There are plenty of good options if you want an entry-level pair of headphones that deliver an above-average listening experience. The headphones in this list may not be the most comfortable or well rounded, but they offer a satisfactory sound quality and additional features like wireless Bluetooth and active noise cancelling.
So far, we've tested 25 headphones under $100 and below are our recommendations for the best ones you can buy today.
Best Over-Ear Headphones under $100
The best over-ear headphones under $100 we've tested are the Philips SHP9500, especially if you care about sound quality. They sound as good as much pricier headphones and have an above average build quality that’s not typically found on open headphones at this price. They’re comfortable and have an open and wide soundstage, which makes them particularly good for critical listening but not for other use cases.
More Versatile Alternative
If you want a more versatile alternative to the Philips SHP9500, then we recommend the Cowin E7. They’re decently comfortable, wireless, noise canceling and don't leak much so you can use them on the bus or at the office. Unfortunately, they don't have the best sound quality as they are overly bass-heavy and dark. However, they have a good battery and a great wireless range.
Best On-Ear Headphones under $100
If you prefer the compact size of on-ears but don't typically find them comfortable, then consider the Skullcandy Grind. They're surprisingly well-padded and don't put as much pressure on your ears like other similarly designed models. They're also decently versatile and well made for their price range.
Sadly, they don't fold so they're not as portable as other on-ears, and they won't be the best to use in loud, noisy environments, but their build and sound quality are easy to recommend if you're looking for a well-rounded pair of headphones to use on a daily basis.
Alternative for Critical Listening
If you want an on-ear headphone strictly for critical listening, then we recommend the Grado SR80e. They're a bit more expensive than the SkullCandy Grind and they're also less practical for everyday casual use but they have an open design that delivers a good and spacious audio reproduction.
They have the same design and overall performance as the Grado SR60e but sound a bit better, which may be worth the additional $20 price difference depending on how much you value sound quality.
Best In-Ear / Earbuds Headphones under $100
The best in-ear headphones under $100 we have tested are the 1More Triple Driver. They excel with their well-balanced sound quality that's easily on par with much pricier headphones. They’re lightweight, portable and their in-ear fit should be sufficiently stable for jogging. They also come with a wide variety of tips to help you find a more comfortable fit.
- Sennheiser Momentum In-ear. Lightweight, and sturdy in-ear design. Poor isolation and mediocre sound quality. See our review
- Sony MDR-7506. Good audio quality and a decently comfortable design. Build quality feels a little plasticky and cheap. See our review
- Shure SRH 440. Well-balanced sound. Does not isolate well in loud environments and can be a little leaky at high volumes. See our review
- Grado SR60e. An earlier variation of the Grado SR80e. Performs almost the same but slightly worse sound. See our review
- Bose SoundTrue Around -Ear. Great audio quality, straightforward, wired and super comfortable design. A bit leaky at high volumes and slightly plasticky. See our review
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best headphones under $100 to buy for most people. We factor in the price (a cheaper headphone wins over a pricier one if the difference isn't worth it), feedback from our visitors and availability (no headphones that are difficult to find or almost out of stock everywhere).
If you would like to choose for yourself, here is the list of all our reviews for headphones under $100. Be careful not to get caught up in the details. There are no perfect headphones. Personal taste, preference and listening habits will matter more in your selection.