Best Earbuds Under 100 Bucks in 2018 [Reviews | In-Ear Headphones]

Best Earbuds, earphones, in ear headphones under 100 of 2018Over the years I’ve bought dozens of earbuds to review and often spent $100 or more. While the sound can actually be quite decent on a cheap pair of earbuds or headphones, I still feel something is missing from their sound quality. It should be richer, clearer and more dynamic with deeper bass. Those features are usually only found on more expensive models.

While prices are dropping on some cheaper options, normally I’d still expect to pay between $60 and $100 to get decent pair of earbuds with clear sound quality.  So what are they?  Here are the Top 10 earbuds under $100 that we’ve found in 2018. 

Please note, prices were last checked June 2018 and the recommended products were all under $100 at the time.

1MORE Triple Driver In Ear Headphones (Earphones, Earbuds) with Microphone (Gold)

Our top Pick: 1More Triple Driver Earbuds 

Last year we had picked the FiiO EX1 as the clear the winner for its solid build, excellent sound and comfortable fit.  Although those earbuds are still a good choice for the price,  we’ve since found a better alternative:  the 1More Triple Driver earbuds.

We pickled them for the richer, fuller sound and more pleasant treble.  Although they are more expensive that our previous choice, the Triple Driver features an inline control (3 buttons) and microphone, and they work with both Android and iOS devices.

In ear headphones today are not just about the sound quality, but a combination of taste and style. Many people end up with more than one pair of these personal gadgets to suit their lifestyle and daily activities and type of music they listen to. Just for example, I have a truly wireless pair of earbuds that I use for working out and a wired pair for work with volume control and mic since I also use that pair for taking calls. Hopefully the list below of top earbuds will help you find a pair to match your style and budget.

Best Earbuds (In Ear Headphones) Under 100 Dollars

Prices as of writing were under $100, see real time prices in table below.

Best $100 Earbuds for Audiophiles:

1MORE Triple Drive-In Headphones with Microphone

1MORE Quad Driver In Ear Headphones (Earphones, Earbuds) with Microphone (Titanium)
Our Top Pick in this category.

Review

The 1MORE Triple Drive-In Headphones are lightweight earphones that incorporates Triple Driver audio technology. This gives it a powerful audio performance and can deliver an extended frequency range of 40,000 Hz. It can keep up with high-end stereo and deliver crisp and clear sound that will be highly appreciated by audiophiles.

The headphone comes with a 3-button layout that allows users to easily control the device for both adjusting the music volume to answering calls without the need to take your smartphone out of your pocket.

1MORE Quad Driver In Ear Headphones (Earphones, Earbuds) with Microphone (Titanium)As for the built-in microphone, it has good ambient noise canceling and isolating capabilities for clearer conversations. You can use this to make phone calls and hold a conversation even in public areas with high noise traffic.

As for the price, while it might seem a bit steep for an earphone if you are looking for a quality headphone for your listening pleasure then this offers a great balance between quality and price.

I would even go as far as claiming that 1MORE Triple Drive-In headphones offer comparable audio quality to $200+ high-end models.

Key Features:

  • Three Driver Technology (2 balanced armatures and 1 dynamic driver) for high-accuracy and dynamic audio quality.
  • Oblique angled earphones are ergonomically designed for maximum comfort.
  • 3-button control is located at an easily accessible part of the headphone.
  • MEMS microphones designed to eliminate ambient noise and offer high levels of sound isolation.

Our Rating:

  • Sound Quality: 9.5/10
  • Bass: 9.5/10
  • Build Quality/Design: 10/10
  • Fit/Comfort: 9/10

Who would this be good for?

Personally, I feel that headphones that offer this level of performance are designed for a specific crowd. I am referring to audiophiles, of course. If you primarily view listening to music as background sound and you are not picky about the audio quality then I don’t think this one is for you. However, if you recommend your listening experience to capture every beat of the music in a crisp and clear manner, the 1MORE headphones might be able to deliver that to you at a reasonable price. Click here to read recent verified reviews by customers on Amazon who bought the 1MORE.

Pros:

  • Dynamic high-quality sound.
  • Ergonomically designed.
  • Great value for the quality.

Cons:

  • Plastic buttons feel rather cheap.
  • Cords tend to get tangled easily.

Best $100 Earbuds for Bassheads:

Shure SE215-K Sound Isolating Earphones with Single Dynamic MicroDriver

Shure SE215-K Sound Isolating Earphones with Single Dynamic MicroDriverShure has already built a pretty solid reputation amongst audiophiles due to their top-notch quality headphones. The Shure SE215-K model incorporates the SE210 design but improving it with a fully detachable cable and a more comfortable earpiece design.

The Shure SE215-K comes in two versions, a crystal-clear plastic, and glossy black. The clear plastic versions display the inner workings of the earphones. Not my style but I know people who love this kind of casing for their gadgets. Earphones are color coordinated with a red dot for the right side and a blue dot for the left.

