Summer is here and there’s no doubt many of you (if not all) will hit the road or the friendly skies and head towards a nice vacation spot. Too bad getting to your destination can be a huge hassle. But, there’s nothing like a pair of headphones to help smooth things over. But the commute can be a lot easier with the right set of headphones. These are the 2017 Best Travel Headphones Under $100.
2017 Best Travel Headphones Under $100
Sennheiser PX 100-II
This headphone is a great travel companion. It is very slim with super lightweight ear pads (soft retro foam cushions) that swivel in a 90 degree position for easy-peasy transport. The frame is also compact enough that once it is in the collapsed position it can fit into a glasses case. The frame has minimal padding, but excess foam isn’t necessary as the body is very lightweight.
When it comes to sound, the headphones deliver way better than I expected. The signature sound of Sennheiser is fit into an incredibly tiny frame. The bass is big and robust. Which is nice, but it’s not as smooth as in some of the more premium Sennheiser headphones. It’s punchier. The mids are present, but sound a little less forward than I’d like. The highs are present and sparkle at just the right amount. The Sennheiser PX100-II is available in our Sennheiser Shop for $79.95.
Sennheiser HD 4.30i (iOS), HD 4.30G (Android)
If you are looking for a headphone that retains the signature Sennheiser sound, but is slightly more robust than the Sennheiser PX 100-II, you can opt for the Sennheiser HD 4.30. It is one of the more affordable options offered by their HD line. It features a slender headband and extenders with light padding. The cushions are the exact opposite – super plush and thick enough to cradle your ears. This model is available in black and white colorways.
When it comes to sound, these headphones provide a pretty wide sound stage – especially for the price. The bass is deep, nice, and smooth. At times, the mids slip under the lows and there is a slight loss in detail, but otherwise, themids are still quite lush. The highs, unfortunately, are where this headphone falls a bit short in that it lacks in detail. But, it could be worse. You don’t hear overbearingly tinny treble claps. Also, the headphone is only $100 and still delivers an overall smooth and pleasant sound. Sennheiser HD 4.30i and HD 4.30G are both available at our Sennheiser Shop for $99.95.
Klipsch R6 On-Ear
If you’re looking for one of the best sounding on-ear headphones in a travel-friendly frame, look towards Klipsch R6 on-ear. This reference headphone is to the point and doesn’t mess around with unnecessary features. It’s all about the music.
The frame is primarily made of plastic and isn’t collapsible. But, to be fair, the plastic is more of the durable kind than the cheap ones your find on children’s toys. It’ll last if handled with moderate care.The headband is slim and the ear cups are slightly angled for a more natural fit on the ears. Paired with comfy, soft ear cushions and an overall super lightweight frame, these headphones are ideal for extended wear. For Apple users, the cable features an in-line mic and controller.
When it comes to sound, Klipsch always delivers a clean, balanced listening experience. The R6’s bass is present and full without sounding too weighty. It does not bury the mids or highs, which actually sparkle quite nicely. The mids are detailed while the highs are crisp, not too much, but just enough to enjoy cymbal crashes and the like without getting annoyed. Even with high level of clarity, these headphones are pleasant to listen to. Klipsch R6 On-Ear is available in our Klipsch Shop for $99.
If you need active noise-cancelling, I’d say Sony MDR-ZX110 NC is a top choice. The slim-framed headphone is collapsible and easily slips into the side of a purse. To note, it’s modeled after the MDR-ZX110, so the frame is mostly comprised of plastic with extremely cost efficient cushions. It’s not the most premium in build under the $100 price, but what it lacks in aesthetics the company makes up for in sound and features. Noise cancelling is activated with the simple switch of a button. That being said, this model delivers great audio and the added benefit of noise-cancelling all for $49.99. ANC is better than expected. Low frequencies rumbles and hums are significantly lowered. When paired with your music, it’s easy to tune out co-workers or annoying air conditioner noises. To note, the headphone includes a AAA battery, but you’ll need to purchase more afterwards to keep that bit of technology going. Also, the cable does not include a remote and mic. As for sound, there’s a nice bit of oomph in the bass with pretty rich audio across lows, mids, and highs. There could be a bit more detail in the highs, but the overall sound quality is still great and definitely worth the very low price of $49.99. Grab the Sony MDR-ZX110NC for $49.99 in our Sony Shop.
Now, this headphone is one that spoils you just a little bit. For a smooth $99.95, listeners are able to enjoy great sounding audio without the wires. The JBL E45BT is wireless which makes it an ideal set for budget-conscious travelers. The entire frame is collapsible and the ear cushions rotate. The headphone, available in an array of bright colors as well as black, is made of a hard-grade plastic material. The on-ear sized ear cups are padded with leather ear cushions while the headband is comprised of a durable made fabric. While the clamping force of the headband applies a bit of pressure on the ears, thankfully the ear cups swivel left to right, which alleviates some of that stress. The right ear cup is built with buttons for controlling your music and answering calls. In addition, the headphones include a detachable cable that can be used when the headphone is done running for 16 hours. When it comes to sound, the E45BT delivers a neutral sound signature with a decent amount of bass. The mids and highs posses a great deal of accuracy and detail. JBL E45BT is available at our JBL Store for $99.95. P.S. If you are looking for an over-ear model, JBL E55BT provides the same sound signature and overall build, in a slightly bigger frame for $149.95.
Are there any other headphones that should be on our “2017 Best Travel Headphones Under $100” list? Let us know in the comments below.