Budget

11 Best Budget Headphones

Last updated: 1 month ago, Aug. 23. 2020
Article Contents
    VIEW ARTICLE CONTENTS

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

    Comparison: The Best Cheap Headphones

      BadgeRatingPriceDesignConnection 

    Audio-Technica
    ATH-M20x
    best overall4.4under $50over-ear
    closed-back
    wired
    3.5mm
    More info
    Jlab Audio Jbuds Airbest wireless4.0under $50in-ear
    closed-back
    Bluetooth
    5.5h battery
    +15h in case
    More info
    SoundMAGIC
    E10
    best wired
    in-ear
    3.9under $40in-ear
    closed-back
    wired
    3.5mm
    More info
    Anker Soundcore Life Q10best wireless
    (over-ear)
    4.6under $50over-ear
    closed-back
    Bluetooth
    60h battery
    More info
    TaoTronics TT BH090best
    noise-cancelling
    4.7under $60over-ear
    closed-back
    ANC
    Bluetooth
    35h battery
    & wired
    More info
    AKG K240best on-ear4.5under $70over-ear
    open-back
    wired
    3.5mm
    More info
    Monoprice 8323best under $303.9under $30over-ear
    closed-back
    wired
    3.5mm
    More info
    Aukey EP-T21best Airpods
    alternative
    4.5under $30in-ear
    closed-back
    Bluetooth
    4.5h battery
    More info
    Koss UR-20best under $204.0under $20over-ear
    closed-back
    wired
    3.5mm
    More info
    KZ ZSTbest earbuds
    under $20
    4.1under $20in-ear
    closed-back
    wired
    3.5mm
    More info
    Panasonic
    RP-HJE120

    Panasonic-RP-HJE120
    best under $104.2under $10in-ear
    closed-back
    wired
    3.5mm
    More info

    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 are the best cheap headphones for you (you can buy happiness if it fits your personality).

    Table of Contents
      VIEW ARTICLE CONTENTS

      Related guides:

      The best cheap earbuds (in-ear monitors)

      Best budget noise-canceling headphones

      Best headphones under $50

      The Best Headphones under $50

      1. Audio-Technica ATH-M20x – best overall

      Audio-Technica ATH-M20x

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

      Type: Over-ear
      Back design: Closed-back
      Noise-cancelling: No
      Connection: Wired, 3.5mm

      Should You Buy These?

      If you’re looking for great-sounding cans for little money, these are a top choice.

      The Good

      The closed-back headphones are well built considering the price. 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).

      Also, they are quite comfortable. Large and well-padded over-ear ear cups provide comfort for hours so you can enjoy your favorite music without itching.

      The Bad

      The sad thing is, there is no remote control or microphone, so no calls can be made. But that’s okay since these are made for home listening.

      The Sound

      The ATH-M20x have a somewhat balanced sound signature. The overall quality is much better than you’d expect for 50 dollars. You also get a robust bass response while keeping the details. They’re good for every music genre.

      Audio-Technica ATH-M20x are one of the best cheap headphones under $50 today. With a better than expected combination of audio quality, comfort fit, build quality, and overall reliability. They are the top choice for the budget.


      2. Jlab Audio Jbuds Air – best wireless

      Jlab Audio Jbuds Air

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

      Jlab Audio Jbuds Air review.

      Type: True wireless
      Back design: Closed-back
      Noise-cancelling: No
      Connection: Bluetooth 5.0

      Should You Buy These?

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

      The Good

      With a stable fit, IP55 water and dust protection, and decent 5.5-hour battery life, you get a lot for your money.

      You can use them for sports, working out, or a daily commute. The fit is stable and generally comfortable.

      Also, passive noise isolation is above average, so you can block most of the background noise.

      The Bad

      Using built-in controls is irritating. They might be uncomfortable for small ears.

      The Sound

      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 with boosted bass. Read more about in the review.

      Jlab Audio Jbuds Air make for great budget true wireless earbuds with a solid performance for active or casual users.

      Read the Jlab Audio Jbuds Air review.


