Best headphones under £100 in 2024: Our favourite brilliant budget headphones

We're all being a bit more careful with our money at the moment, so you might be wondering what the best headphones under £100 are. In my list below, I've picked out a selection that deliver comfort and sound far above their price tag..

From true wireless and Bluetooth, to noise cancelling headphones, I've got a great mix of headphones - and you don't have to worry that some of them won't be up to the job as this selection deliver great audio at an affordable price.

So for some of the best headphones under £100 from the likes of JBL, Lindy, Anker, Sennheiser and more, read on. I've also some practical buying advice so you can get the most for your money.

Steve May author image
Steve May

Steve is a home entertainment technology specialist who contributes to a variety of UK websites and mags, including Louder, Yahoo UK, Trusted Reviews, T3, The Luxe Review and Home Cinema Choice. Steve began his career as a music journo, writing for legendary rock weekly Sounds, under the nom de plume Steve Keaton. His coverage of post-punk music was cited in the 2015 British Library exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination, as a seminal influence on the Goth music scene.

Quick list

Our top choice

Best headphones under £100: Lindy NC-60

(Image credit: Lindy)

1. Lindy NC-60 Noise Cancelling headphones

The best headphones under £100 for bang for your buck value


Features: Wired headphones, Active Noise Cancelling
Battery Life: 72 hours

Reasons to buy

Great budget noise cancellers
Comfortable pleather ear cups

Reasons to avoid

You’ll need a phone with a 3.5mm jack
Not wireless

Based on their wireless BNX-60 model, Lindy’s NC-60 noise cancelling headphones are a great option if you’re on a tight budget. Wired for sound, they’re ideal if you're rocking a mobile with a 3.5mm stereo audio jack. A couple of AAAs will keep you entertained for around 72 hours.

Noise cancelling at this price point clearly isn’t going to be market leading, but it's beneficial. A blue LED flashes when NC is turned on; they can be used without NC engaged, obviously.

Inside, 40mm drivers offer clarity, and spatial imaging is good – a benefit of traditional wired headphones). They also boast soft, comfortable earcups with simple on-body controls.

Shipping with a flight adapter and a hard shell carry case at this price, they’re worth buying for travel use alone.

Best for battery

Best headphones under £100: Anker Soundcore Life Q20

(Image credit: Anker)
The best headphones under £100 for top battery life and ANC


Features: Noise cancelling, Bluetooth
Battery Life: 30 hours with ANC active, 60 without

Reasons to buy

Amazing value for money
Great battery

Reasons to avoid

Bass it a touch too much

When it comes to cheap but brilliant headphones, the Anker Soundcore Life Q20 really are hard to beat. These headphones are enhanced with noise cancelling tech that some of the bigger and more expensive brands would be hard pressed to match – especially at these prices.

These wireless headphones boast 40mm drivers to bring out the best in your music collection, while the in-build BassUp feature does exactly what it says on the tin. Battery life is thoroughly decent too, with 30 hours of perfect playback with ANC on or a whopping 60 hours when switched off.

If you’re after a great set of headphones for less than the price of a AAA video game, then the Anker Soundcore Life Q20 are definitely worth a closer look.

Read our Anker Soundcore Life Q20 review

Best for bass

Best headphones under £100: JBL Tune700BT

(Image credit: JBL)

3. JBL Tune700BT headphones

The best headphones under £100 for heavy bass


Features: Bluetooth
Battery Life: 27 hours

Reasons to buy

Multipoint Bluetooth connection
Understated, stylish design 

Reasons to avoid

No noise cancelling

These smart looking JBL Bluetooth over-ears also come with an optional 3.5mm audio lead, to conserve power or use when travelling. 

Available in orange or white, they may lack noise cancelling – for that you’ll need to step up to the JBL Tune 750BTNC – but they will work with Siri and Google voice assistants. A multi-point connection also allows you to share a Bluetooth connection with two devices. 

The biggest value add is the stupendous battery life – 27 hours wireless playback in fact. A five minute recharge is all you need to get two additional hours of playback.

The presentation is unapologetically punchy, thanks to a pair of 40mm drivers, and weighing in at 220g, they feel pleasingly lightweight. The right-hand cup houses the usual control buttons. 

