15 Best Earbuds for The Money (Best Cheap Earbuds)
Listen to great sound for little money with best cheap earbuds (in-ear monitors).
- 15 Best Cheap Earbuds Comparison
- Best Earbuds Under $50 Reviewed
- Best Earbuds under $30 Reviewed
- Best Earbuds under $20 Reviewed
- Best Earbuds Under $10 Reviewed
- How to Find Good Inexpensive Earbuds?
15 Best Cheap Earbuds Comparison
iRating on Amazon.com
|Best under $50|
(& Y plug)
|Brainwavz S0||3.6||Under $50||Straight||Review|
CX 300 II
|3.8||Under $50||L plug||Review|
|Best under $30||Brainwavz|
|3.6||Under $30||Y plug||Review|
|Best bass under $30||Sony MDR-XB50AP||4.2||Under $30||L plug||Review|
|Symphonized NRG 3.0||4.3||Under $30||Y plug||Review|
|3.7||Under $30||L plug||Review|
|Best under $20||KZ ZST||4.2||Under $20||L plug||Review|
|HC-RET||4.1||Under $20||Y plug||Review|
|3.8||Under $20||L plug||Review|
|Bass under $20 runner-up||Betron YSM1000||4.4||Under $20||Straight||Review|
|Philips SHE3590||3.9||Under $20||Straight||Review|
|Best under $10|
|4.2||Under $10||L plug||Review|
|Koss The Plug||3.7||Under $10||Straight||Review|
Here you’ll find 15 top earbuds (in-ear) that will rock your ears for little money.
All models picked are great value for money, ….
… in fact we are confident enough to say these are the best cheap earbuds money can buy right now.
All of them are a great combination of build quality, durability, comfort and most of all great sound quality that can compare with 2 or 3 times more expensive IEMs (in-ear monitors).
Check above for the comparison table of top 15 value for money earbuds.
Best Earbuds Under $50 Reviewed
The best earbuds in the price range of $30 – $50.
Overall best earbuds under $50
The balance of quality build, comfortable wear, nice design and very balanced high sound quality with the right amount of bass, makes this #1 choice for best cheap earbuds.
At the moment there is no other budget model of earbuds on the market that you could say is superior to the SoundMAGIC E10.
Sure, we all have our own preferences in sound tones, bass levels, design, and brands, but the big majority of reviewers and experts can’t all be wrong.
This is a very popular budget model for a reason.
- Great balanced sound, audiophile standard
- “Clean mid bass expert”
- Durable and stylish metal casing with premium feel
- Awesome value for money
- Not suitable for bass heads
Getting a proper fit is the same as with any other in-ear monitors, you have to find the right ear tips and position that suits you. SoundMAGIC E10 are easy to fit.
Sound isolation is pretty good as well. You can enjoy the music without outside noise while still hearing what is going on around you. This is important if you plan to use them on the street.
These are very comfortable and if you have small ears you can replace the original ear tips with smaller softer ones for maximum comfort.
Because the casing is so light wearing them for hours is not a problem, just get the right fit and you’re good to go.
Immediately you can spot the metal casing which makes these in-ear earphones look premium and durable at the same time. This is not some cheap, low quality metal either.
It feels and looks premium, like if you’d pay $100 for it.
There are no in-line controls of any kind, just the regular wires.
Did we mention the SoundMAGIC E10 were chosen as best budget earbuds on the market by What Hi-Fi magazine?
The thing these earphones really excel at is sound quality.
The perfect balance of clean high pitched, medium and low bass sounds makes these one of the best sounding cheap earbuds ever made.
Don’t expect emphasized deep bass, as these really focus on balanced sound.
The bass tones are prominent and clear, but not throbbing as some people like it. (bass-heads)
These IEMs are perfect for listening to all types of music, but especially the genres in which clean, balanced sound comes alive.
The perfect balance of sound with great pitch and mid bass packed inside durable and stylish metal casing for a budget price. If this sounds good to you, get them while they’re still available. (Check the upgraded E10s version as well, pricier but worth it)
Great value-for-money in-ear earbuds
Brainwavz is known for producing great value for money earbuds. The S0 model is one of them.
