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 canceling.
So far, we've tested 89 headphones under $100 and below are our recommendations for the best ones you can buy in the summer of 2018.
The best over-ear headphones under $100 that we've tested so far are the Logitech G433. They're a gaming headset with a casual design that you can use outdoors. They're decently comfortable, and they have an excellent sound quality that's surprisingly well-balanced for their price range.
They won't be as convenient as some of the wireless Bluetooth headphones on this list for day-to-day use, but they sound a lot better and come with both a boom mic for gaming and a regular audio cable to use with your phone. This makes them a versatile choice for both gamers and critical listeners.
The HyperX Cloud Alpha and Cloud II have a better build quality and they're more comfortable than the G433 but they do not sound as well balanced and do not come with a customizable software or extra pads included in the box.
If you want a more versatile alternative to the Logitech G433 and you enjoy a bit of bass, we recommend the Skullcandy Hesh 3. They won't sound as well balanced as the Logitech and their build quality is a little plasticky and isn't as good as some of the other over-ears under a $100 like the HyperX Cloud Alpha, the Cloud II, and JBL E55BT. However, they deliver a powerful bass range that will satisfy any fans of bass-heavy genres like EDM, rap, and dubstep. They're also very lightweight, comfortable and easy to use with an incredibly fast charge time that delivers up to 19 hours of continuous playback. Overall, if you want a good wireless over-ear under $100, the Hesh 3 are a solid option and a definite improvement over the past Hesh headphones from Skullcandy.
If you want a more portable and breathable option than the Skullcandy Hesh 3 but are not a big fan of in-ears, get the JBL E45BT. They're not as comfortable for everyone as the over-ears on this list and they're slightly less durable than the Skullcandy Grind.
On the upside, they have a longer battery life than the Skullcandy, they're also a bit more portable since they have a collapsible design that will take less space in a bag. They're lightweight, comfortable, and noise canceling. If you have an Android device, then you can customize their sound profile with the Samsung Level app which makes them a more versatile option than most of the other on-ears within this price range.
If you like the compact size of on-ears but typically find them a bit too tight on the head or not very comfortable, then get the Skullcandy Grind instead of the JBL E45BT. They will not last as long as the JBL on a single charge. Their sound quality is also a bit less balanced although they do sound pretty decent for their price range. On the upside, they have a durable build quality and they're one of the most comfortable on-ear designs that we've tested so far, only beaten by the Bose SoundLink On-Ear which are a lot more expensive. They're also easy-to-use with a long battery life and regular audio cable so you can use them passively when the battery dies.
If you like the super compact format of in-ears and earbuds and don't want to spend more than $100, then get the Jaybird Freedom. Their out of the box sound quality isn't as good as the over-ears and on-ear recommendations. Their relatively short battery life and cumbersome charging clip may be an issue for some. In this case, you might want to consider the Jaybird X3 for the longer battery life or the X2 for their regular micro USB port, although they are a bit outdated.
On the upside, you can customize their sound with the MySound app and they are a lot more portable and better suited for sports than the Skullcandy Grind or the JBL E45BT. They have a stable wireless in-ear design and come with a couple of tip types, sizes, and stability fins to help you find the right fit. They're lightweight, compact and provide enough isolation to be a decent option for most environments.
If you find typical in-ears a bit uncomfortable but still want an ultra-portable headphone under 100$, then get the Bose SoundTrue Ultra In-ear. They're wired so they won't have the range of the wireless Jaybird Freedom. They're also not as well built as the 1More Triple Driver (which are an excellent alternative to the Bose). However, they have a slightly more comfortable earbud fit that most will prefer over the in-ears like the Jaybird and 1More. They also have a well-balanced sound that packs a lot of bass, and a good isolation performance that makes them suitable for commuting and the office. Overall, if you do not need any fancy features and just want a wired headset for most use cases, then the Bose SoundTrue Ultra In-Ear are a good choice.
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.