Top 20 Best Earbuds Under 100 In 2018 – Complete Guide
The wicked tunes that you enjoy need not be anybody else’s business, which is why earbuds are your closest allies. Regardless of whether you like Shpongle or Justin Bieber, you have the option enjoy your music in peace. More empowering is the wide range of earphones available to you. The cheap ones almost always disappoint and the most expensive ones may not be worth it to you. One hundred dollars is a reasonable limit under which you find a wide range of superior earphones / earbuds.
Why the best earbuds under 100 dollars?
We have covered some of the low-budget headphones before. Excellent as they are, there’s only so much refinement you can get out of them. They have mediocre to bad build quality. The range of audio can be better. Besides these get earphones cave to daily use and stop working within a few weeks. On an average, the money you spend replacing them over one year can be used to purchase better earbuds under $100. If you want a deeper, more defined audio and quality build, you have to invest more than $7. Earphones/Headphones in the $10-$100 range have following advantages:
- They have a higher resolution. Tracks sound more detailed.
- They amplify the sound evenly through the range of frequencies and volume.
- They are much more durable.
- They have less distortion and sibilance.
- They fit into the ears more comfortably.
- They tend to have well-executed extra features like mic, IPX rating, carry case etc.
There are earphones costing more than $100 too. If you have deep pockets, you can peruse products above $100. But if you are a casual listener, you might not understand the subtle advantages of an audiophile earphone. There’s quite a bit of difference between $5 and $80 earphones. Above that the differences are apparent only to the trained ear. So sub-$100 earbuds walk the right balance of budget, quality and features. In fact, quite a few of them offer authentic audiophile experience with exceptional tonal balance and depth of bass.
What are the advantages of earphones over headphones?
While a true audiophile will always favor headphones over earphones, there are some distinct advantages of the latter:
Portability: Earbuds are so so easy to carry. You can fit them in a small pouch and stuff them in a handbag. In spite of all contortionist tricks in the book, the headphones can never rival the space-consciousness of the earbuds. You can easily slip them into your pockets while walking around.
Comfort: Generally the headphones are considered to be quite uncomfortable. In fact, comfort is the main design consideration for full-sized headphones. But earbuds simply affix near the pinea or sit inside the ear canal. There are very few people who do not like in-ear earphones squirreling into their ear canals. They can still use earbuds which sit just at the foyer of the ear canal.
Volume: The earbuds command 9dB more volume at the same power level than a headphone. This is because of the higher proximity of earbuds to the ears compared to headphones. In a quieter room, you can use a lower volume compared to headphones.
Headache: As in the earbuds will not give you any. Headphone are not just uncomfortable for ears, they create pressure over the head too due to the clamping force of their headband. Fortunately, the tiny earbuds hang from your ears by grace of friction and there is no forceful clamping involved.
Price: There are ultra-cheap earphones available. But usable headphones are not available under $10. Of course, as the price range rises to $50+ headphones usually sound fuller and more dynamic than earbuds. It’s because they have bigger drivers that can push out more range than the small drivers of earbuds.
Which are the best earbuds under 100 dollars?
There’s a wide variety of headphones within the $100 range. However, there are a few which are notable for their audio performance and build. These truly outshine their price and they hit the ceiling of the earbud quality discernible to the casual listener:
Audio: The main parameter we judged these earphones on is audio. The best earbuds under $100 picked are those which give the most brilliant range of audio small drivers can muster. They have deep resonating bass supporting clean vocals. There’s no distortion at loud volume or sibilance in the high end. These have a detailed sound signature that packs the intricacies of music. Most of them perform well genre-independently.
Sound Signature: We have covered a variety of sound signatures from brazenly bassy to pristinely purist. The best earbuds under $100 list has something for everyone.
Construction: Since these aren’t the cheapest earphones in the market, we expect them to live out a life their price’s worth. The best earbuds under $100 are constructed for longevity. They feature hardy wires and tough ear pieces that can handle the daily abuse within your bag or purse.
Comfort: A common problem with cheap earphones is how they keep slipping off from the ears. Or some are just too uncomfortable to the inner ear. The best earbuds under $100 offer a few extra pairs of eartips in other sizes, one of which is bound to fit your ears.
Budget: As mentioned, we have rounded up the best earbuds under $100. To compare earbuds of different prices within $100 objectively, we used their value-for-money as opposed to the actual prices. Whatever you budget for earphones be, we want you to get the best for your money.
Features: Many of the best earbuds under $100 offers convenience features like proper noise isolation, carry case, foam eartips etc.. They make the earbuds more usable and easy to maintain over the course of their use.
TOP 20 BEST EARBUDS UNDER 100 IN 2018
Shure SE215-CL grazes the boundary of the $100 budget. But boy, is it worth it! These are hi-end earphones surprisingly sold at a budget price. Shure is known to be audiophile territory. The SE215 packs detachable parts to add value to the earbuds. Their construction leaves little to be desired. At their price, you are bound to be careful handling them. The equation is completed with unrivaled style.
Design and Features
Shure SE215 earphones, especially the ones with clear housing, are so exquisitely designed that you almost miss their detachable cable. Yes you heard right. The earbuds are connected to removable cables. So if the cable fails, you can still enjoy Shure’s pristine audio with a different set of cables. The curved tail of the ear pieces accommodated the port for the cable. It takes a good yank to detach them. The ear pieces conveniently fit into the inner ear and the angled eartips enter the ear only nominally. We suggest you use properly-fitting foam earbuds with SE215 to get the most out of it.
