Here is a list of some of the best headphones you could purchase for under $100, to make your selection process a little less scary.
WHAT DO HEADPHONES MEAN FOR YOU?
What do headphones mean to you? It’s a good question. It’s important to be able to answer this before you decide to go out looking for a pair, as you’ll want to know what you need the most out of them. Are they a part of your outfit, are they something they something that you use for work, are they for excersing or just for everyday use? These are all key aspects involved in the process of purchasing your very own pair of headphones.
With the amount of headphones that you are going to find out there and on our list of top 15 best headphones under 100 dollars in 2018, the choices are plenty. It’s at times very difficult to make your mind up when you are bombarded with so many different products, that is why lists like this exist. We have made a selection of the top 15 best headphones under 100 dollars to help narrow down the few that we think are a step above the rest. In the list are headphones that are better suited for comfort, some for sound quality, some for their design and some for their price. Whatever the case make sure that what you find matches your criteria when looking for your pair.
IS IT SOUND QUALITY?
Whether you seek a pair of headphones for professional use or just enjoy the genuine quality of sound over other characteristics there are headphones that can achieve this goal, even under 100 dollars. Although they might not be on par with some of the headphones that range from 200 dollars and above they can still be very good. The value of the product is not always necessarily equivalent to the cost of the product. Keep that in mind when looking as prices do vary drastically in some cases.
Some headphones are open back and some are closed back this is one aspect that changes the way headphones sound considerably. Open back headphones tend to have a lot less emphasis on bass and are best suited for genres like classical music or jazz. They create a bigger sound stage and a more three dimensional sound. Although often these headphones let a lot of sound leak through. Despite this they truly are great for these genres. If on the other hand you are looking for with good bass to pump you up when listening to some hip hop, RnB or dubstep, then closed back headphones are the ones for you.
These things have significant influence over the sound of the music so make sure you know what you are going for and what you prefer. Another thing to watch out for is whether or not you are looking for professional headphones or casual ones. There are headphones that have more clarity than others and this helps when working on making your own music to find and hone in on some particular sounds that are being played. Otherwise this might not be as important and you’d maybe rather just want something more intense with a stronger bass.
ARE YOU PLANNING TO USE YOUR HEADPHONES FOR LONG PERIODS OF TIME?
If you are someone who needs to use or likes to use their headphones often than it is smart to pick a pair that is comfortable enough for prolonged use. There are many variations of materials and padding use to cover the ear cups and headband. Some are comfortable and some less so. Some headphones have a really strong clamping force that holds them in place over your head which can be bad if it’s not compensated for with adequate padding. So This can be very important as some headphones although they sound great could be a pain to wear for longer periods.
One thing to watch out for here is the size of the ear cups. You want to avoid anything that is too small because the chances are they won’t properly cover your ear. This is bad for two reasons, one, you won’t have the best isolation of sound and two they can get very uncomfortable.
ARE YOU GETTING THEM FOR THEIR DESIGN OR BRAND NAME?
If you like a certain brand enough to buy a pair of headphones just solely based on the brand or design than this is ok too. Although when taking this into account you must be aware that could be effectively throwing some other things down the drain. Some well known brands might not have headphones as good as others just because they are a big brand. In the end though, a decision based on design like the others is subjective and this is your choice than bite into it whole heartedly and forget what anyone else thinks.
Whoever you are and whatever you are looking for make sure you give a look at these headphones, because there is a high likeliness that you can find what you are looking for, here on the list of top 15 best headphones under 100 dollars in 2018 before busting out your wallet and pulling anymore money out. So take your time, get your head wrapped around a certain idea and move forward. If you don’t find something here, there are many options more to explore.
Either way lets step into our list of top 15 best headphones under 100 dollars in 2018 and start looking at what we’ve got in store for you today.
BEST HEADPHONES UNDER $100
BOSE SOUNDTRUE AROUND-EAR WIRED HEADPHONES
The best pair of headphones in this list would be the Bose Sound True 2. Behind this amazing pair of headphones is an even more impressive and prestigious brand. Bose has been around for years and is one of the strongest competitors in the sound industry. Few brands associate quality of sound to their products as well as Bose does. With all that said the Bose Sound True 2, out of the box comes with a hard case shell, something that you don’t get with most headphones in this price range as well as a cable with a microphone and keys for changing volume and skipping tracks.
The headphones themselves come in two colors, black and navy blue. Both come across stunningly. The surface of the headphones is done in a matt finish and the Bose logo is on the outside of the ear cups. There is plenty of padding on the sides to optimize them for maximum comfort. The ear cups are shaped slightly more ovular than the Bose Sound True’s were and on the inside of the cups are the two large letters L and R, denoting which side is for which ear. These headphones are extremely comfortable and will prove almost no problem when listening to them over longer periods of time. This makes them great for casual everyday use. They are very flexible although the plastic on them does not seem very durable. But the feel of the plastic could be deceiving as they can take quite a bit of stress when flexing and still be alright. So handle them a little more gently but you shouldn’t have to worry all too much.
The region where their dominion reigns is definitely in the department of sound. The clairvoyance of vocals is absolutely stunning when listing to music. They perform great in almost all genres but really shine in the tracks that focus on vocals and acoustical instruments. The bass is well emphasized but it’s not over powering and although they are loud they do not distort the sound, even when played at their maximum volume. So turn up the sound freely and worry not for the sound quality, just don’t forget your ears. They are great for gaming but not so much in the area of professional mixing. So keep this in mind if your intentions were of a professional nature.
