Recording artists have poured in tons of talent and technical skills to ensure every single music track you listen to offers topnotch sound quality. But using average headphones can rob you of the pleasure these tracks bring. That’s why it’s important that you choose your headphones carefully.
Finding the best headphones can take you on a whirlwind journey especially when you don’t know what exactly to look for. It doesn’t help that there are tons of choices out there.
So we’ve compiled a very detailed list of the best headphones under $100. Not only that, you can sort the list below based on different features. Your search for the best headphones just got a whole lot easier.
[table id=6 /]
You won’t go wrong with the headphones listed above. But there are five others that we really love and consumers are raving about. Check them out below:
SOUL by Ludacris SL150BW High-Definition On-Ear Headphones
If you’re looking for affordable stylish ‘cans’ (headphones) that perform well, then these are something to consider. Created by Soul and endorsed by rapper Ludacris, the SL150 on-ear headphones can give you a worthwhile listening experience.
- Stylish and robust design
- Noise cancelling
- High performance
- Compatible with iPhone 4G, 3GS, 3G, iPad and iPod
- Captures the mids, highs, and lows decently
- In-line remote control cable
- Ideal for listening for long hours
- 4-foot cable
- Creates thick bass response
- Leather ear pads and adjustable headband
- Gold plated connectors for seamless transfer of signals
- 1-year warranty service and support
Enjoy impressive sounds (at an affordable price) that can rival popular brands
If you’re a fan of Ludacris, then that’s enough reason to go get these stylish cans. If you’re not and only want something that does a great job in producing impressive sounds, then these are also suitable for you.
They may not be the finest professional headphones but they can definitely give you a worthwhile listening experience. They’re very comfortable since they’re made of quality materials and are great for prolonged listening. You can wear them over the head or make them rest on your neck. And because they’re foldable, you don’t need to worry about storage the next time you’re on the go.
These on-ear headphones can stand their ground when placed alongside more expensive brands, like Beats. Their high performance sound–clear and crisp mids and highs and thick bass–can be enjoyed by music lovers and even audiophiles.
Sleek and stylish, you won’t think twice about wearing these outside. There’s also another reason Ludacris endorses them: they look cool. But make no mistake about it, the Soul SL150′s do a solid job.
Noontec ZOROHDBLK ZORO HD True Sound Headphones with Inline Mic and Answer/End Button
Noontec, a relatively new player in the headphone industry, has improved the original Zoro headphones and came up with something that many users say is better than the popular Beats by Dr. Dre. Why do many consider it a better alternative? Let’s find out.
- Surround Closed Cavity Body (SCCB) sound technology that creates the perfect sound quality
- In-line microphone
- Protein cotton materials for the ear muffs
- Adjustable steel reinforcement
- Piano crafting varnish to keep color from fading
- Plug-in audio cable design
- Great sound seal
- Clean, well-balanced music
Satisfies on all levels
The Noontec Zoro HD delivers on every aspect. Headphones like these can give more expensive brands a run for their money because they provide clear, well-balanced sounds at a very affordable price; they’re highly durable and comfortable and they don’t fall short in the looks department.
Because they’re stylish, these can be a great alternative to Dr. Dre Beats. What’s surprising is they can outperform the former. Many users are very satisfied with the way the Zoro HDs produce clear, crisp, and solid sounds. Low, intermediate, and high frequencies are pleasant. However, the bass isn’t that strong. So if you like rock and prefer cans that thump, then you might want to look for other brands.
There’s also a chance that others may approach you and ask if you’ve got a Beats knock off because they look alike. But these sound way better.
When it comes to durability, the Zoro HD rocks (no pun intended). The piano crafting varnish doesn’t just keep the colors from easily fading, it actually makes the headphones stronger. The reinforced steel also adds to its strength. So even if you fold it up a dozen times, there’s no need to worry about breakage.
- Creates a really good seal and yet still allows you to hear your surroundings
- Lightweight and can be easily stored in a carrying pouch that comes with the item
- Flat cables are resistant to tangles
- Can comfortably fit any head size – in fact, the headband comes with a memory scale
- Comes with an in-line microphone
- Noise isolating feature
- Clean, well-balanced, and more natural sounds that can appeal to audiophiles
- No cord noise
- Bass isn’t overpowering, which some users, especially kids, like
- Ear pads can get warm after long hours
Monoprice 108323 Premium Hi-Fi DJ Style Over-the-Ear Pro Headphone
Anything that’s designed for professional use is surely going to sound excellent. These headphones are not an exception.
