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Stay on a budget with these top noise-canceling headphone choices

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If you want to get the most out of your favorite music or podcast, the best cheap noise-canceling headphones are the way to go. They block out ambient noise around you, making it easy to focus on what’s playing — something that’s especially useful when flying, working at a noisy coffee shop, or just being out in public. We’ve rounded up eight of the best ones you can get for less than $100, including the Soundcore Life Q30 as our top overall pick.

Best overall: Soundcore Life Q30

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Anker’s Soundcore brand has been at the forefront of the best wireless earbuds and best wireless headphones, and the Life Q30 are another reminder of why Soundcore is one of the most compelling players in the game.

When it comes to active noise cancelation (ANC), the Soundcore Life Q30 feature three customizable modes to help you get the perfect listening experience. Transport Mode helps block out things like an airplane engine (remember those?), Outdoor Mode reduces traffic and wind sounds, and Indoor Mode fights against people talking. When it comes to audio quality, the 40mm drivers deliver “full-bodied sound with excellent clarity.”

Battery life is just as impressive, if not more so. You’ll get 40 hours of playback when ANC mode is on, and when it’s turned off, you can expect up to 60 hours. Pair all of that with a comfortable design, free carrying case, and the ability to connect to two devices simultaneously, and the Life Q30 are hard to beat.

Pros:

  • 40mm dynamic drivers
  • Three levels of noise cancelation
  • Up to 60-hour battery life
  • Snug, comfortable fit
  • Can connect to two devices at once

Cons:

  • Only available in black

Best overall

Soundcore Life Q30 Headphones

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  • From $80 at Amazon
  • $80 at Walmart
  • $80 at Newegg

Checking all the boxes

The Soundcore Life Q30 are some of the best headphones in this niche, offering impressive ANC, sound, and battery life.

Best alternative: Treblab Z2

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A great alternative to the Soundcore Life Q30 are the Treblab Z2. They’re not going to be quite as impressive as the Q30, but if you’re looking to spend a bit less, they’d be worthy of your consideration. Sizeable ear cups make them a little bigger than some other headphones might be, but if you’re worried about comfort, they should feel pretty snug on your head and ears.

It always helps when headphones sound really good at this price, but they also do it by striking the right balance between good bass and active treble. So even if you’re not looking for heavy bass, you should come away liking the overall sound that Treblab produced here. Having ANC is also a big plus, performing at its best when blocking out low-frequency sounds.

They have a solid Bluetooth connection, which is always lovely. And it’s hard to argue with up to 35 hours of battery life, giving you plenty of listening time before you need to charge again. Unfortunately, you have to do it via micro-USB when that time comes, so no fast charging is available.

Pros:

  • Good sound quality
  • User-friendly ANC
  • Comfortable fit
  • Reliable Bluetooth connection
  • Long battery life

Cons:

  • Plastic design isn’t premium
  • Micro-USB for charging

Best alternative

Treblab Z2 Over-Ear Workout Headphones with Microphone

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  • $76 at Amazon

Also worth a look

Between the well-balanced sound and decent noise cancelation, the Z2 are well worth the money.

Best value: SoundPEATS T2 Hybrid ANC Wireless Earbuds

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SoundPEATS isn’t a household name, by any means, but it has proven to have a penchant for making cheap wireless earbuds that perform better than their price indicates. The T2 Hybrid ANC Wireless Earbuds stand out because of the good audio playback made possible with their 12mm drivers, and when you turn on the ANC, it only gets better from there.

Despite lacking the sleek design and finish other earbuds tend to have, they should be comfortable to wear. They aren’t the smallest or sleekest pair you’ll find, but that’s something that may be more acceptable when you’re paying this little. As usual with wireless earbuds, the key is to find the tightest seal you can to get the most out of the sound.

Battery life is impressive at up to 10 hours per charge — eight hours if you keep ANC on. The case will get you an extra two charges, and it’s not too big to carry around in a pocket. With USB-C charging, it’s easy to get back up and running when you run out of juice.

