Best Bluetooth Headphones Under 100 in 2021

SoundGearLab-Team | Last Updated On November 25th, 2021 | This post may contain affiliate links.

Not everybody wants or can spend a lot of money on getting a new pair of headphones. With $100 or less you can get a good pair of Bluetooth headphones if you know where to look. With the number of headphones out there, searching for that a good headphone would take your precious time and resources. Whether they are for music, gaming, working out, or using them with your TV, wireless headphones are ideal for most situations. Here at sound gear lab, we have narrowed down the options for you with this list of the best Bluetooth headphones under $100 to help you make an informed decision.

Without wasting much of your time, let’s do this!

NB: At the time of testing all Bluetooth headphones on this page were below 100 dollars.

HEADPHONES BATT.* CANC.* aptX Type
Sennheiser HD 4.40 25 hours No Yes Over-Ear
SENSO ActivBuds 8 hours No Unknown In-Ear
Taotronics TT-BH22 30 hours Yes No Over-Ear
Positive Vibration 2 Wireless Headphones 12 hours No No On-Ear
JBuds Air True 3-4 hours No No In-Ear
Avantree-Wireless-Bluetooth Headphones 40 hours No Yes Over-Ear
ENACFIRE E18 3 hours No No In-Ear
TROND-Bluetooth-Headphones 12 – 20 hours No Yes Over-Ear
Anker SoundBuds Curve 14 hours Yes Yes In-Ear
iDeaPlay ANC Headphones 30 hours Yes Yes Over-Ear

BATT.* = Battery Life
CANC.* = Noise Canceling

 

1. Sennheiser HD 4.40 – Our Best  Bluetooth Headphone  Under  100

Battery life: 25 hours
Noise Canceling: No
AptX Bluetooth: Yes

What we like: Strong audio performance with excellent deep natural bass, solid value for the price
What we don’t: the cable for wired mode lacks inline controls

In the pro audio and wired headphone worlds, Sennheiser has seen tremendous growth in the market. However, when it comes to wireless tech, their success has been limited. With the Sennheiser HD 4.40 BT, You can be sure to experience an excellent sound signature with some boosted bass at a cheaper price range.

The HD 4.40 BT is a circumaural (over-the-ear), closed back type headphone. At first, judging from its design, high-quality materials, and subtle color accents you would price this headphone at a higher price tag. However, at the current price range, these headphones are a treasure to get.

The headphone is made of high-quality plastic on the outside. The inside of the headphone lacks cushioning, but instead, Sennheiser has provided a soft rubber-like inner band that provides a cushioning effect. The earpads are synthetic with memory form that adds to the overall comfort of this headphone.

The earpads are replaceable and seem to be thicker or more padded than their counterparts, the Sennheiser HD 4.50, probably to provide the noise canceling effect that does not come as a feature with the HD 4.0 BT models.

On the right earcap’s side panel, there are various buttons, an indicators, and a 3.5mm angled connector. The buttons are quite hard to master at first, but with time you can expect to be better. Bluetooth controls are easy to use, and the pairing process was fast and flawless.

The sound of these cans is good. With most music I played on them, the highs and mids were well rounded with an extra punch of bass. Unlike most headphones, the bass is not boomy but pumps out naturally. Both the wireless and wired modes are quite similar in sound quality, but a bit more bass with wireless mode.

Overall, the Sennheiser HD 4.40 is an excellent sounding headphone at a price. Coupled with a 25-hours battery (according to Sennheiser), high-frequency response and the comfortable fit, these cans can match up to most high priced wireless headphones models. There are small issues with this headphone but certainly not deal breakers… Read our in-depth review

See the Sennheiser HD 4.40

 

2. SENSO ActivBuds – Best In-Ear Bluetooth Headphone

Battery life: 8 hours
Noise Canceling: No
aptX Bluetooth: Unknown

What we like: IPX-7 waterproof, secure and fit with multiple eartips
What we don’t: Small volume up and down buttons

If you are searching for a sports headphone, then the SENSO ActivBuds are here for you. Coupled with good sound, Bluetooth capabilities, waterproof protection among other features, this headphone is a real bargain.

Going by the company’s products, SENSO has been making wireless sports headphones since 2016 and have seen significant improvement both in their growth as a company and the number of sales they have made.

At over 28,000 reviews at the time of this writing, the SENSO ActivBuds are the best selling SENSO Bluetooth headphones with an average rating of four out of five stars.

