Everyone likes listening to music, whether you play your favorite playlist on your way to work or school, or you enjoy your favorite song while jogging in the park. Some people even enjoy using headphones at work to help them focus on the task at hand and muffle noise. Since we use headphones a lot, it is worth choosing them carefully. Many headphones are overpriced and can be replaced with much more affordable alternatives that are better in many ways.
In this article, you will find information on the best headphones under $300 to suit all your needs from sound quality to size and design.
Comparison table: best headphones under $300
Best sound quality
Sensitivity: 99 dB/mW
Frequency response: 15 to 28,000 Hz
Impedance: 38 ohms
Item Weight (pounds): 0.68
Item Dimensions (inches): 8.66 x 4.33 x 9.84
- Low music leakage due to closed design
- The earpads rotate in two directions, due to which the headphones fold down for convenient storage
|V-MODA Crossfade M-100|
Best bass quality
Sensitivity: 103 dB/mW
Frequency response: 5 - 30,000 Hz
Impedance: 32 ohms
Item Weight (pounds): 0.62
Item Dimensions (inches): 4.5 x 7.04 x 9.5
- Great audio reproduction
- Sturdy and durable design
|Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro|
Best for studio work
Sensitivity: 99 dB/mW
Frequency response: 5 - 35,000 Hz
Impedance: 250 ohms
Item Weight (pounds): 0.55
Item Dimensions (inches): 8.7 x 4.7 x 9.1
- The most natural sound, without distortion, which is ideal for professional use
- Soft earpads that fit comfortably in your ears for extended use
|Bose QuietComfort 35 II|
Sensitivity: 113 dB/mW
Frequency response: 5 - 30,000 Hz
Impedance: 55 ohms
Item Weight (pounds): 0.52
Item Dimensions (inches): 3.2 x 6.7 x 7.1
- Excellent Bluetooth connectivity
- Can pair with two devices at the same time
The most durable
Sensitivity: 117 dB/mW
Frequency response: 5 - 30,000 Hz
Impedance: 38 ohms
Item Weight (pounds): 0.43
Item Dimensions (inches): 1.5 x 6 x 7.5
- Great battery life
- Stable and wireless design
How did we choose?
We are different from other sites that also offer reviews. We have our proven work methodology, which consists of the following:
- First of all, we looked at the highest-rated headphones.
- We found the top 15 models, which cost less than $300.
- Then we selected 8 models for a detailed review (excluded outdated ones and low-rating models).
- We analyzed more than 200 customer reviews.
Due to this method, we understood the features that are the most important for users when choosing headphones. Also, we highlighted the most common criteria for each model. All these together helped us list our top-5 headphones under $300. You can see our calculation process below.
What to pay attention to when choosing headphones
The following are the 3 most important factors to consider:
- Sound quality
Sound quality should be one of the most important factors to consider when buying headphones. Here are some things to consider when evaluating the sound quality:
- Bass: headphones at this price level are capable of reproducing sound without a sharp drop in the volume of frequencies in the lower end of the spectrum. The V-MODA Crossfade M-100 (review) is a model that delivers great bass for fans of this sound.
- Frequency response is another measure of sound quality. It should be at least 20 Hz — 20 kHz, it is the range that the human ear can hear. However, if the headphones fall within this range, you shouldn’t think they are good by default. Any electronic device is not capable of showing stable results at the lowest and highest volume. Therefore, we recommend choosing a model in which the start of the sound reproduction is, for example, at the 5-8 Hz mark, and the end is as far as possible from the 22 kHz digit. All headphones on our list are fully included in this range.
- Impedance directly affects the maximum volume and therefore the sound quality. The lower the impedance, the less voltage is required for loud sound and less power consumption. But the higher the impedance, the less distortion and the better the sound and, accordingly, more power is consumed.
For smartphones, music players, and other devices that do not have a powerful amplifier, the maximum recommended headphone impedance rating is 100 ohms. Excellent options for these indicators are Audio-Technica ATH-M50x (review), Bose QuietComfort 35 II (review), V-MODA Crossfade M-100 (review). If you are looking for professional headphones and plan to listen to music through a powerful amplifier, the resistance should start at around 200-250. The Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro (review) is a model that will perfectly cope with the task.
