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13 Best Headphones under $100 (With Premium Sound) in 2024

Last updated: 3 months ago
14 min read

We’ve tested 193 headphones. Here we’ll cover:

  • The best headphones under $100 in 2024
  • Including over-ear, on-ear, and true wireless options
  • What to expect from headphones under $100

Check the list:

We test and evaluate headphones using a standardized 9-point methodology. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

More info Price Type Connection Mic & Controls
Under $80
Over-ear, closed-back
Bluetooth 5.0 / 3.5mm
1MORE SonoFlow Best for calls
1MORE SonoFlow
Under $100
Over-ear, closed-back
Bluetooth 5.0 / 2.5mm
EarFun Free Pro 3 Best true wireless
EarFun Free Pro 3 small image
Under $80
True wireless, closed-back
Bluetooth 5.3
EarFun Air Pro 3 Best ANC in-ear
EarFun Air Pro 3 small image
Under $80
True wireless, closed-back
Bluetooth 5.3
AKG Pro Audio K361 Best wired
AKG Pro Audio K361
Under $80
Over-ear, closed-back
Wired – 3.5mm & 6.3mm
Jabra Elite 45h Best on-ear
Jabra Elite 45h wireless on-ear headphones
Under $100
On-ear, closed-back
CONTENTS (show more)

    Headphones on our list are evaluated based on 9 key factors (Sonic9Score).  We looked at their overall performance considering their price. For details, see our testing and ranking methodology.

    Here are the headphones that, in our opinion, are in the affordable category and offer the best value for money. The headphones under $100 are close to the performance of more expensive headphones while avoiding the common issues of cheap headphones.

    In other words, the best bang for your buck.

    Check the list.

    For more options under $100 check the best Bluetooth headphones under $100, best noise canceling headphones under $100, or top wired earbuds under $100.

    We included the top-rated over-ear and on-ear headphones in the $50-$100 range.

    Best Headphones under $100

    1. Anker Soundcore Life Q30

    1st-place Best Headphones Under $100
    Anker Soundcore Life Q30 in a bush

    The overall best headphones under $100 we’ve tested are the Anker Soundcore Life Q30. High sound quality, comfort, Bluetooth connectivity, and ANC in one package – Anker Soundcore Life Q30 review.

    Connection icon Connection: Bluetooth 5.0
    Driver size icon Driver size: 40mm
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: 16-40.000Hz
    Type: Over-ear | Battery life: 60h (40h with ANC) | Wireless range: 65ft (20m) | Noise cancelling: Yes, hybrid | Charging: 2h + Quick charge – USB-C | Mic & Controls: Yes | Bluetooth codecs: SBC, AAC | Water resistance: No | Features: ANC, ambient mode, multipoint, mobile app with EQ, NFC
    • Excellent sound quality (after EQ)
    • Great ANC with 3 modes
    • Comfortable fit
    • Companion app with EQ
    • Outstanding battery life
    • The bass isn't very fast
    • Looks bulky on your head

    Sound: The Anker Soundcore Life Q30 headphones have a boomy and muddy sound profile by default, which significantly improves with EQ adjustments.

    The bass is boosted but can be controlled in the companion app. The midrange is relatively balanced, and the treble is clear and sparkly. The soundstage is good, and the imaging is accurate, making these over-ear headphones perfect for various music genres after EQ adjustments.

    Anker Soundcore Life Q30 A/B sound test:

    Anker Soundcore Life Q30 Sound Quality Test – HeadphonesAddict

    Comfort & fit: These headphones are lightweight and comfortable, featuring plush memory foam earpads that enclose the ears well. Despite their bulky appearance, they have a light construction and clamping force, ensuring comfort during long listening sessions and stable fit during physical activities.

    Durability: The Life Q30 are mostly plastic with an aluminum headband for added strength. They come with a hard-shell carrying case for protection during transportation.

    However, they lack an IP rating for water and sweat resistance. So, they’re not suitable for working out.

    Battery: It’s outstanding. We tested it at 44 hours with ANC enabled and up to 60 hours of playback without ANC. The headphones also support fast charging, offering 4 hours of playtime with just a 5-minute charge. This is best-in-class performance and can be compared to much more expensive models.

