During a long haul flight last year, I simply could not sleep. I had my sleep mask at the ready and some relaxing music to listen to on my phone. But, sounds from the people around me kept leaking in and distracting me.
That’s when I discovered the power of noise cancelling headphones. I haven’t looked back since.
Noise cancelling headphones enable you to enjoy a crisp, rich sound when you listen to your favourite music. Their structure blocks high-frequency sound waves and they also reduce noise by actively erasing (cancelling) low-frequency sound waves that create an annoying buzz or drone in your ears.
As well as enhancing the clarity of everything from classical music to podcasts, noise cancelling headphones can also be used to create a quiet atmosphere for example on a busy flight.
Investing in a pair of these state of the art headphones is a great decision for 2021, and this guide will help you to pick out the best ones for you, without breaking the bank.
Top three noise canceling headphones for under $100 in 2021
What immediately stands out about these headphones is their sleek aesthetic. They have a light-weight yet robust feel, and the ear cushions are equipped with memory protein that mimics the soft and elastic feel of human skin. As a result, these phones feel just like part of your body – and needless to say they also have a powerful noise cancelling effect.
- Memory protein ear cushions.
- Wireless and Bluetooth enabled for easy streaming.
- Foldable, for easy portability.
- Built in mic so can be used for hands-free calls and videochatting.
- Their bright colours may not appeal to everyone’s tastes.
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Functional futuristic in their design, these noise cancelling headphones use some state of the art technology. Choose them whenever you want to experience beautifully sharp sound.
They have a comfy over ear design and a long battery life so are perfect for travel.
- Comfortable feel thanks to the light frame and memory foam ear pads..
- Up to 80 hours of battery life.
- Come with a special carry case to keep them safe while travelling.
- Durable stainless steel bracket.
- More expensive than other headphones on this list
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These high performance noise cancelling headphones also offer a long battery life and a durable, comfortable design. Able to deal with any frequency between 10Hz and 22, 000 Hz, they will leave you ready for absolutely any situation.
- Very robust design.
- Good frequency range.
- Comfortable and classic over ear design.
- Batteries are required, which is an extra thing to remember.
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What to look for when choosing noise cancelling headphones?
Here are four key points to consider when selecting your perfect pair:
- Weight: after all, you may well want to take these headphones on a long haul flight. Anything under 8oz with memory foam ear cushions should be perfectly comfortable.
- Portability: if your headphones are foldable or come with a carry case, that is a big plus.
- Noise-cancelling range: this consideration is especially important if you want to use your headphones during particularly loud activities (for example, shooting on a shooting range).
- Aesthetic: do you want something classic and durable or something that is a bit more eye catching?
Your most frequent questions answered
Here are some handy answers to FAQs relating to noise cancelling headphones:
What are noise cancelling headphones?
Headphones that don’t just transmit sounds from a device like a radio or phone to your ears, but also cancel out noise.
Is it worth buying noise cancelling headphones?
Absolutely if you value the clarity of sound as you listen to music or videochat, or if you want to create a peaceful and quiet environment.
Are noise canceling headphones safe?
Yes, they are safe to use.
How do you use noise cancelling headphones?
In the same way as regular headphones: pop them over your head and plug them in or activate their wireless or Bluetooth functions.
Can you sleep with noise cancelling headphones?
It depends on their design – many noise cancelling headphones are safe and comfy to sleep with but you’ll need to find what works for you.
Do noise canceling headphones protect your hearing?
Yes, they can be used to protect your hearing from everyday loud noises, though for industrial settings or very loud environments, industrial standard ear protectors will be required instead.
Do noise cancelling headphones block out voices?
They will block out ambient noise, like the chatter around you in a busy shopping centre. But, they will not always block out the voice of someone talking to you loudly and directly in close proximity to you.
Conclusion: and the winner is…
All of these noise cancelling headphones are strong contenders in their field.
The winner in this instance is the MPow pair of headphones. They have a great price and represent great value for money with their super comfortable memory protein ear cushions and very comfortable metal bracket.
The fact that this bracket is collapsible and foldable is a big plus, too: these headphones fold up very compactly so you can take them with you wherever you go with no hassle at all. If you can afford to spend a little more, though, the Eleckey headphones come a close second. Their ear cushions are similarly comfortable and they are perfect for popping into your hand luggage on a flight in their convenient little case.