You might think choosing the best headphones under $100 is a simple task, but this is not the case.
It’s because normally you already need to balance between competing priorities such as portability and sound quality, and it even becomes harder at such a price range since manufacturers must cut a lot of corners to bring down the price tag.
That being said, there is still a huge variety of decent choices if you know what you can get from them. For example, the recommendations below should get you covered for the most basic needs.
Best Headphones Under $100
Headphones are not just about pure sound quality but sometimes also a way to express your personality, and the Mpow 059 is one of those models that take the design seriously for a headphone under $100.
This hybrid wired/wireless headphone is available in various color combinations, from typical Black and Red for gamers to a girly Black and Pink scheme for women. They all look fabulous with a stylish and glossy finish.
The earcups are cushy to block the outside noise, even though the Mpow 059 only offers passive noise-canceling technology, while the padded headband provides a reasonably comfy fit. These ear cups are actually larger than other similar headphones, so you can find all the controls and buttons on the right one instead of a typical inline remote.
But these large earcups don’t make the Mpow 059 any less portable, thanks to the foldable design. This doesn’t only save your desk space when you listen to music while working and but also makes it easier to carry the headphone with the bag that Mpow provides in the box.
However, we can’t say that the Mpow 059 is the most durable headphone in this price bracket. The shiny and great-looking headband is made mostly from hard plastic, which is fine for most users but may break if you also put too many items in the bag with it.
Verdict: If you need a stylish headphone to go with your outfit and don’t require much about sound quality or durability, the Mpow 059 is your best bet with a budget under $100.
- Glossy sport design
- Available in plenty of colors
- Fairly portable when folded
- Come with a bag
- Hybrid wired and wireless modes
- Loud sound
- Muddy audio
- Not the best build quality
You don’t need an expensive headphone to do a decent job of isolating the outside noise. The Cowin E7 has proved that with some well-crafted engineering, a cheap headphone can totally provide enough noise isolation for daily use.
The E7 comes with the active noise canceling technology – a technology that we usually only find in higher-end models. After turning this on, you will notice a big change in how much outside ambient noise gets through to your eardrums. The background noise will get silenced and muffled so you can focus on what you actually want to listen to from your computer or phone.
This function is also a godsend when you work in an office and don’t want your headphones to leak sound and annoy your colleagues. It also makes the Cowin E7 a great headphone for commuting as it can block most noise in a moderately loud environment like the bus you take every day.
On the flip side, we can’t recommend this headphone for long listening sessions as it may become uncomfortable to wear.
Verdict: Even though you may get uncomfortable in long listening sessions, the Cowin E7 is still one of the rare headphones under $100 that provide excellent active noise canceling ability.
- Built-in active noise cancellation
- Little leakage
- Decent battery life
- Bulky design
- Not comfortable to wear for a long time
The Letscom H10 hybrid wired and wireless headphone is all about the convenience to help users focus on what they’re actually doing: it is portable, has a long battery life, a good fit, and intuitive controls.
Even though the folding design is not uncommon in headphones these days, you will be impressed by how portable the Letscom H10 can be. The ergonomic headband is both adjustable and foldable to become a small bundle in the soft case that comes with it. This also provides a way to protect the earcups when you carry the H10 around.
But the most impressive part about the Letscom H10 is its battery life with a whopping 100 hours of playtime. This is an unparalleled number in the world of Bluetooth headphones, where we usually expect only dozens of hours of battery life. For those who often forget to charge their headphones at night and find themselves with nothing to listen to in the next morning, this is a game-changer.
On top of that, the control buttons on the ear cups also allow you to change volume, play and pause tracks, or even answer calls to your phone.
However, the Letscom H10 doesn’t shine in its call quality, which may make your voice sound distant and quiet even though the sound is clear on your end.
Verdict: Letscom has made a great no-hassle headphone to provide a convenient listening experience with top-notch battery life.
- Convenient foldable design
- Compact in the carrying case
- Amazing battery life
- Easy to use control buttons
- Mediocre call quality
- Limited functionality
The job of balancing sound quality, design, functionality, and cost are already hard with expensive high-end headphones, and it even gets more difficult when the price goes under $100. But PeohZarr has proved this is possible with the WGYP-063.
This company has managed to squeeze a bit of everything into this on-ear headphone. For example, for an under $20 model, it surely doesn’t look cheap at all thanks to the matte metal and plastic finish. The WGYP-063 looks just as stylish as the more expensive headphones you can buy.
Additionally, even though this isn’t a wireless model, the cable won’t become a huge hassle for you since PeohZarr has covered it with fabric to prevent tangling. The 3.5mm audio jack also has an L shape so you won’t bend it accidentally.
But we can’t forget to mention the sound quality for a well-rounded headphone, even when it’s not a high-end model. With a compact design and HD 40mm driver, the WGYP-063 produces amazingly clear sound for the price.
The only major downside of this on-ear headphone is that it’s not a wireless model. This means you must become familiar with using the undetachable cable all the time, no matter how well-designed it is.
Verdict: If you don’t have any specific need at this price range, the PeohZarr WGYP-063 ticks most of the boxes for a great general-purpose headphone.
- Well-rounded design
- Stylish look
- Decent sound quality
- Not as convenient as wireless headphones
You don’t need to invest in a high-end monitor headphone to start learning to record. An inexpensive model like the OneOdio Studio can totally help you grasp the basic techniques with all the features specially designed for studios.
