Everybody knows how great some of the premium noise-canceling headphones are – expensive models from Bose, Sony, B&O, and Sennheiser, for example, sound incredible and work brilliantly – but usually at a pretty hefty price.
But what about the more affordable choices? Can noise-canceling headphones under 100 dollars sound good? And, even if they do, can they actually cancel noise?
Let’s find out, in this 2023 buyer’s guide to the best noise-canceling headphones for less than a hundred bucks. We will talk about what to look for in your next affordable noise cancellers and who makes the best ones, and then we’ll get into some specific recommendations at all price levels.
But if you’re in a hurry – or if it’s just too noisy where you are to read through a whole article – here are my top two choices:
- Best Over-Ear Noise Cancelling Headphones under One Hundred Dollars: Paww WaveSound 3 Active Noise Cancelling Bluetooth 5.0 Headphones
- Best In-Ear Noise Cancelling Headphones under One Hundred Dollars: JBL Tune 230NC TWS True Wireless in-Ear Noise Cancelling Headphones
What Should You Look For in the Best Affordable Noise Canceling Headphones?
It’s easy to understand that you should consider a couple of key factors in finding the best sub-100 dollar noise-canceling headphones:
- Sound Quality
- Noise Cancelling Effectiveness
Pretty obvious, right? What might not be quite as obvious, though, is the importance of these two factors combined. That is, when auditioning noise-cancellers (which we’ve done with seemingly gazillions of them) it’s ultra-important to determine how good they sound while the noise canceling is active.
Lots of even premium, high-priced noise-canceling headphones fail this critical test, and unfortunately, the performance in this regard is even lower when you drop in price. Turn on the noise-canceling circuitry and music becomes compressed and artificial sounding, loses bass and treble extension, and suffers in detail and dynamics all throughout the audible spectrum.
So this becomes a very high priority in our own screening process, and every single product we will recommend here will not only sound great when just playing music, and have surprisingly effective active noise-canceling for the price but also sound fantastic when playing music with noise canceling on.
Other than that, we want to consider:
- The overall design, including the layout and usability of the controls
- Wearing comfort
- Style and look
- Material and build quality and reliability
- The company that (hopefully) stands behind your new headphones, and
- Value for your money
Put all of this together and you will have a pair of headphones that sound great in all conditions, are easy to use and nice to wear, and will really last. But is this all really possible for under a hundred bucks?
Absolutely – just read on!
Who Makes the Best Noise Canceling Headphones Under $100?
Again, most of us already know at least some of the heavy hitters – Bose, Sony, Beats, Bang & Olufsen, even Jabra Elite, KEF, Sennheiser, and Skullcandy.
For the most part, these companies all make really great noise-canceling headphones – often 200 or 300 dollars in price, or a lot more, but yeah, they sound great and work great.
But brands like Bose and Beats, B&O, and KEF don’t deign to descend to our more meager budgets, and so we need to look elsewhere – well, Skullcandy comes close, but more about that soon enough…
Fortunately, we have some amazing alternative brands we can turn to, like:
- Soundcore – fast becoming famous for extreme value in, especially, affordable noise-canceling ‘phones
- JBL – a company that could definitely rest on its laurels, and yet continues to innovate and improve
- Paww – a relative newcomer that makes at least one truly special product
- Tozo – offering almost unbelievable value, and selling zillions of headphones in the process
- JLab – absurdly inexpensive noise-canceling headphones that seem clearly designed and made by audiophiles and true music lovers
- SuperEQ – not a big name, but a company committed to offering superior engineering and superb material quality at reasonable prices
These are the names you’ll see in our roundup of the best affordable noise-canceling headphones for 2023 – both in-ear and on-ear – and we are happy to say that each and every product we have chosen is really something special, with sound quality, material quality, and durability, advanced technology, noise-canceling effectiveness and more way beyond what you might possibly hope for on a budget.
(In fact, if you can keep a secret, some of these cheap choices will actually outperform some of the silly-expensive products from our esteemed list of heavy hitters above…)
So, let’s get right to the picks, and find out what are the best noise cancellers you can get on even a super-tight budget!
Best Noise Canceling Headphones Under $100
Best Cheat / Splurge
- Item Package Dimension: 8.54L x 5.66W x 3.50H...
- Item Package Weight - 0.88 Pounds
- Item Package Quantity - 1
- Product Type - HEADPHONES
This is totally a cheat since these amazing Skullcandy Hesh phones actually cost a smidge more than a hundred bucks – but they are such amazing performers, and sound so good, that I couldn’t help myself!
