- Best Headphones Under $100 Complete Guide
When shopping for your next pair of headphones, the best sound quality you can find is of the utmost importance. Sure, they might look neat, but the real reason you buy headphones in the first place is so you can jam out to some music. Whether you play sports, you’re going for a run or workout, or just want to block out the noise, a good pair of headphones is essential. Another factor that is of importance is the cost:benefit ratio.
Generally, the more money you are able to invest in some earbuds or headphones, the better quality they will be, but you also don’t need to be breaking the bank just for a slight difference in specs. It is easy to get lost in the seemingly endless supply of mediocre products on the market today. Do you need Bluetooth headphones, or would you prefer the better music quality that wired headphones provide? That is why we went ahead and made a list of our all-time favorites under $100, $200, $300, and $500, to aid you in your decision. Scroll down for the best headphones under $100 reviews.
Best Headphones Under $100 Complete Guide
1. Audio-Technica ATH-M40x Review
The ATH-M40x headphones are first up on our list, and for good reason. Utilizing powerful 40 mm drivers, these headphones deliver some of the highest quality sound you can get for under $100. As expected with a pair of headphones using drivers as large as these, the Audio-Technica ATH-M40x’s do have some bulk to them (not in weight, but the size of the headphones themselves). Your first reaction may cause you to question whether or not these would be comfortable over extended periods of use – the simple answer is yes, they are actually very comfortable. The ear cups are designed to rotate freely, and the soft cushion utilized in this circumaural design gently contours around ears of all sizes.
“With the volume cranked up you may feel as if the room should be rattling…The midrange tones are precise and crystal-clear…”
Just to reiterate what was said above in terms of sound quality – these headphones can’t really be beat for under $100. The bass hits hard, and sounds great in the process. In other words, thumping bass on other headphones or earbuds often reaches a point of irritation due to hissing or other distortion in the music – this is not the case for the ATH M40x’s. With the volume cranked up you may feel as if the room should be rattling, but the mids and highs are not at all negatively affected. The midrange tones are precise and crystal-clear. Studio monitor headphones such as these often place great emphasis on high-quality midrange frequencies, as this is where many of the most important elements of music are expressed (vocals, guitars, and other instruments). The higher frequencies are also of exceptional quality on these headphones. If the music requires, the ATH M40x headphones deliver some crisp and respectable highs. Other lower quality products on the market tend to “add” to the high frequencies, which is not ideal in terms of music accuracy – this is not what the Audio-Technica’s will do. They give it only when it is needed.
They sound awesome, they’re comfortable, and with the detachable cables and foldable design, you should have no problem carrying them with you or traveling long distances. Overall, if you’re looking for some great headphones under $100, the Audio-Technica ATH-M40x’s are one of your best choices.
2. Brainwavz S5 Review
The Brainwavz S5 IEM’s are built with a metal house design and feel well put together and sturdy enough for the gym and other day-to-day activities. Another feature that stands out immediately after unboxing is the super flat, wide cable that has been chosen for this product. You should probably never have any problems whatsoever with tangling – and will be highly resistant to snag-tears as well. The flat design and the rubber coating keeps reduces noise conduction due to movement of the cable (a common problem for IEM’s).
“If you like a balanced feel to the music, with some heavy impact bass and a sparkle in the treble, you will love the Brainwavz S5 headphones…”
A bag of tips of various sizes is also included to ensure the proper fit. A nice addition is the pair of Comply Foam tips included with purchase – I happen to prefer the custom-fit these have to offer when available. The Brainwavz S5’s are lightweight and comfortable to use. They are not the smallest earbuds we have reviewed, but they are comparable in weight and the added bulk was not an issue for us. The S5’s are designed for over-and-around ear use, and the wide, flat cable rests comfortably against the ear. We jumped around, did pushups, and took these for a run and they remained in position throughout our testing.
The mids and highs sound very good, with vocals and low-mid tones placed in front, and highs placed in the back. The bass is deep and powerful – the bass is full-bodied and reaches a low grumble at times and a tight boom in others. What you will really appreciate with these headphones is how well the bass flows with the rest of the music. The highs, mids, and bass work very well together. If you like a balanced feel to the music, with some heavy impact bass and a sparkle in the treble, you will love the Brainwavz S5 headphones. For under $100, you will not find another pair of in-ear headphones that sound this great overall. This product is relatively inexpensive, fun to use, and made with hardwearing material that can take a beating.
3. Skullcandy Crusher Review
Today, there are a lot of headphones available on the market. Some are good, some are not good, some are great, and some are the best. The Skullcandy Crusher headphones belong to that last part of that spectrum, and easily fall into our Top 10 list of headphones under $100.
“..an extremely bassy head-crushing set of headphones…thumping and deep but the mids and highs are not completely overshadowed and still offer terrific response..”
