Once and for all, I’m clearing the biggest question people ask all the time.
“What is the best bang for your buck headphones?”
The audio industry is growing bigger, with loads of new earphones and headphones being launched in the market, every other day.
With such noise around, it’s hard to find a earpiece that not only justifies its price but also is a great combination of built quality, sound and is filled with plenty of features.
Moreover it’s not important that a headphone from particular brand is going to offer value-for-money product, just because it has the brand name on it.
This is the reason why most consumers get fooled and settle for a headphone that underperforms for its price.
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 you can get and at what price.
Since there’s a plethora of headphones and earbuds available: I’ve even listed some alternatives that you can buy at the said price.
Are you ready?
Best Bang for your Buck Headphones under $50-$1000
Best Headphone under $1000
#1: Sennheiser HD800
People say you really have to be crazy enough to get the Sennheiser HD800.
Well 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 all worth it.
Sennheiser HD800 has been a standard-bearer when it comes to reference grade headphone since 2009, and it’s rare to find a headphone that can match close to it, other than its successor Sennheiser HD800S or the 2nd Generation T1 Tesla from Beyerdynamic.
Before I talk about this beast of a headphone, let us first check what’s inside the box.
Let me warn you, the box is fairly big, as big of a box you can imagine for a headphone.
Inside the cardboard box, there’s a big wooden box that holds the Sennheiser HD800, which is placed within satin cloth, giving a premium headphone unboxing experience.
One thing to notice is that the Sennheiser HD800 come with a 6.3mm jack, rather than industry standard 3.5mm jack, and Sennheiser recommends using it alongside with a headphone amplifier Sennheiser HDVD 800 that is specifically designed to match with HD800 for providing the best sound possible.
However I'd suggest to go with Creative Sound Blaster X7 which is cheaper and has support for headphones with 600 Ohms.
All HD800 are hand crafted by Sennheiser in Germany and tested as well, with each headphone having a unique identifier number via which you can contact Sennheiser and ask your specific headphone’s frequency graph.
Earcups design on Sennheiser HD800 is fairly huge and is a comfortable fit on your ears, with no strain at all.
The super soft cushion allows it to be worn for longer time and the open back design keeps air flowing throughout the drivers.
It would be an understatement to talk about its sound quality, as it is unparalleled, and very few headphones can match it.
To know more about the Sennheiser HD800 in detail, watch the embedded video below:
“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.”
Similar Alternative under $1000
- Bowers and Wilkins P9 - If you aren't an audiophile but still need a headphone that speaks 'Class', 'Premium' and 'Worth a Million', getting the B&W P9 should be your go-to headphone.
- Shure SE846-CL - If headphones aren't your choice and need something that is lightweight but still offers the sound quality of Sennheiser HD800, getting a earbud like the Shure SE846 should be your ideal pick without dabbling anywhere else.
Best Headphone under $500
Just in my previous article I had recommended the Bose QC35, and now it’s back again here.
Within few months of its launch, this flagship headphone from Bose has garnered close to 2000 customer reviews with a solid 4.5 star ratings.
This is the most technologically advanced headphone you can buy right now and looking over all the aspects, the price isn’t that too high either.
…this newer model has metal design and use of premium materials as well, making Bose QuietComfort 35 the best bang for your buck headphones if you’re shelling out close to $500.
The USP of this headphone is its World Class noise-cancelling feature that is parallel to none.
You can listen to your songs 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 goes over 40 hours.
However in any case, you do need to charge your headphones and that takes close to 2 hours to get fully charged.
For the price, there aren’t much accessories provided, however you do get what’s required like: 2.5mm-to-3.5mm Aux cable, micro USB cable for charging and a rigid carrying case as well.
Talking about its built quality and construction, this best headphone for the price is durable and flexible as well, and doesn’t loses shapes even when you stretch it to the limit.
The headband features faux leather at top, while the bottom is covered with Alcantara, a material that is used in cars by luxury car brands.