The Kevlar-reinforced cable of these sub-$100 earbuds has to be routed above the ears. Wearing it this way provides good noise isolation. The earbuds can be rotated about the cable plug to fit properly. The audio leakage is also curbed at normal volumes. The cable is sturdy with a patterned skin. This discourages tangles even when you shove the earphones unceremoniously into your bag. The cable terminates in an L-shaped plug. A zipped carry case and extra eartips are shipped with the SE215. They are available in with either clear plastic ear pieces or the black model. You can see Shure’s delicate circuitry in the clear model.
Shure SE earphones are known for their warm, luscious mid range. Even in the relatively affordable SE215 earbuds, the same base signature is maintained. The bass has a low thumpy presence that boldly underlines the vocals. There’s much power to the lower registers without the side-effect of bass bleed and boominess. The vocals and guitars have an articulate presence over the bass. Shure has taken the edge off the treble. Most of the casual listeners focus more on bass than the sparkle of treble. You can hear the nuanced nature of the audio all through the lower and mid frequencies, right up to treble. This makes up for the lack of fizz in the treble.
An impressive feat pulled off by these excellent earbuds under $100 is their sizable sound stage. For a single dynamic driver earbud, they space their instruments in a wide space. So, complicated music sounds airy and effortless.
- Detachable cable
- Powerful bass
- Clear and detailed mids and highs
- Comes with carry case and foam tips
- Tangle-free wires
- Replacement cables are costly
Bose SoundSport earphones address two very important problems that most people have with cheaper earphones. These do not enter the ear canal. So if you feel queasy about ear tips inside your ear canal, SoundSport can be a nice alternative. In spite of their lax contact with the ears, these do not fall off, all thanks to their sport design.
Design and Features
The Bose SoundSport earphones breathed a fresh lease of life into the Bose line of earphones. These lightweight sport earphones are just what you need to kickoff your morning routine. These are earbuds which sit loosely at the entrance of your ear cavity. They are held in place by Stay Hear fins which grab on to your inner ear. The fins are permanently molded on to the ear tips. This is a gutsy move where the slightest imbalance in its weight could make the design a failure. Due to the particular design, SoundSport offers very less noise isolation. When you jog down busy streets, it keeps you aware of your surroundings. Same goes around the heavy equipment in gym. It is sweat- and moisture-resistant. It is not completely water-proof so you can’t take it swimming with you.
An inline remote control hangs at mouth height from the ear pieces. There are three models of SoundSport earphones: an Android version, an Apple version and Audio only version. The remote control integrates a mic so you can conduct your business on the go. The 42-inch cable can be held down by a shirt-clip to avoid cable noise. It terminates in a straight plug. A round zippered case with a carabiner clip makes it easy to stow the earphones away when they are not being used.
Bose always treads the space of safe sound signatures. They do not experiment much like the maverick Sennheiser and Shure. They stick to the time-tested ingredients of music: plentiful bass, forgiving mids and smooth treble. The bass has good extension so SoundSport earphones do not sound thin or tinny at any point. There is no distortion when the volume racks up. They sound good with all genres of music. Casual listeners will enjoy this ability of the earbuds. Audiophiles might crave more distinction in the sound signature.
The lack of proper noise isolation might make you raise the volume of these earbuds in noisy places. Thankfully, the volume swell is handled uniformly across all frequencies. There is little or no cable noise. Microphone performs exceptionally well. The voices on both sides were heard clearly over any ambient noise.
- Do not penetrate the ears
- Fins for firm fitment
- Pleasant audio, plays well with all genres
- Mic and device-specific volume control
- Only average noise isolation
1More Triple Driver earbuds walk a nice bridge between casual and audiophile music critique. These are beautifully intricate and warm compared to the stock earbuds. But they aren’t so far gone into the audiophile territory that they sound clinical and dry. With the lovely metal finish, the braided cable and the multi-platform inline control, these earbuds bring a lot of bang for the buck.
Design and Features
The 1More Triple Driver in-ear headphones are built with aesthetics in mind. These are available in either black/brushed metal or black/rose gold combinations. The earpieces are made of aluminum alloy. The driver housing remains charcoal black and has the contrast colors on the driver post and the cable joint. The eartips angle a little from the earpieces. The driver housings are slightly large since they need to house triple drivers. They do not stick out of the ears much but you won’t be comfortable sleeping on your side with these on.
These affordable earbuds have a usual 1.2m cable. The lower half of this cable is Kevlar-reinforced right up to the straight 3.5mm jack. But the cables from the Y-junction up to the ear pieces are made of a rubbery finish. These tend to stick against each other and get tangled. The cable has a 3-button inline control. This is a lightweight plastic control that does not weight down the ear pieces. This has the excellent ability of being compatible with both Android and Apple devices. Usually, the volume buttons of inline remotes work with only one platform at a time because of Apple’s elitist wiring system. This is an extremely valuable feature for those of us who use earphones with smartphones.
The 1More earbuds are packaged in a gorgeous presentation case. This packs the earphones themselves, 9 pairs of eartips, a cloth clip and a leather case with magnetic clasp. There are 6 pairs of silicone eartips ranging from 10mm to 14.5mm. There are 3 sets of foam eartips which sit a little shallow but provide a tight seal with the right size.
The 1More Triple Driver in-ear headphones remind us of the Sennheiser Momentums. These are simply for enjoying music, in all its richness and glory. These are the Holy Grail of casual listeners under $100 and the guilty pleasures of audiophiles who want a break from surgically clean music. The single dynamic driver and double balanced armature drivers work together to highlight the nuances of the audio throughout the frequency spectrum. They are pretty open-sounding for earbuds and instruments gets space to present themselves. These can handle complicated music across all genres.
