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Best headphones for under $100 (pictures)

Looking for an affordable pair of headphones that sounds really good for the money? Here are CNET's top picks.

David Carnoy
1 of 26 CNET

Aiaiai Tracks

Their durability may be questionable, but the lightweight and comfortable Aiaiai Tracks deliver surprisingly rich sound for an affordable price.

2 of 26 Sarah Tew/CNET

Arriva Leo

Arriva, a small company out of Colorado, makes funky-looking sports earphones that are designed to stay on your head no matter what. The Leo is the company's Bluetooth wireless model and it comes in additional colors (green, teal, and gray).

3 of 26 Audio-Technica

Audio-Technica ATH-M30

Audio-Technica's ATH-M30 headphones aren't on par with the step-up ATH-M50s, but they deliver very good sound for a low price.

4 of 26 Sarah Tew/CNET

Audio-Technica ATH-WS55 Solid Bass

The WS55s may not make a comfortable fit for everyone, but they do sound really good for the money.

5 of 26 Bose

Bose IE2

For those who don't to like to have earbuds jammed in their ears, Bose's $99 IE2s are a good alternative. They sound decent but get their highest marks for their comfort level.

6 of 26 Creative

Creative Aurvana Live

Creative was selling its excellent Aurvana Live headphones for $55, but they became so popular Creative couldn't keep them in stock. Now they're back up to their list price of $99.99, but hopefully we'll see discounts in the future.

7 of 26 Sarah Tew/CNET

Creative WP-350 Bluetooth headphones

Creative's $79.99 WP-350s are among the best-sounding Bluetooth headphones at this price.

8 of 26 Grado

Grado SR80i

A few years back Grado tweaked its $99 SR80 made-in-Brooklyn headphones, adding an "i" to the end of their name without actually adding it to the product itself. We still like the older SR80, which remains on the market, but recommend going for the slightly upgraded SR80i.

9 of 26 Sarah Tew/CNET

Hifiman RE-400

We were impressed with how accurate the Hifiman RE-400 earphones are, as well as their simple yet elegant design. At $99, they slide in just under the sub-$100 threshold for the list.

10 of 26 Klipsch

Klipsch Image S4 line

Klipsch Image S4 line has long been a CNET favorite in the in-ear category. The original S4 has dipped below the $50 mark while S4i, which has a microphone and in-line remote, can be had for about $10 more. In 2012, Klipsch released the newer and updated Image S4i II, which features a sturdier flat-cord design and costs $89. And you can also pick up the Image S4i Rugged ($99), an "all-weather" sports model. While the designs are each slightly different, they all sound the same.

11 of 26 CNET

Koss PortaPro

The Koss PortaPro is a longtime favorite of CNET's Justin Yu.

12 of 26 LG

LG Tone HBS-700 stereo Bluetooth headset

LG's Tone HBS-700 stereo Bluetooth headset is among the most comfortable we've tried, and it offers good audio quality.

13 of 26 MEElectronics

MEElectronics A151

The MEElectronics A151 balanced-armature headphones are one of the best sets of earphones out there for around $50.

14 of 26

MEElectronics Air-Fi AF32

The MEElectronics Air-Fi AF32 is a comfortable set of on-ear Bluetooth headphones that also sounds very good -- for Bluetooth headphones, anyway.

15 of 26

Monster iSport Intensity

The Monster iSport Intensity shares some similarities with the Bose SEI2i sports headphones, but they cost about $50 less. You can also get a good deal on the yellow Livestrong version of Monster's true in-ear model, the iSport Immersion -- it costs around $50 -- but that model will eventually be discontinued.

16 of 26 Josh Miller/CNET

Monster Turbine

The Monster Turbines are an older model but they sound really good and we've seen them selling for as low as $75 (they originally cost $150).

17 of 26 Sarah Tew/CNET

Nocs NS400

The Nocs NS400 headphones, from Swedish newcomer Nocs, have a sleek design and deliver detailed sound. They also come in black.

18 of 26 Sarah Tew/CNET

Noontec Zoro HD

We initially had the $75 Noontec Zoro on the list, calling it a "bargain audiophile headphone" thanks to its clear, balanced sound. The standard Zoro is still available, but Noontec has more recently released the Zoro HD, which looks identical but offers better sound. It lists for $149.95 but can be had online for $99.95.

19 of 26 Sarah Tew/CNET

Philips O'Neill The Stretch headphones

The Philips O'Neill The Stretch headphones may not have great sound but they're well designed, very comfortable, and cost less than $50. They also come in white, and there's a step-up model, the Stretch Headband Headset SHO9567BK/28 (or SHO9567WT/28), that features an inline microphone for $10 more.

20 of 26 Sarah Tew/CNET

Polk Audio UltraFit 3000

Polk's higher-end in-ear sports model has come down in price a bit, making it a better buy. This one comes in multiple colors.

21 of 26 RHA

RHA SA950i

These lightweight on-ear headphones from Scottish company RHA offer decent sound and a comfortable fit for a relatively affordable price.

22 of 26 Sennheiser

Sennheiser HD280 Pro

The HD280 Pro headphones received an CNET Editors' Choice award years ago, but they remain on the market and have dropped below $100.

Note: When we originally reviewed this model, it cost more and we said that it was pricey. No longer.

23 of 26 Sarah Tew/CNET

Sennheiser PX 100-IIi

Sennheiser's lightweight on-ear PX 100-IIi headphones are available for less than $60 and offer surprisingly good sound.

24 of 26 Sarah Tew/CNET

Skullcandy Navigator

I'm not a huge fan of Skullcandy headphones, but I generally like what the company's done with its new on-ear model, the Navigator.

25 of 26

Sony XBA-1iP

While Sony's entry-level earphones don't blow away the competition, they offer good clarity and an integrated microphone for less than $100.

26 of 26 V-Moda

V-Moda Remix Remote

The Remix remote was released back in 2010, but it's come down in price and is one of the better earphone deals out there (and it features an Apple-friendly inline remote with microphone). Like all V-Moda earphones, it delivers a lot of bass.

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