In a world where everything seems to make some noise, silence is a very precious luxury. This is why we’ve seen a recent explosion of various new makers and models of noise cancelling headphones on the market.
These headphones used to be a smart choice for those who travel by plane or public transportation, but nowadays you can use them in various situations where you simply want to be cut off from the daily grind and enjoy the silence.
Usually, headphones with active noise cancellation aren’t cheap, but like all technology products they’re getting more and more affordable. I’ve managed to gather some of the best active noise cancelling headphones for your non-listening pleasure.
These will provide you with the sweetest silence, they will look good in doing so, and they are also very comfortable to wear even for many hours continuously at a time. What’s more, they all feature active noise cancellation and Bluetooth connectivity.
Noise Cancelling Headphones Under $200
Table of Contents
- Noise Cancelling Headphones Under $200
- Noise Cancelling Headphones Under $100
- What You Need to Consider in Noise Cancelling Headphones
The Sony WH-CH700N headphones offer a decent balance between affordability and modern features. The main highlight is the Alexa compatibility, which pretty much enables you to control whatever synced devices you want in your office or home.
Another cool thing is the adjustable digital noise cancellation. You can fine-tune your soundstage and choose how much ambient noise you want to let in. Keep in mind that some genres can benefit from an open soundstage.
The battery life is impressive at 35 hours on wireless playback. The headphones also come with a built-in microphone, which also features some noise-canceling technology. Although not top of the line, it’s quite good for conferences, gaming, and taking calls.
To fine-tune the level of noise cancellation, you can use the NC button. Hold it down until you’re satisfied with the results. For everything else, you can talk into the microphone and take full advantage of the Alexa compatibility to change tracks, switch channels and playlists, place calls, and so on.
In terms of comfort, I’m quite pleased, although not at all surprised, given Sony’s overall reputation in the audio equipment industry. The earpads are very comfortable but not thick enough to cause unnecessary ear pressure.
2. Cowin E9
The Cowin E9 headphones feature a long list of sound-enhancing and noise-canceling technologies, such as aptX, aptX HD, low latency, AAC audio codecs, Bluetooth 5.0, and more. These can be the ideal headphones for you if you’re a commuter or if you spend most of your time in crowded or loud places.
Due to the active noise canceling, the Cowin E9s can block out a lot of the ambient noise, thus enhancing the low-end definition and creating a balanced and immersive soundstage. The 30 hours of playtime that you get on the continuous wireless operation are impressive, too.
I like how soft the ear cushions are. Even though they’re not the biggest, they fit most ears well and minimize the change of too much ear pressure. The 800mAh battery is more powerful than others in this price range. Therefore the 30 hours advertised runtime is guaranteed.
I should also add that the packaging is neat from the box to the carrying case. If you don’t need these headphones yourself, you might still want to consider them as a gift to a fellow traveler, even an audiophile with reasonable standards.
The Sony WHXB900N headphones are part of a more budget-friendly series of noise-canceling headphones from Sony. What sets these apart from many others is the awe-inspiring frequency response range. The top end is 20kHz, but on the low end, you can get 20Hz on wireless and 2Hz when using the AUX cable.
That makes the WHXB900N headphones super versatile and should help them cater to bass heads. You may also appreciate the touch sensor controls. They’re not overly sensitive, so there’s no need to worry about skipping multiple tracks with one tap.
You can use these controls to do everything from controlling the volume to activating your virtual assistant. I find the compatibility with both Alexa and Google Assistant refreshing, especially in this price range.
Once the assistant is active, you’ll be able to use the built-in mic to control your playlist. I should add that the Sony Headphones Connect app is also a great perk. It will allow you to customize your soundstage further and emphasize whatever frequency ranges you need to make your favorite genre sound as natural as possible.
Stylistically speaking, the ATH-ANC700BT headphones are nothing special. They don’t look more impressive than most other headphones in this price range. But, I didn’t put them on this list for their looks, but their superior noise-canceling technology.
The ATH-ANC700BT headphones boast QuietPoint ANC technology. Their proprietary multi-feedback system that cancels out most background noise. The 40mm drivers may not seem like much given the price, but they’re capable of crystal-clear reproductions for all genres, including those that are more bass-heavy.
The battery life is not the greatest at just 25 hours. However, the headphones come with a 3.9’ cable should you require some extra playtime before you can recharge the battery. When it comes to operating the headphones, it’s all straightforward with touch and swipe controls, located on the earcups.
