Updated on March 22, 2021 by Lyric Fergusson
Whether you’re a traveler enjoying your in-flight movie or you’re working from home and trying to have a virtual meeting, a good pair of noise-cancelling headphones can be a great asset. There are a ton of options on the market these days, running the gamut from super cheap to very expensive. With so many choices and price points, it’s hard to tell which is the perfect combination of value and quality.
It can be even more challenging if you’re on a budget. That’s why I’ve taken the guesswork out of it for you and researched the best noise-cancelling headphones that will get the job done for under $50.
Best Noise Cancelling Headphones Under $50
Why it’s great: These offer all the most important features in noise-cancelling headphones at an affordable price. They reduce up to 90% of ambient noise and give you 35 hours of listening time. You’ll get a great quality stereo sound with deep bass. These are wireless and Bluetooth compatible for a more convenient listening experience. Another great feature is the quick charge function. If you’re in a hurry and forgot to charge your headphones, you can charge these for 10 minutes and get up to 2 hours of playtime. The earpads are made of memory foam and the headband is adjustable to give you the perfect fit and maximum comfort.
Keep in mind: These do have a microphone, but it can only be used in Bluetooth mode
Good for: Anyone looking for quality headphones at a great value.
(Best wired set)
Why it’s great: You get the best of both worlds with these headphones. Although these are wired, they do come with a wireless Bluetooth receiver. They even come with an airline headphone adapter. These can reduce noise up to 95% and since they’re wired, you basically get unlimited playtime. The earcups fold up flat for easy portability and are cushioned for a comfortable fit. It also has a Y type cable, which helps to prevent tangling. These have an on/off switch for noise cancellation, so you can choose whether or not you need to use this function.
Keep in mind: Even though you can use these to listen to music as long as you’d like, the noise-cancelling function runs on batteries, so it will stop working until you replace the battery.
Good for: Anyone who doesn’t mind wired headphones and needs high quality noise cancellation.
Why it’s great: While most headphones are small enough to be easily portable, these fold up compactly and they come with a handy carrying case, making them one of the easiest pairs to take with you wherever you go. These are wireless and have a rechargeable battery that can last for 40 hours of listening. Or, you can plug in a wire to use them endlessly, if you prefer. They also have a quick charge function that allows you to get a decent amount of playtime off of a short charging time. These are Bluetooth compatible and they have a built-in microphone.
Keep in mind: The buttons on the earcup aren’t very pronounced and easy to feel like most others; however, they work just fine.
Good for: Anyone that wants headphones that have a quality case for easy portability.
Why it’s great: These headphones have everything you could ask for and more in noise-cancelling headphones. They have the most play time, clocking in at 45 hours. They also have the quick charge function that gives you 2 hours of playtime with just 10 minutes of charging. They reduce noise by 90% and have an on/off switch, so you can choose how much you want to hear the outside world. They are wireless and Bluetooth compatible and allow you to stay connected to your device at distances up to 33 feet! They also have a built-in microphone.
Keep in mind: While these are at the top end of the price category, they’re well worth it for all the features they have.
Good for: Anyone looking for the best quality noise cancelling headphones at a reasonable price.
Why it’s great: These headphones were designed for maximum comfort. They only weigh 7.4 oz, which means they’re not putting a lot of pressure on your head. They also have memory foam earpads that are an on-ear design, which reduces the pressure on your ears. The headband is completely adjustable, so you can get the perfect fit. On top of how comfortable these are, they also have great quality sound and work well at decreasing outside noise. They are wireless and Bluetooth compatible and can even be synced to multiple devices at one time. Plus, they have a built-in microphone.
Keep in mind: If you’re using the noise-cancelling function, these will only last for 18 hours. You can increase this time by turning off the noise-cancelling when you don’t need it.
Good for: Anyone looking for more comfortable headphones.
(Best budget option)
Why it’s great: These headphones are very budget-friendly and still pretty decent for noise cancelling. The regular sound quality is great and they come with a built in microphone. They are wireless and Bluetooth compatible as well. The earpads are soft memory cotton and cushioned for a comfortable fit. And the headband is adjustable. These also fold up fairly small and come with a little carrying case for easy portability. You’ll get about 35 hours of listening time, but a little less if you’re using noise cancelling the entire time.
Keep in mind: The noise cancelling works well at blocking loud noises, but doesn’t work as well at decreasing all ambient sounds.
Good for: Anyone looking for budget friendly headphones that can drown out loud noise.
(Easiest to use)
Why it’s great: These noise-cancelling headphones have the latest ANC technology and do a great job of blocking out sounds. They’ll give you 30 hours of listening time and also have the fast charge feature. The sound quality is great and you’ll even get deep bass sounds with these. They have all the controls on one of the earpieces and it’s easy and convenient to control them. The earpads are professional protein earpads and are incredibly soft and comfortable. The headband is completely adjustable for the best fit and the earpieces can rotate a full 90 degrees to fold up flat and compact.
Keep in mind: These are a little bulkier and heavier than some of the other options.
Good for: Anyone looking for headphones that are easy to adjust and use.
FAQs about noise-cancelling headphones
1. Can noise-cancelling headphones block out all sound?
Noise-cancelling headphones can do a lot to reduce outside noise, but they can’t get rid of all sound. This is because they cancel low-frequency sound waves. Since you’re usually using the headphones to listen to music or a call, if they try to completely block all noises, whatever you’re listening to will also be muffled. However, high-quality noise-cancelling headphones can get you pretty close and definitely make a huge difference.
2. Can you use noise-cancelling headphones without music?
You can usually use them without playing music, but it will depend on the pair you get. Some will work really well to drown out the noise with nothing else playing, but some have automatic timers or settings that will turn off the noise-cancelling if there’s no music playing. You’ll have to check out the headphones you’re planning to buy and see if they can be used that way first.
3. What features should I look for in noise-cancelling headphones?
The features you need will vary depending on personal preference. The biggest things to keep in mind are if they’re wired or wireless, fit well, battery life, and controls. What you need in those features is your choice, based on what you’re looking to get out of the headphones and how you plan to use them.
4. Are noise-cancelling headphones bad for your hearing?
Noise-cancelling headphones cause a high-frequency hissing noise that may be noticeable and bothersome to some when music is not playing, but it doesn’t do any damage to your actual hearing.
5. Can you sleep with noise-cancelling headphones?
Yes, you definitely can, as long as they’re comfortable for you. They can really help you get a good night’s rest. Noise-cancelling headphones make it easier to fall asleep and stay asleep because they block out all the usual sounds that might wake you up.
Noise-cancelling headphones are a great investment for anyone that needs a more peaceful environment. Low-frequency background noise, like the engine and passenger noise on a plane, can cause headaches and tension if you’re listening to it for hours at a time. And any kind of noise can be distracting when you’re trying to work.
Figuring out what you need in a pair of noise-cancelling headphones can make finding the right pair easy. Think about what you’ll be using them for primarily and what features will be beneficial for you. Take a look at the options in your price range and it should be easy to pick out the ones that most suit your needs.
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