So, is this headphone worth your money?

At this price, most people would expect a product that would sacrifice durability. But, while the SENSO ActivBuds are quite affordable and cheap, their quality is far from the cheap flimsy products going around.

Starting from their packaging and the quality of the accessories included, it is clear SENSO took quality seriously when designing this headphone.

The headphone is built with mostly plastic while the clip-on are soft and have a rubber or silicone material. The ear tips are made of silicone too, and you get three pairs with the headphone. Other accessories included are a USB car charger, charging cables and a carrying case.

In terms of comfort, the headphone was good. Mostly we used this pair of headphones for working out in the gym and outdoor exercises. The headphone held up pretty good and stayed in place while working out.

The headphone isolates noise pretty well, but I think they should have included foam tips as they would help in blocking the noise levels in very noisy spots.

If you are like me, sweating while working out is necessary. Sweating is a common phenomenon in most sportspeople. Luckily, with the SENSO ActivBuds, you do not have to worry about destroying your headphone when they are exposed to your sweet. However, being a sweat proof headphone should not be confused with being waterproof.

After a successful Bluetooth connection to my phone, the next step was to get how this headphone sounds.

First, these headphones are very loud at only half of the volume on my phone; I do not think I would go past this point. The bass is heavy and clear. However, the headphone lacks the treble/highs. At high volumes, the headphone seems to give out a distorted sound. Using a phone equalizer could help give out some treble, but if you prefer more bass, they are good headphones.

See the SENSO ActivBuds

 

3. TaoTronics TT-BH040  – Best Noise Cancelling Headphone

Battery life: 30 hours
Noise Canceling: Yes
aptX Bluetooth: No

What we like: comfortable headphones, value for money
What we don’t: big travel case

TaoTronics, a Chinese brand, is one of the best-rising companies that have been making bigger strides in the tech industry. Unlike most Chinese brands that pump out thousands of flimsy, near identical headsets into the marketplace, Taotronics is not one of them.

When I first got to see and experience the TT-BH040, they were unlike most headphones that came in at that price. They came nicely packaged. In the box, the headphones sit flatly in the hard case/travel pouch that is built well. You also get a charging cable, a 3.5 mm jack cable, and an airplane adapter.

Starting first with the design of these cans, Taotronics did a good job. The headphones made of plastic but do not feel cheap. They are also lightweight for over-the-ear headphones and the top band area if well foamed to make them comfortable to wear for longer hours

The headphones cups are wide and covered my ears quite well. They are well padded to improve the Comfort and limit the amount of noise that bleeds into or the music that leaks out. Although not made of genuine leather, the synthetic leather they are made out of is of good quality and can be replaced with time.

The TT-BH040 also comes with an active noise cancellation feature. Although the feature is not at par with the likes of Bose, it does quite a good job of filtering out most outside noise.

Like the Sennheiser HD 4.40, The Taotronics BH040 can be used wired or through Bluetooth. I had no problems when connecting them with Bluetooth. They easily paired on my phone and tablet. I could also move around my home and experienced no drop in signal.

These cans are portable and make a good traveling companion with all the basic features you would expect. The headphone comes with a traveling case, has active noise cancellation (ANC), wired mode and long battery life. The only problem is that they the earpads are the ones that can only twist.

I would have preferred the twist more to make them smaller, which would have in-turn reduced the size of the traveling pouch they come in.

When it comes down to the sound, the TT-BH040 is not the best, but they sure deliver. The bass is there but not that heavy, the vocals are fine and came out clearly. I would say the sound is somewhat balanced, and for the price, it is a great sounding comfortable headphone.

See the TaoTronics TT-BH040

 

4. House of Marley, Positive Vibration 2 – Best On-Ear

Battery life: 12 hours
Noise Canceling: No
aptX Bluetooth: No

What we like: Good bass, good sound quality, sturdy build with quality materials
What we don’t: The clamping force is high

When House of Marley first released the Positive vibration 11, they came in wired. I had the chance to listen to them, and I can say the sound was excellent. The headphone is solidly built and comfortable to use. A few months later, The Positive Vibration 11 wireless headphones came into the market, and they have not disappointed.

First, the House of Marley Positive Vibrations 2 Wireless is an on-ear headphone. If you are looking for a portable headphone, this is a good choice largely due to the ability that it can be folded into a compact portable design.

