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  1. Table of Contents
  2. Intro
  3. Best Over-Ear
    1. Alternative
  4. Best On-Ear
    1. Alternative
  5. Best Earbuds
    1. Alternative
  6. All Reviews
  7. Q&A
Updated

Best Headphones under $100 – Winter 2018
Reviews

Best Headphones Under 100

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 cancelling.

So far, we've tested 43 headphones under $100 and below are our recommendations for the best ones you can buy today. 

Best Over-Ear Headphones under $100

Usage Ratings - Version 1.1
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Test Benches:

  • 1.1: Summer 2017
  • 1.0: Winter 2017
  • 0.9: Winter 2016
5.9
Mixed Usage
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What it is This is the combination of the different use cases to evaluate how versatile the headphones are. Therefore an everyday headphone should be well-rounded enough to adapt to most situations and environments without significant losses in sound quality, design ergonomics or isolation.
Score components:
8.0
Critical Listening
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What it is The level of audio fidelity a headphone can reproduce. Therefore a balanced and true representation of bass, mids, treble, soundstage and imaging, as well as a comfortable listening experience, is essential for critical listening.
Score components:
4.9
Commute/Travel
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What it is How well the headphones handle the loud environments involved in commuting or traveling. Therefore your listening experience should be comfortable, hassle-free and as isolated from noise as possible.
5.2
Sports/Fitness
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What it is How well-adapted the headphones are, to use while doing sports or strenuous exercise. Therefore the headphones should not be too cumbersome and deliver a stable and comfortable listening experience.
5.2
Office
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What it is How well the headphones can deliver a comfortable and isolated listening experience in an office-like environment. They should not leak much and should block the noise of a busy office.
Score components:

The best over-ear headphones under $100 that we've tested so far are the Philips SHP9500, especially if you care about sound quality. They sound better than much pricier headphones and have an above average build quality that’s not typically found on open headphones in this price range.

They’re comfortable and have an open and wide soundstage, which makes them particularly good for critical listening but not ideal for outdoor use or commuting. In this case, maybe consider the Bose SoundTrue Around-Ear II or the Shure SRH440. They're both closed-back headphones and a bit more suited for everyday use but do not have the sound quality of the Philips.

See our review

More Versatile Alternative

If you want a more versatile alternative to the Philips SHP9500, then we recommend the Cowin E7. They’re decently comfortable, wireless, and noise canceling which is relatively rare for over-ear headphones at this price range. They also do not leak much so you can use them on the bus or at the office without bothering the people around you.

Unfortunately, they don't have the best sound quality as they are overly bass-heavy and dark. If you do not need all the active features, then the Bose SoundTrue Around-Ear II would be a better choice but they do not have the convenience of a wireless and noise canceling design.

See our review

Gaming Alternative

If you mostly use your headphones at home with your PC or a gaming console, then the Corsair Void are a great gaming headset under 100$. They're comfortable, they have a decently open sound and a sufficiently low enough latency for watching movies and gaming.

They sound slightly better than the Logitech G930 out-of-the-box, but the G930 have a more robust and customizable set of features. The HyperX Cloud II are also a good alternative: they're a bit more mobile-friendly thanks to their regular 1/8TRS audio jack. However, they do not benefit from the convenient wireless design of the Corsair Void.

See our review

Best On-Ear Headphones under $100

Usage Ratings - Version 1.1
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Test Benches:

  • 1.1: Summer 2017
  • 1.0: Winter 2017
  • 0.9: Winter 2016
7.2
Mixed Usage
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What it is This is the combination of the different use cases to evaluate how versatile the headphones are. Therefore an everyday headphone should be well-rounded enough to adapt to most situations and environments without significant losses in sound quality, design ergonomics or isolation.
Score components:
7.0
Critical Listening
Show Help
What it is The level of audio fidelity a headphone can reproduce. Therefore a balanced and true representation of bass, mids, treble, soundstage and imaging, as well as a comfortable listening experience, is essential for critical listening.
Score components:
7.4
Commute/Travel
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What it is How well the headphones handle the loud environments involved in commuting or traveling. Therefore your listening experience should be comfortable, hassle-free and as isolated from noise as possible.
7.1
Sports/Fitness
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What it is How well-adapted the headphones are, to use while doing sports or strenuous exercise. Therefore the headphones should not be too cumbersome and deliver a stable and comfortable listening experience.
7.5
Office
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What it is How well the headphones can deliver a comfortable and isolated listening experience in an office-like environment. They should not leak much and should block the noise of a busy office.
Score components:

The Samsung Level On are the best on-ear headphones to purchase under 100$. They have a lot more features and codec options than the Skullcandy Grind although they're not as well built.

