Noise cancelling headphones are a must-have for people that take public transit and want to reduce the noise from outside. Unfortunately, they can be quite expensive at times. However, breaking the bank isn't always necessary to ensure great overall performance. While some may lack certain higher-end features, it's still possible to find good products that will suit your needs at an affordable price point.
We’ve tested over 500 headphones, and below are our recommendations for the best noise cancelling headphones under $200 to buy. If you’re looking for our top picks in general or different price brackets, check out our recommendations for the best noise cancelling headphones, the best headphones under $200, and the best noise cancelling headphones under $100.
The best over-ear noise cancelling headphones under $200 that we've tested are the Razer Opus. These powerful and versatile headphones have an outstanding ANC that's able to block out a significant amount of noise in all ranges. Their ANC performance even rivals more high-end headphones, landing them among the best noise cancelling headphones we've tested.
Thanks to their well-balanced and accurate sound profile, they're suited for a variety of audio content. While some users may find them a bit light on the bass, they have a good companion app that offers a graphic EQ plus presets to help you get the best sound for your preferences. They're also very comfortable and feel very well-built. They also have a nearly 33-hour battery life, even with the ANC on, so you can easily wear them for a long flight and not have to worry about charging them mid-way through.
Unfortunately, their integrated microphone struggles to separate your voice from ambient noise, especially in loud environments. They also lack more advanced features like multi-device and NFC pairing, which can be a pain if you like to use your headphones with your laptop one moment and your phone the next. However, these headphones have an outstanding cost-to-performance ratio, and their well-balanced, out-of-the-box, customizable sound is extra icing on the cake.
If you frequently switch between listening to content on your phone and computer, consider the Plantronics Backbeat Pro 2 Wireless 2016. These over-ears have a far less effective ANC system than the Razer Opus Wireless and aren't quite as comfortable or well-built, but they do feature a wider range of Bluetooth connectivity options, including multi-device pairing and support for the aptX-LL wireless codec. They have an excited V-shaped sound profile that adds extra thump and rumble to your favorite EDM tracks without completely overwhelming mids or lead instruments. They provide about 30 hours of continuous playback on a single charge, so they should have no trouble lasting you throughout a couple of days at work. Unfortunately, their integrated microphone yields poor recording quality, and their companion app is quite bare-bones, with no or EQ audio presets to fine-tune your listening experience.
Get the Razer if you want a pair of headphones with a broader overall feature-set, better build quality, and a more neutral sound profile, but take a look at the Plantronics if you prioritize Bluetooth connectivity options.
he Marshall MID ANC are the best noise cancelling headphones under $200 with an on-ear design that we've tested. These Bluetooth-enabled headphones are quite well-built and have a retro-inspired design that looks quite premium, with low-profile square-ish ear cups and gold detailing. They're also decently comfortable and have a very easy-to-use control scheme that offers plenty of physical feedback.
Their sound profile is versatile enough for a wide variety of audio content, though their slightly overemphasized bass response should give your favorite EDM and hip-hop tracks an added touch of thump and rumble. They supply roughly 17 hours of continuous playback on a single charge, which should be more than enough to get you through a day at work as well as the commute back home. Thanks to their included coiled 1/8" TRRS cable, you can use them for passive audio playback and for making calls even when you've run out of charge.
Their ANC system isn't especially effective overall, as it does very little to block out bass-range background noise like the low rumble of a bus engine. Their integrated microphone also delivers mediocre recording quality and struggles to isolate your voice from loud ambient chatter. That said, if you're looking for a stylish, well-built pair of wireless noise cancelling headphones, they're a good choice.
If you like the on-ear design of the Marshall MID ANC Wireless but would like something that's a bit more affordable, check out the AKG N60NC. They might not be as comfortable or as well-balanced, but their noise cancelling feature is better. They feel well-built but seem a bit cheaper due to the material used. Their audio reproduction sounds a bit muddy and cluttered, although it's fairly subtle. On the upside, they're a good option to reduce bass frequencies like plane or bus engine rumbles and isolate against outside noise well. You can also connect to two devices simultaneously and change easily between both sources.
If comfort and well-balanced sound are what you're looking for, grab the Marshall, but if you want better noise isolation at a more affordable price, go with the AKG, which are still some of the best wireless noise cancelling headphones that we've tested.
The best noise cancelling headphones with an in-ear design that we've tested are the Amazon Echo Buds. These Alexa-enabled truly wireless earbuds have excellent battery life and are comfortable enough to wear for long periods. They have touch-sensitive controls but lack volume up and down, which might be a deal-breaker for some.
They're nicely built, and their sound profile should please most people. They can be used for a wide variety of music genres, but some may notice a small lack of bass kick. These in-ears genuinely shine when it comes to noise isolation: their tips passively block a lot of noise, but you can also enable their active noise cancellation for a little extra help. They're a good option if you often commute and need headphones that can easily fit in your pockets.
Unfortunately, they do have very high latency, which won't be ideal for watching video content during your commute, and they strongly rely on their Echo app, even for pairing. Hence, it becomes pretty much mandatory to download it if you want to use them. If you don't mind having the app, which also allows for customization via a Graphic EQ, then these are some of the best noise cancelling headphones under $200.
10/20/2020: Removed Microsoft Surface Headphones from recommendations due to current pricing and availability. Moved Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2 Wireless 2016 from 'Notable Mentions' to 'Multi-Device Pairing Alternative' category.
08/21/2020: Added Razer Opus Wireless to 'Best Over-Ear Noise Cancelling Headphones Under $200' and moved Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2 Wireless 2016 to 'Notable Mentions'. Replaced Bose QuietControl 25/QC 25 with Microsoft Surface Wireless Headphones as 'Multi-Device Pairing Alternative'.
06/02/2020: Only minor updates to the text and verification for accuracy.
12/04/2019: Replaced Jabra Elite 65e with Amazon Echo Buds Truly Wireless.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best noise cancelling headphones under $200 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 ANC headphones reviews for under $200. Be careful not to get caught up in the details. There are no perfect headphones and the level at which you play your music will naturally drown the ambient noise of lower amplitudes.