For years headphones have been associated with achieving the best sound quality for listening to music on the go. In recent years, however, our need for smarter headphones with an array of features has grown. Whether you are looking for studio-quality sound, crystal clear call audio, wireless connection, or a comfortable and secure fit, brands have worked hard to develop an array of options to suit everyone.
With such choice available on the market it can be quite daunting to try and search through the hundreds of headphone options available to us in 2021. But do not worry, we have rounded up the best headphones under $150 to relieve the hard work for you. Whether you plan on gaming the night away, working out to your favorite tracks, or securing that business deal with hands-free calling, read on to find the best headphones under $150 for you.
Types of Headphones
Headphones have come a long way since the old models we used to plug into our walkmans in the 90s. Advances in technology allow for a variety of features such as noise cancellation, voice control, and HiFi quality sound to name a few. So when deciding which of the best headphones under $150 you want to purchase, it is important to decide what type of headphones you are looking for.
Typically connected using a 3.5mm aux-in cable, wired headphones plug into your device and a small cable connects to the earpieces. Simple to use, just plug them in and you are done. The wired connection eliminates the worry of wireless dropouts, they do not need charging and will not drain your device battery.
Although wired headphones will allow you to connect to older devices, such as a record player or non-smart TV, many phones no longer use a 3.5mm aux connection – so before purchasing check your phone’s socket for compatibility. Wired headphones can also be restrictive, and the annoyance of tangled wires may not be something you wish to deal with.
If tangled wires and aux connections are something you would rather not worry about, then wireless headphones are a fantastic option. The power of Bluetooth has made wireless technology even stronger and faster than ever before with a more reliant connection. Although Bluetooth headphones do still run the risk of drop-outs or interference, this is normally minimal and non-disruptive.
Once your Bluetooth headphones have paired with your device they will normally automatically reconnect when you are ready to use them. Just be mindful that wireless headphones will require charging to maintain their battery life, and the connection will also use more of your device’s battery faster than usual.
If you are looking for an ultra-portable and discreet design then in-ear headphones are a great choice. Earbuds fit snugly within the ear, blocking out many ambient sounds around you. For those of you with smaller ear canals, it may be harder to find a comfortable fit. But our list of the best headphones for under $150 includes a great, lightweight, option for you.
As they do not leak much sound, they are a great option for working in an office or library. However, if you want a high-quality, spacious sound then earbuds may not be the best option for you. Due to their small drivers, they cannot compete with the range of sound delivered by on or over-ear headphones.
If you are looking for the portability of earbuds, but the sound quality of over-ear headphones then on-ear headphones are a good compromise. Sitting on the ear they are smaller than over-ear headphones but typically deliver more bass and a better range of sound than earbuds.
On-ear headphones create a happy medium for comfort and sound quality, however, their ability to block ambient noise as well as minimize sound leakage is not as strong as other designs. However, if you want to be aware of your surroundings, whilst enjoying your listening experience this is a great solution.
If you are searching for high-quality sound, with great bass, mid-range, and treble, then over-ear headphones are a great choice for any audiophile. They are the largest of the headphone designs, making them less portable than smaller models. However, their large size allows for larger sound drivers, to give that bass an extra boost.
The closed cup design fits comfortably over the ears, isolating the sound while providing a wider soundstage for your audio. If you want an immersive experience when listening to your audio, a bigger soundstage allows you to listen to music almost as if you were at the concert yourself.
Review of the Best Headphones Under $150
Now we have given an overview of the different types of headphones, let’s explore the features of some of the best headphones under $150.
Sennheiser is a brand that has been around for 75 years, with a goal to “shape the future of audio”. These over-ear wireless headphones use Bluetooth 5.0 technology, to provide a strong and fast connection with your chosen device.
If a high-quality sound experience is what you are looking for, the HD 450BT is a great contender. With advanced audio coding, you can listen to better quality sound files, and the AptX low latency will ensure perfect synchronization when watching videos or gaming. Active noise cancellation removes background noise, allowing for immersive listening.
Great for portability, the folded design makes these headphones more compact when traveling than traditional headphones. However, the smaller size has its drawbacks, the lack of headband padding can make the HD 450BT’s uncomfortable. The earpads, although described as over-ear have been reported as snug on those with larger ears so keep this in mind.
However, with a 30-hour battery life and fast charging, these are a great on-the-go headphone option. Offering a Siri or Google voice assist button, you can interact with your phone while staying hands-free. A great feature, but keep in mind the microphone and call quality on this set have had mixed reviews if this is important for your personal usage.
