One hundred bucks can often be the glass ceiling for some when buying consumer electronics, so today in an effort to showcase what your money can get you we have selected the 10 best headphones under $100, for comparative reviewing.
With the parameters being dictated by dollars, we have included a selection of over-ear and in-ear models, both wired and wireless for your perusal. Each has their own assets and make for excellent choices depending on your individual tastes and of course the manner in which you listen to your music.
Table of Contents
- View The Best Headphones Under $100 Below
- 1. Mpow 059 Bluetooth Headphones Over Ear
- 2. COWIN E7 Active Noise Canceling Headphones
- 3. Sony MDR7506 Professional Large
- 4. AILIHEN C8 Headphones with Microphone
- 5. OneOdio Adapter-Free Closed Back Over-Ear
- 6. Otium Bluetooth Headphones, Best Wireless Earbuds
- 7. Bose SoundSport Wireless Headphones
- 8. iJoy Matte Finish Premium Rechargeable Wireless Headphones
- 9. Edifier H840 Audiophile Over-The-Ear Headphones
- 10. Behringer HPS3000 Studio Headphones
- Headphones Under $100 Buyers Guide
The audio electronics industry is bursting at the seams with competitive products and it can be a minefield to navigate. We are providing an in-depth complimentary guide to help give you the low down on all the factors to figure out before you buy to help you make a sensible decision that suits your needs.
- Fold-up model.
- Skin-friendly cushioning.
- Optimized bass.
- Noise canceling.
- Integrated microphone.
- 30 hours battery.
View The Best Headphones Under $100 Below
1. Mpow 059 Bluetooth Headphones Over Ear
First up a familiar face, which are one of the highest ranked popular sets priced below $30 which make for an ideal budget set of headphones. The 059 model is a compact fold-away set of over-ear headphones with wireless capabilities. They have made several appearances in our reviews in the past because the sound produced is genuinely comparable with a fifty dollar set.
They are well-made with a durable headband and comfortably cushioned ear-cups, the band features stainless steel sliders which are strong and reduce the size for a more portable solution. The band is cushioned with the same materials as the ear-cups. The memory foam is covered in a memory protein leather which is skin-friendly.
The user controls are located on ear-cup itself and they have an optional cable giving users the freedom to choose between wired or wireless functioning.
The drivers are very well built and optimized with a bias towards the lower frequencies, whilst the audio overall is balanced and lavishly layered the bass punches through. They feature large diaphragms which respond well and perform at high output.
The built-in Bluetooth is a little older but still current enough, it is easy to pair and works with a wide range. They can work wired for up to 20 hours, and they are passively noise canceling with no active isolation tech.
+ Fold-up model.
+ Skin-friendly cushioning.
+ Optimized bass.
Why We Liked It - These wireless headphones under $100 feature a very convenient design concept with a strong folding mechanism. They are a best-seller and the audio is par with a more expensive model.
2. COWIN E7 Active Noise Canceling Headphones
Another affordably priced pair to consider is this closed back set from Cowin. The E7 model can collapse to be more compact for storage like the set above thanks to their flexible band and swivel mounted cups.
They are actually a fairly matched product for the set we opened with, employing a similar memory foam protein for comfort, but they do boast active noise cancellation technology with an up to date chip.
These noise-canceling headphones under $100 have larger than average 45mm drivers idyllic for better bass performance, audio produced is balanced but rich with great depth and well-defined highs.
They feature an integrated mic for hands-free calls and they run for around 30 hours between charges, despite the NFC and ANC.
This model has seen a price reduction as there is now a new edition offering a higher Bluetooth version.
+ Noise canceling.
+ Integrated microphone.
+ 30 hours battery.
Why We Liked It -They have great bass performance, they are well cushioned, and the on board noise cancellation is very efficient.
3. Sony MDR7506 Professional Large
Third in our sights is this impressive wired set from Sony, which provide highly defined output rendering them an aptly suited reference set of headphones.
The audio reproduction is crisp and rich with details, the large 40mm PET diaphragms are sensitive and accurately deliver the nuances of the audio.