The OneOdio Studio can adapt to any setup of your studio with the long 9.8ft spring cable and both 3.5mm and 6.5mm plugs. They are detachable so you can use this headphone to any mixer, drum, guitar, PC, or laptop you prefer. This is a real deal-breaker for those who have a lot of devices in their studio.
It also comes with the SharePort technology to help you connect multiple headphones to a single device by making a daisy-chain into the empty 3.5mm socket.
In addition to being flexible and able to support multiple devices, the OneOdio Studio delivers fantastic sound – a no less important thing for a studio headphone. Even though we can’t expect the level of premium monitor models, the sound is still crisp at high frequencies with a solid mid-range and powerful bass to boot.
But since it is meant for audiophiles and professionals, the OneOdio Studio doesn’t have the most appealing look or a great level of portability.
Verdict: The OneOdio Studio is a great professional headphone when you start to learn recording with a tight budget.
- Great adaptivity for the studio environment
- Support SharePort technology (Daisy-Chain)
- Good sound quality for the price
- Boring and bulky look
- Not portable
What You Need To Know Before Buying A Headphone
We can write a book about headphones under $100 and everything that comes with them. But for a quick start, these are the most important things to know if you have never bought a headphone before.
Styles and Forms
Closed vs. Open Design
Closed-back headphones (or sealed) headphones acoustically isolate the surrounding environment from your ears with the degree of isolation varying from each model to another. This design brings down the leakage from your headphone to the room, making it a perfect choice for private listening.
On the other hand, there is nothing to acoustically separate your ears and the room on open-backed headphones, so as a result, people around can listen to what your headphones are playing. But this design generally produces better sound while allowing you to be aware of what is happening around.
Most true wireless headphones use Bluetooth connectivity to transmit the audio signal from your computer or phone to your headphone without the inconvenience of a tangling cord.
This is especially true wireless earbuds, but these Bluetooth headsets usually have worse sound quality at the same time. You can check out reputable wireless earbuds such as Samsung’s Galaxy Buds and Anker SoundCore Life P2,
This kind of headphones makes anti-noises to eliminate the unwanted sound from the surrounding environment, so you don’t need to crank up the volume all the way up to overcome that background noise.
They allow you to enjoy your music at a more reasonable volume level and prevent ear fatigue.
Size and Comfort
The best way to know whether a headphone has a good fit is to actually wear it and listen to a few songs. Try to determine if the earcups put too much pressure onto your ears or whether your ears become hot and uncomfortable. This is usually the case with big sealed headphones that have cushy leatherette earpads.
Listen carefully to all the ranges in your familiar songs and see if that headphone produces a detailed soundstage.
Extra bass – or low frequencies – is what reviewers always mention in their reviews, but this depends on what type of music you listen to. For example, opt for headphones with powerful bass if EDM, pop, and rock songs are your jam.
Studio monitor headphones are also known for balanced and neutral sound, such as Sony MDR-7506 and Audio-technica ATH-M40X.
We don’t buy a headphone to use for just a few months, even at a low price point such as under $100. Always keep an eye on the material and overall build quality of the headphone you want to try. Some are made entirely from cheap plastic with no metal enhancements and tend to break easily.
Other Extra Features
There is no fixed feature set that every headphone must have. Some are equipped with some extra functionality, like the control buttons, additional plugs, or even the ability to resist water, to make them more suitable for different situations.
Frequently Asked Questions About Headphones
Do cheap headphones always have poor sound quality?
There is not always the case. If there is one thing you must know about headphones, it’s that price doesn’t guarantee good audio quality.
Models with a hefty price tag don’t always produce top-notch sound, and this is not necessarily the fault of the manufacturer. Sometimes it’s just that they want to focus on other areas of the headphone like the design.
On the other hand, you can find a headphone under $100 with a decent sound quality like the OneOdio Studio.
If money is no subject, there are higher-end headphones with amazing sound, such as Grado SR80e and Philips SHP9500.
Which headphone is great for the office?
The perfect headphone for the office environment should have two priorities: good sound isolation and a great level of comfort that you can enjoy for a long session. Even though this may force you to accept lower sound quality, it’s an acceptable tradeoff.
And how about commuting?
It’s good to hear that most office headphones will also work great on your commute, whether it is a bus ride to your office or a long-haul flight. But keep in mind that in your walk and ride, you should turn off the noise-canceling function to be aware of people and vehicles around you.
I want a good pair of headphones to play games? How should I choose?
Gaming headsets are a unique creature. While they don’t need the best sound quality, you should at least find models with precision and clarity to enjoy your games more, such as incoming gunfire or approaching footsteps.
What makes the best headphone for workouts?
Headphones for exercising are one of the most sought-after things right now, and this results in a huge number of choices you can have.
A good pair of workout earbuds should withstand water, sweat, and some accidental drops as well. A wireless Bluetooth model is also more preferred as it can save you from the hassle of tangling cables.
Like many other consumer electronics devices, headphones have become more available with the wider selection at all market segments. And this makes finding the best headphones under $100 much easier than the past, as long as you don’t mind trade off a few areas that are not your greatest concerns.
If you still find all these things confusing, you could go for the PeohZarr WGYP-063. As a well-rounded model for general purposes, this on-ear model is a great place to start diving into the world of headphones.