Top 5 Best Noise Cancelling Headphones Under $100 2021


Active noise-cancellation systems have become very popular in headphones. A great pair of noise-cancelling headphones will greatly reduce the level of outside noise the listener will hear when wearing the headphones. These headphones allow the listener to tune out noisy environments so that they can listen to audio or reduce noise and get closer to silence.

Of course, not all noise-cancelling headphones are created equal. There are some great budget options below $100, but the best models will cost more. In this article, we’ll discuss the best noise-cancelling headphones on the market that fit within a $100 USD budget.

The top 5 best noise-cancelling headphones under $100 are:

At $100, you won’t find the best of the best. However, there are still superb options at this price point. Each of the headphones listed above is a fantastic choice if you’re after a pair of great noise-cancelling headphones.

Since we’re having a discussion within the context of a price cap, I figure I should leave a link to a related My New Microphone article: Are Expensive Headphones (Or Cheap Headphones) Worth It?


What Makes A Great Noise-Cancelling Headphone?

Though the term “best” is subjective, we should still list the criteria used to determine what makes a great noise-cancelling headphone.

  • Comfort: this is perhaps the simplest yet most important criterion of any headphone. Though highly subjective, specifications such as weight; contact pressure; earpad shape/material; stiffness, and the overall dimension play a role in comfort.
  • Noise cancellation: this is obvious but a pair of noise-cancelling headphones needs good noise-cancellation. Often this is specified in negative decibels. Low frequencies are generally easier to cancel out so listen for higher frequencies when trying noise-cancelling headphones out.
  • Battery life: because active noise-cancellation requires power, noise-cancelling headphones will generally require batteries. The amount of time it takes for the battery to drain from fully charged is an important factor to consider. It’s also worth noting whether the battery is internal or if the headphone will require external batteries.
  • Impedance/device compatibility: consumer-grade noise-cancelling headphones should be compatible with mobile devices. This means that the impedance should be low to avoid required a portable headphone amplifier. The sensitivity rating should also be considered in this discussion.
  • Frequency response: a great pair of headphones should be able to reproduce the full audible spectrum from 20 Hz – 20,000 Hz with clarity.

Wireless (especially Bluetooth) capabilities are also seen as a benefit since they further improve the functionality and general comfort of the headphones. Many noise-cancelling headphones today are wireless as well since they require power anyway (why not add in a Bluetooth receiver that runs off the same battery source?).

With that, let’s get into our top 5 best noise-cancelling headphones for under $100!

To learn more about noise-cancelling headphones before we jump into the best models under $500, please consider reading the following My New Microphone articles:
How Do Noise-Cancelling Headphones Work? (PNC & ANC)
Passive Vs. Active Noise-Cancelling Headphones


Related articles:

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Anker Soundcore Life Q30

The Anker Soundcore Life Q30 (link to check the price on Amazon) is a great noise-cancelling headphone to begin our discussion with.

Anker Soundcore Life Q30

The Anker Soundcore Life Q30 features active noise cancellation, Bluetooth connectivity and App customization in an affordable pair of headphones. Of course, at its price point, the Life Q30 will not be the best headphone to do any of these features. However, they’re there, and this jack-of-all-trade headphone is of great value.

Starting with the ANC, the Soundcore Life Q30 utilizes a hybrid design. Each earcup is designed with 2 mics: one outside the cup to be used with the feedforward circuit and one inside the cup to be used with the feedback circuit. Having 2 reference points to constantly adjust the ANC in stereo allows for notable cancellation of exterior noise.

Of course, ANC isn’t perfect. It’s challenging to filter out inconsistent or otherwise transient noises and sounds in the mid-to-high frequency ranges (due to shorter wavelengths). That being said, the Life Q30 is said to be able to block up to 95% of low-end-heavy engine noise.

There are actually 3 modes of active noise cancellation that are accessible via the Soundcore app. Transport mode helps drown out the aforementioned engine noise. Indoor mode helps reduce ambient sound in rooms. Outdoor mode focuses on reducing traffics and other outdoor sounds.

