10 best headphones under £100

Top cans for shaking off the hate, rocking a commute and preserving your bank balance

We love excellent audio quality here at T3.com and, as such, prize a really good pair of headphones. Our favourite sub-£100 headphones are the AKG Y50. They represent stupendous value for money. Don't expect Beats levels of bass, but you can choose from several fantastic colours.

As well as the excellent sound quality, the Y50's cable is also a decent length, while there's also a soft travel pouch, too.

How to choose the best under-£100 headphones for you

Unfortunately, more often then not though, to get top shelf audio fidelity you need to drop hundreds if not thousands of pounds on a premium set of cans to avoid falling into a plasticky, tinny trap.

There are, however, plenty of options under a ton that deliver great sound quality - you just need to know where to look. Here T3 has rounded up what we consider to be the best headphones currently on the market that cost less than £100, with both wired and wireless options to choose from.

Remember that many over-ear headphones are open-backed. Open backs leak sound like a sieve, which means that wearing them on public transport isn't the best idea if you want to remain friends with your fellow passengers.

The 11 top headphones under a hundred pounds that you can buy today

These are the best sub-£100 headphones to buy, in order of preference.

1. AKG Y50

The colourful option

Nice design
Decent isolation
Bass could be better

For the money these super slick cans from AKG are just fabulous value. The Y50s deliver an on-ear pair of headphones equipped with a smart 3D-Axis folding mechanism, detachable 1.2-metre cable with inline, one-button remote/mic and solid speaker frequency response of 16 Hz to 24 kHz. Throw in a 3.5 - 6.3mm adapter and soft travel pouch, as well as the ability to choose from four different earplate colour schemes, and these are a super attractive option.

2. Astro A38 Bluetooth Headset

Ever so slightly over budget

Customisable look
Long battery life
Over budget
No 3.5mm input

OK, so we cheated ever so slightly here with the Astro A38s, as they ring in right now at £2 more than our £100 budget. However, we feel that considering the quality package you get, the tiny budgetary stretch is worth it. Indeed, the A38 combines APTX low latency Bluetooth, AAC high-fidelity Bluetooth playback and state-of-the-art Active Noise Cancelling technology to deliver a high-tech and great value for money set of headphones. Customisable speaker tags on the earplates allow you to keep your look fresh too, while the 20-hour battery life means you can spend more time listening to your summer jam, rather than eating jam while waiting for them to recharge.

3. Sony MDR-XB650BT

The most comfortable headphones around

Long battery life
Very comfortable
Too much bass
No audio cable input

Next up we have this pair of cans from Sony. The not very catchily named MDR-XB650BT deliver a tasty 30-hour battery life, 30mm neodymium drive unit with Sony's Bass Booster technology for extra punch at the low end, super soft ear cushions, one-touch NFC listening, a frequency response of 20Hz - 20,000Hz and a swivel ear cup design for easy portability. There are also three different colour schemes to choose from, with this blue set T3's top pick.

4. Creative Outlier

The headphones with loads of source options

Four input options to choose from
Shorter battery life

If you demand something a little different from your gadgets, then the Creative Outlier should appeal to you greatly. Indeed, these cans can play audio from four different sources, via Bluetooth, a built-in MicroSD card port, USB and AUX-in, meaning that no matter where your music is stored, you can listen to it with ease. Each set of Outliers also come with a selection of coloured accoustic rings, allowing you to customise your look as you see fit. Battery life isn't as impressive as some other headphones in this guide, however at 10 hours you've still got plenty of juice to rock out morning, noon and night.

5. Audio Technica ATH-SR5

The well-built option

Very well built
Good sound balance
Average mids

High-resolution on-ear headphones, the ATH-SR5s deliver a lightweight and flexible swivel design, soft memory-foam earpads and headband, smartphone detachable cable and, crucially, top sound quality with a 45mm driver diameter and frequency response of 5 - 40,000Hz. As you would expect from Audio Technica, the build quality of the headphones is also on the money, with the set weighing in at 165 grams. An included carrying pouch allows easy portability too.

A member of Grado's Prestige Series, the SR80e deliver an open-back, on-ear design just loaded with cool tech and features. Utilising a 4-conductor connecting cable and special destressed diaphragms, the cans manage to produce a wider and more open soundstage than previous models, while extras like a non-resonant air chamber and dynamic transducer mean that no matter what type of audio you throw at the SR80e, they deliver great playback. For five pennies shy of of a ton, they are brilliant value for money.

6. Grado SR80e

Amazing sound quality for excellent value

High-resolution
Lightweight, comfortable and well made
Poor mids

High-resolution on-ear headphones, the ATH-SR5s deliver a lightweight and flexible swivel design, soft memory-foam earpads and headband, smartphone detachable cable and, crucially, top sound quality with a 45mm driver diameter and frequency response of 5 - 40,000Hz. As you would expect from Audio Technica, the build quality of the headphones is also on the money, with the set weighing in at 165 grams. An included carrying pouch allows easy portability too.

7. BA-HM Wireless Bluetooth Headphones

An extremely stylish pair of headphones

Great design
Excellent sound quality

These headphones just look killer, with the incredibly striking combination of gold, tan and brown combining to produce an aesthetic that looks north of a grand rather than below 80 nicker. The BA-HM Wireless Bluetooth Headphones aren't all looks either, with a permium set of drivers, 20Hz - 20KHz frequency range, 18-hour battery life between charges and advanced Bluetooth 4.0 streaming technology rounding off a package that, for the money, definitely fires shots at more expensive, premium brands.

8. Shure SRH840

The bulkier option

Good sound
Good design
Hefty

Geared towards more of a studio usage, however in no-way restricted to it, these badboys from Shure deliver a closed-back, circumaural design that both sits well over the ears and works to reduce background noise. A dynamic transducer, 5Hz - 25kHz frequency range, and 40mm driver ensure precise performance across bass, mid-tone and treble too, while small details like a bayonet clipped cable and replaceable ear cup pads mean that you'll feel comfortable wearing these everyday in a variety of situations.

9. Bowers & Wilkins P3

The fancy option

Stylish design
Good sound reproduction
Tight across the head

Yes, you read that right, we've got a pair of Bowers & Wilkins headphones in this guide too. The P3, which in their blue and red colour schemes ring in at five pennies short of a ton right now, deliver everything you would expect from a premium audio manufacturer's headphones. A stylish and minamilist design, one which beautifully combines aluminium and custom fabric for a premium finish, is partnered with a mylar damped laminate diaphragm, neodymium magnets and dynamic driver to deliver super sound quality and, for the price, unparalleled class.

Read the full review: Bowers & Wilkins P3

10. MEE audio Air-Fi Touch Advanced Bluetooth Wireless Headphones

Decent sound quality
Good for calls
Poor design

And finally we have this set of wireless headphones from Mee audio. At a penny short of £30, recently discounted down from £76.99, these cans are the most affordable of the selection in this guide too, offering a futuristic design and good sound quality at a super low price. You don't have to compromise either at the low price, with Bluetooth 4.0, a 24-hour battery life and built-in headset functionality packed in. Overall a very attractive option.

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