We are once-again diving headfirst into the murkier waters of the budget audio electronics realm, this time to assess the ten best budget noise-canceling headphones in 2023.
It's difficult to listen to your tunes in peace without the hubbub of modern life distracting you from your audio, whether its chatter or roadworks. Using a pair of headphones while traveling is highly popular. This can often mean your tunes have to compete against train horns and even jet engines.
The value of noise cancellation capabilities in a headphone set is, therefore, becoming more of an essential for many of us.
We have rounded-up a range of budget headphone designs, which do a great job at providing that much-needed clarity to keep our conversations free of interference and confusion for better communication.
HyperX is known for making some of the best gaming headphones on the market. Their headsets connect to Xbox, PS4, and PC in order to give you the most optimal gaming experience. This pair of headphones, however, only happens to connect to the Xbox.
The HyperX CloudX Stinger Core is perfect if you’re a gamer but don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on a new gaming headset. Or maybe you’re just starting out and want a budget headset to do the job. However, this doesn’t mean that you should compromise quality – and these closed back headphones will ensure you won’t!
The 40mm drivers are fantastic and come with neodymium magnets.
The mic is adjustable; you can swivel it to the best position for you. This is perfect for gaming, as you know your teammates will be getting clear, crisp audio. The 1.3 cable length ensures excellent sound quality the whole time, which is something you might not get with a wireless pair. They’re also noise cancelling headphones, which means you can enjoy the game without the fear of interruptions.
This headset comes with a two-year warranty and free tech support. If anything goes wrong with your noise cancelling headphones, you know you’re covered.
Why We Liked It - These are the best wired, budget noise canceling headphones for gamers. With an adjustable mic and noise cancelling capabilities, you can game in peace. The only thing is, these headphones are only compatible with Xbox.
An affordably priced pair to consider is these closed-back over-ear headphones set from Cowin. The COWIN E7s are a great low-cost wireless option. They offer both passive and active noise cancellation.
They are a fully collapsible closed-back circumaural headphone set that stores very compactly. Their ANC chip is modern and effectively reduces decibel levels.
The E7 model can collapse to be more compact for storage, thanks to their flexible band and swivel-mounted cups.
These cheap noise cancelling headphones are actually a fairly matched product for the set we opened with, employing memory foam protein for comfort.
The best noise cancelling headphones will have amazing audio quality. They boast 45mm drivers, which provide extra surface area for better audio quality. They serve-up well-mixed audio with great bass as well as high definition trebles and mids.
They feature a good quality microphone and capably provide about 30 hours between charges.
+ Compact collapsible design.
+ Active and passive noise cancellation.
+ Integrated microphone.
+ 30 hours battery.
Why We Liked It - The active noise cancellation is very efficient. They have a strong collapsible design and are ideal for reducing the decibel levels around you.
This next set is a fair match for the first in terms of comfort. These noise cancelling headphones feature a folding design, which makes them better suited to traveling.
They have matching sized drivers which, once again, utilizes neodymium to motivate the speakers. They produce good, dynamic audio quality with a fair blend. Their active noise cancellation is managed with the same up to date chip.
They passively and actively cancel noise in the same method via signal footprint isolation and their closed-back nature. They, again, can work in a wired or wireless fashion, providing an 8 hour battery life use via their built-in Bluetooth and NFC.
These noise cancelling headphones are well-manufactured. Their folding mechanism seems strong, and they store compactly. They reduce outside decibel levels significantly, and they are comfortably cushioned for long haul flights, making them best for travelers.
+ Strong folding design.
+ New industry standard ANC.
+ Closed-back, fully immersive.
Why We Liked It - They are another strong contender that comes in below the $50 mark, making them perfect for people on a budget. The folding mechanics appear pretty durable.
There is so much to love when it comes to these wireless noise-canceling headphones. The Anker Soundcore Life headphones' 40mm dynamic drivers create Hi-Res audio quality.
These headphones utilize Hybrid Active Noise Cancellation. This means they include both external and internal microphones. These microphones cancel out a range of noises, from mid to low frequency, such as traffic. This makes these headphones a great travel option.
