Music is undoubtedly part of everyone’s life. However, the best way of enjoying your best form of music is by listening through quality and comfortable earbuds. This is especially true if you are tired of your old headphones or worn out earphones.
To begin, everybody expects more for less currently and earbuds are no exception. Fortunately, there are some earbuds models under $100 but deliver high quality sound, appears good and durable than ever before.
With the plenty of options available, it may be tough for you to find the best for your needs. However, to ease your burden of search, we have compiled this feature and value-packed earbuds under $100.
Top 10 Earbuds Under $100 in 2018
|Shure SE215 Sound Isolating Earphones|
|Sony MDR-XB90EX Extra Bass Earphones|
|Thicksound MS01 Earphones|
|HiFiMan RE-400 In-Ear Earphones|
|Brainwavz M2 In-Ear Isolating Earbuds|
|Sennheiser Momentum In-Ear Earphones|
|Etymotic Research MC5 Earphones|
|Bose SoundSpot In-Ear Headphones|
|Audiophile Earbuds In-Ear Earphones|
|V-MODA Forza In-Ear Hybrid Sport Headphones|
1. The Shure SE215 Sound Isolating Earphones – Best Overall Earbuds Under $100Since inception, Shure is popular for producing exceptional audio products, and the Shure SE215 Sound Isolating Earphones are no exception. These professional-grade designed earbuds provide great sound quality and satisfactory durability. They are a perfect choice for musicians.
Regarding their comfort, they offer great noise isolation with comfortable ear tips. Some may feel some awkward fit at first but will get used to as time goes by. These earbuds come in multiple sizes of replaceable ear tips, perhaps providing various size choices.
The earbud’s cord features a reinforced memory wire that can loop over the user’s ear to hold the earbuds in place. This makes them a perfect choice for playing music on stage or active users during exercises. With the looping, the earbuds stay in place despite its seemingly bulky size.
Noise isolation feature of this earbud cannot be doubted. This is ascertained by the food tight-fitting design. This can block the ambient noise of up to 37dB. That aside, the earbuds are very durable with quality components and detachable cable.
Like other Shure products, the Shure SE215 Sound Isolating Earphones is designed for use and great abuse both on and off the stage. That said, the body and earbud tip is completely resistant to moisture and sweat. This is an added advantage for use during exercises.
Why The Shure SE215 Is Our Favorite Pair
Besides, the detachable cable enhances its durability, and can also be easily replaced if damaged. Additional features of the Shure SE215 Sound Isolating Earphones include the nice compact carrying pouch that is complete with a zipper and clip for enhanced portability.
You will also like the 3.5MM L-connector that is of good quality. Basic models of the Shure SE215 Sound Isolating Earphones don’t have in-line controls, but upgraded models including the 215m+ have in-line volume controls and a talkback microphone.
Sound properties of the Shure SE215 Sound Isolating Earphones have accurate heights and well-balanced notes with little coloration. Simply put, they are amazing sound earbuds for the money. Sound profile of this earbuds is either balanced, full or rich.
2. Sony MDR-XB90EX Extra Bass Earphones – Best Earbuds for Bass Under $100If listening to great bass is your goal, the Sony MDR-XB90EX should be your product of choice. The product’s large design provides a tight fit with great noise isolation and utmost comfort.
Like other high-end products featured in our review, this earbud comes with various sizes of quality silicone eartips providing a wide range of fit options. If you aren’t satisfied, you can try the alternate foam tips for various listening sessions.
As mentioned, noise isolation is good, enhanced by the sealed case design that contains any sound leakage provided the earbuds fit properly. Provided the tight fit, these headphones can be a good choice for exercises and other activities. Besides, its foam factor makes them comfortable for long listening sessions.
Sony MDR-XB90EX Extra Bass Earphones are built with great quality and have a tangle-free cable for enhanced durability. The cable’s flat rubberized cord is tangle-free, thus adding to the overall durability of this product.
When it comes to the sound quality, these earbuds are definitely the top pick. They have well-balanced mids, crisping highs and cut through the mix smoothly. They deliver exceptional bass without being much muddy or boomy.
Additional features of this product include the 3.5mm L-connector, without in-line controls or talkback microphone and other extra accessories. Its design is attractive with a modern looking finish.
3. Thinksound MS01 Earphones – Best for the PricePerhaps a different design from the common earphones, the Thinksound MS01 Earphones feature real wood and aluminum make. This makes it a strong contender for earbuds that sound as good as they look.
