Listen to great sound for little money with the best cheap earbuds in 2021.
|Rating||Price||Connection type||Mic & Controls||More info|
SoundPEATS Sonic Best overall
Bluetooth 5.2 (14h + 20h in case)
Jlab Audio Jbuds Air Runner-up
Bluetooth 5.0 (6h + 18h in case)
Aukey EP-T32 Best for sports
Bluetooth 5.0 (7h + 28h in case)
Anker Soundcore Liberty Neo Sports alternative
Bluetooth 5.0 (5h + 9h in case)
TaoTronics Soundliberty 97 Great value
Bluetooth 5.0 (9h + 20h in case)
Anker Soundcore Life Dot 2 Best battery life
Bluetooth 5.0 (8h + 92h in case)
TaoTronics SoundLiberty 92 Best classic earphones
Bluetooth 5.0 (5h + 20h in case)
Linsoul Tin Audio T2 Best wired
Wired – 3.5mm (I-shaped)
Skullcandy Dime True Wireless Best wireless under $30
Bluetooth 5.0 (3.5h + 8.5h in case)
Aukey EP-T21 Wireless alternative under $30
Bluetooth 5.0 (4.5h + 20h in case)
Symphonized NRG 3.0 Best wired under $30
Wired – 3.5mm (Y-shaped)
KZ ZST Best under $20
Wired – 3.5mm (L-shaped)
Do you hate paying too much for things?
What if you can get earbuds that:
- sound good
- are comfortable
- are built well
- come with the latest technology
And don’t cost an arm and a leg?
Sounds too good to be true?
Well, it is, if you don’t know what to look for.
But with the best 15 earbuds here we’re sure you won’t overpay…
… in fact, we are so confident to claim these are the best budget earbuds money can buy right now.
Best Cheap Earbuds Under $50
The best earbuds (in-ear headphones) in the price range of $30 – $50.
1. SoundPEATS Sonic
True wireless earbuds with the best value for under $50.
- 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
In general, the sound is relatively balanced, with some sparkle up on top.
However, the sub-bass is heavily boosted. While you don’t hear it all the time, it can start rattling your head with some music genres.
Otherwise, they hold up to 14 hours per single charge, with the case carrying another 20 hours of juice. Earbuds come with an IPX5 rating for complete sweat protection.
They’re quite comfortable to wear, even for more extended listening sessions. Fit is equally as stable, and you can easily take them on your daily running routine.
2. Jlab Audio Jbuds Air
Jlab Audio Jbuds Air are one of the best wireless earbuds under $50.
- 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
The sound doesn’t disappoint, but considering the price point, you get what you pay for. It can’t compare to more expensive headphones as it lacks sparkle and details.
But you get 3 different EQ settings you can choose from: Signature, Balanced, and Bass Boost sound profile.
When it comes to cheap true wireless earbuds, Jbuds Air come to the top in many categories. These are predominantly workout earbuds but work fine for any other use as well.
You get a secure fit that sticks in the ears, the background noise isolation is above average thanks to in-ear fit, and the water protection keeps them safe from damage (IPX5).
Plus, the built-in microphone is quite decent for talking over the phone or using voice commands for Siri or Google Assistant.
- Best cheap headphones (over-ear & on-ear)
- The most comfortable earbuds
- The best Bluetooth earbuds
- Best classic earbuds
- More best earbuds under $100
3. Aukey EP-T32
Best earbuds under $50 with ear hooks for improved stability.
- Excellent comfort and stability thanks to ear hooks
- Reliable touch controls
- Extreme water protection (IPX8)
- Enjoyable, punchy sound
- Great Bluetooth stability and coverage
- Support for Qi wireless charging
- No multipoint support
- Subpar microphone quality
- Mediocre passive isolation due to shallower fit
For a budget solution like EP-T32, the sound quality is excellent. 12mm drivers, while not the cleanest out there, produce a good balance between bass and midrange even at higher volume levels.
Delivery is punchy and warm, but not overly congested. The treble is smooth but sparkly enough when a song calls it.
These earbuds boast superb comfort. Mostly due to shallow insertion and gentle rubber hooks that aren’t in a way, even if your wear glasses.
Also, earbuds appear very durable, with no noticeable parts that would break easily. With their IPX8 rating, you can even clean them in water after a workout.