Do not ignore the build quality of the headphones: the better they are made, the longer they will last. Below are some things to look out for when choosing headphones.
The metal frame will provide more durability than the plastic one. Since it is more lasting and flexible enough, which increases the reliability of the structure. The V-MODA Crossfade M-100 (review) is a great example of this type of headphone.
When choosing wired headphones, you need to pay attention to the cable. It must be thick enough, flexible, and have a protective sheath. An excellent option is the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x (review) — headphones that come with 3 strong audio cables that can be changed depending on the need.
There are two main types of earpads for full-size headphones: leather (or leatherette) and made of velours (fabric). The first type gives better noise isolation, but at the same time they are quite dense and with long-wearing, the ears get tired faster. It is recommended to choose earpads made of leather, as low-quality material is prone to cracking. The second type, which includes the Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro (review), provides a greater level of comfort during prolonged wear, but the noise isolation is worse. They are also more difficult to clean as they accumulate wool and dust.
The sound becomes prettier when the headphones are comfortable. There are many things to consider in this category. Some of the best ones are:
- Adjustable headband: we all have different head sizes and for this reason, headphones need to be flexible. Therefore, the headband should be easily adaptable and padded. Bose QuietComfort 35 II (review) and Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro (review) are both especially comfortable to wear.
- Weight: The total weight of a headset determines how heavy it is. Travelers will love the lightweight, which won’t be heavy to carry while traveling. A great option is the Bose SoundLink (review), which are the lightest headphones on the list, and they also have a Bluetooth connection to suit travelers.
- Connection type
A wired or wireless type — everyone decides according to personal preferences.
The advantage of wireless models is that there are no problems with the wire, which, in addition to restricting movement, often breaks. It is also worth noting that Bluetooth models can connect multiple devices at the same time. Besides, this type of headphone is an excellent option for people who do sport for whom mobility is important. The Bose QuietComfort 35 II (review) and Bose SoundLink (review) are the models that will fully meet your expectations.
The headphones with a long, durable cord are preferred for professional use. The ability to reproduce sound without delay is an important criterion when choosing an accessory for studio work. Bluetooth headphones are sometimes unstable — the sound may be interrupted. Also, wired headphones are autonomous and more energy-efficient, they do not need to turn on additional functions to play sounds. The Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro (review) is an excellent example of such headphones.
A detailed review of each model:
Audio-Technica ATH-M50x — Best sound quality
- Сlosed-back design that minimizes music leakage
- Balanced, detailed sound of excellent quality
- Dense plastic for strength
- 3 detachable cables included
- Comes with a padded carry bag for easy storage when traveling
- Doesn’t have a built-in microphone, so if you need one, better pay attention to the Bose SoundLink (review) and Bose QuietComfort 35 II (review)
- Only passive isolation, unlike the Bose QuietComfort 35 II (review)
The Audio-Technica ATH-M50x are closed-back headphones with excellent and well-balanced sound reproduction. They are ideally tuned to reproduce both extremely low (bass) and high frequencies (instrumental music).
Audio-Technica ATH-M50x has a wired design that has no audio delay, which is often the case with Bluetooth headphones such as the Bose SoundLink (review). It’s a great option for recording, watching videos, and even playing games if you don’t need a microphone. Since these headphones are closed-back, they provide even bass but are less accentuated. The V-MODA Crossfade M-100 (review) is a great option for people who absolutely crave headphone bass. But it’s worth noting that this model has the best sound quality and is also focused on critical listening, which is suitable for people who make music professionally.
These headphones offer only passive isolation from ambient noise and no audio control, which is not ideal for noisy environments and commuting. For use under such conditions, it is better to pay attention to the Bose QuietComfort 35 II (review).
V-MODA Crossfade M-100 — Best bass quality
- Deep bass
- Sturdy due to the metal frame, unlike the plastic construction of other models on the list
- Built-in microphone for calls, which Audio-Technica ATH-M50x (review) lacks
- Comfortable for long-term listening due to oversize soft earpads that perfectly fit and don’t feel too tight on the head
- Comes in a hard case that protects your headphones from scratches, water damage, and drops
- Insufficient sound cancellation, unlike Bose QuietComfort 35 II (review)
The V-MODA Crossfade M-100 headphones will appeal to bass lovers with their accentuated, but not overwhelming bass, perfect for deep music. The sensitivity of the headphones is 103 dB/mW, which is within the optimal value (95-105dB/mW). In this case, the membrane will not respond to low-intensity pulses, and the bass sound will be spacious and deep. For this reason, these headphones are great for musicians or DJs as they can reproduce powerful sound.
