When most people think of noise canceling headphones, they think they should spend a lot of money.
I was somewhat skeptical that you could actually buy something that gives you genuine noise cancellation features along with good audio quality for under a 100 bucks, but I am now convinced you can.
Here are my 3 top picks for active noise cancelling headphones I’ve found to be well worth the money. Complete reviews for each set of headphones are below.
Our Favorite Affordable Noise Cancelling Headphones
This pair of headphones are a little more than just $100, and if you’re on this page, you are likely looking for something less expensive. The sound quality won’t blow you away–though neither will Boses QuietComfort offfering–and its ambient noise cancellation is not quite like our top picks, but the ANC7b is an excellent value and in a great price range.
The noise canceling present in this product is less than what you would get in a top of the line product like that offered by Bose, but because the price is also a lot lower, that’s forgivable. They offer a good deal more noisecancellation than the competition that costs the same and even more.
These headphones are perfect for someone who travels a reasonable amount but just can not spend hundreds on the Bose headphones.
If you like more boom when listening to music, you will enjoy the bass, but otherwise, the audio is decent. Bose certainly offers more noisecancelling, but since these are typically found for under $100, less than a third of the Bose, they are a great bargain.
These headphones are perfect for someone who travels a reasonable amount but just can not spend hundreds on the Bose pair and needs a pair of inexpensive noise cancelling headphones.
Monoprice Active Noisecanceling Headphones with Bass Boost
In true Monoprice style, the headphones are just known as “Noise Canceling Headphone (with Active Noise Reduction Technology).” They start at about $113 in the event you would like a single pair, but as with most Monoprice products, if you buy them in larger quantities, the cost goes down, dipping to a $100 unit cost if you pick up 50 or more in 1 shot. They’re not as good as the best you can buy Bose QC-15s, but these perform well enough to be considered a great deal for anyone on a budget that want a set of noise-canceling headset.
While not quite as cozy as the Bose QC15, this is a comfortable headphone that features memory foam earpads. Like the Bose, they are relatively lightweight for over-the-ear cans (6.3 ounces), plus they fit tightly though not too snug on your head. Additionally, the cord for the headphone is detachable. The Monoprice comes with a 55-inch cable with an inline microphone and control module as well as a 58-inch standard cable (both terminate in an L-shaped plug). And no, the in-line remote is not Apple certified, so it should work with most smartphones.
I also liked that you get a splitter (for a headphone/microphone) for use with PCs. The headphones will fold flat, and they also come with a decent “hard-shell” zippered nylon storage case. This case includes a nylon mesh pocket (internal) to store the additional accessories.
All that’s good stuff, but I did have a few complaints about the plan, most of which concerned the cosmetics. These cheap noise cancelling headphones simply look somewhat generic. Oh, and I truly think it’s time Monoprice created a better logo to put on its own products (maybe “MP” would work?) Rather than simply spelling out its name. It’s the equivalent of having “Costco” displayed on each earcup. Some people may not mind rocking that with pride, but others might.
Polk Audio Ultrafocus 8000
The Polk Ultra Focus 8000’s are famous for providing good audio quality and noise cancellation at an affordable price. Polk has been making audio products for over 40 years so I think its safe to say they know something about building a terrific pair of headphones.
Their noise-cancelling technology gets rid of unwanted outside noise providing the user with an experience where the world around them is drowned out. Their technology allows you highlight only the sounds you want to hear, such as the music you’re listening too.
What this means is you can listen to your music without having it so loudly that you hurt your hearing. Additionally, they will exclude outside noise that enables you to sleep soundly while traveling.
These headphones are modern, relaxed on-ear headphones with noise-cancelling capabilities that specifically serves devices that operate on an iOS operating system. The Audiophile-level quality sound coupled with the Active Noise Cancelling sound removal capability, allows the listener to be absorbed into the audio, with no distraction in the chaotic world around them.
Additionally, you also have the ability to interact with other people at the push of a button. The Ultra Focus 8000 has excellent sound quality while also eliminating any unwanted noise from making its way through.
With many technological updates, the UltraFocus 8000 Headphones will undoubtedly be a music lover’s new best friend. Polk has delivered a product with a phenomenal audio experience. Active noise cancelling technology, passive noise cancellation technology, dynamic equilibrium design technology, and 40mm polymer drivers all come together inside these headphones to offer a portable listening experience like no other. All this audio technology is comparable to an in-home stereo system.
Although, the active noise cancelling technology is great; they have not quite achieved the level of noisecanceling headphones greatness of the Bose Quiet Comfort 25’s, they’re still the reference point for all noise cancellation technology.
Moreover, these 8000 series noisecanceling headphones are only fully compatible with Apple products. This means that all the audio controls will only work with your iPhone or iPod. That does not mean that you cannot use them with your Android telephone or another MP3 player, only that you won’t have as much control.
A 3-button control situated on the ear will allow you to fiddle with the volume control, use play/pause, and utilize your iPhone which lets you accept calls, while also managing the microphone and turning off/on the active noise cancelling technology.
Another out of the ordinary characteristic is a flat audio cord rather than the standard round cable. This is a lot like what you will find with Beats products. The design will keep your cord from tangling and breaking prematurely, which means your product with lasting flexibility, headphones, and easy transport.
The headband is carbon fiber and extremely light and comfortable with just the right amount of padding. This means they’re not too heavy or bulky, allowing you to wear them all day in comfort.
If you’re a fan of Polk Audio and their products, you already know what you’re getting. Music lovers will absolutely enjoy these, but keep in mind you need an iOS operating system on your listening device of choice. For a bargain price, the UltraFocus headphones have superb sound and noise cancellation.