Finding the Best Headphones Under $100

Last Edited: October 15, 2017 by

Welcome to our guide to the best headphones under $100 available today. For this guide we have carefully collected the most popular headphones under $100 available based on critic scores, user reviews and real world performance.

Thanks to improving technology, one doesn’t need to dig deep into their pockets to get a pair of headphones that rival the sonic beauty of pricier high end models. For under $100 dollars, you can get audiophile approved headphones that will bring your favorite music to life in both style and comfort. We have included the best over-ear, on-ear, as well as in-ear headphones for under $100 dollars.

If you are on a super tight budget, then perhaps our Headphones Under $50 guide will be geared towards your budget. However, we recommend that if you are truly looking for the possible audio experience, rather save a bit extra and get headphones above $50. Cheaper headphones tend to lack in audio quality and build quality, but the tradeoff is that they are easily replaceable due to their price.

Top Picks >> More Over-ear Headphones >> More On-ear Headphones >> More In-ear Headphones >>

Top Picks Overall

Sony MDRV6

Sony MDRV6 heaphonesThe Sony MDRV6 features under our Finding the Best Studio Headphones due to its use for critical listening applications. These over-ear headphones drive out sound through their 40mm Neodymium magnet drivers in a very accurate manner, readily exposing poor mixes and masters thanks to its flat frequency response. Their low end extends down to 5 Hz, while their high end reaches 30,000 Hz. They have a nice and punchy bass which is well controlled according to most reviewers, and their mids and highs have been described as clean, clear and neutral. The earcups are oval shaped and are said to be incredibly comfortable. The coiled, pro-style cable have made these not so good for mobility purposes, making them more ideal for a home or studio environment. They fold up easily into an included slimline carrying case, which makes them greatly portable. Their 2-year warranty should ease any stresses relating to their durability, but their have been plenty of positive remarks relating to their build quality. The Sony MDRV6 is a great headphone for at home or studio use and it delivers clear, neutral audio that should satisfy most audiophiles.

Pros

  • Comfortable
  • Well balanced sound
  • Punchy bass
  • Decent noise isolation

Cons

  • Not mobile friendly

Summary

The Sony MDRV6 is a great sounding pair of headphones that offer a punchy bass and an overall well balanced sound. It is however not mobile-friendly.

Sony MDRV6
$99.99$84.99
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from Amazon.com
(as of 17-12-2017 01:05 UTC) Details

Philips SHP9500

Philips SHP9500 headphone

The Philips SHP9500 seems to be the most comfortable headphones on our list. They have large earcups and a plush headband so they are pretty bulky, but they are not meant for any kind of physical activity besides sitting down and listening to your favorite songs. The open-back design also means that they have good breathability, and the ears do not get too hot. Their 50mm Neodynium drivers deliver great quality audio. The bass is said to be well balanced, but they do lack some sub bass. Their mid-range has been described as flawless by RTINGS.com, and the treble frequency is good. The sub bass is slightly low and this is apparent in most open-back headphones. Because of their open-design, they have very little noise isolation, but they do have a solid soundstage. This generally means that they are not well suited for outdoor use. Their overall frequency range ranges from 12-35,000 Hz and they have an impedance of 32 Ohms. Their sensitivity is 101dB, so they can be driven by less powerful devices such as smartphones. Some Amazon.com customers thought that the quality control was quite poor, since quite a few people noted that they received defective pairs. The earcups may also be too large for smaller heads, with some finding that they do not sit firmly on their heads.

Pros

  • Very comfortable
  • Great sound
  • Value
  • Good soundstage
  • Breathability

Cons

  • Earcups may be too large for smaller heads
  • Little noise isolation
  • Potential issues with quality control

Summary

The Philips SHP9500 is a very comfortable pair of headphones for medium heads or larger and their audio quality is great, but they do not isolate noise well and they may be too large for smaller heads.

