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The Best Earbuds under $20

Last updated: 7 months ago
5 min read

Discover the best earbuds under $20 you can get right now.

Rating Price 3.5mm shape Mic & Controls Water protection More info
Sony WI-C310 Best wireless
Sony WI-C310
Under $20
KZ ZST Best overall
Under $20
Philips PRO6105 Runner-up
Philips PRO6105 wired earbuds
Under $20
Under $20
JBL Endurance Run Best for sports
JBL Endurance RUN wired earbuds
Under $20
L-shaped (45° angle)
Under $20
Under $20

Here you’ll find all the top in-ear headphones that you can buy for less than $20.

While this isn’t a lot of money, we found some really nice options that will more than satisfy your needs.

Most of these are basic wired earphones with a good old headphone jack (3.5mm). Decent wireless earbuds start at around $30.

Nonetheless, the recommendations here have better sound quality than what the price would suggest. Check them out below.

Table of Contents

    The Best Earbuds under 20 Dollars

    1. Sony WI-C310

    wireless Best wireless
    Sony WI-C310 in the blue background

    Sony WI-C310 in-ear headphones are the best earbuds under $20.

    Connection icon Connection: Bluetooth 5.0
    Driver size icon Driver size: 9mm neodymium driver
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: 20-20.000Hz
    Type: Wireless in-ear | Battery life: 15h | Wireless range: 30ft (10m) | Noise cancelling: No | Charging: 3h – USB-C | Mic & Controls: Yes | Bluetooth codecs: SBC, AAC | Water resistance: No | Features: Neckband design
    • Good sound quality
    • USB-C charging port
    • Long battery life
    • Cheap-feeling control module

    Cheap wireless earbuds offer a relatively clean audio performance with elevated bass. They can be a bit boomy and lacking detail, but you can’t expect much under the $20 price tag.

    WI-C310 sport a neckband design with a flexible wire to perfectly contour your neck. It has a built-in control module for essential commands (sadly no volume control) and a microphone for hands-free calls.

    This pair of earbuds are small and fit nicely into your ears. They tend to stay in your ear canal quite well, making them an excellent choice for sports.

    However, since they lack IP rating, make sure you don’t drench them in sweat.

    Despite the low price, they offer great battery and a USB type C charging port.

    2. KZ ZST

    1st-place Best overall
    KZ ZST in-ear monitor

    KZ ZST in-ear headphones will give you the best overall performance you can get in earbuds under $20.

    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

    KZ ZST review

    Considering the price point, this pair of earbuds is terrific. A slightly V-shaped sound signature makes music energetic while keeping true to the original. Stereo sound is also on point.

    They’re comfortable to wear, although you have to worn behind the ears. Once you get used to the behind-the-ear fit, you’ll appreciate their lightweight.

    It’s worth getting extra memory foam ear tips to get the best comfort, sound, and noise isolation as this makes them perform more like expensive earphones. But still aren’t as effective as the best noise cancelling earbuds.

    Add a memory wire that helps them stay in the same place and the lack of cable noise, and you’re getting fantastic value for the money.

    KZ ZST review

    Check the best in-ear monitors here.

    3. Philips PRO6105

    2nd-place Runner-up
    Philips PRO6105 earbuds

    Well-rounded earbuds for listening to music and taking phone calls.

    Connection icon Connection: Wired – 3.5mm
    Driver size icon Driver size: 8.6mm
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: 7-40.000Hz
    Type: In-ear | Back design: Closed-back | Noise cancelling: No | Mic & Controls: Yes | Impedance: n/a | Weight: n/a | Cable lenght: 47 inch (1.2m) | Features: /
    • Sturdy build quality
    • Lush, full sound for the price
    • Cable easily tangles

    These buds are Hi-Res certified (wide frequency range), but that doesn’t mean much if they don’t sound right. Fortunately, their audio reproduction exceeds their price.

    Of course, they’re not beating audiophile earbuds, but they are still respectable for their price. Bass goes deep and is punchy, while the midrange stays lush and free of any major distortion.

    Philips Pro’s metallic design makes them look better than most cheap headphones. Buds come with 3 pairs of ear tips, since getting a perfect seal is essential for good comfort and audio quality.

    The headphone cord seems of decent quality. There is also an inline microphone and remote for taking phone calls, skipping songs, and pausing the playback.

    4. Skullcandy Jib Wireless

    trophy Best bass
    Skullcandy Jib Wireless earbuds

    Skullcandy Jib Wireless are cheap wireless earbuds with a balanced sound profile.

    Connection icon Connection: Bluetooth
    Driver size icon Driver size: 9.2mm
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: 20-20.000Hz
    Type: Wireless in-ear | Battery life: 6h | Wireless range: 33ft (10m) | Noise cancelling: No | Charging: Micro-USB | Mic & Controls: Yes | Bluetooth codecs: n/a | Water resistance: No | Features: /
    • Relatively balanced sound quality
    • Lightweight
    • No clip to shorten the wire
    • Mediocre battery life

    The cheapest Skullcandy earbuds have a surprisingly balanced frequency response. Of course, there’s still a bit of bass boost for those who enjoy some extra punch.

    Find more best bass earbuds.

    Two earbuds are attached with a short wire that goes behind your neck. On it, there’s a big compartment for the battery and charging port.

    Inline playback controls are separate from the battery module so that you can reach them more easily. They have an internal mic to help with phone calls.

    They’re tiny and comfortable. Sadly, they lack a wire shortener or a clip to prevent the cable from dangling too much.

    You can squeeze around 6 hours of battery out of these, and you charge it with Micro-USB instead of USB type C.

