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The 7 Best Headphones Under $100 - Spring 2019
Reviews

Best Headphones Under $100
370 Headphones Tested
  • Store-bought headphones; no cherry-picked units
  • Retest after major updates
  • Easily comparable results
  • No ads; unbiased reviews
Learn more about our approach to product reviews here.

There are plenty of good options if you want an entry-level pair of headphones that deliver a satisfactory 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 326 headphones and below are our recommendations for the best headphones under $100 you can buy in 2019. See also our recommendations for the best noise cancelling headphones under $100, the best budget wireless headphones, the best over-ear headphones under $100, and the best wireless headphones under $100.

  1. Best Over-Ear Headphones Under $100: Skullcandy Hesh 3 Wireless

    Usage Ratings - Version 1.2

    Test Benches:

    • 1.2: Winter 2018
    • 1.1: Summer 2017
    • 1.0: Winter 2017
    • 0.9: Winter 2016
    6.5
    Mixed Usage
    What it is: This is the combination of the different use cases to evaluate how versatile the headphones are. Therefore an everyday headphone should be well-rounded enough to adapt to most situations and environments without significant losses in sound quality, design ergonomics or isolation.
    Score components:
    7.0
    Critical Listening
    What it is: The level of audio fidelity a headphone can reproduce. Therefore a balanced and true representation of bass, mids, treble, soundstage and imaging, as well as a comfortable listening experience, is essential for critical listening.
    Score components:
    6.4
    Commute/Travel
    What it is: How well the headphones handle the loud environments involved in commuting or traveling. Therefore your listening experience should be comfortable, hassle-free and as isolated from noise as possible.
    Score components:
    6.9
    Sports/Fitness
    What it is: How well-adapted the headphones are, to use while doing sports or strenuous exercise. Therefore the headphones should not be too cumbersome and deliver a stable and comfortable listening experience.
    Score components:
    6.6
    Office
    What it is: How well the headphones can deliver a comfortable and isolated listening experience in an office-like environment. They should not leak much and should block the noise of a busy office.
    Score components:
    5.7
    TV
    Score components:
    5.5
    Gaming
    Score components:
    Type : Over-ear
    Enclosure : Closed-Back
    Wireless : Yes
    Noise-Cancelling : No
    Mic : Yes
    Transducer : Dynamic

    The best over-ear headphones under $100 are the Skullcandy Hesh 3. They have a simple and lightweight design that's easy to use, they’re fairly portable for over-ear headphones and they sound decent.

    The Skullcandy Hesh 3 have great 19-hour battery life and charge in just over an hour. They have strong, powerful bass that fans of bass-heavy music genres like EDM and dubstep will enjoy. They also have a good wireless range and can be used passively when the battery dies with the provided audio cable.

    Although they’re lightweight and stable enough to wear for the occasional jog, they don’t feel as durable as other wireless over-ears we've tested at or below their price range. If you like their design and can stretch your budget a bit, then the Skullcandy Venue may be a better choice. The Mpow H5 are also a better-built option, but they don’t have the same exciting sound profile of the Hesh 3. All-in-all, the Skullcandy Hesh 3 are the most well-rounded over-ear headphones under $100.

    See our review

  2. Alternative For Gaming: Logitech G533 Wireless Gaming Headset

    Type : Over-ear
    Enclosure : Closed-Back
    Wireless : Yes
    Noise-Cancelling : No
    Mic : Yes
    Transducer : Dynamic

    If you’re looking for wireless headphones to use while gaming on PC or PS4, get the Logitech G533. They’re not as portable as the Skullcandy Hesh 3 since they have to be in range of their wireless USB transmitter to work, but they provide a very low-latency gaming experience and are highly customizable. The Logitech G533 sound great and are well-suited to video game soundtracks and effects. They take a while to charge, but their battery provides 17 hours of continuous playback and they have an auto-off timer that can be adjusted in the Logitech Gaming Software program.

    These headphones have a decent microphone, but it doesn’t perform as well as the microphone of the HyperX Cloud II. The Cloud II are also more comfortable and better-built than the Logitech. In addition, since the HyperX are wired, they’re compatible with the Xbox One. However, they don’t sound as good as the Logitech and they have no customization options. The Logitech G533 are overall a better option for as long as you use a compatible gaming system.