So in general, they are a little more expensive but what you are getting with these headphones more than makes the difference in the cost. They sound great and are comfortable, so you can get the maximum out of your enjoyment with them. With a pair of headphones that stands behind a great company you can be sure you are getting your money’s worth when you get these headphones and would highly recommend them.
Advantages and Disadvantages:
Sound amazing, especially for vocals
The plastic does not feel too durable
JBL E40BT WHITE HIGH-PERFORMANCE WIRELESS ON-EAR BLUETOOTH STEREO HEADPHONE
Up next and in a close finish with Bose comes the JBL Synchros E40BT. They too are a great pair of headphones, but with only a few minor weaknesses that put it a little behind of its competition.
The first thing to note with these headphones is that they are wireless and this means a whole bunch easier to use. With no cable dangling around your neck and down your chest their portability really makes them more hassle free for use. The headphones come with rechargeable lithium batteries which can provide more than enough juice for 16 hours of listening time. This is very decent battery life that should last you an entire intercontinental flight or long road trip. The headphones also come with a cable for direct audio in the case that you would rather go down this path.
Now, the JBL Synchros E40BT come with a few in built features that are unique to them, namely the ShareMe Synchros music sharing feature that allows two Synchros JBL headphones to listen to the same song on one phone by connecting together. This is great for watching a movie together when traveling or just for showing off some tracks to your friends.
The build quality of the headphones is the only troubling area with them, the plastic feels cheap and they are far from flexible. They struggle to wrap around the head properly and seem like they are going to snap for people with bigger heads. This is a little upsetting for a brand as big as JBL and a little more was expected in this regard. Although this is the case, it is not to say they don’t adjust at all to variable head sizes, they have size adjusters on the sides that move the cups up and down and can accommodate most sizes.
The design of the headphones is classic JBL design with the silver rims on the ear cups around a big JBL logo. They are mainly black, apart from the silver on the cups. The padding on the cups is soft and fits nicely on the ear, providing high levels of comfort over variable durations of time. The padding on the headband is also suitably comfortable. The ear cups aren’t too big but the clamping force isn’t too strong so they don’t get too bothersome.
The ear cups feature an array of buttons on the outside shell, with buttons dedicated for tuning the volume, pausing, playing and skipping your music and a button for the sharing of music. With all these additional buttons the headphones really are diverse.
Coming to the sound, this is where these headphones leave a lasting impression. Once you try them on you won’t want to take them off. They sound fantastic! They are well toned for all genres of music, the highs are clear enough for picking off symbols and the high hats come out great. The sound comes from two 40 mm drivers that capture the full spectrum of sound. The bass and low tones are just good enough to give a great listening experience for hip hop, RnB and dubstep, while still being adequate enough for classical music too.
When all the cards are on the table, these headphones are amazing for the sacrifice of some reduced flexibility and materials that don’t look so durable. For what you are getting and for the price, this seems like an acceptable tradeoff, although these things could be worked upon in the future.
Advantages and Disadvantages:
Long lasting battery life
Not very flexible
Build quality is questonable
RHA S500 ULTRA-COMPACT NOISE ISOLATING ALUMINIUM IN-EAR HEADPHONE
For those of you who love or at least prefer using earphones to the headphones counterpart than these are the ones for you. If you are also looking for something that won’t cost you much and still be decent than these earphones will do more than just that. For a measly 40 USD they come with a three year warranty, six pairs of ear pieces with a lot of size options and a fabric mesh carrying pouch. This is already a lot considering their price. The cable is a little different than the usual cable build, they’ve braided the cable from the split of the headphones down to the input jack. This increases their durability and makes your otherwise cheaper choice of headphone last even longer than most others.
The build quality is something that has definitely seen a lot of attention on the RHA S500. The ear pieces are made of aluminum and provide even more durability than other products. Don’t let their lightweight fool you, they haven’t been given a 3 year warranty for nothing, there must clearly be a lot of faith placed in these earphones.
Ear pieces are great for using when running, working out or travelling around. They don’t get in the way much and they won’t mess your hair up either. The cable length is more than long enough to accommodate most sizes. The only downfall to the headphones is that while they work perfectly for all Apple devices they are known to cause problems with android phones. Keep this in mind when going after them.
The sound quality is probably the thing you’re wondering the most about. Are they good considering the fact that there isn’t space for a huge driver? Well yes and no. They are great, they actually produce quite decent bass and sound rather good, but they are not going to leave you in awe. On the other hand though, if you are looking for something cheaper to have, than they are more than good enough. For their asking price you are going to have a really hard time find anything better. The mid range tones are the ones who suffer the most, being left in the dark a little but the sound is still quite clear and the highs and treble are really emphasized well. They are trending a little more towards a mainstream direction of musical genres but they work good enough for classical music and vocals too.
In general for 40 USD and for someone on the go, looking for a quick buy and a small investment, this is the thing for you.
Advantages and Disadvantages:
Come with a 3 year warranty
Come with lots of accessories
The sound quality could be improved on
SAITHECHI ALUMINUM WIRELESS HEADPHONES
Straight out of the box the headphones come with a boom. Their look is captivating, unique and really classy. They look very fancy and really stand out. The build is almost entirely aluminum with the exception of the headband that has been covered with padding. The aluminum gives a washed, clean look that only enhances their appeal. As you would expect the build quality is very durable, although they could be a little more flexible. The ear cups are not very large but the leather padding is soft and plush. The Saithechi aluminum wireless headphones come in three colors, silver, gold and space grey.
They are wireless which is a great bonus because they are paired with an excellent battery life of around 20 hours of intense use. Wireless connectivity is already useful enough but with the long lasting battery life you can expect more time using them than charging them, which is a huge factor to consider. The signal strength is great ranging up to 15 meters.
