Audiophiles, TV, & Gaming-Best Wireless Headphones Under $100
“All wireless headphones are created equal.”
-No one (who knows anything about headphones) ever
It’s true, not all headphones are created equal, and if you’re shopping on a budget of less than $100, finding the best pair of wireless headphones for your unique situation is going to be a real challenge.
But that’s what we’re here for!
We’re going to go over a few of the most common situations people who are looking for wireless headphones are in.
Either you're an audiophile on the go who’s gotten tired of snagging that cord and ripping your headphones off as you get off the subway or out of a car. You might have a new TV that’s bluetooth capable, and you don’t want to worry about getting tangled up in a cord or have someone trip over the cord as they walk by and jerk your head with them. Or maybe you’re a gamer who gets a bit enthusiastic when gaming and needs a pair
Best Wireless Over Ear Headphones Under $100
When we were shopping and filtering our choices for which wireless headphones to try that were under $100, I’ll admit, it seemed like we might have a challenge finding something good. Or at least something decent for the average audiophiles like yourselves.
And then we found the Hesh 2 from Skull Candy…
The Hesh 2s over deliver on their options for looks for these headphones for sure. You get to choose from black, blue, grey & yellow (combination), and camo variations.
These over ear closed back headphones have sufficient padding around the ears and none on the headband, but we’ve noticed, and other users have too, that listening sessions past 2 hours can lead to minor discomfort. It’s not a game changer for $100 though.
They’re still sticking to their extremely rounded ear cup design, which is basically their signature at this point. However, it makes finding the buttons on the right ear cup pretty easy. You’re also able to use these controls with your phone to manage your music (skipping songs, volume, etc).
Like we mentioned earlier, these headphones may not be the most comfortable option for extended use over 3 hours. But if you need something to listen with while in transit to and from work, or on a flight that’s a few hours long, then these are ideal for being the best wireless headphone option under $100.
This is where we were really blown away. A lot of headphones at this price range leave you with a feeling of “that’s it…?”. The Hesh 2 do a fantastic job though of providing deep bass lows that don’t get too ambitious and change the sound.
It’s nothing that would make a bass fiend drool, but it’s still pretty darn good!
The bass is a tad boosted in our opinion, but it’s nothing that your average listener would notice. If you’re an audiophile however, listen up, PC mag said it best when they reviewed these headphones with Bill Calahan’s “Drover” track.
The drums on this track are graced with some added low frequency presence—nothing too intense, but they definitely get a little extra heft. Callahan's baritone vocals are delivered with plenty of rich low-mid presence and, luckily, enough high-mid treble edge to keep things clear and articulate. The mix never sounds muddy, but this track can feel a bit too boosted in the low-mids, and the presence in the high-mids and highs sounds very sculpted. In other words, while it doesn't sound bad in the slightest, this is not the type of flat response sound signature most audiophiles are seeking.
RUNNER UP- August EP650 Wireless
As a “runner up” we wanted to let you know about the August EP650s, just in case the Skull Candy Hesh 2 are still out of your price range. With just a small step down in price you can get these guys that do almost as good as the Hesh 2. (source)
On first glance these headphones look a bit “cheap” with what looks like a solid coat of plastic around the surface. But just under that layer of colorful plastic is a section of chrome that lends it a very sturdy feel, and gives it a bit of strength in appearance.
The padding around the on the ear cups and on the headband look pretty sufficient with their feaux leather covering. Wouldn’t be our first choice, but we didn’t make them, so meh.
The hinges work well and don’t wear out easily. That’s one thing that always get’s on our bad side, is if the hinges start to squeak or put up a fight when opening or closing headphones. But since these fold in on themselves, the guys at August seem to have put a good amount of consideration in their hinges 😉
These headphones wear pretty easily actually. However, the feaux leather doesn’t feel the best against your skin when you start sweating, and since we’re here in Louisiana, that sweating thing happens pretty often.
A few hours of listening and you’re ready to take a break from these headphones, kinda like the Hesh 2. You just need to remember that if you get headphones for less than $100 they’re going to need to sacrifice some things, and usually it’s comfort first.
