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Published on February 2nd, 2016 | by admin

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Best Headphones Under $100 of 2016

Even though you are not an audiophile, you definitely don’t want to end up with a pair of headphones that don’t deliver high sound quality or are not comfortable. Even more, you don’t want to spend too much on them, right? We know that and we put together a top 7 of the best headphones under $100 so you can choose your favorite.

The best part is that headphones manufacturers understood that modern times ask for modern products. They actually focused their efforts and resources in creating amazing and durable products at an affordable price. So, over the last few years, the market was flooded by great products that not only sound great, they also look and feel great.

7 Best Headphones Under $100 Comparison Chart

PictureModelTypeBackRating
PictureModelTypeBackRating
Audio-Technica-ATH-M40xAudio-Technica ATH-M40xOver-EarClosed4.6
AKG-K240AKG K240Over-EarSemi-Open4.3
Sony-MDR7506Sony MDR7506Over-EarClosed4.6
Sennheiser-RS120Sennheiser RS120On-EarOpen4.1
Grado-Prestige-Series-SR80eGrado Prestige Series SR80eOn-EarOpen4.5
Sennheiser-HD-280Sennheiser HD-280Over-EarClosed4.3
SOL-REPUBLIC-Tracks-HDSOL REPUBLIC Tracks HDOn-EarClosed4.3

How to Choose the Best Headphones Under $100?

There’s absolutely no doubt that you will be able to find some high-quality cans for a few hundred dollars. So, why stick to the low end of the budget? Well, unless you’re a sound engineer or music producer, you don’t have the budget or the availability to invest in headphones. Some need them for working out, others want to watch movies and chat with friends while others simply want to relax with some good music. You shouldn’t be breaking the bank just to enjoy these activities the proper way!

This is why, knowing which the best headphones under $100 are, is very important for most of the people out there. However, first you should know about the various types of models on the market.

Over-Ear or On-Ear

Even though most headphones look the same to the untrained eye, it’s important to understand the difference between over the ear and on ear models. Actually, it’s not that difficult as the main difference is in the size of the ear cup. With over-ear headphones, you will get big ear cups that completely cover the ear and offer great passive noise isolation (for closed back models).

On the other hand, with on-ear models, you get a smaller ear cup that fits on the ear. Because they are smaller, these models can be worn in public with grace. However, the bass is less powerful and the comfort is not as great as with over-ear models.

Closed-Back or Open-Back

While browsing for your next pair of headphones, you might’ve heard about closed and open back. But do you know what this actually means?

The explanation is simple: closed back models have solid shields on the outer side of the ear cup. For instance, the ATH-M40x from Audio-Technica is a good example of a closed back model. The advantage with such headphones is that you can keep the music to yourself. Also, the passive noise isolation is at a superior level.

With open back models, the situation is somehow reversed. The shields on the outer edge of the ear cup have small openings that allow the sound and the air to go through. This way, your ears won’t overheat from wearing the headphones for hours. Even more, the sound is more natural and the experience is more real with this type of headphones. However, you won’t be able to wear them in public since the sound can be heard by people standing close by.

Criteria to Consider

The products included in our best headphones under $100 top were reviewed following a few criteria that we consider the most important. Read on to see the most important features your headphones should have.

Design

The design matters for most of us because no one wants to wear headphones that make you look like an alien. We all want stylish headphones with a beautiful and elegant design that help us look cool. This is one of the reasons why on-ear, closed back headphones are more suitable to wear in public. For watching a movie or playing a game at home, the over-ear, open back models will be just fine.

Comfort

The comfort is even more important than the design. Just think about it: what good would it do to you a pair of beautiful headphones that squeeze your skull and make your ears go numb (or hot)? Even though the budget is not large, you have the right to spend your hard-earned money on a product you can actually use.

As you will see, most of the products in our top support padded headbands and soft ear cushions covered with a leather-like material. Each model was specially designed to meet the best standards of comfort and they won’t bother you with their weight or grip.