Although the Saithechi aluminum wireless headphones are wireless they do come with a cable as well. The aux cable is adequate in length and includes a microphone and button. The button can be used to skip tracks by pressing the button quickly and the volume can be tuned by pressing and holding the button in. Apart from the button on the cable, the headphones feature a series of buttons on the outer side of the earpieces. The buttons are also for navigating through the controls of tuning the volume and skipping tracks, as well as powering the headphones on or off. The outer side of the ear pieces also has a port for a micro USB used for charging the headphones.
Comfort is a slight issue with these headphones. The fit is a bit tight and even though they are adjustable they aren’t the best fit. They can become uncomfortable over periods under an hour and this can be quite a nuisance. The ear cups are small and also aren’t helping much, but they are somewhat plush which softens the blow but not enough.
The sound quality is great for someone looking to use them for a casual everyday experience. They aren’t quite as intended for professional use. Their mid range tones are not too immersive but they aren’t terrible. They still sound great and offer a lot of enjoyment but with the issue of comfort this could be a little bothersome. The bass is emphasized somewhat and they seem to move towards the genre of EDM but are still decent for other genres. They are also good for gaming.
In summation the headphones look epic. They are definitely something people will be looking at and wondering where you got them, but they lack on the side of comfort. Think carefully whether or not this is an issue you can put up with. Otherwise they are a great choice for everyday casual listening and sufficient breaks between listening can be more than enjoyable.
Advantages and Disadvantages:
Good signal strength for the wireless connectivity
Not very comfortable
GRADO SR80E PRESTIGE SERIES HEADPHONES
We have come across these headphones before in one of our other lists for best open back headphones and we meet them again here, on our list of top 15 best headphones under 100 USD.
The Grado SR80e Prestige Series Headphones are a great set of headphones that come from a well established family business that produces them. The company has been running successfully for well over 60 years and their products are all handmade! This level of attention is something almost all other companies and competitors don’t offer. This means two things, your headphones have a higher chance of working longer as they have been checked and tested personally and two, the sound for each pair is tested by the CEO to make sure each pair sounds as it should. This is definitely a step ahead of their competitors who usually mass produce products that are at times faulty.
The headphones don’t look like much, their design is simplistic and nothing fancy but they are unique. The mesh grill over the outside of the earpieces is iconic in the way that the Grado brand ships them. Though they might not look all that fancy they are both durable and flexible. They are adjustable and they will fit all head sizes.
The headphones are quite comfortable. The headband does not have any padding, instead it’s replaced with a thin leather strap. The ear cups are made of foam and nothing special, but the headphones are very light weight and they don’t rest on your head too much. The clamping force is also not that noticeable and this means that they won’t be to bothersome when wearing and even with the reduced attention to padding they are still very comfortable.
The headphones are open back which means that they do produce some audio leak when being listened to but it’s not too bad. This also means that you shouldn’t be expecting a high emphasis on the bass. They are in general aimed more towards genres like classical music, jazz, blues, really anything that does not focus mainly on bass and rather on acoustics. In this genre they do great. They have an excellent sound stage and are very clear. The music sounds to be coming from all around you and one can really find them self immersed in the experience. Although they are not great all round headphones for all genres they do great for the genre they are built for. Also the fact that they are open back means that you will be able to hear your surroundings a lot better. This is great for those who like this sort of thing or are crossing the street.
The headphones are a little more costly coming in at 99 USD, but they are handmade and they do sound fantastic. So if you are looking for a pair of open back headphones, then look no further.
Great sound stage
Sound immersion is fantastic
They are handmade!
Not all round headphones for all genres
Do have some audio leak
Could be more comfortable
SKULLCANDY GRIND BLUETOOTH WIRELESS ON-EAR HEADPHONES
As the name would suggest these are the wireless variant of the Skullcandy Grind. The wireless connectivity feature is a very important and beneficial factor when looking at the portability of headphones today. Skullcandy makes a lot of headphones that are aimed at a younger target market and display a wide variety of colors in the design of their headphones. Out of the box the headphones come with mirco USB charging cable, a 3.5mm headphone jack for direct audio contact via the cable and some booklets for the user manual and warranty information.
The Skullcandy Grind wireless headphones look very attractive and are not over the top. They come in a wide variety of colors, including black/tan or grey amongst others. The black and tan pair looks very contemporary and stylish with the headband being tan while the rest is dominantly painted black. There is a subtle Skullcandy logo engraved on the side of the headband that is the only logo or branding that can be found on the headphones. All in all they look great and really stand out well without being over dramatic in colors.
The build quality is very decent. The headband is made of metal and is very durable allowing for a lot of flexibility. The plastic feels a bit fragile but looks are deceiving in this case as they are rather durable and seem to be able to handle lots of stress. There are some buttons on the right hand ear piece on the outer side that are used for answering calls and controlling some key features like tuning the volume and skipping through tracks. The buttons look great and are also finished in black. Next to the buttons is also the port for the micro USB charging and the audio input.
The audio quality is great and the volume gets pretty loud. The downside to the high volume means that some of the high hats are a tad harsh at times but at a volume setting of about 75 percent this disturbance is greatly reduced. The background sounds are as sharp as the vocals which really come through clearly and make for a very enjoyable listening experience. The bass is decent and makes a good backdrop for everything else.
The headphones are a little less comfortable as the ear cups are on ear, meaning your ear has direct contact with the entirety of the ear piece. Otherwise it’s not as bad as one might think and they can be used for about an hour before they get a little irritating.
