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11 Best Budget Noise Cancelling Headphones in 2024

Last updated: 2 months ago
14 min read

We’ve tested 193 headphones in 9 categories, including active noise cancellation (ANC).

Here are the best cheap noise-cancelling headphones (under $80). We’ll also explore:

  • ANC measurement charts, so you see how much noise they reduce
  • Our hands-on experience with each pair
  • What type is best for your needs

Let’s dig in:

We test and evaluate headphones using a standardized 9-point methodology. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

Sonic9Score Price Battery Type Connection More info
Under $80
60h (ANC off), 40h (ANC on)
Over-ear, closed-back
Bluetooth 5.0 & wired
EarFun Wave Pro Runner-up
EarFun Wave Pro small image
Under $80
51h+ (ANC on)
Over-ear, closed-back
Bluetooth 5.3 & wired (3.5mm)
Edifier W240TN Best true wireless
Edifier W240TN
Under $80
7h + 14h in case (ANC on)
True wireless, closed-back
Bluetooth 5.3
TOZO HT2 Best under $50
TOZO HT2 small image
Under $50
29.5h (ANC on)
Over-ear, closed-back
Bluetooth 5.3 & wired
EarFun Air Pro 3 Best buds with stem
EarFun Air Pro 3 small image
Under $80
8h+ (ANC on)
True wireless, closed-back
Bluetooth 5.3
SoundPEATS Space Best for battery life
SoundPEATS Space small image
Under $80
65h (ANC on)
Over-ear, closed-back
Bluetooth 5.3 & wired

The best budget noise-canceling headphones we’ve tested are the Anker Soundcore Life Q30.

We tested dozens of budget noise-cancelling headphones, and most of them are kind of bad.

Many times, the ANC produces an annoying background sound like a humm or pulse. Another problem is that the noise canceling doesn’t reduce a lot of noise. When you turn on the ANC, the impact is minimal. We go into much more detail in our reviews, where you can find ANC measurements and other tests.

But let me get to the point. Sometimes, we come across a model with ANC that performs much better than we expected. And these are the models in this list.

The best cheap noise-canceling headphones that remove a lot of ambient noise. And can be compared to more expensive models.

P.S. In all honesty, you can’t compare the effectiveness of the active noise cancelling technology with premium models like Bose 700, Apple Airpods Max, or Sony WH-1000XM5. But the recommendations on the list reach 80% of the effectiveness of the top options for much less money.

We picked the models under $80, which is considered a budget price in this category. The lowest price of solid headphones is around $50. We believe lower than that is not worth considering.

You can find higher-end options among the best noise canceling headphones. But for maximum value for money, you’ve come to the right place. For slightly more, see the top noise-canceling headphones under $100.

All headphones on our list are evaluated based on 9 key factors (Sonic9Score). See our testing and ranking methodology.

But the main criteria we looked at are:

  • Active noise cancellation
  • Battery life
  • Comfort

These 3 decision factors are the most important for good ANC headphones for commuting, traveling, and daily use. Read more below.

CONTENTS (show more)

    What to Expect from Budget Noise-Cancelling Headphones?

    There are certain limitations. Here’s what you can generally expect:

    • Noise cancellation performance: The noise cancelling effectiveness is lower than that found in premium models. You can expect roughly 80% performance in filtering out irregular or high-frequency sounds.
    • Sound quality: The audio of budget headphones is typically good but doesn’t match the richness and clarity of more expensive options.
    • Build quality: Budget headphones are often made with less expensive materials, which affects their durability.
    • Comfort: Comfort varies. Some models offer decent padding and ergonomics, while others feel less comfortable for extended use.
    • Battery life: The battery in budget noise cancelling headphones is generally quite good. Expect from 20 to 60 hours with ANC turned on, depending on the model.
    • Additional features: Basic features like built-in microphones and touch controls are common, but premium features like app support are rarer.
    • Warranty: Budget options come from less-known brands, but their warranties are the same as those from established companies, as they’re required by law. 1 year in the USA, 2 years in the EU.

    Overall, budget ANC headphones are a perfect option for casual users who want to try the technology without spending a lot. But for audiophiles or those seeking the best sound quality, higher-end models are more suitable.