Shure SE215-K Sound Isolating Earphones with Single Dynamic MicroDriverThe Kevlar reinforced cables feature a slight texture finish which can help prevent tangles. The SE215-K comes with 6 sets of rubber foam tips and are of good quality, as expected from a Shure product. Shure earphones are also well-known in terms of noise isolation and the SE215-K continues that trend. You can wear this at a busy and noisy public area and completely shut off the ambient noise traffic.

The Shure SE215-K utilizes single dynamic drivers which are known for delivering low-end yet bass heavy music. This headphone can actually deliver solid high-end audio elements without any sibilance. However, if you prefer music genres that are bright sounding, the SE215-K might not be able to accommodate your preference.

The SE215-K is one of Shure’s lowest-end models. Don’t think Shure skimped on the quality and construction though. The Shure SE215-K can still manage to impress thanks to its bass rich and full mids sound production.

his is a reasonably priced Shure headphone that still manages to stack up against some of their higher end models.

Key Features:

  • Detachable cables
  • Single dynamic driver
  • Top-notch noise isolation
  • Bluetooth wireless connectivity

Click here to read recent verified reviews by customers on Amazon who bought the Shure 215K

Our Rating:

  • Sound Quality: 9/10
  • Bass: 9.5/10
  • Build Quality/Design: 9.5/10
  • Fit/Comfort: 9/10
  • Battery Life: 10/10
  • Connectivity (Bluetooth stability): 10/10

Who would the 215-K model be good for?

Due to it being a single dynamic driver headphone, we recommend the Shure SE215-K primarily for lovers of rich bass music (like rock, metal, electro, etc). This can also be used as a wireless headphone thanks to the detachable cables. If you prefer to avoid constantly untangling wired headphones then this might be a good choice for you.  

Pros:

  • Impressive bass quality.
  • High-quality and durable cable.
  • Wide-ranging sound stage.

Cons:

  • Treble quality leaves something to be desired.

If you are set on finding a pair of earbuds with good bass, check out some of our other top picks for high quality budget bass headphones that call have deep and powerful sub-bass.


Best $100 Earbuds for Running & Working Out:

The Bose SoundTrue sports earbuds 

 

These SoundTrue buds by Bose have ear hooks-the additional part of ear tips that contour well to the ear for secure fit, and ensure you always get the right fit, and keep earbuds from falling out in your rigorous workout. Overall, aside from sweat-proof the well-designed style and nicely refined sound are exactly what sport enthusiasts look for. Click here to read our full review of the Bose SoundTrue Sport Buds.


Other Earbuds Under $100 Worth A Closer Look:

Sennheiser Momentum in Ear Headphones Review

Sennheiser Momentum In Ear (iOS version) - Black RedSennheiser Momentum headphones are probably one of the more eye-catching in terms of design. However, this earphone isn’t just sizzle, it has some meaty steak underneath as well. It features bottom-end and sub-bass that delivers excellent performance in terms of audio quality.

I found this headphone a perfect fit if you love listening to a wide variety of music. and gives a good amount of bass for this price range.  It also has solid quality in terms of its ability to produce treble.

The Sennheiser Momentum features a metallic red finish instead of the usual bright colored palette common in earphones that are targeted for the sporty consumer. It comes in 2 versions: the I edition is compatible with iPhones while the G edition is designed for Android smartphones. It comes with the standard 3-button configuration that controls the volume as well as answer phone calls.

Sennheiser Momentum In Ear (iOS version) - Black RedThis headphone provides excellent bass that your standard earphones simply can’t compete with. The top-quality bass and treble presence make the music produced by the Sennheiser feel more energetic.

While it does produce amazing bass levels, it still manages to prevent bleed in when you push it to higher frequencies.

Key Features:

  • Convenient 3-button controls.
  • 2 versions available for iPhone and Android smartphone users.
  • Dynamic driver
  • Includes 4 sets of tips.

Our Rating:

  • Sound Quality: 9.5/10
  • Bass: 9.5/10
  • Build Quality/Design: 9.5/10
  • Fit/Comfort: 9.5/10

Who would this be good for?

Due to its high-quality bass and treble presence, I would recommend this for audiophiles who primarily listen to electro, dubstep, and metal. It features an amazing sub-bass and bottom-end technology that provides amazing bass without it reaching the “bleed in” point that pretty much ruins the audio quality.

Pros:

  • Powerful bass.
  • Clear audio.
  • Great mid-range tone.
  • You can choose between iPhone and Android versions.

Cons:

  • Recessed Mids.

Klisch R6 Neckband Bluetooth Headphones

Klipsch R6 Neckband Bluetooth Headphone - BlackThe Klisch R6 is a Bluetooth (4.0) compatible headphone features pleather padded bands for added comfort. It seems that comfort is one of this headband’s strong point thanks in part to the angled earbuds that fits snugly in the ear. The neckband itself incorporates a metal-wire frame to help prevent discomfort and reduce the already light weight of this headphone.

Klipsch R6 Neckband Bluetooth Headphone - BlackPairing the headphones with your smartphone can be done in a jiffy. Sound quality also transfers quite well. The headphone is rechargeable and can last up to 18 hours of continuous playback use.

