I’ve decided to face head-on one of the most common questions that we get asked.
“What are the best bang-for-your-buck headphones?”
The audio industry is expanding at an astonishing rate, with loads of new earphones and headphones launched on the market every other day.
With so much noise around in our daily lives it’s hard to find an earpiece that not only justifies its price but also is a great combination of quality, sound, and plenty of fun features.
Moreover, it’s important that our readers aren’t purchasing a product just based on the brand name. We want you to get the quality you’re paying for! Shopping by brand name is the reason that many consumers get fooled and settle for headphones that underperform for the price paid.
If you don’t want to be that kind of buyer, I’d suggest you read through the article to get a clear idea of what is available and at what price.
Since there’s a plethora of headphones and earbuds on the market, I’ve even listed some alternatives that you can buy at a similar price.
Are you ready?
Let’s get started!
Best Bang for your Buck Headphones under $50-$1000
Bose QuietComfort 35
Audio Technica ATH M50x
Avantree Audition Pro
Best Headphone under $1000
#1: Sennheiser HD800
People say you have to be crazy to spend such a huge chunk of money on the Sennheiser HD800s.
But I’d like to frame it this way: if you really want to get the best-of-the-best sound from a headphone without compromising anything, the $1000 you spend will be more than worth it.
The Sennheiser HD800s have been a standard-setter when it comes to reference grade headphones since 2009. It’s rare to find headphones that can come close to this product, other than their successors, the Sennheiser HD800S or the 2nd Generation T1 Tesla from Beyerdynamic.
Before I get into discussing the finer details of this beast of a headphone, let’s first check out what’s inside the box.
Inside the cardboard box is a large wooden box that holds the Sennheiser HD800s, which are packaged in satin cloth, creating a unique unboxing experience for purchasers.
- Connectivity Technology: Wired
- Weight (without cable): approx. 330 g
- Sound pressure level at 1 kHz: 102 dB (1 Vrms)
- Nominal impedance: 300 Ohms
- Frequency Response: 6–51,000 Hz (-10 dB); 14–44,100 Hz (-3 dB)
One thing to note is that the Sennheiser HD800s come with a 6.3mm jack rather than the industry standard 3.5mm jack, and Sennheiser recommends using it alongside with a headphone amplifier that is specifically designed to pair with the HD800 to get the best sound possible.
However I'd suggest going with the Creative Sound Blaster X7 - a cheaper option with support for headphones with 600 Ohms.
All HD800s are hand crafted by Sennheiser in Germany and tested as well, with each headphone having a unique identifying number. Using this number customers can contact Sennheiser and get their specific headphone’s frequency graph.
The ear cups on the Sennheiser HD800s are fairly large, and a comfortable fit on your ears with no strain at all. The soft cushion allows them to be worn for longer periods of time and the open back design keeps air flowing throughout the drivers.
The sound quality in these products is unparalleled, and very few headphones can match it.
“Well these are the best audiophile headphones available; that is going to blow your mind and have the best reference sound that cannot be matched by headphones you have right now.”
Best Headphone under $500
In a recent article we had recommended the Bose QC35s, and now it’s back to join another list.
Within a few months of the launch, this flagship headphone from Bose has garnered close to 2000 customer reviews with a solid 4.5 star rating.
These are the most technologically advanced headphones you can buy right now and after looking over all the inclusions as far as quality and sound, the price really isn’t too outrageous.
- World class noise cancellation makes quiet sound quieter and music sound better. Connectivity Technology: Wireless
- Volume optimized EQ for balanced audio performance at any volume
- Wireless convenience, with easy Bluetooth and NFC pairing aided by voice prompts
- 20 hour battery life per charge; up to 40 hours in wired mode
- Noise rejecting dual microphone system for clear calls even in windy environments
Available in black and silver, the Bose QC35s have an understated but classy design, and compared to the all plastic previous generation QC25 this newer model utilizes metal design and premium materials as well, making Bose QuietComfort the best bang-for-your-buck headphones if you’re shelling out close to $500.