    Features: The Life Q30 offer active noise cancellation with 3 ANC modes, a Transparency mode, a companion app with custom EQ, and good microphone quality for phone calls. They have physical controls and a touch-sensitive area for quick access to features. We go into more detail in our review.

    Noise Isolation and cancelling: Passive noise isolation is average, but active noise cancellation is great for the price, with three different modes tailored for various environments.

    Anker Soundcore Life Q30 ANC Test – HeadphonesAddict

    Bluetooth: The headphones use Bluetooth 5.0, providing a robust connection and an exceptional range of at least 65 feet. They support multipoint connectivity and NFC pairing but only use SBC and AAC codecs.

    Should You Get Anker Soundcore Life Q30?

    They may not be the best choice for audiophiles seeking the highest sound fidelity or for use in high-intensity physical activities due to the lack of sweat resistance.

    But the Anker Soundcore Life Q30 are an excellent choice for those seeking feature-packed, budget-friendly headphones with great sound (after EQ adjustments), comfort, and a long battery.

    They are ideal for casual listeners, commuters, and those working in noisy environments.

    Want ANC for less? See the best budget noise-canceling headphones.

    Best Headphones under $100 for Phone Calls

    2. 1MORE SonoFlow

    wireless Best Headphones under $100 for Phone Calls
    1MORE SonoFlow headphones

    If you want to talk on the go and want headphones under $100 for phone calls, the 1MORE SonoFlow are the best we’ve tested. Their mic works well in normal and noisy situations – 1MORE SonoFlow review.

    Connection icon Connection: Bluetooth 5.0
    Driver size icon Driver size: 40mm dynamic
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: 20-40.000Hz
    Type: Over-ear | Battery life: 60h (with ANC) | Wireless range: 50 feet (15.2 m) | Noise cancelling: Yes | Charging: 80min + quick charge – USB-C | Mic & Controls: Yes | Bluetooth codecs: SBC, AAC, LDAC | Water resistance: None | Features: App, ANC, ambient sound mode, multipoint
    • Great sound quality (especially after EQ)
    • Comfortable fit with soft pleather earpads
    • Exceptional battery life (up to 50h with ANC)
    • Robust Bluetooth connection with an LDAC audio codec
    • Hard-shell carrying case for improved protection
    • Decent active noise cancelling performance
    • Bright and thinny transparency mode
    • Bloated, muddy sound when in wired mode

    Sound: The 1MORE SonoFlow headphones deliver a balanced sound with good detail retrieval, slightly boosted bass, natural midrange, and treble that lacks some energy.

    The sound becomes more balanced with custom EQ, making these headphones great for quality music on the go. The bass is punchy and controlled, suitable for genres like rock and metal, while the midrange and treble can be enhanced with EQ for a more natural and lively sound.

    1MORE SonoFlow A/B sound test:

    1MORE SonoFlow Sound Quality Test – HeadphonesAddict

    Comfort & fit: These headphones feature incredibly soft and plush earpads, offering hours of comfortable listening. The oval-shaped earcups fit well, but the headphones are only suitable for regular use and commuting due to their light clamping force.

    Durability: The SonoFlow have a decent build quality with an all-plastic construction, except for the aluminum headband. They come with a protective hard-shell carrying case, enhancing their durability. However, the earpads are not replaceable, which could be a concern for long-term use.

    Battery: The battery life of the SonoFlow is exceptional. We tested it at 61 hours and 29 minutes of playtime with ANC enabled, surpassing the advertised 50 hours. They also support fast charging, offering 5 hours of playtime with just 5 minutes of charging.

    1MORE SonoFlow battery comparison
    1MORE battery is much better than competitors

    Features: Packed with features like ANC, Transparency mode, a companion app, custom EQ, and Soothing Sounds, the SonoFlow offer a premium experience. The ANC performance is modest, and the Transparency mode, while useable, sounds bright and thin.

    1MORE SonoFlow EQs
    1MORE SonoFlow equalizer in the app

    The headphones also support LDAC for high-quality audio transmission and multipoint, connecting to 2 devices simultaneously.

