6 Best Budget Active Noise Cancelling Headphones in the UK

Following Apple’s suit, most smartphone vendors have axed the headphone jack. Fast forward to 2023, and you’ll be hard-pressed to find a phone with an analogue port. As such, wireless headphones have become ubiquitous. Thankfully, audio manufacturers are bundling premium features with affordable headphones too. Active Noise Cancellation, or ANC, is one such feature that has trickled down to budget audio devices. So if you’re on a tight budget, we have some recommendations for the best budget active noise-canceling headphones in the UK.

Whether you’re right next to the engine on a flight or you’re on a busy metro ride, you no longer have to shell out hundreds of pounds for a pair of ANC headphones.

So, without further ado, here are some of the best budget wireless headphones in the UK with ANC in UK. Before we get to the noise-canceling headphones though, here are some other articles that may interest you –

Let’s get straight to the headphones now.

1. Smpl Active Noise Cancelling Headphones

The first product on our list is from Smpl, and it is one of the best entry-level ANC headphones on a budget if we were to go by the user reviews. It is a pair of over-the-ear headphones, so you’re getting good comfort levels along with crisp audio quality.

The main highlight of the Smpl Active Noice Cancelling headphones is the unit’s bass output when listening to songs from the hip-hop genre. If you’re a bass-head and want the beats to offer an extra oomph and thump, you’re surely going to enjoy the sound signature of the Smpl headphones. The noise cancellation is effective as per the reviews but some sound can still be heard if the music playing is at low volume levels.

Apart from sound quality, the Smpl headphones look somber and can be used in any environment. The brand also emphasizes superior microphones for calling and some reviews corroborate that the pair works well for online meetings. You get 16 hours of playback on a single charge which isn’t great but acceptable for the price.

Why should you buy: If you have an extremely tight budget and want the most inexpensive pair of reliable headphones with ANC, the Smpl headphones are a good option.

2. Srhythm NC25 ANC Headphones

The Srhythm NC25 has comfortable padding that will surely help with long hours of listening. The headphones are backed by a pair of 40mm high-resolution audio drivers for clear sound. As per the brand, the headphone’s noise cancellation tech can cancel out up to 90% of low-frequency background sounds.

These budget ANC headphones have a foldable design which makes them easy to slide into your backpack and carry around. The design is simplistic, and the soft-touch plastic on the outside gives the headphones a premium look. As per the reviews, the onboard mic is ideal for taking calls or attending online meetings. As for audio quality, the Srhythm headphones produce a balanced sound output that’s pleasing to the ears.

However, some users have said that the noise cancellation is slightly underwhelming and doesn’t live up to the brand’s claims. Apart from the ANC feature though, the battery life on the Srhythm headphones is impressive. You get 50 hours of playback time, and the USB Type-C port can fully charge them in about two hours. There’s also a dedicated gaming mode that supposedly reduces latency.

Why should you buy: The Srhythm NC25 headphones have stellar battery life with good sound quality. If the battery life is important to you, the NC25 should be at the top of your wishlist.

3. SoundPEATS A6 Bluetooth Headphones with ANC

The SoundPEATS A6 is arguably one of the most premium-looking headphones on this list. That’s mainly because the design resembles premium headphones from brands like Sony and Bose. It’s not just about the looks, though. You get memory foam earcups and crystal clear sound output via the 40mm drivers.

What’s more, per the reviews, the SoundPEATS A6 headphones have the best Active Noise Cancellation chops among budget headphones. If you’re specifically looking for the best over-ear headphones in the UK to primarily cancel out background noise, the SoundPEATS A6 is a solid contender.

It’s not just about the ANC though. The sound quality is also good as per the reviews, although some buyers claim that the volume levels could have been a tad louder. The memory foam earcups provide good comfort too, which is ideal for anyone who has their headphones on all day. As for the battery backup, you get up to 28 hours of playback time and that’s with the ANC enabled, which is great.

Why should you buy: Since the focus of this article is on ANC, you’re probably on the lookout for the best noise cancellation on a budget. If that’s the case, then you should give the SoundPEATS A6 a second look.

4. Edifier W820NB Hybrid ANC Headphones

The Edifier W820NB relies on a hybrid noise cancellation technique to cut out background noise. What this means is that along with ANC, the earcups provide a tight seal around your ears to cut out any ambient sound. You also get support for hi-res audio and AI noise cancellation during calls.