Philips SHP9500
$69.95
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from Amazon.com
(as of 16-12-2017 21:29 UTC) Details

Audio-Technica ATH-M40x

Audio-Technica ATH-M40x headphone

The Audio-Technica ATH-M40x over-headphones are a great sounding pair of headphones. They earcups house 40mm drivers that push out a neutral, flat sound that is great for audiophiles. They lack an open and spacious soundstage somewhat, but they are said to have decent imaging qualities. Their construction is robust and they are able to swivel 90-degrees for one ear monitoring purposes, making them suitable for DJs. They are also portable thanks to the foldable design, but the carrying pouch won’t protect it from falls, as it is soft fabric. The cables are detachable, which means that if your cable ever fails (which is usually the first thing that goes) it can be replaced. Some users described the stylish looking headphone as feeling rather flimsy, but others thought that they felt rather durable. They come with a coiled gold plated cable, a straight gold plated cable, as well as ¼-inch adapter. Most reviewers agreed that cables feel solid. They offer decent sound isolation due to their circumaural design, but most found them to be quite uncomfortable due to them being so tight on the head, clamping down rather hard. They are lightweight, weighing in at just 2 pounds.

Pros

  • Excellent sound quality
  • Foldable
  • Slick design
  • Removable cables
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Flimsy feeling
  • May not be comfortable for larger heads

Summary

The Audio-Technica ATH-40x may clamp down quite hard on larger heads, but their sound quality is excellent.

Audio-Technica ATH-M40x
$99.00$79.00
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from Amazon.com
(as of 16-12-2017 21:58 UTC) Details

Status Audio CB-1

Status Audio CB-1 headphone

Headphones technology is getting better and better and one doesn’t have to fork out hundreds of dollars for a pair of headphones that drive out a formidable sound. The Status Audio CB-1 has received praise from many reviewers for its accurate sound reproduction. They are said to have a flat frequency response that is suitable for critical listening and monitoring applications. Their sound isolation received some criticism, so they may be better suited for listening in quieter environments, such as at home or in a studio where not much sound would leak into the headphones. Another critical aspect for some is that although the earcups are comfortable over shorter periods of use, they are not that good for longer listening sessions. Many reported that their ears got warm after some time and they needed to remove the headphones to let their ears breathe. At 32 Ohms, it does not take much power to drive these, so a portable audio source such as a mobile phone or mp3 player will be more than enough to reach high volumes. Some found that they feel cheap, but suggested that it was a worthwhile tradeoff since the audio quality was so good. There are two detachable 3m cables included: a straight cable and a coiled cable and both come with a ¼-inch adapter. They are detachable, so replacing your entire headphone when the cable breaks is not going to be an issue. Their overall frequency response rate ranges from 15 – 30,000Hz.

Pros

  • Well-balanced sound
  • Highs are not overly bright
  • Large variety of eartips
  • Strong cable

Cons

  • Inline remote feels cheap
  • Average sound isolation

Summary

While the sound isolation is not the best, the 1More Triple Driver in-headphones drive a well-balanced sound that has impressed many users.

Status Audio CB-1
$79.00
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from Amazon.com
(as of 16-12-2017 21:26 UTC) Details

More Over-ear Headphones

Sony MDR7506

Sony MDR7506 headphone

The Sony MDR-7506 has been around for since 1991, and have become a firm favorite amongst many audiophiles. They are inexpensive and have a mostly flat, uncolored frequency, and many found that they are comfortable for wear over long periods of time. They are slightly bumped in 60 – 100Hz range, their mid-range frequencies remains flat and the high treble frequencies are fairly inconsistent, but may be slightly too bright for some, however the overall audio quality is mostly accurate. The all plastic design is fairly durable, but some did think that they feel a bit flimsy in hand, however. They have an 63-ohm impedance and a fairly decent soundstage, but some did find that they do not passively reject outside noise very well. The 9.8-inch coiled cord is perfect for studio environments, but this does not make them that suitable for walking around with. Their overall frequency response is 10-20,000 Hz and there were some reports of the vinyl earcup covers flaking after a while, but they are fortunately replaceable. The drivers are 40mm and they have used neodymium magnets.

Pros

  • Inexpensive
  • Accurate audio representation
  • Foldable
  • Comfortable

Cons

  • Earcup covers flake after a while
  • Plastic design feels flimsy

Summary

Having been around since 1991, the Sony is a popular choice for people who want headphones for critical listening.

