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Noise-Canceling Headphones Under $150

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You can spend a ton of money on a pair of noise-canceling headphones, but don’t let price keep you out of the noise-cancellation game. Bryan Rogala tested several pairs that all cost under $150. The winner may surprise you.

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Video Transcript

BRYAN ROGALA: Hey, everybody. Bryan Rogala here for "Outside." Today, we're going to talk about one of my absolute must-have travel essentials, and that is a pair of noise-canceling headphones. So I didn't get into the noise-canceling headphones game until just last year.

Now, I don't travel without them, but the whole reason that I didn't try noise-canceling headphones for so long is because they're so expensive. So that got me thinking, what's the best budget pair of noise-canceling headphones? So for this review, I compared three different headphones. First, I looked at the Anker Soundcore Life Q20s which are about $60. Then, I looked at the audio-technica ANC500BTs, and the JBL TUNE 750BTNCs.

So first of all, all of the headphones in this price point are pretty similar. Each pair came with the same accessories which consisted of a USB charging cable and an audio cable, in case you want to plug them into an audio jack. In fact, the only difference when it came to packaging or accessories is that the Ankers came with a little bag that you can put them in to travel with.

Now, each one of these headphones works wonderfully with Bluetooth. They paired with my phone easily, pair my computer very easily. Each one of them has controls on the headphones themselves. You can adjust the volume. You can go to your next song.

Sound quality among the three pairs was pretty interesting. So the Ankers to me actually sounded the best. They also have a different EQ mode. You can turn the bass up, and it just sounds really good. But sound quality is pretty subjective, so you're going to want to try them out for yourself and see what you like best.

So fit and feel are going to be kind of subjective as well. The audio-technicas were the lightest feeling pair, and they were pretty comfortable to wear for long periods of time. But they don't have a ton of padding, so it might not work for everyone.

The Ankers were really comfortable. They definitely feel plusher, and they were a little bit on the warmer side. And then the JBLs just did not fit my head and ears that well. I did not find them comfortable, and they kind of felt like a vise. They just squeeze the crap out of your head, so not my favorite.

When it comes to portability and packability, there were some slight differences. The Ankers here, as you can see, fold up and swivel. The earpieces fold and swivel which makes packing them a little bit easier, same thing with the JBLs. But the audio-technica earpieces only, swivel so they don't pack down as small as the other two pairs.

OK. So since we're looking at these headphones from a travel perspective, the two most important things to consider are the noise cancellation and the battery life. Now, when it comes to noise cancellation, the clear winner are the Ankers which is actually pretty surprising, because they're also the cheapest pair. Now, all of these headphones have some what they call passive noise cancellation which means, when you put them on, they do cancel out some sound, just because they're an over-the-ear headphone. But the active noise cancellation is what we're really after here, and active noise cancellation is what cuts down on those low frequency sounds, like an airplane engine, a car engine, or that annoying guy sitting next to you at work. And when it comes to that, the Ankers were far better than either of these other pairs which is pretty surprising, considering they are also the cheapest pair of headphones.

The audio-technica's noise cancellation was also the worst. It was kind of like the active noise cancellation wasn't doing much of anything, unfortunately, especially compared to the Ankers. The JBL was somewhere in the middle.

OK. Next most important thing, like I mentioned, battery life. This is where those Ankers really pulled ahead too. They have double the battery life of either of these two pairs of headphones at almost 40 hours of continuous listening, if you listen to music. And to me, that combined with the best noise cancellation and the cheapest price makes these guys clear winner.

OK. So there you go. The Anker Soundcore Life Q20s. For $60, you can get a great pair of noise-canceling headphones. I was pretty surprised, to be totally honest with you. The cheapest pair of headphones I tried ended up being the best.

So there you go. Hopefully this video helps you out a little bit, if you're in the market for some headphones. If you enjoyed this video, and you want to see more, make sure you subscribe to our YouTube channel, and we will see you next time.