The low-end capability of R6 is surprisingly clean with no reports of bleed in during the most bass heavy parts of the song.

That being said, the R6 does have its shortcomings, specifically when it comes to its sound stage quality. Its sound definition feels underwhelming, especially for audiophiles who are quite nit-picky in this category. It’s a solid headphone but doesn’t quite reach peak performance an audiophile would like.

Key Features:

  • Wireless Bluetooth Connectivity (4.0)
  • Pleather padded bands for optimum comfort
  • IPX4 Splash proof design
  • CVC microphone technology
  • Call vibration alert capability

Our Rating:

  • Sound Quality: 9/10
  • Bass: 9/10
  • Build Quality/Design: 9/10
  • Fit/Comfort: 9/10
  • Battery Life: 10/10
  • Connectivity (Bluetooth stability): 10/10

Who would this be good for?

A good choice for music lovers who prefer to avoid the problems synonymous with corded headphones, specifically wire tangling. This can accommodate heavy bass sounds without bleed in issues. It also does a good job in terms of noise isolation which makes conversations a lot easier even in public places. I recommend the R6 to fans of classical music and any genre wherein bass is most prevalent.

Pros:

  • 18-hour battery life with one charge.
  • Vibrating alert for incoming calls.
  • IPX4 resistance.

Cons:

  • Complaints about the earbuds not offering a good fit for some customers.

Although the sound quality isn’t as good as wired in ear headphones with the same price, with Bluetooth in ear headphones, you have to sacrifice the sound over the convenience. However, this pair of behind the neck Bluetooth headphones listed below sound good, and they can work well as a Bluetooth headset for hand-free calls, as well.


Marshall Mode EQ In-Ear Headphones Review

Marshall Mode EQ In-Ear Headphones, Black/Brass (4090940)If you are even remotely familiar with musical instruments then there is a chance you have already heard of Marshall. The manufacturer has been a stable in the music industry for decades now and is well-known for their speakers and amplifiers and unique aesthetics.

The Marshall Mode EQ Headphones continue this tradition with its hard rock-themed design and a nifty EQ feature to boot.

The Marshall Mode EQ headphones feature the use of gel-like plastic buds which is quite easy to grab. The lightweight appearance is good and all but having a sturdy aluminum material into the overall design would have been welcomed.

You also get an easily accessible and simple to use control scheme. The headphone control comes with the usual play and pause button, call function, volume control, and a unique switch that acts as the equalizer. Headphones are exactly known for incorporating EQs into their features so this is a great addition for audiophiles to tinker around with.

One aspect of the Marshall Mode EQ I found surprising is the comfort. It is probably due to the cylindrical earbuds as the Marshall Mode EQ fits in snugly inside the ear without any danger of it falling off or causing any discomfort.

On the audio performance side, the Mode EQ is exceptionally rich and wide-ranging. It delivers deep presence in the sub frequency and a thickness to the sound on the low to mid-range level. As for the upper mids, the EQ mode still manages to produce a crisp definition. Obviously, the EQ capability has its shortcomings such as bass being too deep to my liking but the fact that we get this option can help improve your standard listening pleasure significantly.

Key Features:

  • Different sleeve sizes.
  • Remote control.
  • 3.5mm L-plug
  • Equalizer feature.

Our Rating:

  • Sound Quality: 9/10
  • Bass: 8.5/10
  • Build Quality/Design: 9/10
  • Fit/Comfort: 9/10

Who would this be good for?

One of Marshall Mode EQ’s biggest selling point is the equalizer feature. Marshall did require a few features and accessories to be removed but the EQ feature replacement more than makes up for the missing standard features. If you prefer a headphone that offers a wider range of control in terms of audio quality, the Marshall Mode EQ should offer what you need. It also comes with that sleek rugged rocker look which is always a plus.

Pros:

  • Can deliver crisp and powerful sounds on both the upper and mid to lower mid registers.
  • Special EQ feature.
  • Comfortable to wear.
  • Cool design.

Cons:

  • Construction could have been better with some titanium and aluminum.
  • EQ mode is pretty basic. It does the job but doesn’t expect it to be in-depth.

Langsdom True Wireless X7 Earphones Review

True Wireless Earbuds Langsdom X7 Mini Bluetooth 4.2 Headphones In-Ear Noise Isolating Earphones with Mic Smart Touch Control and Portable Charging Box for iPhone Samsung and More

The Langsdom True Wireless X7 Earphone is one of the most affordable quality earphones you can find today. It features smart touch control which makes operating the device quite simple. For example, you can turn on the X7 by pressing and holding both right and left earpiece for 3 seconds. Answering incoming calls and playing/pausing music can be done with a single tap. You can skip to the next song by double tapping one of the earpieces.

Design-wise, the X7 does a good job of noise cancellation as it fits perfectly in the ear. It takes into account the ear geometry which allows it to fit comfortably in your ears. It also comes with 3 different sets of soft ear cups. The earpiece is also sweatproof and is incredibly lightweight. It’s a good choice for outdoor enthusiasts who love to listen to their tunes while avoiding the hassle of wires.

