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Noise cancelling headphones can get very expensive if you're not looking in the right places. Which traveler, commuter, or casual listener doesn't want to block out the busy world outside though? Maybe you haven't picked up a pair because you're afraid a less expensive set won't work. Maybe you just don't know enough about noise cancelling bluetooth headphones to invest in a pair. In this guide, we'll introduce you to the best noise cancelling headphones under $50.
Since starting Headphone Critics, we've had the chance to test hundreds of headphones. According to those tests, the best noise cancelling headphones under $50 are the Mpow H12. These inexpensive headphones have an impressive battery life, even when you choose to use the active noise cancellation setting.
7 Best Noise Cancelling Headphones Under $50
These Mpow headphones have impressive battery life. You can choose when to use ANC mode.
These Sony headphones are comfortable and affordable. They do a good job for most ambient noise.
You'll love how well these MPow H5headphones sound. They actively work to reduce noise.
For a pair of good bluetooth headphones, check out these Cowin E7. They're comfortable all day, thanks to their padding.
Foldable and lightweight, these Ausdom headphones are perfect for travel. They also feature the newest Bluetooth tech.
These Avantree headphones are great for noisy commutes. It connects to nearly any device.
TaoTronics Active Noise Cancelling Headphones
You'll love the quality bass this TaoTronics set delivers. The quick charge is a huge bonus.
1. Mpow H12
These noise cancelling headphones definitely get the job done, and then some. They last longer than your typical bluetooth headphones' batteries do; you can keep listening or making calls for up to 30 hours, which is more than enough, even on an international flight.
Even better, in case you do run the battery low, there's an aux cable included so you can plug right into your device. They fold up easily, and come with a special travel carrying case to keep them secure while you're on the go.
For the price, you get rich hi-fi sound and deep bass and a bluetooth range of up to 33 feet. The have 40mm large aperture drivers and a CVC 6.0 noise cancelling microphone making them great for gaming and phone calls as well.
These Sony headphones are really comfortable; the ear pads actually feel like a lighter version of memory foam. They block the majority of outside noise from interfering with your music; it works both ways too. You can confidently listen anywhere and know that your music isn't seeping out of the headphones and bothering people around you. For the most impressive audible experience, make sure you turn ANC on. You'll notice a huge difference in how you hear your music.
3. MPow H5
These noise cancelling bluetooth headphones from MPow use Bluetooth technology, and they have a nice range too. You can easily go into another room (or two!) and still get a great connection with no distorted or lagging audio. You can charge these in only a few hours, not up to 12 hours like some sets of bluetooth headphones. From there, these headphones deliver a solid 30 hours of listening time. They're most effective at reducing automotive and mechanical noise.
4. Cowin E7
These are a really versatile set of wireless noise canceling headphones. While the Bluetooth connection is super easy to set up (and takes only a few seconds), that's not your only option to listen wirelessly. You can also use these headphones with NFC connections, and it's just as easy to get started. If you're mostly concerned with vocal quality, the Cowin E7 bluetooth headphones are certain to please. You get a long battery life, great sound quality, and a comfortable fit, all at a budget friendly price.
5. Ausdom ANC10
These headphones make it easy to travel in comfort, but you'll definitely want to wear them when you're relaxing at home too. They fold up really well, and actually turn out to be much more compact when you do. They’re designed to give you professional level noise cancellation with their improved ANC technology, and while that’s a big claim, it’s something you can see the difference in, especially if you’ve used other pairs of noise cancelling headphones before. All in all, these headphones are ahead of the game, even compared to more expensive sets.
The Avantree noise cancelling headphones are easy to use, and to pair using bluetooth. Where a lot of wireless headphones have some issues with audio lag, these best wireless headphones are improved. They reduce lag even on less than optimal connections so that you get a more accurate listening experience. They’re comfortable, and feel nice and light. You can wear them for hours without feeling like you’re overheating, which is perfect for long trips. They’re also adjustable, and have rotating cups, so they suit any head size or shape.
Bass lovers gather round; these TaoTronics headphones deliver the clear, deep bass that you’d expect from a pair of professional studio quality headphones. This pair has everything you’re looking for in your next set of noise cancelling headphones. It uses some of the newest bluetooth tech for seamless wireless connection, and it’s a high performer on phone calls too. They’re easy to take anywhere; they fold down and even include a special carrying case. The battery life is what will win you over of the bass and audio quality doesn’t. On a full charge, you get over an entire day of battery. No time to charge it all the way? Just plug them in for 5 minutes, and you can listen for at least 2 hours.
