Best overall

Moto E4 (with ads)

See at Amazon

The Amazon-exclusive Moto E4 is a $130 phone reduced to $100. The catch? You'll get ads and offers from the retail giant on your lock screen, which may or may not be a deal-breaker depending on how you like to use your phone. (We've got a good breakdown of what those ads look like).

Otherwise, you're getting a decent entry-level Android phone for not a lot of money at all. The Moto E4 looks a lot like the Moto G5, but tones down some of the specs, offering a quad-core Snapdragon 425, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, and an 8MP camera powering the 5-inch 720p display. It all runs Android 7.1.1 Nougat with some great Moto adds-ons.

Bottom line: Putting up with lock screen ads allows you to get a $130 phone for $100. It's not perfect, but it's a lot better than you'd otherwise get for the cash.

One more thing: It's unlocked, so you can use it on any carrier of your choice. And if you know where to look, there are some places on the Internet that'll help you take care of those pesky ads.

Why the Moto E4 is best

Amazon plugs the price gap with offers on your lock screen.

With ads from Amazon, or without ads from Verizon, the Moto E4 gets you a great core Android experience — fast software, thanks to Motorola's hands-off approach towards customization — and decent specs all-round.

It's not the flashiest or showiest smartphone, with a relatively generic design, but you don't expect pizzaz when you're paying a Benjamin for a full-featured smartphone. The phone also retains the impressive features of its more-expensive Moto G5 counterpart, including a great autofocus camera and a front fingerprint sensor.

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Best ad-free

Moto E4 Plus

See at Boost

You probably aren't surprised to see another Moto phone on this list, because they're just the pinnacle of value. For $99.99, you get a fast fingerprint sensor, some light water resistance (but not IP68, so don't go dunking the Moto E4 Plus in a pool), and a ridiculous 5000 mAh with fast charging. If Boost's pricing were available on the unlocked model, this phone would easily overtake the Prime-Exclusive Moto E4 as our top overall recommendation.

Bottom line: You won't find a bigger battery and cleaner software experience for the money.

One more thing: Boost offers an additional 10% off if you're ordering online, making the Moto E4 Plus an even better bang for your buck.

Best on Verizon

Moto E4

See at Verizon

If you're on Verizon prepaid, you can snag our best overall pick, the Moto E4, for even less than the ad-filled one from Amazon. While this version will be locked to Verizon, it's also just $70.

Bottom line: Trading ads for bloatware gets you Moto's best super-cheap phone for less — if you're on Verizon.

One more thing: Don't expect software updates to be as quick as the unlocked version.

Best on Cricket Wireless (AT&T)

LG Harmony

See at Cricket Wireless

If you want to get a prepaid phone from one of the big four carriers, your choices are limited, but AT&T's Cricket sub-brand has a great selection, including the LG Harmony for $100. It's got a big 5.3-inch HD display, a quad-core processor, 2800mAh battery, and Android 7.0 Nougat.

Bottom line: LG's got a strong prepaid game these days, and the Harmony is no exception.

One more thing: Don't expect many updates with this phone. That's the price of prepaid.

Best on MetroPCS (T-Mobile)

Samsung Galaxy J7 Prime

Galaxy J7 Prime

See at MetroPCS

MetroPCS's Galaxy J7 Prime has some pretty competitive specs for the sub-$100 price range. You're looking at a 1.6GHz octa-core processor, 3GB of RAM, and 16GB of expandable storage.

Its display is on the larger side at 5.5" inches, and the 3300 mAh battery should be more than enough to last you through the day.

Bottom line: You get a large battery, an equally large screen, and Android 7.0, which is hard to beat at this price.

One more thing: The Galaxy J7 Prime is actually $139 upfront with a $40 mail-in rebate. This is how almost every phone at MetroPCS is sold, but you can get a little closer to $100 out of pocket with the Galaxy J3 Prime, which runs $109 upfront.

Best on Boost Mobile (Sprint)

Moto E4 Plus

See at Boost

You probably aren't surprised to see another Moto phone on this list, because they're just the pinnacle of value. For $99.99, you get a fast fingerprint sensor, some light water resistance (but not IP68, so don't go dunking the Moto E4 Plus in a pool), and a ridiculous 5000 mAh with fast charging. If Boost's pricing were available on the unlocked model, this phone would easily overtake the Prime-Exclusive Moto E4 as our top overall recommendation.

Bottom line: You won't find a bigger battery and cleaner software experience for the money.

One more thing: Boost offers an additional 10% off if you're ordering online, making the Moto E4 Plus an even better bang for your buck.

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Conclusion

You'll need to put up with the occasional ad, but Amazon's offer of a Moto E4 for under $100 is really hard to beat. But there are plenty of other great sub-$100 devices out there — you just have to put up with a few compromises.

Best overall

Moto E4 (with ads)

See at Amazon

The Amazon-exclusive Moto E4 is a $130 phone reduced to $100. The catch? You'll get ads and offers from the retail giant on your lock screen, which may or may not be a deal-breaker depending on how you like to use your phone. (We've got a good breakdown of what those ads look like).

Otherwise, you're getting a decent entry-level Android phone for not a lot of money at all. The Moto E4 looks a lot like the Moto G5, but tones down some of the specs, offering a quad-core Snapdragon 425, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of storage, and an 8MP camera powering the 5-inch 720p display. It all runs Android 7.1.1 Nougat with some great Moto adds-ons.

Bottom line: Putting up with lock screen ads allows you to get a $130 phone for $100. It's not perfect, but it's a lot better than you'd otherwise get for the cash.

One more thing: It's unlocked, so you can use it on any carrier of your choice. And if you know where to look, there are some places on the Internet that'll help you take care of those pesky ads.

Update November 2017: We've replaced the Moto E LTE with the Moto E4 Plus as the best ad-free option, and revamped some of the carrier choices because they were either no longer available, or no longer the best options.