7 Best Noise Cancelling Headphones For The Money (Wireless)

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 active noise cancelling headphones were created equally.

Everyone has different needs, requirements, and budgets for their headphones. This article aims 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 for the money.

However, a few things that each of these headphones has in common is they’re 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 the average person and us on the market.

After extensive research, personal experience, and a lot of testing; We put together a list of the 7 best noise-cancelling headphones for the price.

In Short, Here Are The Best Active Noise Cancelling Headphones For The Money (Over-Ear)

  • Sony WH-1000XM3
  • COWIN E8
  • Plantronics Pro 2
  • Jabra Elite 85h
  • Boltune Bluetooth 5.0
  • Bose QuietComfort 35 II
  • Sennheiser PXC 550

1. Sony WH-1000XM3

First up, the Sony WH-1000XM3 is one of the few top-tier headphones on the market. It has incredible noise-cancelling abilities which help entirely eradicate outside noise environments. The built-in microphone works exceptionally well in just about any condition for a high-quality phone call.

These headphones are trendy and very highly rated across the board. Something I found very beneficial was its mix of high-quality design, comfortability, and extremely lightweight.

In terms of sound quality, here is yet another pair of headphones that produce near-flawless audio. It has a great balance between all of the frequencies. The instruments are separated extremely well without losing any vital EQ from compression. Another great feature is its really long battery life of 30 hours.

Overall, the Sony WH-1000XM3 is one of the few high-grade most professional active noise-cancelling headphones on the market. They cover the full ear and have wireless capabilities. If you’re looking for quality headphones, the Sony WH-1000XM3 is an outstanding choice for the money.

Users Say: “Excellent sound quality, unsurpassed noise cancelation.. Blows away my wired Audio Technica M50x’s all around! Amazing technology! Enjoy.”

Details & Tech Specs

  • Active noise-cancelling
  • Built-in Alexa voice control
  • 30-hour battery life
  • Great sound quality

2. COWIN E8

The COWIN E8 is an incredible pair of active noise-cancelling headphones. They are an exceptional bang for the buck and significantly outperform its price. 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 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.

Users Say: “Really like the fit. I have a small head and so they wool well for me. No pinching issues thus far. Even fit ok on my husband’s gargantuan head. I did have to send them back because they didn’t have the charging cords. The seller felt that amazon may have sent me an open box return. Seller made good and shipped me out a replacement ASAP.”

Detail & Tech Specs

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

3. Plantronics Pro 2

Amazingly, the Plantronics Pro 2 is currently on a massive price cut of 33%. Although we’re unsure if this discount is permanent or temporary, we believe they’re, either way, a superb value. 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.

I find it unique that 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, you’ll find various controls 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 for the money.

Users Say: “Great headphones for the price. Excellent sound quality and battery life. This product lasts for weeks on a single charge. The noise cancelation is so-so. If you’re looking for a cost-effective alternative for Bose, I would highly recommend this product.”

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 Bluetooth headphones on the market. Not only is it fantastic for the money, but it also has near flawless call quality where 6 out of the eight 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 sounds are significantly reduced using negative waveform technology.

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 freely 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 choice.

Users Say: “These headphones are incredibly comfy and a blast to hear to. The call quality is superior to anything on the market, though it lacks in some scenarios like closed environments, on the street, or a coffee shop they excel. The Noise Cancelling is not that great, almost not noticeable, but even without that, they are great at isolating noise so I don’t tend to notice background noise 95% of the time.”

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. Boltune Bluetooth 5.0

Another one of the highest-rated Bluetooth headphones on the market, the Boltune Bluetooth 5.0 is an excellent contender. Although they are priced very cheap below $60, they have a variety of features. First off, it has two built-in microphones on each side of the headset.

During phone calls, the other person can hear me loud and clear without any static or crackle. Of every single wireless headphone on this list, the Boltune Bluetooth 5.0 has the best built-in mic for the price. In other words, if you need the highest quality phone calls with your headphones at the lowest price, this is the one for you.

The Boltune Bluetooth 5.0 has excellent sound quality. Like every pair on this list, the audio is good for the price running below $60. It is very clear without distortion, regardless of how loud the volume goes. The bass response is excellent as well. However, what shocked me the most was its impressive noise-canceling capabilities at a low price. If I were to review this headphone without knowing the price, I would’ve guessed it was twice the price.

The ANC technology, Bluetooth capabilities, and comfort would have led me to believe these headphones were around $100. Overall, they are a fantastic bang for the buck. We highly recommend them.

Users Say: “Amazing comforting actively noise canceling headphones. Very affordable and comes with Audio wire as well as a charging cord and zipper case for headphones. Came with simple instructions on how to charge headphone, and connect Bluetooth to phone. Blocked out all sounds from the exterior area and was able to concentrate on school work. Also very cozy padding around ears. Clear microphone for made phone calls easy to make.”

Detail & Tech Specs

  • Bluetooth 5.0
  • AMS as3435 noise-canceling technology (aka, great noise-canceling)
  • Imitation protein earpads for great comfort
  • Rotatable ear muffs
  • 30-hour battery life
  • 66 feet wireless range  

 6. Bose QuietComfort 35 II

Here it is, the King Kong of the over-ear headphones. The Bose QuietComfort 35 II is the highest quality over-the-ear Bluetooth pair of headphones on the market. As a matter of fact, I decided to keep this pair for myself. In my opinion, it gets a 10 out of 10 for durability, sound quality, functionality, longevity, comfort, active noise-canceling, and built-in microphone quality. The only downside is it’s priced at $349. However, it is well worth every penny and more! 

The sound quality is absolutely brilliant. It automatically adjusts the EQ levels depending on what type of music or audio you’re listening to. I wouldn’t change a thing about the sound, even if I could. Every single instrument and frequency are nicely separated without any cluster. In terms of the active noise canceling and comfort, these headphones are unbeatable.

It has a very reliable built-in microphone for just about any application. You will not have any problems with phone calls regardless of how noisy or windy of an environment you’re in. Built for longevity, the Bose QuietComfort 35 II is one of the most well-designed and durable headphones I have ever used in my life.

You can pull it as hard as you can without a peep or squeak. If you’re looking for the absolute all-around best pair of Bluetooth headphones with a built-in mic on the market, look no further than the Bose QuietComfort 35 II.

Users Say: “I purchased these for my wife right before a few trips we were going to take. Sooooo GLAD I did. These headphones are incredible. Not only do they sound clear but they block out all of the airplane noise when flying. Would highly recommend for anyone who is needing a set of Active Noise Cancelling headphones.”

Detail & Tech Specs

  • Flawless noise-canceling (possibly best on the market) 
  • Extremely comfortable for just about any head type. 
  • Comfortable with glasses
  • Google assistant located on the left earcup
  • App has a “find my headset app”, therefore you will never lose your investment.
  • Very intuitive controls
  • Bluetooth

 7. Sennheiser PXC 550

Finally, the German company Sennheiser was one of the 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 extremely good as well for the price. 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. They are a phenomenal choice for the money.

Users Say: “These are amazing. Incredible sound quality, and very good active noise cancellation. The effect modes are a little gimmicky, but I leave them off, and they sound awesome. Just buy them.”

Detail & Tech Specs

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

Quick Recap

Here Are The Best Active Noise Cancelling Headphones In Every Budget (Over-Ear)

  • Sony WH-1000XM3
  • COWIN E8
  • Plantronics Pro 2
  • Jabra Elite 85h
  • Boltune Bluetooth 5.0
  • Bose QuietComfort 35 II
  • 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.

 

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