As the Anker Soundcore Life is a wireless option, they use Bluetooth 5 technology. This gives a fast, strong connection between your headphones and whatever device you’re listening on. Pair with your laptop, phone, computer, or tablet.
These noise cancelling headphones have a 40-hour battery life. But with Active Noise Cancellation turned off, the battery life exceeds this, and these ANC headphones can actually last up to a whole 60 hours. You never have to worry about your headphones running out of charge when you’re traveling. And if you do happen to run out of battery life, charging these ANC headphones for just five minutes will give you four hours.
In terms of design, the Anker Soundcore Life headphones are foldable. That’s just another aspect that makes them a perfect pair for the avid traveler or commuter. They’re comfortable to wear; the headband is ergonomic; the ear cups are crafted from memory foam. They even come with a travel pouch.
+ Hybrid Active Nosie Cancellation.
+ 60 hours of battery life.
+ Quick charging time.
Why We Liked It - Noise cancellation aside, one of the best things about the Anker Soundcore Life is the battery life. 40 hours is more than impressive – it’s phenomenal, and the biggest reason why these are the best headphones for a commuter or traveller.
These wireless noise cancelling headphones offer a very ample battery time with a quick charge function. Just 2 hours of charging can provide up to 35 hours of use, thanks to their large-capacity battery.
Despite being a primarily budget-friendly Bluetooth set they do have an auxiliary connection for hooking up to the computer. The 40mm drivers are pretty capable; they rely on neodymium to function, and they handle a wide frequency response with good clarity and detail. They feature the industry's favorite AptX technology, which ensures the wireless signal is as high fidelity as possible.
The audio has a good depth to it and is well-balanced. They are well-made and have comfortable ear cups which are once again formed from a memory protein leather. The headband adjusts to fit a range of sizes and provide a good fit with zero cranial pressure.
The active noise cancellation is provided by a cutting edge T-Quiet chip. It features two microphones; one on the cups and one on the auxiliary.
Why We Liked It - These noise cancelling headphones are a very sturdy set. The headband has a good comfortable design, the noise canceling works both passively and actively due to their closed-back nature and generous padding.
These active noise cancelling headphones are best if you’re traveling in the city, where there’s a lot of traffic noise.
The dynamic 40mm drivers (as standard on most good headphones) offer excellent bass, so you know you’re getting excellent sound quality. This quality transfers to calls as well. Thanks to the built-in microphone, you can call whoever whenever.
Despite the budget price, these headphones have a professional design. The upgraded ear cushions are made from protein, to ensure a comfortable and breathable fit. You can also adjust the headband and 90-degree earcups to your liking.
The 30-hour battery life on these over ear headphones means you can take them outside with you all day without needing to charge them. A battery life like this means you’ll never have to interrupt your listening time again. These ANC headphones use Bluetooth 4.1, which makes for a stable and secure connection and excellent sound quality.
+ Excellent sound quality.
+ 30 hour battery life.
+ Wireless design.
+ 4.1 Bluetooth connection.
Why We Liked It - These are a great set of noise cancelling headphones at an even better price. If you want a decent pair of ANC headphones that offers a great sound quality and a secure Bluetooth connection, pick up these.
Like other great ANC headphones on this list, the Boltune pair offers a 30-hour battery life. That’s more than enough to get you through the day, making them best for when you have a busy commute, a long flight, or a full day at the office.
Boltune’s active noise cancelling technology will block out the sound of traffic, crowds, or noisy co-workers. At the same time, the 40 mm drivers provide excellent sound quality. These noise cancelling headphones also come with a microphone so you can make calls on the go. Price doesn’t always mean you have to compromise. A good pair will be well built. The best cheap noise cancelling headphones will also have a microphone.
The protein ear cushions are soft and gentle for those long listening sessions, and the headphones themselves are foldable, making for easy portability.
Boltune uses the latest Bluetooth technology – 5. This means that you can rest assured the Bluetooth connection will be strong and secure. These are some of the best cheap, noise cancelling headphones for reliability.
+ Bluetooth 5 connectivity.
+ 30 hours of battery life.
+ Foldable and easily portable.
