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 350 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, the best wireless Bluetooth over-ear headphones, and 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. These lightweight, well-built headphones are a good option if you're looking for all-around casual use. They have a comfortable fit and have about 44 hours of continuous battery life to get you through long flights or a few days at work. Their ANC system can be set to different modes to target different types of noise. Using 'Transport' mode, they have outstanding noise isolation and can help cut out rumbling engines and background chit-chat, making them the best ANC headphones on this list.
Out of the box, their V-shaped sound profile brings out the thump, rumble, and boom in your audio, while voices and lead instruments are bright. This sound is well-suited for genres like rock and pop and can be adjusted with a graphic EQ and presets in the headphones' companion app. Unfortunately, the ANC affects the headphones' sound quality, and when ANC is off, the audio sounds thinner and more hollow. The headphones also leak quite a bit of audio, so if you're listening to music at the office, people nearby might hear it. If you work in a quiet place, you might prefer the Wyze Noise-Cancelling Headphones Wireless. They leak much less audio but have shorter battery life and a weaker ANC performance.
If you use your headphones to watch videos on your phone or computer, you might prefer the Razer Opus X Wireless, the best over-ear headphones for low latency under $100 that we've tested. These colorful headphones have a 'Gaming Mode' that lowers their latency, especially with iOS devices and PCs, so your audio stays in sync when watching TV or playing a game. They have a sturdy design and a comfortable fit for most people. You can't use them passively when the battery dies, but they have long continuous battery life. We could measure 68 hours of playback time, far exceeding their advertised 30 hours.
Out of the box, their sound has extra boom and punch in the bass range, but mixes can also sound muddy. They lack more robust sound customization features like an EQ, but you can choose between a few EQ presets in the companion app, which gives you some control over the sound profile. Unfortunately, their ANC feature doesn't perform nearly as well overall as the Anker Soundcore Life Q30 Wireless', and they struggle to block out bass-range noise like rumbling engines. Still, they do a good job if you want to reduce distractions like background chit-chat or a computer fan.
The best over-ear Bluetooth headphones under $100 for calls that we've tested are the JBL Tune 760NC Wireless. These headphones fluctuate in price, but if you can find them for under $100, they 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.
Depending on your head size, they have a comfortable design but can feel tight, especially if you have a large head. Unlike most headphones here, they lack companion software and 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're looking for wireless headphones that can play high-quality audio, consider the Anker Soundcore Life Q35 Wireless. They're the next generation of the Anker Soundcore Life Q30 Wireless, and although their price point tends to sit just above the $100 mark, they're worth checking out if you can spare the extra cash. Unlike their predecessor, they support LDAC, Sony's proprietary codec for Hi-Res audio. Their companion app also offers a graphic EQ and presets so you can fine-tune their otherwise bass-heavy sound to better suit your preferences.
These over-ears have a comfortable fit suitable for long listening sessions. If you want to tune out the rest of the world when listening to music, they have an ANC system that can reduce background noise. With their ANC on, they also last over 44 hours continuously; you can even use them wired in a pinch. That said, their sound differs depending on if you're using the ANC, and when this feature is off, the audio sounds hollow and thin. They're also closed-back headphones, meaning they won't give you as immersive an audio experience as dedicated audiophile headphones.
If you want a pair of headphones you can plug in and use without worrying about charging, look at the Logitech G433. These wired headphones are primarily for gaming. However, they're versatile and have a non-descript design, making them a solid budget-friendly option for casual-use headphones. They have a decently well-built, comfortable design. You can customize their well-balanced sound profile with a graphic EQ and presets in the headphones' companion software. Unlike the other picks on this list, they also support virtual surround sound, which can help make your audio more immersive.
The headphones have a boom mic with an impressive overall performance, so your voice sounds clear and understandable over the phone, even with some noise in the background. When you're not using the mic, you can detach it to give the headphones a more casual look. Also, unlike most gaming headsets, they come with a separate cable with in-line controls for calls and music, which is helpful when using them for work or listening to music at home. However, they aren't intended for use in noisy places since they only block out a little ambient sound. They also leak a lot of audio, so people nearby can hear your music if you turn up the volume.
If you're looking for dedicated headphones for listening to music, look at the Superlux HD 681. These are the best audiophile headphones under $100 that we've tested, and unlike all the Anker Soundcore Life Q35 Wireless, they're wired and have a semi-open-back design. As a result, they create a more spacious and immersive soundstage than closed-backs like the Anker. However, their build quality reflects their wallet-friendly price; they feel plasticky and not very durable.
These comfortable over-ears have a neutral sound, ensuring vocals and instruments are clear and natural in mixes. They can deliver sufficiently thumpy, rumbly bass, but sibilants like cymbals are piercing. They're not designed to block out a lot of background noise. If you want headphones for music that block out a little more noise and leak less audio, you might prefer the closed-back Sony MDR-7506. Although they're more pricy, their sound packs a bit more bass, and they bleed less audio at high volumes. Their soundstage feels less immersive, and they're less comfortable.
Mar 16, 2023: Removed the Razer Barracuda Wireless because their price has increased. Added the Razer Opus X Wireless as the 'Best For Low Latency' recommendation and the Logitech G433 as 'Best Wired'.
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.