They're lightweight, comfortable, wireless and noise canceling. They also have a decently customizable app on Android devices. If you just want a compact headphone for listening to music, then the Grado SR80e may be a decent alternative, but they're only for critical listening unlike the Level On which are much more versatile and better suited for everyday use.

See our review

Alternative for Critical Listening

If you prefer the compact size of on-ears but don't typically find them comfortable, then consider the Skullcandy Grind. They're surprisingly well-padded and don't put as much pressure on your ears like other similarly designed models. They're also decently versatile and well-made for their price range.

Sadly, they don't fold so they're not as portable as other on-ears, and they won't be the best to use in loud, noisy environments, but their build and sound quality are easy to recommend if you're looking for a well-rounded pair of headphones to use on a daily basis. 

See our review

Best In-Ear / Earbuds Headphones under $100

Usage Ratings - Version 1.1
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Test Benches:

  • 1.1: Summer 2017
  • 1.0: Winter 2017
  • 0.9: Winter 2016
7.5
Mixed Usage
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What it is This is the combination of the different use cases to evaluate how versatile the headphones are. Therefore an everyday headphone should be well-rounded enough to adapt to most situations and environments without significant losses in sound quality, design ergonomics or isolation.
Score components:
6.8
Critical Listening
Show Help
What it is The level of audio fidelity a headphone can reproduce. Therefore a balanced and true representation of bass, mids, treble, soundstage and imaging, as well as a comfortable listening experience, is essential for critical listening.
Score components:
7.6
Commute/Travel
Show Help
What it is How well the headphones handle the loud environments involved in commuting or traveling. Therefore your listening experience should be comfortable, hassle-free and as isolated from noise as possible.
8.1
Sports/Fitness
Show Help
What it is How well-adapted the headphones are, to use while doing sports or strenuous exercise. Therefore the headphones should not be too cumbersome and deliver a stable and comfortable listening experience.
7.8
Office
Show Help
What it is How well the headphones can deliver a comfortable and isolated listening experience in an office-like environment. They should not leak much and should block the noise of a busy office.
Score components:

The Jaybird Freedom are portable sports headphones with enough customization options to make them a great recommendation in this price range. They're stable, versatile and great for running and working out.

However, their relatively short battery life and a clunky and cumbersome charging clip may be an issue for some. In this case, you might want to consider the Jaybird X3 or the X2, even if it's a bit outdated and doesn't have any app support.

See our review

Alternative for Sound Quality

The best sounding in-ear headphones under $100 that we've tested so far are the 1More Triple Driver. They have a well-balanced sound quality that's easily on par with much pricier headphones. 

They’re lightweight, portable and their in-ear fit should be sufficiently stable for jogging. They also come with a wide variety of tips to help you find a more comfortable fit. Unfortunately, they're not as convenient as the Jaybird headphones, since you can't EQ their sound profile and they're not wireless. Overall, they're a great option for critical listening at this price.

See our review

Notable Mentions

  • Logitech G930. A wireless gaming headset with lots of customisation options. A good substitute to the Corsair Void. See our review
  • HyperX Cloud II.  A wired gaming headset with a sturdy build quality and a mobile-friendly design. Also a good alternative to the Corsair Void. See our review
  • Audio-Technica ATH M40x. Good audio quality, straightforward, wired design. Slightly plasticky and a bit cumbersome to use as casual headphones. See our review
  • Shure SRH 440. Well-balanced sound. Does not isolate well in loud environments and can be a little leaky at high volumes. See our review
  • Sony MDR-7506. Above-average audio quality and a decently comfortable design. Build quality feels a little plasticky and cheap. See our review
  • Grado SR60e. An earlier variation of the Grado SR80e. Performs almost the same but slightly worse sound. See our review
  • Sennheiser Momentum In-ear. Lightweight, and sturdy in-ear design. Poor isolation and mediocre sound quality. See our review
  • Jaybird X2. Good in-ears and an alternative to the Jaybird Freedom. A bit outdated and it doesn't have any app support. See our review

All Reviews

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. 

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