Noise-canceling headphones are a great way to block out ambient noise, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in your favorite music or podcast. With the growth of wireless technology, many of today’s headphones are designed with Bluetooth connectivity and other features like a 30-hour battery life for a comfortable listening experience.
Factors to Consider
When choosing headphones, comfort should be one of the most important factors. Over-ear headphones are intended to provide a more encompassing listening experience than other types of headphones, however, if the fit isn’t snug and comfortable, the headset won’t offer maximum performance. It is essential that it fits perfectly around your ears without being too tight or excessively loose. Additionally, it should be made with soft and breathable materials like memory foam and protein leather so that you can wear your over-ear headphones all day without discomfort. Consider buying a model with adjustable headbands to ensure an optimal fit.
Noise cancellation technology aims to make your listening experience more immersive by suppressing any ambient noise that might try to steal the spotlight. When choosing a pair of headphones, consider what type of noise-cancellation technology you’re looking for.
Two types of noise cancellation are available on most over-ear headphones: active and passive noise cancellation. Active noise cancellation requires the audio signal to be altered or blocked in order to reduce outside distractions. This is achieved using microphones and a processor that samples and processes the external sound waves before converting them into forms that can be canceled out – resulting in a much quieter external sound environment for the listener.
On the other hand, passive noise cancellation does not require any active processing of signals — rather it leverages physical properties such as an acoustic seal created between your ear and earcup, optimized frequency responses, and reflexive materials used in construction (such as insulation foam). This type of isolation focuses on blocking out certain frequencies of sound instead of actively disrupting its signal.
Pay attention to the frequency response and sensitivity of headphones, which are impacted by the size and design of the driver elements. A wider frequency response means the headphones will be able to reproduce audio over a larger range of frequencies. The sensitivity of a headphone determines how loud it will play for a given amount of input power, so pay attention to how loud it can get as well as how well it retains detail at higher volumes.
Look for headphones with balanced bass, mids, and treble in order to create an immersive listening experience. Consider features such as bass boost or equalizers that can let you customize your sound but be aware that this may affect battery life.
When comparing wireless headphones, battery life is an important factor to keep in mind. The amount of time the battery can hold a charge and last through extended listening sessions is essential. The most popular over-ear noise-canceling headphone models will have at least 24 hours of battery life and some may even offer up to 70 hours on a single charge. It is important to check the device specs for the exact amount of power and runtime it can provide on a single charge so you know if it fits your needs.
Another important factor to consider is how quickly the headphones can be recharged. Most headphones will offer quick charging within minutes, giving you enough power for several hours of listening time with just 20-30 minutes of charging. Some models will even feature wireless charging options as well, making them much more convenient for travel than traditional plug-in styles.
Top 4 Picks
With the increasing demand for noise-canceling headphones, picking the right one can be tricky. To make it easier, we’ve selected the best over-ear noise-canceling headphones for under $200. These picks include a variety of brands and styles so there should be something for everyone.
1. Sony WH-1000XM4
This model boasts superior audio quality and clear sound, with a unique digital noise-canceling algorithm that yields improved sound when you’re out and about. The headset also connects wirelessly to your device via Bluetooth 5.0 for easy access, allowing you to fill every room with your favorite tunes or podcasts. With their expansive battery life, they can easily last up to 30 hours of continuous use before needing a charge.
Not just stopping there, the WH-1000XM4 offers touch sensors on the outside of each ear cup allowing you to quickly access automated voice assistant via your phone and swiftly activate or deactivate certain features such as ANC or Spotify Connect.
This headset is capable of delivering unparalleled audio quality amongst its budget competition for under $200 making it an ideal pick for those looking for reliable performance on a tight budget.
2. Bose QuietComfort 35 II
The Bose QuietComfort 35 II model guarantees a well-balanced audio experience with its active noise cancellation technology, and its sound is equally balanced across the LOW, MID, and HIGH ranges. Additionally, it has an impressive 20 hours of battery life and can be used for up to 40 hours without active noise cancellation.
The comfort level of this model is also excellent with its lightweight design and soft ear cushions that fit comfortably around the ears. Its integrated controls make use especially convenient as you can easily access volume controls as well as Play/Pause, Google Assistant/Amazon Alexa integration with a simple press on either earcup. The package includes a wired cable for connecting to your audio device, along with a USB charging cable for quick recharging when needed.
3. Sennheiser HD 4.50 BTNC
The Sennheiser HD 4.50 BTNC over-ear headphones offer great sound quality for the price, with a balanced sound profile, a good battery life of up to 25 hours, and active noise cancellation. They have a good build quality with soft foam earpads and adjustable hinges that make them easy to wear for long listening sessions.
These headphones also offer some features that audio enthusiasts tend to appreciate, like Auto On/Off and aptX Low Latency technology for connecting them wirelessly without delays. They have an inline remote control for volume adjustment, call answering, and music playback. The bass is powerful but won’t distort at higher volumes and there is a decent amount of detail in the treble range as well.
Additionally, they will be more than enough for those who want to use them when traveling or commuting as they isolate quite well against ambient noise with their Active Noise Cancelling (ANC) feature – making them a great on-the-go companion.
4. Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT
Audio-Technica ATH-M50xBT is one of the best over-ear noise-canceling headphones available on the market. It offers clear sounds, deep bass, and crisp mids focused on the lower-end frequencies. The noise cancellation technology works much better with music than it does with voice conversations since there’s an inherent gap in clarity that’s ever-present when attempting to accelerate low-frequency sounds. In terms of soundstage, there is plenty of space here even without binaural recordings. With its soft fabric earpads, users find themselves enjoying extended periods of listening sessions without fatigue and discomfort.
Battery life has also been improved over the previous version offering up to 40 hours before needing a recharge.
When selecting the best over-ear noise-canceling headphones for under $200 in 2023, it’s amazing how much technology and value you can get for such a relatively low price. We’ve thoroughly researched dozens of different models from well-respected audio brands to bring you a list of the best available.
Whether you prefer wired or wireless headphones, there are options here to suit everyone’s tastes and requirements.