The app also offers 22 EQ presets and the ability to customize the EQ yourself. There’s also an option to produce a white noise soundscape to help block out noise even further by simply drowning out any noise that does get through to the listener.

In addition to the ANC, the Life Q30 also offers a Transparency Mode that uses the exterior ANC mics to pick up exterior sound and play it back in the headphone driver. Engage this mode by touching the right panel for 1 second and easily hear what’s happening around you.

The headphone can be connected wirelessly via Bluetooth and even with NFC if we so choose. The operating range for the Bluetooth connections is upwards of 15 m (49 ft).

To learn more about wireless headphones, please consider reading the following My New Microphone articles:
• How Bluetooth Headphones Work & How To Pair Them To Devices
• How Do Wireless Headphones Work? + Bluetooth & True Wireless

We’ll get 40 hours of playtime with ANC engaged and 60 hours without ANC when connected via Bluetooth. Fast charging is made possible with the included USB-C cable: a 5-minute charge will net an additional 4 hours of playtime.

In addition to the microphones used for active noise cancellation, this Soundcore headphone has 2 microphones for telephony. Enjoy clear communication during calls and easy use of voice assistants.

Now to finally talk about how the headphone sounds.

The Life Q30 is Hi-Res certified, meeting the stringent standards of audio performance and reproduction. The 40mm silk-diaphragm drivers are precision-tuned to produce shining top-end all way up to 40 kHz (well above the audible spectrum) along with deep, thumping bass to really make listeners feel the music.

Sure, the Life Q30 is not the most accurate headphone on the market, but it sounds great for its price and extra functionality.

Soft protein leather earcups are designed with memory foam padding to fit comfortably over the ears. The lightweight headphone applies minimal pressure, making for a comfy fit that will remain so over long listening sessions.

Key Specifications:

  • Transducer Type: 40 mm Dynamic
  • Impedance: 16 Ω
  • Frequency Response: 16 Hz – 40,000 Hz
  • Sensitivity: no info
  • IP Rating: no info
  • Open/Closed-Back: Circumaural/Closed-back
  • Weight: 9oz (260g)
  • Wireless/Wired: Bluetooth 5

To learn more about headphone specifications, be sure to read my article Full List: Headphone/Earphone Specifications w/ Examples.

The Anker Soundcore Life Q20 (link to check the price on Amazon) is another headphone from Soundcore worth checking out that costs even less than the Q30.


JBL Tune 600BTNC

Up second is the JBL Tune 600BTNC (link to check the price on Amazon) from the popular American company JBL.

JBL Tune 600BTNC

The JBL Tune 600BTNC is another great noise-cancelling headphone under $100 that offers both wireless (Bluetooth 4.1) and wired (via 3.5mm jacks) connectivity. It’s another great jack-of-all-trades headphone at an affordable price.

The active noise-cancelling on these headphones is actually nothing special. It utilizes run-of-the-mill feedforward technology to cancel out external noise. This works well with consistent low-end sounds but will struggle with mid/high frequencies and more sporadic sounds. Luckily the closed-back circumaural design will help isolate these sounds.

To learn more about closed-back (and open-back) headphone designs, check out my article The Complete Guide To Open-Back & Closed-Back Headphones.

That being said, the Tune 600BTNC is still a great value, and it does offer ANC, giving it a spot on this list.

With Bluetooth, the Tune 600BTNC can easily be paired with compatible devices for wireless connectivity. Its operating range is up to 10 metres (33 feet).

These headphones get 12 hours of playtime with ANC engaged and 20 hours without ANC when connected via Bluetooth. It takes 2 hours to charge the headphones from empty via USB-C.

Built-in telephony microphones make calls and voice assistant usage easy when the headphone is connected via Bluetooth. The convenient 3-button earcup remote allows us to control audio (pause, play, skip) and calls (take, make, reject, etc.) without ever having to reach for the paired smart device.

The headphone can also be connected via an included detachable cable. The cable has 3.5mm plugs at either end. A 3.5mm to 6.35mm (1/4″) adapter will be necessary to plug into 1/4″ headphone jacks.

For more info on 3.5mm and 6.35mm headphone plugs and jacks, check out my article The Differences Between 2.5mm, 3.5mm & 6.35mm Headphone Jacks.

