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7 Best Earbuds under $20 Worth Having in 2024

Last updated: 4 months ago
5 min read

We tested 193 headphones and here are:

  • The best earbuds under $20 you can buy in 2024
  • Including wired and true wireless options
  • Full hands-on reviews of top recommendations

Let’s go:

We test and evaluate headphones using a standardized 9-point methodology. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

Sonic9Score Price Connection Mic & Controls Water protection More info
Jlab Go Air Pop Best true wireless
Jlab Go Air Pop True Wireless Earbuds
Under $20
Bluetooth 5.1
Moondrop Chu Best wired
Moondrop Chu
Under $20
CCA LYRA Best in-ear monitors
Under $20
Skullcandy Dime True Wireless True wireless runner-up
Skullcandy Dime True Wireless
Under $20
Bluetooth 5.0
KZ ZST Best for bass
Under $20

Here is our list of the top in-ear headphones that you can buy for less than $20 today.

$20 isn’t much money. But we found some nice options that will more than satisfy a non-demanding user. You can expect better sound quality than what the price suggests.

We’ve included basic wired earphones with a good old headphone jack (3.5mm) and good-quality wireless earbuds. For more options, see wireless earbuds starting at $30, wireless earbuds under $50, and wireless earbuds under $100.

CONTENTS (show more)

    Best Earbuds under $20

    1. Jlab Go Air Pop

    true-wireless Best True Wireless Earbuds under $20
    JLab Go Air Pop buds and case

    Jlab Go Air Pop are both the best cheap wireless earbuds under $20 we’ve tested. Technically, these cost a few bucks more, but totally worth it – Jlab Go Air Pop review.

    Connection icon Connection: Bluetooth 5.1
    Driver size icon Driver size: 6mm dynamic
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: 20-20.000Hz
    Type: True wireless | Battery life: 8h + 24h in case | Wireless range: 33ft (10m) | Noise cancelling: No | Charging: USB-A (integrated cable) | Mic & Controls: Yes | Bluetooth codecs: SBC | Water resistance: IPX4 | Features: 3 EQ profiles, touch controls
    • Good sound quality
    • 3 EQ presets
    • Stable fit
    • 2 year warranty
    • Call quality
    • Audio delay when watching videos

    The default sound profile is on the bass-heavy side, but still outputs a balanced midrange and sparkly treble. Only the soundstage is a bit small. Nevertheless, a perfect sound signature to play music on the go.

    These cheap wireless earbuds have 3 onboard EQ presets: Bass Boost, Balanced, and Jlab Signature. The latter is the most accurate of them all.

    Jlab Go Air Pop frequency response measurements:

    JLab Go Air Pop measurement (all 3 EQs)

    The comfortable design is well-built and kept simple but functional. Earbuds stay securely in your ears thanks to three pairs of interchangeable ear tips. Playback controls are touch-sensitive, so you avoid pushing the buds into your ear canal.

    For all of your sportspeople, buds are rated for an IPX4, meaning complete sweat resistance. Unfortunately, earbuds only support SBC, which is good for Android devices but not as optimal for Apple devices.

    They play music for 8 hours on a single charge, with another 24 hours inside the charging case. The USB cable is built-in.

    If you want wireless earbuds for around 20 bucks, then you should get Jlab Go Air Pop, hands down the best pick.

    Best Wired Earbuds under $20

    2. Moondrop Chu

    wired Best Wired Earbuds under $20
    Moondrop Chu wired earbuds

    Moondrop Chu are the best wired earbuds under $20 we’ve tested. In terms of sound and build quality, these could cost many times the price – Moondrop Chu review.

    Connection icon Connection: Wired – 3.5mm
    Driver size icon Driver size: 10mm dynamic
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: 20-20.000Hz
    Type: In-ear | Back design: Closed-back | Noise cancelling: No | Mic & Controls: Optional | Impedance: 28 Ohm | Weight: 0.95 oz (27 g with cable) | Cable lenght: 3.9 ft (1.2m) | Features: Attachable ear hooks
    • Great, natural sound quality
    • High build quality for the price
    • Comfortable fit
    • Included spring ear tips & ear hooks
    • Good passive noise isolation
    • Excellent value
    • Slightly thin sounding vocals
    • Splashy treble
    • Fixed cable

    The sound signature is very balanced, with only a small boost in the upper midrange. While that makes the vocals sound a bit thin, it’s still impressive what you can get for only $20.

    Hear the Moondrop Chu A/B sound test:

    Moondrop Chu Sound Quality Test – HeadphonesAddict

    Build quality is impressive, too. Housing is made of zinc alloy and adds a premium feel. The cable also feels nice, although it tends to tangle quickly.

    Earbuds come with 3 pairs of spring ear tips that are worth more than the earbuds when purchased separately.

    Another useful accessory is the attachable ear hooks that help with stabilization. Since the cable tends to quickly jump over your ear during exercise, those hooks are a must.

    For a low price of $20 Moondrop Chu earbuds give you an amazing balanced sound that’s suitable for all music in a zinc alloy casing.

    Best In-Ear Monitors under $20

    3. CCA LYRA

    wired Best In-Ear Monitors under $20
    CCA LYRA earbuds

    CCA LYRA are the best in-ear monitors under $20 we’ve tested. They have great sound with detachable cables and ear hook fit – CCY LYRA review.

