Affordable doesn’t mean cheap. If you want a great audio experience it’s possible to get it at affordable price. After going through many options, I finally narrowed down the choices for the best headphones Under $100. Who doesn’t like a killer deal?
Sometimes, when you search for the headphones, you always stumble upon those 200 and 300+ dollar headphones – but that’s too pricey for your taste – you just want a headset that is more budget-friendly, with a good sound, good durability and a lot of features.
But cheap doesn’t mean bad – there are plenty of choices in under 100 price-tag that can satisfy plenty of different needs – whether it be casual listeners, people who travel and want their music with them or even audiophiles.
We have TaoTronics Active Noise TT-BH22, a rising star in under 100 – the company decided not to focus on fancy looking, expensive packaging and multi-million marketing; they focused on a simple design with multiple features, good sound and good comfort to please their users.
Same can be said for AUSDOM ANC8 – they too tried to lower the price-tag of their product by eliminating unnecessary expenses.
Philips SHP9500S and Audio-Technica ATH-M30x, on the other hand, wanted to please the increasing population of audiophiles – these products are made to sound amazing, and that’s what only matters.
iDeaUSA Wireless wanted and succeeded in giving the users a more attractive wireless headset, with ANC options as well as good sound.
What to consider
Whenever you want to buy something – especially online – you should research a little bit. It’s common nowadays that good products are like hidden gems – buried somewhere on the 3rd page of Google.
The trick is – they aren’t there because they are worse than others – they are hidden because the company decided not to spend millions on marketing, thus keeping the price-tag affordable for ordinary people and people who don’t want to pay for a brand – they want to pay for something that works well.
When you find yourself on a quest for good, under 100 headset – look closely; pay attention to the experience of others, check if the company is credible enough and always compare the price to overall value – don’t pay for the brand, pay for the experience.
TaoTronics TT-BH22 – simple design and a great battery performance
Taotronics is a relatively new company that specializes in (affordable) consumer and lifestyle electronics – as we speak, their products are getting more and more popular on the internet – what’s the catch? Well, this company make their products affordable yet they possess many features that can put to shame much pricier models.
Their will to provide maximum features on a sturdy built product is best seen in the model TT-BH22, which is a noise canceling type of headphones with great battery performance – with a crazily affordable price-tag.
Construction & Design
Their construction consist primarily of plastic, but they don’t feel cheap at all – the build is sturdy yet flexible. The design is rather simple, nothing extravagant – yet stylish and attractive in its own way.
Controls on the right earcup are for pause/play, forward/rewind, volume up/down button and a micro USB charging port, and on the left are ANC indicator as well as ANCON/OFF button together with a 3.5mm audio port. Battery duration is about 25 hours.
Sound quality is great compared to the price this product is marketed for – enhanced, strong bass will suit almost every modern genre of music nicely. They have a balanced mid-levels and bright highs coming out of their dual large-aperture 40 mm drivers.
ANC level isn’t that high, it can reduce low to medium level of noise, but for their price – it’s really amazing!
After closely looking TaoTronics TT-BH22, I can only say – even if the price was much higher – they would be still worth buying. They have plenty of easy to use controls, great battery performance and on top of all – ANC that reduces up to medium levels of outdoor noise.
The only downside is their simple design and look, which I don’t feel is detrimental – I’d rather accept their crazy amount of features over stylish design any day.
- Great price
- ANC average level
- Great battery performance
- Sound slightly worse when ANC is on
- Not that comfortable
- Headband is averagely adjustable
AUSDOM ANC8 – classy look and a stretchable headband
Ausdom is another relatively new company, similar to TeoTronics, that puts their focus on the affordable consumer electronics. Their new ANC8 model is an improvement on their previous active noise canceling model called ANC7, and it’s a great improvement indeed; the design of the new, ANC8 model is much more appealing.
The Ausdom gave the refurbished ANC8 kinda classy look, battery life is extended and their active noise canceling ability is slightly improved.
Construction & Design
The construction is plasticky, with faux leather on the adjustable and stretchable headband, and faux leather on the earcups that gives a soft impression. As I already stated, the design is greatly improved over the previous ANC7 model, and ANC8 have a simple yet classy design.
There aren’t plenty of control buttons – you’ve got volume controls on the left earcup, and the ANC (active noise canceling) button on the right earcup. The battery performance is good, the 400mAh needs 2 hours of charging for up to 20 hours of usage time.
Regarding the sound, I feel these headphones could do a little better for the price they are marketed for – the bass is slightly stronger than needed, which is great for modern music like rap/hip-hop and electronics but not that good for other genres of music.
The noise canceling ability isn’t really amazing, they can’t block high levels of outdoor noise from sipping but still, they can reduce the low to medium levels of noise, so they are good to some extent.
Ausdom ANC8 is a step forward for AUSDOM company – they fixed bad things from their previous model, and the overall quality is good enough to please a majority of people. The noise-canceling feature is not the best, so they are not the best choice for everyone.
Also, the leaking is moderate so again “ they aren’t the best choice for the outdoor environment.
- 1-year warranty
- Wired / wireless
- Medium level of ANC at most
- Don’t seem they can last more than a year or two
- Sound is average
Philips SHP9500S – lightweight headset with a crystal clear sound
The Phillips SHP9500 is a great wired headset that, for an affordable price, gives the user a critical listening equipment with a durable and comfortable design. They have a stylish look, large open ear cups that fit well for a relatively lightweight headset.
Overall, great product from a well-known company that’s great for indoor use and some quality music time.
Construction of& Design
The Phillips SHP9500 is a classic example of how the design can be modern without looking cheap or flashy. They look and feel sturdy and durable, and they come with an adjustable headband combined with really soft earcups that will let you use them for a prolonged time without discomfort.