- 2 detachable headphone cables measuring 11.5 ft and 4.2 ft
- Very durable and can withstand heavy use
- Ear cups swivel and can be turned into makeshift speakers
- Flexible, rubberized, and padded headband
- Lightweight and sturdy
- Good sound isolation
- Superb sound quality
Wouldn’t you like to have professional headphones that cost less than $50?
The Monoprice Premium Hi-Fi DJ Style headphones can give you the perfect listening experience. Since these are designed for professional sound spinners, you can be sure you will get one of the most pleasurable sound trips.
Their 50 mm drivers are responsible for creating crisp mid-range frequencies, clear sounds, and heavy bass. Considering their price, these over-ear headphones are a real standout.
- Excellent sound stage
- You can swivel the ear cups to let others listen to your music
- The padded headband and ear cups are ideal for long listening – almost unmatched for comfort
- Very detailed sounds, from the vocals to the different instruments used
- Damaged cords are easily replaceable
- They can be worn comfortably even with a cap on
- May create a little bit of cord noise
- Some users may feel that the vinyl padding on the ear cups can be uncomfortable after several hours
Razer Electra Over Ear PC and Music Headset
This is something the younger market is going to like because it looks really cool and performs exceptionally well. The Razer Electra cranks out really solid sound and its bass is strong but doesn’t pound the head. This easily outshines other gaming headsets.
- Sensitive to other mobile devices
- Optimized 40 mm drivers
- Enhanced bass response
- Replaceable ear cushions and flexible headband
- Detachable cables and in-line microphone
- Stylish and comfortable
Surprisingly good for a gaming headset
The powerful bass is great for those who love playing online games. You’ll get the feeling you’re actually in the game. This also makes these cans perfect for listening to lively, thumping music and because of the twist-lock nub, you can move around or bang your head without the cables getting pulled off.
- Creates a really good seal
- Secure cables
- Enhanced bass and clear sounds
- You’ll get maximum comfort, which is perfect for long hours of use
- Sensitive enough for all devices, be it iPhones, iPads, or MP3 players
- Very attractive design and solid build
- The inline mic doesn’t have controls
Sennheiser HD-280 PRO Headphones
These headphones are designed to “exceed the demands of the professional environment.” This should be enough to tell you that you’re getting a really good product. And it won’t disappoint. In terms of performance, it’s one of those models that can give really balanced and detailed sounds.
One good thing about these cans is there are replaceable parts, like the ear cups and cable–two most common things that get busted first.
- Swiveling ear cups
- Collapsible design
- Controlled bass and clear frequencies
- Aggressive noise isolation
- Lightweight and has an ergonomic design
- Padded ear cups and headband
- Compatible with music players, tablets, smart phones, home stereos, and recording equipment
Great bang for your buck!
Sennheiser is a trusted name when it comes to quality headphones so you can be sure that this isn’t a waste of money especially since these cans produce really awesome sound. These are designed for maximum comfort and performance and if you’re looking for something that you can use for a long time, then these headphones are the ideal choice.
- Excellent sound
- Very controlled bass
- High frequencies sound good and don’t give a hiss
- Clean signal
- Robust design
- You may need time to burn these cans but after that period, the sound will sound excellent
- Some users have had problems with the fit and the cracks in the headband
The hardest thing to do when shopping for a good pair of headphones is the actual purchase. Yes, you may have a good idea of what to get because a friend recommended this or that, but it’s a different story once you’re about to pull the trigger as you are torn between loads of competing choices.
Who knew there’d be so many kinds of headphones?
Headphones can be classified into five major categories:
1. Over-the-ear headphones
2. In-ear headphones
3. On-the-ear headphones
5. In-ear canalphones
- These have a band that holds together the two speakers and either go over the head or around it.
- They cover the ears with circular ear pads.
- Have ear padding that ensure comfort even with several hours of listening.
- Seal sound and allow for better listening experience.
