Product Reviews

Best Headphones Under $300

The Headphones Under 300 Review

If you’re like most people, you’ve gone through more than a few sets of cheap, dollar store headphones one too many times. As I’m sure you know by now, cheap headphones really aren’t all that cheap in the long run. If you’ve finally broken down and decided it’s time to get a quality set without breaking the bank, you’ve come to the right place. Buying quality headphones may be a little nerve-wracking; being that they’ll probably still be in good shape a year from now, you might not have an excuse to get new ones for a while, meaning getting the wrong set of headphones means you’ll be stuck with something you don’t want for quite some time. Luckily, going into headphone shopping informed can mean the difference between waiting for your headphones to break down so you can get new ones, or being perfectly satisfied with the ones you have. In this buyer’s guide, we’ll cover what to look for in a quality set of headphones, as well as point you in the direction of a great set for an even greater price.

The Top Pick

Skullcandy Hesh 2 Elephant with Mic Lifestyle Wired Headphone

The Skullcandy Hesh 2 Elephant is a pair of headphones who advertise themselves as being of great quality while offering users a bare bones set of headphones at a reasonable price. They don’t have wireless capabilities, bringing the price down significantly, though the capabilities they do have are done right.

Skullcandy is a brand well known for their sound quality. If it’s purely a good sound you’re after without any fancy features, Skullcandy headphones are always the way to go. Because of its lack of said fancy features, the sound quality-to-price ratio is great.

While they don’t come with many added features, they do come with phone compatibility. You’ll be able to go hands free with these headphones while both receiving and transmitting a great voice quality through their top-of-the-line speakers and mike. They come compatible with any phone that supports hands-free chatting.

If it’s value you’re after, the Skullcandy Hesh 2 Elephant headphones are sure to give you exactly what you’re looking for, clocking in at under $80. If these sound like the headphones for you, clicking the following link will bring you to their Amazon page:

Buyer’s Guide

Headphones aren’t like undershirts or mugs; the difference between a quality set and a cheap set is very noticeable. Headphones are one thing worth putting money down on, and with a price range of $300, you’ll have more than enough to get a quality set. Here are some things to look out for when purchasing a new set of headphones.

Stay Away From Sweatshop Headphones

Dollar store headphones and < $5 headphones from Ebay have something in common; they break constantly, meaning they’ll end up being more expensive in the long run. They also have something else in common; they both come from sweatshops. Buying headphones semi-locally (America, Canada, the UK, Australia, etc.) will lower the odds of them being made in sub-par conditions. Of coarse, local headphones aren’t guaranteed to be of quality, though cheap, sweatshop headphones are guaranteed to not be of quality.

Make Sure They Wrap Around Your Ears

Headphones Under 300This only applies to over-the-ear headphones (as opposed to earbuds). You don’t want each speaker to simply be a disk which lays against your ear; this will lower the sound quality, have your headphones slip around when you jog and ensure everyone around you can hear what you’re listening to, which isn’t really something we want. Quality, over-the-ear headphones will have some sort of rubber, fabric or foam ‘protectors’ which wrap around your ear, keeping them in place and making sure it’s you who gets all of the sound, not everyone else, thus increasing the sound quality while being courteous to those around you.

Are They Adjustable?

Once again applying only to headphones of the over-the-ear variety, you’ll want to make sure that the curved band connecting each speaker can be adjusted. Those which can’t are built for the average head size, though not all of our heads are of average size. A lot of folks assume headphones will always fit and find themselves disappointed when their rigid headphones aren’t compatible with the size of their head.

Noise-Cancelling Headphones Increase Sound Quality

Put simply, noise-cancelling headphones pick up on the sound around you and play the ‘opposite’ in the speakers. This creates a sort of audio illusion wherein your ears don’t pick up on the noise around you, or still do, but to a lesser degree. If you’re going to pay over $100 for a set of headphones, it’s perfectly reasonable to expect them to be noise-cancelling, as this feature translates to a better quality sound of whatever you’re listening to, wherever you’re listening to it.

What Kind of Warranty Do They Have?

While those of us who tend to go for cheaper headphones have become accustomed to buying a new set every couple months, this shouldn’t be the case with a quality pair. If you’re putting three figures down on a set of headphones, you want them to last. Generally speaking, if the manufacturer doesn’t offer a warranty which lasts at least a year, they may not expect them to last at all. A one-year warranty should be the lowest you’ll settle for, while two years should be what you aim for.

Do They Support Hands-Free Calling?

Just because a pair of headphones have a little control box on the cord, doesn’t mean they have a built-in mic. Many times, these control boxes are only used to change the volume on the device you listen to your music on without actually having any phone-related capabilities. If you’re looking to talk on your phone with your new headphones, make sure you know what the little control box on the cord actually does; never assume it does everything you want it to do.

Think About Bluetooth Capabilities

I’ll say upfront that Bluetooth-enabled headphones aren’t the only good headphones available; most professional music studios still find themselves fumbling with wires. Wired headphones can work perfectly fine. However; if you plan on jogging with your headphones or are just sick of messing around with wires, going wireless is always an option. It’s worth noting that, more often than not, you’ll be paying extra for this feature. The other major downside to wireless headphones are that they need to be charged, as opposed to wired headphones which can go all day long.