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 nearly 400 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’re looking for the best ANC performance under $200 and don’t mind a wired design, then get the Bose QuietComfort 25. They’re not as versatile as the Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2 since they aren’t wireless, but they have remarkable noise cancelling for noisy commutes. They also sound pretty good and are well-suited for a wide range of music genres. Unfortunately, they're less well-suited for office use since they leak quite a bit of sound. That said, they have no latency issues, provide nearly 33 hours of continuous playtime with a fresh set of AAA batteries, and have a much better microphone than the integrated Bluetooth mics featured on most wireless models.
Get the Plantronics if you'd rather have Bluetooth headphones, but if you care more about noise isolation, then you'll want to go for the Bose.
If you want a pair of headphones with a fully customizable sound profile, then get the JBL Live 650 BTNC Wireless. They're well-built, comfortable over-ears that are compatible with a good companion app that lets you tweak the way they sound. They have a good 22-hour battery life and can be used passively with their provided audio cable once they're out of power.
These headphones have a bass-rich default sound profile that's well-suited to genres like hip-hop and EDM while still sounding balanced enough to be suitable for pop or rock music. Where they really shine, however, is in their app, JBL Connect. It gives you access to a fully parametric EQ so you can change the way they sound to better suit your needs.
Although they isolate an okay amount of noise in the bass range, their noise cancelling is mediocre overall. Thankfully, they don't leak too much sound, so you can raise your listening volume a bit to mask out more noise without having to worry about bothering those around you. All things considered, the JBL Live 650 are a solid choice if you're looking for decent customizable noise cancelling headphones under $200.
If you prefer the fit of on-ear headphones, then you’ll want to consider the Samsung Level On Wireless. They feel more cheaply-made than the JBL Live 650 BTNC and don’t sound as balanced out-of-the-box, but they have a unique on-ear fit that some may prefer. Their companion app offers a nice array of features, like a graphic EQ as well as an adjustable auto-off timer, and they have decent noise cancelling too. Unfortunately, it's only available on Android.
Go for the JBL if you'd rather have over-ear noise cancelling headphones, but if you prefer the fit of on-ears and use Android, then you'll want to get the Samsung.
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 less expensive. They have pretty good audio reproduction with a decently balanced sound that can also be customized via the great Sony | Headphones Connect app. Unfortunately, their 6-hour battery life is on the short side, but they have an auto-off timer to help save power throughout the day.
Get the Jabras if they're within your budget and you'd rather have more comfortable earbuds, but if you prefer the fit of in-ears and want something cheaper, then go for the Sonys.
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.