The bass is extended well and defined much better than stock earbuds. They have a healthy mid-bass bump which doesn’t bleed perceptibly to the mids. The quality of bass is better with the 1More Quad-driver earbuds. But we like 1More more for their price. The midrange of these earbuds sounds rich and textured. They might not be as transparent as some audiophile earphones. But the mid-bass bump really gives them character which makes casual music that much more enjoyable. The treble is smooth and has none of that bite. These are dark-sounding earphones.
- Aluminum alloy design
- Smooth, rich and textures audio
- Plenty of detailing
- Controls work with Apple and Android
- Good haul of accessories
- Rubber cable tangles up till Y-junction
MEE Audio M6 Pro earphones are surprising at their price. Like the Shure SE215, these have detachable cables. Build –wise they have more than SE215 to offer at half the price. Some even go on to say these are as good as Shure SE215 at half the price. But we think you get what you pay for and Shure earns its price in terms of overall audio quality. Even so, MEE M6 Pro outdoes its price.
Design and Features
The MEE M6 Pro earphones offer a good insight into their circuitry through their clear and smoke models. The ear pieces curve back to accommodate the detachable cable. The ear tips emerge straight from the ear pieces and dig deeper into your ears than Shure SE215. But do note that 215s have better noise isolation than the M6. Although already much cheaper than the 215s, an added advantage of the M6 Pro is that they come with a spare cable. So even if you damage the first set of cable, you don’t have to spend half the price of the earbuds to buy another cable. A replacement cable of SE215 is costly and has to be bought separately.
These earphones have memory wire in the section where it plugs into the ear pieces. This goes around the ears and retains its form. The cables are translucent and terminate in L-shaped plugs. They come with 6 pairs of ear tips including a medium-sized pair of Comply foam ear tips. These foam tips work exceptionally well at providing a proper seal and improve audio experience many fold. If you use a small or a large tip size, you should consider investing in Comply foam tips. A zipped carry case and a 6.3mm screw-on adapter are included in the pack.
After you have used the MEE M6 Pro earphones for 24-48 hours you notice their true sound. These tend towards a neutral audio compared to most earphones in their price range. The mids steal focus in their sound signature. The vocals have a forward presence. So much so, the ample bass seems little recessed in comparison. The treble can be a tad harsh in certain tracks. Altogether the audio takes a natural approach tending towards fun. All genres sound good on these earbuds. A caveat for the bass heads though. They might be better off with Shure SE215 which has a skillfully –executed slight bass bump.
To get the best out of these affordable earphones under $100, try them with the Comply foam ear tips. They make a noticeable difference to the audio.
- Detachable cable with spare cable
- Highly affordable with accessories
- Neutral sound signature
- Bold midrange
- Disparity in performance between silicone and Comply eartips
Marshall has done some maverick work in headphones arena. The Mode EQ earphones are another one of their unique offerings. These have audiophile audio quality with a Bass Boost option. These can get cozy with both hardcore music critiques and bassheads for the price. The graceful Marshall design, the ease of use and the thoughtful single-button inline control all contribute to their place in our top-notch earbuds rankings.
Design and Features
The Marshall Mode EQ headphones have an exquisite vintage design. The ear pieces are done in black with the cursive Marshall logo imprinted in gold at the back. The eartips angle away from the driver casings and sit tight inside the ears. The design is mostly plastic except the casing of the 3.5mm jack which is done in golden metal. This lends more durability and is consistent with the color scheme.
There is an inline control on the cable of these budget earphones. This has the mic and the multifunctional button. It can control playback and calls. It can also be used for track navigation based on the number of taps. We do wish they had separate controls for volume/track navigation though. The other, more important button on the control is the Bass boost slider. This switches between neutral and enhanced bass mode on the earphones. The cord ends in an angled plug for added sturdiness. The Mode EQ earphones come with 4 different sizes of eartips. The back of the inline control has a clip which can help keep the cable stable while moving around.
All in all, the build quality of the earphones assures us that they can take some serious abuse. They are comfortable for long hours of music perusal. With the right eartips, they offer good noise isolation too.
We tested the Marshall Mode EQ in-ear headphones in the neutral mode first. They wowed us with a surprisingly natural audio signature. The bass sounds tight, the mids are clean and the treble has the edge that makes them sound fun and energetic. They are not exactly flat in their presentation. Even in the neutral mode, there is a slight bump in the mids. However, it does not bleed into the midrange or muddy it. The result is a slightly V-shaped signature which could again be called a guilty pleasure than a purist fantasy. They have pretty good detailing for the price which translates to better instrument placement and separation.
With the bass boost, these budget earphones really stepped it up. They only boost the lowermost frequencies below 1kHz. This does not affect the mids or highs. But it lends a high-quality bump. As serial audiophiles, we could still live with the audio signature after the boost. We made good use of the Bass boost button with the bass-intense genres like EDM and Techno. The treble sounded detailed in both modes.
- Bass boost mode
- Balanced audio, no bass bleed
- Vintage design
- Single button inline control
- Metal casing on jack
- Should have volume buttons
Sony h.ear line has some kicker full-size cans. But their MDR EX750AP earphones are pretty great too. These metal earbuds go for a mature and balanced sound signature, a detour from their bass-heavy Extra Bass earphones. The inline control also makes them more user-friendly. These are tough competition for the Sennheiser Momentum which have dominated the best earbuds under 100 niche.
