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The 11 Best Cheap Headphones in 2021

Last updated: 3 months ago
9 min read

Find the best cheap headphones (of all types) you can get right now.

Rating Price Design Connection Mic & Controls More info
4.6
Under $50
Over-ear, closed-back
Wired – 3.5mm
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Anker Soundcore Life Q20 Best wireless
Anker Soundcore Life Q20 Bluetooth headphones
4.5
Under $50
Over-ear, closed-back
Bluetooth (60h)
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TaoTronics TT-BH090 Best noise-cancelling
TaoTronics BT090 Bluetooth headphones
4.6
Under $60
Over-ear, closed-back
Bluetooth (35h)
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Jlab Audio Jbuds Air Best wireless
JLab Audio JBuds Air True Wireless
4.2
Under $50
True wireless, closed-back
Bluetooth (5.5h + 18h in case)
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Linsoul Tin Audio T2 Best wired in-ear
Tin Audio T2
4.3
Under $50
In-ear, closed-back
Wired – 3.5mm
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Samson SR850 Best open-back
Samson SR850 wired headphones
4.5
Under $50
Over-ear, semi-open
Wired 3.5mm & 6.3mm
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Monoprice 8323 Best under $30
Monoprice 8323 over ear headphones
4.1
Under $30
Over-ear, closed-back
Wired 3.5mm & 6.3mm
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Skullcandy Dime True Wireless Best AirPods alternative
Skullcandy Dime True Wireless
4.4
Under $30
True wireless, closed-back
Bluetooth (3.5h + 8.5h in case)
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Koss UR-20 Best under $20
Koss UR-20
4.3
Under $20
Over-ear, closed-back
Wired – 3.5mm
crosscross
KZ ZST Best earbuds under $20
KZ ZST
4.4
Under $20
In-ear, closed-back
Wired – 3.5mm
crosscross
Panasonic ErgoFit HJE120K Best under $10
Panasonic RP-HJE120
4.3
Under $10
In-ear, closed-back
Wired – 3.5mm
crosscross

Find the best cheap headphones under $50 for your needs and avoid bad ones.

We don’t want you spending too much money on low-quality headphones. That’s why we created this list.

And if $50 is still too much, you can find them for even less (under $30, under $20 and even under $10).

While the budget headphones can’t really compare to higher-end models, some offer fantastic value for your money with good quality.

If you like bargains, these is the best cheap headphones list for you (you can buy happiness if it fits your personality).

Table of Contents

    Related guides:

    The best cheap earbuds (in-ear monitors)

    Best budget noise cancelling headphones

    Best headphones under $50

    The Best Headphones under $50

    1. Audio-Technica ATH-M20x

    wired Best wired
    Audio-Technica ATH-M20x

    Audio-Technica ATH-M20x are one of the best cheap headphones under 50$.

    Connection icon Connection: Wired- 3.5mm / 6.3mm
    Driver size icon Driver size: 40mm
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: 15-20.000Hz
    Type: Over-ear | Back design: Closed-back | Noise cancelling: No | Mic & Controls: No | Impedance: 47 Ohm | Weight: 6.7 oz (190g) | Cable length: 118 inch (3m) | Features: Included 6.3mm adapter
    • Affordable studio monitors
    • Decent build and comfort
    • Great, balanced sound for the price
    • Not very portable

    The ATH-M20x have a well-balanced sound signature. The overall detailed sound quality is much better than you’d expect for 50 dollars.

    You also get a controlled bass response while keeping the details. They’re good enough for every music genre, and a worthy top pick on this list.

    The closed-back headphones are well built considering the price range. They can survive most of the unfortunate drops.

    Another great thing about them is a simple, yet appealing design that never comes out of style (they look similar to other higher-end models from Audio-Technica).

    Large and well-padded over-ear ear cups provide comfort for hours so you can enjoy your favorite music without itching.

    2. Anker Soundcore Life Q20

    wireless Best wireless
    Anker Soundcore Life Q20 Bluetooth headphones

    If you need the best cheap headphones with loud bass-heavy sound and noise cancellation, Anker Soundcore Life Q20 might be one of the top picks.

