Top 9 Best Noise Canceling Earbuds for Motorbikers in 2018 – Review & Buying Guide
If you’re looking for the best noise canceling earbuds for motorcycle riders then you’ve come to the right place. We’ve made a selection of some of the top products available right now on the market so you won’t have to go through dozens of motorbike noise canceling earbud reviews to get an idea of what’s available for sale. We’ve placed the Bose Quiet Comfort 20 at the top of our list since it offers a very good level of quality and some functions that make it well suited for motorcycle use, including an aware mode that lets you hear the ambient noise when needed without having to take off the earbuds for this. They work with both Samsung and Android devices and also feature a microphone, so you can take calls while riding. If you’re interested in something more basic (and less pricey), then the Fit Life Earplugs 23dB should serve you well.
Our Team Recommends
With all the wide array of options available out there, finding the right noise canceling earbuds might not be the easiest thing in the world. That’s why we’ve looked through scores of reviews of noise-canceling earbuds and selected a limited number of top scoring products for your consideration.
Bose Quiet Comfort 20 (B00X9KVVQK)
When it comes to noise canceling technology, Bose is one of the most well-regarded names out there. Their Quiet Comfort line might not be the cheapest, but it’s sure to provide a high level of performance and quality for listening to music or phone calls in a noisy setting.
The QC 20 model can connect to either an Apple or a Samsung device via a reinforced cable, which also features a small panel which will allow you to activate either the aware mode or switch between music and phone conversations.
The aware mode will be especially useful to bikers in situations that will demand their full attention, as it turns off the active noise cancellation on the device. This item also has an integrated active equalizer to improve sound clarity by silencing certain bands, while proprietary TriPort technology gives it an edge over the competition.
The Fit Life Earplugs 23dB (B072N7PQD1)
This is a pair of high fidelity earplugs intended to provide 23 dB of noise protection without falsifying the outside noise. This will be especially welcomed for a biker, as it means you will still be able to make up as much of the environment as possible to avoid any potentially dangerous situations.
In a hard box packaging which can fit on a keychain, you will get 1 pair of earplugs with filters attached as well as spare silicone shells and a carrying bag. The shells are reported to be soft and easy on the ears, while silicone being non-reactive means that these won’t trigger any potential allergies through prolonged contact.
No foam is being used for the noise filtering mass, which means the sound won’t get muffled and it will be easy to distinguish between different car engines while in traffic, as well as listen to your favorite metal band without having to worry about potential ear damage.
SoundPEATS Qy7 Mini (B00PEPIWNI)
If you want to execute wide motions with your hands without having a cable flailing about while listening to your favorite music then this is the product for you. The Qy7 integrates the latest 4.1 Bluetooth technology, which allows it to connect to 2 separate devices at the same time, be they either iPhone or Android.
Naturally, these also feature noise cancellation technology so you can listen to your favorite tunes without being bothered by the sound of your bike, but the output quality is not really the best available. It has been commented, however, that these do a very good job for the price and also sport some additional features to make up for this.
They come with 2 sets of earbuds, together with a hook to ensure a better grip on your ear. Combined with the fact that they are also sweat resistant, they might make a good choice for dirt bike riders.
R&T High Fidelity (B077F5C7C8)
This small set of earplugs are reported to be especially comfortable, as they are shorter and fatter than most similar products. Soft silicone is used for the casing, so it doesn’t rub against your ears the wrong way or cause allergic reactions.
Most reviewers were able to wear these for 8 to 16 hours straight without experiencing any itching or pressure pain. No foam was used for the filtering material, which means the sound quality will stay true to life, with no muffling that might decrease your awareness to a significant degree.
As these are very compact, the hard case they come in is also significantly shorter than similar items, which makes them easy to fit in tight leather pockets. This also features a waterproof rubber seal, to keep sweat and dust from seeping in if you happen to carry it around the belt, connected through a small carabiner style holder.
SoundPEATS Q12 (B06ZZB62XM)
Since these use a Bluetooth 4.1 connection, the SoundPEATS Q12 can be operated with 2 devices at the same time, either with a laptop and phone for home use or 2 phones that are either Android or Apple.
