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The 5 Best Headphones under $25
Reviews

Best Headphones under $25

241 Headphones Tested
  • Store-bought headphones; no cherry-picked units
  • Retest after major updates
  • Easily comparable results
  • No ads; unbiased reviews
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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 choices). Below are our recommendations for the best budget headphones we have reviewed so far.

Best Cheap Over-Ear Headphones: Koss UR-20

Usage Ratings - Version 1.2
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Test Benches: test

  • 1.2: Winter 2018
  • 1.1: Summer 2017
  • 1.0: Winter 2017
  • 0.9: Winter 2016
5.6
Mixed 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.
Score components:
7.0
Critical 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:
4.8
Commute/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.
Score components:
4.7
Sports/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.
Score components:
5.5
Office
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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.
Score components:
5.7
Home Theater
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Score components:
5.5
Gaming
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Score components:
Type : Over-ear
Enclosure : Closed-Back
Wireless : No
Noise-Cancelling : No
Mic : No
Transducer : Dynamic

If you're looking for cheap over ears, then the Koss UR 20 are the best headphones under 25$ that we've tested so far. They have large, spacious and comfortable ear cups and a decently well-balanced sound. This makes them above-average budget headphones for critical listening.

However, they do not have any fancy active features and they're quite bulky, so they won't be practical to use in all situations. 

See our review

Best Cheap On-Ear Headphones: AmazonBasics Lightweight On Ear

Usage Ratings - Version 1.2
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Test Benches: test

  • 1.2: Winter 2018
  • 1.1: Summer 2017
  • 1.0: Winter 2017
  • 0.9: Winter 2016
5.7
Mixed 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.
Score components:
6.5
Critical 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:
5.2
Commute/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.
Score components:
6.0
Sports/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.
Score components:
5.4
Office
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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.
Score components:
5.5
Home Theater
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Score components:
5.3
Gaming
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Score components:
Type : On-ear
Enclosure : Closed-Back
Wireless : No
Noise-Cancelling : No
Mic : No
Transducer : Dynamic

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, but on the upside, they sound surprisingly well balanced for their price range. 

They're also decently portable and they don't leak much, so you will rarely distract those around you in quieter settings. If you want a sturdier on-ear headphone, consider the Sound Intone CX-05. They're better-built and much more durable than the AmazonBasics but they do not sound as good.

See our review

More Portable Alternative: Koss KSC75

Type : On-ear
Enclosure : Open-Back
Wireless : No
Noise-Cancelling : No
Mic : No
Transducer : Dynamic

If you want a more portable alternative and do not like the fit of in-ears, then get the Koss KSC75. They have an above-average sound that reproduces instruments and vocals surprisingly well, and they're lightweight and compact, unlike the AmazonBasics On-Ear.

You can easily fit them in your pockets and they have a stable ear-hook design that makes them somewhat decent for sports. Unfortunately, they're a little uncomfortable for some and they don't have enough bass for most listeners due to their open design.

See our review

Best Cheap In-Ear Headphones: Anker SoundBuds Curve

Usage Ratings - Version 1.2
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Test Benches: test

  • 1.2: Winter 2018
  • 1.1: Summer 2017
  • 1.0: Winter 2017
  • 0.9: Winter 2016
6.8
Mixed 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:
6.9
Critical 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:
7.0
Commute/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.
Score components:
7.9
Sports/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.
Score components:
6.9
Office
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:
5.6
Home Theater
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Score components:
5.4
Gaming
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Score components:
Type : In-ear
Enclosure : Closed-Back
Wireless : Yes
Noise-Cancelling : No
Mic : Yes
Transducer : Dynamic

If you want a cheap wireless headset, then the best earbuds we have tested at this price are the Anker Soundbuds Curve. They have a stable design that’s great for sports and a good set of active features, especially considering their price range.

They're wireless, have a decent battery life and they're very portable so you can have them on you at all times. They’re also a bit more comfortable than typical in-ears and barely leak, so they’re great to use in quieter environments when you do not want to disturb those around you. The Soundpeats Q9A are a good alternative to the Curve but they look and feel a bit cheaper and they do not sound as good.

See our review

Wired Alternative: 1More Piston Classic

Type : In-ear
Enclosure : Semi-Open
Wireless : No
Noise-Cancelling : No
Mic : Yes
Transducer : Dynamic

If you want a more typical in-ear to carry on you at all times, then consider the 1More Piston Classic. They do not have the convenience of a wireless design but you also don't have to worry about battery life.

They sound decently balanced although not as good as the more expensive headphones from 1More like the Triple and Quad Drivers. On the upside, they are fairly well built for cheap headphones and surprisingly comfortable for an in-ear design.

See our review

Notable Mentions

  • SoundPeats Q9A. A good alternative to the Anker SoundBuds Curve but they do not sound as good. 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
  • MEE audio X6 Plus. Budget headphones with a simple, wireless in-ear. Average audio reproduction but a mediocre-at-best build quality.  See our review
  • Sound Intone CX-05. A sturdy and well-built on-ear for the price. Deal breaking sound quality. See our review
  • Mpow Jaws. An affordable around-the-neck design with decent battery life and above-average wireless range but a subpar sound quality. See our review

All Reviews

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. 

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Questions & Answers

1 ANSWERED QUESTIONS
0
I recommend Koss' new KPH30i. They sounded smoother to me than my old PortaPros, but go for $30 ($20 on Massdrop). Perhaps if they dropped the in-line remote it would be cheaper.
Thanks for your message. Added to our list of suggested headphones.
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