The headphone’s built quality and materials are on point. I prefer the black version, but if you want a bolder look, the headphone also comes in denim blue and silver.

Unlike most headphones, the Positive Vibration 2 Wireless comes with some high-end touches that make them all way great. First, the earcups are made of Aluminum and not plastic. The headband is made of fabric rather than plastic or synthetic leather. The only part that has plastic is the hinge that joins both the earcups to the headband using steel wire. Lastly, the headphones also feature a wooden inlay on the earcups that adds an earthy touch that even Bob Marley would love.

The headphone is light. The Aluminum finish is quite thin making its the overall weight to be less than you would imagine it to be. The earcups are quite comfortable and well padded with leatherette foam. The headband is also quite comfortable with the padded layer. However, on the negative, the clamping force of the headphone seems quite high. I am hoping over time the headphone will stretch but for now, wearing them for long hours is quite hard.

On the positive, the headphone also comes with a wired mode, so if the 12-hour battery is not sufficient, you can connect the cables and continue listening to your music.

The headphone supports Bluetooth 4.2, and the sound quality is good. The bass coming out of these headphones is awesome. The headphone seems to have a V-shaped sound signature; which means the highs and the lows are more pronounced. This is not a bad thing and on the contrary, makes the music sound very energetic and vibrant.

See the Positive Vibration 2 Wireless Headphones

 

5. JLab Audio JBuds Air – Best True Wireless Earbud

Battery life: 3 – 4 hours + 10-hours charging case
Noise Canceling: No
aptX Bluetooth: No

What we like: Great for working out, comfortable for the right sized ear
What we don’t: Big earbuds,

Jlab has been in the headphones market for some time now. I am familiar with some of their products, and I have tested a handful of them. Overall, the company has been making bigger strides and am impressed with their performance. The JBUDS AIR TRUE WIRELESS EARBUDS are the first truly wireless headphone from JBUD I have listened to extensively.

When true wireless technology was launched, it ushered in a new era of wireless audio. Right now, truly wireless earbuds are flooded in the market. Few manufacturers have managed to come up with new ideas to create unique design ideas. The JBuds are not one of them but resemble a typical true wireless earbud.

The JBuds are small, a little bigger than the Enarcfire E18 but are lightweight and come with a charging power case that is portable. The design of this earbud features an LED light on each earbud that lights up different colors depending on the operation. The earbud is mate black and are made of plastic.

The JBud is pretty comfortable and comes with three pairs of silicone ear tips and silicone bands. For smaller sized ears, these earbuds would give some problems although you can minimize this by trying out the small ear tips. The cush Fins that come with the JBud did not have much impact when used with earbuds, and I found myself not using them most of the time. When working out, the cush fins come in handy to provide the earbuds with better grip and keep them from falling out.

The JBuds are IP55 rated. This means they provide protection against dust and they are sweet and water resistant. However, this only applies to the earbuds and not the charging case.

The sound quality of this JLab earbud is determined by three preset EQ settings; balanced, signature and bass boost. Overall, both balanced and signature modes deliver an enjoyable listening experience with a decent amount of bass. However, Bass Boost sounds unnatural, and the bass boost is muffled. The Balanced mode worked better for me, the bass is just right and does not interfere with the other frequencies that much. The midrange and highs come out quite good, and there is less interference from the bass. Overall, this is a heavy bass earbud and could work well if you are looking for a headphone to use when working out.

See the JBuds Air True Wireless

 

6. Avantree Audition Pro – Best Wireless Headphone For TV

Battery life: 40 hours
Noise Canceling: No
aptX Bluetooth: Yes, (Low Latency)

What we like: Replaceable earpads
What we don’t: Low latency, good battery life

Avantree is one of the companies that has been providing exceptional audio at an affordable price to its consumers. This Avantree Bluetooth headphone is no exception, offering quality audio at a lower price.

If you are looking for an over-ear headphone to use with your TV, then the Avantree 4.1 Bluetooth headphone is a real bargain.

First, let us start looking at the design and construction style of this headphone.

This Avantree headphone is mainly constructed with plastic and features a rubberish finish. The only use of metals in this headphone is in the wires that join the earcups to the headband. The headband is sturdy and well constructed to handle some extreme cases that would occur by accident. The material used in the construction of the headband is soft and very comfortable. The material is not real leather; it is more of protein leather but seems to be of high quality.

