6 Most Durable Headphones Under $100 (Over-ear, On-ear, Earbuds)


In this article, we will list the most durable headphones on a budget. We will cover both wired and wireless cans. We will also list the best over-ear and on-ear headphones as well as earbuds.

What Makes Headphones Durable

Sweat & Water Resistance

IP stands for ingress protection. It’s used to measure the capability of a headphone to protect itself from external contaminants such as water, sweat, dust, and dirt. It usually comes with 2 digits. The first one indicates a headphones’ solid protection capability, while the second one indicates its liquid protection capability.

However, there are times when a pair of headphones’ capability for solid protection are unknown. These values are replaced with an X, and that’s why you can see headphones with IPX# ratings. 

When it comes to IPX ratings, the higher the better. 

Here’s a quick rundown of what each IPX rating means:

  • IPX0 = no protection from moisture
  • IPX1 = protection from slightly dripping water only
  • IPX2 = protection from vertically dripping water
  • IPX3 = protection from sprayed water
  • IPX4 = protection from splashed water
  • IPX5 = protection from water from a nozzle
  • IPX6 = protection from powerful jets of water
  • IPX7 = protection from immersion in water with a one-meter depth
  • IPX8 = protection from immersion in water with a depth of 1 to 3 meters

Cable Quality 

Another thing that you should look for when choosing a headphone is its cable quality.

Many consumers believe that the better the cable quality, the better the sound quality. They can’t be more right. The length, thickness, and material of the wire can affect the electric current’s flow. As a result, the sound quality is affected. 

Technically speaking, it cannot change the quality of the sound. Rather, it can change the sound quality that you perceive. That’s why there’s static or interruption while you’re listening to music using headphones with faulty cables.

Materials

A durable pair of headphones are made of high-quality materials. The most durable headphones are often made of aluminum, plastic, or steel. Even though plastic is more common, the aluminum ones last longer. 

Though the outer side of a headphone’s ear cups or buds matter, they don’t matter as much as what lies on your ear. 

A headphone’s cushion is usually made of foam or rubber. While it largely depends on your preference, there are some things you might want to know about them. 

Foam wears out more quickly than rubber. However, foam is lighter and generally feels more comfortable. On the other hand, rubber can block out noise more effectively than foam. 

Design

Design is not just a matter of aesthetics, it’s a matter of durability as well. The design of your headphones basically determines the material used, and where a certain feature is placed. 

For example, some headphones are designed to have touch-sensitive controls, which make them more durable. Others are designed to sustain impact, which makes them last long even after you drop them many times. 

Long Warranty

A long warranty is a sign that a set of headphones has good quality. A pair of headphones with a long warranty means that the manufacturer has great confidence in the product. 

Best Wireless Over-Ear Headphone Under $100: Mixcder E9 

Mixcder E9

Sweat & Water Resistance

The Mixcder E9 is resistant to water and sweat. However, it is not ideal to use it under the rain or in the shower. It can be a good companion for gym-goers though. 

This headphone set is also ideal for those who like to play long games and dance with their headphones on. 

Materials

The Mixcder E9’s exterior is mostly made of plastic, but it doesn’t feel very heavy. However, they can withstand drops or any forms of abuse. Plus, the Mixcder E9 comes with a carry case that you can use for extra protection while traveling.

Its headband is covered with faux leather and reinforced by a thin metal plate. The ear cups are covered with faux leather as well. This can cause some heat to accumulate on your ears over time, so it’s ideal to use it in cold environments or during winter. 

Design 

The Mixcder E9 has a sleek, elegant design that makes it good to look at. Aesthetically speaking, it does not go beyond the look of most over-ear wireless headphones. 

There is a lot of padding around the ear cups, which might take time to adjust to your ear shape. The clamp on the headphones are slightly hard but should loosen up after frequent usage. 

The left ear cup houses the aux port and the control for active noise cancellation. The right ear cup has the power & volume controls, and the charging port. 

In addition, the Mixcder E9 has a pivot design. You can fold the ear cups to save storage space. 

Warranty

The Mixcder E9 has a one-year warranty. The company has an 18-month warranty extension for its members in total. 

Pros

  • Folding ear cups
  • Thick padding
  • Sleek design
  • Active noise cancellation
  • Water- and sweat-resistant

Cons

  • Slightly short warranty
  • Heat-prone ear cup covers

Best Wired Over-Ear Headphone Under $100: Audio-Technica ATH-M40x 

Audio-Technica ATH-M40x

Sweat & Water Resistance

The Audio-Technica ATH-M40x does not have a very high IPX rating, but it can handle some sweat. It may not be the best one to use under the rain, but it can still be a good companion for audiophiles. 