See more best workout headphones.
4. Anker Soundcore Liberty Neo
Great budget option for sportspeople who need secure earbuds that can stay in their ears no matter what.
- Very comfortable
- Ear fins provide secure fit
- Reliable Bluetooth 5.0 connection
- IPX7 water resistance
- Good sound quality with graphene drivers
- Pretty decent build quality
- The charging case seems a bit flimsy
- Charging via micro USB
- Bass isn’t very agile
- Physical controls are annoying and only support basic commands
Punchy bass is definitely the star of a show, with other frequencies slightly subdued. Still, you’re getting good vocal clarity and a smooth, non-fatiguing treble. If you listen to a lot of popular music, these are a perfect pick.
Thanks to the ergonomic design, Liberty Neo’s are very comfortable to wear. Finding a tight seal is easy, and with the addition of ear fins, they provide a secure fit. You can run with these or shake your head rapidly: these are not falling out.
These cheap earbuds are also excellent in durability, with rigid plastic construction and an IPX7 water resistance rating, meaning you can wash them under a tap without worries. A top of that, you can also rely on a good Bluetooth connection throughout the house.
5. TaoTronics Soundliberty 97
Cheap wireless earbuds with punchy sound and excellent durability.
- Good overall sound quality
- High water protection (IPX8 rating)
- Comfortable fit for long listening sessions
- Impressive 9-hour battery life
- Great passive isolation
- Competition comes with extra features
- No EQ presets
These are one of the top picks for users who prefer an upper-bass punch and warm, non-fatiguing presentation. They offer a safe tuning without sibilance or harsh midrange that would ruin the experience. Contrary, the mids are relatively natural and detailed, with a hint of a laidback treble.
Earbuds themselves are rather small, and you can wear them for hours without experiencing discomfort. Uniquely designed ear tips can stay securely in your ears even when you take them for a run. By touching them, you can even volume levels.
Sweat nor water shouldn’t be a problem, thanks to a water-resistant IPX8 rating. Housing also feels robust and able to survive a couple of drops. The aptX codec’s addition is helpful to Android users since it ensures excellent audio performance and minimal video lag.
6. Anker Soundcore Life Dot 2
Great budget option for users who need their earbuds to last for a whole week.
- Punchy, energetic sound
- Fantastic battery duration
- Good stability for sports activities
- Many included accessories
- No way to customize the sound
- Slight video lag
A bass-forward sound will please most casual users and gym-goers, who primarily look for something fun-sounding.
Thankfully, the midrange is still fairly clean, whereas the treble takes a backseat and stays relatively recessed.
Earbuds are fully sweatproof, and an IPX5 rating means that they can endure rainy conditions, too. You can easily use them for workouts thanks to ear wings that hold them in place.
Their main attraction is the battery life. Buds can hold up to 8 hours per charge, while the case stores up to 92 hours of extra playtime.
Long battery life is paired with good overall comfort, so you can wear them for hours without feeling fatigued.
7. TaoTronics SoundLiberty 92
Great classic earphones that easily rival Apple AirPods.
- Comfortable and lightweight
- The fairly neutral sound signature
- Responsive touch controls
- 5-hour battery life on a single charge
- Good build quality
- IPX8 water-resistance
- Loose fit
- Poor noise isolation
Interestingly, these earbuds provide a fairly neutral sound profile, with smoothen-out highs to prevent harshness. Even the bass is a bit more present than you might expect. Overall, they’re fun, with good imaging capabilities.
The housing of these earbuds is nicely rounded with no sharp corners that could poke into your ears. That is why they’re very comfortable for extended listening experience.
They’re incredibly robust. Earbuds are made from hard, glossy plastic, protected with an IPX8 water resistance rating. The latter means you can drop them in water for more than an hour without fear of damaging them.
But you’ll have to listen to them at higher volume levels due to shallower fit.
8. Tin Audio T2
Tin Audio T2 are the best pair of double dynamic driver earbuds you can get for under $50.
- Excellent sound for the price
- Robust, metal build with detachable cables
- Good passive isolation
- A bit bulky for users with smaller ears
Tin Audio T2 wired buds work with an MP3 player and output a somewhat balanced sound. The double dynamic drivers produce a consistent bass response that goes well with slightly emphasized mids and treble. The bass isn’t overpowering, so this makes them great for critical listening.