    Connection icon Connection: Bluetooth 5.0
    Driver size icon Driver size: 40mm
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: 16-40.000Hz
    Type: Over-ear | Battery life: 60h (40h with ANC) | Wireless range: 50ft (15m) | Noise cancelling: Yes | Charging: Quick charge – Micro-USB | Mic & Controls: Yes | Bluetooth codecs: n/a | Water resistance: No | Features: ANC, BassUp, 3.5mm port, foldable
    • Good ANC
    • Lightweight and comfortable
    • Fairly balanced sound
    • Not the best build quality
    • Lacking detail due to dark-ish treble

    If you’re a fan of a bassier sound profile, these should suit your taste. Consequently, they’re pretty warm, with a balanced midrange and smooth treble.

    Life Q20 offer good active noise cancellation performance, especially when blocking lower frequencies. That makes them a great companion on airplanes and public transport.

    Speaking of transport, ear cups have foldable hinges to make more space in your bag. Faux leather ear pads are nice and comfy and ensure good levels of noise isolation.

    The battery life is excellent, with up to 60 hours of continuous playtime (40 hours with noise cancellation).

    Life Q20 are great headphones if you plan to make many phone calls with surprisingly clean microphones.

    Related: The best Bluetooth headphones under $50

    3. TaoTronics TT-BH090

    anc Noise cancellation alternative
    TaoTronics BT090 noise cancelling headphones

    Dropping in price, these are becoming a superb value for those seeking a next favorite pair of active noise-canceling headphones on the budget.

    Connection icon Connection: Bluetooth 5.0
    Driver size icon Driver size: 40mm
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: n/a
    Type: Over-ear | Battery life: 35h (30h with ANC) | Wireless range: 33ft (10m) | Noise cancelling: Yes | Charging: 45min + quick charge – USB-C | Mic & Controls: Yes | Bluetooth codecs: SBC, AAC | Water resistance: No | Features: ANC, foldable, 3.5mm port
    • Great price-to-performance ratio
    • Good noise cancellation
    • Comfortable earpads
    • Smooth, enjoyable sound
    • Might not fit the biggest heads

    They have an overall smooth-sounding frequency response with punchy, deep bass. Audio performance across the board is spotless, with ANC only improving the sound quality. The latter is mostly due to eliminating the outside noise.

    The matte black housing gives them a straightforward look, which can be a good thing if you don’t like flashy things.

    Headphone cups can rotate and fold inwards to make them more portable. Underneath ear cup you can also find volume controls.

    As mentioned, these wireless headphones provide you with active noise-cancellation, which works really well.

    They’re capable of canceling out a majority of low-end humming, while also doing a great job in the office. During ANC, headphones provide enough battery life for at least a couple of days.

    Check our pick for the best budget noise cancelling headphones.

    4. Jlab Audio Jbuds Air

    true-wireless Best true wireless
    Jlab Audio Jbuds Air true wireless earbuds

    Jlab Audio Jbuds Air are the best true wireless earbuds under $50.

    Connection icon Connection: Bluetooth 5.0
    Driver size icon Driver size: 8mm
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: n/a
    Type: True wireless | Battery life: 6h + 18h in case | Wireless range: 33ft (10m) | Noise cancelling: No | Charging: Under 2h – USB-A (attached) | Mic & Controls: Yes, built-in | Bluetooth codecs: SBC, AAC | Water resistance: IP55 | Features: Rubber sleeves
    • Good water protection IP55
    • Stable fit suitable for sports
    • User-friendly magnetic design
    • Good sound quality for the price
    • Annoying physical controls (Air Icon have touch controls)
    • Can become uncomfortable after prolonged time for small ears
    • Phone calls require the right earbud

    You get good sound quality for the price. With high volume and 3 presets, you get some customization. While it can’t compare to higher-end models, it’s still fun to listen to boosted bass. For more low-end, see best bass earbuds.

    If you’re looking for best cheap wireless earbuds under $50, then the Jlab Audio Jbuds Air should be your top choice.

    With a stable fit, IP55 rating, and decent 5.5 hours of battery life (18 hours in the charging case), you can use them for sports too. For more see the best workout headphones.

    You can use them for video games, or a daily commute as well. They have a secure fit and are generally comfortable. Also, passive isolation is above average, so you can block most of the background noise.

    Jlab Audio Jbuds Air review

    Related: Best budget noise cancelling headphones

    5. Linsoul Tin Audio T2

    wired Best wired earbuds
    Linsoul Tin Audio T2 wired earbuds

    Tin Audio T2 are a great pair of wired earbuds under $50 that make an excellent purchase.

