Best Over-Ear Headphones under $100

Last updated: 2 months ago, Sep. 29. 2020
Article Contents

    Are you looking for top quality over-ear headphones, but don’t want to spend a huge amount of money? Here, we’re reviewing the best options under $100.

    Comparison: Best Over-Ear Headphones under $100


    Sennheiser HD280
    best wired
    Best Over-Ear Headphones under $1004.1
    under $1003.5mm
    Best Over-Ear Headphones under $100More info
    Sennheiser HD 4.40
    best wireless
    Best Over-Ear Headphones under $1003.9under $100Bluetooth 4.0
    wireless & wired 3.5mm
    Best Over-Ear Headphones under $100More info
    House of Marley
    Positive Vibration XL

    best portable
    Best Over-Ear Headphones under $100n/aunder $100Bluetooth 5.0
    wireless & wired 3.5mm
    Best Over-Ear Headphones under $100More info
    Treblab Z2
    wireless alternative
    Best Over-Ear Headphones under $1004.4under $80Bluetooth 5.0
    wireless & wired 3.5mm
    Best Over-Ear Headphones under $100More info
    Audio-Technica ATH-M40
    wired alternnative
    Best Over-Ear Headphones under $1004.4under $1003.5mm
    Best Over-Ear Headphones under $100More info
    Philips SHP9500
    best open-back
    Best Over-Ear Headphones under $1004.6under $803.5mm
    Best Over-Ear Headphones under $100More info
    TaoTronics TT-BH090
    best noise-cancelling
    Best Over-Ear Headphones under $1004.7under $60Bluetooth 5.0
    wireless & wired 3.5mm
    Best Over-Ear Headphones under $100More info
    iTeknic ANC Headphones
    comfortable noise cancelling
    Best Over-Ear Headphones under $1004.6
    under $60Bluetooth 5.0
    Best Over-Ear Headphones under $100More info
    AKG K240
    best for mixing
    Best Over-Ear Headphones under $1004.4under $503.5mm
    Best Over-Ear Headphones under $100More info
    Status Audio CB-1
    best for studio
    Best Over-Ear Headphones under $1004.4under $803.5mm
    Best Over-Ear Headphones under $100More info

    Over-ear headphones are popular among musicians. They’re good for studio use including recording, mixing, and producing.

    Most bedroom producers will be starting out with some good over-ear cans which don’t cost a fortune.

    And, you don’t have to be a musician to enjoy over-ear headphones. They’re a great way to enjoy your music in peace and block out ambient noise.

    Keep in mind, $100 isn’t a budget which is likely to get you the very best in audio fidelity, but it’s plenty to get a starter to an intermediate pair of headphones.

    There are different options in terms of wired or wireless, noise-cancelling, or non-noise-cancelling. We’ve explored the best options in each category below.

    Table of Contents


      The best headphones under $100
      Best wireless headphones under $100
      Best earbuds under $100
      The best active noise-cancelling headphones under $100

      Best Over-Ear Headphones under $100

      1. Sennheiser HD280 – best wired

      Sennheiser HD280PRO (new model)

      Best wired over-ear headphones under $100

      These are popular and well-made headphones made by a brand with a big reputation. The HD280s are even suitable for studio use.

      The full Sennheiser HD 280 review.

      Back design: Closed-back
      Connection: Wired 3.5mm/6.3mm
      Foldable: Yes (folding ear cups)

      Why Buy These?

      The Sennheiser HD280 is a very simple set of closed-back headphones, which makes them pretty versatile. They’re good for casual listeners and great for studio reference.

      These cans are great for space-saving as the folding ear cups mean they can be compacted to put in a bag. You can even buy them with their own case.

      A wired design provides reliable sound, and the wire is replaceable so when the cord eventually breaks you can simply replace it.

      The Bad

      Though the HD280s have comfortable padding around the ears, they aren’t quite as comfortable as some headphones under $100. They grip quite tightly around the head, especially if you happen to have a larger head.

      The Sound

      With an impressive frequency response and balanced sound, these cans are quite popular as studio headphones.

      The bass isn’t boosted like with many modern headphones, but if you want accurate reproduction of mids and highs, these are it.

      The Sennheiser HD280 offer everything a quality pair of headphones needs, great audio, build quality, solid comforts, and a competitive price.

      The full Sennheiser HD 280 review.

      2. Sennheiser HD 4.40 – best wireless

      Sennheiser HD 4.40 Bluetooth headphones

      Best wireless over-ear headphones under $100

      Wireless functionality is high on a lot of peoples’ wishlist, and the Sennheiser HD4.40 offer great sound quality as well as wireless functionality.

