Whether you’re listening to music on your mp3 player, on your computer or for your TV, the choice of headphones can make all the difference. This guide will help you find the right headphones for you. We rank the best headphones under $100 in terms of comfort, design, and sound quality.
In particular these headphones are ranked in their ability to create a pristine classical music listening experience.
Now, keep in mind that comparing these headphones to pricier ones is like apples and oranges. You can check out our picks for the best $200 headphones, as well as our picks for the best $300 headphones. here, as well as our assessment of the best high-end headphones, including the one pair of headphones that’s considered the ‘best headphones in the world‘.

 

1. Sennheiser HD280 Pro Headphones

best headphones under 100 - sennheiser hd280 pro

Sennheiser HD280

Rating:

  • Sound Quality: 4.95
  • Build Quality: 4.9
  • Comfort: 5.0
  • Overall: 4.95

What We Like:

  • Incredibly detailed across all frequencies. A great set of headphones for watching movies.
  • Large circumaural ear-cups that swivel to fit on your head comfortably. Since theses are studio headphones, you can wear these on your head for long hours without any discomfort (just take them off to let your ears breathe every few hours!)
  • Great noise-isolation. Eliminates up to 32 decibels of outside noise.
  • The low frequency (bass) starts at 8Hz (most headphones don’t start until 15Hz), which means it is great at handling bass. If bass-heavy music is your preference, then these are the headphones for you.

What We Don’t Like:

  • The coiled cable may turn off some, and unfortunately it’s not a detachable cable you can easily switch out for an aftermarket upgrade.

The Takeaway

The only reason the HD280 Pro headphones are now priced below $100 is because they’ve been around since 2003. The model got an upgrade in 2015, however externally you can’t tell the difference between the two models (we’ve linked to the new model). In that time they have become the studio headphones from which all other studio headphones are measured. Unless you can afford $500 headphones, these are the best studio headphones in this price range. The HD280’s deft handling of detail also means that they make terrific movie and gaming headphones as well.

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2. Audio Technica ATH-M30x Professional Headphones

Best headphones under 100 - Audio Technica ATH-M30

ATH-M30x

Rating:

  • Sound Quality: 4.99
  • Build Quality: 4.85
  • Comfort: 4.95
  • Overall: 4.93

What We Like:

  • The ATH-M30X’s are designed more for professional studio engineers and recording musicians than just us regular folk. They have a closed back design and superior isolation, which is usually not ideal for listening to live classical music. However, the ATH-M30s offers crystal clear sound and a very comfortable fit over the ears. you can listen to your favorite music for hours and not even notice that you’re wearing them.
  • It features a long and sturdy cord that’s resistant to wear and tear.
  • The deep bass and surround sound create a “relaxing sound”. If you want to put on some headphones, pour a glass of wine and relax, these headphones will take you to another place.

What We Don’t Like:

  • Again the closed back headphones means you sacrifice that feeling of ‘being there’. Although the complete isolation may be a bonus for you.

The Takeaway

The ATH-M30s have the uncanny ability to put you right there in the middle of the orchestra. You can hear the subtleties of the different instruments. This is a great listening experience.

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3. Sennheiser HDR 160 Wireless Headphones

You’ll love the freedom these wireless headphones give you.

 

sennheiser hdr 160 headphones

Sennheiser RS120

Rating:

  • Sound Quality: 4.75
  • Range: 4.8
  • Comfort: 4.7
  • Overall: 4.75

The HDR 160’s use RF (radio frequency) transmission, but you would never know from the sound quality. They sound as good (sometimes better) than most bluetooth headphones. And with a range of 328 feet, they are most than just ‘TV headphones’. You can move freely around your house, wash your car, even do some gardening while listening to your favorite tunes/podcasts. It’s so freeing to have a pair of headphones like these around where you can roam freely without worrying about cords. The signal is also quite clear. I live in an apartment building and didn’t notice any interference. There’s a dull hiss between songs, but other than that I have no criticisms for these headphones.

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4. Klipsch R6 II In-Ear Headphones

klipsch-r6-ii-earphones

 

Klipsch Image S4

Rating:

  • Sound Quality: 4.9
  • Build Quality: 4.75
  • Comfort: 4.9
  • Overall: 4.85

What We Like:

  • A stylish design with soft, oval ear-tips that fit very comfortably. They also effectively seal out external noise.
  • Best sound quality in it’s price range, by far. Gives the mid-range headphones a run for their money.
  • Classical music sounds great, with the high violins and deep cellos both sounding amazing.
  • Works great for music with a great bass line as well.

What We Don’t Like:

  • The cables for the headphones aren’t high quality, which brings up durability issues over time.
  • In-Ear Headphones come with multiple-sized earbuds, but there’s always a risk of not fitting into ‘unique’ sized ears.

