cancel outside noise through an electronic neutralization process. This happens by creating a mirror image sound wave directly in your ear that makes the noise sound “cancelled” to you. This technology can be very useful for travelers as it can cancel jet engine noises.
The truth is, budget headphones aren’t as good at listening to music and other sounds asfrom Sony, Bose and others, but you can find pretty decent noise-canceling models for a lot less money. Here’s a look at some of the best cheap noise canceling headphones I’ve tried, all of which are under $100, and a few are even under $50. All of these headphones offer decent sound quality, active noise cancellation, and a comfortable earbud to boot (not a must-see headphone on this list).
Looking for the best ANC headphones for audio, regardless of price and style? Checkand the . This story was recently updated.
When it comes to sound, comfort level, and build quality, you’d be hard-pressed to do better than Anker’s SoundCore Life Q30 for the money. It doesn’t quite have the clarity or bass definition like some of the better high-end models, but it’s less than a third of the price and you get about 75 per cent of the way in terms of sound. It’s well-balanced overall, with punchy bass, and there’s an app that lets you fine-tune the sound. Noise cancellation is good for the price, but not at the level of the Sony WH-1000XM4 or the Bose Noise Canceling Headphones 700. Battery life is rated at 40 hours on USB-C charging.
The only area where the Q30 falls a bit short is in voice calls. It picks up your voice well in quieter environments, but it just doesn’t reduce background noise very well.
Compared to the Q20 (see below), the Q30 offers improved sound (not a huge difference, but definitely a step up) and a more premium design. There’s also the new Life Q35 ($130), which adds support for Sony’s LDAC audio codec for high-res audio streaming with music services that support it. I’m not sure it’s worth the upgrade for the extra $50, but hopefully the price of the Q35 will come down over time.
Edifier’s makes great sounding PC speakers and true wireless headphones and it has done a good job with its W820NB noise canceling headphones. The first thing you’ll notice about them when you put them on is that they’re comfortable: the ear cushions are well padded and the headphones fit your head perfectly. They also sound good for their price, offering just enough clarity and decent bass performance. Their sound didn’t wow me but I listened well to these headphones for a while; they sound pretty nice.
There’s also an ambient mode that lets outside sound in and a low-latency gaming mode. They’re pretty decent for voice calls and the battery life is quite impressive with up to 49 hours of battery life on a single charge at moderate volume levels (and noise cancellation turned off).
There are a few things missing. There’s no carrying case or headphone jack – they’re Bluetooth only. But the 820NB headphones are still good value for money.
Anker’s SoundCore Life Q20 is arguably the best value noise-canceling headphone out there. Not only do these noise-canceling over-ear headphones sound pretty decent for their current $60 price tag (they often sell for $10 less with an instant coupon on Amazon), but they’re also comfortable to wear thanks to their swollen ear pads. . Expect that price to drop a little further as Anker has now released the SoundCore Life Q20 Plus, which adds app support and USB-C charging (instead of Micro-USB).
No, the Life Q20 doesn’t sound as good as high-end Bluetooth headphones such as the Sony WH-1000XM4, but the audio quality seems pretty good, that’s all you can ask for in noise-canceling headphones at this price. It’s fairly well-balanced with a reasonable amount of clarity and plump bass that isn’t bloated or muddy (there’s a bass boost or BassUp mode if you want some extra bass help with your music). Also, the noise cancellation is good enough to reduce noise and block out ambient sound and it’s decent enough as a headset for making calls. Battery life is good at 40 hours. A simple carrying pouch is included.
Founded by four former Amazon employees, Wyze is known for its valuable security cameras, but it’s now doing a good job with valuable headphones. Its noise-canceling over-ear headphones provide a comfortable fit with deep memory foam earpads and solid overall performance. Their noise cancellation is pretty good, although you get some extra passive noise isolation from the tight seal the ear cushions give you (your ears will get quite moist in hot weather). These are compatible with Alexa, so all you have to do is press a button to access Amazon’s voice assistant, or you can use your phone’s native voice assistant if you prefer. There’s also a transparency mode that lets in ambient sound.
As for sound quality, they’re warmer – they’ve got plenty of bass and a pretty open soundstage, though they lack the extra clarity and definition you get from higher-end models (bass is a little loose). In other words, the sound is good enough for the money but not ridiculously good.
Battery life is rated at 20 hours at moderate volume levels and I thought the headphones’ performance was decent as well. A fabric carrying pouch is included along with a USB-C charging cable and lanyard to use them as wired headphones.
There aren’t too many over-ear noise canceling headphones. The Beats Solo Pro is one of the best, but it’s on the pricey side at $300, although we’ve seen it on sale for half that price. Meanwhile, these inexpensive noise-cancelling headphones, the JLab Studio ANC, cost less and offer solid overall performance for a budget model with decent sound quality, noise cancellation, and battery life (28 hours with ANC on ). While they might not be stellar for making calls, they work well as a headset – callers said they could hear me clearly, even with a bit of outside noise around me. A carrying pouch is included.
The Studio ANC headphones are reasonably comfortable for an on-ear model (I prefer over-ear), but those with larger heads may feel like it’s a little too tight.
Tribit makes one of our favorite budget headphones for sound quality – the Tribit XFree Tune. It is not active noise canceling headphones, however. This model is. You can find similar wireless ANC headphones from other generic headphone manufacturers on Amazon (Taotronics, for example, has a model with a similar design), but this on-ear headphone sounds pretty decent and its noise cancellation works. quite well and eliminates a lot of ambient noise and background noise. It doesn’t sound as good as the XFree Tune with music, but it’s one of the best budget models in this roundup and also has USB-C charging. Plus, it has a decent battery: battery life is rated at 30 hours.
Panasonic calls the styling of its RP-HTX90N Bluetooth headphones “retro-modern” and that’s exactly what it is. Based on one of our favorite budget pairs of wired headphones, the RP-HTX80, this wireless version with active noise cancellation is comfortable and lightweight. They’re warmer closed-back headphones that lack clarity in the treble and aren’t very dynamic, but the audio quality is overall nice. Battery life is rated at 24 hours of playtime, and a 15-minute quick charge gives you two and a half hours of juice.
Noise cancellation is decent, but not stellar. Ultimately, for its slightly higher price, the main reason to buy this model is its design and level of comfort.