    See our review

  3. Best On-Ear Headphones Under $100: JBL E45BT Wireless

    Usage Ratings - Version 1.2

    Test Benches:

    • 1.2: Winter 2018
    • 1.1: Summer 2017
    • 1.0: Winter 2017
    • 0.9: Winter 2016
    6.6
    Mixed Usage
    What it is: This is the combination of the different use cases to evaluate how versatile the headphones are. Therefore an everyday headphone should be well-rounded enough to adapt to most situations and environments without significant losses in sound quality, design ergonomics or isolation.
    Score components:
    7.2
    Critical Listening
    What it is: The level of audio fidelity a headphone can reproduce. Therefore a balanced and true representation of bass, mids, treble, soundstage and imaging, as well as a comfortable listening experience, is essential for critical listening.
    Score components:
    6.5
    Commute/Travel
    What it is: How well the headphones handle the loud environments involved in commuting or traveling. Therefore your listening experience should be comfortable, hassle-free and as isolated from noise as possible.
    Score components:
    7.2
    Sports/Fitness
    What it is: How well-adapted the headphones are, to use while doing sports or strenuous exercise. Therefore the headphones should not be too cumbersome and deliver a stable and comfortable listening experience.
    Score components:
    6.6
    Office
    What it is: How well the headphones can deliver a comfortable and isolated listening experience in an office-like environment. They should not leak much and should block the noise of a busy office.
    Score components:
    5.8
    TV
    Score components:
    5.5
    Gaming
    Score components:
    Type : On-ear
    Enclosure : Closed-Back
    Wireless : Yes
    Noise-Cancelling : No
    Mic : Yes
    Transducer : Dynamic

    If you want a more breathable option than the Skullcandy Hesh 3 but aren’t a fan of in-ears, get the JBL E45BT. They're not as comfortable for everyone as over-ears, but they’re a bit more portable since they have a collapsible design that takes up less space in a bag. They’re lightweight, stylish headphones that should be satisfactory for most.

    The JBL E45BT have a long 26-hour battery life that’s great if you don’t like having to charge your headphones often. They sound decent and are well-balanced enough to be suitable for most music genres. They even support multi-device pairing so you can have 2 Bluetooth devices connected at the same time, which is a nice touch at this price point.

    Unfortunately, like the Skullcandy Hesh 3, these headphones don’t have the best build quality. That said, they're one of the best earphones under $100 we've tested and they still deliver an overall solid performance and are among the best on-ears you can get at this price range.

    See our review

  4. More Comfortable Alternative: Skullcandy Grind Wireless

    Type : On-ear
    Enclosure : Closed-Back
    Wireless : Yes
    Noise-Cancelling : No
    Mic : Yes
    Transducer : Dynamic

    If you like the more compact design of on-ear headphones but don’t find them very comfortable, then try the Skullcandy Grind instead. They don’t fold like the JBL E45BT so they’re not as portable, but they’re significantly more comfortable. They have a sturdy metal build that feels a lot more premium than their price would suggest. They have a solid battery performance, a good wireless range, and a well-balanced sound for casual and more critical listeners alike.

    They won't be the best headphones to wear while working out since they’re not as stable as other on-ears and they don't block a lot of noise. Their battery also doesn’t last as long as that of the JBL E45BT, but it’s still quite good at 15 hours. They’re decent on-ears for their price and are easy to recommend.

    See our review

  5. Best Earbuds Under $100: Anker SoundCore Liberty Air Truly Wireless

    Usage Ratings - Version 1.2

    Test Benches:

    • 1.2: Winter 2018
    • 1.1: Summer 2017
    • 1.0: Winter 2017
    • 0.9: Winter 2016
    7.1
    Mixed Usage
    What it is: This is the combination of the different use cases to evaluate how versatile the headphones are. Therefore an everyday headphone should be well-rounded enough to adapt to most situations and environments without significant losses in sound quality, design ergonomics or isolation.
    Score components:
    7.3
    Critical Listening
    What it is: The level of audio fidelity a headphone can reproduce. Therefore a balanced and true representation of bass, mids, treble, soundstage and imaging, as well as a comfortable listening experience, is essential for critical listening.
    Score components:
    7.5
    Commute/Travel
    What it is: How well the headphones handle the loud environments involved in commuting or traveling. Therefore your listening experience should be comfortable, hassle-free and as isolated from noise as possible.
    Score components:
    8.1
    Sports/Fitness
    What it is: How well-adapted the headphones are, to use while doing sports or strenuous exercise. Therefore the headphones should not be too cumbersome and deliver a stable and comfortable listening experience.
    Score components:
    7.4
    Office
    What it is: How well the headphones can deliver a comfortable and isolated listening experience in an office-like environment. They should not leak much and should block the noise of a busy office.
    Score components:
    5.6
    TV
    Score components:
    4.6
    Gaming
    Score components:
    Type : In-ear
    Enclosure : Closed-Back
    Wireless : Truly Wireless
    Noise-Cancelling : No
    Mic : Yes
    Transducer : Dynamic

    If you prefer your headphones to be more discreet and like the low-profile design of truly wireless earbuds, get the Anker SoundCore Liberty Air. They’re the best in-ear headphones under $100 that we’ve reviewed so far. They’re well-designed, highly portable in-ear headphones that perform well across the board.

