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 615 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 noise cancelling headphones under $100 with an in-ear design that we've tested are the EarFun Air Pro True Wireless. These Bluetooth earbuds have a comfortable fit and come with a few different tip size options. Their ANC feature isolates you from an impressive amount of noise, including the low rumble of bus and plane engines.
Their somewhat v-shaped sound profile brings extra thump and boom to mixes, while vocals and instruments are bright. They're suitable for workouts, since they're well-built, quite stable, and have an IPX5 rating for water resistance, although we don't test for that currently. Their battery lasts for more than nine hours off of a single charge, so they should last through 9-5 workdays and long flights, and their case holds about 2.5 additional charges.
Unfortunately, they don't have a companion app and lack sound customization features like an EQ or presets. They also have a mediocre touch-sensitive control scheme that's a bit tricky to use. Otherwise, their impressive noise isolation performance, portability, and good battery performance make them a great choice for commuting and traveling.
If you want headphones with more customization features, try the Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 Pro Truly Wireless. They have a much shorter continuous battery life than the EarFun Air Pro True Wireless, but they work with a companion app that gives you access to a graphic EQ and presets, so you can customize their sound profile to suit you. Their ANC system also has a much better overall performance and is more effective at blocking out bass-range noise like the rumble of bus and plane engines. While their battery only provides roughly 3.5 hours of continuous playback, they come with a case that holds two additional charges, and you can use one earbud while the other charges in the case.
If you want the earbud with a better-balanced default sound profile or a more comfortable fit, go for the EarFun, but try the Anker instead if you want headphones with sound customization features.
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 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 want headphones that make it easier to switch between devices, try the Plantronics BackBeat Go 810 Wireless. They aren't as comfortable as the Anker Soundcore Life Q20 Wireless and their ANC isn't as effective, but they support multi-device pairing, so you can connect them to your phone and computer at the same time. They have a more neutral, less bass-heavy default sound profile than the Anker, which some listeners may prefer, and if you prefer a different sound, their companion app gives you access to a few EQ presets. You can also use the app to change the ANC level, so you can adjust how much ambient sound you can hear. These headphones also last for more than 24 hours on a single charge and have decent build quality, but unfortunately, some users have reported that their headphones' headband cracked or broke.
If you want the headphones with a better noise isolation performance, go for the Anker, but consider the Plantronics instead if multi-device pairing or a more neutral sound profile are your priority.
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.
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'.
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.