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Best Bluetooth headphones under $100
We all want the best, but sometimes the top-tier choice is beyond what we budget. Thankfully, cheap Bluetooth headphones are easy to come by and with the rise of true wireless earbuds, premium headset prices have fallen dramatically. Although all of our picks are relatively affordable, none of them are inherently cheap. Whether you need active noise cancelling (ANC), a compact design, or long battery life, we’ve got something to scratch your audio itch.
Editor’s note: this list of the best Bluetooth headphones under $100 was updated on November 23, 2022 to update formatting, and add the Skullcandy Hesh ANC as a highlight.
The Sennheiser HD 350BT is the best cheap Bluetooth headphones for most people
Sennheiser makes some of the best headphones in the market, even though its more affordable models like the Sennheiser HD 350BT continue to impress consumers. This headset boasts a wide range of high-quality Bluetooth codec support: AAC, aptX, and aptX Low Latency give the listener flexibility in how to listen and from what device to listen.
The large oblong ear cups are comfortable to wear for long periods of time, so long as you have average or smaller-sized ears. Those with large ears may realize these over-ears fit more like on-ears, which can be a literal pain. Buttons line the outer edge of the ear cup for volume adjustments, playback controls, and voice assistant access like Google and Siri. The headphones lack a 3.5mm input, so when the battery dies, you have to rely on the USB-C fast charging to get you through the rest of your listening session.
The headset supports Bluetooth multipoint, but users reported issues with stable connection strength when connected to two devices at a time. While this is a pain to deal with, it’s something that may easily be remedied in a future firmware update, which Sennheiser affords through its free app.
If you’re willing to venture beyond the $100 price cap, consider the step-up to the HD 350BT: the Sennheiser HD 450BT. It features many of the same features found on the HD 350BT but includes active noise cancellation. Its ANC performance may not stack up to the likes of Sony or Bose, however, it does a decent job at blocking out ambient noises—especially when you consider its $150 price tag.
The HD 350BT microphone is fine for casual calls, and it has a sidetone feature that allows you to hear your voice while speaking, which helps you avoid unintentional shouting. Take a listen:
Sennheiser HD 350BT microphone demo (Non-standardized):
How does the microphone sound to you?
For the best active noise cancelling (ANC) get the Monoprice BT-600ANC
Sneaking in on our list by one cent ($99.99 MSRP) is Monoprice’s BT-600ANC. Look, it’s pretty hard to find decent ANC, especially for $100. Count us surprised then that value-driven giant, Monoprice pulls it off better than some headphones that cost twice the price. Does this look like carbon copies of the Sony WH-1000XM4? Absolutely. Will you care when you can’t hear the naysayers because you’ve turned up the ANC and the volume?
Things to keep in mind: for the price you’re getting a lot of features on paper like touch controls, ANC, and a great battery life, but not necessarily all with great execution. For example, there’s no app to adjust any settings on the BT-600ANC, so you’re stuck with the sort of wonky frequency response, that significantly drops the midrange down in volume.
On the other hand, the battery will last an amazing 36 hours, punching far above its class. You get Bluetooth multipoint and aptX HD for some of the best quality you’ll find in a wireless headset. The ANC is some of the best we’ve tested—comparable to the Apple Airpods Max—which is more than 5 times the price. If you don’t mind the voicing, the BT-600ANC is a great buy.
The Monoprice BT-600ANC’s microphone is fine, but not the greatest. It’ll be adequate for day-to-day use, but not for recording or meetings where your microphone quality matters a lot. Take a listen:
Monoprice BT-600ANC microphone demo (Non-standardized):
How does the microphone sound to you?
Get quality aptX sound with the Audio-Technica ATH-AR3BT Sonicfuel
This is a bit of a limited-time suggestion, but sneaking in with a sale price of just under $50 USD is the Audio-Technica ATH-AR3BT Sonicfuel in the white colorway. This normally retails for $119 USD, and for good reason: it’s a solid set of foldable over-ear headphones with coveted aptX codec compatibility, and Audio-Technica’s deft execution.
Do I know what Sonicfuel is? Does Audio-Technica explain it anywhere? Not really, beyond stating that it’s for active, regular use, but I like these features and this cheap price. In the sub-$100 category it is unusual to find Bluetooth headphones with something more than just AAC and SBC codecs, so if that’s your main priority grab these.
With 30 hours of battery life, this is neither the longest, nor shortest lasting battery on the docket, but, it also has the dependable 3.5mm headphone jack, should you run out of juice. The ATH-AR3BT does not have active noise cancelling, but it does have fairly good isolation performance due to the over-ear fit.
Listen and be heard with the Jabra Elite 45h
The Jabra Elite 45h is a pair of on-ear headphones designed to be compact and portable enough for you to take anywhere—whether you’re commuting to work, running errands, or just putting your feet up at home. The swivel ear cups let you fold the headset up to shove into a backpack for easy transport.
