In Ear Monitors (IEMs) are an excellent way of listening to music and podcasts. Smaller and less cumbersome that headphones, with the ability to block out much extraneous noise, they are a commuters best friend.
We’ve looked at the best replacements for the buds you get supplied with your phone in our best earphones under $30 and we’ve looked at the best under $50 too, now it is time for next price up – the best IEMs under $100.
The $100 range is at the top of what most people would want to spend on a set of earbuds and so it is very competitive with some well known, as well as some lesser known, brands producing some excellent products.s
What are the best Earphones Under $100 for 2018?
Best Earbuds Under $100 for 2018
Best Value Earbuds Under $100
Highly Recommended Earbuds Under $100
Highly Recommended Earbuds Under $100
Highly Recommended Earbuds Under $100
What We Are Looking For
Music has power! You have to admit that listening to music can make some activities more fun than what they really are. Whether you’re jogging, commuting to work or just relaxing, music can make time move a bit faster and help you escape the tension of your usual routine. How do you get most out of these experiences?
And let’s not forget about other activities involving sound. You can listen to your favorite podcasts, the news, sports highlights and even watch a movie. And here’s how they can all be enjoyed even more: Get the right earbuds.
You probably think earbuds which are high quality are those that are costly. Well, this isn’t always the case. Luckily for you we have a roundup of the best earbuds under $100.
If you’re looking for earbuds worthwhile to own, then this is the roundup article to read. You’ll discover how these earbuds are even more valuable than the price points they pertain to. So, you’re getting value for money!
Quality features found in these under $100 earbuds
A lot of the times, people just want earbuds that are pleasant to use. Their goals are to hear different variations of music notes and tones. But what about vocals?
Whether listening to a song or podcast, answering a phone call and/or watching a movie, voices need to be heard clearly. You don’t want to constantly say “what?” while in conversation on your smartphone, right? The earbuds in this review won’t put you in such a position.
The clear crisp tones and vocals are not the only features that make these earbuds high quality. Other features you wouldn’t necessarily expect to find in this price category include:
- Noise cancellation – This feature blocks any background noise making you lose focus on your music. This is perfect for when you make calls in high-volume noise areas.
- Ergonomic design – These earbuds are comfortable to wear for long periods.
- Durability – The materials used to make these earbuds are strong, which makes these affordable earbuds long lasting.
- Compatibility – These earbuds give you greater flexibility in the devices they can connect to. It can fit a majority of mobile devices, brands, laptops or desktops.
These are the features that prove that you don’t really need an expensive earbud. You get almost all the satisfaction expensive products, provide without breaking your budget.
Remember there are certain drawbacks. Perhaps you won’t have other features that make the earbuds more advanced such as Bluetooth connecting to multiple devices at once. But these are still worth a buy.
Standards used to judge the earbuds
Evaluating these earbuds was no easy task. It’s difficult to make a proper judgment when you can’t use the product yourself. This is why listening to the opinions of others is important. By assessing Amazon reviews, we can evaluate what features make or break the product.
We understand that people can harshly criticize and we studied the opinions that are valid. Presenting this roundup isn’t only based on people’s opinions; to help you to understand what to expect from each earbud, we used certain criteria to make our formal judgments.
In the end, we were left with a wealth of information including descriptions, promise delivery of each brand and answers submitted by owners.
Essentially, we thought of all the qualities that make up a good earbud and checked these products against them. The final criterion checklist consists of:
- Design and build – All the materials used to construct the earbuds were examined. From this we judged whether the design and build make the earbuds long lasting.
- Comfort – We looked at the features that make the earbuds comfortable to wear for long periods, by all people. There is more than one ear size. With this fact, we looked at how the brands cater to people’s needs.
- Sound – The brand’s promise of the musical notes and tones—including vocals—were cross examined with what was delivered to current owners.
So, whiout further delay, here is the list of Best Earbuds Under 100 Dollars
Sennheiser Momentum In Ear Headphones
These Sennheiser Momentum In-Ear headphones deliver powerful bass, detailed vocal projection and a great soundstage. The mids can get slightly lost, but overall the sound delivery actually matches quite a few higher-end earbuds – the sound is smooth and balanced with plenty of punch and rhythm.
They feature a stainless steel housing with a high-gloss finish featuring red accents and mirror chrome detailing with the logo nicely picked out – they are a good looking set of buds!.
The housing is custom machined and feels great in your hand, plus it delivers low vibration when in use; the low vibrations help the earbuds deliver a detailed and accurate sound.
Allied to this is the array of different sized ear tips. I was easily able to find a perfect pair were comfortable to wear them for long periods of time and created a good seal.
The cable has a new oval shape design, which I found was pretty resistant to tangles and wasn’t too susceptible to noise when you brushed it
They come in two versions, one made to work for iOS and the other for Android devices. This means that whichever device you have, you get control of your volume, which not all earbuds offer at this price.