Sony MDR7506
$99.99
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from BHPhotoVideo
(as of 13-09-2017 06:01 UTC) Details

Sennheiser HD 280 Pro

Sennheiser HD 280 Pro headphones

The Sennheiser HD 280 Pro may be sightly older, dating back to the early 2000s, but it is still  a solid performer, easily outcompeting most over-ear headphones in its price range, affording those on a low budget good studio quality sound. The HD 280 Pros have a flat sound signature and don’t sweeten certain frequencies. They are said to deliver an accurate bass with generally good reports about the mid and treble frequencies, with their overall frequency range going from 8 Hz to 25,000 Hz. Some found that they may need some extra bass, however, but many were happy with the accurate bass representation. They are lightweight and made from what seems to be solid plastic to most, however there were some durability issues that some users encountered, with some reports of the headphones cracking, and eventually breaking. This was limited to few individuals however, as some thought their durability was decent. They are quite tight on users who described themselves as having larger heads, so they may be uncomfortable for some. The earcup padding is comfortable and they do offer some noise-cancellation as well, which is an added bonus. They plug in via a 3.55m jack for your portable playback devices, and they come with a 1/4″ plug for studio equipment. For the price, the Sennheiser HD 280 Pro delivers a solid performance and should not be overlooked by those looking for quality budget headphones.

Pros

  • Good sound reproduction
  • Great noise reduction
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • Questionable durability
  • May be a bit tight

Summary

The Senheisser HD 280 is great at isolating noise reproducing sound, but their durability and overall tightness around the head may be off putting.

Sennheiser HD 280 Pro
$128.95
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from Amazon.com
(as of 17-12-2017 04:49 UTC) Details

Audio-Technica ATH-M30x

Audio-Technica-ATH-M30X-Studio-headphones

The Audio-Technica ATH-M30X headphones are a really popular headphone and an apparent excellent successor to the M20X. The M30X’s are said to put out a solid performance for their price. Their 40mm drivers produce a great bass response and their mids and highs are clean and clear. They have a sensitivity of 96db and have an impedance of 47 ohms, meaning these will work fine with on the go audio sources such as phones and mp3 players. Their overall design is attractive and they are said to be really comfortable and lightweight, meaning one can wear them for long hours without feeling like your head is cramped. For the price the Audio-Technica ATH-M30X’s go for, they really do deliver on the audio front. As mentioned, the M50Xs do outperform these, but they are also more costly. The M30X set is definitely recommended for those on lower budget, as most reviews have pointed out that these easily outperform the competitors.

Pros

  • Rich and clean sound
  • Accurate bass
  • Portability
  • Comfortable

Cons

  • 'L' and 'R' inside of headband

Summary

The Audio-Technica ATH-M30x offers a rich and clean sound with an accurate bass response. Their 'L' and 'R' are on the inside of the headband which can become a bit annoying, they are a well priced pair of headphones that deliver a full sound.

Audio-Technica ATH-M30x
$69.00$59.00
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from Amazon.com
(as of 17-12-2017 01:31 UTC) Details

AKG K240

AKG K240 headphone

Semi open-back headphones, such as the AKG K240, create a spacious listening experience due to allowing in sound from one’s surroundings. However, this means a lot of audio leaks out, disturbing the potential persons in the area. It also means that the wearers’ listening experience could get ruined by external noise leaking into the headphones, making these more suitable for quieter environments. It is important to note that open-back headphones bleed out sound a lot more than semi-open designs, so these are a great mix between the closed-back and open-back. The soundstage created is good with these, along with the fact that their audio reproduction quality is great for critical listening applications due to their flat frequency response. They have been described as comfortable by most, but the faux leather earcup covers have the potential to make the ears hot, so they may not be that great over long periods of use. Their headband is adjustable and they come with a 3m cable that is replaceable and that has gold plated plugs on either end. They have an impedance of 55 Ohms and a sensitivity of 91dB. Some noted that they are quite difficult to push in terms of sound, requiring quite a bit of power to drive, so they may not be suitable for use with mobile devices or mp3 players.

Pros

  • Accurate audio reproduction
  • Lightweight
  • Comfortable
  • Good soundstage

Cons

  • May make some ears warm
  • Volume may be low
  • Audio bleeds out
  • Build described as flimsy by some

Summary

The AKG K240’s semi-open design offers you the best of both open-back and closed-back headphones designs, but it is better suited to quieter areas.

