Earbuds/In-Ear

The Best Earbuds Under $100

Last updated: 2 months ago, Nov. 26. 2020
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    Get great sound at an affordable price. Compare top earbuds that you can get for under $100.

    Comparison: Best Earbuds Under $100

      RatingPrice Sound SignaturePlug TypeControls --In-line controls 

    Shure SE215
    The Best Earbuds Under $1004.0$$$
    ($80-$120)
    BalancedL plug (3.5mm)Only SE215m+More info
    Cambridge Audio Melomania 1The Best Earbuds Under $1004.1$$
    ($30-$80)
    BalancedWirelessThe Best Earbuds Under $100More info
    Samsung Galaxy BudsThe Best Earbuds Under $1004.5$$
    ($30-$80)
    BalancedWirelessThe Best Earbuds Under $100More info
    Beyerdynamics Soul BYRDThe Best Earbuds Under $1004.0$$
    ($30-$80)
    BalancedI plug (3.5mm)The Best Earbuds Under $100More info

    1MORE Triple Driver
    The Best Earbuds Under $1004.0$$
    ($30-$80)
    BalancedI plug (3.5mm)The Best Earbuds Under $100More info
    Sennheiser IE 40 PROThe Best Earbuds Under $1004.5$$$
    ($80-$120)
    BalancedL plug (3.5mm)The Best Earbuds Under $100More info
    FiiO FA1The Best Earbuds Under $1004.3$$$
    ($80-$120)
    BrightL plug (3.5mm)The Best Earbuds Under $100More info
    Treblab X3 ProThe Best Earbuds Under $1004.3$$
    ($30-$80)
    BalancedWirelessThe Best Earbuds Under $100More info
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      Why pay top dollar when you don’t have to spend a lot of money to get high-quality earbuds?

      You can find better-value earbuds under $100 price tags that sound better, have great build quality, and make for a perfect portable companion.

      Check the in-ear monitors below to find the right ones for you.

      What are the Best Earbuds under $100 for You?

      To get the best value for money, go with wired earbuds. You get better sound quality for the price, but your phone needs to have a 3.5mm headphone jack. In case you have one of the newer phones you’ll have to use an adapter or switch to wireless.

      Wireless Bluetooth earbuds are a solid alternative. While frequency response hasn’t yet reached the oldschool wires, it’s close enough. Plus, you get to move around freely which adds to the user experience (and you look cooler). True wireless earbuds have gotten cheaper, and you can get a decent pair under $100.

      If you’re an active user, you need at least an IPX4 rating or more. Water-resistance is crucial for sports and other activities. Liquids are the arch-enemy of electronics and can quickly end your earbuds. IPX4 protection makes them sweatproof, while IPX6 and 7 are waterproof.

      Best Earbuds Under $100

      1. Shure SE215

      Shure SE215 wired in-ear monitor

      Excellent pair of earbuds for great audio performance.

      Shure SE215 are designed as professional-grade in-ear monitors. They truly deserve their top spot on this list.

      Type: In-ear
      Connection: Wired, 3.5mm
      Microphone & Controls: Optional

      Why Buy These?

      Shure makes high-quality audio products designed for use and abuse on and off the stage, so these earbuds are perfect for those in need of a robust headphone solution. Despite the bulky size of the earbud body, it stays in place very well once a proper fit is achieved.

      The body and tip assembly of the earbuds are resistant to moisture and sweat, making them a good option for use when exercising. A detachable cable design provides an extra layer of durability.

      The Bad

      Some users may find that the cable can easily disengage from the earbuds.

      The Sound

      The overall signature on Shure SE215 can be characterized as balanced, rich, and full. High frequencies are articulate, but not too sharp or piercing. Mids are precise and clear, without being tubby or muddy. And the bass response sounds warm, natural, and even.

      Audiophiles listening to more expensive headphones may feel that this is an entry-level earbud. While it’s true that the soundstage may not be as deep or wide as higher-end models, the Shure SE215 is exceptionally versatile and with great sound quality.


      2. Cambridge Audio Melomania 1

      Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 earbuds with case

      The Melomania 1 are the best true wireless earbuds under $100 for most people.

