Too good for the entry level, huh? Well, we don’t blame you. Once you have a taste of wireless headphones, the only logical route is to continue onwards and upwards to the heady heights of more features, better design, and a greatly improved audio performance.
And you’re in luck: at this price range, you’re all but guaranteed to leave your stock earbuds behind once and for all. Not only do you get the obvious benefits of a wire-free life from here on out, but you’re more than likely to find that you end up with a significantly better listening experience to boot. Let’s dive in to what the ~$100 price point has to offer!
3 Best Wireless Bluetooth Headphones Under $100
The Skullcandy Grind Wireless is an excellent choice, and about as good as it gets at this price point. A seriously good looking design that manages to pack a proper punch in the audio performance department, it’s difficult not to recommend these headphones to anyone in the market for new a new pair at this price point.
The JBL Synchros E40BTs are an excellent proposition, combining a pleasant (though unassuming) form factor with a solid feature set and good audio quality. If the bass response is lacking a little, the rest of the listening experience is solid, and with such a great battery life, it’s an easy decision to make. A great offering across the board.
With the Move model, Jabra has done a great job in combining a design that is strikingly simple with performance that ticks almost all of the boxes. While the battery life leaves a little to be desired, the sound quality, addition of a wired mode, and general quality of the device means it’s a safe bet for this bracket.
If the $50 price bracket can be thought of as essentially swapping your stock earbuds for a similar product without the wires holding them back, then it’s at the ~$100 range that you start to see a marked improvement on that ever important trio of design quality, audio performance, and feature sets.
The level of differentiation is also noteworthy once you make the jump up to wireless headphones of this sort of value. Generally, this will be most obvious in terms of the actual form factor of the device itself: are you looking for, for example, on- or over-ear headphones? Are you all in on a fashion forward, statement look, or are you best suited to an unassuming, natural elegance? These are all decisions you get to make here.
And it isn’t just a matter of design. At this price point, you can start to have a real say in the kind of sound signature you’re looking for. If you prefer a heavy bass response, you’ll be able to find it. If you would rather focus on clarity or the ability to customize the sound to your own liking via, for example, an EQ app, these too are on offer.
Battery life can be a little disappointing when comparing headphone models at this price point. The simple reason is that it’s not quite enough of a price jump to warrant the kind of tech you’re going to see in, say, a $500 model, especially as the focus is so often on distinguishing less core functionality. On the whole, you will probably find that battery life is more similar to ~$50 models than it is to ~$200 ones. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it is certainly worth being aware of before you dive into an overall comparison of what’s on offer.
Build quality, too, can be a variable proposition. It’s often a good idea to get your hands on your final considerations before purchasing (or, at the very least, to read a lot of reviews from people who already own the product) in order to get a sense of how long you can expect the device to last. This is a matter both of ensuring that the headphones are built from materials that are inherently durable, and that they can be transported without issue. You’ll find that many fold into a smaller shape for portability, and others come with a carry case. If this is a priority, make sure to find out in advance.
What to Look For
Our advice here is to pick between two key factors—battery life and audio quality—and decide which one you are going to prioritize above the other. It’s worth keeping in mind that even if you put the duration of your battery life above audio quality, you aren’t going to end up with a downright bad listening experience. It’ll be at the very least an improvement on your stock earbuds, but potentially not a whole lot more than that depending on the extent to which you look for additional features and battery longevity above audio performance.
It can be mildly daunting to work out how best to balance all of these potential trade-offs, so the best advice we can give you is to start with an overview of the wireless headphone market and begin to narrow it down from there based first on budget and then your personal needs and requirements.
This price point has benefited especially from an injection of innovative, competitively priced models in the last couple of years. And the benefits are tangible: more choice, higher quality, and better performance across the board. It’s never been a better time to jump into the wireless headphone market, so don’t be put off.
Don’t be put off by the fact that you have to make trade-offs at this price point: it’s never not the case that you will have to make real decisions between various elements of a device based on your particular use case. Even at the top-end of wireless headphones, you’re often going to have to make similar choices with even more pronounced differences. So don’t sweat the small stuff; it’ll all be okay.