On the other hand, Audio-Technica ATH-M40x works well in the studio, gaming, or office environments. 

Cable Quality 

Audio-Technica ATH-M40x comes with 2 detachable cables, coiled and straight, that connect to its left ear cup. The coiled cable is 1 to 3 meters long, while the straight cable measures 3 meters. 

The cable jack connection has a secure twist-lock design. Thus, the cable won’t accidentally unplug. This also means that the cable is protected from damage due to tugging. 

Materials

The headband and ear cups of the Audio-Technica ATH-M40x are made of soft foam. The foam seems hard at first use, but it will soften and adjust itself to the shape of your ears. 

The two ear cup drivers of the Audio-Technica ATH-M40x are connected by copper-clad aluminum wires. They can be damaged from a lot of bending or adjustment so you have to be careful. 

The Audio-Technica ATH-M40x’s frame is made of plastic, which makes it durable enough to sustain impact from being dropped. It also has plastic hinges that are commonly found in over-ear headphones. 

Design

The Audio-Technica ATH-M40x has a bulky design. It looks a little over the top, as compared to many over-ear headphones. Thus, it’s a great choice for DJ’s and sound mixers. 

Despite its bulky appearance, the Audio-Technica ATH-M40x has a pivot and hinge design that allows it to fold up. The ear cups can pivot a full 90 degrees, which saves storage space. 

Warranty

The  Audio-Technica ATH-M40x is warranted for 2 years from its date of purchase. 

Pros

  • Pivoting ear cups
  • Secure twist-lock design
  • High-quality detachable cables
  • Good noise isolation
  • Long warranty

Cons

  • Not waterproof
  • Bigger than many over-ear headphones
  • Not comfortable for some during first use

Best Wireless On-Ear Headphone Under $100: JBL Live 400BT 

Sweat & Water Resistance

The JBL Live 400BT is not designed to be highly resistant to water and sweat. Thus, it cannot be used under the rain or in the shower. It can be a good companion for gym-goers as long as the training is not as intense. 

Materials

The JBL Live 400BT’s headband has a flexible thin metal frame. The stitching around it seems better than its counterparts. Its ear cups are dense enough for the JBL Live 400BT to handle some drops without being damaged. 

The ear cup side not touching your ear is made of plastic that many deem to be cheap. The ear cushion is thick enough, and is covered with faux leather. On the upside, the JBL Live 400BT is breathable and lightweight. 

Design

Unlike over-ear headphones that cover your ears with their ear cups, the JBL Live 400BT are on-ear headphones that rest on top of your ear. While this can be less comfortable for some people for long durations, the JBL Live 400BT is more breathable than its over-ear counterparts. This also helps the product last because sweat does not accumulate in it easily. 

The JBL Live 400BT has a simple design, but they look premium for its price. It is smaller than many on-ear headphones so they fit a bit tight on the head. The controls on both headphones are identical, which makes the JBL Live 400BT easy to use. There are 3 main buttons to control play/pause, tracks, volume, and calls.

Warranty

The JBL Live 400BT has a warranty of one year from the date of purchase. 

Pros

  • Breathable
  • Lightweight
  • Looks premium for its price
  • Dense earcups

Cons

  • Not water- and sweat-resistant
  • Seems to be made of cheap plastic
  • Slightly tight fit
  • Slightly short warranty

Best Wired On-Ear Headphone Under $100: Beats EP 

Beats EP

Sweat & Water Resistance

The Beats EP does not have an official IPX rating. However, most Beats headphones are water- and sweat-resistant so this model should at least have some sort of resistance. Some users say that they are good enough for short walks and occasional sweating. However, they are not good for the gym unless you use protective covers on the ear cups. 

Cable Quality 

The cable of the Beats EP is non-detachable which makes it a bit off for some. However, its cable is sturdy enough to survive occasional tangling. The cable is also securely attached to the ear cup, which makes it durable enough to survive accidental hooking. 

Materials

The Beats EP looks like a regular on-ear headphone, but with an explosive logo. The inner side of the ear cups is made of decent cushion covered with rubberized plastic. The outer site side of the headband and ear cups seem to be made of expensive plastic. The bottom of the headband is lined with rubber, which seems to be expensive as well. 

The ear cups are attached using sliding metal plates. When paired with the cushion, the Beats EP becomes a durable product that can sustain accidental drops. 

