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August 5, 2022  |  Electronics

9 wireless headphones with high-end specs and budget prices

Entertainment electronics can be expensive. If you’re looking to upgrade to a new pair of headphones, you might be turned off by some of the prices. However, while more expensive headphones typically offer the best sound, you don’t need to break the bank to get high-quality headphones. Plenty of budget-friendly headphones deliver exceptional audio quality and have the same premium features.

What should I know about affordable headphones with high-end specs?

Expensive headphones vs. cheaper headphones

Most wireless headphones over $200 offer superior sound. However, these often cost so much because of branding. For example, you can find earbuds comparable to Apple AirPods Pro at a much cheaper price. Because Apple is an established brand, though, some people are willing to pay more.

In terms of specs, more affordable headphones costing less than $100 often fall short compared to more expensive ones offered by top electronics brands. Audio can sound muffled or distorted with cheaper headphones, and they’re infamous for being poor at reproducing bass-heavy music. However, sometimes cheaper headphones can deliver sound quality comparable to more expensive models and come equipped with many of the same premium features.

Build quality

The cheaper the headphones, generally the poorer their build quality. However, some companies, such as JLab, are focused on manufacturing high-quality, affordable headphones. Affordable headphones will often feel more flimsy or less durable, but they can still deliver outstanding sound. 

The most commonly used materials in headphones are polyvinyl chloride, silicone and memory foam. However, the best wireless headphones contain aluminum alloy or steel in the frame. Although cheaper headphones are typically less durable than more expensive ones, they can usually withstand accidental drops, and many also have an ingress protection rating indicating how water resistant they are.

Over-ear vs. on-ear headphones

Over-ear headphones are large headphones with ear cups that fully engulf the ears. They usually deliver the best audio quality, and because of their size, they offer rich bass and have a long-lasting battery. However, over-ear headphones can be a turnoff for some since they are bulkier and aren’t as portable as on-ear headphones.

Who makes the best affordable headphones with high-end specs?

If you shop around long enough you might find headphones by top brands, such as Bose and Sony, at an affordable price or sale. However, the best brands that consistently produce affordable quality headphones are Sennheiser, Skullcandy and JLab. These headphones are often well below $100, deliver impressive sound quality and have premium features, such as noise-canceling, touch controls and voice assistant support.

What high-end specs should I look for in affordable quality headphones?

Driver size

Generally, the larger the driver, the better the sound quality you’ll experience and the more bass headphones can reproduce. On-ear headphones have drivers that are 20 to 30 millimeters in diameter, while larger over-ear headphones can have drivers as big as 40 millimeters.

Frequency response

The best wireless headphones can put out 20 to 20,000 hertz frequencies. The lower number indicates low sounds like bass, and the higher number indicates higher-pitched sounds. The best way to tell if your headphones are high-quality is to play bass-heavy music. If the audio sounds distorted, the headphones are cheaply made and cannot produce enough power to reproduce low frequencies.

Active noise-canceling

Some headphones can drown out ambient noise to give you a smoother listening experience. The best noise-canceling wireless headphones have built-in microphones that absorb and filter out external sound. It works best to eliminate low frequency sounds, but you’ll likely still be able to hear higher-pitched noises.

Best budget wireless headphones with high-end specs

Best headphones under $60

Best Anker Soundcore Life Q20 Hybrid Active Noise-Canceling Headphones

Anker Soundcore Life Q20 Hybrid Active Noise-Canceling Headphones

These headphones deliver high-resolution audio. They have 20-millimeter drivers for enhanced bass and superb detail and clarity. The battery lasts up to 40 hours. The four built-in microphones reduce external noise by up to 90%.

Sold by Amazon

Best JBL Tune 510BT Wireless On-Ear Headphones

JBL Tune 510BT Wireless On-Ear Headphones

These headphones support Bluetooth 5.0 for a secure and stable wireless connection. The ear cup button lets you access your phone’s voice assistant. They fully charge in under two hours and last up to 40 hours on a full charge.

Sold by Amazon

Best Sony WH-CH510 Wireless Headphones

Sony WH-CH510 Wireless Headphones

These headphones have a basic look but pack plenty of bass, thanks to a 30-millimeter driver. When fully charged, they last 35 hours. Their swivel design makes them ideal for traveling. They also support hands-free calling and voice assistants.

Sold by Amazon

Best iLive Bluetooth Noise-Canceling Headphones

iLive Bluetooth Noise-Canceling Headphones

These headphones have everything you need if you’re looking for something to use during workouts. They’re comfortable, thanks to a soft adjustable headband and plush earcups, and they have on-ear controls for music playback, volume and voice prompts.

Sold by Dick’s Sporting Goods

Best headphones for $70-$100

Best Philips PH805 Active Noise-Canceling Over-Ear Wireless Headphones

Philips PH805 Active Noise-Canceling Over-Ear Wireless Headphones

These headphones offer high-resolution audio, excellent active noise-canceling and an Awareness mode that allows you to hear nearby sounds. They offer 30 hours of listening or talking time and have 40-millimeter acoustic drivers for deep bass.

Sold by Amazon

Best JBL Tune 710BT Wireless Over-Ear Headphones

JBL Tune 710BT Wireless Over-Ear Headphones

These headphones have buttons on the ear cups for managing calls and music playback. The JBL Pure Bass Sound function offers impressive bass. They last up to 35 hours, and you can tune out ambient noise using the noise-canceling feature.

Sold by Amazon

Best Skullcandy Hesh ANC Wireless Over-Ear Headphones

Skullcandy Hesh ANC Wireless Over-Ear Headphones

These bulky headphones are perfect for home listening and last up to 22 hours. You can use ambient sound mode to be more aware of your surroundings. Rapid charging gives you three hours of listening time in just 10 minutes.

Sold by Amazon

Best headphones for $100-$150

Best Bose SoundLink Over-Ear Wireless Headphones II

Bose SoundLink Over-Ear Wireless Headphones II

These headphones deliver an immersive listening experience. Their advanced microphone ensures crystal-clear audio quality during phone calls. They let you connect to two devices simultaneously and have a 30-foot wireless range.

Sold by Amazon

Best Sennheiser HD 450BT Wireless Headphones

Sennheiser HD 450BT Wireless Headphones

These large over-ear headphones have comfortable ear cups and an equalizer that can be managed through the Sennheiser smartphone app. Plus, they support most high-quality wireless codec formats.

Sold by Amazon

 

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Kevin Luna writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

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