    Noise Isolation and cancelling: The passive noise isolation is average, and the ANC is decent, but the Soundcore Life Q30 are better. The headphones struggle with low-end hum, making them less ideal for noisy environments.

    Bluetooth: The SonoFlow uses Bluetooth 5.0 to ensure a stable connection and a slightly above-average range of 40 feet.

    Should You Get 1MORE SonoFlow?

    They are not the best headphones for sports due to the lack of sweat resistance and looser fit, and frequent travelers might prefer more effective ANC.

    Nonetheless, the 1MORE SonoFlow are an excellent choice for budget-oriented audiophiles who value sonic fidelity, comfort, and massive battery life. They are suitable for regular use, phone calls, and long trips.

    Best True Wireless Headphones under $100

    3. EarFun Free Pro 3

    true-wireless Best True Wireless Headphones under $100
    EarFun Free Pro 3 on head

    If you prefer compact portable headphones with great sound, the EarFun Free Pro 3 are the best true wireless headphones under $100 we’ve tested. Their audio is fit for audiophiles – EarFun Free Pro review.

    Connection icon Connection: Bluetooth 5.3
    Driver size icon Driver size: 7mm dynamic
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: n/a
    Type: True wireless | Battery life: 5h + 27h in case | Wireless range: 40 feet (12.2 meters) | Noise cancelling: Yes, hybrid | Charging: 1.5h – quick charge – USB-C & Qi wireless | Mic & Controls: Yes | Bluetooth codecs: SBC, AAC, LC3, aptX Adaptive | Water resistance: IPX5 | Features: Multipoint, custom EQ, Game mode
    • Exceptional sound quality that rivals the best
    • Lightweight design with a comfortable fit
    • Feature-rich app with custom EQ & multipoint
    • Audio settings get stored into the earbuds
    • Decent ANC & very natural transparency mode
    • Battery life of only 5 hours per charge
    • Mediocre call quality makes your voice thin
    • Unstable for sports activities

    Sound: The EarFun Free Pro 3 earbuds offer exceptional sound, especially after EQ adjustments. Initially, the sound may seem muddy and dark, but with the custom EQ in the EarFun app, the audio quality transforms dramatically.

    The bass is smooth and well-controlled, the midrange becomes incredibly balanced, and the treble is textured. The soundstage is decent, and the imaging is good for the price. These in-ear headphones sound amazing playing all music genres.

    Hear the EarFun Free Pro 3 A/B sound test:

    EarFun Free Pro 3 Sound Quality Test – HeadphonesAddict

    Comfort & fit: These earbuds are extremely comfortable, almost to the point where you might forget you’re wearing them. However, their stability is not ideal for working out or running, as they tend to slide out of the ears during intense movements.

    Durability: The EarFun Free Pro 3 have an IPX5 rating, making them sweatproof but not waterproof. The build quality is solid, and they come with a compact charging case. The silicone ear tips and fins might be prone to wear and tear over time.

    Battery: It’s slightly better compared to the previous model. We tested it at 5 hours and 4 minutes of playtime per charge with ANC enabled. The charging case provides additional hours, and the earbuds support fast charging.

    Features: These earbuds are packed with features, including:

    EarFun Free Pro 3 app front page
    There are plenty of options in the app

    However, the ANC performance is not best-in-class, and the call quality is mediocre, making your voice thin.

    Noise Isolation and cancelling: The passive noise isolation is good but not exceptional. The ANC reduces sub-bass frequencies reasonably well, but it’s not as effective as some competitors.

    Bluetooth: The EarFun Free Pro 3 use Bluetooth 5.3, ensuring a stable connection and a decent range of about 40 feet. They support aptX Adaptive codec but have some limitations in the effectiveness of the Game mode.

    Should You Get EarFun Free Pro 3?

    The EarFun Free Pro 3 are an excellent choice if you want outstanding sound at an affordable price, perfect for budget audiophiles. They are suitable for daily and critical listening on a budget.

    However, they may not be the best option for sports enthusiasts or those who need highly effective ANC during travel.

