What headphones can 20 dollars get you today? Better than you might think… We test and review headphones based on an independent 9-point methodology. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn a commission. Learn more. Previous Next Rating Price Connection Type Mic & Controls More info Koss UR-20 Best overall 4.3 Under $20 Wired – 3.5mm Over-ear, closed-back cross Review Behringer HPS3000 Runner-up 4.2 Under $20 Wired – 3.5mm Over-ear, closed-back cross Review CCA LYRA Best in-ear 4.0 Under $20 Wired – 3.5mm In-ear, closed-back Optional Review Jlab Go Air Pop Best true wireless 4.5 Under $20 Bluetooth 5.1 True wireless checkmark Review Koss KSC75 Best on-ear 4.3 Under $20 Wired – 3.5mm On-ear, open-back cross Review Panasonic RP-HT161-K 4.3 Under $20 Wired – 3.5mm Over-ear, closed-back cross Review Sony MDR-ZX110 Best dirt-cheap 4.5 Under $20 Wired – 3.5mm On-ear, closed-back checkmark Review Tascam TH-02 4.4 Under $20 Wired – 3.5mm On-ear, closed-back cross Review In this guide, we collected decent, functional products for a dirt-cheap price. Here are the best headphones for less than $20 among the over-ear, in-ear, and on-ear designs. While these models aren’t going to blow you out of your socks, they still offer a great value for their price. They’re a solid choice for most users on a budget. And if the budget is $20, solid is impressive. In case you’re looking for headphones for slightly more money, you can check more budget guides below. Note: Sometimes the prices might jump above $20 due to market fluctuations. Wait a little time to see if the price drops again. If headphones increase in price permanently, we’ll replace them. CONTENTS (show more) Check other related guides: Best headphones under $30 Best earbuds under $30 Best wireless under $30 The Best Headphones under $20 1. Koss UR-20 BEST HEADPHONES UNDER $20 Koss UR-20 are the best headphones under $20, because of their high comfort and decent build quality. Koss UR20 Over-Ear Headphones, Flexible Sling Headband, Black Koss UR20 Over-Ear Headphones, Flexible Sling Headband, Black $19.99 in stock 21 new from $19.99 as of November 30, 2023 4:24 pm Buy now Amazon.com Koss Noise Isolating Over-Ear Headphones, Black, Ur20 Koss Noise Isolating Over-Ear Headphones, Black, Ur20 $25.66 in stock Buy now Walmart.com Koss UR20 Over-Ear Full Size Headphone Black KSSUR20 Koss UR20 Over-Ear Full Size Headphone Black KSSUR20 $26.93 in stock Buy now eBay Connection: Wired – 3.5mm Driver size: n/a Frequency range: 30-20.000Hz Type: Over-ear | Back design: Closed-back | Noise cancelling: No | Mic & Controls: No | Impedance: 32 Ohm | Weight: n/a | Cable length: 8 feet (2.4m) | Features: / Balanced sound with slightly a boosted bass Lightweight and comfortable Dirt-cheap Bulky, plastic construction The sound these over-ear headphones produce is pretty good. The frequency response is somewhat balanced, with low-end being slightly enhanced. Although, listening at high volumes can make it a little muddy. They are most suitable for listening to calmer music. But they’re also a good choice to enjoy your favorite rock and pop. Their main advantage is comfort. Over-ear headphones have large and soft earpads that fit around most ears. Also, the headband design is quite flexible, which makes them super comfy for many hours. Their durability is decent, considering the price range. Although they’re made entirely out of plastic, they hold up well to everyday use. Check price 2. Behringer HPS3000 BEST HEADPHONES UNDER $20 ALTERNATIVE The Behringer over-ear headphones are another high-quality budget over-ears with high durability and pleasing sound. Behringer HPS3000 Studio Headphones Behringer HPS3000 Studio Headphones $14.90 in stock 5 new from $14.90 1 used from $9.45 as of November 30, 2023 4:24 pm Buy now Amazon.com Behringer HPS3000 Silver & Black High-Performance Studio Headphones. Behringer HPS3000 Silver & Black High-Performance Studio Headphones. out of stock Buy now eBay Connection: Wired – 3.5mm Driver size: 40mm Frequency range: 20-20.000Hz Type: Over-ear | Back design: Closed-back | Noise cancelling: No | Mic & Controls: No | Impedance: 64 Ohm | Weight: n/a | Cable lenght: 6.5 feet (2m) | Features: / Dirt-cheap Excellent sound for the price Good durability Lightweight and comfortable They can start rattling when listening to bassy music Not very portable They offer a slightly V-shaped sound signature, with a highly defined bass response and transparent highs. Perfect for anyone that likes to get extra motivated with energetic music. The sound is also suitable for working in a studio because of the ample amount of details (considering the price range). Despite their bulky design, they are lightweight and offer an extremely comfortable fit for most people. The oval-shaped ear cups are big enough to fit all ears. Wearing them for a long time is no problem at all. The cable is tangle-free. Also, because of their secure fit and materials, noise isolation is better than with most sub-$20 headphones. These over-ear headphones can serve you for a long time at home or on the go listening. Check price 3. CCA LYRA BEST IN-EAR UNDER $20 CCA LYRA are the best earbuds that are far better than what you’d expect for $20. CCA LYRA 3.5mm HIFI Super Bass Headset Wired Earphone Earbuds Headphone With Mic CCA LYRA 3.5mm HIFI Super Bass Headset Wired Earphone Earbuds Headphone With Mic $21.27 in stock Buy now eBay CCA LYRA in Ear Monitor, 10mm Dual Magnetic Dynamic IEM Earphones for Deep Bass & Fine Details,… CCA LYRA in Ear Monitor, 10mm Dual Magnetic Dynamic IEM Earphones for Deep Bass & Fine Details,… $23.99 in stock Buy now Walmart.com CCA LYRA in Ear Monitor, 10mm Dual Magnetic Dynamic IEM Earphones for Deep Bass & Fine Details,… CCA LYRA in Ear Monitor, 10mm Dual Magnetic Dynamic IEM Earphones for Deep Bass & Fine Details,… $23.99 in stock Buy now Walmart.com CCA LYRA in Ear Monitor, 10mm Dual Magnetic Dynamic IEM Earphones for Deep Bass & Fine Details,… CCA LYRA in Ear Monitor, 10mm Dual Magnetic Dynamic IEM Earphones for Deep Bass & Fine Details,… out of stock as of November 30, 2023 4:24 pm Buy now Amazon.com CCA LYRA review Connection: Wired – 3.5mm Driver size: 10mm dynamic 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 Hear the CCA LYRA A/B Sound Test: CCA LYRA Sound Quality Test – HeadphonesAddict CCA LYRA’s sound is why they’ve earned their spot in this guide. The sound quality is outstanding for the price, with good detail, clarity, and well-balanced tuning. Due to the over-the-ear cable, earbuds ensure excellent stability even if you shake your head a lot. They can be comfy, too, although some might disagree due to the strange design. Staying with the cable, it’s of decent quality and can be replaced with a third-party option using 2pin connectors. To add a cool factor, LYRA’s housing is fully transparent, so you can clearly see the single dynamic driver inside. CCA LYRA review Check price 4. Jlab Go Air Pop True Wireless Earbuds BEST TRUE WIRELESS UNDER $20 Best headphones with in-ear design for commuting with Bluetooth connectivity. JLab Go Air POP True Wireless Earbuds JLab Go Air POP True Wireless Earbuds $20.98 in stock Buy now eBay JLab Go Air Pop True Wireless Bluetooth Earbuds JLab Go Air Pop True Wireless Bluetooth Earbuds $23.96 in stock 34 new from $16.99 2 used from $22.95 as of November 30, 2023 4:06 pm Buy now Amazon.com Jlab Audio Go Air Pop Jlab Audio Go Air Pop $24.88 $25.00 in stock Buy now Walmart.com Connection: Bluetooth 5.1 Driver size: 6mm dynamic 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 Go Air Pop Bluetooth headphones focus on the general public, offering punchy lows and sparkly highs. Thankfully, the midrange stays balanced and with naturally presented musical instruments. The great thing is that you can further boost the bass by toggling to Bass boost EQ profile or tone the lows down by picking the Balanced preset. Earbuds have a small form factor and fit comfortably in your ear canal. They don’t poke into your earlobes so that you can wear them for long listening sessions. Furthermore, music controls are touch-sensitive. Bluetooth technology also means the buds run on batteries. The runtime is quite impressive, clocking at eight hours on a single charge, with an additional 24 hours stored in the charging case. The USB cable is fixed to the case. Jlab earbuds are suitable