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 can pair to up to 2 devices at the same time.
They have an exciting bass-rich sound which fans of EDM and hip-hop are sure to love. Their battery lasts for an impressive 30 hours before needing to be charged again, and they 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.
Unfortunately, they’re not compatible with a companion app, so if you don’t like their more bass-heavy sound profile, you may be disappointed. They also don’t isolate noise as well as some of the more premium ANC headsets we’ve tested. You may want to consider the Plantronics BackBeat Go 810 Wireless if you prefer a more stylish design and neutral sound profile, but the BackBeat Pro 2 are more comfortable and their battery performs better.
If you like the exciting bass-rich sound of the Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2 but find they look a little clunky, then consider the JBL Live 650 BTNC. Their battery doesn’t perform quite as well as that of the Plantronics, but they have a sleeker design that looks a little more stylish. Their battery still provides over 20 hours of playback, which is great, and they’re also compatible with the JBL Headphones app so you can customize the way they sound with their nice parametric EQ.
On the downside, their noise isolation performance is even worse than that of the Plantronics. They don’t cancel noise in the bass range very well, which means they’re not ideal if you’re looking to block out the low rumbles of your commute to work. That said, they reduce a good amount of noise in the mid-range, which means they’ll help block out the chatter of a lively office.
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 Plantronics, 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 boomier 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 can 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.
If you like the neckband design of the Jabra Elite 65e but still find them a bit too expensive, consider the Sony WI-C600N. Their in-ear fit isn’t as comfortable as the earbud design of the Jabra, but they’re cheaper and they support NFC, which is handy if you find yourself pairing between various NFC-enabled devices quite often. They have pretty good audio reproduction with a fairly well-balanced sound that can also be customized via the great Sony | Headphones Connect app.
On the downside, they don’t isolate noise as well as the Jabra, even with their in-ear fit. Thankfully, they have very low leakage, so you can raise your listening volume a bit to mask out more noise without bothering those around you. Their 6-hour battery life is on the short side, but they have an auto-off timer to help save power throughout the day.
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.