Active noise cancellation has long been the pinnacle of headphone technology. ANC headphones electronically counteract - or "cancel out" - external noise by essentially producing a mirror image sound wave in your ear. The technology works best in environments with a sustained din, like the droning of a jet engine. That's why in the last couple of decades, having Bose ANC wireless earphones in your ear became a status symbol at airports.
The technology used to be restricted to full-size, over-ear headphones. But in just the past few years, it's been shrunken down to earbud size. Sony's 2018 models were the trailblazers of noise-canceling headphones, but Apple's AirPods Pro have taken noise-canceling earbuds mainstream. To that end, we've rounded up the best true wireless earbuds with active noise cancellation that are readily available this year. Here are three of CNET's top picks to keep your listening pristine while all hell breaks loose around you.
Sennheiser Momentum True Wireless 2
CNET TAKE: The second-gen Momentum True Wireless 2 (https://www.cnet.com/reviews/sennheiser-momentum-true-wireless-2-review/#ftag=CAD187281f) pair of headphones, available now, aren't cheap at $300, but they're better all around than the originals. These wireless headphones come with a slightly smaller, more comfortable design, active noise cancellation rivaling that of the AirPods Pro, improved battery life (up to 7 hours versus the originals' 4) and better noise reduction and ambient noise blocking during calls. And if you don't like them in black, a white version is available as well. Most importantly, though, the Momentum True Wireless 2 have the same stellar sound - for true wireless earbuds, anyway - clearly superior in sound quality to the AirPods Pro. That makes them arguably the best true wireless earbuds on the market today and earns them a CNET Editors' Choice Award.
These use Bluetooth 5.1 with support for the AAC and AptX codecs (for devices that have AptX like Samsung's Galaxy phones).
Apple AirPods Pro