As for Bluetooth connectivity, this earphone uses Bluetooth 4.2 with TWS tech which allows for quick pairing and maintaining a stable connection with the smartphone. It has a range of up to 10 meters (no obstruction).

I also enjoyed one feature of the X7 which is the Smart stereo/mono mode. This feature allows you to use just one earpiece while maintaining a complete stereo sound. I often use that when at work and when driving where I need to actually be aware of my surroundings. It’s also a nifty feature if I want to share listening to a song with someone else. Although I must inform you that only the master earphone will work during calls.

As for battery life, the X7 only has a 2-hour battery life on a single full charge. Not much but decent enough for a wireless headphone on the go. Sound quality is as expected with this type of earphone, it uses large size driver and a suitable sound chamber which allows for good quality sound even at max volume.

Key Features:

  • Smart touch control for quick and easy use.
  • Stereo and Mono mode feature.
  • One-year warranty.

Our Rating:

  • Sound Quality: 8/10
  • Bass: 8/10
  • Build Quality/Design: 8/10
  • Fit/Comfort: 8.5/10
  • Battery Life: 6/10
  • Connectivity (Bluetooth stability): 8.5/10

Who would this be good for?

I would recommend the Langsdom X7 for those who need a nice and affordable wireless headphone alternative. It fits securely in the ear and is quite comfortable and well-made. If you prefer a convenient headphone while going out then you might want to take a look at the X7.

Pros:

  • Comfortable and lightweight.
  • Easy control configurations with the smart touch feature.
  • Good sound quality for the price.

Cons:

  • While it offers a nice and secure fit, it tends to slip once or twice during intense workouts.
  • Short Battery Life

Langsdom True Wireless T7 Earphones Review

Another entry in this list from Langsdom is the True Wireless T7. Similar to the X7 above, this is another great choice for those looking for a reliable wireless earphone. One important aspect of a wireless earphone is its design. It should be able to deliver a convenient and comfortable listening experience. The T7 comes with noise canceling CVC 6.0 rating which means it is a good choice if you like to listen to your tunes unobstructed in a noisy public area.

Bluetooth connectivity is easy and clear. Pairing the device with your smartphone can be done in a jiffy and as this uses Bluetooth 4.2 you can expect it to maintain a stable connection. It also comes with Langsdom’s signature stereo and mono mode that allows you to use each earpiece individually while maintaining clear and complete audio. Each earpiece can also connect independently to a different device.

Battery life is decent enough for this type of earphone as it can play continuously for approximately 2.5 hours in a single charge but audio volume will play a huge factor. It has a 72-hour standby time and can be fully charged in under 1.5 hours. It comes with a charger box that can fully charge the T7 5 times before needing to recharge itself.

In terms of sound, the T7 can handle itself quite well. It can produce clear and crisp sounds even at full volume without too much distortion. The earphone also has a built-in microphone for voice calls.

Key Features:

  • Stereo and Mono mode.
  • Noise cancellation CVC 6.0 rating.
  • 0.14-ounce weight.

Our Rating:

  • Sound Quality: 8/10
  • Bass: 8/10
  • Build Quality/Design: 8/10
  • Fit/Comfort: 8.5/10
  • Battery Life: 6/10
  • Connectivity (Bluetooth stability): 8.5/10

Who would this be good for?

Similar to the Langsdom X7, the T7 is an ideal choice for people who are always on the go. It’s lightweight and compact design makes it easy to bring around anywhere. Wireless connectivity is quite good and audio transfers clearly. This is an affordable wireless earphone with a solid sound quality performance.

Pros:

  • Lightweight and compact.
  • Affordable.
  • Stereo and mono mode.

Cons:

  • Some complaints that battery life only lasts for 1.5 hours even with 50% volume.

Treblab X2 Bluetooth Earbuds

TREBLAB X2 - Revolutionary Bluetooth Earbuds with Beryllium Speakers, True 3D Sound Quality, Best Truly Wireless Earphones Noise Cancelling Sports Ear Buds Blue Tooth Headphones Phone Calls MicrophoneOne of the first things I noticed with the Treblab X2 is its presentation. A sleek and wireless earphone, the Treblab X2 gets cookie points for being stylish but that doesn’t help if performance is lackluster. In that regard, I find the X2 to meet and exceed expectations. We will get into further detail about its technology in a bit.

The overall design of the X2 is easy on the eyes. It also comes with ear hooks that help keep it in place even doing physical activities. The set comes with a charging box that you can bring on the road. You also get 5 different ear tip sizes and 3 sets of ear hooks.

Now for the meat of this review. Treblab X2 incorporates the use of beryllium which significantly enhances audio quality. While bass was good, it wasn’t something to celebrate over. However, if you prefer mid to high range frequency music and desire for accuracy rather than power, the Treblab X2 delivers in spades.