The connectivity is quite impressive with a range of around 9 meters, with the connectivity passing through walls as well. The battery life is also good and they can last to about 12 hours at 75 percent volume and 11 hours or 11 and a half hours at full volume.
So in summation for the price of 59 USD, these Skullcandy Grind wireless headphones are a bargain. Considering that their greatest flaw is their comfort, they still look amazing and sound above average.
Advantages and Disadvantages:
Not too expensive
Good wireless connectivity
Could be more comfortable
SENNHEISER HD 429 S HEADPHONES
Sennheiser is a big brand and one that often seems to find its way amongst our lists. This is due to the high quality of comfort that their products provide coupled with good audio at a price that appeals to the regular consumer. The Sennheiser HD 429 are no different in this sense.
The headphones reflect the classic Sennheiser look with the large ear cups and the Sennheiser logo imprinted on them. They are in majority black in color with a matt finish with the exception of a few silver trims around some of the parts. They are very light weight and come in at around 220 grams. They do not fold in so you will need to make some extra room for them in your bag.
The Sennheiser HD 429’s are surrounded in padding. The headband has a soft strip of padding on the underside for increased comfort when keeping them on your head for longer durations. Apart from this the ear cups offer very plush padding that is both deep and wide. Though the padding looks to be a little tough it’s quite soft and makes these headphones of the most comfortable pairs you can get. You should be able to wear them for hours on end with little to no annoyance encountered.
Out of the box they do not come with much. In fact the only thing you get are the actual headphones, that come with a 3 meter long cable with a 3.5 mm head jack on the other end. The cable is really long and although it might be a bit of a hassle when using it when out walking, it’s great for an indoor experience when you are sitting at your PC or such.
The audio quality features a focused boost of bass that doesn’t just sit there the whole time but rather only jumps in when needed. This is a great feature that means your head won’t hurt from too much listening. The audio is clear and it shows most in the mid to high tones. The Sennheiser HD 429 are great for gaming and really bring explosions and field immersion to life. They cancel the sound out from your surroundings well and allow for an even more intense immersion into your listening experience.
The Sennheiser HD 429 come in at around 70 USD and although they do not come with any accessories, they are still a fantastic pair of headphones that make up the difference of not including anything extra by just being great. They are very comfortable and are truly a pair of headphones worth investing in.
Advantages and Disadvantages:
Does not include any extra accessories
BEATS EP WIRED ON-EAR HEADPHONE
At our number 8 position we have the Beats EP. Beats by Dr Dre has been bought by Apple and these are the first headphones to be produced by Apple. So has Apple done it better now and are the headphones something that we will be more inclined to buy in the future than we have been thus far? Well in general like it is with all headphones, it’s a thing of preference and it comes up to you in the end, but are they objectively better? Yes and no. There are things that standout more than others and some that could still be worked upon.
Out of the box you’re looking at a drawstring, sleek, micro fiber carrying case for the headphones, the headphones themselves and the cable has an in built microphone for speaking over the phone and answering calls. There are a series of buttons on the cable as well for interaction with some of the volume tuning and track skipping commands.
One thing that hasn’t changed much is the wide variety of color options that you can choose from when buying Beats headphones, the Beats EP come in a few colors namely, red, blue, white and black. Design wise the headphones look great, they have the classic contemporary Beats vibe about them, the colors are bright and the branding is subtle and effective. The colors are all followed up with silver metal trimming on the headband. In general they look great. They aren’t very large though and they are quite light weight.
The Beats are not quite as comfortable as they are attractive to look at. The ear cups are soft, but they fall short in size, the ear cups aren’t really big enough to provide that level of comfort that makes them great. Although this being said, they still manage to provide a very decent amount of noise cancellation. The headphones are flexible enough to allow for easy movement around the head, making it very simple to move them off the ear and back on when needed to. The build quality is durable and includes some metal work in the headband that makes them that much more robust. Although the plastic bits do feel breakable they too are pretty sturdy.
The audio quality with the Beats EP as expected still clings close to the emphasis of bass. The headphones have a really underlying low tone and this ranges into the highs as well, but the middle tones can sound a little muddy sometimes and not quite as clear as one might like. Despite this the Beats EP headphones are a great pair when it comes down to genres like hip hop, RnB or EDM. Basically anything that has a focus on bass works great on them, so this is what you want to be using them for. So in general with the good emphasis on bass and the active noise cancellation they can really immerse you into an epic experience of listening to your favorite tracks.
The headphones are a little on the priceier side as is the trend with Beats products, but if you are a fan of the brand and enjoy using their products than the Beats EP will definitely put a smile on your face and at a fraction of the cost of some of the other Beats headphones out there.
Advantages and Disadvantages:
Good audio quality with emphasis on the bass
They look great
Not super comfortable
Not very cheap
BÖHM BLUETOOTH WIRELESS NOISE CANCELLING HEADPHONES
The Bohm Wireless headphones are definitely something different. Straight off the bat they look amazing and unique with their almost all aluminum look that is both durable and amazing to stare at. The headphones come with a black, great looking hard shell carrying case with the Bohm logo on it. The headphones are wireless and have great connectivity that can range up to 10 meters or around 33 feet. The connection is strong within these parameters and connects to phones well. Both Android and Apple users alike will be able to enjoy using this device as it is compatible with both. The battery life is also commendable with 18 hours of talk time or 16 hours of play time that easily overtakes its competitors in this regard. The charging for these headphones takes about 3 hours, so they don’t take too long to charge.