The headphone has a relatively neutral-leaning frequency response that accurately reproduces low-to-mid frequency sounds like drums and vocals. However, the Jabra Elite 45h lacks clarity, with treble sounds like hi-hats and cymbals sounding slightly under-emphasized. None of this is helped by the headphone’s subpar isolation performance; though this is typical of on-ears due to its inability to create a proper seal.
One of the best aspects of the Jabra Elite 45h is its microphone (demo here). It reproduces voices accurately, and even people will deep voices will be heard loud and clear. The microphone also does a good job at attenuating background noise and light wind, eliminating audible distractions during conference calls.
Other features that make the Jabra Elite 45h a worthy investment include a 50+ hour battery life, USB-C fast charging, AAC codec support (which is great for iOS users), and an included two-year warranty that covers dust and water damage.
The Jabra Elite 45h has a great microphone, and it’s great at attenuating background noise. Wind noise will come through though, which is normal in those conditions. Listen for yourself:
Jabra Elite 45h microphone demo (Ideal conditions):
Jabra Elite 45h microphone demo (Street conditions):
Jabra Elite 45h microphone demo (Windy conditions):
How does the microphone sound to you?
Make every penny count with the Anker Soundcore Life Q30
Anker is lauded by budget shoppers for its reliable, low-cost products that give more expensive alternatives a run for their money. The Anker Soundcore Life Q30 is a gem as it features active noise cancelling, grants 40 hours of battery with ANC on, and has a comfortable design.
Sound-wise, these headphones are just okay, equipped with drivers that tend to emphasize bass and treble frequencies. This is great for fans of bass-heavy electronic music, though the sound of guitars and other acoustic instruments may lack clarity. Unlike other headsets on this list, you can EQ the sound of the Life Q30, and create a custom sound profile or choose from plenty of presets.
The active noise cancelling on the Anker Soundcore Life Q30 is fine, given its sub-$100 USD price. This is a great budget headset for jet setters, but can’t compete with the best ANC headphones like the Bose QuietComfort series or Shure AONIC 50.
Spend a bit more with the Anker Soundcore Life Q35
Anker is lauded by budget shoppers for its reliable, low-cost products that give more expensive alternatives a run for their money. The Anker Soundcore Life Q35 is a gem as it features active noise cancelling, grants over 52 hours of listening on a single charge, and has a comfortable design.
The price often dips below $100 USD for the Q35, but its standard price is $129 USD, which is a bit more than our budget here. If you have a bit more to spend, we recommend learning about the best Bluetooth headphones under $200.
The microphone on the Life Q35 is great for phone calls and video calls. Take a listen:
Anker Soundcore Life Q35 microphone demo (Non-standardized):
How does the microphone sound to you?
Consider the Skullcandy Hesh ANC when it’s on sale
The Skullcandy Hesh ANC usually retails for $135 USD, but you can find it on sale for under $100. It has pretty good ANC and a battery life just under 23 hours, making it a good option for anyone looking for those features at a low price. The sound profile is quite bass-heavy with a huge boost in sub-bass, so if you’re not into genres that complement that like EDM or hip hop, this might not be the best headset for you.
The microphone on the Skullcandy Hesh ANC is fine for phone calls, but still not the greatest. Noise suppression isn’t great overall, so take calls in a quiet place with these cans. Take a listen for yourself:
Skullcandy Hesh ANC microphone demo (Ideal):
Skullcandy Hesh ANC microphone demo (Office):
Skullcandy Hesh ANC microphone demo (Street):
How does the microphone sound to you?
The best Bluetooth headphones under $100: Notable mentions
- Anker Soundcore Life Q20: While now superseded by the newer Q30, the previous Q20 model is still available and often for discounted prices, with a similar sound signature as the Q30, and a respectable 32-hour charge. Find it for $59.99 at Amazon.
- Audio-Technica ATH-SR30BT: With 70 hours of battery life and a recent price drop, if you can’t find the ATH-AR3BT Sonicfuel, or don’t dig the white colorway, these are a decent Audio-Technica product with similar 40mm drivers and passive noise-cancellation. You miss out on the aptX codecs, but you get more than twice the battery life and a headphone jack.
- Jabra Elite 65t: The Jabra Elite 65t may not be cheap Bluetooth headphones, but they are cheap true wireless earbuds thanks to the release of the Elite 75t. These were our favorite totally wireless earphones for months on end, and remain a great value pick for listeners who want something extremely portable and reliable. Get it for $119 at Amazon.
- JBL TUNE 600BTNC: JBL’s on-ear headphones offer a 16-hour battery life with quick charging and ANC. For $60 USD, this is a great deal.
- Plantronics BackBeat Fit 6100: Athletes searching for workout headphones that work just as well in the office as they do in the gym should get the Fit 6100. Listeners can adjust the headband tension, and benefit from a comfortable over-ear fit. Sound quality and microphone quality are generally very pleasing with these IPX5 headphones. You can pick it up for $59.9 at Amazon.