For thumping lows, see the best bass headphones.
These are cheap earbuds with high comfort, good durability, and lovely audio performance. The first thing you notice is their interesting cable. It looks like fabric, has minimal cable noise, and it’s detachable.
They are lightweight, comfortable, and will last a long time because they are well-built from metal. Also, you get a pair of memory foam ear tips that provide stability (enough even for running) and excellent noise isolation.
Best Cheap Earbuds under $30
The top earphones in the price range of $20 – $30.
9. Skullcandy Dime
Best cheap earbuds for under $30 with impressive sound quality.
- Excellent sound quality for the price
- Comfortable fit
- Good Bluetooth range and stability
- Decent call quality
- Annoying physical controls
- Poor battery life
- Plasticky build
For the price, their sound is hard to beat. It’s slightly V-shaped, but it never goes overboard. Expect a clean, punchy sound that actually packs some details.
Apart from the sound quality, the build is where Skullcandy cut some corners. Earbuds are made of cheaper plastic, and the charging case feels a bit fragile.
Still, the Dime have an IPX4 rating, so you don’t have to worry about damage due to sweat. They’re also relatively comfortable, as long as you don’t push them too deep into your ears.
The battery is pretty mediocre, with only 3.5 hours of charge inside earbuds and another 8.5 hours inside the case.
10. Aukey EP-T21
Aukey EP-T21 are one of the best budget wireless earbuds under $30.
- 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
Their sound is balanced, which works for most music. You don’t get Hi-Fi, but better audio performance than most $30 would offer. They’re also suitable for watching videos.
The Aukey true wireless earbuds have a similar design to Apple AirPods Pro (fit into ear canal with prolonged stem) but cost a dirt-cheap price under $30. You get 5th gen Bluetooth with built-in touch controls to manage your music, and a microphone with a decent call quality.
Inside there are 4.5 hours of battery life, with 20 hours more in the charging case. And, they are sweatproof with an IPX4 water resistance rating (check other best workout headphones). You can use them as daily earbuds or for activity.
11. Symphonized NRG 3.0
Symphonized NRG are the best cheap earbuds under $30 with a headphone jack.
- Premium materials
- Enjoyable, warm sound
- Noticeable cable noise
Detail-rich and slightly warmer tones will make you fall in love with your music. These cheap earbuds excel at mid-range tones even at higher volume levels.
The wooden structure noticeably adds to the quality of bass and produces a rich and slightly warmer sound profile. You can change songs and volume with a remote control module.
They are made out of real wood which makes them stand out in their design. Durability doesn’t suffer because of it. In fact, it’s quite sturdy and makes for durable earbuds that you can’t break just like that. Plus you get a storage pouch.
You get 6 different pairs of ear tips which should be enough to pick one that suits your needs. These are very comfortable. Wood is a light material and combined with quality silicone tips you get very comfortable earbuds.
Best Cheap Earbuds under $20
Going even cheaper… The best in-ear monitors you can get in the price range of $10-$20.
12. KZ ZST
Top pick under $20. The best sound quality in earbuds under $20.
KZ ZST are easily the best cheap earbuds under $20 because the sound quality is out of this world (goof for the price).
- Amazing value
- Great sound
- Removable cable
- Comfortable fit
- All-plastic construction
These sound amazing for the price of under $20 and can easily compete with in-ear earphones in the $50-$100 range. The signature is slightly V-shaped with a slight emphasis on bass and treble.
KZ ZST are very accurate and detailed, so you have to use them with high-quality music recordings otherwise you’ll hear the lack of quality.
Noise isolation is above average out of the box. Ambient noise is well isolated so you can enjoy your music in peace.
KZ ZST aren’t made like a tank but feel decent nonetheless. The fact that cables are detachable is a big plus.
The version with the microphone and remote has one multi-function button that’s very easy to use. Call quality is fine, not great but not bad either.
Note: Check the best earbuds under $20 guide.
Jlab Audio Go Air – These truly wireless headphones sound quite good for the price. They offer an IP44 rating of sweat resistance and you can use the two earbuds in mono mode. 5h per charge is about average in the battery life department (Check Go Air price).