The things that really stand out are the build quality (metal casing, strong wires), sleek design, comfortable and tight fit with overall balanced sound and slightly enhanced mid bass.
- Very durable metal casing and thick wires
- Sleek design
- Overall balanced sound with slightly more mid bass
- Lots of accessories (ear tips, carrying case, shirt clip)
- Stronger mid bass might be disliked by some
One great bonus are the many ear tips that you get with the original packaging. You can choose from different materials and different sizes that can compare to premium ear tip standards.
You get Comply S-400 premium ear tips in the package.
Testing all the ear tips is really fun, plus you learn what type of ear tips suit you best for the future. This ensures maximum sound isolation and comfort for long use.
Because of their extreme lightweight design they are very comfortable to wear. Put them on, adjust the fit to your fitting and forget you’re wearing them. Simple as that.
The metal casing with really high-quality ear tips makes these IEMs premium grade when it comes to durability. While the casing protects from everyday use it also makes the design look modern and sophisticated. Nonetheless, treat them as budget earbuds and they’ll serve you well.
The in-line microphone and controls work well. You should have no problems increasing the volume or changing the song with your iPhone or Android device.
The S0 model compared to Brainwavz Delta’s produces superior sound, slightly cleaner and richer sound with better soundstage. This is to be expected as they are almost 2 times more expensive, the Delta’s are still great value for the money.
Additionally, with the ear tips, you get a shirt clip and a nice carrying case ensuring a long life for your earbuds.
The overall sound is rather balanced with a more prominent mid bass. This might be a flaw for some or an advantage for others.
Depending on your sound tastes, these are something between perfectly balanced and enhanced bass for bassheads. (Top basshead headphones)
If you’re not exactly sure what you’re looking for, but know that you want some bass, yet not too much, these are a perfect fit for you.
In case you’re looking for nice, durable budget earbuds with balanced highs and mids and with some bass, the Brainwavz S0’s are a perfect choice for you.
Sennheiser CX300 II at under $50 (under $40 actually) are great value for the money earbuds with their powerful, bass-driven sound they are simply the best budget IEMs for bass oriented users.
If you like thumping bass, you’re going to like these.
Made by Sennheiser, a known German brand that provides great quality headphones in all price ranges.
- Quality, punchy bass
- Suitable for bassheads
- Sennheiser brand (high quality, German)
- Good price
- Very durable design that lasts
- Lacks balance and detail in sound (because of overpowering bass)
They fit nicely and stay in ears in most situations. Some use these for sports as well.
A standard selection of different sizes of ear tips allows you to customize the fit to your liking.
Noise isolation is pretty average and depends on the ear tips that you use. For best isolation get some triple flange tips as they tend to offer the best results.
Earbuds are made out of plastics so they are lightweight and once you put them on you’ll soon get used to their low weight. They are nothing special, just like other standard in-ear monitors, good but not great.
The build quality is really high. The small, compact build makes these earbuds very durable.
The wires are very easy to untangle and can survive quite a lot of punishment.
No controls or microphone, just regular wires.
But you do get a nice little pouch to offer a little bit of protection in case you’re carrying them around in your backpack.
The sound is very bass heavy.
People looking for a balanced sound will say this is a bad thing, but if you like more bass in your music, these should be your pick.
The CX 300 II Precision Enhanced Bass are producing almost too strong bass, it is noticeably enhanced and overpowers other ranges.
This means it is very hard to hear the details of the music, and generally, these don’t have the clearest or the most precise highs and mids as the bass is so strong.
The CX 300 II is one of the cheaper Sennheiser models, but are still a glowing example of high-quality audio, good noise isolation, comfortable fit and durability all packed in one affordable package.
Overall, these are by our opinion best budget earbuds for bassheads right now.
Best Earbuds under $30 Reviewed
The price range of $20 – $30.
Brainwavz Delta almost fit in the category of under $20 as they are priced slightly above $20. If you’re lucky you might find them below that price in a special offer or at certain holidays where discount prices are common.
