Nowadays, you can get a decent pair of headphones on a very tight budget. Cheap headphones are ideal for a last-minute purchase or if you need a temporary pair of headphones. However, the choice is limited and the build quality tends to be poor (check our article 'best headphones under $50' for more recommendations). Below are our recommendations for the best budget headphones we have tested so far.
Best Cheap Over-Ear Headphones under $25
The Koss UR 20 are the best cheap over-ear headphones we have tested. They have large, spacious and comfortable ear cups and a decently well-balanced sound. This makes them above-average, budget headphones for critical listening. Unfortunately, they have a pretty weak and flimsy design that's not particularly durable. They do not have any fancy active features like the Bluedio T2S and they're quite bulky and cumbersome, so they won't be practical to use in all situations.
Best Cheap On-Ear Headphones under $25
If you prefer on-ear headphones and only have $25 to spend, we recommend the AmazonBasics On-Ear. They’re still somewhat flimsy headphones that are not versatile enough to use in loud, noisy environments and they look and feel a bit cheap. However, they sound surprisingly well balanced for their price range, they’re decently portable and do not leak much, so you will rarely distract those around you in quieter settings.
If you want an even more, budget headphone but do not like the fit of in-ears, then consider the Koss KSC75. They have an above average sound that reproduces instruments and vocals surprisingly well. They're also compact and portable, unlike the AmazonBasics On-Ear and have a stable ear-hook design that makes them somewhat decent for sports. Unfortunately, they're a little uncomfortable and don't have enough bass for most listeners.
Best Cheap In-Ear / Earbuds Headphones under $25
If you want wireless headphones, the best earbuds we have tested are the SoundPeats Q9A. They have a stable design that’s great for sports. The below-average sound quality may be a deal breaker for some. However, they’re more comfortable than typical in-ears. They also barely leak, so they’re great to use in quieter environments when you do not want to disturb those around you.
If you're looking for a cheaper option, get the Mpow Jaws. They are one of the cheapest wireless in-ears we've reviewed so far. They're a bit more comfortable than the SoundPeats Q9A and a lot of other in-ears. They also have an above-average wireless range, a relatively easy-to-use design and a sufficiently stable fit to take to the gym. However, their mediocre-at-best sound quality might be a deal breaker for most critical listeners.
- 1More Pistons. Budget headphones, good build quality, and low leakage. But a mediocre isolation and sound quality. See our review
- Bluedio T2S Turbine. Very affordable Bluetooth headset with an excellent wireless range. Poor comfort and overly bass-heavy sound quality. See our review
- Rovking V1. Cheap sports headphones. Low leakage but poor sound quality and isolation. See our review
- Venstone X1. Low leakage and a stable ear-hook design, but they perform slightly worse than our recommendations. See our review
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best cheap headphones 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).
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. Personal taste, preference and listening habits will matter more in your selection.