Design and Features
The Sony h.ear MDR EX750AP earphones go for the simple-yet-bold look of much of contemporary Sony gear. The ear pieces are curvy and done in aluminum. These are larger than the average ear pieces like those of Panasonic Ergofit. But they don’t make you look dorky, especially not with that metallic sheen on the body. They come in black, blue and red colors and the cable is color-matched. The eartips projects straight out from the ear pieces. Unlike the Sennheiser Momentum, the cable joint is covered by metal for at least 1.5 inches, lending more durability to the set.
These budget earphones have a serrated cylindrical cable. The design ensures that these don’t get tangled easily. The cord is normal length for everyday use. Sony avoided the whole Android-compatible or Apple-compatible debate and went for a single button inline control. This is a multifunctional button for Play/Pause/Call Answer/Reject functions. This has a mic as well. The mic quality is above average for everyday use but it’s not quite as focused on picking up vocals as the Sennheiser Momentum mic. These earphones come with 4 pairs of silicone eartips. This gives a wider selection than the usual 3 sizes. This helps get a proper seal for the relatively large ear pieces.
At the price of these affordable earbuds, we did expect more accessories and bells and whistles though. The 1More are around the same price, they come with multiple eartips and a nice carry case. As do the Sennheiser Momentums.
The Sony h.ear MDR EX750AP earphones go for a neutral and balanced audio. They are definitely audiophile territory for the price. Unlike their Bassy cousins, these earbuds lighten up on the bass. The lower registers are well-defined and have plenty of details. They are punchy but not excessively impactful. A bass head should stay away from this set. However casual listeners who are sick of boomy bass will certainly appreciate the definition and quality of Sony’s bass in classical and orchestral genres.
Instrument placement and detailing are amazing for the price. The midrange really shined with the vocals and strings. The mids sounded clearer and more articulate than anything we have heard on cheaper buds. Audiophile cans on a budget tend to brighten up their treble to give the audio a heightened sense of clarity. The h.ear earphones fall into the same trap. The treble is detailed with a little more sparkle than required. This can confuse the instruments in high mids sometimes. But the audio never sounds harsh. Overall these are excellent value for money. They try their best to bring quality audio within a budget.
- Balanced, natural audio
- Proper instrument definition
- Metal housing
- Single button control
The Actionpie in-ear headphones are a budget pair for those music enthusiasts who are on a budget. These dual-driver earphones look cool, sound loud and balanced and come with a bunch of accessories. These can definitely be a conversation starter with their new-agey design. With enough user feedback to validate their durability and performance, we ran them straight to our best earbuds in this article.
Design and Features
The Actionpie earphones are funky-looking buds. Their two drivers per earbuds are packed in a clear shell. The whole shell looks a bit like a miniature cassette player. The eartips are angled away from the plastic driver housing. They fit ergonomically in the ears. The ear pieces are large but flat. So they can sit low profile in the ears and stay comfortable while you sleep on your side with these on. The plastic build ensures these aren’t very heavy but they cannot beat the ultra lightweights like Bose SoundSport.
These budget-oriented earbuds have a normal cable with diamondback design. It doesn’t get tangled very easily. The cord ends in a straight 3.5mm jack. It has an inline control near the Y-junction with a mic and a multipurpose button. You can use it to Play/Pause/Call Answer/Reject. The overall design is very catchy and seems pretty reliable for everyday use. These earphones come with a nice haul of accessories too. They have 7 sets of eartips total including the ones that are mounted on the buds by default. They come with a zippered hard case and a drawstring pouch too. Inside the carry case, they have a cover for the jack and a Velcro strap to pack the earphones properly and avoid tangles. For affordable earbuds, these offer huge value for money.
The thing that immediately struck us about the Actionpie earphones is their noise isolating property. These don’t have active noise cancellation but courtesy the design, they block out a lot of ambient noise. The choice of eartip also helps achieve a proper seal and shut out the sounds outside. These are excellent for the commute and flights when you cannot spend huge money on ANC headphones. Or even just to shut out the noise at work.
These earphones sounded warm and enjoyable to us. The usual problems of headphones in this price range like boomy bass, harsh treble and muddy mids are not obvious here. The dual drivers pump out plenty of bass along with good sub-bass extension. The mids are clear and crisp. The vocals get centerstage whenever required. The highs are smooth without any hint of sibilance. The clarity and soundstage are decent. These are a definite step-up on the stock earbuds.
- Great haul of accessories
- Good noise isolation
- Inline control
- Large driver housings
The Skullcandy XTplyo sport earphones are an excellent buy for the folks with an active lifestyle. These have the magic hold that keeps them steady in ears through the most wicked workouts. The audio is tuned just perfectly to get you through the long grind at the gym. The variety of colors and the trademark Skullcandy styles add to their street cred as sport earphones.
Design and Features
The Skullcandy XTplyo sport earbuds are one of their lesser-known units. Compared to most other earbuds on this list, they are positively tiny. The housings are mounted with ear fins that wrap around the inner ears and secure the earbuds to these. As a result, the ear pieces stay put in the ears although the eartips may sit shallow. The eartips angle away a bit from the driver housings and sit comfortably in the ears. The light weight also helps in this regard. They are available in black/grey, green, pink, navy and rainbow colors.
These affordable earphones are sweat-resistant, so you don’t have to worry when you sweat it out at the gym. But we wouldn’t suggest dunking them in water or using them in the rain. They aren’t waterproof. These have a cylindrical cable but it’s resistant to tangles. The cord ends in a 3.5mm plug. There’s an inline control with mic and a single button. The button is multifunctional and the mic worked well for hands-free calls. The button works with both Apple and Android devices. A reflective cable clip is included to help reduce cable noise and movement. These come with a choice of eartip sizes that help provide a tight seal for any ear size.