    You can check more guides on cheap earbuds:

    Best cheap earbuds
    The best earbuds under $30
    Best headphones under $20

    5. JBL Endurance Run

    weights Best for sport
    JBL Endurance RUN wired earbuds

    You don’t have to spend more than $20 to get yourself good earbuds for working out. And these are even made by JBL.

    Connection icon Connection: Wired – 3.5mm
    Driver size icon Driver size: 8.2mm dynamic driver
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: 20-20.000Hz
    Type: In-ear | Back design: Closed-back | Noise cancelling: No | Mic & Controls: Yes | Impedance: n/a | Weight: n/a | Cable lenght: n/a | Features: FlipHook, TwistLock
    • IPX5 water resistance
    • Good stability for sports activities
    • Fun, V-shaped sound
    • Slight cable noise

    If you like to rock some heavy-bass music like hip hop during your jogs, these earbud’s sound profile is perfect for that.

    While the low-end doesn’t spare too much in quantity, the mid range is also reasonably clean, with good treble sparkle up on top.

    You can even wear them with the wire down or behind your ear. The latter helps with stability and cable noise. Angled audio jack prevents damage if it ever gets pulled.

    While you can’t swim with them, they’re sweatproof and ready to become an essential item in your gym bag. Since they’re comfortable, they shouldn’t bother you too much during workouts.

    You get an inline control center with a built-in microphone for taking phone calls (sadly no volume controls). Despite the low price, the mic is of good quality.

    6. MEE Audio M6

    MEE Audio M6 black workout earbuds

    MEE Audio M6 are the runner-ups for the best earbuds under $20 for working out.

    Connection icon Connection: Wired – 3.5mm
    Driver size icon Driver size: n/a
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: n/a
    Type: In-ear | Back design: Closed-back | Noise cancelling: No | Mic & Controls: No | Impedance: n/a | Weight: n/a | Cable lenght: n/a | Features: IPX5 resistance, ear hooks, protective carrying case included
    • Useful accessories
    • Secure fit
    • Resistant against sweat and light rain
    • Boomy bass

    They have an enjoyable frequency response with bass-heavy sound that’s hard to find at this price range in sweatproof noise isolation earbuds.

    If you’re a sports enthusiast (on a budget) and like to get motivated with music in the gym, these are perfect for you. Check best workout headphones.

    Secure over-the-ear fit with memory wire will help them stay in place. The rubber cable doesn’t tangle so you can throw them in your backpack without worries.

    These are also IPX5 certified which means resistant to sweat and water splashes. It’s a must-feature for a workout pair of headphones.

    Add effective ambient noise isolation, and you’ll understand why these cheap earbuds are so popular.

    7. KZ ATE

    KZ ATE bass earbuds

    KZ ATE are great general-use earbuds with solid sound quality and long-term comfort.

    Connection icon Connection: Wired – 3.5mm
    Driver size icon Driver size: 8.2mm (Balanced armature)
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: 15-29.000Hz
    Type: In-ear | Back design: Closed-back | Noise cancelling: No | Mic & Controls: Mic only | Impedance: 16 Ohm | Weight: 0.04lbs (19g) | Cable lenght: 49 inch (125cm) | Features: Detachable cable
    • Capable bass (perfect for bassheads)
    • Cheap
    • Lightweight
    • Some cable noise
    • Unusual fit

    One of the best offerings for audiophiles under $20. Despite having a slightly boosted bass response, the midrange stays free of bloat, sounding natural and detailed. Thankfully, sibilance is also kept in check.

    Their design forces you to wear them with the wire over your ears. It might feel strange at first, but that kind of style ensures better weight distribution.

    It also reduces cable noise to a significant amount, something many wired earbuds have to deal with.

    3 pairs of ear tips provide good background noise isolation without causing discomfort. The cable is of decent quality, but you can’t replace it like on the ZST model.

    KZ ATE review

    Want even cheaper earbuds? Check the Panasonic ErgoFit and other best earbuds under $10.

    Honorable mentions

    ActionPie VJJB-V1S – What makes ActionPie VJJB-V1S worth buying is excellent sound quality, acceptable durability, and comfort, at a cheap price point. (Check VJJB-V1S price)

    1MORE 1M301 – Excellent earbuds with dual-driver design. Sure, they’re not perfect but for double the number of drivers you’re paying a low price and getting a lot of value. (Check 1M301 price)

    Betron YSM1000 – Best in-ear headphones under $20 for meaty bass and sturdy build. Despite having a somewhat larger size casing, they fit snuggly into your ears. (Betron YSM1000 review)

    For a bit more money you can get modern, wireless buds. See best true wireless earbuds under $50.

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

    What Earbuds Can You Expect for $20?

    You might be wondering if buying earbuds for $20 is even worth it. We think it is.

    There are a couple of real gems in this list, and you’d do yourself a disservice if you ignored them.

    • As long as you understand that most will have only the basic features and average build-quality you’ll find many of them sound surprisingly pleasing.
    • All are wired earphones and many with the in-line microphone and remote sound controls though of rather average quality.
    • Also, most come only with essential silicone ear tips and aren’t sweatproof.

    You merely have to take the bad with the good.

    Nonetheless, you can enjoy pleasant audio quality for very little money. And that’s the whole point of it. Of course, it also helps to have good quality audio source.

    Why Are There No Wireless Earbuds in This Guide?

    Of course, you could find wireless Bluetooth earbuds under $20, but their performance is mediocre at best. If you only have that much to spend, we advise you to get wired headphones. For that kind of money, you can get decent durability and excellent sound quality.

    If you’re not convinced, you can check the best earbuds under $30 guide and look for the top wireless recommendation.

    Keep in mind cheap earphones don’t a long battery life. Because cheap price brings lower-quality materials.