Wearable In Ear: A member of our community shares his 5 best over ear headphones under $100 including Bluetooth, close-back and open-back models.
I have several pairs of earbuds which all sound pretty good and are very comfortable to wear. All of them cost less than $100, a good starting point to get a quality set of headphones. 1More Triple Driver and FiiO EX1 are my most recent sets. I value good sound so I normally pick my pair based on how it sounds first and foremost. Secondly, it should fit comfortably. If I am picking a pair for sports I will need them to be sweat-proof and include wingtips to keep the earbuds securely in my ears.
For sound isolation, if I want to hear my surroundings I can use my budget, unsealed earbuds which are the Auglamour RX-1. I don’t wear this type of headphones everywhere, only when I am on the go and active.
I also own a number of full-size, over-the-ear headphones including wireless SkullCandy Hesh and Sennheiser HD 280 PRO. I prefer wearing these larger headphones at home or in my office. Over ear headphones are less portable and can be too bulky for your carryon luggage if you are on a flight or commuting. On the positive side, these full-size headphones sound more realistic and natural, and provide great noise isolation. This type of headphone also sounds different compared to earbuds.
Here are my best for over-the-ear headphones for under $100. With these sets you will get a lot more than what you pay for including superior sound, great comfort and style.
The Sennheiser HD 280 is not the most stylish over-ear headphone set in this category. They are simple and black, but this doesn’t keep audiophiles from picking them among a plenty of other competitors. With an entirely plastic build they weigh only 300 grams. Unfortunately they have an overly bulky look since both the headband and the earcups are covered in padded material. This padding can reduce noise of up to 32dB from seeping in and allows you to listen to music, TV, DVDs or podcasts without any interference or any chance of others around you hearing what you are listening to.
Additionally, the headphones can be folded up, making them easy to store or travel with. The audio sounds good and clean in all frequencies. These headphones are ideal for studio use.
The quality of these headphones is what makes them among the best over-the-ear headphones under $100. Their comfort and audio quality come together to make an excellent listening experience, especially for in-studio pros, but also for people who simply want to enjoy great music.
These headphones have a flat response. Details in all types of music, including rock-and-roll, come across clearly. They also play refined sound in a somewhat well-balanced manner.
- Attachable cable
- Good noise isolation
- Not very stylish
- No mic or inline control
The Plugged Crown Series headphones don’t sacrifice style for the sake of being comfortable – they do both equally well. The finish is scratch-resistant, so you never have to worry about where you take them. Noise is isolated so that you can block out everything that’s going on around you. The sound is solid and lively, and particularly impressive for a pair of headphones at such a low price. Music is detailed, delivering well on everything from vocals to bass.
One of the only drawbacks of these headphones is that they can be a bit heavier than the competition’s. That’s also part of what makes them so durable, though, so you can use them when you’re at the gym, running outdoors, working, etc. Their design is sleek and modern, similar to what you’d get with higher priced headphones. Even the packaging is modern, akin to something you’d get from Apple or Bose instead of a bargain priced company. The band is lightly padded but the headphone cups fit so well around the ears that the band doesn’t put extra pressure on the head.
Apple officially has removed headphone jack in their iPhone 7, and the audio world is slowly following suit. If you want a great, affordable set of wireless headphones look no further than the Skullcandy Hesh 2.0 Bluetooth wireless headphones.
The Skullcandy Hesh 2.0 headphones have a couple of especially good perks, namely the battery life and the remote control. The battery can last for up to 15 hours before needing to be charged again. A the three-button remote control is easy to operate without looking at it and it works well. There’s also a microphone so you can talk to people on the phone through the headphones.
These headphones are somewhat comfortable to wear, but not as comfortable as others on this list. The noise isolation is better than average and the headphones hug the head only a bit snugly – some people may find that the fit is perfectly fine. The sound isn’t ideal, either, but they sound okay for people who don’t care too much about sound quality, especially when the price is this low. Low sound quality is also a common issue with Bluetooth headphones. Unwired headphones don’t always sound as good as their wired counterparts. The headphones do come with a cord so that you can use them as standard wired headphones if you want to.
The Audio-Technica ATH-M40x headphones have fantastic sound quality and are comfortable to wear, but the main drawback is that there is no microphone or remote. The headphones come in matte black with some gray details, and there aren’t other color choices available. If style isn’t your main concern, though, it won’t matter that the only option is the sleek black color.
The headphones are quite big, larger than many competitor’s headphones, but they’re still very comfortable even for long-term wear. The ear cups don’t overheat, either, even when the weather is warm. The headphones are comfortable and made well, and even though there’s minimal padding on the headband, you won’t feel pressure on your head over time.
The primary aim for these headphones is sound quality, which is why they don’t have a Bluetooth option. Two cables are included with these headphones: a straight cable and a coiled cable. The bass isn’t incredibly strong with these headphones, but it isn’t weak, either. If you like the bass to be toned down a bit, you won’t even notice. The vocals and guitars sound great and clear.
Sony MDR-7506 headphones are legendary and I think the best full-size headphones you could buy under $100. Even if you look for headphones in the $150 range, these are still the best pick for you. Not only do these sound amazing, but if you are a treble lover, they are just fabulous! The treble is clear, energetic and bright.
The Sony MDR-7506 headphones are revered for their high sound quality, including excellent bass, mid-range and treble. These headphones are also durable and comfortable at the same time. They are great for casual listeners, but they’re also a top choice among professionals, including radio DJs.
You’ll be able to hear depth and nuances in music that you would likely miss with other headphones. They’re equally great if you’re listening to dialogue, such as from a podcast or an audio book. They come standard with an adapter so that you can use them with your home theater.
These headphones are built great and you won’t need to replace them in a few years, even if you use them often. The ear cups are replaceable in case they deteriorate over time and all of the parts have a one-year warranty. The headphones will also fold so that you can store them or travel with them.
Best Open-Back Headphones: Audio Technica ATH-AD700X
If you like open-back, over-ear headphones which deliver bigger, wider and deeper sound than the closed-back type, look into the Audio Technica ATH-AD700X. Listeners find that the sound finds a way to escape and expand due to the opening at the back of the headphones. However, they don’t isolate noise well and their sound is significantly different from close-back.
Some people think this style can make music sound more realistic. If you have ever heard the sound of open-back headphones you would probably agree. It sounds dynamic, airy and full of details. However, high-ends are crisp but a bit edgy with this model. If you are very picky about the design and style, these won’t be for you. The earcups are large and bulky, but comfortable, and the flexible headband doesn’t seem to put much pressure on your ears.
When spending more money you would assume you will get richer sound and enjoy a more realistic music experience. This is true. Along with improvements in design and build quality you get the chance to explore more about the sound. These headphones bring out more details, and a lot of things emerge that you may have never heard before when listening to cheap headphones.
It seems that everyone is in the market for headphones these days, likely because there are so many more affordable models hitting shelves. Whether you want wired or Bluetooth headphones, I’ve rounded up five low-cost options that fit any budget. When searching for headphones, you want to pay attention to things like build, sound quality and comfort. These over-ear or full-size headphones mimic the real experience of music better than other type of headphone.