Finding great headphones that are expensive is easy. Finding cheap headphones that are mediocre is also easy. But the real challenge is finding headphones that are both cheap and great – which is why we decided to create an article about the best headphones under 150 to grab in early 2021!

We are going to be including a choice for every kind of taste. So, without any further ado, let us get right into it!

Quick Peek

  1. Audio-Technica ATH-M40x: A jack of all trades that's going to get the job done for maybe 7/10 people. Hard to go wrong with it.
  2. Philips Audio Fidelio X2HR: Probably the best pair of audiophile headphones that you can get for less than $150. While this is obviously nowhere near a $1000 audiophile setup – it's a good starting point, to say the least
  3. Mixcder E9: One of the best pairs to offer ANC (Active Noise Canceling) for less than $150. Great pick if you often find yourself in noisy environments
  4. Philips SHP9500: Another superb (and cheaper) option if you are after a pair of budget, open-back headphones. Just keep in mind that you get no noise isolation
  5. Sennheiser HD599: No doubt a superb open-back pick if you can find it on sale for less than $150. And it often goes on sale, so, keep your eye on it
  6. Sony MDR7506: One of the best budget options for monitoring. Very similar to the M40x if only a bit more neutral and less excitable, if that makes sense
  7. Audio-Technica M50x: Another great option for the studio – but at a slightly higher price than Sony's offering and with a more clinical sound signature that may feel boring to some
  8. AKG K240: Speaking of studio headphones, if you want to go as cheap as possible, there is nothing better than the K240 – even though it's obviously not going to be as good as pricier options
  9. Sennheiser HD 450BT: All-around a great, but pricy wireless option for outdoor usage
  10. AKG N60NC: Great option if you prefer on-ear headphones with great ANC

1. Audio Technica ATH-M40x: Best Overall Headphones Under 150

Headphones are a matter of personal preference. Some like open-back headphones at the expense of noise isolation, others prefer noise isolation and stronger bass at the expense of soundstage, etc.

But at the end of the day, when it comes to such comparisons, you always need one pair of headphones that you can comfortably recommend to most people. And in this case, the Audio Technica ATH-M40x is our top choice!

  • Enclosure: Closed-back
  • Connectivity: Removable 3.5mm cable
  • Features: Removable audio cable and swiveling ear cups
Audio-Technica m40x

The M40x is kind of the jack of all trades. While it's mostly made for studio usage, you can take it for gaming, music, watching movies or videos, outdoors, maybe even for commuting – at least if you don't mind the absence ANC (Active Noise Canceling).

As we mentioned above, the ATH-M40x is advertised as a pair of headphones for studio usage. So, you'll find that the audio signature is mostly balanced – if only a tiny bit bassy for the studio.

Best budget headphones for gaming

That aside, the removable audio cable helps a lot with durability. That's because if you happen to damage the audio cable, you can easily replace it with a cheap one. But if the headphones was build inside the headphones, then you'd be forced to throw away the whole pair.

One of its few downsides, though, is probably comfort. Many people find it to be a bit too tight on the head. And while the earpads are huge and deep, they are also a bit rigid. This is something that you can partly fix with the help of 3rd party earpads, such as Brainwavz's offerings. But you should still keep it in mind.

Pros:

  • Balanced sound with a bit of bass in it
  • Decent noise isolation for most occasions (Though we'd still prefer having ANC for commuting)
  • Removable cable is a big plus
  • Decent build quality

Cons:

  • No onboard buttons

Check it out on Amazon

2. Philips Audio Fidelio X2HR: Best Budget Open Back Headphones

What we call "Audiophile" headphones are usually headphone with hi-res, balanced audio and an open-back design (Closed-backs are usually the exception. Not the rule.) And while these kinds of headphones are usually pretty pricey, there are also a handful of cheaper, entry-level options, such as the Philips Audio Fidelio X2HR!