- Produce high quality sound.
- Keep outside noises at minimum.
If you like listening to the details in songs and you don’t want to be bothered by others when riding the train, bus, or simply walking down the street, then circumaural (over the ear) headphones are perfect for you. Because they can effectively reduce outside noise, these are ideal for students who can’t focus on their homework without music or those who like to listen to music while commuting.
The slight disadvantage of using circumaural headphones is their size. They’re bigger and therefore heavier than other types and can cause a little discomfort after hours of use.
- Press against the ears when worn.
- Have ear padding that reduces discomfort.
- Are smaller and lighter than full-sized headphones, making them more portable.
These headphones were common in the Walkmans that were popular during the 80s and 90s. Supra-aural (on the ear) headphones are light, making them very convenient to use. But because the speakers just press against the ears, they can’t block outside sounds.
These aren’t for those who want to be able to concentrate on their music. But if you like a little bit of awareness of what’s going on around you, then these are a great choice.
- Commonly come with gadgets like iPod, iPhone, and other portable music players.
- Are compact, portable, and inexpensive.
- Sit in the outer ears, which makes them prone to falling off.
- Can also come with foam padding to provide comfort.
- Don’t provide the highest sound quality since noise can easily creep in.
- Some earbuds today come with built-in microphones, like the ones for iPhones and iPods.
Out of all the different types of headphones, earbuds can easily be considered as the most portable and convenient. They are neither bulky nor heavy. Compared to full-sized headphones, they are the better option when exercising, particularly with around-ear clips.
In-ear canal headphones
- Go inside the ear canal, which allows clearer and better sound.
- Come with silicone or foam tips that fit snugly inside the ears.
- Don’t come with headbands – are very portable.
- Unlike earbuds that only sit in the outer ear, these don’t fall off because they’re inserted in the ears.
- Isolate sound better and block ambient noise, allowing you to fully enjoy whatever it is you’re listening to.
Also referred to as canalphones, in-ear canal headphones are more expensive than earbuds simply because they offer higher quality sounds and are more effective at blocking out external sounds. Just be careful when using these while crossing the street!
What are canalbuds?
These are a cross between earbuds and in-ear canal headphones. They’re shorter than canalphones, and sit just outside the inner ear, making them a bit more comfortable. And unlike earbuds, they won’t fall off your ears easily. They reduce outside noise better than earbuds. They’re also cheaper than canalphones.
Closed and open-back headphones
Headphones that are placed over the head and cover or press directly to the ears can be further classified into two: closed-back and open-back. These describe the type of ear cups, which also affect the quality of sounds the user hears.
The difference is fairly easy to understand: With open-back headphones, the backs of the cups that cover the ears are open. That means sound may leak out and noise can get in. Their advantage is the user will still be able to hear music (or any other type of sound) naturally–the sound coming from a speaker and not inside one’s head.
In contrast, with closed-back (or sealed) headphones, the sound cup is sealed entirely. This provides better sound quality and effectively blocks outside noise so you’ll be able to clearly hear whatever it is you’re listening to.
- Also are called ‘on-ear’ headphones.
- Have flat ear pads and don’t entirely cover the ears.
- Allow users to enjoy what they’re listening too without being deaf to their surroundings.
Headphones for smart phones
Got an iPhone? BlackBerry? Android-based smartphone?
We wouldn’t be surprised if you’ve lost (or damaged) the headphones that came with it. Fortunately, there are lots of headphones for smart phones being sold in different places. These are great because they offer the same functionalities—often at better quality.
They come with built-in microphone and volume controls. Some models even allow you to pause music and even answer (or drop) calls without having to fish out your phone.
- Have large cups that cover the ears.
- Offer more comfort than lightweight headphones because they don’t put pressure on the ears.
- Are bigger and bulkier, making them less mobile (they take up more space).
- Can give you higher quality sounds and reduce interference from outside noises.
- Tend to look trendier since popular headphones today are full-sized.
Around ear clip headphones
- Don’t have head bands and are instead designed to wrap around the ears.
- Are portable, compact, and light.
- Ideal for people who exercise.
- Have built-in microphones and are often used with PCs.
- Are ideal for online gaming and communicating with someone over the web.
