Are you on the lookout for a brand new pair of headphones under $100? Don’t listen to nay-sayers that insist you can’t get a good pair on a budget. Spending $100 may get you a fantastic deal if you know what you’re looking for.
True audiophiles know that a higher price tag does not always equal better quality. Of course, some of the headphones that are widely considered to be “the best” are very pricey. Sometimes their price falls in the hundreds of dollars. But are those super high-end models the only way to truly enjoy your music? Definitely not!
These days, great headphones are more affordable than ever. Even budget models can sometimes keep up with those that are priced much higher. However, when you’re on a tighter budget, it’s important to make sure that each and every penny goes towards getting the best possible pair of headphones.
There’s no reason why you would spend hours upon hours researching prior to making your purchase. We’ve done all the legwork for you and compiled a comprehensive buying guide on headphones under $100. Check out all the information & some of our favorites below!
Things to Keep in Mind
Before we show you the best headphones in your price range, it’s important for us that you know full-well what you’re after. There are headphones that combine almost each, and every feature one might want, but they’re often severely overpriced. That’s why it’s crucial that you think hard about the things you want in a pair before making your purchase.
Here are some things for you to be mindful of when shopping for new headphones.
- Type — what kind of headphones are you interested in? This will largely depend not just on your personal preference, but also the type of activity you can imagine yourself performing. As an example, if you want headphones for the gym, earbuds will serve you well. If you want something to wear while you work, over-the-ear headphones grant the best sound isolation.
- Budget — the budget here does amount to $100, but is this a hard limit? Are you, realistically, looking to spend a little less? As stores can really lure you in and make you spent more than you intended, consider whether $100 is the most you’re willing to stretch the budget to.
- Wired or wireless — this just might be one of the most important decisions. Are you looking for headphones that work via Bluetooth or another wireless technology, or are you happy with a pair that needs to be plugged in? Once again, consider the various activities you want these for — that will help you make your choice. Don’t be swayed by outdated opinions about poor audio quality, as both wired and wireless types are almost equal these days. The one thing to keep in mind is…
- Battery life — if you choose to go down the wireless route, battery life will play a part in which headphones you pick out. Most earbuds can handle over 7 hours of play before needing a recharge. Bigger, over-the-ear headphones can sometimes go up to 50 hours! Think about how long a stretch of time you want to go without a recharge before picking out a pair.
- Build quality — while audio quality is often decent in both budget and premium models, build quality is another thing. If you choose over-ear headphones made out of plastic with no metal elements, you may find them to be a bit breakable or less comfortable. Try to get the best bang for your buck and pick out something sturdy.
- Microphone — while headphones are not the same thing as a headset, they sometimes come with a built-in (often hidden) mic. If you want to be able to take calls, consider a pair of earbud headphones. Those usually have a microphone and let you take calls easily.
- Noise cancellation — this one is huge. Some headphones, especially over-the-ear options, have amazing noise suppression. This means that you get to immerse yourself in the music without interruptions; however, if you tend to wear headphones when outside, going with total noise cancellation may not be the right option.
- Frequency response — this is the range of bass, mids, and trebles. The standard range is 20-20,000 Hz, but some models offer a wider range. Audiophiles often pay a great deal of attention to this.
Best Headphones Under $100
Now that you’ve all clued up on the particulars, it’s time to get down to business and discuss all the headphones we’ve prepared for you. Below you will find some of our favorite models in the under $100 price range. Let’s get right to it!
Our Best Overall Pick
You don’t need to spend a fortune in order to get your hands on a pair of headphones endorsed by professionals. Just get ATH-M20x!
Type: On-ear, wired
Weight: 6.70 ounces
Special features: circumaural design around the ears, enhanced low frequency, designed for studio work
Many people, we included, ask themselves one thing: how is it possible that a pair of studio-grade headphones is so affordable? No matter the reason, the fact remains that you’ll be well within your budget if you buy these. However, you will get a pair of headphones that can rival high-end models.
These were designed for studio tracking & mixing, which means that they are perfectly tuned to enhance their low-frequency performance. They also offer great sound isolation thanks to the way they were designed. With their circumaural design, they will encase your ears without adding any pressure onto them.
They have a durable build and 40-millimeter drivers that include rare earth magnets and copper-clad aluminum voice coils. Lastly, they offer the option to rotate the ear cushions, which means you can listen with one ear if that’s your preference.
- High-end headphones for the price of a budget pair
- Fantastic price-to-performance ratio
- Circumaural design that doesn’t hurt the ears
- Good noise cancellation
- Rotatable ear cups
- Top-notch sound quality
- Not the best at deep bass
- Not adapted for glasses
Our Most Durable Pick
Sennheiser is known for its good products. Some people report that they’ve used the same pair of headphones for upwards of ten years. If you want to spend your money once instead of re-buying new headphones every two years, look into HD280 PRO.