The build quality is durable but don’t force them to flex too much as they are still breakable. They look very lavish and expensive despite their rather low cost and look even better when worn or around your neck. The comfort is satisfactory even though the ear cups aren’t over ear but rather on ear, which means a little more pressure, but nonetheless you can still wear them for hours at a time before they become over bearing. There headband is also covered in padding and it helps to relieve some tension on your head. Considering the long battery life, you’ll want to be using this to your advantage, which means lots of time wearing them.
The Bohm Wireless headphones have a button that toggles between active and deactivated noise cancellation, which really works well and is a noticeable feature of the Bohm Wireless headphones. The sound of the headphones is great, the bass and low tones are brought out well, with the treble and the high hats being where they should and not being over emphasized. The mid tones can get a little muddy at times but otherwise the general sound quality is decent. They sport a 40mm driver according to Audioreputation and they have a big spectrum of frequencies that they can reach, ranging from 20 hertz all the way to 20 000 hertz. Not as high as it goes but definitely high enough that you aren’t missing out on much.
The headphones come with a microphone for conducting phone calls, which by the way sound great over the device and the cable is detachable (obviously) which means if it breaks and you want it replaced it’s not impossible.
All in all the Bohm Wireless headphones look great and sound great. Their battery life is really long the range for your Bluetooth 4.0 connectivity is longer than you’ll ever need it to be. The headphones could be slightly more comfortable though but otherwise they are an amazing piece of tech.
Advantages and Disadvantages:
They look expensive and unique
They sound good
Great battery life
They are lacking somewhat in comfort
SKULLCANDY GRIND ON-EAR HEADPHONES
In our list of top 15 best headphones under 100 dollars we’ve already taken a look at a pair of Skull Candy Grind headphones only that pair was wireless. Now we have the same pair only this one is not wireless and comes at exactly half the price. The question you have to ask yourself is whether or not you are willing to pay the extra 30 dollars that would give you the option of wireless connectivity. If it’s not worth it then you’ve just saved on half the cost.
The Skull Candy Grind headphones are still great even without the wireless connectivity and come in bunch of colors. The color options are, plaid and grey, black and grey, orange and navy, purple, royal blue, gold and brown, navy blue with stripes, white and black or yellow and black. As you can see the color options are plenty and they range from simple to rather eccentric, so you should be able to find the exact pair that fits your style.
The comfort is the same as for the Skull Candy Grind headphones, the cups are on ear so it’s not that great but they can last about an hour before becoming a pain, otherwise until that time they are more than suitable. The padding on the headband isn’t over emphasized but it’s there and offers some extra comfort.
The build quality is not amazing but it’s suitable enough to keep them together and flexible enough to allow for easy fitting on your head, which is more than enough.
The sound quality is mainly focused on the bass which is highly emphasized and the highs. They do have a warm sound to them and the vocals are pretty clear but nothing major. All in all for 30 dollars you aren’t getting a really intense experience but they are more than good enough for the regular consumer. Don’t set your expectations too high and you’ll be just fine.
In summation the Skull Candy Grind are nothing different than their wireless counterpart and the only other major difference is in price, so like we mentioned you need to make your mind up whether or not you need that wireless connectivity or not and once you decide you should be able to know where to go next from there.
Advantages and Disadvantages:
Lots of design and color options
Not the most comfortable pair
SONY MDRZX110NC NOISE CANCELLING HEADPHONES
Sony is a great company and a huge tech brand, that amongst many products also makes really good headphones. Some are obviously better than others and with the approach that Sony took towards the . Sony MDR-ZX110nc headphones, they are definitely not leaning towards the better end. This is not to say that they are terrible only that they have been made with the primary intention of being a lower budget product for the regular consumers. With a degradation in cost headphones are usually stripped of some features that otherwise make them better, in an effort to be cheaper.
When it comes to the comfort of these headphones, it becomes evident that this is one area in which Sony has decided to save some of the money on the production cost. The headphones are not very comfortable. Although they do have padding on the ear cups that otherwise isn’t all too bad, they lack any padding on the headband, which leads to some pretty nasty pains later on. The ear cups are not very large either but they aren’t terribly uncomfortable and they can allow for some 40 minutes of strain free play time.
The build quality is generally plastic and does not feel all to durable. Despite their all plastic build they are actually quite flexible, but we advise you still don’t toy with this too much. The aspect of visual design is an area that Sony has chosen to go down in with classic fashion. The Sony logo on the outside of the ear pieces that have a somewhat glossy feel to them and their classic round shape. It’s not ugly to look, it’s only the choice of material that makes them look cheaper than they are. Another clear area where Sony has made draw backs to the headphones for the sake of production costs.
Now coming the sound quality, this is where the Sony MDR-ZX110nc take back a bit of their lost glory. The Sony MDR-ZX110nc feature an active noise cancellation feature that can be either activated or deactivated by choice of the user. The active noise cancellation is truly done well and creates a pretty solid bubble of immersion when listening to your tracks in a loud surrounding. It can successfully drown out even the most irritating and loudest of noises. The headphones are also bass intensive focusing on this in the majority of their playback time and really pump up genres like RnB, hip hop or Dubstep. If these are your genres then you are going to have some fun with these headphones. The highs are also pretty well done and don’t come off too high to pierce your eardrums rather roll off the top. The sound is pretty warm and they will definitely give you a pleasant listening experience.
The battery life is about 40 to 60 hours depending on the batteries you opt to buy, but it would be advisable to go for some lithium rechargeable batteries just for the sake of not having to worry about when they’re going to run out.
In conclusion the headphones are cheap but the focus has clearly been shifted towards the quality of the audio feedback which is completely understandable from some standpoints. So if you are looking for something cheaper and aren’t ready to pay 100 dollars for a pair of headphones than the Sony MDR-ZX110nc might be the pair for you.
