5 Best Noise Cancelling Headphones Under $300

What are the best noise-cancelling headphones below $300 on the market?

Noise-cancelling technology is very unique. Unlike noise-isolating headphones, noise-cancelling headphones do not eradicate outside noise by physical insulation. Within the ear cups, they have a mini microphone that picks up the outside environmental noise. It then triggers a frequency entirely opposite to the outside ambient noise. Thus, canceling out most outside ambient sound.

There are numerous reasons why people benefit from noise-cancelling headphones. Some need peace and quiet for their commute, others for their office, and others simply enjoy their music much more with noise-cancelling headphones. For a good reason, active noise-cancelling headphones became progressively popular in densely populated cities.

Research has shown that those who live in a densely populated city have a higher chance of negative impacts on their mental health. According to a Dutch study, people who lived in a city rather than a rural or suburban area, have a 39% increased risk of a mood disorder and a 21% higher chance of getting an anxiety disorder.

One of the reasons is due to the consistent noise and chatter. Your mind rarely gets the time to shut off. Thus, noise-canceling headphones became quite popular with those in cities or daily subway/train commuters.

Not all of these headphones were created equally.

Everyone has different needs, requirements, and budgets for their headphones. The goal of this article is to help you find whichever pair is best for you and your situation. We tested numerous pairs and decided to pick the very best active noise-cancelling headphones below $300.

However, a few things that each of these headphones has in common is they are all Bluetooth wireless, all cover the ear, all have active noise-canceling, and all have a built-in microphone for calls. Not to forget, all of the following are highly-rated between us and the average person on the market.

After extensive research, personal experience, and a lot of testing; We put together a list of the 5 best noise-canceling headphones below $300.

In Short, Here Are The 5 Best Noise Cancelling Headphones Under $300

  • COWIN E8
  • Pioneer SE-MS9BN-B
  • Plantronics Pro 2
  • Jabra Elite 85h
  • Sennheiser PXC 550

1. COWIN E8

First up, the COWIN E8 active-noise-canceling headphones are an incredible pair below $300. During your phone calls, there is no need to try and over speak. It picks up your voice incredibly well and is articulated clearly. These headphones have comfortable padding and clamp on the head pretty tightly. However, the tight clamp is in no way uncomfortable or overbearing.

Another thing I love is the active-noise-canceling feature. It eradicates most outside noise. If you want your daily commute, plane travel, bus, or office work to be in peace and quiet, the COWIN E8 works exceptionally well. In my opinion, these headphones are worth $50 more than they are currently priced at. While many ANC headphones hurt the sound quality, it does not negatively affect the audio with the Cowin E8.

The build quality is robust and built to last. Comparing it to all of the mid to high-grade headphones on the market, I give the build a 9 out of 10. Another thing I love about them is the well-balanced sound quality. While listening to music, these headphones separate the frequencies so well that it almost feels like you’re in an open hall filled with surround sound.

The highs are sparkly, the mids are crisp, and the bass is full. Overall, these headphones are an incredible choice if you can’t quite afford anything over $200, but you still need an overall high-quality pair.

Detail & Tech Specs

  • Bluetooth
  • 18-20 hour battery life
  • Great built-in mic for high-quality phone calls
  • Active-noise-canceling
  • Great sound quality

2. Pioneer SE-MS9BN-B

Based out of Japan, Pioneer is one of the top innovators in audio gear. The Pioneer SE-MS9BN-B is one of their best active noise-cancelling headphones for many reasons. Running well below $300, these affordable headphones are highly-rated and produce excellent sound quality. They give you an extended battery life of 24 hours of continuous use even while active noise-cancelling is on. Another convenient factor is the Bluetooth 4.2 capabilities.

Pioneer headphones are known for their legendary sound quality, and the SE-MS9BN-B is proof. The 40mm drivers produce a powerful sound while the CCAW voice coils clear up and spread out all the frequencies for maximum clarity. Between the punchy bass, clear mids, and sparkly highs, these headphones are very well balanced.