Design

The Beats EP is designed to be comfortable enough, but people with big heads might find it tight. On the upside, this tight fit equates to excellent noise isolation, which are pretty handy for those who don’t want to be disturbed by ambient noise during calls.

However, the headphones don’t have hinges for swiveling or folding. Thus, they remain in a fixed position. This can be dangerous especially if you like putting your headphones at the bottom of your bag. 

Warranty

The Beats EP has a warranty of one year from the date of purchase. 

Pros

  • Excellent sound quality
  • Sturdy and secure cable 
  • Dense ear cups 
  • Made of expensive high-quality plastic & rubber

Cons

  • Sub-optimal water and sweat resistance
  • No swiveling of folding functions
  • Slightly short warranty

Best Wireless Earbuds Under $100: Jabra Elite Active 45e 

Jabra Elite Active 45e

Sweat & Water Resistance

The Jabra Elite Active 45e has a high rating of IPX7. This means that this pair of wireless earbuds can withstand being immersed in water for up to one meter for 30 minutes. Now that’s great for gym-goers and runners. 

Materials

The earbuds are made of rubber, which are soft and secure enough to withstand a lot of movement. The set comes with 3 bud options, so it should fit your ears nicely.

Wireless earbud cables can be a nuisance because of the excess cord that keeps hanging about. However, the Jabra Elite Active 45e has a neckband made of thermoplastic elastomer, which is a combination of plastic and rubber. The band fits almost every neck size. 

Design

Athletes will mostly benefit from the Jabra Elite Active 45e. It’s because the earbuds have a snug fit and a ear hook design. The buds are purposely designed to allow you to hear some external noise, which comes in handy when you’re running or cycling. 

The frame of the Jabra Elite Active 45e is mostly made of plastic, which helps protect it from impacts of occasional drops. The design also prevents the product from falling apart easily. 

What’s best about the Jabra Elite Active 45e is its flexible hook design. It only takes the ear hooks seconds to fit your ear and maintain a secure fit during movement. All you have to do is straighten out the hook, place the earbuds in your ear, and adjust the hook to the back of your ear. 

Warranty

The Jabra Elite Active 45e has a warranty of 2 years, which covers damage due to dust or liquid. 

Pros

  • High IPX rating
  • Secure ear hook design
  • Snug fit
  • Excellent neckband
  • Long warranty

Cons

  • Sub-optimal sound quality
  • Not comfortable for some due to the neckband

Best Wired Earbuds Under $100: Beyerdynamic Soul Byrd  

Beyerdynamic Soul Byrd

Sweat & Water Resistance

The Beyerdynamic Soul Byrd does not have an official IPX rating. It is not highly resistant to sweat, but it can be decent enough if you sweat minimally while walking. It may not be the best one to use in moist environments, but the Beyerdynamic Soul Byrd remains a good companion for active music lovers. 

Cable Quality 

This set of wired earbuds has a matte rubber cable, which is about 47 inches long. It is very flexible and has a soft surface, which prevents it from tangling easily. This adds to the durability of the product, as frequent tangling can damage it. 

In addition, the Beyerdynamic Soul Byrd’s cable noise is kept to a minimum. Due to the high-quality cable, you will barely hear static while playing music or calling. 

Materials

The earbuds are made of silicone. They are soft and adapt to your ears well. The Beyerdynamic Soul Byrd also comes with 5 pairs of ear tips. 

They don’t only ensure a secure fit, but a longer duration as well. It’s because you can easily replace the tips once a pair wears out. The opposite side is made of plastic, which can survive accidental drops. 

Design

The Beyerdynamic Soul Byrd looks just like most wired earbuds. It has glossy black ear tips with the Beyerdynamic logo. The overall look is sleek, but it definitely doesn’t stand out. This set of earbuds is also designed to have protective grilles that can be easily cleaned and replaced.

The inline remote control, located at the right ear’s cable, has three buttons. A central multifunction button controls play/pause, calls, tracks, and volume. The central button can also activate voice assistants when held down for more than a second.

The Beyerdynamic Soul Byrd’s cable has a cable clip that easily changes position and angles. 

Warranty

The Beyerdynamic Soul Byrd has a one-year warranty, but this can vary from country to country. 

Pros

  • Secure fit
  • Convenient multifunction control
  • Anti-tangling cable
  • Excellent sound quality
  • Replaceable protective grilles

Cons

  • Not highly resistant to water and sweat
  • Slightly short warranty

Rune Bearson

As you can see, I love my headphones! I use them every day when commuting, watching YouTube videos, playing guitar/piano and doing chores. I'm a podcast addict and I like all kinds of music from metal to chillout ambient.

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