for exercising as well, providing an IPX4 rating. Check price More budget headphones: Best cheap earbuds (between $10 & $50) Best cheap headphones (between $10 & $50) Best headphones under $30 Best headphones under $50 5. Koss KSC75 BEST ON-EAR HEADPHONES UNDER $20 Koss KSC75 are the best headphones under $20 with an on-ear design. Although they don’t look like much, they will surprise you. Koss KSC75 Portable Stereophone Headphones, Single, Standard Packaging White/Gray Koss KSC75 Portable Stereophone Headphones, Single, Standard Packaging White/Gray $17.99 $19.99 in stock 26 new from $17.99 as of November 30, 2023 4:24 pm Buy now Amazon.com Koss KSC75 Portable Stereophone Headphones, Single, Standard Packaging Koss KSC75 Portable Stereophone Headphones, Single, Standard Packaging $25.30 in stock Buy now eBay Koss KSC75 – Headphones – clip-on – wired – 3.5 mm jack Koss KSC75 – Headphones – clip-on – wired – 3.5 mm jack out of stock Buy now Walmart.com Koss KSC75 review Connection: Wired – 3.5mm Driver size: n/a Frequency range: 15-25.000Hz Type: On-ear | Back design: Open-back | Noise cancelling: No | Mic & Controls: No | Impedance: 60 Ohm | Weight: n/a | Cable lenght: 4 feet (1.2m) | Features: Ear hooks Comfortable, lightweight design Great stability thanks to ear hooks Excellent, balanced sound that exceeds the price No inline controls Not the most durable The frequency response they provide is well-balanced, with a strong bass response and forward mid-range. Their sound quality can easily be compared to more expensive headphones. They have been popular among audiophiles for years. These are appropriate for almost every music genre. Although their bass is loud and sound clear, don’t expect too much of a bounce if you’re a basshead. KSC75 are lightweight and don’t bother the earlobes, even if you’re wearing them for a long time. Because of their ear hook design, you can also use them for cardio workouts. Due to the ear hooks, they provide a secure fit. In spite of them not being waterproof, they can survive most of your sweaty workouts. Koss KSC75 review Check price Also, check out: The best workout headphones. 6. Panasonic RP-HT161-K Panasonic RP-HT161-K are classic-style over-ear pair of headphones under $20. With their lightweight design and decent sound quality, they won’t let you down. Panasonic Full-Sized, Lightweight Long-Cord Headphones – RP-HT161-K (Black) Panasonic Full-Sized, Lightweight Long-Cord Headphones – RP-HT161-K (Black) $17.72 in stock 10 new from $17.72 17 used from $10.25 as of November 30, 2023 4:24 pm Buy now Amazon.com Panasonic Rp-ht161-k Full Size Over-ear Wired Long-cord Headphones Panasonic Rp-ht161-k Full Size Over-ear Wired Long-cord Headphones $17.72 $39.99 in stock Buy now Walmart.com Panasonic Full-Sized, Lightweight Long-Cord Headphones – RP-HT161-K (Black) Panasonic Full-Sized, Lightweight Long-Cord Headphones – RP-HT161-K (Black) out of stock Buy now eBay Connection: Wired – 3.5mm Driver size: 30mm Frequency range: 10-27.000Hz Type: Over-ear | Back design: Closed-back | Noise cancelling: No | Mic & Controls: No | Impedance: n/a | Weight: n/a | Cable lenght: 6.5 feet (2m) | Features: / Lightweight Decent sound with deep bass Users with bigger ears might find them uncomfortable Their sound quality is balanced. The bass is deep, but it fits nicely with all other ranges. These are generally OK to listen to all music genres. They cost less than 20 bucks, after all. But they’re not as strong as the best bass headphones. The best thing about them is their extra-long cord. It comes especially handy while playing games or dancing to your favorite songs. Because of their lightweight design, they are comfy, even if you wear glasses. Soft ear cushions surround the entire ear and isolate most of the ambient noise. Also, their lifespan can be quite long with some care. Their main advantage is their long cable. Otherwise, the Panasonic RP-HT161-K are made for casual home use with a loud sound, comfy design, and an unbeatable price. Check price 7. Sony MDR-ZX110 BEST DIRT-CHEAP HEADPHONES Great pair of headphones at a dirt-cheap price that is an excellent companion for enjoying music on the go. Sony MDR-ZX110 