These headphones have a closed design to ensure sufficient noise isolation. As a result, they represent an isolated environment capable of delivering excellent-sounding results with deep bass.
The V-MODA Crossfade M-100 has good build quality. The headband has a frame and hinges made of metal in contrast to the plastic construction of the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x (review). This combination is a stable product with increased strength flexibility to withstand drops. A durable case that comes with the kit protects them from scratches and damages, and also makes it easy to store and transportation. Also, almost all components (inner and outer wire, speaker, body parts such as earpads) can be replaced.
Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro — Best for studio work
- Excellent sound quality
- Comes with a strong coiled cable
- Fits perfectly, pressure on the ears is evenly distributed
- High-quality assembly
- Insufficient volume without using an amplifier
- Sound leakage due to open headphone design unlike the Audio-Technica ATH-M50x (review)
- No carrying case
Are you looking for a product that is ideal for professional use? Then the Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro will interest you. The headphones have detailed high-quality separation of instruments and “colorless” sound without pronounced bass or vocal accents. For this reason, headphones are great for studio monitoring and sound engineering when you want to listen to a track the way it was intended as well as identify recording flaws and make mixes as clear as possible.
Since these are professional-grade headphones and have the highest impedance values, you will get the best range and accuracy when used with an amplifier. Overall, these are extremely comfortable headphones with excellent sound.
The Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro has a solid construction. The headband has a sturdy metal frame like the V-MODA Crossfade M-100 (review) that can withstand decent physical activity. You don’t have to worry about damaging the headband, as the metal used to reinforce the frame provides density and durability, unlike plastic structures. Plus, the padded headband and ear cushions are silky smooth and flexible, so you’ll feel comfortable even after long listening sessions.
Bose QuietComfort 35 II — Best noise-canceling
- Exceptional noise isolation to block out background noise
- Good battery life
- Comfortable fit
- Storage case included
- Not suitable for sports activities, unlike Bose SoundLink (review), as they aren’t stable enough for high-intensity exercises and may fall off your head
Whether you want quiet on your daily commute, plane, bus, or office work, the Bose QuietComfort 35 II is perfect for that. For ease of use, these headphones allow you to control your music and calls with the built-in remote and microphone. They also have an extra button on the left ear cup that activates Google Assistant/Alexa or toggles noise-canceling modes. This model allows you to switch active noise canceling between three levels: high, low, or off. Therefore, you can customize it out of personal preference.
Also, they have a closed structure and minimal sound leakage, unlike the Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro (review), so they can be used without noise-damage to others. Besides, they are equipped with rotating ear cushions that tightly cover the ear. This enhances the noise canceling effect, allowing you to focus on what matters.
In addition to this, they provide great sound quality that will let you enjoy your music wherever you are. The Bose QuietComfort 35 II has good bass fidelity that can delight fans of bass music genres. But if you want to fully enjoy deep bass, the V-MODA Crossfade M-100 (review) is for you.
Bose SoundLink — The most durable
- Well-balanced sound
- Precise bass
- Lightweight and have plenty of adjustabilities to fit pretty much any head
- The good microphone that transmits clear and intelligible speech
- Insufficient sound insulation, in contrast to Bose QuietComfort 35 II (review)
The Bose SoundLink — wireless headphones that are great for extended use. Bluetooth connectivity provides up to 20 hours of playtime which is 25% more than the Bose QuietComfort 35 II (review). This means you don’t have to charge them as often throughout the day, making them the perfect headphones for long flights or commutes. They also have an adjustable timer to help extend battery life. Dual-link is available, so you can switch between the two devices.
The Bose SoundLink isn’t quite as good as the Bose QuietComfort 35 II (review) at eliminating background noise, but it does provide a solid all-around headset. Sound quality is exceptional, regardless of volume, because it is clear and accurate. They are suitable for both listening to music and playing games. You can connect them to your computer or PS4. They are comfortable enough for long gaming sessions, and due to noise-cancellation, you will enjoy an immersive experience.
