If you’re looking for the best noise cancelling headphones under $100, you’re in the right place. The under $100 price segment is a great place to start looking for a decent pair of active noise cancelling headphones. While there are even more affordable ANC headphones on the market, their quality isn’t that great. They get the job done for the occasional flight or work session in the coffee shop, but if you plan to use the noise cancelling feature often enough, investing $100 for quality headphones is definitely worth it.
Of course, there are also the $100+ and $200+ ANC headphones (hello Bose) and in those price ranges, you can find even better products. That’s kind of obvious, though. In the world of electronic equipment, you usually get what you pay for. Better ANC circuitry requires more expensive components.
Nevertheless, if you’ve budgeted about 100 bucks for noise cancelling headphones, there are some really good devices to choose from. Read on!
- Best Noise Cancelling Headphones under $100
- Is the $100 Price Range for You?
- How Does Noise Cancellation Work?
Best Noise Cancelling Headphones under $100
Before jumping into the first product on the list, I wanted to mention a few things. First off, besides reading the descriptions make sure to read some positive and negative reviews. But read them with a grain of salt. People’s opinions will vary heavily. Some will find the sound quality really good while others the bass lacking and highs not crisp enough. It gets even worse when it comes to opinions about the noise cancelling feature. Not everyone knows how it works and what to expect of it. Because of that, many people complaining about the ANC are angry because they expected something else, not because the feature doesn’t work properly or good enough. Plus there are people who used really good ANC headphones (like Bose’s), switched to more affordable ones and are surprised that $80 headphones aren’t as good as $240 ones. So besides reading reviews, look at the average score of the product. If most customers are satisfied with the product, chances are you will be happy about it too.
AUSDOM ANC7 Active Noise Cancelling Wireless Headphones
AUSDOM ANC7 is one of the best ANC wireless headphones available in this price range. These supra aural (or over-the-ear if you prefer English) headphones have pretty much all one could wish for in a such a device. Let’s go through these qualities one by one.
First is sound quality, which is really good, even on high volume, just check the reviews. Second is comfort. These headphones seem quite bulky, but they are lightweight. The ear muffs are soft and they fit well around ears. In short, there shouldn’t be any issues with using these for a prolonged period of time, like an overnight flight. Speaking of airplanes, the active noise cancelling blocks out noises really well in such environment. Similar thing happens in a office with air conditioning, in the gym or while commuting. That covers three most important qualities of ANC headphones: good sound reproduction, comfort wearing and ANC that does its job.
Since these are wireless, let’s talk about that for a moment. Pairing is not an issue, but for the last few years it’s not a bonus anymore, but a standard. The built-in battery is charged using the microUSB cable and a single charge allows for up to 18 hours of Bluetooth and ANC use. Bluetooth obviously drains the battery, so if you forgot to charge it, use the 3.5mm cord that’s included in the package and wire these. Like most Bluetooth headphones, the ear buds feature a bunch of buttons that allow you to change tracks, adjust the volume or even take calls using the built-in microphone.
In summary, AUSDOM ANC7 is definitely worth considering if you’re looking for a quality set of Bluetooth headphones in this price range.
Cowin E-7 Active Noise Cancelling Wireless Headphones
Cowin E-7 are one of the most popular over-the-ear classy-looking headphones in the $100 price range and for a reason. First of all, thanks to the over-the-ear design and cushioned adjustable headband, these are really comfortable and you can use them for hours at a time. To be fair, some reviewers complained about the design, as these do not cover the ears fully and some might find them somewhat tight. Because of that, if you’re not used to headphones that press a bit against your ears, these might not be the best choice for you. In Bluetooth mode, they should last about 30 hours, much less if you’re using the noise cancelling feature. If the battery dies, you can always plug them in using the supplied 3.5mm audio cable. The box contains a standard micro USB to USB charging cable.
When it comes to the active noise cancelling, reviewers found it to work really well. No matter if it’s an airplane engine or a busy open office, they cancel out most of the low-frequency noises allowing you to work peacefully. As with all noise cancelling headphones, don’t expect these to reduce really loud noises or the person sitting next to you yelling over the phone. That’s a good thing, though, because in most cases if someone next to you talks, they usually talk to your and likely you’d prefer to hear them. Especially if the building is on fire.
Overall, if you’re looking for wireless headphones with great noise cancelling, good sound quality and a comfortable (for most) design, Cowin E-7 is definite worth checking out.
Paww WaveSound 3 Active Noise Cancelling Bluetooth Headphones
If you’re looking for Bluetooth headphones with powerful ANC, Paww WaveSound 3 are definitely worth taking a closer look at. These foldable headphones come with a carrying case, which makes them a perfect choice for travelling. If the battery runs out or you have a device that’s not Bluetooth enabled, you can plug it in using the auxiliary cable. There’s an airplane adapter in case you’d like to use the viewing system while flying. These feature a rechargeable battery and the package includes the charging cable. Charging takes about 2 hours. The battery lasts about 20 hours with ANC off and up to 8 hours with ANC on. These headphones are sturdy, but also on the heavier side, so if heavy headphones bother you, don’t buy these.
