Normally, we’d push for wearing noise-cancelling headphones outside the home: on a daily commute or for when you work in an open-plan office but lockdown has many of us desperate to create some quiet within our own homes.
You might be finding it difficult to concentrate if you’re living in a big household or you might want to isolate yourself completely for a few hours with a film or audiobook.
Many of us have lost valuable thinking space and time.
You could have lost your drive into work in the morning when you’re alone with your playlist. Perhaps you had the house to yourself when a partner or young children were at work or school. You might have made time to do things entirely alone: going to the cinema, the gym or enjoying a coffee.
With so many of us living in close-quarters now, we’re having to be creative with how we make an escape and even if that escape is only mental or for short bursts of time, it’s worth it.
Noise-cancelling headphones block out background noise and can reduce distractions helping you either to maintain focus or to relax.
And there are two types of noise-cancellation: active and passive.
Active noise-cancelling (ANC) headphones use built-in microphones to counteract the soundwaves of ambient noise as they approach.
Passive noise-cancelling occurs to some degree on all headphones as the ear is covered either entirely or partially by the headphone’s cushion which naturally blocks the sound.
Noise-cancelling headphones can be better for our hearing, too, as we’re less likely to jack the volume up to damaging levels if we’re able to reduce distracting background noise.
You may have limited need for ANC headphones right now but once lockdown has been lifted and we’re back to normal (whenever that may be), you’ll no doubt find ANC headphones useful in many scenarios including on public transport and flights.
The UK’s online retailers are still shipping headphones, and we’ve found 5 pairs of noise-cancelling headphones available in the UK for under £100. Each one is ideal for working from home in, for listening to music or audiobooks, and for watching films and exercising in.
Although if you are planning to work out in headphones, then remember to add a pair of sweat-proof headphone covers to prevent damage to the cushions.
- Comfortable fit
- 85% reduction on background noise
- 40mm output drivers
- 4.1 Bluetooth
- 10-meter wireless range
- Charges in 3-hours
- 15 hours of playback (slightly less with ANC)
- USB Micro-B to power battery
- Integrated microphone for hands-free calling
- On-earcup controls
- Includes a black carry case
What Hi-Fi gave the Lindy BNX-60 headphones a 5-star rating. The BNX-60 has also won a T3 Platinum award and has genuinely surprised several top tech reviewers with how much it packs in for under £100. At the time of writing, the price has dropped even further to around £49.99.
- 30 hours of wireless
- 60 hours wired playback
- 3 hours charging
- Supports Bluetooth 4.1
- 14-meter Bluetooth range
- Comes with a carry case
- Fold-down and earcups swivel flat
Some reviewers have said these come up a little big so they may not be suitable for people with smaller heads or younger children.
- 32mm driver
- Foldable for storage
- 12-hours battery when using ANC
- 22-hours battery for wireless without ANC
- 2-hour charge
- Hands-free calling
All controls on the right earcup
WHAT HI-FI says that they scuff quite easily and don't come with a carry case.
- Connect via Bluetooth or NFC
- 35-hour battery
- 40mm dome drivers
- Built-in microphone
- On-ear piece controls
- Swivelling earcups
- A 10-minute charge gives 60-minute playback
- Alexa and Google Assistant compatible
- Adjustable headband
- 20-hour battery life
- 40mm drivers
- Earcup controls
- 20 hours of playback with wireless and ANC
- Lightweight build
- Earcups swivel for easier storage
- Connects through Bluetooth 4.1
- 10-meter Bluetooth range
Noise-cancelling headphones don’t have to cost hundreds of pounds. It’s possible to get a decent pair for under £100 and even sub-£75.
For the sound quality, additional features and design, however, you’re looking at paying between £200 - £300. We’d recommend Sony’s WH1000XM3 headphone if you’re willing to pay more. They retail at around the £250 mark.
Check out our top-5 noise-cancelling headphones for working out in the gym if you’re looking to wear them for exercise.
Visit the EarHugz sweat-proof store to add moisture-resistant covers to your headphones.