The world is a hectic place, and sometimes you just need to find the time to just zone out and get away from the hustle and bustle of modern living. Whether you’re packed into a busy train car, sitting in front of your favorite video game, or stuck in your office cubicle, a pair of headphones can transport yourself to another world. But finding a decently priced pair of headphones that can really block out the noise around you can be difficult.
Many headphones promise noise isolation technology, but that’s a vague term that doesn’t inherently need much. If you really want to step away from the noises around you, you’re going to want noise cancelling headphones. Here are 11 noise cancelling headphone reviews, all under $100, highlighting the best models available.
Quick Look: Best Noise Cancelling Headphones Under $100
- TaoTronics Active Noise Cancelling Headphones
- Sennheiser HD 4.50 Noise Cancellation
- Sony MDRZX110NC Noise Cancelling Headphones
- JBL Tune 600 BTNC Noise Canceling Headphones
- Audio-Technica ATH-ANC500BTBK
- COWIN E7 Active Noise Cancelling Headphones
- Soundcore Space NC Headphones
- Mpow H10 Noise Cancelling Bluetooth Headphones
- Boltune Bluetooth Wireless Headphones
- Mpow Noise Cancelling Bluetooth Headphones
- iTeknic Wireless Bluetooth Headphones
1. TaoTronics Active Noise Cancelling Headphones
The leader in active noise cancelling headphones is Bose, and TaoTronics has made a smart decision by sporting a similar aesthetic with their noise cancelling headphones under 100 dollars. 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 cans and on the headband make this a very comfortable set of noise blocking headphones to wear.
The sound quality isn't nearly as good as what you'd get from the QuietComfort, 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. Where these headphones really excel are in their noise cancellation. It's frankly some of the best noise isolation capabilities available in this class.
2. Sennheiser HD 4.50 Noise Cancellation
Sennheiser is known for the quality of their headphones, and the HD 4.50 BTNC fortunately manages to maintain that level of quality despite the modest price tag. This arguably sound just or nearly as good as the the QuietComfort 35s. The sheer value of these wireless noise cancelling headphones earned them a spot on our list, but they inch right up against the price point. While they retail for about $150, savvy shoppers can often find them for less than a hundred.
But they have the look and feel of luxury headphones. The hefty memory foam is covered in a pleasant faux leather, and there's a great depth to the bass performance here. That's accompanied by an organic sense of balance to the mid and trebel range. All told, these are possibly the best value noise cancelling headphones despite out-pricing most of the inclusions on our list.
3. Sony MDRZX110NC Noise Cancelling Headphones
Sony's MDRZX110NC over ear noise cancelling headphones don't offer the best noise blocking around, but their incredibly low price tag is hard to pass up. Just recognize that they're more suited for an airplane or an office than they are for a crowded train station. But their noise isolation is incredibly solid for the price, and the lack of leakage is well beyond what could be expected for the class.
These wired noise cancelling headphones under 100 dollars sport a lightweight design that makes them great for travel and a comfortable fit that doesn't pinch too much. The level of breathability means they can even masquerade as an alternative to traditional earbuds in the gym. Sound quality is average around the board, but that means a level of balance and harmony that's a far cry from the heavy bass and thin upper registers that are common in cheaper headphones.
4. JBL Tune 600 BTNC Noise Canceling Headphones
JBL has packed noise canceling technology and Bluetooth into an incredibly compact pair of headphones for a sticker price of only $100. JBL may not be known among audiophiles for the fidelity of their sound, but the Tune 600s well exceed expectations. The clean mids, smooth highs, and satisfying bass are about the best you can expect for in a pair of headphones in this price, and they retain their integrity even with the volume cranked up. These drivers can get very loud, and the lack of leakage means the people around you will be as undisturbed by you as you are of them.
And while the pure plastic frame may be a way to keep costs down, it also results in an incredibly light pair of headphones. Combine that with a two hour charge time and long battery life, and you're left with great noise cancelling headphones for travel.
5. Audio-Technica ATH-ANC500BTBK
JBL may not be known for their quality, but Audio-Technica has much higher expectations to live up to. But the esteemed headphone manufacturers hit the ground running with their affordable noise cancelling headphones. The QuietPoint cans are a case studio in Audio-Technica's high-quality sound performance. These active noise cancelling headphones under 100 dollars offers quality bass without overdoing it but really excels with the mids and highs, which have a tuned quality that almost resembles studio headphones.
