Electronics

Best Earbuds Under $100

Music is a part of everyone’s life.

And earbuds are designed to help personalize that experience so that you can listen to music at the gym or during your commute, but being on a budget doesn’t mean that you have to get a cheaply made set of earbuds.

In this (Updated) guide, we will review 10 of the Best Earbuds Under 100 dollars to help you find a pair that’s ideal for you.

Best Earbuds Under $100

ItemNumber of TipsDongle or NotNoise Cancelling or Noise Isolation 
Shure SE215-K Sound Isolating Earphones with Single Dynamic MicroDriver
(Editor's Choice)
 Six sets NoNoise isolation Check Price
SONY MDR-EX650 B Inner-ear Headphones Brass blackTwo sets NoNoise isolation Check Price
Focal Sphear High-Resolution In-Ear Headphones Two setsYesNoise isolation Check Price
1MORE Triple Driver In-Ear HeadphonesNine setsYesNoise isolation Check Price
Bose SoundTrue Ultra in-ear headphonesThree setsYesNoise isolation Check Price
Sony MDR-XB90EX In-Ear Extra Bass Headphones
(Editor's Choice)
Seven sets NoNoise isolation Check Price
Thinksound ms01 in-ear monitor with passive noise isolationFour sets NoNoise isolation Check Price
Brainwavz M2 In-Ear Noise Isolating IEM Headphones Six sets NoNoise isolation Check Price
Etymotic Research MC5 Noise Isolating In-Ear Earphones Three setsYesNoise isolation Check Price
Klipsch R6 In-Ear HeadphonesFour sets NoNoise isolation Check Price

Related:

1) Shure SE215-K Sound Isolating Earphones with Single Dynamic MicroDriverBluetooth Earbud Reviews

 

Noise isolation means that the product uses a tighter fit inside the ear canal so that outside sounds are significantly muted. While this isn’t a software solution like active noise cancellation, it can definitely be a very effective way to become immersed in the music. These Shure SE215-K headphones provide an excellent level of sound isolation because they come packed in with several tips so that you can find the best fit for your ears.

These headphones have been explicitly designed for musicians so that they can monitor their sound as they perform. Because of the high fidelity sound and isolation that’s needed for this, these headphones make for a perfect private listening product as well. These even have a waveform fit to ensure that the earbuds perfectly align to the shape of your inner ear, which enhances the sound quality and isolation significantly.

In addition to their wired functionality, with a product that Shure sells separately, you can convert these earplugs so that they are usable with Bluetooth as well.

PROS

  • These earbuds are designed for top-tier sound isolation, which means that they are great when used as audio monitors as well.
  • The cable is fully detachable and the earbuds can then be converted so that they can use Bluetooth.
  • For ease of transport, these earbuds also come with a carrying case that will protect the wires from damage.
  • For sound quality, these are some of the best IEMS under 100 dollars.

CONS

  • The sound has a tendency to cut out when you move the headphones. This typically happens at the joint section.


2) SONY MDR-EX650 B Inner-ear Headphones Brass black

 

The first thing that you’ll notice about these MDR-EX650 B earbuds from Sony is that they are very unique-looking for a pair of earbuds. The body of the earbud itself is metallic and is actually crafted out of the same type of metal that’s used in trombones. As a result, the projected sound from the 12mm driver is very resonant and full so that you’ll definitely experience some real volume with these earbuds.

Also, as a result of this unique design and construction, the sound is also very focused as it’s projected into your ear canal so that you’ll really hear a lot of the intended sound. These are also closed earbuds, which means that you really won’t be able to hear much outside noise as you play your music. This isolation also boosts the immersion, but if you’re looking for an actual active cancellation system, one isn’t really included in the MDR-EX650 B.

When it comes to daily wear, these are fairly comfortable earbuds that should fit most people’s ear canals snugly.

PROS

  • These have an impedance of 32 ohms, which means that these earbuds provide a crystal clear playback.
  • The design on these earbuds is made to really project sound so that everything sounds tight and very clear.
  • The bass response on these headphones is definitely much better than average. In fact, these may be the best earphones under 100 dollars for the price.

CONS

  • The dongle could be much better; in fact, all you’ll be able to do is play, stop, and answer calls with the device.


3) Focal Sphear High-Resolution In-Ear Headphones

 

These Focal Sphear headphones are very lightweight and easy to wear. Focal, which is a French company, designed these earbuds to be comfortable during long-term listening sessions. Add to this the fact that they come with multiple tips that help anchor the earbuds inside your ear canal, and you’ve got a great pair of earbuds for extended use – even when you’re somewhat active.

