We’ve already taken a look at the best earbuds under $50, and there were definitely some winners there, but now it’s time to kick it up a notch. What if we up the ante to the best earbuds under $100? does the playing field change much? Depending on what you’re looking for the answer is: yeah probably. Earbuds are by far the most portable form of headphones available, and for good reason. Even the best studio headphones money can buy can’t be wrapped into a ball small enough to be stuffed in your pocket.
There are plenty of other reasons to invest in a good pair of ‘buds as well. Maybe you find over-ears uncomfortable, or maybe you have great hair and don’t want over-ear headphones to mess it up (not the case with me). Whatever the reason, it’s probably time for you to stop using the cheap pair that came with your phone and pick up a pair that will give your music that extra layer of detail you’ve been missing out on. After all, isn’t that the goal?
There are a lot of headphones out there and though it’s impossible to make a list with all of them we did our homework, tried some out for ourselves, and made this list for the best earbuds under $100.
1More Triple-Driver In-ears
1More isn’t a legacy audio maker like some of the other audio companies on this list, but they’ve made a splash in the in-ear market with their triple driver in-ears. As the name implies, these have three drivers inside the tiny housing. Two of which are tiny balanced armature drivers which basically act as tweeters, and a third dynamic driver which takes care of the low end. They come with a small mic and remote so you can control your music and answer phone calls as well and can even reproduce frequencies up to 20kHz which means it’s hi-res certified if you have a compatible device and source file.
Besides the headphones, you also get six sets of silicone ear tips and three sets of foam tips so chances are you’re going to find a good fit to help with noise isolation. Though they’re at the upper limit of the price range of this list at just under $100, they manage to pack a great value that puts them at the top of this list. The buttons on the control module aren’t the best and might take some getting used to, but if you can get passed that you shouldn’t have too many qualms about this purchase.
Many audiophiles have heard of Shure, they’ve been in the audio game since 1925 and have had a lot of practice when it comes to what makes great sound and what doesn’t. Though their products are mainly aimed at the higher end of the audio world, they occasionally take that expertise and bring it down to the consumer level with great results. The Shure SE215 in-ears are a prime example of that. Their pedigree can be traced back to professional grade in-ear monitors that are used for live performances, so you would expect them to sound great and you wouldn’t be wrong.
They feature an enhanced bass dynamic micro driver that provides a full sound with a more detailed low-end. This makes sense if you consider the fact that musicians performing live have a tougher time hearing the lows while on stage, so the in-ear monitors they use has to make up for that. It’s also a good thing simply if you enjoy bass heavy music. The cable is made of a Kevlar reinforced cable so even if they do get snagged on something they won’t rip. If you’re the unlucky person that they do break on (or if you just wear them down) you can always simply replace the wires as they are completely detachable. Shure included a gold plated MMCX connector with a lock-snap mechanism so that you can disconnect them from the ‘buds if they ever need replacement, saving you $65 since the replacement cable is only $35.
Sony MDR-EX650 B
If you fancy yourself a bass-head Sony is a company that makes plenty of products you might enjoy, one of them being the MDR-EX650 B. They’ve made an entire line of headphones dubbed “extra bass” for lovers of low-end that usually receive good reviews, so they know a thing or two about bass. Though they’re touted as headphones for the bass lovers, they also do a good job at maintaining decent mids and highs as well for a smooth overall experience. The housing is also not too big which could be a problem if tiny earbuds tend to fall out of your ears so that’s something to keep in mind. It’s probably a good idea to invest in your own ear tips for these.
Focal is a name you’ve probably heard if you’re looking for high end audio gear, but they’ve also been making some noise in audio products for the average consumer. One such product are the Focal Sphear in-ears. Focal prides themselves on a clear, unmuffled mid-range so if you find yourself listening to plenty of podcasts as well as music, these might make sense for you as vocal quality is top notch. That said, a common complaint with these is a lackluster bass so if you’re looking for a strong low-end in your headphones you might want to pass on these. As these were made for portability they do come with a small mic and remote so you can easily control your music and the sophisticated design looks great in and out of the office.
Another pair of ‘buds well worth the price tag are the R6 in-ears by Klipsch. The company had huge success with the S4 series and the R6 in-ears build upon that reputation. If you’re the type of person that has trouble getting earbuds to fit, you’re not alone. It’s a common occurrence among in-ears which is why Klipsch made these with contoured ear tips to securely fit in your ears. On top of that are silicone ear tips which help to get that perfect seal that’s so important for earbuds. The R6’s are made of a durable lightweight aluminum and have a tangle free cable which makes these perfect for anyone who’s a bit rougher on headphones than the average person. The housing is a bit smaller than previous versions and thats to allow a higher level of comfort level. they manage this by using 6.5mm dual-magnet drivers in each ‘bud. Though they’re slightly smaller they still have a frequency range of 10Hz – 19kHz, so if you’re looking for some low-end that you can enjoy without ruining any of the upper frequencies these aren’t a bad option at all. Depending on what your intended usage is going to be, there are three different models that you can choose from. The standard R6 in-ears are the bare bones model intended solely for enjoying music. If you need a little more functionality and have an iDevice then you can opt for the R6i version which comes with a 3-button remote and mic for playback controls and phone calls. If you’re rocking a phone that isn’t an iPhone, then you might better off going with the R6m as they have a single button remote that is compatible with basically everything else, even PS4 and Xbox One.
The market for in-ears is one of those that doesn’t seem to be slowing down any time soon. Name a company that dabbles in portable electronics and they most likely have a pair of earbuds on the market. With new companies arising everyday and phone manufacturers taking the included earbuds a little more seriously, we’re sure that this list won’t stay stagnant for very long.
That said we’ll keep it updated so you can feel confident that these are the best of the best whenever you happen to be reading this. If you have any suggestions let us know in the comments below and we’ll be sure to check them out. Happy listening.
Didn’t find what you were looking for? Checkout these related best lists:
- Best bluetooth earbuds
- Best bluetooth headphones for running
- Best workout earbuds
- Best noise cancelling earbuds
This post may contain affiliate links. See our disclosure policy for more details.