Top 10 Headphones for DJing under $100

Last Updated on August 13, 2021.

Headphones are an essential part of every DJ’s arsenal since they let you mix music so that the audience gets to listen to the final product.

There are a lot of headphones out there, from studio to commercial headphones, and even in-ear headphones, but which one is the right kind for DJing?

In this article, I will go over the 10 best headphones for DJing under $100 and I will also tell you what to look for in DJ-specific headphones, since they need to have a couple distinct features to be suitable for the job.

So, without any further ado, let’s get started!

What Makes a good DJ Headphone?

Whilst there are a huge number of high-quality headphones out there, it is important to choose a pair that serves the purpose you need them for. You could spend tons of money on a very high-quality pair of headphones, but if it is not designed for what you need them for, that is just a waste of money.

Buying a pair of headphones for DJing is a prime example of this. There is no point in buying a top of the range pair of comfortable studio headphones if they are going to be hopeless on the dancefloor!

There are several things that are essential to look out for when it comes to DJ headphones.

Firstly, you are going to want to consider noise isolation. There is nothing worse than trying to make the perfect transition between tracks, yet you are being distracted by bass vibrations, rattling resonance, and other disturbances within the loud environment.

Preferably, you’re going to want to find something with clamping force – preferably on ear. This way there is little room for background noise to leak in, and the on-ear pressure will direct the audio straight to your ear drums.

When on-ear headphones are not an option, you will at least want to ensure that your headphones are closed-back over-ears, as this will at least prevent sound from spilling in or out of your cans. As long as a pair of closed-back headphones have decent clamping force, they should be all good to DJ with. However, bear in mind that they may be uncomfortable.

Many people will assume that comfort is essential for DJing, and whilst it is certainly preferable it is not as important as the functionality. Many industry standard DJ headphones are uncomfortable due to the clamping force, but if this ensures for noise isolation then it is a compromise that you should accept.

Finally, there’s also in-ear headphones – they’re not for everyone, but they can offer an excellent alternative to on-ear or closed-ear headphones in terms of noise isolation whilst providing an opportunity to play at lower volumes and reduce potential for your eardrums to be damaged.

Let’s take dive into the top 10 headphones you can purchase for under $100 that I have picked for DJs – there’s a good balance of over-ear, on-ear and in-ear headphones here, so there is sure to be something that will work for you.

Top 10 DJ Headphones under $100

HeadphonesSpecs and Stand-out Features
AKG K518 DJ~$30, Closed Back Over-Ear, Freq Range of 16hz – 24kHz, Cheap and Cheerful, great for beginners
Philips Fidelio L2~$95, Semi-open back, 12hz – 25kHz, aluminum back that reduces unwanted vibration and resonance, perfect for DJs who want the comfort of open back with noise isolation of closed back, includes attachable mic
KZ ZS10 Pro~$50, 7hz – 40kHz, in-ear ergonomic design which is excellent for noise cancelling, scientifically molded for perfect fit, good choice to combat the discomfort of on-ear headphones
Shure SE215 in-ear monitors~$99, 7hz – 40kHz, in-ear monitors so ideal for keeping the volume low and protecting your ears, customizable sleeve sides, great for live performers of all kinds – not just DJs
Pioneer HDJ-CUE1~$70, on-ear, good clamp pressure, a decent upgrade for beginners who are ready to step up their DJ game
AKG Pro Audio K167 TIESTO~$70, closed-back on-ear, high-pressure clamp yet very soft earcups so an ideal choice if you cannot deal with uncomfortable DJ sessions
Sony MDR-7506  ~$99 closed ear, outstanding reduction of external noises, foldable, uncomfortable but the clamp-pressure is worth it
GRADO SR60x Prestige Series~$99, on ear, uncomfortable but very good clamp pressure.
Audio-Technica ATH-m40x ~$99, closed ear, 15-24kHz frequency response, great noise reduction and comfortable with decent clamp pressure.
Sennheiser HD25~$99+, the best option if you can find a bargain, slightly over budget but worth the extra cash, optimum clamp-pressure for on-ear headphones and comfortable in comparison to other options

1: AKG K518 DJ

AKG K518 DJ.