These earphones are pretty comfortable. Their low profile helps keep you comfy when you sleep on your side with these on. Many people lauded the secure fit and how these buds refuse to budge no matter how much you shake your head.
Skullcandy are infamous for their bassy headphones. Some people like it and some don’t. The XTplyo sport earbuds try to provide quality and quantity with their bass. The lower registers have a slight but very calculated bass boost which gives it enough power to make the music sound energetic. This also ensures that the audio doesn’t sound thin when the volume is lowered.
Usual Skullcandy earbuds are accused of having too much bass, to the extent that it smothers the mids. The XTplyo are different in this regard. Their bass is more controlled and doesn’t spill much into the mids. As a result, the vocals and guitars sound clearer and more assertive. The true bassheads may not like the detour from character of the Skullcandy earbuds but it sure puts Skullcandy on the map of quality sound. The highs are smooth and do not sound sibilant at any volume.
- Earfins for secure fit
- Light and low profile
- Balanced audio
- Single button inline control
- Not as much bass as older Skullcandys
The Shure SE210 earphones sit on the inexpensive side of Shure’s spectrum. They never flinch from putting out their best sound and technology out even when the budget is small. Like all their earphones, they have packed distinguished features into the SE210 as well. These come as a veritable feast for the ears. The sound quality is not just merely satisfactory, it brings the best out of all genres.
Design and Features
The Shure SE210 earphones are supremely comfortable when you learn to choose the ear tips correctly. These are accompanied by three sizes of foam tips, three sizes of soft flex sleeves and triple-flanged sleeves. The foam tips fit into the ears and expand to provide a close seal. They create quite the isolation wall around you. For everyday use, they almost act as noise-cancelling earphones. But if you use them during a flight, they will not completely drown the engine hum. The ear pieces are designed to fit closely in the inner ear. You would do better to loop the cable around the top of your ears. The cables end in a straight plug.
The noteworthy feature of these reasonably-priced earbuds is their extension cable. Their attached cable is 50 cm long. But they also ship a 3-foot extension cable for the avid musicians who like a little movement-room. Apart from that, a cleaning tool and a handy zipped carry case are enclosed. The construction is fairly shock-proof. You can expect these to last a few years, if used properly.
The Shure SE210 are those serendipitous earphones that lead you to discover new details in all your favorite songs. This has a neutral sound signature. The weighty bass is well-resolved so bassy songs do not confuse single balanced armature driver. It is adept at creating the full range of frequencies. The detailed nature of the mid range is beautifully rendered and supported by the bass. The guitars and vocals retain their fluid nature. The bass has the meaty and deep presence that complements powerful vocals rather than bleeding into them.
Because of the single driver sometimes the bass can take the focus away from higher frequencies. For the Techno and EDM genres, the bassheads might require the bass to reach lower. The definition of bass is not lacking here. You would have to go to twice the price for better sound. These truly prove themselves to be one of the best earbuds under $100.
- Comes with an extension cable
- Foams eartips provide excellent seal
- Meaty, well-defined bass
- Refined audio
- Slight mixing of frequencies in bassy songs
V-Moda is the Versace of the earphone/headphone world. Their subtle combination of delicately-carved surfaces and grungy sturdiness takes your breath away. The Forza earphones also pack punchy audio to complete the cycle. They have a bunch of accessories that make them an excellent choice as sports earphones. It’s quite exhaustive really. The military-grade build is another trademark of V-Moda.
Design and Features
The Forza in-ear earbuds have the bold build that V-Moda usually inculcates. The ear pieces have a simple, yet dominating form. The eartips project straight from the ear pieces and sit comfortably in the ears. These come with an inline remote control which either supports Android or Apple devices, depending on the model you choose. The cable is tested by military standards of resilience for 60,000+ bends and is tangle free. It terminates in a 45° plug with a strain relief joint. The 3-button remote control is crafted for tactile advantage. The Forza Metallo differs in only that it has metal ear pieces instead of Forza’s plastic build.
The accessories are the real treasures with these earphones. These come with ear piece caps with fins extending out of them. These latch on to the ears and provide a firm fit required during your workout routine. Patented detachable earhooks can be slipped on the wires so that they are efficiently routed over the ears. There are four sets of eartips in different sizes that give a proper seal. A shirt clip is enclosed to reduce cable movement and noise. The pouch provided is a mesh pack with a drawstring. The most appealing accessory of the lot has to be bought separately. These are the 3D printed jewel-like metal caps for the earbuds. These are costly but if you are as vain as us, these would be coveted like no other.
The biggest game that V-Moda brings to the table is superlative bass. The low ends have this bounding energy that is framed with proper definition. The EDM and Techno songs can evoke feelings that you only expect with full-size headphones. They still sound balanced. There’s no bleeding of bass into the midrange. The vocals and guitar get their fair share of attention. They sound full and rich with their bass supporting the sound. The treble sparkles right up to match the bass.
The decent soundstage and detailing of audio ensure that these are outstanding earbuds under 100 dollars. The mic conveys speech properly although it’s too low down on the cable.
- Highly durable build
- Comes with fins and detachable earhooks
- Powerful bass response
- Dynamic sound
- Mic lies near the chest instead of near the mouth
Audio Technica leaves no stone un-turned to when it comes to balanced audio. Add Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) to that mix and ta-daa, the ANC23 noise-cancelling earphones. These are the kind of earbuds that are spoken of in the same breath as Bose QuietComfort line. The concept has been decently conceived and packed with the right collection of accessories.
