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 680 pairs of headphones, and below are our recommendations for the best ANC 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. These comfortable over-ears are the creme de la creme of this price range, thanks to their outstanding ANC system that has three modes designed with different kinds of sound in mind, like traffic or voices. With the ANC on, their battery lasts over 44 hours continuously, and they have an auto-off timer to help conserve battery life if you forget to turn them off. They also come with a good hard carrying case to protect the headphones when you're on the go. Unfortunately, some users have reported that their units' headbands cracked or broke over time, so they may not be the most durable headphones.
Out of the box, they have an excited sound profile with intense thump and boom, which is great for genres like rock and pop. If you prefer a different sound, you can customize their sound to suit your tastes by using their app's graphic EQ and presets. These headphones also support multi-device pairing so that you can stay connected to two devices at a time. They leak audio at high volumes, so if you like to crank up the volume to your favorite tunes, you may annoy others around you.
The best sounding noise cancelling headphones under $100 that we've tested are the Plantronics BackBeat Go 810 Wireless. Although these headphones have been discontinued and are sometimes difficult to find, they're still available through some retailers, though their price can fluctuate depending on the color you've selected. If that's not an issue, these headphones deliver a versatile sound that's sure to please most people. They have a touch of extra boom to bring warmth to mixes, but unlike the Anker Soundcore Life Q30 Wireless, the added bass doesn't bloat the rest of their sound. It results in clear and natural-sounding vocals and lead instruments. Even though they're not very customizable, they still have a couple of EQ presets you can use to adjust how they sound.
Since these headphones are somewhat old, it's normal that their ANC performance falls short of their newer competitors. They struggle to block out bass range noise like the rumble of bus engines, which can be annoying if you want to use them during your daily commute. While they do a better job of cutting down ambient chatter, it's nothing to write home about, either. With their ANC on, they last over 24 hours continuously. Unfortunately, some users have reported that the plastic headband cracked over time, so they may not be the most durable headphones.
The best noise cancelling headphones for work under $100 that we've tested are the Anker Soundcore Life Q35 Wireless. They're the next generation of our top pick, the Anker Soundcore Life Q30 Wireless, but what distinguishes them from their predecessor is their mic performance. Whether you have to make calls from the office or attend online meetings from home, their integrated mic does a good job recording your voice clearly, so your coworkers should have no problem hearing you clearly. The mic also does a better job of separating your voice from background noise, though if you need to take a call on the go, your voice can be drowned out by sounds like traffic. Unfortunately, their design is still prone to breakage over time, so they may not be the most long-lasting headphones.
Although their ANC system doesn't offer quite the same high performance as the Q30, they can still block out a great amount of ambient noise, like the rumble of bus engines and ambient chatter around you. With their ANC on, they last over 44 hours continuously. Out of the box, they also have a very bass-heavy sound profile that delivers intense thump, rumble, and boom, but if you prefer a different sound, their companion app provides a graphic EQ and presets.
If you like to use your smartphone or Nintendo Switch for playing mobile apps or streaming video on the go, then the Razer Opus X Wireless are the best noise cancelling headphones for low latency under $100 that we've tested. Unlike other picks on this list, these colorful over-ears have a low-latency 'Gaming Mode', which ensures that your audio and visuals stay in sync. They also have an okay ANC system. Even though it struggles to block out the low rumble of bus engines, it does an excellent job of cutting down ambient chatter and even performs significantly better in this range than the Plantronics BackBeat Go 810 Wireless. They have a comfortable fit and are well-built too, but unfortunately, they don't come with a carrying case to help protect them when you're on the go.
These headphones have a somewhat neutral sound profile that's well-suited for most kinds of audio. A bump of extra boom helps bring warmth to your mixes while vocals and lead instruments still sound clear. If you prefer a different sound, their companion app offers EQ presets to help you adjust their sound. While the manufacturer advertises them to last 30 hours with their ANC on, we measured 68 hours, which is outstanding. You can't use them wired, though.
If you prefer a more lightweight and sleek design than over-ears, the Anker SoundCore Life P3 Truly Wireless are the best ANC headphones under $100 with an in-ear design that we've tested. Like the Anker Soundcore Life Q30 Wireless, they have an ANC feature that you can set to different modes to suit the situation, like 'Transport' or 'Outdoor.' It does an amazing job of isolating you from ambient sound like rumbling bus engines and chatting co-workers. The catch is that, unlike their over-ear sibling, their battery only lasts about 5.7 hours of continuous use, so they may not last through a 9-5 workday or long trip without a pause to recharge them. They come with a case that holds roughly four extra charges, so you can always top them up if they run out of power. You can also use one earbud while the other one charges.
They have a bass-heavy default sound profile that adds a lot of extra thump, rumble, and punch to mixes. Their very accurate mid-range response also ensures that voices and lead instruments are clear and detailed, and your audio doesn't sound muddy. Their companion app also includes a graphic EQ and presets you can use for sound customization. You can also use the app to turn the ANC feature off or turn on 'Ambient' mode, which lets you hear your surroundings without taking out the earbuds.
If you're looking for more noise cancelling earbuds and in-ears, check out our article on the best noise cancelling earbuds!
Sep 19, 2022: We've overhauled this article in order to better align it with user expectations. We've added the following picks: the Plantronics BackBeat Go 810 Wireless, Anker Soundcore Life Q35 Wireless, and Razer Opus X Wireless. We've also removed the following picks: the Mixcder E9 Wireless, EarFun Air Pro True Wireless, Anker Soundcore Life Q20 Wireless, and TOZO NC7 Truly Wireless. We've cleared the Notable Mentions of any picks that are out of date.
May 03, 2022: Removed the Panasonic RP-HC800 as they've been discontinued. There have been minor updates to the text.
Mar 04, 2022: Checked that picks represent the best recommendations and that the products are in stock.
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'.
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.