Budget

The Best Earbuds under $20

Last updated: 2 days ago, Sep. 24. 2020
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    Discover the best earbuds under $20 you can get right now.

    Comparison: The Best Earbuds under $20

      AwardRatingPriceMic &
    Remote
    3.5mm
    Shape
     

    KZ ZST
    best overall4.1Around $20L-shapedMore info
    Philips PRO6105runner-up4.6Around $20I-shapedMore info
    Betron YSM1000best bass4.2Around $20I-shapedMore info
    JBL Endurance Runbest for sport4.6Around $20L-shaped
    (45° angle)
    More info
    MEE Audio M64.2Around $15L-shapedMore info
    Philips SHE35954.4Around $15I-shapedMore info

    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.

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      The Best Earbuds under 20 Dollars

      1. KZ ZST – best overall

      KZ ZST buds1

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

      KZ ZST full review.

      Why Buy These?

      If you’re looking for earbuds under $20 that will satisfy your needs for good audio and user experience, these are the ones to buy.

      They’re comfortable to wear, although you have to get used to their design because they’re a little bigger in size and are worn behind the ears. Once you get used to the behind-the-ear fit, you’ll appreciate their lightweight.

      It’s worth getting extra foam ear tips to get the best comfort, sound, and noise isolation as this makes them perform like much more expensive earphones.

      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.

      The Bad

      The only things missing are foam ear tips, you get only silicone tips and no in-line volume control.

      The Sound

      Considering the price point, the sound is terrific. A slightly V-shaped sound signature makes music energetic while keeping true to original. They have a capable and controlled bass with detailed treble without any harshness or sibilance.

      The ZST sound like a poor audiophile’s in-ear monitors and offer a Hi-Fi listening experience (no joke) for all music genres.

      The Verdict

      KZ ZST are enjoyable, durable, earphones, with a somewhat balanced sound (slightly V-shaped), that will satisfy your ears and your wallet. Easily the best earbuds for $20.

      The KZ ZST full review.


      2. Philips Pro6105 – runner-up

      Philips PRO6105 wired earbuds

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

      Why Buy These?

      Philips Pro’s metallic design makes them look like they’re much more expensive than they are. Nozzles are slightly angled to project the sound directly into your ear canal. Buds come with 3 pairs of ear tips, since getting a perfect seal is essential for good comfort and audio quality.

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

      Some people like to toss their earbuds inside a backpack, where they can get easily damaged. To ensure better longevity of the buds, Philips added a carrying pouch inside the packaging.

      The Bad

      As with many wired earbuds, cables like to tangle quite easily.

      The Sound

      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.

      The Verdict

      Quite impressive little earbuds that can do many things. For their price, they’re a steal.


      3. Betron YSM1000 – best bass

      Betron YSM1000 remote control

      Betron YSM1000 are cheap wired earbuds, made for bassheads.

      Betron YSM1000 full review.

      Why Buy These?  

      If the sound of heavy bass gets you pumped for the things you do, these are worth having in your pocket.

      Bassheads will like their best feature – overpowering bass which is a must-have. Together with the bassy sound profile, you also get a unique and stylish design that hides the low price.

      They’re still comfortable, despite the metal casing and not being very light.

      Additionally, you can navigate your music and calls with built-in microphone and controls (compatible with Apple and Android devices). It’s a nice feature to have at under $20 price.

      The Bad

      While it’s true they have big bass, they’re not optimal for working out. The reason is that they weight a bit more, so they tend to fall out of your ear canal.

      The Sound

      YSM1000 have lots of bass for the price. Although, it can get muddy at times, considering the cost it’s a non-issue. Don’t except any good instrument separation as lows pretty much overtake every other range.

      The Verdict

      Betron YSM1000 are best earbuds for bassheads looking to satisfy their bass needs under $20.

      Check the YSM1000 full review


      You can check more guides on cheap earbuds:

      The ultimate cheap earbuds
      The best earbuds under $30
      Headphones under $20


      4. JBL Endurance Run – 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.

      Why Buy These?

      Even though the housing seems somewhat bulky and uncomfortable, that is far from the truth. Earbuds are using JBL’s TwistLock design to keep them securely inside your ears. You can even wear them with the wire down or behind your ear. The latter helps with stability and cable noise.

      While you can’t swim with them, they’re sweatproof and more than ready to hit the gym. Since they’re comfortable, they shouldn’t bother you too much during workouts.

      You get an inline remote with a built-in microphone for taking phone calls. Despite the low price, the mic is of good quality.

      The Bad

      Cable noise is quite present, so it’s advised to wear them with the wire going behind your ears.

      The Sound

      If you like to rock some heavy-bass music during your jogs, these earbuds are perfect for that. While the low-end doesn’t spare too much in quantity, the midrange is also reasonably clean, with good treble sparkle up on top.

      The Verdict

      JBL Endurance Run are a noticeable upgrade over what you usually get with your smartphone.


      5. MEE Audio M6

      MEE Audio M6 - black workout eabruds

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

      Why Buy These?

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

      Secure over-the-ear fit with memory wire will help them stay in place. The cord 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.

      The Bad

      Audiophiles won’t appreciate the overpowering, bassy sound. So make sure you pick these if you don’t mind more bass than usual.

      The cord is long and can interfere with your running. Thankfully, you get cable clips for easier management.

      The Sound

      They have an enjoyable frequency response with bass-heavy sound that’s hard to find at this price range in sweatproof earbuds. The strong lows will help you stay motivated in the gym or while running but don’t expect sonic fidelity.

      The Verdict

      MEE Audio M6 are made for sports person who likes to get his or her motivation going with heavy bass. Their simplicity, dependability, and unbeatable price makes them one of the most popular workout headphones right now.


      6. Philips SHE3595

      Philips SHE3590

      Philips SHE3595 are rather average, general-use earbuds but they are incredibly cheap and give you solid sound quality and long-term comfort.

      Why Buy These?

      The best thing about these earbuds—they are cheap and reliable. They even come with a built-in microphone and a button for skipping songs and answering calls.

      Tiny earbuds allow you to lie on the side so you can listen to them before sleeping or taking a nap.

      Also, you get different color options to best fit your style.

      The Bad

      With the basic price so are the features. They don’t have the best durability, because of their thin cord and weak connector.

      The Sound

      Clean sound, with precise mids and highs, and emphasis on bass. So, great for any kind of modern music, and better than your average cheap earphones.

      The Verdict

      In summary, Philips SHE3595 are great for everyday use, because they fit well, provide pleasing sound quality for every kind of music and can be taken everywhere because of their size and lightweight design.


      Want even cheaper earbuds? Check the Panasonic ErgoFit and other 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.

      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.


      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 control 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.

      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.

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