    Connection icon Connection: Wired – 3.5mm
    Driver size icon Driver size: 10mm (woofer) + 6mm (tweeter)
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: 12-40.000Hz
    Type: In-ear | Back design: Closed-back | Noise cancelling: No | Mic & Controls: No | Impedance: 16 Ohm | Weight: n/a | Cable length: 4 feet (1.2m) | Features: Detachable cable, MMCX connection
    • Excellent sound for the price
    • Robust, metal build with detachable cables
    • Good passive isolation
    • A bit bulky for users with smaller ears

    Metal housing encapsulates 2 dynamic drivers: one woofer and one tweeter. Combined, they produce a sound quality that exceeds the earbud’s price range.

    They have a well-balanced frequency response across the midrange and treble, with lots of details and sparkle. Even if the bass is slightly boosted, it should still please most audiophiles.

    Earbuds are made of solid metal and boast an industrial look. Despite their weird shape, they’re comfortable for most users.

    Inside the box, you get many accessories, including foam ear tips. The latter ensures optimal stability and passive isolation, preventing the ambient sound from mixing with your music.

    Another cool thing about Tin Audio T2 is the removable MMCX cable. Since that’s one of the first things to break in headphones, you can now easily replace it with a new one.

    Related: More best earbuds under $50

    For a bit more money check the best Bluetooth headphones under $100.

    6. Samson SR850

    trophy Best open-back
    Samson SR850 studio headphones

    SR8500 are the best cheap headphones with a sound quality that you can also use for serious work.

    Connection icon Connection: Wired – 3.5mm / 6.3mm
    Driver size icon Driver size: 50mm
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: 10-30.000Hz
    Type: Over-ear | Back design: Semi-open | Noise cancelling: No | Mic & Controls: No | Impedance: 32 Ohm | Weight: 9.7 oz (276g) | Cable length: 98.4 inch (2.5m) | Features: /
    • Fantastic sound for the price
    • Lightweight construction
    • Decent durability
    • 6.3mm adapter included in the box
    • Price
    • All-plastic construction feels cheap
    • Below average comfort and fit
    • Bad noise isolation

    At the price tag, the sound quality of these cheap headphones is mind-blowing. The overall solid bass doesn’t dig very low (as in most semi-open back headphones), the midrange is engagingly natural.

    Detail retrieval and imaging are great, with good instrumental separation and airiness in the treble.

    To save on materials, headphones are entirely made of plastic. With good care, you can have them for many years as we did. Also, the cable is thick so that it won’t break anytime soon.

    You can choose between pleather or velour earpads. The latter ones are more breathable and gentler to the skin, giving you better comfort over long stretches of listening.

    Due to sound leakage, they’re only usable for home listening. There’s a 6.3mm adapter in the box if you have a dedicated headphone amp or you want to plug them into a speaker amplifier.

    Check the best bass headphones.

    The Best Cheap Headphones under $30

    7. Monoprice 8323

    dollar Best under $30
    Monoprice 8323

    Closed ear cups give these cheap over-ear headphones excellent passive isolation, and the large drivers efficiently produce a loud, robust sound.

    Connection icon Connection: Wired – 3.5mm
    Driver size icon Driver size: 50mm
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: 20-20.000Hz
    Type: Over-ear | Back design: Closed-back | Noise cancelling: No | Mic & Controls: No | Impedance: 40 Ohm | Weight: n/a | Cable length: 47 inch (1.2m) | Features: Foldable, detachable cable
    • Good comfort
    • Detachable cable
    • Great clarity for the price
    • Cheap construction

    The soundstage is clear and decently spacious, and the overall driver efficiency is good. Low-end frequency response is produced with plenty of punch and depth. The mids are full and generally rich.

    The only downside is that the high frequencies can get lost in the mix depending on the style of music. Brilliance and sibilance are attenuated good enough to notice.

    DJ’s will love the earcup swivel design and tight bass response that these cheap headphones deliver, and the additional detachable cables are handy for a variety of uses.

    Few over-ear headphones at this price point provide as much isolation while delivering quality audio.

    Furthermore, the style and build make them great for use by audio engineers and DJs. Studio engineers or musicians may find them to be larger and heavier than standard studio headphones. Since they also get dangerously loud, you have to practise safe headphone use.

