When you’re looking for a pair of headphones, there’s a common trend that has surfaced in the form of noise-cancelling technology. In addition to having excellent sound quality, many people want their headphones to keep unwanted sounds out. With a rapidly growing market for noise-cancelling headphones in consumer tech, many companies are coming out with newer and better models that come equipped with the latest noise-cancellation technology explicitly designed to give users the best sound coming in while keeping the outside world out. As most users can imagine, this kind of technology doesn’t come cheap, so the question remains as to how one might procure quality noise-cancelling headphones without breaking the bank? For all the budget-friendly audiophiles out there, we’re listing down 2018’s best noise cancelling headphones under $100.
What To Look For
Before we continue on to this list of the best of the best noise-cancelling headphones that don’t break the bank, we came up with a few choice specifications to consider in our evaluations. The criteria we’re using in reviewing these products are as follows:
Wired Vs. Wireless
Depending on your lifestyle and where you want to take your choice of noise cancelling headphones, it’s important to consider whether or not to get a wired model or a wireless model that connects, typically, over Bluetooth. Wired headphones often have the best sound quality and are less dependent on battery performance, whereas wireless headphones offer greater flexibility and portability for a pair of noise cancelling audio gear that you can easily take with you wherever you go. Fortunately, there are a bunch of budget options out there that offer both.
Noise Cancelling Performance
If you’re in the market for noise cancelling headphones, then the most critical factor to look at is how well the noise cancelling holds up. Some users may want something that completely blocks out outside noise, whereas others only want to be free of the constant buzz and drone of industry and city life, while still being able to hear loud noises and stay alert in case of emergency. Either way, there are plenty of options included in this list that offer a wide range of noise cancelling performance that caters to different needs.
While you’re not going to get the best of the best sound quality for under $100, a lot of these budget variants are good enough for all but the most discerning of audiophiles. Whether you’re looking for the best bass for an immersive concert-feel, excellent range and direction for interactive gaming, or just enough sound quality to enjoy some lo-fi music for studying and all-around chilling, the sound quality is an essential factor to consider when buying headphones of any kind.
You mostly only need to consider battery life in wireless models, but especially for people who like to be on-the-go, it’s vital to choose headphones that won’t tie you down to an electric socket. Some headphones can last weeks on a single charge, while some barely go a day without needing to be plugged in. At the $100 price range, don’t expect to get fantastic battery life, but even in these budget models, there are plenty of options to choose from that give very comfortable battery life for extended use.
Fit And Design
Headphones come in all shapes and sizes, and while manufacturers try their best to cater to the heads of all shapes and sizes as well, it’s important to note that some headphones are just designed better than others. Some headphones are going to be better for larger heads, or accommodating hair and headgear, while some headphones provide a tighter, snugger fit that may be perfect for some, uncomfortable for others. That said, it’s important to go for a headphone that you know will fit nice and comfortably on your head.
You wouldn’t expect budget headphones to be as premium-built as the highest-end headphones that cost hundreds of dollars more, but at the $100 price range, you can find some decently-built headphones that will, with proper care and maintenance, stand the test of time. Durability is a significant factor to consider, especially if you’re taking your audio gear with you everywhere you go. Apart from being resistant to wear and tear, headphones also have to be resilient to the elements. At $100 or less, we do not promise the best of the best quality, premium-built headphones available, but we do try to find the best-value headphones that give the best bang for your Benjamin.
Our Picks for 2018’s Best Noise Cancelling Headphones Under $100
Golzer BANC-50 $79.95
The Golzer BANC-50 are headphones that work as advertised. These headphones make use of both wired and wireless Bluetooth connections and come with aptX coding designed to deliver wired quality audio even through a wireless Bluetooth connection. The Golzer BANC-50 promises Noise Cancellation rates of 85% making them perfect for long transit and flights.
While its Active Noise Cancellation rate isn’t as high as the other headphones on this list, the Golzer BANC-50 still delivers great noise cancellation for its price and the added benefit of aptX coding is a huge plus. With aptX coding, the Golzer BANC-50 gives you excellent wired quality audio with the convenience of wireless Bluetooth connection. The sound quality is full and rich, designed to make audio pop. The Golzer BANC-50s great noise cancellation paired with its excellent sound quality make them perfect for daily commute as well as flights so users can be sure that these headphones keep unwanted sounds out while making sure the music you do hear is quality.
The Golzer BANC-50 offers 30 hours of battery life when used as wired with Active Noise Cancellation turned on, 15 hours on wireless Bluetooth connection with Active Noise Cancellation turned off, and 12 hours on wireless Bluetooth connection with Active Nosie Cancellation turned on. Regarding charging time, the Golzer BANC-50 usually takes 2 to 3 hours to get a full charge.
