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 over 350 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.
The best headphones under $100 that we’ve tested so far are the Mpow H10. They are versatile headphones with active noise cancelling (ANC) that provide very good value for their price. They’re comfortable with large, well-padded ear cups and have a decent control scheme that’s fairly easy to use.
These headphones have an exciting sound with thumping bass that will help bring out the rumble of bass-heavy genres like hip-hop and EDM. They also have decent ANC and isolate noise quite well across the board – effectively reducing the intensity of bass-heavy frequencies like the low rumbles of bus or plane engines as well as sounds in the mid and treble ranges, like office chatter and noisy A/C units.
On the downside, their slightly V-shaped sound profile won’t be ideal for more vocal-centric jazz or classical music. They also don’t have the best build quality and feel more cheaply made made than the less expensive Mpow H5 Wireless, but they perform better overall. The Anker SoundCore Life 2 feel much better built, but their ANC isn’t as good. Overall, the H10 are still very well-rounded over-ears that provide great value for their price.
If you’re looking for wireless headphones to use while gaming on PC or PS4, get the Logitech G533 Wireless Gaming Headset. They’re not as portable as the Mpow H10 Wireless since they have to be in range of their wireless USB transmitter to work, but they provide a great low-latency gaming experience. They sound great and are well-suited to video game soundtracks and effects. They’re not as comfortable or well-built as the wired HyperX Cloud X II, which also have a better mic and are compatible with the Xbox One, but the Logitech sound better and have tons of customization options.
Get the Mpow if you’re looking for a versatile, noise cancelling wireless headset to use while you’re out and about, but if you’d rather have a customizable gaming headset and don’t mind the lack of portability, then go for the Logitech.
The best on-ear headphones under $100 are the JBL Live 400 BT. They’re lightweight, stylish headphones that provide a decent listening experience overall. They’re fairly portable, too, thanks to their collapsible design that takes up less space in a bag, which is great when you’re on the go.
They have an excellent 30-hour battery life that’s great if you don’t like having to charge your headphones often and also feature an auto-off timer to save even more power. They sound good right out of the box but can be customized even further with the JBL Headphones app which provides access to a very good parametric EQ, so you can tweak the way they sound to better suit your tastes. 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 Mpow, these headphones don’t have the best build quality. They’re also not the most comfortable on-ears we’ve tested so far due to their ear cup shape and tight fit. That said, they have a very stable fit that makes them great on-ear headphones for working out. They deliver a solid performance overall and are among the best on-ears you can get at this price range.
If you like the breathable design of on-ear headphones but are looking for something that you’ll still find comfortable, then get the Skullcandy Grind. They’re not as portable as the JBL Live 400BT Wireless since they can’t be folded into a more compact format, but they feel better built and are much more comfortable. They have a solid build that feels sturdy and durable yet very lightweight, with comfortable ear cups that distribute pressure well. They sound decent and have a good 15-hour battery life, too.
Get the JBL if you want more compact on-ears with an excellent battery life, but if you’re after something that’s more durable and comfortable, you’ll want the Skullcandy Grind.
The best earbuds under $100 that we’ve reviewed so far are the Anker SoundCore Liberty Air. They’re well-rounded truly wireless in-ear headphones that provide very good value for their price. They’re very portable and fit fairly comfortably but still isolate a good amount of noise, making them not only a solid option for casual use but good travel headphones as well.
These truly wireless earbuds have a remarkably neutral frequency response that results in a very well-balanced sound. They’re suitable for music of a very wide range of genres, from classical to hip-hop, and are great for podcasts and audiobooks too. They also hardly leak any sound at all, so you don’t have to worry about bothering those around you with your music, even if you want to listen to your favorite tracks a little louder than the rest.
On the downside, they only provide about 4 hours of battery life on a single charge. This is about average for truly wireless earphones, but is still quite short. Their charging case provides 12 extra hours of playback, though, so if you keep them in their case when not in use, they should last you all day. Overall, they are easy to recommend thanks to their portable, versatile design at a reasonable price.
If you prefer wired headphones, then go for the TIN Audio T3 instead. They don’t have a microphone or any active features like the Anker SoundCore Liberty Air, but their wired design ensures a latency-free listening experience, which is great if you watch a lot of videos on your phone. They sound decent and very well-built with solid metal earbuds and a replaceable audio cable, but aren’t the most comfortable in-ears out there. The KZ AS10 perform similarly overall but have a different fit and earbud design that some may find more comfortable, but don’t feel as well-built as the TIN.
Get the Liberty Air if you hate having to deal with tangled cables and prefer the freedom of wireless earbuds, but if you’re easily bothered by audio lag and want to avoid dealing with latency issues, the T3 are a great choice.
If you want something that’s more suitable for sports, then get the Jaybird Tarah Wireless. They offer the truly wireless freedom of the Anker SoundCore Liberty Air, but they have a more durable design for running and working out. They’re rated IPX7 for waterproofing and have a comfortable earbud-like fit. They’re easy-to-use and you can also customize the way they sound with the great Jaybird MySound app. Unfortunately, they have a proprietary charging clip that feels rather limiting, especially since their battery only lasts 6 hours. The JBL Reflect Mini 2 use a regular micro-USB cable, but aren’t as well-built or customizable.
Get the Ankers if you’re looking for a truly wireless design with good noise isolation for commuting or more casual use, but if you need a durable design for sports and like being able to customize the way your earbuds sound, then you’ll want the Jaybird.
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.