What I probably like the most is how sneaky the headphones are in terms of comfort. They look bland from afar, but the soft pressure and soft plush cushions take you by surprise.
Here’s a pair of compact and ideal for travel headphones from AKG. These wireless headphones feature active noise cancellation, which is trendy these days. They don’t have the best battery as they top out at around 15 hours of wireless playtime.
However, the noise cancellation is on point through a combination of niche ear pads and high-end circuitry. The sound is what you would expect, the traditional AKG sound. It’s punchy, expressive, and quite versatile, suitable for a variety of genres.
Although bass heads may not fully appreciate the AKG GP-N060HAHCAAA headphones, others surely will. I also like the swiveling ear cup design. If you fancy yourself an amateur DJ, these are decent headphones to learn and practice your chops.
A 3.9’ cable is also included and may come in handy, given the short battery life. But, another way to boost autonomy is to turn off the ANC. That said, doing so would pretty much defeat the purpose of these headphones. But, I always like the option to tune out ambient noise when I want to, which is not all the time.
The Skullcandy Venue over-ear headphones come in three colors and brig high-fidelity sound reproduction. What I like most about them is the ambient mode feature for the ANC. It will allow you to personalize noise cancellation and thus get a more suitable soundstage for specific genres.
Like many other Skullcandy headphones, there’s nothing special about these in terms of aesthetics. They look quite bulky but somewhat cool. The controls are conveniently hidden from plain view but easily accessible with either hand.
You will be able to use your virtual assistant with these Skullcandies. Is there something that takes these down a notch? Perhaps the microphone. I find it a tad too sensitive, especially in loud environments.
Although the call clarity is impressive on your end, you might not be particularly pleased with how much background noise and breathing the built-in microphone can pick up. I would also recommend avoiding using the Skullcandy Venue headphones at high volumes, particularly in exceptionally loud environments, such as concerts and football games.
Sometimes one size does fit all, and such is the case with the JBL Live 650 BTNC headphones. These have a very impressive soundstage, with the signature JBL sound coming from very tiny 40mm drivers.
As is the case with most ANC headphones, these too are wireless, lightweight, and ideal for taking with you on flights. I think that the 30-hours battery life with ANC on is more than you could ask in this price range.
Also, a two-hour recharge time is very fast, considering what some of the other labels are offering these days. The Bluetooth technology is on-point and ensures a lag-free listening experience as well as a wide frequency response range that provides a more balanced soundstage.
The JBL Live 650 headphones also feature TalkThru technology and are somewhat self-adjusting when it comes to the environment and noise cancellation. Although they may not always be ideally calibrated, as long as you keep the volume high enough, pretty much nothing will bleed into the mix and ruin your favorite playlist.
Noise Cancelling Headphones Under $100
1. COWIN E7
Let’s start off with probably the hottest-selling noise cancelling cans. The COWIN E7 offers great value for the money as they really do offer decent noise cancellation coupled with a fairly good sound quality for all your precious playlists.
These may not break any new ground where design and visual appeal is concerned, but they are quite comfortable, even when worn for a couple of hours continuously. Those who care about image will highly appreciate the fact that there are five different color options to choose from - black, white, red, blue, and violet.
The E7 comes with a hefty battery which can provide you with 30 hours of noise-cancelled listening pleasure between charges. Also, they come with a built-in microphone so you can make phone calls without taking them off.
These wireless noise cancelling headphones from COWIN also come with a convenient carrying case.
These RCA headphones might also pique your interest. They have an over-ear design and a very long runtime for their price range. The battery should last up to 30 hours, even while you’re using the Bluetooth.
I also like that the active noise cancellation is optional. This feature has an on/off button. You can turn it off to enjoy a more open soundstage and natural tones or turn it on to block off coworkers, commuters, and anyone else making noise around you.
This RCA design fits the travel headphones category perfectly, mainly due to its foldable ear cups. And, since the headphones also have a carry case, there’s no reason you should keep these babies hidden at home.
The 40mm drivers are not the most powerful, but they help create a crisp and balanced reproduction of most music genres. However, like with many other headphones in this price range, the microphone is not impressive. You can’t expect impeccable call clarity when talking to someone on a built-in CBC 6.0 microphone.
These are probably my favorite of this bunch of the noise cancelling headphones. First of all, the Paww Wavesound 3 looks and feels very well built, without the cheap feel of plastic.