      Back design: Closed-back
      Connection: Wireless (Bluetooth 4.0, 3.5mm)
      Foldable: Yes

      Why Buy These?

      If you are in the market for portable wireless headphones under $100 that are reliable and functional, these are the answer.

      25-hour battery life is impressive, and you can listen with a cable if you wish (if your battery is dead).

      Sennheiser has built these with functionality in mind. You can use the controls mounted in the earcups for controlling volume and even making calls with a built-in mic.

      The Bad

      As with the other Sennheiser models on our list, many people with larger heads have struggled in terms of comfort. The headband can be a little too small and make a tight fit for big heads.

      Some people have also spoken about the inconvenience of the inbuilt controls not being used when you are in the wired mode.

      The Sound

      As we’ve come to expect from the Sennheiser HD range, the audio reproduction is of a high standard.

      If you are looking for more of a meaty bass range, you can pair up the Sennheiser EQ app and get more bass.

      The Sennheiser HD 4.40 could easily sell for more, and since you can get them under 100 dollars (comparable wireless over-ears cost more), it makes them a steal.

      3. House of Marley Positive Vibration XL – best portable

      House of Marley Positive Vibration XL black

      Best over-ear headphones under $100 for portability

      Positive Vibration XL offer everything you’d expect from sturdy portable headphones, plus they sound good.

      The Positive Vibration XL review.

      Back design: Closed-back
      Connection: Wireless, Bluetooth 5.0 (24 hours of battery life)
      Foldable: Yes (folding & swiveling ear cups)

      Why Buy These?

      These are quality headphones all-arround. The materials are top-notch with a beautiful finish and there’s even some wood in them.

      The metal hinges fold for easier storage, so you can take them with you.

      Although the earcups aren’t the biggest, they still fit adult ears comfortably for hours.

      On top of that, the wireless connection is super strong and with 1-day battery life, you’ll hardly run out of power.

      The Bad

      They might not fit comfortably if you have bigger ears or head.

      The Sound

      The audio quality is geared towards a balance of ranges. The vocals are vibrant and come out lively. The highs are clear and precise and bass can be punchy with a nice rumble.

      Honestly, these sound good, and even more demanding users will be happy with them.

      For great portable over-ear headphones with Bluetooth, sturdy design, and great audio performance, check the House of Marley Positive Vibration XL.

      Check full House of Marley Positive Vibration XL review.

      4. Treblab Z2 – wireless alternative

      Treblab Z2 Bluetooth headphones on the table

      The best wireless alternative under $100

      Treblab Z2’s are an affordable option to the Sennheisers mentioned above, with active noise-canceling technology.

      Check our Treblab Z2 review.

      Back design: Closed-back
      Connection: Wireless, Bluetooth 5.0 (35h battery life)
      Foldable: No

      Why Buy These?

      Treblab knows how to make budget-friendly headphones that make a great purchase. Z2 are well-built, over-ear headphones with comfortable pads and stable fit, despite softer clamping force.

      These headphones come with IPX4 water-resistant rating, which protects them from sweat and light rain. Therefore, using them in the gym shouldn’t be a problem.

      They provide you with noise-canceling technology, which works great at combating constant low-end sounds. That makes them an excellent pick if you do a lot of commuting.

      The Bad

      They get a bit sweaty since pleather earpads don’t breathe that much.

      The Sound

      Enabling ANC is like switching between different EQ settings. When the feature is turned off, audio quality is somewhat muddy and warm, with booming bass. Turning the noise-canceling on sharpens the output, revealing a more detailed midrange and treble. However, it comes at the expense of bass, which takes quite a few steps back.

      These are nice-looking headphones with a 35-hour battery life, IPX4 rating, and detailed sound. They come with a hard-shell carrying case and have a 3.5mm port. For the price, you get quite a lot.

      Check our Treblab Z2 review.

      5. Audio-Technica ATH-M40x – wired alternative

      Audio-Technica ATH M40x

      Alternative wired over-ear headphones under $100

      A real competitor for the Sennheiser HD 280 headphones, the Audio-Technica ATH-M40x are powerful, portable and sound great, all for under $100.

      The full Audio-Technica ATH-M40x review.

      Back design: Closed-back
      Connection: Wired 3.5mm/6.3mm
      Foldable: Yes

      Why Buy These?