The earpads are soft and leather styled. They are quite big and covered my whole ears this provided better passive noise isolation. The earpads are replaceable and can take any standard earpads or new replacements from Avantree. The headphone is very light and did not feel exhausting to my ears or head. The headphone padding on the earpads seems low quality and may compress over time. However, at the moment, they are comfortable, soft and quite warm.

Among the many features that come with this headphone, a notable one would be the 40-hour battery.
This ridiculously good battery life can last longer under minimal or extended use. Other notable features that come with this headphone would be aptX low latency and NFC.

The headphone comes with both the wired and wireless modes. With the wireless mode, you get a multi-function button that you use for play/pause as well other functions such as skip, power, and pairing. The button took me some time to master and will annoy sometimes.

Overall, compared to high-end models, these Avantree headphones certainly do not offer high-quality sound. Nevertheless, at this price range, they sound right. The bass, however, is a little boomy while the treble and the mids are quite good. These headphones are largely marketed for gaming, but I can say they are not gaming headphones. Overall, the music sounds good but when it comes to communication while gaming, they have problems producing clear sounds. However, with that said, for TV use or music listening at home, these would be good.

See the Avantree Audition Pro

 

7. ENACFIRE E18

Battery life: 3 hours for the Earbuds and 15 hours for the charging case
Noise Canceling: No
AptX Bluetooth: No

What we like: Magnetic charging case, highly portable
What we don’t: Lacks volume controls

True wireless technology has been on the rise as time passes. True wireless technology, unlike wireless technology, does not utilize any wires between earbuds. With big companies like Apple dropping the headphone jack from their phones, true wireless remains one of the technologies you can rely on to listen to your music via your phone.

With the advantages true wireless technology comes with, it has been gaining popularity among tech and music lovers. Established in 2016, ENACFIRE, an audio electronics company has steadily grown to be well known in the audio industry. The Enacfire E18 Bluetooth earbuds are highly portable and use true wireless technology.

Out of the box, the ENACFIRE E18 earbuds come in a small portable case. The case is made to charge the earbuds and stores up to 500mAh.

The earbuds I would say are of medium size, and they do not look obstructive which is most likely due to the lack of a cord.

Connecting the earbuds to my phone was easy. When they are on, take them out of the case and using your phone search for the earbuds on your Bluetooth menu. Once paired for the first time, they automatically detect and pair on a second use.

In testing, the earbuds held up in most situations, but during intense exercise, you can feel as if they are coming off. The earbuds also come with short battery life, but the docking charging case comes with an additional 15 hours of power. Every time you put the earbuds in the case, they get charged. The case is also small and can fit in your pockets or purse.

The sound quality is good; I have used them on the streets while working out and while watching TV. The sound quality might not be on an audiophile scale, but for regular headphones that are not that expensive, they sound great…Read our in-depth review of the Enacfire E18.

See the ENACFIRE E18

 

8. TROND Bluetooth V4.2

Battery life: 20 – 30 hours
Noise Canceling: No
AptX Bluetooth: Yes

What we like: Comes with a portable case, low latency makes them great for TV
What we don’t: Controls are hard to find

If you are looking for a multi-purpose wireless headphone, then the Trond V4.2 headphones are well adapted for most situations. They are portable and come with a hard traveling case.

They are over-the-ear headphones to give better noise isolation and can be used to connect wirelessly to your TV.

Trond has been in the market for quite some years. Apart from their budget-friendly headphones, Trond is one of the well-known makers of Bluetooth receivers and transmitters.

The Trond V4.2 headphone like most TROND headphone is a budget-friendly pick. It features an over-ear headphone design and comes with a 500mAh battery that can provide up to 30 hours of music playtime. Apart from the wireless mode, the headphone also features a wired mode that you can use to connect a phone or table using a 3.5mm aux cable.

When I first received this headphone, I was impressed first by how well it was packaged and featured a good minimalist design. The Trond V4.2 looks like a premium headphone. The headphone is mostly made of plastic, and the headband has the steel to keep it from breaking. The earcups are made of some leather-ish material; however, they are not that thick and could do with some extra padding.

The headband is well padded and has a soft material. The overall weight of the headphone is not that much, about 260g. Their lightweight nature makes them good for use for listening sessions of about three or four hours without a problem.

The headphone comes with the basic control buttons. Play/pause, volume adjustment, tracks changing buttons and the on/off switch. It also features a 3.5mm Aux jack, a micro USB power jack and an LED indicator that displays different indicator colors for various codecs.

