The best Noise Canceling Earbuds for travel

Updated over 1 year ago

What'd you say? Huh? Yeah, I can't hear you because I'm literally canceling your voice.

You might not make many friends this way, but it's still funny to think that's what you're doing when using active noise canceling earbuds. They do have a legitimate use case though: drowning out the droning noises of planes and buses, reducing the shrieking cry of a baby, or any other time you need to minimize distracting noises to sleep or focus. Many people, including us, swear by them.


Active noise canceling is great for low frequency sounds like the drone of an airplane. For constantly changing sounds, like someone talking to you, it helps but it isn't as effective as just a pair of ear plugs that prevent sound from entering your ear.

What we look for
  • Active noise canceling which does a better job than passive for travel scenarios
  • Long battery life since active noise canceling requires power
  • Earbuds form factor over bulky headphones for better packability
  • Good sound quality so your unce unce sounds crisp 🎶
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Bose QuietComfort 20

Best overall noise canceling earbuds

Nothing today touches the fantastic quality of Bose’s noise cancelation. They’re expensive, but if noise canceling and auditory peace is what you value most they’re worth it.

  • The sound quality isn't the absolute best, but it's good enough considering the noise canceling quality
  • Make sure to get the right model for your device (Apple vs. Android/Samsung)
  • 16 hour battery life

TaoTronics TT-EP01

Best value: adequate noise canceling for 1/6 the price

While its noise canceling isn’t as good as Bose, it’s adequately close (estimated at about 60% to 70% as good) and only 1/6 the cost.

  • To improve the noise cancelling and comfort of these, replace the included ear tips with SpinFit ear tips
  • 15 hour battery life

Bose QuietControl 30

If wireless ability is important to you

If you need both noise canceling and wireless ability, these are the best. Compared to the QC20, the noise cancelation of these is extremely close and the sound quality is slightly better.

Downsides are the neckband design looks weird when worn and once it's out of battery it's done vs. wired options you can continue to use.

  • 10 hour battery life

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