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 283 headphones and below are our recommendations for the best headphones under $100 you can buy in 2018. See also our recommendations for the best noise cancelling headphones under $100 and the best wireless headphones.
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 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 deliver a decent sound quality that's balanced enough for most music genres.
They do not have as many options as the Samsung Level On Wireless, which you can sometimes find on sale under a $100 but overall the JBL E45BT deliver a solid performance and are one of the best on-ears you can get at this price range.
If you like the compact design of on-ears but do not find them as comfortable, then try the Skullcandy Grind instead. The Grind are not the most feature-packed headphones. They also do not fold like the JBL E45BT so they won't be as portable as other on-ear designs. However, they offer one of the best value for any headset we've tested. They have a comfortable fit that does not clamp your ears like most on-ears headphones. They also 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 for sports and commute, since they're not as stable as other on-ears and don't block a lot of noise. However, for everything else, they do an admirable job, especially for their price, which makes them an easy headset to recommend for fans of on-ears.
If you like the super compact format of in-ears and earbuds and don't want to spend more than $100, then get the Jaybird Freedom 2. Their out of the box sound quality isn't as good as the over-ears and on-ear recommendations. Their relatively short battery life and cumbersome charging clip may also be an issue for some. In this case, you might want to consider the Jaybird X3 for the longer battery life or the X2 for their regular micro USB port, although they are a bit outdated.
On the upside, they have a slightly more comfortable earbud-like design that some will prefer over the original fit of the original Freedoms. You can also customize their sound profile with the MySound app and they are a lot more portable and better suited for sports than the Skullcandy Grind or the JBL E45BT.
Unfortunately, they are slightly pricier than the regular Freedom F5 but deliver the same performance and experience overall, which may not be worth the additional cost for some. But on the upside, they have a stable wireless design, decent sound, and isolation and they're fairly comfortable, which makes them a good choice and a versatile option most use cases.
If you find typical in-ears a bit uncomfortable but still want an ultra-portable headphone under 100$, then get the Bose SoundTrue Ultra In-ear. They're wired so they won't have the range of the wireless Jaybird Freedom 2. 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.
If you want a more budget alternative and do not mind a wired design, then go for the KZ AS-10 instead. They have a more typical in-ear fit with bulkier earbuds than average, which won't be as comfortable for all users. They also do not sound as well balanced as the Bose.
On the upside, they're one of a few budget in-ears that come with detachable earbuds and a replaceable audio cable, which make them a bit more durable than most. They also have a nice transparent design that looks a lot more high-end than their price would suggest. They have a decent sound that does well with most genres and packs quite a bit of bass. The KZ ZS-10 is a more budget alternative to the AS-10 with same cool design and detachable buds, but they are slightly larger and may not fit as well as the AS-10 in all ears.
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.