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 over-ear 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 cheaper made than the less expensive Mpow H5 Wireless, but they perform better overall. The Anker SoundCore Life 2 Wireless feel much better built and also provide great value for their price, but their ANC isn’t as good as that of the Mpow. All things considered, these are well-rounded over-ears and one of the best headphones under $100 we've reviewed.
If you prefer being able to customize the sound of your headphones, then consider the Sennheiser HD 4.40 BT Wireless. They aren't noise cancelling like the Mpow H10 Wireless, but they’re compatible with the Sennheiser Captune app which provides you access to a great parametric EQ on your smartphone. The app is available on iOS and Android and is easy-to-use.
Although these headphones have a great 29-hour battery life, they don’t have any power saving features, so if you forget to turn them off when not in use they’ll continue draining the battery. They also have rather narrow ear cups that not everyone will find as comfortable. That said, they provide a reasonably feature-packed experience for the price and are a solid choice if you’re a fan of customization.
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 very low-latency gaming experience and are highly customizable. They 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 G HUB support software.
These headphones have a decent microphone, but it doesn’t perform as well as the microphone of the HyperX Cloud II. The HyperX are also more comfortable and better-built than the Logitech. Also, 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 a better option overall for PC and PS4 gamers.
If you want a more breathable option than the Mpow H10 Wireless but aren’t a fan of in-ears, get 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 more breathable design of on-ear headphones but are looking for something that you’ll still find comfortable, then get the Skullcandy Grind. Their battery doesn’t last as long as that of the JBL Live 400 BT Wireless, but they feel better built and are much more comfortable. They have a solid build that feels sturdy and durable yet are very lightweight, with comfortable ear cups that distribute pressure well. They sound decent and have a good 15-hour battery life, too.
Unfortunately, they’re not very portable since they can’t be folded into a more compact format, which is a bit disappointing for on-ear headphones. They can also sound a bit bright and sharp to some people, but not everyone will notice this as intensely. All things considered, though, they have a great price-to-performance ratio and are worth considering if you’re looking for comfortable on-ears under $100.
The best wireless 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 like the Anker SoundCore Liberty Air but 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, they 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 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 AS10, which perform similarly overall but have a different fit and earbud design.
If you want something more suitable for sports, then get the Jaybird Tarah Wireless. 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, they have a limiting proprietary charging clip that you must have on you to charge them. This can be a bit frustrating, especially since they have a battery life of only 6 hours. If the proprietary charger isn’t a deal-breaker for you, they are a great option for sports.
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.