The Best Open Back Headphones Under $100 (Compared)

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Headphone prices are becoming insane these days and are making it harder to pick the best for our budget. It literally costs an arm and a leg to get a nice and durable pair, but not anymore.

I’m the living proof that an inexpensive doesn’t necessarily mean unqualified. As a good researcher, I have found multiple headphones that sound amazing.

Almost every ingredient that an expensive headphone has is ported in the budget price too. So, my friends buckle up because the journey can take a little bit longer than you expect.

I’ll explain the features and performance in a comprehensive form. Let’s just dive right in and check out the best open back headphones under $100.

Best Gaming
ASTRO Gaming A40 TR X

ASTRO Gaming A40 TR X

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Best Overall


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Most Durable
Philips SHP9500

Philips SHP9500

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Best Budget
Koss UR20

Koss UR20

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Best For Music
Philips Audio Fidelio L2

Philips Audio Fidelio L2

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Introducing the Best Open Back Headphones Under $100

1. ASTRO Gaming A40 TR X- Best Gaming

Design & Build Quality

ASTRO A40 TR X is literally screaming “Hi, I’m a gaming headphone” with its red stripes and lightweight design. The rugged body construction has a fully adjustable padded headband to accompany your long gaming sessions. Ear cushions are built from soft premium breathable fabric that doesn’t let ears sweat.   

Audio Quality

With 40mm dynamic drivers, ASTRO A40 TR X gaming headsets deliver pro-quality audio. Pure clear and detail-oriented over ear headphones have a wide range of frequency and volume responses. 

Enjoy the distortion-free sounds without getting annoyed by fatiguing highs and lows. Hear the enemies’ footsteps in clarity. 

In some gaming cutscenes where music is leading, ASTRO A40 TR X has really nice balanced bass production. 

Performance & Features

ASTRO A40 TR X features a swappable boom microphone that can be attached to both sides of the headphone. It manages to minimize the unwanted background noises to help you focus on your own voice, so you end up with victory in the gaming bloodbath.

This headset also features customizable Speaker Tags for personal preference (sold separately) to change the flavor. 

The wide connectivity choices include gaming consoles, PC, PS 4, Mac, Nintendo Switch, and Mobile Gaming.

What’s so interesting about this headset is that you can turn them into noise cancellation headphones with a by adding a Mod Kit that is sold separately. This means that whenever you want, you can let in ambient noise or block external noise with noise cancellation.

Key Specs:

  • Product Dimensions: 3.62 x 7.95 x 7.09 inches (12.8 oz)
  • Drivers: 40 mm Dynamic
  • Frequency Response: 20 Hz to 20 kHz
  • Microphone: Yes
  • Compatibility: Xbox One, PS5, PS4, PC, Mac, Nintendo Switch
  • Impedance: 62.22 Ohm

Why Should You Buy It?
Buy it if you’re a hardcore gamer and are looking for a budget-price headset. Every gaming technology is compatible with ASTRO A40 TR X. Pure clear and detailed sounds are shining through because of a wide frequency range. Plus, the comfort is kept in mind in the design.

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2. HIFIMAN HE400SE- Best Overall

Design & Build Quality

HIFIMAN HE400SE will make you immediately fall in love with the design side. The mixture of minimalism, classicism, and vintage style looks premium from every angle you can possibly look.

The comfort and durability can withstand excessive warm weather and can still remain cooled for several hours.   

Sound Quality

HIFIMAN HE400SE isn’t the basic dynamic headphones you are used to seeing that vibrate only a limited part of the diaphragm, instead, it’s planar and vacuums nearly the whole diaphragm to produce the lowest distortion sounds.

Acoustically Invisible Stealth Magnet delivers full-range accuracy and drops the wave diffraction turbulence that degrades the quality of the soundwaves.

Performance & Features

The HE400SE’s high sensitivity at 91dB makes the over ear headphones a perfect match for low-voltage sources, involving those portable hi-resolution sound players.

There is a dual-sided well-functioning 3.5mm wire and a 6.35mm adapter with uttermost compatibility. These headphones would be a great pick for all sound engineers.

