Updated

Best Headphones under $25 - Winter 2017
Reviews

This price range is for listeners who want a low-budget and potentially disposable headset. This means the headphones in this list won't be the most comfortable, durable or well-rounded. They also won't sound very good. However, they're quite cheap and would be ideal for a last minute purchase or if you need a temporary pair of headphones. Below are our recommendations for the best headphones under $25 we have tested so far.

Best Over-Ear Headphones under $25

Sennheiser HD 201
Sennheiser HD 201 Design
Usage Ratings
5.2Mixed Usage
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What it is This is the combination of the different use cases to evaluate how versatile the headphones are. Therefore an everyday headphone should be well-rounded enough to adapt to most situations and environments without significant losses in sound quality, design ergonomics or isolation.
6.2Critical Listening
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What it is The level of audio fidelity a headphone can reproduce. Therefore a balanced and true representation of bass, mids, treble, soundstage and imaging, as well as a comfortable listening experience, is essential for critical listening.
Score components:
3.4Commute/Travel
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What it is How well the headphones handle the loud environments involved in commuting or traveling. Therefore your listening experience should be comfortable, hassle-free and as isolated from noise as possible.
5.1Sports/Fitness
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What it is How well-adapted the headphones are, to use while doing sports or strenuous exercise. Therefore the headphones should not be too cumbersome and deliver a stable and comfortable listening experience.
4.6Office
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What it is How well the headphones can deliver a comfortable and isolated listening experience in an office-like environment. They should not leak much and should block the noise of a busy office.
6.7Studio Recording
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What it is How effective the headphones are in a studio recording environment. Therefore sound quality should be good, and leakage should be minimal, to not add noise to the recording. They should also be durable for continuous and repeated studio use.

The Sennheiser HD 201 are affordable but mediocre-sounding headphones that are not well suited for loud environments. The long, non-detachable cable is a bit cumbersome, but on the upside, they're lightweight and stable enough to use while jogging. They also don't leak too much which is good for recording. However, their sound lacks a bit of bass and excitement.

Koss UR-20
Koss UR-20 Design
Usage Ratings
4.8Mixed Usage
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What it is This is the combination of the different use cases to evaluate how versatile the headphones are. Therefore an everyday headphone should be well-rounded enough to adapt to most situations and environments without significant losses in sound quality, design ergonomics or isolation.
6.2Critical Listening
Show Help
What it is The level of audio fidelity a headphone can reproduce. Therefore a balanced and true representation of bass, mids, treble, soundstage and imaging, as well as a comfortable listening experience, is essential for critical listening.
Score components:
3.6Commute/Travel
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What it is How well the headphones handle the loud environments involved in commuting or traveling. Therefore your listening experience should be comfortable, hassle-free and as isolated from noise as possible.
4.0Sports/Fitness
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What it is How well-adapted the headphones are, to use while doing sports or strenuous exercise. Therefore the headphones should not be too cumbersome and deliver a stable and comfortable listening experience.
4.4Office
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What it is How well the headphones can deliver a comfortable and isolated listening experience in an office-like environment. They should not leak much and should block the noise of a busy office.
6.0Studio Recording
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What it is How effective the headphones are in a studio recording environment. Therefore sound quality should be good, and leakage should be minimal, to not add noise to the recording. They should also be durable for continuous and repeated studio use.

The Koss UR 20 are not particularly impressive. They're bulky and lack the versatility to be used as casual, everyday headphones. Their build quality also feels a bit fragile, which is to be expected at this price range. However, on the upside, they have a sufficiently decent sound for a budget critical listening experience.

Best On-Ear Headphones under $25

Sennheiser HD 202 II
Sennheiser HD 202 II Design
Usage Ratings
5.5Mixed Usage
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What it is This is the combination of the different use cases to evaluate how versatile the headphones are. Therefore an everyday headphone should be well-rounded enough to adapt to most situations and environments without significant losses in sound quality, design ergonomics or isolation.
7.2Critical Listening
Show Help
What it is The level of audio fidelity a headphone can reproduce. Therefore a balanced and true representation of bass, mids, treble, soundstage and imaging, as well as a comfortable listening experience, is essential for critical listening.
Score components:
3.8Commute/Travel
Show Help
What it is How well the headphones handle the loud environments involved in commuting or traveling. Therefore your listening experience should be comfortable, hassle-free and as isolated from noise as possible.
5.1Sports/Fitness
Show Help
What it is How well-adapted the headphones are, to use while doing sports or strenuous exercise. Therefore the headphones should not be too cumbersome and deliver a stable and comfortable listening experience.
4.8Office
Show Help
What it is How well the headphones can deliver a comfortable and isolated listening experience in an office-like environment. They should not leak much and should block the noise of a busy office.
6.5Studio Recording
Show Help
What it is How effective the headphones are in a studio recording environment. Therefore sound quality should be good, and leakage should be minimal, to not add noise to the recording. They should also be durable for continuous and repeated studio use.

The Sennheiser HD 202 II have a unique look and a much better sound quality than the HD 201. For the price, they deliver a relatively balanced audio reproduction, which packs enough bass. They have a stable fit and a lightweight design. However, they feel a little plasticky, and the low-budget price range shows in the weak build quality. Their on-ear design is also not the most comfortable, especially, for long critical listening sessions.