    Best In-Ear Headphones under $100 for Noise Cancellation

    4. EarFun Air Pro 3

    true-wireless Best True Wireless for Noise Cancellation
    EarFun Air Pro 3 earbuds on stone

    If you want to reduce ambient noise, the EarFun Air Pro 3 are the best truly wireless headphones under $100 we’ve tested. They have superb noise cancellation for the price (see the ANC test) – EarFun Air Pro 3 review.

    Connection icon Connection: Bluetooth 5.3
    Driver size icon Driver size: 11mm wool composite dynamic
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: n/a
    Type: True wireless | Battery life: 8h + 36h in case | Wireless range: 40 feet (12.2 meters) | Noise cancelling: Yes | Charging: 1h – quick charge – USB-C & Qi charging | Mic & Controls: Yes | Bluetooth codecs: SBC, AAC, aptX Adaptive, LC3 | Water resistance: IPX5 | Features: App, multipoint
    • Natural sound (after EQ)
    • Comfortable & lightweight design
    • Customization via companion app
    • Bluetooth 5.3, LC3 codec, & multipoint
    • Excellent battery life of over 8 hours per charge
    • Effective active noise cancellation & ambient sound mode
    • Not stable enough for sports activities
    • Background hiss when in ANC mode

    Sound: The EarFun Air Pro 3 earphones initially have a muted, bassy sound that significantly improves with EQ adjustments in the EarFun Audio app. The bass is boosted but controlled, the midrange becomes very natural after EQ, and the treble is decently detailed but lacks resolution.

    Overall, they provide excellent audio for their price range, especially after customization.

    Hear the EarFun Air Pro 3 A/B Sound Test:

    EarFun Air Pro 3 Sound Quality Test – HeadphonesAddict

    Comfort & fit: These earbuds feature a comfortable AirPods-style design, offering superb comfort for regular use. However, they are not stable enough for intense physical activities, making them less suitable for sports.

    Durability: They are well-built and durable, with an IPX5 rating that ensures they can withstand heavy sweating and even showering. The charging case is somewhat bulky but sturdy.

    Battery: We tested it, and it’s impressive. With 8 hours and 13 minutes of playtime per charge (with ANC enabled). You get an additional 36 hours of playtime in the case and support for fast and Qi wireless charging.

    Features: These earbuds come with a range of features, including:

    • A companion app for customization
    • Outstanding active noise cancellation
    • Ambient sound mode
    • Game mode
    • Bluetooth 5.3 with Adaptive aptX and LC3 Bluetooth codecs for high audio quality
    • And multipoint support: Connect to 2 devices at the same time

    Noise Isolation and cancelling: Their active noise cancellation is excellent, matching or even surpassing more expensive models like the Sony WF-1000XM5. So if you want to reduce a lot of background noise with a portable pair of headphones, these are amazing for the job.

    Bluetooth: The EarFun Air Pro 3 use Bluetooth 5.3, offering a stable connection with an average range of about 40 feet. But have a limited connection stability when passing the 2nd brick wall.

    Should You Get EarFun Air Pro 3?

    The EarFun Air Pro 3 are a great choice for commuters, students, and casual listeners who seek natural-sounding earbuds with good overall performance under $100. They are not ideal for sports activities due to their fit but are otherwise versatile and well-rounded earbuds.

    For top ANC, see the best noise-cancelling earbuds.

    Best Wired Headphones under $100

    5. AKG Pro Audio K361

    1st-place Best Wired Over-Ears under $100
    AKG Pro Audio K361 over-ear headphones

    AKG K361 are the best wired headphones under $100, perfect for a neutral music listening experience at home.

    Connection icon Connection: WIred – 3.5mm & 6.3mm
    Driver size icon Driver size: 50mm
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: 15-28.000Hz
    Type: Over-ear | Back design: Closed-back | Noise cancelling: No | Mic & Controls: No | Impedance: 32 Ohm | Weight: 7.7 oz (219g) | Cable length: 4 ft (1.2m) & 9.8 ft (3m) | Features: OFC detachable cables, foldable
    • Super lightweigth
    • Harman target tuning
    • Foldable ear cups
    • Comfortable fit
    • Sound changes based on position

    Sound: The AKG K371 headphones offer a well-balanced and neutral sound profile based on the Harman target, making them suitable for a wide range of music genres.