      When a British audio company with a long tradition shows one of their first true wireless pair of earbuds, you know they must be good.

      Type: In-ear
      Connection: True wireless
      Microphone & Controls: Yes
      Battery life: 9 hours, 36 hours in the charging case (Micro-USB)

      Why Buy These?

      Melomania bullet-like housing not only makes them unique looking but also very comfortable to wear. There are no sharp edges that could poke into your ears, so you should be wearing them for hours without fatigue.

      In terms of features, they come with IPX5 water-resistance rating, Bluetooth 5.0, and aptX and AAC audio codecs. The battery life is excellent, with up to 9 hours on a single charge and another 36 hours inside the charging case.

      For better comfort and fit, there are foam tips already included in the box.

      The Bad

      Surprisingly the Melomania’s have a physical button on each earbud instead of touch controls. This kind of button can be annoying because you continuously press the earbud into the ear canal.

      The Sound

      Small, 5.8mm graphene drivers do a fantastic job at reproducing your favorite tracks as faithfully as possible. They offer a balanced sound signature, that is very clean across the board, with good imaging capabilities.

      Cambridge Audio Melomania 1 are a fantastic choice for audiophiles who wants to get the best true wireless sound quality in a $100 price range.

      Read the full Melomania 1 review.


      3. Samsung Galaxy Buds

      Samsung Galaxy Buds+ in charging case

      Best true wireless earbuds under $100 from Samsung.

      A great first generation of true wireless earbuds from Samsung with most things done right.

      Type: In-ear
      Connection: True wireless
      Microphone & Controls: Yes
      Battery life: 7.5 hours, 10 hours in the charging case (USB-C)

      Why Buy These?

      Samsung Buds aren’t there to compete with the greatest. Instead, they can offer you a reliable and enjoyable experience.

      Buds are very comfortable, even during longer listening sessions. Ergonomic housing contours the ear’s shape, while ear fins keep them glued in place. They look attractive and modern, with shiny touch controls on both sides.

      For all of you athletic people, Galaxy Buds offer an IPX2 rating of sweat resistance. It should keep them safe if you start sweating, but better put them in your pocket if it starts raining. Their playtime is more than decent, with 7.5 hours of battery life and an additional 10 hours inside the charging case.

      The Bad

      No customizable EQ, only sound presets.

      No active noise cancelling feature.

      The Sound

      To please a wider audience, Galaxy Buds takes a more balanced approach. Their sound is detailed and non-fatiguing, but also slightly uninspired. They’re maybe too safe to grab truly your attention. However, they’re still more than suitable for casually listening to music.

      Samsung Galaxy Buds are a well-rounded package with an attractive design, good battery life, Qi wireless charging capabilities, companion app, and comfortable, ergonomic design.


      Related


      4. Beyerdynamic Soul BYRD

      Beyerdynamic Soul BYRD wired earbuds

      Comfort, build, and Hi-Fi audio quality. You can get it all.

      Funky name aside, these are some of the best wired earbuds if you want to step up the game and try something better than what you are used to.

      Type: In-ear
      Connection: Wired, 3.5mm
      Microphone & Controls: Yes

      Why Buy These?

      Don’t let the shiny look fool you. Build quality on these is pretty good, with aluminum plates that add to the overall robust construction.

      Because they’re so small and comfortable, you can even wear them under a helmet or use them while sleeping. You can choose between 5 different ear tips to get the best fit.

      They’re equipped with built-in remote control for music and good microphone quality for phone calls. Plus, you get a carrying case, a nice touch from Beyerdynamics.

      The Bad

      Lack of IP rating might turn off users who want to use them for sports.

      The Sound

      For the current asking price of under $100, the pair of earbuds can portray impressively balanced, full-bodied sound. Bass can be quite accurate, both in quality and quantity. The instruments and vocals are nice and clean. The same goes for the treble.

      Beyerdynamics Soul BYRD are not the first choice for bass-heavy earbuds. But audiophiles might be interested in their fairly natural and accurate performance.


      5. 1MORE Triple Driver

      The Best Earbuds Under $100

      Source: 1MORE.com

      Some of the best wired earbuds under $100 for the build quality.