Additionally, for those that are committed to a specific material for their earbud tips, the company included two types: silicone and foam. Which type feels most comfortable will vary from person to person, but the presence of this option is a good signpost of Focal’s commitment to comfort.

For calls, the Sphear is also nice and crisp. Since the earbuds are designed with isolation and sound quality in mind, this means that you’ll almost feel like you’re in the same room with the person you’re talking to. This is also partially due to the impressive 16-ohm impedance; simply put, these earbuds sound very clear for most types of music.

PROS

  • For a single-button dongle, it’s fairly easy to play/pause your music, switch tracks, and answer the phone.
  • These are designed for comfort; they are lightweight and rest softly in your ear. You even have a choice in tip material.
  • Highs, mids, and lows all sound crystal clear and resonant with the Sphear earbuds.

CONS

  • The isolation isn’t perfect, which means that some sounds from the outside will worm their way into your listening space from time to time.


4) 1MORE Triple Driver In-Ear Headphones

 

These earbuds, which are manufactured by 1MORE, are designed to really deliver a high-quality audio performance that boosts immersion. In fact, these were actually tuned specifically for high-grade sound by a Grammy award-winning sound engineer named Luca Bignardi. As a result of having such a renowned designer, these earbuds actually pack in three distinct drivers (1MORE also has a quad-driver model) in order to provide a fuller sound performance.

These three drivers include two balanced armatures and a dynamic driver, which means that the emitted sound will sound crystal-clear. The body of each earbud is crafted out of rose gold to sharpen the sound so that it sounds nice and crisp during playback. The attached tips are also designed to rest inside your ear canal at an angle, which will help you get better isolation and a tighter fit as well.

These earbuds also include a dongle that is designed to work on just about every major smartphone/tablet operating system. With this three-button dongle, you’ll be able to play/pause your music, select the next track, or adjust the volume.

PROS

  • Underneath the Y-connector, the cable is actually coated in a fabric so that they are more durable than most earbud wires.
  • The triple-driver system provides some excellent audio quality; tones just sound clearer on these.
  • These can easily be considered one of the best IEMS under 100 dollars because of their great isolation and sound clarity.

CONS

  • The dongle itself is constructed of cheap-feeling plastic, which means that it isn’t very durable.


5) Bose SoundTrue Ultra in-ear headphones

 

For high-quality audio, Bose is just one of those names that come with high expectations. Fortunately, these SoundTrue earbuds live up to the reputation of the brand and provide some excellent sound quality – for Apple devices.

The SoundTrue earbuds are designed with noise isolation in mind. The physical design is specifically crafted to fit very snugly within your ear canal, and features like the included ear hooks are there to add a secure fit to this as well. This type of design isn’t loved by everyone due to the fact that it’s known to be somewhat uncomfortable.

Fortunately, for these earbuds, Bose crafted the hooks to be very soft so that the hooks will feel almost unnoticeable. In addition to the fit, these earbuds sound excellent and provide a very clean Fender-esque sound. For making calls, the sound is typically crystal-clear; the microphone is built into the dongle and picks up speech very well.

PROS

  • These have a fairly large frequency range that spans from fairly deep lows to crisp highs.
  • Bose uses a proprietary tip for these that locks the SoundTrue firmly into the ear canal.
  • The SoundTrue also comes with a protective carrying case that makes transporting them easy and safe.

CONS

  • For whatever reason, the volume on the SoundTrue earbuds doesn’t get very high.
  • Bose opted to make two different models of these earbuds; one that works for Apple products and one that can work on Android devices.


6) Sony MDR-XB90EX In-Ear Extra Bass Headphones

 

If you are looking for the best earphones under 100 dollars with great sounding bass, then the Sony MDR-XB90EX is a great option for you to consider. The bass is quite strong in these earbuds, but it does not overpower the mids or the highs. In fact, the mids and the highs are also crisp and clear, so you will truly get a great audio experience with these earbuds.

In addition to the sound quality, you will also notice that these earbuds are designed with sound isolation so that you can hear your music without external sounds interfering. It is also designed with flat wires that are not going to easily get tangled. The cord is designed with small groves so that it does not twist around itself and have the possibility of getting a short in it.