Battery life is one of the Treblab X2’s biggest selling points. While it takes a bit longer for the device to get fully charged (3 hours), it can operate non-stop for a maximum of 10.5 hours at 50% to 75% volume. That’s pretty impressive for a wireless earphone.

Construction feels solid and not cheap even if its main material is plastic. It feels lightweight but not fragile which is something one would want in a wireless earphone. I would even go far as to say that it can easily survive a couple of drops to the ground, of course, it is best to avoid that.

Key Features:

  • Well-made and durable construction.
  • Incorporates beryllium which helps improve overall sound quality.
  • 10.5-hour battery life on a single full charge.
  • 30-day return policy.

Our Rating:

  • Sound Quality: 9.5/10
  • Bass: 8/10
  • Build Quality/Design: 8/10
  • Fit/Comfort: 9/10
  • Battery Life: 9.5/10
  • Connectivity (Bluetooth stability): 9/10

Who would this be good for?

This is a heavy-duty wireless earphone designed with outdoor and workout use in mind. While the bass was a little disappointing, it still manages to deliver crystal clear sound overall. It may not be a good choice for bass heavy music lovers, but it manages to hold its own on all other fronts in terms of overall audio, features, and construction quality.

Pros:

  • Impressively long battery life at 10.5-hours max.
  • Incredibly detailed sound quality.
  • Well-made and durable.

Cons:

  • Bass leaves much to be desired.

Sennheiser CX 5.00 Headset Review

Sennheiser is already a well-known name when it comes to speakers and headphones and they definitely brought their signature brand of quality with the CX 5.00 headset. In terms of design, the Sennheiser CX 5.00 is definitely a flashier and more stylish entry from the manufacturer.

The CX 5.00 goes for a more angular design this time around rather than the traditional earphone look. This smooth design choice allows for the earpiece worn without the tips digging into your ear canals as is the problem with most earphones. In this regard, it is certainly a comfortable shift for Sennheiser earphones.

The cable is non-detachable and feels quite sturdy. It uses the standard y-style that incorporates a right-angle jack at the end. It also comes with the standard 3-button control that allows you to adjust volume levels, play/pause the music, and answer incoming calls.

As for sound isolation capabilities, the CX 5.00 is decent enough but nothing truly impressive. You might also notice a tiny port located atop both earpieces. This port helps to improve bass response at the expense of lower noise isolation. It still manages to block out about 80% of ambient noise which is good enough on average public noise traffic.

Sound quality is actually quite comparable to the Shure Momentum In-Ear Headset. That is not surprising seeing that they both utilize the same technology and are pretty much priced the same as well. The CX 5.00 produces a slightly warmer sound though and focuses more on the treble than delivering a powerful bass response.

The Sennheiser CX 5.00 aims to deliver a more fun listening experience rather than focusing on accuracy. Because of this, the CX 5.00 is a solid choice for music lovers who are not too nitpicky with their audio precision.

Key Features:

  • New ergonomic design for optimum comfort.
  • 2 versions available for Apple (CX 5.00) and Android (CX 5.00G) users.
  • High precision sound quality.
  • 18-ohms impedance rating.

Our Rating:

  • Sound Quality: 9/10
  • Bass: 7.5/10
  • Build Quality/Design: 8/10
  • Fit/Comfort: 9/10
  • Battery Life: N/A
  • Connectivity (Bluetooth stability): N/A

Who would this be good for?

The Sennheiser CX 5.00 would be a great fit for casual music lovers who prefer precision over the heavy and powerful bass. For its price, the CX 5.00 is quite a steal and is as reliable as you would expect from a Sennheiser brand product.

Pros:

  • Wide-range sound quality.
  • Clear and precise tone.
  • More comfortable compared to older Sennheiser CX series models.

Cons:

  • Cables are non-detachable.
  • Bass is not that impressive.

LG Ultra Tone Series Infinim- around-neck design

LG Infinim Bluetooth headset
Not just for music, the headset is ideal for calls

The Infinim is less flexible than the Shadow. Although around-neck design is not for every one, it is ideal for those who like more refined sound, less bass than the Shadow, and want to save money. The Infinim also has a nifty feature; by pressing the button, the earbuds will retreat to their nests on the band.

JayBird X3

Jaybird sets a new standard for Bluetooth earbuds by their first model Jaybird X

The first version, Jaybird X is a standard Bluetooth set for sports, they sound good, live up to the battery, and fit securely in ther ear. The latest version JayBird X series offer slight improvements in sound and design and prices have since come down.
JayBird X3 is a great Bluetooth in ear headphone for sports that recently Jaybird have been seen for under $100. It does sound good with natural sounding signature.

The X3 is designed to fit securely in the ear, its wingtips are fairly comfortable.

Aside from sweat resistant feature that Jaybird has implemented the 4 pin clip charging to improve water resistant capacity, the companion app allows you to customize the sound to your preference.

The X3 are noise isolating earbuds, and the should fit properly in order to best listening experience.