    They have a slight emphasis in low-bass for extra thump, a balanced mid-range for clear vocals and leads, and a treble range that is mostly accurate, though sibilants may sound slightly dull. Overall, they provide a high-quality audio experience.

    Comfort & Fit: These over-ear headphones are comfortable, featuring plush ear cups with thick, soft padding. They don’t squeeze too tightly, allowing for long listening sessions without discomfort. However, those with larger ears might find them less comfortable over time.

    Durability: The build quality is decent, with a combination of plastic, metal, and synthetic leather. The exposed wire from the ear cups to the headband could be a potential weak point. They come with a decent pouch for protection against minor water exposure and scratches.

    Features: These headphones are fairly basic in terms of features, lacking controls for media playback, volume, or microphone. They are designed for pure audio listening without additional functionalities.

    Big positives are a detachable cable and low impedance at 32 ohms, meaning you can drive K361 with any music device

    Noise Isolation: The AKG K371 do not have active noise cancellation (ANC) and offer poor passive noise isolation.

    Should You Get AKG K371?

    The AKG K371 are a solid choice for those who prioritize sound and comfort in a wired headphone format. They are well-suited for home listening, studio work, or commuting. However, they may not be the best option for those looking for wireless convenience, workout headphones, or effective noise cancellation.

    Best On-Ear Hadphones under $100

    6. Jabra Elite 45h

    trophy Best Wireless On-Ears Under $100
    Jabra Elite 45h wireless on-ear headphones

    For quality wireless on-ear headphones under $100 check the Jabra Elite 45h.

    Connection icon Connection: Bluetooth 5.0
    Driver size icon Driver size: 40mm
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: 20-20.000Hz
    Type: On-ear | Battery life: 50h | Wireless range: 33ft (10m) | Noise cancelling: No | Charging: 1.5h + quick charge – USB-C | Mic & Controls: Yes | Bluetooth codecs: n/a | Water resistance: No | Features: Mobile app with EQ, foldable
    • Great sound quality
    • Lightweight and portable design
    • Excellent battery life with fast charging
    • Sound leakage
    • On-ear design isn't for everyone

    Sound: The Jabra Elite 45h headphones feature a bass-heavy sound profile that can be balanced with custom EQ settings in the EarFun app.

    The sub-bass and bass notes are amplified, making them sound louder than midrange frequencies. The treble response is louder than recommended for consumer audio products, which can be adjusted for a more pleasant listening experience.

    Comfort & Fit: These on-ear headphones are designed for everyday use, with a portable and lightweight build.

    They feature memory foam ear pads wrapped in synthetic leather for comfort, though prolonged use may cause discomfort, especially for glasses wearers. The soft-touch rubberized material on the headband adds to the comfort.

    Durability: The Jabra Elite 45h are constructed primarily from plastic, contributing to their light weight. They come with a neoprene pouch for protection against scuffs, but it doesn’t offer much protection against drops. The headphones are covered under a two-year warranty, which includes dust and water protection.

    Battery: The battery of the Jabra Elite 45h is exceptional. They last over 65 hours per charge. They also support fast charging, providing 10 hours of playitme with just a 15-minute charge.

    Features: The headphones offer basic functionalities with physical buttons for playback, volume, and call interactions.

    They also provide access to smart assistants and have a toggle for manual pairing mode and power. The Jabra Sound+ app allows for sound customization and firmware updates.

    Noise Isolation: Passive noise isolation with the Jabra Elite 45h is not very effective, which is typical for on-ear headphones. They do not provide a tight seal around the ears, allowing external noise to seep in.

    Bluetooth: The Elite 45h use Bluetooth 5.0 for connectivity, maintaining a stable connection within a 10-meter range. They support AAC codec but lack a 3.5mm input for wired playback. The headphones have multipoint connectivity, so you can connect them to 2 device simultaneously.

    Should You Get Jabra Elite 45h?

