If you prefer the comfort, ease of use, and sound quality of over-ear headphones, you surely know how challenging it can be to find the best bang for your buck. There are many options out there, but how do they stack up? It depends on what you're looking for - some models are more versatile with noise cancelling and Bluetooth for added convenience while commuting. However, gamers will want something with lower latency, and audiophiles will focus most on sound quality and comfort. Fortunately, there's something for everyone, even under $100.
We’ve tested over 340 pairs of over-ear headphones, and below are our recommendations for the best headphones with an over-ear design under $100. If you’re looking for our top picks for other over-ear headphones, check out our recommendations for the best over-ear headphones for working out.
The best over-ear headphones under $100 that we've tested are the Anker Soundcore Life Q30 Wireless. If you're looking for headphones for all-around casual use, they deliver over 44 hours of continuous playback time and have an auto-off timer to conserve their battery life when you're not using them. They also have a lightweight, comfortable, and well-built design, which is good for long days on the go. Their adjustable active noise cancelling (ANC) system has three different modes to target different kinds of sound. Using 'Transport' mode, they can cut down the low rumble of bus and plane engines and do an outstanding job of blocking background noise. Their ANC performance makes them the best ANC headphones on this list too.
Out of the box, they have a v-shaped sound profile that delivers intense thump, rumble, and boom while vocals and lead instruments are bright. If you value a different sound, you can customize them using their graphic EQ and presets. You'll notice a change in sound quality depending on if you're using them with ANC on or off, as when this feature is off, your audio is more hollow and thin.
If you listen to lots of different genres or don't like a bass-heavy sound, the Plantronics BackBeat Go 810 Wireless are the best over-ear wireless headphones under $100 we've tested. These headphones can be more expensive than $100 depending on the color you buy, but unlike the Anker Soundcore Life Q30 Wireless, they have a neutral default sound profile. Mixes have body and warmth, while instruments and vocals sound present and detailed, so it's suitable for everything from pop music to podcasts. Their companion app doesn't include an EQ for sound customization, but there are some presets you can use to tweak their sound. They're similarly well-built and have a decently comfortable fit for most people, although you might find them tight if you have a bigger head.
Their battery life is shorter than the Anker's, but they still last for more than 24 hours off of a single charge, more than enough for long listening sessions. However, they're not as well-suited for use at work or during your commute. They have an ANC feature, but it's not good at blocking out bass-range noise like rumbling engines and also struggles with office-type noise like ambient chatter. That said, if you work in a quiet space, they have an alright mic performance for calls and support multi-device pairing so you can stay connected to your phone and computer.
The best over-ear Bluetooth headphones under $100 for calls that we've tested are the JBL Tune 760NC Wireless. If you want headphones that you can use to hop on video calls during your workday, these offer a better microphone performance than the other options listed here. The integrated mic makes your voice clear and natural and does a decent job of separating it from ambient sound, so distractions like traffic outside your window or a humming A/C unit won't disrupt calls very much. Their onboard controls allow you to answer and end calls without pulling out your phone.
They have a comfortable design but may feel a bi,t tight depending on your head size. Unlike most headphones listed here, they lack companion software and sound customization features. Their sound profile is well-balanced, with a neutral mid-range that ensures voices are detailed and clear. The headphones have a long continuous battery life of more than 40 hours to get you through several workdays without recharging. Unfortunately, their ANC feature doesn't have the best performance, so they aren't ideal if you work in a busy office.
If you use your headphones to watch videos or play games on your phone, you might want headphones with low latency to keep your audio and video in sync. While headphones that rely on Βluetooth usually have more latency than dedicated gaming headsets, the Razer Opus X Wireless have a 'Gaming Mode' that provides a low latency connection with iOS and Android devices. It helps prevent lip-syncing issues when you're watching something on YouTube or participating in a video call. Their well-balanced sound profile is suitable for a variety of genres and types of content, and you can customize it with presets in the companion software.
These headphones also stand out for their long continuous battery life of more than 60 hours. Their ANC feature is very good at isolating you from background chatter or the hum of a computer fan, but it struggles with lower-pitched noise like rumbling engines. The headphones' mic makes your voice sound adequately clear on the phone, but it has sub-par noise handling, so they aren't well-suited for calls if you're not in a quiet area. On the plus side, they have a good build quality, a comfortable fit, and come in a few bright colors.
If you're looking for dedicated headphones for listening to music, look at the Philips SHP9500. These are the best audiophile headphones under $100 that we've tested, and unlike all the other headphones listed here, they're wired and have an open-back design. This style allows sound to leave the ear cups and interact with your environment, creating a more immersive and spacious audio experience. However, it also means that audio leakage is audible to others around you, and they block out virtually no noise.
They have a very neutral sound profile suitable for different audio content and genres. They lack a thumpy low-bass, which is normal for open-backs, but mixes have body and warmth, and vocals and instruments sound clear and natural. They have a very comfortable fit for long listening sessions. They feel a little plasticky, and parts of their design, like the swiveling ear cups, feel prone to damage over time. Still, the main downside of open-back headphones is that you can only use them in a fairly quiet, private space. If you want headphones for music that block out a little more noise and leak less audio, you might prefer the Sony MDR-7506. Their sound packs a bit more bass, but they have a much smaller-seeming passive soundstage and are less comfortable.
Nov 11, 2022: Added the JBL Tune 760NC Wireless, the Razer Opus X Wireless, and the Plantronics BackBeat Go 810 Wireless. Moved the Wyze Noise-Cancelling Ηeadphones Wireless to Notable Mentions.
Sep 14, 2022: We've replaced the Xbox Wireless Headset with the Razer Kaira Pro Wireless for Xbox and moved them into the Logitech G535 LIGHTSPEED Wireless' text as they're comparable headphones. We've also added the Sony MDR-7506 as a studio pick and cleaned the Notable Mentions of any out-of-date picks.
May 17, 2022: Moved the Razer Opus X Wireless to Notable Mentions and added the Wyze Noise-Cancelling Headphones Wireless as 'Best Over-Ear Headphones For Work Under $100'. Removed the JBL E65BTNC Wireless and Corsair HS60 HAPTIC Stereo Gaming Headset from Notable Mentions.
Mar 30, 2022: Removed the Plantronics BackBeat Go 810 Wireless as they've been discontinued. Replaced the Mixcder E9 Wireless with the Razer Opus X Wireless as the Mixcder are hard to find in stock. The Razer also offer slightly more versatile performance.
Jan 25, 2022: Replaced the Logitech G533 Wireless Gaming Headset with the SteelSeries Arctis 1 Wireless as the 'Best Over-Ear Headphones Under $100 For Gaming' because the Logitech currently cost more than $100.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best headphones under $100 with an over-ear design 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 of over-ear 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.