Whether you need a headphone to play your music, games or a wireless TV headphone to watch your movies, the Trond V4.2 reproduces audio with good quality. Though the sound is less refined, when compared to headphones at this price, It out-matches most. The headphones have deep bass, for watching TV, you hear the vocals clearly without distortion.

Another important feature with this headphone would be the AptX low latency. With this feature, you will hardly notice any delay between the audio and visuals of a movie, show, or game when using them for TV or gaming.

See the TROND Bluetooth V4.2 Headphones

 

9. Anker SoundBuds Curve – Best for Working Out

Battery life: 14 hours
Noise Canceling: Yes
AptX Bluetooth: Yes

What we like: water resistant, decent built quality
What we don’t: subpar inline microphone

If you are looking for a good sports headphone that comes with good battery life and a decent sound, Anker soundbuds curve are a good option.

The Anker brand, popularized by their charging devices, power banks and other smart devices for travel, entertainment, and smart homes has been a company in the forefront producing affordable headphones and speakers.

First off, let us look at the design of these headphones.

These are a decent looking pair of headphones and feature a sporty look. They are made of mostly plastic which is of standard quality and but the headphone during our tests held up and did not fall apart. The headphones have flexible non-removable ear-hooks that prevent them from falling off when working out. However, these headphones only come in a matte black finish, they also come in three other different colors namely, blue, green and red.

This headphone is quite comfortable and features complete accessories to make this happen. It comes with six tip options (silicone and memory foam), fins, and clips. When worn the headphone tips sit just near the ear canal which removes the soreness, pain, and discomfort that is experienced when ear tips go deeper into the ear canals.

The Anker curve comes with a 14-hour battery that is sure to last and features a fast charge feature that charges the headphone in 10minutes to last for one hour. The Anker curve also comes with a leather carrying pouch.

The headphones come also with a simple to use three buttons inline controller that provides all the must-have controls, i.e., volume up/down, track skipping and call/music controls. It also has a built-in microphone, which is quite low quality and needs to be improved.

Overall, at this price range, the Anker Soundbuds Curve is a decent sounding in-ear headphone. Though the bass is slightly overpowering, it is clear, while the midrange and treble come out as well balanced. For bass heads, this would be an ideal headphone.

See the Anker SoundBuds Curve

 

10. iDeaPlay V402

Battery life: 30 hours
Noise Canceling: Yes
aptX Bluetooth: Yes

What we like: good quality sound, light and comfortable
What we don’t: a quiet humming when noise cancellation is on

Noise canceling as a feature in most headphones has been below par. If you have listened to the likes of Bose Quiet Comfort 35 II or Sony WH1000XM3 then you have experienced the best noise canceling headphones in the audio world. But, at the price they sell, not everybody can afford to get a pair. Luckily, the likes of iDeaUSA have come up with noise canceling headphones that are cheaper and blocks out a fair amount of noise.

First, these are over-the-ear headphones; they are quite big and covered my ears completely. They felt sturdy though they are made out of plastic. Most the headphone is plastic except a steel band that joins the headband to the earcups. The band allows the adjustment of the headphone to fit different head sizes. The earpads and headband are made out of pleather, not as good as leather and without proper care will wear off or start peeling away. However, after a few weeks of use, they are still as good as they came out of the box. The controls of the headphone are well placed and easy to reach on the rear of the ear cup.

The headphone is light and comfortable to wear even for long hours. The design is big, and the earcups did not sit on my ears as you would expect with on-ear headphones. For a person who sometimes wears glasses, I felt the headphones were just fine although I have to tilt them a little bit to get the best angle that will not cause pain. If you want a headsets for glasses wearers, you can check this article.

The noise-canceling feature in this cans works well, it might be comparable to high-end models like Bose but, it does ensure a fair amount of ambient noise is blocked. The headphone does not completely block out people’s voices, but it does make the voice sound more distant and tinny. However, it is very effective at blocking faint hums or white noise you get almost everywhere.

The sound quality is quite good, and I had no problems listening to some of my best albums in hip-hop, electronic, pop and indie genres. The bass with this headphone was not too overwhelming, balancing with the mids and highs. They are good for listening to podcasts; dialogues are clear, and I feel they can give out good sounds when gaming but I am yet to try them with my PS4.

