The world can be a hectic place, and sometimes you 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 help transport you to another world. That being said, 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 mean much. If you really want to step away from the noises around you, you’re going to want noise-canceling headphones. Below, we review 11 noise-canceling headphones under $100, highlighting the best models available.
TD;LR - Best Noise Canceling Headphones Under $100:
- TaoTronics Active Noise Canceling Headphones
- Sennheiser HD 4.50 Noise Cancellation
- Sony MDRZX110NC Noise Canceling 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 H5 Noise Canceling Bluetooth Headphones
- iTeknic Wireless Bluetooth Headphones
1. TaoTronics Active Noise Canceling Headphones
The leader in active noise-cancelling headphones is Bose, and TaoTronics has made a smart decision by sporting a similar aesthetic with their entry to the list. A sleek pure black design lends a professional look despite their 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.
The sound quality isn't nearly as good as what you'd get from the QuietComfort, but that's to be expected given that these are 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 is in their noise cancellation, with 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 manages to maintain this level of quality despite its modest price tag. These headphones sound arguably just as good as the QuietComfort 35. The sheer value of these wireless noise-canceling headphones has earned them a solid spot on our list, although 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 dollars.
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. That's accompanied by an organic sense of balance to the mid and treble range. All told, despite out-pricing most of the inclusions on our list, these are possibly the best value noise-canceling headphones around.
3. Sony MDRZX110NC Noise Canceling Headphones
Sony's MDRZX110NC over-ear noise-canceling headphones don't offer the best ambient sound blocking around, but their incredibly low price tag is hard to pass up. They're better 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. The lack of sound leakage is also well beyond what would be expected for devices in this class.
These wired noise-canceling 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 double as an alternative to traditional earbuds in the gym. Sound quality is average across the board, but that makes for a level of balance and harmony that's a far cry from the heavy bass and thin upper registers 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 600 well exceeds expectations. The clean mids, smooth highs, and satisfying bass are about the best you can expect for in a pair of headphones at 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.
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-canceling 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. The esteemed headphone manufacturers hit the ground running with these affordable noise-cancelling headphones. The QuietPoint cans are a case study in Audio-Technica's high-quality sound performance. These active noise-canceling headphones under 100 dollars offer quality bass without overdoing it while really excelling 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 up 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-canceling headphones for office use. And despite the all-around quality of the noise-canceling 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-canceling 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. This 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-canceling headphones you can take on your next business trip or family vacation, these could certainly fit the bill. Overall, they can't compete with the top 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 headphone manufacturing, but it easily establishes them as a genuine player in the market. Their sound quality is well above the standard, even considering that they press right up against our $100 price point, and the noise cancellation tech is quite solid though admittedly not top of its class.
The comfort and convenience here are exceptional. With a 20 hour playtime in Bluetooth mode and 50 in wired mode, they'll serve you well as noise-canceling 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 aren't one of the elite players in the headphones business, but they're quickly gaining a reputation among consumers looking for quality wireless products that don't cost a fortune. The Mpow H10 fits both metrics very well. The plastic design may be roughly what's expected for headphones in this price range, but the sound quality is rather 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 up to full blast in the office as they have a tendency to leak at higher volumes. That fortunately shouldn't need to 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 expect crystal clarity from its performance. Even without the mic in mind, 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-canceling 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 H5 Noise Canceling Bluetooth Headphones
The Mpow H5's combination of great price and lightweight design make them a great choice if you're looking for noise-canceling headphones for kids. The noise-canceling 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 can be 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 level of bass doesn't overwhelm the balanced mids and treble.
A microphone is also included built into these headphones, and despite the modest price tag and the mostly plastic frame of this set, they're surprisingly sturdy. There's a decent amount of metal on most of the important pressure points, resulting in a pair of headphones that can sustain some serious roughhousing.
11. iTeknic Wireless Bluetooth Headphones
The 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-canceling headphones under 100 bucks are surprisingly balanced. Their build is sleek, professional, and (most importantly) comfortable. Their sturdy design also means that you don't have to treat them with too much care.
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 Canceling 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.
ANC works via a microphone that 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 external noise, that ambient sound is essentially counteracted entirely. While this was once a costly inclusion in headphones, the price has rapidly decreased, and now the only real negative to the technology is the extra toll it puts on the headphones’ batteries, since ANC needs to be actively powered to work.
While all of 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 trains or in 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 while running 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 with long-term use, 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 the 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 each of these 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 still expect them to work. All wireless headphones have a range of distance within 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 these distances can be double or even more if you’re in clear line of sight with your device.
And while different versions of Bluetooth offer greater ranges, you shouldn’t rely on the standard Bluetooth range when figuring out the range 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 activated, but without Bluetooth. You may want to take a closer look at the model information if you want a bigger picture 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 conversations, or road works. Fortunately, noise cancellation tech is more affordable than it’s ever been. The Bose QuietComfort 35 may still be the gold standard for noise-canceling 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.If you liked our article on noise cancelling headphones under 100, please share and comment below what your favorite product is.