They might not be the best for workouts, but its quality construction and attention to detail coupled with its sound quality are top-notch. Comfort when using these earbuds is ascertained by the four silicone eartip sizes that provide excellent noise cancellation.
The four sizes, namely small, medium, large and extra-large provide users with a wide choice of alternatives. Try all the sizes until you get your best fit. Besides, the ear hooks provide a stable fit.
Noise isolation is excellent. This is ascertained by the use of vented dynamic driver that allows minimal sound leakage at higher volumes. You can enhance its fit by using third-party ear tips.
The earbuds are tangle-free with good strain relief thus provides decent durability. Its rubberized tangle-free cable is of good quality with quality connectors. Strain relief feature is excellent, but putting excessive pressure may pull out the cables from the earbud housing.
Further Reviewing the Thinksound MS01
Wood and aluminum components used are robust and extra solid. Additionally, manufacturers use eco-friendly packaging. The wood and aluminum finish looks nice, especially where it integrates with the 3.5mm L-plug.
Despite lacking in-line controls, the Thinksound MS01 Earphones provides a balanced, warm and natural tone. Lows are easily controlled and reasonably tight. Mids are smooth and great with additional acoustic instruments. Highs are extra powerful and clear without much sibilance.
4. HiFiMan RE-400 In-Ear Earphones – Best Earbuds Under $50If you rely on old reviews and past product features, you will ignore the HiFiMan RE-400 In-Ear Earphones. However, HiFiMan has greatly improved regarding sound quality and other crucial earpiece features, especially with this latest model.
Comfortable listening sessions are provided by the numerous silicone eartip sizes with great noise isolation properties and lightweight design. The eartip varieties – single and bi-flange, are compact and allow users to customize their fit depending on the size of their ears.
Getting a deep and tight fit is easy, perhaps a great feature that ascertains ambient noise isolation. Its lightweight design, coupled with the soft ear tips enables for long hours of continuous listening comfort. The cables have a cable slider that assists in holding the cables together.
Unlike previous models, the HiFiMan RE-400 In-Ear Earphones comes with tough strain relief and robust housing. Just to mention, older versions were associated with poor quality strain relief. HiFiMan listened to customer reviews and increased the quality of cable strain in this model.
More on the HiFiMan RE-400
The earbud’s aluminum housing is not only robust but also doesn’t separate easily like other models. The 3.5mm angled connector is designed with a 45° exit design. Besides, the HiFiMan RE-400 In-Ear Earphones aluminum housing is resistant to sweat and water, perhaps a feature contributing to its use in exercising.
Perhaps an additional feature from most of our products is that this model has in-line volume control and a talkback mic. Concerning the sound quality, highs are clear and overly detailed without being airy.
Mids are packed with some power, but evenly balanced. With this, rock tracks are easy to listen with. On the other hand, lows are balanced, deep and warm. Bass is slightly accentuated but won’t blow you away.
These are definitely the best earbuds under 50, and we believe these earphones are a value play.
5. Brainwavz M2 In-Ear Isolating Earbuds – Best Value Earbuds Under $100If you are tired of cheap earbud models but not willing to pay more for high-end quality, consider the Brainwavz M2 In-Ear Isolating Earbuds. They are sturdily built with deep bass and pack a lot of performance.
Starting from the comfort, the shallow in-ear fit is just enough to fit your ear without falling out. They don’t sit deep in the ear but offer a good hold even during physical activities or jogging. Compared to other models, noise isolation is good, but not that great, considering that it doesn’t sit deep in the ear.
You will like the Brainwavz M2 In-Ear Isolating Earbud’s build quality with durable wires made to last. Perhaps the highlight of its construction is the 50-inch cable with excellent thickness and resist tangles. The end Y-split is overly rugged.
The 45° angled connector provides good strain relief. It holds well, despite lacking the in-line microphone. The earbud’s housing is plastic with a metal coating that holds well to impact and wear.
Moving on to the sound, it produces high-quality balanced sound, perfect for its price. However, its bass isn’t that strong for bassheads. Nonetheless, the earphones pump out quality sound.
It also comes with a nice and eye-catching carrying case that comes in handy in protecting your earbuds.
6. Sennheiser Momentum In-Ear Earphones – Best Lightweight and Stylish Earbuds Under $100If you are searching for lightweight and attractive earbuds that deliver powerful bass, the Sennheiser Momentum In-Ear Earphones should be your product of choice. This model might not be the best for enthusiasts with audiophile tastes but are very dependable and approachable.