- Can either be behind-the-neck or the conventional over-the-head design.
Noise canceling headphones
- Cancel outside noise with the help of tiny microphones that produce signals to cancel out external noise.
- Are battery-operated (this means you need to buy batteries!)
Headphones that have noise canceling capabilities will allow you to fully enjoy listening to music when traveling on trains, planes, and even buses because they drown out the hum of the engines and the noisy environment.
You can even use noise canceling headphones as earplugs when trying to study or catch some zzzzs.
Sound isolating headphones
- Can produce better (more accurate and clearer) sound compared to noise canceling headphones.
- Have flexible rubber tips that make it easy to seal out sound once inserted in the ear canals.
They can eliminate ambient sounds – some say they ‘concentrate sound’ inside the ears effectively.
These types of headphones will allow you to enjoy music even when the volume is high. Plus you won’t bother the person sitting right next to you. Using these will save you from getting dagger looks from annoyed people.
Bluetooth stereo headphones
- Are wireless!
- Very portable (also great for exercising).
- Allow users to stream audio from sources like smartphones, tablets, and even PC computers.
- Very comfortable since they don’t put strain on the ears, neck, and head.
- Act as headsets as well.
- Still offer quality sound.
Although previous models were notorious for poor quality sound, manufacturers have now been able to produce Bluetooth headphones that create quality sound with enhanced capabilities. These are great if you’re always on-the-go. You don’t have to worry about getting tangled in cables or looking like a fighter plane pilot while inside your car.
Helpful tips on buying the best headphones under 100
There are several factors to consider when choosing the right headphones. Here is a list of what you need to pay attention to:
You surely don’t want to be seen wearing a pair of headphones that look horrible, right? It’s very likely that you’re going to use them all the time, so why pick something that’s ugly? Let’s face it. The first thing we consider when buying something is its appearance. It’s one of the reasons Dr. Dre Beats are top sellers.
However, it’d be a bit silly to simply base your decision on looks. You have to carefully read the product description and be aware of features and benefits.
Although headphones basically work the same way, each has different features that set them apart from each other. So make sure to check the product specs before handing out your credit card to the store clerk.
What exactly should you look for?
- Ear pad design (circumaural or supra-aural)
- Cable type (single coil, single straight, or separated L/R)
- See if the cable comes with a built-in volume control
- Acoustic seal
The perfect pair of headphones will satisfy your auditory cravings. As a general rule, the best headphones must create clear and accurate sounds at the right volume. For audiophiles, they should be able to distinctly identify the different ranges of audio.
Is bass more emphasized? Those into rock and club music might be very concerned with this. People who prefer acoustic sounds will want something that makes guitar string sounds more audible.
Serious music lovers might be better off with corded headphones because they offer better quality compared to wireless models. This has to do with the physics of sound transmission, and because wireless headphones can be susceptible to interference from other devices/appliances with the same frequency ranges.
But if you’re keen on choosing wireless headphones, opt for digital over analog models because they perform better. The 2.4 gigahertz models are also more preferred.
Always bear in mind that prolonged use can make your ears sweaty, warm, and uncomfortable. So pick headphones that will be comfortable. Spend enough time at the store with them. See how the padding feels. If you’re choosing full-sized headphones, pay attention to the way the pads cover your ears (they should not press or bend the edge of your ears at uncomfortable angles).
When testing headphones, leave them on for more than 3 minutes because so you can gauge how comfortable they are. They’ll surely start to feel differently after several minutes.
It’s also wise to check the headbands and see how well they adjust. Check the cords, ear padding, and the silicone tips for canalphones.
Comfy and nice-looking headphones are useless if they don’t work or if they can’t function according to your needs. You’ve already seen how each headphone works, so that should give you a bit of an idea of what’s best for you.
Where to go to find the best headphones
If you want to find the best headphones under $100, you can shop around. Check three or four places.
Amazon is perhaps the best retailer for headphones. For one, you won’t pay sales tax (except in a few states). Secondly, Amazon does not have to pay store rental expense and sales clerk salaries. As a result, they can price headphones cheaper than their competitors.
We’ve made it easier for you to check out ALL the best headphones without exhausting yourself. We’ve compiled a list of the best headphones under $100 under one roof, so you can find what you need quicker.