    Best Budget Noise Cancelling Headphones

    1. Anker Soundcore Life Q30

    1st-place Best Budget Noise Cancelling Headphones
    • Noise Cancelling – Score 3.5: Effective noise reduction above their price tag, 3 ANC modes
    • Battery – Score 5.0: We tested it at 44 hours with ANC enabled, top-end performance
    • Comfort – Score 4.5: Thick padding and cushions help superb long-term comfort
    Anker Soundcore Life Q30 in a bush

    Soundcore Life Q30 are the best budget noise-cancelling headphones we’ve tested. With great sound and long battery life – Anker Soundcore Life Q30 review.

    Top deals today:

    Connection icon Connection: Bluetooth 5.0
    Driver size icon Driver size: 40mm
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: 16-40.000Hz
    Type: Over-ear | Battery life: 60h (40h with ANC) | Wireless range: 65ft (20m) | Noise cancelling: Yes, hybrid | Charging: 2h + Quick charge – USB-C | Mic & Controls: Yes | Bluetooth codecs: SBC, AAC | Water resistance: No | Features: ANC, ambient mode, multipoint, mobile app with EQ, NFC
    • Excellent sound quality (after EQ)
    • Great ANC with 3 modes
    • Comfortable fit
    • Companion app with EQ
    • Outstanding battery life
    • The bass isn't very fast
    • Looks bulky on your head

    Noise cancelling and isolation: While passive noise isolation is average, the active noise canceling is impressive for the price, with 3 different modes tailored for various environments: Outdoor, Indoor, and Transport. As a bonus Transparency mode allows you to hear your surroundings.

    However, some inconsistencies in ANC performance, such as a slight rumble from the right driver, were noted. But are a minor dent in otherwise surprising performance.

    Anker Soundcore Life Q30 ANC app
    ANC modes in Soundcore Life Q30

    Sound: The Anker Soundcore Life Q30 headphones initially have a boomy and muddy sound profile, but with EQ, they are tuned to a near-neutral sound.

    Overall, the soundstage and imaging are good, making these headphones a great choice for various music genres after EQ adjustments.

    Hear the Anker Soundcore Life Q30 ANC test:

    Anker Soundcore Life Q30 ANC Test – HeadphonesAddict

    Comfort & fit: These headphones are lightweight and comfortable, thanks to their plush memory foam earpads and light clamping force.

    They provide a stable fit, suitable for light physical activities, and are comfortable for long listening sessions.

    Durability: The Life Q30 are primarily made of plastic but include an aluminum headband for added rigidity. They come with a hard-shell carrying case for protection during transportation.

    However, they lack an IP rating for water and sweat resistance.

    Battery: One of the standout features of the Life Q30 is their exceptional battery. They offer up to 60 hours of playback without ANC and around 44 hours with ANC enabled (according to our test).

    Anker Soundcore Life Q30 battery graph

    The headphones also support fast charging, providing 4 hours of playtime with just a 5-minute charge.

    Features: The Life Q30 are feature-rich, offering active noise cancellation with three modes, a Transparency mode, a companion app with custom EQ, and good microphone quality for calls.

    Physical controls on the headphones are tactile and responsive. These really improve ease of use which makes them stand out from the crowd at a budget price.

    Bluetooth: The headphones use Bluetooth 5.0, providing a robust connection and an exceptional range of at least 65 feet. They also support multipoint connectivity and NFC pairing, but only use SBC and AAC codecs.

    Should You Get Anker Soundcore Life Q30? These aren’t the best choice for audiophiles who want the highest sound fidelity or for high-intensity workouts due to the lack of sweat resistance.

    They are ideal for casual listeners, commuters, and those working in noisy environments.

    The Anker Soundcore Life Q30 are an excellent choice for those seeking feature-packed, budget-friendly headphones with great sound (after EQ adjustments), comfort, and playtime.


    2. EarFun Wave Pro

    dollar Great Value Budget ANC Headphones
    • Noise Cancelling – Score 4.0: With an ANC reduction score of 26,97 dBA, they’re top performers under $100
    • Battery – Score 5.0: Above-average battery, over 51h 8 minutes per charge with ANC
    • Comfort – Score 4.0: Excellent comfort but slightly weaker stability
    EarFun Wave Pro in hands

    Because of great sound and among the strongest ANCs we’ve tested under $100, the EarFun Wave Pro are our well-deserving runner-up – EarFun Wave Pro review.