The USP of these headphones is their world class noise-cancelling feature. You can listen to audio with pristine quality at only 20-30% volume while the noise-cancelling feature is on, which saves you from partial ear damage and offers a longer listening experience as well.
With the Bluetooth on, QC35 offers a maximum battery life of 20 hours, and while connected via aux, the usage time shoots up to over 40 hours. Unfortunately it does take close to 2 hours to get these fully charged.
For the price, there aren’t many accessories provided. You do get the basics: a 2.5mm-to-3.5mm aux cable, micro USB cable for charging, and a rigid carrying case as well.
As far as quality and construction, this product is both durable and flexible and doesn’t lose shape even when stretched to the limit. The headband features faux leather on top, while the bottom is covered with Alcantara, a material that is used in the manufacture of luxury cars.
They also come with an NFC pairing, and with the Bose Connect app users can control various functions of the headphones via smartphone easily.
“Talking straight, the Bose QuietComfort 35 is the best wireless headphones for the money, and the most technologically advanced headphone from Bose as well. If you travel frequently, and want to cut-off from outside noise, getting the QC35 is a no-brainer.”
Best Headphone under $200
We highly recommend taking a close look at the Audio Technica ATH M50xs.
Almost every music producer, be it a beginner or professional, uses the M50x.
Launched back in 2014, this headphone is still a favorite choice among consumers and professional studio artists as well.
M50x literally changed the market when it came to quality products under $200. A 4.6/5 star ratings coming from over 3500+ customers doesn’t lie.
- Critically acclaimed sonic performance praised by top audio engineers and pro audio reviewers
- Proprietary 45 millimeter large aperture drivers with rare earth magnets and copper clad aluminum wire voice coils
- Exceptional clarity throughout an extended frequency range, with deep, accurate bass response
- Circumaural design contours around the ears for excellent sound isolation in loud environments
- 90 degree swiveling earcups for easy, one ear monitoring, and professional grade earpad and headband material delivers more durability and comfort
This is probably why this product is named the best headphones for DJing and mixing as well.
Audio Technica ATH M50xs are available in plethora of colors, ranging from black, blue, white, green and a complete matte finish as well.
Purchasers will receive this professional studio monitor with three different types of detachable cables: a coiled cable, a 1.2m short cable, and a 3m long cable – as well as a draw string faux leather carrying pouch. However to keep the headphones extra safe, I’d recommend you get a hard shell carrying case.
If you want to turn your M50xs wireless, you can get this fairly small Bluetooth adapter. Portability isn’t an issue with the ATH-M50xs as the ear cups can lay flat and swivel 90 degrees. They also fold to allow for easy storage.
Technicality wise, these studio-monitoring headphones are fairly large with 45mm drivers that are capable of producing a frequency response between 15 – 28000 Hz.
The ATH M50xs allow you to enjoy bass heavy songs with balanced beats.
Unlike other studio monitors, the Audio Technica ATH M50xs aren’t heavy, and weigh 285 grams.
“Words can do justice to the performance of Audio Technica ATH M50x, you’d have experience it to know it. This is surely the best bang for your buck headphones, and instead of going for a cheaper model, I’d recommend to save a little and get the M50x as soon as possible.”
Best Headphone under $100
There are a plethora of headphones available under $100, ranging from wired to wireless, from close-back to open-back, some with NFC enabled, and plenty of them with excellent sound quality as well.
However it’s a struggle to find all these features in one device, and this is the reason why we’ve listed Avantree Audition Pro as the best headphone priced under $100.
Successor to the already star performer Avantree Audition, the Pro offers low latency aptX that provides lag free audio over Bluetooth.
Available in a fairly decent color, these headphones weigh 190 grams and offer a solid battery life of 40 hours. Customers can also use the provided aux cable and enjoy 0% lag-free audio at an optimum sound quality as well.
- NO AUDIO DELAY WHILE WATCHING TV or PC: These top-rated wireless Bluetooth headphones work with any aptX low-latency supported Bluetooth transmitter (Avantree Oasis or Priva III recommended) for minimal audio delay of 32-40ms (non-detectable by human ear) for a lag-free audio experience. (If your TV is not Bluetooth-equipped you will need a SEPARATE transmitter to connect to it. Avantree Transmitters are Recommended).