Stereo Headphones (Black) Sony MDR-ZX110 Stereo Headphones (Black) $16.99 $159.99 in stock Buy now Walmart.com Sony MDR-ZX110NC Noise Cancelling Headphones MDRZX110NC, Black Sony MDR-ZX110NC Noise Cancelling Headphones MDRZX110NC, Black $19.95 in stock Buy now eBay Sony ZX Series Wired On-Ear Headphones, Black MDR-ZX110 Sony ZX Series Wired On-Ear Headphones, Black MDR-ZX110 in stock as of November 30, 2023 4:06 pm Buy now Amazon.com Sony MDR-ZX110 review Connection: Wired – 3.5mm Driver size: 30mm Frequency range: 12-22.000Hz Type: On-ear | Back design: Closed-back | Noise cancelling: No | Mic & Controls: Yes | Impedance: 24 Ohm | Weight: 4.2 oz (120g) | Cable lenght: 4 feet (1.2m) | Features: Foldable Great sound for the price Inexpensive Foldable, travel-friendly design No inline controls Cheap build quality Hear the Sony MDR-ZX110 A/B Sound Test: Sony MDR-ZX110 Sound Quality Test – HeadphonesAddict Sony MDR-ZX110 are affordable headphones that usually sell for $10, making their sound so much more impressive. It’s no audiophile nirvana, but for the price, you get a good bass rendition, natural mids, and a relatively balanced treble. Unfortunately, soundstage and imaging are nothing to write home about. Headphones are very lightweight (and plasticky), so you barely feel them on your head. And that’s despite their on-ear design. Stability is good, even if you’re running with them, although earpads will heat your ears pretty quickly. The MDR-ZX110 even fold inwards to save some space in your backpack. However, the folding mechanism doesn’t look very durable. For $20, you can get the version with a built-in microphone for making phone calls in inline controls. Sony MDR-ZX110 review Check price 8. Tascam TH-02 Bass-heavy on-ears and our top pick for above-average passive noise isolation. Tascam TH-02 Closed Back Studio Headphones Black Tascam TH-02 Closed Back Studio Headphones Black $29.00 $59.99 in stock Buy now Walmart.com Tascam TH-02 Closed Back Studio Headphones, Black Tascam TH-02 Closed Back Studio Headphones, Black in stock as of November 30, 2023 4:24 pm Buy now Amazon.com Tascam TH-02 Recording Studio Headphones Black Tascam TH-02 Recording Studio Headphones Black out of stock Buy now eBay Connection: Wired – 3.5mm Driver size: 50mm Frequency range: 18-22.000Hz Type: Over-ear | Back design: Closed-back | Noise cancelling: No | Mic & Controls: No | Impedance: 32 Ohm | Weight: n/a | Cable lenght: 9.8 feet (3m) | Features: / Big, bassy sound Great passive noise isolation Cheap build Not the most comfortable The thing that stands out the most is their weighty bass response. In general, these are pretty W-shaped, with everything slightly boosted to appear more present and upfront. However, the TH-02 can also introduce some sibilance in the higher frequencies, especially on poorly mastered tracks. At least the soundstage is fairly big for a closed-back headphone. These headphones are made with portability in mind. They can fold inward to make extra room in your backpack. Earpads sit on your ears and are relatively shallow, which isn’t the best for long-term comfort. Still, headphones can create a good seal, ensuring great passive isolation. Check price Honorable Mentions KZ ATE Quite an impressive sound quality for a dirt-cheap pair of earbuds. Already included foam ear tips provide good passive isolation and feel comfortable. They’re also one of the best bass earbuds. KZ ATE review KZ ZST Their audio quality can be compared to more expensive earbuds, and you can improve it with differently sized memory-foam ear tips. These can easily compare to the best earbuds under $50. KZ ZST review What Can You Expect from $20 Headphones? 