  • Enclosure: Open-back
  • Connectivity: Removable 3.5mm cable
  • Features: Removable audio cable and adjustable headband
Philips Audio Fidelio X2HR

Since we are talking about a pair of open-back headphones, the first thing to keep in mind is that there is absolutely no noise isolation here. Sound can freely pass through both the inside and the outside. This means that you'll be able to listen to everything that's going on around you – and others nearby will be able to listen to everything that you are listening to.

But this sacrifice comes with a somewhat big advantage. Open-back headphones provide a much wider soundstage than their closed-back siblings and a more 'airy' kind of sound. It's like the instruments are all around you rather than inside your head.

Best Headphones Under 150

That aside, this is all-around a great pair of headphones. They offer great, balanced audio (if only with a bit of underemphasized bass), great build quality, and decent comfort as well.

The only downside is the lack of noise isolation – which can certainly be a bit problematic for some people. But other than that, this is as good as things get for under $150.

Pros:

  • Decent build quality
  • Decent comfort
  • Great soundstage by design
  • Removable cables are always great

Cons:

  • Zero noise isolation by design

Check it out on Amazon

3. Mixder E9: Best Budget Pick for Commuting

ANC (Active Noise Canceling) headphones are no joke. Some of the best options out there cost as much as a pair of mid-range audiophile headphones. But if you are on the lookout for something more affordable, we'd say that the Mixcder E9 should be one of your first option to consider.

  • Enclosure: Closed-back
  • Connectivity: Removable 3.5mm cable and Bluetooth
  • Features: Removable audio cable, Bluetooth, ANC, and onboard controls
Mixcder E9

ANC is kind of an essential thing to have if you like commuting or traveling. Passive noise isolation is just not that good if we are talking about the low rumble of an engine. And while there are a few rare exceptions, ANC is almost always the way to go when you are on the go.

The only downside is that you need to make sure that your headphones are charged. Thankfully, with up to 35 hours of playtime, we highly doubt that you'll have to worry about it that much.

Best Headphones Under 150

Another thing we love about the Mixcder E9 is the fact that you can use them both wirelessly or with a cable. So, they are theoretically not a bad choice for gaming or watching videos either (Since that's where you commonly don't want any latency).

The clamping force may admittedly be a bit too much for some people. Especially for long periods of usage. But the overall pressure is applied evenly around the head – so, it's mostly not an issue.

One of its few downsides is that the highs are a bit dull and not as sharp as we'd liked them to be. And while that's a relatively easy fix on PC, the situation gets more complicated on mobile due to our limited system-wide EQ options and music players.

Pros:

  • You can use them both wirelessly or with a cable
  • ANC is a big plus if you often find yourself in noisy environments
  • Great value
  • Superb bass balance – not overwhelming and not underemphasized either
  • Great battery life
  • Onboard controls

Cons:

  • Highs are a bit dull

Check it out on Amazon

4. Philips SHP9500: Most Comfortable Headphones Under 150

As we mentioned before, open-back headphones are usually not cheap. But as far as the few cheap open-back choices are concerned, we'd say that the Philips SHP9500 is probably your best pick!

  • Enclosure: Open-back
  • Connectivity: Removable 3.5mm cable
  • Features: Removable audio cable
Philips SHP9500

The obvious downside of these headphones is that they offer zero noise isolation. Just like with the Fidelio X2HR, you'll be able to listen to everyone around you and everyone around you will be able to listen to what you are listening to as well.

And the awesome thing you get in return for that is a wide soundstage and 'airy', natural sound. It's also worth pointing out that open-back headphones often feel a bit comfier compared to closed-back variants. After all, your ears breathe a lot more and you don't get that kind of underwater pressure feeling that many closed-backs have.

Best Headphones Under 150

Speaking of comfort, the SHP9500 is probably the most comfortable pair we've tried yet. It's very breathable, there is plenty of padding, and the clamping force is almost non-existent. The earpads are admittedly shallow – which can be an issue if you have large ears. But other than that, these are the most comfortable headphones we've tried yet.

Of course, the downside to having no clamping force is that you are sacrificing stability for it. That's worth keeping in mind if you want your headphones not only for casual use but for working out as well.