You will be surprised how much value you get from under $30 IEMs (in-ear monitors).
In fact, these are the #1 choice for best cheap earbuds under $30 without any other model coming near.
- #1 pick for value for money under $30
- Clean, balanced sound comparable with $50+ models
- Durable design that’s going to last
- Perfect “throw away” earbuds
- For this price you can’t expect more value
They fit very well for most people and the quality selection of ear tips helps with that.
In the package you receive 4 sets of silicone ear tips of different sizes and a set of Comply foam S400 tips which is a really nice addition to the whole package. You don’t need to buy any other ear tips to get the most out of Delta’s. We recommend using Comply tips for best performance.
Noise isolation is about an average of what you can expect from IEMs, for better isolation get a pair of triple flange premium tips.
Once you find the right ear tips for your ears, Delta become very comfortable IEMs to wear anywhere you go. The good thing is they don’t have any problems with microphonics which means you can wear them any way you like without affecting the sound quality.
These earbuds with mic might not be the lightest you’ll ever wear, but comfort doesn’t suffer because of it.
The build quality is better than expected, if you didn’t know they were under $30 you’d think they were priced somewhere between $75 and $100.
The quality aluminum casing makes them look and feel sturdy while maintaining that “premium” metal look.
The cord is very durable as well, thick and rubberized with additional reinforcement of the plug in the adapter, this is something most earbuds lack at this price range.
Looking for best noise cancelling earbuds?
There are 2 different models. One for iOS device and one for Android devices. Make sure to pick the right model according to the type of devices you’re using. You get in-line remote and microphone by which you can control the play/pause, volume, songs and make hands-free calls. That’s a nice feature for such cheap earbuds.
The biggest advantage of Brainwavz Delta’s is sound quality.
In this range, no other IEMs get close to the clean, balanced sound of Delta’s you’d expect from earbuds 3 times the price.
Highs and mids are slightly emphasized while still being able to reproduce clean bass. The bass is not very prominent, but at least it’s not the low quality “boomy” bass so common in this price range.
Soundstage is also amazingly good for this price, creating an open, spacious sound.
Being so cheap you can carry them around with you without fear of losing or damaging them, making them perfect budget earbuds that can also be enjoyed for quality sound.
All in all, you’re getting very balanced, clean sound quality that will satisfy even an audiophile, packaged in stylish aluminum casing with a durable cord for slightly over $20. This is a sure winner of best value for money earbuds under $30.
Best bass earbuds under $30, bar none
If you like bass and want cheap earbuds you need to get Sony MDR-XB50AP.
These widely popular IEMs (in-ear monitors) are giving insane value (used to cost $50). You can easily compare them with earbuds for $50 or even $100.
Good for: everybody who likes good bass
Not for: those who prefer balanced/flat sound
The ergonomic design makes them very comfortable and easy to fit any ears. The earphones aren’t big or bulky and fit in the ear canal with ease.
Noise isolation is above average as well, helping you focus on your music. Just make sure to pick the right size of eartips.
Since these are still Sony they are well-built. Good materials, strain relief, and flat Y-type cable with a slider are all part of the package.
In-line remote with multifunction button and microphone perform well. Not the greatest but since this is just cherry on top you can’t complain.
Sound quality is where Sony MDR-XB50AP really shine. The bass is very strong and still retains a lot of detail with a nice punch. For bassheads, this is a must-have. Treble and mids don’t disappoint either. Sibilance is not really an issue and there’s basically no cable noise.
Without a doubt, MDR-XB50AP are the best bass earbuds under $30 right now.
Made by a company called Symphonized which is relatively unknown, but has gotten a lot of attention with this IEM (in-ear monitor) model.
These are made out of real wood which makes them really stand out in its design.
Wood also has great acoustics abilities, since they are used for speakers, why not earbuds? If you want to stand out with this vintage design while saving money, these are your best choice.
- Great sound quality, balanced, detailed, slightly warmer
- Made out of real wood
- Durable and comfortable to wear
- Gold plated jack (usually a sign of more expensive headphones)
- Innovative design for cheap earbuds
- Some people don’t like the way wood changes the sound
You get 6 different pairs of ear tips which should be enough to pick one that suits your needs. The tighter the fit the better the noise isolation which is slightly above average if you pick the right tips.