Why We Liked It - Bluetooth 5 provides quick and secure connectivity. You never have to worry about your headphones not pairing with your devices. They're great for people on a budget.
The NC80 model from Linner has a very attractive price-tag and bring some great capabilities to the table.
They are well-constructed and suitably comfortable for long periods. They have swivel mounted cups which rotate up to 90 degrees. They have top-notch drivers which work fluidly to serve up superb audio they are certified as a high resolution which is almost unheard of in a low-priced pair.
They feature tap controls on the right ear cup which give users the convenience to answer calls and switch on the mic in an instant.
They provide good active noise cancellation which reduces background noise levels by 35 decibels. The battery lasts for up to 35 hours and charges fully in just 2.5 hours which is pretty impressive.
+ Dynamic audio.
+ Swivel mounted comfortable cups.
+ Good noise cancellation.
+ User-friendly 'smart listening' tap controls.
Why We Liked It - These are very well manufactured for a cheaper noise canceling set. The cancellation does a good job and doesn't drain the battery too heavily. However, these aren't quite capable of drowning out an airplane engine, so they're probably best for people who aren't going to be around people too much.
There are many great things to love about these budget noise cancelling headphones. They’re a great pair for traveling. You can shut out the world around you, from noisy chattering to the sound of traffic, and immerse yourself in your music. These budget noise cancelling headphones claim to reduce noise by up to 95%. They are some of the best cheap headphones for that very reason
The protein ear cups are foldable and adjustable, which makes for a comfortable fit. They also come with a built-in microphone, so you can answer calls no matter where you are or what you’re doing.
These over ear headphones work as both wired and wireless pair of headphones. Use the wireless option for up to a whole twenty hours – this is an impressive battery life for a pair of wireless headphones. However, if you want even more battery life, just attach the 3.5 mm cable.
+ Noise cancelling.
+ Adjustable ear cups for a comfortable fit.
+ Both wired and wireless.
+ Long battery life.
Why We Liked It - Can’t decide whether to go for wired or wireless? Why not opt for both? We love the fact that you have the chance to choose, making these some of the best cheap noise cancelling headphones.
These headphones use Hybrid active noise cancellation to block out noise and immerse you great sound quality. This type of technology reduces noise such as traffic, plane noise, or any other busy environment. The earpads are soft and comfortable, so you can listen for a long time.
They have a quick charging time of only 45 minutes, and yet the battery life lasts 35 hours, so you can wear them all day. Like most pairs on this list, they’re portable. Just fold them up and slot them into your bag when they’re not you, and you’re good to go.
The 5.0 Bluetooth connection ensures you’ll always be paired with whichever device you’re using, whether that’s your tablet, phone, or computer.
+ Hybrid noise cancellation.
+ 35 hours of battery life.
+ Charges within 45 minutes.
Why We Liked It - The battery life on this pair of over ear headphones is outstanding. The quick charging time means you don’t have to wait hours before you can use your headphones. These are one of the best cheap noise canceling pairs for people who are always on the go and on a budget.
Budget Noise Canceling Headphones Buyers Guide
Whether listening on the go, or in the comfort of your own home, background noise can be a distraction. This can make listening less enjoyable.
When you're outdoors, you're at the mercy of your environment. If you're often out and about in a built-up area, you can be subjected to a lot of unwanted noise.
If you're an avid music fan, these sounds can even block the sounds coming through their over ear headphones if they are high decibels. A good set of noise-canceling headphones can prevent this by reducing the outside volumes for the wearer.
How Do Noise-Canceling Headphones Work?
There are two types of noise canceling headphones, categorized as passive, and active. However, the best modern headphones with an over-head design can employ both methods and do a more thorough job of canceling-out distractions.
Firstly let's briefly discuss passive noise cancellation because it functions fairly naturally, as the name suggests. It requires no power or advanced capabilities.
Essentially, passive noise cancellation is down to the headphone design itself, and the materials chosen within its fabrication. All headphones provide a degree of passive cancellation as they block your ears and muffle your environment. Passive noise cancelling headphones also direct audio to your ears, whether they're in-ear or over-ear, but are, technically speaking, a set of circumaural headphones do this job best.