Advantages and Disadvantages:
Great noise cancellation
Not very expensive
Not too comfortable
KINIVO URBN PREMIUM BLUETOOTH WIRELESS HEADPHONES
Coming in at our number 12 position in the top 15 best headphones under 100 dollars we have the Kinivo URBN headphones. They are a strange pair of headphones indeed and that is something you can determine just by looking at them. They aren’t made by a big brand company but they aren’t that bad at all considering.
The look is very different from some of the other headphones we’ve looked at so far and this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes it nice to be different and with these headphones you are definitely advocating a specific look or style. Their blocky and urban design are to thank for their unique visual appeal. They come in a range of colors including red.
The build quality is in majority plastic and do feel slightly cheap as the plastic does give off a vibe that doesn’t exactly advocate durability. This being said they are still very flexible and are easily adjustable to fit all head sizes. They fold in to allow for easy storage and don’t take up too much space.
The comfort has been catered to when it comes to the Kinivo URBN. There is sufficient padding in all areas that one would need the padding. The force induced by the pressure of wearing the headphones is not very high and so is quite tolerable. The padding on the ear cups is on ear but it’s not that bad as the clamping force is not too big. Although the headphones could have gone for a different approach and perhaps put deeper, plush ear cups this is not a complete necessity. The headphones will more than comfortably give you hours of enjoyment without being a strain.
The audio quality is not too bad, the headphones feature two 40mm drivers on each earpiece that provide a wide spectrum of frequencies that are best taken advantage of if the headphones are connected to an amp. The bass is good, the mid tones are a little muddy, but the low and high tones come out alright and the sound is far from bad. They are enjoyable to listen to and with the higher level of comfort that they offer, this is more than possible over longer durations.
The headphones are also wireless with a 4.1 Bluetooth connection with NFC for easy one touch pairing with devices. The Kinivo URBN is compatible with most any Bluetooth devices and has a decent range. The headphones have a good battery life of about 20 hours and come with lithium ion rechargeable batteries. This is really good battery life and will easily last you an intercontinental flight or longer road trip before dying out.
In a final summation the headphones pull more towards the side of comfort and design than anything else but in our opinion successfully. The sound quality could be somewhat improved upon but otherwise is tolerable. The price tag is a bit more on the budget heavy side, which is why it hasn’t placed any better in our list. If you don’t mind spending a bit extra though on this unique looking pair of headphones than it might definitely be the one you’re looking for.
Advantages and Disadvantages:
Good battery life of about 20 hours
They look very unique
The sound quality isn’t the best and the mid tones are a little muddy
They are a bit more expensive than they should be
SKULLCANDY UPROAR BLUETOOTH WIRELESS ON-EAR HEADPHONES
We have another pair of Skull candy headphones in our list of 15 best headphones under 100 dollars and this time we are looking at the Skull candy Uproar model. There has been a lot of headphones coming from this brand that fit into this category and it’s mainly due to their cost factor. These headphones are not the best when considering their impact on the sound industry but they do look great and offer many different color variations at a rather low cost. For this reason they have formed some sort of popularity and many people tend to go for them for their cheap and often reliable nature. So keep this in mind when going for your pair of Skull Candies and don’t expect a huge punch in the department of audio quality but rather something that you can use on a daily basis for your casual listening.
In terms of design the Skull candy Uproar is even more minimalistic than the Skull Candy Grind although they do share some similarities in their visual appearance. The look is simple and not over the top, but it’s this simplicity that makes them stand out and considering the sometimes bizarre colors they come in this is a good thing. One thing that Skull Candy headphones always offers is a multitude of different paint jobs and color schemes, so fear not when looking for a suitable pair to match your style or favorite color, you are bound to find one for you.
The build quality is not too impressive but instead satisfactory for the price tag. It finds itself somewhere between just durable enough and a bit worrying at other times, so be careful when bending them and keep in mind that they are not invincible but you don’t have to be too gentle. The build is basically all plastic and the material feels rather cheap, which can be deduced by their light weight and the feel of the plastic.
The comfort is not bad, but again we are looking at on ear headphones which tend to be a bit more painful in the long run. Although this is not particularly the case with the Skull candy Uproar headphones, they can become a bit overbearing if used for long periods. The padding is soft and there is some on the headband but it’s still not completely adequate.
The sound is mainly focused on bass and tends to work better to genres that work around bass intensive music like hip hop, RnB and dubstep. The vocals are clear to an extent but nothing that impresses much. The low tones are definitely the best part about the experience and they work pretty well for gaming. They create an effective three dimensional space when playing games and give some awareness of where the sound is originating from.
In the end it comes down to personal preference. The headphones are not too expensive and look great, if you don’t mind that they aren’t the best sounding pair out there but rather prefer them for their look then maybe they are the ones for you.
Advantages and Disadvantages:
Come in a lot of colors
They are averagely comfortable
They are not the cheapest considering their set of characteristics
The sound quality is nothing that will leave you in awe
STATUS AUDIO CB-1 CLOSED BACK STUDIO MONITOR HEADPHONES
The Status Audio CB-1 headphones look similar to a lot of headphones, perhaps reminding us most of the Audio Technica brand of headphones with the ring like design of the ear cups or maybe some of Sony’s headphones. This is not a bad thing because they still have their unique attributes about them while looking like headphones we already like the look of.
Out of the box the headphones come with two cables, one coiled and one straight and both are detachable. This is a great bonus because in the case of the cable losing contact you don’t need to replace the entire headset rather just the cable, which unfortunately some headphones don’t offer. The other bonus is the addition of the coiled cable, they are very useful to have and can make a huge difference between a 3m long cable that drags on the floor and a 3m cable that hangs loosely around your lower torso.