For people who were hoping to find something like the ultra-popular but pricey Bose noise cancellers on our list – you won’t, BTW, anywhere near this price range – the Skullcandy is a wonderful alternative, with a surprisingly refined and accurate sound that is still tons of fun – deep bass, clear and crisp highs, and so much musical energy.
In fact, in some ways, I would prefer the Hesh over much more expensive Bose or Sony noise-canceling headphones, because they are just so much fun to listen to! Factor in the build quality and the excellence of the design and features – the microphone is amazingly clear, as is the ambient mode, the Tile function is brilliant and the 5.0 Bluetooth supports the hi-res aptX audiophile codec – and this is a real winner.
Ok, maybe they’re not really under a hundred dollars, but they are so close that you should strongly consider the Skullcandy Hesh noise-canceling headphones anyway – they are for sure my favorites in this range, and highly recommended.
Best Over-Ear Noise Canceling Headphones Overall
- HEADPHONES AT AN AFFORDABLE PRICE: We are...
- SOUND QUALITY YOU CAN TRUST: After making...
- ACTIVE NOISE CANCELLING: Significant noise...
- TWO PEOPLE CAN CONNECT AT ONCE: With the...
- BEST VALUE: Our headphones do everything...
I have to admit that I didn’t know much about Paww before trying these WaveSound 3 headphones, and I was a little skeptical – despite the glowing reviews from all corners.
Turns out I didn’t need to worry because these Paww headphones are amazing! A really accurate, smooth, and detailed overall sonic signature combines with very deep and powerful bass, bright, shimmering highs that totally avoid being harsh or piercing, excellent imaging and soundstage, and real dynamic power.
And in addition to the latest generation, 5.0 Bluetooth with audiophile quality aptX low latency codec, an excellent sounding microphone and compatibility with Siri and Google Assistant, the active noise canceling itself is the best I’ve heard for under a hundred dollars, with amazing effectiveness in a wide range of conditions.
The Paww WaveSound 3 is also very comfortable, clearly well built, and has a premium fit and finish that is quite surprising at this price level. A clear, sweet, and musical headphone that has all of the technicalities well in line, this is a very good choice for all kinds of music and an amazing value!
Best In-Ear Noise Canceling Headphones Overall
- JBL Pure Bass Sound: Smartly designed 10mm...
- Product Note : If the size of the earbud tips...
- Active Noise Cancelling with Smart Ambient:...
- 5 mics for perfect voice calls: Enjoy...
- Up to 40 hours of battery life: Never miss a...
Leave it to JBL to produce such a high-end product for such a low price.
The Tune 230NC has that signature JBL sound – exciting, engaging, and impactful, with great bass and brilliant highs, pure and realistic vocals, and exceptionally high accuracy – they easily rival in-ears that are much more expensive, and have a sweet musicality that no other brand has quite been able to match.
I would be hard-pressed to come up with a pair of noise-canceling earbuds which sound so fantastic with such a wide range of music – that is, have the bass slam and musical energy you want for metal, hip hop, and electronica, and the natural timbre and open, easy sense of space and time that acoustic rock, jazz and classical require – anywhere near this price.
Great battery life, real wearing comfort, and excellent build quality and durability complete the picture, and while the ambient aware function is not the most natural-sounding, the active noise canceling is in fact superb for the price, as are the microphones and the call clarity.
A great sounding pair of in-ear headphones – equal parts fun and deadly serious, as, again, we come to expect from this legendary company – the JBL Tune 230NC are amazing active noise canceling buds, and one of the best values on the market today.
Best Value in Noise Canceling Headphones
- Advanced Noise Cancellation Technology:...
- Ultimate Noise Cancellation Experience:...
- Hi-Res Music: Hear every detail of your...
- 40-Hour Playtime: Life Q30 active noise...
- Pressure-Free Comfort: Life Q30 active noise...
At the risk of upstaging all the other recommendations on our list of the best noise-canceling headphones under a hundred dollars, I have to say as clearly as possible that if you just made it simple and got a pair of Soundcore Q30s you would be incredibly happy.
They are, despite the excellence of all our other recommendations, my favorite sub-c ‘phones, and perform incredibly well. They sound so exciting with all kinds of music, and they sound incredible whether you have the noise canceling on or off.
The Q30 headphones are V-shaped in frequency response, with a strong emphasis on bass and a slight emphasis on the treble, and they do sound especially good with pop, rock, dance, and rap genres, with a vibrant and exciting sound that is incredibly clear and detailed but smooth and totally non-fatiguing. Still, that same sweet musicality – with, perhaps, a little equalization of the bass – makes them a wonderful choice for jazz and classical as well.
Because really the Anker Soundcore Q30 headphones are about accuracy and reproduce any kind of music’s energy, warmth, and power with thrilling fidelity, whether you are in wired or wireless mode, without noise-canceling, or in any of the very effective ANC modes.