Design and Features
Audio Technica goes for dignified elegance in all its designs. The ATH-ANC23 shares this trait. The curvy ear pieces are backed by a cap bearing A-T’s logo. The eartips are angled away from the ear pieces for a more ergonomic fit. The cable emanating from both the pieces ends in an L-shaped jack to avoid damage. Just as well, because the noise-cancelling circuitry of ANC23 is packed in a matchbox-shaped inline control. This hangs on the cable close to the plug. You should make use of a shirt clip so that this control box does not weigh down your ears.
The ANC control panel of these earphones has an on/off button. The button allows you to operate the earbuds in a quieter environment without ANC. It also houses the battery pod for an AAA battery. It has a volume-control wheel. Active Noise Cancellation<Insert link to noise cancelling headphones> works by picking up the noise using a mic and running a similar wave with opposite phase. This cancels out the original noise wave. An airline adapter plug, 3 sets of eartips and a drawstring pouch accompany the ANC23.
The noise-cancellation of A-T ANC23 rings close to the Bose QuietComfort20. The ANC works exceedingly well for the price. It positively screens out the annoying hum of airplane engine or AC. It dims out the higher frequencies sounds like conversation from people around you. It’s good when you need some peace in the office or the subway. Still, if someone were shouting warnings at you, you would know. ANC makes the audio sound amplified because of the quite background. The lack of noise also brings out more details in the audio.
Audio Technica has a brilliant group of sound engineers. With ANC23, they focus on rich balanced audio which makes them one of the best earbuds under $100. The midrange gets a brilliant expression though them. The bass has a deep rumbling presence. A-T never oversteps territory with the bass. But it is always delivered on the fun side. The lack of background noise beats all the competition these can have.
- Effective Active Noise Cancellation
- Well-defined bass
- Refined audio
- ANC control box can weigh down the ears
The best Sony headphones are steeped in the tradition of music. But lately it has tried to cater to the bass-addicted largesse. This must be their way of loosening up and acknowledging the changing times. The XB50AP extra bass earbuds are an affordable pair for the bass heads. These are your best bet at quality bass in this price range. Besides there’s Sony’s mark of reliable quality in the build and packaging.
Design and Features
The Sony MDRXB50AP extra bass earbuds sport some well-defined curves. The ear pieces are rather stylishly designed to house the drivers. The eartips are angled away from the center of the earbuds. This is to provide a more ergonomic fit. People with smaller inner ears may experience some chafing while using these. Their comfort level has been known to vary for different people. As for us, we didn’t have any issues wearing them long term. Apart from an all-black model, it has a blue/black version and a red/black version.
These earbuds have a patterned flat cable. This prevents the cable from tangling and makes it feel much more organized. It has an inline control with a single button for Play/Pause. By the way of accessories you get three sizes of silicone eartips. Make sure you choose the correct one for best bass performance. A zippered soft carry pouch is also provided with the pack. Noise isolation with these earphones is better than average. It really helps when you are out in the gym and training to the beats of the song.
The Sony MDRXB50AP earphones proclaim their extra bass right in their heading. However, this is not the rampant kind of bass that tramples over everything. The bass has a certain amount of control that only an audio giant like Sony can manage at this price. There’s a boost to the bass that can meddle with the midrange in complicated songs. But for most songs, it works without a bass bleed. The odd sense of balance even with extra bass is clear in the sound signature. Even at high volumes there’s no distortion from the extra bass. It’s not boomy and muddled either.
The midranges and treble are beautifully refined in these worthy earbuds. This is apparent when you EQ the bass a little. But if you like the bass as it is, you might miss that nuanced nature of mids and highs.
- Long-lasting build
- Extra bass
- Refined response
- Single-button inline control
- Bass messes the mids in complicated songs
- No volume control
Some of us have a taste for the premium but not enough capital to fund it. Symphonized NRG 3.0 earbuds bring the warmth of wood and its toned elegance together. These are specifically designed for noise-isolating so that you can enjoy the decadent sound in peace. The wood ear pieces introduce you to the pleasure of indulging in earphone vanity. At their price, we think they certainly offer tremendous value for money.
Design and Features
The Symphonized NRG 3.0 earbuds are stunners. The wooden ear pieces have an elitist aura. You expect them to be used next to mahogany furniture, cozy fireplaces with a couple of Rembrandts staring down at you. But these are very affordable. The wooden buds have slim silver-colored highlights. The eartips project straight from the ear pieces. Some people may find it difficult to keep the earbuds in their ears. We suggest they try a different set of eartips preferably, double-flanged ones for proper fit. NRG 3.0 is shipped with three sizes of eartips.
These earphones lock the connection of the cable to the ear pieces with a stiff piece of rubber coating at the joint. The double-toned cable is rubbery and avoids tangles. It also treats the problem of cable noise that was noticed in NRG 2.0. They have an inline 3-button control. These integrate a mic and volume navigation. The Play/Pause button works with both Android and Apple devices but the volume control only works with Apple devices. The cord ends in a 45° bent plug. This makes the best of straight and L-shaped plugs. A shirt clip is included in the pack to reduce whipping of the cable.
The Symphonized NRG 3.0 earphones are one of those surprising gives from their price range. The wood colors the sound warm. The sound signature can only be described as fun. The bass has a nice extension to it. You can feel the vibrations in your ears when you turn up the party music. The proper earbuds allow you to get a good seal and enjoy the details of the music. You can hear a spattering of nuances in there which we did not expect for its price.
The midranges are clean and articulate. The highs have good details to them. They sound better than they look and that’s saying something. The mic performs well in case you use them to make calls.