- Skullcandy Crusher Wireless: While the Crusher Wireless is showing its age (microUSB charging), it still holds up as a great budget headset. You get solid battery life, plush ear pads, and a cool bass response slider to immediately affect the headset’s sound. You can find it for $84.95 at Amazon.
- Sony WH-CH510: With the trusted Sony brand this no-frills option will run you just shy of $50 USD if you look in the right place. The WH-CH510 headphones feature 35 hours of playback and a 10-minute quick charge, lending about 90 minutes of use, but no 3.5mm audio jack. The on-ear fit can be fussy on some folks—though innately portable—and the build quality leaves something to be desired. Find it for $29.99 at Amazon.
- TREBLAB Z2: This set of over-ear workout headphones may not keep pace with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson’s headset, but it does have cool features like ANC, a 35-hour battery life, and an IPX4 rating all for less than $100 USD.
What you should know about Bluetooth headphones under $100
Like other kinds of headphones, there’s plenty to learn about Bluetooth headphones before you buy. Let’s go over some important features like Bluetooth codec support, fit, and noise cancelling before you make any purchases.
High-quality Bluetooth codec support is rare
This support is typically reserved for a more premium class of headphones, so don’t be too disappointed if your favorite headset here lacks aptX or AAC support. That said, we’ve done our best to include some picks with at least aptX support, which yields high-quality audio streaming for Android devices. iPhone users, if it’s any consolation, many of us are unable to discern a difference between high-quality codecs because our ears are either too old or too damaged to observe it.
A proper fit matters even especially with cheap Bluetooth headphones
Whether you’re shopping for earbuds or headphones, finding a proper fit is key to optimizing audio quality. If you can’t create a total seal separating you from the environment, external noises will make it difficult to perceive detail in your music. This phenomenon is called auditory masking: loud noises cause relatively quiet noises hard to register. To avoid this altogether, take a few moments and make adjustments to the headband.
If the yokes allow for it, you can also angle the ear cups. Not only does this create a more comfortable fit, but it effectively improves passive isolation, so you can focus more on the music and less on chatty neighbors.
Why should you get noise cancelling headphones?
It depends on what you prioritize. If you’re really scrounging for the best bargain you can find, then ANC headsets may not be an option as they tend to be pricier. That said, noise cancelling headphones are better for you than those without ANC because they can help preserve your hearing by preventing noise-induced hearing loss.
This relates back to auditory masking: not only are we less able to register music playback, but many of us thoughtlessly increase volume when we’re on a crowded train car or noisy flight. It may not seem like the music is loud at the time—again, a consequence of auditory masking—but there’s a good chance we’re damaging our stereocilia, those tiny ear hairs, when we crank the volume. Noise cancelling headphones make us less prone to doing so because, the good models, nullify or lessen external noise.
Maintain realistic expectations
Although we’re presenting you with the best cheap Bluetooth headphones around, the fact remains that these are still cheap Bluetooth headphones. If you think corners have been cut, it’s because they have been. Unfortunately, you can’t have it all for less than $100 and one of the first things to go is construction quality. You’re unlikely to find a leather-wrapped headband with brushed aluminum accents on this list. However, once you temper your expectations, you’ll be amazed at how far $100 USD can take you when it comes to consumer audio.
How we chose our favorite affordable Bluetooth headphones
We understand that shopping around for audio products can be an arduous and confusing task. Rather than sending readers off on a wild goose chase for information, we’ve chosen to consolidate the most pertinent things shoppers should know about cheap Bluetooth headphones and list out what we’re championing as the best picks around. Any headset we’ve reviewed has been subjected to a battery of objective tests to determine frequency response, isolation, microphone performance, battery life, and noise cancelling effectiveness.
Although we pride ourselves on making objective data easily accessible to our readers, we also value the subjective aspect of audio, and go to great lengths to use products as a normal consumer would. That way, we’re able to highlight the good and bad each headset, microphone, or speaker has to offer.
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Frequently asked questions about Bluetooth headphones under $100
Although both products share a similar price and sound profile, the Sennheiser HD 350BT includes a few modern additions over the HD 4.40BT, including USB-C for charging and Bluetooth 5.0 support.
Technically you can, but it doesn’t necessarily mean you should. If you want to use your headphones during your workout, consider buying a pair that are rated for water resistance, to make sure that your investment lasts as long as possible.
The biggest difference between the two is that the HD450BT features active noise cancelling, while the HD350BT does not. Sound-wise, the HD450BT claims to have a fuller, more detailed sound, though at a higher price point than the HD350BT.
Over-ear headphones are typically more comfortable since the ear cushions do not put any pressure on your ears. On the other hand, on-ear headphones strike the balance between portability and performance. To learn more about the different options available, you can read our full headphone buying guide.