The combinational array is driven by neodymium magnets. They are closed cup and beautifully cushioned for comfort, the immersive listening and the high-quality components along with Sony's circuitry refinements make them a good low-priced pair for critical listening.
The cups are swivel mounted and the headband is very flexible, allowing them to compactly fold-away like the 2 above.
They feature an extra strength coiled cord ideal for repetitive use, providing added longevity to the set. The connector itself is gold plated for better signal fidelity. They come with a free Unimatch plug, and sturdy storage case to protect them during transit.
+ Reference set.
+ Comfortable ergonomic style.
+ Excellent drivers.
+ Coiled wire.
Why We Liked It - TThey are an appealing entry level reference set of headphones which serve-up great quality audio with rich enough detail for a more critical approach to audio.
4. AILIHEN C8 Headphones with Microphone
Next we have a tried and tested set with a very competitive price-tag, the C8 model from AILIHEN has been trialed under laboratory conditions for the durability of its fold-away design. The collapsible hinges were stressed and pressed over 20,000 times with unrelenting perseverance.
They are once again a closed-back ear cup design for an immersive audio experience, naturally isolating the listener from background ambiance. The cups are comfortably cushioned with a mock leather fabric that envelops foam support.
They harbor large aperture 40mm drivers which have a great response and deliver a well-blended stereo mix. They feature a newly integrated mic operated via in-line controls.
Their cord is braided to give it extra strength, it is equipped with a typical 3.5mm jack connection for versatile functionality. They come in a range of trendy color choices.
+ Durable moving parts.
+ Large drivers.
+ Extra strength cord.
Why We Liked It - They are durably made, the audio is well-balanced, and they have an appealingly low price.
5. OneOdio Adapter-Free Closed Back Over-Ear
This next set are another affordable closed back over-ear set which have earned themselves a fab reputation in a short amount of time.
The drivers are extra-large at 50mm in diameter, they serve up professional sounding dynamic audio with epic bass presence.
They are comfortable enough to wear for extended periods of time and feature a flexible folding design which allows for natural size adjustment, as well as better portability between locations.
You can connect multiple headphone sets together transmitting the audio via their onboard Shareport technology. This along with their comfy ergonomic design and portable nature lends them the idyllic characteristics for DJing, so it is no surprise that with their appealing price-tag they have quickly shot to the number spot on the bestsellers list.
They feature a jack lock system which keeps connections secure and lets the wearer move around freely.
They have dual duty cable (detachable 9.8 ft cord with 6.3mm and 3.5 mm jacks) which eliminate the need to carry around any adapters and provides a better signal in general.
They can also be paired to Bluetooth devices wirelessly.
+ Shareport technology.
+ Multiple connection options.
+ Comfortable design.
Why We Liked It - They are perfect for DJ use, they are pretty well-made and retail at an affordable price for their surprising stack of capabilities.
For those on a much tighter budget, our article on headphones under $20 may be more useful!
6. Otium Bluetooth Headphones, Best Wireless Earbuds
This next set are a very good quality, cheap sports earbud model which incorporate full over-ear hooks to help maintain an idyllic listening position within the ear. They direct the audio to the listener utilizing an optimized angle within the design concept itself. They are very lightweight and ensure the wearer can move uninhibited by wires and without fear that their earbuds will fall out.
They operate via Bluetooth version 4.1, which granted is a little older now but still current enough to operate smoothly without interference and compatibility or connection issues.
The drivers perform well the audio is balanced with good bass presence and definition in the trebles. They provide 8 hours of continuous use between charges and they come with a selection of tip sizes to provide a comfortable fit.
+ Sports model with full over-ear hooks.
+ Durable build.
+ 8 hours battery.
Why We Liked It - They are a good bare bones essential option and whilst the Bluetooth is a little older they make a good cheap headphone choice. They are well made and the design is solid especially for a sports solution.
7. Bose SoundSport Wireless Headphones
Now for something a little more high end, a firm favorite for us from the Bose SoundSport series. They are expertly crafted from a thoroughly developed design. They feature top quality materials employed throughout.
The driver array works efficiently alongside their proprietary waveform recognition coding engineered exclusively for the range. The processing is very advanced, the drivers respond accurately on a broader and more intricate spectrum. They deliver premium quality, dynamically balanced audio with fantastic definition.
