Tthere’s no need to sift through all options on the market. We already did the hard work for you. In this guide, we have compiled the top 12 headphones selling for $300 or less, with the price minimum set to $100.
Keep in mind that not all headphones are created equal. Some are best used in a professional setting. Others are more suitable for everyday casual use. Before going for one of the products listed below, make sure that it’s perfectly in line with your needs.
The Sony MDR-7506 are excellent headphones built for professional use. They are wired cans with a closed-back design, featuring large, well-padded ear cups that make extended use more comfortable.
Sound quality is impressive. These headphones have a powerful bass and a superb mid-range performance, with their good sound leakage handling making sure your taste in music will stay private. On the other hand, these headphones are not great at keeping noise out, though their large ear cups might suggest otherwise, so they won’t make for good headphones for commuting.
Well-built and durable, these Sony professional headphones are easy to pack, courtesy of their foldable design and lightweight frame. The long cable is non-detachable, though. If you want a good pair of headphones for critical listening but don’t want to spend too much, get the MDR-7506.
You can always count on Sennheiser when it comes to headphones, whether it’s for gaming or professional use. If you’re in the market for headphones with active noise canceling, check out the HD 4.50 BTNC. They are versatile headphones that will work well for different applications, including critical listening and watching movies.
The HD 4.50 BTNC are wireless headphones with an over-ear, closed-back design, boasting around 20 hours of battery life when the active noise cancellation is running. They have an understated aesthetic, featuring a matte black finish and minimal branding on the ear cups. The metal-reinforced headband is flexible while the well-padded ear cups are comfortable. Controls are on the cup for quick access, but they are not well implemented, with not much feedback from the buttons.
These Sennheiser headphones offer a well-balanced sound quality. They are excellent for commuting, courtesy of their low sound leakage and active noise canceling tech. And thanks to their foldable design, as well as the carry case included in the package, these headphones are easy to pack for travel. They are also good for jogging due to their good clamp and stability – but don’t use them for intense workouts.
For critical listening, the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x are the best closed-back headphones that you can while spending under $150. They are built specifically for studio use, so don’t count on them to perform well when used outdoors, most especially for commuting, considering their subpar noise isolation.
The ATH-M50x are wired headphones with a well-built and sturdy frame. They have large ear cups with enough padding to make extended use more comfortable. Like the other two headphones above, these headphones are foldable, which makes them easy to pack. In terms of aesthetics, these over-ear cans won’t impress anyone, no thanks to their bland design.
Compared to other headphones in the same price range, these Audio-Technica headphones easily stand out due to their excellent sound quality. You get a powerful bass on top of a great mid-range performance and treble. They are great for different music genres, including heavy metal, jazz, folk, and punk rock.
If you need open-back headphones for critical listening but prefer not to spend more than $150, the Beyerdynamic DT 990 PRO is arguably the best option on the market, offering an outstanding sound quality that will please professionals. They have excellent mid-range performance and even produce a great-sounding bass for open-back headphones.
These Beyerdynamic headphones are notable for their design and build quality. They are exceptionally well built and have an appealing design, with velour earpads and a sturdy all-metal headband. Their large ear cups will easily wrap around most ears, but as with other open-back headphones, the ear cups don’t provide enough noise isolation to make them viable for regular outdoor use.
Like other headphones designed for studio use, these open-back headphones are best used indoors. They are rather bulky for travel, not to mention they don’t fold into a more compact unit and have a non-detachable cable. Although Beyerdynamic clearly designed these headphones for critical listening, they also work well for watching movies.
Of the headphones included in this guide, the Sennheiser RS 165 are the most unique. They are designed specifically for home theater use, featuring a transmitter stand that allows for an almost lag-less connection. However, since these headphones use radio frequency instead of Bluetooth, the wireless range is more limited.
The RS 165 are closed-back, over-ear headphones with large ear cups and a flexible, metal-reinforced headband. The ear cups are comfortable on the ears even during extended use and will easily wrap around most ears. Controls are on-cup and are very easy to use. Concerning battery life, these headphones are pretty good, capable of running for over 20 hours on a single charge.
Overall sound quality is excellent. The RS 165 has a well-balanced sound, boasting a punchy bass. In case the default bass is still not enough for you, you can give it more oomph using the bass boost button on the ear cup. These headphones are designed to work with the supplied transmitter, which also serves as a docking station and charging port, so forget about bringing it out for commuting or travel.
If you want a good pair of noise-canceling headphones under $200, go for the Plantronics BackBeat Pro 2. In terms of versatility, they are the opposite of the Sennheiser RS 165; they are good for commuting, watching movies, and critical listening and will work well when used in the office.
The BackBeat Pro 2 are closed-back, non-foldable wireless headphones with a rather bulky design. While the ear cups are a bit shallow, they wrap around most ear sizes to create an effective seal for keeping sound from leaking out. These headphones also do a decent job at keeping background noise at bay, which makes them good for outdoor use, though not on the same level as the Bose QuietComfort 35 II.
