Top 15 Noise-Canceling Earbuds | Find Your Brand’s Rank

In a world that never seems to quiet down, the desire to find tranquility in the hustle and bustle of city life or to immerse oneself in videos and music during the daily commute was once a luxury. Now, this dream has become reality thanks to the advent of noise-cancelling headphones, which have garnered a growing fan base, especially among the younger generation.

In December 2023, “Consumer Reports” conducted an analysis of the top 15 bestselling noise-cancelling earbuds on a prominent e-commerce platform. The analysis included both in-ear and one semi-in-ear style, excluding over-ear models. By compiling and examining 180,000 consumer reviews, the report aimed to determine the genuine crowd-pleasers in the noise-cancelling earbuds market.

Brand Evaluations

The brands reviewed (in no specific order) included:

OPPO, Apple, vivo, Xiaomi (MI), Samsung (SAMSUNG), B&O, Beats, Bose, Baseus, Huawei, 1MORE, and Sennheiser.

Evaluation Criteria

A common query surfacing in online searches is “What’s the difference between noise-cancelling headphones costing a few hundred and those priced in the thousands?” While the difference may appear minor at first glance, the reality may lie in the quality of materials, design details, chip technology, and build of the components, leading to price differentials. Additionally, factors like dedicated acoustic engineering teams, proprietary designs, brand positioning, marketing strategies, and after-sales services can significantly affect pricing. This reputation report avoided deep-diving into these complex price-influencing factors and chose to conduct the scoring and ranking by dividing earbuds into two basic categories based on a price point of 1,000 Yuan: “below 1,000 Yuan” and “above 1,000 Yuan.”

Noise-Cancelling Earbuds Under 1,000 Yuan

Leading Performance from vivo iQOO

Leading the charge in this category was the vivo iQOO TWS 1 True Wireless Noise-Cancelling Earbuds (Racing Edition).

iQOO, a sub-brand incubated by vivo in 2019 with a “Born Strong” ethos, partnered with BMW M Motorsport as a global top partner in 2020. The “Racing Edition” earbuds feature a striking black and yellow contrast design, with the color change upon opening the case echoing the speed and passion found on racing tracks.

These earbuds boast end-to-end aptX Lossless transmission technology and aptX Adaptive audio technology, delivering clear, loss-free, superior sound quality with fast and stable audio transmission. Professionally tuned by the Golden Ears Acoustic Lab, the product promises high-fidelity sound detail, aiming to bring a full live experience and competitive energy to your ears.

Users have praised the quality of the earbuds, commenting on their excellent texture and craftsmanship, comfortable fit without excessive pressure, and impressive sound quality with great bass.

The Bluetooth connectivity and noise-cancelling performance also received high marks from consumers, who were satisfied with how well they blocked out noise—be it the hum of a ceiling fan or the bustling sounds while riding high-speed trains or buses.

Baseus with Room for Improvement

On the flip side, Baseus M2s True Wireless Bluetooth Earbuds fell short in consumer expectations.

Born in 2011, Baseus is a globally recognized, leading brand in digital accessories that has been acknowledged for its original designs and intellectual property rights. By July 2022, Baseus had secured over 120 prestigious design awards such as iF and Red Dot, and had applied for more than 2,000 patents.

Advertised as offering “HIFI-level sound quality,” the earbuds received mixed reviews for their audio performance, with some users complaining of muffled sound and an overall poor listening experience. Baseus customer service suggests trying different audio sources or wearing-in the new product for some time to improve sound quality.

Additionally, other criticisms focused on ineffective noise-cancellation and Bluetooth disconnection issues. Some users even reported hearing a static-like noise during use. Despite these issues, because of their strong noise-cancelling reputation, these earbuds scored reasonably well overall.

Noise-Cancelling Earbuds Above 1,000 Yuan

Top Ranking for Beats Studio Buds

In the above-1,000 Yuan category, Beats Studio Buds True Wireless Noise-Cancelling Earbuds took the top spot.

Founded in 2006, Beats quickly gained fame for its consumer-friendly headphones and speakers popular amongst young audiences. Apple acquired Beats Electronics and Beats Music in July 2014 for $3 billion, marking the company’s largest acquisition to date.

The earbuds received considerable praise for their construction quality, sound, Bluetooth connection, and noise-cancellation features: Users were delighted with the detailed sound quality, comfortable noise cancellation, quick Bluetooth pairing, tasteful appearance, and clean audio without interference, with the added benefit of feeling isolated from the external world when worn.

Room for Improvement for B&O Beoplay EQ

However, some user experiences didn’t quite meet expectations, such as with the B&O Beoplay EQ Active Noise-Cancelling True Wireless Bluetooth Earbuds, which did not perform as well as hoped in this study.

B&O, established in Denmark in 1925, prides itself on its nearly century-old legacy of crafting household acoustic products. Collaborating with renowned designers across various industries, B&O integrates its products into a multitude of interior styles.

Amid its touted features like hybrid active noise-cancellation, aerospace-grade aluminum, high-resolution audio quality, and support for Bluetooth 5.2, consumers reported connectivity issues like unstable Bluetooth connections and problems with comfort and unwanted noise.

Some Tips on Noise-Cancelling Earbuds

Before diving into the noise-cancelling world, consider your use case:

  • Public Transport: If you frequently travel by subway or bus where there’s significant background noise, noise-cancelling earbuds are an ideal choice.
  • Outdoor Activities: For activities that require awareness of your surroundings, like running or cycling, it is advisable not to rely on active noise cancellation due to safety concerns. Instead, consider earbuds with a transparency mode.

Remember to control the volume, ideally keeping it below 60 decibels, and regulate the duration of use, aiming not to exceed one hour at a time—never sleep with earbuds in.

Lastly, be aware that since noise-cancelling earbuds create a sealed environment in your ear canal, humidity and temperature can increase, fostering microbe growth and potentially causing infections. Regularly clean your earbuds with alcohol wipes to maintain good hygiene.

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