Also, this model is perfect for sports, unlike the headphones that have a wired design on this list. They will easily maintain their position during listening and fit snugly enough to the head.
Upgrade your listening experience with accessories for headphones
THX AAA 789 Linear Headphone Amplifier
The amplifier is capable of driving any type of headphone, including high impedance and high sensitivity headphones. It is designed for people who appreciate the incredibly clear sound. It features realistic listening without fatigue.
Carrying Case for headphones
Linkidea Headphones Carrying Case
You no longer have to worry about the integrity of your headphones while traveling. The case is made of high-quality, crush-resistant material. Headphones fit in snug and securely with a velcro anchor strap and mesh pocket for accouterments.
Earpads for headphones
Brainwavz Velour Replacement Ear Pads
Replacement earpads using soft velour material, have a universal fit for use with a large selection of headphone models from many different manufacturers. Covered in a soft velour material, perfect for those long sessions where comfort is more of a priority.
Havit RGB Headphones Stand
Conveniently store your headphones making sure they are always in reach. Non-slip rubberized base provides excellent stability and protects the headset from wear and tear. The stand can be connected to a computer via two USB-cables. You can plug in your mouse/keyboard, and make up for the two ports it takes up on your computer. It also has a cord for connecting to a socket, so you can easily charge your phone or other devices.
3.5mm Stereo Audio Cable
This replacement cable is ideal for headphones without losing sound quality. The cord is made of enameled wire and a durable material covered with braided cotton, making it strong enough without the possibility of tangling.
Typical mistakes you while picking headphones
1. Uncertain purchase purpose
Before buying, you should ask yourself the question for what most often you are going to use headphones. For example, if you are a gamer — you need not just headphones, but a headset (headphones with a microphone and good sound insulation). A great option is the Bose SoundLink (review).
If you are an athlete, you should pay attention to Bluetooth headphones, because they are not limited to a wire. The Bose SoundLink (review) headphones are ideal for running.
For musicians, the question is even wider — they are much more demanding of sound than others. Professional headphones provide great sound without loss of quality. The Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro (review) is an excellent option for such a case.
2. Without considering portability options
Headphones come in different sizes and portability. Headphones, which are larger than the regular ones, will be much more uncomfortable to carry and store, especially when you are on the go.
If you are aiming for something pocket-sized, the smaller headphones are your best bet like the Bose QuietComfort 35 II (review) and the V-MODA Crossfade M-100 (review), which fold down the ear pads and come with a storage case.
3. Not thinking about noise-cancellation
Active Noise Cancellation, or ANC, is a feature that minimizes or eliminates external noise to provide the best listening experience when listening to music or making phone calls.
Having ANC on your headphones can be useful in certain situations, such as when receiving a phone call in a public place. It is generally uncomfortable to receive phone calls in a noisy and busy environment, but with the active noise canceling feature on your device, it will be smoother. A great option for this case is the Bose QuietComfort 35 II (review).
In today’s world, it is highly important to choose the right pair of headphones to suit your lifestyle. Whether you are looking for the best bass quality available or headphones with a microphone for making calls, your pair of headphones should mark all the conditions you need. Examining the nuances of sound quality and noise-canceling technology can provide important insights into what to expect from a product, but other factors such as Bluetooth connectivity and comfortable ear pads can be critical.
✔ What are the best wireless headphones for under $300?
We advise you to pay attention to these models:
- Bose QuietComfort 35 II — Best noise-canceling
- Bose SoundLink — The most durable
Find detailed information about each model in our article.
🎶 What are the best headphones for gaming?
The best gaming headphones include:
- Beyerdynamic DT 990 Pro
- Bose SoundLink
- Bose QuietComfort 35 II
More information about these models in our article.
📌 Are wired headphones better than wireless?
Wired headphones provide a stable signal from the device you are connected to, although you remain tied to the device with a cord, limiting your mobility. Wireless headphones use Bluetooth technology, which can improve your ability to move around. However, the Bluetooth connection is not always reliable, and if the signal is uneven, the sound may be interrupted.
🎵 What is active noise canceling and is it an important feature?
Active Noise Canceling (ANC) is a technology that improves sound quality by blocking out ambient noise so you can better focus on what you are listening to. If you plan to use headphones in a noisy environment (busy workplace, airplane, subway ride), then you should definitely look at headphones with this function.