As mentioned, this model is lightweight and provides a snug fit. You will certainly notice the physical design immediately you see these earbuds. Its unique in-ear design fits the ear very well as the lightweight construction is advantageous for long listening hours.
The earpiece single flange silicone ear tips provide good noise cancellation properties. However, some aficionados may want to try the third part foam and double flange silicone ear tips for enhanced comfort and noise and additional noise attenuation.
Durability for the Sennheiser Momentum In-Ear Earphones is quite average. However, the use of a plastic housing with steel tubes can hold on for quite some time. The housing is moisture resistant but not waterproof.
More on the Sennheiser Momentum
Its in-line remote with buttons and the slim L-plug connector is the reason why this model made to our top 10 product samples. The 90 degrees jack of 3.5mm is compact and overly sturdy for lengthy use.
The Sennheiser Momentum In-Ear Earphones provides a wide soundstage with great bass and V-pattern response. Like other in-ear earphones, the V-shaped frequency profile may leak off some mid frequency content. However, this doesn’t mean that excellent sound quality is lacking.
Listening experience with these earbuds is highlighted by the powerful bass and lows delivered in a veritable punch and fast attack system. Mid tones can be lacking, especially electric guitar tracks.
7. Etymotic Research MC5 Earphones – Best Earbuds Under $100 for PerformanceThe Etymotic Research MC5 Earphones are a great earbud model of choice if you are looking for an affordable, decent pair of ear monitors offering good performance. They offer great performance with lots of accessories.
Comfortability is the feature highlight of this earbud. The tri-flanges and foam tips provide a comfortable fit. New users may find this weird at first but will adapt to the feel with continuous use.
Noise isolation with the Etymotic Research MC5 Earphones is excellent, considering the use of tri-flanges and foam tips. The earbuds fit snugly in the ear, perhaps an integral factor when it comes to noise isolation. These model isolates approximately between 32dB to 42dB if properly fitted in the ear.
The durability of these earphones is ascertained by the manufacturers’ two-year warranty, perhaps a confirmation that they stand behind the quality of this product. The metal housing is solid and withstands a lot of abuse. Its cable is reinforced with Kevlar material for enhanced durability.
You will benefit from the free accessories that come with this product. The earbud package comes with great accessories including both foam and tri-flange silicone tips among others.
Concerning the sound quality, this is not an earpiece for bassheads. They offer clear sound across the board. Basically, expect warm and dry crisp notes with decent instrument clarity.
8. Bose SoundSpot In-Ear Headphones – Best Stylish Earbuds Under $100The Bose SoundSpot In-Ear Headphones addresses two of the main challenges often experienced with cheap models. This model does not fit in the ear canal. Therefore, they are a better option if you have problems with feeling ear tips inside your canal.
Despite their lax contact with the ears, they don’t fall off easily, thanks to its sports design. They are extra lightweight, a critical feature if you are looking for earpieces to use for long listening sessions. They will sit loosely on the entrance of your ear cavity.
To avoid falling, they are held in place by Star Hear Fins that grab the inner ear. This grip is a critical feature, especially when it comes to noise isolation. The earbuds keep you aware of the external surrounding as you jog down the street.
The Bose SoundSpot In-Ear Headphones feature an inline remote control that hangs at the base of mouth height from the earpieces. Note that there are three models of this product. The Android version only, Apple version and Audio only version.
9. Audiophile Earbuds In-Ear Earphones – Best Sounding In-Ear Earbuds Under $100The Audiophile Earbuds In-Ear Earphones may look random but has more than its basic looks. For sure, creativity and design may not be Audiophile’s earbuds forte. However, this doesn’t hamper their performance. Some of the notable features of this earbud include:
- Better sound – these earphones deliver great quality sound.
- Better components – the earbuds come with dynamic dual drivers that are found or equated with those of earbuds above 100
- Extremely durable – made with high-quality materials from the plug to ear tips
10. V-MODA Forza Hybrid Sports Headphones – Best Durable Earbuds Under $100Designed for utmost durability, the V-MODA Forza In-Ear Hybrid Sports Headphones affordably presents unparalleled audio clarity. This is V-MODA’s testimony of passionate development of sound with precise construction for discerning audiophiles.
