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 665 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. These comfortable over-ears are equipped with an outstanding ANC system to help tackle noise like the rumble of bus engines or ambient chatter. Their ANC has three different modes designed to block out different kinds of sound, like traffic or voices.
Out of the box, they have an excited sound profile with intense thump and boom, but you can customize their sound to suit your tastes by using their app's graphic EQ and presets. 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, the headphones leak audio at high volumes, so if you like to crank up the volume to your favorite tunes, you may annoy others around you. Their mic also has sub-par noise handling, so if you're taking a call in a moderately noisy environment, your voice may be drowned out. If you prefer the fit of over-ear headphones, they're worth checking out.
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, 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 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.
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.
Unfortunately, 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 recharging. 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.
If you want in-ear headphones with better battery performance, consider the EarFun Air Pro True Wireless instead. Their ANC feature isn't as effective as the Anker SoundCore Life P3 Truly Wireless, but they have a much longer, roughly nine-hour continuous battery life, so they're more suitable for use during long trips and days at work. While they struggle more to isolate you from mid-range noise like background chatter, they have an impressive noise isolation performance and are similarly effective at blocking out the rumble of bus and plane engines. They're also comfortable, stable enough for workouts, and have a more neutral sound profile that some may prefer. Ηowever, they don't have a companion app and don't come with any sound customization features like an EQ or presets.
If you're looking for in-ear headphones with a better noise isolation performance, go for the Anker, but try the EarFun instead if longer battery life is important.
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 even more wallet-friendly in-ears with noise cancelling, check out the TOZO NC7 Truly Wireless. While their deep in-ear fit doesn't feel as comfortable as the Anker Soundcore Life Q20 Wireless' over-ear design, their design is smaller and more portable, making it easier to take them with you on the go. While ANC earbuds are rare at this price point, they offer a great overall performance. They can easily block out the low rumble of bus and plane engines as well as ambient chatter and the hum of AC units. While you can't turn the ANC off, you can switch to 'Transparency' mode if you want to hear ambient sound without taking out your buds. Their battery also lasts over eight hours continuously, while their carrying case holds an additional two charges.
Take a look at the Anker if you prefer over-ear noise cancelling headphones. However, if you like in-ears or want something lighter and more portable, try the TOZO instead.
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'.
Sep 15, 2021: Checked that picks represent the best recommendations and that the products are available. There were no changes to recommendations.
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.