The Takeaway

These headphones somehow have $200-$300 sound quality wrapped in an $80 package. In short, they are spectacular…and by far the “best bang for the buck headphones” around.

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5. Grado Prestige Series SR60e Stereo Headphones

 

Grado SR-60i

Rating:

  • Sound Quality: 4.6
  • Build Quality: 4.8
  • Comfort: 4.6
  • Overall: 4.7

grado-sr60e best-headphones-under-100

What We Like:

    • With vocals, you feel like you are there, with the singer. Not in the crowd, but right there. It’s an amazing feeling.
    • Great dynamic range, can handle the highs and lows like it’s nothing at all. A fearless set of headphones.

What We Don’t Like:

    • In order to get the most of out these headphones, you need an amp for your headphones. These headphones stand at the precipice between casual music listener and serious audiophile. As you continue on in your audiophile journey, amps start to become more and more mandatory. Click here for an “Amp Buying Guide”.

The Takeaway

While having the reputation as “rock music headphones”, Grado has made great strides lately to make their headphones more versatile (and more comfortable!). The distinctive ‘Grado sound’ is well represented here and creates an incredibly diverse set of headphones that will play any genre you’ve got with great clarity and power.

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6. Sennheiser HD1 In-Ear Headphones

 

CX300B MKII

Rating:

  • Sound Quality: 4.8
  • Build Quality: 4.9
  • Comfort: 4.7
  • Overall: 4.83

 

sennheiser-hd1-in-ear-headphonesWhat We Like:

      • Astonishingly clear sound.
      • Great soundstage for budget headphones: live recordings get the full treatment.
      • Incredibly lightweight design. Their weight?…0.1 oz.
      • These earbuds have booming bass, but they balance it with crystal clear mids.

What We Don’t Like:

The Takeaway

For budget headphones these are the cheapest ones on the list and yet when it comes to sound quality they’re a strong second. They are a great choice for everyday earbuds.

 

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7. Sennheiser HD 2.20s On-Ear Headphones

sennheiser-2.20-ear-headphones

HD202 Headphones

Rating:

  • Sound Quality: 4.85
  • Build Quality: 4.75
  • Comfort: 4.85
  • Overall: 4.8

What We Like:

  • Crisp and clear mids and highs, all the while maintaining a powerful bass line.
  • Long and durable headphone cord that will survive more than a few run-ins with your office chair.
  • Breathable ear-cups for long listening sessions.

What We Don’t Like:

  • No travel case makes them vulnerable during transportation.

The Takeaway:
The HD202’s are a great set of headphones for the aspiring producer or DJ on a budget. The removable ear cup makes them versatile for all kinds of music playing and production purposes.

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8. Koss Porta Pro Headphones

Koss-Porta-Headphones-best headphones under 100>

Koss Porta-Pro

Rating:

  • Sound Quality: 5.0
  • Build Quality: 4.4
  • Comfort: 4.3
  • Overall: 4.65

What We Like:

  • Great sound quality and range that’s maintained even at very high volume.
  • The headphones produce an amazing frequency range which means that every sound get its due, and not at the expense of others.
  • High trebles sound just as great when there’s a deep bass-line, which is great for classical and jazz music.

What We Don’t Like:

  • The old design (Koss has never changed their design since the 1980’s…seriously) is very retro and the adjustable headband has a tendency to catch your hair.
  • The Koss Porta Pros won’t travel well, may easily break in a suitcase.

The Takeaway
These are the headphones with the smoothest sound and widest range of all the sub-100 headphones. However, a quirky design that truly needs some 21st century adjustments holds these headphones from being an essential part of a 21st century’s headphone repertoire.

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9. Sony DJ style Headphones

sony dj headphones

 

MDR-V55/BR DJ Headphones

Rating:

  • Sound Quality: 4.8
  • Build Quality: 4.6
  • Comfort: 4.7
  • Overall: 4.7

What We Like:

The sounds behave well on all ranges, with great clarity and fidelity.

These are the entry point headphones if you want to become a DJ or Recording Engineer.

High Definition Drivers that produce a wide frequency of up to 80KHZ.

What We Don’t Like:

The large leather earpieces can get too hot when you wear them for too long.

The Takeaway:
While the Sony’s have great fidelity and you can do some really amazing technical things with them if you know what you’re doing, fundamentally these headphones work best for producers. If you’re looking for headphones that you can put on and listen to your favorite tunes, these aren’t the ones for you.

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There you have it! Proof positive you don’t have to break the bank to get outstanding sound quality out of your headphones. There’s many more great selection in our Headphones Shop if you want to check out more options.

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