Best Headphones Under $100
Headphones boast a wide spectrum of price points. You can get them under $20 as well as north of $1,000. While the cheap headphone rip-offs are throwaways, the ones available at a higher price point can break your bank. For audiophiles who can’t compromise on the sound quality and experience, it is always challenging to buy something that sports good quality but doesn’t cost them an arm and a leg.
It’s difficult to choose one or two stand out budget headphones from this list as none of them sound budget. But if I have to choose one, and you are OK with an open back headphone then the Philips SHB9500 are a great set of cans.
Quite simply outstanding audio quality for being priced under $100.
The ATH-M40x are a closed back headphone that will please a wide range of listening tastes. I used to sell a lot of these (sold more of the next model the ATH-M50x but these are great for under $100).
A comfortable listen and good punchy sound. Excellent for most popular listening styles. If you’re more in to Jazz and Classical then consider the Sony, Sennheiser and especially the Philips SHB9500 on this list.
When it comes to brand, quality, and style, most people like to buy either Bose or Beats headphones. However, most headphones from these two big audio brands are high-end options. A good Beats or Bose headphone can easily cost you over and around $200.
If you are not hell-bent on buying a particular brand and want to enjoy music in the best quality at a reasonable price, continue reading this post.
We have researched, shortlisted, and reviewed seven of the best headphones available under $100. These headphones are durable, boast great studio-grade quality and sporty shapes, and don’t strain your budget.
Are you in a hurry and don’t want to sift through the entire article? Here’s a glimpse of the seven best headphones under $100 available in the market right now. It is important to mention here that our list features both on and over-ear headphones.
- Audio-Technica ATH-M40x Headphones
- Sennheiser HD280PRO Headphones (New Model)
- ARTISTE ADH300 Bluetooth Headphones
- TaoTronics TT-BH090 Bluetooth Headphones
- Philips SHP9500 Headphones
- Sony MDR7506 Headphones
- Status Audio CB-1 Headphones
1. Audio-Technica ATH-M40x Headphones
Do you want to replicate the studio artist experience with your headphone on a budget? If so, consider getting this headphone by Audio-Technica. This headphone set is a personification of quality, starting from the driver to the earpad. ATH-M40x features top-quality drivers that contain rare earth magnets with copper-clad aluminum wire voice coils.
This is the cheaper sibling to the incredibly bestseller the ATH-M50x which have been one of the highest selling headphones in North America in the last 10 years or so. They often come out with a limited edition color each year.
It also features a professional-grade headband and earpads that strike a perfect balance between comfort and durability. They let you wear the headphone for hours without straining your ear cartilage. ATH-M40x has 90-degree swiveling earcups, so you don’t have to remove the headphone or stop the music to listen to someone/something else.
We also like the detachable wire and collapsible headband configuration of this Audio-Technica headphone. They make the gadget space-efficient and easy to carry.
- Well-thought-out circumaural design ensures excellent sound isolation
- Equally good for studio and street
- Comes with detachable coiled and straight cables in a protective carrying pouch
- Might undergo earpad and headband shedding with use
Check out the Audio-Technica ATH-M40x Headphones on Amazon.
2. Sennheiser HD280 PRO Headphones
8 Hz – 25 kHz (Dynamic Driver)
Sennheiser is known for making top-quality headphones and this is the new version of the HD280 Pro. The good thing is it caters to all markets. You can find its high-end headphones priced on the other side of $1,000. On the other hand, its top-quality budget options are easily available under $100. Case in point: Sennheiser HD280PRO.
HD280PRO is a durable yet lightweight headphone that only weighs under 300 gm. The headphone boasts high ambient noise attenuation and precise linear sound reproduction. In other words, it continues to provide great sound quality in all situations and is a favorite of audio editors.
Sennheiser HD280PRO features circumaural ear cups lined with soft padding to provide comfortable fitting. The cups are also rotating and folding, making this quality headphone a great on-the-go option. The headphone features a one-sided cable with robust connections that also facilitate hassle-free portable use.
- Optimum impedance for universal compatibility— from studio to home use
- Leatherette ear pads with headband cushions— hours of comfortable listening
- Replaceable audio cord
- May remain a tight fit in the beginning
Check out the Sennheiser HD280PRO Headphones on Amazon
3. ARTISTE ADH300 Headphones
Closed-Back Circumaural RF Wireless
40mm (Dynamic Driver)
Bluetooth headphones have become all the rage in the last couple of years among users looking for wireless options. However, they are good as long as you are using them with your in-the-pocket phone. Bluetooth headphones are not meant for enjoying music while roaming around the house. For that, you have to invest in a good RF headphone like ARTISTE ADH300.