Sound Quality

The sound quality goes hand-in-hand with the comfort. After all, you’re looking for the best headphones to listen to your favorite songs. The bass must be clear and punchy, and the high and mid notes must create a perfect balance. Even more, over-ear headphones are great in creating a virtual representation of the used instruments as the drivers are further away from the ear canal. However, not the same happens with on-ear models, where the sound is more direct.

Durability

Even though you are not planning on spending thousands of dollars on your new headphones, you deserve a pair that is both durable and good-looking. Durable doesn’t always mean a sturdy build. All you need is high-quality and resistant materials, accompanied by strong wires that can be replaced in case of need.

Top 7 Best Headphones Under $100

Audio-Technica ATH-M40x

Audio Technica ATH-M40x best headphones under $100Elegant and comfortable, the ATH-M40x headphones from Audio-Technica impress both professionals and amateurs. The design is as simple as it gets, with a predominant black, leather-like material and spiced up by the Audio-Technica logo on the ear cups’ exterior side. Besides being extremely elegant, the padded head band and the thick ear pads create an impression of comfort and flexibility.

Once you put them on, you realize that those ear pads offer more than heavenly comfort. They also offer silence! Due to their thickness and size (over-the-ear), the ATH-M40x offers great passive sound isolation and keeps the music for you. If we consider design and comfort, these are definitely some of the best headphones under $100 you could get!

Now let’s see about audio quality. No, they didn’t disappoint in this area either. The 40 mm drivers are equipped with rare earth magnets and copper-clad aluminum wire voice coils. This means the sound is as natural as it gets, with a punchy bass and crystal-clear mids and highs. Remember that all Audio-Technica headphones must be broken-in. The sound will start to be smoother after about 1 week of usage.

To make things easier, the ear cups can be swiveled around for one ear listening so you can play DJ whenever you want. So, they look comfy, they look good and they sound heavenly. What else could you want? Ah, durability of course! You shouldn’t worry about this as the Audio-Technica is a renowned manufacturer that uses only the best quality materials capable to withstand rough usage. Also, the wire is removable, in case it breaks or deteriorates faster than the headphones.

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AKG K240

AKG K240These are definitely some beautiful looking headphones! We absolutely loved the clever combination of colors (black and gold) and the comfy design. First of all, the head band is padded with some leather-like material and, due to the flexible steel structure, you can barely feel it. You can also adjust it so it won’t feel too tight or too lose around your head.

The ear cups are big enough to cover the ears, increasing the level of comfort. Even more, because they are padded and thick, they manage to create passive noise isolation as well. This doesn’t mean you will be completely isolated from the sounds in the background, but your audio experience will be better.

The fact that the speaker plates have circular holes allows your ears to breathe, thus regulating the heat problem pretty well.

In terms of audio quality, the AKG K240 promotes an open design for a more natural sound. The bass is smooth and solid while the mids and highs are well-balanced and clear. These headphones are equipped with Varimotion diaphragm (patented by AKG), a feature that allows them to deliver a more life-like sound and helps you create a 3D spatial image of the instruments.

Even though they fit in our budget, the AKG K240 manages to deliver a professional level of performance. This means they can be used to play in a home studio. They go well with keyboards, drum machines, portable studios, and other semi-professional gear.

Because no one likes to spend their money on fragile products that break at the first shock, AKG made these headphones durable. You can see this by simply looking at them. The steel frame is flexible and you can bend them to use on a single ear without problems. Even more, the cable is detachable so you can replace it in case of need. Both cable and headphones use mini XLR connectors because they allow a perfect and secure mechanical connection.

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Sony MDR7506

Sony MDR7506These don’t just look amazing, they make you think about professional gear used by sound engineers! Actually, you wouldn’t be too wrong thinking like this. The Sony MDR7506 are designed to be used for recording activities, video and film production, and any other activity that requires a pair of headphones capable to deliver high-quality sound.

The design is a bit rugged, but they feel absolutely amazing to touch. The head band is padded so you won’t feel it and it can be easily adjusted to fit your head. Because of the materials used and the sturdy build, these headphones will be with you for a long time. They are durable and manage to maintain their good look for a long period of time.