They are also very comfortable for those long flights. Specifically designed for those who spend quite a lot of time on an airplane, the Wavesound 3 headphones feature an airplane adapter so you can easily hook them up to the viewing system on the plane.
The active noise cancelling circuitry works extremely well, and I had no issues with it whatsoever. It simply does what it’s supposed to do without any fuss, and the sound quality coming out of the diaphragms is above average. You can’t really expect any miracles at this price range, but you will be pleasantly surprised.
The cans are wireless, and you will find on them controls for music playback, noise cancellation system switch and LED indicator, and another indicator for Bluetooth connection.
The headphones are conveniently foldable and come with a carrying case. You can also choose between black and white color options.
These are another set of over-ear noise cancelling headphones, designed with dual drivers with very powerful reproduction of low bass frequencies.
Coming with adjustable fit and swiveling cups, the TaoTronics TT-BH22 is among the most comfortable noise cancelling headphones in this price range.
You can switch the active noise cancellation off to save battery. Speaking of which, the battery life is very generous as it can provide you with up to 25 hours of continuous listening pleasure, depending on the volume you like to listen your music at.
Included in the package is a USB charging cable and 3.5mm AUX audio cable, so you can use these headphones wired or wirelessly via Bluetooth. There is also a neat carrying case included.
5. Mpow H5
For those of you who need to stay fashionable at all times, I must say that the Mpow H5 is probably the best-looking noise cancelling headphones out of the bunch I’ve prepared for you here.
Even though they only come in black finish, they are sleek and well-designed with all the right curves to appeal to most people.
Once you pop open the package, you will be greeted by the sculpted headphones, a convenient carrying bag, a USB charging cable, and a 3.5mm AUX audio cable.
The headphones utilize 40mm drivers which blow some rather nice low frequencies, while the active noise cancelling system effectively isolates all the environment sounds with the exception of human voice.
Current active noise cancellation technology is reactive, so it can only cancels out monotonous noises. This is true of all headphones on this list, not just the Mpow. The noise cancellation circuitry generates sound frequencies of inverse amplitude to cancel out environment noises.
Battery life isn’t something to write home about, as it’s only rated up to 18 hours of continuous performance. The noise cancellation system can be turned off to some battery.
6. CB3 Hush
The CB3 Hush headphones put as much emphasis on sound quality as active noise cancellation. The sound out of the 40mm drivers is clear and extended.
When it comes to noise cancelling, these babies really do pack quite a punch. You can listen to your favorite playlists or the latest podcast at a fairly moderate volume without any interference from the outside world.
They also quite comfortable and as such they are perfect for those long flights when you’re bored and simply can’t survive without a pair of good headphones.
As is the case with most products from this price range, they come with a convenient carrying case, a USB charging cable, and an AUX audio cable. Overall, these are definitely worth checking out and deserve their place among the best noise cancelling headphones under 100 bucks.
When you can find them on discount, the Sennheiser HD 4.50 BTNC are among the best buys you can make. The headphones have Bluetooth 4.0 and aptX, which means that the wireless sound quality is off the charts.
You may also like this pair if you prefer active noise cancellation. I love how the ear cups have been designed both for comfort and ease of use. The controls are easy to reach and very responsive. That will make changing tracks and even taking calls very smooth.
The headphones also have a microphone, hence the slightly higher price tag. But, I find this to be a very nice perk as it makes the headphones more versatile. In terms of battery life, 19 hours is pretty ok in my book.
You can charge the battery quickly, and the 19-hour runtime includes NoiseGard and Bluetooth working. Of course, you also get a cable should your headphones run out of battery juice.
I would also like to point out that the 18Hz to 22kHz frequency response range gives the headphones a balanced soundstage with enough bass definition to appeal to a broader audience.
8. Boltune NC
The new and improved Boltune headphones (2019) can tune out most ambient noise and are also quite cheap. The headphones use hybrid noise canceling through thick padding and frequency canceling technology.
Although rated quite high by the manufacturer, I wouldn’t put these headphones quite at the 96% cancellation rating when listening on a bus or plane. That said, there is very little background noise that bleeds into the mix.
The 45mm drivers are powerful, and the frequency response range caters to bass heads too. I also like the protein ear pads, which are thick and comfortable. While they create a bit of pressure, it’s worth it given how much ambient noise they can block out.
In terms of connectivity, the headphones support Bluetooth 5.0 technology, making them highly responsive and very impressive at this price range. The battery life is not bad either, being around 30 hours. The Boltune headphones also have a fast charge option.