      3. SoundMAGIC E10 – best wired earbuds

      SoundMAGIC E10

      SoundMAGIC E10 are the older wired earbuds under $50 but still a great purchase.

      Type: In-ear
      Back design: Closed-back
      Noise-cancelling: No
      Connection: Wired, 3.5mm

      Related: More earbuds under $50

      Should You Buy These?

      If you’re looking for in-ear headphones with good built quality, comfort, and fantastic sound (for an affordable price) then check these out.

      The Good

      The first thing that will catch your eye is their stylish housing. It looks pricier than it actually is.

      Remember that using foam eartips can give you much-improved comfort. Using proper tips for your ear canal provides amazing passive noise isolation. Plus, they stay in their place so you can easily use them on the go.

      The E10C model also comes with universal remote control and built-in microphone for phone calls (it costs slightly more but still under $50).

      The Bad

      Still, the buds aren’t sweatproof or made for sports, so they tend to die if abused.

      The Sound

      They produce excellent, precise sound. The frequency response is balanced. Because of that, they’re perfect for all music genres. From classical to rock, you’ll be pleased. Just don’t expect overpowering bass because they don’t have it.

      SoundMAGIC E10 in-ear headphones are an exceptional choice for under $50. They sound much better than the price would warrant, and that’s why they’re so popular with audiophiles on a budget.


      4. Anker Soundcore Life Q10 – best wireless

       

      Anker Soundcore Life Q10 wireless headphone

      If what you need in music is the loud bass, Anker Soundcore Life Q10 might be the perfect pick.

      Related: The top Bluetooth headphones under $50

      Type: Over-ear
      Back design: Closed-back
      Noise-cancelling: No
      Connection: Bluetooth 5.0

      The Good

      Their mostly plastic construction makes them exceptionally lightweight. When you add the plush earpads and padded headband into the mix, you get a very comfortable headphone that you can wear for hours.

      You get a few clicky buttons on the side of the earcup to control the volume and answer phone calls.

      Thankfully, Anker hasn’t cheap out when it comes to battery life. These can play music for an incredible 60 hours straight. If you suddenly end up with a dead battery, a 5-minute charge via USB-C adds another 5 hours of listening.

      The Bad

      Since the microphone quality is below average, these are not good for taking long phone calls.

      The Sound

      It’s all about the bass with these wireless headphones. You do get the punch bass-lovers are looking for. Anker also made Life Q10 Hi-Res certified, which ensures good treble extension. If you like popular genres, like rap, hip hop, EDM, and pop, these should make you dance.

      While the bass-heavy approach isn’t for everyone, Anker Soundcore Life Q10 are still one of the best wireless over-ear options for under $50.


      5. TaoTronics TT-BH090 – best noise-cancellation

      TaoTronics BT090 Bluetooth headphones

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

      Type: Over-ear
      Back design: Closed-back
      Noise-cancelling: Yes
      Connection: Bluetooth 5.0

      The Good

      The matte black housing gives them a straightforward look, which can be a good thing if you don’t like flashy things. Headphone’s cups can rotate and fold inwards to make them more portable.

      Earpads are dressed in pleather material and are filled with cushy foam. They fit nicely around the ears, offering a comfortable experience for longer listening sessions.

      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, where are a lot of people are chatting.

      The Bad

      Users with big heads might find them too small.

      The Sound

      They are overall smooth with punchy, deep bass. Performance across the board is spotless, with ANC only improving the sound quality. The latter is mostly due to eliminating the outside noise.

      Price has dropped slightly in the past few months, making the TaoTronics TT-BH090 of the top choices if you’re looking for affordable ANC headphones.


      6. AKG K240 – best for mixing

       

      AKG K240 Studio

      Owned by many studios and musicians, the AKG’s K240 are the best cheap headphones that you can also use for serious work.

      Type: On-ear
      Back design: Open-back
      Noise-cancelling: No
      Connection: Wired, 3.5mm

      The Good

      These are the classics that are loved by many users. They’re instantly recognizable by their retro look and semi-open design. The latter helps with more open sound reproduction, while also blocking the outside noise to a more substantial degree as fully open-back headphones do.