If you are looking for the best Sennheiser headphones under $150, then the HD 450BT are a fantastic portable option with their well-known sound quality.
|30-hour battery lifeSiri or Google voice assistantFolded design for portabilityAdvanced audio codingAptX Low LatencyActive Noise Cancellation||Can be uncomfortableEarpads may be too small for large earsMixed reviews regarding call quality|
If you are looking to fully immerse yourself in your favorite game, the Razer Kraken gaming headset is a great over-ear option. When looking for a pair of gaming headphones, there are a few key elements to consider. Sound quality, microphone capability, and comfort, and the Kraken delivers all three.
With custom-tuned 50mm drivers, this large closed cupped headset can provide clear sound while reducing background noise. 7.1 surround sound allows you to absorb yourself into your gaming environment. With the option to install software-supported surround sound on Windows 10 64bit, you can create the ultimate sound experience for your game.
Although wired headphones can limit your range of movement, they eliminate the risk of signal drop-outs and latency issues. So you can enjoy the perfect synchronicity of your audio and picture. The retractable noise isolating microphone will also provide clear vocals, letting you speak to other gamers in real-time with no interruptions.
The headset and ear cups are quite large on this set, so those of you with smaller heads will want to consider the fit before purchasing. As with many over-head headphones, they can become heavy after extended use, however, the oval cooling gel-infused earpads will help to provide comfort for your ears during a long gaming session.
If you are looking for the best gaming headphones under $150 then the Razer Kraken headset is a popular option that ticks the most important boxes for gamers.
|7.1 Surround SoundCustom-tuned 50 mm driversOval, cooling gel-infused earpadsRetractable Noise Isolating MicrophoneComes with a headset stand||Wire limits range of movementFit may feel large on smaller headsCan become heavy after extended use|
Large chunky headphones are not to everyone’s taste, if you want a stylish and small earbud that still fulfills your audio needs then check out the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live. These in-ear headphones offer great portability with up to 8 hours battery and a charging storage case that provides an additional 29 hours of listening time.
Although ear-buds cannot match the range of sound delivered by over-ear headphones, the Buds Live come equipped with an AKG-tuned 12mm speaker to give you the best earbud audio quality. Active noise cancellation allows you to toggle between no background noise and hear through mode, keeping you aware of live sounds around you.
Equipped with touch controls, you can skip to the next track, answer calls and adjust the volume with just a tap. Although some find the touch controls tricky to use, vocal commands can keep you hands-free, accessing your device’s voice assistant.
Ergonomically designed, the Buds Live have been created to fit snuggly within the ear. For those of you with small ear canals, this can be uncomfortable and run the risk of falling out. Overall, however, many reviewers had no issues with the fit and can use their Bluetooth-powered earbuds with confidence.
For the best in-ear headphones under $150, the Samsung Galaxy Buds Live are definitely worth checking out.
|AKG-tuned 12mm speakerStylish metallic colors8 Hours batteryCharging case with additional 29 hours batteryWireless and portableActive noise cancellationHands-free voice assistant||Sound quality does not match that of on or over-ear headphones.Can be uncomfortable to wearTouch controls can be tricky to use|
This great little bundle features studio-quality closed-cup headphones, as well as a 4 channel headphone amplifier with individual volume controls. The Sony MDR7506 lets you precisely monitor sound whether recording in a studio or at home. For music enthusiasts, listen like a professional and experience what music was intended to sound like.
Although the wired connection limits movement compared to wireless headphones, the 3.5mm gold aux connector provides a strong and dependable connection. With no latency, you can enjoy crisp synchronized sound through the 40mm drivers. The MDR7506’s wide frequency response, delivers clear treble, midrange, and bass allowing you to get lost in the vivid audio.
The padded ear cups and headband not only provide comfort but also isolate the sound eliminating background noise. Although this padding makes for quite a chunky design, their ability to fold compactly makes them easier to store and travel.
If you are looking for the best studio headphones under $150 then the Sony MDR7506 can supply crisp clear sound, whether you are a professional or audio enthusiast.
|Includes 4 channel headphone amplifier3.5mm gold aux connector40mm driversWide sound frequency responseFolding designSound isolating closed ear cups||Wired connection limits range of movementLarge chunky design|
The brand Marshall is iconic in the audio world, known for delivering some of the best live music tech. Now with the Marshall Major IV on-ear headphones, you can experience that same sound both at home or on the go. Sporting the famous Marshall logo music fans have come to recognize, the retro design is effortlessly stylish.
With an impressive 80+ hours of wireless battery life, you can enjoy 3 whole days of undisturbed sound. In a pinch, the quick charge feature can boost the battery by a whopping 15 hours in just 15minutes! They also come equipped with a 3.5mm audio cord, so you can plug-in and listen with peace of mind and a perfectly undisturbed connection.