    Related: The best headphones under $30

    8. Skullcandy Dime

    dollar Best earbuds under $30
    Skullcandy Dime wireless earbuds

    Skullcandy Dime are cheap wireless earbuds that are similar to Apple Airpods Pro but much cheaper and surprisingly great sound quality.

    Connection icon Connection: Bluetooth 5.0
    Driver size icon Driver size: 6mm dynamic
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: 20-20.000Hz
    Type: True wireless | Battery life: 3.5h + 8.5h in case | Wireless range: 33ft (10m) | Noise cancelling: No | Charging: Micro-USB | Mic & Controls: Yes | Bluetooth codecs: SBC | Water resistance: IPX4 | Features: /
    • Excellent sound quality for the price
    • Comfortable fit
    • Good Bluetooth range and stability
    • Decent call quality
    • Annoying physical controls
    • Poor battery life
    • Plasticky build

    While not perfect, a slightly V-shaped sound from Skullcandy Dime can easily surpass more expensive offerings. Audio quality is crisp and fun to listen to, regardless of the music genre.

    Both earbuds and charging case are entirely made of plastic. They feel quite lightweight and cheap, but thankfully, there are no visible weak points. There’re other options for colors, too.

    These true wireless headphones have an IPX4 rating, which protects them from sweat and light rain.

    Their runtime is only okay, with 3.5 hours of battery life on a single charge in earbuds and additional 8.5 hours in the charging case.

    As long as you don’t push eartips too hard in your ear canal, the Dime provide a comfortable fit.

    Related: Best wireless earbuds under $50

    The Best Cheap Headphones under $20

    9. Koss UR-20

    dollar Best under $20
    Koss UR-20

    Koss UR-20 are the best cheap headphones under 20$. Below are the reasons why.

    Connection icon Connection: Wired – 3.5mm
    Driver size icon Driver size: n/a
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: 30-20.000Hz
    Type: Over-ear | Back design: Closed-back | Noise cancelling: No | Mic & Controls: No | Impedance: 32 Ohm | Weight: n/a | Cable length: 8 feet (2.4m) | Features: /
    • Balanced sound with slightly a boosted bass
    • Lightweight and comfortable
    • Dirt-cheap
    • Bulky, plastic construction

    Koss UR-20 have a somewhat balanced audio performance that’s suitable for all music genres. Overall they sound decent.

    Softly padded earcups make them quite comfortable. Their large cups also fit securely adult ears. Their design is extremely lightweight, and a plastic headband doesn’t put too much pressure on top of your head.

    While these aren’t built like a tank, they hold up fine to everyday use. The entirely plastic design doesn’t have state of the art looks, but it performs well.

    It’s worth mentioning they don’t isolate noise that well, so listening to high volumes can bother people around you.

    Related: Best headphones under $20

    10. KZ ZST

    dollar Best earbuds under $20
    KZ ZST in-ear monitor

    KZ ZST are the best inexpensive headphones under $20 at the moment (KZ ZST review).

    Connection icon Connection: Wired – 3.5mm
    Driver size icon Driver size: 10mm
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: 20-20.000Hz
    Type: In-ear | Back design: Closed-back | Noise cancelling: No | Mic & Controls: Yes (Optional) | Weight: 0.85 oz (24g) | Impedance: 16 Ohm | Cable length: 47.2 inch (1.2m) | Features: Detachable cable, 1 Dynamic + 1 BA
    • Amazing value
    • Great sound
    • Removable cable
    • Comfortable fit
    • All-plastic construction

    They have a V-shaped sound signature that’s fantastic at this affordable price. It can easily compare to earbuds around $100.

    The bass is punchy and controlled, and highs have no problems with sibilance or harshness. Truly a budget audiophile in-ear monitors.

    These are one of those headphone types where the wire goes behind-the-ear. The fit is comfortable and stable, even for sports and memory wire provides a firm fit. But they aren’t sweatproof, so you shouldn’t use them for working out.

    You only get silicone ear tips but to get tight seal in your ear canal, comfort and ambient noise isolation, get memory foam tips.

    They are plastic and thus lightweight. That makes these cheap headphones great for long listening sessions. Plus, 1-button remote control and integrated microphone enable you to make phone calls on the go.

    KZ ZST review

    Related: Best earbuds under $20

    What are the best cheap headphones under 10 dollars? You won’t find a decent over-ear or on-ear pair, but you can get decent in-ears.

