Having a budget of $150 gives you an excellent selection of open back headphones to choose from. And there are some good reasons to choose open back headphones in the first place…
Open-back “ear cups” allow sound to pass back and forth between your ears and the outside air.
This creates a much wider sound stage and makes you feel like you’re in a studio listening to the musicians around you!
Included in our list below of the 5 best open back headphones are some familiar and recognizable brands, as well as some you might not have heard of. You’ll find not one, but two Sennheiser models, a Grado, an AKG Pro, and an ASTRO.
They each come with their own special features, including microphones, extra adapters, transducers, and different types of cables. All of these headphones are wired.
So have fun comparing models to find which are the best open back headphones for you!
These headphones offer you a lot of options with regard to what you can use them with, meaning you'll be able to use one headphone set for just about everything. They're also made with highly comfortable ear cushions so you can wear them for longer periods of time without a problem.
These AKG headphones are made to be highly comfortable. They have very soft ear pads so you won't have to worry about a lot of uncomfortable pressure, as well as an adjustable headband to make sure the fit is just right.
Best for Gaming
These headphones are compatible with a number of different devices, including many gaming consoles. They also offer the ability to customize with the help of a Mod Kit so that you can design them to fit your gaming preferences.
Best for Casual Listening
These headphones have a really interesting design and are made to rest on your ears rather than over them. They offer a great sound quality and multiple plug-in sizes so that you can listen from a wider range of devices. These are going to be a great option for casual listening.
These Sennheiser headphones offer a comfortable fit and a long cable to give you more freedom. They're available for under $100.00, making them a great value that will allow you to save some money if you're on a tighter budget and still get high quality headphones.
Best Open Back Headphones (Summary Table)
on-ear or over-ear?
Doesn't come with a 3.5mm adapter plug.
Compatible with several different devices.
Bulky and heavy.
Soft ear pads and an adjustable headband.
No detachable cable.
Mod Kit allows for a lot of customization options.
Cables can have a finicky connection.
Multiple adapter sizes.
No volume controls on cable or headphones.
Benefits of Using Open Back Headphones
Unlike the standard closed-back design, open back headphones have an opening on the outside of each headphone. While this can mean that people around you will be able to hear what you hear, it can also offer a more enveloping experience because the sound is outside as well as inside the headphones. It creates a wonderful surround-sound experience.
Because of the open design, you can also stay comfortable more easily because there will be less of a heat buildup inside the headphones. Your ears will stay cool because air will be able to get inside to allow them to “breathe.”
Best Open Back Headphones Reviews
The following list is going to provide some more in depth information on five different headphone models, including some details on each as well as pros and cons so that you can see what to expect from each pair.
These headphones are comfortably lightweight and include 38mm, 50Ohm transducers with aluminum voice coils to give you high efficiency, great dynamics, and limited distortion.
As for the sound, the impedance is 50 Ohms and the frequency response is between 14 Hz and 26,000 Hz. Yes, there is sound leak with these, since they’re open back. Others will be able to hear a bit of what you’re listening to.
Since they’re over ear, these headphones create a seal around your ears that doesn’t apply to pressure points or induce neck and head strain. Although you’ll receive an immersive sound experience, these aren’t noise cancelling. They come with a 6.3 mm straight, gold-plated plug at the end.
These are great headphones designed to be allow for the utmost level of comfort. They don't come with a 3.5mm adapter plug or other accessories, but offer a wonderful listening experience with excellent sound quality.
The ear cushions are made of velvet and really soft. Since these are gaming headphones, they also come with a noise-cancelling microphone.
You’ll enjoy the crystal-clear game talk and no interference, static, or feedback. If you need to mute the mic, then just lift the boom arm and it will stop automatically. There’s a volume control for the mic right on the ear cup, which is nice and convenient for use.
These headphones are compatible with a wide range of devices, making them very convenient. They offer excellent sound quality, but can be on the heavier side so make sure you're okay with that if you're interested in purchasing these headphones.
With a $150 budget, you can get some great open-back headphones. These from AKG Pro Audio have patented Varimotion diaphragm technology that produces an excellent flat response perfect for studio reference and monitoring.
You’ll really like the frequency response with these headphones, since they go from 12 Hz all the way up to 39 kHz. Such a wide audio bandwidth is going to give you a full spectrum. The impedance is really large, at 120 Ohms, so you’re going to need a lot of power in your amp or other equipment to listen to these. You probably won’t be able to use these with a smartphone or laptop just by themselves.
These headphones offer great sound technology to make sure your listening experience is nothing short of stellar. They also allow you to adjust the headband for the ideal fit and offer incredibly soft ear pads to offer you comfort while you listen.
These headphones are built like a tank and are durable enough to last a long time. They have a thick double head band that you can adjust for a custom fit, large square shaped ear cups that are extra padded, and a sturdy microphone.
The outside of the ear cups have a diagonal mesh design covering the open back design. The Dolby 7.1 virtual surround sound gives you an excellent sound quality for playing games, listening to music or podcasts or audiobooks, or taking phone calls. These don’t have noise isolation or noise cancellation, so there is going to be some sound leak coming from outside the ear cups.
The precision microphone is highly sensitive and omnidirectional, so you can custom position it to where you’d like. It zeroes in on your voice, minimizing background noise. One great feature is that you can position this mic on either side of the headset, making it swappable.
These headphones are a top-notch choice to use for gaming. They have a lot of customization options and can be used on a multitude of devices and consoles. If you're looking for something that will be perfect for intense gaming sessions, these are a great option.
Grado Labs is a very luxurious headphones brand that offers really high quality audio equipment and each pair is made in the US, so that’s a great bonus.
This is one of their lower priced models, and you can rest assured you’re getting premium quality for a bargain. The design of these headphones is classic and almost a 1940’s retro look, with the perfectly round ear cups and handsome leather head band. These headphones are wired and come with a 6 foot thick, sturdy cable. The impedance is 32 Ohms.
These on-ear headphones allow for a great casual listening experience. They are designed to be comfortable and easy to use, but may not be the best option to use in public as there will be some sound leakage.
Do You Need Open Back Headphones?
Open back headphones are a great option for when you're listening alone and want a truly submersive experience. While they don't often allow for the kind of privacy you can get from closed-back headphones, they can make your listening experience more enjoyable as well as more comfortable for your ears.
If you're keen on getting a musical experience that will make you feel like you're front and center at a concert, they're definitely worth taking a look into.
How to Find Your Ideal Open Back Headphones
It's especially important to consider what you're going to use the headphones for if you're interested in the open back style.
This is because they do tend to allow some sound leakage and generally offer a different experience than typical closed back style models.
It's also worth taking your budget into consideration, as a pair of quality open back headphones can be costlier than closed back options.
Open Back Headphones Fast Facts
Can be a great choice if you want a top-notch musical experience
The neckband allows for a larger battery than other styles of wireless earphones and headphones, giving them a longer battery life.
Other people will be able to hear what you do
Open back headphones do produce sound leakage, which means other people will be able to hear your music. That means these are typically better for private home use.
Open back headphones can be considered to be more comfortable
These headphones allow more air to get into the ear cup area, which means you won't have to worry about getting hot or sweaty while you listen.
An Alternative Product
These headphones are perfect if you're looking for something budget friendly. They come in at under $60.00 while still offering the open-back design that can allow for a more immersive experience as well as two different microphone styles to suit your needs. With a 4.2 Amazon rating, they're quite the bargain!
All the headphones on this list are capable of creating a great experience whether you're using them for music or gaming. They come in a variety of price levels so that you can find something that suits your needs without having to empty your wallet in the process.