Check out our list of the best-rated and inexpensive headphones here.
Read reviews online
A word of caution: don’t buy unless you’ve read several reviews online – particularly reviews at sites like Amazon.
Why are reviews important? They are social proof that a specific product works. Reviews also point out the pros and cons of a product. Store clerks overwhelmingly are honest, but they are incentivized by the store to sell you what they have, rather than what you need. And in their defense, there are too many headphones available nowadays for store clerks to be knowledgeable about them all.
Reviews are personal accounts of people who’ve used headphones. Their reviews will be very useful because you’ll learn the good and bad aspects of a specific headphone brand. The information you can get from personal reviews are valuable as they’ll keep you from buying poor quality headphones.
Drivers: 40 mm
Sensitivity: 100 db
Frequency response: 10 – 22,000 Hz
Wireless operating distance: up to 150 ft
- Strong signal between the headphones and cradle
- No interference with other wireless equipment
- Lightweight and comfortable to wear
- Excellent sound quality
- Work well with iPods and ideal for watching videos, listening to music tracks, and even editing video footage
- Don’t have sounds as warm as others
- Can be too large for some users
- Some users say that they produce static buzz, which can be due to not setting up the gadget properly
- Not too much bass
No one can deny that Sony products satisfy consumers. Be it a television set, laptop, or a pair of headphones, we can be assured that we’re going to get our money’s worth. And that’s what we can expect from its wireless headphones, the Sony MDR RF985RK.
First off, I’m just baffled as to why these companies name their headphones alpha-numerically. I’m not dyslexic but I find it really hard to say, write, or even remember these cans. Why can’t they just pick a simpler name? It makes it tough to go to the store and ask for it or type the product name on Google or Amazon.
Anyway, they must have a logical reason for it and it’s really none of my business. Just saying.
So let’s break down the reasons why you should and shouldn’t get these pair of cans.
These full-sized circumaural headphones look nice. Though there’s nothing superbly impressive about the look, you wouldn’t be embarrassed being seen with these. They’re like ordinary headphones, so there’s really nothing to fuzz about.
What’s good about these is they’re comfortable and lightweight—two important factors when choosing a pair of cans you’ll be using for hours. And since they’re cordless, your movements are not limited. You can move around while listening to music. The headband is also adjustable.
Sound quality and performance
One Amazon reviewer said that these are “an overachieving pair of cans” because they perform impressively well and given the price, they easily trump other headphones that are double the price. It’s not surprising because Sony is a trusted brand.
If sound quality is what you’re after, then you won’t go wrong with the MDR RF985RK because they sound amazing. In fact, some users compare the sounds to Bose, which is an authority for audiophiles.
Frequency ranges are great. You will clearly hear the mids and highs on each track you listen to. The bass is also commendable though not as powerful and tight as other headphones, which is something many feel is a downside. But if you think about it, you won’t be buying these if you’re very particular with the bass, will you?
Overall, these cans are great. The fact that you can watch YouTube videos, listen to music tracks, and even edit videos with these cans say a lot about their performance.
The initial charge is 3.5 hours and you can enjoy over 20 hours of listening.
Many may be a little wary of buying wireless headphones because they fear that the signal is weak. That’s a problem that’s already a decade old. Today, wireless technology has improved so much there’s no reason to be afraid of purchasing wireless cans.
These, in particular, are very good wireless headphones because the signal is strong. You won’t experience drop outs even if you’re 25 feet away from the cradle. There are some reported problems with the signal from the TV, however. They say that there’s a static buzz and the signal weakens.
You won’t have to worry about interference with other wireless equipment. But if it happens, don’t worry because it can be fixed by switching to different channels. The switch is easily located at the base.
Easy and enjoyable listening?
These cans are cordless, which means you can move around whenever you want. They are heavily padded and isolate sounds really well. They are lightweight and very comfortable. All of this adds up to one thing: an easy and enjoyable listening experience.
That’s all we want, right? To find a good pair of cans that are easy to use and produce really great sounds. You’ll get a lot for your money with the Sony MDR RF985RK. This 4-star rater in Amazon is definitely something you must consider when in search for the best and most affordable headphones.