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 on this list generally aren’t as comfortable or neutral-sounding as some of the more premium options out there, but you can find quality offerings at a reasonable price.
We've tested over 570 headphones, and below are our recommendations for the best headphones under $50 that you can buy. Also, make sure to check out our recommendations for the best earbuds under $50, the best wireless earbuds under $50, and the best gaming headsets under $50.
The best headphones under $50 with an over-ear fit that we've tested are the Plantronics BackBeat Go 810. These wireless headphones have a comfortable fit and a decently versatile performance that can please many different listeners. Thanks to their over 24-hour continuous battery life, they're ideal for long days on-the-go.
Overall, they have a neutral, well-balanced sound profile suitable for listening to lots of different audio content. The BackBeat companion app even offers a few EQ presets to help you customize their sound to your liking. They don't leak a lot of noise, either, so you crank up the volume on your favorite tunes without bothering people around you.
Unfortunately, while they come with an active noise cancellation (ANC) feature, they still struggle to block out bass-heavy background noises like bus and plane engines, so they may not be ideal for your commute. Their ear cups are also small and shallow, so they may not be comfortable for all listeners. Some users have experienced their unit's headband cracking or breaking over time. However, if you're on a budget, these over-ears are still a solid choice.
If you're looking for a pair of over-ear headphones with even better noise isolation performance, try the Anker Soundcore Life Q20. While they don't sound as balanced as the Plantronics BackBeat Go 810 Wireless and they lack access to an EQ or presets, they have an ANC that can reduce more ambient noise around you. They're comfortable, and even though they lack any power-saving features, they have a continuous battery life of just over 32 hours, which should be more than enough to get you through your day. They also have a bass-heavy sound profile that fans of EDM and hip-hop can especially enjoy. Their integrated mic does a decent job of recording your voice, although it still has some trouble separating speech from background noise.
If you're looking for over-ears with a more customizable sound profile, check out the Plantronics. However, if you want to reduce more noise like bus engine rumbles while you commute or travel, go for the Anker.
The best truly wireless headphones under $50 that we've tested are the FIIL T1X. These sleek in-ears have a comfortable fit and are stable enough for running or working out. They also have a good build quality and are rated IP65 for water resistance, although we don't currently test for this.
They have a slightly bass-heavy sound profile that delivers a touch of extra thump and punch. That said, if you want to tweak their sound to your liking, their companion app has 15 EQ presets to choose from. Although they lack an ANC, they can block out a decent amount of noise during your commute, and they don't leak much audio at high volumes. They have a decent battery performance and can last just under seven hours on a single charge.
Unfortunately, their integrated mic has a disappointing recording quality, so your voice sounds distorted and unnatural. They also have high latency on PC, iOS, and Android, although some apps compensate for latency. That said, they have a low-latency mode in their app settings, which helps to reduce audio delay on PCs.
If you're looking for more wallet-friendly truly wireless headphones, take a look at the ENACFIRE E60. While their in-ear fit isn't as stable as the FIIL T1X True Wireless and they lack any EQ presets to help customize their sound, they're a bit more affordable. They have a similarly comfortable, well-built design, and they can passively isolate a bit more noise than the FIIL. They also provide roughly under seven hours of continuous playback time, and their carrying case holds five additional charges, which is handy in a pinch. However, they have a poor integrated microphone, so your voice sounds muffled and distorted.
Consider the FIIL if you like to adjust your headphones' sound to your liking. However, if you're looking to save a bit of money and don't plan on using the mic too often, try the ENACFIRE.
The Beats urBeats3 Earphones are the best wired earbuds under $50 that we've tested. Thanks to their wired design, they have virtually no audio lag, which is nice if you like to stream video. If you own a newer-model iPhone without a headphone jack, they're also available with a Lightning connector instead of a standard 3.5mm connector. However, their price can vary quite a bit depending on the color and connector you choose.
If you take a lot of calls, their in-line microphone can capture your voice quite clearly. Their slightly bass-heavy sound profile should also please fans of EDM and hip-hop. It shouldn't be too overwhelming for fans of other audio content, though. Thanks to their stability fins, they shouldn't fall out of your ears if you're out on a jog and they can block out a very good amount of ambient noise around you.
Unfortunately, their in-ear fit may not be comfortable for everyone. Their audio cable can also be a snagging hazard if you're working out or on-the-move. If you use them with an Android device, you lose a lot of functionality, including in-line volume control too. That said, if you prefer wired headphones, they offer a decently sturdy, no-frills design that's suitable for a variety of users.
Mar 26, 2021: Complete revamp of the article to help users find the right products for their needs. Removed the Anker SoundBuds Curve Upgraded 2019 as they're no longer available, and the Creative Outlier Air V2 True Wireless as they're now above the $50 threshold. Added the Anker Soundcore Life Q20 Wireless, FIIL T1X True Wireless, and Beats urBeats3 Earphones.
Jan 26, 2021: Replaced the FIIL T1X True Wireless with the Creative Outlier Air V2 as the Creative have more sound customization features. Added the FIIL T1X to Notable Mentions.
Nov 23, 2020: Replaced the Mpow H10 Wireless with the Plantronics BackBeat Go 810 Wireless as 'Best Headphones Under $50'. Replaced the SoundPeats TrueFree/True Wireless with the ENACFIRE E60 Truly Wireless as 'Cheaper Alt'. Removed the Mpow H5 Wireless from Notable Mentions and added the Anker Soundcore Life Dot 2 Truly Wireless.
Sep 25, 2020: Replaced the TaoTronics SoundLiberty 79 Truly Wireless with the FIIL T1X True Wireless as 'Best Truly Wireless Headphone Under $50'.
May 29, 2020: Replaced the Anker SoundCore Liberty Lite with the TaoTronics SoundLiberty 79 as the "Best Truly Wireless Headphone Under $50".
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best headphones under $50 to buy for most people. We factor in the price (cheaper headphones win over pricier ones 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.