Noise cancelling headphones are necessary if you like peace and quiet during long commutes or need help focusing in a busy office. ANC used to be exclusive to premium-priced headphones, but many cheaper models have emerged recently. Some may lack certain higher-end features, but finding good products at an affordable price is still possible.
We've tested over 760 headphones, and these are the best with active noise cancelling for under $200. Need more picks? Check out 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 we've tested are the Anker Soundcore Space Q45 Wireless. These over-ears are a newer version of the Anker Soundcore Life Q35 Wireless and feature an adaptive ANC system that adjusts to your environment. When set to 'Transport' mode, it does an outstanding job of isolating you from ambient sound, including the low rumble of bus engines and background chit-chat. You can manually adjust the ANC's strength level rather than use the adaptive setting for a more personalized feel.
The headphones are sturdy and have a comfortable fit for long flights and days at the office. Their battery lasts for just under 28 hours of continuous use, so you don't need to recharge every day, and they're equipped with an auto-off timer to help save power. Out of the box, they have a v-shaped sound profile that adds intense rumble and punch to your audio. Vocals and instruments are clear but sound a bit forward and harsh. Fortunately, you can adjust their sound with a graphic EQ and presets in the companion app.
If you want over-ears with a more neutral default sound, try the Sony WH-H910N/h.ear on 3 Wireless. They have a flatter overall sound and a more neutral mid-range, making them a versatile choice for most audio genres. You can also adjust their sound using their customization features. However, their ANC doesn't block out as much background noise, and they don't support multi-device pairing.
If you're looking for good sound from noise cancelling headphones, check out the JBL Live 660NC Wireless. These over-ears have a bass-rich sound profile that doesn't overwhelm vocals and instruments. They're well-balanced enough out of the box for various audio content, but their companion app offers a parametric EQ and presets to help you adjust their sound to your liking. Their ANC system is weaker than the Anker Soundcore Space Q45 Wireless, especially when cutting down the low rumble of plane engines. However, they can still tackle office sounds like chatty coworkers and AC units well.
You can connect these headphones with up to two devices at a time. They also have a low latency 'Video Mode' so you can stream video on mobile devices without experiencing significant lipsync issues. They have a well-built design, too, but while they're lightweight and well-padded, the cups can cause fatigue over time due to how they clamp onto your head.
The Anker Soundcore Life Q35 Wireless are great for calls as they block out a good amount of noise across the whole sound range. Their ANC performs great, from the bassy rumble of bus engines to the high-pitched hum of an AC unit. They also have three ANC settings designed for different kinds of noisy environments. They don't have as good ANC performance as their predecessor, the Anker Soundcore Life Q30 Wireless, but they have a better-integrated mic and solid in-call noise handling. If you're taking a call from a noisy environment, it won't result in the clearest of phone calls, but these over-ears still do a decent overall job of separating your voice from the background noise.
They have a bass-heavy sound profile, with a bigger boost in the low-bass than the more neutral-sounding JBL Live 660NC Wireless. It's great for listening to thumpy music between calls, like hip-hop and EDM. However, the sound profile changes if you turn the ANC off, resulting in thin, hollow-sounding audio. Fortunately, you can adjust their sound to your liking using their companion app's graphic EQ and presets. The design is comfortable overall, with good build quality and a 44-hour battery life, making these a good choice for the office, especially if your job involves making many calls.
The AKG N60NC Wireless are the best noise cancelling on-ear headphones under $200 that we've tested. Although discontinued, they can still be found via some retailers and are worth checking out if you prefer an on-ear fit. Their price can fluctuate above the $200 mark, though. Their on-ear design is more portable and breathable than over-ears like the Anker Soundcore Life Q35 Wireless. They don't have as stable of a fit, though, so they can move around or fall off when you're on the move, and the ear cups put pressure directly onto your ears, which can become uncomfortable over time. On the upside, their ANC system does a great job blocking background noise. They're best suited for tackling sounds like ambient chatter and the whirl of computer fans, but you can expect modest isolation when it comes to rumbly engines.
These decently well-built on-ears have an excited sound with extra warmth and boom, making them a solid choice for genres like EDM and hip-hop. With their ANC on, they last over 13 hours continuously, which is more than enough for long days at the office. You can pair them with two devices simultaneously, which is handy if you want to stay connected with your PC and smartphone simultaneously.
If you want the peace of ANC without carrying bulky headphones, consider the Google Pixel Buds Pro Truly Wireless. These lightweight buds have a great ANC system that can block out the low rumble of engines and office distractions like background chatter. Getting a good seal can be tricky, though, as they can pop out of your ears while chewing or talking. While they're not the best choice for high-intensity exercising, they're still suited for jogging in the park or on the go. They're certified IPX4 for resistance against water splashes and have a continuous battery life of 7.6 hours with an extra 1.8 charges in the carrying case, making these a good option for all-day wear.
If you can get a good seal and fit, they deliver bright sibilants and thumpy, rumbly bass well-suited for genres like pop and rock. Google has also added a graphic EQ and presets with firmware update 3.14, so you can customize the audio to your liking. If you're looking for a cheaper pair of ANC earbuds, the Anker Soundcore Space A40 Truly Wireless better isolate you from bass-range noise, like a rumbly bus engine, than Google's in-ears. However, they have fewer high-end features, like Spatial Audio for virtual surround sound or HD Audio AAC, which facilitates higher-res audio playback with Pixel phones.
If you're looking for more earbuds with ANC, check out our picks for the best noise cancelling earbuds!
Apr 13, 2023: We've removed the Anker SoundCore Life P3 Truly Wireless and Razer Opus Wireless 2021 from Notable Mentions and replaced the Jabra Elite 85h Wireless with the JBL Live 660NC Wireless as the Jabra have jumped up in price.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best ANC headphones under $200 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 noise cancelling 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.