These are very comfortable. Wood is a light material and combined with quality ear tips you get very comfortable earbuds. In a couple of days after first using them, your ears will get accustomed and you’ll forget you’re wearing them.
Durability doesn’t suffer because of wood. In fact it’s quite sturdy and makes for durable earbuds that you can’t break just like that. Well just like with any earbuds, if you sit on them they’re likely to break, also make sure to keep them away from water.
The Symphonized NRG 3.0 earbuds have an in-line microphone which works for making calls, but also for using to control the device with Voice Control. Voice controls works well in environments without much background noise.
The carrying pouch is designed to fit with the wooden deign, but doesn’t offer the best physical protection.
At under $30 sound quality doesn’t disappoint.
Detail-rich and slightly warmer tones will make you fall in love with your music. These earbuds with mic especially excel at mid-range tones.
The wooden structure noticeably adds to the quality of bass and produces rich and slightly warmer sound.
The audio can compare to some of the more expensive headphones and you wouldn’t know you’re listening to below $30 earbuds.
With gold plated audio jack and silicone ear tips these earbuds produce good passive noise isolation to enjoy these everywhere you go.
Interested in top gaming headsets?
If you are looking at that extra feature that allows you to walk and talk, then this one is for you.
One small issue is microphonics, if you rub against the wires you’ll hear the sound in your earbuds, this happens with all nylon/cloth type wires.
With its built in microphone, compatibility with all smartphones, an affordable price, great looks, and sound quality too good for this price, Symphonized NRG is a very good bargain.
The second Sennheiser model on this list is equally great value for the money as the first one.
If you’re slightly interested in headphones you’ve probably heard about this German brand in the past.
This is one of the cheaper models, but doesn’t disappoint. If you’re lucky you might get these for less than $20.
- Very light and comfortable
- Nice durable design
- Good noise isolation
- Good sound quality with stronger bass (yet not for bassheads)
- Lacks some detail and richness
With the innovative “Twist-to-Fit” technology CX200 have better fit than most earbuds and when you get an airtight fit you will get better passive noise isolation and better sound quality.
In fact, because of the fit technology, which impacts isolation, sound, and comfort, these are one of the better earbuds for the money for this reason alone.
When it comes to comfort they don’t disappoint either. These are quite light and if you change the ear tips you can get a very comfortable pair of earbuds.
Sure, you get only the standard 3 pairs of silicone ear tips, but they do a good job nonetheless. You can always spend a bit more money on premium Comply tips if you want.
Well-built and made from durable material in a smart design ensures long life with normal use.
The design is typical Sennheiser, minimalistic, but sleek and durable.
No in-line remote or microphone, the only thing you get is a standard cord with a 3.5mm plug-in at the end.
Sound quality wise they have no special features or advantages over other models on this list.
It has good sound overall as you’d expect from a brand like that. Slightly stronger bass would be annoying to a demanding audiophile, but just about right for an average user.
To really get the most of sound quality, you have to fit them the right way to get maximum noise isolation which is one of the things this model excels at.
These IEMs block more outside noise than most earbuds in this price range. Different ear tips can help with that too.
Once snugly positioned in your ears, you’ll get clean quality sound with strong bass without distortion of outside noise. Click here for best bass headphones.
In the end, if you’re looking for a quality pair of in-ear earbuds from a known brand, with very comfortable and durable design and sound that doesn’t disappoint, get Sennheiser CX 200.
Best Earbuds under $20 Reviewed
Top in-ear monitors you can get in the price range of $10-$20.
Top pick under $20. The best sound quality in earbuds under $20.
KZ ZST are easily the best earbuds under $20 because the sound quality is out of this world.
If you tried a lot of different cheap earbuds yourself you’ll still be surprised how good these really are.