The noise cancellation technology, meanwhile, is strong enough to go against titans in the field. If your cubicle is positioned right next to the water cooler or printer, you'll find these to be exceptional noise cancelling headphones for office use. And despite the all-around quality of the noise cancelling tech, a single charge can last you through multiple shifts. The cans are nicely padded, and the overall setup is very light.
6. COWIN E7 Active Noise Cancelling Headphones
A price tag of $60 ensures that the Cowin E7s are truly budget noise cancelling headphones. They aren't the most comfortable headphones on our list, and that could be a contributing factor to their low price, but they have the goods where it counts. That includes respectable sound quality that's generally balanced across the board and respectable noise cancellation features.
But the real selling point here is how portable they are. They promise a lightweight design and even come with their own carrying case, so if you're looking for cheap noise cancelling headphones you can take on your next business trip or family vacation, they could fit the bill. Overall, they can't compete with the best headphones on our list in terms of sheer performance, but the noise cancellation is legit, and that's nothing to scoff at when you consider the bargain basement pricing.
7. Soundcore Space NC Headphones
Anker is no stranger to the world of wireless products, but it's impressive to see them hold their own so admirably against major players like Audio-Technica and Sennheiser. The Soundcore Space NC is one of their first forays into headphones, but it easily establishes them as a player in the market. Their sound quality is well above the standards, even considering that they're pressing right up against the $100 price point, and the noise cancellation tech is quite solid though admittedly not top of its class.
But the comfort and convenience here is exceptional. With a 20 hour play time in Bluetooth mode and 50 in wired mode, they'll serve you well as noise cancelling headphones for sleeping. That goes for comfort as well. They feel great even when you're wearing them for extended periods, and they can comfortably fold up for easy carrying on your daily commute.
8. Mpow H10 Noise Cancelling Bluetooth Headphones
Mpow isn't one of the prestige players in the headphones business, but they're quickly gaining a reputation among consumers looking for quality wireless projects that don't cost a fortune. The Mpow H10s fit both metrics well. The plastic design may be roughly what's expected for headphones in this price range, but the sound quality is relatively impressive: heavy on the bass with somewhat above average performance in the mid and high range frequencies.
Just make sure not to crank the music to full blast in the office as they have a tendency to leak at higher volumes. That fortunately shouldn't be a problem, as the noise isolation here is pretty strong. A mic is integrated as well, and while it's a nice inclusion for headphones in this price range, you shouldn't exactly expect crystal clarity from its performance. But even without the mic, this model is a reliable steal.
9. Boltune Bluetooth Wireless Headphones
Despite being one of the lower priced entries on our list, these Boltune headphones are conscientious about incorporating the latest technology into their design. The presence of Bluetooth 5.0 ensures a more stable connection with your source device and a longer range than you'll find on most other comparable headphones. They also employ the latest as3435 noise cancelling technology to better drown out pesky noises around you. Combine this with the low power consumption attributed to their DSP and the better noise production achieved through the stereo codec, and you're left with a solid set of headphones that can be used just about anywhere.
The ear cups are similarly well produced. They make use of a durable protein for an added layer of comfort and can rotate at 90 degrees for your convenience. Their substantive size further bolsters the impressive noise cancellation technology built in.
10. Mpow Noise Cancelling Bluetooth Headphones
The combination of a great price and lightweight design of the Mpow H5 make them a great choice if you're looking for noise cancelling headphones for kids. The noise cancelling here isn't great, but it's present, and best of all, this is an incredibly easy pair of headphones to use. While the fit is a little tight, it's sure to be a lot more comfortable on the heads of younger listeners, and the sound quality is surprisingly well above average across the entire sonic spectrum. A heavy bass doesn't overwhelm the balanced mids and treble.
A microphone is also included built in to the headphone, and despite the modest price tag and the mostly plastic frame of this set, it's surprisingly sturdy. There's a decent amount of metal at most of the important pressure points, resulting in a pair of headphones that can sustain some serious roughhousing.
