Preferred store
Black Friday deals have started. See our list of recommended deals on headphones. Notably the Bose QuietComfort 25 - dropped by $100 on Amazon.
    Table of Contents
  1. Intro
  2. Best Over-Ear
    1. Alternative
  3. Best On-Ear
    1. Alternative
  4. Best Earbuds
    1. Alternative
  5. All Reviews
  6. Q&A
Updated

Best Headphones under $50 - Fall 2017
Reviews

Finding headphones on a budget can be tricky, but you don’t need to break the bank to get a decent listening experience. The headphones in this list won’t be the most comfortable or neutral sounding, but you can find quality offerings if you want a budget headset to use casually. The best earbuds and headphones under $50 offer a fair sound quality and wireless Bluetooth.

So far, we've tested 23 headphones under $50 and below are our recommendations for the best ones you can buy today.  

Best Budget Over-Ear Headphones under $50

Usage Ratings - Version 1.1
Show Help

Test Benches:

  • 1.1: Summer 2017
  • 1.0: Winter 2017
  • 0.9: Winter 2016
5.9Mixed 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.
Score components:
7.5Critical 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:
5.0Commute/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.
5.3Sports/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.
Score components:

The best over-ear headphones under $50 we've tested are the Superlux HD 681. They sound as good as the Superlux HD 668B but they're cheaper. They also beat the Audio-Technica ATH-M20x in terms of sound quality. 

However, they won't be the most comfortable or practical headphones to use in all situations, and they're a bit tight on larger heads. They're also not as durable as the M20X or as feature-packed as the Mpow Bluetooth Over-Ear, but they have a great sound quality that's easily on par with headphones 3 to 4 times their asking price. 

See our review

Alternative For Everyday Use

If you want a more practical option that you can use every day, then get the Mpow Bluetooth Over-Ear. They're well-rounded, wireless headphones with a decent sound, a good range and a simple to use control scheme.

They don't have the balanced sound of the Superlux HD 681 but they're more versatile. Although their latency performance is not ideal for watching videos, it's much less than the Bluedio T4's.

See our review

Best Budget On-Ear Headphones under $50

Usage Ratings - Version 1.1
Show Help

Test Benches:

  • 1.1: Summer 2017
  • 1.0: Winter 2017
  • 0.9: Winter 2016
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.
Score components:
7.1Critical 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:
5.1Commute/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.
6.3Sports/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.
5.6Office
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.
Score components:

If you prefer the compact format of on-ear models and still want an above average sound quality, then we recommend the Koss Porta Pro.

They are lightweight headphones that are so comfortable and breathable that you barely feel them once they’re on your head. Their build quality is a little flimsy, especially when compared to the Sound Intone CX-05, but they sound better, they're a lot more portable and can fit into your pockets.

See our review

Alternative For Everyday Use

If the open design of the Koss Porta Pro is a little limiting, especially in loud environments, then consider the Sound intone CX-05 instead. They do not sound as good and won't be compact enough to easily carry around on your person at all times.

On the upside, they have a durable build quality that's far better than most headphones available at this price range, and they're often on sale. If you need a cheap pair of sturdy on-ears and don't mind a slightly bass heavy sound, then they're a decent option.

See our review

Best Budget Earbuds / In Ear Headphones under $50

Usage Ratings - Version 1.1
Show Help

Test Benches:

  • 1.1: Summer 2017
  • 1.0: Winter 2017
  • 0.9: Winter 2016
7.3Mixed 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.
Score components:
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:
7.2Commute/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.
7.5Sports/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.
7.7Office
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.
Score components:

The best budget earbuds we've tested so far are the Samsung Level U Pro. If you’re looking for a cheap, all-purpose pair of headphones to use every day and don't mind the around-the-neck design, this is a great option. 

They’re decent for most use cases and slightly more comfortable than most in-ears thanks to the flexible in-ear tips. They have a reliable and fast wireless connection, a good battery life and a customizable sound profile if you have an Android device.

See our review

Cheaper Alternative

If you want a more budget-friendly option, we recommend the Anker SoundBuds Sport. They don’t have the best battery life, and their mediocre-at-best sound quality may be a deal breaker for some. On the upside, they’re very portable headphones that will fit in almost any pocket, and they also have a stable design that’s good if you want to use them at the gym or for running.

See our review

Notable Mentions

  • Audio-Technica ATH-M20x.  Budget over-ear headphones with a good sound quality. They're a decent substitute to the Superlux HD 668B. See our review
  • Symphonized NRG 3.0.  Straightforward and simple design. Good isolation performance. Subpar sound and wired design is a bit limiting for their price and competition. See our review
  • Sony MDR-XB50APSimple in-ear headphones with a decent sound and a lot of bass. Not as versatile as the Level U Pro or the SoundBuds sport. See our review
  • Bluedio T4.  Cheap yet sturdy wireless headphone. Awkward design and very high latency. See our review
  • Polk Buckle.  Typically expensive but often on sale in this price range.  Great build quality and decent sound but a rigid design and poor isolation. See our review
  • Superlux HD 668B: Good budget headphones but the Superlux HD 681 are cheaper. See our review

All Reviews

Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best headphones under $50 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 $50. 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. 

Questions Found an error?

Let us know what is wrong in this question or in the answer.

Email:

Questions & Answers

0 ANSWERED QUESTIONS
Questions Have a question?

Before asking a question, make sure you use the search function of our website. The majority of the answers are already here.

Current estimated response time, based on # of pending questions: 3.5 business days.

:
:
A valid email is required. We answer most questions directly by email to prevent cluttering the site.