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Article updated on June 5, 2024 at 10:00 AM PDT

Best Wireless Headphones for 2024

Ditch those wires with CNET's picks of the best wireless headphones to buy for great sound on the go.

Our Experts

Written by 
David Carnoy
Our expert, award-winning staff selects the products we cover and rigorously researches and tests our top picks. If you buy through our links, we may get a commission. Reviews ethics statement
David Carnoy Executive Editor / Reviews
Executive Editor David Carnoy has been a leading member of CNET's Reviews team since 2000. He covers the gamut of gadgets and is a notable reviewer of mobile accessories and portable audio products, including headphones and speakers. He's also an e-reader and e-publishing expert as well as the author of the novels Knife Music, The Big Exit and Lucidity. All the titles are available as Kindle, iBooks, Kobo e-books and audiobooks.
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What to consider

Budget

Noise canceling?

Comfort

Durability

Return policy

Our Picks

$379 at Bose
Image of Bose QuietComfort Ultra Headphones
Best Bose noise-canceling headphones
Bose QuietComfort Ultra Headphones
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$330 at Best Buy
A pair of white Sony WH-1000XM5 headphones against a blue background
Best noise-canceling headphones from Sony
Sony WH-1000XM5
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$290 at Amazon
Image of Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless
Best Sennheiser noise-canceling wireless headphones
Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless
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$135 at Amazon
Image of Apple AirPods Pro 2 (USB-C)
Updated Apple noise-canceling wireless earbuds
Apple AirPods Pro 2 (USB-C)
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$98 at Amazon
The Sony CH-720N has improved sound and noise canceling performance
Top value Sony midrange noise-canceling headphones
Sony CH-720N
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$549 at Apple
airpods-max-8
Best high-end Apple wireless headphones
Apple AirPods Max
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$80 at Amazon
Image of Edifier W820NB Plus
Best sound for under $90
Edifier W820NB Plus
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$249 at Bose
Image of Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds
Great noise-canceling
Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds
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$75 at Amazon
Image of 1More SonoFlow
Good-performing noise-canceling headphones under $100
1More SonoFlow
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$319 at Amazon
Image of Bowers & Wilkins PX7 S2e
Evolved Bowers & Wilkins noise-canceling headphones
Bowers & Wilkins PX7 S2e
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$38 at Walmart
Image of Sony CH-520
Top budget on-ear headphones
Sony CH-520
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$180 at Best Buy
Image of Beats Studio Pro
Best Beats over-ear headphones
Beats Studio Pro
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$160 at Best Buy
Image of Beats Fit Pro
Best wireless earbuds for sports
Beats Fit Pro
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$248 at Amazon
Image of Sony WF-1000XM5
Best Sony earbuds
Sony WF-1000XM5
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$80 at Amazon
Image of Earfun Air Pro 3
Top budget noise-canceling wireless earbuds
Earfun Air Pro 3
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$599 at Master & Dynamic
Image of Master & Dynamic MW75
Best-sounding premium noise-canceling headphones
Master & Dynamic MW75
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What are the best wireless headphones overall?

If you want great audio on the go, wireless headphones may be the right choice for you. Bluetooth headphones have become quite popular in recent years along with high-performance wireless earbuds. These Bluetooth options are excellent for active people who don't want to deal with wires. With so many options available today, picking the best wireless headphone model for your needs can be difficult. You will want all the features, but the headphones also need to have ample comfort. Our list has some obvious picks, like the Bose QuietComfort Ultra Headphones, Sony WH-1000XM5 and AirPods Pro 2, as well as some lesser-known options that are lighter on the wallet.

When it comes to picking the best wireless headphones, there are a lot of features and wear styles available. You get the over-the-head cans, as well as in-ear wireless earbuds, and there's a wide range of sound quality settings and smart options. There are also a ton of noise-cancelling headphones, some of which feature active noise cancellation. The heavy hitters like Bose and Apple headphones come in with hefty price tags. At the same time, brands are making exceptional wireless headphones on a budget. In this list, we've included a combination of some of the biggest names in the market, as well as some more budget-friendly options that will give a great listening experience.

