Best daily deals

All products featured are independently chosen by us. However, SoundGuys may receive a commission on orders placed through its retail links. See our ethics statement.

Best budget over ear headphones

Save some cash without sacrificing too much.

Published onJune 13, 2024

The Best
JLab JBuds Lux ANC
MSRP: $79.99
Check price
USB-C audio
Sound quality
Limited options
No IP rating
Best sound
AKG K371
MSRP: $157.97
Check price
Excellent sound quality
Comfortable with or without glasses
Plenty of accessories
Replaceable ear pads
Articulating ear cups
Isolation just ok
Sound leaks
Best features
Sony MDR-7506
MSRP: $99.99
Check price
Good sound for mixing
Solid cable
Coiled cable is heavy
Not comfortable with glasses
Best portable
EarFun Wave Pro
MSRP: $79.99
Check price
Companion app
Bluetooth 5.3 with LDAC
Battery Life
No audio over USB
No touch controls
No water resistance
No auto play/pause
Bang for your buck
Anker Soundcore Life Q20
MSRP: $59.99
Check price
Excellent battery life
Fine noise canceling
Decent sound quality
microUSB port
Slightly small ear cups
No app

Sure, true wireless earbuds are all the rage, but don’t count out the age-old reliability of over-ear headphones just yet. If you think premium sound and comfort are beyond your budget, think again. We’ve scoured the market to bring you the best budget over-ear headphones that won’t leave your wallet crying.

Take SoundGuys’ quiz to find your best fit

What's new?

  • People who have a habit of breaking things. We aren’t all capable of handling $500 headphones. It’s okay, we get it. This list is for you.
  • Anyone looking to save some cash. As much as we love great, premium-quality headphones here at SoundGuys, we understand that everyone has different priorities. If you want the best for your money, you can’t go wrong with any of these options.
  • In some cases, anyone. The Sony MDR-7506 headphones, for example, are a tried-and-true pair of classic headphones that have been around for decades and are repairable.

For under $100, the JLab JBuds Lux are crazy good value

The JLab JBuds Lux ANC sitting atop a wooden desk.
Christian Thomas / SoundGuys
The JBuds Lux is a compelling buy under $80.

The JLab JBuds Lux ANC offers a comfortable fit thanks to its well-padded ear cups and breathable cloth-covered headband. It also folds up compactly for easy portability. The headphones provide decent active noise cancelation, effectively reducing low-frequency noise by 50-75% and isolating high-frequency noise by up to 46dB. While the ANC may not match more expensive models, it adequately handles daily commuting noise.

The sound quality is consumer-friendly, with a bass-heavy profile and boosted high-end that caters to those listening in noisy environments. Battery life is impressive, with the headphones lasting over 44 hours on a single charge. Additionally, they support fast charging, providing 4 hours of listening time from a 10-minute charge. The JLab companion app offers useful features like a 10-band EQ, adjustable ANC modes, and a volume limiter.

Overall, the JLab JBuds Lux ANC delivers excellent value for budget-conscious consumers seeking over-ear headphones with solid noise cancelation, comfortable fit, and long battery life. While they may not have premium features like spatial audio or health sensors, they excel at the fundamentals

The chart below shows how the sound of the JLab JBuds Lux ANC was assessed by the Multi-Dimensional Audio Quality Score (MDAQS) algorithm from HEAD acoustics.

This chart shows the MDAQS results for the Jlab JBudsLux in SBC Default mode. The Timbre score is 4.8, The Distortion score is 3.4, the Immersiveness score is 4.4, and the Overall Score is 4.5).
Christian Thomas / SoundGuys
An overall mean option score of 4.5 points to a consumer-friendly sound with few unpleasant surprises.

Loading chart ...

Here, we can see that the JLab JBuds Lux ANC have some bass emphasis — about 2-5dB over what we like to see — from 300Hz down to 20Hz. There’s a little dip in the mids and then a large bump at 5-10kHz. This can help with spatial cues and sounds that typically get lost in mixes.

JLab JBuds Lux ANC
JLab JBuds Lux ANC
SG recommended
JLab JBuds Lux ANC
USB-C audio • Sound quality • Comfort
MSRP: $79.99
For under $100, these are crazy good value.
As far as inexpensive ANC headphones go, the JLab JBuds Lux ANC are one of the best of 2024. They focus on the fundamentals, and not fighting the spec wars.