      Arguably one of the biggest selling points for this pair of headphones is the fact they have impressive drivers made with earth magnets and copper. They provide a lot of power and a flat frequency response.

      The headband and ear pads give an extra level of comfort, which is arguably better than the Sennheiser options on this list.

      Having a closed-back tends to be good for sound isolation, but the Audio-Technica ATH-M40x cans seem to perform better than most when it comes to passive noise isolation.

      Plus, detachable cable makes it easy to replace it with a newer one if need be.

      The Bad

      An included cable is very long, 10ft (3m) in fact. This is not suitable for taking on journeys or listening on-the-go. It’s worth buying a smaller cord.

      While they are, in theory, pretty portable, these cans are bulkier than some of the competitors.

      The Sound

      These cans are part of Audio-Technica ATH range with a reputation for sound quality at great prices.

      The frequency response is flat and the drivers provide plenty of power, making the ATH-M40x a great option for all music genres.

      Get the Audio-Technica ATH-M40x if you value overall music performance in a professional and proven design.

      The full Audio-Technica ATH-M40x review.

      6. Philips SHP9500 – best open-back

      Philips SHP9500 black headphones

      Best over-ear headphones under $100 with open-back design right now

      Comfortable open-back headphones with excellent sound quality and wide soundstage.

      Back design: Open-back
      Connection: Wired 3.5mm/6.3mm
      Foldable: No

      Why Buy These?

      Earpads are dressed in a breathable fabric that feels nice on your ears and prevents excessive sweating. Pads can go around your ear entirely, so you can wear them for hours without experiencing fatigue.

      They’re built quite well, with a mostly hard plastic body and a metal headband. Exposed drivers (open-back design) are protected with metallic mesh.

      Cables are usually the first thing to break, especially if they are of subpar quality. That is why Philips decided to make the cables on SHP9500 removable.

      The Bad

      By design, they leak a lot of sound.

      The Sound

      Simply impressive. For the price, you’re getting a nicely balanced sound signature, with excellent detail retrieval. The soundstage is also quite large, making them a superb option even for gaming. The bass is punchy but doesn’t rumble your skull. Therefore, it’s not suitable for bassheads.

      Suppose you’re looking for great open over-ear headphones that used to cost a lot more, than look no further. SHP9500 offer fantastic audio quality and comfort that you can’t beat at this price. A perfect addition to your home listening sessions.

      7. TaoTronics TT-BH090 – best noise cancelling

      TaoTronics BT090 Bluetooth headphones

      Best headphones for active noise-cancelling under $100

      Fabulous headphones from TaoTronics that can actively reduce outside noise for an affordable price.

      Back design: Closed-back
      Connection: Wireless (Bluetooth 5.0, 35-hour battery life)
      Foldable: No

      Why Buy These?

      Iteration after iteration, TaoTronics is perfecting its lineup of ANC headphones. BH090 share the same understated look like their predecessor, with matte black plastic and good build quality.

      Headphones come with plush earpads that are dressed in pleather. They create a good seal, which is necessary for noise-cancellation to work correctly. Speaking of that, ANC does a decent job when you want to get rid of constant noises.

      So that you don’t get surprised by a dead battery, BH090 can run up to 35 hours of playtime, giving you the freedom to not reach the charger for a couple of days straight. You can also make phone calls hands-free and control all fuction with built-in buttons.

      The Bad

      The headband is slightly short, making them a bit too small for people with a bigger head.

      The Sound

      You can expect an enjoyable sound coming out of these. The bass is nice and punchy, while the midrange stays warm and full. Treble remains smooth to prevent sibilance.

      While they don’t do magic, TaoTronics TT-BH090 are great noise-cancelling headphones on a budget. Apart from that they’re also very comfortable, with long-lasting battery life.

      8. iTeknic IK-BH002 – comfortable noise cancelling

      iTeknic IK-BH002

      Best headphones for comfort under $100

      If you are looking for noise-cancelling on a budget, you probably want comfort for long listening too. And, the iTeknic ANC Bluetooth headphones offer exactly that.

      Read the full iTeknic IK-BH002 headphones review.

      Back design: Closed-back
      Connection: Wireless (Bluetooth 5.0)
      Foldable: Yes

      Why Buy These?

      While their active noise cancellation is about average, they make it up with comfort and low price.

      You can wear these out-and-about for many hours, with minimal ambient noise getting in and impacting your listening pleasure.

      Thanks to plush foam ear cushions, they feel soft and comfy, perfect for those long plane flights.

      Plus, they’re built-well, you control them with built-in buttons and make phone calls on the go.

