The Best headphones under $100 are harder to find than you might think. Here at WIRED, it’s part of our job to listen to music all day, often on exceedingly fancy and bonkers-expensive models. We have playlists for testing bass, for assessing detail, for dance parties—we get way into it. But believe it or not, we like testing the cheap stuff just as much. It’s like a treasure hunt to find the ones that pack in the most tech for the money. And they’re getting better and better every year.
That doesn’t mean our work is done; etailers are still overflowing with cheap headphones that sound cheap, so we’ll keep listening and updating our picks every few months. While you’re looking for the next great pair, be sure to check out our many other buying guides, including the Best Wireless Headphones, Best Wireless Workout Headphones, and Best Phones With a Headphone Jack.
Updated November 2022. We’ve added the Audio-Technica ATH-M20xBT and JLab Go Air Pop.
Special offer for Gear readers: Get a 1-year subscription to WIRED for $5 ($25 off). This includes unlimited access to WIRED.com and our print magazine (if you’d like). Subscriptions help fund the work we do every day.
If you buy something using links in our stories, we may earn a commission. This helps support our journalism. Learn more. Please also consider subscribing to WIRED
Best for MostGoogle Pixel Buds A-Series
The Pixel Buds A-Series are amazingly comfortable, sound great, and have decent microphones for calls. They come with an IPX4 rating to protect them against sweat and ear fins to keep them lodged in your ears, so they’re great for workouts. The design is slim enough to fit even in small ears. Full integration with Google Assistant makes them some of the most helpful buds around, and if you use an Android phone, they pair instantly. On iOS, they pair just like a normal Bluetooth device. That minor inconvenience of having to manually pair them to an iPhone is worth it, in my opinion—these are essentially better versions of AirPods at two-thirds the price.
Runner-Up Earbuds1More ColorBuds
The ColorBuds (8/10, WIRED Recommends) are the third-generation wirefree earbuds from the small audio brand 1More. They boast an AirPod-beating six hours of battery life, support for the AptX Bluetooth codec for higher-quality wireless audio, and an assortment of comfortable ear tips that all but guarantee a good fit. The IPX5 rating makes them capable of withstanding rainy walks and sweaty runs too. The best part, though, is their fit. They are some of the most comfortable wirefree earbuds, even for people with smaller ears. Bonus: As the name suggests, they come in an assortment of cool colors.
If you want slightly larger buds with noise canceling on board, the Colorbuds 2 ($70) are also a solid choice, and they come with better microphones for calls. For most, I’d say stick with the more lightweight pair.
Best Wireless HeadphonesJabra Elite 45H
The Jabra Elite 45H aren’t just great on-ear headphones with clean lines and comfortable, form-fitting earpads, they also have enough battery life to last a week or longer between charges, even if you listen for many hours every day. You’ll get up to 50 hours of medium-level playback from these stylish headphones, which makes them an awesome pick for those who like to escape the power grid (or hate searching for charging cables every two days).