I've tested hundreds of headphones over 20 years of evaluating headphones, and I've used all the models on this list and fully reviewed many of them. If you're looking for a more refined selection, check out our roundups of the best wireless earbuds, best noise-canceling headphones, best workout earbuds and headphones and best open wireless earbuds. I'll update this list as new top wireless headphones hit the market.

Best wireless headphones of 2024

$379 at Bose

Best Bose noise-canceling headphones

Bose QuietComfort Ultra Headphones

While Bose's new flagship QuietComfort Ultra Headphones may not be a huge upgrade over the company's Noise Cancelling 700 headphones, they feature a more premium design along with Bose's new Immersive Audio feature, which delivers some sound-quality enhancements. Along with excellent sound and great noise canceling, the QC Ultra Headphones are also superb for making calls, with top-notch background noise reduction. All that adds up to the best new noise-canceling headphones of 2024 and a worthy adversary to Sony's highly rated WH-1000XM5 and Apple's AirPods Max.

$330 at Best Buy

Best noise-canceling headphones from Sony

Sony WH-1000XM5

When you have a product that a lot of people love, change can be risky. Such is the case for Sony's WH-1000XM5, the fifth generation of the 1000X series headphones, which were first released in 2016 as the MDR-1000X Wireless and have become increasingly popular as they've improved with each generation. Over the years, Sony has made some tweaks to the design but nothing as dramatic as what it's done with the WH-1000XM5. Other than the higher $330 retail price, most of those changes are good, and Sony's made some dramatic improvements with voice-calling performance as well as even better noise canceling and more refined sound.

$290 at Amazon

Best Sennheiser noise-canceling wireless headphones

Sennheiser Momentum 4 Wireless

Sennheiser's previous-generation Momentum Wireless headphones have always had a pretty distinctive look that was part retro, part modern and stood out for the exposed metal on their headband. For better or worse, that's all gone now, and the new Momentum 4 Wireless, Sennheiser's flagship noise-canceling headphones, look a bit more subdued and also a bit more like some of their competitors.

The Momentum 4 Wireless offers superior performance over the Momentum 3 Wireless in every regard, although the biggest gains are with noise canceling and voice-calling performance as well as outstanding battery life; up to 60 hours at moderate volume levels. There's also a transparency mode that allows ambient sound in, and they can create a custom sound profile in the Smart Control app for iOS and Android using the built-in EQ, sound modes and a new Sound Personalization feature that "assesses the user's listening preferences and adjusts the listening experience according to their taste." 

Equipped with 42mm drivers, Sennheiser says the Momentum 4 Wireless offers "best-in-class" sound, which is debatable. I'd say the Momentum 4's sound quality is right there with other models in this price range. They sound excellent, with the requisite well-defined, punchy bass, relatively wide soundstage (they sound pretty open) and smooth treble that brings out some of the finer details in well-recorded tracks. They're a pleasure to listen to.

$135 at Amazon

Updated Apple noise-canceling wireless earbuds

Apple AirPods Pro 2 (USB-C)

Apple not only swapped in USB-C for Lightning connectivity in its new iPhone 15 models, but it made the switch with the AirPods Pro (second generation). The new AirPods Pro 2 with MagSafe (USB-C) are nearly identical to their Lightning predecessor, delivering the same excellent sound, noise canceling and voice-calling performance. They offer some other small upgrades, including additional dust resistance and a new acoustic architecture that allows for Lossless Audio with the Vision Pro, the wearable headset Apple released on Feb. 2 for $3,499. Is it possible that new acoustic architecture makes the buds sound subtly different from current devices like the iPhone? Maybe, maybe not. Either way, the AirPods Pro 2 (USB-C) are easy to recommend to Apple users despite their high price.

