So, you need a new pair of headphones. This is probably about the 20th pair of headphones you have purchased in the last year.
You are sick and tired of spending money on low-quality headphones that break or that fail to deliver the premium sound quality that you are looking for.Maybe it’s time for a different kind of headphones… But, which ones should you purchase? Over-ear large DJ headphones or in-ear, ear buds?Believe it or not, there are a number of factors to consider when purchasing the best earphones. Style, size, audio quality, price range and other technical capabilities are all crucial factors in the decision-making process.We wanted to help with this dilemma, so we researched a number of different headphone models, designed for different purposes, weighed the pros and cons of each as well as price range.
We looked for models and styles that not only fit the bill (literally), but that also proved to be quality options.
We reviewed the following headphone categories:
- Best over-ear or on-ear headphones
- Best wireless headphones
- Best Bluetooth headphones
- Best in-ear (ear bud) headphones
- Best gaming headphones (gaming headsets)
We selected only the best headphones under $100 that were top-rated by consumers and that proved to be quality products. Read on to check out our comprehensive guide for the best headphones under $100.
What to Look for in the Best Headphones Under $100
Before we jump into our guide, let’s first review some of the top factors and features to consider before purchasing the best headphones for you. With the convenience and availability of the Internet, consumers have access to an endless amount of information, including content surrounding product reviews, customer feedback and testimonials, and long-form articles and guides to making the best purchase decision for a particular product.
This level of transparency enables consumers to pick and choose the best possible products and at the best prices.Here are some factors to consider when searching for the best headphones under $100:
Size and Style: Small vs. Large (In-ear vs. Over-ear/ On-ear Headphones)
The smallest in-ear headphones are also known as earbuds. These are designed to fit just inside the ear. Other models are designed to fit inside the inner ear as well as drape over the outer part of the ear.
These headphones are connected to a device, such as a smartphone, tablet or iPod with a long cord and audio jack. There are also wireless options available today, which can be a great choice for avid runners, gym-goers, and athletes.
One of the reasons why earbuds are so popular is that they are highly fashionable, coming in a wide array of color choices, and are extremely portable. Earbuds are much easier to travel with than large over-ear headphones.Larger headphones come equipped with soft earmuff-like pads that fit on and over the ears, covering them entirely.
This layer of padding makes them comfortable to wear over long periods of time, and often help cancel out background noise for complete noise isolation.
Larger over-ear headphones also come equipped with an audio jack and wired cord.Additionally, some models are also wireless and even come with a built-in mic and headset and with Bluetooth capabilities, allowing for hands-free use, making them a great choice for listening to music, gaming, and working.
Audio and Sound Quality
Although style is certainly an important consideration, audio and sound quality is definitely at the top of the priority list. However, what most people don’t realize is that they often end up sacrificing sound quality for an array of features.Here are some considerations that may sacrifice sound and audio quality:Wired vs. Wireless – Although many users look for headphones with wireless or Bluetooth capabilities for convenience purposes, in our research, we discovered that wired headphones almost always provide a better sound and audio quality than wireless or Bluetooth-enabled headphones.If you are deadset on getting headphones that are wireless anyways, then look for a model that works in the 2.4GHz wireless spectrum.
These should have less interference than other wireless devices, which can help improve the overall sound and audio quality.Wireless headphones also require batteries, which definitely have their disadvantages. Many people find that having to charge a battery can be a nuisance.
However, wireless technology continues to improve. In-ear Earbuds vs. Over-ear Headphones – Of course, if you are looking for a small and convenient pair of in-ear headphones or earbuds, then you are likely looking for portability and convenience rather than overall sound quality.
Most small in-ear earbuds cannot deliver the same level of premium sound quality or noise cancellation as large, over-ear headphones can simply due to their size. However, this isn’t to say that you can’t find good quality in-ear headphones. For the best sound quality experience for a small pair of in-ear earbuds, choose a model that sits comfortably yet snug in your inner ears.
Some models even come with additional pads (S, M, L) to help provide a custom fit.Noise-Cancelling Headphones – Many over-ear or on-ear headphone models are labeled as “noise cancelling” or noise isolation, which means they block out background or ambient noise.
Active noise cancellation headphones are great for taking phone calls, recording music or even gaming. They are also known as the DJ headphone.