- SUPERIOR Hi-Fi SOUND: Experience superb music and voice clarity. Built-in bass boost feature lets you tailor your audio experience for TV, music on your Playstation, xbox or PC, with rich lows and clear treble. The perfect headphone for audio lovers.
- LONG BATTERY LIFE & DUAL MODE: Enjoy up to an amazing 40 hours of music play time in wireless mode. Or use the included 3.5mm cable to switch to a wired connection and watch TV, or use your phone without draining any battery at all. Change from wireless headphones to wired headphones in seconds
- COMFORTABLE & SUPER LIGHT: These over-the-ear wireless headphones come with super soft earpads and an easily adjustable headband providing a comfortable, customized fit. An ideal choice for long periods of watching TV.
- MULTIPOINT and EASY TO USE: Connect to two phones simultaneously and never miss a call. Use the NFC feature for easy one tap connection. Intelligent voice prompts clearly identify the status of the headphones. After initial pairing headphones auto-reconnect to any device, easily and instantly. Buy one for yourself and an extra set for an audio lover you know today!
Being light, Avantree Pro makes a great headphone while watching movies and with an additional Bluetooth Adapter, you can wirelessly connect this headphone to your TV and enjoy movies, music, and TV shows.
This already lightweight headphone has a foldable design and can be easily stored in the zippered case included. The box also provides a 1.2m aux cable, USB cable, and a user manual.
To keep things comfortable super soft ear cups offer a nice seal. Thanks to the headrest you won’t feel its weight and it doesn’t loses its shape.
Avantree has also kept things simple by using only 3 buttons: power on, volume up, and volume down. Its overall minimalistic design and a combination brown/black color gives it an understated but classy look.
“Wouldn’t you want a headphone that’s wireless, NFC enabled, lightweight and offers great sound quality? If yes, don’t wait further and get the Avantree Audition Pro ASAP.”
Best Headphone under $50
#5: Monoprice 8323
Monoprice is company that offers headphones at an affordable price with excellent sound quality.
There’s nothing fancy about the Monoprice 8323 – it focuses instead on sound quality.
For the price, you get a fairly big box containing the headphones themselves along with 1.2m and 3m cables, and a 3.5mm to 6.3mm adapter as well.
Design wise, the 8323 resembles most DJ style headphones and the ear cups can swivel and stay flat on the surface as well.
They’re modification-friendly as well, and most people have modified the 8323 by adding a much softer ear pad and a durable aux cable that makes them feel comfortable and worth the $100.
I do admit that there are many other headphones with sound quality as good as Monoprice 8323 and durability in this price range. However they aren’t as mod-friendly as this one, and you can’t tailor them to your own liking as well.
- The earpieces on these 'phones are equipped with thick comfortable Padding that keeps the music inside and the noise outside. The headpiece is also Padded on the inside and is made of flexible rubber ensuring that it won't break.
- The headsets do not have a fixed wire. Instead there is a 3.5 mm jack in the bottom of the left earpiece which allows a standard 3.5 mm audio patch cable to be inserted.
- The 50 mm drivers and 100 dB sensitivity ensure that these 'phones produce good volume and premium sound clarity at all frequencies.
- High-quality sound supreme durability and maximum comfort.
- Package content includes 1x over-the-ear Pro headphones 1x 4-foot long 3.5 mm m/M Audio cable with inline Microphone/controller 1x 4-foot long 3.5 mm m/M Audio cable 1x 3.5 mm F to 1/4" M Adapter plug
It comes with 40mm drivers that are capable of producing a wider frequency response available in headphones under $100, and this is why we’ve listed the Monoprice 8323s as the best bang for your buck headphones under $50.
The plastic material does feel tacky and make noises, but while wearing them there is no interference or annoyance at all.
To mod the headphone yourself, you can get these super comfortable red ear pads from Brainwavz and a highly durable aux cable from Anker to change the look completely.