Why makes this set of headphones one of the best to buy for under $100? First is the understated, but extremely classy design of the headphones. Skullcandy is known for flashy and hip designs but the Skullcandy Crusher headphones offer a great industrial look that is sure to go with a variety of getups. Small touches like the seams on the ear cushions and the lines on the headband provide a unique monolithic look.
The Crusher is foldable and comes with a detachable cable for increased portability. The Skullcandy Crusher headphones also offer a great comfortable fit on the head with the force of the headbands not too heavy, unlike other headphones that feel uncomfortable and strenuous to wear over long periods of time. The ear cushions feel nice and gentle and provide an easy fit on the ears.
When it comes to sound quality, the Skullcandy Crusher headphones do not disappoint. Skullcandy is known for making hard-hitting bassy audio gear and the Crusher is no exception. In fact, that is the entire point of this pair of headphones: to deliver an extremely bassy head-crushing set of headphones. There is even a dedicated bass slider in the earcups that can pump even more bass to the sound output. Though there is some distortion at high volumes with the bass slider at maximum, songs are still extremely audible. This is normal, and Skullcandy accounts for this problem by giving you the control over how much bass you want at any given moment. The lows are, of course, thumping and deep but the mids and highs are not completely overshadowed and still offer terrific response.
The durability of the headphones is on the top-end, thanks to an excellent quality build that is free of unnecessary seams and a solid reassuring feel to the cans. All in all, the Skullcandy Crusher headphones are one of the best and most affordable in the market because of its excellent design, great sound quality, and a reassuring build quality.
4. Bose SoundTrue Review
“..drivers pump out rich, warm bass coupled with steady mids and crystal clear highs that combine to deliver a pleasurable listening experience…
Its design is absolutely vibrant and the headphones come in different colors. The signature discreet Bose design is mixed up a bit with stylish tonal accents and flashy inner earcup designs. The Bose SoundTrue in-ear headphones are extremely lightweight, tipping the scales at just about 183 grams. The headphones are sculpted to fit a variety of head types and sizes. Plus, they are exceptionally comfortable with a reassuring fit that does not feel as if a small head jerk will unseat the headphones’ position. The ear cushions also offer a nice gentle grip around the ears and do not feel uncomfortable even when worn for long periods of time.
Sound quality is always a hallmark of Bose and the Bose SoundTrue in-ear headphones does not disappoint. The headphones’ drivers pump out rich, warm bass coupled with steady mids and crystal clear highs that combine to deliver a pleasurable listening experience. The signature sound of the Bose SoundTrue in-ear headphones is warm but offers no distortion at even the highest of volumes and is absolutely one of the best under $100.
The choice of plastic as the predominant material for the headphones is not particularly surprising given the price range but the overall build quality of the Bose SoundTrue in-ear headphones feels overwhelmingly solid. The ear cushions and padding of the headband feel really good when worn and the matte plastic is nice to the touch. The headband does not feel flimsy. In fact, it feels reassuringly solid and looks like it could withstand even a beating. There are also no rattling parts inside the cans that may come loose with movement.
Overall, considering the vibrant style, excellent sound quality, and great build quality, the Bose SoundTrue in-ear headphones are definitely one of the best affordable headphones out there.
5. Ausdom M05 Review
The Ausdom M05 headphones are comfortable for long use and allow for convenient storage. It comes with an over-ear design and soft ear cushion that brings comfort even during hours of continued use. After a while we forgot they were even there. The M05’s can be conveniently stored with help from its advanced and easily foldable design. These headphones are perfect for travel and can withstand wear and tear without any problems.
“Rock out using the Ausdom MO5 headphones with their combined crystal-clear vocals and rich bass…”
The Ausdom M05’s are specially designed for audio quality, and phone call quality takes a close second – you can use the headphones wired (for stereo audio only), or you can choose to go with the wireless Bluetooth functionality. They provide high quality wireless audio transmission and hands-free calling through Bluetooth v4 technology. There are easy-to-use controls for audio and phone calls, which include a built-in microphone for music streaming and headset functionality.
A full battery charge takes only 2-3 hours. Also, you can use the headphone without charging the battery by connecting the 3.5 mm audio cable to any non-Bluetooth device – you will never have to worry about not having your music if your battery runs out. This headset provides 20 hours of playtime and 250 hours of standby time, which is great – these headphones utilize a 400Am rechargeable battery built into the headphones for maximum battery power. Regarding charging compatibility, it can easily be recharged using a USB charging cable and can be connected to any personal computer, laptop, or other similar gadgets with a USB connector.
Rock out using the Ausdom MO5 headphones with their combined crystal-clear vocals and rich bass provided by the full frequency response of 20Hz to 20KHz. These headphones utilize CSR BT v4 + EDR with aptx chips to produce hi-fi sounds that are hard to match. The 40mm speaker drivers result in some heavy-hitting bass and some exceptional mids and highs.