This Soundcore sound may be the main reason the Q30 is so incredibly popular and highly rated – by the press and by countless customers – but there’s also the intelligent and highly functional design, the light and comfortable build, the ruggedness and durability, the battery life, the Bluetooth 5.0, fast and reliable pairing and the multi-point connection…
I could go on and on, but the bottom line is that when you add it all up these are mightily impressive, beautiful sounding active noise-canceling headphones, and of supreme value.
Best Noise-Canceling Under $100
- [HYBRID Active Noise Cancellation] SuperEQ S1...
- [Hi-Res Audio & Deep Bass] The Hi-Res...
- [45-Hour Long-lasting Playtime] Premium...
- [Ambient Sound (Transparency) Mode] Using...
- [Comfortable and Convenient] SuperEQ S1’s...
SuperEQ may not be a brand we normally associate with the best noise-canceling technology or even a brand we have heard much about, but I have to say that the hybrid noise cancellation circuitry is superb on these affordable S1 ANC headphones.
In fact, it is so close to the effectiveness of products we would normally think of – Bose, higher-end Sony, Apple, Sennheiser – that it seems impossible that they have such a low price.
The S1 also has other qualities in common with the big brands, like a smooth, clear, and low distortion sound, with a good transient response, detail and dynamic energy, wide and clear soundstage, accuracy in tonality, and fairly neutral frequency response.
No, these do not have the level of audio refinement of a pair of premium headphones that cost 5 times as much, but it is amazing – especially in this day of over-hyped bass, over-bright treble, and other intentional distortions – just how close these SuperEQ cans bring you to the music, whatever music you listen to.
Features-wise, you get several modes of noise cancellation, clear and natural-sounding microphones for phone calls, excellent battery life – up to 50 hours wired with ANC, and 40 wireless with ANC – and Bluetooth 5.0, as well as a nice foldable design that is sturdy and comfortable to wear.
An accurate, premium quality pair of headphones with superior noise-canceling technology that cuts through noise beautifully and yet has little or no degrading effect on the music, the SuperEQ S1 are an easy recommendation and sound great with everything we played through them.
Best Mid-Priced Noise Canceling Headphones – In-Ear
- Long Playtime, Fast Charging: Get up to 10...
- Fueled by The Beat: Life P3 noise cancelling...
- Multi-Mode Noise Cancelling: Select from 3...
- AI-Enhanced Call Performance: Life P3 noise...
- Personalized Listening Experience: Use the...
You may notice that our pick for best affordable in-ear noise cancellers is from the same brand as our recommendation for best over-ears and our recommendation for best value overall.
Indeed, Anker is the king of affordable noise-canceling headphones, occupying a full 3 spots on our list of best noise-canceling headphones under a hundred bucks – pretty impressive considering there are only 9 choices total!
And many would argue that these P3 in-ears are the best of all Anker values, a small true wireless earbud with an enormous 11mm driver for real deep bass and amazing musical energy and drive, and a great sound – accurate, detailed, and sweetly musical – all across the audio spectrum, from that deep bass all the way up to the smooth extended high frequencies.
Not only is the active noise cancellation excellent – remarkably effective for this price, in fact – but it seems to have a much smaller impact on the sound than any other buds in this range. Indeed, most people cannot tell the difference in sound quality with or without ANC, except that they can hear the music much better with it on and the background noise quieted so thoroughly, and thus have a much better listening experience.
I realize as I’m writing this that it sounds like I’m reviewing a pair of high-end audiophile earphones, but in fact, for all their accuracy and musicality the Anker P3 is less than 80 bucks – surely one of the best values on the market today.
A superior multi-microphone system for phone calls, Bluetooth 5.0, multi-mode noise canceling, wireless charging and long battery life, really sturdy construction and a premium fit and finish IXP5 water resistance, and a great and actually useful app – there are lots of reasons to love the Anker Soundcore P3 wireless in-ear headphones, but believe me – this sound quality at this price is more than enough reason to go for it!
Best Mid-Priced Noise Canceling Headphones – Over-Ear
- Incredible Sound Loved by 20 Million+ People
- Hi-Res Audio: Custom oversized 40 mm dynamic...
- Reduce Ambient Noises By Up to 90%: Our team...
- 100% Stronger Bass: Our exclusive BassUp...
- 40-Hour Playtime*: Up to 40 hours of non-stop...
I have chosen the big brother of these affordable Anker headphones – the Q30, reviewed above – as my pick for the best value, but lots of people would definitely choose these Q20 instead.