They also feature an in-line microphone with three convenient buttons. The in-line microphone is pretty good, although not the outright best, while buttons allow you to control music and answer phone calls.
Overall the finish and attention to detail match the earbuds sensuous design. And although aesthetics matter to me, if the sound didn’t match up I would have given up on them, but I found these to have the best overall sound and they fitted my ears really well, so the Sennheisers get the nod.
SONY MDR-EX650B In-Ear Headphones
Sony is a popular and well-established brand. Although these earbuds are under $100, you’ll get more than your money’s worth with them.
What should be noted first is the brown brass metal housing used to construct the item. This material makes the earbud durable and ready for everyday use. The brass housing can be colored to a black finish for a better style.
Most earbuds are made only for one type of device. This one isn’t and it can be used on all Android and Apple devices.
That’s not the only versatility you get from these Sony earphones. There are replacement ear tips which are available in sizes small, medium and large. The ear tips are made of soft silicone for comfort whenever you use them for long periods.
Sony doesn’t disappoint when delivering the sound quality. These are special features about the item which produce optimal sound effects:
The 12mm drivers built into each earpiece produce high sensitivity range. They ensure you can distinctly hear all high and low ranges
The earbud suppresses all unwanted vibration. Vibration in earphones is one of the main causes of distortion. With no vibration and distortion all musical notes and vocals are delivered smooth and clear
The low ranges are delivered smoothly without the sound of vibration in your ears
The brass materials contribute to the sound circuit and provide more powerful, clean and crisp musical notes.
Wires can be problematic when you’re running. With a swing of the arms you can hook onto the cable and disconnect the earbuds from the device.
For convenience when you’re doing activities an additional smart holder is provided to hold the cord in place. When you aren’t using these headphones, you can store it away in the carry case. Sony is an expert in thinking of practical solutions.
SoundMAGIC E80C Gold Reference Series Flagship Noise Isolating In-Ear Headphones
If you have more than one device with different operating system—such as Android, iOS, Windows—this earbud is compatible with all.
The earbud is made from a tough aluminum housing which feels very durable. It’s available in three colors – Gunmetal, Gold and Red. I like the rose gold and the dark gunmetal is very understated but I found the red, with the bright red cable, a little garish, however, this is simply down to personal taste.
The sound performance is what you want when you listen to music or other audio. The aluminum housing reduces vibration. This helps music and vocals be delivered well balanced and in crisp detail.
You get a total of six earbuds to select from – including several memory foam tips from Comply, ensuring you’ll find a pair perfect to fit into your ears.
As with all IEMs, the ear tips do more than to provide comfort, a perfect fit gives maximum noise isolation and a superior audio experience.
Noise isolation is also activated when you make and/or answer calls. You can clearly hear and be heard by the caller. The in-line microphone and the remote control offers universal smartphone support.
A pretty smart carry case is also included. I cannot say I find it that useful as if earbuds cannot survive my pocket or bag, they are not much use to me. It does provide a good place to store the five other ear tips in if you, like me, have a tendency to lose small items.
Overall a good quality earbud that sounds good, seems to be pretty durable, but I am not entirely sure about the looks and the sound and fit of the Sennheisers is just that little bit better for me.
1MORE Triple Driver In-Ear Earphones
The 1MORE triple driver earphones are gorgeous to look at and are not only HI-RES certified, but were the world’s first THX certified headphones!
1More has a well-known name in producing the quality sounding products, especially, their world-class earphones.
Peoples are talking about headphones a lot in nowadays, but if you are looking for the quality over the show-off.
Then, 1MORE Triple Driver can be the best and perfect choice for you.
The earbud having some grand features, as they are pricing they are serving the quality also.
Well, with this earbud, you will get some of the latest technology, those are given below.
LIGHTNING CONNECTOR- As the first triple driver Lightning headphone ever, this MFi certified the version of our industry.
Leading multi-award winning Triple Driver In-Ear is perfect for Apple iOS users who demand premium sound quality.
5-IN-1 CONTROLLER- Exclusive five-directional button allows you to make crystal clear calls, activate voice control, adjust volume, and change tracks effortlessly.
EXPERTLY TUNED- The earbud is tuned by Grammy award-winning sound engineer Luca Bignardi for a fully balanced and detailed soundstage.
PERFECTED ERGONOMICS- Earpieces use oblique angles that naturally match your ear canals for a comfortable secure fit.
Additionally, 9 included ear tips sizes ensure a proper seal for ultimate sound clarity and isolation.
Shure SE215 In Ear Headphones
Shure have established themselves as a player at the higher end of the earphone market and the SE215m offers a great sound performance in a well; built chassis.
What is unique about the Shure earbuds is not construction materials but actually the group of people who helped with the design. The earbuds evolved from monitor technology that’s been road-tested by musicians.