    Top deals today:

    Connection icon Connection: Bluetooth 5.3
    Driver size icon Driver size: 40mm dynamic
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: n/a
    Type: Over-ear | Battery life: 51 hours | Wireless range: 65 feet (19.8 meters) | Noise cancelling: Yes, hybrid | Charging: 2 hours – Quick charge – USB-C | Mic & Controls: Yes, physical buttons | Bluetooth codecs: SBC, AAC, LC3, LDAC | Water resistance: None | Features: Custom EQ, Game Mode, Multipoint
    • Balanced default sound that gets better with EQ
    • Spacious & plush ear pads ensure long-lasting comfort
    • Feature-packed with good call quality in all situations
    • Robust Bluetooth connectivity with up to 65ft of indoor range
    • Beefy battery life of 51 hours with ANC (80h without ANC)
    • Effective passive & active noise cancellation
    • Poor sub-bass ANC performance can be a problem for travelers
    • Gentle clamping force means overall poor stability during workouts

    Noise cancelling and isolation: Both passive noise isolation and active noise cancellation are great, but the latter has a flawed performance in sub-bass region, where it can’t quite reduce frequencies below 100Hz.

    While not an immediate deal-breaker, that means you might hear a faith engine noise rumble while taking a bus ride or airplane flight.

    EarFun Wave Pro ANC modes comparison
    Wave Pro ANC chart showing different ANC modes accessible in the EarFun Audio app (lower values are better).

    Hear the EarFun Wave Pro ANC test:

    EarFun Wave Pro ANC Test – HeadphonesAddict

    Sound: Even by default, the Wave Pro output a balanced sound signature with a natural midrange and very smooth treble that avoids becoming sibilant. Using customizable EQ settings, you can make the sound even crisper.

    Comfort & Fit: These headphones are lightweight with soft and plushy earpads, providing excellent comfort for long listening sessions. The clamping force is moderate, so stability isn’t suitable for working out.

    Durability: These have a solid all-plastic build with a few aluminum parts (headband and ear cup plates). They also come with a protective travel case. Sadly, you can’t replace earpads.

    Battery: We tested the battery life at 51 hours and 8 minutes per charge with ANC enabled. The headphones also feature fast charging, offering an extra 10 hours of playtime for a 10-minute charge.

    EarFun Wave Pro battery comparison

    Features: The headphones are feature-rich for their price, including active noise canceling, ambient sound mode, and a companion app. There’s also a custom EQ, but it’s a bit buggy (mutes the sound if you boost a frequency above 5dB).

    The microphone quality is good in all situations, with some extra distortion audible when exposed to loud external noise. See our test in the full review.

    Bluetooth: The W820NB Plus offer a strong indoor Bluetooth range of 65 feet and support LDAC codec. They also support multipoint connectivity and Game Mode (although the latter doesn’t improve the audio latency).

    Should You Get EarFun Wave Pro? We highly recommend these headphones due to their overall excellent price-to-performance ratio. But if you’re a frequent traveler, you might need to pick headphones with a more effective low-frequency reduction.

    Best Budget ANC In-Ear Headphones

    3. Edifier W240TN

    true-wireless Best Cheap ANC In-Ear Headphones
    • Noise Cancelling – Score 4.5: Premium-like ANC performance, fantastic for the price
    • Battery – Score 3.5: 6h and 19min per charge with ANC on
    • Comfort – Score 4.0: Comfortable and stable but not for sports
    Edifier W240TN buds and case

    Edifier W240TN are the best budget noise-cancelling in-ear headphones we’ve tested. They surprise with powerful ANC performance and solid audio quality – Edifier W240TN review.

    Top deals today:

    Connection icon Connection: Bluetooth 5.3
    Driver size icon Driver size: 10mm woofer + 6mm tweeter
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: 20-20.000Hz
    Type: True wireless | Battery life: 7h + 14h in case | Wireless range: 40 feet (12.1m) | Noise cancelling: Yes | Charging: Quick charge – USB-C | Mic & Controls: Yes | Bluetooth codecs: SBC | Water resistance: IP55 | Features: ANC, app, Game mode, EQ
    • Great sound quality (after EQing)
    • Comfortable & stable fit for long listening sessions
    • ANC and Transparency mode performance rivals the best
    • Solid build quality with an IP55 rating
    • Edifier app packed with features and customizations
    • Average battery life of 6+ hours per charge with ANC
    • ANC makes the sound noticeably bright and thin
    • Mediocre indoor Bluetooth range of around 40 feet

    Noise cancelling and isolation: The passive noise isolation is above average, and the active noise cancellation is surprisingly effective, rivaling premium models.

