Best Headphones Under $150

A lot of our time is spent listening. We listen to music, news, audiobooks, and podcasts, the quality of which is always increasing.

After our eyesight, hearing is one of the most important human senses, however, people often don’t understand or overlook how much of a difference a quality audio experience can make to your commute or your relaxation.

You may find the jargon surrounding headphones and their fast-changing specifications daunting or confusing, even the most seasoned audiophiles find it hard to keep up with the constantly changing and developing world of headphones.

However, there’s no reason to let this deter you from ensuring you get the benefits of the latest headphone technology.

Whether it’s sound isolation to keep out the noise on your morning commute, or Bluetooth to prevent your cables from getting tangled up and ruined, there are plenty of amazing headphones available to make sure you’re getting the best experience possible.

There are a lot of amazing headphones at the mid-level and entry-level to enable anyone interested in great audio quality to benefit from what the latest headphones have to offer.

Whether you’re looking for your first pair of headphones or are in the market for an upgrade, feel free to check out our buyer’s guide and FAQ at the bottom of this article, where we will be able to explain what to look for in a good pair of headphones available for less than 150$, and how to make sure you’re getting the best bang for your buck.

1. SENNHEISER HD 4.40

SENNHEISER HD 4.40 Around Ear Bluetooth Wireless Headphones - Black

Sennheiser is one of the most famous names in the audio industry, and are well known for their quality speakers and headphones. These brand new HD 4.40 benefits from the long history of quality and attention to detail that has made Sennheisers the favorite of every audiophile. 

The comfortable, closed-back over-ear design makes sure that your audio won’t be polluted with ambient noise even on a crowded subway or noisy city street, which will really help you focus on your favorite content in any scenario.

The drivers are Sennheisers’ own proprietary version which offers the amazing sound quality you would expect from this manufacturer with a frequency response of 18 – 22000Hz.

Intuitive controls are mounted on the ear cups to give you maximum control, whether it’s changing tracks, answering phone calls using the included microphone, or cranking the volume. 

As Bluetooth wireless headphones they are also incredibly convenient, giving maximum portability and comfort.

You can forget spending time trying to untangle a nest of wires or worry about your cable getting snagged and damaging your beloved devices.

The connection is stable and pairs quickly making these cans super convenient for use with multiple different devices. 

The 25 hours of battery life is seriously impressive and is ample for almost any journey, while the included audio cable gives you the flexibility to use a 3.5mm audio jack when required.

Overall these are an amazing pair of wireless headphones that will allow you to benefit from amazing Sennheiser sound along with the convenience that Bluetooth headphones provide.

Pros:

  • Great sound
  • Wireless
  • 25 hours of battery life
  • Included audio cable
  • Comfortable

Cons:

  • Microphone could be better

SENNHEISER HD 4.40 Around Ear Bluetooth Wireless Headphones - Black
  • Bluetooth 4.0 and aptX technologies to deliver exceptional wireless sound quality
  • Intuitive ear cup mounted controls for changing tracks and for making calls via the integrated microphone
  • Up to 25 hour battery life and is supplied with connecting cable for battery free listening
  • Compatible with most smartphones & tablets. Height: 7.8 inch / 19.8 centimeter
  • Product Dimensions: 7.1 x 3.9 x 10.2 inches. Connectivity Technology: Wireless; Battery Type: Li ion Polymer Battery

2. Philips SHP9600MB

Philips Audio SHP9600MB Wired Headphones with Microphone -Over-Ear Open-Back Headset, 50 mm Neodymium Drivers (SHP9600MB) - Black

Philips are another famous electronics brand that has a diverse range of products and a longstanding reputation for quality, particularly when it comes to headphones.

While the name of this particular model is a bit of an ugly mouthful, these headphones have a simple, minimal aesthetic and are very comfortable due to the ample padding around the ears and headband.

The 50mm drivers provide amazing sound quality and the 6Hz – 35kHz frequency range is vast, meaning you will be able to listen to music or movies with excellent sound quality. 