The Tune 600BTNC features 32mm dynamic drivers that help to deliver the JBL Pure Bass sound: a deep, powerful bass that aims to recreate the impressive bass of large-scale venues.

The frequency response of these headphones ranges from 20 Hz – 20,000 Hz (the audible range of human hearing). Though the headphones are arguably focused on producing remarkable bass, the mids and high are also well-represented.

To learn more about headphone frequency response, check out my article What Is Headphone Frequency Response & What Is A Good Range?

The earpads of the JBL Tune 600BTNC are made from Frog skin PU leather for a comfortable fit. Adjust the headband to your liking and enjoy the audio without being distracted by how the headphone feels.

Key Specifications:

  • Transducer Type: 1.26″ / 32 mm Dynamic
  • Impedance: 32 Ω
  • Frequency Response: 20 Hz – 20,000 Hz
  • Sensitivity: 100 dB
  • IP Rating: no info
  • Open/Closed-Back: Supra-aural/Closed-back
  • Weight: 6.1 oz / 173 g
  • Wireless/Wired: Bluetooth 4.1

Also, check out JBL Tune 750BTNC (link to check the price on Amazon)

JBL is featured in the following My New Microphone articles:
Top 14 Best Earphone/Earbud Brands In The World
Top 11 Best Home Speaker Brands You Should Know And Use
Top 10 Best Loudspeaker Brands (Overall) On The Market Today
Top 11 Best PA Loudspeaker Brands You Should Know And Use
Top 11 Best Subwoofer Brands (Car, PA, Home & Studio)
Top 11 Best Car Audio Speaker Brands In The World
Top 11 Best Soundbar Brands On The Market
Top 8 Best Portable Bluetooth Speaker Brands On The Market


Taotronics SoundSurge 85

The Taotronics SoundSurge 85 (link to check the price on Amazon) comes in well below the $100 limit but swings well above its price class.

TaoTronics SoundSurge 85

The TaoTronics SoundSurge 85 actually comes in well below the $100 limit set for this article. The headphone is just that good! It doesn’t only have ANC but Bluetooth connectivity as well.

The TaoTronics SoundSurge 85 is also featured in My New Microphone’s Top Best Headphones Under $50.

The SoundSurge 85 is designed with feedback ANC technology, which places a microphone inside the earcup. It picks up the noise inside the earcup (which we would hear), constantly compares it to the incoming audio signal, and produces an anti-noise signal for the drivers.

As was mentioned, ANC works much better with low frequencies and less so with higher frequencies. The closed-back design and ANC combine to provide good, but not perfect, noise isolation.

The Bluetooth 5.0 chip within the SoundSurge 85 offers superb wireless connectivity. The headphone pairs easily with compatible devices and even pairs automatically to the last paired device when turned on (so long as that device is within range).

If users wish to forego the Bluetooth connection, these headphones do, indeed, have a 3.5mm audio port and come with a male-to-male 3.5mm audio cable. Wired connectivity is made possible and is sometimes preferred (or necessary if the audio device does not have Bluetooth).

For more info on headphone cables, check out my article An In-Depth Look Into How Headphone Cables Carry Audio.

The battery life of this headphone is 40 hours on a full charge with ANC and Bluetooth engaged. It has remarkably fast charging via USB-C with 5 minutes of charging netting an additional 2 hours of playback, and 45 minutes of charging netting the full 40 hours.

Of course, if ANC is turned off and the headphones are connected via the audio cable, the battery with not be drained.

The 40mm dynamic drivers provide deep bass along with clear mids and highs for clean audio reproduction.

In addition to the headphone drivers and the microphones necessary for ANC, the SoundSurge 85 has a cVc (Clear Voice Capture) 8.0 noise-cancelling microphone. This mic acts as a wireless input for the connected Bluetooth device, allowing for hands-free calls and voice assistant usage.

The SoundSurge 85 is also pretty comfortable with an adjustable headband and 90° rotatable ear cups. Fold the earcups inward for easier carrying. The over-ear cups feature soft protein memory foam pads to make a comfortable but secure fit for noise cancellation and long-time wear.