Good for: those who appreciate good sound quality
Not for: people who want perfectly flat sound or overpowering bass
While the fit and comfort aren’t amazing out of the box (because of the silicone eartips) if you get Comply foam tips you’ll vastly improve the comfort. With changing to foam eartips you’ll improve the sound quality and noise isolation too. You don’t have to get Comply tips but it does help.
Noise isolation is above average out of the box. Ambient noise is well isolated so you can enjoy your music in peace.
Build quality is good. KZ ZST aren’t made like a tank but feel decently made. The fact, that cables are detachable is a big plus. Though the ear buds themselves aren’t super sturdy, be a bit careful and you’ll get a lot of value out of them.
The version with the microphone and remote has one multi-function button that’s very easy to use once you remember how it works. Voice quality is fine, not great but not bad either.
There is also a version without the mic and remote for a little less money if you can find it.
By far the biggest advantage is their audio quality. These sound amazing for the price of under $20 and can easily compete with in-ear earphones in the $50 range.
The sound signature is rather balanced with a slight emphasis on bass. KZ ZST are very accurate and detailed so you have to use them with high-quality music recordings otherwise you’ll hear the distortion and lack of quality.
To get the most out of them, get an amplifier or good MP3 player to hear all the details. Smartphones are fine but don’t extract the best sound quality possible. There’s no sibilance or distortion which is quite amazing for under $20 earbuds.
The best earbuds under $20 are hands down, KZ ZST right now. Don’t miss out on them.
These under $10 IEMs are a budget gem that offer more than meets the eye.
True, these are not very modern or cool, but when it comes to pure value and sound quality these Philips earbuds are probably the best overall pick under $20.
There are many colors to choose from and the design is compact and simple. The cord is good enough to last the life of earbuds. Nothing fancy really.
- Lots of colors to choose from
- Sound quality, controlled bass, clean mids and highs
- Dirt cheap price makes these awesome value for the money
- Somewhat weak durability
They are very light since they’re made out of plastics and the fit can compare to all average IEMs, nothing special but don’t have any major problems staying in ears.
Sound isolation is pretty good too and there is no need to replace the original ear tips as the original ones do a good job at isolating.
Are they comfortable? Well you could say so. There are no irritating parts and the soft silicone ear tips work just fine, but they are no comfort champions either. This is a budget model and you can’t expect premium features in every category.
Durability is not the best, but then if they break you can just buy new ones without worrying too much about the price. Not to mention in most countries companies are required by law to give some kind of warranty, if they stop working on their own before 1 year of age, you can usually get a new pair for free.
These were just not built for durability, but fare fine nonetheless.
No special features, no remote or microphone, just wires and a 3.5mm plug at the end.
Where do you find the best on-ear headphones under $100.
The feature that really stands out in this price range is the sound quality.
Initially, they may not seem very good, but with some use or after burning them in you will get very refined, clean sound that is unusual in this range.
There is even some bass, very controlled but still enough to enjoy the music. Mids and highs are very clean and precise which comes as a surprise for a model this cheap.
In the end, the sound is much better than the price promises; you’ll be surprised at how much sound these IEMs produce.
If you want to experience a surprisingly good pair of earbuds for less than $10 than you can’t go wrong with Philips SHE3590.
Best cheap earbuds for working out
MEEletronics Sport-Fi M6 are another great sports in-ear headphones for little money.
Real bang for the buck.
There is a newer, updated model M7P which is still a good choice, but it has a considerably higher price of around $40. For under $20, the M6 model is still better.
- High sound quality with slightly warmer touch and prominent bass
- Noise isolation helps the clear sound to come alive
- Durable, comfortable “ear hook” design
- Water resistant, great for sports
- Great value for money which makes them very popular
- “ear hook” design might be a problem for some
Their memory wire makes them very secure in your ears while still being comfortable, this is ideal for any sports activity where it’s important they stay in position.
Additionally, you get 6 different ear tips to fit your ear lobe perfectly. Their in-ear design provides good noise isolation so you’re able to enjoy rich sound and enhanced bass wherever you go.
Keep in mind that you need to test a few ear tips before you’ll find a stable, snug fit.
Picking the right ear tips also plays a major role for comfort. If you don’t have the right ear tips on, they might feel “weird” to you, at least until you get used to them.
