Now is the best time to pick up a new pair of noise-canceling headphones, allowing you to focus on the music and forgetting about the world around you. If you’re entering the marketing with a shoe-string budget, this article is dedicated to you.
Below, we break down some of the best performing, best bang-for-your-buck, and be quality noise-canceling headphones you can get for $100 or less. This task wasn’t easy, and noise-canceling headphones can get quite expensive with the new features they’re offering.
The Best Noise-Cancelling Headphones Under $100
For those who are looking for headphone recommendations, we’ve got you covered. We spent a considerable amount of time researching the noise-canceling market and now are excited to showcase our product recommendations! Here are our top five recommended headphones for those interested in noise-canceling functionality:
COWIN SE7 Active Noise Cancelling Headphones
The Cowin SE7 Bluetooth headphones are an obvious choice you should consider. This brand has built a strong reputation for high-quality products that pump out beautiful sounds & this reputation extends into these headphones. The headphones themselves come in several colors (pick whichever ones fit your style), and are under the $100 price point. As of writing this review, there are nearly 3,000 positive reviews posted about these headphones. They offer some very comfy cushioning that doesn’t go flat, Bluetooth 5.0, a foldable design, and a long, 50+ hour battery.
Sennheiser HD 4.50 BTNC Bluetooth Wireless Headphones
Audiophiles are surely familiar with the brand Sennheiser and the bar that it sets. The Sennheiser HD 4.5 Wireless Bluetooth headphones are a wonderful set of headphones that you should consider. These headphones offer active noise cancellation, have a built-in microphone, and offer a long 19-hour battery life. If you’re still not convinced, enjoy the comfort of mind due to the product’s 2-year warranty backed by authorized Sennheiser dealers.
Anker Soundcore Life Q20 Hybrid (Bluetooth)
Those looking for headphones that are unbelievably comfortable to wear for long periods need to check out these Anker Soundcore Life Q20 headphones offering a universally amazing experience. These Bluetooth headphones offer large drivers, a powerful active noise-canceling setting, and over 40 hours of playtime on a full charge.
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Active Noise-Cancelling Headphones Buyers Guide
Noise-canceling headphones don’t need to be limited to just using when on the plane. However, this is one of the most important uses for the noise-canceling headphone as it shuts out that almost deafening roar of an airplane’s engines (perhaps allowing you a peaceful sleep). They are also great for use whenever you need to zone out any ambient noise that might be of a distraction, allowing you to potentially work anywhere in quiet, or enjoy what you are listening to without any external distractions.
There are many questions one would have when considering shopping for noise-canceling headphones, and this article will help you understand the basics of the technology so that you can make an educated choice on what style and at what cost you would like to pay for your pair. We will cover the differences between noise canceling and noise isolation headphones, tell you what to look for when shopping for your couple, and give you a few great options for first time users or professionals alike.
What is the difference?
You may become a bit confused when looking for noise-canceling headphones as a massive array of styles and price ranges will appear, mainly when some are marketed as noise isolating, or passive noise-canceling, rather than merely noise-canceling headphones. Same difference, right? Nope! Do not think that when you have found a great bargain for a pair of passive noise-canceling headphones that you will be paying for the same technology as a pair of noise-canceling headphones if just a little less quality.
Noise-isolating headphones block that external noise only through physical means. The aim is to create the most robust seal around your ears like earphones or ear canal as earbuds while still being comfortable. This dramatically reduces any external noise that you can hear. Earbuds block out other noises by merely being a snug fit and ensures the only thing you can hear is your music. Noise isolating, over the earphones, will have thick ear cups that aim to reduce and block out as many external noises as possible.
Noise-canceling headphones, on the other hand, actually use a Digital Signal Processing (DSP) technology that actively seeks out and cancels sound waves from ambient, external noises. This means that any noise canceling or active noise cancellation headphones contain an internal microphone and an audio processor that, when an external sound is recognized, plays a different sound that effectively cancels it out. This is otherwise known as destructive interference.
This technology is not entirely new and is used frequently in the workforce or during hunting game where workers or hunters need to be able to talk and communicate with one another yet deaden any sound that comes in at a certain decibel. This protects their ears. The technology used in the noise cancellation headphones that we use for pleasure or office work takes from this but instead can block out ambient noise, such as people talking, the hum of an airplane engine, or air conditioning units. However, they do not do so well with sharp sounds, such as a jackhammer, a gun firing, the fire alarm going off, or the slam of a door.
Noise cancellation headphones have one up on noise-isolating headphones because noise can be significantly reduced even if you do not play any music using high-quality noise-canceling headphones. A definite positive of these types of headphones, and with noise-isolating headphones as well, is that you can listen to your music at a lower volume, as you do not need an attempt to block out any external sounds that may be coming through. You do, however, if walking down the street, for instance, need to be extra aware of your surroundings, as you have no clear notice of dangers such as cars backing out of driveways or bicycles approaching you from behind.
What to look for when shopping for noise-canceling headphones
With such an array of choices available, we have compiled a small list of ideas to have in your head as you start to look around.
Decide on the style before you start.
You have in-ear or earbuds, ear pads or supra-aural headphones, and full-sized headphones or circum-aural headphones to choose from before looking at the different brands, quality, and associated costs. The form is quite vital as full-sized headphones and earbuds can provide quite a bit of passive noise canceling if they fit nicely in or around your ear.
Try before you buy (if you can)
Speaking of fitting nicely on your ears, it is a great idea to try them on before you buy them. This way you can see if over the ear headphones are comfortable on your head, especially if you wear glasses, or in earbuds fit snugly. Try them out as well, but playing some music with them for a while, so that you can experience how they work for you.
High quality comes at a high price.
This may seem obvious, but expect to pay a couple of hundred dollars for a good quality pair of noise-canceling headphones. This is because these headphones have their internal processor with a microphone as well as excellent quality pads, cables, and speakers. You can skimp on one or the other and still expect to have yourself a great pair of headphones, but there are no great bargains to be had in the high-end noise-canceling headphone market.
Check the warranty
As with any pair of headphones, things can go wrong, and since there is a processor as well inside a pair of noise-canceling headphones, electronics can fail. Make sure you have at least a year warranty and consider an extended warranty if you are hoping for your pair to last you several years. Check out independent reviews from customers to get an idea of how your preferred brand stands the test of time.
Don’t anticipate wonders.
They do a great job of reducing ambient noise, and you will undoubtedly notice a difference from an everyday pair of headphones when working in the office, trying to eliminate that constant bubble of chatter or while traveling by air. However, you will still experience high pitched sounds or sudden loud noises that the processor couldn’t react to.
Jason is a long-standing technical analyst and writer for Ladi6.com. Jason spends a considerable amount of time reviewing products, gauging people's needs, and writing his findings. Jason enjoys crunching data, photography, and exploring the world with his Australian Shepherd, Jack.