Also, They ear cups are quite large so they will easily fit around most ears. These are wired only headphones, so they don’t possess battery or controls.
This is the strongest point of the Phillips SHP9500 – the sound is really amazing. They have a very good and balanced bass, midrange is nearly flawless and they have a very good and sharp treble. This open-back, over-ear headphones really sound crystal clear – to the enjoyment of even die-hard audiophiles.
The SHP9500 have large, open ear cups that leak a little bit and do not block any ambient noise. However, they still are good against a medium level of outside noise, but I’d still prefer them for indoor use or quieter settings.
The Phillips SHP9500 is an excellent piece of equipment for under 100 dollars – they are pretty comfortable, durable and they look really nice – with amazing sound that comes from the driver.
These headphones are not for outdoor activities, due to their cable only option and average noise isolation, but they can be used to listen to music, playing games or watching movies – no latency and crystal clear sound from the cans will give you an enjoyable experience with them indeed.
- Amazing sound
- Wired only option
- Average noise isolation
- Small leaking of the sound
Audio-Technica ATH-M30x – made for critical listening
The Audio-Technica ATH-M30x is another headset that is great for listening experience – they were made for critical listening, ensuring that the user will have precise, and a great sound coming from them.
Audio-Tecnica is famous for its products that are made for professional studio monitoring and ATH-M30x is one of their models that fits the use perfectly, to the enjoyment of the users – who don’t want a headset that gives you the goosebumps when you listen to your favorite track?
Construction & Design
The Audio-Technica ATH-M30x have a simple and kinda bland design that isn’t popular that much nowadays – their purpose is to sound good, not look fancy. The build is robust which will keep them from falling apart after you drop them, so that’s surely a plus.
These headphones come with a wired only option, so you won’t have that much freedom with them if you decide to take them for some outdoor activity. Their comfort is above-average, slightly falling behind Philips SHP9500S in the comfort level. They don’t possess any audio control options.
Here’s the treat for the users looks for the sound quality above anything else – ATH-m30X have an excellent and extended bass, a very good mid-range and good imaging. These headphones only provide passive isolation. meaning you won’t have an enjoyable experience if you try to use them in a loud environment – still, they cope well in quieter settings.
They almost don’t leak at all, so you can use them in, for example, office, without worrying you will disturb your co-workers.
Audio-Technica ATH-M30x is a headset that’s amazing for home use – whether it be gaming, listening to music or watching movies – you can rest assured that you will have a great time with them.
Unfortunately, they are not ideal for outdoor use and their comfort level isn’t that amazing (if you feel fatigued after a long time of use, give your ears a quick rest and everything will be fine though).
All in all, a great headset for an affordable price.
- Great sound
- Almost no leaking of the sound
- Average comfort
- Wired only
- Too simple design
iDeaUSA V200B – plenty of metal parts in unique design
The product we will be taking a closer look is iDea V200B – a wireless, active noise canceling type of headphones, with an interesting and unique design. Lets put them on the table and see what kind of a treat iDeaUsa have for us.
Construction & Design
The construction and design are really great – sturdy and durable, plenty of metal parts ensures you will use them for a long time ( at a cost of slightly heavier weight compared to other manufacturers).
On the left side is the switch for turning ANC on and off and on the underside is the micro USB charging port and another LED which lights up when the ANC is turned on.
On the right side is the Power/Bluetooth button, surrounded by volume up and down, forward and previous buttons. The battery performance is average, with 16 hours of playback time or 9 hours with ANC enabled though the charge time is really low -2 hours.
Sound quality is pretty good. They have a V-signature sound, with a fun and slightly enhanced bass, which fits modern music nicely. Their active noise canceling ability is above average, meaning they will filter most of the sound that comes from low frequencies and things such as fans, air conditioners, and droning motor sounds – so your trips with planes/train or just regular commuting can be much more enjoyable.
iDeaUSA V200B headphones are reliable, attractive headphones with good enough sound and great control layout. Their battery performance is average, but with a quick charging time of only 2 hours, that won’t be a problem. They have an average comfort level, but nothing that will fatigue you quickly.
The foldable earcups and being wireless means you can carry with you wherever you go- whether it be commuting or traveling.
- Quick charging time
- Great control features
- Above-average ANC
- Slightly heavier – 335g
- Average sound
- Average battery performance
Different people – different desires. If you look some audiophile looking equipment – you’ve got ATH-M30x and Philips SHP9500S to satisfy your need. AUSDOM ANC8 will satisfy casual listeners and users who want a wireless/wired headset at a reasonable price.
iDeaUSA gives their users a cool looking headset, with plenty of features that can be on-par with much pricier headsets (ANC above-average level and great control layout). And then we have TeoTronics, who gave us a really affordable set with plenty of features that can put to shame even some 200+ dollar headphones.
If (somehow) it wasn’t clear enough, let’s state again – TaoTronics TT-BH22 is a clear winner. The price ratio is simply too good to be true – the amount of features these babies gives you for an absurdly low price is crazy – you will get wired/wireless headset, with good noise-canceling abilities; good, bassy sound; plenty of easy-to-use controls and on top of all – great battery performance.
To conclude our list – we found some hidden gems, after all. TaoTronics surprised us nicely – a great overall product for a relatively cheap price is almost uncommon nowadays. And when it comes to the critical sound listening, you can always buy Audio-Technica or Philips to satisfy that need for a crystal-clear sound.
AUSDOM and iDeaUSA too are valuable headphones – they have amazing features compared to their price-tag.
Remember – look and you will find it.