Skip to main content

11 Best Cheap Headphones (under $50, under $30, under $20) in 2022

Last updated: 3 months ago
9 min read

Here are the best cheap headphones of all types (including over-ear, on-ear, true wireless, and wired).

Discover budget headphones with surprisingly good sound quality and features that could easily cost more money.

Find the headphones divided into 3 price ranges: Under $50, under $30, and under $20.

HeadphonesAddict is user supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.

Rating Price Design Connection Mic & Controls More info
Anker Soundcore Life Q20 Best wireless
Anker Soundcore Life Q20 Bluetooth headphones
4.5
Under $50
Over-ear, closed-back
Bluetooth (60h)
checkmarkcheckmark
4.6
Under $50
Over-ear, closed-back
Wired – 3.5mm
crosscross
TaoTronics TT-BH090 Best noise-cancelling
TaoTronics BT090 Bluetooth headphones
4.6
Under $60
Over-ear, closed-back
Bluetooth (35h)
checkmarkcheckmark
SoundPEATS Sonic Best wireless
SoundPEATS Sonic
4.1
Under $50
True wireless, closed-back
Bluetooth (15h + 20h in case)
checkmarkcheckmark
Linsoul Tin Audio T2 Best wired in-ear
Tin Audio T2
4.3
Under $50
In-ear, closed-back
Wired – 3.5mm
crosscross
Samson SR850 Best open-back
Samson SR850 wired headphones
4.5
Under $50
Over-ear, semi-open
Wired 3.5mm & 6.3mm
crosscross
Monoprice 8323 Best under $30
Monoprice 8323 over ear headphones
4.1
Under $30
Over-ear, closed-back
Wired 3.5mm & 6.3mm
crosscross
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)
checkmarkcheckmark
Koss UR-20 Best under $20
Koss UR-20
4.3
Under $20
Over-ear, closed-back
Wired – 3.5mm
crosscross
CCA LYRA Best earbuds under $20
CCA LYRA
4.0
Under $20
In-ear, closed-back
Wired – 3.5mm
Optional
Panasonic ErgoFit HJE120K Best under $10
Panasonic RP-HJE120
4.3
Under $10
In-ear, closed-back
Wired – 3.5mm
crosscross
CONTENTS (show more)

    Last update: Updated article design and added new models.

    What’s the price point for cheap, budget headphones, you ask?

    After talking with many people, we established the price of $50 to be what most consider cheap.

    After all, $50 is less than a full tank of gas (for most cars) or the cost of a nice restaurant date for two.

    And if $50 is still too much, we’ve found headphones for less: under $30, under $20, and even quality earbuds for $10 (at the bottom).

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

    What does that mean?

    According to this study, people can buy happiness if their purchases match their personalities. And if you’re like me, you get more happiness from buying a quality item on a budget than paying the top price for a “premium” item.

    If you like bargain shopping, this list of the best cheap headphones is for you.

    Fine tune your search:

    Best Cheap Headphones under $50

    1. Anker Soundcore Life Q20

    wireless BEST CHEAP WIRELESS HEADPHONES
    Anker Soundcore Life Q20 wireless headphones

    If you need the best cheap headphones with loud bass-heavy sound and noise cancellation, Anker Soundcore Life Q20 are 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 low-frequency external noises. That makes them a great companion on airplanes and public transport. Sadly, they lack ambient mode.

    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 external noise isolation.

    The battery life is excellent, with up to 60 hours of continuous playtime (40 hours with noise cancellation), and the Bluetooth connectivity is also pretty solid.

    Life Q20 are great budget wireless headphones if you plan to make many phone calls with a surprisingly clean built-in mic.

    2. Audio-Technica ATH-M20x

    wired BEST WIRED CHEAP HEADPHONES
    Audio-Technica ATH-M20x

    Audio-Technica ATH-M20x are one of the best cheap wired headphones under 50$ from a well-known brand.

    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 wired headphones are well built, considering the price range. They can survive most of the unfortunate drops.

    See more great budget over-ear headphones.

    Another great thing about them is their simple yet sleek 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 many hours so you can enjoy your favorite music without itching.

    More at this price point:

    3. TaoTronics TT-BH090

    anc NOISE CANCELLING CHEAP HEADPHONES
    TaoTronics BT090 noise cancelling headphones

    Having a decent price, TaoTronics TT-BH090 are becoming an excellent value for those seeking a pair of active noise-canceling headphones on a 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 bass. Audio performance is good, with ANC only improving the sound quality. The latter is mostly due to eliminating the outside noise.

