The Best Noise-Cancelling Headphones and Earbuds Under $100

The world has changed for so many of us! Working from home with young kids playing – or teens arguing! Zoom meetings with dogs barking! The need to concentrate while the TV is on in the next room! Thank heavens for noise cancelling earbuds and headphones!

Of course, $2 earplugs will block out noise. But it’s hard to take a call and they look pretty dumb in those Zoom meetings. And the sound quality? Well, let’s not go there!

There are many reasons noise-cancelling earbuds and headphones are hot-sellers right now. They’re pretty much essential when you really need to focus on producing something. Maybe you just want to dim the background noise at the office while still being responsive. Or maybe you really do just want to relax and listen to your favourite album without distractions.

Can you really get good active noise cancelling earbuds or headphones for less than $100?

That’s the question we set out to answer. How much do you really have to pay to get quality sound in and out of a headset or set of earbuds? We also considered the advantages of each – headset vs earbuds.

If you’re really, REALLY into the highest highs and deepest bass, you’ll be happy to spend $400, $500 and even $700 for a ‘top of the range’ headset. Audiophiles will and do. But most of us only need good quality speakers and an effective microphone – both using Bluetooth V5 for a strong connection.

Headphones vs Earbuds: Which one should you buy?

If you want something that is compact and portable, that stays in your ears while you’re in the middle of a sweaty exercise or workout session, you’ll probably want a solid pair of true wireless earbuds.

Headphones, on the other hand, are perfect if you are looking for the highest-quality bass sound, or simply want to tune out the noise and distraction around you as efficiently as possible.

Between the two, comparing equivalent cost options, wireless headphones tend to be better if you want the best possible sound quality and noise cancellation.

The wireless headphones we considered generally have a longer battery life than wireless earbuds. They can last for more than a day while earbuds typically only get you around 5 to 8 hours of use on a single charge. The very small size of earbuds obviously limits the size of the battery. That’s much less of a consideration to headphone designers.

The gap in battery life is something you might want to consider, depending on where and when you’re going to use your ANC unit.

Whether you’re looking for unbeatable, audiophile sound quality or budget-friendly (under $100) headphones and earbuds to save you from the distracting background noise, we’ve got you covered. 

Budget-Friendly Noise-Cancelling Headphones and Earbuds

Now, let’s deep dive into our list of the best, budget-friendly noise-cancelling headphones and earbuds. 

Anker Soundcore Life Q20, $49.99

HROEENOI JZ02 Bluetooth Headphones, $39.99

Sony Wired MDR-ZX110NC, $48.00

Skullcandy Hesh 3, $98.99

Samsung Galaxy Buds Plus, $99.99

Going down…

TOZO NC9 Hybrid Active Noise Cancelling Wireless Earbuds, $59.88

And for those with a bigger-budget!

For true audiophiles and those who are looking for premium noise-cancelling headphones and earbuds, there’s one popular brand that you’re surely familiar with. Maybe, it’s a bit expensive but the quality is really outstanding.

Bose 700, $259.93

Sony MX1000, $265.99

If you have a bigger budget, another alternative to the Bose is the Sony MX1000. Dynamically, they are both great but Sony has a better bass-heavy profile and active noise cancellation feature than the Bose.  

It does a great job at controlling the background noise and it outperforms Bose’s flagship headphones when cancelling out mid-low frequencies between 200 to 1,000 Hz. This means that lower frequency sounds like jet engine rumbles and air conditioner hums are less likely to interfere with your content.

Battery life is a class-leading 30 hours backed up by quick charging capabilities. This is an enclosed over the ears headset which is a prime choice for comfortable and crisp sound. Design-wise, the pads fit comfortably as well, without feeling tight.

Bluetooth V5 pairing is to two devices, and you can switch using a phone app from one to the other. Switching is a little funky, but not bad. If you are pairing to a single device such as an iPhone, then this is trouble-free. The app lets you modify the sound profile of the headset.

This model comes with a dynamic sound format using music services that I have not sampled.

It has excellent battery life and would be a good headset to travel with. It’s got features that are particularly useful when paired with a phone. Touch the earpiece to talk through, remove touch and sound resumes. Swipes up/down/left-right for vol and track control. When making phone calls the sound was excellent and those on the other end assured me my transmissions were crystal clear..

This is a near audiophile headset with many features for phone users. Based on sound quality, quietness, build quality and features this headset cannot be beaten in its price point. It is a great piece of kit.

Wrapping Up

Thanks to these excellent audio and sound brands for continuing to deliver the best possible audio quality and noise cancellation and ultimate amplified experience. While we are not going to argue that a $40 headset is the equal of a $400 set, we would argue in favour of the Law of Diminishing Returns…

Is a $400 headset 10x better than the $40 set? Of course not. It is certainly 40% better and, for a true audiophile that extra $360 is worth every cent.

But for the rest of us?

Finding the best noise-cancelling headphones and earbuds comes down to specifications and features, brand, comfort and of course, the price. As we’ve shown here, a quality active noise cancelling headsphone or set of earbuds needn’t break the bank.

How much are you prepared to spend?



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