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Best Headphones Under $100

Thomas Germain

Consumer Reports has no financial relationship with advertisers on this site.

Consumer Reports has no financial relationship with advertisers on this site.

These days it's easy to find low-cost headphones in a broad range of styles and colors. But headphones are more than a fashion statement, and what distinguishes the models on this list of the best headphones for under $100 is that they earn high marks for sound quality from our testers.

The models here not only rank among the top headphones in our ratings but also earn CR's Best Buy designation, thanks to prices that start as low as $50. There's something for everyone in this roundup, whether you care most about high-quality sound, the convenience of Bluetooth, or the unmatched portability of true wireless earphones.

Every year Consumer Reports buys dozens of headphones at retail—at places you might shop yourself—and puts them through a battery of tests to help you sort through the noise when you're shopping.

Jabra Move Style Edition

The Jabra Move Style Edition, an on-ear Bluetooth model with a sleek appearance and more than decent sound, comes with convenient features like controls for call, playback, and volume, and the option to forgo Bluetooth and use the detachable audio cable included with your purchase.

The headphones have a closed, isolating design that will keep some noise from leaking in or out during a listening session. The headphones have an advertised 14-hour battery life, more than enough to get you through a day of listening. (CR doesn't test battery life in headphones.)  

Grado Prestige SR80e

The Grado Prestige SR80e is a perennial favorite among music fans looking for a bargain on top-notch sound. You'll have to sacrifice the convenience of Bluetooth, but for just $100, the SR80e's outstanding audio quality is hard to beat.

These on-ear home/studio-style headphones are built for the audio-focused listener. Their open-back ear cups, which are meant to add audio clarity, won't block sound from bleeding in or out, and their large profile and long, sturdy cable limit their portability. All that means they’re best used in a quiet environment where you can really focus on the music.

1MORE Triple Driver

You won't find many headphones that deliver such superb audio for the price as the in-ear 1MORE E1001 Triple Driver, which typically costs just $80.

These wired earphones have a sleek design and come with extras, including a removable shirt clip, a carrying case, and nine sets of earpieces of varying shapes and sizes to help you find a good fit. The integrated microphone, call/connect, playback, and volume controls will play nicely with your iPhone and other devices. And the isolating design also muffles ambient noise and blocks some sound from bleeding out and bothering people around you.

1MORE iBFree Sport

Another model from 1MORE, the iBFree Sport, is one of the best wireless options in our ratings. The sound quality isn't quite as good as the Triple Driver's shown above, but the $60 price could make these headphones even more appealing.

The iBFree Sport has inline controls for calls and music playback, and features a water-resistant design, according to 1MORE. The advertised battery life is 8 hours.

Anker SoundCore Liberty Air

The Anker SoundCore Liberty Air earphones look a lot like Apple's AirPods, but at $80 they cost about half as much, and they have a few notable advantages. Unlike the AirPods, the Ankers have an isolating design that will muffle some outside sound, and our testing shows their audio quality is significantly better, too. CR's technicians also note that they fit and stay in place better than many true wireless models.

According to Anker, the earphones have a 5-hour battery life and come with a charging/carrying case good for three additional charges on the go. They're also advertised as water-resistant. (CR doesn't test that feature.)

The Liberty Air has tap controls for calls and playback, and support for digital assistants, and they come with the option to use the right earpiece alone for single-ear listening. They're available in black or white.

Inside CR's Anechoic Chamber

On the "Consumer 101" TV show, host Jack Rico and a high school marching band put Consumer Reports’ anechoic chamber to the test to find out what it sounds like when you remove all echoes from music.



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