The AKG K371 are the best budget wired headphones

A picture of the AKG K371 wired over-ear headphones on a nightstand in front of boxing gloves.

Folks looking to get some straightforward, good-sounding headphones ought to check out the AKG K371. These over-ear headphones have a nice frequency response that doesn’t exaggerate anything much and lends itself to most listeners. The size and weight of 255g are slim enough and not heavy. Plus, you can flip up the ear cups.

Plus, the pressure is gentle enough with memory foam ear pads to accommodate people with glasses. In the package, AKG includes three different interchangeable cables, which ought to last quite some time. Isolation is pretty average for headphones without active noise canceling (ANC), but for budget headphones that just playback your music well, it’s a good pick.

AKG K371
AKG K371
AKG K371
Excellent sound • Replaceable parts • Great sound
MSRP: $157.97
One of the best wired headphones on the market
The AKG K371 is one of the best over-ear headphones combining sound quality, comfort, functionality, and portability. The ear pads are rotatable and replaceable.
The AKG K371 scores high in timbre and distortion, with a slightly lower score for immersiveness.
Any way you slice it, the AKG K371 sounds pretty good.

Loading chart ...

The AKG K371 frequency response closely follows our headphone preference curve. Sub-bass notes below 80Hz are slightly louder than the midrange, resulting in a frequency response we’re confident most people will like.

If you’re a creator, you want the Sony MDR-7506

The Sony MDR-7506 headphones sitting next to some of my favorite instruments.
I had no problem driving these headphones with cell phones or even a tiny synthesizer.

Then you have something like the Sony MDR-7506 headphones, which is arguably one of the best headphones under $100 period when it comes to anything to do with creating. You’ll find these headphones everywhere, from TV production studios to recording booths, and it doesn’t seem like that’s going to change anytime soon.

The lightweight plastic build is fairly comfortable, and it folds to a fraction of its size, making it easy to transport. Plus, the long coiled cable means you’re free to move around somewhat without pulling equipment off the table with you. It doesn’t give too much emphasis to any one area of the frequency response, which means that you get one of the cleanest looks at your raw audio as you edit in the business.

Sony MDR-7506
Sony MDR-7506
Sony MDR-7506
Affordable • Comfort • Durable Design
MSRP: $99.99
The industry standard for a reason.
The Sony MDR-7506 might not be the best for enjoying your brand new listening station, but there's a reason this is a standard when it comes to audio production and mixing.

Loading chart ...

Our objective measurements lend credence to the Sony MDR-7506’s reputation as a good set of studio headphones for the last few decades. Its frequency response deviates a little from our target curve, with an under-emphasis between 150Hz and 400Hz (to a maximum of 7dB a hair above 200Hz) and exaggeration between 2500Hz and 5000Hz of around 5dB. Otherwise, the highs tend to max out around 5dB of our target curve, save for the steep roll off above 10kHz.

The EarFun Wave Pro are the best for travel or commuting

The EarFun Wave Pro headphones next to an audio cable and headphone case.
Chase Bernath / SoundGuys
Included with the headphones is a hardcover carrying case, auxiliary cable, and USB-C charging cable.

The EarFun Wave Pro headphones stand out as a top pick for budget-conscious consumers looking for on-ear headphones with solid features without breaking the bank. Priced at $79.99, these headphones deliver a commendable blend of performance and convenience, making them ideal for travelers and commuters alike. With an exceptional battery life that lasts up to 52 hours with ANC enabled and the ability to function both wired and wirelessly, they cater well to long journeys and diverse user preferences.

Although the design is fairly nondescript with a basic black plastic construction, the headphones are lightweight and come with a sturdy hardcover case that enhances their portability. The inclusion of ANC is a notable feature for headphones at this price point, effectively reducing low-frequency noises like airplane engines by about 75%. However, the sound quality is average, suitable for casual listening but not for audio enthusiasts seeking high-fidelity sound. They support Bluetooth 5.3 with LDAC, offering high bit-rate streaming which is rare for budget models, though they lack features like touch controls and water resistance.

Overall, the EarFun Wave Pro headphones are recommended for anyone needing affordable, feature-packed headphones primarily for travel or daily commute. They provide good comfort, effective noise cancelation, and practical connectivity options, though they fall short on sound quality and premium features.

