We pretty much have it made here at WIRED. It’s part of our job to listen to music all day, often on exceedingly fancy and bonkers-expensive headphones. We have playlists for testing bass, for assessing detail—we get way into it. So you’d think testing headphones on the cheap end of the spectrum would seem like a chore. But no—we’ve found real and honest joy searching for good headphones and earbuds with price tags between $5 and $100.
Our work isn’t done, either. Etailers are overflowing with cheap, awful headphones, so we’ll keep listening and updating this list as we try the ever expanding options. Now fire up your favorite playlist, count your pennies, and dive in.
Updated for January 2020: We’ve added the Creative Outlier Gold and updated links and prices for all models.