The Lithium battery should provide up to 7 hours of continuous use, enough for a very long bike ride, with 1 and a half hour recharge time.
These, of course, have noise canceling technology, so the surroundings won’t bother you while enjoying your tunes. Most customers find that this works particularly well and the sound quality overall is reported to be very good for the price.
They are fairly easy to keep on the ears, with 4 sizes of ear tips available, as well as 3 pairs of year hooks. The two buds are outfitted with internal magnets so they close around your neck when not in use, making them harder to get blown off by the front wind.
Phiaton BT 220 NC (B00O66PYFA)
This pair from Phiaton offers both active noise cancellation and a 4.0 Bluetooth connection that can handle 2 devices simultaneously. It also uses the aptX codec, for increased digital streaming efficiency and dynamic range.
The manufacturer specifies that up to 95% of the background noise can be canceled out, which means that you will be able to enjoy listening to your music in crystal clarity, without the engine providing a constant distraction.
In situations when it will be advisable to pay attention to what’s going on around you, a single button can be used to mute the sound and the active noise canceling.
Like all similar units, it can be used for making calls, and the battery provides it with 16 hours of working life for this function, meaning you won’t be as dependent on a power supply for charging when on the road.
The microphone is said to work surprisingly well on this unit, so you might want to consider it if you are in the habit of using the phone a lot from the bike
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC23 (B004K09H32)
This Audio-Technica model will make a good budget solution for those who are strapped for cash or otherwise unpretentious, but it won’t offer the same level of performance as more expensive models.
According to the manufacturer, the active noise cancellation will only work to counter around 90% of the background noise, which might be a good figure for a passive system, but will make a noticeable difference when compared to a Bose.
Judging by what people who bought this unit have had to say, however, it competes very well within its price range, offering a slightly better sound quality, a higher degree of comfort, and (surprisingly) better noise reduction than most other affordable models.
It also comes additionally with an airline plug adapter to be used during long flights, and it uses an AAA battery, that should last for a significant amount of time between charges. There are 3 different sizes of earbuds to choose from, and they also angle to fit your ear canal precisely for better noise cancellation.
B&O Play by Bang & Olufsen Beoplay H3 (B00C4VG1XS)
People who bought these earbuds have found that the sound quality they offer is good on the whole, but maybe not as good as some of the additional features the manufacturer would suggest.
They are said to include a miniature bass portable to more accurately render sound in the lower ranges, but none of the people who reviewed this product were all that impressed with its performance in this regard.
What did make a good impression, however, is the great level of comfort provided by the in-ear buds, which are small, delicate and well angled to fit the ear canal. There are 3 sizes of these coming with a package, with quite a deal of difference between the smallest and largest one.
Another thing which drew positive acclaim was the 2-year extended warranty. It is a well-known problem with headphones suddenly losing input, and the fact that B&O Play customer support will have you covered if this happens can only be welcomed.
AKG K391NC (B009KNO1IU)
Besides featuring active noise cancellation, the cups on this AKG model also follow a closed back design, which will act as a further barrier against background sound. The feedback regarding its noise cancellation properties is mixed, however, with some customers estimating that only around 65%-80% of the background gets filtered out.
In regards to this, we feel the need to mention that reports can be influenced to a high degree by the particular users’ demands and expectations, and more exactly, customers can be sorely disappointed by a product which other people find to “work as advertised”.
The sound quality is reported to be good, and the model comes with many of the features you would expect from a set of noise-canceling headphones in its price range, like a line-in mic and a flight adapter. The battery life is particularly long, allowing for around 35 hours of continuous play.
This Year’s Buying Guide
Cutting down on the noise when riding will be a necessity if you want to enjoy your favorite tunes or be able to hear the person you’re speaking with on the phone. The high engine and surrounding noise might just prove uncomfortable, especially for those who are riding through busy city streets, in which case a pair of earplugs might be the minimum to invest in for a more pleasant journey.
Good noise canceling earbuds for motorbike riders come in many forms, from the simple earplug mentioned above to sophisticated models that use an active noise canceling technology. Deciding on the right model can be a hard task, made all the easier by a basic degree of familiarity with each system.
