Best Noise-Canceling Earbuds for 2024 – CNET

Bowers & Wilkins PI7 S2: In 2023, Bowers & Wilkins upgraded its fantastic-sounding PI7 noise-canceling earbuds. The new S2 model has better battery life and Bluetooth range, now up to 25 meters (double the previous range). Additionally, the buds now integrate into the new Bowers & Wilkins Music app for iOS and Android and have a much-improved setup experience.

Sony LinkBuds S: Unlike the “open” LinkBuds, the LinkBuds S are traditional noise-isolating earbuds with tips that jam in your ears. They’re more compact and lighter than Sony’s former flagship WF-1000XM4 and also feature Sony’s V1 processor (Sony has since released the more compact WF-1000XM5). While their sound and noise canceling don’t quite measure up to either XM4s or XM5s, they’re still quite good. They’re the Sony buds for people who can’t afford Sony’s flagship earbuds but want 80% of those buds’ features and performance for significantly less.

Sony WF-1000XM4: Released in 2021, Sony’s WF-1000XM4 earned a CNET Editors’ Choice Award. They’re still excellent earbuds, but Sony has now released the next-gen WF-1000XM5. They may be a good option if you find them at a good discount. 

Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3: The Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 were among the best new true-wireless earbuds of 2022. They’re still among the best truly wireless earbuds, but Sennheiser has released the upgraded Momentum True Wireless 4. Also, the newer AirPods Pro 2 and Sony WF-1000XM5 buds are arguably superior, so only look to buy the Momentum True Wireless 3 when they’re significantly discounted.

JBL Tour Pro 2: JBL’s Tour Pro 2 earbuds have received a lot of attention for bringing something new to true-wireless earbuds: a full-color touchscreen display embedded in the case that allows you to access the earbuds’ key features and control playback as well as adjust volume levels. It’s a bit of a gimmick but also useful. While the buds could sound slightly better for their list price, overall the JBL Tour Pro 2s are very good earbuds that offer a good fit, a robust feature set, strong battery life, plus solid noise canceling and voice-calling performance.

Beyerdynamic Free Byrd: Beyerdynamic may be late to the game, but it’s finally introduced its first truly wireless earbuds, which feature active noise canceling, up to 11 hours of battery life (with noise canceling off) and impressive sound quality. Read our Beyerdynamic Free Byrd review.

Samsung Galaxy Buds 2: Available in four colors, the Samsung Galaxy Buds 2 noise-canceling headphones don’t feature as good sound or noise canceling as the Galaxy Buds 2 Pro, but they’re compact (15% smaller and 20% lighter than the earlier Buds Plus, they barely stick out of your ears) and cost significantly less. Because they sit more flush with your ears — and have that curved design — they also pick up less wind noise. They’re IPX2 sweat-resistant while the step-up Galaxy Buds 2 Pro are fully waterproof (IPX7). 

Bang & Olufsen Beoplay EX: Bang & Olufsen’s $399 Beoplay EX buds are the company’s best true-wireless earbuds. They feature a comfortable, secure fit (except perhaps for those with really smaller ears), top-notch build quality, great sound, good noise canceling and improved voice-calling performance over B&O’s EQ buds, with three microphones in each earbud they help with reducing background noise while picking up your voice. While they’re out of most people’s price range, they’re arguably the best earbuds out there with stems and offer slightly superior sound to the AirPods Pro 2 with better clarity, deeper more powerful bass and richer, more accurate sound. 

Soundcore by Anker Liberty 4: While their sound isn’t quite up to the level of higher-end buds like Apple’s AirPods Pro 2 and the Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 3 that cost significantly more, the Soundcore by Anker Liberty 4 earbuds have a strong set of features, including a spatial audio mode with head tracking, multipoint Bluetooth pairing, up to nine hours of battery life, wireless charging and support for Sony’s LDAC audio codec that can offer sound improvements if you have the right setup.

Sennheiser CX Plus: The Momentum True Wireless 3 are Sennheiser’s flagship true-wireless earbuds. If you can’t afford them, the CX Plus (which features very good sound and decent noise canceling) is a good alternative for a lot less money. The step-down CX, which has no active noise canceling, costs even less.