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The Best Earbuds under $20

Last updated: 3 months ago
6 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
4.3
Under $20
Wireless
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crosscross
KZ ZST Best overall
KZ ZST
4.4
Under $20
L-shaped
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crosscross
Philips PRO6105 Runner-up
Philips PRO6105 wired earbuds
4.3
Under $20
I-shaped
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crosscross
4.0
Under $20
Wireless
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JBL Endurance Run Best for sports
JBL Endurance RUN wired earbuds
4.6
Under $20
L-shaped (45° angle)
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4.2
Under $20
L-shaped
crosscross
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4.2
Under $20
I-shaped
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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 a loud bass response. They can be a bit boomy and lack detail, but you can’t expect much under the $20 price tag.

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

    This pair of earbuds are small and have a stable fit. 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 all the sweat.

    Despite the low price, they offer a great battery and a USB type C charging port. Also, they support two Bluetooth codecs, SBC for Android devices and AAC for Apple users.

    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

    Considering a great price point, this pair of earbuds is terrific. Earbud houses a 10mm driver delivering a slightly V-shaped sound signature that makes music energetic while keeping true to the original. Stereo sound is also on point.

    You get both comfort and stability, 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 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.

    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 (most extensive frequency response), but that doesn’t mean much if they don’t have a clear sound. Fortunately, their audio reproduction exceeds their price.

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

    Philips Pro Wired earbuds metallic design makes them look better than most cheap headphones.

    Buds come with three pairs of interchangeable ear tips, since getting a perfect seal is essential to provide 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 neckband style 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, with no unbearable hot spots. Sadly, they lack a wire shortener or a clip to prevent the cable from dangling too much.

    You can squeeze around six 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.

    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 powerful bass-heavy genres like hip hop during your jogs, these in-ears 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. An angled design audio jack prevents damage if it ever gets pulled.

    While you can’t swim with them, they come with a water-resistant design (sweatproof) and are 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 inline controls with a built-in microphone for taking phone calls (sadly no volume control). Despite the low price, the in-line 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 a bass-heavy sound that’s hard to find at this price range in passive noise isolation earbuds.

    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 best workout headphones.

    Secure over-the-ear fit with memory wire will help them stay in place during vigorous movements as the earbud rests on your earlobes. The tangle-free cable allows 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. Samsung USB-C Headphones

    trophy Best neutral
    Samsung AKG USB-C Earphones

    By far the best earbuds under $20 you have received when purchasing a Samsung smartphone.

    Connection icon Connection: Wired – USB-C
    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: Yes | Impedance: n/a | Weight: 0.64 oz (18.1g) | Cable lenght: 4 feet (1.2m) | Features: Inline remote
    • Natural sound
    • Comfortable fit
    • In-line remote with great mic quality
    • Not the best passive noise isolation

    These Samsung earbuds are of top-notch quality for a “free” item that comes with a smartphone. The neutral sound profile delivers a very slightly V-shaped but still faithful to the original audio and without any sibilance.

    Earbuds fits comfortably for long listening sessions, despite having a rubber cable. You can get them in both 3.5mm and USB-C connection options.

    Inline remote offers essential commands and has an integrated microphone to answer phone calls. The call quality with background noise filtering is great, especially for the price tag.

    This all-around pair of earbuds easily fit into a pocket for easy storage as they don’t take a lot of space. However, the cables like to tangle pretty quickly.

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

    Honorable mentions

    ActionPie VJJB-V1S – What makes ActionPie VJJB-V1S worth buying is high-quality stereo sound, 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 reasonable price and getting a lot of value. (Check 1M301 price)

    Betron YSM1000 – Best in-ear headphones under $20 for amplified bass reproduction and sturdy build. Despite having a somewhat larger size casing, they provide a fatigue-free fit. (Betron YSM1000 review)

    KZ ATE – KZ ATE are great general-use affordable earbuds that can deliver quality sound and long-wear comfort for an enjoyable listening experience. (KZ ATE 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?

    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 that many of them have a solid sound that’s surprisingly pleasing.
    • All are wired earphones and many with the in-line microphone and built-in sound controls though of rather average quality.
    • Also, most come only with essential silicone ear tips and aren’t sweatproof.

    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 a good quality audio source.

    Why Are There No Excellent True Wireless Earbuds under $20?

    Of course, you could find true 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 have long battery life. Because cheap price brings low-cost lower-quality materials.