Active noise cancelling (ANC) used to be a feature reserved for only the most expensive headphones. However, nowadays, you can get surprisingly decent noise cancellation at almost every price point. While being able to block out background noise is important, things like sound, battery, and comfort are also still a consideration. We've broken down the best budget ANC headphones by different price budgets, so you can find the best choice regardless of how much you want to spend.
We've tested over 650 pairs of headphones, and below are our recommendations for the best budget noise cancelling headphones to buy. If you have the budget, you may be more interested in checking our full lists of the best noise cancelling headphones and the best noise cancelling headphones under $200.
The TOZO NC7 Truly Wireless are the best cheap noise cancelling headphones that we've tested. These in-ears have a great noise isolation performance, thanks to their ANC system. They can block out the low rumble of bus engines very well, which makes them a very good choice for commuting.
They have a slightly excited sound profile that delivers extra thump and rumble to mixes. The buds are well-built, rated IPX6 for resistance against immersion in water, and are decently comfortable. They also come with six pairs of ear tips to help you get the best fit. Their continuous battery life of over eight hours should last through long days on the go too, and their carrying case supplies roughly two additional charges if you need it.
Unfortunately, their integrated mic struggles to separate your voice from moderate ambient noise around you, so speech may be drowned out if you're taking a call from a busy street. The buds also lack a companion app and customization features, which is disappointing if you want to tweak their sound to your liking. That said, if you're looking for wallet-friendly noise cancelling headphones, they're a solid choice.
The Anker Soundcore Life Q30 Wireless are the best budget noise cancelling headphones under $100 that we've tested. These well-built headphones have an outstanding ANC system. They can block out a significant amount of noise like the low rumble of bus and plane engines and ambient chatter.
Their excited, v-shaped sound profile delivers intense thump, rumble, and boom. At the same time, vocals and lead instruments are bright and sparkly. Thanks to their companion app's graphic EQ and presets, you can also customize their sound to your liking. They have over 44 hours of continuous battery life too, and you can connect them with up to two devices at a time. They support multi-device pairing, meaning you can connect them with up to two devices like a smartphone and laptop at a time.
However, they're prone to inconsistencies in treble delivery, and you may need to adjust their fit and positioning to achieve a more consistent listening experience. They also leak audio at high volumes, which could annoy others around you. They offer a fantastic noise isolation performance and a customizable sound profile, making them a suitable choice for most users.
If you prefer the fit and feel of in-ear headphones, check out the Anker SoundCore Life P3 Truly Wireless. While their continuous battery life is much shorter than the Anker Soundcore Life Q30 Wireless, these are lightweight earbuds. They have a similarly comfortable and well-built design but are rated IPX5 for water resistance and have a more stable fit, making them a better choice for sports. Even though their noise isolation performance isn't nearly as good, their ANC still delivers an excellent overall performance, especially when it comes to bass-range noise. You can also customize their thumpy default sound profile to your liking using their companion app's graphic EQ and presets.
Go for the Soundcore Life Q30 if you want over-ear headphones with a longer continuous playback time and even better noise isolation performance. If you favor the portability and stability that in-ear headphones provide, try the Soundcore Life P3 instead.
The Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro Truly Wireless are the best value noise cancelling headphones under $150 that we've tested. These Βluetooth earbuds have an ANC feature that blocks out an amazing amount of noise. When set to 'Transport' mode, it's very effective at isolating you from bass-range noise like rumbling bus engines during your commute.
You can set the ANC feature in their companion app to two other settings, 'Outdoor' or 'Indoor', or customize it to suit your needs. You can also switch noise cancelling on and off by pressing either earbud for two seconds. They have a bass-heavy sound profile well-suited for genres like EDM, and you can customize it in the Anker Soundcore app, which includes a graphic EQ and 20 different presets.
Unfortunately, they have a short continuous battery life of roughly 3.5 hours with ANC on. They come with a case that holds about two extra charges, but their total battery life is still on the short side for long trips. That said, they do an excellent job of blocking out ambient sound and are very customizable.
If you're looking for budget-friendly earbuds with better battery life, you may prefer the Samsung Galaxy Βuds2 Truly Wireless. Their ANC feature doesn't block out as much noise in the bass range as the Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro Truly Wireless, but they have a more comfortable fit and a better battery performance. Their battery provides roughly 4.7 hours of continuous use, and they come with a charging case that holds about three extra charges. They also have a fairly neutral sound profile, and you can customize it with EQ presets in the companion app. Their ANC blocks out an impressive amount of noise. Ηowever, it doesn't have specific modes for different settings, but you can select 'Ambient Mode', which allows you to hear your surroundings without pausing your audio.
If you want more customizable earbuds with an adjustable ANC feature, go for the Anker. However, consider the Samsung if you want ANC headphones with a more comfortable fit or a longer continuous battery life.
Jan 13, 2022: Removed the PlantronicsBackBeat Go 810 Wireless as they've been discontinued and are no longer available at this price point. Also replaced the Anker Soundcore Life Q20 Wireless with the TOZO NC7 Truly Wireless as the TOZO offer a better noise isolation performance.
Nov 16, 2021: Removed the Microsoft Surface Wireless Headphones as the 'Best Budget Noise Cancelling Headphones Under $150' since they're now more expensive. Replaced them with the Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro Truly Wireless and added the Samsung Galaxy Buds2 Truly Wireless as the 'Alternative With Βetter Βattery Life'.
Sep 17, 2021: Moved the EarFun Air Pro True Wireless and Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro Truly Wireless to Notable Mentions. Made the Anker Soundcore Life Q30 Wireless the 'Best Budget Noise Cancelling Headphones Under $100' and added the Anker SoundCore Life P3 Truly Wireless as the 'In-Ear Alternative' as the P3 offer a better noise isolation performance.
Jul 20, 2021: Replaced the TaoTronics Sound Liberty 94 Truly Wireless with the Anker Soundcore Q20 Wireless as the TaoTronics are no longer available.
May 21, 2021: Replaced Razer Opus with Microsoft Surface Wireless Headphones as 'Best Budget Noise Cancelling Headphones Under $150' pick due to current pricing. Replaced Amazon Echo Buds with Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro as 'In-Ear Alternative' due to current availability. Added Mpow X5 to Notable Mentions. Removed Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro from Notable Mentions.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best cheap noise cancelling headphones to buy for most people. We factor in the price (cheaper headphones win over pricier ones if the difference isn't worth it), feedback from our visitors, and availability (no headphones that are difficult to find or almost out of stock everywhere).
If you would like to choose for yourself, here is the list of all our reviews for headphones with an ANC feature, sorted by their noise isolation performance. Be careful not to get caught up in the details. There are no perfect headphones. Personal taste, preference, and listening habits will matter.