The cups themselves are open-backed to allow airflow and prevent echoing when listening to high volumes, however, this does mean there is some sound leakage. This means these headphones aren’t very discrete when used in public environments.

The detachable mic allows you to make use of these in a home office or gaming setup, however, they are minimal enough to not look out of place on the subway.

As a pair of wired headphones, they might not benefit from the flexibility of Bluetooth functionality, however, the cable is long and well built, also including a controller for volume and muting the audio in a pinch.

While the open back of these headphones may make the sound isolation a little less secure than some other headphones they are a great performer that has some of the best audio quality available in this range.

Pros:

  • 50mm Drivers
  • Great Frequency Range
  • Detachable Mic
  • Comfortable Fit
  • Open Back Cups

Cons:

  • Less sound isolation due to open-back design

Philips Audio SHP9600MB Wired Headphones with Microphone -Over-Ear Open-Back Headset, 50 mm Neodymium Drivers (SHP9600MB) - Black
  • All you love about the SHP9600 now with a detachable mic. Boom mic can easily be attached/detached transforming your regular headphones into a professional gaming headset, or WFH business headset for clear voice and calls.
  • Perfectly Tuned 50MM drivers deliver detailed sound, crisp bass and balanced midrange. Frequency of 6HZ-35kHz.
  • Open back drivers allow air to flow through to the speaker element ensuring pressure doesn’t build up so the sound you hear is clear without echoes.
  • Comfort fit design fits the ears natural shape for utmost comfortability. Breathable ear -cup cushions are perfect for long listening sessions.
  • Adjustable headband includes numbered sizes so you can get the size right the first time and lock it in to place.

3. Beats Solo3 Wireless

Beats Solo3 Wireless On-Ear Headphones - Apple W1 Headphone Chip, Class 1 Bluetooth, 40 Hours of Listening Time, Built-in Microphone - Black (Latest Model)

Beats are one of the most disruptive brands in the audio industry, smashing their way into the market back in 2006 with a mix of sleek, modern aesthetics, celebrity endorsements, and great audio quality.

The Beats Solo3 Wireless headphones offer some of the best features from any of the Beats lineup, and look amazing for home use, on the commute, or while working out.

With 40 hours of battery life, these headphones have outstanding endurance allowing you to make use of them over very long journeys without any concerns of being left stranded without your music or entertainment.

The Fast Fuel charging system also means that if you do forget to charge them up before you leave, a simple 5-minute charge is able to provide you with around 3 hours of battery life which is amazing for such a short amount of charging time.

The integrated microphone allows you to take calls easily, and the on-cup controls allow you to manage your music and your other applications without needing to use your phone, which is great for cramped commutes or working out.

The ability to use voice assistants such as Siri is also a great feature that provides added flexibility.

The aesthetics are pretty much second to none, but the sound quality is also very respectable, especially considering these are an on-ear design that does suffer from some leakage.

Naturally, on-ear cups also mean these headphones have a little less sound isolation than over-ear headphones.

The foldable design makes them easy to stow and portable enough to fit into small bags or large pockets quite easily.

Pros:

  • 40 hours of battery life
  • Fast to Charge
  • Great Aesthetics and Color Options
  • On-Ear Cups

Cons:

  • Less Sound Isolation 

Sale
Beats Solo3 Wireless On-Ear Headphones - Apple W1 Headphone Chip, Class 1 Bluetooth, 40 Hours of Listening Time, Built-in Microphone - Black (Latest Model)
  • High-performance wireless Bluetooth headphones in black
  • Features the Apple W1 chip and Class 1 wireless Bluetooth connectivity
  • With up to 40 hours of battery life, Beats Solo3 wireless is your perfect everyday headphone
  • Compatible with iOS and Android devices
  • With Fast Fuel, 5 minutes of charging gives you 3 hours of playback when battery is low

4. Sony MDR7506

Sony MDR7506 Professional Large Diaphragm Headphone

These professional, lightweight headphones are one of Sony’s best performers below the $150 dollar mark. 