Although on-ear headphones offer less noise cancellation, this can be a bonus if you want to maintain an awareness of your surroundings. The ergonomic design and padding provide a comfortable fit for hours of wear, although some have reported the pressure becoming uncomfortable after very extended use.
The built in dynamic drivers deliver a powerful sound so you can enjoy pitch perfect audio and these headphones allow you to tether a second pair to listen with a friend. The mult-idirectional control knob can take some familiarisation, but once mastered you can easily skip a track, change the volume or answer calls.
If you are looking for the best on-ear headphones under $150 then the Marshall Major IV is a major contender!
|80+ hours of wireless listeningQuick charge 15 minutes for 15 hours battery lifeCan be used with a 3.5mm audio cordDynamic drivers for powerful soundErgonomic fitIconic design||Less noise cancellationThe multi-directional control knob can take some familiarisationPressure on the ears can become uncomfortable over time|
When it comes to great quality sound, over-ear headphones provide a spacious live feeling you cannot be matched by earbuds. The Philips TAPH805BK allows you to completely escape into your audio with their active noise cancellation and comfortable padded ear cups. Hi-Res audio provides sound recorded at a higher sample rate than that of CDs, just plug into a Hi-Res source to reap the true benefits.
The TAPH805BK’s are built with 40mm neodymium acoustic drivers that deliver a deep bass while maintaining excellent clarity. If you want to enjoy your audio while still keeping an ear on what’s happening around you, simply switch on awareness mode and you can decide whether to tune into your surroundings.
As with most over-ear headphones, they can become heavy after extended use, and some reviewers did mention the accidental activation of google assistant when adjusting their headset. However with a 30 hour battery life, it is easy to relax and get lost in the music for hours at a time.
If the best over-ear headphones under $150 are what you are searching for, a trusted brand like Philips is an option you can count on.
|Active noise cancellationAwareness mode40mm neodymium acoustic driversHi-Res Audio using the 2.5/3.5mm cables included30 hours wireless batteryComfortable padded ear cups||Can become heavy Touch google assistant can be accidentally activated|
If you are looking to take your audio experience to the next level, open-backed headsets offer fantastic sound quality. Air is able to pass through open-backed ear cups to ensure pressure does not build up and negatively impact your audio. Seen in many high-end headphones, open backs can provide a clearer quality sound. There is also the added bonus of reducing ear sweat and heat build up thanks to the breathability of open backs.
Sennheiser in particular are a top contender in the audio world, the GAME ONE headset is incredibly light-weight, and the padded XXL velour earpads offer extreme comfort for long wear. Coupled with proprietary speaker technology, you can experience incredible bass over a large soundstage, so really step inside your game and feel the intense atmosphere around you.
The headset comes with a flexible boom arm microphone, that delivers exceptional voice pick-up, minimizing background noise and designed to enable clear communication. Featuring HiFi audio, you can experience a higher level of realism, fully immersing you in whatever game you choose to play.
The downside of open-backed headphones is the sound leakage, so if you like to listen loud, it’s best to do it in a private space so as to avoid disturbing others around you. The other disadvantage is that open backs cannot block as much background noise, however if you are at home gaming this should not be a problem!
The other advantage of the GAME ONE is its versatile console compatibility, coming equipped with switchable cables to support multiple platforms, from PC, PS4, Xbox One and Nintendo switch. Not only can you connect with a variety of consoles, but the 3.5mm jack can let you hook up to older devices, so you can listen to vinyl on a soundstage that takes you live to the show.
|Less audio impacting pressure build-upClearer sound qualityLightweight with padded, velour earpads for comfort XXL clear cupsProprietary speaker technologyVersatile console compatibility||Can leak sound Cannot block external noise as effectively as closed-cup headphones|
If you are looking for the best open-backed, over-ear, gaming headphones under $150, Sennheiser have definitely ticked all of the boxes with this headset!
If you are looking for the portability of earbuds with the undisrupted clarity of wired headphones, then bose has created the product for you. Created to fit securely, these are an excellent choice if you like to exercise, available with 3 different sizes of StayHear tips you can run, lift or play safe in the knowledge they won’t budge.
Using Bose’s Triport technology, these earbuds actually enlarge the ecoustic volume, a difficult feat for earbuds. But you can enjoy the external noise reduction and the better sound quality that vented ear cups can deliver, in a miniature portable form. They also provide external noise reduction to help you tune into your audio without distraction.
