Sometimes you need an escape from the outside world and all of its chaos. If you find yourself wanting to reduce the noise of planes, trains, commutes, and street noise, a set of noise cancelling headphones are a great investment.
The best noise cancelling headphones under $100 allow you to listen to music at lower levels since you don’t have to turn up the volume in order to overpower the outside world. This helps to protect your hearing and reduce ear fatigue as well.
Top 5 Noise Cancelling Headphones
There are many popular noise cancelling headphones under $100 available and so to make deciding easier for you we have selected 5 top models we would recommend.
Monoprice Hi-Fi 10010
Monoprice Hi-Fi 10010 headphones are wired and do not offer the Bluetooth connectivity of most of the other models in this list. They do, however, offer good sound quality, active noise cancellation, a built in mic, and excellent wearing comfort.
I really like the sturdiness of this model, as well as the memory foam ear cups which feel really good on my ears.
The set comes with two sets of detachable cables; one has an inline microphone, the other does not. The microphone allows you to make and receive calls via your headphones or give voice commands to your smartphone. I like that two cables are included and that the cables are detachable. Since cables sometimes get shorts or break, it’s good to be able to easily change them out and fix the problem.
The active noise cancelling circuitry runs on a single AAA battery and gives you up to 50 hours of listening time. This does mean that the battery is not USB rechargeable and will have to be replaced from time to time. Still, 50 hours is a long battery life so the battery will not have to be replaced that often.
The sound quality is surprisingly good for the price, with a nice low end, full and vivid mids, and highs that are clear and crisp without being overly bright or sibilant. This may be partly due to the fact that they are wired and don’t have any of the coloration and change in dynamics that come with most Bluetooth designs.
The manufacturer claims 92% noise reduction and they do a good overall job, especially in regards to lower pitched noise such as those on airplanes and similar situations. The noise cancellation is not as good as on much more expensive models I have tried, but it is certainly useable and does a good job of reducing ambient noise considering the price.
Monoprice Hi-Fi 10010 Verdict
If you are looking for an affordable, good sounding set of noise cancelling headphones and do not require a wireless connection, the Monoprice 10010 headphones are worth a look. They sound good for the price; don’t expect audiophile quality, but for the money you spend the quality is quite good.
Some may not like that the battery is not rechargeable and you will sometimes have to change batteries. You could always use rechargeable AAA batteries, however, and charge them on your own.
Golzer BANC-50 Bluetooth Active Noise Cancelling Over Ear Headphones
They also offer Apt-X wireless technology which makes them perfect for watching TV or movies wirelessly. Apt-X offers incredibly low latency so you can watch TV without a noticeable delay between the picture and the sound. Just keep in mind that you have to have an Apt-X compatible device to take advantage of this feature.
The Bluetooth connection is easy to pair and repair, with a clear signal that stays intact over the prescribed 10 meter distance. There is also a built in microphone which allows you to make and receive calls, as well as give voice commands to your smartphone. Voice prompts and intuitive onboard controls make adjusting settings easy. Once you get a feel for the buttons you can easily adjust the onboard controls without taking the headphones off.
The BANC-50 headphones are also designed to be used wired or wirelessly; this is a great feature if you want to save battery power by using the included 3.5mm cable. When it’s time to charge simply insert the included micro USB charging cable and the device recharges in 2 to 3 hours.
Battery life is 30 hours with noise cancelling only, 15 hours with Bluetooth only, and 12 hours with both Bluetooth and active noise cancelling on. The noise cancelling can be turned on and off at the press of a button. This is a great feature when you want to save battery power when noise cancelling isn’t required.
The sound quality is good for the money, with plenty of lows and highs that are clear without being shrill or brittle. They don’t have the depth and flat frequency of a pair of audiophile headphones but for the price, users will be pleased.
The active noise cancelling circuitry on the Golzer BANC-50 headphones offers up to 85% noise reduction and excels at reducing ambient noise. They are perfect for air travel or anywhere else there are lower pitched constant sounds. I can’t say the noise cancelling is as good as the $300 Bose pair I recently tried, but I will say that the noise cancelling is good for the money and definitely worth the price.
The Golzer BANC-50 comes with a carrying case, micro USB cable, 3.5mm cable, 6.3mm adapter, and an airline adapter.
Golzer BANC-50 Verdict
Considering that you get a well-designed, good sounding set of Bluetooth noise cancelling headphones with a long battery life, onboard controls, and a built in mic for taking calls for $69 dollars, Golzer BANC-50 headphones are a great deal. They offer good all-around usability and maximum bang for the buck.
BÖHM B-66 Wireless Bluetooth Headphones with Active Noise Cancellation
Bohm B-66 headphones have a stylish look that is on par with much more expensive noise cancelling headphones. The earcups are housed in aluminum and are covered in a padded leather type material that not only looks great but feels great on your ears as well.