See the iDeaPlay ANC Headphones

 

Sennheiser HD 4.40

Sennheiser HD 4.40 | Sound Gear Lab

When most people think about wireless headphones, a Bluetooth headphone always certainly comes into mind. This is perhaps because manufacturers have largely popularized Bluetooth technology over time.

Due to this, other wireless technologies seem to have been forgotten or never gotten the limelight Bluetooth has enjoyed. Unlike other wireless technologies, Bluetooth is supported in all mobile phones as well as a large number of consumer electronics.

RF Headphones and IR Headphones

Radiofrequency headphones or RF headphones are more powerful than Bluetooth headphones with the signals reaching up to 300 feats. Radio frequency has also been known to pass through barriers such as walls, making it usable in most situations. However, RF technology is prone to interference, and its security is questionable.

IR headphones are slowly growing out of popularity and are becoming quite rare nowadays. IR headphones use a “Line-of-sight” technology that requires no obstruction between the transmitter and the receiver. Infrared headphones are mostly used with flip down monitors or headrest DVD players.

Unlike Bluetooth headphones, Infrared headphones are known to produce better quality audio and rarely distort sound at high volumes.

Anker SoundBuds Curve Wireless Headphones

Anker SoundBuds Curve Wireless Headphones | Sound Gear Lab

The debate of the wired vs. wireless headphone has been a subject of discussion and shows no sign of ending any time soon.

Let us face it, choosing whether to get a wireless, or a wired headphone will largely depend on a person’s preferences and his/her lifestyle.

Apart from the obvious debate and main difference between wired and wireless headphones, there is more to these two headphones than just having cables or lacking them.

Though wireless headphones have seen improvement over the years (Mainly referring to Bluetooth), there is still time before they catch up with a good pair of wired headphones. So, how do wired and wireless headphones compare?

First, the battery life comes into play. To function all headphones need power. However, unlike their wired counterparts, wireless headphones come with a built-in rechargeable battery. A Wireless headphone’s price and quality is often determined by the longevity of playback when the battery is fully charged. Of course, this will vary between different headphones.

Second, as earlier stated, wired headphones generally sound better than their wireless counterparts.

However, due to improvements in technology, the difference between Bluetooth headphones and wired headphones is becoming very subtle that most casual listeners would not mind whether they use headphones wired or wirelessly. Nevertheless, critical listeners or trained ears might notice variations between the two headphone types.

SENSO Bluetooth Headphones

SENSO ActivBuds Bluetooth Headphones | Sound Gear Lab

Wireless and true wireless headphones are two different technologies with the latter completely lacking a cable that connects two earbuds.
As an example: the SENSO ActivBuds are wireless, and the Enacfire E18 is true wireless earbuds. You can also check out our review of the Enacfire E20.

How do true wireless earbuds work?

With true wireless headphones individual buds are not connected; instead a master bud is connected to the playback device via Bluetooth. The master bud then transmits the Bluetooth signal to the other bud.

Audio quality between wireless headphones and true wireless earbuds is very similar. Other factors that might come into play when determining the music quality of true wireless include noise isolation, echo reduction, and active noise cancellation in some models.

True wireless buds usually come with an average battery life of about 4 hours. Apart from this, true wireless earbuds will often come with a charging case that can hold power. This meaning if run out of power while on the go, you can just put the earbuds in the charging case and they will charge.

True wireless earbuds are convenient, but they are just like other headphone types they come with their share of challenges. Traditional headphones might become overrated with time, but it is not often you lose one side, with true wireless earbuds, cases of one lost earbud are sure to increase with time.

ENACFIRE E18 True Wireless Earbuds | Sound Gear Lab

ENACFIRE E18 True Wireless Earbuds | Sound Gear Lab

Wireless headphones come with their inbuilt rechargeable batteries that power the headphone drivers.
In a perfect world, Bluetooth headphones would last the exact amount of hours that the manufacturer indicates, but this is not a perfect world!

To get their battery life figures, manufacturers test their headphones under ideal conditions. The headphones will not run at their maximum volume meaning the battery life will be extended. This means unless you can replicate the manufacturer’s conditions, there will be a variance between the stated figure and the results you get.

However, in most of our tests, the difference was minimal with a variance of an hour or half an hour below the stated figure. In our list, the headphone that performs the best on the list, in terms of battery life, are the Avantree Audition Pro Wireless. They offer a long battery life of 40 hours and do not get it wrong; they get pretty close to that.