In general, with right ear tips and proper position, these are comfortable enough to workout with. The memory wires tend to rub against the skin behind your ears, but you get used it. For workouts, you’ll have a hard time finding stable earbuds with perfect comfort.
The wires are super durable because of their “memory” design with metal protection. Once you position them the right way, you’ll hear a big difference in sound quality.
They are also sweat-proof and water-resistant for cases when you get caught by rain in the middle of your run. For best underwater headphones, click here.
Overall, they are very durable and able to withstand a lot of punishment.
There are 2 models available, The M6 model without remote/mic and the M6P model with in-line remote and microphone. If you make calls during your workouts get the M6P, but keep in mind they cost slightly over $20 most of the time.
The carrying bad is nice and sturdy, perfect for frequent gym goers. This way you’ll keep your earbuds safe for a long time.
When it comes to sound, it’s very smooth, warm and detailed with a prominent bass response.
Low bass tones are probably the strongest point of these IEMs, prominent, punchy bass that won’t leave you feeling cold. Mids are also very clean and rich while high pitched sounds are slightly lacking in detail and clearness.
In the end, you get warm, fun earbuds that sound great for the money.
These same earbuds are also recommended as one of the best earbuds for working out.
Their overall ability to withstand moisture, fit securely in your ears and provide good noise isolation and audio quality that’s fun to listen to for less than $20 makes them best value sports earbuds right now.
Great sturdy wired earbuds with emphasis on bass
HC-RET earbuds are very cheap at under $20 price while still provide a lot of value.
The company is unknown but these in-ear headphones have become quite popular.
Good for: everybody who wants cheap wired earbuds with strong bass
Not for: audiophiles or those who want a more balanced sound quality at this price
The actual ear buds are quite big and stick out of the ears a but aren’t so uncomfortable. With the right eartips, they feel comfortable and don’t cause any irritation.
Proper size of eartips also helps with noise isolation which is above average. Just make sure you push the earbuds far enough into your ear canal. Because they’re lightweight you can wear them for hours in comfort, but can’t put a hat or helmet over them.
Build-quality isn’t disappointing either. You’d expect it wouldn’t be so good since HC-RET earbuds are so cheap, but it’s actually rather solid. The wires are tangle-free with a good coating on weak points. The 3.5mm plug has a 45-degree angle. For the price, these are built better than average.
The in-line remote and microphone work with all smartphones, iPhone and Android.
The sound quality is also great. Emphasis on bass is very noticeable but if that’s what you like these are a great pick. The treble is quite clear and has enough detail to enjoy even more demanding music.
Overall, for a great pair of headphones under $20 with strong bass, check out HC-RET.
Best bass earbuds under $20, runner-up
If you’re looking for some bass-heavy earbuds on the budget you have to check out the Betron YMS1000.
Good for: bassheads and bass lovers
Not for: audiophiles or those who prefer balanced sound
The fit and comfort are good even though the metal earphones aren’t the smallest or lightest. They stick out of the ears a bit. Passive noise isolation is above average with the right eartips and you’ll easily remove the ambient sound around you.
For the cheap price you pay, these are built rather well. The earbuds themselves don’t seem to have any weak points. Rubbery wires seem durable and all the strain relief is solid.
Betron YMS1000 don’t have an in-line remote and microphone just regular wires. But the sound makes everything better.
They have very strong bass, overpowering in many occasions which is great for bassheads and all other bass lovers. Of course, this overpowers other ranges so mids and treble aren’t so detailed. There’s also some sibilance at higher volumes but if you’re a basshead you won’t mind.
In the end, Betron YMS1000 are one of the best cheap earbuds for bassheads.
Best Earbuds Under $10 Reviewed
All steals, super cheap earbuds under $10.
Top pick under $10
You won’t believe the price of these beauties. At below $10, you can’t ask for a better deal.
This is the ideal balance of audio quality, built quality and durability for little money.
No wonder they are so popular, as of currently, these earbuds are number #1 sellers on Amazon.
This alone tells a lot about the value you’re getting.