      The Bad

      Music-only mode promises 30-hours of battery life, but if you are using noise-cancelling, this battery dies twice as quickly, leaving 15-hours.

      They rotate but don’t totally fold up, which isn’t ideal for those who want the most portable over-ear headphones.

      The Sound

      While the sound quality and noise-canceling aren’t up there with the very elite products, they’re great for the casual listener. Slightly bass boosted with good treble clarity.

      All in all, the iTeknic ANC headphones are one of the best under $100 due to their comfort and reliable performance.

      Read the full iTeknic IK-BH002 headphones review.

      9. AKG K240 – best for mixing

      AKG K240 Studio

      Best over-ear headphones under $100 for mixing and producing

      Are you looking to become a star producer or engineer? If you don’t want to spend a lot getting professional, flat-response headphones under $100, look no further than the AKG K240.

      Read the full AKG K240 review.

      Back design: Semi-open
      Connection: Wired 3.5mm
      Foldable: No

      Related: The best headphones for mixing

      Why Buy These

      Reliable headphones which don’t break the bank, and provide balanced audio reproduction, are hard to come by.

      AKG is a brand you are likely to see in studios all over the world, and the K240s are a popular, affordable headphone.

      The semi-open back gives a huge advantage over many other options at the price range. It provides a brilliant soundstage, perfect for balanced mixing.

      Additionally, the rugged and reliable design is built to last, with a replaceable cable should yours ever break. The headband is durable, but also comfortable, and it can self-adjust to your needs.

      The Bad

      These are more simple and basic headphones without a lot of the frills of the other options. No Bluetooth or noise-cancelling. If you need these features, you should look at some different cans.

      The Sound

      Balanced and professional sound quality is where these headphones really impress.

      Powerful enough, with exceptional, flat frequency response. The AKG K240s are the best audio for mixing under $70 bar none.

      For professional over-ear headphones under $100, check the AKG K240.

      Check the AKG K240 review for more info.

      10. Status Audio CB-1 – best for studio

      Status Audio CB-1 wired headphones


      Best over-ear headphones under $100 for professional use

      If you need a headphone that outputs clean, neutral sound for studio work, you just found one.

      Read our full Status Audio CB-1 review.

      Back design: Closed-back
      Connection: Wired 3.5mm
      Foldable: Yes

      Why Buy These?

      While they can’t brag a lot about build quality, comfort is excellent. Headphones have thickly padded earpads with cutouts for ears. They fit snugly on your head, without creating pressure points. You can wear these for days.

      While other studio headphones can be bulky and hard to use to commute, CB-1 can be folded to save space. The cable is also removable, which adds to their longevity.

      While they don’t have noise-cancellation, they do offer good noise isolation. Because of the closed-back design, you can wear these in public and not be bothered by ambient sounds.

      The Bad

      Some quality control issues, causing them to break if you abuse them too much.

      The Sound

      50mm drivers inside are tuned to output a near-flat sound signature, perfect for studio work. You can use them for both casual listening and critical analysis of your mix.

      Many studio monitors promise neutrality but are bassy in reality. On the other hand, Status Audio CB-1 delivers exactly what it says on the box: neutral sound for audio engineers and purists alike.

      For more info check the full Status Audio CB-1 review.

      What are Over-Ear Headphones?

      Over-ear headphones cover the whole of your ear as opposed to going inside the ear or just sitting on the ear. They provide a full, immersive sound and can block out noise better than other designs.

      Also known as circumaural or full-size headphones. They’re the go-to design for needs that require a comfortable fit (like gaming, home-listening, studio work, etc).

      Which are Better, Over-Ear or On-Ear Headphones?

      • On-ear headphones are usually made to be compact and portable. They require fewer materials than over-ear. For this reason, they are often cheaper.
      • There are many downsides to on-ear, which may make over-ear a better choice. On-ear headphones, for instance, don’t block external sounds anywhere near as well.
      • Over-ear models can include active or passive noise-cancelling, which doesn’t work as well on on-ear design.
      • On-ear tend to have smaller, less-powerful drivers than over-ear, so aren’t as loud and clear.
      • Also, over-ear headphones are often more comfortable as they have better padding and don’t sit awkwardly on your ear, instead, they cover the whole of your ear.

      Of course, it does vary slightly depending on your needs. On-ear can be good for saving space, but the sound quality is unlikely to rival most of the best over-ear headphones.

      There are different types of headphones, like open and closed-back headphones. One of the most popular are true wireless earbuds.