Design-wise, there is nothing too extraordinary about the Golzer BANC-50. They follow the generic design of most noise cancelling headphones and are, for the most part, minimalist in design. These headphones are built with plastic with padding around the headband and earcups. While the Golzer-BANC50 is exceptionally light, its plastic build implies that these headphones are not that durable and should be treated carefully. The earcups are soft and comfortable, perfect for long-time wear
The Golzer-BANC50 are headphones that work as advertised. It provides great noise cancellation and excellent audio quality for its price. Save for its somewhat fragile build, these headphones deliver exceptionally well in everything else and deserve to be on this list.
CB3 Hush $99.99
The CB3 Hush is one of the best budget noise-cancelling headphones you will find. These headphones can be used both wired and wireless through Bluetooth, the former being used to save battery. Regarding performance, the noise cancelling in the CB3 Hush is not Bose-level, but for the price you’re paying, these headphones deliver. The noise reduction that the CB3 Hush provides is above average considering its price range. Sound-wise, the CB3 Hush proves itself to be a cut above the rest. It’s not quite as Hi-Res as other, more expensive noise cancelling headphones in the market but they do the job well. These headphones support aptX which help with sound quality albeit being not so noticeable. The CB3 Hush delivers above average sound quality and ensures a great listening experience for its price.
The CB3 Hush easily offers 10 hours of playtime after a full charge which usually takes 3 to 4 hours. It comes with a built-in lithium-ion battery that cannot be replaced. In comparison to other models, 10 hours is on the lower end of the spectrum thus presenting us with the CB3 Hush’s first drawback.
The CB3 Hush uses high quality materials, and the build gives off an almost premium feel. The headphones swivel and can be folded to fit into its carrying case. The earpads are over-the-ear style and made of faux leather, and while it is not the softest material, users have said that they do get softer when they are warm thus offering comfort for prolonged use. The headband extends to cater to bigger heads so headphones that are too small won’t be a problem if you choose the CB3 Hush. The design is generic and saves for a small logo on both earpads; everything else is completely non-descript. The CB3 Hush is well made and if treated right will serve as reliable headphones for a long time.
The CB3 Hush comes with no nonsense controls. There is a button to switch Active Noise Cancellation on/off, and there are three other buttons on the right earcup for other functions such as play/pause, connecting to Bluetooth, calling/hanging up, song selection, and volume control.
The CB3 Hush offers effective noise cancelling without breaking the bank. These headphones also come with above average sound quality users don’t usually expect to get from headphones in its price range. The CB3 Hush is well made and could easily last a long time if treated right. Its’ only drawbacks are its subpar battery life and that its earpads can be a bit uncomfortable when not warm. The CB3 Hush is one of the best choices if you are looking for noise-cancelling headphones under 100.
Böhm B66 $69.95
The Böhm B66’s main selling point is its design. While other headphones in the market opt for the more generic build, the Böhm B66 strays from the usual path and goes all out in presenting itself to be aesthetically-pleasing. Performance-wise, the Böhm B66 offers decent noise cancellation. These headphones do a decent job of keeping environmental sounds out, but it has its limits. They are best used for the daily commute but fail to cancel outside noise completely during flights, and train rides as some environmental sounds seep in. The Böhm B66 is packed with features to ensure that users experience state-of-the-art sound quality not usually found in headphones of this price range. The Böhm B66 offers support for both wired and wireless use with the former being perfect for when the battery runs out.
The Böhm B66 promises 18 hours of battery life on a full charge which takes approximately 3 hours. Listening on a louder volume while connected through Bluetooth diminishes the battery life by a few hours but 18 hours is still respectable for headphones in this price range.
The Böhm B66 pulls out all the stops in its design. The housing is made of aluminum which makes these headphones lightweight and zinc alloy is used for metal detailing that makes these headphones look more expensive than they are. Artificial leather is used as padding for both the headband and the earpads to ensure comfort for prolonged use. The Böhm B66 comes with folding earcups designed to make storage easier as well as a hard-shell case for those worried about the risk of damage that comes with simply chucking headphones in their bags.
The Böhm B66 is perfect for daily commuters who want a budget headphone that has more to offer than just its specs. These headphones are perfect for those looking for a more stylish approach to the usual generic style often found in budget headphones. The Böhm B66 comes in a stylish design that doesn’t compromise quality, and these headphones perform as well as they look. The Böhm B66 delivers sophistication on a budget, and looks and feels premium.