Noise isolation technology
This is a passive solution which uses padding to absorb some of the background noise, diminishing the volume of sound that reaches your year. The main advantages of this system come from its versatility and sheer simplicity.
It doesn’t employ any electric parts, so it doesn’t require any batteries, and as opposed to noise-canceling models, it doesn’t need to be attached to a device, making it fit for use in a wide range of applications, including providing ear protection underwater in the case of earplugs.
It is relatively inexpensive and there’s not much that can go wrong with it. These should offer a couple of years of reliable service regardless of the material employed, which is noise absorbing foam for over-ear models and soft silicone for the ones designed to enter the ear.
The latter types can offer around 20-25 dB of noise dampening (SNR), about half the level of a regular conversation, which might not sound that much but will make a significant difference when you consider the close thresholds for hearing damage.
Active noise cancellation technology
The active noise canceling headphones employ additional electric circuitry to effectively counteract the ambient sound with a signal of their own. A microphone is used to listen to the surroundings and a speaker delivers noise directly to your year with the purpose of canceling this out.
This means that the external sounds will be effectively muted to the user, even if no music is on, and combined with passive measures for reducing the dB hitting the ears, this system can allow for a great deal of comfort for most people.
However, people with sensitive ears might feel a mild sensation of pressure in their drums when the speaker used to generate negative soundwaves is activated, while some can hear a blank hiss whenever the music is turned off.
That’s why we recommend to test these out whenever possible before buying, especially as they also tend to be quite expensive and sending the product back might sometimes impose additional costs.
Wired or Bluetooth?
Wireless headphones have become increasingly popular in later years, as the absence of a cord connecting them to the audio device can greatly increase their convenience while on the move. The best Bluetooth noise canceling earbuds will allow you to move freely, without having to worry about hitting the cable and having them pop out of your years, or the jack disconnecting from the device.
These are, however, the more expensive alternative with the added cost being just the more obvious downside. The quality of the connection will depend on the device’s software to a large extent, and this can cause a lot of issues, especially if the phone’s memory is filled with clutter. So consider carefully if you really need all that extra mobility before going for a Bluetooth model, since you will be mostly using it from the bike saddle anyway.
Besides getting in the way, a wire will give the item some additional breaking points. Probably any headphone user has experienced the problem of a connector coming off and effectively disabling one or both earbuds. You can’t really safeguard against this other than by researching each individual product to make sure that it’s a quality build.
Some models also feature wires that are slightly thicker and reinforced in certain sensitive areas, and this might provide a further indication of how well this will hold over time.
Because of the fact you will be wearing a helmet, full cups won’t be an option in this regard, with compact on the ear headphones and micro models that go in the ear being the only available alternatives.
Needless to say, the dimensions for on the ear headphones should be carefully chosen, since only the most compact of these can be squished inside a full helmet, while open face ones will probably still push upon their plastic body.
In the year buds shouldn’t be restricted by size, but are considered to be the most uncomfortable solution out there, and are prone to make the user sour if used for long amounts of time.
Headphones or headsets?
A headset refers to the headphone and microphone assembly, which can connect to your device either with a wire or through Bluetooth. The best noise canceling Bluetooth headset will allow you to take calls while on your bike, by using the integrated microphones of active cancellation models or a separate piece in the case of passive ones.
These will naturally be more expensive than headphones but are well worth investing in for the additional function.
Active vs. passive technology
We’ve already covered the basics of these two noise reducing solutions, highlighting a couple of advantages and disadvantages for each, but the question of which one will work better under our particular situation still remains.
The first thing to be noted is that the active system will allow you to shut off the noise cancelation at will, if you need to handle situations where your hearing must be as acute as possible, or at least as acute as the helm will allow.
Obviously, you won’t be able to “turn off” the padding on a set of in-ear headphones, albeit muting the sound might work well enough if the item doesn’t offer all that much noise reduction in the first place.
But is the traditional system significantly poorer? The short answer is that it depends on the price, with premium silicone or foam padding buds handling just as well on the road as active canceling models which cost 2 to 4 times less. All other things being equal, the active system will make a noticeable difference in the amount of ambient noise you’ll be able to hear.
A final thing to keep in mind is that the active system will have to use a control box, that will take up additional space in a pocket.