Last, but not least, their sound is neutral, but the bass is underemphasized. Needless to say that bassheads should look elsewhere.

Pros:

  • Extremely comfortable
  • Pretty neutral-sounding
  • Very wide soundstage
  • Removable cables are always a plus

Cons:

  • Zero noise isolation by design
  • Underemphasized bass
  • Less stable than most headphones due to the lack of clamping force

Check it out on Amazon

5. Sennheiser HD599: Best Audiophile Headphones Under 150

The Sennheiser HD599's official MSRP is actually $250 – but it's very common for Amazon's version to go on sale for under 150. And at that price point, that's a hell of deal.

  • Enclosure: Open-back
  • Connectivity: 2.5mm to 3.5mm cable
  • Features: Removable audio cable and 6.5mm adapters
Sennheiser HD 599

Since we are talking about another pair of open-back headphones, you can expect to get all the downsides and upsides of open-back headphones. Lack of noise isolation, wide soundstage, etc.

The overall sound is possibly the best balance that you can get at this price point. Everything is balanced and while low bass is underemphasized, high bass is overemphasized a bit. So, while it's not perfect, we can hardly complain at this price point.

Best Headphones Under 150

The only thing we don't like on the HD599 is the 2.5mm audio jack with the proprietary locking mechanism. It's making it much tougher to find a replacement cable for no reason at all.

But, other than that, this is the perfect pair of headphones for indoor usage. It's very comfortable, sounds great, and when on sale, it's relatively cheap as well. We'd definitely recommend keeping an eye on it.

Pros:

  • All-around great sound (Unless you love overwhelming bass)
  • Very comfortable
  • The included adapters and long cable are both welcome additions
  • Wide soundstage

Cons:

  • Horrible noise isolation by design
  • The proprietary locking mechanism in the audio jack can be a pain in the butt
  • Retails for more than 150 when not on sale

Check it out on Amazon

6. Sony MDR-7506: Best Closed-Back Headphones

For just a bit less than $100, if you are after a cheap pair of monitoring headphones, you can't go wrong with the Sony MDR-7506.

  • Enclosure: Closed-back
  • Connectivity: 3.5mm cable
  • Features: Removable audio cable and a 6.5mm adapter

In case you are not familiar with the term, monitoring headphones are made to, well, monitor. Their sound is not very exciting or warm and the same applies to the MDR7506.

Don't get us wrong. Since we are dealing with closed-back headphones now, you can expect to get more of a kick on the bass department than you would with most open-back headphones. So, it's not like the sound is completely void of life. It's just not as intense as the Audio-Technica M40x And whether that's a good thing or not comes down to personal preferences and needs.

Best Headphones Under 150

The option of folding them along with the carrying case are both welcome additions. However, it's worth keeping in mind that you are unlikely to prefer these headphones for commuting. Despite having a closed-back design, their passive noise isolation levels are mediocre at best.

Other than that, another small downside is the non-removable audio cable and the overall build quality. You best pay attention to that cable cause if anything happens to it, the whole pair of headphones becomes useless.

Pros:

  • Pretty comfortable for monitoring headphones
  • The long cable and 6.5mm adapter are both welcome additions
  • Balanced sound for monitoring that's not too boring
  • Foldable

Cons:

  • Mediocre passive noise isolation despite the closed-back design (But obviously still much better than open-back headphones)
  • Non-removable audio cable
  • Build quality could be better

Check it out on Amazon

7. Audio-Technica M50x: Best Studio Headphones

The Audio-Technica M50x is a slightly more expensive pair than the M40x at just barely under 150. And while they are generally considered superior to their cheaper sibling, the reason we picked the M40x instead of the M50x as the best overall pair is due to their sound signature.

The M40x is a bit more bassy and excitable while this one is more clinical. So, there is no ideal pick here. Go with whatever suits you best. M40x for something that's balanced and exciting, M50x for monitoring and a more relaxed listening experience.

