When you acquire the best on-ear headphones, you have hit the perfect compromise between in-ears and over-ears. The on-ears are more portable than over-ears and will not dig into your ears like the in-ears. They are designed to sit on your ears just like the name suggests and not cover them completely. This design beloved of many, add the fact that it promotes comfort and you know you have got the right style.
There are a few features you must pay attention to when choosing the best on-ear headphones under $100 just like you would do when choosing any other headphone design. What are you looking for? It could be noise-cancelation or Bluetooth. On the other hand, you may want a particular style. You will get higher quality audio if you choose an open-backed set of cans but you must be ready to deal with their sound leakage and the fact that you can’t use them conveniently in public without disturbing others. You may want to choose a style that can be used on the bus without inconveniencing other passengers and that’s where a closed-back set of cans come in.
Compact headphones are convenient, you can easily fold them up and stick them in your pocket or a small bag. Some of them are ultra-light and never feel cumbersome. Be sure to check all of that before making your choice. When you have decided on what you want, you will have to decide how much you are willing to spend. You do not have to worry much when it comes to cost, we have handpicked the best on-ear headphones selling below $100 and we assure you, there is something in here for you.
Best on-ear headphones under 100 in 2021 are:
1. JBL Live 400BT Wireless
The JBL Live 400BT Wireless is the best on-ear headphones below $100 for working out on our list. It comes with a solid and secure fit that won’t slacken and fall off while you enjoy your morning run. It offers a breathable on-ear design and control that is fairly easy-to-use. They are foldable so that you can easily carry them about without worrying about the amount of space it will take up. You will not have to worry about cables and their tendency to tangle with the JBL Live 400BT because these are wireless headphones.
Their sound profile depends heavily on their fit just like most on-ears. If you get these headphones with earcups that sit perfectly against your ears, you will find their audio to be well-balanced with a little bit of bass to give you the oomph you need for your runs. The battery life is exceptional, giving users up to 30-hours of battery life. They are equipped with an auto-off timer that ensures the batteries last longer. These headphones can connect to two devices simultaneously a handy feature that will serve you well if you have a separate MP3 player for running.
Although the tight fit of the JBL 400BT ensures that these headphones stay secure while you work out or run, it means these headphones are not as comfortable as some of the other headphones on this list. They are also more susceptible to damage since they do not have the best build quality. Beside these, if you desire headphones to wear while you jog or enjoy your work out sessions, then these will do.
2. Status Audio BT One Wireless
The best budget on-ear headphones for under $100 we tested in our search are the Status Audio BT One Wireless. They come in a deceptively simple design while offering good build quality and a comfortable fit. The battery on these beauties run up to about 22.5hours of continuous playtime and what’s more? They can quickly be charged to full capacity in under an hour.
They offer a slightly-balanced sound profile with a fairly overemphasized bass. You will enjoy the slightly overemphasized bass as it boosts your favorite EDM or hip-hop songs. Besides that, you will find the sound signature here neutral enough for most audio with the headphones delivering a clear, present, lead instruments and well-detailed vocals. They boast support for aptX-LL codec for low-latency wireless audio which improves synchronization problems that might occur when watching videos.
The inbuilt microphone has a poor recording quality with recordings coming across as thin and muffled. They do not offer good passive ambient noise isolation due to their on-ear fit, they let most noises like bus engines and other ambient sounds sneak through. If you do not care too much about some of these drawbacks, you can go ahead and enjoy the affordable balanced sound profile and the comfortable fit of these headphones.
3. Jabra Elite 45H
Jabra Elite 45H is the best you can find at this range. It takes over from the brand’s move style wireless on-ears. These headphones boast an excellent battery life, very competitive features and outstanding audio quality. All of these features place it at the top of the selection of the best on-ear headphones.
Priced at $99 the Elite 45H is a neat, wireless on-ear package that boasts 40mm full-range dynamic drivers, Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity and a plethora of push-button controls. It provides a comfortable fit backed by memory foam, faux leather and a non-creaky plastic frame. Although the earpads absorb heat quickly and dish the same back to the wearer.
You will enjoy voice control which is provided by Google Assistant, Siri or Amazon’s Alexa. You won’t have to do everything manually as Jabra’s Sound+ control app guides you through a short hearing test which is aimed at educating you on the best setup for the EQ so that you can find a setup that suits your ears. When we rate these headphones using the same standard with which we measure very affordable headphones, the Elite 45h are chock full of excellent features.
You get a whopping 50 hours of listening time on a single charge and you will be hard-pressed to find headphones that offers so much battery life irrespective of price. It also offers a fast charge feature that will give you 10 hours of battery life with a 15 minutes charge. Charging is done with USB-C. We deem these to be among the best on-ear headphones under $100 in 2020.
4. Sony WH-CH510
The WH-CH510 are amongst the best on-ear headphones available for under $100. Who would have thought that wireless on-ear headphones could go for so little? When you consider the fact that these set of cans provide such decent sound and offer about 35 hours of battery life with USB-C port charging you will understand our surprise about the pricing of these headphones.
If your budget is within this price bracket then you are probably willing to make a few compromises here and there. Fortunately, Sony didn’t compromise on any major features. You only have such drawbacks like the loss of 3.5mm port on most modern smartphones, the unavailability of analog input mirrors. Users will enjoy the plastic construction with its lightweight nature, comfort and portability.
These headphones may not offer full clarity, sense of space and the balance you find in WH-1000XM3 from Sony but the sound you get with the WH-CH510 is better than anything you can get at this price and size. Most genres of music perform well here but you will find an uncomfortable exaggeration in tracks that already have low mids and bumped treble.
5. Adidas RPT-01 Headphones
The Adidas RPT-01 Headphones will serve runners and athletes perfectly. People don’t usually think of Adidas when they think of getting new headphones and that includes sporty peeps. That notwithstanding, these running headphones aren’t cans to be ignored.
These headphones are the offspring of a collaboration between Adidas and Zound industries who are known for working with Urbaners and Marshal to create headphones and wireless speakers.
That’s a remarkable pedigree for the RPT-01 which sport a unique appearance. They do not boast the same audio quality you get from Marshall Speakers but these are great for simple on-ear running headphones under $100.
They were among the headphones we tested in the course of our research and we are very much impressed by what we saw.