- Best dirt cheap “I don’t care if they break” earbuds
- Good comfort, stay in ears
- Good bass with balanced mid tones
- A little bit of everything
- For this money, you can’t ask for more
Because they are so light they don’t pull down when in the ears, find proper ear tips and you won’t notice them for the most time.
Noise isolation is about average, nothing special, but still much better than with many over-ear headphones.
They are very comfortable and rather good at staying in position.
The comfort is quite good, feels light and doesn’t bother the ears. You can easily wear then for hours without any discomfort. 3 soft ear tip pairs make your choices for best comfort even easier.
When it comes to build quality it shows they are cheap. The plastic casing and some rather flimsy wires don’t promise much in terms of durability.
The materials are really basic, but this is what you get for the low price.
You are paying below $10 for a pair of earbuds, don’t expect any special features like a remote or microphone because you won’t find them.
Sound-wise these have quite a good bass. Probably the only strength of these is better than average bass in this price range. The mid tones are clean and balanced, while high tones aren’t particularly good.
Overall you’re still getting superb sound quality for the price that is rather balanced and doesn’t have any major flaws.
While these are not sports earbuds you can still use them as ones.
These Panasonic earbuds are nothing special compared to many others on the market, but when considering the price, these are the optimal balance of everything a pair of earbuds is supposed to be.
If you’re looking for dirt cheap yet good earbuds, these are the best under $10 IEMs on the market right now.
Stylish cheap earbuds with good performance
If you’re looking for a colorful and cool design with great sound for less than $10, you found your top choice.
- Excellent isolation for listening in loud areas like airplanes and trains
- Powerful bass and decent quality mids/highs
- Multiple tips included in various styles and sizes
- Compares well to other IEMs that cost much more
- No playback or volume controls
- Foam needs “working” or rolling between fingers to form good seal
- Drivers must be placed accurately in your ear to hear complete range
- Easy to misplace given their small size and minimal weight
These IEMs offer some of the best isolation you’ll find in in-ear monitors. The expandable foam forms a tight seal in your ears.
You can get a customizable fit with the included cone or cylinder tips in various sizes. Try different tips for different situations like running or listening in bed.
The foam tips greatly reduce both noise leakage out of the IEMs and surrounding noise entering your ear canal. Watch out for traffic!
The foam tips can take some getting used to wearing, but they offer a comfortable fit. If you don’t like the conical tips, try using the cylinder ones.
If you can’t get your new Koss IEMs to fit properly, you might need to compress the foam before you insert them in your ears. Try rolling the tips in your fingers to squish it and quickly stick them into place.
The build quality of these Koss IEMs is pretty good, especially given the price. Don’t expect them to last forever, especially if you are hard on your equipment. Use the carrying case to prolong the life of your IEMs.
They are very lightweight – only a quarter of an ounce. The cord is thin and un-braided.
These IEMs don’t come with any volume controls, playback rocker, or anything to control the audio coming through the drivers.
The bass is very strong and clear. The mids and highs are warm and clear too, but sometimes the mids sound muffled if you don’t get the IEMs seated in your ears properly.
The newest version of the Koss “The Plug” IEMs doesn’t suffer from tinny sound, but earlier models had consumers complaining about poor sound quality. These issues seem resolved.
If you use equalization tools or a bass booster, you may want to disable it before you use these headphones.
A great choice for lightweight and affordable IEMs, cool design, perfect for bass fanatics but not a suitable choice for true audiophiles.
While these Monoprice earbuds may not be as comfortable as the Panasonic’s above, they are better when it comes to sound quality. Much better in fact.
For just around $10 these offer a lot of value you can’t get elsewhere.
- Good noise isolation with good ear plugs
- Sizable drivers for the price
- As good a choice as the Panasonic RPHJE120K if not better
- Awesome value for money sound-wise
- “weird” uncomfortable design with weak original ear plugs
The design needs some getting used to, but with better ear plugs you’ll be very happy with them. The ear tips that you get in the original package aren’t the best and are recommended to switch them to some better ones.
Noise isolation is only decent, but new ear tips can improve it.