    The ambient sound mode also works well, providing a fuller sound pickup. This is the reason we gave it an almost perfect score of 4.5 out of 5.0.

    If you prefer top-notch active noise reduction in budget in-ear headphones, Edifier W240TN are the top choice.

    Hear the Edifier W240TN ANC test:

    Edifier W240TN ANC Test – HeadphonesAddict

    Sound: The earbuds have a V-shaped sound profile with a nice punch, which you can balance with custom EQ.

    The bass is punchy but well-controlled, the midrange is natural but slightly recessed, and the treble lacks a bit of airiness. Overall, they offer excellent sound quality for the price, especially after equalization.

    Edifier W240TN ANC off and on measurement
    Edifier W240TN frequency response in different modes

    Comfort & Fit: They are comfortable for long listening sessions and provide a stable fit but they’re not the best for sports. They come with oval-shaped shallow ear tips that adjust to the ear canal, offering a good seal.

    Durability: They have a solid build quality with an IP55 rating, indicating good dust and splash resistance. The charging case is robust and dense, adding to the overall durability.

    Battery: It’s average. We tested it at 6 hours and 19 minutes per charge with ANC enabled. The charging case holds an additional 21 hours of playtime and supports fast charging, but doesn’t have Qi wireless charging.

    Features: The dual-driver earbuds are feature-rich, offering active noise cancellation, ambient sound mode, a feature-packed Edifier Connect app with custom EQ, and a low-latency mode for gaming. They also have customizable controls but lack the ability to tweak frequencies above 10kHz.

    Bluetooth: Bluetooth 5.3 has an average indoor range of around 40 feet. They lack multipoint support and AAC codec support, which might affect Apple users.

    Should You Get Edifier W240TN? They are suitable for daily commuters, travelers, home workers, students, and mobile gamers. However, they may not be the best option for intense workouts.

    In summary, the Edifier W240TN earbuds offer a complete package of great sound (after EQ), comfort, fantastic noise cancellation, and solid build quality, all for under $80. While they have some limitations in battery life and Bluetooth range, their strengths in audio performance and features make them a top choice in their price range.

    For similar options, see the best headphones under $100.

    Best Cheap Noise Cancelling Headphones under $50

    4. TOZO HT2

    weights Best Noise Cancelling Headphones Under $50
    • Noise Cancelling – Score 3.5: Pretty effective for removing noise across the entire frequency spectrum
    • Battery – Score 3.5: Tested at 29 hours and 35 minutes per charge with ANC
    • Comfort – Score 4.5: Soft earpads and lightweight design create a truly comfortable fit
    TOZO HT2 pressing buttons

    If you’re looking for cheap noise-canceling over-ear headphones, TOZO HT2 are the best we’ve tested. These are comfortable with good ANC – TOZO HT2 review.

    Connection icon Connection: Bluetooth 5.3
    Driver size icon Driver size: 40mm dynamic
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: 16-41.100Hz (in wired mode)
    Type: Over-ear | Battery life: 29.5 hours | Wireless range: 65+ feet (19.8 meters) | Noise cancelling: Yes, hybrid | Charging: 2h – USB-C | Mic & Controls: Yes | Bluetooth codecs: SBC, AAC | Water resistance: None | Features: Custom EQ, soothing sounds
    • Excellent sound quality for a budget price
    • Decent build quality with soft pleather earpads
    • Comfy & stable thanks to high clamping force
    • Good active & passive noise isolation performance
    • Good battery life of 29.5 hours per charge
    • No carrying pouch included in the box
    • Might not fix smaller heads & feel uncomfortable on bigger ones
    • Underwhelming call quality with muffled speech

    Hear the TOZO HT2 ANC test:

    TOZO HT2 ANC Test – HeadphonesAddict

    TOZO HT2 are well-made for their price, with sturdy construction, memory foam ear pads, and good sound quality (although the latter requires some in-app tweaking to sound the best).