To start things off, I’ve chosen the AKG K518 DJ headphones. You can pick a pair of these up for around $30, so need I say more? Whilst it’s certainly not a very high spec headphone with a frequency range of 16hz – 24kHz and a relatively loose-fit over-ear earcup setup, they will just about see you through your first DJ sets.

I wouldn’t recommend this for a seasoned professional, but if you’re testing the waters and don’t want to spend too much to begin with, the AKG K518 DJ is certainly worth a punt.

What comes included?

  • AKG K518 DJ Headphones

Pros

  • Very cheap so great for brand-new DJs who want to test the waters
  • Packs a punch for the price

Cons

  • 1/4” Output on the Cable with no 3.5mm adaptor included
  • Not very good for reducing background noise
  • Not particularly comfortable despite being over-ear headphones

You can get the AKG K518 DJ here: 

2: Philips Fidelio L2

Philips Fidelio L2.

The Philips Fidelio L2 is a well-built headphone that offers clear and crisp high frequencies, low basses and decent comfort. They can be bought online for just under $100, and come with some interesting features such as the option to attach a  Bluetooth microphone, making this a good choice for DJs who may wish to use the headphones for other purposes.

Whilst it must be noted that they are not on-ear or closed-back headphones, Philips have gone for a unique approach here by creating a open-closed ear hybrid.

The goal of this is to aim for a headphone that has the comfort of open-ear headphones, whilst providing the noise-isolation of closed-ear. Furthermore, the frequency range is a decent 12hz – 25kHz, and the build is made from aluminum which Philips claims reduces unwanted rattle and harmonics.

Overall, I think this is a decent pair of headphones for entry-level DJs who don’t want to spend too much money on headphones specifically for DJing, but for other purposes as well.

What comes included?

  • Philip Fidelio L2 Headphones
  • Mobile mic-cable
  • Standard 3.5mm cable
  • 3.5 – ¼” adaptor
  • Soft Case
  • Manual

Pros

  • Unique open/hard back style
  • Robust aluminum build for vibration reduction
  • Free microphone + cable adaptor included

Cons

  • Whilst the open/closed hybrid style is interesting, it does still result in some noticeable audio spill.

You can get the Philips Fidelio L2 here: 

3: KZ ZS10 Pro

KZ ZS10 Pro.

Not everybody likes to use on-ear or over-ear headphones, with some preferring the in-ear earbud alternatives.

The KZ ZS10 Pro are a decent example for this and can be picked up for the low-budget cost of around ~$50. These earbuds are ergonomically designed which is great for noise cancellation, and have been scientifically molded to fit snugly.

You’ll be looking at a frequency range of around 7hz to 40kHz, which offers very decent high frequency range for in-ear headphones. It must be said that they are not quite as stylish for DJ purposes, but if in-ear is more comfortable and practical to you then you should not care how they look!

Plus, they’re available in many different colors!

What comes included?

  • KZ ZS10 Earbuds
  • Variety of Ear-tips
  • Detachable Cable
  • User Manual

Pros

  • Ergonomically designed for noise cancellation
  • Excellent frequency range
  • Extremely light and easy to transport

Cons

  • Easy for the cable to get tangled
  • In-ear earbuds are not for everyone

You can get the KZ ZS10 Pro here: 

4: Shure SE215 in-ear monitors

Shure SE215 in-ear monitors.

Another pair of earbuds has made my list, the Shure SE215s. These earbuds are designed to be used as in-ear monitors, so they are versatile for both DJing and monitoring live-sound for bands and other live setups.

They utilize comfortable sound isolating sleeves that block up to 37db of ambient noise which should be suitable for moderate to loud live shows, and the cable is durable, lightweight, and reinforced making them great for transportation.

At just under $100, they are a slightly higher budget option for in-ear headphones but are ideal for a more professional monitoring setup. Plus, the in-ear setup is great for low-volume performance to protect your ears, not to mention the high-quality frequency range of 7hz to 40kHz.