The big ear cups and the closed-ear design allow for great passive noise isolation. Also, they are armed with 40mm neodymium magnet driver units that deliver a powerful and clear sound. This offers them a wide frequency response of 10 Hz – 20 kHz. We absolutely loved the extended low-end tonalities, the present mids and the crystal-clear highs. This proves these headphones were designed with professionals in mind.

One unique feature that recommends these headphones for the best headphones under $100 top is the coiled cable. This is 9.8 feet long and provides you the necessary space to move around the working station without having to remove the headphones. The cable ends with a gold 3.5mm jack and the package also comes with a 0.25 inch adapter.

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Sennheiser RS120

Sennheiser RS120Who said that the best headphones under $100 must be wired? Even though you might expect for good-quality wireless headphones to be more expensive, the RS120 from Sennheiser prove us all wrong.

The design is modern and simple, promoting an elegant product that promises to get rid of those annoying cables. The sound is delivered using a transmitter base that has to be connected to the audio source (TV, computer, or sound system). This means you can watch movies from bed or from the couch without disturbing anyone else in the house. The sound can be transmitted through a distance of up to 300 ft and it goes through walls too.

The sound quality is detailed and balanced with a good bass response and clarity for mid and high tonalities. Even more, they are lightweight and the triple padded head band increases the level of comfort to the maximum.

Besides being gorgeous and comfortable, they also come with a great battery. This one holds about 20 hours between charges so you can watch that movie marathon all weekend long.

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Grado Prestige Series SR80e

Grado Prestige Series SR80eWell, these definitely look like headphones a DJ would want to wear! The combination between leather, plastic, and metallic elements is a classic, and the rugged design makes you think about durability and high-quality.

The comfort is ensured by both the leather head band and the padded ear cups. The head band can be adjusted to fit the shape of your head, and the ear cups are not designed to cover your ears completely. Still, this has no effect on the sound quality these bad boys deliver. Tests showed us they manage to create beautifully precise and accurate sounds with high resolution, a clear treble and a deep, powerful bass with lots of details.

They seem and are durable to shocks and usage over time.

Keep in mind that these implement a completely open design. This means everyone close to you will be able to hear your music. Also, you’ll be able to hear the background noise too.

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Sennheiser HD-280

Sennheiser HD 280Sennheiser is a well-known audio related products manufacturer and all their headphones are amazing. This is why you see this name twice in our best headphones under $100 top.

The design may not be fantastic, but they look and feel extremely comfortable. As you can see, everything is padded and the big ear cups manage to offer some pretty good noise isolation (up to 32db sound attenuation). Like most of the products we talked about today, the HD-280 can also be used for sound monitoring activities. They deliver optimum impedance which makes them compatible with both home listening devices and studio equipment.

The sound is natural and warm, promoting a controlled and precise bass with crystal-clear highs and mids. Also, you can wear them however you like as the ear cups swivel easily.

Sennheiser boasts with their product’s resistance and durability in time, and this also goes for the HD-280. To make sure they look good for as long as possible, some of the parts that support most usage like ear pads and cable, can be replaced.

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SOL REPUBLIC Tracks HD

SOL REPUBLIC Tracks HDThese headphones definitely look different from all the products we talked about up until now. They promote a slimmer design, with smaller ear cups and two wires. This makes them a better fit for outside usage, but they can be used inside as well.

First of all, you should know that you can change their design to fit your mood or outfit. The Tracks HD model has interchangeable head bands and switchable cables. This is a nice option, especially when you care about the latest fashion trends.

In terms of comfort, they are pretty amazing. Even more, the ear cups manage to offer pretty good noise isolation due to the thick padding. This is something you wouldn’t expect when you compare them (visually) with bigger headphones.

In terms of sound, these are on our top for a reason. We enjoyed hours of amazing bass depth, crisp vocals, clear highs and mids. They definitely manage to bring you the true power of music!

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In Conclusion

Being on a small budget doesn’t necessarily mean you have to settle for low-quality products. There are lots of products out there that have all the necessary qualities to satisfy your need of comfort, reliability and high level of sound quality. You just have to look!

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