Sony MDRZX110NC $49.99
Sony has long been a household name in consumer tech. They are known by many for their high-quality products, and they recently came out with their flagship headphone, the Sony WH-1000XM2 which is considered to be the best noise-cancelling headphone in the market right now. It’s a commonly known fact that these headphones don’t come cheap. However, Sony does provide budget-friendly alternatives. That’s where the Sony MDRZX110NC comes in. These headphones promise noise reduction levels of up to 95% and deliver great sound quality excelling with heavy bass music. The Sony MDRZX110NC is wired only, with no option for Bluetooth, but it offers up to 80 hours of battery life which makes these headphones perfect for road trips. They come with an adapter specifically designed for use in airplanes which makes them perfect for long flights as well. The Sony MDRZX110NC requires one triple-a battery for Active Noise Cancellation use, and removal and replacement are done with the push of a button found on the earpad.
Performance-wise, the Sony MDRZX110NC boasts effective noise cancellation for its price. These headphones do not drown out ambient sound completely, but they do reduce it greatly. In addition to effective noise cancellation, the Sony MDRZX110NC also delivers excellent sound quality. Using the Active Noise Cancellation feature amplifies sound quality greatly and makes the sound come to life. Overall, the Sony MDRZX110NC makes good on its promises of 95% noise reduction and excellent sound quality.
Since the Sony MDRZX110NC is wired, it uses far less battery power compared to a wireless Bluetooth headphone. As such, Sony can promise a battery life of up to 80 hours.
The Sony MDRZX110NC is made with plastic, and while this makes the product extremely light, it has the undesired effect of making the headphone feel almost cheap in quality. The plastic design and thin headband spell out a level of fragility so extra care is needed to make sure these headphones don’t break. The earpads, however, are extremely comfortable and are perfect for long-time wear. Users can fold the headphones to minimize the space it needs for storage. The cable used is of decent build and length, and looks to be durable. The Sony MDRZX110NC comes in black and has a very understated design sure to please those looking for something minimalistic. There is a button on one of the earpads designed for turning Active Noise Cancellation on/off and a push button on the other for replacing the battery.
The Sony MDRZX110NC comes in a sleek and compact design. These headphones make use of the folding style design to reduce the amount of space it takes up when stored making it perfect for on-the-go travels. Some drawbacks are that it is wired only which means these headphones do not have the convenient range that wireless headphones provide and the plastic build which makes the product extremely light but sacrifices some durability and almost makes the product feel cheap. Overall, the Sony MDRZX110NC effectively delivers superb noise cancellation and excellent sound quality. If users do not mind the limitation set by the wire-only design, these headphones are one of the best choices and users can be sure that they are getting premium quality even on a budget.
Monoprice Hi-Fi 10010 $49.99
Monoprice is best known for producing budget-friendly audio products that deliver great sound quality with some calling Monoprice the “poor man’s Bose.” The Monoprice Hi-Fi 10010 are wired headphones that come from a reputable and popular brand. These headphones are an extremely reliable choice to make if you want quality for under $100.
The Monoprice Hi-Fi 10010 promises noise cancellation rates of 92%. By far, the most impressive thing about these headphones is that most users compare it to Bose noise cancelling headphones stating they do 2/3 of the cancelling at 1/3 of the price. Sound quality is excellent for the price tag that these headphones come with. Even with noise cancellation turned off, the headphones provide superb noise isolation through the earcups alone.
A deal breaker for most users could be that the Monoprice Hi-Fi 10010 does not support wireless connection through Bluetooth. While it delivers in every other aspect, users may not like that these headphones do not provide the convenience of wireless connectivity. However, the Monoprice Hi-Fi 10010 makes up for its lack of Bluetooth capability with a 50-hour battery life that blows away most other headphones in this price range.
The Monoprice Hi-Fi 10010 comes in a stripped-down, minimalist design that is sure to please users who are looking for something that isn’t flashy. These are sturdily-built headphones, so durability isn’t a problem – go ahead and take them with you on your daily commute. The earcups on the Monoprice Hi-Fi 10010 have memory foam-like padding which provides a comfortable experience even after prolonged use. Another drawback, especially for aesthetic-oriented consumers, is the lack of color options on the Monoprice Hi-Fi 10010 which only comes in black.
Overall, the Monoprice Hi-Fi 10010 delivers great value for its price tag, and does nothing but add to Monoprice’s sterling reputation as a reputable and dependable budget brand.
Cowin E7 $66.00
The Cowin E7 is a crowd favorite, garnering an average of 4/5 from 1000+ reviews and is Amazon’s top selling wireless noise-cancelling headphone. Engineered to provide quality audio and designed for comfort, the Cowin E7 is one of the best budget noise-cancelling headphones in its price range.