      They’re plasticky, but also very lightweight. Circular cups go around your ear and provide a comfortable fit.

      The cable can is replaceable if your current one break. Earpads can also be changed with aftermarket ones. That is great since the old pads can negatively affect the sound.

      The Bad

      They’re very light on bass, which might turn off some people.

      The Sound

      That is where these headphones shine. They provide an open soundstage with exceptional clarity throughout the whole frequency range. It’s the older model, but it is still a fantastic value, especially since the price has dropped significantly.

      AKG K240 should be on your top list if you’re an audiophile or want to produce music, but your budget is limiting. The looks might not be everyone, but comfort and performance are much more important.

      Check our AKG K240 review.


      The Best Headphones under $30

      7. Monoprice 8323 – best under $30

      Monoprice 8323 cheap under $30 headphones

      Closed-Back design gives these headphones excellent noise isolation, and the large drivers efficiently produce a loud, robust sound. Top pick for $30.

      Related: The headphones to get under $30

      Type: Over-ear
      Back design: Closed-back
      Noise-cancelling: No
      Connection: Wired, 3.5mm

      Should You Buy These?

      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.

      The Good

      The large 50mm drivers are surrounded by large vinyl earpads that fit snug over and around the ear, fitting well for most ear sizes.

      The closed-back design provides excellent noise isolation, making them great for noisy environments or private listening needs.

      Few models at this price point provide as much isolation while delivering quality audio in a closed-back design. They perform remarkably well in both categories.

      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.

      Now, the plastic construction and swivel design of the Monoprice 108323 isn’t the most durable, but it does hold up under repeated use and normal physical stress.

      The Bad

      Long-term wearing can generate a fair amount of heat and sweat with the vinyl earpads, and the headband can be a little tight for larger heads.

      The Sound

      Monoprice 108323 headphones deliver high volume levels from the large 50mm drivers.

      The soundstage is clear and decently spacious for a closed-back headphone design, and the overall driver efficiency is good.

      Low frequencies are produced with plenty of punch and depth. The mids are full and generally rich.

      The only downside for this 108323 model is that the high frequencies can get lost in the mix depending on the style of music. Brilliance and sibilance are attenuated just enough to notice.

      For great sounding circumaural headphones with strong bass for less than $30, Monoprice 108323 are the top choice.


      8. Aukey EP-T21 – cheap AirPods alternatives

      Aukey EP-T21 earbuds

      Aukey EP-T21 are similar to Apple Airpods but much cheaper.

      Type: In-ear
      Back design: Closed-back
      Noise-cancelling: No
      Connection: Bluetooth 5.0

      Check the Aukey EP-T21 full review.

      Should You Buy These?

      If you’re looking for a cheap Airpods alternative with a prolonged neck, the Aukeys fit the bill perfectly.

      The Good

      Thanks to almost the same design as Airpod’s, the fit is excellent and doesn’t bother one bit. You can even use them for working out. They’re sweatproof (IPX4).

      Now, these are budget wireless earphones, so the battery life isn’t the longest, but you still get around 4.5 hours per charge and more in the case.

      The build quality is high, and nobody will know you paid so little for them. Unfortunately, you can only get them in black, no white color is available.

      The Bad

      The lid on the charging case feels cheap. Sound quality is just okay.

      The Sound

      They are really loud with overpowering volume. Now, the audio quality is about average, which is fine for casual users. It’s an enjoyable sound that works for all music genres and videos with decent bass. See the review for more info.

      Airpods are popular for a reason. They’re convenient and offer great user experience. But they’re expensive. Get the Aukey EP-T21 true wireless earbuds and enjoy the same features for a much lower price.

      See the Aukey EP-T21 review.


      Related: Best Bluetooth earbuds under $50


      The Best Headphones under $20

      9. Koss UR-20 – best under $20

      Koss UR-20

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

      Type: Over-ear
      Back design: Closed-back
      Noise-cancelling: No
      Connection: Wired, 3.5mm

      Related: Quality headphones under $20

      Should You Buy These?

      If you’re looking for a dirt-cheap comfy over-ear pair, then get Koss UR-20.

