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 570 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, the best noise cancelling earbuds, or if you want something even cheaper, the best noise cancelling headphones under $50.
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 TaoTronics SoundLiberty 94 are the best in-ear noise cancelling headphones under $100 that we've tested. These decently comfortable and lightweight in-ears have an excellent noise isolation performance. Their ANC can cut down a significant amount of ambient chatter as well as the rumbly noise from bus engines.
They have a boomy and warm sound profile that's well-suited for genres like EDM. Thanks to their in-ear fit, they also deliver audio consistently, and they're stable enough for running or working out, so you don't need to worry about them falling out of your ear. They're even rated IPX5 for water resistance, although we don't currently test for this.
Unfortunately, they lack a companion app and don't have access to any EQ features. Their under four hour continuous battery life is quite short, so they may not be the best choice for long workdays. That said, they charge pretty quickly and their carrying case holds three additional charges, which is handy when you're on-the-go.
If you're looking for a more comfortable pair of in-ear headphones with an ANC feature, check out the Mpow X5. While they don't isolate you from as much noise as the TaoTronics SoundLiberty 94 Truly Wireless, they fit less deeply into your ear, which some users may prefer. Their ANC still does a great overall job, and it can help reduce quite a bit of bus engine noise and ambient chatter around you. They also have a boomy sound profile that fans of EDM and hip-hop may enjoy, while their stable in-ear fit makes them a solid choice for physical activity. They have over seven hours of continuous playback time, and their charging case offers two additional charges.
Try the TaoTronics if you're looking for a more powerful ANC performance. However, consider the Mpow if you prioritize a more comfortable in-ear fit and a longer-lasting continuous battery life.
The Plantronics BackBeat Go 810 are the best noise cancelling headphones under $50. These budget-friendly over-ears have an alright ANC feature. Although it struggles to cut down bass-range noise like bus or plane engine rumbles, it does a better job of cutting down ambient office chatter.
They have a neutral sound profile, so they're ideal for listening to lots of different types of audio content. There are even a few EQ presets available on the BackBeat app to help you customize their sound. They don't leak a lot of noise, and their 24.5-hour continuous battery life is ideal for long days on-the-go. They can also be used passively with their TRS cable if you've drained their battery.
Unfortunately, they have high latency on PC, iOS, and Android, so they may not be suitable for streaming video. Users with large or wide heads may also find that they have a tight fit, which can become uncomfortable over time. Some users have reported that their unit's headband has cracked or broken over time, which is disappointing. Still, if you're looking for an affordable pair of over-ears with an ANC feature and a neutral sound profile, they're a suitable choice.
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.
Jul 14, 2020: Slight changes to text for accuracy and clarity; no change in recommendations.
May 15, 2020: Changed all categories and picks for consistency and to reflect pricing and availability changes.
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.