If you’re all about the bass and no treble (hopefully that didn’t go over too many people’s heads :)) then these aren’t the headphones for you. The mid and mid high trebles come through crystal clear, but the bass falls to pieces fast.
These headphones are almost a copy of the Beats Urbanite in other words.
There’s no active noise canceling with the August EP650 either. Which isn’t a bad thing, we’ve never been a fan of active noise cancellation, the music just sounds like it’s being played over a padding of white noise. But since it’s a sturdy set of over the ear headphones you’ll get passive noise cancellation.
Best Wireless Headphones For TV Under $100
Let it be known that there’s no such thing as headphones or wireless headphones that are just for TV! There are simply TVs that have a bluetooth feature that will sync with your headphones.
Heck, you can use the previous headphones we’ve looked at, and they’ll all do just fine.
That being said, there are some considerations to look at in regards to the desired sound quality for watching TV compared to listening to music. You don’t want to use bass blasting headphones that could over emphasize the booming explosions while lose the conversation that characters are having in the midst of the action.
Corwin E-7 Active Noise Canceling Wireless Headphones
The weight of these headphones is incredibly important, because you’ll be wearing these for upwards of 2.5 hours (depending on which star wars movie you want to watch). So at a weight of around 13 ounces they make it feel as if you’re not wearing them at all. And with half an inch of padding surrounded by leather, they allow you to feel like you’re having your head hugged by a cloud instead of a vice grip.
Futuristic appearances don’t do much for enjoyment when watching a movie/show, but if you have an “image” to maintain, these will do just fine. The sleek black plastic isn’t as flimsy as you would think, and the silver highlight gives it a great pop visually!
And the 40mm drivers offer great sound quality across wide frequencies and volumes. So you won’t miss any parts of your show/movie.
While the padding around the ears is fantastic, and the headband doesn’t put too much of a squeeze on your noggin, the padding on the headband could use a bit of work. If you don’t have an abundance of hair to soften the top of your head, then it could get uncomfortable after longer than 1 hour.
If you’re using these headphones strictly as headphones for watching TV or movies, then you’ll be just fine; however, if you move around much the noise canceling doesn’t do much good though.
The sound quality comes across very high in the upper ranges, but the bass has a bit to be desired. It’s not that it’s soft at all, it’s just that the bass could hit a tad bit harder. Again, if you’re just watching TV with these though then you’ll be just fine! (source)
Best Wireless Gaming Headphones Under $100
A wireless gaming headset for less than $100…? No.
And yet here it is!
The Corsair H2100 is a spin off of the H1500, except for the fact that the H2100 is wireless.
All in all this is a pretty darn good headset for gaming. It’s certainly not the best though. It was created to be the cheapest wireless gaming headset on the market, and it is certainly close to that. They didn’t set out to make the best sounding or most comfortable gaming headset on the market. So let’s look at a few different things.
Thankfully the H2100 have strayed away from the typical red and black plastic design with their rather obscure black and yellow plastic design. This is a pretty nice look, but fortunately the guys on the other end of the headphones won’t be able to see what you’re wearing.
The design of this headset is as rigid as we’ve seen in awhile. From the stick like mic to the angles over all for these headphones, they’re all a bit too angular.
There are volume and voice controls built into the headset. What’s even better is that the volume control is a roller rather than a push button control. This makes for more accurate volume changes and easier to find volume controls.
No one likes hunting for those buttons...
The glaring pain point with these headphones is the dramatic lack of padding on the ear cups. It’s not like it’s just plastic against your ears. It’s more like laying down on a very firm memory foam mattress, it’s jarring but tolerable.
Pc world had a pretty fantastic write up of the sound quality for these headphones, so we’ll just let you read what they had to say.
The sound of the H2100 is comparable to the H1500. In other words, it’s not great. The H2100 has the same bright sound profile, which after an hour or two is extremely ear fatiguing. It’s telling that nearly all of the EQ presets in Corsair’s software have the low end pumped as far as it will go (+12db). The headset also gets really loud, but with the side effect that certain frequencies will make the sound distort or rattle at moderately high volumes. (source)