The wireless Bluetooth connection is easy to pair and has a range of 10 meters. Once you have paired for the first time, repairing is easy as well. There is also an inline microphone for making and receiving calls, as well as for giving voice commands to your smartphone. When a call comes in and you accept it, music stops and your call comes through. When the call ends, your music automatically starts back up again.
You can also run the Bohm B-66 headphones in wired mode via the included 3.5mm cable. This is a great feature in case you run out of battery power or want to conserve your battery.
Battery life is a long 16 hours and recharging is accomplished by plugging in the included micro USB cable. Recharging takes about 3 hours.
In terms of sound, the Bohm B-66 is a great choice for lovers of low end. They feature two high end 40mm drivers that deliver plenty of power and lots of bass. The bass is deep and has plenty of thump while the mids are clear and distinct. The highs offer clear and sparkling tones as well. For the price, the overall sound is really good.
Don’t expect the level of quality of a high end set of audiophile headphones, but for the price I believe most will be more than pleased with the sound quality.
In addition, you get active noise cancelling that is similar to the other models in this list, in that it excels in reducing constant ambient noise, especially lower pitched noises, making them a great travel headphone for use on planes. They reduce other noise as well, just not at the same level as the more expensive brands. But seeing as many of them are 4 or 5 times the price, this is to be expected. The active noise cancelling can be turned on and off with the touch of a button.
Bohm B-66 wireless Bluetooth Noise Cancelling headphones come with a hard shell carrying case, a detachable cord, an airline adapter, and a micro USB charging cable.
Bohm B-66 Verdict
For those who want an inexpensive active noise cancelling headphone with a great bass response, the Bohm B-66 is a great choice. They also deserve high marks for their attractive design and build.
CB3 Hush Wireless Headphones with Active Noise Cancellation
CB3 Hush wireless headphones feature a Bluetooth 4.1 with Apt-X connection that is easy to pair and has a distance of 10 meters. Apt-X is perfect for watching TV or movies wirelessly, in that latency is drastically reduced, meaning you will not notice a difference between the picture and the sound.
Some Bluetooth headphones have higher latency which results in the audio being out of synch with the actors’ mouths. This results in an annoying and uncomfortable watching experience. Fortunately, with an Apt-X compatible device or TV, latency won’t be an issue.
You can also use the CB3 Hush headphones in wired mode via the included 3.5mm cable. This is a great feature when battery power runs out or you want to save battery power.
A built in microphone is also included for taking calls and giving voice commands to your phone, and you can easily make and receive calls without taking your headphones off.
A micro USB cable is also included. When it’s time to recharge simply insert the cable and recharging completes in 2.5 hours.
I liked the sound of these headphones as they seem a little warmer to my ears than some of the other models. This is, of course, a matter of personal preference. I personally prefer warmer sounds, although many prefer crisper highs. There is no right or wrong here, just personal taste.
There’s plenty of bass, but they are not basshead headphones. I also like that the CB3 Hush headphones sound good on a wide variety of material. Regardless of the style, be it rock, hip hop, or audiobook, they translate very well.
The active noise cancelling technology is definitely good for the price. I won’t say they are as good as the more expensive $300 plus models, but they certainly do a good job of reducing noise, especially considering they sell for under $100.
Like the other models in this list, they work best at reducing constant ambient noises such as airplane roar—although they are also good with trains and other commute noise. They do a good job of reducing other outside noises as well, but like the other models, are less effective with higher pitched, fast transient sounds.
The CB3 Hush Headphone comes with a carrying pouch, 3.5mm wired cable, airline adapter, and a micro USB cable for charging.
CB3 Hush Headphone Verdict
The CB3 Hush is a great all around headphone. It offers similar features to most of the other models but has a slightly warm tonality, making it a great choice for those who prefer a less bright and more rounded type of tone. It offers plenty of features including wireless Bluetooth, built in mic, active noise cancelling, and Apt-X compatibility for low latency viewing.
Monster Inspiration Active Noise Cancelling Headphones
Monster Inspiration Active Noise Cancelling Headphones used to cost $300, but now have reduced to $100. Needless to say, this is an amazing deal on a great set of headphones.
When you first pick up the Monster Inspirations you can tell that they are a quality headphone with metal construction, excellent build quality, and soft, leather covered earcups that feel amazing. I especially like that the earcups fold in, making them smaller for storage and travel.
In terms of sound, this is a bass oriented headphone, although not an extended bass or basshead level headphone. The low end is deep, tight, and cleaner than most other models I have tried. The fact that the bass is somewhat hyped means they are ideal for hip hop, dance, rap, and other low end oriented genres. I don’t think they sound bad with other genres, but they are not flat. If you are looking for ultra-audiophile sound quality then this is probably not the right set for you. However, if you like a good sounding headphone with somewhat boosted bass, the Monster Inspiration is an excellent choice.