When it comes to comfort, these earbuds are designed to fit in your ear canal without causing you discomfort, and it even comes with a few different size options so that you can have the tips that feel the best in your ear.

PROS

  • The bass that you get with these earbuds is amazing, and the lows never bleed into the other music.
  • The cord is designed so that it never tangles, which means that shorts are less likely.
  • The noise isolating tips make it easier to listen to your music in locations with a lot of ambient noise.

CONS

  • There is not an inline microphone on this pair of earbuds, which makes it more difficult to take calls.


7) thinksound ms01 in-ear monitor with passive noise isolation

 

The first thing that you will notice about the thinksound ms01 is the fact that the exterior of the earbuds features a wooden design that stands out from a lot of its competitors. The baffle is aluminum, and still very durable, but the wooden section adds a bit of flair to the headphones that give them personality. These earbuds also come with an ear hook that you can use to secure the earbuds when you are engaging in more physically engaging activities.

Insofar as the sound of these earbuds, you will notice that the highs, mids, and lows are all excellent, and there does not tend to be any bleeding when it comes to the bass. In addition, these earbuds are designed with noise isolation so that you can listen to music at any time without disruption.

This unit also comes with four different sized tips so that you can choose the one that is best for the size of your ear. You will also get a carrying pouch with your purchase of the thinksound ms01.

PROS

  • These have an aluminum and wood construction that is designed to improve the sound that you hear.
  • These earbuds are extremely comfortable; in fact, they come with ear hooks to use at the gym.

CONS

  • The cord on these earbuds tangles easily, which means you will need to store them in the included case.


8) Brainwavz M2 In-Ear Noise Isolating IEM Headphones

 

The Brainwavz M1 series of headphone was fairly popular a few years back, and the successor, the Brainwavz M2, aims to update some of its excellent comfort and features. First, these aren’t the bassiest of headphones – their frequency range starts at 20 Hz, which is still pretty low for most people’s ears. The top end of sound for these tops off at 20 KHz, which is also more than adequate for many listeners.

Clarity is where these shine – the M2s have an impedance of 20 ohms, which means that tones will sound nice and crisp when you’re engaging in some private listening. The cable on these is also designed to inhibit any oxygen transfer so that the current isn’t affected in any way that could impede the sound quality. The M2s also feature 10.7 mm dynamic drivers that provide a fairly rich sound as well.

These also provide a very balanced sound; while it’s not the deepest or the highest, you’ll definitely appreciate the tonal quality of these headphones.

PROS

  • The housing of these headphones is made of metal, which really points to a very premium design.
  • They also come with several tips, which allow you to find the most comfortable fit for your ears.
  • This metal is also more conductive for the sound; simply put, these are very durable and acoustically powerful headphones.

CONS

  • The design of the cable has a tendency to curl in on itself and spiral. This can be annoying and may lead to shorts.


9) Etymotic Research MC5 Noise Isolating In-Ear Earphones

 

For a strong audio monitoring experience, you can trust a brand like Etymotic Research. These headphones are designed to provide truly isolated performance that has become popular due to the high-level bass response that they offer for a fairly budget-friendly price point. Despite the fact that the bass is so pitch-perfect, Etymotic Research has also crafted these headphones to also provide a very clear mid and high-end sound as well.

You might notice that the body of these earphones is somewhat bulky. This is because these MC5 headphones use a pair of moving coil drivers that need a little more space to deliver a very distinct sound quality. Since isolation was clearly a focus in the design philosophy of these headphones, you’ll notice that many of the four ear tips provided are flanged in order to provide a tight and immersive seal.

The manufacturer also included some great durability features like a reinforced 4-foot cable, a strong body on the headphones themselves, and silicone tips that are both comfortable and tough.

PROS

  • These are lightweight models of headphones that use an aluminum body construction to ensure durability.
  • The moving coil drivers of these headphones provide a truly clear and crisp audio experience.
  • These are fairly performant for those that move around a lot; the cord is reinforced and the other materials can all take a beating.

CONS

  • To put it simply, these headphones are a bit bulky; due to the drivers, they will extend far outside your ear canals.


10) Klipsch R6 In-Ear Headphones

 

Klipsch is another one of those audio brands that has a well-known history of producing some iconic and high-quality products. Our final product continues this history by using a dual-magnet design that’s designed to enhance your overall audio experience significantly. This set of headphones really brings the bass to high levels of quality; in fact, the bass is definitely boosted significantly, so if you love hip hop, techno, or some of the bassier rock bands, these can work very well for you.