You also get NFC pairing with QC35, and with the Bose Connect app, you can control various functions of the headphones via your 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.”
Similar Alternative under $500
- Sennheiser HD650 - A lot of people would not agree with my choice of Bose QC35 under $500, hence people looking for an audiophile quality headphone, getting a Sennheiser HD650 is a brilliant choice. However you'd do need a High-Res DAC/Amplifier to run this due to its 300 Ohms impedance.
- Oppo PM-3 - Oppo isn't an household audio equipment brand, but they've hit a home run with its debut Planar Magnetic Headphone. Read this guide to know a bit more about the magic produced by Planar Magnetic technology.
- RHA T20i - Very few earbuds are built and manufactured like the T20i's. Three Audio Tuning Filters, loads of eartips and metal injection design make the T20i a desirable choice and the most durable earbud too.
Best Headphone under $200
Let me be very honest with you, if you want the best headphone for your buck (literally, I’m not kidding), the Best Headphone for your money…
…I highly recommend going for the Audio Technica ATH M50x.
Almost every music producer, be it a beginner or professional uses the M50x.
I’m not kidding, check here.
Launched back in 2014, the headphone is still a favorite choice among consumers and professional studio artists as well.
M50x literally changed the market of what you could buy under $200.
You can say I’m fluffing, but a 4.6/5 star ratings coming from over 3500+ customers won’t be wrong.
This is the reason why it’s called the best headphone for DJing and Mixing as well.
Audio Technica ATH M50x is available in plethora of colors, ranging from Black, Blue, White, Green and a complete Matte Finish as well.
My personal favorite color however is Blue with a dash of beige leather that makes it look pricier than it really is.
You get this professional studio monitor with three different types of detachable cables: a coiled cable, a 1.2m short cable and a 3m long cable, and a draw string faux leather carrying pouch. However to keep the headphone extra safe, I’d recommend you get a hard shell carrying case.
Just incase you want to turn your M50x wireless, you can get this fairly small Bluetooth adapter and turn the headphones into the best Bluetooth headphones for the money as well.
Portability isn’t an issue as well with the ATH-M50x, as the earcups can lay flat and swivel 90 degrees, whereas the entire earcups can be folded (see image below) and stored easily.
Kudos to Audio Technica for a creative way for folding headphones!
Technicality wise, this studio-monitoring headphone has fairly large 45mm drivers that are capable of producing frequency response between 15 – 28000 Hz.
If you’re worried about the ATH M50x to sound boring since it’s a studio-monitoring headphone, well don’t worry, it doesn’t have a complete flat response and you can enjoy your bassy songs with balanced beats.
Unlike other studio monitors, the Audio Technica ATH M50x isn’t heavy, and weighs at 285 grams, however I’d recommend to take mini breaks if you feel slight neck strain.
“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.”
Similar Alternative under $200
Under $200 I wouldn't suggest any other headphone other than Audio Technica ATH-M50x, however incase you've used it or in anyway don't like it, in that case I'll mention few under $200 headphones.
- Sennheiser HD598 - A value for money headphone that looks pricey than it really is, and in any way you want an open-back headphone, HD598 is an excellent choice all the way. Another great choice for open-back can be Audio Technica ATH-AD900X.
- Beyerdynamic DT990 Pro - These are super comfortable over-ear open back headphones from Beyerdynamic, They have a practical design and great for all type of use. Since it has an impedance of 250 Ohms, a great quality amplifier/DAC is necessary.
Best Headphone under $100
There are plethora of headphones available under $100, ranging from wired to wireless, from close back to open back, few with NFC enabled, and plenty of them with excellent sound quality as well.
However what’s hard is; finding all these features in one headphone, and this is the reason why I’ve listed Avantree Audition Pro as the best bang for your buck Bluetooth Headphone priced under $100.
Available in a fairly decent color, this Bluetooth 4.1 powered headphone from Avantree weighs at 190 grams and offers solid battery life of 40 hours, which is unparalleled to any other headphone close to its price tag.