Avantree Audition Pro Wireless

Avantree Audition Pro Wireless | Sound Gear Lab

Noise cancellation technology is also known as ANC (Active Noise Cancellation) is a technology developed to reduce background noise making it possible and better to listen to your music in areas with high ambient noise.

How does noise canceling work in headphones?

For noise cancellation to work, a headphone needs both a noise canceling circuitry and a microphone. The microphone picks up ambient noise such as machinery or crowd noise while the chip creates a noise-canceling sound wave that cancels the ambient noise captured by a microphone.

Though noise-canceling headphones come with their benefits, they too have drawbacks. For starters, they require a power source – draining a headphones battery when turned on. Noise-canceling circuitry may also reduce audio quality – sometimes with low-quality headphones, you may hear a high-frequency hiss when noise cancellation is turned on. Read more Noise cancellation.

TaoTronics Active Noise Cancelling Bluetooth Headphones

TaoTronics Active Noise Cancelling Bluetooth Headphones | Sound Gear Lab

If you look at our list of the best Bluetooth headphones under $100, you have probably seen the mention of aptX several times.

So what is aptX?

First created in the 1980s, aptX has grown over time and is now common in Bluetooth enabled electronics. Compared to the standard Bluetooth, aptX has seen improved audio quality with the ability to transmit music at a ‘CD-like’ quality. However, the quality is not ‘CD-quality’ because aptX uses compression, which in turn helps in reducing audio coding delays and latency issues.

If you are listening to music, aptX latency might not be that important, but for gaming headphones or TV headphones, you most certainly would need better latency headphones, unless you are willing to endure a video with were words do not go in sync with the actor’s lips.

For some cases where latency is super important, you might even consider aptX LL (Low Latency) codec, which cuts the latency of transmitted audio down to 32 milliseconds; this is considered fast that we would not notice any negligible differences.

There is also a newer version of aptX, called aptX HD. This new Bluetooth codec is said to offer even better audio quality. However, the technology is still new, and not many headphones have aptX HD.

House of Marley, Positive Vibration 2 Wireless Headphones

House of Marley, Positive Vibration 2 Wireless Headphones | Dima Dmitriev

Bluetooth as wireless technology has existed since the 1990’s and started to become more popular in the recent year. Ever since the first release of Bluetooth 1.0, Bluetooth has seen numerous updates that have made it a household name. In past years, nearly every smartphone or other devices have grown to embrace Bluetooth. With each upgrade, Bluetooth has seen improved performance and covered a wider range. When Bluetooth 3.0 came out in 2009, it was faster than 2.0 and 1.0. With the Bluetooth 5.0, the performance is said to improve and cover a broader range.

Bluetooth 4.1

Bluetooth 4.1 was officially released in 2013. V4.1 came with many features, and the most important was the backward compatibility feature. This feature was beneficial because there was no need for hardware change to use the new version.
It also came with a speed of 24MBps, which had a range of 100 meters or 300 feet.

Bluetooth 4.2

In 2014, Bluetooth 4.2 was adopted. The speed remained at 24MBps while the distance was at 100 meters or 300 feet. Bluetooth 4.2 is backward compatible with Bluetooth 4.1 and does not require significant hardware changes to work.

Bluetooth 5.0

Bluetooth 5.0 was announced in 2016 and launched later that year. With this version, major privacy and security issues were solved to meet the advanced standards of the wireless world.

Unfortunately, Bluetooth 5.0 does not come with backward compatibility of any previous versions and so requires new and latest hardware to work.

New smartphones in the market such as the iPhone 8, iPhone X and Samsung Galaxy S8 come with support for this version.

Though Bluetooth 5.0 technology is still new, most manufacturers are set to start using it in their new Bluetooth supported devices. Bluetooth 5.0 comes with a 4x range and 2x faster speed. The speeds of V5.0 are 48MBps and can cover a distance of 300m or 985 feet. In our list, the Enacfire E18 is one of the headphones that support Bluetooth 5.0.

Here is a summary of these Bluetooth technologies.

Version Speed Range Bands BACK.* NEW.*
Bluetooth 4.1 24MBps 100m/300feet 2.4-2.485 GHz Yes No
Bluetooth 4.2 24MBps 100m/300feet 2.4-2.485 GHz Yes For some features
Bluetooth 5.0 48MBps 300m/984feet 2.4-2.485 GHz No Yes

BACK.* = Backward Compatibility
NEW.* = New Hardware Requirement

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