The noise-cancelling abilities are decent. Unfortunately, you will not get maximum noise-canceling abilities compared to other headphones on this list. However, if you prefer subtle noise-cancelling while still aware of your environment, these headphones are a great choice. Overall, these headphones are a great choice. They sound great, are very convenient, built well, and have decent noise-cancelling abilities all at an affordable price. We highly recommend them.

Details & Tech Specs

  • Battery life: 24 hours
  • Bluetooth 4. 2
  • Comes with a carry case
  • Hi-res audio while connected with a cord

3. Plantronics Pro 2

The Plantronics Pro 2 used to be running for $199, but now priced at $131 on Amazon is an excellent pair of noise-cancellation headphones. Coming with the purchase is a nice carrying case, micro USB charger, and 3.5mm auxiliary cord. The battery life is very good at roughly 24 hours.

However, the wireless range is phenomenal, with 70-100 feet of range. Better yet, the sound quality is fantastic. The bass response is near perfect to my ears while the highs are sparkly with a punchy midsection. I give the sound quality a 9 out of 10.

Something that I find unique about the Plantronics Pro 2 is its automatic pause to music once the headphones are taken off. I also like the multifunction button on the right ear cup as it allows you to access the virtual assistant and answer phone calls. On the left ear cup are various controls as well, such as the pause/play, skip a song, previous song, volume, and ANC switch.

The active noise-cancellation is very good. In my experience, the noise-cancelling abilities are good enough to block out most chatter, office work, coffee shops, and a vast amount of airplane travel. However, it is not enough for a busy subway or train ride. Overall, the Plantronics Pro 2 is an incredible pair of noise-cancellation headphones that will not let you down.

Details & Tech Specs

  • Comes with a carrying pouch
  • Ambient sound mode
  • Very nice built-in controls on the ear cups
  • Rotatable ear cups
  • Non-foldable
  • Great bass-response
  • 24-hour battery life
  • Built-in microphone for phone calls
  • 70-100 feet of wireless range
  • Headphones controls; pause, play, skip song, previous song, volume, and ANC switch
  • Multifunctional button on the right ear cup

4. Jabra Elite 85h

Next up, the Jabra Elite 85h is one of the top-tier active noise-canceling Bluetooth headphones on the market. Currently running below $300, this pair has a multitude of enhanced features. It has near flawless call quality where 6 out of the 8 built-in microphones block out unwanted background noise.

Jabra’s unique Smartsound Audio feature automatically adjusts your audio for the best possible sound and ANC, depending on your environment. However, whether you use the Smartsound Audio feature or not, the active noise canceling abilities are terrific. Active noise-canceling is a feature that some headphones have that, once initiated, the outside ambient noises are significantly reduced using negative waveform technology. So if you like peace and silence on a plane, commute, coffee shop, etc.

Outside of some of the Jabra Elite 85h features, these headphones have an incredible sound quality, robust build quality, and are very comfortable. Given the fact that these headphones are not cheap, less than stellar across the board is off the table. The sound quality is phenomenal, to say the least. They are incredibly comfortable for hours on end, but what surprised me the most was the build quality.

The Jabra Elite 85h is one of the most durable pairs of headphones I have ever tried. Not a piece of it feels cheap. They are built for longevity and vigorous traveling conditions under various circumstances. Imagine happily running through the rain with your headphones without having to worry about water damage. While most of us never happily run through the rain, a lot of us have run into situations where we scramble to protect our technological gear from water damage. Luckily, the Jabra Elite 85h is entirely water and sweat-resistant. Unlike many headphones, there are no repercussions for sweating too much at the gym with these headphones.

Another fantastic feature is its incredibly long battery life of 36 hours. With only 15 minutes of charging, you get 5 hours of battery life. Overall, the Jabra Elite 85h is one of the top-of-the-line headphone pairs with a built-in mic on the market. If quality is what you’re going for rather than a cheaper price, these headphones are a great pick for you.

Details & Tech Specs

  • Bluetooth capabilities
  • Great sound quality
  • Tough build quality (built to last)
  • 36-hour battery life
  • Near flawless phone call quality with technologically advanced built-in microphones
  • Water and sweat-resistant
  • Active noise cancelation

5. Sennheiser PXC 550

Last but not least, the German company Sennheiser was one of the very first companies to open up in Germany after World War 2. Founded in 1945, Sennheiser excelled in audio gear innovation. They created the very first open headphones in 1968 and continue to revolutionize headphones today.