This diverse aspect of the earphones guarantees clear sounds for personal listening. The single dynamic MicroDriver enhances the bass sounds that are unexpected in an affordable and small product.
The item is also embedded with sound-isolating technology; up to 37dB of background noise is blocked. You can focus on the audio during normal activities or when on the road.
The ear tips need to fit perfectly in your ear to optimize the level of noise isolation. There are three standard ear tips sizes: small, medium and large. The ear tips have soft flex sleeves for maximum comfort. When you find the right fit for you a majority of background noise will be blocked.
The cables are detachable for easy replacement. They were designed with nozzle-shaped angles to fit comfortably over your ears. This design prevents the cables from getting in the way during movement.
But how is the sound quality of this earbud? Every musical note is delivered in a rich tone such as the bass. You can hear low to high ranges, bass, treble vocals and other musical notes in clear quality.
The best part is no one can hear what you’re listening to because the acoustic seal design prevents audio leaks.
The noise isolation and acoustic seal come handy when you’re answering or making phone calls. You can listen to the caller properly and no one can eavesdrop on your call.
The included in-line three-button remote lets you control the music selection, volume and of course, phone calls.
The shape of the SE215 fits perfectly into the ear canal for better noise isolation. They are divided into modules that can be easily inserted and display gray colors.
In addition, the machine sits quite comfortably in the outer ear and never falls even when you are going on an adventurous trip.
One of the unique selling points of the device is that the cable is pointed in an upward direction and cradles around the ear.
It is an essential design theme to provide wonderful fitting to the users by defying gravity.
The Also Rans
Above we have listed out the best ones, but there are quite a few others that we looked at but didn’t quite cut the mustard. Usually either the sound, comfort or price was not up to scratch and sometimes all of these!
We have listed these more for completeness than any recommendation.
RHA MA750i Earphones
While RHA are not a name that springs to most people’s mind when you mention earphones, just looking under the window flap of the box provides a tantalizing glimpse of what you are getting.
The packaging suggests that the device is one of its kinds especially when it imbibes lots of innovative features.
A magnet located on the side ensures that the earbuds are attached when they are not in use.
MA750i is unique in terms of appearance as the earbuds are made from stainless steel with RHA letter engraved on the body.
In addition, the structure of the device is reinforced with the help of the gold-plated connector. It is the quarter inch in size and boasts of thick cable that is second to none in terms of quality.
Earphone also includes ear cable supports offering the complete range of fittings to the users.
Built-in three-button remote control is crucial for the ease of use along with the amazing aero phonic design of the device.
Attractive carrying case and many ear tip options are some of the other advantages.
Focal Sphear High-Resolution In-Ear Headphones
These Focal Sphear earbuds have been garnering a lot of praise and it is easy to see why. They take a little bit of time to burn in but once they do, their performance is pretty good!
The problem is that they are getting hard to find at a price that makes them a reasonable consideration. I also found them a little uncomfortable, or they wouldn’t stay in – there was no middle ground no matter what tips I tried.
However, if you like the fit and find them for a good price, these are a decent pair of earbuds
The Focal Sphear earbuds have some of the best sound you will find in earbuds at any price. When you first get them the sound can be a bit mushy, especially at the bottom end. However, after a bit of running in, the sound comes to life.
The sound rivals some of the best high-end headphones with good bass extension, rich mid-range, and clear, crisp treble.
I did have to play around a little to get them to fit, but once in I found them to be incredibly comfortable (which was great as I didn’t want to take them off!) however, some people have complained that they cannot get a good fit. Luckily Comply do memory phone tips (size T-160) which could fix any problems with the fit.
The microphone is in a good location and it picked up my voice clearly while managing to avoid too much exterior noise.
The controls are all where you want them and work with a nice, satisfactory feel. The one downside is that while these earbuds work with both Android and iOS, there is no volume control on the cable. I personally don’t find this too much of an issue (they are either in when I am listening to them or out if I am talking to someone as I cannot hear much that is going on otherwise!
Sphear breaks with conventions and proves that high-fidelity in-ear headphones can be used for hours on end without the slightest discomfort!
Sphear is faithful to Focal’s historic acoustic signature, the Spirit of Sound, with a particularly rich mid-range which is never muffled, accurate and clear sound.
Onkyo E700MB/27 Hi-Resolution In-Ear Headphone
Onkyo are giants in the world of audio and these Hi-Res certified earbuds maintain their reputation for both sound and build quality beautifully.
The Onkyo E700M supports High Resolution Audio, which is the latest audio standard giving better than CD levels of quality. Onkyo has engineered a semi-closed acoustic architecture with custom designed 13.5mm high power driver to give it improved bass response. But how does all this technology and certification actually sound? Pretty good actually…
When listening to a Hi-Res source the Onkyo’s do a pretty good job. They are never going to be able to match the bass response of over-ear headphones, but they have enough bass for most with a very pleasant mid-range.