The 40mm Neodymium drivers provide a powerful and detailed sound with excellent lows and mids while also providing relatively crisp highs. The closed-ear design is comfortable and provides excellent noise isolation, which prevents ambient noise from polluting the sound quality.

This means that these headphones are excellent for use in busy environments such as public transport, as well as studio environments where clear sound is crucial.

The frequency response is 10Hz to 20kHz, which may be narrower than some other headphones on this list, but despite this these headphones perform well, perhaps due to the quality of the over-ear cups.

The main appeal of these headphones is their excellent comfort, which makes them ideal for extended home use for casual listening or music production.

The large-diaphragm nature of these headphones makes them suitable for larger head types and their rugged construction makes them reliable, especially due to Sony’s reputation for excellent reliability.

The headband and cups are padded adequately, and while these headphones may not appeal to the modern aesthetics that make the Beats so popular, there is something attractive about the classic, stripped-back style of these quality headphones.

Pros:

  • 40mm Neodymium Magnets
  • Closed ear design
  • Wired Connection with added adapter
  • Portable and Foldable 

Cons:

  • Narrower Frequency Range

Sony MDR7506 Professional Large Diaphragm Headphone
  • Neodymium magnets and 40 millimeter drivers for powerful, detailed sound
  • Closed ear design provides comfort and outstanding reduction of external noises
  • 9.8 foot cord ends in gold plated plug and it is not detachable; 1/4 inch adapter included
  • Folds up for storage or travel in provided soft case
  • Frequency Response: 10 Hertz to 20 kilohertz

5. Skullcandy Over-Ear Headphones

Skullcandy Hesh ANC Wireless Noise Cancelling Over-Ear Headphone - True Black

Skullcandy is another well-established audio brand that has been making eye-catching earbuds and headphones for a while now. 

These wireless headphones are absolutely packed with features that you would often only find on more expensive headphones.

To start with the sound quality is great, as you’d expect from an experienced headphone brand such as Skullcandy. While perhaps not as refined as Sennheisers, the overall fidelity of these headphones is superb. 

The 22-hour battery life isn’t as long as some other wireless headphones but is still more than enough for most commutes and daily usage.

The charging is also highly efficient and has rapid charge capabilities which enable it to gain a surprising amount of battery life from a relatively short charging period.

The flat-folding collapsible design is neat and makes these headphones highly portable. They’re capable of fitting into bags and pockets quite easily, and the included travel case is a nice touch that helps keep them protected from scuffs and scrapes when not in use.

The overall comfort of these headphones is great with ample padding around the ears that help to create a superb noise isolating seal that both prevents leakage and insulates your audio from noise pollution.

The headband is relatively comfortable and adjustable enough to fit most head sizes, and the close cups further add to the great insulation these headphones provide.

These headphones also come with active noise canceling which further defeats ambient sound and ensures that your audio is all that you’re able to hear, allowing you to really appreciate your music or immerse yourself in that audiobook without disturbance.

Pros:

  • Active Noise Canceling
  • 22 hours battery life 
  • Flat-folding, collapsible
  • Travel case included
  • Wireless

Cons:

  • Battery life could be better

Sale
Skullcandy Hesh ANC Wireless Noise Cancelling Over-Ear Headphone - True Black
  • Active noise canceling
  • True wireless freedom
  • Ambient mode
  • Rapid charge
  • 22 hours battery life

Buyer’s Guide

Headphones are one of the most important accessories, as they provide us with a whole half of our entertainment experience both at home and on the go.

Audio is something that can intimidate some, as there is a lot of jargon to sift through which can make finding the right headphones for you a difficult task. 

As headphones continue to compete and add new features, it’s becoming harder and harder to understand which headphones are worth their hype, and which are best avoided.

In this guide, we’re going to highlight some of the important features to look out for when buying headphones and explain some of the key things to keep in mind when you’re deciding which ones will be right for you.