The build quality is questionable and they don’t feel too expensive or durable. They are pretty flexible though and they will fit all heads comfortably. The clamping force is slightly above average but the large amounts of padding compensate well for this factor.
The Status Audio CB-1 offer loads of padding and have clearly taken to making sure your experience using them is an enjoyable one. They have deep, plush, ear cups that surround the ear and keep it far from the bottom of the cup. The extra head padding on the headband is more than suitable to handle the force exerted on the top of your head by the weight of using the headphones.
The sound quality is generally not bad, but it’s not entirely memorable either. They offer decent amounts of bass response and have a wide range of frequencies offered by the impressive 50mm drivers, but somehow they still fall short of their effectiveness in terms of audio feedback. The mid tones sound a bit muddy and the high hats have a tendency of sometimes being a bit too intense. They are pretty good at sound isolation though and will definitely have you feeling segregated from your surroundings.
In general if you’re taking these headphones, you’re more likely to pick them based on their comfort than anything else. They do look good though and will definitely be more than enough for casual users but for those looking for a bigger impact in the area of sound quality they might leave you feeling a tad disappointed.
Advantages and Disadvantages:
Come with bonus accessories
Could do with some improvement on the sound
AUDIO-TECHNICA ATH-AX1ISBL SONICFUEL OVER-EAR HEADPHONES
Finally we have a look at a product from Audio Technica, specifically the Audio Technica ATH-AX1. The headphones first off look great and yet they are very simplistic. They come in a variety of colors, including black, red, white, blue and grey. The different color choices also change the color of the material on the inside of the ear cups which is a nice little design feature that makes them stand out a little more. The look is contemporary and features the classic Audio Technica logo on the outer side of the ear cups. The headphones also include a microphone that is attached to the cable for answering calls and interacting with your smart phones, tablets and the such.
The build quality is nothing to yaw in awe at, but they are decent enough to endure some fair amounts of flexing. Still don’t play around with this too much. They are in majority made of plastic and they are overall light in weight. They do fold in though and allow for easy storage in backpacks.
The headphones aren’t all too comfortable despite the padding that has been offered generously on the ear cups as they have no padding on the headband. This unfortunately leads to some pain on the top of the head after some time of using them. It is quite strange that there was no padding in this area as most headphones offer some form of it here, but considering the low cost of these headphones, the reasoning is justified.
The sound quality is something to look forward to though and the headphones have a nice bass backdrop that doesn’t overlay on the mid tones but instead creates a nice contrast between the tones. The Audio Technica ATH-AX1 are mainly good for genres that are bass heavy like dubstep and will perform best in these areas. They isolate sound pretty well and do not leak much. The drivers are 36mm and don’t offer the widest spectrum of frequencies but still pack a punch.
In general if you’re buying these headphones than you are most likely doing so for their low cost and their above average quality of music. After all these headphones will only cost you in the region of about 25 dollars so you can’t expect much in terms of build quality but at least you are getting your moneys worth in sound quality.
Advantages and Disadvantages:
Sound more than decent for their asking price
Not very comfortable
SO TO CAPITALIZE ON SOME OF THE MOST IMPORTANT ASPECTS
After looking through our list of top 15 best headphones under 100 dollars in 2018, you will have noticed the general focus and a couple of key areas. These would notably be the following:
- Sound Quality
- Build Quality
The first area and in most cases perhaps the most important of the key areas is the price and how much we are willing to give for a certain pair of headphones and whether or not that figure is worth what we are getting in return. There are many brands and different headphones that we have looked at through this list of top 15 best headphones under 100 dollars in 2018 and many are good and some are fantastic. Despite this even the ones that are roughly equal in their capacity to satisfy all of our wants they still differ in price and sometimes substantially. These cases could be the cause of higher grade of materials used in production, better or more accessories or just the royalties of a brand. Whatever the case you must realize which of these things you consider the most important and base your purchase based on this. This is a sure way that you are buying what you need and like in one go.
The look is another key aspect that affects the process of decision making greatly. You obviously want something that looks while in turn satisfying your style. Well this list goes through a large array of headphones that range from the bizarre color schemes of the Skull Candy Uproar to the simplistic and retro look of the Grado Prestige Series. Meaning that whatever your fancy in terms of visual appearance you are bound to find something to match your style. Prioritize what is more important for you when purchasing headphones and work based on that principle and you will soon find your pair.
Almost all the headphones featured in this list have some form of padding or cushioning that softens the pressure on your head and ears. Some more so than others and some more effectively than others. What makes a pair more comfortable than another? A question most of you might be asking yourselves. Well as you would have seen going through the list some headphones have different variations of padding on the ear cups. Some are deep and wide with soft, plush padding while some are a little more rugged like the on ear variants. The thing it boils down to is whether or not the chosen type of padding is enough to compensate for the clamping force and weight of the headphones, if it is than your experience will be enjoyable if not then it’s just a matter of time before the pain kicks in. So if you don’t think that comfort is too important or aren’t too bothered you might want to rethink your decision as there is nothing worse than enduring through pain to hear the best part of your song.