In fact, many users will opt to spend more money for this feature. Although this particular feature might be necessary for some users, particularly those who use headphones for recording music purposes or who do not want to be disturbed during phone calls, a huge drawback for some consumers is if the battery dies during use.
If this happens while using a pair of noise-cancelling headphones, then the earphones may stop working entirely, which can be embarrassing and frustrating during a phone call or in the middle of a game.Therefore, these features might be more trouble than what they are worth.
You will have to determine whether or not wireless or noise cancellation earphones are absolutely necessary and worth the extra money.Onboard Controls – Some earphone models come equipped with various sound and audio controls, such as volume, treble/ bass levels, and mic controls right on a small panel available on the wired cord.
Others connect to an audio-control collar that fits comfortably around the neck. These controls are more of a convenience factor rather than sound quality. Although sound quality isn’t really impacted by having having access to extra controls at your disposal, again, you will have to decide if this feature is worth the extra money.Connected Battery-Powered Devices – Some headphones models are designed to run off separate battery-powered devices, such as a Smartphone or tablet.
However, these battery-driven devices may not be strong enough to push sufficient power through the headphones. As a result, sound quality might be reduced, and might end up being a disappointment.If sound quality is something that is important to you when searching for the best headphones under $100, then you should look at headphones models that have high levels of sensitivity in order to ensure top sound quality.Sensitivity is measured as decibels of sound pressure level per milliwatt.
Headphones that are designed with higher sensitivity levels often provide a better audio quality and experience. On a battery-powered device, a headphone sensitivity of more than 80 dBSPL/mW is sufficient to meet the needs of most consumers.Price Range – The price range of various headphones models can cost anywhere between $5 and $500.
However, as mentioned above, you can find a quality pair of headphones with the styles, features, and sound quality that you are looking for, for under $100.Bear in mind that paying a higher price doesn’t necessarily guarantee durability or top sound quality. It’s important to remember that headphones, particularly those used on a daily basis are prone to damage and everyday wear and tear.To make the best possible purchase decision, it is better to focus on the features of a particular model rather than a brand name (unless you are dead-set on purchasing a specific brand name or style, of course).
In this case, if you have your heart set on a particular high-end style or brand name, then you can expect to pay up to $250 or more for a pair of headphones.However, most people who are looking for a good quality pair of headphones can get away with paying for the best headphones under $100.
In fact, most of the products on our list are between the $30 and $60 price range. Durability – Most people get frustrated when their pair of headphones breaks—and rightfully so.
However, it’s important for users to keep in mind that headphones aren’t particularly durable to begin with, and are susceptible to everyday use and wear and tear. Furthermore, most cheap earbuds won’t last a year before they break, fall apart or lose some of their audio appeal.
All in all, the best way to keep your headphones long-lasting is to care for them properly, storing them away in a safe location, and also avoid bending and crushing the cords.In regards to finding a good pair of headphones, there is no question that you can find both insanely expensive and super cheap headphones.
In fact, you’ve probably already been down the ‘cheap’ road, but you aren’t in a position to spend several hundred dollars on a professional quality pair of headphones.
Our Top Picks for the Best Headphones Under $100
Although there are a number of different factors to consider when deciding the best headphones under $100, there is still an option available for everyone. Additionally, there are still plenty of affordable headphones available that don’t sacrifice quality, and all with various features for different purposes, such as taking phone calls, listening to or recording music, running or gaming.We looked at a number of different features, models, and brands for determining the best different types of headphones under $100, and here is the criteria we used to help us make our decisions:
- checkFull and quality sound for price
- checkComfortable and ergonomic design
- checkStylish and colorful
- checkWireless and Bluetooth capabilities
- checkBuilt-in microphone and headsets
- checkOnboard controls
So, without further adieu, here is our list of the best headphones under $100 for gaming, running, talking and recording and music-listening that we think you will love.
Best Over-Ear Headphones Under $100 – Marshall Headphones M-ACCS-00152 Monitor Headphones
Marshall is a leading brand that has dominated the music equipment industry since 1948. Marshall headphones can be seen in various audio engineering and recording studios worldwide and are also used as the DJ headphone.
They are known for their outstanding mixing style and top quality sound and prime active noise cancellation qualities. The M-ACCs Monitor headphones are designed with a malleable headband and foldable ear cups for maximum portability.