    Connection icon Connection: Wired – 3.5mm
    Driver size icon Driver size: 10mm dynamic
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: 20-40.000Hz
    Type: In-ear | Back design: Closed-back | Noise cancelling: No | Mic & Controls: Optional | Impedance: 28 Ohm | Weight: 0.2 oz (5.5 g) per earbud | Cable lenght: 47.2 inch (120cm) | Surround sound: No | Features: Detachable cable
    • Superb sound quality (for the price)
    • Excellent stability due to over-the-ear cable
    • Detachable cable
    • Minimal microphonics
    • Good comfort …
    • … but not for all ears due to strange design
    • Slightly cheap-feeling cable

    You’ll have a hard time finding better-sounding earbuds under $20. CCA LYRA are well-balanced with a pleasant, slightly warm sound signature that portrays music in a very faithful manner.

    Hear the CCA LYRA A/B Sound Test:

    CCA LYRA Sound Quality Test – HeadphonesAddict

    Design-wise, LYRA are a bit of a mixed bag since some might find it uncomfortable. Nevertheless, earbuds provide superb stability due to the over-the-ear cable.

    Furthermore, earbuds have a clear housing, revealing the single dynamic driver in all its glory. For added durability, you can replace the cables (they come with 2pin connectors).

    Another positive thing is that the cable design prevents cable noise. You will hear it some, but it doesn’t ruin the listening experience.

    If you’re looking for cheap in-ear monitors that sound great, check the CCA LYRA.

    Check related: The best in-ear monitors

    Runner-Up TWS Earbuds under $20

    4. Skullcandy Dime True Wireless

    wired True Wireless Runner-Ups
    Skullcandy Dime wireless earbuds

    Skullcandy Dime are the 2nd best true wireless Bluetooth earbuds under $20 we’ve tested. They are well-rounded earbuds for listening to music and taking phone calls – Skullcandy Dime review.

    Connection icon Connection: Bluetooth 5.0
    Driver size icon Driver size: 6mm dynamic
    Frequency range icon Frequency range: 20-20.000Hz
    Type: True wireless | Battery life: 3.5h + 8.5h in case | Wireless range: 33ft (10m) | Noise cancelling: No | Charging: Micro-USB | Mic & Controls: Yes | Bluetooth codecs: SBC | Water resistance: IPX4 | Features: /
    • Excellent sound quality for the price
    • Comfortable fit
    • Good Bluetooth range and stability
    • Decent call quality
    • Annoying physical controls
    • Poor battery life
    • Plasticky build

    Skullcandy Dime is a hidden gem that truly amazes with its sound quality, especially for the price. The overall balanced sound is ever-so-slightly V-shaped but tastefully so. Expect to hear clear lead instruments and natural audio performance.

    Hear the Skullcandy Dime True Wireless A/B Sound Test:

    Skullcandy Dime Sound Quality Test – HeadphonesAddict

    Another good feature is an IPX4 rating, which will deflect all the sweat dripping onto them. Earbuds are also pretty stable and comfy if you have normal-sized ears.

    On the other hand, they can be a bit sharp on the edges for users with smaller ears. The battery life is below average at 3.5 hours on a single charge, with an additional 8.5 hours inside the case.

    Physical controls are clicky but uncomfortable to use, meaning you’ll only use them in case of emergency (like answering a call).

    Still, for sound quality at this price, Skullcandy Dimes are hard to beat and are among the best cheap headphones.

    Best Earbuds under $20 for Bass

    5. KZ ZST

    earbud Best for Bass under $20
    KZ ZST in-ear monitor

    If you’re looking for punchy bass in cheap earbuds, check the KZ ZST. These are the top earbuds under $20 for bass we’ve tested – KZ ZST 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

    Considering a great price point, this pair is terrific. The cheap earbud house a 10mm driver delivering a slightly V-shaped sound signature with deep bass that makes music energetic while keeping true to the original. Stereo sound is also on point.

    On the other hand, while they sound good, they can be a bit sibilant at loud volumes.

    You get both comfort and stability, although you have to wear them 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 quality, and external 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. There’s also a version with an inline microphone. More details in our review.

    For cheap bassy earbuds, the KZ ZST are the top choice.

    Want even cheaper earbuds? Check the Panasonic ErgoFit.

    Runner-Ups: Other Earbuds to Consider

    6. KZ ATE

    KZ ATE

    KZ ATE are great general-use affordable earbuds that can deliver quality sound and long-wear comfort for an enjoyable listening experience. The detachable cables and memory foam eartips deliver an above-budget experience.

    KZ ATE review

    7. MEE Audio M6 Sport

    MEE Audio M6 black workout eabruds

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

    Check M6 Sport price

    There are no noise cancelling earbuds for $20.

    What Earbuds Can You Expect for $20?

    This is what you can expect from earbuds for $20:

    • Solid and sometimes surprising sound quality that’s fun and engaging
    • Basic features (microphone, basic controls)
    • Average build quality with cheaper materials (mostly plastic)
    • Many are wired earphones because they’re cheaper to make
    • Essential silicone ear tips
    • No sweat or water protection

    In the end, what matters most is to enjoy them. And with their pleasant audio quality, this isn’t hard. And that’s the whole point. If you want something more, then you can up your budget.

    Check more guides on cheap earbuds:

    FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions

    Why are there no excellent true wireless earbuds under $20?

    There are no excellent true wireless earbuds under $20 because those cost more. If you only have that much to spend, it’s best to get wired headphones. You can get decent durability and impressive sound quality for that kind of money.

    Are cheap wireless earbuds safe?

    Cheap wireless earbuds are equally safe as the most expensive ones. They use the same Bluetooth technology. And it has been proven many times that Bluetooth radiation is too low to pose a threat to humans.

    Should I get wired or wireless earbuds under $20?

    If you want to prioritize audio quality, get wired earbuds. If you prefer convenience of wireless connectivity, then get Bluetooth earbuds.


    Check all our tests and hands-on experience in our reviews. Hopefully our list has helped you make a decision. If you’ve picked earbuds from out list, please let us know in the comments.

    • #1 Earbuds under $20

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