The Ausdom MO5 headphones are not the most popular, but their functionality, durability, great sound quality, and elegant and sleek design – it makes us wonder why these have not gone as mainstream as our other top picks above.
6. Sennheiser HD 380 PRO Review
Looking for a pair of headphones that would suit to your liking and lifestyle can be hard. Seriously, who would even have the time to check headphone specs given today’s busy lifestyle? Sometimes, people just grab what’s the latest or the cheapest set of headphones — only to be disappointed by its performance. If you’re truly looking for the best headphones under $100, the 380 PRO’s would surely please most audiophiles and other avid music listeners.
“The product truly lives up to its name, as it provides professional, quality sounds and performance…”
But here’s some good news for those who want to buy a new pair of headphones: The Sennheiser HD 380 PRO is one of the best quality headphones available in the market with an affordable price. If you’re a person who loves listening to loud music, this is the perfect fit for you. The Sennheiser HD 380 PRO headphones minimizes external noise with its around-the-ear design that delivers high accuracy sound, as well as excellent passive noise attenuation, making it ideal for home use.
The headphones come with a detachable coiled cord with a mini jack connector and full-size adapter so you can move around hassle-free. The 8-27,000 Hz frequency will give you the right boom in your ears without being distorted. Cool, right? Not only is it good for DJ-ing but it is also useful for listening to audiobooks if you are in public. The sounds it filters through are accurate and clean even after hours of using. Consumers have raved about the comfortable experience while using it, and we happen to agree!
The product truly lives up to its name, as it provides professional, quality sounds and performance. What’s more, these headphones are priced only at under $100, so you’re sure to get your money’s worth for them. They are easy to store, thanks to its slim carrying case, and are the perfect pair to tote if you’re traveling or while on the go. Using the Sennheiser HD 380 PRO headphones has definitely made our listening to music much more enjoyable during long rides and commutes.
7. Skullcandy S6AVFM-156 Review
Are you having a hard time with your current headphones? Does the audio hurt your ears each time you use it? Worry no more — you can now stay comfortable and relaxed with the new headphones by Skullcandy. Whether you are watching videos on your laptop or PC at home or listening to music through your smartphone, you can now experience superb digital audio in utmost comfort with the Skullcandy S6AVFM-156 headphones.
“..detailed, warm sounds, with some deep bass…overall great audio experience…”
The Skullcandy S6AVFM-156 headphones are an aviator-type headset. They are guaranteed to deliver some detailed, warm sounds, with some deep bass, all while being daring and unique in style. Even better, these headphones can be found on Amazon, and come with a price tag of less than $100.
The Skullcandy S6AVFM-156 headphones are considered by a lot of music experts as one of the best headsets available in the market today. Thousands of audiophiles who have used the S6AVFM-156’s have given positive ratings and feedback about it – and we would have to agree.
This pair is one of the best headsets for individuals looking for an overall great audio experience. It possesses the ability to provide full comfort and support clear conversations. Every package comes with a plush carry case and a 4.3 Mic3 sound cable. The Skullcandy S6AVFM-156 Headphones have a crystal clear sound quality and a nice design for its market price of under $100.
The key features of these Skullcandy headphones include some superb sound performance, there are no compromises on the comfort factor, they have a sleek retro design, and easy volume controls for those on the run.
The Skullcandy S6AVFM-156 headphones are definitely among the best, high-quality headphones within this price range. The audio input and output of these headphones is hard to beat. You do not need to shell out much of your hard-earned money to enjoy a high-end sound experience.
8. SOL REPUBLIC Tracks HD Review
Much can be said for the seemingly unending plethora of headphone choices in the market nowadays. There are headphones of all shapes, sizes, colors, and designs. And standing out over a sea of headphones is the SOL REPUBLIC Tracks HD headphones. Swap till you drop with the SOL REPUBLIC Tracks HD Headphones.
“..warm sound signature that is capable of pumping out booming, thumping bass…the mids and highs are great in their own light…”
Coming in at a very attractive price of just less than $100, the SOL REPUBLIC Tracks HD headphones are engineering and form factor marvel. The headphones in their entirety are “swappable,” literally. Every component can be removed and altered, customizable to each person’s preferences.
The headband is extremely flexible and feels like it could withstand a lot of pressure. There are also memory foams on the middle part that touches the head for added comfort. They also come in a myriad of different colors to suit individual preferences. The cans are removable and so is the cable. The cans feature a design that is reminiscent of Dr. Dre’s brand of headphones in which the cans do not completely envelop the ears and instead just push them back — so listening to music while wearing the headphones for long periods of time do not become uncomfortable.