From a design point of view, these earbuds are very minimal, which is great for anyone that doesn’t want to advertise that they are wearing headphones. These have oval ear tips that angle upwards, which can feel very comfortable for most ear types. These also come with a carrying case and four ear tips, which really can help you keep the headphones feeling comfortable during use and protected when not in use.

PROS

  • The black and white finish on these headphones is very stylish and also minimalist.
  • The bass performance on these is a very high level of quality, but the highs and mids also are nice and resonant.
  • The ear tips have a unique oval shaping and are angled to fit comfortably within the ear canal.
  • The unique shaping of the tips also provides a tight fit inside the ear canal, which grants excellent isolation.

CONS

  • The cord is somewhat heavy and might actually be a little too long, which means that it can get caught from time to time.

Why purchase a wired pair of earbuds over a Bluetooth pair?

The sound quality that you experience with a wired pair of earbuds is slightly better than what you would experience with a wireless or a Bluetooth model. That being said, the difference is not that noticeable, but many audiophiles will consider a wired pair of earbuds specifically true to life sound.

Don’t forget about latency; Bluetooth headphones can lag a bit behind what is actually coming from the device that you are listening to. This may not be noticeable when you are listening to music during your commute, but if you are watching a video or a movie on your tablet, the words may not sync with the lips of the people that are talking. In addition, you will never need to worry about recharging a pair of wired headphones.

Is it good to buy a pair that comes with a carrying case?

One of the most inconvenient issues that you will experience with a wired pair of earbuds is that they tend to get tangled a lot. This is especially true if you simply toss your earbuds in your bag or your pocket when you are not using them, and it can be really annoying to untangle them before you can use them to listen to music on your commute. The best way to manage the wires is to purchase a set of earbuds that come with a carrying case; this will keep the wire from getting tangled, which can cause the wire to get short.

Why would you want a waterproof pair of earbuds?

Earbuds that are not waterproof are not designed to get wet, which means that on a wet and windy day, you may not be able to listen to music as you are walking down the street because you don’t want your earbuds to get wet. Waterproof earbuds can be splashed, and in most situations, they can even be completely submerged in water. This means that you can safely listen to your favorite tunes while you are at the beach or the pool without worrying that they are going to stop working because of a little water.

How can you control playback on one of these devices?

When you listen to music, being able to control playback without turning to your device can be a breeze. Even when you are considering purchasing a pair of the best in ear headphones under 100 dollars, you will be able to find a pair of earbuds that have a dongle that is connected to the wire. This feature is designed to allow you to adjust the volume of the music that you are listening to when you need as well as change the track with ease.

Can some earbuds be used to make calls?

Not all earbuds are designed to take calls, but most of the ones that you will be considering when you are looking to purchase the best earbuds under 100 dollars will have this feature. Typically, you use your phone to actually make the call, but if somebody is calling you, the dongle is going to have a quick answer button that stops the music and allows you to take the call. Once the call disconnects, the music will begin playing again right where it left off.

How can these be tightly secured in the ear?

Earbuds can fall out of your ears if they do not fit your ear canal properly, so you should always make sure that the tips of the earbuds fit snuggly in your ear. If your earbuds still fall out of your ear, you can always simply flip them so that the wire goes over the back of your ear to hold them in place. This may not work with all earbuds, but it is a simple way to secure them.

There are also products that you can purchase to help secure your earbuds. These are designed to attach to your earbud and secure to your ear using your cartilage of your ear or the back of your ear. imore has a great article that shows a few of the different types of accessories that are available to secure your earbuds.

How does frequency range work for earbuds?

Frequency range is basically how well you can hear the music that you are listening to. We are not physically able to hear outside of a certain range, which is 20Hz to 20,000Hz, so for most people a frequency range that is comparable to that is going to provide you with great sounding audio. Some audiophiles may like to have a range that goes below this range simply so that they can feel the lows when the bass is playing, but that is not something that most individuals look for in a set of the best in-ear headphones under 100 dollars.

How does noise cancellation work?

Noise cancellation is a great feature to look for when you will be in an area with a lot of ambient noise. When your earbuds have noise cancellation, there is software and a small speaker that is designed to recognize ambient sounds as you are listening to music and create a tone that is a frequency that will make it so that you cannot hear the ambient noise. These are extremely effective, and they are often a requirement for some audiophiles.

How does noise isolation work?