EarFun Wave Pro
EarFun Wave Pro
EarFun Wave Pro
ANC • Battery life • LDAC
MSRP: $79.99
Wireless noise canceling headphones at a great price.
With great battery life, advanced Bluetooth connectivity, and noise canceling, the EarFun Wave Pro provides exceptional value at an affordable price.
This chart shows the MDAQS results for the Earfun Wave Pro in default mode. The Timbre score is 4, The Distortion score is 2.6, the Immersiveness score is 3.9, and the Overall Score is 3.5).
An overall score of 3.5 out of 5 is average for headphones in this category.

Loading chart ...

The chart above shows the default frequency response of the EarFun Wave Pro alongside the SoundGuys headphone preference curve. The headphones generally follow our preference curve, with some minor deviations. Most notably, the default sound of the headphones has a slight under-emphasis around 300Hz and 3kHz, and above 10kHz.

Get the most for your money with the Anker Soundcore Life Q20

The Anker Soundcore Life Q20 headset in full with the ear cups facing upward while resting on a wood surface.
You’re not paying much but you get some premium features, like great battery and fine ANC.

The Anker Soundcore Life Q20 headset is a prime example of high value for a low price. It made some of the best budget over-ear headphones because it features a comfortable fit and straightforward functionality. Its battery reaches 51 hours and 50 minutes on a single charge, and it uses a somewhat outdated micro-USB port.

Audio is transmitted using AAC and SBC codecs via a headphone jack or Bluetooth. There’s no app, and your controls are buttons on the ear cups, which keeps things simple. Best of all, though, are the 40mm drivers that, when paired with pretty decent active noise canceling, deliver an enjoyable listening experience. It’s certainly cheap, but it doesn’t lack much, except some luxuries like multipoint.

Pay a bit more for the better Anker Souncore Life Q30

A man places the Anker Soundcore Life Q30 headphones on his head.
Chase Bernath / SoundGuys
At such a lightweight, the Q30 is comfortable to wear during long listening sessions.

The Anker Soundcore Life Q30 is another strong contender in the best budget over-ear headphones category. It offers robust active noise cancelation (ANC) across low and mid-frequencies, a battery life exceeding 46 hours with fast-charging capabilities, and a comfortable fit. It also uses the more modern USB-C charging port.

This extended playtime, coupled with the convenience of fast charging—where a mere 5-minute charge delivers 4 hours of playback—makes the Life Q30 exceptionally suitable for users with active lifestyles or those who dislike frequent recharging. While the headphones do have some drawbacks, such as the lack of touch controls and water resistance, these are minor when considering the overall value offered.

Anker Soundcore Life Q30
Anker Soundcore Life Q30
Anker Soundcore Life Q30
Comfortable design • 40-hour battery life • EQ customization
MSRP: $79.99
A reliable and affordable headset with ANC
The Anker Soundcore Life Q30 gives you 40-hour battery life with ANC on, all for a low price.
A chart showing the MDAQS assessment of the Anker Soundcore Life Q30.
These are very impressive scores for a budget headphone.

Loading chart ...

Comparing its frequency response to our headphone preference curve, the Anker Soundcore Life Q30 has an absurd amount of emphasis on low frequencies below 200Hz.

The Beyerdynamic DT 880 PRO is a good budget enthusiast companion

The Beyerdynamic DT 880 PRO headphones.
Velour pads and a flexible band make for a solid set of at-home cans.

Not particularly well suited to a commute, the Beyerdynamic DT 880 PRO is staunchly in the at-home use department. It uses a semi-open back design, which keeps your ears cool while wearing the velour ear pads. Its frequency response also reflects a more studio-style sound, so bass heads be advised.

For the money, the DT 880 PRO is a great pick for the right user. Nobody here will suggest you take it with you on the bus, for example.

Beyerdynamic DT 880 PRO
Beyerdynamic DT 880 PRO
Beyerdynamic DT 880 PRO
Comfortable earpads • Good sound quality • Ease of use
MSRP: $184.00
A really good set of open back studio headphones often on discount.
The Beyerdynamic DT 880 Pro headset is one of the best pairs of open-back studio cans on the market. The earpads are very comfortable, and the headset is rugged-built.

The best over-ear headphones under $100: Notable mentions

Open backed headphones don't block out sound well, so the Sennheiser HD 560S is not a good isolator.
Open-backed headphones like the Sennheiser HD 560S are best suited for at-home listening.

What you should know about over-ear headphones

Comparing the Audio-Technica ATH-GL3 (Closed Back) and Audio-Technica ATH-GDL3 (Open Back).
Closed and openbacks are important to consider.