The sound quality of the SOL REPUBLIC Tracks HD headphones is pretty good, though can’t really compare to our other top-rated headphones above. The drivers emit a warm sound signature that is capable of pumping out booming, thumping bass. While the lows may overshadow the mids and highs a bit, the latter two are still completely audible and sound great in their own light. The sound range is balanced, though SOL REPUBLIC’s particular emphasis on bass comes with noticeable but not too overt audio distortion in the mid to high range. The distortion is only apparent in high volumes, and is generally only an issue with bass-heavy music. Unless you have a trained ear for this kind of thing, you probably would not notice this at all.
The durability of the SOL REPUBLIC Tracks HD headphones will not be an issue as the headphones are made of high quality materials — the dense plastic feels solid and is reassuring. Overall, the SOL REPUBLIC Tracks HD headphones are one of the best headphones under $100, especially considering its unique design, its impressive sound quality, and the sturdy design.
9. Sony MDR-RF985RK Wireless RF Review
The Sony MDR-RF985RK Wireless RF (which stands for Radio Frequency) headphones are one of the best headphones to buy for under $100 because of their many user-friendly features. This pair of headphones has a wireless range of up to 150 feet and contains a built-in rechargeable lithium-ion battery that lasts up to 25 hours. It automatically switches on when the headphones are worn and turns off to save battery power when it is removed.
“The sound quality of these headphones is high-end, and delivers a powerful and expressive audio that is fun to listen to…”
Charging these headphones’ battery can take up to around three and a half hours. This is done by simply connecting the headphones to the transmitter base station. Inputs for these headphones are 2x RCA Phono and a 1 x 1/8” or 3.5 mm stereo mini-jack.
These headphones also contain 40-mm / 1.5” drivers which contain ferrite magnets to provide sound reinforcement. The sound quality of these headphones is high-end, and delivers a powerful and expressive audio that is fun to listen to. It contains a noise reduction feature for minimal transmission of noise in order to make listening to music, watching movies, or playing video games a better experience for the user. The earpiece sensitivity reaches up to 100 db.
The Sony MDR-RF985RK Wireless RF headphones have a radio frequency of wireless analog of 900 MHz for communication purposes. Its frequency response is 10 Hz to 22 Hz for good sound reproduction.
The volume of these headphones is controlled by a rotary system. Choosing channels are controlled with an easily accessed side switch. Tuning of the speakers can be manipulated either on the headphones itself or at the base.
The headphones’ system is a closed-dynamic one, and is designed for over-the-head use. Its primary purpose is for home music, movies, and games. The headband is wide and easy to adjust, making it comfortable for any user’s head. It also comes with a 3.3 m tangle-free wire.
Overall, Sony MDR-RF985RK Wireless RF headphones are a great buy – they have some deep bass, quality mids and highs, are comfortable, and sturdy enough to last quite a while.
10. AudioTechnica ATH-ANC33iS Review
In recent years, it would seem that, as advances in transportation and technology are engineered, the louder the surroundings grow. Even in the once-quiet suburbs, one cannot escape the hustle and bustle of city life; even the faraway and seemingly never-ending honks of passing vehicles and public transportation find their way to more serene neighborhoods. And with the rising popularity of on-the-go music players, the noise reduction capabilities of headphones are becoming the consumers’ most urgent demands.
“The sound output is crisp, with rich bass, mid-range, and high tones. Coupled with its noise-reduction capability…”
Thankfully, noise-cancelling in-ear headphones like the travel-friendly AudioTechnica ATH-ANC33iS earbuds provide amazing noise-reduction features without doing away with comfort, style, or sound quality. In fact, they were made especially for environments with high ambient noise, such as airplanes, train stations, and your everyday city streets. The company description boasts of a 90% reduction in ambient noise, with the help of a tiny device inside the buds that promotes noise reduction.
The sound output is crisp, with rich bass, mid-range, and high tones. Coupled with its noise-reduction capability, the AudioTechnica ATH-ANC33iS is a tiny music monster. As for its physical features, these headphones come with three interchangeable ear pieces — small, medium, and large — for your listening convenience and personal preference. A pair of foam tips, to help reduce background noise, is also included. A microphone (for calls and video chats) and controller (for controlling music) are also available in-line, with the former being omnidirectional and thus obliterates the need to speak directly into it.
As indicated above, these headphones are especially ideal for constant travelers, as they are portable and can be packed lightly. The earbuds themselves are designed to provide comfort while walking, jogging, or pushing your way onboard an awaiting train.Unfortunately, the ANC33iS headphones do not seemingly live up to the hyped 90% NR. As can be gleaned from the experiences of other users, its NR capability is less-than-stellar compared to other brands. But on its own (and for under a hundred bucks!), and the fact that they do not have the added benefit of surrounding the entire ears, the ANC33iS packs a punch and do great as far as noise-cancellation goes. For those looking for a relatively cheap set of headphones with a more than average performance rating, give the ANC33iS a try.