AmazonBasics Lightweight On Ear
AmazonBasics Lightweight On Ear Design
Usage Ratings
5.5Mixed Usage
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What it is This is the combination of the different use cases to evaluate how versatile the headphones are. Therefore an everyday headphone should be well-rounded enough to adapt to most situations and environments without significant losses in sound quality, design ergonomics or isolation.
6.9Critical Listening
Show Help
What it is The level of audio fidelity a headphone can reproduce. Therefore a balanced and true representation of bass, mids, treble, soundstage and imaging, as well as a comfortable listening experience, is essential for critical listening.
Score components:
3.9Commute/Travel
Show Help
What it is How well the headphones handle the loud environments involved in commuting or traveling. Therefore your listening experience should be comfortable, hassle-free and as isolated from noise as possible.
5.4Sports/Fitness
Show Help
What it is How well-adapted the headphones are, to use while doing sports or strenuous exercise. Therefore the headphones should not be too cumbersome and deliver a stable and comfortable listening experience.
4.8Office
Show Help
What it is How well the headphones can deliver a comfortable and isolated listening experience in an office-like environment. They should not leak much and should block the noise of a busy office.
6.3Studio Recording
Show Help
What it is How effective the headphones are in a studio recording environment. Therefore sound quality should be good, and leakage should be minimal, to not add noise to the recording. They should also be durable for continuous and repeated studio use.

The AmazonBasics Lightweight On-Ear have a simple, straightforward design, that's not the most versatile but delivers a decent and reliable sound quality. They're lightweight and stable enough to use as low-budget gym headphones. Unfortunately, their build quality is flimsy and plasticky. They won't be very durable headphones, but it's to be expected for their price.

Best In-Ear/Earbuds Headphones under $25

SoundPeats QY8
SoundPeats QY8 Design
Usage Ratings
6.9Mixed Usage
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What it is This is the combination of the different use cases to evaluate how versatile the headphones are. Therefore an everyday headphone should be well-rounded enough to adapt to most situations and environments without significant losses in sound quality, design ergonomics or isolation.
6.0Critical Listening
Show Help
What it is The level of audio fidelity a headphone can reproduce. Therefore a balanced and true representation of bass, mids, treble, soundstage and imaging, as well as a comfortable listening experience, is essential for critical listening.
Score components:
6.9Commute/Travel
Show Help
What it is How well the headphones handle the loud environments involved in commuting or traveling. Therefore your listening experience should be comfortable, hassle-free and as isolated from noise as possible.
7.6Sports/Fitness
Show Help
What it is How well-adapted the headphones are, to use while doing sports or strenuous exercise. Therefore the headphones should not be too cumbersome and deliver a stable and comfortable listening experience.
7.2Office
Show Help
What it is How well the headphones can deliver a comfortable and isolated listening experience in an office-like environment. They should not leak much and should block the noise of a busy office.
7.0Studio Recording
Show Help
What it is How effective the headphones are in a studio recording environment. Therefore sound quality should be good, and leakage should be minimal, to not add noise to the recording. They should also be durable for continuous and repeated studio use.

The SoundPeats QY8 are affordable wireless headphones that perform decently well for most use cases. They're stable enough for sports, they're easy to carry around, and they block a fair amount of ambient noise for regular commutes. Unfortunately, they do not have the best sound quality and run out of battery pretty quickly. Also, their in-ear fit and awkward control scheme is not for everyone.

Panasonic RP-HJE120
Panasonic RP-HJE120 Design
Usage Ratings
6.1Mixed Usage
Show Help
What it is This is the combination of the different use cases to evaluate how versatile the headphones are. Therefore an everyday headphone should be well-rounded enough to adapt to most situations and environments without significant losses in sound quality, design ergonomics or isolation.
6.5Critical Listening
Show Help
What it is The level of audio fidelity a headphone can reproduce. Therefore a balanced and true representation of bass, mids, treble, soundstage and imaging, as well as a comfortable listening experience, is essential for critical listening.
Score components:
4.6Commute/Travel
Show Help
What it is How well the headphones handle the loud environments involved in commuting or traveling. Therefore your listening experience should be comfortable, hassle-free and as isolated from noise as possible.
5.8Sports/Fitness
Show Help
What it is How well-adapted the headphones are, to use while doing sports or strenuous exercise. Therefore the headphones should not be too cumbersome and deliver a stable and comfortable listening experience.
5.5Office
Show Help
What it is How well the headphones can deliver a comfortable and isolated listening experience in an office-like environment. They should not leak much and should block the noise of a busy office.
7.9Studio Recording
Show Help
What it is How effective the headphones are in a studio recording environment. Therefore sound quality should be good, and leakage should be minimal, to not add noise to the recording. They should also be durable for continuous and repeated studio use.

The Panasonic RP-HJE120-K ErgoFit have a very minimal and simplistic in-ear design with no additional features. They barely leak, even at incredibly loud volumes, and their sound quality is sufficiently adequate to make them great for studio recording, as long as you are comfortable with the in-ear fit. They're quite cheap, being under $10 which is great, but this also shows in their build quality. They won't be the most durable headphones.

All Reviews

Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best headphones under $25 to buy for most people. We factor in the price (a cheaper headphone wins over a pricier one if the difference isn't worth it), feedback from our visitors and availability (no headphones that are difficult to find or almost out of stock everywhere).

A few examples of headphones under $25 that didn't make the cut:

  • Rovking V1. Cheap budget sports headphones. Low leakage but poor sound quality and isolation.See our review
  • Venstone X1.  Low leakage and a stable ear-hook design. They're cheaper than the Rovking V1 but also perform slightly worse. See our review
  • SoundPeats Q9A.  Similar fit and design to the Powerbeats 2 at a much lower cost. Not as well built and poorly isolates.Currently low on stocks See our review

If you would like to choose for yourself, here is the list of all our reviews for headphones under $25. Be careful not to get caught up in the details. There are no perfect headphones under $25. Personal taste, preference and listening habits will matter more in your selection. 

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