They aren’t the most comfortable or most sound isolating because of their specific design, but nonetheless can still be enjoyed. For best comfort, some Comply foam tips can do wonders.
The built quality is decent enough and doesn’t seem to have any major issues or break points. Take good care of them and they will last you years. If they break, well just get a new pair.
You’re only getting a regular cord with a plug at the end. No earbuds this cheap have a microphone or remote.
They pair comfortably with your iPod or other portable music devices through a 3.5 mm gold plated stereo plug.
When it comes to sound, the bass tones are clear and punchy with good bass response in this price range.
The clarity of mids and highs is also better than many models priced at $50+. It’s not crystal clear, but surprisingly good for real budget IEMs.
Overall the sound is comparable with much more expensive models and this is probably the only “around $10” model that comes near that.
If you’re looking for dirt cheap earbuds with clear mids and punchy bass that can compare to models 5 times more expensive, than these are the earbuds of your choice.
How to Find Good Inexpensive Earbuds?
There are many cheap in-ear headphones to choose from looking just at prices.
But when it comes to sound quality the differences are big.
Yes, earbuds at $5 a pop are dirt cheap. But don’t get too excited just yet, you need to understand what you get with this low price.
Many times it’s wise to spend $10 or $20 more and get a pair of earbuds that will last you longer while play high quality audio comparable with much more expensive models.
It pays to do a little research a get a cheap pair of earbuds that are recommended by experts. You’re sure to get more value out of it.
Most of the cheaper varieties don’t produce the kind of bass and audio quality that you are looking for, but some do.
You can get a great pair of earbuds with high quality audio for very little money, if you pick the right model.
Getting balanced, clean sound with the right amount of bass in cheap earbuds is uncommon, but not impossible.
All of the models shown here are known for better than expected sound quality, so you can be sure you won’t be disappointed.
Single Driver or Multiple Drivers
A single driver earbud can give you the range you are looking for, which is a normal range of 20 hertz to 20k hertz. Single driver earbuds do have their limitations, but even multiple driver earbuds don’t automatically guarantee a perfect listening experience.
Poorly designed earbuds with multiple drivers have been known to give you a jarring performance due to irregularities in frequency response. So a pair of cheaper single driver earbuds can in many cases be better than some multiple driver earbuds.
When it comes to the comfort of IEMs the most important thing are ear pads, ear tips or ear plugs as they are also called.
Fortunately, you can get different sized ear tips that fit all models. This way you can adjust the comfort level for your ear shape.
Additional ear tips are cheap but can make all the difference in the comfort and noise isolation. If you’re half serious about in-ear headphones, get additional ear plugs as well. You can make great noise-isolating earphones out of any average earbuds by changing ear tips.
If you’re looking for cheap wireless earbuds you should expect to pay quite a bit more than for wired models.
Wireless technology is still expensive and that adds to the end price.
In this article, we’ve focused on wired cheap earbuds under $50 or less as this ensures you get best sound quality possible, without having to pay for wireless technology.
They have to be robust enough to withstand your everyday routine. Cheap price doesn’t have to mean low quality materials.
Generally, cheap earbuds are made in a generic way. Not necessarily fragile, but you simply cannot expect them to be as durable as an expensive pair of headphones.
Keep in mind, with proper care any earbuds should last you years.
The cheapest headphones don’t have active noise isolation, but passive noise isolation can do a pretty good job as well.
Just like with wireless technology, active noise isolation costs money. This way, if you’re looking for top inexpensive earbuds don’t look for active noise cancellation.
For best noise isolation on a budget, look for various sized rubber tips available on the market that can greatly improve the comfort and isolation of your earbuds. There are many different sizes to choose from and don’t cost a lot of money. (+improve the comfort)
Value for Money
There is a vast array of 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 and models tend to provide the biggest value. Because small companies want to get their brand out, they offer their products for less money to gain market share.
This is a great plus for you, the consumer.
Let us know what you think about the models selected here.
Should we add a new model?
Tell us, why you think your top model is better, just don’t forget to stay in the price range. Budget earbuds have to be cheap.
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