I’m not a big fan of Boltune’s CVC 6.0 microphone. It will allow you to make some calls while traveling, but the capture quality is not impressive.
Over here we have yet another somewhat unique take on the noise cancellation challenge. The Avantree ANCS031 headphones can be used wired or wireless.
Once you open the packaging you’ll find your set of precious noise cancelling headphones, a zippered carrying case, a USB cable for charging, and an AUX audio cable. When you’re using the cans wirelessly, they’ll run on battery, but once you connect the cable you won’t be draining the battery.
Note that when you connect the cable and used them as wired headphones, the volume control and built-in microphone for making calls will be disabled.
The active noise cancellation system is very efficient, especially on low frequencies. The battery gives you up to 28 hours of playback time between charges.
They also come with a no lip-sync delay function which is great for passionate gamers.
What You Need to Consider in Noise Cancelling Headphones
In order to purchase a set of noise cancelling headphones that work well for you, it is wise to take some time to get acquainted with the concept.
First of all, when you say noise cancelling headphones, you don’t really think that they cancel the noise out by means of plush cushioning and or heavily insulated earcups?
That’s called passive noise cancellation and it’s a thing of the long gone past, as modern noise cancelling headphones rely on active noise cancellation to deal with unwanted noise.
The noise cancellation circuitry inside the headphones cancels out all the sounds that surround you by cleverly emitting sound waves that are out of phase but at the same amplitude.
By doing so, the generated sound waves cancel out background noises and you get your precious silence or music that’s very clear even at low volume. This is why noise cancelling headphones are also great at saving your eardrums.
It all started with the Bose company, way back in 1978. Nowadays, Bose makes some of the best noise cancelling headphones on the market, but you should definitely check a few guidelines to determine what kind of noise isolating headphones you actually need.
Wireless or Not
To some, this will be very important. If you’re very old school you probably won’t have any problems with wired noise cancelling headphones, but wireless ones will provide you with much more freedom of movement.
The wire simply gets in your way, and once you try wireless Bluetooth headphones, you will probably never go back to the wired ones. Obviously, wireless ones are commonly more expensive.
Amount of Juice
Yes, wireless noise cancelling headphones are a great thing, but they need batteries so they do have this flaw of having to be recharged every now and then.
If you plan on traveling a lot, this can be an issue, so you’ll have to plan your recharging sessions quite carefully. In most cases you will have approximately 25 hours of noise cancelling pleasure from your headphones, while some models even let you turn off the noise cancellation circuitry to save battery.
No matter how well designed they are or how amazingly they perform, a pair of headphones is only as good as the amount of comfort while they’re on your head.
There are quite a few over-ear models which will provide you with a plush feel, so they can be worn for longer periods of time, but they are also somewhat big and bulky on your head.
Those who spend a lot of time commuting probably will not like this, so they will opt for some of the earbud models available on the market. These are much smaller, portable, and convenient, and, if chosen wisely, will provide you with quite a powerful noise cancellation experience.
Even though you’re probably thinking that noise cancelling headphones are one of the coolest inventions, you’re going to be amazed when you read this.
Recent models also feature several ways of adapting their performance to the current surroundings and all the sounds coming from there. How cool is that?
These headphones will adjust according to the levels of sounds around you but also according to the altitude if you’re on a plane, so that your playlist stays at the exact same level.
Also, if you sometimes still need to return to reality and hear something from the outside world, you may opt for several models which provide you with this fast and easy access to that.
Some headphones will instantly recognize when you remove the ear cups from your ears and automatically pause the music. Another very cool feature, right? Some other models just need to be tapped twice lightly to instantly let you hear all the sounds from the environment that surrounds you.
Google Assistant and Similar Services
There are quite a few people who rely heavily on Google Assistant, which is no wonder, as it is quite frankly a very useful tool. Some models offer integration with such services and make lives much easier.
Whatever models you decide upon, I strongly suggest giving them a proper test drive. If possible, take them somewhere noisy and play some tunes that you’re familiar with. The ones that sound best and provide you with the most suitable set of features win the match.
Always choose the ones which provide you with the most comfortable experience, as you’re about to wear them for prolonged periods of time. The best way to test drive is probably to buy them from an online store that has a generous return policy.
Now that you’re well acquainted with the best noise cancelling headphones under $200 & $100, get out there and treat your ears to the utmost comfort and silence.