      Despite getting slightly old, 1MORE Triple Driver are still one of the best-wired earbuds under $100.

      Type: In-ear
      Connection: Wired, 3.5mm
      Microphone & Controls: Yes

      Why Buy These?

      These earbuds have something that the majority of true wireless ones don’t: aluminum construction. While they’re not water-resistant, at least they can take a little beating. The metal housing also feels great in hand, as if you’re holding something much more premium.

      Despite a relatively affordable price, the amount of accessories is excellent. You get 9 pairs of ear tips in various sizes and materials, from silicone to foam. That ensures optimal fit, which is required to squeeze the most out of any IEM.

      The cable has inline remote control and microphone for answering phone calls. The housing itself is ergonomically designed, with angled nozzles to project the sound more directly into the ear canal.

      The Bad

      The cable is non-detachable and prone to tangle.

      The Sound

      There is a great sense of balance coming out of the triple driver setup. 2 balanced armatures take care that the mids and highs remain smooth and lush, while the remaining dynamic driver handles the low-end.

      1MORE Triple Driver in-ear headphones might still require a 3.5mm headphone jack, but their excellent sound quality can make any wireless earbud jealous.


      Check the best earbuds under $50.


      6. Sennheiser IE 40 PRO

      Sennheiser IE 40 PRO wired earbuds

      Best wired earbuds under $100 for high-quality sound.

      A new addition to the Sennheiser IE series offers a less general-public and more honest, audiophile sound signature.

      Type: In-ear
      Connection: Wired, 3.5mm
      Microphone & Controls: Yes

      Why Buy These?

      Sennheiser is no stranger to making fantastic audio products. Headphones are their specialty, and IE 40 Pro are a great example. The latter are more suitable for professionals who like having in-ears during a stage performance. That’s why there aren’t many extra features to speak off.

      In the package, you’re getting earbuds that come in either black or transparent color options. The detachable cable (MMCX connection) forms a hook, indicating that you need to wear these IEMs with the wire behind your ears. That reduces the weight and helps with microphonics.

      Inside the box, there are 4 pairs of ear tips, with only one made of memory foam. You also get nice little leather carrying pouch and a cleaning tool.

      The Bad

      A hard case would be nice at this price point.

      The Sound

      The sound reproduction on these is very detailed, especially in the treble, which is slightly boosted. The low-end has a good punch thanks to the 10mm dynamic driver, while the midrange remains somewhat recessed.

      These are worthy of consideration, especially if you don’t mind trading wireless convenience f0r high-quality wired audio.


      7. FiiO FA1

      FiiO FA1 wired in-ear headphones

      Impressive build quality and attractive looks.

      Stunningly looking in-ear monitors with a single balanced armature driver for exceptionally clean frequency response.

      Type: In-ear
      Connection: Wired, 3.5mm
      Microphone & Controls: Yes

      Why Buy These?

      FiiO is mostly known for making headphone amps and DACs (digital-to-analog converters), but as of lately, they started making more high-end IEMs. All of their earbuds are beautifully made, following your ear’s natural shape for ultimate comfort during extended listening sessions.

      Detachable cable with MMCX connectors ends with ear hooks that go behind your ears. That improves stability, reduces cable noise, and makes for a more comfortable fit. The housing itself is 3D printed and made of skin-friendly resin.

      Inside the packaging, there are 6 pairs of ear tips, a cleaning brush, and a big carrying case with a spare room for a portable amp.

      The Bad

      The cable gets easily tangled.

      Poor sub-bass rendition.

      The Sound

      Balanced armature drivers work differently than dynamic ones. Since they can’t move as much air as the latter, they lack thumping bass. A handmade Knowles driver provides a fast, controlled low-end rendition, but with poor extension. Instead, you get exceptional clarity in the mids and treble, with a ton of microdetails.

      FiiO FA1 wired earbuds aren’t for everyone. These are an audiophile-grade IEMs that prefer clarity over pure excitement.


      8. Treblab X3 Pro

      Treblab X3 Pro open charging case

      Affordable pair of earbuds for sportspeople on a budget.