- Very affordable
- Wood ear pieces
- Natural balanced audio
- Deep bass and clean mids
Audiophile earbuds may seem like a random phrase but these are a real product. Creativity is probably not their forte. But that doesn’t hamper their performance. They can throw you off with their utilitarian design. But these are very durable earphones. The nice natural sound is what attracted us the most. They are quite budget-oriented given the quality of audio and build.
Design and Features
The Audiophile earbuds are built like a tank. You can literally feel the weight of the ear pieces in your hands. That could be a problem if you have sensitive ears. The earbuds would weigh them down. The ear pieces are inelegant cylindrical structures. The eartips emerge straight from the driver casings. You get three sets of silicone tips with them. Given the richness of audio, we suggest that you invest in some Comply foam tips. They would give the audio their real audiophile spin. But the real advantage of their silicon tips is the tight seal. These have outstanding noise isolation capabilities.
These earbuds have a simple cord extending from them. It terminates in a straight plug. Since these are meant to be audiophile headphones, there is no mic or inline control. A shirt clip is provided to keep the cable stable when you are out jogging or walking. We would have liked to see some kind of carry pouch but Audiophile does not provide that. Its 16Ohm impedance makes it’s easy to drive with most portable music players.
The Audiophile earbuds rake an easy victory with their sound. The bass response puts them in the league of Sennheisers. The low-end response is well-resolved and punchy. We detected a small and carefully-executed bass bump. This lends it the power to spruce up any genre of music. Most importantly, these earphones never let the bass meddle with the midrange. The mids get theirown space and moment. In fact, bass partners seamlessly with the vocals and guitars.
Treble also extends well in the high frequencies. It has the right amount of bite to it. The balance of all these elements creates a premium sound signature at an affordable sum. These are definitely the best you can have under $100.
- Solid audio response
- Bass and treble have nice extension
- Highly durable
- Excellent noise isolation
- No inline mic
- Very few accessories
Sennheiser Momentum line needs no introduction. It has ridden a wave of popularity in with each of its headphones. The in-ear version of this line pleasantly surprised us. It maintains the highly energetic sound that we liked Momentums for, all the while maintaining a unique sound signature. These are also one of the few treble-focused earphones amongst the best earbuds in this category. With all the perks and the stamp of Sennheiser’s quality, they get a well-deserved mention here.
Design and Features
The Sennheiser Momentum earphones are part metal, part plastic. Like Iron man, they keep their real talent hidden within and shield it with good humor. The inner chamber is made of metal but outside is all glossy plastic done in blood red and black. Between the two elements, the ear pieces turn out to be very light. The eartips are angled away for an ergonomic fit. Because of the low weight, these earphones remain fixed easily in the ears, provided you use the right set of eartips.
The flat cable emanates from the ear pieces through a loop extending from them. We think this reduces the stress on the joint when earphones are yanked out of your ears. The flat structure reduces the issue of tangles. The cord ends in an L-shaped plug with a strong plug cover. There’s an inline remote control on the cable. It houses the mic, Play/Pause and volume navigation button. Depending on the model you choose, you get either Android-friendly controls or Apple-friendly controls. These affordable earphones are shipped with a nice zippered case and a cable management board. You can wrap your earphones around this for maintaining them.
The Sennheiser Momentum earphones are just as vigorous as their full-size over-ear partners. There’s a restless quality to the music that pumps you up. There’s so much going on with the bass and treble that the midrange sounds a tad recessed. A single driver manages the whole show. And it puts up powerful resounding bass. Yet, you will find no transgression on its part. It is reined in with measured power and suppressed energy. The treble is strong and has some bite to it. Many people relish that bit of extra sparkle.
The midrange is clean and refined. You get a fair amount of details across all the frequencies. The stereo image is cleverly placed in an expansive soundstage. It maintains a very natural response, although mids lose their sheen amongst the strong low and high ends.
- Powerful bass and treble
- Sturdy lightweight construction
- Refined sound in a wide soundstage
- Cable management tray supplied
- Mids sound a little recessed
V-Moda is never under-dressed to the party. The Remix Remote earphones are proof. These attractive earbuds sport more of the metallic cheer than the Forza. The nice extension of audio into both high and low frequencies makes it a versatile player too. The military-grade effort goes into building these affordable earphones as well. In spite of all its safety features its easy and effortless for daily use.
Design and Features
The V-Moda Remix Remote earphones are ready for combat with routine neglect with metal caps on the earpieces. Only V-Moda does it with style. So your earphones end up looking like something from Tony Stark’s arsenal. The bullet-shaped ear pieces support straight eartips that make home in your ears. These sit comfortably and with complete seal. You get good noise isolation with the remix. These earbuds are available in chrome, black and red models. The chrome one looks real classy.
The cable of these earphones is 32-inches long Kevlar-reinforced affair. It ends in a 45° plug that combines the best traits of straight and L-shaped plugs. There’s an Apple-oriented inline remote on the cable. It has the mic, control and volume navigation buttons. The last only work with Apple devices. As usual V-Moda has not shied away from packing premium accessories. These include four pairs each of black and clear eartips, detachable earhooks, shirt clip and a drawstring pouch. The earhooks can be used to route the cable around your ears during workouts, jogging etc..
The V-Moda Remix Remote earphones perform admirably over a wide range of frequencies. The bass and treble extend well into the extreme frequencies. Bass delves deep into the sub-bass region. V-Moda has the inherent trait of slightly boosted bass. And Remix upholds the tradition. The bass makes plenty of splash for genres like EDM, Techno etc.. But it does not encroach upon mids. So jazz and rock work just as well.