Of course, not all sound sources are going to be up to the Hi-Res standard, and the well-rounded response profile of these earphones works very nicely with the every-day listening to Spotify on your phone
I also found these pretty comfortable although this is very dependant on your ears. I personally prefer the fit of the 1MOREs but these were perfectly good to have in all day.
The aluminum housing provides a rigid metal cabinet to both eliminate unwanted vibrations for better mid to high-level response, but also makes them a little tougher than the cheaper, plastic earbuds on the market.
Finished off with an attractive twisted, tangle-free cable with high-quality in-line control, although no volume as they are designed to work with both iOS and Android, they are very impressive entry into the 100 dollar earbud market.
Onkyo do also offer a Bluetooth version for about $50 more. I would not go for this as the Bluetooth reception will lose the benefits of the Hi-Res sound. Save yourself the cash and put up with the cable for the sake of much better sound.
Brainwavz M2 In-Ear Noise Isolating IEM Headphones
The build is great on these and pretty keenly priced but the sound is both muddled and muddy to my ears, lacking any real punch.
The earpieces are mostly made of aluminum. This material ensures the sound targets your ear and doesn’t leak. The cables of this model are better than the previous two models. The two cables are twisted and sleeved together.
This design makes the cables deliver only the music from the device to the earpiece. You won’t hear them rubbing against your clothes. They also remain tangle-free and memory free – if not wrapped too tightly the cables won’t morph into a coil shape after periods of not being used.
Once again, this product shows that affordable earbuds deliver the sounds matching that of those that are higher priced.
For any music genre you listen to, this earphone will be perfect. Even when the music is played at high volumes, there are no significant changes to the smoothness delivered.
The low, medium and high ranges are produced finely without any vibration and distortion. The treble is easily identified however it’s not as impactful as the bass.
The bass is heard perfectly for all upbeat songs. It doesn’t overpower vocals essential to the song. The bass is well balanced and adapts well to the overall tones & notes of the music.
Men and women can use these earbuds. The three pairs of foam tips make it possible to find a size perfect for your ears. The earpieces have silicone guides that make it easier for you to insert them into your ears without difficulty.
You get a soft and hard pouch when you purchase the product to protect the earbuds when in a travel bag, handbag or in your pockets. A short clip is also provided to keep the cables from swaying.
Ready to make the purchase? We can imagine it’s a tough selection to make based upon reading.
Optoma NuForce BE6i
While Optoma is not exactly household names, their BE6i wireless earbuds have some excellent sound and boasting 8 hours of battery life. However, I found the fit a bit uncomfortable and the sound not great. The bass lacks any real feel and the higher frequencies don’t come alive.
I also had a few problems with losing the connection to my phone. It usually came back after a short pause, usually just around the same time I had decided it wasn’t going to and fished the phone out of my pocket which was annoying.
Bluetooth headphones are becoming popular among the customers because they do not have to deal with the wires dangling all over.
Headphones also provide Aluminum enclosure for the drivers and include plastic as an important component for weight reduction.
If you feel that the filament is finicky, you can select as many as 8 ranges of options to choose from.
If the device is fitted in a seamless manner, Be6i can deliver balanced sound for the users. Use the headphones to listen to music with absolute clarity and bass.
23-inch rubber ribbon cable is responsible for connecting the two earbuds that also incorporate magnets.
The inline control module comprises of the mix, status LED and multi-function buttons providing the user interface.
You should hold down the two buttons for two seconds for moving through the track list of songs on the smartphones.
A middle button located on the earbuds is also used for making calls or terminate the existing ones.
This price range is now packed with some really good quality IEMs. We have given this to the Sennheisers, but it is not that cut and dried as the competition was very close. Any of the earbuds we list would do you proud.
The Sony’s hold their own and have excellent bass, plus they will save you $30. We love the Shure’s simple single driver design and the sound they get from it and the 1More’s show that you can take a much more complicated approach and also produce a great pair of earphones.
Throw the SoundMagic into the mix and it really is a case of pick the one that you like the sound of the most.
For me it is the Sennheiser’s that have the best balance of sound and comfort, plus they come in iOS and Android specific versions which makes controlling your music a bit easier too and for these reasons, they are my pick.
- 1 What are the best Earphones Under $100 for 2018?
- 2 What We Are Looking For
- 3 Sennheiser Momentum In Ear Headphones
- 4 SONY MDR-EX650B In-Ear Headphones
- 5 SoundMAGIC E80C Gold Reference Series Flagship Noise Isolating In-Ear Headphones
- 6 1MORE Triple Driver In-Ear Earphones
- 7 Shure SE215 In Ear Headphones
- 8 The Also Rans
- 9 Summary