    They may not be the best option for those seeking effective noise isolation or high-resolution audio playback.

    However, the Jabra Elite 45h are a solid choice for casual listeners who value long battery, portability, and good microphone quality. They are ideal for commuters and remote workers who engage in frequent calls.


    Runner-Ups: Other Models to Consider

    7. Edifier W820NB Plus

    Edifier W820NB Plus headphones

    They are fantastic budget headphones for people prioritizing audio over other features. They have a hi-res certification and output a natural, forward sound. On top of that, you get decent ANC, ambient sound mode, and a lengthy battery of 33.5 hours (ANC enabled). However, their ANC and microphone quality aren’t comparable to the recommendations above.

    Edifier W820NB Plus review

    8. Audio-Technica ATH-M40x

    Audio-Technica ATH M40x

    The wired over-ear headphones have good sound quality. The overall sound signature is balanced but with a punchy, deep bass. They’re great for all music genres, especially after equalizing to close to neutral sound. Passive noise isolation is above average since these are made for studio work. And they come with detachable wires for replacing when needed.

    Check Audio-Technica ATH-M40x price

    9. Sennheiser HD 280 PRO

    Sennheiser HD 280 PRO wired headphones

    These are popular in studios, Joe Rogan uses these in his podcast. The balanced sound signature is perfect for audio professionals who need accurate sound reproduction. They’re comfortable with big over-ear earcups and soft faux leather earpads. The clamping force is just right, even if you wear glasses. Their background noise isolation is great for reducing background noise in studios.

    Check Sennheiser HD 280 PRO price

    10. EarFun Wave Pro

    EarFun Wave Pro folded

    EarFun Wave Pro are excellent affordable headphones that surprise with a balanced response out-of-the-box, have clear call quality no matter how loud the background noise gets, and are able to effectively reduce ambient noise using noise cancellation. Their biggest con is their buggy custom EQ and poor sub-bass noise reduction.

    EarFun Wave Pro review

    11. EarFun Free Pro 2

    EarFun Free Pro 2 buds and case

    The older Free Pro model offers great performance. They add a nice bass punch to every song while retaining clarity and dynamics across the frequency response. You’re getting the latest Bluetooth connection version 5.2, a great ANC, ambient mode, and support for Qi wireless charging. They’re a solid choice for portable headphones on a budget.

    EarFun Free Pro 2 review

    12. Philips SHP9500

    Philips SHP9500 black headphones

    Philips SHP9500 are the best open-back audiophile headphones under $100. The clear and balanced sound signature makes these great for producing and mixing music and critical listening. The breathable, double-layered, plush ear cups ensure comfort for long periods of time. The budget headphones have a more open soundstage compared to enclosed ones. These also have great build quality and gold-plated connectors with a long 1.5m removable cable.

    Check Philips SHP9500 price

    13. Sony MDR-7506

    Sony MDR 7506 wired headphones

    If you prefer a classic design with superb balanced sound, the Sony MDR 7506 truly shine. You’ll hear the music the way it’s supposed to sound while still enjoying its clarity and detail. A great choice for any professional or casual listener. Passive noise isolation is above average. The coiled cable is very long so these are best suited for studio monitoring or home use.

    Check Sony MDR-7506 price

    How We Tested

    Headphones in our list were tested on 9 key points with measurements in different categories and some were listed after trying them bu haven’t been fully measured yet.

    You can read about the categories and tests we do in our testing and scoring methodology.

    How did we choose the models?

    To pick the recommendations, we focused on their overall performance. The listed models are good in most situations and are especially suitable for a modern user who wants wireless connectivity with the latest features.

    We choose from 193 headphones we tested. Then we ranked them according to different use cases and types.

    What to Expect from Headphones under $100

    • Expect above-average audio quality from the listed models. We only included those that sound better and are comparable to higher-end headphones.
    • Expect comfortable headphones for daily listening. Most of them have long-term comfort but aren’t suitable for working out.
    • Most $100 headphones are plastic with some metal parts. Their build quality is generally above average and should last at least as long as more expensive options.
    • Battery life varies. Depending on the model expect from 20 and up to 60-hour battery per charge. This is comparable to premium $300+ headphones.
    • Expect many of the latest features but not top-notch performance. ANC, microphones, and apps at this price are good enough for casual users, but aren’t best-in-class.
    • Expect the latest Bluetooth versions, as those are cheap to implement.

