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 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.
We've tested 43 headphones under $50 and below are our recommendations for the best ones you can buy in 2018.
The best over-ear headphones under $50 are the Mpow 059. They're a wireless headphone with a decent sound quality and a simple and easy-to-use over-ear design that will be comfortable enough for most listeners.
They don't have the best balanced audio reproduction and their build quality is a bit plasticky. However, for their price, they deliver a solid experience, a great control scheme, and a good battery life and wireless range. They also come with a regular audio cable so you can use them wired when the battery dies or passively while watching movies to reduce latency.
Overall, they're a versatile option for most use cases and a great choice if you want a wireless over-ear headphone under $50.
If you're primarily a gamer and use your headphones at home more often than you do outdoors, get the HyperX Cloud Stinger instead of the Mpow 059. They won't be as practical for every day casual use as the Mpows since they're not wireless and have a non-detachable mic. But on the upside, they're a good budget choice for gaming with a balanced enough sound to also make them a decent option for critical listening. Overall, they're a good budget gaming headphone that won't have the customization options of the Logitech G430 but have a better build quality and microphone for multiplayer games like Fortnite and PUBG.
If you prefer the compact format of on-ear headphones, then the best option you can get under $50 are the Skullcandy Grind. Only certain color variants are available under $50, so you may have to spend a bit more for your favorite color scheme but, overall the Grind are easily one of the best and more comfortable on-ears that we've tested at any price point.
They have a sturdy metal design that's durable and looks great. They're also closed-back on-ears, unlike the Koss Porta Pro, which makes them a bit more suitable for commute and noisy environments. They're wireless but also come with a regular audio cable that will work with most of your devices.
They won't be as portable as some of the other on-ears we've tested since they do not fold into a more compact format but if you don't mind the slightly less popular color schemes, then the Grind are the best on-ear headphones at this price point.
If you're looking for a more portable alternative to the Skullcandy Grind, then get the Koss Porta Pro. They are not as well built or as durable as the Skullcandys. They're also a bit less practical for everyday casual use since they are wired with a mediocre in-line remote. But on the upside, they are so comfortable and breathable that you barely feel them once they’re on your head. They also have a decently well-balanced sound quality with an open design that creates a more immersive sound quality than the Skullcandy Grind.
The build quality of the Koss is a little flimsy, especially when compared to the Sound Intone CX-05, which are a lot cheaper. But they sound better and can fold to fit into some pockets so you can have them on you at all times. There is also a wireless variant of the Porta Pros but it doesn't offer the best value for your money, especially considering the price difference when compared to the wired version.
The best budget earbuds under $50 we've tested are the Samsung Level U Flex. They're an affordable, all-purpose pair of headphones to use every day and they're slightly more comfortable than most in-ears thanks to the flexible in-ear tips.
They have a reliable wireless connection with various codec options, a good battery life and a customizable sound profile that you can EQ if you have an Android device. The Samsung U Flex are better built with more customization options than the Level U Pro, but they're limited to Samsung-only devices for those extra settings.
If you do a lot of sports, get the Anker Soundcore Spirit X. They do not have as many customization options as the Samsung U Flex when paired to a Samsung device. However, they deliver a good and water-resistant build quality that looks a lot more premium than their price would suggest. They’re more comfortable than typical in-ear headphones and they have a stable ear-hook design that's great for running and working out. They deliver an exciting bass-rich sound, a long-lasting 12-hour battery life, and they’re compact enough to fit into your pockets. They also have a bit more sweat resistance than the cheaper Anker Soundbuds Curve, which are a good alternative to the Spirit X if you're on a tight budget.
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.