Although wired headphones can lead to annoying tangles, the audio experience the Bose brand can deliver is arguably worth the minor inconvenience. You are also guaranteed a strong connection, using the 3.5mm audio jack. Earbuds are also notoriously uncomfortable for those with small ear canals, but this pair comes with a high quality case to protect your headphones when you need a break.
The SoundSport in-ear headphones are also sweat and weather resistant, so if you get caught in the rain on your morning run you need not fear! If you want durability, this compact set of earbuds will provide quality audio alongside functionality for those active listeners.
|Triport technologyStayHear tips conform to earsVented earcupsExternal noise reduction3.5mm audio jackTrusted brand Great for exerciseSweat and weather resistant||Wired design can lead to tanglesEarbuds can be uncomfortable for small ear canals.|
If you want the best Bose In-Ear headphones for under $150, this pair of wired earbuds are what you are looking for.
Buyers Guide: How To Choose The Best Headphones Under $150 For You
When purchasing headphones it is important to understand the price can impact the quality of the product when it comes to audio technology. This is not to say that you cannot find a fantastic set that fulfills your needs, but you may have to make a few small compromises along the way.
All of the headphones we have selected are among the best in their category for under $150. However, if you plan to use them in a loud or crowded area and choose a set that does not have background noise cancellation, you may be left feeling disappointed with your purchase. Therefore it is important to take into consideration the product’s specifications and if they meet your personal requirements.
Make sure to consider where you will be using your headphones, do you want to be aware of your surroundings whilst enjoying your music? Then hear-through mode is a great feature to look for. Plan on studying in the library or using them in the office? Check the level of sound leakage before buying, so you do not disturb everyone around you.
Ensure battery life will meet your requirements when travelling so the sound never has to stop, earbuds will often come with a portable charging case to top up on the go. Or if you are worried about latency or signal dropouts disrupting your listening, then look for a wired set or Bluetooth 5.0 technology for a strong connection
Our list of the best headphones for under $150 offers a wide variety of products to suit different needs. Take the time to look at the main features, pros and cons of each before selecting your favourite!
Frequently Asked Questions
Will headphones damage my hearing?
Headphones and earbuds are safe to use, but like anything that produces sound, exposing your eardrum to loud volume for an extended period of time can lead to “noise-induced hearing loss”. To avoid damaging your hearing, ensure you listen to audio at a safe volume and give your ears time to rest in between use. The lower the volume, the longer you can listen before damage ensues.
How do headphones work?
Headphones work by using the digital information passed between your device and your headphones and converting this information into electrical energy. The electrical energy will then vibrate magnets within the earpiece to create vibrations within the air. These vibrations are picked up by tiny hairs within the cochlea of the ear and convert into the sound that you hear.
When were headphones invented?
The first audio headphones as we know them today were invented in 1910 by Fundamentalist Mormon and engineer Nathaniel Baldwin. His kitchen table invention proved unpopular until the US Navy showed an interest in this new audio gadget. By 1937 German brand Bayerdynamic introduced the first dynamic headphones for enjoying audio at home, however World War II put a stop to their production.
It wasn’t until 1958, during the dawn of Rock and Roll, that visionary John Kross created a product specifically made to encapsulate the magic of music – the stereo headphone. From this point on headphones have continued to evolve in quality, and technological advancement has led to some of the best brands releasing affordable headphones under $150 for your enjoyment today!
Will headphones work with PS4/PS5 or Xbox One?
PS4 and PS5 support most headphones with a 3.5mm audio jack, enabling you to plug straight into the controller, allowing you to easily immerse yourself in gameplay. If you are opting for a wireless headset then theoretically the Bluetooth should be able to connect through your console settings, however this often only works properly when using playstation-compatible branded headphones.
If you are looking to purchase a non playstation-compatible brand of wireless headset, like the ones on this list, we have a simple solution. Using a dongle (such as this), you can easily connect your headset and console, just plug in, connect and play. However, you will have to use the microphone plugin rather than those built into your headphones.
Xbox One unfortunately does not have built in Bluetooth capabilities, however there are a couple of ways to get around this. If you have an Xbox controller with a 3.5mm jack, then you can simply plug in your wired headphones and play.
If your controller does not have a 3.5mm jack and then you will need to purchase a stereo headset adapter. Xbox does offer their own adapter, but other brands (like this) work in the same way and can save you some money.
The Bottom Line
We have narrowed down some of the best headphones under $150 to cover a wide range of listening needs. With $150 you can access some fantastic products, however with audio technology price can reflect quality, so be mindful as to whether this budget will deliver the capabilities you are looking for. We hope this article helps you to find the perfect pair of headphones – whatever your audio needs may be.