Don’t let the cable hold your back. Check out our comparison of the


FOR AIR TRAVEL

ATC-ANC23, The Best Noise Cancelling In Ear Headphones

The ANC23 comes cheap and with a feature that most frequent flyers and rail commuters are interested in, active noise cancellation (ANC).

They aren’t as effective as Bose QC 20-A great noise cancelling earphones, but they do the job for cancelling out the jet engine. You also have to sacrifice the sound quality over the functionality. ATC-ANC23 earphones are just that–the item you should never forget to bring on every flight. It also includes, an inline-battery pack to power the ACN function, so it is not very portable.


Best Unsealed Earbuds Under 100

This article wouldn’t be complete without recommending earbuds-non-sealed design ( Check out how earbuds differs from canalphones/IEMs)

Creative Aurvana Air Earbuds

Great sub 100 earbuds with clip on
This pair is for those who can’t stand sealed – in ears

If you don’t like the fit of canalphones and would like open and spacious stereo imaging, go for earbuds. This type of in ear headphones pour the clean sound with great detail as Creative Aurvana Air Earbuds is capable of. Aside from its great sound for the price, the clip-on design looks strange and obsolete.

I own several pairs of in ear headphones, and each pair is used for my specific daily activities–none can be used for all purposes. In the morning, when I sit at my laptop, to escape from noise at my workplace, I wear Etymotic Research MC5 with good noise-isolation. In the afternoon, when I go to the gym, I take my wireless sport earphones. However, when I like to enjoy acoustic, I need the HiFiMan RE-400. For a little bit more bass for dance music, I use Sennheiser Momentum In-Ear M2 IEi. Even a lot more? SONY MDR-XB90EX can pump that bass. Listed earbuds are better in ear headphones than most out there.

Since Apple removed the headphone port on iPhone, iPhone users either have to choose lightning earbuds or Bluetooth. The wired models often sound better than Bluetooth, if you want something better than lightning earPods check out our post lightning earbuds.


 Earbuds retired from this Page :  These are either discontinued or have been beaten out on our rating by newer options on the market which we have highlighted above. We’ve left this info live on the site for reference in case you are looking to buy a used or refurbished pair of earbuds.

FiiO EX1
Designed with Kevlar-Strengthened cable, the FiiO EX1 is well-built and durable, and it is safe to say the FiiO EX1 sounds as good as some in-ear headphones for double the price. It offers mind-blowing bass, which is deep and crisp, but admittedly, the bass impact isn’t great, making its sound become more balanced. The treble of FiiO EX1 is clear and well-extended without distortion, and the mid-range is natural and sweet.Compared to the RE400 (retired from this list), which puts more emphasis on smoothness and clarity, the EX1 plays more airy and spacious sound and adds more bass to music. Metal earpieces are lightweight and have a refined design, with an ergonomically angled nozzle to keep earbuds stay securely in the ear; however, this doesn’t give users the best noise-isolating performance– the eartips don’t fit deeply into the ear canals. However, it is superbly comfortable and lightweight, and sometimes, I forget I am wearing them.

HiSoundAudio HW2 

The HiSoundAudio HW2 is a small, wooden, well-designed headphone. Though their sound is not as clear as 1More Triple Driver, they have a terrific deep bass. Those have a smaller drivers 9-mm drivers compared to 12-mm driver of Sony MDR-XB90EX, which I am more prefered for bass impact. The only thing you may not like about this earbuds is the stiff, flat cable that I wish it could be more flexible for over-ear wear.

Xiaomi Piston 2

Metal housing earphones holds a lot of bass

Xiaomi In ear headphones the best bass for the price

The Xiaomi Piston 2’s earbud housing has a little open back. This design leaves the sound stage open and pleasant. I found it has a sweeter sound than the Sony MDRXB50. While the mic works well with all kind of phones (Android, iOS, Window), the inline control may not be compatible with your Android Phone. Piston 2 has a natural sound, and it gears toward to sounding warm. A downside is the rounded “piston” housings may cause discomfort to your ears from the edge on the back.

HiFiMan RE-400 

The high fidelity in ear headhones with solid sound performancePicky ears like to hear the best sound quality with high-fidelity. They care little about how the in ear headphones look; yes, it’s true in some cases. One is the HiFiMan RE-400, an aluminum housing earphones IEM. While the sound quality of these small and light weight headphones  are really attractive, its look simply isn’t.

However, it’s just for music; you can do nothing other than that, like make a call or control the volume and navigate the tracks. Rated as a balanced sound in ear headphones, it pours the pure music and accurate sound for most music genres. For treble lovers, it will be be a perfect choice, but dance and R&B music lovers may be disappointed, if they like the strong bass the HifiMan can’t deliver.

JVC HA-FX101

JVC Budget bass-focused in ear headphones, the best earphones under 20
Rugged and sturdy construction

If you are on a tight budget but want to experience a lot of bass punching to the dance or R&B music you like, the FX101 is the way to go. Though FX101 presents somewhat heavy bass and lack of details, the sound is fine and ONLY suitable for R&B.