20 dollars is very little money, and it’s surprising you can actually get headphones for such a low price. Here’s everything you can expect from headphones at this affordable price range. Cheaper build quality Better materials cost more money. So due to the low price, audio devices are mostly made of plastics that can crack or deform. Take good care of them if you want them to last at least a couple of years. Basic functionality An in-line mic and remote control are more of a bonus than a standard feature. Usually is just a wire with a headphone jack. No touch controls either. Average battery capacity or the last-gen Bluetooth version (like Bluetooth 5.0) It means you’ll get less music per single charge and you might experience more signal disruptions. You get the very basic wireless functionality, and almost every audio device uses Micro-USB. That is why you don’t see many Bluetooth headphones or TWS earbuds in “best under $20” guides. Cheaper headphones have mediocre audio quality It doesn’t mean that the overall quality is terrible, but you can’t expect a Hi-Fi sound experience. Headphones with great sound usually cost more than $20, but it doesn’t necessarily mean expensive headphones sound better. No fancy features like active noise cancellation Don’t expect feature-packed headphones under $20. Noise cancelling tech costs more to manufacture and doesn’t fit in this price range. You have to pay more money for decent ANC cans (check our guide for best budget noise cancelling headphones). But maybe you’re just confusing cancellation with noise isolation? Why do Headphones Die? Build quality varies from model to model, but this problem isn’t only focused on cheap headphones. Every electronic device dies eventually, either by itself or because something broke inside of them. While you can’t prevent the first thing from happening, you can try to handle your headphones with care. Knowing what are the most common causes for headphones to die will make you more aware of not repeating the same mistakes. Damaging the cord More and more manufacturers are going wireless, but if you’re buying headphones under $20, they most certainly have a wired design. Of course, wires are the most vulnerable part of any headphone, especially if they’re fixed. Many accidents can happen to them, like: Pulling the cable instead of the plug. Especially with cheap wires, the connection between the wire and the plug isn’t always rock-solid. Therefore it’s safer that you unplug your headphones by grabbing on the plug instead of pulling the wire.Running them over with your chair. They might not die the first time you do that, but better don’t try out your luck.Pulling the cable too hard. It’s a common situation when you forget you’re wearing headphones on your head, and you quickly stand up. Consequently, the cable pulls a headphone off your head and slams it on the floor.Bending or tightening a cable. A bit of bending isn’t an issue. However, trying to make a knot so they can fit in a small carrying case can break the wire. Inside the cable, there are small, fragile wires. If you bend them too much, they will break quite easily. Liquid damage While most wireless earbuds and headphones have some level of water protection, the majority of wired ones aren’t water-resistant. Rain or you heavily sweat during a workout. You would need at least an IPX4 rating for your headphones to survive that.Keeping your headphones in a moist environment. You can accidentally leave your headphones in your sweaty clothes after an intense workout. And as we all know, liquids and electronics don’t mix that well together. Not a lot of headphones are fully submersible. Of course, there are exceptions. Once, we accidentally washed our earbuds in a washing machine. All we needed to do to bring them back alive is blast them on high volume for a short amount of time. Check the best waterproof Bluetooth headphones for more options. Extreme loudness Every speaker is rated for maximum power output. Playing your headphones loud isn’t that big of an issue if you stay below the recommended power input. Normally, a smartphone isn’t going to kill off your headphones. However, if you have a dedicated amp, that power is easily reachable. What happens is that a tiny copper coil, that in conjunction with the magnet creates an electromagnetic field, overheats, and melts. If that happens, it can’t create a magnetic field anymore. Matija FerjanMatija Ferjan is a seasoned audio enthusiast reviewing headphones since 2015. He has personally tested hundreds of headphones and earbuds. He’s an active member of the Headphone Audio community and a true nitpicker, always looking for the “best-value-for-money” headphones.