Looking for the Best Noise Cancelling Headphones for audio, regardless of price and style? Check out our best noise-cancelling headphones under $100 for 2020.
Active noise-cancelling headphones, or ANC headphones for short, work by “cancelling” out, or electronically counteracting, external noise by essentially generating a sound wave in your ear that’s a mirror image. The audio technology works best in noisy environments such as the droning of a jet engine, which is how wearing Bose noise-cancelling headphones became a status symbol at airports throughout the past couple of decades.
Budget-priced noise-cancelling headphones aren’t as great for listening to music and other audio as premium models from Sony, Bose and others. We’re not going to lie to you about that, but you can find some pretty decent sounding models for far less. Here’s a look at some of the best cheap noise-cancelling headphones we’ve tried, most of which cost under $100 and a few even come in around $50.
Best Noise Cancelling Headphones Under $100 – Our Picks
We’ve spent a lot of time reviewing great noise-cancelling headphones. You may have different factors such as comfort, battery life, sound quality that you may gravitate more towards. Our list offers plenty of great budget picks so that you can block out the silence without breaking the bank. Here are our picks for the Best Noise Cancelling Headphones Under $100:
1. Anker Soundcore Life Q20 (BEST VALUE)
Type: Over-ear | Wireless: Yes | Battery Life (Rated): 40 hours (NC on), 60 hours (NC off) | Bluetooth Range: 30 feet (10 meters) | Digital Assistant Support: Yes
The best noise-cancelling headphones under $100 that we’ve tested so far are the Anker Soundcore Life Q20. These headphones are surprisingly well-rounded and versatile for the price. Contrary to popular belief, you can get a good pair of cheap noise-cancelling headphones for less than your phone’s cost! Audio is the Soundcore Life Q20’s main attraction with custom 40mm drivers that produce rich sound; bass is punchy and doesn’t muffle the mid-range or vocals. There’s even a bass boost or BassUp mode if you want an extra helping of bass with your music. Battery life is up there as well, generating up to 40 hours of playtime on a full charge, which can be extended up to 60 hours when ANC is off. Isn’t that just great? The noise cancellation is better-than-average that realistically blocks out 70% of environmental sounds (even though Anker claims 90%).
Even though the noise cancellation onboard struggles to filter out proximate noises such as keyboard clatter and neighbourly chatter, it will help give you a bit of peace during your daily commute. You’ll want to refrain from using the included aux cable since it hinders audio performance. Nonetheless, it’s impressive for $60 headphones, that usually even sell for around $50 sometimes. They’re quite comfortable thanks to their lightweight design and well-padded ear cups, and they should be stable enough to stay on during light jogs or runs. A simple carrying pouch is included with them. Unfortunately, they lack some extra features that you’d find on more expensive headphones, like a companion app to make EQ changes, or multi-device or NFC pairing to connect them to all your devices easier. Overall, they offer great value and are a decent choice for most uses.
- Remarkable battery life
- Booming sound
- Long-range connectivity
- Fairly decent ANC
- Minimalist design
- Proximate ambient noises are audible
- Wired mode ruins sound
2. TaoTronics TT-BH060 (Best Noise Cancellation)
Type: On-ear | Wireless: Yes | Battery Life (Rated): Up to 30 hours | Bluetooth Range: 80 feet (25 meters) | Digital Assistant Support: No
TaoTronics has made a smart decision by sporting a beautiful aesthetic with their noise-cancelling headphones under 100 dollars. Looking closely, you can notice how it is highly inspired by the designs of Bose. A sleek pure black design lends a professional look despite the plastic frame, and that plastic is surprisingly sturdy. A significant amount of padding in both the cups and on the headband makes this a very comfortable set of noise-cancelling headphones to wear. The sound quality isn’t nearly as good as the Bose, but that’s to be expected given that they’re available for a fraction of the price. The bass performance has a nice oomph to it without being overpowered, and the mids and highs are about middle of the road. The forte of these headphones though is their noise cancellation. It’s frankly some of the best noise isolation capabilities available in this class.
The battery lasted us 30 hours on a single charge. It will last you an international flight and hopefully, make the flight a little less painful. Also, the built-in mic works for phone calls in normal conditions (but not noisy places). The quality of the build is pretty decent considering the amount of plastic used. If you’re looking for the best active noise-cancelling headphones value for your money, these are the ones. The price is a major factor when considering these over-ear headphones. You probably know they won’t be as good as Bose or Sony, but they get the job done. These are the go-to headphones for decent in all departments but not excelling in just one. If you’re looking for a friendly on the pocket and decent overall pair of headphones, the TaoTronics TT-BH060 is for you.
- Comfortable and durable design.