AKG K 240
$67.99
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from Amazon.com
(as of 16-12-2017 21:47 UTC) Details

More on-ear headphones

Grado SR80e

Grado SR80e headphone

The Grado SR80e is on-ear open-back style headphone that is impressed many critical audiophiles for its delivery of sound. While they may be a tad harsh in the upper regions for some, they do produce a fairly flat frequency response and capture vocals and acoustics really well. The open-back design does mean a lot of sound leakage, but this is by no means a con, as this is a characteristic of open-back headphones. It does also mean that the audio sounds more open and natural and not so much in your head. Their frequency response ranges between 20 – 20,000 Hz, and they have a nominal impedance of 32 Ohms. Most found that they work with mobile phones, but for at home use – if you try to use these in a public, others will almost certainly get annoyed with you since most of your music will be leaking out. They are plastic and criticism was directed towards them feeling cheap. One user also thought that the quality control may be poor since he received a faulty pair, however, getting a lemon is not uncommon when purchasing headphones. Most found them comfortable for shorter periods of use, but after 30 minutes they were described as becoming rather uncomfortable. This is not uncommon with on-ear headphones, as they do sit on top of the ears and can place pressure on them.

Pros

  • Great audio
  • Suitable for critical listening
  • Soundstage
  • Bang for the buck
  • Solid cable design
  • Unique look

Cons

  • Plastic moulding seems cheap
  • May be uncomfortable for some
  • Quality control received criticism
  • May be too bright for some

Summary

For the price, the Grado SR80e on-ear open-back headphones deliver an awesome sonic experience, however, some may find that them a tad too harsh in the treble frequencies.

Grado SR80e
$99.00
Order Now
from BHPhotoVideo
(as of 13-09-2017 06:03 UTC) Details

More In-ear Headphones

Shure SE215-K

Shure SE215-K in-ear headphones

The Shure SE215-K are in-ear headphones that boast an enhanced bass with a decently detailed sound reproduction according to user reports. They have a single dynamic microdriver responsible for driving out the reportedly good audio quality. They are said to be really good at noise rejection, blocking out a 37dB of external of noise, with one user noting how dangerous it may be to wear these while walking near busy roads. They are said to have a durable build and their detachable cable is convenient in case one does need to replace it. The customer support is said to be really good at resolving issues that various customers encountered, offering quick and helpful assistance. They may need constant readjustment due to the bulkier design, which some users were rather annoyed by. The six included ear tips should allow you to experiment until you find a pair that fits your ears best. They are able to connect to any device with a 3.5mm audio, meaning most audio devices will support these. The Shure SE215-K in-ear headphones are solid headphones for the price range, offering great quality and noise isolation, but their design may be slightly awkward for some ears.

Pros

  • Awesome sound quality
  • Durable build quality
  • Awesome noise isolating abilities
  • 2-year warranty

Cons

  • May be uncomfortable for some due to chunky build

Summary

The Shure SE215-K in-ear headphones deliver an amazing audio performance and quite reliable overall, but their chunky reportedly does not work well with all ear types.

Shure SE215-K
$96.00$88.86
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from Amazon.com
(as of 16-12-2017 06:57 UTC) Details

1MORE Triple Driver

The 1More Triple Driver in-ear headphone is made from aluminium alloy and the cable is is Kevlar, so it is strong. For the price, it is rare to find in-ear headphones with three drivers per channel, and many have found that they drive out a rather lush, full-ranged sound. The bass and mids are said to be well balanced, and the highs crisp and clean. They come with a total of 6 sets of silicone ear tips, and 3 sets of foam eartips, so you shouldn’t have any issues finding a comfortable, suitable pair for you. They have a rather poor soundstage due to the in-ear design, which makes the music sound like it is in your head. They are not the best at noise isolation, with most users finding that quite a bit of external noise can get in the way of listening to their music in noisy environments. Fortunately they do not leak much noise, so you can listen to them in public without bothering anyone around you. As mentioned, their ergonomics are good and they have a built in mic and an inline remote compatible with both Android and iPhone. They are not suitable for exercise, as they will fall out of your ears if you attempt to exercise with them.

Pros

  • Well-balanced sound
  • Highs are not overly bright
  • Large variety of eartips
  • Strong cable

Cons

  • Inline remote feels cheap
  • Average sound isolation

Summary

While the sound isolation is not the best, the 1More Triple Driver in-headphones drive a well-balanced sound that has impressed many users.

1MORE Triple Driver
See Price at Retailer
Order Now
from Amazon.com
(as of 17-09-2017 08:38 UTC) Details

 

 

 

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