Pros:

  • Good sound quality
  • Comfortable fit
  • Smaller charging case
  • Solid battery life
  • Decent ANC and Transparency modes

Cons

  • Not very rugged

Best value

SoundPEATS T2 Hybrid ANC Wireless Earbuds

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$60 at Amazon $60 at Newegg

Blocking noise on the cheap

You may not know SoundPEATS, but the company makes some of the best cheap true wireless earbuds.

Best colors: COWIN E7

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If you want your headphones to stand out from the crowd, COWIN has you covered with the E7. The plastic used for the earcups is on the cheap side of things, but the outstanding colors more than make up for it. You can get the basic black or white for something subdued or go with green or red. No matter which one you choose, all of them look incredible.

COWIN also gets things right when it comes to noise-canceling and audio quality. Like every pair of headphones on this list, the E7’s ANC shines with lower frequency sounds, and music plays with a balance that will please everyone. Battery life is another win, with the 30-hour endurance being ideal for travel.

Should anything go wrong with the E7 after your purchase, COWIN covers the headphones with an 18-month warranty. And, once again, you can clip a coupon on the Amazon page to save some extra cash.

Pros:

  • Legit noise cancelation
  • Sound quality is great
  • 30-hour battery
  • Excellent color options
  • 18-month warranty

Cons:

  • Cheap plastic

Best colors

COWIN E7

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  • $70 at Newegg

Make yourself stand out

With three gorgeous colors at your disposal, the COWIN E7 will make sure you look great while rocking out to your music.

Best battery: Mpow H17

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For those times when you find yourself on a long car ride or international flight, having a pair of headphones that you can rely on to not die halfway through your trip are essential. Of course, there are plenty of headphones on this list with good battery life, but the Mpow H17 take things a step further.

How much further? Mpow promises 45 hours of use time per charge with the H17, which is mind-boggling regardless of price. Even better, just ten minutes of charging gives you two hours of additional playback. If you ask us, that’s darn impressive. Admittedly, it’s not quite as mind-blowing as the 60 hours you get with the Life Q30, but you’re also spending a lot less for the Mpow H17.

Outside of the legendary battery life, the Mpow H17 also deliver great audio quality thanks to 40mm drivers that kick out deep, powerful bass. The headphones also fold up to be travel-friendly, there’s a physical switch to control the active noise canceling, and the ear cushions are nice and soft for comfy listening sessions.

Pros:

  • 45-hour battery life is excellent
  • Super-soft ear cushions
  • Deep bass with 40mm drivers
  • Physical switch for ANC
  • Fast charging times

Cons:

  • Uses the older Bluetooth 4.1

Best battery

Mpow H17

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  • $57 at Walmart

Never-ending jams

With a promise of 45-hour battery life, the Mpow H17 will allow you to keep jamming for hours and hours on end.

Best comfort: JLab Audio Epic Air Sport ANC Headphones

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JLab’s Epic Air Sport ANC are rugged earbuds made for workouts and active scenarios, thanks to their IP66 rating. In large part, their purpose gives them a fit meant to stay on your ears for more extended periods. That’s where the ear hooks come in, but so do the different ear tips.

There are six pairs of tips in the box, and they come in different sizes, lengths, and materials, including foam. Somewhere in that mix, you’re likely going to find a seal for some nice passive isolation. Turn on ANC, and that improves further, helping to block out background noise. When you need to hear your surroundings, the Be Aware mode takes care of that.

There’s good sound quality, too. Bass response is noticeable, and if you need more of anything on the audio side, you have JLab’s Air ANC app for that. Battery life goes up to 15 hours per charge when you leave ANC off. When turned on, it’s closer to 10 hours, which is still solid by these standards. One unique feature is the USB cable is built right into the case, with wireless charging also an option.