The highs are clear and detailed, while the mids are vivid and distinct. I didn’t feel that the hyped bass overpowered the mids like some of the other headphones I have tried. This is definitely a plus as many headphones with hyped bass do seem to overpower the midrange.
Monster Inspiration headphones come with interchangeable headbands and you can buy additional headbands separately, allowing you to adapt the look of the phones to your personal style. They also come with three cables; one with an inline remote designed for iOS, another designed for Android, and a third that is just a 3.5mm to 3.5mm cable.
The active noise cancelling on this headphone is excellent and even comes close to comparing with much more expensive models. There is better noise reduction overall, and they seem to work a bit better on higher pitched noise. They are definitely worth the price for their noise cancelling alone.
The active noise cancelling runs on two AAA batteries so you will have to occasionally change batteries since USB charging is not offered on this model. If the battery runs out, however, you can still use the headphones without the active noise cancelling circuitry turned on.
Monster Inspiration headphones come with three cables, two headbands, travel case, cleaning cloth, and two AAA batteries.
Monster Inspiration headphones Verdict
This is a fantastic set of noise cancelling headphones at a great price, as well as an excellent choice for anyone who does not require a wireless set of headphones. If you’re OK with wires, you will love this pair of headphones for its wearing comfort, attractive design, and exceptional noise cancelling abilities. The only people who may not like the headphone are those who prefer an ultra-flat audiophile frequency response without hyped bass. Most, however, will prefer the extra thump and power that comes from the slightly hyped bass frequencies.
Types of Noise Cancelling Headphones
There are two kinds of noise cancelling headphones, passive noise reducing and active noise cancelling. Passive noise reducing headphones use the physical design of the headphone or earbud to reduce outside noise.
For example, many earbuds and in ear monitor headphones have a fit that is so tight and secure that outside sound doesn’t get in. Other headphones, such as closed back over ear models have a physical barrier, in this case hard plastic and padded earcups, which reduce the amount of noise that is able to make it to your ears.
Active noise cancelling headphones work by using microphones and other technologies to create an inverse soundwave which is then sent through your headphone driver in order to eliminate or reduce outside noise.
Think of how in math a positive number is cancelled out by its negative number. For example, 2 is cancelled out by negative 2. Sound waves work in much the same way. If you take a sound wave, pick it up through a microphone and then create its inverse or phase reversed copy, it will cancel out. This may be overly an overly simplistic explanation, but it is a good metaphor for how active noise cancelling works.
Limitations of Noise Cancelling Headphones
Noise cancelling headphones work well in many situations, but they are not perfect. It is important to remember that many manufacture claims, while technically true, are somewhat misleading.
For example, some manufacturers claim that their product offers 95% noise reduction. This is true in that decibels work on a logarithmic scale, but it doesn’t at all mean that 95% of the noise coming into your headphones will be eliminated and you will hear only the remaining 5 percent.
The technology will not make you deaf to the world. Sound waves are complex and exist at many different levels and frequencies all at the same time. If sound were a simple sine wave, for example, noise cancelling would be easy. But sound in the real world contains numerous overtones with varying transient levels and no technology at present can remove all of them.
Don’t let this discourage you, however, from buying a set of noise cancelling headphones. I own a pair myself and love them. They do what they do very well; just don’t have unrealistic expectations of their abilities.
Active noise cancelling headphones excel at reducing constant ambient noise, especially noise in the lower frequency range. This is why they are so good at reducing the noise on airplanes and trains, making them perfect for frequent travelers. They also do a good job of reducing outside noise in general; they just don’t perform miracles and completely erase the outside world. If they did I would buy a new pair regardless of the price!
For more technical information on Noise Cancelling headphones check out Wikipedia
Unfortunately, many of the best noise cancelling headphones are expensive, with many at $300 or more. But the good news is that there are now budget or cheaper noise cancelling headphones that can be had at a reasonable price.
We have selected and review five of the best noise cancelling headphones under $100 in our article here and so you can find a model which is perfect for your needs and your budget.
Final Thoughts on Buying Best Noise cancelling headphones under $100
If you thought quality active noise cancelling headphones were out of reach for anyone without $300 or more to spare, you should look again. This list contains a wide variety of quality noise cancelling headphones in the under $100 price range.
Regardless of your personal preferences there is certainly a model that is right for you.
Some models have a wide range of features, including wireless Bluetooth, built in mic, onboard controls, and more, while others are relatively simple wired designs which focus primarily on sound quality and active noise cancelling quality above all else.
So if you’re tired of turning your headphones up to compensate for outside noise, take a look at these affordable active noise cancelling headphones. They are especially ideal for frequent fliers, people who often ride trains or the subway, or anyone who sometimes wants to turn the outside world down a few notches.
Thanks for reading and I hope you find the perfect pair of headphones to meet your personal needs.