The Best Headphones Under $130
Not everyone can or wants to spend a lot on headphones, but if you know where to look, you can get a lot for $100 or less. We looked at hundreds of headphones under $100, including regular, wireless, over-ear, and earbuds, to find the best ones for every need. This article gives an outline of all of our picks for headphones that cost less than $100, with links to our full guides.
The best cheap wireless headphones around $130
Jabra Elite 45h.
This pair of on-ear headphones sounds and works like they cost more than $100. You can’t use these with a cord, but the batteries last a very long time, so you won’t have to change them often.
Who they belong to If you want standard Bluetooth headphones that go over your ears and have good sound for the least amount of money.
Why we like it: The Jabra Elite 45h headphones are very cheap for how well they work. This pair of over-the-ear headphones sounds great, is light enough to wear for hours, and is easy to learn and use. The mics are very clear for phone calls and video chats, and a full charge gives you more than 50 hours of listening time. One of the experts on our group said that the sound quality of the 45h was just as good as that of $250 pairs he had tried, and I agree. The 45h’s on-ear style may be more comfortable for people who wear glasses than over-ear headphones.
This set has some flaws, but they aren’t deal-breakers. It doesn’t have active noise cancellation or a way to connect with a cord when the battery dies, and not everyone will like the on-ear style.
50 hours on a single charge
Light rain and dust are kept out.
Two years for damage from light water and dust, and one year for problems with the way it was made.
Best wired headphones for less than $130
The Sony MDR-7506 is a favourite of audio professionals and has been for a long time. It is more reliable, more comfortable, and makes better sound than many headphones that cost twice as much.
Whom it’s for Great for anyone who wants very exact headphones, like artists, podcasters, or people who like to record. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on them, and your money goes towards great sound quality instead of things like Bluetooth or noise cancelling.
Why we like it: Since they came out in 1991, the MDR-7506 headphones have been a constant in recording studios and live sound. Not only do they sound the same across all frequency ranges, but they also give your music a better sense of space and motion than many choices that cost twice as much. They last long, are comfy, and work well. For less than $100, they are a great deal.
The long, coiled wire is useful for studio use, but you can’t switch it out for a shorter cord with a remote and a mic for use with a mobile device. You also can’t be called a leader when you wear the MDR-7506 headphones, because they look professional and not trendy. If that’s a deal-breaker for you, check out the rest of our recommendations for the best headphones under $200.
The cable is 9.8 feet long and has a 3.5 mm and a 14-inch adapter that can be taken off.
Warranty: 90 days
Best kids headphones under $130
Who this is for: Kids’ headphones are made for smaller heads, but what’s more important is that they have volume-limiting features to protect kids’ ears even if they aren’t old enough to control the volume on their own. This is a very important tool to use with their computer or tablet.
What we recommend: Our guide to the best headphones for kids has several suggestions for headphones under $100 that can be used for different things. The Puro BT2200 is our favourite pair of headphones for watching movies and listening to music. If your child needs a good microphone for school or games, we recommend the JLab JBuddies Play because it has a retractable boom mic that improves sound clarity and cuts down on background noise. Check out the onanoff BuddyPhones Explore+ (for babies) or the JLab JBuddies Studio Wireless (for kindergarteners to tweens), both of which cost around $30.
We tested all of these headphones to make sure they kept the noise at 85 dBA, which is a safe level. In our full guide, you can find out more about safe listening and how we tested headphones for kids.
Best Headphones for Calls Under $130
JBL Tune 760NC
The JBL Tune 760NC Wireless are the best Bluetooth headphones for calls that we’ve tried that cost less than $100. If you’re looking for headphones that you can use for video calls at work, these have a better microphone than the other choices here. The built-in mic makes your voice sound clear and natural and does a good job of separating it from other sounds. This means that noises like traffic outside your window or a humming air conditioner won’t bother calls as much as they might with a less effective mic. You can answer and end calls without taking your phone out of your pocket or purse.
They are comfy, but based on the size of your head, they may feel a little tight. Unlike most headphones here, they don’t come with any apps or ways to change the sound. Their music is well-balanced, and their mid-range is neutral, so words are clear and easy to understand. The headphones have a battery life of more than 40 hours, which is enough to get you through several workdays without having to charge them. Unfortunately, their ANC isn’t very good, so they aren’t the best choice if you work in a noisy office.
The best noise-cancelling Headphones
A wireless Anker Soundcore Life Q30
Anker makes everything from headphones to phone chargers, and we like most of what it makes. The Q30 stands out because it has good mixed active noise-canceling technology and the best 40-hour playtime in its class. These cheap models are a great way to block out the noise of planes, trains, and cars. Even for the price, a pair of 40-mm silk diaphragm drivers can make a pretty good sound. Just be careful with them because they are a little bit flimsy. If you sit on the plastic headband, it will break.