The sound signature is biased towards the casual crowd than the audiophiles. But even those audiophiles who like a bit of gutsy bass will appreciate the veracity of V-Moda. It makes a strong case as one of the best earbuds under $100.
- Raw metallic design
- Lightweight and sports fit
- Wide sound range
- Bold bass and clean midrange
Sennheiser CX 3.00 earbuds bring the Sennheiser sound down to a small budget. They have been shorn of the fancy aesthetics but the audio that we all like is right there. Sennheiser has put a lot of thought into the finer aspects of design and comfort. They have executed the limited features with as much grace as their price can muster and then some.
Design and Features
The Sennheiser CX 3.00 earphones go for simple and elegant in their design. The bulbous ear pieces are actually quiet lightweight. They sit light-as-feathers in your ears. The eartips project straight out of the ear pieces. The cables are asymmetric. This makes wearing them and moving your head quite easy. The rubbery cables connect together at a hardy Y joint. The cord terminates in a reliable L-shaped plug.
These earbuds are available in two packs. One is regular with extra silicon earbuds. A slightly more expensive pack has foam eartips as well. A leather pouch is supplied with them for easy portability.
Although Sennheiser CX 3.00 earphones are branded ‘enhanced bass’, they are actually natural-sounding. The lower registers are meaty and carry their weight through the songs. But they aren’t boosted to the point that they will meddle with the midrange. A basshead might be disappointed but the regular listener will appreciate the caution that bass exercises. The vocals and guitars get a stage to express themselves well. The treble matches bass in its energy but without any bite. These are non-fatiguing earphones and can be used for long hours. These sound pretty good for their price and perform at par with the other excellent earbuds under $100.
- Punchy bass, great mids and treble
- Classy case
- No mic
Koss has some brilliant earphones in the tow. So when we checked out the RUK 30K, we weren’t surprised that it delivered to all our expectations. This is a bare bones set without many accessories. But it works for the people who crave an exciting sound. They have the look that’s says they last as long as a Nokia phones.
Design and Features
The Koss RUK 30K earphone looks weapon grade. The simple cylindrical ear pieces have been fit with hexagonal metallic badges on the back. These carry the branding. The eartips emerge straight from the ear pieces. Thick flat cable connects to the ear pieces. These are quite strong and built to stand the test of time. The cord is 4-feet long and ends in a 3.5mm plug.
These earphones come with eartips in small, medium and large sizes. The earbuds are available in silver, red, blue and black. There are no fancy accessories here. At their price, we would have liked to have at least a drawstring pouch. A mic for making calls would have been great too. But these are purely audio-oriented earphones meant for listening only.
The Koss RUK 30K earphones are focused on bass. Bass has a weighty powerful presence here. Those of us who like the upbeat songs will appreciate the rumbling lower registers. But the control over bass is only decent. If you play a complicated mix, the frequencies are likely to muddle a bit. Still, mids have a good platform here. Bass is not boomy and does not overpower the mids in all songs. But it is visceral and thumps in your chest. The instruments get space to represent themselves on the soundstage. The stereo image is impressive at this price.
- Powerful, defined bass
- Sturdy tangle-free wires
- Bold design
- Vocals are a little muffled
Sub-$100 territory covers a lot of ground. JLab Audio JBudsPro earphones are the most inexpensive ones you will find on this list. These look good for earphones twice or thrice their price. And they have some beautiful color combinations too. These are built for survival and come with accessories for proper fitment in the ears.
Design and Features
JLAb Audio earbuds<Insert link to Best JLab Audio headphones> always exceed your expectations. The JBudsPro does not break ranks either. They have a dapper set of ear pieces with the stylish logo at the back. The eartips sit angled away from the driver casing. The cables are sturdy cylindrical kind. They end in an L-shaped plug with a solid plug cover. There’s a single-button mic-cum-remote inline control. This can be used for Play/Pause/Call Answer/Reject etc.
These earbuds come with 2 sets of ‘cush fins’. These are detachable contraptions that fit into the inner ear and keep the ear pieces stable while running or working out. Two extra sizes of silicon eartips are also provided.
The JBudsPro earphones work on a single-figure budget. So it’s difficult to roast it at the altar of bass, mids and highs. We suffice it to say that they perform better than we expected of the price. There’s no perceptible distortion or sibilance in everyday performance. You can hear a decent amount of details in the songs as well.
- Cush fins
- Stylish design
- Very comfortable to wear
- Average bass
The Monoprice Hi-Fi earbuds go above and beyond their price point for durability. These metal earbuds are marvelous at their price. And they sport an exciting sound signature too. Nothing about their looks betrays their price. These are designed for everyday use and reinforced to stand the abuse.
Design and Features
The Monoprice Hi-Fi earbuds look suave right out of the box. The aluminum driver housings are done in a metallic back. Their pot-like architecture is subtly highlighted by silver. The eartips project straight out of the ear pieces. Both are attached to flat cables. The cord ends in an L-shaped plug which is more resilient against damage on the average.
There’s a single button inline control on these earbuds. This performs the basic, Play, Pause, Answer and Reject.
Monoprice Hi-Fi earbuds do not shy away from putting the bass out. They have a fantastically rich sound which far exceeds expectations from its price. Bass gets a small boost, but it’s better than settling for tinny earphones. The midrange and highs participate actively in the mix too. They don’t sound hollow or unpleasant no matter what genre we play.
- Exceptional build quality
- Aluminum ear pieces
- Punchy bass
- Rich sound