- Great battery life (30 hours)
- Good isolation performance
- Quick charging function gives you 2 hours in 5 minutes
- Dark and muffled sound quality
- Heavily mismatched drivers on our unit
3. AKG N60NC Wireless
Type: On-ear | Wireless: Yes | Battery Life (Rated): 15 hours (ANC and Bluetooth on), 30 hours (ANC on, Bluetooth off) | Bluetooth Range: 30 feet (10 meters) | Digital Assistant Support: No
Most people go for a full-sized model when it comes to wireless noise-cancelling headphones. If you want headphones with a slightly different over-ear design and which are a little more compact, the AKG N60NC are excellent. The AKG N60NC feature active noise cancelling with a great overall listening experience. The ear cups are incredibly comfortable, despite how they rest directly on top of the ears. Noise cancelling is excellent even without extreme clamping force, and you’ll appreciate the space saved by these on-ears. They are not only compact, but also lightweight, and fold up easily for storage. Sound quality isn’t superb, but it outperforms almost all other cheap noise-cancelling headphones.
We appreciate any set of Bluetooth headphones that give you the option of using a detachable cable, but we’re a little mystified at the choice of including a micro-USB port for charging. More people are using USB-C chargers nowadays so why not use a more modern, universal standard? It’s not a dealbreaker but just important to know. The AKG NC60 NC Wireless is really capable in terms of the codec support too. They feature support for AAC and APTx, which is rare at this price point. Due to this, they have a decent battery life that will last you a full workday and have less latency than most Bluetooth headphones.
- Noise cancelling
- Sound Quality
4. Mpow H10 Wireless
Type: On-ear | Wireless: Yes | Battery Life (Rated): 15 hours (ANC and Bluetooth on), 30 hours (ANC on, Bluetooth off) | Bluetooth Range: 30 feet (10 meters) | Digital Assistant Support: Yes
The best noise-cancelling headphones’ list also includes the Mpow H10. The brand might be not known to you, but that doesn’t make them not worthy of the attention. These over-ear headphones are quite comfortable and have plush and soft padding. They lasted 23 hours off a single charge, which is great, and they can be used passively with a wire if your battery dies while you’re on-the-go, and that’s rather convenient. The Mpow H10 has a decent sound quality fro mixed usage and ANC feature that make them suitable for commuting and to use at the office as well. Their ANC works impressively well, especially considering their low price point, and they do a better job at blocking out the low rumble of bus or plane engines than any other headphones on this list.
However, their bulky over-ear design won’t be ideal for sports as they trap heat inside the ear cups and make you sweat more than usual. The Bluetooth latency is quite high as for most Bluetooth earphones, so watching movies and playing games with them, isn’t the best option.Their sound profile is fairly excited, and while they have a good amount of extra punch and warmth, their bass shouldn’t be overpowering. Unfortunately, they leak quite a bit of audio, so people next to you will likely hear the sound if you listen to music at high volumes. Overall, if you don’t want to spend much but want an impressive ANC feature and a versatile sound profile, these headphones are tough to beat.
- Comfortable fit and lightweight
- Decent sound quality.
- Great battery life.
- Leaky at high volumes.
- Cheap plastic build quality.
- A bit too large for smaller heads.
5. Sony MDR-ZX110NC (Wired Champion)
Type: On-ear | Wireless: No | Battery Life (Rated): 80 hours (For ANC mode) | Bluetooth Range: Not Applicable | Digital Assistant Support: No
Are you looking for something that’s not necessarily wireless? The Sony MDR-ZX110NC is a pair of wired headphones with decent sound quality. They feature a wired design which isn’t common in active noise-cancelling headphones and moderately okay noise cancellation. These collapse to a compact form factor, making them a great option if you want portable and wired noise-cancelling headphones. The Sony MDR-ZX110NC has a lightweight design, and the headband does not exert too much pressure on the ears. However, the lack of padding on the headband and the slightly stiff ear cups that do not swivel, make these headphones a little uncomfortable. Also, the small ear cups of the on-ear design might not be for everyone.
The Sony MDR-ZX110NC deliver a decent sound but the highs were a little lacklustre for us. Their build quality is plasticky and feels cheaply made, which they are, being some of the cheapest noise-cancelling headphones out there. The active noise cancellation, on the other hand, is weak and poorly isolate listeners from the ambient noise of loud environments. Fortunately, they don’t leak much and won’t disturb the people around you even at higher volumes. Sony’s take in a AAA cell that is rated to last for about 80 hours of use which fairs fine. A thing to note would be that these headphones have better noise cancellation from plain-passive noise-cancelling headphones, but don’t expect them to do the best job at it considering the extremely affordable price point.
- Decent audio reproduction.
- Minimal leakage.
- Takes AAA battery
- Weak noise cancellation
- Flimsy build.
- Poor noise isolation.