Yeah, the Q30 has better bass – a bit faster and deeper, with better slam and impact and also more speed and control – and there is a bit better imaging and soundstage, the vocals are a tad warmer and more accurate and the highs slightly more detailed and sweeter.
But those qualities are also super-abundant in these substantially less expensive Soundcore Q20 headphones, which sound unmistakably like an Anker product. They too have slamming bass, warmth, energy, and detail, and if you haven’t heard the Q30s you would never miss a thing.
On the other hand, if you listen to these Q20s in comparison to anything else in this price range – and especially any other active noise-canceling headphones – you will be astonished by the sound the Q20 offers.
The Q20 is surprisingly robust for its price, with a nice foldable design and well-thought-out control buttons, and is nicely comfortable even during long listening sessions. They have excellent noise cancellation in a variety of conditions, and it has a very little noticeable effect on sound quality – definitely not a given at this price level.
You also get Bluetooth 5.0, great battery life, a fun bass-boost feature, a nice carrying case, certified high-resolution audio, and a lot more – no wonder the Anker Soundcore Q20 is possibly the most popular and highly rated affordable noise-canceling headphones on the market today!
Best Super-Cheap Noise Canceling Headphones – In-Ear
- Hybrid 3 layer Active Noise Cancellation.
- You can hear what you want to hear,
- Double microphone noise reduction system...
- Pick up the two headsets from the charging...
- Wireless earbuds can last for over 11 hours'...
There can be absolutely no doubt which in-ear headphones are the champions of the ultra-cheap category – the incredibly popular and highly rated Tozo T10 waterproof Bluetooth earbuds at around 30 bucks. The only problem is that, uhm, they’re not noise-canceling, and since this is a buyer’s guide for the best affordable active noise-canceling headphones, well…
Still, given their frankly astonishing popularity, great sound, and high functionality – and the fact that they in fact offer very good passive noise isolation – they still need to be mentioned.
But now we run into a problem, in that there are no really amazing earbuds anywhere near that price level that has active noise canceling – some that look slick, some with nice tech, and some that even sound good, but none that combine all of that, none that really hold up to long term use, and none that we would recommend without reservation.
So we just have to admit it – “super-cheap” for good and recommendable active noise-canceling earbuds is more around the fifty dollar mark – just under, in fact. And guess what? Yep, it’s also from Tozo!
The Tozo NC9 headphone has remarkably effective noise-canceling circuitry that not only reliably blocks out background noise, but also has little or no obvious effect on the quality of the musical signal. And that sound quality is, even at this low price, absolutely superb!
Clear, open, and natural, with a kind of ease and dynamic energy we would normally associate with much higher-end in-ear ‘phones, the NC9 are sweet and musical, with powerful deep bass extension and shimmering, liquid highs, not to mention eerily accurate and beautifully smooth and lush vocals and mids.
The Tozo NC9 also has the highest waterproof rating of any product on our list, with full IPX8 certification, great battery life and fast charging, extremely high-quality microphones for crystal clear phone calls, Bluetooth 5.0 for more reliable connections and greater range, great ergonomic design, and a really comfortable fit, and so much more!
But the question remains – are they really “super-cheap?” For what you get, yes, absolutely – a premium pair of active noise canceling in-ear earbuds that can easily outperform buds many times this price, and easily one of the best values in audio.
Best Super-Cheap Noise Canceling Headphones – Over-Ear
- 34+ Hour Bluetooth Playtime: A long 34+ hour...
- Active Noise Cancellation: Turn off...
- Studio Comfort: With Cloud Foam earcups and a...
- Music to-GO: Built for everyone who can’t...
- TWO YEAR WARRANTY/30 DAY GUARANTEE: We are so...
What is remarkable to me about the JLab on-ear headphones is not just that they have such effective active noise canceling, or such beautifully accurate, honest, and low distortion musical sound, but that they also look so great, with a premium finish and obviously very high material and build quality.
No, what’s really remarkable – almost unbelievable, in fact, is that they do all of this and more for this price. At a price level where most headphones sound tinny or overwhelmingly bassy and bloated, and/or break within weeks, and/or have noise-canceling that sounds like you’re hearing whales from inside a submarine, the JLab Studio is astonishing.
To be clear, these are still right around fifty dollars – just like our choice for best in-ear noise cancellers – and so to some people might not be exactly super cheap. But trust me when I say that if you want to really understand what super-cheap means – that is, in the most negative and frustrating ways – you will definitely find out if you spend less than this.
But for a well-made pair of headphones at a ridiculously low price, that works perfectly, look and feel great, and sound absolutely beautiful with all kinds of music, the JLab Studio wireless active noise cancellation headphones are the best you can get – not just the cheapest ANC headphones we could possibly recommend, but ones we can recommend with the highest enthusiasm!