The good thing about headphones is that there are plenty of styles and options to choose from. For portability, you might prefer a pair of earbuds or in-ears, while over-ears usually offer a few more features. But if you want the best of both worlds you can also go for a pair of on-ears. Usually the best headphones are going to cost you a fortune, but that isn’t the case. These are some of the best on-ear headphones you can get for under $100.
Related: Best Bluetooth Headphones of 2017
Grado SR60eFull Review
Grado is a name that’s popped on some of our other lists, and for good reason. The family owned business operates out of their warehouse in Brooklyn and makes products that are known for their sound quality. One of them being the Grado SR60e on-ear headphones. For less than $100, these are widely considered one of the best bang for your buck open-back headphones you can get. The foam padding on the earcups isn’t the most advanced, but it’s super comfortable and makes them easy to wear for long periods of time. Because they’re open-back you’ll get a great soundstage and the heavy duty cable won’t break anytime soon. Of course, these aren’t the most portable pair of headphones. They don’t fold at the hinges, they don’t block sound due to their open-back construction, and they don’t have an inline mic and remote to control music on portable devices. But if you just want good sound, these are one of the best you can get.
Koss Porta Pro Limited EditionsFull Review
The Koss Porta Pro’s are hands down a classic pair of headphones, and the new limited editions add some important features along with their new color options. The retro design hasn’t been changed since it was first released, and it’s just as practical now as it was then. They have a thin lightweight frame and plastic ear cups that you can fold down to a more compact size for travel. These also have a switch on the side that adjusts the firmness of the ear cups for a more comfortable fit. They aren’t the most durable pair of headphones but they come with a hardshell case for protection during transport and the new limited edition models have a small mic and remote for use with mobile devices. One thing to note is that these are open back headphones so although they work with mobile devices you’re probably not going to want to use them during your commute unless you want everyone to hear what you’re listening to.
If you want a little more bass in your music, the AKG Y50 headphones are a good option that have been specifically tuned for that purpose. They have what AKG calls a “3D-axis folding mechanism”, which is a fancy of saying that you can twist, turn, and fold the ear cups into a more compact form for easy storage. The audio cable comes with a built-in one-button mic and remote for controlling your music and answering calls. It’s also completely removable so if yours gets damaged down the line you don’t have to replace the entire pair of headphones. The giant “AKG” on the side of the headphones isn’t the most aesthetic logo placement, but that doesn’t change the sound.
Marshall Major II
Marshall often borrows design elements from their famous guitar amps to give their audio products a bit of flair, and the Major II headphones are no exception. You can fold them down to a smaller size thanks to hinges on the headband. The audio cable is also removable and has golden accents that give it a bit of flair. On both ends of the plug is a touch of gold to add some durability (but mostly some style) so the headphones. It also has a one-button mic and remote so you can answer phone calls or control your music without issues.
Creative Jam Blaster
Of course, what kind of best on-ear headphones list would this be without the Sound Blaster Jam by Creative. The company has continued to show why they’re one of the best when it comes to quality products at low prices. The Sound Blaster Jams continue to impress with solid sound and features for the price. First things first, these are similar to the Moto Pulse headphones in that there is no option for a 3.5mm input. It’s Bluetooth or nothing, so if you use a non-Bluetooth device or have a problem remembering to charge up your devices every now and then these might not be for you. In that same vein the microphone isn’t the best so if answering phone calls is important to you one of the other headphones on this list might better suit you. That said, if you’re looking for one of the best pairs of cheap headphones for music purposes look no further. They do have NFC for capable devices, meaning connecting to them is as simple as tapping your source device to the side of the ear cup. No need to go digging through your Bluetooth settings in this case. The battery life is fairly solid at around 12 hours and the built-in playback controls worked flawlessly with iOS, Android, and even a Windows laptop. (To learn more about the sound quality read our full review) Design-wise, Creative went in a surprising direction: rather than trying to be too futuristic with the design Creative chose to go retro with a 90s-ish style that we can appreciate.
Let us know what you think of our picks in the comments below and be sure to let us know if we missed any so we can include them in future updates of this post. We’ll be sure to keep it up to date so you can feel confident that the best picks will always be here.
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