These make an excellent choice as headphones for TV watching also.
ARTISTE ADH300 features an RF transmitter that boasts almost three times longer range than regular Bluetooth headphones. Most Bluetooth models come with a 33-foot range. Meanwhile, ADH300 offers the same crisp sound quality to up to 100 feet. In other words, you can use it with your home stereo system while sitting in any room without skips and interruptions.
We also like this wireless headphone for its battery performance. When standard wireless headphones have 7-8 hours working time, ADH300 can nonstop play your 20-hour playlist after a full charge. The headphone features full-sealed ear pads that ensure minimal sound leakage so you can blast your favorite tracks on full-volume without disturbing others.
- Hi-Fi stereo sound— digital signal ensures extra bass and crisp treble
- Strong RF signal penetrates wall to keep the connection stable
- Compatible with a range of sound systems
- Might feel a bit tight after multiple-hour use
4. TaoTronics TT-BH090 Headphones
Closed-Back Circumaural BlueTooth ANC
40mm Dynamic Drivers
If you are looking for an immersive sound experience with a wireless headphone on a budget, you should consider this TaoTronics model. TaoTronics TT-BH090 is undoubtedly one of the best under-$100 Bluetooth headphones on the block. It features state-of-the-art hybrid active noise cancellation technology. It cancels all the ambient noise to produce a fully-immersive sound experience. No matter if you are in a buzzing café or subway, with TaoTronics TT-BH090 on your ears, you will hear nothing but your favorite music.
Besides Active Noise Cancelation (ANC) switch, the large 40mm dynamic driver also ensures supreme clarity with a deep base to create an extraordinary music experience. The headphone sports Bluetooth 5.0 that guarantees unbreakable connections and supports high-quality stereo sound.
The other impressive bit about this top-of-the-line Bluetooth speaker is its battery and recharging characteristics. It features type-C fast charging technology that powers the headphone for 30 hours of nonstop immersive music listening with just 45 minutes of charging.
- Foldable and portable— perfect for on-the-go use
- Soft ear pads guarantee a comfortable listening experience
- Fast charging— 5-min charging for 2-hour playtime
- Bluetooth connection with Macbook Pro might be a bit unstable
5. Philips SHP9500 Headphones
Open-Back Over-Ear Headphones
50mm Neodymium Drivers
Philips is among the veteran electronic appliance manufacturers. The company has been making top-quality electronic products for over 100 years. Philips has also entered the headphone market and launched some high-quality and reasonably-priced models. For instance, Philips SHP9500 is a durable headphone with a Hi-Fi precision stereo.
The most striking bit about SH9500 is its large 50mm neodymium drivers that guarantee full-spectrum sound delivery. The drivers are also angled in line with the ear’s natural geometry so that audio signals can directly channel into the ear canal for a heightened listening experience. We also like its over-ear construction with an open-back twist. It prevents pressure build-up behind the drivers that subsequently enhances sound quality.
Many people avoid over-ear headphones because they are not comfortable for long hours. Philips has taken care of this issue by using breathable and soft ear cushions and headband. The breathability of cushions protects ears from heat and pressure build-up for hours-on-end listening.
- Headband made of cold-rolled steel— durable with the right amount of tension
- 5 feet removable cable— freedom of movement
- Gold-plated jack— ideal for audiophile-grade equipment
- Not the most stylish headphone on the block
See more Philips SHP9500 Headphones reviews and pricing.
6. Sony MDR7506 Headphones
Closed-Back Over-Ear Headphones
40mm Drivers – Neodymium
Sony is also offering a top-of-the-line headphone at a reasonable price. Sony MDR7506 is a great wired headphone for both studio and leisure listening. It features 40mm neodymium drivers that deliver high-quality sound. The headphone is also great with its wide frequency response.
It captures and delivers full-spectrum sound so you can relish crystal-clear highs, mids, and low-ends. This feature makes this headphone a great option for accurate monitoring. The close-ear design with plush headband cushioning strikes a perfect balance between ambient noise reduction and a comfortable listening experience.
Sony has also made sure you don’t have to think about a wireless option while using its conventional wired headphone. The 9.8-foot coiled cord lets you move around a desk without removing the headphone.
