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 be very helpful in helping to 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 600 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 complete recommendations 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 one of three ANC modes that are 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. Although we don't currently test for it, 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 prefer over-ear headphones with a more neutral sound profile, check out the Mixcder E9. Their continuous battery life isn't as long, and their noise isolation performance isn't as good as the Anker Soundcore Life Q30 Wireless, but their neutral, balanced default sound profile is more suitable to a wider range of music genres. They also have much more consistent audio delivery, so their sound doesn't change as much depending on their fit, seal, and positioning on your head. Overall, these comfortable over-ears have good noise isolation performance. Their ANC feature can block out noises in the bass range, making them ideal to use during your commute. Unfortunately, they don't block out voices quite as well as the Anker, so you may hear some background voices.
If you want something with long battery life and an outstanding ANC feature, consider the Anker. However, if you prefer a more neutral, balanced sound profile out-of-the-box, check out the Mixcder instead.
The best in-ear noise cancelling headphones under $100 that we've tested are the EarFun Air Pro True Wireless. These comfortable in-ears have an ANC that can reduce a great amount of ambient noise around you. It can block out the low rumbles of a bus or plane engine as well as help reduce the sound of office chatter.
These headphones have a good build quality and a stable in-ear fit. They're suitable for a variety of audio content as their slightly excited sound profile adds a bit of extra thump, rumble, and boom to your mixes while vocals and lead instruments are bright. They last over nine hours on a single charge, and their carrying case holds an additional 2.5 charges. They have a standby mode to help conserve their battery life when not in use.
Unfortunately, they lack a companion app as well as any sound customization features to help you adjust their sound to your liking. Their touch controls are also a bit tricky to use and aren't very responsive. That said, these portable and lightweight headphones offer a great noise isolation performance that's especially suitable for commuting or traveling.
If you like to customize your headphones to better suit your tastes, check out the Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro Truly Wireless. While their continuous battery life is much shorter than the EarFun Air Pro True Wireless, the Anker have a companion app that offers a graphic EQ and presets. Out of the box, they have a bass-heavy sound profile that delivers extra thump, punch, and rumble to your mixes. Their ANC system also offers a better noise isolation performance than the EarFun, which is handy if you work in a noisy office or commute to work. However, they only last about 3.5 hours on a single charge and have only two additional charges in their carrying case, which is disappointing. Luckily, you can use one earbud while the other charges.
Consider the EarFun if you're looking for in-ears with a more neutral default sound profile and comfortable fit. However, if you like to adjust your headphones' sound profile, take a look at the Anker instead.
The Anker Soundcore Life Q20 Wireless are the best noise cancelling headphones under $50 that we've tested. Although they're the previous generation of the Anker Soundcore Life Q30 Wireless, they still offer a decent overall performance at a lower price point. Their ANC system does a good job of blocking out background noise like office chatter or the high-pitched hum of an AC unit.
They have an excited sound profile that's well suited for genres like pop and rock. They deliver a lot of extra thump, punch, and boom to your mixes while vocals and lead instruments are bright. They also have a comfortable, lightweight fit, and their battery lasts over 32 hours continuously, so they should be able to get through long days at the office or trips on the road without recharging them.
Unfortunately, their ANC struggles to block out the low rumbles of bus or plane engines. They also don't have a companion app to offer more robust features like a graphic EQ, although they have a bass boost button to add more rumble to your mixes. That said, if you're looking for more affordable over-ears with an ANC system and a long-lasting continuous battery life, they're a suitable choice.
If you like to switch audio sources between your smartphone and laptop, try the Plantronics BackBeat Go 810 Wireless. While their ANC cuts down less ambient noise than the Anker Soundcore Life Q20 Wireless, the Plantronics support multi-device pairing with up to two devices simultaneously. These headphones have a significantly more neutral default sound profile than the Anker, which some users may prefer. Since they're compatible with the Backbeat App, they also have a couple of EQ presets you can use if you prefer a bit of a different sound. They deliver over 24 hours of continuous playback time and have a standby mode to help conserve battery life if you forget to turn them off. Unfortunately, some users have reported that their unit's headband cracked or broke with continuous use, which is a bit disappointing.
Go for the Anker if you're looking for wallet-friendly over-ears with better noise isolation performance. However, if you value multi-device pairing or a more neutral sound profile, check out the Plantronics.
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.
Mar 09, 2021: Replaced the Anker Soundcore Life Q20 Wireless with their next-generation model. Also replaced the Sony WI-SP600N Wireless with the TaoTronics SoundLiberty 94 Truly Wireless and the Mpow H10 Wireless with the Plantronics BackBeat Go 810 Wireless as they represent a better value to most users. Added the Mpow X5 Truly Wireless as 'More Comfortable Alternative'.
Dec 09, 2020: Removed the Aukey Latitude Wireless as 'Cheaper Passively Isolating In-Ear Alternative' and removed the Anker SoundCore Space NC Wireless from Notable Mentions to reflect changing availability. Added the Plantronics BackBeat Go 810 Wireless as 'Neutral-Sounding Alternative'.
Sep 10, 2020: Replaced the AKG N700NC Wireless with the Mixcder E9 Wireless to reflect pricing changes. Added the Anker SoundCore Space NC Wireless and the JBL E65BTNC Wireless as Notable Mentions.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best noise cancelling 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.