They are a wireless earbud option which utilize Bose Engineering's ergonomically secure StayHere tips. The tips are attached to an inner auricle hook, dubbed a fin, it's flexible and a simple twist ensures it stays in place withstanding energetic movement.
The earbuds are linked via a cord which sits loosely at the back of the wearers neck. They feature an in-line mic with controls and are bestowed with an up to date, active noise-cancellation chip.
They are made with non-slip materials to combat moisture and sweat, the battery lasts for around six hours in between charges.
+ Premium audio.
+ Impeccable drivers.
+ Expert engineering.
+ Exclusive StayHere tips.
Why We Liked It - They serve up audio that is unparalleled in a similar sized earbud. The drivers are highly efficient and the manufacturing is top notch.
8. iJoy Matte Finish Premium Rechargeable Wireless Headphones
Next up another cheap and cheerful folding set of bluetooth headphones which deliver surprising audio and great convenience. The mechanics of how they fold away for storage and transit seem well-made, which is great because moving parts can become a weakness.
They are another closed back set which can be used in a wired or wireless fashion, providing a good middle ground for anyone undecided and giving them a wider range of applications as well. The Bluetooth on board provides a stable stutter-free connection.
They serve-up adequate audio with good balance and wide response. The drivers are pretty run of the mill, they harbor neodymium magnets which perform well giving the mix good dynamic detail. The lower frequency response is extended to provide punchier bass.
These cheap wireless headphones have a built-in radio antenna so can tune into broadcast frequencies without the need of any facilitating device. Another notable edge over their competitors is the inclusion of a mini-SD card reader which allows you to take your playlists on the go without a device.
+ Fold-up nature.
+ Great bass response.
+ Micro SD card reader.
Why We Liked It - They are another affordable fold-away set, with great audio response and they can function independently too as a stand alone product.
9. Edifier H840 Audiophile Over-The-Ear Headphones
Securing a spot in penultimate place this week are an awesome entry from Edifier, whom we have a great deal of admiration for with regards to their speaker engineering and affordable audio electronics.
These audiophile headphones are very well built and feature a very efficient functioning design. They have closed back monitoring cups, their headband is made from reinforced steel and the cable is extra strengthened also, to provide a durable solution.
The headband is ergonomically designed with comfortable leather headrest cushions. Their strong steel framework allows them to fold up and they come with a case to keep them in.
They are expertly engineered by Phil Jones who has tweaked the circuitry to command the driver units to respond accurately to an exclusively developed Wave-guide algorithm. The resulting performance is impressive. The 40mm diaphragms serve up stereo sound with dynamically rich soundscapes.
+ Superb sound.
+ Ergonomic fit.
+ Expertly engineered.
+ Reinforced design.
Why We Liked It - They are an exemplary model and give excellent value for money they are truly difficult to beat for under $50.
10. Behringer HPS3000 Studio Headphones
We are leaving you with a low-priced Behringer set which provides a premium quality entry level set of high definition headphones.
They are an inexpensive over-ear option which incorporates a high-efficiency cobalt capsule which levels up the resolution of the audio to provide an ultra-wide dynamic range.
German engineering delivers exceptional sound reproduction. They feature a very heavy-duty build for their unbelievable low price, with hardy design implements in place to keep the areas most exposed well-supported and protected.
The headband is solid but comfortably fleshed-out to make them suitable for longer listening periods. The ear cups have strengthened swivel mounts, the cord is single sided entry and it is made with oxygen-free copper wires which are tangle resistant and highly durable. It comes with an adapter to make it suitable for switching between 6.3mm and 3.5mmm operations.
+ Great audio.
+ Unbeatable value for money.
+ Impeccable build.
Why We Liked It - They are extremely well designed, they are a very robust option and they provide high resolution listening making them better for more professional pursuits, as opposed to just every-day use.
Headphones Under $100 Buyers Guide
Given that the headphone industry is a rapidly expanding one, with many companies keen for a piece of the action there are a plethora of products readily available to choose from.