    They’re punchy but not overly so. If you’re a basshead, see the best bass headphones.

    Headphones positively surprise with their active noise cancellation, which effectively tackles the entire audible frequency spectrum. They’re especially successful at removing frequencies between 60Hz and 400Hz.

    Furthermore, ambient sound mode (or transparency mode) works quite naturally, boosting human voices just enough so you don’t need to take the headphones off when talking to people next to you.

    The padding on the ear cups might appear shallow, but we found them comfortable enough for at least an hour of listening. For full-sized headphones, you get a decently secure fit and tight seal. Note that they lack an IP rating, so they aren’t sweat-resistant for sports.

    More similar guides:

    Best Budget Noise-Cancelling Stem Earphones

    5. EarFun Air Pro 3

    earbud Best Cheap ANC Earphones with Stem
    • Noise Cancelling – Score 4.0: Excellent ANC performance, close to premium alternatives
    • Battery – Score 5.0: Tested at 8h and 13min with ANC, the best in the category
    • Comfort – Score 4.0: Comfy thanks to ergonomics, but not suitable for sports
    EarFun Air Pro 3 earbuds on stone

    EarFun Air Pro 3 are the best cheap ANC earphones with a stem we’ve tested. We were suprised how much background noise they removed – EarFun Air Pro 3 review.

    Connection icon Connection: Bluetooth 5.3
    Driver size icon Driver size: 11mm wool composite dynamic
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: n/a
    Type: True wireless | Battery life: 8h + 36h in case | Wireless range: 40 feet (12.2 meters) | Noise cancelling: Yes | Charging: 1h – quick charge – USB-C & Qi charging | Mic & Controls: Yes | Bluetooth codecs: SBC, AAC, aptX Adaptive, LC3 | Water resistance: IPX5 | Features: App, multipoint
    • Natural sound (after EQ)
    • Comfortable & lightweight design
    • Customization via companion app
    • Bluetooth 5.3, LC3 codec, & multipoint
    • Excellent battery life of over 8 hours per charge
    • Effective active noise cancellation & ambient sound mode
    • Not stable enough for sports activities
    • Background hiss when in ANC mode

    Hear the EarFun Air Pro 3 ANC test:

    EarFun Air Pro 3 ANC Test – HeadphonesAddict

    The audio is boosted in all regions, making for a loud, dynamic, albeit a bit unnatural sound. Still, most people will like their presentation and detail. Applying our custom EQ gets you a much more natural audio.

    On top of that, you can expect top-notch active noise cancelling performance. Earbuds block most frequencies with ease and only struggle with more demanding background sounds like speech.

    Furthermore, the Air Pro 3 can boost the external noise quite naturally. As a result, you don’t have to take your earbuds off to speak to someone.

    On top of a reliable Bluetooth 5.3 connection, you also get pretty good battery life. Earbuds hold more than 8 hours on a single charge, while the charging case packs an extra 36 hours.

    Best Battery in Cheap ANC Headphones

    6. SoundPEATS Space

    dollar Best ANC Headphones for Battery Life
    • Noise Cancelling – Score 3.5: Good & consistent active noise reduction
    • Battery – Score 5.0: Tested at 65h and 5min with ANC, best on the market
    • Comfort – Score 4.5: Comfortable for hours & stable for casual sports activities
    SoundPEATS Space holding in hand

    Good sound, effective & consistent ANC, fantastic battery life, and great comfort are just a few things that make SoundPEATS Space a worthy runner-up – SoundPEATS Space review.

    Connection icon Connection: Bluetooth 5.3
    Driver size icon Driver size: 40mm dynamic
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: n/a
    Type: Over-ear | Battery life: 65 hours (with ANC) | Wireless range: 60 feet (or 18.3 meters) | Noise cancelling: Yes, hybrid | Charging: Quick charge – USB-C | Mic & Controls: Yes | Bluetooth codecs: SBC, AAC, LC3 | Water resistance: None | Features: ANC, app, EQ, multipoint, Game Mode
    • Balanced sound with slightly boosted bass
    • Excellent comfort & great stability
    • Battery life of over 65 hours per charge with ANC
    • Better noise cancellation than competitors
    • Non-removable ear pads & no included carrying case
    • Muffled voice during phone calls

    Hear the SoundPEATS Space ANC Test:

    SoundPEATS Space ANC Test – HeadphonesAddict

    Starting with the sound, expect a smooth, sibilance-free performance and a high dose of bass. Making some EQ tweak helps a lot when making the sound more natural and spacious.