What comes included?

  • Shure SE215 Earbuds
  • Soft Case
  • Detachable Cable
  • Documentation, Detachable Cable
  • Variety of custom earbud sleeves

Pros

  • Good for performing at low volume for ear-protection
  • Scientifically designed for comfort
  • Durable cable design

Cons

  • The focus of monitoring is not ideal for all DJ setups
  • The build shape is slightly unfamiliar and not for everyone

You can get the Shure SE215 here: 

5: Pioneer HDJ-CUE1

Pioneer HDJ-CUE1.

The Pioneer HDJ-CUE1 are great looking, entry level over-ear headphones for around $70 that come complete with fully rotatable earcups for stylish performance during DJ sets.

The heavy-duty build is sturdy and durable, and the sound quality is great with the dynamic drivers allowing for heavy bass, balanced mids, and high frequencies with an overall frequency range of 5hz to 30kHz.

What’s more, Pioneer is well known for being a big-name in the DJing world, so it feels like you are in good hands when it comes to their headphones.

Whilst they are not on-ear, they are at least closed-back which leaves them as a pretty good choice for background noise reduction. The earcups are also highly customizable in terms of color which I think is pretty stylish.

What comes included?

  • HDJ CUE1 Headphones
  • Spiraled Detachable Cable
  • Optional Colored Earcups

Pros

  • Robust and durable build
  • Rotatable earcups
  • Excellent bass response

Cons

  • Whilst the build is strong, it has an overall plastic feel to it
  • No ¼ Inch adaptor included

You can get the Pioneer HDJ-CUE1 here: 

6: AKG Pro Audio K167 TIESTO

AKG Pro Audio K167 TIESTO.

For under $70, the AKG Pro Audio K167 TIESTO headphones are a great choice for DJs. Much like the Pioneers, these are closed-ear as opposed to on-ear but offer decent noise reduction.

The focus behind the build of these cans is the soft earcups that provide a very comfortable experience for long DJ sets and listening sessions. It’s a sleek and comfortable build, with a wide frequency range and a relatively good clamping force.

It’s not going to take your breath away, but I thought it was a decent pair if you’re looking to upgrade from a budget pair of over-ear headphones.

Plus, they are easy to fold down flat, so it’s a decent choice if you are looking for something that will slide into your rucksack for DJ travel adventures.

What comes included?

  • AKG Pro Audio K167 Tiesto Headphones
  • ¼” Adaptor

Pros

  • Very comfortable for long sessions
  • Can be folded flat for easy transportation
  • Wide frequency range

Cons

  • The headband feels plastic-like and easily damageable
  • The spiral cable is prone to getting tangled and cannot be detached
  • Discontinued in some countries so could be hard to find

You can get the AKG Pro Audio K167 TIESTO here: 

  • AKG Pro Audio K167 TIESTO: Amazon.

7: Sony MDR-7506

Sony MDR-7506.

You can’t go wrong with Sony headphones, and the MDR-7506 is a great example of this. Whilst many closed-back headphones leave a lot to be desired when it comes to noise reduction, I find that this pair really excel with this due to the high clamping pressure.

This makes these headphones a great choice for loud performances, and they are generally comfortable due to their over-ear nature.

Whilst they are great when it comes to practicality, the frequency range is a little low at 10Hz-20kHz, but these are not headphones designed for studio use so the limitation should be suitable for mixing at a DJ set.

Out of all of the over-ear headphones I have tried, these are one of the best I have found for DJ applications.

What comes included?

  • Sony MDR-7506 Headphones
  • Soft Case
  • 1/4″ adaptor
  • Undetachable 3.5mm spiraled cable

Pros

  • Excellent external noise reduction
  • Reinforced polymer build makes them very durable
  • Comfortable despite the high-pressure clamping

Cons

  • Quite expensive at around $100
  • Narrow frequency range
  • 3.5mm spiraled cable cannot be detached

You can get the Sony MDR-7506 here: 

8: GRADO SR60x Prestige

GRADO SR60x Prestige.

