While noise-cancelling headphones have long been a key accessory for commuting across town or catching a flight, they may now be more important than ever with so many people working remotely. Fortunately, they’re also more affordable than ever, meaning you don’t need to shell out a ton of cash just to have some peace and quiet.
We have spent a lot of time reviewing excellent noise canceling headphones from all the major brands. If you don’t want to spend a lot of money, we recommend the Anker Soundcore Space A40 (available on amazon), which provide the best noise cancellation for the money with great sound and a feature packed app. However, if they’re not quite right, our list offers plenty more great budget options, so you can block out the silence without breaking the bank.
These are the best noise-canceling headphones under $100:
- Anker Soundcore Space A40
- Anker Soundcore Life Q30
- Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro
- Phiaton BT 120 NC
- E9 mixer
- Audio Technica ATH-ANC70
Other noise-cancelling headphones we tried
How we tested noise canceling headphones
The fitting room
Contributors to this article include Reviewed AV Editor John Higgins, Electronics Managing Editor Ryan Waniata, and Lee Neikirk, former Reviewed AV Editor. Together, they have several decades of experience testing and evaluating headsets.
We listened to every noise-canceling headphone we tried with a collection of tracks – including aircraft drones, crowd noise, pink noise and our own collection of music we’re familiar with – to see how the ANC stacks up. of headphones around town to get an idea of their features (such as noise cancellation and transparency mode), sound quality, and short-term and long-term comfort. Every part of the app (if there is one) is explored and tested to make sure we verify full functionality to get a complete idea of the headset experience.
Active vs Passive Noise Canceling Headphones
Active noise canceling (ANC) headphones minimize outside sound by using small microphones to analyze sound frequencies in the environment around you, then changing their polarity to “cancel” them. Passive noise cancellation (PNC), on the other hand, uses materials built into the earphones to dampen outside sound. A strong combination of the two is generally preferred to create the most effective noise cancellation.
Because active noise cancellation can introduce extra sound when activated, it can affect the sound quality of what you’re listening to (although this is becoming less of an issue with many newer models). Many noise-canceling headphones have the option to turn ANC on or off, while more advanced models allow for different levels of cancellation to suit the stage and environment.
In-Ear vs Over-Ear Headphones vs Over-Ear Headphones
You have probably seen a lot of different earphones in your daily life, but you may not realize that earphones, while they have several different selling points, are mainly classified into three types: in-ear, in-ear, and on the ear.
These types include everything from bulky over-the-ear models to tiny wireless earbuds that fit easily in the palm of your hand. While still available, over-the-ear headphones, which use headphones that sit over the ears rather than over them, are becoming less common on the market today.
Do you want wireless headphones? A pair of Bluetooth headphones will allow you to go completely wireless, while a pair of “true wireless” headphones are even more minimalist. If you’re looking for an experience that doesn’t tether you to your phone, tablet, or laptop, Bluetooth headphones are what you need, and luckily they’re so ubiquitous these days that you can find them in every style and price point. range.