Skip to main content

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

The 11 Best Cheap Headphones in 2021

Last updated: 5 days ago
9 min read

Find the best budget 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
crosscross
Jlab Audio Jbuds Air Best wireless
JLab Audio JBuds Air True Wireless
4.2
Under $50
True wireless, closed-back
Bluetooth 5.0 (5.5h + 18h 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
Anker Soundcore Life Q10 Best wireless
Anker Soundcore Life Q10
4.6
Under $40
Over-ear, closed-back
Bluetooth 5.0 (60h)
checkmarkcheckmark
TaoTronics TT-BH090 Best noise-cancelling
TaoTronics BT090 Bluetooth headphones
4.6
Under $60
Over-ear, closed-back
Bluetooth 5.0 (35h)
checkmarkcheckmark
Samson SR850 Best open-back
Samson SR850 wired headphones
4.5
Under $50
Over-ear, semi-open
Wired 3.5mm & 6.3mm
crosscross
Skullcandy Hesh 2 Best for bassheads
Skullcandy Hesh 2 wireless headphones
4.6
Under $50
Over-ear, closed-back
Bluetooth 5.0 (20h)
checkmarkcheckmark
Monoprice 8323 Best under $30
Monoprice 8323 over ear headphones
4.1
Under $30
Over-ear, closed-back
Wired 3.5mm & 6.3mm
crosscross
Aukey EP-T21 Best AirPods alternative
Aukey-EP-T21
4.3
Under $30
True wireless, closed-back
Bluetooth 5.0 (4.5h + 20h in case)
checkmarkcheckmark
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 are the best cheap headphones 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-canceling headphones

    Best headphones under $50

    The Best Headphones under $50

    1. Audio-Technica ATH-M20x

    1st-place Best overall
    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 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.

    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).

    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.


    2. Jlab Audio Jbuds Air

    wireless Best wireless
    Jlab Audio Jbuds Air

    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 decent cheap wireless earbuds under $50, then the Jlab Audio Jbuds Air should be your top choice.

    With a stable fit, IP55 water and dust protection, and decent 5.5 hours of battery life (18 hours in the charging case), you get a lot for your money.

    You can use them for sports, working out, video games, or a daily commute. The fit is stable and generally comfortable. Also, passive isolation is above average, so you can block most of the background noise.

    Jlab Audio Jbuds Air review


    3. 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 that exceeds the earbud’s price. It’s well-balanced 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 noise 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


    4. Anker Soundcore Life Q10

    wireless Best wireless
    Anker Soundcore Life Q10 wireless headphone

    If what you need in music is the loud bass, Anker Soundcore Life Q10 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 | Wireless range: 50ft (15m) | Noise cancelling: No | Charging: 2h + Quick charge – USB-C | Mic & Controls: Yes | Bluetooth codecs: n/a | Water resistance: No | Features: BassUp, Hi-Res, foldable, 3.5mm port
    • Excellent battery life
    • Foldable, travel friendly design
    • Big, punchy bass
    • Volume maxes out at 95dB to protect hearing
    • Not for audio purists
    • Microphones could be better at blocking ambient noise

    Related: The top Bluetooth headphones under $50

    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.

    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 for changing volume levels 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.


    5. TaoTronics TT-BH090

    anc 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.

    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 are overall smooth sounding 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’s cups can rotate and fold inwards to make them more portable.

    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.

    Related: Best budget noise-cancelling headphones

    6. Samson SR850

    trophy Best open-back
    Samson SR850 construction

    SR8500 are the best cheap headphones 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 headphones is simply brilliant. While the bass doesn’t dig very low (as in most semi-open cans), 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. That makes them lightweight but also fragile. However, 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 the extended listening period.

    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.

    7. Skullcandy Hesh 2

    trophy Best for bassheads
    Skullcandy Hesh 2 wireless headphones

    Hesh 2 are one of the headphone types that can add a significant bass boost to all of your songs.

    Connection icon Connection: Bluetooth 5.0
    Driver size icon Driver size: 50mm
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: 20-20.000Hz
    Type: Over-ear | Battery life: 20h | Wireless range: 33ft (10m) | Noise cancelling: No | Charging: Micro-USB | Mic & Controls: Yes | Bluetooth codecs: n/a | Water resistance: No | Features: 3.5mm port
    • Lightweight and decently comfortable
    • Good battery life
    • Overly dominant bass

    If you seek tons of bass, Skullcandy is the right brand for you. Hesh 2 headphones are slightly older by now, but they can still rattle your skull with a sheer amount of low end. Despite all that, the midrange is clean, albeit slightly recessed, and the treble remains sparkly to balance the bass.

    The plastic build feels solid and can withstand some tossing around with no problems. Headphones are relatively lightweight and shouldn’t become fatiguing after prolonged listening.

    Thanks to big earpads with thick foam, the passive isolation is above average. Therefore, you can take them on public transport without hearing everyone around you.

    With around 15 hours per charge, Hesh 2 easily last throughout a day. And if they suddenly die on you, there’s a 3.5mm port to plug into your smartphone.

    The Best Headphones under $30

    8. Monoprice 8323

    dollar Best under $30
    Monoprice 8323

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

    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

    Related: The best headphones under $30

    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 headphones at this price point provide as much isolation while delivering quality audio in a closed-back design.

    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.

    9. Aukey EP-T21

    dollar Cheap AirPods alternatives
    Aukey T21 true wireless earbuds black

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

    Connection icon Connection: Bluetooth 5.0
    Driver size icon Driver size: 6mm
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: 20-20.000Hz
    Type: True wireless | Battery life: 4.5h + 20h in case | Wireless range: 33ft (10m) | Noise cancelling: No | Charging: 2 hours – Micro-USB | Mic & Controls: Yes, built-in | Bluetooth codecs: SBC | Water resistance: IPX4 | Features: Touch controls
    • Very loud
    • Ergonomic design that’s stable and comfortable
    • Good battery capacity
    • Low price
    • The lid on the case feels a bit flimsy
    • Okay 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.

    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 cheap 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.

    Aukey EP-T21 review


    Related: Best Bluetooth earbuds under $50


    The Best Headphones under $20

    10. 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

    Related: Best headphones under $20

    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.

    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.

    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.

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

    11. KZ ZST

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

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

    Related: Best earbuds under $20

    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.

    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 ear tips but to get even better ear canal seal, 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.

    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.

    12. 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. You can find other earbuds under $10 here.

    Panasonic ErgoFit RP-HJE120 review

    Honorable Mentions

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


    More budget guides:

    Best headphones under $100

    Best 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 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 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 make sure 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-ears and in-ears 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 cheap earbuds that sound great.
    • MEE Audio offer competitive workout products for less money, you can choose wired and wireless.
    • Mpow is one of the more successfully generic audio brands offering all types of cans.
    • Anker makes great-value and affordable audio products and other 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.