These headphones offer both wired and wireless via Bluetooth connection options with the Cowin E7 receiving praise for its great wireless range and ease of use. These headphones come with NFC support for easy pairing with smartphones as well as a regular audio cable for wired connectivity.
Performance-wise, the Cowin E7 gets a lot of things right. Noise isolation is decent on these headphones, and the audio does not leak out as much compared to other headphones in this price range. Noise cancellation is effective and of above average quality. The Cowin E7 performs impressively and lives up to its reputation of being a favorite among consumers. Sound quality is decent although audiophiles may have their qualms about this product as the sound tends to be a little muffled.
The Cowin E7 has a long-lasting battery life with a playback time of up to 26 hours. One thing to consider, however, is its slightly longer charge time as a full charge usually takes up to 3 to 4 hours. These headphones can and will last you all day, but users should remember to charge them 4 hours before use.
The design on these headphones is an acquired taste with the Cowin E7 being considered too flashy by some users. The exterior of the earcups has a nice, glossy finish and the earcups themselves are extremely soft and swivel for flat storage, however, they do not fold so storage may be tricky with the Cowin E7. The headband makes use of soft pleather and comes with a cushion designed to make the headphones comfortable enough to wear even after a long time. Another thing to note is the Cowin E7’s considerable bulkiness which may prove to be challenging when users try to store them especially since they do not fold like other headphones in this price range. Moreover, the Cowin E7 has some weight to it and is heavier compared to other models, but the weight isn’t so heavy as to cause neck strain. Another plus for the Cowin E7 is that it offers more diverse color options compared to other headphones. The Cowin E7 comes in black, purple, blue, and red, perfect for those looking to stray from the usual black.
Overall, the Cowin E7 are decent headphones that perform well for the amount they’re priced at. The design is an acquired taste, but users will find that these headphones perform better than expected.
Monster Inspiration $69.99
The Monster Inspiration came out in 2012 and originally sold for $349.99. They’ve since dropped in price and are now at a reasonably-priced $69.99. These wired headphones prove to be age-defying as they are proven to perform just as well as more recent noise cancelling headphone models.
The Monster Inspiration delivers powerful active noise cancelling as well as excellent sound quality. These headphones will make users feel as if they are listening to their music with surround sound as audio quality is very rich and crisp. In addition to its fantastic sound quality, the noise cancelling feature is terrific and keeps unwanted sounds out 90% as well as Bose headphones. The Monster Inspiration is perfect for audiophiles looking to not only cancel ambient sounds out but to ensure the audio they hear is a pure premium in quality. The noise isolation is superb and these headphones block out most sounds even without noise cancellation turned on.
The Monster Inspiration is wired thus battery life isn’t something users have to worry about. These headphones use 2 AAA batteries, and fresh batteries can last up to 40 hours of extensive noise cancellation use. A plus is that users are still able to use the Monster Inspiration even after the batteries die.
The Monster Inspiration comes in black, white, silver, and grey. These headphones are built with a metal housing, the headband, and the earcups are covered with leather that gives off a premium feel. The Monster Inspiration is durable and can take quite a bit of punishment. These headphones also fold, allowing for easy storage without taking up too much space. By far, the Monster Inspiration’s most interesting aspect is its customization options. These headphones come with swappable headbands that come in an assortment of colors as well as different fabrics and patterns. The Monster Inspiration offers customization like no other in its price range.
The Monster Inspiration’s soft earcup paddings are comfortable and do not cause any strain on the ears however they do have a bit of snug fit, and while this ensures the headphones do not fall and stay on your ears, some may find this to be a deal-breaker.
Overall, the Monster Inspiration is one of the best purchases you can make for noise cancelling headphones in this price range. The only drawbacks these headphones have are that they’re wired and some users may opt for headphones that offer the convenience of wireless connectivity via Bluetooth, and that the fit can be a bit snug. Drawbacks aside, the Monster Inspiration delivers terrific noise cancelling and the sound quality you get from these headphones beats the muddy audio often heard in headphones in this price range. The Monster Inspiration’s premium design and impressive customization options, paired with their excellent performance make these headphones the overall best in this list. If wireless connectivity isn’t a big factor, the Monster Inspiration is perfect and performs better than any noise-cancelling headphone in this price range.
That’s it for our take on 2018’s best noise-cancelling headphones under $100. We hope that were able to prove our point with this list: that you don’t have to break the bank to experience great sound quality and noise-cancellation that should satisfy the needs of most audiophiles.