Pros:

  • Solid audio quality
  • IP66 sweat resistance
  • Various ear tips and sizes
  • Excellent app support
  • Long battery life for workouts
  • ANC and ambient modes

Cons:

  • Don’t swim with them
  • Bulkier design may not be for everyone

Best comfort

JLab Audio Epic Air Sport ANC Headphones

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$80 at Amazon $100 at Best Buy

Gonna make you sweat

JLab prioritizes sweat resistance, comfort, customizable sound, and battery life with the Epic Air Sport ANC.

Best for travel: Tribit QuietPlus BTH100

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No one’s doing much traveling these days (at least you shouldn’t be), but when that finally becomes a thing again, you’ll want to make sure you have a quality pair of headphones for taking with you on the plane, train, or automobile. For that, we recommend picking up the Tribit QuietPlus BTH100.

A lot is going on with the BTH100, and it all starts with its noise cancelation performance. Tribit touts the QuietPlus BTH100 to block out up to 35dB of sound and low-frequency noises by up to 97%. In other words, you can listen to just your music or podcast while easily tuning out the rest of the world.

The Tribit QuietPlus BTH100 also sound really good, featuring 40mm drivers and HD audio. The battery lasts for up to 30 hours, fast charging is available, the headphones fold up for easy transportation, and Tribit gives you a free carrying case.

Pros:

  • Hybrid ANC cuts noise down by 97%
  • Clear audio with big bass
  • Battery lasts 30 hours
  • Foldable design
  • Included carrying case

Cons:

  • Boring design with one color

Best for travel

Tribit QuietPlus BTH100

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  • $90 at Amazon

Perfect travel companion

With reliable battery life, effective ANC, and a folding design, the Tribit QuietPlus are ready for any adventure.

Best surprise: 1More ComfoBuds Pro

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1More isn’t an unknown in audio circles, especially for those who have had the opportunity to listen to their products. But, what’s surprising, is the quality of the ComfoBuds Pro relative to what they cost. These wireless earbuds compete favorably against pairs that sell for double the price.

Key to it all is the sound quality, which focuses on a neutral soundstage that keeps bass from overpowering the highs and mids. Unfortunately, there’s no custom EQ in the companion app, so what you hear is what you get. When it comes to ANC, there are different modes to choose from, including ANC Strong, ANC Mild, Wind Noise Resistant, and Pass-through. The microphone performance also improves phone calls to a larger degree, though the AirPods clone design may or may not be what you’re looking for aesthetically.

Battery life is modest at up to six hours per charge with ANC on (eight hours when off), along with two charges coming from the case. So a 15-minute quick charge will get you up to two hours of listening time if you need to get music playing again in a pinch.

Pros:

  • Good sound quality
  • Multiple ANC modes
  • Excellent call quality
  • Decent battery life
  • Options in companion app

Cons:

  • No EQ in-app
  • Very AirPods-like design

Best surprise

1More ComfoBuds Pro

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  • $95 at Amazon

1More for the win

Whether you know 1More or not, there is real value coming out of these earbuds and should sound like a pleasant surprise

Bottom line

These aren’t the sort of options you’ll find among the best noise-canceling headphones, but the market for noise-canceling headphones under $100 is larger than you might think. As a result, all of these picks deserve our recommendation, though our favorite is the Soundcore Life Q30 as our number one choice.

Simply put, these headphones do it all. They look good, sound great, and the noise-canceling works as well as you can ask for at this price. The up to 60-hour battery life is also incredible, not to mention the super comfortable design that your ears will appreciate. And you get it all at a phenomenal price.

Credits — The team that worked on this guide

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Joe Maring has loved anything with a screen and CPU since he can remember. He’s been talking and writing about Android in one form or another since 2012 and often while camping out at the nearest coffee shop.

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Ted Kritsonis loves taking photos when the opportunity arises, be it on a camera or smartphone. Beyond sports and world history, you can find him tinkering with gadgets or enjoying a cigar.

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