The re-voiced 40 mm drivers help to deliver premium sound quality, perfect for recording, listening or mixing your favorite jams. Not only do they deliver top sound quality and deep, rich bass tones and levels, they are also great for noise cancellation, effectively blocking out erroneous background noise.
You can also listen to your jams as loud as you’d like without disturbing others around you.These over-ear headphones also come equipped with a detachable cord and built-in, in-line microphone and in-line remote for MP3 players.
The gold embellishments give this model a 1970s-era “retro” and vintage feel, but with modern technical capabilities that are out of this world.
- Retro yet modern design
- 40mm Handmade Drivers
- Detachable cord with built-in, in-line microphone
- Built-in, in-line remote for mp3 players
- Custom F.T.F filter system
- Blocks out background noise
- Does not disturb others
- Top sound quality
- Two-year warranty
- Deep bass levels and tones
- Some discomfort after wearing for long periods of time
These best over-ear headphones are available on Amazon for approximately $87.00, making them extremely affordable.
Best Bluetooth Headphones Under $100 – Avantree 40 hours DUAL Mode Bluetooth 4.0 Over-Ear Headphones
After reviewing a number of headphones with Bluetooth capabilities, we have determined that the winner for this round is another pair of over-ear headphones. The Dual Mode Bluetooth 4.0 Over-Ear headphones by Avantree are the best bluetooth headphones under $100.
For only $59.99, individuals can get a super-high quality pair of headphones that are comfortable and also last up to 40 hours of music play time.Avantree designs and builds audio products that are designed to last.
These over ear headphones are available in two color schemes: red and black, and beige and black, and are designed with for maximum comfort, equipped with an adjustable headband and ear pads. The Dual Mode Bluetooth headphones are a great gaming headset.
They are easy to connect to Bluetooth and come equipped with a built-in, in-line microphone for taking phone calls or for gaming via VoIP (Skype, MSN, etc.) PROs
- 40mm Drivers
- Come in two different color schemes
- Designed with adjustable head band and soft ear pads for comfort
- Long-lasting battery life (up to 40 hours of use)
- 24-month warranty
- Bass levels are not overwhelming
- Built-in mic with Bluetooth capabilities (V4.0 with EDR)
- Easy to use and connect to any Bluetooth-ready device
- Easy to switch to multiple devices
- Micro USB charging cable and 3.5mm audio cable
- Lower sound quality
- Ear pads may compress over time
All in all, if you are looking for a quality and durable pair of headphones for taking phone calls, connecting multiple devices or for gaming purposes, and you need a pair that has Bluetooth capabilities, then these are the best Bluetooth headphones for under $100.
You can find these headphones on Amazon for $59.99.
Best Wireless Headphones Under $100 – Mpow Bluetooth Headphones Over-Ear Wireless Headset
Good things sometimes really do come in small packages.
Although these wireless headphones aren’t super large, bulky or insanely expensive, they are still a quality pair that are designed for comfort, portability, and providing users with a high-quality sound experience—no “cords” attached!The Mpow over-ear wireless Bluetooth headphones are portable with a long-lasting battery life that help keep them going and all without sacrificing sound quality.
This is why we had to include them as the best wireless headphones under $100. These Mpow over-ear wireless Bluetooth headphones are great for connecting to a PC, a cell phone, and a TV.
Mpow manufacturers manage consumer expectations by claiming that these headphones are NOT active noise cancelling (ANC).
Rather, they are passive noise cancelling, which means they won’t block or cancel active noise completely, but they also won’t drain the battery and damage the sound. These headphones are designed to provide a closed-back sound that is higher quality than ANC. The primary goal of Mpow is to provide affordable headphones that truly deliver a quality sound.