Key Specs:

  • Product Dimensions: 12.05 x 10.51 x 7.09 inches (13.8 oz)
  • Drivers: Not Specified by Manufacturer
  • Frequency Response: 20Hz-20kHz
  • Sensitivity: 91dB
  • Microphone: Yes
  • Compatibility: Dual side 3.5mm cable and a 6.35mm adapter
  • Impedance: 32 ohm

Why Should You Buy It?
The planar magnetic wired headphone type vacuums all the sounds inside leaving no leakage and no distortion. It’s perfect for audiophiles who seek maximum comfort from a long time of listening. The vintage gracefulness is really a nice bonus. If you want hi fi sound & detailed sound, this is the one to go with.

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3. Philips SHP9500- Most Durable

Design & Build Quality

No matter how many years have passed, the Philips SHP9500 open back headphones don’t go out of date with its sleek look and metal frame finish.

The minimalist and rugged appearance is completed with full comfort to your ears. The headband as you see is made of double layer and the ear cushions are super soft and breathable for longer hours of wearing.

Sound Quality

You will be amazed on how airy the sound comes out, this is something way impressive and unexpected for this budget price. The bass doesn’t slam your face, but still the vocals, treble and bass find a great balance. It doesn’t give that surrounding effect but definitely kicks most of the latest gen over ear headphones. It offers accurate sound reproduction too. Well done Phillips.

Performance & Features

Despite plastic built, SHP9500 has a very well built quality that will surely handle many sudden drops. The reinforcement comes from the metal frames, but we cannot say the same thing about earpads fabric. It could have been better if they were covered in leather instead softness. The bright side is that Philips SHP9500 provides that softness and full comfort. 

Key Specs:

  • Product Dimensions: 6.7 x 7.9 x 3.9 inches (10.6 ounces)
  • Drivers: 50mm
  • Frequency Response: 12 – 35,000 Hz
  • Sensitivity: 101 dB
  • Maximum power input: 200 mW
  • Microphone: Yes
  • Connectivity: Wired
  • Impedance: 32 Ohm

Why Should You Buy It?
If long-lasting life is your priority and you’re characterized as a clumsy person, Philips SHP9500 is your go-to headphone. High sensitivity and wide frequency response result in no distortion even at higher volume levels.

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4. Koss UR20 – Best Budget

Design & Build Quality

Koss UR20 has a lightweight and bulky design. The sleek black color is followed by a retro-style headband. To ensure full comfort, two super soft earpads and two layers of the headband are built in the most flexible way.

However, they apply a little bit of pressure after hours of use, but looking at the price tag, it’s quite acceptable.

Sound Quality

On the official website, Koss claims that it has a heavy bass and intense audio quality, I couldn’t agree more. The sounds go deeper than 30hz frequency and come out very accurate, especially at midrange tones. The higher notes and treble are obviously a bit lower quality.

It’s a shame for other brands that are high-end and Koss UR20 to produce almost the same bass quality. It equips a 16 micron Mylar element for deep bass to create that punchiness and nice tones. Overall, it has a pretty balanced sound.

Performance & Features

Despite the budget price, Koss UR20 offers the same features as the expensive over ear headphones do. It has an 8-foot cable to connect with any possible device.

The compatibility is wide as I mentioned. Any PC, Laptop, Studio Equipment, DJ Equipment, Smartphone, Tablet, Portable DVD player, radio, and any other devices are welcomed.

It is the definition of the quote “Old but gold”.

Key Specs:

  • Product Dimensions: 4.75 x 8.81 x 11.94 inches (1.76 oz.)
  • Sensitivity: 97 dB
  • Frequency Response: 18Hz-24kHz
  • Microphone: No
  • Compatibility: PC, Laptop, Studio Equipment, DJ Equipment, Smartphone, Tablet, Portable DVD player, radio
  • Impedance: 16 Ohm

Why Should You Buy It?
In case your budget is limited and your intention is to use it daily, Koss UR20 is your buying product. The wide range of compatibility and great sound quality will leave an impressive mark. These might be ‘cheap headphones’, but they look and perform like high-end ones.

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5. Philips Audio Fidelio L2 – Best For Music

Design & Build Quality

Philips Audio Fidelio L2 is splendidly designed with a combination of gunmetal and red decorative detail. The ear cups are large enough to fit any size of ears. Some headphones have way too small ear cups, but this one is big enough. The earpads are made out of soft leather to provide better comfort. 

The aluminum ear cover is selected specifically to drop the undesired vibration and resonance.  

Sound Quality

Philips Audio Fidelio L2 headset has a very pleasant sound quality. It has a wide dynamic range, but it can also handle harsh, over-compressed records with surprising ease. The bass is rich, but it doesn’t cross the bridge of muddiness.

