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Wireless headphones are everywhere now. Remember when everyone switched to earbuds and those old plastic over-the-head headphones became obsolete? Well, I’d be willing to bet that’s what wired headphones have to look forward to – retirement (please don’t tell your retired parents that they’ve become obsolete).
But with upgraded tech, come upgraded prices, which is far less exciting. Thankfully, there are affordable options! In this post, we’ll give you our favorite wireless headphones that you can get for under $100, and we’ll break down what we like about each of them.
So, “wireless” doesn’t necessarily mean no wires. Misleading, I know, but wireless just means you aren’t plugging your headphones into anything, though they generally have a wire that runs behind the neck if they’re earbuds, rather than over-the-ear style.
These Beats have that around-the-neck wire and we like the fit of them. There isn’t too much extra cord hanging out to get in the way or be uncomfortable. We also like that the earbuds are magnetic. It’s a convenient feature, even if it isn’t going to be a deciding factor.
The earbuds themselves are comfortable and have a secure fit. We didn’t feel like they were about to fall out and they don’t need to fiddled with and adjusted too often. And they come with ear fins if you’re worried about the fit.
Like most headphones, the BeatsX have an in-line mic/remote for phone calls and such. In many cases, we find the mic piece to be too far away from the face for practicality, but the mic on these headphones is actually placed really well.
Mic/Remote on BeatsX
Now, the BeatsX aren’t technically rated as sweat proof, but we haven’t any issues with them while working out.
We were pleasantly surprised with the audio quality of the BeatsX. Of course, it’s not best we’ve ever tried, but for earbud style headphones, it’s really good.
You’ll get around 8 hours of playtime on a full battery, which isn’t especially impressive, but not notably lame, either. That’s a fairly standard battery life. Beats also has a convenient charging feature called Fast-Fuel Charging that’ll get you 2 hours of playback with just 5 minutes of charging.
Beats are just generally expensive headphones, no matter what style or model you get. The BeatsX Wireless have an MSRP of $150. We do often find them for $99 and under, though, which is why we still included them in this list.
If you spend a lot of time working out, you know the struggle of having the wrong headphones for your gym time or trail runs. The Jaybird X3 headphones are great for the gym and aren’t going to break the bank. For more info on these headphones, check out our full review: Jaybird X3 Review.
A big part of what makes the Jaybird X3s so suitable for working out is their secure fit. They come with different ear tips and fins, so you can personalize how they sit in your ear, which means you won’t have to worry about them falling out when you go for a run or do anything more active than waving to your gym buddy.
We also like that you have the option of wearing the X3s under-ear or over-ear. Under-ear is the more traditional way to wear the earbuds and is better for calls, although you have to deal with the cord. Over-ear is probably better for sports and being active as it keeps the cord from dangling in the way, but it won’t be great if you need to take a call.
Unlike the Beats on this list, the Jaybird X3s are entirely sweat proof and have no water issues at all. They use a hydrophobic nano-coating for water protection and it’s very effective.
The extra ear tips include Comply foam tips. They’re really great for sound isolation. They’re actually so good that you might not want to use the foam tips while working out. You won’t be able to hear what’s going on around you.
Jeff testing out the Jaybird X3
Jaybird is no newbie to the audio game and that’s reflected in the sound quality of the headphones. We’d go so far as to say that the X3 are probably best in class here. There are even EQ setting options that can be controlled from within the Jaybird app. It allows you to alter the bass, mids, and highs to get just the right sound for your music.
The battery life on these headphones are around 8-9 hours, which, like the BeatsX, is pretty standard. A 15-minute charge will get you about an hour of playback. However, the charging cradle is not convenient. It’s just one more accessory you have to remember to carry around, or else be left with no way to charge you X3s.
Mic/remote on Jaybird X3
These are wireless headphones, so they use Bluetooth like the rest of them. There’s nothing special about the connection or range, but we’re not complaining about it either. It’s right there at average.
Like the BeatsX, the Jaybird X3 Wireless headphones are actually priced above our budget with an MSRP of $130, but they’re on this list anyway because we commonly see them at $99 [Check Price on Amazon].
Now, this is a best-under-100 list, but we haven’t been going under by any significant amount. So here’s an actually budget option with the Anker SoundBuds Slim+.
Like the other two options on this list, the SoundBuds have a comfortable fit that stays secure in your ear and can be customized with different sized ear tips and ear wings. They also have magnetic earbuds to keep things conveniently sorted.
We mentioned the use of nano-coating with the Jaybirds, and the same technology is used to waterproof these Anker headphones. They have an IPX4 water resistant rating, which means you won’t have any trouble running in the rain or sweating up a storm.
With these Ankers you’re going to get pretty decent sound quality. It’s a little bass heavy and we’ve heard better, but they’re definitely not bad. We can’t really complain about the little step down in sound quality as compared to our other two picks, though, because the price gap is significant (we’ll get to that in a minute).
On a fully charged battery, you’ll get about 7 hours of playback time. That’s a little under average, but not bad. To completely rejuice the battery, plan on about 90 minutes of charging.
While the SoundBuds aren’t totally on par with the BeatsX or the Jaybird X3s, we really do like them. We like them so much that we put them on our short list for the Best Wireless Headphones for the Gym.
As promised, the Anker SoundBuds Slim+ headphones are a good chunk below our $100 cap. They have an MSRP of $30, but we’ve seen them down to $25 before.