Consider them good all-purpose headphones, suitable for music, gaming and late night TV binging.

Best in-ears

Best headphones under £100: SoundMagic E11C

(Image credit: SoundMagic)
The best headphones under £100 for over-delivering on sound for the price


Features: Mic, 10mm drivers
Battery life: N/A
Connector: 3.5mm

Reasons to buy

Lots of fun sound
One of the best at this price

Reasons to avoid

It's important you choose the right size buds for your ears

The awesome SoundMagic E11C are the latest in the audio firm's affordable earbuds – and let's not beat around the bush: at this price point, you'll be hard-pressed to find anything better.

The SoundMagic E11C boast excellent sound, with the balance beautifully pitched: There's no heavy bass trying to take over, while the treble notes aren't too high either. There's something fun about these earbuds and when you take everything into consideration, it's hard to be too critical.

Away from the audio, the SoundMagic E11C have a silver-plated copper cable which has been introduced to reduce tangles – the Achilles heel of most wired buds – and there's a three-button remote and mic. I still can't believe they're as cheap as they are.

Read the full SoundMagic E11C review

Best for detail

Best headphones under £100: Sennheiser HD35BT

(Image credit: Sennheiser)
The best headphones under £100 for detailed sound


Features: Bluetooth v5.0, Voice Assistant support
Battery Life: 30 hours

Reasons to buy

Smooth as Baileys on ice
Superb battery life

Reasons to avoid

No 3.5mm jack
The fit is a little tight

The sheer pose value of these Sennheiser’s is off the chart. While they sell for sensible money, the look is cool, and they sound good too.

Bluetooth is of the highly efficient v5.0 persuasion, with support for AAC, higher-quality AptX and AptX low latency. There’s a dedicated Voice Assistant button, for speedy interaction with Siri or Google Assistant. They also boast USB-C fast charging.

There’s no noise cancelling, unsurprising given the price, but significantly there’s no option for wired 3.5mm connectivity either, which could prove a limitation for some.

Performance wise, the 350BT’s tread a careful middle ground. Sennheiser keeps everything on a tight rein, guaranteeing a smooth performance, but they’re probably not the best fit if you have a predilection for Cradle Of Filth.

I rate the over-the-ear design as comfortable, although they are a little on the small side, and some extra headband padding would have been nice.

Read our Sennheiser HD 350BT review

Best for travel

Best headphones under £100: X by Kygo A3/600 

(Image credit: Kygo)

6. X by Kygo A3/600 

The best headphones under £100 for premium sound quality


Features: Bluetooth, Scandi-design
Battery Life: 23 hours

Reasons to buy

Cool Scandi design
Long battery life 

Reasons to avoid

No voice assistant support
Basic bluetooth

If you want to show your love for the likes of Arcturus and Kvelertak, then these on-ears from Norwegian audio specialist X by Kygo are well worth a closer look. 

Kygo, FYI, is a Norwegian DJ, and record producer who has worked with the likes of U and Imagine Dragons. Fashionable looks and a lightweight design belie the entry-level price tag, making them an intriguing alternative choice to some of the more recognisable Hi-Fi brands. Bluetooth is basic v4.2, but that 23 hour battery life isn’t to be sniffed at.

A foldable design makes for easy storage in the supplied carry pouch, and the ear cups use forgiving memory foam cushions. Available in white, black or grey finishes, the A3/600 ship with an audio cable colour matched to the headphones. Attention to detail is everything.

Buying advice

Best headphones under £100: Woman wearing a pair of black Anker Soundcore Q20

(Image credit: Anker)

What features should I prioritise?

When working to a budget, you’ll inevitably have to cherry-pick when it comes to feature niceties. Increasingly, you’ll find headphones with Active Noise Cancelling on budget models that sell for £100 or less. If you’re planning to commute with your headphones, this is a feature worth having.

Look for a level of water resistance, IPX5 or higher. This means you’ll be able to wear your headphones out and about without anxiety when the heavens open.

Battery life is also important, so take this into consideration when choosing the right pair of headphones under £100 for you.

Which brands make the best budget headphones?

There are a number of obscure brands specialising in the budget market, and rarely offer anything priced to rival the bigger players like Beats and Bose. However, you will find top names at affordable prices, such as Sony, JVC and JBL. Check out our reviews for the current best buys. 

