Budget Headphones
Budget Headphones

There’s a lot of talk from the critics of the modern lifestyle about all the negative ways technology has influenced the way we live today.

Most of it comes down to detachment from the real world and how we managed to pack all our lives into a small shiny box we call a smartphone.

While we do understand that, let’s not belittle all the positive ways that the modern technology has changed our lives in.

One of the main concerns people express is how these tiny devices impact our sleep habits.

The points usually made range from the negative effects of the blue light to more serious issues, like addiction.

Today, we look at the other side of the medal and the ways your phone can actually help you sleep better. To be more precise, we’ll look at sound and the calming effect it can have on our brain.

man listening to music with headphones

We won’t be talking about sleep apps and trackers. The topic has been rehashed and drained and most people know what works for them.

Instead, we’ll take a look at nifty add-on that can change your life – and that’s not an overstatement. We’re talking about noise-cancelling headphones.

The basics

What are noise-cancelling headphones in the first place?

The definition is broad and it ranges from any pair of headphones or ear buds that blocks sound by physically stopping it from reaching our ears, to the more sophisticated devices that actually make waves of their own to negate the environmental noise.

The first group belongs to what you’d call noise isolation, because all these headphones do is block the noise through the use of materials like foam and leather. In those terms, pretty much any headset with decent padding can be called noise-isolating.

True noise cancellation


Unlike your traditional set, noise-cancelling headphones are designed to actively neutralize noise.

They don’t do that by simply blocking it, but they make a frequency of their own that “meets” the noise and nullifies it.

The best of them even adapt to the noise level and change the frequency they emit, so you can use them for anything, from blocking subway chatter to relaxing before you get to sleep.

The technology is called digital signal processing (DSP).

What to look for

Some of the confusion comes from the fact that many brands include the words “noise-canceling” in the name of the product even if it’s just a physical barrier with no DSP technology included.

To get the maximum effect, make sure that the set you choose is described as “active noise cancellation.”

What we said above is pretty self-explanatory -the “active” part here means that the set is using some form of digital sound processing.

The price issue

Best noise-cancelling headphones out there will probably cost as much is your phone.

The leading brand in the industry is Bose, especially since they introduced the Quiet Comfort 35. It’s fair to say that this is the first wireless noise-canceling headset that does as good of a job as the corded models.

bose quiet comfort 35 noise cancelling headphones

You don’t have to break the bank

Most “techies” will find it difficult to get a gadget that’s on the cheaper side when they know that there’s something more sophisticated and “better” out there.

We completely understand that, but only when the extra money you pay is a worth it and there is a significant difference in quality behind the decision.

In this case, we feel like the huge gap in prices is not just about substance but, to be blunt, about the vanity of owning a high-end brand.

Option you have in the lower price range


There are some great noise-cancelling headphones out there that cost under 200, or even $100.

Under $200

Our choice for the best noise-cancelling headphones under $200 is the Bose Quiet Comfort 25.

The main upside of the set is the depth and the quality of the sound, while the main dining downside is the fact that they’re not compatible with all smart phones, since they are primarily designed to be used which Apple products.

bose quiet comfort 25

Under $100

This is where it gets a bit tricky, because noise cancellation technology is not cheap and what usually suffers in this price range is the sound quality.

With all that in mind our choice for the best budget friendly noise-cancelling headphones under $100 is the PAWW 3 Wave Sound.

paww 3 headphones

If you analyze this set and make the comparison of PAWW 3 vs. Bose, the first thing you’ll notice is that the design is a bit more basic and the plastic is not as robust.

However, we did mention that we are more about the substance and, in those terms, the PAWW 3 delivers an amazing value for money.

The difference in the bass and depth of the sound will probably be noticed only by the pickiest music enthusiasts – you can read more about the budget-friendly headphones on TheSleepStudies.com here.

Headphones and ear buds for sleep

The analysis above compares the PAWW 3 to Bose primarily in terms of the sound quality.

But if you’re looking for headphones for sleep, this won’t be much of an issue because you’ll either be listing to low-key relaxing ambient music or some type of white noise.

If that is your main purpose, a pair in the range between 100 and 200 bucks will do just fine.


You don’t us to tell you that the decision will be about balancing between budget-friendliness and your purpose of use.

If it’s about the music, the extra money might be worth it, but if it’s about sleep the cheaper sets are a solid option.


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