Best Headphones on a Budget in 2016

Rating:

$50 Price Range: SONY MDRZX110B

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Price: $34.24

The SONY MDRZX110B is a pair of headphones that looks and feels on the cheap side, but it’s hard to beat its sound quality given the price you’re paying for them. Audio is quite crisp, the highs and lows are relatively clear and distinct, but the construction can leave much to be desired. But again, for under $50, you get quite a bit more than you pay for.

Pros

  • Sound quality is great for the price
  • Wires are thick and won’t tangle as easily
  • Fold-up design makes it easy to store for mobility

Cons

  • Build quality looks and feels cheap (but this is a cheap pair of headphones, anyway)
  • Comfort may be an issue with no padding on headband, and minimal padding on ear pads

$100 and Under: SONY MDRZX110NC

SONY MDRZX110NC - Best Headphones in 2016
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Price: $79.56

With ambient noise cancelling, the SONY MDRZX110NC is a great find for under $100. A single AAA battery is all that’s needed to power the noise cancelling feature, the MDRZX110NC is the upgraded sibling of the MDRZX110B above. More comfortable ear pads, and ambient noise cancelling, but practically the same in terms of sound quality and build quality. The cord also seems to be thinner and of lower quality, which is a bit of a noodle scratcher, but it’s difficult to complain about a pair of noise cancelling headphones for under $100.

Pros

  • Sound quality is great for the price
  • Ambient noise cancelling for under $100 is a steal
  • Fold-up design makes it great for easy storage and mobility
  • More comfortable ear pads make for better longer term wear

Cons

  • Build quality looks and feels cheap (again, because it is)
  • Thinner cord makes it seem to be more tangle prone
  • Incomplete coverage of ears means noise cancelling may not be as effective as possible

$200 and More: Bose QuietComfort 25

Bose QuietComfort 25 - Best Headphones in 2016
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Price: $329.64

When you’re looking for a pair of headphones with absolutely better sound quality and build quality, you don’t have to look much farther than the Bose QuietComfort 25. The acoustic noise cancelling is remarkably great, being able to block out the cacophony of a long subway ride. Given the premium you’re going to pay for the Bose QuietComfort 25, it feels worthwhile if you’re looking for great sound, amazing noise cancellation, and comfort.

Pros

  • Remarkable acoustic noise cancellation
  • Sound quality is great
  • Very comfortable to wear
  • Included case and fold-up design make it easy to store and bring everywhere

Cons

  • Can be on the expensive side, especially relative to other noise cancelling offerings
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Jon Lim

Jon Lim is a professional developer, writer, and an avid technologist. He has written creatively for the past 16 years, and professionally for 4 years.

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