Noise isolation earbuds are also designed to help minimize or eliminate the ambient noise that you are experiencing as you listen to your favorite tunes. However, this type of noise reduction works a little differently; noise isolation is designed to create a barrier between the sound that you are trying to eliminate and your eardrum. Most noise isolation earbuds are designed to fit snugly in your ear, so if you get a pair of this type of earbud, make sure that the tip is the appropriate size for your ear.

What’s a good situation to have a pair of noise cancelling or isolating earbuds?

Both noise cancelling and noise isolation earbuds are going to be a great option for someone who takes a bus or a train to commute to work or school in the morning. A lot of times these modes of transportation are quite loud; there are people talking during the commute, and the engine can also be heard as well in most situations, which means that it is the perfect location to use these types of headphones or earbuds.

What’s the difference between open and closed earbuds?

Earbuds that have a closed design are meant to close you off from the world around you. This means that the ambient sounds that are around you will not be heard as clearly with this design; however, earbuds that have an open design are basically the exact opposite. With this type, you will be able to hear the world around you with the headphones on and others will most likely be able to hear the music that you are listening too as well.

Why would someone want an open pair of earbuds?

Open earbuds are not for everyone, but with that being said, some may like the way that an open design sounds. It gives you the feel of a soundstage where the music that you are listening to seems to come from all around you, which makes for a much deeper musical experience. Open earbuds are not designed to be used in a library where your music will be heard or in a train where the ambient noise will drown out your music, but it can be a great experience when you are at home listening to your music.

What does IEMS mean?

IEMS stands for in-ear monitors, and it is designed to allow the listener to have a mix of music and vocals right in your ear. These are often something that onstage performers use during a gig or a performance so that they can clearly hear the music that is being played by the other members of the band and they know when to come in for their part. This can be an extremely useful tool for a musician to have, and even the best IEMS under 100 dollars have noise reduction capability as well so that the sounds coming from the earbuds can easily be heard over the deafening sounds on stage at a live performance.

What are some different types of tips?

The ear tips are the part of your earbuds that are most likely not going to last, but with that being said, you are going to need to know what size and what type of earbud tip works best for you so that you can easily replace them. Foam tips are soft and comfortable in your ear, but they are also less durable. They are great for noise reduction, but if you want something that is going to last a bit longer, silicon or rubber tips are more viable because they can easily be washed to keep them clean.

Take a look at this guide to get a more thorough breakdown of the type of tips and what you want to look for in a replacement.

What are the best genres of music for bass earbuds?

Most audiophiles enjoy bass in all of their music, but some genres simply sound better with earbuds that are designed to amplify the bass. Pop and hip-hop are genres where the bass needs to be clear and fast, so headphones designed to deliver lows may make your music sound better. Bass earbuds are also a great option for someone who likes rock music to consider.

Is it better to have a tight or loose cord setup?

When you have earbuds with a tight cord design, you are going to need to keep the wires in front of you as you use them and most likely keep the device that you are using to listen to music in your hand. A loose cord setup gives you more freedom, which means that you can have your phone or device in your pocket or bag and still enjoy listening to your music. Some earbuds are even designed with one wire longer than the other so that you can put the wire behind your neck so that it is not in the way while you are moving about.

What are some comfort features found in earbuds?

Everyone has ears that are shaped differently, which means that earbuds that are designed to be comfortable may hurt your ears. Foam earbuds are a great option that allows the tip to adjust to your ear, but if you do not like foam tips, then you may need to get custom designed tips that are designed to fit in your ear specifically.

Why are some earbud cables flat?

When earbud cables are flat, they are designed with durability in mind. One of the best features of a flat wire is that it will not get tangled as much as a traditional wire, and they are also more flexible as well. With that being said, you will be able to avoid getting shorts in the wire and extend the life of the earbuds a bit.

What brands represent the best in ear headphones under 100 dollars?

There are several brands to consider when you are looking for great earbuds, but the best brands to consider with a budget under $100 are Sony, ThinkSound, Brainwavz, and Shure. There are quite a few different brands represented in this guide, but if you are truly looking for quality earbuds, you will make your purchase based on performance and comfort, not the brand.

Wrapping It Up

Being on a budget does not mean that you need to sacrifice the quality of your earbuds. In this guide, we have reviewed some of the best earbuds under 100 dollars, so take a look at each product again to see which one fits your audio needs. If you cannot find the perfect pair for you, then hopefully our buyer’s guide has helped point you in the right direction.

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