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 nearly 400 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 Mixcder E9. They're comfortable over-ear headphones that feel decently premium and well-built for their price. They have large and well-padded ear cups and an impressive control scheme with large and clicky physical buttons that are easy to use. They even include a nice hard case for carrying them around in, which is a nice addition at this price point.
Their sound reproduction is good and is quite well-balanced in the bass and mid-ranges. Unfortunately, they lack detail in the treble range, so they may not be ideal for brighter genres like jazz or classical but should please fans of bass-heavy music. They have a good 18-hour battery life which should get you through a few full work days before needing a charge. Their ANC is decent, but those looking for the best ANC headphones under $100 should consider the Mpow H10 Wireless, though their build quality and sound reproduction aren't as good as the Mixcder.
Overall, these are a decent pair of versatile over-ear headphones that perform better than their price would suggest. They have a good battery life, decent ANC performance, a nice bass-heavy sound profile, and a good comfortable design that should please most people on a budget.
If you're looking for the best in-ear headphones under $100, get the Anker SoundCore Liberty Air, as they're the best in-ear headphones in this category that we've tested so far. They don't have ANC and aren't as comfortable as the Mixcder E9 Wireless, but they're much more portable thanks to their truly wireless in-ear design. They have an excellent neutral sound profile and are fairly well-balanced, making them a good choice for a wide variety of music, from bass-heavy to vocal-centric genres. While they aren't as comfortable as the Mixcder, they're still quite comfortable for in-ears and come with four different sized tips to help you get a good fit. They feel decently well-built and premium for their price and have a similar design to the Apple AirPods 1 Truly Wireless 2017, but with a glossy black finish. These headphones could even make a good gym companion thanks to their stable in-ear fit and truly wireless design.
If you prefer over-ears or want something to help block out the noise of bus engines during your daily commute, go with the Mixcder, but if you want something much more portable with a more neutral sound profile, get the Anker.
If you prefer an on-ear design, get the JBL Live 400BT, as they're the best on-ear headphones under $100 we've tested so far. They aren't as comfortable as the Mixcder E9 Wireless and don't feel quite as well built, but they're slightly more portable and can be customized via their companion app. They're one of the best on-ear headphones we've ever tested and fans of on-ear headphones will likely find them decently comfortable. They have an impressive 30-hour battery life, meaning they should easily last you a few full days without needing a charge. Unfortunately, they don't have ANC like the Mixcder and they may not be the best choice if you often listen to music in very noisy environments. Their sound profile out-of-the-box is decently well-balanced, but can be easily customized through the JBL Headphones app, which offers a fully parametric EQ.
If you find over-ears more comfortable or need ANC, go with the Mixcder, but if you like the extra portability and smaller design of on-ears, get the JBL.
The best headphones under $100 for sports that we've tested so far are the Jaybird Tarah Wireless. These wireless in-ear headphones are decently comfortable thanks to their eargel tips that don't enter the ear canal as deep as typical in-ears. They have stability fins to help them stay in your ears during more strenuous workouts, and are even rated IPX7 for water resistance, though we don't currently test this. They feel decently well-built and have a more straight-forward, every day design than some other flashier sports-oriented headphones.
They have an excellent neutral sound profile out-of-the-box, but are also compatible with Jaybird's great MySound app which gives you access to a fully parametric EQ to fine-tune their sound to better suit your own tastes. They also do a very good job at blocking out background speech, which makes them a decent option to use while at the office. Unfortunately, their six-hour battery life is only mediocre, and they take almost two hours to fully charge, which isn't great.
If you like the Tarah but are able to stretch your budget a bit, you may want to consider the Jaybird Tarah Pro Wireless, which are the best headphones for running that we've tested so far. They're more expensive, but feel better-built and have more than double the battery life off of a single charge. Overall, if you want a good pair of headphones for sports but don't want to spend over $100, the Tarah are a great choice.
The best headphones under $100 for gaming that we've tested so far are the Logitech G533 Wireless Gaming Headset. Their build quality is good for the price, and they're decently comfortable with large, well-padded ear cups that are covered in a breathable fabric. They have a premium, high-end appearance and are among the best wireless gaming headsets that we've tested to date.
They have a well-balanced sound profile, though different people may experience variations in the bass and treble range. However, if you aren't happy with their sound, you can easily customize it through the Logitech G Hub software. They also have a programmable button on the headset which can be customized through the software. Unfortunately, their microphone's transmitted speech quality is only decent and can sound a little thin, but on the upside, it does a great job at noise handling which is good if you game in loud environments.
Overall, they're a good pair of gaming headphones for the price that are quite comfortable and provide good sound reproduction for most people. They're better-suited to those who game alone, however, as they don't block background noises well and leak quite a bit of audio at higher volumes. That being said, if you're after a feature-packed and customizable gaming headset and don't want to break the bank, these are a good choice.
The best wired headphones under $100 that we've tested so far are the TIN Audio T3. These wired in-ear headphones are very well-built and look and feel premium thanks to their metal earbuds which should be able to withstand a few accidental bumps and drops without sustaining damage. They even have a detachable cable which can be replaced should it get damaged, without needing to replace the entire headphones. They're very stable even without stability fins, and should stay in your ears well even during a more strenuous workout.
Their sound-profile is fairly bass-heavy and can sound quite sharp on S and T sounds, making them better-suited to genres like EDM and hip-hop. Thanks to their in-ear fit, they do a good job at blocking out background noises, especially in the mid-range, which is important for blocking out speech. Unfortunately, this in-ear design may not be the most comfortable for everyone and may cause fatigue during longer listening sessions.
Due to their wired design, these headphones don't have any latency issues, which makes them a great choice if you watch a lot of video content using headphones. Overall, they're a decent pair of in-ear headphones that are a good choice if you tend to be away from an outlet for extended periods and don't want to worry about keeping batteries charged.
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.
11/12/2019: Changed all categories. Replaced the Mpow H10 with the Mixcder E9 as 'Best Headphones Under $100'.