When Apple introduced the iPhone X—the one with no headphone jack—the world collectively flipped out. We use headphones every day to listen to music, podcasts, videos, and audiobooks, while working out, and to take calls. Apple took a gamble and bet that people would be happy to switch to completely wireless AirPod ear buds. And millions of pairs were sold.
But there are billions of smartphone users, many of whom haven’t made the switch. The majority of us are still using traditional headphones, whether they’re 3.5mm jack or Lightning cable or Bluetooth. And cost is a huge factor—AirPods go for a whopping $159 per pair. But that’s pretty middle of the road for headphones. We’ve seen headphones that go for more than $650 a pair!
So the Groupon Coupons team got to work, finding the best headphones under $100 no matter your needs. We shopped high and low for all kinds of headphones. Cheap ones, noise-cancelling ones, or Bluetooth, doesn’t matter, we found the top-rated ones for the best prices.
At this price point, there aren’t a wealth of well-reviewed options. Using Bluetooth instead of a wired connection can severely impact the sound quality, and most brands have had to use pricey components to counteract the audio degradation. But CNET reviewers found that wasn’t the case with the Tribit Xfree Tunes. According to them, this budget Bluetooth option is “as good as many Bluetooth headphones that cost three or even four times as much.”
We weren’t sure we’d be able to find a quality pair of wireless earbuds for less than $100. But we outdid ourselves and found this option for less than $50! The JBuds Air deliver good bass depth and pretty balanced sound. And with three different silicone tips, they should stay put in ears. PCMag says "if you're looking for true wireless earbuds on a budget you won’t do better than the Jbuds Air.” Every other model they recommended cost at least twice as much.
Finding noise-cancelling headphones that actually block out the sound of a crowded airplane or noisy office tend to be pricey. Top-end models from Bose and Samsung sell for $300–$400 and really deliver. But the TaoTronics BH046 model boasts strong active noise cancellation technology that reduces low-frequency sound by up to 96%. Add in Bluetooth capability and the extra-long 30-hour battery life, and the value keeps adding up.
People either love them or hate them, but the Aftershokz Titanium headphones have lots of fans. The open-ear design is different than typical headphones; they rest against the cheekbones and send audio vibrations through the bone. The bone conduction is great for outdoor runners and rock climbers because it allows for maximum situational awareness. But some reviewers dislike the buzzing sensation.
Turns out we couldn’t pick just one best workout headphones. The most important feature in workout headphones is fit—they have to be comfortable and they have to stay put. The entry-level Jaybird Tarahs are both. The specs are similar to the brand’s more expensive models: they have an IPX7 waterproof rating and a fast-charge feature that delivers an hour’s worth of playback after only 10 minutes.
If you’re looking for the absolute best low-budget headphones, these Amazon best-sellers are for you. The style is a bit bulky, but they’re actually quite lightweight. Plus the sound quality is impressively balanced for the price. Vocals are clear and the mid-range is dynamic, though bass-heavy bops do tend to get distorted. All in all, you get a lot more than you pay for with this pair of headphones.
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