$98 at Amazon

Top value Sony midrange noise-canceling headphones

Sony CH-720N

Sony's improved entry-level noise-canceling headphones, the CH-720Ns, have a bit of a plasticky budget vibe, but they're lightweight and very comfortable. Part of me was expecting them to sound pretty mediocre, but I was pleasantly surprised. No, they don't sound as good as the WH-1000XM5s. They do sound more premium than they look (and feel), and their overall performance is a step up from their predecessor, the CH-710Ns. Are they worth $130? Maybe, but the good news is that, like the CH-710N and WH-XB910 before them, these have already seen significant discounts, with prices dropping to as low as $100 during flash sales.

$549 at Apple

Best high-end Apple wireless headphones

Apple AirPods Max

Yes, they're expensive, but the AirPods Max delivers richer, more detailed sound than lower-priced competitors from Bose and Sony and works very well as a headset for making calls. While I wouldn't recommend them for Android and Windows users, they're the best wireless headphones for iOS and Mac users who want to switch easily between their Apple devices. 

They also feature arguably the best noise canceling on the market, along with premium build quality and Apple's virtual surround spatial audio feature for video watching. While they're heavy, they manage to be surprisingly comfortable, although I did have to adjust the mesh canopy headband to sit a little more forward on my head to get a comfortable secure fit when I was out walking with them. They should fit most heads well, but there will be exceptions.

$80 at Amazon

Best sound for under $90

Edifier W820NB Plus

Edifier makes some good-sounding PC speakers and true-wireless earbuds, and it's done a nice job with its W820NB noise-canceling headphones, now on their second-gen version, the Edifier W820NB Plus. The first thing you'll notice about them when you put them on is that they're comfortable -- Edifier has upgraded the ear pads with higher-grade memory foam -- and the headphones fit snugly on your head. They also sound good for their price, offering slightly improved audio quality from the originals, thanks to what appear to be upgraded drivers (also, they now support the LDAC audio codec for Android devices). You get a bit more clarity and a slightly better bass definition. Their sound didn't necessarily blow me away as they lack a bit of openness, but it's very good for what the headphones cost. Like their predecessor, they're pleasant-sounding headphones, and even a bit more so now. 

Other features include an ambient mode that lets outside sound in and a low-latency gaming mode. The noise canceling has been upgraded slightly, and they're decent for voice calling. Battery life is pretty impressive with up to 49 hours on a single charge at moderate volume levels (and noise canceling off). 

A couple of things are still missing. There's no official carrying case or headphone jack, although you can connect them to your computer with the included USB-C to USB-A cable. Regardless, the 820NB Plus headphones are still a good value.

$298 at Bose

Great noise-canceling

Bose QuietComfort Ultra Earbuds

While the QC Ultra Earbuds aren't a major upgrade over Bose's excellent QC Earbuds 2 that were released in 2022, they're a little better. They should fit most ears very well, and they feature superb noise canceling, arguably the best out there. A natural-sounding transparency mode with a new ActiveSense feature kicks in some ANC should the sound get too loud around you (it's sort of similar to the AirPods Pro's Adaptive Audio feature). They also sound slightly better overall, with a touch more clarity, and their new Immersive Audio feature opens up the sound a bit.

$75 at Amazon

Good-performing noise-canceling headphones under $100

1More SonoFlow

The design of 1More's SonoFlow headphones reminds me a little of some earlier Sony headphones and also the newer Sennheiser Momentum Wireless 4. They're a bit generic looking but sleek enough and more importantly, comfortable to wear. They also feature very respectable sound quality. While it doesn't quite measure up to the sound quality of what'll get with more premium models like the Momentum Wireless 4, it isn't that far off. The SonoFlow headphones deliver smooth sound with good clarity and relatively well-defined bass (they're just not quite as rich or dynamic sounding as those premium models I mentioned). They also have support for the LDAC audio codec.