Moreover you can also use the provided Aux cable and enjoy 0% lag-free audio at an optimum sound quality as well.
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 with the provided Zippered case, it can be easily stored as well. The box also includes a 1.2m aux cable, USB cable, and a user manual. [Read Review]
To keep things comfortable, you get a super soft ear cup cushion that offers nice seal, however I’d recommend taking the headphone off after specific duration to prevent your ears from getting warm.
Thanks to the minimal headrest, you don’t feel its weight and it doesn’t loses its shape, either if its worm by people with small head or a big one.
Avantree has also kept things minimal, as the headset only has 3 buttons on it: Power ON, Volume Up and Volume Down. Its overall minimalistic looks and a combination of Brown and 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.”
Similar Alternative under $100
- 1More Triple Driver - If you aren't specifically looking for headphones under $100, and need a great pair of earbuds, I just can't stop suggesting the super-elegant 1More Triple Driver. Just as the name says, it has triple drivers inside with each of them managing Highs, Lows and Mids. To be honest they're really selling for very cheap price considering its performance.
- Phillips SHP9500 - If you want to step into the world of professional audio listening at a very affordable price, Phillips SHP9500 are your best bet. 50mm headphone drivers, wide frequency response, Precision Sound and an open back design makes the SHP9500 the best at its price.
- Grado SR80e - Grado headphones won't appeal to average consumers whose main motive is to use headphone for multimedia purposes, however people looking for a precise sounding headphone should give it a choice.
Best Headphone under $50
#5: Monoprice 8323
Monoprice is a lifesaver audio equipment manufacturing company that offers headphones at a very cheap price with excellent sound quality.
There’s nothing fancy about the Monoprice 8323, it’s just the headphone and the sound quality it offers.
For the price, you get a fairly big box that contains the headphone itself, along with a 1.2m and 3m cables, and a 3.5mm to 6.3mm adapter as well.
Design wise, the 8323 resembles to most DJ style headphones and the earcups can swivel and stay flat on the surface as well.
Moreover they’re modification-friendly as well, and most people have modified the 8323 by adding a much softer earpads and a durable aux cable that makes them feel comfortable and worth a $100.
I do admit that there are many other headphones with sound quality as good as Monoprice 8323 and durable as well and priced under $50. However they aren’t mod-friendly as this one, and you can’t turn them into your own liking as well. [Check Review]
It comes with 40mm drivers that are capable of producing a wider frequency response that you mostly get from sub $100 headphones, and this is the reason why we’ve listed Monoprice 8323 as the best bang for your buck headphones under $50.
The plastic built quality however does feel tacky and make noises, but while wearing it you don’t feel its weight nor does the plastic built interferes in any way.
“Under $50, there are plenty of good options available, however I’ve suggested the Monoprice 8323 because of its sound quality, a wide soundstage and tight frequency response.”
Similar Alternative under $50
- Audio Technica ATH-M20x - The M20x from Audio Technica is a great headphone at affordable price with studio-like sound quality and reliable built quality as well that feels durable at all times. I personally own the Audio Technica ATH-M20x currently.
- Photive BTH3 - I can't remember how many times I've listed Photive BTH3 in various articles of this site. It's a pretty durable and go-to headphone for people looking to getting a wireless audio product at a dirt cheap price considering its price-to-performance ratio.
- SoundMAGIC E10C - Looking for a earbud under $50? Look no further than the Soundmagic E10C, I personally own it and its the best earbud I've used in a budget range. Moreover its listed as the Best Earbud under $50 by WhatHiFi magazine for multiple years straight.
I hope the article did justice to what you were looking for.
This is a kind of article that you might not agree with every word I say or comprehend with my every headphone recommendation.
However being an audio enthusiast, I’ve put forward great audio products that I’ve used or have experience with over all these years of my music listening.
If you do like the article, please consider leaving a comment below, do let me know below what you didn’t agree with the article.
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Thanks! Have a great day ahead.