When it comes to ANC, it does the job really well, no matter if it’s on an airplane or while mowing the lawn. The final thing is the sound quality. In that matter, there are many conflicting opinions. Most are happy about it, but there are also a few reviewers complaining about it.
iDeaUSA Active Noise Cancelling Bluetooth Headphones
- great sound quality
- ANC works really well
- foldable and come with a case and flight adapter, perfect for frequent flyers
- few complains about sound quality
This one is another great option for someone looking for ANC Bluetooth 4.1 headphones. The built-in battery lasts for about 25 hours (much less with ANC on) and charging takes 2 hours. Like almost all other wireless headphones, you can use these with wired devices (cable included) too. The flight adapter is there in case you need it. These fold nicely and come with a protective case, perfect for travellers. The over-ear design and adjustable headband along with memory foam earcups make these comfortable to use for many hours at a time. They are lightweight too, so you won’t feel a lot of tension from carrying them on your head, even for a long time. When it comes to noise cancelling, these get the job done. Obviously, they aren’t as good as the $200+ and $300+ models available, but for the price you pay, they do really well. Almost all reviewers rave about the sound quality, but to be fair, there are also a few people disappointed with it.
All in all, iDeaUSA ANC Bluetooth headphones is another great option if you’re looking for wireless ANC headphones in the under $100 price range. If that’s the case, check them out.
BÖHM Bluetooth Noise Cancelling Headphones
- wireless, but can be plugged in if needed
- great music quality
- on-ear design might be uncomfortable, especially if you wear glasses
- quality issues
BÖHM Bluetooth headphones are amongst the most popular ANC on-the-ear headphones in the $100 price segment. They rock Bluetooth 4.0, so you can stream music wirelessly from your laptop, tablet or smartphone (both Apple and Android devices). And if you wish, you can connect them to your device using the 3.5mm jack input an the provided cable instead of Bluetooth. Please note that plugged in sound better than connected wirelessly. The battery lasts about 18 hours of talking or 16 hours of listening to music (at 50% volume) and recharging it takes about 3 hours. Recharging is done as usual, via the micro USB port. Thanks to the inline microphone you can take hands-free calls if needed. The quality of music is good and when it comes to the most important feature, active noise cancelling that is, they do a decent job at it.
Besides that fact that not everyone finds the on-the-ear design comfortable, there are a number of people who reported the headphones snapped after several months of use. If you tend to wear out headphones, it’s probably best if you choose another ones.
All in all, if you’re looking for Bluetooth ANC headphones for under $100, these are definitely worth taking a closer look at.
Is the $100 Price Range for You?
Unlike the under $50 list, this list is dominated by on-the-ear and over-the-ear headphones. As mentioned, the under $100 price segment is a good place for someone looking for a quality pair of ANC headphones without paying and arm and a leg for a high-end device. Obviously, headphones on this list aren’t as good as those much more expensive ones, but they can get you 80% or even 90% there for a third of the cost. That’s what I call getting your money’s worth.
That doesn’t mean that all $200+ and $300 ANC headphones are overpriced and not worth it. That’s not the case at all. For many, they are totally worth paying the price because what they offer is a top quality product. And some people need the top quality product and are willing to pay the price for it. It’s all about what someone needs and how much is he or she willing to spend. As I already said, $100 ANC headphones will do the job well. If your expectations aren’t too high, chances are you will be happy about such headphones and will never feel the need for an upgrade. But if you’re looking for even better noise cancellation and are willing to pay more, check out our $200 list.
How Does Noise Cancellation Work?
Knowing how active noise cancellation (ANC) works is crucial if you’re about to buy your first ANC headphones. If you read through the reviews on Amazon or anywhere else, you will notice quite a few people complaining about noise cancelling. Some say it doesn’t work, others that it works poorly. Quite often, though, those reviewers don’t know how ANC is supposed to work. They’re angry because it doesn’t work the way they thought it would, not because it’s broken or of poor quality.
Active noise cancellation (or ANC) is a method of reducing some of the noise by creating “anti-noise” that negates some frequencies of the noise. The “some frequencies” part of the last sentence is crucial. If you wear earmuffs or ear plugs, pretty much all sounds are muffled and the volume is generally lower. With ANC, only some of the frequencies are being muffled. That means that when using ANC headphones the sound of A/C might be totally negated (thus impossible to hear), but you will still hear people talking to you and other sounds just like you would with normal headphones. ANC headphones generally speaking do a good job of shutting down lower frequency noises like airplane engines, office chatter (provided people aren’t screaming), trains or the A/C. In some cases (e.g. in a busy office) you will still hear some of the noise but it will feel like it’s far away, not right next to you.
Because of the way ANC works, in most cases, these headphones are bought by people who want to get rid of the constant background noise. Sometimes they’re bought by frequent flyers who want to get some work done during the flight or catch some shut-eye. Other times by students who need to learn without being distracted by the TV noises from the other room. Or by office workers who can’t focus while hearing all the chatter in the background. And there are also people who get distracted by the A/C sound and ANC headphones help with that too. All in all, ANC headphones work well in many different settings, but if you think they will give you perfect silence on a busy intersection in New York, you’re in for a disappointment.