Some of the headphones in this list are open back and this straight off the bat will make a huge imapct on the way the headphones sound and the type of genres that they are more inclined for. Open back headphones are generally intended more for songs that don’t focus much on the bass and as such don’t really sound too good when playing things like hip hop, RnB, dubstep or EDM. They are instead more for acoustic covers, classical music, jazz and rock. Apart from this when looking at the closed back headphones you are going to want the headphones that are best suited all round to play all types of genres effectively. This way if you choose to suddenly play some jazz and then afterwards skip over to hip hop, you won’t realize the difference in quality. This important as you are getting more out of your headphones. Some though are just fantastic for bass intensive songs and have great sound isolation and might be poor in terms of some more classical genres. In this case it comes down to your personal preference and choosing the ones based on your taste of music.
Finally you are going to want something that isn’t going to break easily and that will be able to endure perhaps years of torture. They should be flexible enough to allow for easy maneuvering on and off the ears and around your neck. This could be especially important for DJ’s who often need to move them around. Apart from just DJ’s everyone wants to know that when they pack their headphones into their bags they will find them in the same state that they put them in. In this case it is important to keep this aspect of headphones in mind as there is nothing worse than spending your hard earned money on a pair of brand new headphones just to have them break.
THE MANY DIFFERENT TYPES OF HEADPHONES
There are now many types of headphone, also dubbed electroacoustic transducers which serve to transfer an electric signal into a matching sound in the ear of the designated user. These devices which serve for listening are also dubbed earphones, earbuds, earspeakers (even cans). They are made in an assortment of different quality and capabilities for audio reproduction. They have several features, some of which are: impedance (or the measure of the resistance of circuit to current at the moment of the application of voltage), and sensitivity (the measure of how efficiently an earbud transforms an electrical signal which is incoming into a sound which is audible).
Here is a list of headphones, but not in the order of quality, as not one of them is the best.
These types of earpieces were a huge development which had been, up to their introduction, dominated by large and bulky headphones. They are small, easy to carry and give a good sound quality for the price.
These headphones are at the height of popularity at the moment, due to many smartphone makers including them in the box the smartphone comes in. They offer a light weight and good sound for a low price.
This type of headphone is placed over the ear and it can be used indoors or outdoors. Lightweight headphones of newer types have the capacity to be able to be folded and are basically easy to use. In fact, when they are used outdoors, they don’t isolate the noise so well due to the nature of their design.
These have ear cups that cover the entire ear. Also, these kinds of headphones are designed to be used mainly at home.
As its very name suggests, these headphones are placed inside the ear, so the sound quality is good as well as the isolation from external noise, but they should not be used for long periods of time, due to possible health issues.
There are 3 types of wireless headphones, and these are the following: infrared, radio frequency and Bluetooth. Being wireless, they are easy to take everyplace but you must bear in mind remember that when the battery dies, there is no more music and the sound quality is not as good as with other sorts of headphones
SOME ATTRIBUTES OF HEADPHONES
With the increase in popularity of ear buds and in-ear headset and their wide usage in every place imaginable, a problem occurred for some users whilst they were carrying out their activity, and consequently manufacturers created the clip-ons, which can be water resistant for those who are doing some physical activities, as in that case the ear buds or in-ear phones will not risk falling out of the ear.
With these headphones, the wires are at the back of the neck so they are not hanging in the front of us. In fact, they can be wireless and support Bluetooth and have become increasingly popular with gym users.
Noise Cancelling Headphones
Now, these earphones are really great for cancelling out external noise, and in fact, in most cases 90% of that noise. They come in two types: active NC (or noise cancelling) and passive NC. You might be wondering how they work? Active noise cancelling headphones work by having a microphone that listens for any external noises and then emits sound waves to this outside noise, thereby cancelling it out.
Here is how Active Noise Cancelling Headsets work: these headphones possess a mike inside that listens to the external noise and sends out sound waves conflicting to the outside noise, hence nullifying it.
These headphones have extra components that normal headphones do not have.
- A microphone that listens for outside noise, such as airplanes, traffic, noise from people close by, any wind noise – basically, any sort of unwanted noise.
- The Noise Cancelling Electronics: the circuitry listens for any unwelcome noise, then copying sound waves that are 180 degrees contrary to the external noise.
- A battery, which powers up the complete circuitry.
They do have a problem, however. Namely, when the battery for the active noise cancelling circuit runs out, they sound extremely cheap. However, it does last for a number of hours before it needs to be recharged.
Noise cancelling headphones are without any sort of electrical circuitry, unlike active noise cancelling headphones. Thus, to stop any external noise impairing your sound experience, they depend on thick stuffing around the earphone itself, thereby reducing the effect of any external noise. They can also be called noise isolating headsets.
And what about passive noise cancelling headphones? With no battery to run out, unlike active noise cancelling headphones, and the loss of sound quality as the cause of the mentioned, passive noise cancelling headphones can save you some time as well as trouble if you forget to charge up the headphones. In fact, the cause of this usage of passive NC headphones is much greater than active NC headphones.
Headsets with a Microphone
With the widespread usage of video conferencing as well as Skype, there has occurred a large increase for the need for headphones with a microphone. They basically come in two kinds of headphones with a microphone and they can also be called headsets.
Extended Microphone Headsets
These are popular with users of Skype or gamers. As they are mostly meant and designed for talking, and the conversation need to be very clear, they have less bass and more treble so listening to music on them means that the sound quality won’t be very good. As a result, listening to music on them can be quite a painful experience. Also, they use 2 plug connections – one for the mike and the other for the audio.
Inline Microphone Headsets
An inline microphone headset is a type of headphone that has a microphone either built in all along the lines of wires or integrated into the headphones. The cheaper models can capture external noise but quality ones, on the other hand, can reduce external noise.
Mike Nikko is a blogger with over 15 years of experience. I will bring you the best product reviews and other useful life experiences, tips to increase height, tips to improve health… If you have any questions, feel free to ask Mike Nikko!