People like all sorts of personal audio devices, but over-ears are the mainstay of high-performing headphones. There are many reasons for this, but it mostly boils down to the fact that they’re easier to make, from the guts to the padding. If you want the most bang for your buck, you’ll get it from any of the best budget over-ear headphones.

What are over-ears anyway?

If you’ve been browsing our site looking for headphones, you may have noticed that we tend to talk about the different kinds of headphones separately. The most common that you’re probably familiar with are earbuds like the ones that come with your smartphone. Then there are Bluetooth earbuds, true wireless earbuds, on-ears, and finally over-ears.

To answer the question posed at the top of this section, over-ears are simply headphones that completely encapsulate your ears. The ear cups usually have a small indent in the padding for your ears to rest comfortably in. On-ears, on the other hand, don’t completely cover your ears and, therefore, have slightly worse isolation in most cases.

Why is isolation so important?

A man plays guitar wearing the Beyerdynamic DT 700 Pro X.
With the headphones on your ears are safer with loud instruments.

Isolation is arguably the single greatest factor that impacts how you perceive music. If there’s a lot going on around you, your brain has a hard time picking out some of the frequencies that lie within the range of the outside noise. For example, if you’re on an airplane the low rumble or the jets will effectively draw the attention of your brain away from that smooth bass line you’re trying so hard to listen to. It’s how humans evolved to hear: we notice the loudest sounds above all else. The more you can separate yourself from the noises around you, the better your music will sound.

An added benefit of good isolation (and noise cancelation) is that you won’t be so tempted to increase the volume beyond what’s safe for your hearing in order to drown the environmental sounds out.

What’s a Bluetooth codec?

A photo of the Bluetooth codec options in Android.
Bluetooth codecs in Android are supported by wireless over-ear headphones.

Bluetooth has come a long way since it was first introduced as an alternative to wired listening. It still isn’t a perfect replacement for a reliable audio cable, but the advancement of the Bluetooth codec—how data is packaged and sent between two different devices over Bluetooth—has helped things a lot.

An easy way to think of it is like languages that Bluetooth devices speak. If they speak the same codec (or language), then more data can be transferred more efficiently. If not, they default back to the most basic codec, which is SBC (or, in keeping with our analogy, hand gestures). It’s not as efficient, but SBC is universal, so everything can at least fall back on it.

Why you should trust SoundGuys

A photo of a woman wearing the Jabra Elite Active 45e earbuds.
The ear hooks are easy to shape to the back of your ear for a secure, long-lasting fit.

We test every product that comes our way by way of recording objective measurements and using everything in a typical environment. While audio is a measurable science, we don’t neglect the importance of personal preference. Some people may really enjoy a bass-heavy sound, while others may be forever in search of their platonic ideal headset.

Here at SoundGuys, we try to account for every need and preference when collating the best lists. While our site does operate via affiliate links, none of our writers benefit from awarding one product over the other.

Frequently asked questions

Yes, over-ear headphones can be very comfortable, depending on the model. Well-designed over-ear headphones often feature:

  1. Soft, plush ear cushions that gently surround the ears without putting too much pressure on them.
  2. Headbands with ample padding to distribute weight evenly and prevent discomfort at the top of the head.
  3. Adjustable headbands and swiveling ear cups to accommodate different head sizes and shapes, ensuring a proper fit.
  4. Breathable materials, such as memory foam, can keep the ears cool during extended listening sessions.

However, comfort is subjective and can vary from person to person. Factors like head size, ear shape, and personal preferences play a role in determining comfort. It’s always a good idea to try on headphones before purchasing or to buy from retailers with good return policies to ensure you find a comfortable pair.

Oh, do we have the list for you! Our best headphones under $1,000 compilation includes some good picks. With that said, there are plenty of excellent headphones that don’t reach those prices.

We like the Monoprice BT-600ANC for its great noise canceling, and the Sennheiser HD 350BT is a good performer too.

Honestly, the answer depends on what you’re looking for in a pair of headphones. These days, LG has focused more on true wireless earbuds, whereas Bose has over-ear and true wireless earbuds. For over-ear headphones, Bose is better than LG.

From this list, the Audio-Technica ATH-M20xBT has surprisingly good onboard mics for calls for the price they go for.

Sennheiser, Sony, Audio-Technica, and Anker are just a few brands that make decent cheap headphones. Explore our best lists to find out which one is right for you.

You might like