Active noise cancelling (ANC) headphones can help give you peace in otherwise normally noisy situations. If you work in a loud office or have a long commute on a loud bus or train, they can help keep you concentrated or relaxed. While ANC has typically been reserved only for high-end headphones, in the past few years, some surprisingly decent ANC headphones have come out with a much lower price tag. But simply having a good ANC feature isn't everything; you also want headphones that are comfortable, have a good battery life, and a well-balanced sound profile.
We've tested over 650 pairs of headphones, and below are our recommendations for the best noise cancelling headphones under $100 to purchase. If you have a bit more of a flexible budget, see our picks for the best noise cancelling headphones, the best noise cancelling headphones under $200, and the best noise cancelling earbuds.
The best noise cancelling headphones under $100 that we've tested are the Anker Soundcore Life Q30 Wireless. They offer quite a bit of customization features for their price point. Their ANC also does an outstanding job of reducing ambient noise like bus engines or ambient chatter around you.
With their companion app, you can choose between three ANC modes designed to help block out different sounds. There's also a graphic EQ and presets if you don't like their default excited sound profile. That said, out-of-the-box, they deliver intense thump, rumble, and boom that some users may enjoy. They also have a long-lasting continuous battery life of over 44 hours, which should be more than enough for long days at the office.
Unfortunately, they leak audio at high volumes, which can disturb coworkers around you. They also lack an IP rating for water resistance, so they may not be the best choice if you're looking for something to use while working out. They're somewhat prone to inconsistent audio delivery, too. However, they deliver a powerful and adjustable ANC feature alongside a versatile overall performance.
If you want noise cancelling over-ear headphones with a more neutral sound, you may prefer the Mixcder E9. They don't have app support or sound customization features, unlike the Anker Soundcore Life Q30 Wireless, but their bass response is much more accurate, which some may prefer. Mixes have the right amount of rumble, punch, and boom, but it shouldn't sound overwhelming or muddy. Their sound delivery varies less depending on the headphones' fit, seal, and positioning on your head. The ANC feature does a good job of blocking out noises like the rumble of bus and plane engines, so they're a solid choice for commuting. It's not as effective with mid-range noise, though, making them less ideal if you're mainly concerned with isolating yourself from background conversations at the office.
If you're looking for more customizable headphones or the best overall ANC performance, go for the Anker, but consider the Mixcder instead if you want a more neutral default sound profile.
The Anker SoundCore Life P3 Truly Wireless are the best ANC headphones under $100 with an in-ear design that we've tested. These earbuds have an ANC feature that does an excellent job of isolating you from noises like rumbling bus engines and chatting co-workers. You can also set it to three different modes to suit the situation, 'Transport', 'Indoor', or 'Outdoor'.
Out of the box, they have a bass-heavy sound that brings extra thump and rumble to music. They shouldn't sound too muddy, though, and vocals and lead instruments are clear and detailed, so they're suitable for a variety of genres and types of content. If you prefer a different sound, there's also a graphic EQ and presets in the companion app. The app allows you to turn ANC on or off or switch to 'Ambient' Mode, which lets in some sound so you can stay aware of your surroundings.
Unfortunately, their battery provides less than six hours of continuous use with ANC on, so they may not last you through a 9-5 workday without pausing to recharge. On the plus side, they come with a case that holds four extra charges, and it takes less than an hour for the earbuds to charge completely, so it's easy to top up the battery when you need to.
If you want in-ear headphones with better battery performance, consider the EarFun Air Pro True Wireless instead. While they have a worse noise isolation performance than the Anker SoundCore Life P3 Truly Wireless, their ANC feature still blocks out an impressive amount of ambient sound. They also have a much longer, roughly nine-hour continuous battery life, so they're more suitable if you want headphones that can last through a long flight or 9-5 workday without recharging. They have a similarly comfortable, stable fit and a more neutral sound profile that some may prefer. Unfortunately, they don't have any sound customization features like an EQ or presets and don't have a companion app.
Go for the Anker if you want in-ear headphones with a better ANC performance. Consider the EarFun instead if battery performance is a priority.
The Anker Soundcore Life Q20 Wireless are the best noise cancelling headphones under $50 that we've tested. These over-ear headphones are the previous generation of the Anker Soundcore Life Q30 Wireless, but they offer a satisfactory noise isolation performance and are available at a lower price point.
Their ANC feature does a good job of isolating you from noises like chatting co-workers or a humming computer fan. They have an excited sound profile that delivers extra thump, punch, and boom to mixes while keeping vocals and lead instruments bright, so they're well-suited for genres like pop and rock. Their lightweight, comfortable fit and more than 32 hours of continuous battery life make them a good choice for long flights or days at the office.
Unfortunately, their ANC isn't very effective at blocking out bass-range noise like rumbling bus and plane engines. Also, aside from a 'Βass Βoost' button on one earcup, they lack sound customization features, so they may not be ideal if you don't like a bass-rich sound. Otherwise, if you're looking for budget-friendly ANC headphones, these offer decent noise isolation and long continuous battery life.
If you're looking for in-ear headphones with ANC, you may prefer the TOZO NC7 Truly Wireless. They aren't as comfortable as the Anker Soundcore Life Q20 Wireless, but they have a more portable in-ear design and an ANC feature that does a much better job of isolating you from bass-range noise like rumbling bus and plane engines. You can't turn off the ANC, but you can tap one earbud to cycle between noise cancelling and 'Transparency' mode, intended to let you hear your surroundings without taking out the earbuds. Their excited sound profile delivers extra thump and rumble to your audio, but their bass response isn't as exaggerated, which some may prefer. Unfortunately, they also lack app support and sound customization features like an EQ or presets.
If you're looking for budget-friendly over-ear headphones, go for the Anker, but consider the TOZO instead if you prefer in-ears or want headphones that do a good job of blocking out bass-range noise.
Jan 05, 2022: Removed the Plantronics BackBeat Go 810 Wireless as the 'Alternative With Multi-Device Pairing' to the Anker Soundcore Life Q20 Wireless because most variants now cost more than $100. Made the TOZO NC7 Truly Wireless the 'In-Ear Alternative' instead and added the EarFun Air Pro True Wireless as an 'Alternative With Βetter Βattery Performance' to the Anker SoundCore Life P3 Truly Wireless.
Nov 10, 2021: Replaced the EarFun Air Pro True Wireless with the Anker SoundCore Life P3 Truly Wireless as the 'Best In-Ear Noise Cancelling Headphones Under $100' because they may be hard to find available. Removed the Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro Truly Wireless as the 'More Customizable Alternative' and replaced them with the TOZO NC7 Truly Wireless as the 'Cheaper Alternative'.
Sep 15, 2021: Checked that picks represent the best recommendations and that the products are available. There were no changes to recommendations.
Jul 20, 2021: Replaced the TaoTronics SoundLiberty 94 Truly Wireless with the Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro Truly Wireless as the TaoTronics are no longer available. Also replaced the Plantronics with the Anker Soundcore Life Q20 Wireless as the Anker offer better value to most users.
May 21, 2021: Made the EarFun Air Pro the 'Best In-Ear Noise Cancelling Headphones Under $100' as they represent a better value to most users. Also renamed the TaoTronics SoundLiberty 94 as 'Cheaper Alternative'. Removed the Mpow X5 as it appears they have been discontinued.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best ANC headphones under $100 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 noise cancelling headphones under $100. Be careful not to get caught up in the details. There are no perfect headphones. Personal taste, preference, and listening habits will matter most.