    Most importantly, headphones sport an effective active noise cancellation. It’s overall comparable with the competition but has a hidden strength – consistency.

    That means that they also do a good job reducing midrange frequencies responsible for speech, whereas competitors struggle to do the same.

    Moreover, leaving ANC enabled isn’t an issue, as the battery lasts for more than 65 hours on a single charge, which is the highest result to date.

    For more options, see the best wireless Bluetooth earbuds for $50 and top earbuds under $50.

    Runner-Ups: Other Models Worth Considering

    7. EarFun Free Pro 2

    EarFun Free Pro 2 earbuds in the case

    EarFun Free Pro 2 are a great budget alternative for noise-cancelling earbuds with an ambient sound mode. The newer model EarFun Free Pro 3 has worse ANC. The 2nd gen. removes more noise. With their strong V-shaped sound, they’re a joy to listen to. And they carry 4.5 hours of playtime per charge, with 20 hours in the pocketable case. The latter also supports Qi wireless and fast charging.

    EarFun Free Pro 2 review

    8. Edifier W820NB Plus

    Edifier W820NB Plus headphones front

    But if you prefer excellent sound quality and strong features at an affordable price, the Edifier W820NB Plus are worth considering. They are suitable for budget audiophiles who prioritize audio quality and features over durability and advanced noise canceling.

    Edifier W820NB Plus review

    9. OneOdio A30

    OneOdio A30 on the bag

    Great affordable Bluetooth headphones with good active noise cancelling and clean, energetic sound quality. ANC is more than decent for the price. It performs well for commuting and airplane travel, successfully blocking lower frequencies. The biggest highlight of the OneOdio A30 is its built-in microphone for clear class.

    OneOdio A30 review

    10. Anker Soundcore Life Q20

    Anker Soundcore Life Q20 Bluetooth headphones

    Anker Life Q20 are great daily noise cancellation over-ear headphones with excellent battery life, quick charging capabilities, and a warm, bass-emphasized sound signature. Interestingly, these have excellent noise cancellation for eliminating people’s speech, but it is not as effective at drowning sounds from a busy street. They also have multiple microphones to improve call quality, but the Life Q30 are overall better.

    Check Soundcore Life Q20 price

    11. Tranya Nova Lite

    Tranya Nova Lite side view

    Tranya Nova Lite are overall good-sounding true wireless earbuds with even more surprising noise cancelling performance, which matches some of the best TWS earbuds under $100 and above. At their price of around $50, these earbuds are worth considering, especially if you’re a student on a budget who frequently uses public transport.

    Tranya Nova Lite review

    How We Tested

    Each pair of headphones in our list was objectively tested by measuring active noise cancellation (see ANC charts above) that shows how much noise is reduced. Here’s an example:

    Cancelling of upper lows
    Blue line shows the background noise, red line shows the reduced noise measurement after ANC.

    These measurements tell us exactly how much noise ANC removes at different frequencies.

    Google Pixel Buds Pro on HEARS
    Testing Google Pixel Buds Pro with our artificial ears.

    Altogether, we test the headphones on 9 key points. This helps us compare and pick the best-performing models we can confidently recommend.

    How did we choose the models?

    As mentioned above, we primarily focused on 3 decision points: active noise cancelling, battery life, and comfort.

    We picked models that performed well in all 3 categories. We choose from 193 headphones we’ve tested so far. Then we ranked them based on headphone type, different use cases, and cheaper towards the bottom. Read about our testing and scoring methodology at length, where we discuss the details.

    Related: Everything you have to know about ANC headphones

    How to Choose Cheap Noise-Cancelling Headphones for Your Needs?

