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 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 580 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 over-ears have an outstanding ANC that can 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 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, they 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. 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 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 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.
The best on-ear noise cancelling headphones under $200 that we've tested are the Beats Solo Pro. These Bluetooth-enabled on-ears have an effective noise cancelling feature that helps them block out an impressive amount of ambient noise, from the rumble of bus and plane engines to the high-pitched hum of an AC unit. They also supply roughly 24 hours of continuous playback time with the ANC feature turned on, which should be sufficient for long days at the office or several overnight trips.
Out-of-the-box, they have a well-balanced sound profile with just a hint of extra bass. This should emphasize the thump and rumble of EDM and hip-hop tracks without overwhelming instrumentals and vocals in other, more delicate genres. These on-ears also feel very well-made, with a high-grade plastic and metal alloy construction. Their control scheme is also intuitive and easy to use, even when you're on the move.
Unfortunately, they have a somewhat tight fit that may be uncomfortable for some users. They also lack any in-depth sound customization features, like an EQ or even audio presets, which is a little disappointing for premium wireless headphones like this. Otherwise, if you're looking for a pair of well-made on-ears with great noise isolation capability, these are a good option.
The best noise cancelling in-ears under $200 that we've tested are the Apple AirPods Pro. These well-built headphones are currently on sale for just under $200. They offer a comfortable, stable fit and have a fairly neutral, well-balanced sound profile that should be suitable for many genres.
Their ANC feature does an excellent job of blocking out ambient noise, from bass-range sounds like rumbling bus and plane engines to background conversations and humming A/C units. While their continuous battery life is only 5.3 hours, they recharge quickly and come with a portable case that holds roughly five extra charges. They have an H1 chip that allows seamless pairing with Apple devices, so you can easily switch between your iPhone and MacBook.
Unfortunately, some may find their sound profile lacks low bass, especially fans of bass-heavy music like EDM and hip-hop. They also don't have a companion app, and while you can access a settings screen on iOS devices, it doesn't offer any sound customization options like an EQ or presets. That said, if you're looking for in-ear headphones with an ANC feature, they're a great option.
If you want noise cancelling in-ears but want something with better battery performance, try the EarFun Air Pro. These more affordable headphones aren't as well-built or as stable as the Apple AirPods Pro Truly Wireless, but they have a much longer continuous battery life of just over nine hours. They recharge quickly and come with a portable case that stores about two additional charges. They have an impressive ANC feature that effectively blocks out noise like the rumble of bus and plane engines, but it doesn't perform as well as the Apple when it comes to office-type sounds like background conversations. Their sound profile is well-balanced, with a slightly over-emphasized bass response that adds extra rumble and punch to mixes, but unfortunately, there's no way to customize it with an EQ or presets.
Go for the Apple if you want the option with the better noise cancelling performance, but consider the EarFun instead if longer continuous battery life is more important to you.
The best noise cancelling headphones under $100 that we've tested are the Anker Soundcore Life Q30. These Bluetooth-enabled over-ears have a highly effective three-mode ANC system that lets them block out a remarkable amount of ambient noise, whether that be the rumble of a bus engine or the chatter of people nearby. They're also well-built and comfortable enough to wear for extended periods without fatigue.
They have a very bass-heavy sound profile that some users may find overwhelming but should please fans of genres like EDM or hip-hop. Thankfully, their companion app features a graphic EQ and audio presets to help you adjust this to your liking. They supply over 44 hours of playback time on a single charge, which should be more than enough for a couple of long days on the go. Unusually for a pair of headphones at this price point, they also support multi-device pairing, allowing you to stream music from your phone while remaining connected to your computer.
However, these over-ears leak a lot of audio, so they aren't the best choice if you plan on listening to content at a high volume in a crowded setting. Otherwise, if you're looking for versatile, feature-packed noise cancelling headphones at a relatively affordable price, these are a good option.
Apr 22, 2021: Replaced the Amazon Echo Buds Truly Wireless with the Apple AirPods Pro Truly Wireless because the Amazon are out of stock. Added the EarFun Air ProTrue Wireless as the 'Alternative With Better Battery Life' to the Apple. Checked other picks for accuracy and availability.
Jan 22, 2021: Replaced Marshall MID ANC Wireless with Beats Solo Pro Wireless due to current pricing. Removed AKG N60NC Wireless due to current availability. Added Anker Soundcore Life Q30 Wireless to main picks for the new 'Best Noise Cancelling Headphones Under $100' category. Added TaoTronics SoundLiberty 94 Truly Wireless and JBL CLUB PRO+ TWS True Wireless to Notable Mentions. Removed Mpow H10 Wireless and Sony WF-1000X Truly Wireless from Notable Mentions due to current availability.
Oct 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.
Aug 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'.
Jun 02, 2020: Only minor updates to the text and verification for accuracy.
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.