What are the best noise-cancelling earbuds under $100?

by Alex Chang

In an age where remote work, travel, and the hustle and bustle of daily life are omnipresent, the demand for high-quality noise-cancelling earbuds has skyrocketed. Not everyone, however, is willing or able to invest in premium models that often come with a hefty price tag. Fortunately, advancements in audio technology have made it possible to find affordable earbuds that offer commendable noise cancellation without breaking the bank. This article delves into the top noise-cancelling earbuds under $100, providing an in-depth look at their features, performance, and why they might be the perfect addition to your tech arsenal.

Soundcore Space A40: The Comfort King

Key Features:

  • Active Noise Cancellation (ANC)
  • Transparency Mode
  • Multipoint Connection
  • Battery Life: 8 hours (single charge), 32 hours (with charging case)
  • Quick Charge: 10 minutes for 4 hours playtime
  • Sound Quality: Balanced with a pleasant, thick sound profile

The Soundcore Space A40 earbuds are a testament to Anker’s commitment to providing value-driven audio solutions. Praised for their comfortable, compact design, the A40s are suitable for long listening sessions and even side sleeping. Their ANC performance is highly regarded, nearly on par with more expensive competitors, effectively silencing background noise while offering a useful transparency mode for situational awareness.

One standout feature is the multipoint connection capability, allowing seamless switching between two devices. This, coupled with their impressive battery life, makes the A40s ideal for a variety of use cases, from work to leisure. While they shine in many areas, it’s worth noting that call quality may suffer in noisier environments, a minor compromise given their overall performance and affordability.

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Sony LinkBuds S: The Balance Maestro

Key Features:

  • ANC Quality: Comparable to premium models
  • Battery Life: 6 hours (ANC on), 20 hours (with case)
  • Multipoint Connectivity
  • IPX4 Splashproof
  • Sound Quality: Warm, detailed, with clarity

Sony’s LinkBuds S are a remarkable offering in the sub-$100 category, known for their snug fit and exceptional ANC. Though they may take a moment longer to adjust to surroundings than some rivals, the quality of noise cancellation they provide is commendable. They also boast an IPX4 splashproof rating and support for multipoint connectivity, enhancing their versatility.

In terms of audio performance, the LinkBuds S impress with a warm, detailed sound signature that does not skimp on clarity. The bass is present but not overwhelming, ensuring a balanced listening experience. Additionally, these earbuds excel in call quality, ensuring clear communication even in windy conditions. The absence of wireless charging is a minor drawback, but hardly a dealbreaker for most users.

EarFun Air Pro 3: The All-Rounder

Key Features:

  • Strong ANC Capability
  • High-Res Audio with LDAC Support
  • Multipoint Connectivity
  • Battery Life: 6+ hours (ANC on), 30 hours (with case)
  • IPX5 Water Resistance
  • Sound Quality: Dynamic range with detailed bass

The EarFun Air Pro 3 earbuds stand out as a strong all-rounder, offering a robust ANC feature set at a competitive price point. They support high-resolution audio through the LDAC codec, a rare find in this price range, and offer multipoint connectivity for versatile use.

Their sound profile is dynamic, with a particular emphasis on detailed bass, making them suitable for a wide variety of musical genres. Additionally, their IPX5 rating ensures they’re resilient enough for workouts and outdoor activities. While they offer comprehensive app support for customization, users should be aware that battery life can decrease with heavy use of LDAC and ANC features.

Edifier W240TN: The Tech Innovator

Key Features:

  • Bluetooth 5.3 with Low Latency
  • Gaming Mode
  • IP55 Dust and Water Resistance
  • Battery Life: 7 hours (ANC on), 8+ hours (ANC off)
  • Single Usage Mode
  • Sound Quality: Clear and balanced with customizable EQ

The Edifier W240TN earbuds emerge as a compelling choice for those interested in cutting-edge technology without spending a fortune. With Bluetooth 5.3, they ensure a stable connection and low latency, ideal for gaming and video consumption. The single usage mode is particularly noteworthy, allowing for one earbud’s use while the other charges, without sacrificing ANC or transparency mode functionality.

Their compact and lightweight design ensures comfort for a variety of ear sizes, and the IP55 rating offers peace of mind for users leading an active lifestyle. Through the Edifier Connect app, users can fine-tune their listening experience, adjusting EQ settings and more. The W240TN’s battery life is solid, offering enough power toget through a day without needing a recharge, even with ANC enabled. The combination of these features makes the W240TN a top choice for tech-savvy users looking for affordability without compromising on quality or functionality.

Table: Comparison of Noise-Cancelling Earbuds Under $100

FeatureSoundcore Space A40Sony LinkBuds SEarFun Air Pro 3Edifier W240TN
ANC QualityHighVery HighHighHigh
Battery Life8 hours (32 with case)6 hours (20 with case)6+ hours (30 with case)7 hours (8+ with ANC off)
Quick Charge10 min for 4 hoursNot SpecifiedNot SpecifiedNot Specified
Multipoint ConnectionYesYesYesNo
IP RatingNot SpecifiedIPX4IPX5IP55
Sound QualityBalanced, thick soundWarm, detailedDynamic, detailed bassClear, balanced
Bluetooth VersionNot SpecifiedNot SpecifiedNot Specified5.3
Special FeaturesCompact design, Transparency modeSplashproof, Sony Headphones appHigh-Res Audio with LDAC, Comprehensive app supportLow Latency, Gaming Mode, Single Usage Mode

Final Thoughts

The world of affordable noise-cancelling earbuds is rich and diverse, offering something for everyone – from the comfort-seeking Soundcore Space A40 users to the tech enthusiasts drawn to the Edifier W240TN’s innovative features. While each model has its strengths, they all share the common goal of delivering quality audio and effective noise cancellation at a price that won’t leave your wallet feeling light.

As technology continues to evolve, it’s exciting to think about what the future holds for noise-cancelling earbuds. Until then, the models discussed in this article represent some of the best options available under $100. Whether you’re a commuter, a fitness enthusiast, or simply someone looking to enjoy your music in peace, these earbuds are sure to enhance your audio experience without breaking the bank.

Remember, while these reviews provide a good starting point, the best earbuds for you will depend on your specific needs, preferences, and the environments in which you’ll be using them. It’s always a good idea to consider all factors, including fit, sound quality, battery life, and additional features, before making your final decision.

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