    Also, these are the only best budget headphones with an AAC codec, a great feature that ensures better audio for iOS devices.

    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 the ear cup, you can find volume controls, or you can ask Google assistant to inform you about the weather without touching your phone.

    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 good job in the office. During ANC, headphones provide enough battery life for at least a couple of days. If you end up without juice, you can always use them in wired mode.

    Check our pick for the best budget noise cancelling headphones.

    4. SoundPEATS Sonic

    true-wireless BEST CHEAP TRUE WIRELESS HEADPHONES
    SoundPEATS Sonic earbuds

    SoundPEATS Sonic are the best true wireless earbuds under $50.

    SoundPEATS Sonic review

    Connection icon Connection: Bluetooth 5.2
    Driver size icon Driver size: n/a
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: n/a
    Type: True wireless | Battery life: 15h, 20h in case | Wireless range: 33ft (10m) | Noise cancelling: No | Charging: 1.5h + quick charge – USB-C | Mic & Controls: Yes | Bluetooth codecs: SBC, aptX, aptX Adaptive | Water resistance: IPX5 | Features: Mono mode, Game mode
    • Great sound quality
    • Amazing battery life (14h/charge)
    • Comfortable fit
    • Reliable Bluetooth 5.2 connection
    • Support for aptX Adaptive
    • Overly boosted sub-bass
    • Cheap-feeling construction

    Check SoundPEATS Sonic A/B sound test:

    SoundPEATS Sonic Sound Quality Test – HeadphonesAddict

    If the punchy yet natural sound is what you’re looking for, then SoundPEATS Sonic are your best bet.

    Their big bass boost only shows up when a song asks for it. Otherwise, they portray instruments and vocals with good balance and neutrality. With their Game mode, you can also use them as a mobile gaming headset.

    The housing perfectly contours the outer ear, ensuring good stability even during sports activities. With the help of an IPX5 rating, you don’t have to worry about sweat damage.

    Furthermore, the Sonic have insane battery life, playing your music for 14 hours straight. There are additional 20 hours inside the charging case (it uses USB-C charging).

    Despite their low price, they come equipped with Bluetooth 5.2 and have the latest aptX Adaptive Bluetooth codec for high-quality wireless listening. Sadly, no app support or touch controls.

    Also check:

    Best budget noise cancelling headphones

    Best bass earbuds

    5. Linsoul Tin Audio T2

    wired BEST CHEAP WIRED IN-EAR HEADPHONES
    Linsoul Tin Audio T2 wired earbuds

    Tin Audio T2 are a great pair of wired in-ear headphones under $50 that make an excellent choice.

    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 powerful 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 CHEAP HEADPHONES
    Samson SR850 studio headphones

    SR850 are the best cheap headphones with open-back, especially if you seek good sound quality that you can use for studio work.

    Samson SR850 review

    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 or fully open-back headphones), but 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 cheap 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.

    Best Cheap Headphones under $30

    7. Monoprice 8323

    dollar BEST BUDGET HEADPHONES UNDER $30
    Monoprice 8323

    Closed ear cups give the Monoprice 8323 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.

    DJs will love the earcup swivel design and tight bass response that these cheap headphones deliver, and the additional detachable audio 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 practice safe headphone use.

    Related: The best headphones under $30

    8. Skullcandy Dime

    dollar BEST IN-EAR HEADPHONES UNDER $30
    Skullcandy Dime wireless earbuds

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

    Skullcandy Dime review

    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

    Check Skullcandy Dime A/B sound test:

    Skullcandy Dime Sound Quality Test – HeadphonesAddict

    While not perfect, a slightly V-shaped sound from Skullcandy Dime can easily surpass more expensive headphones. 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 cheap and have a lightweight design, but thankfully, there are no visible weak points. There’re many variants with many colors to choose from as well.

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

    The single issue is their runtime, which is only okay. With 3.5 hours of battery life on a single charge in earbuds and additional 8.5 hours in the compact design charging case.

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

    Related: Best wireless earbuds under $50

    Best Cheap Headphones under $20

    9. Koss UR-20

    dollar BEST CHEAP HEADPHONES UNDER $20
    Koss UR-20

    Koss UR-20 are the best cheap headphones under 20$ (See below for 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

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

    Softly padded earcups make them quite comfortable. Their large cups also fit securely in adult ears. Their design is extremely lightweight, and a plastic headband doesn’t put too much pressure on the 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 that isn’t a huge deal since they feel reasonably sturdy.