Key Specifications:

  • Transducer Type: 40mm Dynamic
  • Impedance: no info
  • Frequency Response: no info
  • Sensitivity: no info
  • IP Rating: no info
  • Open/Closed-Back: Circumaural/Closed-back
  • Weight: 7.8 oz (220g)
  • Wireless/Wired: Bluetooth 5.0

Sony MDR-ZX110NC

The second last model we’ll look at is the Sony MDR-ZX110NC (link to check the price on Amazon).

Sony MDR-ZX110NC

The Sony MDR-ZX110NC is another affordable pair of noise-cancelling headphones. This pair is a bit different from the others because it’s got a supra-aural (on-ear) design and does not feature Bluetooth connectivity.

This headphone uses feedforward ANC with microphones on the exterior that pick up external noise directly to produce the anti-noise signal.

Once again, the noise-cancelling function is effective in low-frequency ranges such as airplanes, trains, or offices and is not as effective for higher frequencies, such as human voices.

Also, the typical supra-aural (on-ear) headphone has worse passive noise isolation than a typical circumaural (over-ear) headphone because it covers the ears. Passive noise isolation is a big part of overall noise cancellation.

The ZX110NC gets around this with a form-fitting earpad that covers the ears securely and comfortably to effectively block noise from entering easily.

This headphone takes a single AAA battery and will provide ANC up to 80 hours on a single battery. It comes with a Sony R03 battery.

The straight Y-shaped cord is fixed and nearly 4 feet in length. It ends with a 3.5mm stereo plug for easy connection in mobile and consumer-grade devices. A 3.5mm to 6.35mm adapter will be needed to plug into 1/4″ (6.35mm) headphone jacks.

The 30mm dynamic drivers produce a 12–22,000 Hz frequency response for pristine bass, mids, and treble. Of course, none of the headphones on this list have remarkable sound. However, for the price, the ZX110NC sounds pretty good, even when ANC is engaged (which will negatively affect the overall sound).

To learn more about dynamic drivers and driver size, check out my articles The Complete Illustrated Guide To Moving-Coil Dynamic Headphones and What Is A Good Driver Size For Headphones? respectively.

This lightweight on-ear headphone doesn’t put a whole lot of pressure on the head, but the supra-aural earcup may cause discomfort over longer listening sessions as it presses directly on the ear.

Key Specifications:

  • Transducer Type: 30 mm Dynamic with Neodymium magnets
  • Impedance:
    • On: 220 Ω
    • Off: 45 Ω
  • Frequency Response: 10 Hz – 22,000 Hz
  • Sensitivity:
    • On: 115 dB/mW
    • Off: 110 dB/mW
  • IP Rating: no info
  • Open/Closed-Back: Supra-aural/Closed-back
  • Weight: 150 g / 5.30 oz. (including battery and excluding cable)
  • Wireless/Wired: Wired

Sony is featured in the following My New Microphone articles:
Top 13 Best Headphone Brands In The World
Top 14 Best Earphone/Earbud Brands In The World
Top 11 Best AV Receiver Brands In The World
Top 9 Best Car Stereo Brands In The World
Top 11 Audio Portable/Field Audio Mixer/Recorder Brands
Top 11 Best Soundbar Brands On The Market
Top 8 Best Portable Bluetooth Speaker Brands On The Market


Mpow H12

Let’s wrap this article up by discussing the Mpow H12 (link to check the price on Amazon).

Mpow H12

The Mpow H12 is another great headphone choice for under $100 USD. It offers active noise cancellation and wireless Bluetooth connectivity.

Honestly, the ANC is average for the price range, at best. Rather, it’s the sound of headphones that got them a spot on this list.

The ANC does a great job of reducing the levels of low-end rumble in everyday life but can’t really block out voice and other inconsistent sounds/noises in the environment.

The headphone can be connected wirelessly via Bluetooth 5.0 for excellent stability without audio drop-outs.

It can also connect via a 3.5mm audio cable, and the headphone comes with its own cable.

In addition to the audio cable, the H12 also has a Micro-USB cable for charging purposes. Charging time takes 2 to 3 hours, and a full battery life offers 30 hours of music with ANC and Bluetooth engaged.

Dual cVc 6.0 noise-cancelling microphones are used for telephony, making communication clear when making calls or using voice assistants.

The 40mm dynamic drivers provide Hi-Fi stereo sound, and the CSR chip secures lossless audio transmission via Bluetooth. Whether we choose wired or wireless connectivity, the H12 will sound great. From the solid bass response to bright treble and clean mids in between, the Mpow H12 reproduces audio in a pleasing way.

Memory foam ear cushions keep listeners comfortable even for a long time wearing after long listening sessions and help further improve noise cancellation by offering improved passive noise isolation.

Key Specifications:

  • Transducer Type: 40mm Dynamic
  • Impedance: no info
  • Frequency Response: no info
  • Sensitivity: no info
  • IP Rating: no info
  • Open/Closed-Back: Circumaural/Closed-back
  • Weight: no info
  • Wireless/Wired: Bluetooth 5.0 or wired

Choosing the right headphones or earphones for your applications and budget can be a challenging task. For this reason, I’ve created My New Microphone’s Comprehensive Headphones/Earphones Buyer’s Guide. Check it out for help in determining your next headphones/earphones purchase.


Other Top Headphones/Earphones Articles

Here are additional My New Microphone articles regarding the best headphones/earphones by type, application, and price:
Top 5 Best Balanced Armature In-Ear Monitors
• Top 5 Best Balanced Armature In-Ear Monitors Under $500
• Top 5 Best Bone Conduction Headphones
• Top 5 Best Circumaural (Over-Ear) Headphones Under $100
• Top 5 Best Circumaural (Over-Ear) Headphones Under $200

• Top 5 Best Circumaural (Over-Ear) Headphones Under $500
• Top 5 Best Closed-Back Headphones Under $100
• Top 5 Best Closed-Back Headphones Under $200

Top 5 Best Closed-Back Headphones Under $500
• Top 5 Best Earphones For Sleeping Under $250
• Top 3 Best Earphones For Swimming Under $200
• Top 5 Best Electrostatic Headphones
• Top 10 Best Headphones/Earphones For Hiking
• Top 5 Best Headphones Under $50
• Top 5 Best Headphones For Podcasting Under $100
• Top 5 Best Headphones For Podcasting Under $200
• Top 5 Best Moving-Coil/Dynamic Headphones Under $100
• Top 5 Best Moving-Coil/Dynamic Headphones Under $200
• Top 5 Best Moving-Coil/Dynamic Headphones Under $500
• Top 5 Best Noise Cancelling Earphones Under $100
• Top 5 Best Noise Cancelling Earphones Under $200
• Top 5 Best Noise-Cancelling Headphones Under $200
• Top 5 Best Noise-Cancelling Headphones Under $500
• Top 5 Best Open-Back Headphones Under $100
• Top 5 Best Open-Back Headphones Under $200
• Top 5 Best Open-Back Headphones Under $500
• Top 5 Best Planar Magnetic Headphones
• Top 5 Best Supra-Aural (On-Ear) Headphones Under $100
• Top 5 Best Supra-Aural (On-Ear) Headphones Under $250
• Top 5 Best Supra-Aural (On-Ear) Headphones Under $500
• Top 5 Best Wireless Earphones/Earbuds Under $100
• Top 5 Best Wireless Earphones/Earbuds Under $200
• Top 5 Best Wireless Earphones For Running Under $50
• Top 5 Best Wireless Earphones For Running Under $100
• Top 5 Best Wireless Earphones For Running Under $200
• Top 5 Best Wireless Headphones Under $100
• Top 5 Best Wireless Headphones Under $200
• Top 5 Best Wireless Headphones Under $500


This article has been approved in accordance with the My New Microphone Editorial Policy.

Arthur

Arthur is the owner of Fox Media Tech and author of My New Microphone. He's an audio engineer by trade and works on contract in his home country of Canada. When not blogging on MNM, he's likely hiking outdoors and blogging at Hikers' Movement (hikersmovement.com) or composing music for media. Check out his Pond5 and AudioJungle accounts.

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