Sony MDRXB50AP

Fashion and no cable tangle, great bass
Best bass earphones

 

For any music you pump into, the MDRXB50AP by Sony has precise, rumbling bass, yet it is not as powerful as Shure or other Sony in ear headphones in this list. For the mid-range, I found it sounds dry and doesn’t have as sweat a sound as Shure. Another downside is that it looks sturdy, since each earpiece hosts 12mm driver to power its bass.

Sol Republic Shadow

Around the neck design wireless earbuds

Besides 8-hour play time, the flexible band and the ear tips fit comfortably on the neck and in the ear. Combined with sound quality, this is one of the best $100 Bluetooth in ear headphones.

Soundpeats Qy7 Mini Bluetooth Wireless Stereo earbuds in ear headphones
Bluetooth in ear headphones come cheap and great sound for price together with sports featureThe Soundpeats Qy7, which comes with an affordable price, are great sports Bluetooth earbuds. It is a combination of comfort and lightweight. And aside from ability to isolate ambient noise, it fits snugly in the ear with silicon ear hooks. All together, they are exactly what sport enthusiasts look for.


Nuforce NE-600X-BLK-Bass Oriented Earphones, Panasonic Ergo Fit– Balanced sound profile Earphones, SoundMagic E10, or Monoprice 108320-Low priced for High Fidelity. They all sound nearly identical. Sure, they sound great for the money, too. They hold thousands of positive reviews from both casual and professional testers. If you are not hard-core listeners, who look for high resolution in music, you will never notice their differences in terms of sound quality.

They are great for casual listening for those who just want to replace their stock earbuds or not spend much time listening to music. The ones I mentioned earlier in this article for audiophiles sound much better in details and richness of sound.


If earbuds have very good sound quality, it doesn’t mean they will fit securely in the ear and resist sweat and water. For sports, you would weigh the fitting and convenience over the sound quality. While you work out, the music you listen to differs from the music you listen when you sit at the table. Since your mind is occupied by other tasks, music details and sound separation are not your main concern. But whatever your activities are, as long as you perceive the sound, these in ear headphones tap your concerns for both audio performance and features.

More on Bass:

Beats by Dr headphones, with its sound signature and enhanced bass, have been prominent on the market for years. With the popularity of streaming music services, like Spotify, Apple Music, and Google Play, it’s not that difficult to find the music you love on their catalogs. However, some kinds of music genres, as intended by the recorders, requires headphones that pump a monstrous bass to give the listeners the true sound.

How do we pick and rate the earbuds on this page?

How do reviewers test and rate the in ear headphones? Aside from physical tests, like comfort, noise isolation, and design, they evaluate the sound based on different aspects of sound from their experiences, including Low-end/bass, Mid-range, highs/Treble, Sound-stage, detail, clarity, and instrumental separation.

Bass/lowsMid-rangesTreble/highsSound StageInstrument SeparationV-ShapedSound Signature

This frequency response measured in the range of 10-200Hz describes very low tones. The longitude of the curve represents how forceful the bass is. Musical instruments produce much bass like drum, bass guitar, trombone, and more, and you can find this sound in a lot of music genres, including R&B, Hip-Hop, Dance, Pop.

When the bass of a headphone is clear and crisp, you can hear the bass from lower sound frequencies. You can clearly hear the difference when you put on any metal music. Headphones with clear bass will not even slow down on the fastest of drum impacts. Headphones that respond slower to bass impact, because they want to “Shake your head” with bass, can’t register these sounds correctly. If the bass isn’t controlled correctly, then it might bleed into the midrange and make the midrange recessed.

The Mid-range might have been your favorite part of the sound, if you like pop and rock, or music packed with a lot vocals and guitars. Smooth and sweet mid-ranges make you hear singer’s voices clearer. The Mid-range can be recessed, while the treble and bass is dominant; this is called V-shaped sound signature. The Mid-range can also be forward, when the vocals and guitars become aggressive.

The treble describes the highest frequencies you could hear. This range is also linked to sound stage. The treble is good only when they are pushed evenly with mid-range. Sometimes, it can be muffled, making the listeners feel the sounds are not equally tuned.

The sound stage defines the space of sound they can create. Like in the theater, you listen to the sound from an orchestra created by the dimension of the theater. The headphones can create such space, but how good the sound stage is, depends on how well they can create the “live” sounding experience to users.

Every music you listen to through in ear headphones is mixed with a lot of sounds from many instruments. They represent a wide range of frequencies, from low-end to highs. The instrument separation is the capacity of in ear headphones, which can separate sound from layer to layer of instruments, according to their frequencies, so you can realize the instrument is actually there.

These headphones are referred to when they put emphasis on bass and treble, and the mid-range is recessed.

Here’s the co-relation between the sound quality rating and some specs, like frequency response, impedance and sensitivity of these best $100 in ear headphones (We will publish the data…)

Common sound signatures are bass-centric, mid-centric, treble-centric, V-Shaped and Balanced. It depends on the music you like to choose the earphones with typical sound signature.

