Priced at around 40 bucks, these Audio-Technicas will provide a real budget alternative to high-end earphones.
The quality of the sound is quite good alongside a bass which provides nice definition. I felt that the high notes were also quite impressive. However, there is nothing perfect about the sound and this should be anticipated by the price.
We already know that in-ear headphones can be quite uncomfortable especially when it comes to the more affordable models. Premium earbuds such as the Bose we’ve already discussed are an exception to this statement but these are incredibly costly. For just a fraction of the cost, the QuietPoints are a great alternative if you’re worried about the comfort and fit. While a perfect fit can’t be promised to anyone, this model generally did well when it comes to this.
Despite some of the positive points that we’ve discussed, a major drawback is the inclusion of a single non-rechargeable AAA battery which powers the active noise cancelling feature. This will mean that you’ll need to replace the battery quite frequently depending on your usage.
It’s also worth mentioning that everything about this product is good but not great. The sound reducing aspect is definitely the strong point of these in-ear headphones. For this reason, I’d definitely recommend the ATH-ANC23 QuietPoints.
Available in a wide range of colours, the JBuds look the part when it comes to the design. While this doesn’t have a built-in microphone, if you’re looking for a set with this feature, there’s another model which has includes this for a few dollars extra.
When it comes to the sound quality, the JBuds really excel as they deliver top quality sound with great balance. You’ll experience crispy highs and lows but might be a little disappointed by the mids. This is by no means a major flaw as overall, the sound and bass is very impressive indeed. While the sound reduction feature isn’t actually mentioned in the product description, the JBuds J4s actually do well to block some external noise. However, this isn’t the strongest so it’d probably be best to go for a different model.
Most earbuds come with 3 or 4 different ear tip sizes in order to accommodate for different sizes. The JBuds hold an advantage over these other models as 7 different tips are included with this product. This will hopefully ensure a secure fit no matter what the size of your ear canals is.
The comfort is quite impressive and the light weight aids to this. You might even forget that you have them on like I did. This is further enhanced by the inclusion of 7 ear tips as discussed above.
In summary, these JBuds are incredibly well-rounded with great sound quality and comfort. However, sound cancelling isn’t really their strongest point. However, they cost less than 30 bucks which means I’d definitely take a chance on this model. You also get a decent travel case to provide protection and mobility. Who knows, you might end up loving them!
Frequently Asked Questions
- How does noise cancellation work?
- Noise isolation vs active noise cancellation
- Headphones vs earbuds for noise cancellation
- What do we look out for?
Here are some frequently asked questions on noise cancelling earbuds and how they work. We explain the differences between noise isolation and active sound cancelling, how active noise cancellation works and whether you should get noise isolation headphones as compared to earbuds. We also explain what we look out for in the selection process and how we arrived at our round-up of the best noise cancelling earbuds on this list.
Noise cancellation is the technology whereby the noise cancelling earbuds emit a unique frequency that neutralizes outside noises. This means that the sound coming from the outside is eliminated and is not heard by the human ear. Typically, earbuds can remove from 20 to 30db of noise at a frequency range of 100 to 2000 Hz, so as you reduce the background rumble and other sounds that may cause a disturbance. Such noises are usually at the lower end of the frequency range and can be quickly eliminated. This means that you will hear less of an engine rumble when sitting on a plane, or hear less car engine noise when walking on the street. Where active noise cancellation does not work well is with higher frequencies, such as the yell of a child or with piercing sounds – only the very best noise cancelling earbuds can neutralize such high-frequency noises. Noise cancellation does not eliminate all the sound you can hear from your surroundings – just the noises that fall within the frequency range that the device can handle will be removed. Some earbuds also come with the ability to adjust the level of noise cancellation that you wish to have, which is excellent in case you need to listen to road traffic signals or for safety concerns.
Noise isolation is preventing noise from getting into the ear by having a tight seal while wearing the earbuds. These earbuds are specially designed to fit securely into your ear and will prevent noise from coming in – it is similar to the concept of wearing earplugs. Noise isolation does not consume energy and is really a matter of earbud design and how tightly it can fit in your ears. Active noise cancellation, on the other hand, requires energy consumption in the production of frequency waves that neutralize outside noise. This means that the device is continually producing these noise cancelling frequencies so that you will not hear outside noises when listening to music. This process will consume battery life as it is actively trying to keep background ambient noise from being heard in the ear. The very best noise cancelling earbuds use a great combination of noise isolation and active noise cancelling to keep outside noises out from the earbuds so that you can have a quiet listening experience.
Contrary to popular belief, noise cancelling earbuds do provide a good deal of noise cancellation and are not entirely inferior to noise cancelling headphones. We have tested earbuds that can give a stunning 97% level of noise cancelling which significantly reduces ambient background noise. That being said, if you are looking for total noise reduction, then you should certainly consider using a set of noise-cancelling headphones. We have rounded up a list of best noise cancelling headphones that you should consider. Apart from the noise cancelling strength, an advantage of earbuds is portability – you can even transport them by keeping them in a side pocket and are not as bulky as headphones. Another consideration to take into account is that noise-cancelling headphones typically requires the headphone to be charged and active noise cancellation to be switched on before playing music. This problem is mostly absent with noise cancelling earbuds, which can play music straight from your mobile device without needing to be charged.
Price is one of the most critical factors that we consider in our round-up. Generally, we go for earbuds that are highly valuable for money – although they are not necessarily the best high-end earbuds, they deliver solid noise cancellation and excellent sound performance. We also look out for how good the noise cancellation is when tested in a noisy environment, as well as the quality of the sound performance. Generally speaking, the very best noise cancelling earbuds produce excellent noise cancellation and are selling at excellent price points, making them highly valuable for money. Be sure to check our roundup above for the best options available at the moment for these noise cancelling earbuds.
Noise Cancelling Earbuds Review – Conclusion
From our research, it’s clear that the above products are the best noise cancelling earbuds. However, these models are so effective that it could be dangerous to experience such a strong noise reduction in some circumstances. For example, if you’re gone out for a walk or a run, I’d probably advise against wearing these headphones. After all, your health and safety is most important!
When it comes to picking the best product, I feel that it entirely depends on the qualities you’d like and what your budget is. In my opinion, all of these models are fantastic and come very well-rounded in every aspect. I personally think that the Shure SE535-Vs are the best complete earbuds in 2018 but due to the cost, they may not be suitable. For those looking for premium style earbuds with great noise reduction but at a reasonable price, I’d definitely recommend the Shure SE215-Ks!
If your budget is less than 100 bucks then I’d definitely go for the ME Electronics Sport-Fi M6s which cost a measly 18 bucks! I think that you can’t go wrong with this product especially when you’re spending less than 20 dollars!