Sturdy and comfortable, the BackBeat Pro 2 are officially rated for 24 hours of use on a single charge, but don’t be surprised if they run for close to 30 hours – the battery is that good. You can also use it via a wired connection when the battery is low, thanks to the included analog cable.
The Bose SoundLink II are wireless headphones with a closed-back design, featuring ear cups with an exceptionally comfortable padding – although some might find the ear cups a bit small for over-ear headphones. They are stylish but not as head-turning as gaming headsets, which is actually a good thing for some people.
For controls, these headphones come with a set of buttons on the cup. The controls are responsive and easy to use even while on the move, featuring a simple switch for switching between two connected devices. Speaking of which, the SoundLink II will easily pair with compatible devices.
While not as good as the Bose QuietComfort 35 II at keeping out background noise, the SoundLink II are solid all-around headphones. They have a great sound quality, with a rich bass and good vocals reproduction. They are suitable headphones for both listening to music and watching movies, but for gaming, you might want to look at other options.
The AKG K702 are another pair of great-sounding headphones for studio use. They have an open-back design, which translates to a more natural audio experience. However, for outdoor use, these are not recommended headphones, especially for commuting.
These AKG headphones have an over-ear design, featuring large, circular ear cups that will easily cover most ears. They are supremely comfortable on the ears, even after a few hours of continuous use, thanks to the generous padding. Although their bulky design might say otherwise, the K702 are relatively lightweight headphones. The headband is self-adjusting and does not put too much pressure on the head.
In terms of sound quality, the K702 are fantastic. They have an excellent mid-range performance and a nice bass that will please audiophiles. But don’t count on them for noise isolation, considering open-back headphones are poor on that front. The same thing can be said when it comes to sound leakage. These headphones are best used for listening to music in a quiet environment.
Some prefer discreet headphones that won’t turn heads in public. Others prefer to roll out with stylish headphones that will easily stand out. If you’re in the latter camp, then the V-Moda Crossfade M-100 are the headphones for you.
Compared to the other products on this list, the Crossfade M-100 have the most unique design, featuring hexagon-shaped ear cups. The ear cups have more than enough padding to keep you comfortable during extended use. These closed-back headphones boast an excellent build quality and come with a hard case that’s built like a tank. They are a little bulky, so they are not that portable compared to other over-ear headphones, even though you can fold them into a more compact unit.
What’s cool about the Crossfade M-100 is that they are open to customization. You can replace the ear cup back plates and switch out the default cable, which has limited inline controls. The Crossfade M-100’s sound quality is also a big plus. They have a well-balanced sound and work well for both casual use and critical listening.
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The Sennheiser PXC 550 are versatile over-ear, closed-back headphones with active noise cancellation, boasting extremely comfortable ear cups and a sufficiently padded headband. These are wireless headphones, which means they are more suitable for everyday outdoor use than most wired headphones. They do a good job at blocking noise, making them suitable for both commuting and office use.
Compared to the other Sennheiser products listed here, these headphones have a more premium build quality and design. They are stylish, durable, and stable, with touch-sensitive on-cup controls. However, they are not as portable as other headphones, mainly due to their size and the fact the ear cups don’t fold into the headband completely.
These Sennheiser headphones have excellent battery life, though the runtime falls a bit short on the advertised 30-hour battery life. They sound great and will work well for different applications, with the option to customize the sound profile. There’s also an adjustable auto-off feature, which is handy for power-saving during long flights and road trips.
If you want the best noise-canceling headphones under $300, look no further than the Bose QuietComfort 35 II. They are excellent for commuting and office use, with an active noise cancellation tech that makes them considerably better than the competition in the same price range. Sure, they are expensive, but you get what you pay for.
The QuietComfort 35 II get high grades for both form and function. They are extremely comfortable on the head, featuring soft padding on the ear cups and a flexible headband. They have the right amount of clamp and don’t get too hot very quickly. Although they have a rather minimalist design, they have a premium feel.
The QuietComfort 35 II offer a bit more functionality than the original model, with the most notable addition being the button for switching between noise cancellation modes. Concerning sound quality, the QuietComfort 35 II are just as good as the original model, boasting a deep bass and a superb mid-range performance. The sound leaks at high volumes, though, so be careful when blasting your Justin Bieber songs in a crowded place.
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Among all the products in this guide, the Beats Solo3 stand out, but not because they have a top-class sound quality or are extremely well built. No, the reason is much simpler: they are the only on-ear headphones listed here.
The Solo3 are closed-back wireless headphones available in different colors, including gold, red, silver, and black. While not as premium as you would expect from an expensive product, they are well-built, featuring well-padded ear cups and a metal-reinforced headband. The headband clamp is good, which makes these headphones suitable for jogging. The on-cup controls are decent enough and easy to use.
For casual use, the Solo3 are solid headphones. They sound good and will work well for listening to music, watching movies, and listening to audiobooks. In addition, they boast an impressive battery life, capable of running for 40 hours on a single charge. And they charge fast, too, reaching a full-charge status in just an hour and a half. Since the Solo3 are on-ear headphones, they are subpar when it comes to noise isolation and sound leakage.