What to consider when buying earbuds

It is a long story to tell which in ear headphones are the best. However, most reviewers consider accessories, build-quality, fitting, comfort, design, and the rich sound quality. As one of the reviewers, I experienced a ton of headphones. Each not only represents a certain frequency range, but sound stage. So some earbuds may sound great for lows, but with other music, when the recorders utilized highs to be prominent in their music,  these earbuds fail to deliver this tone.

Other extra features, like noise cancelling, wireless connection, mic and in-line control, are also considered.

You don’t need to spend much more than $100 for great in ear headphones. If you are not an audiophile, spending more than $100 for in ear headphones seems in-appropriate. This list can’t be complete without sourcing expert reviews from CNET, The Verge, The Wire Cutter, Head-Fi, Innerfidelity for instance.

And note I don’t own all these in ear headphones, only several, which were tested to verify the reviews and to compare each one. I found it was pretty much the same as reviewer’s statement made about the audio performance. These are our picks for the best in-ear headphones you can pick up today for under $100.

For the best listening experience if you spend more than $100 for a pair of earphones you should also invest on high definition MP3 player. Since the audio output from your phones has limitation about the resolution.

While you can find earbuds for all around use you may actually want a separate pair if your like cycling, working, running, or traveling; to sound great for the music you like–if you are dance music lovers, think of in ear headphones with great bass. Does that make sense for your favorite music? Here are the other sets you would consider. Are you an audiophile on a budget? These in ear headphones (also called IEM in ear monitors) which offer high quality sound for the money.

Updated on 05/25/2018

28 thoughts on “Best Earbuds Under 100 Bucks in 2018 [Reviews | In-Ear Headphones]

  1. Just figure out how canalphones differs from earbuds. Very informative article, but I wonder which pair is the most comfortable, it’s said Fiio ex1 with shallow insertion. I want to have a pair with balanced sounding and average bass. Does fiio fit this kind of sound signature.

    • The Fiio Ex1 is a great pair for the price, however due to its oblique fit, the metal on the earphones can end up having a slight pain in the ear. Sound quality is good, a bit dark though, great bass response. The built quality though said to be good, mine were broken after around 8 months of usage, whereby the left ear peace stopped working, I am currently considering the shure se215

      • I got the same problem with FiiO EX1 metal housings, causing a bit pain. Its cable was broken while I rode motobike and run over it. I tried 1More Triple Driver, I like its sound, more pleasant to listen I think and somewhat people often call “airy sound”. Next time, I would consider Shure Se215.

  2. I had shure se215 for years, Now I am looking for a new pair, I am not sure that my se 215 has bass centric sound signatue. What I need now is more natural sounding iems, comfort and have good noise isolation. Any recommendations?

  3. A lot of pair being recommended here, among those pairs, which is the best for sound quality and comfort. I knew some earbuds under 100 have problems with build quality. So it would be durable enough. And I also like strong bass and it should sound natural as well. Thank you!

  4. Hi Nick, perhaps, FiiO EX1 is the most comfortable pair, I’ve tested. Both Sennheiser Momentum In-Ear M2 IEi and Shure SE215 sound great. But I like the cable of the Momentum, it is lighter and easier to manage than SE215. I would recommend you to pick FiiO for the natural sounding signature.

  5. Does any of you know foam eartips to replace the Bose Soundtrue Sports, and since Bose tuned the earbuds by their eartips, does the sound slightly change if we use other eartips than Bose. I need a pair for sport but sometimes I need better noise isolation. Thanks

  6. 1More Triple Driver earbuds are not for sports. Can you recommend other pairs with the same sound quality but with sweatproof feature. Concering FiiO Ex, do we need amplifier or Mp3 player like FiiO X1 to enjoy true sound.

  7. How about HiSoundAudio HW2 Wooduo 2. Have you tested it? I am looking for enhanced bass earbuds. But some pairs you recommend here seems to be big in my ears.

  8. 1More Triple Driver is a nice option, but I don´t like the cable-it said TPE and a final braided layer of nylon, and this kind of cable may cause mirophonics. But it did a good job for resisting the tangles. Anyway, overall sound quailty is a good point for choosing this earphone.

  9. I have been looking for a pair of Bluetooth earbuds for working out. JayBird X seems to be a candidate, but do you know any set that fits around the ear with earhooks like Beats Powerbeats headphones and they should cost less than $100. For the sound, personally I like something natural, not that big, overwhelming bass.

  10. Hi, Any recommendation of lightning earbuds for Iphone 7 which cost less than $100. 1More Triple Driver is great but I will need a lightning adapter. And do you think lightning earbuds will sound better than earbuds with 3.5mm plug.

  11. Hi, guys, which one is more convenient for extreme metal genres? shure se 215 or fiio ex1? or any other earbuds at this range of price( lower than 100$)

  12. Hi.. Thanks for the article.
    Got Rowkin for me recently. And I think Rowkin one of the best earbuds under $100. Great sound quality and other cool features.

  13. Hi.. Thanks for the article.
    Got Rowkin for me recently. And I think Rowkin got one of the best earbuds under $100. Great sound quality and other cool features.

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