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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 very good sound—even the very inexpensive Scosche SportClip 3

If you're looking for a cool gift idea for the music lover in your home, you can't go wrong with a pair of great headphones—especially when those headphones achieve that rare feat of providing very good sound at an affordable price.

That's what makes the following models so easy to recommend. They not only rank among the best headphones in our ratings but they also earn our Best Buy designation, thanks to prices that start at $30 and peak at $125.

Go to Consumer Reports' 2016 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
Phiaton BT 100 NC

Phiaton BT 100 NC

Ideal for the business traveler on your gift list, this $100 wireless model brings true peace of mind. In addition to very good sound quality, it offers noise-canceling technology that walls you off from, say, that loud-mouthed passenger in seat 27B. And, thanks to Bluetooth connectivity, it also frees you up from the dreaded headphone cord that invariably snares on your handbag, backpack, or seatback as you make your way down the aisle of the plane. You simply place the collar on your neck, stick the buds in your ears, link the headphones to your smartphone, and press play.

    2
    Motorola Moto Surround

    Motorola Moto Surround

    If it's wireless headphones you want—but without the noise-canceling tech—take a look at this $45 Bluetooth model from Motorola. It delivers very good sound quality and features a contoured collar design to keep the device from moving around on your neck. When not in use, the earphones magnetically attach to the collar, which includes controls for changing tracks and adjusting the volume. And, for what it's worth, the isolating ear-insert design will muffle some outside noise. Before you choose this model, though, you should know that it tended to work better in our testing with mobile devices from Android than those from Apple.

      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 just $30, but this model delivers on that promise. And the well-designed earhooks keep the buds firmly in place as you lift and bend your way through that crossfit class. 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 $125 pair of Bluetooth headphones. It comes with an integrated cross-training app that features more than 50 exercises, according to Jabra. It also includes 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. As for the sound quality, our testers rate it very good.

          5
          Skullcandy Grind Wireless

          Skullcandy Grind Wireless

          You can easily pay $200 to $300 for a pair of wireless home-style headphones with very good sound, but this one will set you back only $60, which makes it a fine choice for the budding music connoisseur in your family. Because the closed design does not fully shut out the world, the user can still hear the doorbell or the phone. But, beware, that also means he or she can inadvertently share strains of heavy metal music with the innocent bystanders in the room.

            6
            Grado Prestige SR60e

            Grado Prestige SR60e

            For that certain someone who likes to rock it old-school, look no further than this $80 pair of retro-looking, studio-style headphones from Grado. Once again, a comparable model could easily cost you $300. This one provides you with very good sound quality, not to mention an 80-inch cord, which gives you plenty of freedom to dance about the room while you listen to the Beatles or Bob Dylan. And if by chance someone comes a knock, knock, knocking at the door, well, you'll still hear them, thanks to the open-air design.

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              Terry Sullivan

              I've been writing about tech since the 1990s and joined Consumer Reports in 2007. I cover audio-related devices, like headphones, and digital-imaging products, like cameras and printers. When not making fine art with a camera or oil paint, I also jam with my band, The Not-For-Prophets. I live on Long Island with my wife and kids.