    Consider these factors:

    1. Set your budget: Define what “budget” means for you. Prices for noise-cancelling headphones can range from very affordable, under $80, to mid-range, up to $150. Top-end models go for $300+.
    2. How important is noise cancellation to you? Is ANC the most important feature, or are you willing to sacrifice some of it for others, like microphone quality, battery life, and app support?
    3. Audio quality: We discuss specifics like bass, treble, soundstage and overall clarity in our reviews. Remember that at a lower price, the sound won’t be as high-fidelity.
    4. Comfort and fit: If you plan to wear the headphones for extended periods, comfort is crucial. Look for good padding on the ear cups and headband.
    5. Battery life: For wireless ANC headphones, battery life is an important consideration. Especially true wireless headphones that have shorter playtimes per charge.
    6. Build quality: Do you need sweat resistance? Do you plan to transport them in a backpack? In that case, sweatproof and foldable headphones are a better choice for you. Look for sturdy headphones with good build quality to ensure they last longer.
    7. Features: Do you want capable equalization support or sound presets? There are many features to choose from, so decide which you absolutely need.

    Related: Are noise cancelling headphones safe?

    Headphones We Considered That Didn’t Make The List

    How Do Active Noise Cancelling Headphones Work?

    The extra microphones in the headphones pick up the ambient noise and then send it to the internal ANC circuitry.

    The ANC technology then makes a reverse sound wave (it reverses the phase) and sends it to your ears.

    When the two sounds reach your ears, they effectively cancel each other out. You can read more about how noise cancelling works here.

    Do noise-cancelling headphones block all sound?

    No matter how much you spend, there are no perfect headphones that completely block the noise. The problem is that the world around us is too unpredictable.

    Even today’s technology cannot work fast enough to block quickly changing noise. That’s why most noise-cancelling headphones work best with constant noises. The ANC technology is getting better, but we are years from perfect effectiveness.

    Why Trust HeadphonesAddict?

    At HeadphonesAddict, we provide honest headphone tests through a rigorous methodology and a transparent process. See how we test here. We put a lot of effort into personally testing and measuring each pair so we can make educated recommendations.

    We’ve explained our testing process above, and there are more points below.

    More reasons to trust us:

    • We test headphones ourselves on 9 key points.
    • We measure frequency responses, ANC, passive isolation, battery life, and compare EQ presets.
    • We don’t take money for tests and reviews.
    • We don’t delete or edit “bad reviews.” Even when brands ask us to. If the headphones sound bad or have other faults, we tell you without embellishment.

    FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions

    What is the difference between noise isolation and active noise cancellation?

    Passive noise isolation describes how much background noise headphones block passively, whereas active noise cancelling removes it with an electronic process. You can read more about the difference between isolation and cancelling here.

    Is noise cancelling healthy?

    Yes, noise cancelling is perfectly safe and doesn’t impact your ears or eardrums in any way. In fact, because it enables you to listen to your music at a lower volume, it helps you retain your hearing in the long term. However, there is a small group of users who have experienced dizziness and nausea when using noise cancellation.

    Do noise-cancelling headphones help with tinnitus?

    Tinnitus can get louder when you hear a specific frequency or when you hear something loud. Since noise-cancelling headphones remove ambient noise, you can lower the volume. Therefore, they can help with tinnitus.

    Does noise cancellation impact sound?

    In most cases, noise cancellation impacts sound. Usually, it changes some frequencies in music, and it can lower the bass. Thankfully, this is less common with newer cheap noise cancelling headphones and almost non-existent in the best noise-cancelling headphones.

    Can you use ANC headphones without music?

    You can use noise-cancelling headphones to cancel unwanted ambient sound without music. You don’t have to listen to music or be connected to a playing device. Ensure the battery has power, turn on noise-cancellation, and enjoy peace and quiet. Many people use them like that on airplanes and on a commute to help them focus.


    So, in our opinion, if you want great ANC on a budget, get:

    • #1 Best Cheap ANC Headphones
    1. Thank you very much for this thorough review! It is very helpful! I need to mask very loud snoring so I’m considering your recommendation of TaoTronics EP002 noise. I notice also that Bose is now selling something called Sleepbuds. Since I like to sometimes sleep on my side, I wonder whether that would work as well to block sound.


      1. Hi Drawyne, for sleeping it’s best to use passive noise isolation because active noise cancelling is less effective, so you might want to test ear plugs before forking over more money.
        And you’re right, sleeping on the side with headphones is impossible and even many earbuds as well. Bose sleepbuds seem like a good idea but they didn’t get the best feedback, though we haven’t tried they yet.
        Get something small and comfortable since this is required for quality sleep.


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