  • Enclosure: Closed-back
  • Connectivity: 3.5mm cable
  • Features: Removable audio cable, 6.5mm adapter, and swiveling earcups
audio technica ath m50x

Audio aside, the comfort levels are not shabby either. We are talking about fairly large earcups, plenty of padding on top, and clamping force levels that most people are going to find optimal. Unfortunately, though, the stock earpads are still rather stiff.

As you've probably already noticed, both the M50x and the Sony MDR7506 are mainly made for studio use. And while they have a similar sound signature, one reason to consider the M50x over Sony's offering is due to the build quality. These headphones feel very solid.

Best Headphones Under 150

You can also fold them. But, again, due to the lack of active noise cancelation and the mediocre passive noise isolation, we wouldn't recommend these as your primary choice for commuting.

Also, while the cable is removable, which is a huge plus for build quality, the audio jack is using a proprietary 2.5mm connection with a locking mechanism. So, chances are that you'll have a rougher time finding a replacement cable compared to a standard 3.5mm one.

Pros:

  • Very balanced sound
  • Removable cable with 3 different options in the box – one of them being a 6.5mm cable
  • Foldable
  • Sturdy

Cons:

  • Mediocre noise isolation
  • May sound a bit too boring/clinical to some people

Check it out on Amazon

8. AKG K240: Best Budget Studio Headphones

While we are still on the subject of studio headphones, let us not forget to mention the AKG K240. It costs about half as much as the M50x, and while it's objectively nowhere near as good in any subject, it's still a solid choice if you want something cheaper for monitoring.

  • Enclosure: Semi-open
  • Connectivity: 3.5mm cable
  • Features: Removable audio cable and adjustable headband
AKG Pro Audio K240

An important thing to keep in mind here is that unlike most headphones that are targeted for studio use, the K240 is actually semi-open instead of closed-back. This means that you are getting the benefits of open-back headphones – such as a wider soundstage and a more airy sound – but you also get its downsides – such as the lack of passive noise isolation and audio leakage.

That aside, a small downside is that the bass is massively underwhelming. And while that's generally true for most monitoring headphones, we'd say that the lows here are even more underemphasized than normal. So, this is definitely something to keep in mind not only for bass-heads, but for anyone who wants a bit of a kick while listening to music.

Best Headphones Under 150

That aside, the comfort levels are generally good. The earpads are nothing to write home about and the lack of padding on top doesn't help a lot with the situation either. But the good thing is that there is very little clamping force to speak of and the earcups are big enough for most people.

Last, but not least, the overall build quality is mediocre at best. Even though we have a removable cable, there are a lot of moving parts and the headphones, in general, don't feel particularly sturdy.

Pros:

  • Great value
  • Very wide soundstage
  • Overall pretty comfy (Unless you can't handle not having padding on top)
  • The removable cable and adjustable headband are both welcome additions

Cons:

  • Mediocre build quality at best
  • Very little to no noise isolation by design
  • Very underemphasized lows

Check it out on Amazon

9. Sennheiser HD 450BT: Best Wireless Headphones Under 150

At the time of writing this article, the HD 450BT cost $149.95. So, they are barely eligible for this list. And let us start by frankly saying that we barely consider them a good buy when you can get the Mixcder E9 for half as much and get about the same, if not better level of quality.

If there is one major difference between the HD 450BT and the Mixcder E9, then that's bass. Sennheiser's offering is boomier and provides a deeper kick that's slightly overemphasized if we are talking about neutral sound signatures.

  • Enclosure: Closed-back
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth or wired with a 3.5mm cable
  • Features: Removable audio cable, Bluetooth, ANC, up to 30 hours of battery life, and onboard controls
Sennheiser HD450BT

And a boomier sound doesn't necessarily mean that a pair of headphones is better or worse. It's just something that depends on personal preference and also something that you should keep in mind.

Speaking of sound, the mids are extremely well balanced, but the highs are underemphasized. Add the overemphasized bass into the mix and you get a recipe for a muddy sound profile. Thankfully, you may able to partly fix this by using Sennheiser's in-app equalizer.

