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 283 headphones and below are our recommendations for the best headphones under $50 you can buy in 2018. See also our recommendations for the best headphones under $100 and the best wireless earbuds under $50.
The Mpow H5 are a couple dollars more than 50$ but they're also the best option you can get at this price range. They're a noise-canceling wireless headset with an above-average design and build quality that you would not expect at this budget price. They also deliver a sound quality that's balanced enough for most listeners and is easily on-par with headsets that are a lot more expensive.
They have a decently long battery life of 12 hours, a simple design with a good control scheme and they're lightweight and stable enough for most activities and even the occasional jog. They're also decently comfortable, although they can be a little tight on some heads.
Unfortunately, despite their better than average design for this price range, they're not the most durable headphones. Their noise cancellation feature is also subpar and doesn't isolate much more than the passive over-ear fit. On the upside, the Mpow H5 are a pleasant surprise for their performance to price ratio which makes them a great value for most listeners.
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 H5. They won't be as practical for every day casual use as the Mpows, since they're not wireless, noise-canceling or have a non-detachable mic like some of the higher-end HyperX models.
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. They also have an excellent boom mic that will reproduce your voice accurately for multiplayer games and in-game chats.
Overall, they're a good budget gaming headphone that won't have the customization options of the Logitech G430 or the durable and premium build quality of the Corsair HS60, but they offer a good value for their price especially if you're looking for budget headphones strictly for gaming and do not plan to use them as more casual headsets.
If you prefer the compact format of on-ears, then the best headphones under $50 you can get 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 earbuds under $50 we've tested are the Samsung Level U Flex. They're a lot less customizable than the Samsung Level U Pro when paired to a typical Android phone or iOS device. They're also not as portable as the Anker Soundcore Spirit X since they will not fit as easily into your pockets. But on the upside, they're an affordable, all-purpose pair of wireless in-ears with a reliable wireless connection, various codec options, a good battery life and a customizable sound profile that you can EQ when paired with a Samsung device.
The Samsung U Flex are also better built than most of the other around-the-neck style headphones at this price range and they sound decently well balanced even without an EQ. If you have a Samsung device and want a budget headset to use as your daily driver, the Samsung U Flex are a great option. However, if you have a non-Samsung Android phone, then the Level U Pro may be the better option.
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.