    11. Panasonic RP-HJE120

    dollar Best under $10
    Panasonic ErgoFit RP-HJE120 with branded sides

    Panasonic RP-HJE120 are incredibly cheap and basic earbuds that just work.

    Connection icon Connection: Wired – 3.5mm
    Driver size icon Driver size: 9mm
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: 10-24.000Hz
    Type: In-ear | Back design: Closed-back | Noise cancelling: No | Mic & Controls: No (mic optional) | Impedance: 16 Ohm | Weight: 12g | Cable length: 3.6 feet (1.1 m) | Water resistance: No
    • Enjoyable sound with slight bass emphasis
    • Very comfortable due to ergonomic design
    • Low price
    • Surprisingly durable
    • Cable noise

    Their sound signature is somewhat balanced. The lows are well-heard, slightly enhanced but can be muddy for some songs. Overall sound quality is about average, but still satisfying for most everyday listeners.

    Furthermore, while they are cheap, they last a decent amount of time. Its plastic built isn’t top-notch but much better than most similar alternatives.

    Passive noise isolation is excellent too. Even if you’re listening to high volumes, they don’t leak much sound. So no one around is bothered by your music.

    If you want the most popular and best-rated cheap earbuds on the planet, get these affordable headphones. You can find other earbuds under $10 here.

    Panasonic ErgoFit RP-HJE120 review

    Honorable Mentions

    Jlab Audio Go Air – Great sounding cheap true wireless earbuds with 5-hour battery life and built-in EQ modes. (Check Go Air price)

    Skullcandy Hesh 2 – Hesh 2 are one of the best cheap headphones that can add a significant bass boost to all of your songs. Thanks to big earpads with thick foam, the passive isolation is above average. (Check Hesh 2 price)

    More budget guides:

    Best headphones under $100

    Best earbuds under $100 (in-ear)

    The best earbuds under $30

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

    What are Cheap Headphones?

    Cheap can mean a lot of different things for different people. But generally, budget-oriented set of headphones, even from big headphone brands start under $50.

    For most people, inexpensive cans cost less than 50 bucks. If you think that is still too high, you can choose from under $30 and under $20 models.

    You can still get solid quality for those prices. Just don’t expect the most popular brands because you won’t find them in this category.

    What to Expect from Best Cheap Headphones?

    Low cost doesn’t have to mean bad quality. Though there are a couple of things, you have to consider.

    When you are spending less money on an affordable pair of headphones the first and most common thing manufacturers save on is durability.

    Budget models usually have entirely plastic structures and don’t use any fancy materials. They don’t have the best build quality, so you have to make sure to treat them right.

    Cheap headphones don’t have as many other features and accessories as pricier models. Most come in an essential package with bare necessities.

    Older Bluetooth versions and smaller battery capacity. While this isn’t necessarily true every time, you shouldn’t expect the latest updates and big batteries when you’re spending less money.

    – Many times, older models get a nice discount which makes them affordable. There’s nothing wrong with a previous model if it’s still competitive.

    – Nonetheless, you don’t have to spend more money for a perfect pair of headphones to sound great. Since it’s the most crucial feature, all the models in this headphones list offer excellent sound quality in their price bracket.

    What are the Best Cheap Headphone Brands?

    Many cheap brands use generic products and plaster their logo on them, but some actually have their own development which adds value.

    While most companies are probably a combination of both here are some of the best budget headphones brands. These are pretty good and affordable.

    Monoprice is probably the most known audiophile budget brand.
    Koss is an old company with fantastic recognition among audiophiles.
    TaoTronics specialize in all types of affordable products that offer a lot of value.
    KZ are a newer Chinese brand that made a following with their cheap in-ears that sound great.
    MEE Audio offer competitive products for less money across categories.
    Mpow is one of the more successfully generic audio brands.
    Anker makes affordable audio products and other electronics.
    Aukey makes some mid-tier headphones, but their cheapest models offer the latest tech and plenty of features.

    Shortcomings of Cheap Wireless Headphones

    When it comes to wireless Bluetooth headphones, it pays to know a couple of things.

    The battery won’t last forever.

    Since you’re paying little money, you’re not getting the latest tech. And with batteries, this is painfully obvious.

    You can conservatively expect a battery will last (have satisfactory capacity) for about 2 to 3 years. If you get more that’s great, but not a rule.

    Audio quality might be lacking.

    Generally, from the best cheap headphones you can expect decent quality audio but don’t compare them to high-end audiophile headphones.