Whether you have an upcoming international flight, work in a noisy office, or just want to tone down the hustle and bustle of your morning commute, headphones with active noise cancelling (ANC) can help bring you some peace and quiet. The absolute best ANC headphones can be overwhelmingly expensive, though, and the cheapest models don’t always isolate noise all that well. Thankfully, there’s a variety of mid-range ANC headphones that are a little kinder to your wallet but perform better than most budget options.
We’ve tested 345 headphones and below are our recommendations for the best noise cancelling headphones under $200 to buy in 2019. If you’re looking for our top picks in general or for 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 noise cancelling headphones under $200 that we’ve tested so far are the Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2. They’re well-built, comfortable wireless over-ear headphones with an impressive battery. They have a great control scheme that’s easy-to-use with physical buttons and they support NFC for easier wireless pairing.
These headphones last for 30 hours before needing to be charged again, and have an auto-off feature to prolong the battery life even further, which is great for road trips and long flights. They take a little over 2 hours to charge, but you can still use them while they are charging and even passively without ANC when the batteries run out. They sound decent and favor a bass-heavy sound, which fans of EDM and hip-hop are sure to love.
Unfortunately, these headphones aren’t customizable like the Sennheiser HD 4.50, so if you don’t like their bass-rich sound profile, you may be disappointed. You may want to consider the Plantronics Backbeat Go 810 if you prefer a more neutral sound profile, but neither models from Plantronics isolate as well as the Sennheiser. Overall, the Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2 are the best wireless noise cancelling headphones under $200.
If you’re looking for sleeker-looking headphones than the Plantronics without sacrificing their exciting bass-rich sound, get the JBL E65BTNC. The Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2 are easier to use and have a longer battery life, but these headphones have a less bulky design. They come in various color schemes and have a more stylish, streamlined look. They have a fairly stable fit, in case you like to wear over-ears while running, and come with an in-line mic for microphone compatibility with various gaming consoles.
Unfortunately, these headphones don’t have as nice of a control scheme as the Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2, but they do have a useful dedicated Bluetooth Sync button. It’s also worth checking out the Skullcandy Venue Wireless if you enjoy deep bass, but they’re not as well-built as the JBL and don’t offer as good value for the price. Overall, these headphones might not be worth it for everyone, but they’re worth considering if you like their design.
If you’re looking for the best ANC performance under 200$ and don’t mind a wired design, get the Bose QuietComfort 25. They’re not as versatile as the Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2 since they aren’t wireless and can’t be recharged with a USB cable, but they have remarkable noise isolation performance. They mask the deep rumbles of plane or bus engines and the sound of cars passing by very well, which is great for noisy commutes. They also sound pretty good and are well-suited for a wide range of music genres.
On the downside, they feel a little outdated compared to our other recommendations on this list, since they use AAA batteries and have no app support. They also leak a lot of sound, too, which makes them less well-suited for office use. However, they have no latency issues, provide nearly 33 hours of continuous playtime with a fresh set of batteries, and have a much better microphone than the integrated Bluetooth mics featured on most wireless models. They’re a good choice for those who want a no-frills listening experience with simply the best noise cancellation performance under $200.
If being able to customize your sound matters to you, then get the Sennheiser HD 4.50. They’re not as comfortable as the Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2 as they feel a bit tight on the head, but they fold up into a more compact design which makes them easier to quickly stash into a bag when you’re in a rush. They do a decent job at isolating noise and they leak little sound, which makes them decent for use at the office.
These headphones have more neutral-sounding bass, but if you prefer a different sound profile you can use the parametric EQ in the Sennheiser Captune app to customize them how you wish. They can connect to two Bluetooth devices at a time and support NFC for easier pairing. Their battery lasts for about 22 hours, but they cannot be used while they charge.
Unfortunately, their control scheme isn’t the easiest to use and they have no battery-saving feature. They also lack a bit of padding under the headband to be comfortable enough for longer listening sessions. That said, they’re well-built and have a more stable fit than the BackBeat Pro 2, which is a bonus if you need to sprint to catch the bus or prefer to use over-ears for running and working out. If you’re a fan of the Captune app and are willing to stretch your budget, the Sennheiser PXC 550 Wireless have even more customization options and are much more comfortable.
If you prefer the fit of on-ear headphones and use an Android device, then you’ll want to consider the Samsung Level On Wireless. Their default sound profile sounds more boomy than that of the Sennheiser HD 4.50 and their companion app provides a graphic EQ that’s less advanced than Sennheiser’s parametric EQ, but they still provide a solid experience for Android users. They isolate a fair amount of noise, don’t leak too much, and have a 15-hour battery life. The Samsung Level app is well-designed and offers a nice array of features, like a noise cancelling button and an auto-off timer.
All-in-all, they’re pretty average headphones. They don’t sound as good as the Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2, don’t isolate sound as well as the Bose QuietComfort 25, and don’t have as many customization features as the Sennheiser, but they have a unique on-ear fit that some may prefer.
If you want noise cancelling headphones that are easier to travel with than bulky over-ear headphones, get the Jabra Elite 65e. They’re wireless noise cancelling earbuds with a lightweight, flexible neckband design that feels well-built. Their earbud design is quite comfortable and they come with a decent soft case to help protect them in your bag.
These headphones are able to isolate a decent amount of noise and are especially good at blocking out speech. Their leakage performance is also excellent, so you shouldn’t have to worry too much about bothering those around you with your music, even if you like to listen to your music at higher volumes. They also have a surprisingly decent in-line microphone for wireless headphones, which makes them a decent option for phone calls. Their battery provides 8.5-hours of playback, which is alright, and you can use them while they charge.
Unfortunately, they don’t have the best sound quality. They have great bass but don’t sound very balanced out-of-the-box. Thankfully, they’re compatible with the Jabra Sound+ app, so you can tweak their sound profile to your needs with its graphic EQ. They’re decent noise cancelling earbuds overall and provide fairly good value for their price.
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 reviews for noise cancelling headphones 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.