- Unstable fit; easily falls off your head.
- Bass delivery varies significantly across users. Sensitive to glasses
6. Cowin E7 Wireless
Type: On-ear | Wireless: Yes | Battery Life (Rated): Up to 30 hours | Bluetooth Range: 30 feet (10 meters) | Digital Assistant Support: No
Boasting an impressive 4.3 out of 5 stars on Amazon with more than 12,000 reviews, the Cowin E7s are highly rated for their sound quality, solid build, and battery life (up to 30 hours of playtime per charge). They’re super comfy thanks to their faux leather earpads, which swivel a full 90 degrees for a comfortable fit and come with a built-in noise cancellation function makes them great for work or study. But that’s not even the Cowin E7s’ entire feature set: There’s also a built-in mic for hands-free calls and integrated NFC technology that makes for easy pairing with Bluetooth-enabled devices. That’s pretty impressive for such an affordable pair of headphones.
The Cowin E7s retail for $69.99, but you can get them for even cheaper using Amazon’s $10 off coupon. (You’ll find it on the Cowin E7 product page next to an orange ribbon icon; just tick the box to apply it at checkout.) The black E7s come out to just $49.99 thanks to an existing Amazon promotion or for $59.99, you can get a pair in blue, green, purple, red, or white.
- Low sound leakage
- Great wireless range
- Good battery life
- Slightly bulky design
- Mediocre microphone
7. Mpow H5
Type: Over-ear | Wireless: Yes | Battery Life (Rated): Up to 30 hours | Bluetooth Range: 30 feet (10 meters) | Digital Assistant Support: No
The Mpow H5 headsets are decent noise-cancelling headphones for mixed usage, providing a better-than-average sound experience for their budget price tag. They look and feel premium and have acceptable sound quality. They’re also noise-cancelling headphones but unfortunately, their ANC is not strong enough for cancelling the ambient noise of most commutes and noisy environments. They’re also a bit tight on the head, but on the upside, they have decent battery life, an easy-to-use control scheme and a unique look that will work for some. Sound leakage is average and so is the noise cancellation. Overall, the sound is flat which might appeal to some users but the lack of a wider soundstage felt empty for our testers.
The Mpow H5 are decent mixed usage headset with an above-average sound and build quality. They have a cool looking design that feels premium, however, the glossy backplates may not be ideal for everyone. They also have a decent battery life, good controls, and a somewhat comfortable design although they are bit tight on some heads. Unfortunately, their build quality is not quite as good as some of the budget headphones compared below and their noise cancelling is mediocre-at-best, only capable of reducing some sounds but not a lot of ambient chatter or high frequencies. But for what you get under $40, it’s quite impressive seeing this tech trickle down and benefit users of the much lower budget.
- Above-average sound
- Modern design
- Easy to use
- Tight fit
- Mediocre microphone
- Subpar noise cancelling
8. Plantronics BackBeat GO 810
Type: Over-ear | Wireless: Yes | Battery Life (Rated): Up to 22 hours (With ANC), Up to 28 hours (Without ANC) | Bluetooth Range: 30 feet (10 meters) | Digital Assistant Support: No
Plantronics’ ANC model is a solid entry-level option for music lovers who want dependable noise cancellation and good audio performance. The lows are prominent and responsive, giving bass-heavy content some extra oomph. It’s cool to see them support the Plantronics app as well, giving users the option to enhance sound for music and voice output on phone calls. Another brand hallmark that remains intact is strong battery life, as the BackBeat Go 810 gives listeners 22 hours with ANC mode on and 28 hours in standard mode. There are also two noise cancelling modes – Low and High, each engineered to deal with ambient noise in different settings. You’ll want to be selective when choosing one over the other, as the built-in mics do pick up a lot of noise when outdoors. Also, be mindful that the controls and connectivity become finicky at times.
The Plantronics BackBeat Go 810 has great audio reproduction that can be called decent for mixed usage and is versatile for all types of music. Unfortunately, their ANC feature isn’t impressive and won’t be great for commuting, but can be passable if you play your music at higher volumes due to their low leakage. Also, they have a comfortable and stable build for sports, but you might sweat a bit more than usual. They form a half-decent option for use cases like offices, as they isolate ambient chatter well and their battery lasts you long enough for a workday. However, they won’t be great for watching TV and playing games because of their high latency, just like most bluetooth headphones. Nevertheless, at around $50-$70 (at the time of writing this article), they are a good and stylish buy. Thus, giving them a spot in our best noise-cancelling headphones list.
- Good control scheme
- Great audio reproduction
- Great battery life
- Disappointing ANC performance
- Lackluster customization and companion app
- Very high latency
We at AndroidFist want to bring out the best products to our viewers, and we strongly feel the aforementioned products deliver the experience most of us would want.