Best Headphones Under 150

If you are often commuting or traveling, it's worth keeping in mind that these headphones are foldable and come with active noise cancelation. Both huge bonuses for this kind of use.

But, surprisingly enough, the much cheaper Mixcder E9 actually slightly outperforms Sennheiser's offering in blocking out noises from the surrounding environment. And this includes the rumbling sound of an engine.

Pros:

  • Offers ANC (Active Noise Cancelation)
  • Foldable
  • Onboard controls
  • Long battery life
  • Can be used with cable if you want to (But ANC still relies on the battery)

Cons:

  • Not the best value
  • Could have been a bit more comfortable
  • Naturally a bit muddy-sounding and boomy – but you may be able to EQ that out with the app

Check it out on Amazon

10. AKG N60NC: Best Overall For Commuting

The AKG N60NC is one of those weird cases where the MSRP is at $300 but you somehow almost always find the headphones available at $100-150. And that's why the N60NC made it to this list. If you like on-ear headphones, we can't think of anything better.

  • Enclosure: Closed-back
  • Connectivity: Bluetooth or wired with a 3.5mm cable
  • Features: Removable audio cable, Bluetooth, ANC, up to 15 hours of battery life, and onboard controls
AKG n60nc

The sound is surprisingly balanced for the money. Or, to be precise, it's equally unbalanced. Lows, mids, as well as highs are mostly overemphasized – which makes for a bit of an intense sound profile. And as per usual, whether that's a good thing or not comes down to personal preference.

Comfort is a bit of a hit or miss here depending on if you like on-ear headphones or not. We imagine that most people don't like headphones that press directly upon the ears, though, even if the clamping force is almost non-existent.

Best Headphones Under 150

Speaking of clamping force, one thing to keep in mind here is that having such little clamping force means that you are sacrificing stability for comfort. So, we definitely wouldn't recommend those headphones for working out.

But we would recommend them for commuting or for outdoor usage, in general. Their noise cancelation is stellar and no doubt the best on this list.

Of course, the battery life is a bit underwhelming compared to our other two wireless picks. But we imagine that most people are not going to worry about finding an outlet after 13-15 hours of use.

Pros:

  • Great ANC performance
  • Balanced sound (Even though a bit overemphasized across the board)
  • Can be used both wired or wireless
  • Onboard controls and the removable cable are all welcome additions

Cons:

  • The on-ear design is generally not that comfortable – but your mileage may vary
  • Underwhelming battery life compared to our other wireless picks
  • Less stable than most headphones

Check out it on Amazon

FAQ

What Headphone Brand is the Best?

Sennheiser and Audio-Technica are probably the two brands with the most credibility on this list. But we care about is not the brand but the headphones themselves and how they perform.

Do Earbuds Sound Better than Headphones?

Not necessarily better or worse. Just different. One of the major differences between earbuds and headphones is soundstage. Since earbuds are inside your ears, they are a bit more intense – but sounds feel as if they come from the inside of our heads instead of outside, if that makes sense.

Are Headphones Bad for your Brain?

Brain? No. Ears? Yes. If the volume is too loud for extended periods of time, you are risking permanently damaging your ears. So, just keep the volume to reasonable levels – especially if you use headphones for many hours per day.

Are Wireless Headphones Bad for Brain?

No. Wireless headphones rely on either Bluetooth or a dedicated 2.4GHz band – both methods that we've been using since forever. And so far, there is still zero evidence that such technologies can harm humans in any way.

Is it Bad to Wear a Headset all Day?

Only if the volume is too loud. Keep it as low as possible and you should be just fine.

Some pros recommend no more than 60% volume for 60 minutes per day. But that's very abstract. 60% of one phone may be equal to the 10% of another one.

Wrapping Up

These are our top 10, best headphones under 100 for now. Do you have any other recommendations? If so, feel free to let us and everyone else know about it in the comments section down below!

Also, if you liked this article, feel free to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest news, reviews, listicles, apps, games, devices, how-to guides, and more!

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What's my model number?

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Option 3
Using Samsung's model/serial number location tool

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