Are Noise Cancelling Headphones Under $50 Worth It?
Often, this is a bigger concern when you’re looking at headphones with a higher price point. It’s still worth making wise choices, and making sure it’s worth investing in a pair of noise cancelling headphones that you can nab for under $50. Luckily, whether you're an audiophile or just a casual listener, ANC headphones under $50 are a pretty great deal, so long as they do their job. To answer the question, yes the headphones are worth it, as long as you're getting quality with that lower price tag.
Things to Consider Before Buying
Wireless Earbuds or Corded
Typically, wireless earbuds or over ear headphones are more expensive than corded sets. In this case, that alone shouldn't be a deciding factor, since all these headphones are under $50. What you do need to consider however, is what suits your needs. Wireless headphones are convenient, but they also use more battery. If you'd like to switch between a corded or wireless pair of headphones, look for a set that allows for both.
Even if you're buying budget friendly headphones, sound quality is still important. Not all sound quality is weighed equally, depending on your preferences. If you're looking for a pair that hands out heavy bass, you might sacrifice some clarity with treble tones. It works both ways too, so go with the pair that fits your listening style best.
Fit and Design
Whether over the ear, in the ear (earbuds), on-ear headphones or collar style, everybody has their preference. You may simply like the convenience of earbuds, or maybe you find in ear headphones painfully. You just might prefer the more immersive feel that over the ear style headphones give you. Noise cancelling headphones are available in nearly any style. In the end, like many other factors, the design of the headphones and how it affects your choice mainly comes down to preference.
That said, if you're more concerned with cancelling out noise from your surroundings, over the ear headphones tend to do a more thorough job of it, thanks to their design.
When it comes down to the fit, different head shapes and sizes are more comfortable with different sets. The best way to make sure you're comfortable wearing the headphones is to give them an in person test run. We realize that isn't always practical however, so if you're often uncomfortable in headphones look for a pair that's adjustable. If it has rotating ear cups, that's even better.
Power and Battery Life
Noise cancelling headphones are different than regular headphones in that if you want noise cancellation, you're going to need battery power. Whether they're wireless headphones or corded, you still use battery. People that take long trips should focus on finding a set with as long a battery life as possible. However, if you plan on using your headphones primarily at home or during your commute, you can get a set that gives you a good 6 hours or more. Some noise cancelling headphones can actually run for well over 20 hours, so check the manufacturer's specifications to see how long you can listen.
Check to see how long it takes to achieve a fully charged battery too. Some headphones take only a few hours, where others take nearly a whole day. This has a big impact on whether or not you need to remember to prep for headphones before taking them to use on a long trip. If you often forget to charge your devices, look for headphones that have a 'quick single charge' option. This allows you to spend a matter of minutes charging your headphones, and you get the benefit of at least 2 or 3 hours of listening time.
While most noise cancelling headphones use rechargeable batteries that can plug into a USB cable, not all do. Depending on whether you'll have easy access to charging ports, a rechargeable battery can be a huge bonus or an inconvenient drawback. If you won't have charging ports available throughout a long trip, look for a set of headphones that can use disposable batteries.
Noise Cancelling vs Noise Reduction
Noise cancelling and noise reduction do sound similar, and in fact, many people confuse them for being the same thing.
Noise reduction headphones are often also called noise isolation headphones. Either way, the function is the same: to eliminate or dampen outside noises. This is usually achieved via the physical barrier that is the headphones which are covering your ears. Usually super dense materials are used, kind of like you might see in sound proof foam.
Noise cancelling headphones use active sound technology to reduce the ambient noise you hear. It's the product of some complicated sound technology, but let's explain it as simply as possible:
Basically, they have built in microphones that sense or 'listen' to the noises in the environment around you. The headphones then produce an 'inverse,' or more or less opposite, sound frequency. In effect, this negates the ambient noise you hear by cancelling cancelling it out with the frequencies produced by the headphones. While some noise may escape, the majority of it is cancelled out, especially low rumbling sounds like those from engines.
Now that you know a bit more about noise cancelling headphones and how the technology works, you can find the best headphones to fit your lifestyle. Noise cancelling headphones under $50 are a game changer that's budget friendly too. As a testament to that fact, we've reviewed the best headphones of the lot so you can make the switch.