Noise-canceling headphones are a boon to urban dwellers. Whether it is the incessant chatter of other passengers on your daily commute or your neighbors blaring out rock music on ridiculous volumes, noise-canceling headphones are the answer to your woes. They block out external noises or muffle them at the very least so that they are not as distracting.
Noise-canceling headphones work in one of two ways. They provide either active noise cancelation or passive noise cancelation. Active noise-canceling headphones work by producing an electronic sound wave that cancels out external noise. These generally come with a premium price tag and are great at canceling out low-frequency noises like the roar of an airplane engine.
The only limitation of electronic noise cancelation is that it cannot counteract mid- or high-frequency noises. Such noises can only be blocked by padded earcups. Although most active noise-canceling headphones come with earpads to block mid- and high-frequency noises as well, so do the much cheaper passive noise-canceling headphones.
Passive noise-canceling headphones do not offer electronic noise-cancelation functionality. They may not be as good at canceling out low-frequency noises as their pricier counterparts, but with padded earpads, they do a fairly good job of muffling out louder noises. Since a majority of us come in contact with higher-frequency noises more frequently than low-frequency ones, even passive noise-canceling headphones will serve most of us well enough for daily use.
Yes, more expensive noise-canceling headphones will leave the cheaper models biting the dust, but you should also expect to dish out a few hundred dollars for a good pair. Regardless of their premium noise-canceling capabilities, such headphones don’t necessarily function better when it comes to dampening regular noise.
There are plenty of quality headphones you can get for far less that will do a good job for your daily noise-canceling needs. We have browsed the market and picked out some of the best noise-canceling headphones under $100 that do a great job of muffling external noise. Some of these go as low as $50, so you don’t need to go broke in order to get some much-needed peace and quiet.
Best Connectivity Technology
Audio-Technica’s ATH-ANC7B has been on the market for a while now, but not many noise-canceling headphones at this price point have managed to beat it.
The ATH-ANC7B are wired headphones with no mic or audio controls. It is a common fact that wireless headphones can’t beat wired ones when it comes to sound quality, and the ATH-ANC7B is one of the best budget wired headphones there is. This should tell you something about its quality.
With ANC turned on, the headphones cancel out ambient noise reasonably well. They work quite well with ANC turned off as well, muffling out a decent amount of passive noise. The ATH-ANC7B is great at significantly reducing both ambient and passive noises.
Another feature that gives it an edge over other headphones at this price is its build quality. Although it is hard to find headphones made of anything but plastic under $100, the ATH-ANC7B is more durable than any of its counterparts. If you are someone who doesn’t take a lot of care of their electronics, these headphones are for you.
TaoTronics TT-BH060 Active Noise-Canceling Headphones
The TaoTronics TT-BH060 performs equally well in all departments. It may not excel in any one particular department, but its value lies in a decent and consistent performance at an incredibly low price.
The TT-BH060 is a pair of wireless headphones with an option to connect a 3.5mm aux cable for wired usage. The design is quite generic for wireless headphones and made entirely out of plastic. However, the body feels quite durable. If you appreciate audio quality and are not too fussy about how your headphones look, this pair is for you.
Where these headphones shine is their value for money. Priced at about $60, these headphones provide the perfect balance between price and performance. Their sound quality and noise cancelation capabilities are comparable to many headphones slightly higher in price.
The battery on the TaoTronics TT-BH060 is pretty good as well. On a single charge, these headphones will easily give you 30 hours of playtime. They also come with an integrated mic and audio controls.
The iTeknic IK-BH002 is one of the cheapest ANC headphones on this list, but that does not translate to low quality. It is also one of the most comfortable.
With a comfortable design and durable build, the IK-BH002 is one of those headphones that you could have on for hours without getting uncomfortable. This pair comes with Bluetooth connectivity and an option to become wired via a 3.5mm audio cable port.
However, the audio quality on these headphones suffers because of the low price. Although they do not have bad audio quality by any account, it is worse than many other headphones on this list. For consumers who are not too picky with their headphones, the IK-BH002 works well enough and provides sufficient audio quality.
The active noise cancelation capabilities on the headphones are also average, but passive noise cancelation works as well as you would expect from the headphones’ thick padded earcups. Consumers that are looking to get a taste of ANC headphones without breaking the bank will find the average audio quality on these to be an acceptable compromise.
The Best Sound
Avantree Aria provide a solid well-rounded performance that does not cost a fortune. The active noise cancelation is good enough and passive noise cancelation works better than most.
The Avantree Aria features comfortable memory foam earpads. Its plush nature enhances passive noise cancelation and fits well on most head types. The headphones also include a mic mute button that a lot of other headphones at this price don’t. The mic itself, however, is quite average. It works well enough, but if you want better voice quality you will be better served using an external mic.
The battery life on these headphones is quite decent. They will give users about 10 hours of playtime on Bluetooth with the ANC also in use. This number changes drastically if you switch to wired connectivity or turn the ANC off. The headphones can then easily give a playtime of 35 hours.
However, as with most low-priced active noise-canceling headphones, turning ANC on affects sound quality. On these headphones, ANC reduces the bass. This is not a bad compromise seeing the general audio quality is pretty good and does not suffer from the ANC being in use.
Another impressive offering from Avantree and slightly more expensive than the ones we have discussed, the ANC031 looks and feels more expensive than it actually is.
The build quality on these headphones, although plastic, is a lot better than many other headphones. The design is also quite sleek and stylish and is sure to turn a few heads. The sleek design does not compromise on comfort either. These headphones are quite comfortable with some quality earpads.
Like the other Avantree headphones, this one also features a mic mute button and the voice quality here is slightly better than its counterparts. However, the battery life is not as great with a maximum playtime of about 28 hours. With longer usage, the headphones get a bit uncomfortable due to their heavy weight.
The ANC031’s ANC capabilities work quite better than other headphones in a similar price range. The bass does, however, get affected when the ANC is turned on but not as much as to ruin the listening experience.
Lower Priced Items to Consider
Cowin E7 Pro
Powerful bass is not the only aspect of these headphones that shines. The polished finish gives them a trendy look, and a higher connection distance also helps with usability. This means that you can walk around a large room without losing connectivity, even if you are not carrying the phone with you.
They are also very comfortable when it comes to long usage. Compared to other headphones on the list, this pair is quite lightweight and breathable. Wearing it for longer periods will not get too uncomfortable, and it is pretty good to go running in as well.
Another valuable addition is the included headphone case. It feels solid and looks great when you are carrying it around.
Active noise cancelation also works better than most and does a good job of reducing ambient noise. The sound quality, especially the bass, is not affected too much when ANC is turned on, which gives it an edge over other cheaper options. In fact, the punchy bass is what sets these headphones apart, all thanks to the 45mm audio drivers.
The market is packed with a lot of ANC options, but not all of them are worth the money. We picked out some of the best noise-canceling headphones under $100 so you can get a taste of what the market really has to offer. Any one of these headphones will give you good audio and decent noise cancelation capabilities for everyday use.