Instead of solely relying on algorithms, the Edifier headphones passively cancel out noise from entering your ears too. As per the reviews, this certainly seems to be working well for the brand as a lot of users mention that the W820NB headphones cut out almost 90% of background sounds. All of this while providing 49 hours of playback time which is impressive, to say the least.

The sound output is also hailed by several users with the caveat being that the unit’s bass output is a tad timid. Moreover, the headphones don’t fold either, making them slightly harder to lug around. On the plus side, you get support for SBC and AAC formats. The headphones even feature an ambient sound mode that keeps you aware of your surroundings.

Why should you buy: If you want a long-lasting pair of headphones with solid ANC capabilities, the Edifier W820NB headphones will serve you well. They’re not very portable since the design is slightly bulky.

5. Soundcore by Anker Life Q30 with Active Noise Cancellation

One of the USPs of the Anker Soundcore Q30 headphones is that it offers three different modes – Indoor, Outdoor, and Transport – for effectively canceling out the background noise. It has dual mics for improved noise cancellation along with a companion app that supports custom EQ presets.

Unlike the other headphones on this list, the Soundcore Q30 has various ANC modes for different environments. This results in more accurate detection of noise, which in turn translates to better noise cancellation. Another highlight of the Soundcore by Anker Life Q30 headphones is the multi-point connection feature. You can connect the headphones to both your computer and smartphone and switch between them seamlessly.

While the noise cancellation and sound quality are good, some users have complained about the earcups being too large. On the bright side, you get 40 hours of battery life, which is plenty. If you don’t plan on wearing your headphones for hours on the trot, the Soundcore Q30 is a great buy and among the best budget active noise-canceling headphones.

Why should you buy: The prime reason to recommend these headphones is the multi-point connectivity. If you wish to use your headphones with two devices simultaneously, this is one of the few budget headphones that will let you do it.

6. Creative Zen Over-Ear Headphones with Hybrid Active Noise Cancellation

Creative is a legacy audio brand that has been around for years. The Zen hybrid ANC headphones from the company combine years of expertise into a product that is mainly for those who want to cut off all ambient sounds from their surroundings. It is slightly on the expensive side but you get a reliable product.

The Creative Zen headphones score high in terms of noise cancellation. The same can be accredited to four different mics that work in tandem to block any external sounds from entering your ears. Now, there might be instances when you want to be in the loop with your surroundings. As an example, you might want to keep an ear out for any announcements when you’re at the airport. To that end, the headphones ship with an ambient mode that allows some noise to pass through the cans.

Creative’s expertise in the audio field pays off when you read the reviews about the sound quality of these headphones. Most users say the Zen headphones sound terrific and offer a balanced sound output. They’re also comfortable to wear and are rated to work for 27 hours with ANC enabled. If you travel frequently, you would be pleased to know that the Creative Zen headphones can fold in three different ways too, making them superbly portable.

If anything, we would’ve liked to see multi-point connectivity with the headset. Even then, the Creative Zen headphones are among the best budget active noise-canceling headphones on the market.

Why should you buy: Creative has perfected pretty much every aspect of the Zen headphones. They are slightly more expensive compared to the other options on this list, but you’re getting the best sound quality and ANC. If you have the budget, you should absolutely go for these.

FAQs for Best Budget Active Noise Canceling Headphones

1. Are budget ANC headphones worth buying?

Absolutely. Despite being cheap, budget ANC headphones have a sophisticated tech to cancel out background noise. While they may not be as effective as some expensive options from renowned brands, they still do a good job of removing ambient sounds.

2. What is ENC and how is it different from ANC?

ENC stands for Environmental Noise Cancellation and it is not assisted by any additional hardware. In fact, ENC is commonly construed as passive noise cancellation, and the feature relies on the headphone’s build quality and the earcup’s seal to cancel out noise. ANC, on the other hand, listens to all the different frequencies around you and produces an opposite frequency to cancel out the sound. ANC is superior to ENC.

Cut the Noise Out

It’s never pleasing to have a crying baby on your flight or to hear people chatting on your way back home on the bus. The best way to tackle both of these situations is by getting any of the budget Active Noise Cancelling headphones mentioned above. In doing so, you will be able to enjoy your playlists to the fullest without worrying about ambient sounds.

Last updated on 23 February, 2023

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