Top 5 affordable ANC earbuds of 2022 | Cult of Mac

Top 5 affordable ANC earbuds of 2022

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Soundcore A40 wireless ANC earbuds sound great, but their noise cancellation is epic.
Soundcore A40 wireless ANC earbuds sound great, but their noise cancellation is epic.
Photo: David Snow/Cult of Mac

I’ve reviewed quite a few active noise-canceling wireless earbuds for Cult of Mac, including the magnificent new second-gen AirPods Pro. And while the high quality and excellent features of Apple’s updated ANC buds make them a favorite as well as a benchmark, there are great alternative earbuds that do a nice job for a much lower cost.

What follows isn’t a “top 5 in the world” list, which would be an assortment of mostly super-pricey earbuds. It’s my favorite earbuds among those I’ve reviewed in the past year or so, mostly focused on high-value products, considering the quality you get for the cost.

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Top 5 affordable, non-Apple wireless ANC earbuds of 2022

As noted, the recently released AirPods Pro 2 serve as a benchmark. I absolutely recommend them to everyone, especially anyone who will be pairing them mainly with Apple devices. And if you’re struggling with the fit, you have options.

But if you want the AirPods Pro 2, they’re currently $229 on Amazon (down from $249).

Read my full AirPods Pro 2 review: AirPods Pro 2: A must-have for Apple users and a solid choice for anyone

Where to buy: Amazon

And now for some great alternatives that cost less than AirPods Pro.

1. Best overall: Soundcore Space A40 / Jabra Elite 7 Pro

Jabra Elite 7 Pro ANC earbuds pack a lot of quality.
Jabra Elite 7 Pro ANC earbuds pack a lot of quality. And because they’re no longer new, you can get them cheap.
Photo: David Snow/Cult of Mac

I’m naming two overall favorites here because both are exceptional. Soundcore by Anker put out its remarkable A40 ANC earbuds (pictured at the top of this page and in number 3 below) and its over-ear ANC headphones (Q45) at the same time, offering great sound, long battery life and extraordinary noise cancellation. They A40s are great for $99 earbuds.

Review: Soundcore’s new Space A40 earbuds zero-out noise and play a long time

Where to buy: Amazon

My review of the Jabra Elite 7 Pro buds came out in late October 2021, so those buds are here as a viable alternative (though not technically “2022”). But they’re one of my all-time favorites, and guess what, they’re now half their usual price ($99 instead of $199).

Review: Jabra Elite 7 Pro ANC earbuds are worth top dollar but cost less

Where to buy: Amazon

2. Best sound quality: Edifier NeoBuds S

Edifier NeoBuds S have audio codecs for high-res sound via an array of devices.
Edifier NeoBuds S have audio codecs for high-res sound via an array of devices.
Photo: David Snow/Cult of Mac

I went to a bit of extra effort to make my MacBook Pro make the most of the Edifier NeoBuds S’s Snapdragon Sound audio technology, and it paid off. The buds’ sound is focused and clear. It’s not necessarily miles ahead of other buds listed here, but somebody’s got to take the prize.

Another good alternative would be Edifier NeoBuds Pro, currently priced lower than the $180 NeoBuds S.

Review: Edifier NeoBuds S offer decent ANC and articulate sound

Where to buy: Amazon

3. Best ANC: Soundcore Space A40

Be careful crossing streets with ANC on. It really works.
Be careful crossing streets with ANC on. It really works.
Photo: David Snow/Cult of Mac

I wore the Soundcore A40 earbuds on a long walk and found the true meaning of ANC when I found myself keeping pace with a noisy recycling truck. To my amazement, switching on ANC nearly blotted out the sounds of the truck’s engine, hydraulic arms and clattering recyclables. It will definitely quell voices in the next room.

Review: Soundcore’s new Space A40 earbuds zero-out noise and play a long time

Where to buy: Amazon

4. Best for sports: Soundcore Sport X10

Those rotating ear hooks aren't as weird as they look.
Those ear hooks aren’t as weird as they look.
Photo: David Snow/Cult of Mac

When I first unboxed the Soundcore Sport X10 earbuds, I thought their ear hooks were going to be weird and annoying. But as soon as I learned the trick of turning them to the correct position, they were fine. The earbuds are perfect for the gym and other exercise. They’re comfortable, super-secure, sweat-proof and they sound good.

You can pick them for $59.99 (regularly $79.99).

Review: New Soundcore sport ANC earbuds: Good fit for fit people

Where to buy: Amazon

5. Best value / lowest price: EarFun Free Pro 2 / Ugreen HiTune T3

I decided to make this category a “two-fer.” Every set of earbuds in this list is a great value, but even among them the EarFun buds below stand out. Or, for another solid option at the same price, try Edifier’s award-winning W240TN earbuds.

And if you’re after truly inexpensive earbuds, you won’t go wrong with Ugreen’s offering below, either.

EarFun Free Pro 2

EarFun Free Pro 2 offer very good sound and a great fit.
EarFun Free Pro 2 offer very good sound and a great fit.
Photo: David Snow/Cult of Mac

Some of the best values around in wireless ANC earbuds come from EarFun. One of my favorites is the EarFun Free Pro 2, simply because the stemless style fits my ears well. They’re great sounding buds for $79.

Review: These earbuds check all the boxes for less than $100 

Where to buy: Amazon

Ugreen HiTune T3

If you're on a budget, go with Ugreen.
If you’re on a budget, go with Ugreen.
Photo: David Snow/Cult of Mac

At $35.99, Ugreen HiTune T3 are the lowest-priced earbuds on this list. And they’re a good value at that price.

Review: Ugreen T3 ANC wireless earbuds: OK bang for the buck

Where to buy: Amazon