While true wireless earbuds are all the rage these days, headphones are still quite a popular choice. In fact, some might actually prefer them to earbuds because headphones can sometimes feel more comfortable, less invasive, and for the most part can offer better sound staging than earbuds.
Of course, with there being literally hundreds, if not thousands, of options to choose from, it can feel overwhelming. So if you’re in the market for a new pair of headphones that won’t break the bank, then here are some of the best headphones that we’ve found that will cost you less than $100.
GRADO SR60x Prestige Series
When it comes to audiophile grade headphones, Grado is a name that’s pretty popular amongst the community, but if you’re not willing to spend a lot of money, then Grado SR60x Prestige Series could be a good introduction to the company’s offerings.
The SR60x are a pair of open-back headphones which can help make the sound coming from them more clear. Also, by having an open-back design, it can help air pass through the ear cups and stop low-frequency build up so that you can wear them for longer periods of time without feeling ear fatigue.
The headphones are wired but feature a braided cable that will be more durable compared to regular cables you might find bundled with other headphones.
Sony is quite a mainstay when it comes to consumer grade headphones and the MDR7506 is a good and affordable choice if you’re looking for a pair of headphones to use at home. Unlike the Grados, these are closed-back headphones which are good if you don’t want sound leaks and a more isolated listening experience.
The headphones also boast 40mm drivers and neodymium magnets, and Sony is also including a 9.8 foot coiled cable. It’s longer than most cables but at least it gives users options. There’s an included 1/4-inch adapter if you need to plug it into an audio interface.
The headphones also sport a foldable design and comes with a carrying pouch to make transporting it easier.
Anker Soundcore Life Q30 Wireless
So far the headphones we’ve listed are wired, but if you’re after a wireless option, then the Anker Soundcore Life Q30 Wireless could be a good and affordable choice. Anker is probably best known for their mobile accessories, but at the price and features the Soundcore Life Q30 Wireless offers, it might be worth checking out.
It features wireless connectivity that makes it perfect for on the go usage, and there is also noise cancellation that the company says can tune out 95% of low-frequency ambient sounds. It features 40mm drivers and silk diaphragms and also sports a battery that’s good for 40 hours with noise cancellation enabled.
Razer Opus X
Razer is a company that primarily makes gaming peripherals and accessories, but recently they’ve also started to dabble in regular lifestyle products and the Opus X is one of them. While it does come in a garish “gamer” green finish, there are more subdued options like white and pink if you don’t want to stand out too much.
These are wireless headphones that connect over Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity and also offer active noise cancellation. There is also a Gaming Mode that when activated, will reduce the latency to 60ms so if you want to game with them on your phone, laptop, or computer, you can.
Usually one of the hallmarks of audiophile grade headphones is that they tend to offer a flatter listening experience. This is because the idea is that this will allow users to listen to music the way the producer/musician intended, as opposed to sound that has been filtered to sound more treble/mid/bass heavy.
The Philips SHP9500 is a pair of headphones that offers a more neutral listening experience. They are also an open-back design and boasts 50mm neodymium drivers, larger than some of the headphones we’ve listed above. The company also claims that the drivers have been “precisely angled” to better fit the ear’s geometry to create more “dynamic and authentic” listening experience.