    Overall, headphones for $100 offer many things from more expensive headphones, but with slightly lower performance and attention to detail. The budget is enough for good quality headphones with the latest tech. But they aren’t top of the line. They’re the best choice for casual users.

    Here’s more on what you can expect from headphones under $100. Their strengths and weakness compared to more expensive options.

    Considerations Before Buying

    Ask yourself these questions before buying:

    Should you get on-ear or over-ear headphones?

    On-ear headphones have smaller and shallower earcups that sit directly on your ears. They balance between medium-sized drivers for audio production and smaller housing for portability.

    Because they sit on your ears, they’re less comfortable than over-ears. They’re best for portable use and shorter listening sessions.

    On-ear vs. over-ear
    Over-ear (left), on-ear (right): For most people over-ear headphones are a better choice

    Over-ear headphones have big earcups that go around the ears and thicker padding. This makes them much more comfortable for long listening sessions. Bigger drivers also produce better audio in general.

    If you can find over-ears with a foldable design, they’re the best option for audio quality in a portable size.

    Read more on over-ear vs on-ear headphones here.

    What features do I need?

    At a $100 price point, you can choose from many different features. These include:

    • Equalization – EQ: To adjust your sound
    • Sound presets: To quickly change signature depending on the mood
    • Controls customization
    • Active noise cancellation with different modes
    • Ambient sound mode: Transparency mode that lets in background noise
    • Multipoint connectivity: Connect to 2 devices
    • Ambient sound playback: Relaxing nature sounds to help you sleep
    • Game mode: Improves audio lag when playing
    Anker Soundcore Life Q30 sounds app
    Custom EQ and nature sounds are common in companion apps

    These features are useful for different use cases. For example, if you play a lot of mobile games, having headphones with gaming mode is a must-have.

    If want to stay aware of your surroundings on your walk in the city while listening to music, you need an Ambient sound mode.

    Are closed-back headphones better than open-back?

    Closed-back headphones passively block more noise and are better suited for traveling, commuting, and wearing in any situation you want to focus.

    The only downside is undesirable resonance and vibration noise in the midrange as the result of sound bouncing inside the earcups. But this only bothers audiophiles and demanding users.

    Do you see the driver in these open-back headphones?

    Open-back headphones don’t isolate noise at all due to having an open housing. They’re only suitable for listening at home in a quiet room. But are completely unfit for traveling, commuting or using in a noisy office.

    Should you get wireless or wired headphones?

    Unless you specifically want wired headphones for listening at home, get wireless headphones that are much more convenient in all situations. Plus, all Bluetooth models we recommend can also be plugged in with a cable when needed.

    What do you need to know when picking wireless headphones?

    • If you use an iPhone, you want headphones to support the AAC Bluetooth codec.
    • If you use an Android phone, you want headphones to support aptX (one of its versions), LC3, or LDAC.

    That’s the skinny to getting optimal sound with your smartphone.

    Why Trust HeadphonesAddict?

    At HeadphonesAddict, we provide honest headphone tests through a rigorous methodology and a transparent process. See how we test here. We put a lot of effort into personally testing and measuring each pair so we can make educated recommendations.

    More reasons to trust us:

    • We test headphones ourselves on 9 key points (less for wired models).
    • We measure frequency responses, ANC, passive isolation, battery life, and compare EQ presets.
    • We don’t take money for tests and reviews.
    • We don’t delete or edit “bad reviews.” Even when brands ask us to. If the headphones sound bad or have other faults, we tell you without embellishment.


    We hope you found our guide useful. Please add any recommendations for improvements in the comments. We work hard and want to give as reader-friendly advice as possible.

    In the end, there are no perfect headphones, but these are the closest to it.

    1 Comment
    1. Why is the Philips SHP9500 not listed ? It is currently available for $64 from Amazon. Glad to see the M40 is still listed as it will be my next purchase.


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