There are a gazillion reasons why you would Google the best headphones under $100 this year. But betting on experience, those reasons narrow down to three; you are tired of buying expensive let-downs, the need to upgrade from earplugs with caution or that you are a guest in the hood looking out for a good hook up.
That brings us to examine the common denominator in the best headphones; features that wouldn’t rob your bank behind your back. In that case, consider the headphone’s sound quality; their ability to quench hi-fi thirst on your terms.
But again, the best headphones should also have the Japanese longevity, Aphrodite’s magical charm and remain comfortable to wear for hours.
They should finally deliver sound while locking out the noise to acceptable measure without insulting on connectivity.
The problem with that is the working budget.
It’s only human nature to lust for value for your money. That brings us to the list below; behold the top-ten plus one best headphones under $100, all features considered.
Audio-Technica ATH-M40x Professional Studio Monitor
Now, ATH-M40x isn’t the coolest dude in the hood; the two younger siblings M20x and M30x still lurk in the limelight.
So what’s the catch with M40x?
While still retaining circumaural design contours on the over-ear muffs for superior sound isolation and 40mm drivers with rare-earth magnets, M40x improves the convenient single-side cable exit by allowing detachability. That allows you to use the provided 1.2 – 3m coiled or 3m straight cable.
Considering the possibility of your vast career; a DJ, field recordist or maybe one who itches for outstanding sound quality while gaming or watching movies, M40x meets your everyday professional and entertainment needs.
The earcups swivel 90 degrees allowing you to keep one ear on the sound and the other eavesdropping in the neighborhood.
As studio headphones, they come with well-balanced sound with a punch of bass that suits a wide range of users.
For less than $100, Audio-Technica ATH-M40x assures you of undeceiving looks, value-added comfort and robustness courtesy of improved headband and earpad materials. And when traveling, M40x is a dear space saver due to its collapsibility.
JVC HARX700 Precision Sound full-size headphones
The black beauty comes fitted with a 50mm Neodymium driver and a ring port structure to ensure dynamic deep bass sound. Expect well sampled rich lows and sweet highs.
Built with an over-ear feature in mind, HARX700 is thought to have the largest earmuff real estate with comfort guaranteed.
To add on comfort, expect an adjustable headband with a strong cloth protecting the top of your head from the hard bar and low clamping pressure while ensuring that the headphones won’t fall off when you move about.
You are also assured of reduced the outer noise while keeping your music to yourself.
If you are wondering if that translates to huge headphones, you are right. But don’t let that fool you. JVC HARX700 weighs a portable 250 grams; light enough to be forgotten when you soak into your duties.
What may seem a bit awkward is the 3.5m single-side cable cord attached. While this feels like a nag, think of the possibilities of walking around the room while still plugged to the source of music.
OneOdio Adapter-free closed-back Over-ear DJ Stereo Monitor Headphones
The headphones’ major strength is inspiring party-mood. While competitors invest hard on looks, OneOdio comes with an audio socket on each earcup allowing you to share your music with a friend.
Connect a suitable cord to the empty 3.5mm socket on the headphone to your friend’s headphone while the other socket connects a cable to your music source and dive into the party.
But parties don’t always have to involve friends; OneOdio allows you to double-cross music sources at pleasure. While unboxing, you notice the two audio cables; connect the 3m coiled cable to the instrument you want to play on one earcup and your laptop or phone on the other for your one-man/woman party.
Do you know why these options are availed on a headphone going for less than $100?
From the 50mm Neodymium drivers, OneOdio delivers power in the music. You are assured of clear vocals and crisp high tones; the true definition of high-quality sound reproduction.
That qualifies the headphones for recording studios, radio, film production and everywhere else where the hunger for top-on-the-line sound is needed
On comfort, these under $100 headphones come with an adjustable and stretchable headband to meet your fitting needs. That allows you to wear them for long. The earcups swivel 90 degrees allowing for one-ear monitoring as you may need in your studio.