    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. CCA LYRA

    dollar BEST IN-EAR HEADPHONES UNDER $20
    CCA LYRA earbuds

    CCA LYRA are the best inexpensive headphones under $20 at the moment.

    CCA LYRA review

    Connection icon Connection: Wired – 3.5mm
    Driver size icon Driver size: 10mm dynamic
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: 20-40.000Hz
    Type: In-ear | Back design: Closed-back | Noise cancelling: No | Mic & Controls: Optional | Impedance: 28 Ohm | Weight: 0.2 oz (5.5 g) per earbud | Cable lenght: 47.2 inch (120cm) | Surround sound: No | Features: Detachable cable
    • Superb sound quality (for the price)
    • Excellent stability due to over-the-ear cable
    • Detachable cable
    • Minimal microphonics
    • Good comfort …
    • … but not for all ears due to strange design
    • Slightly cheap-feeling cable

    Check CCA LYRA A/B sound test:

    CCA LYRA Sound Quality Test – HeadphonesAddict

    If you care about a faithfully sound signature, CCA LYRA are your best cheap option. They sound simply fantastic for the price, outperforming many other earbuds under $100.

    To squeeze a bit more out of them, pairing them with an amp makes the bass tighter and more controlled.

    Earbud’s design is somewhat ergonomic. They should remain comfortable for short listening sessions, but not everyone will praise their curvy housing.

    On the positive side, LYRA provide excellent stability and good durability, thanks to detachable cables (they use 2pin connectors).

    Furthermore, they look pretty cool with a diamond-shaped faceplate and clear housing. The latter lets you see the single dynamic driver inside.

    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 IN-EAR HEADPHONES UNDER $10
    Panasonic ErgoFit RP-HJE120 with branded sides

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

    Panasonic ErgoFit RP-HJE120 review

    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 and doesn’t sound cheap. The lows are well-heard, slightly enhanced but can be muddy for some songs. They have an overall decent sound quality, but still satisfying for most everyday listeners.

    Furthermore, while they are cheap, their durable build can last a decent amount of time. Its plastic built isn’t class-leading 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 budget earbuds on the planet, get these affordable headphones. You can find other earbuds under $10 here.

    Honorable Mentions

    Jlab Audio Go Air

    Jlab Go Air Pop True Wireless Earbuds

    Great-sounding cheap true wireless earbuds with 5-hour battery life and built-in EQ modes.

    Check Go Air price

    Skullcandy Hesh 2

    Skullcandy Hesh 2 wireless headphones

    Hesh 2 are one of the best cheap headphones that can add a strong bass boost to all of your songs. The passive noise isolation is above average, thanks to big earpads with thick foam.

    Check Hesh 2 price

    Jbuds Audio Jbuds Air

    Jlab Audio Jbuds Air reviewed

    If you’re looking for great cheap wireless earbuds under $50, then the Jlab Audio Jbuds Air should be an excellent 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.

    Jlab Audio Jbuds Air review

    More budget guides:

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

    What are cheap headphones?

    Cheap headphones cost under (or around) $50. This is a price range where you can still get good-quality headphones with all the latest features from popular brands like; Audio-Technica, Skullcandy, Anker, etc.

    What to expect from top cheap headphones?

    Even the best cheap headphones have some shortcomings: Entirely plastic structures without any fancy materials. Expect less than the best build quality. Fewer features and accessories as pricier models. Expect only the basics. Older Bluetooth versions and a smaller battery. While this isn’t true every time, don’t expect the latest technology and updates.

    What are the best cheap headphone brands?

    Here are some of the best budget headphones brands:
    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 headphones and electronics with premium features.
    Aukey makes some mid-tier headphones, but their cheapest models offer the latest tech and plenty of extra features.

    Shortcomings of cheap wireless headphones

    Wireless Bluetooth headphones add more aspects:
    The battery won’t last forever. Since you’re paying less money, you’re not getting the latest battery technology. Expect a battery to last (have satisfactory capacity) for about 2 to 3 years. If more, great, but that’s usually not the case).
    Lacking audio quality. The best cheap headphones have decent audio quality but don’t compare them to Hi-Fi audiophile headphones.

    2 Comments
    1. This was a great article they have some good choices. Now I have a better idea on what to buy.

      Reply

      1. Thanks, we appreciate the feedback.

        Reply

    Leave a comment

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *