THE BEST HEADPHONES under $100 are harder to find than you might think. Here at WIRED, it’s a part of our job to listen to music all day, often on exceedingly fancy and bonkers-expensive models. We have playlists for testing bass, for assessing detail, for dance parties—we get way into it. But, believe it or not, we like testing the cheap stuff just as much. When checking out headphones that pack the maximum amount of tech inside them for the money, it seems that every year companies are making better and better models.
That doesn’t mean that our work is done; etailers are still overflowing with cheap, awful headphones, so we’ll keep listening and updating our picks every few months. While you’re looking for the next great pair, be sure to check out our many other buying guides, including the Best Wireless Headphones and Best Wireless Workout Headphones.
Updated May 2021: We’ve added the Anker Soundcore Life Q30 and Fiio FH1s, and updated prices and links throughout.
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Best Wirefree Earbuds
We’ve tried gobs of expensive, uncomfortable wirefree earbuds from big-name brands since Apple’s AirPods began dominating the market in 2016, but the best pair we’ve tried is from a company you may not have heard of: 1More. The ColorBuds (8/10, WIRED Recommends) are the small audio brand’s third-generation wirefree earbuds, and they’re our current favorite buds around.
They boast an AirPod-beating 6 hours of battery life, the AptX Bluetooth codec for higher-quality audio, and an assortment of comfortable ear tips that all but guarantee a good fit. The IPX5 rating makes them capable of withstanding rainy walks and sweaty runs, too. The best part, though, is their fit. They are some of the most comfortable wirefree earbuds, even for people with smaller ears, and they come in an assortment of cool colors.