      Best true wireless earbuds under $100 for sports from Treblab with durable, waterproof construction and an ear hook design.

      Type: In-ear
      Connection: True wireless
      Microphone & Controls: Yes
      Battery life: 9 hours, 28 hours in the charging case (USB-C)

      Why Buy These?

      It appears Treblab wants to make the PowerBeats Pro alternative but for a much lower price. For under $70, the design of the X3 Pro strongly resembles the one from the Beats model. They have a familiar ear hook design that ensures stability and a center button underneath a logo.

      Earbuds come with 3 pairs of silicone ear tips that don’t fit everyone. However, you can use your old tips if the original ones don’t work. After achieving a proper fit, the passive isolation gets noticeably better.

      See dedicated noise-isolating headphones.

      IPX7 rating makes X3 Pro completely submergible, which is handy if you want to wash them after every workout. Control buttons and the volume rocker on top operate a broad array of easy to use controls so that you can keep a smartphone always in your pocket.

      The Bad

      Original ear tips are a mixed bag.

      The Sound

      Once you get them to fit, the sound is balanced with a hint of warmth. The bass frequencies have a noticeably well-defined punch without getting too bass-heavy. The midrange is clean and natural, without a trace of sibilance.

      Treblab X3 Pro are a great buy under $70, with excellent stability, 9 hours of battery life on a single charge, and a punchy sound.


      Honorable Mentions

      Aukey Key Series T10 – true wireless earbuds for working out with water protection and stable fit. These have gotten awards for their unique and smart design. They are the best sport earbuds for workouts. Read the full review. (Check price)

      FiiO FH1s – wired earbuds with an over-the-ear fit and that produce amazing sound and come with detachable cables. But you need a 3.5mm output on your phone. (Check price)

      1MORE Stylish – Stylish’s are cheap true wireless earbuds, with long battery life, good sound quality, and comfortable fit. They can be an exciting choice for users who just can’t find enough bass in other buds on the market. (Check price)

      Brainwavz M2 – if you are tired of cheap earbuds but don’t want to pay big bucks for top-end quality, you should check out the Brainwavz M2. (Check price)

      Sennheiser Momentum In-Ear – the Sennheiser Momentum In-Ear series delivers bass-heavy audio in a lightweight and attractive package. These are one of the best thanks to the dependable and approachable sound reproduction. (Check price)

      Anker Soundcore Liberty Air 2 – great true wireless earbuds from Anker, with good battery life, sound performance, and mic quality for taking phone calls. Soundcore Liberty Air 2 come with an IPX5 rating, USB-C, and wireless charging, which is quite a lot for earbuds under $100. (Check price)

      Creative Outlier Gold – cheap true wireless earbuds with Super X-Fi app and 39-hour battery life in total. Creative Outlier Gold pack aptX and AAC Bluetooth codecs, which gives you good wireless audio with balanced frequency range. (Check price)

      If You’re Willing to Pay a Bit More: See the best wireless earbuds guide

      What You Should Know About Earbuds under $100

      What tier of earbuds are these?

      While $100 isn’t little money, you won’t get flagship earbuds either. These are mid-tier buds that excel at value for money, though you can expect more than from budget earbuds.

      Passive noise isolation

      Thanks to their in-ear fit, these have great passive noise isolation. Ambient noise overwhelms your music and makes it harder to listen to it (a fancy way to call it is auditory masking). With a proper seal, especially with memory-foam ear tips, you block more background and let in more music. Thus, dramatically improving the overall sound quality and lowering sound leakage.

      You can get aftermarket memory-foam eartips for almost all earbuds. You just need to figure out what size fits them.

      Do you need an amplifier or DAC?

      You might be wondering if you need an amp to properly power your earbuds. You don’t (in most cases). Since earbuds are made to work well at lower Ohm requirements, they are loud and clear with most smartphones.

      It’s true if you’re an audiophile, you might notice a difference if you attach a high-end amp, but it won’t dramatically improve the loudness or clarity. It’s not worth carrying the amp in your pocket for a minuscule improvement.


      Related:

      Most bass-heavy earbuds right now.

      Best wireless in-ear earbuds.

      Best headphones under $100.

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