1MORE Piston Fit – Best cheap earbuds for construction quality, with aluminum housing that has a solid and attractive matte finish. You can choose from multiple color options (Check Piston Fit price).
Strauss & Wagner EM205 – Decent-sounding in-ear monitors that are tiny enough to fit under a helmet. They’re overall well made with an exception of a rather thin, fragile cable.
KZ ATE – Audiophiles love these earphones. Their sound is unquestionably bass-heavy. But even though the low-end is loud and punchy, other ranges still come out clear and detailed. KZ ATE review
Panasonic RPHJE120K – The ideal balance of audio quality, built quality, and durability for little money. Panasonic ErgoFit RP-HJE120 review
Turtle Beach Battle Buds – Looking for the best gaming and microphone earbuds at the same time? Then look no further. (Check Battle Buds price)
Sony MDR-XB50AP – If you like bass and want one of the best cheap earphones you need to get a Sony MDR-XB50AP. Sony MDR-XB50AP review
For more wireless options, check the best Bluetooth headphones under $100.
How to Find the Best Cheap Earbuds?
You shouldn’t look just at prices. There are too many choices. And many of those are bad ones.
Look for things that you might prefer, like:
- Better sound quality
- Strong, powerful bass
- A long battery life
- High comfort
- Water protection (IPX4 or more)
Many times it’s wise to spend $10 or $20 more and get a pair of earbuds that will last you longer and have high-quality audio comparable with more expensive models.
Most of the cheap earbuds don’t produce the kind of bass and audio performance that you are looking for, but some are close.
You can get a great pair of earbuds with quality audio for very little money if you pick right. But you need to know what kind of audio signature you want.
The most common signatures in cheap earbuds:
- Bass emphasized
- Balanced, neutral
- V-shaped (boosted bass and treble)
Cheap true wireless earbuds should last at least 5 hours per charge. If you’re looking at a model with shorter battery, you can always get better.
Regular cheap wireless earbuds, with a wired between buds, should last at least 10 hours. Though they’re out of fashion by 2021.
Even cheap earbuds can be comfortable. You need to get the right eartips.
Memory-foam eartips are the best by far. They change the shape to fit your ear canal when they warm up and fit most ear sizes.
Quality eartips are cheap but make a big difference in comfort and noise isolation. Get them if you’re half serious about earbuds.
Durability – Water Protection
Cheap price doesn’t have to mean low-quality.
Generally, cheap wireless earbuds are made generically. Not necessarily fragile, but don’t expect them to be as durable as an expensive pair of headphones.
And, if you are looking for specific earbuds, like headphones for running, you’ll usually have to shelve out more money. Companies have figured people are willing to pay more for specialized headphones.
Expect to pay more for active noise canceling technology. It’s getting cheaper thanks to modern chips which support it naturally.
But it still adds to the price. Decent noise cancelling earbuds cost more than 50 bucks.
The same is true for best noise-cancelling headphones which cost from $100 to over $300.
There are some cheaper options, see the best budget noise cancelling headphones.
Value for Money
There are many brands competing for your attention in the price range of $10 to $50. With a bit of research, you can find a great pair of in-ear headphones that will serve you well for a very long time.
Usually, less known brands provide the biggest value. Because smaller companies want to get their brand out, they offer their products for less money to gain market share.
For slightly more money see the best headphones under $100.
Are Cheap Wireless Earbuds Any Good?
Today, you can get decent true wireless earbuds under $50. You don’t get the latest and best technology, but close enough.
Chip manufacturers started making affordable chips with many features. This makes it easier to put modern technology into cheap wireless earbuds.
For $50 or less you’re choosing from the cheapest Bluetooth earbuds.
Thankfully, the prices of wireless earbuds are dropping, but you still need to pay around $30. And don’t expect decent buds under $20 (because you won’t find them).
If you want Bluetooth earbuds at a specific price:
How Much Should You Spend on Earbuds?
After testing dozens of budget earbuds, we can say you should spend at least $30.
Better yet, step up and give around $50 for a good pair with the latest Bluetooth, tap controls, decent call quality and sound.
Looking for dirt-cheap buds? See best earbuds under $10.
Are Cheap Earbuds Safe?
Yes. Cheap earbuds are perfectly safe to use for the intended purpose. Bluetooth chips and batteries inside are manufactured to the same safety standards as with more expensive headphones.