The noise canceling is a step down from what Sony and Bose models offer, but it does a decent job of muffling ambient sound and there is a transparency mode. Voice-calling performance is similarly solid but unspectacular. Note that you can use this in wired mode with the included cable but the noise canceling works only in wireless mode, which is an issue for frequent flyers who like some noise canceling when plugging into an in-flight entertainment system. 

$319 at Amazon

Evolved Bowers & Wilkins noise-canceling headphones

Bowers & Wilkins PX7 S2e

Bowers & Wilkins released the PX7 S2 headphones in 2022 with some significant improvements over the first-generation version. Now it's put out a slightly upgraded version, the PX7 S2e with the "e" standing for evolved. The audio quality has been slightly upgraded thanks to improved digital processing (the headphones have been re-tuned), which we assume involves an upgraded chip.

These headphones are more comfortable than the original PX7s -- they tip the scales at 307 grams -- and not only sound better but have better noise-canceling and voice-calling performance with improved noise reduction. I don't necessarily think they're a better option than the lighter and even more comfortable Sony WH-1000XM5 or Bose's QuietComfort Ultra Headphones. The PX7 S2e certainly looks and feels luxurious with its sturdy design and delivers excellent sound. Bowers & Wilkins also sells a step-up model, the PX8, that features even better sound but costs significantly more. 

$38 at Walmart

Top budget on-ear headphones

Sony CH-520

Sony released its new entry-level CH-720N noise-canceling headphones in 2023. They're quite good, but if you can't afford them (they list for around $100), the company's new budget on-ear CH-520 headphones are an intriguing option for only around $40.

They lack noise canceling and are pretty no-frills, but they feature good sound for their price, are lightweight and pretty comfortable for on-ear headphones, and also have excellent battery life (they're rated for up to 50 hours at moderate volume levels). Additionally, they have multipoint Bluetooth pairing, so you can pair them with two devices simultaneously (such as a smartphone and computer) and switch audio. Voice-calling performance is decent, although not up to the level of what you get with the CH-720N. 

Note that there's no wired option -- this is a wireless Bluetooth-only headphone. The CH-520 offers an overall balanced sound with decent clarity. The bass has some punch to it but doesn't pack a wallop, and you're not going to get quite as wide a soundstage as you get from Sony's more expensive over-ear headphones. These sound much better than Sony's previous entry-level on-ear headphones -- even better than I thought they would.

$180 at Best Buy

Best Beats over-ear headphones

Beats Studio Pro

Love 'em or hate 'em, Beats Studio headphones are among the most popular headphones of all time, launching as wired headphones back in 2008. This is the fourth generation of them, and they carry the same list price as their predecessor and look very similar on the outside but have some big changes on the inside that make them significantly better headphones. I'm tempted to describe them as more affordable plastic versions of the AirPods Max, but that's not quite accurate due to a choice in chipsets and one notable missing feature. Read our full review to find out what makes these good-quality headphones, albeit with some caveats.

$160 at Best Buy

Best wireless earbuds for sports

Beats Fit Pro

While the Beats Fit Pro technically aren't AirPods, they're built on the same tech platform as the AirPods Pro (yes, Apple owns Beats). Unlike Beats' earlier and less expensive Studio Buds and 2023 Studio Buds Plus, the Beats Fit Pro includes Apple's H1 chip and has most of the AirPods Pro's features, including active noise canceling, spatial audio and Adaptive EQ. I'd venture to call them the sports AirPods you've always wanted.

$248 at Amazon

Best Sony earbuds

Sony WF-1000XM5

When Sony's WF-1000XM4 earbuds came out in 2021, we awarded them a CNET Editors' Choice. While they're excellent, we had some quibbles -- they're on the large side and aren't a good match for certain ears. Sony took those gripes to heart when it set out to design its next-generation WF-1000XM5 flagship noise-canceling earbuds. Not only are the XM5s smaller, but they also offer improved performance pretty much across the board, with better noise canceling, sound quality and voice calling. Are the XM5s perfect? Not quite, and they're also costly. Overall they're really impressive; easily among the very top earbuds on the market.

$80 at Amazon

Top budget noise-canceling wireless earbuds

Earfun Air Pro 3

Earfun has put out a series of wireless earbuds over the last couple of years with one important commonality: They're very good values, made more so by frequent discounts. The company's new-for-2023 Earfun Air Pro 3 earbuds feature the latest Qualcomm QCC3071 system-on-a-chip with AptX Adaptive for Android and other devices that support the new LE Audio standard and LC3 audio codec, which is superior to the SBC codec (they also support AAC for Apple devices).

Lightweight and comfortable to wear -- I got a good seal with the largest ear tip size -- these aren't a huge upgrade over the Earfun Air S, but they are better. They have slightly larger wool-composite drivers (11mm versus 10mm), slightly improved noise canceling and better battery life (up to 7 hours with noise canceling on, according to Earfun).

In short, the Earfun Air 3 delivers strong performance for its modest price, with robust bass, good clarity and a relatively wide soundstage. They also pack in a lot of features, including a wireless charging case and "multidevice" connectivity. (I could pair them to two devices simultaneously but had to pause the music on one device and hit play on the other for the audio to switch.) They're IPX5 splash-proof and also work well (although not exceptionally well) as a headset for making calls. 

Use the code EAP3CNET at checkout at Amazon to drop the price.

$599 at Master & Dynamic

Best-sounding premium noise-canceling headphones

Master & Dynamic MW75

The MW75 is Master & Dynamic's best full-size headphones yet. Needless to say, they're pricey at $599; most people will be quite satisfied with the $330 Sony WH-1000XM5, which is lighter and more comfortable and delivers best-in-class voice calling and noise canceling. The MW75's build quality is hard to beat, and they offer top-notch sound for a wireless model (I thought they sounded better than Apple's AirPods Max headphones), plus strong voice-calling and noise-canceling performance. With their support for aptX Adaptive, they have additional appeal for Android users, who can get a touch better sound quality with the right setup. I was also quite happy streaming music with my iPhone 13 Pro using the AAC codec.

Factors to consider when buying wireless headphones

Budget

Before anything else, you'll want to figure out how much you're willing to spend on new wireless headphones. The quality of value-priced headphones continues to improve, so you can find good affordable headphones for less than $100. The premium models, which offer better build quality and performance, tend to cost $200 or more, sometimes much more. 

Noise canceling: Yes or no

The majority of over-ear headphones feature active noise canceling. It does slightly affect sound quality, so if you're an audio purist, you may want to go with a model that doesn't have noise canceling. You can also sometimes save some money by getting non-ANC headphones, although noise canceling is becoming a fairly standard feature.

Fit, aka comfort

It's key that the headphones you buy fit your head well. They should offer a comfortable fit that's snug yet not too snug. Ideally, you want headphones you can wear over a day with minimal breaks.

Durability

You want headphones that hold up well over time, so look for models that we note have sturdy build quality.

Maximize performance and features for your budget

You want the best-sounding headphones with the best noise canceling, call quality and features for whatever you're able to spend.

Return policy

It's critical to buy your headphones at a retailer that has a good return policy in case you have buyer's remorse. Some people who are having trouble deciding between two models sometimes buy both, try them out for a few days and then return one.

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How we test wireless headphones

We test wireless headphones based on six key criteria: designsound qualitynoise-canceling performancevoice-calling performance, features and value