    The Anker SoundCore Liberty Air sound remarkably well-balanced and are suitable for nearly all genres of music as well as audiobooks and podcasts. They isolate very well and are a good choice for commuters who want to reduce ambient noise a bit without using noise cancelling headphones. Although their battery doesn’t last long compared to traditional wireless headphones, it’s still within the average range for truly wireless headphones at 4 hours of continuous playtime. You’ll need to take breaks now and then to charge them throughout the day, but you can do so with their great charging case that provides 3 additional wireless charges.

    The in-ear fit of the SoundCore Liberty Air might not be for everyone. They also have higher latency than most Bluetooth headphones, which means you’ll likely notice a delay between what you see and what you hear if you stream movies or video games. That said, they’re versatile truly wireless in-ears that perform well enough to be decent for most use cases.

    See our review

  6. Wired Alternative: TIN Audio T3

    Type : In-ear
    Enclosure : Closed-Back
    Wireless : No
    Noise-Cancelling : No
    Mic : No
    Transducer : Dynamic

    If you prefer wired headphones, then go for the TIN Audio T3 instead. They don’t have a microphone or any active features, but they're very well-built with detachable earbuds and a replaceable audio cable. They have a dense, premium feel and sound decent as well.

    Unfortunately, the TIN Audio T3 aren’t the most comfortable in-ear headphones out there. Their earbuds are quite large and can be uncomfortable for those with smaller ears. However, if the fit works for you, they’re definitely worth considering, especially if you don’t like having to worry about a battery all the time. You can also take a look at the KZ AS-10 which perform similarly overall, but have a different fit and earbud design.

    See our review

  7. Customizable Alternative For Sports: Jaybird Tarah Wireless

    Type : In-ear
    Enclosure : Closed-Back
    Wireless : Yes
    Noise-Cancelling : No
    Mic : Yes
    Transducer : Dynamic

    If you want something that’s more suitable for sports, then get the Jaybird Tarah. They have an IPX7 rating for advanced water and sweat resistance and have a slightly more comfortable earbud-like fit that some may prefer over the more traditional in-ear fit of the Anker SoundCore Liberty Air. You can also customize their sound profile with the Jaybird MySound app.

    Unfortunately, the Tarah have a limiting proprietary charging clip that you must have on you to charge them. This can be a bit frustrating, especially since the Tarah have a battery life of only 6 hours. If the proprietary charger isn’t a deal breaker for you, the Tarah are a great option for sports.

    See our review

Notable Mentions

  • JBL E55BT Wireless: An over-ear alternative to the JBL E45BT with slightly better performance overall but a higher price. See our review
  • JBL Endurance Sprint Wireless: A sports headset with a decent enough performance for most use cases. See our review
  • Plantronics BackBeat Go 600 Wireless: Budget and lightweight over-ears with decent sound. Build quality feels a bit cheap and they do not outperform the Hesh 3. See our review
  • Cowin E7 Pro Wireless:  Decent noise cancelling but mediocre sound quality and slightly confusing controls. See our review
  • Corsair Void PRO RGB Wireless: Decent wireless gaming headset but doesn’t sound as good as the Logitech G533. See our review
  • HyperX Cloud 2/Cloud II: A well-built wired gaming headset with a great microphone and okay sound. See our review
  • Audio-Technica ATH-M40x: Good audio quality, straightforward, wired design. Slightly plasticky and a bit cumbersome to use as casual headphones. 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
  • Sony MDR-7506: Above-average audio quality and a decently comfortable design. Build quality feels a little plasticky and cheap. See our review
  • 1More Triple Driver: Great build quality and good sound. A good alternative to the SoundTrue Ultra, but their in-ear fit might not be as comfortable for some. See our review
  • KZ AS10: Well-built wired in-ears with good audio reproduction. Outstanding noise isolation but have bulky earbuds that won't be for everyone. See our review

All Reviews

Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best headphones under $100 to buy for most people. We factor in the price (cheaper headphones win over pricier ones 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.

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