The active noise-cancelling Sennheiser PXC 550 is a great pair of headphones below $300. It comes with a soft case that is compact and very convenient for travel. Sennheiser claims the PXC 550 is designed for travel.

They provide an excellent battery life of 30 hours. These headphones are very well-designed, durable, and have a robust feel. For those who prefer the headphone earcups with more space, you will absolutely love the comfort of the PXC 550. Earcups with more space such as this pair tend to have better passive noise-cancelling abilities.

It is expandable and fits very nicely for just about any head type. Since they are foldable and the ear cups are rotatable, PXC 550 is very convenient to travel with. Something really cool about them is they power off instantly by folding both earcups inward. They also automatically power back on when folding the ear cups to the regular position.

Like all Sennheiser headphones, the PXC 550 produces very good sound quality. As a matter of fact, they possibly produce the very best sound quality in this price range. The audio is natural and clear. I’m also a big fan of the call quality. For most, you can have a pleasant conversation even in very noisy environments. The active noise-cancelling works great for the price, as well.

Do not expect the ANC to be as good as the Bose or Sony nearly double this price. However, it definitely blocks out a significant amount of noise.

The only downside I noticed about the Sennheiser PXC 550 is the max volume isn’t as loud as I’d like them to be. Keep in mind, I am a part-time musician and DJ. There’s a high chance my ears are just slightly shot. Besides that, these active noise-cancelling headphones are an incredible pair below $300. They are great for travel by bus, walking, or plane. We definitely recommend these.

Detail & Tech Specs

  • Foldable
  • Oval earcups
  • Battery life: 30 hours
  • Rotatable
  • Built-in microphone for phone calls

Our Winner

Keep in mind that our opinion is not the end all be all. Like mentioned earlier, everyone has different needs, requirements, and budgets for their headphones. However, our winner of the 5 best noise-cancelling headphones under $300 is the Sennheiser PXC 550 due to its fantastic sound quality, comfort, build, and active noise cancelling. We highly recommend it.

Quick Recap

Here Are The 5 Best Noise Cancelling Headphones Under $300

  • COWIN E8
  • Pioneer SE-MS9BN-B
  • Plantronics Pro 2
  • Jabra Elite 85h
  • Sennheiser PXC 550

The 6 Things To Lookout For When Purchasing A Pair Of Headphones

1. Sound Quality

Especially for music listeners, the overall quality of sound is a massive factor in finding your perfect pair of headphones. There are various factors that impact a pair of headphones’ sound quality.

2. Comfort

The ability for headphones to remain comfortable for extended periods of time without itchiness, annoyance, pressure, or ear pain. Considering many people use headphones for commute, air travel, or work; Comfort is a vital factor.

3. Build Quality

What good are your amazingly sounding headphones if they break in a few months? The overall durability and longevity are crucial for any investment you make. Especially for those who need headphones for commute, it’s important they’re able to withstand vigorous traveling conditions consistently.

4. Noise Isolation/ Active Noise Cancelling

Don’t be confused between active noise cancelling and noise isolation headphones. They are both entirely different. Noise-cancelling technology is very unique. Unlike noise-isolating headphones, noise-cancelling headphones do not eradicate outside noise by physical insulation. Within the ear cups, they have a mini microphone that picks up the outside environmental noise. It then triggers a frequency entirely opposite to the outside ambient noise. Thus, canceling out most outside ambient sound.

5. Battery Life

Battery life is an overlooked subject when speaking about over-ear headphones. Obviously, the only headphones that have a battery life are those which are wireless. Many headphones on the market do not have wireless capabilities. But for those who do, a more extended battery life becomes a convenient factor.

6. Added Features

A few examples of added features headphones offer can be Bluetooth capabilities, built-in AI assistant, headphone controls, built-in microphone for phone calls, flexibility, rotatable ear cups, etc.

 

See our top 12 picks, If you’re interested in the Best Noise-Canceling Headphones Under $150

In case you need your headphones for phone calls, view our top picks for headphones with a mic here.