They are commonly called closed-back headphones. They sometimes go by the label around ear headphones or over ear headphones. They provide passive cancellation because they fully enclose your ears and form a seal around them. This obviously blocks a lot of external noise and provides an immersive listening experience.
While passive noise cancelling headphones provide a nice private listening experience, if outside sounds are at high decibel levels they simply can't compete with active noise cancellation. Active cancellation fights external noise head-on.
In order to understand how active cancellation works, you must first understand a little about sound waves and how headphones function.
Sound waves are a little like water waves. They form crests and troughs from compression and rarefaction. The main difference is that sound waves are longitudinal, and they move the air (medium) spreading the molecules.
The distance between two compressions determines the wavelength. How compressed it is determines the amplitude or the loudness.
In terms of sound, the frequency or number of compressions per second determines the pitch. The higher the frequency, the higher the pitch, and the less frequent the disruption the lower the sound.
Dynamic headphones are the most common headphone type. They function by employing a voice coil attached to the narrower end of a conical diaphragm and a permanent magnet.
Audio plays from your devices as an electrical signal the current flows through the voice coil producing a magnetic field. The direction of current flow determines the polarity of the field.
Placing the voice coils within the magnetic field of a permanent magnet causes it to flip its polarity back and forth as the magnets attract and repel each-other constantly.
This makes the voice coil vibrate. It transmits the motion to the diaphragm, which, in turn, moves rapidly in response to the voice coils vibrations. This is what generates the sound waves.
Sound waves are identified as musical if they feature a distinct waveform. If they are random or unpredictable, they are noise. Being able to differentiate between the two is what allows active cancellation to step in and take charge.
Active noise-canceling headphones employ a structural barrier to block high-frequency sound but they also actively erase low frequencies.
Their chips and technique are quite advanced but, to put it very simply, they employ an inbuilt microphone. This listens to the sound outside of the ear cups, and then the headphones reproduce the sound, creating their own waves.
These intruding waves from outside are played completely out of phase by 180 degrees. This lines up the crests with the troughs and the troughs with the crests of the 2 audio input signals. They effectively cancel one another out altogether.
This is known as destructive interference. It allows the listener to hear what they want to hear, though some audiophiles find the noise cancellation muffles the sound and spoils their enjoyment.
What To Look For When Buying Budget Noise Canceling Headphones?
What to look for mainly comes down to the headphone style you prefer and how well it's made, for the sake of durability. The noise cancellation capabilities are entirely dependent on your individual needs. If you're traveling a lot, you might want something far more heavy-duty.
The best, cheap noise-canceling headphone can provide a noise reduction of around 80 decibels, which will block jet-engine noise. This registers as around 75 to 80 dB inside of a plane.
You should always seek a cheap noise cancellation set with good quality materials and components, as the audio quality will be better. Opt for one with the most up to date noise cancellation chip you can afford as the technology is developing rapidly.
Look for good battery life. The Anker Soundcore pair is well built with excellent battery life. It'll be hard to find a cheap pair with anything more than the Anker Soundcore.
If you're stuck for cash and could do with drowning out a little of the day-to-day noise around you, all the budget noise cancellation sets we have looked at make a decent investment.
With our fast-paced, modern lives, there's no doubt that some form of budget noise cancellation capabilities can only be a good thing. They allow for a much more private and enjoyable experience. They help to keep communication lines free with microphone-equipped headsets.
We hope today's selections make for good inspiration and demonstrate what's available, without too big a commitment-cash wise.
There is a multitude of merit-worthy, budget noise-canceling sets to choose from. We're confident that with today's in-depth buyers guide in the back of your mind, you will find the perfect set for you and your needs.
Active noise cancellation requires a built-in battery to function, so you should look for a pair that has a high capacity battery and provides a decent life between charges. It's also good if they have a quick recharge time to make life easier. Make sure they are well built.
Did you Know
Bose was the first company to introduce noise-canceling headphones after the founder of Bose Corporation Amar Bose put on a pair of airline-supplied headphones whilst flying in 1978 on a flight to Europe only to find that his audio was ruined by the loud roar of the jet engines.
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