The in-studio design promises and delivers passive noise cancellation to your taste. But if you must travel, the pitch-black headphones with glossy finish trim are collapsible to consume minimum space in your backpack.
Think of the headphones as stylish, beautiful with a built-to-last touch.
AKG K240STUDIO Semi-Open Over-ear Professional Studio
While listening to your favorite music may be a private affair to you, K240STUDIO headphones believe in caring by sharing. The semi-open design allows easy sound in and out movement.
But if you are into music with decorated language, keep the volume at 50% and your neighbor won’t give you the scary ‘you sinner’ look.
On the leeward side, eavesdropping on a conversation taking place nearby won’t be so hard. Consider it an aspect of being aware of your surroundings.
To meet your needs in and out of the boardroom, K240STUDIO headphones produce good but not roaring bass. They are built to capture the emotive and aural content in your music hence the need to stress on beautiful mids and highs.
The studio aspect allows you to capture the flat and even sound without underlining any individual frequency. If you must go for the roar, check out the Beats by Dre hood.
As for the design, the partial-skeletal look of K240STUDIO is enticing. Think of it as a rugged construction with a non-twisting headband that allows above-average manhandling.
The headband is self-adjusting hence acceptable to various head sizes. To add on to comfort, the soft circumaural earmuffs allow adequate airflow to lower the chances of heating. The overall feel qualifies as lightweight to allow long hours of wearing without fatigue.
The headphones come with a 3m plug-in cable supported by 3.5mm stereo plug and a 6.3mm screw-on adapter to cater for the adventure ahead. That allows you to connect them to the computer, smartphone, studio equipment, and minidisc.
Sennheiser HD280PRO Headphone
Though standing close to your budget’s cliff, having Sennheiser HD280PRO in the list of best headphones under $100 is a close cheat!
The matte black collapsible headphone commands passionate comfort round the clock with a portable weight of 285g minus the 3m cable. A slight negative, the cable is attached, though replaceable in case of damage; same goes for the earpads and headband padding.
Depending on your taste for gaming characters, HD280PRO’s overall look point to something robotic in nature.
Being a close-back, the HD280PRO delivers perfect line sound reproduction with decreased ambient noise and no sound leakage courtesy of the around-ear aspect. The earcups swivel for maximum flexibility. That qualifies it for professional monitoring
Status Audio CB-1 Closed-Back Studio Monitor Headphones
Coming in with the famous 50mm drivers, Status Audio CB-1 delivers analytical, neutral sound signature while creating a gigantic sound stage.
You may not have heard much about it at your local gaming or sound stores because the company behind it sells exclusively online to save the marketing dollars and invest in engineering. That explains the headphone’s sound quality and favorable pricing.
So, what’s in the design?
Status Audio CB-1 comes in circumaural design hence average passive noise isolation that favors music lovers, gamers and studio workers. Its adjustable headband accommodates various head sizes and it comes with two detachable cables; coiled and straight with a twist-lock function.
On the outlook, the headphone features authentic gold metal accents, a minimalist design meant for laborious use. That calls for ergonomic – overstuffed memory foam earpads to ensure unquestionable comfort when worn for long hours.
As a traveling companion, Studio Audio CB-1 collapses into a small package occupying lesser space than a majority of its competitors. But it doesn’t come with a travel case.
Though it may not beat AT-M50x or Sennheiser, it meets and exceeds the industry’s expectations earning a seat among the best headphones under $100.
Grado SR80e Prestige Series Headphones
No offense but in these days of mass production of headphones in China, it is forgivable to assume everything must be produced there; not the Grado headphones.
Built-in South Brooklyn in the USA, each headphone is handcrafted in the family-owned company, Grado Labs that has been running since 1953. But that’s not all; the company drives sales through word-of-mouth catching the attention of the likes of Neil Young, a Canadian singer-songwriter and American rock band, Aerosmith.