If your question isn’t answered here check out the FAQ below for a little more information answering common questions about headphones and audio.

Comfort

Comfort is one of the most important considerations when it comes to purchasing new headphones, and there are several factors to consider.

The first thing is to have an idea of how big your head is so that you can find headphones that fit your particular head shape and size.

Headphones with adjustable headbands are very common but it’s still worth checking this feature is included, as well as adequate padding on the headband itself and the ear cups. This will prevent the headphones from putting uncomfortable pressure on your scalp and ears.

Whether you choose on-ear or over-ear headphones will also depend on how comfortable you are with these designs. 

Sound Quality

Arguably the most important factor when buying headphones is the sound quality they provide.

There are many factors that determine how good the sound quality of headphones will be, but looking for good frequency response, high-quality drivers and driver materials as well as good impedance and noise isolation qualities will ensure you’re able to fully appreciate every detail of your music.

Most well-regarded headphone brands will make these details available on their product pages to ensure you’re able to get the right sound quality for you. If for some reason these specs aren’t available you may want to try the manufacturer website specifically.

Wired or Wireless?

Wired headphones dominated the market for a very long time, but after a few key industry players, particularly Apple, developed their own Bluetooth headphones the wireless headphone market exploded. 

Although wireless headphones had been around for some time, the big brands quickly raced to provide the best sound quality, pairing speeds, and stability. 

Wireless headphones are very feature-rich, and the convenience of not dealing with cables can’t be overstated, as these are a frequent problem area for traditional headphones.

That being said, wired headphones are still often the go-to choice for home listening and music production setups, due to their reliability and audio quality.

There are strong benefits to both styles of headphones and ultimately you need to decide whether you want the flexibility of Bluetooth or the simplicity of wired connectivity.

Sound Isolation

Sound isolation is how much ambient noise your headphones can prevent you from hearing while using them. 

Generally, higher sound isolation is better, due to the fact that ambient sound can significantly disrupt the listening experience. 

Whether or not you’re using open-backed or closed-backed headphones as well on-ear or off-ear designs will usually have an impact on this, as well as how snugly the headphones fit you. 

Portability

Portability is another key factor to consider when looking at headphones, depending on how you intend to use them.

For commuting, foldable headphones can save a lot of space and make it easier to stow away your precious cans when they’re not in use. 

However, adding hinges and folds to headphones can make them more prone to breaking. 

Whether this is important to you depends on whether you plan to use them outside of your home, or if they’re exclusively for home listening.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are drivers?

Drivers are essentially what allows headphones to produce sound. Audio quality can be very subjective, so whether bigger drivers are better depends on your personal preference.

Generally, bigger drivers will be able to provide louder audio as they can affect a larger volume of air as they work.

The industry standard material for drivers is neodymium so make sure to look out for this if you’re particularly interested in good driver quality.

Should I buy on-ear or over-ear headphones?

This is another very subjective question as there are benefits to both. 

Some find on-ear headphones far more comfortable than over-ear headphones, often due to their smaller size and well-padded cups.

Over-ear headphones on the other hand provide much better noise isolation in general, as they seal off the ear from the outside world, preventing ambient noise from mixing with your headphone audio.

These designs may be a little larger and use a lot of padding to ensure their heavier weight doesn’t cause any comfort issues, however, some still find them less comfortable than over-ear designs.

What’s the difference between noise-canceling and noise isolation?

Noise-canceling headphones, particularly active noise-canceling headphones use electrical components to actively minimize ambient sound pollution while you’re using these headphones. This feature is an active process that the headphones are using power to provide.

Noise isolation on the other hand is generally passive and the reduction in ambient sound isn’t achieved using electronics. It instead uses the shape, size, and seal of the headphones to block out exterior noise.

Some brands use these terms interchangeably so be careful of these terms and always make sure which feature your headphones are actually providing.

Last update on 2021-09-07 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API