11. iTeknic Wireless Bluetooth Headphones
Generic brand iTeknic may be overlooked by most consumers, but it shouldn't be. By harnessing the newfound affordability of ANC, they've proven that you don't have to be a legacy manufacturer to produce a cheap set of quality headphones. These bluetooth noise cancelling headphones under 100 bucks are surprisingly balanced. Their build is sleek, professional, and (most importantly) comfortable. But the sturdy design means that you don't have to treat them with kid gloves.
The charge time is stellar as well. An easy five minutes will give you a solid three hours of battery life, and the max power of about 20 hours is pretty solid. 44mm drivers produce some solid sound quality without having to crank up the volume, and the soundstage is decently robust. The sound quality itself isn't out of this world, but it has a nice balance that will suit most casual listeners.
Noise Cancelling Headphones Under $100 Buyer’s Guide
What is Active Noise Cancellation Technology?
Active noise cancellation is something far more specific than noise isolation. The latter can be slapped on just about any product with some padding, while the former refers to a unique technological standard.
The way it works is that a microphone picks up any sound coming from outside your headphones and establishes a counter-wave to inherently negate it. Since this wave is broadcast at a 180 degree difference from the noise being heard, that ambient sound is essentially counteracted entirely. While this was once a costly inclusion in headphones, the price has rapidly decreased, and the only main negative to the technology now is the extra toll it puts on the headphone batteries. ANC needs to be actively powered to work.
While all the headphones on our list come with ANC, the quality can vary. That’s why it’s important to take your needs into consideration before choosing a pair. If you find yourself regularly on noisy train cars or a crowded office, you may want to invest in something like the impressive Sennheiser HD 4.50. Otherwise, something more affordable like the Boltune can probably suit your needs.
Can These Headphones be Used While Working Out?
The most common type of headphones used in the gym or out on a run are earbuds, but their inability to cover your ears entirely and their general lack of active noise cancellation means that they tend to do a poor job of blocking out ambient noise. Unfortunately, while over the ear headphones can be comfortable even for long term usage, they typically aren’t suited for the rigors of high intensity activities where they can easily become unseated.
We generally don’t recommend over-ear headphones for workout activities, but if you really want some noise cancellation headphones to wear at the track or on the treadmill, we recommend the Sony MDRZX110NC if you have some money to spare or the iTeknic if you’re on a tight budget. The combination of Bluetooth connectivity and the breathability of the ear cups make them an ideal choice.
How is Wireless Range Determined?
Bluetooth is a great way to reduce the need for a pesky wire that can trip you up, but that doesn’t mean that you can roam anywhere and expect them to work. All headphones have a range of distance at which they’ll work before the quality of the sound begins to degrade. The distances we’ve listed assume a situation where there may be obstacles or walls in the way, but if you’re in clear line of sight with your device, those distances can be double or even more.
And while different versions of Bluetooth offer greater ranges, you shouldn’t use the standard Bluetooth range when figuring out the distance for your headphones. The version distance constitutes a maximum that individual products can’t always meet. Always look up the model specifically if you’re worried about range. Any decent pair of headphones will offer more than enough range if you’re just carrying your phone in your pocket, so it will likely only be a problem if you plan on using a stationary source like a home stereo system.
Is Battery Life Consistent?
How you use your headphones is going to have a major effect on how long they stay charged. Since noise cancellation is an active technology, that means that even our wired models have a battery life, and the power required for Bluetooth activation can drain that battery even more. For our specs, we measured the estimated battery life with noise cancellation but not Bluetooth activated. You may want to take a closer look at the model information if you want a bigger picture understanding of how well they work in varying conditions.
You may also want to take the charge time into consideration. Many models can offer you hours of charge with just a few minutes plugged in, and that can make all the difference in the world if you forget to charge up your headphones before heading out to work.
There’s nothing more frustrating than having your moment of auditory solitude disturbed by honking horns, loud talkers, or road work. Fortunately, noise cancellation tech is more affordable than it’s ever been. The Bose QuietComfort 35 may still be the gold standard for noise cancelling headphones, but you no longer have to spend $300 for the privilege. A number of these affordable headphones come close to matching it in terms of quality across the board.