Manufacturers assure that you not only hear the music with this but also feel the music. Unparalleled sound quality with vibrant bass in every song, regardless of the music style. Among the intriguing features of this earbud include:
- High definition signature sound with vibrant bass, vivacious highs, and vivid mids
- Kevlar custom designed cable with solid rock durability
- Three-button remote allows users to adjust volume, control music playback, record voice memos and answer calls easily.
- Universal compatibility, supported by iPod, iMac, MacBook Pro, Mac Pro and other models.
- Ergonomically designed silicone fittings and detachable ear hooks for incredible comfort and stability
- Detachable clip for enhanced stability
Things to Consider Before Buying Earbuds Under $100
Visibly from the products mentioned above, numerous designs are offering different features and user experience. To find the best, it is of immense importance that you consider the following factors.
If you are choosing earbuds above this price range, looking at the brand won’t be of much essence. However, for earbuds under 100, it is important that you consider the brand.
This is because the market is stuffed with cheap and fake stakes that are sold at this price range. Always go for established and well-known brands on the market. This will enable you to avoid rubbishy built, poor quality, and ear-damaging earbuds.
This is a measure of the total range of bass, mids, and treble. This determines the frequency reproduction of the earbud. Having an earbud with a wider range is technically advantageous. Just to mention, the standard frequency response should range between 20 to 20,000 Hz.
This is a measure indicated in decibels and indicates how loud the earphones will be, depending on the level from the source. This is solely based on the quality and output capabilities of the source audio system.
Sure, earbuds need to have premium quality sound, but they should also be comfortable. This is especially if you are using them for sports and other activities such as running or the gym. With every release of new earbuds, we notice manufacturers are doing a better job when it comes to comfort.
A comfortable pair of earbuds should fit perfectly in or around the ear without falling out. It should have that perfect finish or curve. But honestly, what makes earbuds more comfortable?
- Penetration: Just how much does your pair of earbuds probe into your ear? A very comfortable pair like the MDR from Sony use a special tip to hold the earbuds stable in your ears. In turn, the earbuds don’t push your ear canal too hard. The drawback is that they don’t filter out ambient noise. The Sennheiser Momentum does a much better job at that; filtering out nearly 50% of the ambient noise. At the end of the day, it’s all down to preference. Some people prefer the tight seal type of earbuds, while others prefer a different build.
- Weight: Lightweight earbuds are normally very comfortable, but can also fall out of your ear. Be careful which model you get. Lightweight buds do prevent that weird feeling that heavy earbuds give your hear after hours of listening to music. For example, metal earbuds are built-well but usually not so comfortable. Pick a pair that allows you to move around freely and easily, such as the Audophile earbuds.
- Eartip Material & Size: Eartips that sit in the ear canal can be quite protruding. Most of these eartips are made from plastic or silicone material, some from type of foam. Usually, inexpensive earbuds are made with plastic. Most earbuds we reviewed are made with silicone, being that they are softer and more flexible. Additionally, silicone earbuds don’t leave sweat in the ear. Foam tips are by far the most comfortable inside the ear because they expand properly and known to cut out ambient noise.As far as the eartip size goes, most don’t pay attention to it. Since everyone’s ear canal diameter is different, no one tip size is perfect for all. If the tip is not comfortable, you may not be able to have in sitting completely inside your ear, which will affect the level of audio response you take in. Decide whether you want bullet-shaped (regular type) or triple-flanged eartips. Some high end models come ready with these types of eartips.
How many times have you bought a pair of earbuds that break after just a few weeks? That usually happens when they are cheaply made. Always read reviews to see how sturdy the earbuds’ design is. The material and how well the components are put together will ultimately affect the durability of your earbuds.
Earbuds with an over-the-ear design could feel sturdier and less prone to breaking to some audiophiles. Make sure your earbuds don’t have too many joints that are prone to breaking. Build quality for earbuds usually comes down to the thickness of the cable and the shape of the actual tips. Save money in the long run by NOT buying a cheap pair that won’t last.
Our Final Review
Finding the best earbuds under 100 can be such a daunting task. This is especially true considering the endless brands and models present on the market. Our earbuds under 100 review outlines some of the best products you can find within this price range.
Apart from the features mentioned above, you can also consider noise isolation properties, microphone inclusion, and presence of a carrying case, in-line controls and additional features such as waterproof features.
An earbud that satisfies most of the features above and meets your needs should be your product of choice.
From the review above, which one is your favorite earbud? Share with us in the comments section below!