      The Good

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

      You might expect they are poorly built since they are so cheap. And 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.

      These are reliable and comfy over-ear headphones for under 20 dollars.

      The Bad

      There are no controls. Plus, they are made entirely of cheap plastic which looks cheap. They are not the most durable pair, but all of that is reasonable because of the low cost.

      The Sound

      Koss UR-20 have a somewhat balanced sound that’s suitable for all music genres. Overall it’s nothing special, but considering the price the averagely pleasant response is an achievement.

      But keep in mind they don’t have the most effective noise isolation, so listening to high volumes can bother people around you.

      For the best over-ear headphones under $20, Koss UR-20 are the undisputable winner. For a dirt-cheap price, you get solid cans perfect as a second pair or casual listening.


      10. KZ ZST – best earbuds under $20

      KZ ZST are the best in-ear headphones under $20 at the moment (check review).

      Type: In-ear
      Back design: Closed-back
      Noise-cancelling: No
      Connection: Wired, 3.5mm

      Related: Best earbuds (in-ear) under $20

      Should You Buy These?

      If you’re looking for excellent earbuds with a marvelous audio quality for less than $20, get the KZ ZST.

      The Good

      The behind-the-ear 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 eartips but to get even better comfort and ambient noise isolation, get memory foam tips.

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

      The Bad

      Because of their entirely plastic design, they don’t have the highest durability (not sweatproof). But that’s normal for this pricing range.

      The Sound

      They have a V-shaped sound signature that’s fantastic for this 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.

      KZ ZST earphones offer the best value on the market for under $20 buds. They’re extremely popular with new audiophiles and everyday users who want quality for their money. A clear top choice.

      Read the KZ ZST review.


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

      11. Panasonic RP-HJE120 – best under $10

      Panasonic RP-HJE120

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

      Read the full review of Panasonic RP-HJE120.

      Type: In-ear
      Back design: Closed-back
      Noise-cancelling: No
      Connection: Wired, 3.5mm

      Should You Buy These?

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

      The Good

      These earbuds have a lightweight and ergonomic design. It’s really comfortable and fits in perfectly with a variety of ear shapes. And due to lightweight, you will barely feel them, they are really comfy.

      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.

      The Bad

      No in-line microphone and controls (quite reasonable for the price range). But you can get a model with mic and remote for more money, over $10.

      The Sound

      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.

      Panasonic RP-HJE120 are the best cheap headphones at the moment. Their unbeatable value won’t be beaten for quite a while so get them before they stop making them.

      Check the Panasonic ErgoFit RP-HJE120 review.


      More budget guides:

      Top headphones under $100

      Top earbuds under $100 (in-ear)

      The best earbuds under $30

      What are Cheap Headphones?

      Cheap can mean a lot of different things for different people. But generally, budget-oriented 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 Cheap Headphones?

      Low-priced doesn’t have to mean bad quality.

      All of the pairs recommended here provide more value than what the price suggests. Though there are a couple of things, you have to consider.

      When you are spending less money on a 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 or expensive materials, so you have to treat them right.
      • Also, cheaper models don’t have as many 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. But that means you can’t expect the coolest design or bragging rights with it.
      • Nonetheless, you don’t have to spend more money to get a great sound. Since it’s the most crucial feature, all the models in this guide offer excellent sound quality for their price.

      What are the Best Budget Headphone Brands?

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

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

      In random order…

      • Monoprice is probably the most known audiophile budget brand, offering over-ear and in-ear bargains.
      • Koss is an old company with fantastic recognition among audiophiles; their retro on-ear headphones have cult status.
      • 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 great sounding but cheap earbuds.
      • MEE Audio offer competitive workout products for less money, you can choose wired and wireless.
      • Mpow is one of the more successfully generic brands offering all types of cans.
      • Anker makes great-value and affordable consumer electronics.
      • Aukey also 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.

      A conservative expectation would be that the 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.

      Bluetooth diminishes sound quality by converting it to digital format, and lots of development is put in fixing this problem (it’s close but audiophile can still hear the difference).

      Generally, you can expect decent audio but don’t compare them to audiophile headphones.

      Comments