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 620 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. Their leakage falls below the average noise floor of most offices too, 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. 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 too. 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, 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 Anker Soundcore Life Dot 2 Truly Wireless. These in-ears have just under 100 hours of total battery life, thanks to the 12.5 additional charges in their carrying case. They also have roughly 7.3 hours of continuous playback time, and they're even equipped with a standby mode to help conserve battery life when not in use.
These headphones have a slightly bass-heavy sound profile that adds extra thump, body, and boom to your mixes, which fans of EDM and hip-hop can enjoy. Even though they lack active noise cancelling, they can still passively isolate you from a good amount of ambient noise, like ambient chatter. They have a decently comfortable fit, are well-built, and have an IPX5 rating for water resistance, although we don't currently test for this.
Unfortunately, they don't have a companion app and lack an EQ to help you adjust their sound. Their integrated mic also has a hard time separating your voice from moderate ambient noise around you, so you may not want to take calls if you're out on a busy street. Still, These in-ears offer a versatile overall performance as well as a very long total battery life that's suitable for most users.
If you're looking for more affordable truly wireless headphones, try the Skullcandy Dime True Wireless instead. While they don't passively block out as much noise as the Anker Soundcore Life Dot 2 Truly Wireless, and they aren't as comfortable, the Skullcandy are available at a more wallet-friendly price. These headphones are lightweight and well-built. They're also rated IPX4 for water resistance, although we don't currently test for it, and they have a stable fit, so they should stay in your ears during moderate physical exercise. They have a slightly bass-heavy sound profile that delivers a touch of extra boom to your mixes, but they're versatile enough for a variety of different genres. Unfortunately, their continuous battery life of under four hours won't get you through long days at the office. Luckily, their charging case offers roughly 2.5 additional charges if you need it.
Check out the Anker if you're looking for headphones with significantly better battery performance. However, if you're looking to save some money and don't mind their simple design, consider the Skullcandy instead.
The best wired earbuds under $50 that we've tested are the Samsung AKG Type-C. These in-ears have a USB-C connector and can only be used with devices like newer smartphones and laptops that have a corresponding port. However, this connection has low latency, so your audio and visuals stay in sync if you're streaming video.
They have a slightly bass-heavy sound profile that delivers a touch of extra boom and warmth. However, it shouldn't overwhelm vocals and lead instruments so they're still suitable enough for a variety of audio content. These headphones have a comfortable fit and a good build quality that feels solid and durable. If you take a lot of calls, their in-line mic can capture your voice clearly and naturally.
Unfortunately, their USB-C cable can be limiting for some users as you can't use them with devices that have an AUX port. They can also fall out of your ears during moderate physical exercise and their audio cable can snag on something, pulling them off your head. However, these no-frills headphones are among the best USB-C headphones we've tested and are sure to please most users.
Sep 20, 2021: We've checked our picks for product availability and accuracy. There hasn't been a change in our recommendations.
Jul 22, 2021: Replaced the FIIL T1X True Wireless with the Anker Soundcore Life Dot 2 Truly Wireless as the FIIL are no longer available.
May 25, 2021: Replaced the ENACFIRE E60 with the Skullcandy Dime as the ENACFIRE have been upgraded and we don't know how it performs compared to our model. Also replaced the Beats urBeats3 Earphones with the Samsung AKG Type-C as the Beats are getting harder to find in stock.
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.
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.