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Various models from our list of the best headphones for under $125.

Best Headphones for Under $125

Every one of these models has good to great sound—and they start at less than $30

If you’re looking for gift ideas for the music lover in your home, you can’t go wrong with a pair of great headphones—especially when those headphones deliver good sound at a great price.

That’s what makes the following models so easy to recommend, whether you’re looking for a sports-specific model or over-the-ear headphones that would look at home in a studio. These models rank among the best headphones in our ratings, and they do it at prices that start around $20 and peak below $125.

Visit Consumer Reports’ 2017 Holiday Gift Guide for updates on deals, expert product reviews, insider tips on shopping, and much more. And be sure to check our Daily Gift Guide.

1
1MORE E1001 Triple Driver

1MORE E1001 Triple Driver

1More’s E1001 Triple Driver hits the mark on several factors Consumer Reports looks for when evaluating headphones. First, and most important, they provide excellent sound quality. Second, they’re also convenient: You can use the headphone’s controls to play/pause the music and take calls, and a variety of ear pieces ensure a comfy fit.

 

Although they don’t support active noise canceling, these headphones do block out a good deal of unwanted external noise with passive noise isolation—a feature that also prevents sound from escaping and bothering the commuter seated neat to you. Not bad for $100 or less.

    2
    Grado Prestige SR80e

    Grado Prestige SR80e

    You’ll have a hard time find a better pair of wired, studio-style headphones for anywhere near the $100 price of the Grado Prestige SR80e, which provide excellent sound quality.

     

    These headphones are best for people who are going to sit down and really listen to music. They have an open design, which means sound is able to enter and exit the headphones relatively easily. That means the sound could disturb other people nearby, and you’ll be able to hear phones ringing and people knocking at the door. That can be good or bad, depending on your perspective.

     

    The primary benefit of this open design is that it can make music sound fuller—more like you’re listening in a concert hall than a closet.

     

     

      3
      Scosche SportFlex 3

      Scosche SportFlex 3

      It’s not often that you find very good sound quality in a pair of earbuds that cost a hair over $20, but this sports-oriented model delivers. And they are comfortable as well: The well-designed, bendable earhooks keep the buds firmly in place as you run, or lift and bend your way through classes at the gym.

       

      These aren’t noise-canceling earbuds, but they fit snugly enough in your ear canal to block much outside noise and keep the sound from leaking out and disturbing your neighbors.

       

      We also like the carrying bag, which keeps the wires from getting tangled up in your backpack or purse when not in use.

        4
        Jabra Sport Coach Wireless

        Jabra Sport Coach Wireless

        If you know someone who likes a little extra motivation at the gym, consider this pair of Bluetooth headphones from Jabra, which go for around $65 to $80 online depending on the color you want.

         

        These Bluetooth headphones come with an integrated cross-training app that features more than 50 exercises, according to Jabra. You also get a built-in microphone, integrated volume controls, and a motion sensor to help you measure distance traveled, pace, steps, cadence, and calories burned.

         

        The hybrid in-ear/earbud design keeps the headphones in place while you strive to get your heartbeat up. And our testers found the sound quality to be very good.

          5
          Bose SoundTrue Ultra in-ear

          Bose SoundTrue Ultra in-ear

          Bose’s SoundTrue Ultra in-ear headphones earn high marks from our testers owing to their very good sound quality, ability to play/pause and take phone calls, and fairly effective noise isolation. (They don’t have active noise-canceling technology, but they block most ambient sound.)

           

          The earpieces have a hybrid design. They seal the ear canals but don’t get inserted as deeply as many other in-ear models. They are also supported by the ear bowls, like an earbud model. We found that they fit and stay in place with no problem, and the ear-bowl-support earpieces make them very stable, even with vigorous head movement.

           

          You’ll find these headphones for anywhere from $70 to $100, depending in part on color. 

            6
            Audio-Technica ATH-M50x

            Audio-Technica ATH-M50x

            The ATH-M50x from Audio-Technica is a studio-style model with a closed design, which helps keep external sounds from distracting you from the music and the audio from disturbing people around you.

             

            They deliver very good sound. And though the large, oversized earcups don’t exactly scream “perfect for commuting,” a detachable cable aids in portability by making it easier to place them in a small bag.

             

            You’ll be able to find these online for around $115.

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              Nicholas Deleon

              I've been covering consumer electronics for more than 10 years for publications like TechCrunch, The Daily (R.I.P.), and Motherboard. When I'm not researching or writing about laptops or headphones I can likely be found obsessively consuming news about FC Barcelona, replaying old Super Nintendo games for the hundredth time, or chasing my pet corgi Winston to put his harness on so we can go for a walk. Follow me on Twitter (@nicholasadeleon).