Generally avoid those companies you’ve never heard of that seem to offer everything for not much… unless you can try before you buy.

What's better: wired or wireless headphones?

For pure convenience, you can't get better than wireless headphones or earbuds. However, there’s a case to be made for wired (if your smartphone has a smartphone jack and you have one of the best phones music). For one thing, you’ll not need to constantly recharge passive wired headphones, as they’re always good to go.  

Generally, the best case scenario are wireless Bluetooth headphones that offer a wired 3.5mm connection option. This is particularly useful when travelling. 

While wireless headphones top most people’s wants list these days, if you’re planning to take your headphones on holiday, check that they come with a 3.5mm cable, so you can plug them into any in-flight entertainment system. 

Should I choose over-ear or in-ear headphones?

This very much depends on how you want to listen to music, be it on the move or at home. ln-ear headphones will take up less space in your pocket or bag when out and about, and offer better sonic isolation if you get a good fit. However on-ears will boast a higher level of comfort, allowing for longer listening periods. On-ears will also, in all probability, offer better bass performance, because they’ll use larger dynamic drivers.

That said, comfort isn’t always a given at the cheaper end of the market. If you’re buying on or over-ear headphones take a good look at the headphone band itself. Is it padded? Lightweight? You’ll want to listen to hard rock, not wear one.

Can I get noise cancelling for under £100?

While noise cancelling isn’t a given when you’re buying at the more affordable end of the market, canny shoppers will find good models that offer the feature. 

Often just referred to as ANC, Active Noise Cancelling can be found on True Wireless buds, as well as on-ear and over-ears, and it works in much the same way across the board.

How does noise cancelling work?

Tiny microphones are located on the outside of the headphones, monitoring external noise. You may be concentrating on Trivium, but these mics are more interested in the level of chatter and hubbub in the world around. The headphones then sum this noise together and generate an exact match inside your cans, which cancels the extraneous noise out.

Listen carefully and you’ll hear the headphones take a few moments to make the calculation and generate their noise, before the unwanted background noise melts away.

More expensive headphones are able to deploy more monitoring microphones and have greater processing power, but even inexpensive offerings can be quite effective.

It’s worth remembering that noise cancelling doesn’t totally mute the outside world. There will still be an element of cacophony breaking though – look for brands that quote a high percentage efficiency for their ANC.

Do noise cancelling headphones sound better?

Not necessarily. You don’t actually need noise cancelling headphones for a great listening experience. If your earbuds fit snugly, or those over-ears seal off your lugholes, then isolation does most of the work and will dampen any exterior interruptions. 

The trick is to ensure you get maximum isolation from ambient noise from the buds themselves. Experiment with the memory foam and silicon tips supplied, in order to find the best fit.

Fit, comfort and materials used for ear cups also have a huge impact.

The most obvious advantage of not having or using noise cancelling is that there’s less drain on the headphone’s battery life, so your wireless headphones will last longer.

How we test headphones

When we put headphones through their paces, we hook them up to a variety of musical genres at various volumes from the comfort of our homes and when out and about. We do this to give an accurate representation of how you'll find them when using them. Sure, testing headphones in a controlled environment such as a studio has benefits, but by doing things our way, we believe we can better report on how they perform out in the real world.

We also test to see how comfortable the headphones are and if they stand up to every day wear and tear. If the products have Active Noise Cancelling, we test this too - usually when walking or running on busy roads, in the gym or even at home when the TV is on. Battery life is also important to us and we'll always tell you how much playtime you'll get when fully charged.

You can trust Louder Our experienced team has worked for some of the biggest brands in music. From testing headphones to reviewing albums, our experts aim to create reviews you can trust. Find out more about how we review.

Steve May

Steve is a home entertainment technology specialist who contributes to a variety of UK websites and mags, including Louder Sound, Yahoo UK, Trusted Reviews, T3, The Luxe Review and Home Cinema Choice. Steve began his career as a music journo, writing for legendary rock weekly Sounds, under the nom de plume Steve Keaton. His coverage of post punk music was cited in the 2015 British Library exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination, as a seminal influence on the Goth music scene.