The GRADO SR60x Prestige is one of my favorite choices for this list, mainly due to the fact that they are on-ear headphones. In combination with the high clamping force, these headphones are ideal for DJs of all experience levels.

The frequency range is a little low at 20hz – 20kHz, but the sound quality remains crisp, bass-heavy and perfectly suitable for DJing. The headphone earcups are also padded which makes them a pretty comfortable wear considering the high-pressure on-ear style.

They are a little pricey at just under $100, but if you’re going to be using them for regular DJ sets then they will be well worth the cash!

Note: These are open-back headphones, which means that they aren’t as good at noise reduction, making them ideal for home use but not for live gigs.

What comes included?

  • GRADO SR60x Prestige Headphones#
  • ¼” Adaptor

Pros

  • Padded comfort to compensate for the on-ear style
  • Traditional DJ Headphone aesthetic
  • Stylish and durable cable

Cons

  • Still quite uncomfortable due to the on-ear nature, but this is a necessary evil for DJs
  • Narrow frequency range

You can get the GRADO SR60x Prestige Series here: 

  • GRADO SR60x Prestige Series: Amazon.

9: Audio-Technica ATH-m40x

Audio-Technica ATH-m40x.

The Audio-Technica ATH-m40x are over-ear headphones that are not just great for DJing, but also for general music production, especially recording since they don’t let any noise bleed out of the headphones.

The earcups swivel 90-degrees which lets you quickly listen to your mix with one ear, which is one of the features many DJ’s look for.

The ATH-m40x have a frequency response of 15 – 24,000 Hz, which is more than enough for any DJ, and while they may not be comfortable for long periods of use, they do offer some good noise reduction, which is exactly what you need.

Lastly, these headphones come with two interchangeable cables, one straight and one coiled, and you can even get shorter ones online if they are too long for you.

Pros

  • Padded comfort to compensate for the on-ear style
  • Two included & interchangeable cables

Cons

  • Uncomfortable after long use, ears get sweaty

You can get the Audio-Technica ATH-M40X here: 

10: Sennheiser HD-25

Sennheiser HD-25.

Last but certainly not, I simply had to list the Sennheiser HD-25s. Whilst these headphones can certainly be found for under $100, they truly are the industry standard when it comes to DJing and therefore some retailers sell them for around $150.

Regardless, they are worth saving up the additional cash for. The HD-25s have the ultimate clamping force that guarantee excellent noise isolation for loud and booming DJ environments, and the frequency range is pretty decent for on-ear headphones at 16 Hz – 22000 Hz.

Whilst they are ultimately quite uncomfortable due to the clamping pressure, this is just something you will have to deal with if you want to be a superstar DJ! The build is light-weight yet extremely durable, and you will genuinely have a hard time damaging these bad boys.

Used by some of the biggest names in the world, you simply cannot beat the HD-25s. 

What comes included?

  • HD25 Headphones
  • Soft Case
  • User Manual

Pros

  • Industry standard for DJ Headphones
  • Very high clamping pressure
  • Lightweight yet highly durable

Cons

  • Quite uncomfortable for long sessions, but worth the pain!

You can find out more about the Sennheiser HD25 here:

Are wireless headphones good for DJing?

Whilst wireless headphones could theoretically be very practical when it comes to cable management as a DJ, this is not recommended. This is mainly due to the latency that the average pair of wireless headphones result in, something that could be detrimental to mixing the perfect drop.

Furthermore, many technical errors can interrupt the signal of wireless headphones, and this is the last thing that you need mid-set. In our opinion, it is best to stick to a wired pair of on-ear headphones.

My Top Choice

Whilst you will have to shop around a lot to find a pair for under $100, my top choice would have to be the Sennheiser HD-25s.

The clamping pressure is second to none, they pump out fat bass and crisp trebles, and whilst they’re not the most comfortable of headphones they are highly practical for DJs of any experience level.

Watch your favorite DJ on Youtube and I wouldn’t be surprised if you saw them on their ears – they really are the industry standard for DJing and it’s worth spending the extra cash for them if necessary!

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