Type: Wired, over-the-ear
Weight: 1.28 pounds
Special features: Extended frequency response, circumaural ear cups, easily replaceable parts
Most headphones do not offer what this pair does: the ability to replace nearly everything that can break. As you can swap out the earpads, headband padding, and even the audio cord here, you’re covered for years.
The aforementioned parts are some of those that break most frequently. As a result, with the ability to bring in replacements, you should be able to enjoy these headphones for years to come. And there’s plenty to enjoy!
They’re lightweight, comfortable, and fairly ergonomic. They do have the usual, somewhat bulky, Sennheiser design. However, this model looks softer around the edges than many other Sennheisers, and most importantly, it’s comfy to wear.
They offer a natural sound introduction without increasing or lowering any bass, trebles, or mids. We think that while these will not be mindblowing to audiophiles, they will definitely satisfy them for a long time.
- Highly durable
- Easy to replace broken parts
- Accurate sound reproduction
- Easy to transport
- Folding and rotating ear cups
- Comfortable to wear
- May feel a bit snug for some people
- The bass is not the greatest
Our Best Earbud Pick
Even with a lower budget, you’re perfectly able to get yourself a pair of fantastic earbuds that will rival their over-ear counterparts. Check these out!
Weight: 1.86 ounces
Special features: charging case included, compatible with your voice assistant of choice, pocket-sized
For a moderately priced pair of earbuds, these earphones come with a wide array of features that can put some of their counterparts to shame. Let’s start with their battery life.
They offer a playtime of up to 6 hours, and they recharge relatively quickly. This can be extended to up to 24-hours if you just put them inside their charging case for a bit. The battery fills right up in no time.
We found the sound quality here to be good for a pair of earbuds. Better yet, 1MORE has managed to beat some of the on-ear competition. They come with a dynamic driver that has a titanium composite diaphragm. This allows for strong bass, and most of all, accurate sound reproduction.
These earbuds are comfortable and should stay securely within your ear canal. They come with three sets of differently-sized replacement ear tips to allow for ears of all shapes and sizes. They also come in four different colors, each vibrant and unique.
- Beautiful design
- Long battery life
- Charging case included
- Comfortable to wear for hours
- Different size ear tips included
- Stable connection without latency
- No ear hooks — may feel loose for some people
Our Best Wireless Pick
Wireless is the way to go for many people, whether they want headphones to wear outside or sit home in. If this is you, check out Marshall Major III.
Type: On-ear, wireless
Weight: 6.28 ounces
Special features: Bluetooth, control knob included on the headphones, 30 hours of playtime on a single charge
These stylish, uniquely designed wireless headphones are a good solution if you want to be able to listen to music on the go. They offer moderate noise isolation: good enough for indoors, adequate for the outside where you have to maintain some level of awareness.
Thanks to the Bluetooth aptX technology that has been used in these, you get two awesome side-effects. One is the lack of latency — these are good enough to watch movies in. The other one is the range at which they can be used: up to 30 feet of wireless listening range.
Other than the above, there’s also a really solid level of battery life. You can get up to 30 hours of playtime on a single charge, meaning you won’t have to recharge them often at all.
Lastly, they feature an easy-to-reach control knob right on the headphone, allowing you to change songs, volume, or power off the headphones with one finger.
- Superb battery life
- Handy controls
- Bluetooth aptX for low latency and long-range
- 40mm dynamic drivers, customized to deliver great sound quality
- Ability to take calls included and controlled via the headphone
- Foldable design for easy transportation
- They feel a little heavy
- On-ear cushions instead of over-ear
We’ve reached the end of our list. We hope that you were able to find something to catch your eye. Just in case you’re feeling overwhelmed with all the different aspects of every pair, let’s have a final look at them all once again.
- Audio-Technica ATH-M20x: These are studio-grade headphones that deliver incredible sound quality for that price point. The ear cups rotate, allowing for single-ear listening.
- Sennheiser HD280 PRO: If you’ve known the pain of having headphones break much too soon, you’ll appreciate this pair of Sennheiser. You can replace many parts as they wear-and-tear, so you very well may be using these for years.
- 1MORE Stylish True Wireless Earbuds: Sound quality is often the Achilles’ heel of earbuds, but these come out victorious. They sound great and come in a variety of beautiful colors.
- Marshall Major III Bluetooth Wireless Headphones: If wireless is the way to go for you, Marshall Major III will impress you with 30 hours of battery life, a long-range, and decent sound quality.
Still not quite satisfied? Then perhaps you may like one of our runners-up. Below are the headphones that didn’t quite make our top 4, but are still pretty fantastic for their price range.
Feel free to leave us a comment below and share which pair of headphones under $100 you decided to buy — and, more importantly, enjoy your brand new gear as soon as it arrives!