Quality headphones (as in, ones that fit over your ears, not in them) might seem like a purchase to save for a mega, Black-Friday-level tech sale, but listen to this: That's not actually the case. Some of the best over-ear headphones under $100 are just the best, period. Their budget-friendly price point is solely a sweet perk.
And before you pledge your allegiance to the free earbuds that came with your phone, you should know that there are a few additional benefits to wearing headphones over your ears, including superior comfort — thanks to cushioned pads, which are an overarching spec — and, in some cases, noise-cancelation and Bluetooth technology. It's all about identifying the features that matter most to you, and adding the perfect pair to your Amazon cart.
Lucky for you, I've already done the research for you and compiled a list of the best headphones that ring up under $100, right here. From the best travel headphones to ones for workout wear and, of course, quality wireless options, you'll want to live in a pair on this list. (Just remember to give your ears a break every couple of hours to avoid, you know, damaging your hearing.)
The Overall Best Over-Ear Headphones For Under $100
For just $16, these wired Sony headphones with 30-millimeter multilayer film diaphragms (MLFs) boast major listening power. I've owned this exact white pair for four years — since my college post-production professor recommended them as an affordable alternative to expensive studio headphones — and trust me, they're lightweight and super comfortable for extended wear. Not only is the bass and treble quality on par with pricier models, neither is disrupted by the plush ear pads or easy-to-clean ABS plastic exterior. And if you're someone who loathes untangling your headphone cords, this one features a unique Y-shaped design that won't get tangled. It's no wonder nearly 9,000 people have left five-star reviews on Amazon!
Bottom Line: These Wired Headphones Have Great Specs At An Amazing Price
Bonus: This pair also comes in black ($20), blue ($21), and red ($50). As one satisfied customer worded it, "I almost NEVER write reviews but these headphones are wonderful."
2Runner Up: Another Great Value But With Wireless Capabilities Too
Now, if you want affordable headphones with wireless capabilities, a pair like Riwbox's Bluetooth headphones with up to 13 hours of listening time with each charge will do the trick. They're just under $30 and feature some undeniably cool specs like a lofty 50-millimeter aperture driver for premium sound, a built-in microphone for taking phone calls, and cozy ear pads with a skin-like hand feel.
To sweeten the deal, these headphones have a padded headband and a stainless steel slider so you can easily customize their fit. And if you want to use them wired, that's also an option. The pictured black and gold pair is super trendy, but they're also available in a white and gold option as well as a green and purple one — all for the same price.
3Best For The Gym: Over-Ear Headphones With A Washable Headband
If you're familiar with the discomfort some earbuds can cause mid-workout, then you might want to consider a washable pair of over-ear headphones like the Plattan 2s from Urbanears. Their fabric headband is removable and machine washable, making them super easy to clean along with the rest of your workout attire. As far as their unique design is concerned, expect to fall for Urbanears' 3-D hinge — it literally molds to the shape of your head for long-lasting comfort — as well as other innovative features including a ZoundPlug to connect another pair of headphones and a tangle-free cord with a built-in microphone and remote. They come pre-tuned for a crystal clear listening experience and are collapsible for easy storage in your gym bag. Plus, if the baby blue shade above isn't for you (it is the cheapest), they come eight more stunning shades.
- For an $80 wireless version, check here.
4Best For Travel: Noise-Canceling Headphones With Bluetooth Connectivity
I don't know about you, but when I'm traveling I like to drown out as much noise as possible — especially in always-noisy places like airplane cabins. And a pair of Bluetooth headphones like this one from COWIN is key, as it features a 40-millimeter aperture for next-level sound quality with active-noise-canceling technology that actually makes them healthier to use. Otolaryngologist and founder of MDHearingAid Dr. Sreek Cherukuri told Thrillist that active noise canceling is beneficial, because "we don't have to overcome the background noise and can listen to our music or podcasts at a safer volume." In addition to safer sound quality that lasts up to 30 hours once fully charged, this particular pair — which comes with a vinyl pouch and an 18-month warranty — also features comfy ear pads that swivel 90 degrees and a built-in microphone.
5Best-Looking: Wood-Plated Studio Headphones With Luxurious Hardware
These natural-wood-plated over-ear headphones are super luxe considering their under-$100 price. Their booming acoustics, flexible leather headband, and rectangular (extremely soft) ear pads that rotate up 180 degrees set them apart from the rest of their affordable counterparts. Even more unique? The pictured walnut wood version of SIVGA's headphones, which an Amazon reviewer dubbed "amazing," is the only one with rectangular ear pads. The other two options, rosewood and black, have circular ones. This is also the only pair that comes with a hard carrying case, perfect for storing its three included adapters and cables — including one with a built-in mic.
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