- Folding construction— equally suitable for use with a cell phone
- Gold connector and OFC cord— stable signal connection and transmission
- Lightweight with padded headband— comfortable to wear
- The treble delivery could have been better
Read more reviews on the Sony MDR7506 Headphones
7. Status Audio CB-1 Headphones
Closed-Back Over-the-Ear Headphones
We are rounding off our list with Status Audio CB-1, a studio-grade headphone offering great value for money. The headphone boasts large 50mm drivers that offer a great listening experience, whether you are in the studio or street. The headphone comes with straight and coiled removable cords so you can customize and configure your sound setup without compromising on the mobility.
It won’t be wrong to say that CB-1 is the most aesthetically pleasing headphone on the block. Its circumaural design comes with regal gold metal accenting that makes a winning combination with the rest of the black. Even with gold accents, the CB-1’s design remains minimalist while exhibiting great durability for professional use.
Status Audio CB-1 also performs great on the comfort front. Its adjustable headband accommodates all head sizes, and its overstuffed memory foam earpads guarantee long-term comfort. Whether you are on a long subway journey or recording in the studio for hours, you can use this Status Audio headphone without making your ear cartilage ache.
- Headband ensures a snug fit
- Folding design— comfortable on-the-go use
- Equally good for personal and professional use
- The construction of earpads could have been better
View more on the Status Audio CB-1 Headphones at Amazon
Things to Consider When Buying the Best Headphone Under $100
If you want to explore more under $100 headphone options beyond the ones we have discussed here, take these factors into account.
The quality of sound at the highs, lows, and mids with the good bass response depends a lot on the construction of the driver, i.e., the small magnetic speakers inside the earpieces. Therefore, make sure that the drivers in your headphone are made of rare earth metals and boast a minimum diameter of 40mm.
Whether you are buying it for studio use or personal music listening, make sure that it is comfortable to wear. There are a couple of characteristics you need to watch out for determining the comfort quotient of a headphone set.
- It should be lightweight.
- Its headband shouldn’t have a bare (non-padded) construction.
- Its earpads must be covered with leatherette or memory foam.
If your ears get hot after wearing headphones for long sessions, go with breathable earpad padding or opt for on-ear headphones.
Whether you go with a fixed or removable cord, make sure that it is at least 4 feet long so you can easily use it with your phone or other devices without compromising on mobility.
Sound leakage is the phenomenon when music bleeds from the sides of the earpieces. It doesn’t just deplete the richness of sound but can also bother people sitting around you. Make sure that the drivers are covered with earpads in such a sealed way that it doesn’t result in any sound leakage.
What are noise-canceling headphones?
Noise-canceling headphones essentially remove sound frequency below a certain range (usually 30dB). Simply put, they cancel out the ambient sound to ensure you only get to hear the music coming from your earpieces.
Bluetooth or RF headphones: which ones are better?
There is no wrong choice between the two. If you want a wireless headphone for long-range use, RF headphones are a better option. On the other hand, Bluetooth headphones are more suitable for on-the-go use.
On-ear and over-ear headphones: which ones are better?
It is all about your personal preference. If you don’t like the sprawling earpieces, on-ear headphones are better for you. In contrast, over-ear headphones are for all those audiophiles who don’t want to compromise a bit on the sound quality and experience.
Our Final Thoughts
We hope that the above reviews, buying guide, and FAQs help you pick the best headphone under $100.
It’s hard to nail it down to one or two in this list so for a change I’m not going to as a summary. The Philips are probably the best pick for the money but the Audio-Technica ATH-M40x, Sennheiser HD280 Pro and the TaoTronics (as a Bluetooth choice) are all crowd favorites.
If you can’t spring for the Beyerdynamics DT-1990 Pro or Bose then any of these headphones punch above their price range. Open back? The Philips are more than impressive at this price. Closed back? The ATH-m40x (younger sibling to the best selling ATH-M50x) or Sennheiser HD280 Pro also solid.
If you want a Bluetooth headset for wireless use, consider TaoTronics TT-BH090. It boasts a great wireless connection with a long battery time and fast charging. The sound quality is also pretty great as compared to other Bluetooth options due to its noise cancellation switch. Lastly and most importantly, you can buy TT-BH090 without breaking your bank.
Endless hours of experimentation, professional work, and personal investment in Home Theatre, Hi-Fi, Smart Home Automation and Headphones have come to this.
Former owner of Headphones Canada, a high-end headphone specialty retailer.
This post was last updated on 2022-12-11 / Some images from Amazon Product API & some links may be affiliate links which may earn us a commission from purchases.