With such focus, Grado SR80e delivers top-of-the-class sound quality; very clear, large stage presentation without exceeding your $100 budget.
A compromise, however, is seen on the adjustable, soft vinyl headband, it isn’t padded. But that shouldn’t worry you; its overall weight can’t even hurt a bald head.
To compensate, its earmuffs are large and comfortable, making hearing efficient. The earmuffs are removable and replaceable and the earcups swivel up to 360 degrees. Being an open-back, you can eavesdrop on the conversation going on around you without interfering with your music.
Grado SR80 gives you the audiophile experience at a budget!
LyxPro HAS-10 Closed Back Over-Ear Professional Studio Monitor &Mixing Headphones
LyxPro HAS-10 is a lightweight headphone whose design has the perfect balance of functionality and design. Unlike most low priced headphones, it favors people who wear eyeglasses despite its over-ear feature.
To guarantee long hours of comfortable wearing, the headband and earpads are fitted with leather paddings and the latter swiveling 180 degrees.
Though LyxPro HAS-10 has wireless and detachable-wired brothers going for under $100, this particular make comes with a single-sided straight 3m cable attached.
If you are into lower bass frequencies, LyxPro HAS-10 doesn’t come with that feature hence may not favor gamers. But for music lovers who aren’t bass-intrigued, the sound quality is worth every cent spent.
You are also assured of privacy when traveling or listening to your favorite music courtesy of the closed-back feature.
Philips SHP9500 HiFi Precision Stereo Over-ear Headphones
The most unique aspect of Philips SHP9500 besides the big brand name is the sound stage it commands. It’s viewed as the king in this domain, something you won’t have a problem experiencing courtesy of the 50mm neodymium drivers delivering full-spectrum sound on any music genre.
Above that, it’s equipped with breathable ear cushion to provide comfort during long hours of pain and pleasure. The cushion is fixed though, making it difficult to clean.
Philip SHP9500’s open-back feature allows you to stay in touch with your surroundings while the 3m detachable cable gives you adequate freedom to answer the door at ease.
COWIN E7 Active Noise Cancelling Bluetooth Headphones
To free you from wires and still deliver uncompromised sound quality, COWIN E7 Bluetooth headphones come to your rescue as yet another fine headphone under $100.
Its 600Mah replaceable battery gives you 30 hours playtime with every 4-hour recharge without over-interfering with its weight. Besides enjoying your music, COWIN high-quality microphone and NFC technology allow you to answer calls hands-free.
Call answering, volume adjustment, Active Noise cancellation ON/OFF and tuning controls are all on the headphones. The absence of a stand by audio cable means you can’t afford to run out of juice though.
The 40mm drivers deliver clean bass and crisp percussion; world-class performance, through the around-ear professional protein earpad with 90 degrees swiveling earcups. This assures you of long-wearing and guaranteed longevity. It comes in 5 different colors; black, blue, purple, red and white.
COWIN headphones aren’t collapsible but the sleek design; padded headband, soft earmuffs, and easy adjustability, as well as presence of a travel case, covers for that.
Tao Tronics Active Noise Cancelling Headphones (2019 Upgrade)
Yet another culprit employing Bluetooth connectivity is the Tao Tronics ANC headphones. Built with 40mm drivers, the headphones assure you of high fidelity audio with powerful bass for 30 hours non-stop.
If that worries you about comfort, COWIN’s headband is adjustable and the super-soft protein covered ear cups swivel up to 90 degrees.
The built-in microphone guarantees unmatched quality hand-free calls even in the noisiest surroundings whenever your smartphone is paired with the headphones
Employing Active Noise Cancellation, COWIN nullifies ambient noise giving you the privacy you desire when flying or commuting. You have five colors to choose from; black, blue, pink, red and silver not to mention a beautiful travel case though the headphones aren’t collapsible.
From this list, Technology guarantees that the best headphones under $100 are crafted with you in mind, and not the almighty brand names to sell.