Active noise cancelling (ANC) headphones can help give you peace in otherwise 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 710 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.
If you're looking for headphones with more office-centric features, look at 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 will 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 play mobile apps or stream video on the go and need low latency, the Razer Opus X Wireless are the best ANC headphones under $100 we've tested. While many Bluetooth headphones can introduce lag into your gaming or streaming, these have a 'Gaming mode' that provides a low latency connection with phones and other Bluetooth-compatible devices like the Nintendo Switch. Unlike the Anker Soundcore Life Q30 Wireless, their ANC struggles with bass-range noise like rumbling engines, but it's great at blocking out ambient chatter.
They have a fairly neutral sound profile that adds extra boom to audio, which adds warmth and helps bring out sound effects like footsteps. Voices and instruments sound clear, accurate, and detailed. If you prefer a different sound, the Razer Audio app has a few EQ presets to choose from. The headphones are sturdy, have a comfortable fit, and come in bright colors like green and pink, which is a bit unusual for over-ears. They last for roughly 68 hours of continuous use with ANC on, which is fantastic, but you don't have the option of using them wired when the battery dies.
If you're looking for more portable and lightweight headphones, check out the Anker Soundcore Space A40 Truly Wireless. These earbuds have an adaptive ANC system, so they can automatically adjust the level of noise isolation to fit your environment. They block out an outstanding amount of ambient noise, like rumbly plane engines and people talking near you, and they even slightly outperform the Anker Soundcore Life Q30 Wireless in this regard. That said, you can switch to manual ANC controls, which let you set the level of noise isolation if you prefer to allow some background noise in. With their ANC on, they last over eight hours continuously, but if you need to recharge them, their carrying case supplies an extra four charges.
Beyond noise isolation, these comfortable and well-built buds have a warm sound profile that makes vocals and instruments sound cozy. Although they lack low-bass, you can fine-tune their sound via the graphic EQ and presets in their companion app. In addition, they support multi-device pairing, meaning you can stay connected to your smartphone and PC simultaneously. Unfortunately, their integrated mic has poor recording quality, so your voice sounds distant and piercing.
If you're looking for more noise cancelling earbuds and in-ears, check out our article on the best noise cancelling earbuds!
Budget-friendly earbuds usually have fewer extra features than pricier options, but it's still possible to find earbuds with a strong noise cancelling performance. The TOZO NC7 Truly Wireless are the best noise cancelling buds at the budget level that we've tested. They don't have a companion app, sound customization features, or multi-device pairing, but their ANC system does a great job of isolating you from ambient sound. It blocks out bass-range noise like rumbling engines very well, and although the Anker Soundcore Space A40 Truly Wireless handle higher-pitched sounds like voices more effectively, these buds are still good at reducing background noise at the office.
They have a v-shaped sound profile that adds thump and rumble in the bass range and brightness to instruments and lead vocals. This sound is versatile and well-suited for genres like EDM, rock, and pop. However, they can also sound a bit harsh. The buds last around eight hours of continuous use with ANC on, so they can get you through a workday without recharging. Their portable case also stores a couple of extra charges. The earbuds are decently comfortable for most people, but they have a bulky design and a deep in-ear fit, which can bother some people.
Feb 10, 2023: Added the TOZO NC7 Truly Wireless as the budget earbud pick.
Dec 13, 2022: We've replaced the Anker Soundcore Life P3 Truly Wireless with the Anker Soundcore Space A40 Truly Wireless as the Space A40 have a better overall noise isolation performance.
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.
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.