- Hi-Fi sound with CSR chip
- 40mm Drivers
- Designed with memory-protein ear pads for maximum comfort
- Built-in, in-line microphone with Bluetooth capabilities for hands-free use
- Easily connects with Bluetooth-ready devices within 33 feet
- Wireless and wired modes available
- Foldable and adjustable headband for portability
- Adjustable headband also designed with stainless steel slider for excellent durability
- Wired mode will never power off
- Only up to 13 hours of music time, and 15 hours of talking time
- Built-in, in-line microphone only works in wireless mode
- Connects with devices only within 33 feet
- Adjustable headband might feel tight on larger head sizes
- Ear cup pads may deteriorate in highly humid environments
The Mpow over-ear wireless Bluetooth headphones provide premium sound quality at an incredible price. Most individuals are surprised to discover that these headphones are priced at only $33.99 on Amazon. Most would expect a low-quality pair of headphones at this price (we did, too!) but these were among the top-rated best wireless headphones under $100.
Best In-Ear Headphones Under $100 – Panasonic RP-HJE120-K In-Ear Headphones
It’s incredibly difficult to find a really good pair of in-ear headphones that are comfortable, that don’t fall out, and that deliver great sound.
Whether you are an avid runner or you are looking for a pair of earbuds that you can rely on for everyday music, we think we have found the perfect solution.The Panasonic in-ear headphones are our top choice for a number of reasons: comfort, quality, convenience and price.
These in-ear, ear bud headphones come in eight different colors with matching earbuds and cords to appeal to various styles and preferences. Additionally, these in-ear headphones come with three sets of ear pads (S, M, L) for a truly custom, comfortable ergonomic fit that won’t fall out, making them perfect to thread through clothing or bags or taking with you while out on a run.
Panasonic also offers this model and style headphones with a built-in mic and without a mic. We chose to review this model (with a built-in mic) as most consumers want a pair of in-ear earbuds with a mic.
The Panasonic model without a mic can be purchased for only $8. We couldn’t believe the number of five-star reviews online. So, after reviewing countless customer feedback, we had to choose these Panasonic headphones as the best in-ear headphones under $100.
These Panasonic in-ear headphones (with built-in mic) can be purchased online for approximately $13. Truly a deal for a great pair of earphones or ear buds!
- Large 9MM drivers with neodymium magnets
- Comes in a wide variety of colors (eight total) with matching earbuds and cords
- Noise cancel headphones
- Equipped with different-sized ear pads for maximum comfort (S, M, L)
- Wide frequency response
- Quality in-ear balanced stereo audio
- Designed with built-in mic
- Long 3.6-ft cord conveniently threads through clothing and bags
- Ultra-soft ErgoFit in-ear, ear bud cushions conform instantly to ears
- Compatible with iPod, iPhone, BlackBerry and Android devices
- Integrated Inline Switch and mic
- Lower sound quality
- Not very durable
- May cause static feedback
Best Gaming Headphones Under $100 – Ailihen I35 Stereo Lightweight Foldable Headphones Adjustable Headband Gaming Headsets
There are a number of factors to consider when looking for the best gaming headphones. Comfort, quality, portability and wireless and Bluetooth capabilities are just some examples.
After speaking with a number of avid gamers in trying to determine what they look for in search of the best gaming headsets and headphones, we have concluded that comfort, voice call quality, and hands-free capabilities are the primary factors when purchasing gaming headsets.So, we scoured the Internet and have concluded that the Ailihen I35 Stereo Headphones are the best gaming headphones under $100.
These headphones are great for gaming for a number of reasons, including the stereo quality; lightweight, foldable, and adjustable headband; and compatibility with cell phones and Smartphones (including iPhone) and laptop computers.The Ailihen I35 Stereo headphones are available for only $25, making them incredibly affordable for the wealth of features, capabilities, and sound quality.
- Comes in variety of color schemes and options
- Ergonomic design for maximum comfort
- Attractive and sharp design
- Genuine protein leather ear pads
- Excellent noise-cancelling capabilities
- Folding and adjustable headband make it easy and convenient to carry and transport, making them great for travel!
- 360-degree pickup microphone allow for high-definition voice calls
- Compatible with all Android phones, iOS, Windows Phone and Blackberry
- Easy to control to End/Answer phone calls, Pause/Play music, and change songs
- Great for kids and adults
- Not incredibly durable
- Lower quality overall
- Not the best option for everyday use
- Some noted sound quality issues
Conclusion: Best Headphones Under $100 Review
All in all, there is a certain style and model of headphones available for everyone, all with various features, styles, and price points for different purposes, needs, and wishes.We hope that you found this review and guide useful in helping you make the best decision for YOU for the best headphones under $100 that deliver truly a great sound.