In comparison to most closed-back headphones in this cost range, the Fidelio L2 sounds more open and expansive.

Because of its semi-open design, you may encounter some leakage which is quite normal for this type of over ear headphones.

Performance & Features

The superior Fidelio series is thoroughly fine-tuned and tailored for the most demanding music lovers. At home or on the go, precise audio engineering brings out the most in your music experience.

The High-Resolution Audio feature serves 16bit/ 44. 1kHz CD formats. It is not accepting a compromise for any type of music genre.

Key Specs:

  • Product Dimensions: 9.53 x 7.68 x 4.21 inches (1.43 pounds)
  • Drivers: 40mm
  • Frequency Response: 12 – 25000 Hz
  • Sensitivity: 105 dB
  • Maximum input power: 200 mW
  • Microphone: Yes
  • Connectivity: 3.5mm cable
  • Impedance: 16 Ohm

Why Should You Buy It?
The premium built quality of Fidelio L2 feels luxurious. Besides that, it has high-resolution audio for music enthusiasts as well as a wide dynamic range with decent bass production. These are the best open back headphones under $100 when it comes to price/performance ratio.

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You Need to Know These Facts Beforehand!

What’s the Matter with Open Back Headphones? 

Open-back headphones have a much more genuine, airy listening experience. They’re comfortable to wear for extended periods of time, but there are some drawbacks like sound leakage. 

In comparison with closed-back headphones, open-back headphones increase the sound leakage by 30dB. Don’t be surprised if a stranger starts to sing a song you were listening to 10 minutes ago.

Sound leaking is a very normal thing in open back headphones, since everybody enjoys music at higher volumes, it is obvious the sounds to leak at a certain point. It wouldn’t be acceptable if you create a mini-concert in public without their wish.

What are the Benefits of Open Back Headphones Designs?

Air can travel through the ear cups of open-back headphones from the back of the speaker driver. This indicates that the back enclosure’s resonances and low-frequency construct aren’t very much a problem.

Open-back headsets are used in high-end headphones because they sound more realistic and transparent. The benefits of using these types of headphones are

  • Analytical Listening
  • Combining, Monitoring & Mastering
  • Superior Audio Files
  • Daily use

Stay away from open-back headphones in case you hate sound leakage, or want to block the outside noise. 

What is a Planar & Dynamic Headphone?

Planar and dynamic headphones are pretty much doing the same thing by sending electrical impulses to a conductive material that works alongside magnetic fields. 

As you can see from the picture down below the dynamic headphones have more vacuumed diaphragm, voice coil, and magnet in comparison with planar headphones.

Planar headphones have one of the greatest bass responses and keep the sound distortion at the lowest.

If you want to know more about headphones, check out the article Why Do Headphones Have Magnets?

Who Should Buy Planar Headphones?

Planar headphones would be the perfect fit for critical listeners who want even more immersive sound production. Also, the planar headphones have a bulkier and heavier overall design, so if that doesn’t bother you, go for it. 

The cost range of planar headphones is slightly more expensive than dynamic headphones. 

Who Should Buy Dynamic Headphones?

Dynamic headphone types are for those listeners who use them for both critical and daily use. They cover the majority of the driver types.

The dynamic headphones can come at a very low price and high-end too. It depends on what brand you prefer to use.

Closing Comment

Coming at the end of an open-back headphone series, I have some comments to add.

With no further doubt about the performance and look of the budget-priced open back headphones, now you have proof of quality that doesn’t match the price. The HIFIMAN HE400SE would be the best pick for general use, and for casual music listening, pick Philips Audio Fidelio L2. The hardcore gamers can freely pick ASTRO Gaming A40 TR X headphones.

Be aware that there are two types of open back headphones; planar and dynamic. Look at the picture up in the article for a visual representation of how the soundwaves work.

Good luck seeker!

Further Reading 

Just casually looking for an alternative, here we are with another budget price, but this time with IEMs Under $200. Still expensive, ok then click 5 IEMs Under $100.

We reviewed wired headphones on this list, but if you want to take a look at some wireless headphones, you can read one of the many articles we have on that topic.

Where are my motorcycle riders, don’t miss out on these Bluetooth Motorcycle headsets

Bass enthusiasts, I would never forget you, I have the Best Bass Headphones for privacy or Budget Audiophile Headphones.

Since it’s summertime and automatically is a party time. Leave aside headphones and go for Best Bluetooth Party Speakers.





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