There’s nothing like a bargain to get the blood pumping. But while there are many cheap headphones, many of them are poor value. And, at the other end of the scale, decent models can jump up quite a bit in price.
It’s increasingly common for even relatively new brands to charge hundreds for their headphones.
We want to help you find less prohibitively expensive options, though, and that’s why we’ve created this list of some of the best headphones on the market that cost less than $100/£100. Read on to find out which sets have made the cut.
Our pick of the best cheap headphones to buy today
The Jaybird X3 tops out our list, as the perfect example of where corners don’t need cutting just because the cost of a pair or earbuds are going down. They’re a great set of buds, perfect for exercising in, but sleek enough to work in most settings, and while the X4 is now out, we still prefer the smaller design of this older model.
The sound they give is great, but the lightweight design is the real star, making them comfortable to wear for long periods. A battery life of 8 hours per charge is also about as good as you could hope for at their price. The X3x have been waiting for something to topple them for some time — for now, they’re still out ahead.
With other Beats headphones having supplanted them over time, the Beats X haven’t become more expensive in over a year, seeing them onto this list. When they first arrived, they were a great option for people who wanted AirPods-style ease of use, without sacrificing in-ear sound isolation and bass.
They deliver on those counts, even if the AirPods Pro now make them look distinctly… wired. Nonetheless, the Beats X remain a slick, great-sounding package, with battery life that matches the Jaybird X3s, and an arguably even more subtle design. If you’re happy to spend a tiny bit more than the Jaybirds, they’re a worthy rival, especially if you’re on iOS.
Urbanista Seattle Wireless
In-ear wireless buds are far from the only options on the table, though, as evidenced by the superbly-priced Urbanista Seattle headphones. They’re a really nicely-designed pair of cans, with almost no branding to speak of, and are simply priced superbly.
The sound profile is also much better than the pricing suggests, especially as far as genuinely impressive bass in concerned. With a massive 12 hours of battery life from each charge, you’ll also be able to use them all day without worrying. Controls built onto the right hand earcup are a clever touch, rounding out a great package.
Perhaps, though, you actually couldn’t give a monkey’s about going wireless. If you’re happy to abandon Bluetooth connectivity, you can take a drastic leap in terms of low prices. The SoundMAGIC E11s show this off perfectly. They’re positively bargain-basement in price, but importantly get the job done.
You’ll get impressive sound for your money, and can cut the price even further if an inline mic isn’t needed. They might not draw the eye too much, but the E11s will have you feeling smart for saving your cash.
Being thrifty doesn’t mean that you’re completely limited to staid, matte-black headphones, though. AKG’s Y500 has some of the boldest colour options available on the market. Opt for the blue or pink version of the headphones and you’re sure to draw the eye as you make your way around.
Of course, the Y500s also bring great sound, with good wireless performance and battery life. With high-quality metal and leather components, you really wouldn’t know they’re a budget set of cans. Of course, the looks won’t be for everyone, but if they’re up your street, the Y500 is a brilliant proposition.
Audio-Technica are specialists in high-quality audio components in extremely reasonably-priced packages, and the ATH-M40X show that in spades. These are big, over-ears headphones (showing that we’re catering to all tastes), with big cushions to ensure comfort while you wear them.
They’re stripped down to the audio essentials, lacking a mic or Bluetooth, and that’s worked wonders — they sound superb, with mids and highs that are crisp and easily distinguished, and impressively punchy bass into the package. Near-studio quality sound doesn’t come in packages this reasonable very often, so if you’re happy to use these for music alone, you’ll have a great time.