The components and circuitry are essentially in a constant state of development as product improvements and upgrades are inventively created to outperform the competition.
With a competitive market, the buyer often has the upper hand if they are able to see through the specifications and determine the facts from the filler.
What to look for can be quite subjective to the user, as it relies mainly on their intended use as to the functionality requirements, so, for this reason, we have showcased a number of different solutions which represent idyllic options for a range of specific uses.
To narrow down what you need, you simply have to assess your lifestyle and the manner in which you are going to utilize your headphones in.
Which Headphone Style To Choose?
Generally speaking, over-ear models provide better audio quality as they have the capacity to house larger drivers which respond and perform with better definition and dynamics than a smaller driver array is capable of.
So for production, engineering, critical listening, and at home use, an over-head set is probably the way to go.
In-ear options are smaller and far more portable making them a better everyday option, they are pocket-sized and can be literally taken everywhere, but the audio produced may not be high quality enough for some.
There are a number of overhead options on the market which aim to be more portable ditching the wires for wireless operation and harboring innovative folding mechanisms to make them more compact than a traditional over-ear model.
In-ear models can often fall out of ears if they are not effectively supported in some manner. This can be with the assistance of an in-ear hook (or auricle fin) or a partial/full over-ear hook, although some companies opt for a neck or collar band instead.
If you are athletically inclined a sports model is probably your answer as they are designed to maintain their position during motion more effectively, which is vital for use during a tough workout.
The final thing to think about is whether to choose wired or wireless connectivity. A wired model typically processes the signals with truer fidelity as the signal is direct an cannot be interfered with, though some wires are better quality than others and wires can often be a weak point. If they are not durable connected the strain can lead to them snapping. They are also prone to tangling during transit which is a pain and once again weakens the product over long term use.
Going wireless eliminates these problems altogether but wireless signals can be less authentic (especially in lower-priced models) and sometimes if you are watching visuals and listening wirelessly on a device they can become out of sync with one another. Wireless options do offer up much more convenience and have a wider range of modern applications. If you desire the uninhibited freedom and travel around every day, you might fancy considering a true wireless option.
If you opt for a wired set you should look for something reinforced and tangle-resistant. It is usually better to opt for a single entry point.
If you opt for wireless the Bluetooth should be at least version 4.0 or higher. If cash is tight then sometimes it is worth looking at an older Bluetooth version as some 5.0 models charge a lot more for the privilege of an update.
If you think that you would prefer a little more flexibility then you will be pleased to know there are a few versatile wireless models out there with optional detachable cables that offer the freedom to operate with or without bridging the gap between the two.
What To Look For When Buying Headphones Under $100
The critical thing to look for, no matter what style of headphone you opt for, is the quality and comfort of the product.
When shopping in the lower-priced regions, many manufacturers reduce the retail price by cutting production costs at their end. This can mean that the materials sourced and the fabrication is sub-par in some cases.
If you are shelling-out the upper ends of the allocated budget you should expect much more than the lower.
Over-ear options should be suitably cushioned, ideally with something skin-friendly so your ears don't overheat.
In-ear options should be ergonomically designed, so they sit comfortably in your ears and you should choose a pair which offer a range of sizes to try, as one size does not fit all.
A one-hundred dollar cap in today's market actually leaves a lot of wiggle room to find a decent deal. With many manufacturers low-cost ranges starting as low as just ten bucks, what the upper ends of the allocation provide is pretty impressive.
Many products sitting just below the limit are comparative to products sitting just above the threshold because the audio electronics industry (especially headphones) is super competitive. If a manufacturer has a large enough fabrication line they will often shave off a few bucks to get their product to sit comfortably below the hundred marks to widen their demographics.
This means you the buyer really are in the driving seat and whilst real audio connoisseurs tastes won't be catered to perfectly within this price region, there are many respectable over-ear sets with impressive audio quality to be found. If cash is particularly tight but your expectations are realistic then many of the low-end pairs we have chosen to include will be more than adequate for everyday use.
If you are looking for an inexpensive sports model then you might want to head over to our Workout Headphones review.
Did you Know
We recently ranked the top cheapest Wireless Headphones in 2019 which might be worth a look.
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