  • Design: We assess not only how comfortably the headphones fit (their ergonomics) but also their build quality and how well the controls are implemented. With wireless headphones and earbuds, we'll note if they're water-resistant, but only a few full-size headphones have water- and dust-resistance ratings. 
  • Sound quality: We evaluate sound quality by listening to a set playlist of music tracks and comparing headphones to top competing products in their price range. Sonic traits such as bass definition, clarity, dynamic range and how natural the headphones sound are key factors in our assessment.
  • Noise-canceling performance: If the headphones we're testing feature active noise canceling, we evaluate ANC performance by wearing the headphones in the same spot indoors near a noisy HVAC unit to see how well they do at muffling lower frequencies. Then we head out onto city streets to test the headphones in a real-world environment where we see how they muffle street noise and people's voices.
  • Extra features: Some great-sounding headphones and earbuds aren't loaded with features, but we do take into account what extra features are on board. These include everything from quick-access awareness to transparency modes (your music pauses and the headphones open up to the outside world so you can have a conversation) to special sound modes to ear-detection sensors that automatically pause your music when you take the headphones off your ears. We also take a look at the companion app for the headphones if there is one and how user-friendly it is. 
  • Voice-calling: When we test voice-calling performance, we make calls on noisy city streets and evaluate how well the headphones or earbuds reduce background noise and how well callers can hear our voices.
  • Value: We determine value after considering the strength of the headphones against all these criteria and what they're able to deliver compared with other models in their price class. 
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Other wireless headphones we tested

Mark Levinson No. 5909: These are premium audio brand Mark Levinson's first headphones, and yes, they're really expensive at $999. They're also really good. They have a sturdy design without feeling hefty on your head (read: they're substantial but not too heavy), and they're comfortable to wear over long periods, thanks to their nicely padded and replaceable leather-covered earcups and headbands. Read our Mark Levinson No. 5909 hands-on.

Soundcore by Anker Space One: The Space One is a good value for around $100, offering a strong feature set along with good sound quality and performance. They can't quite compete sound-wise with many of the premium noise-canceling models, but you don't feel like you're giving up that much on the sound front to save a good deal of money. They lack a bit of that natural, refined quality you look for in a great set of cans, but the Space One sounds respectable, with decent clarity and bass definition and measures up well to the more expensive Soundcore Space 45.

Technics EAH-A800: There's a bit of an old-school vibe to the Technics EAH-A800, and it's not just the Technics brand, which Panasonic resurrected in the last few years. Their design is something of a throwback, but these headphones are comfortable and both fold up and fold flat. They feature a big, energetic sound with powerful bass and good detail, although they take a day or two to break in. 

Status Between 3ANC: Status earbuds aren't exactly the sleekest or most attractive earbuds you can buy, but if you don't mind their utilitarian look and giant stems, you're getting an excellent-sounding set of earbuds. The Between 3ANC, the company's first noise-canceling earbuds, also do a good job muffling ambient sound, but they aren't up to the level of the Bose QuietComfort 2 earbuds for noise-canceling prowess. They did perform very well in my voice-calling test, reducing much of the background noise around me in the streets of New York while picking up my voice clearly, or so callers told me.

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Wireless headphones FAQ

Are full-size wireless headphones better than wireless earbuds?

In the past, top full-size wireless headphones did offer improved performance over wireless earbuds. That's no longer the case. Some top wireless earbuds measure up well to full-size models for both sound quality, noise-canceling performance and call quality. Over-ear headphones do have big battery life advantages.

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Are wireless headphones bad for your hearing?

Only if you play them too loud for long periods. It's best to keep volume levels in the 50%-70% range.

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What makes wireless headphones comfortable?

Lighter headphones tend to be more comfortable, and companies like Sony and Bose have made an effort to shave as much weight as they can off their premium over-ear noise-canceling headphones. You also want headphones that have soft earpads and a comfortable headband, with high-quality memory foam and good padding. Heavier headphones, like Apple's AirPods Max, can be comfortable, but the weight distribution has to be good, along with the cushioning on the headband at the top where it meets the crown of your head.

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Is it 'noise-canceling' or 'noise-cancelling'?

Short answer: both. Either spelling is correct, as "canceling" is more common in American English, while "cancelling" is more common in British English. CNET uses "noise-canceling" since the company is based in the US, but the noise is canceled just the same, regardless of spelling. If you're looking to see what different noise-impacting technology is out there for headphones, check out our article on noise-canceling versus noise-isolating headphones, which highlights differences in function (and not just a difference in spelling).

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