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 640 headphones, and below are our recommendations for the best headphones under $50 that you can buy. Also, make sure to check out our picks for the best earbuds under $50, the best wireless earbuds under $50, and the best gaming headsets under $50.
The Anker Soundcore Life Q20 Wireless are the best headphones under $50 with an over-ear design that we've tested. They're the previous generation of the Anker Soundcore Life Q30 Wireless and have a good active noise cancelling (ANC) performance. Their ANC is best-suited for blocking out mid-range noise like office chatter as well as the hum of AC units.
These headphones have a v-shaped sound profile that delivers intense thump, rumble, and boom to your mixes. Vocals and lead instruments are also bright, which makes them well-suited for genres like pop and rock. Their over 32 hours of continuous battery life easily lasts through long days on the go. They also have a comfortable fit and feel decently well-built.
Unfortunately, their ANC struggles to cut down the low rumble of bus and plane engines. They also lack sound customization features like an EQ to help customize their sound to better suit your tastes. However, if you prefer an over-ear fit, their ANC and long continuous battery life make them a solid choice.
If you're an audiophile, check out the Superlux HD 681. Unlike the Anker Soundcore Life Q20 Wireless, they don't have ANC, and you can't use them wirelessly. However, they have a more neutral and flat sound profile, ensuring that vocals and lead instruments are reproduced accurately, although they still sound bright. They also have a semi-open-back design, so their passive soundstage seems open, large, and natural, which can help immerse you in your audio. Their fit is quite comfortable, and they have spacious ear cups to accommodate most ear sizes. Unfortunately, they're only meant for studio use, meaning they don't block out background noise, and they lack a microphone. They have a sub-par build quality and feel very plasticky.
Take a look at the Anker if you're looking for more versatile headphones with ANC. However, if you prioritize a more neutral sound and immersive passive soundstage, go for the Superlux instead.
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.
Unfortunately, they don't have a companion app and lack an EQ to help you adjust their sound. Their integrated mic also struggles to separate 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.
If you're looking for even cheaper truly wireless in-ears, take a look at the JLab Audio GO Air POP True Wireless. While their total battery life is much shorter than the Anker Soundcore Life Dot 2 Truly Wireless, they offer a versatile performance at a lower price point. They have a decently comfortable fit, a good build quality, and are certified IPX4 for protection against water splashes. They also come with a couple of EQ presets to help you adjust their sound to your liking. Using the 'JLab Signature' EQ, which is the flattest EQ, they have a bass-rich sound that's sure to please fans of EDM and hip-hop. Their continuous battery life of over nine hours should last through long days at the office too, and their carrying case holds an additional three charges, which is handy in a pinch.
Try the Anker if you prioritize a better overall battery performance. However, if you're looking for lower-priced truly wireless headphones, give the JLab a shot.
The best wired earbuds under $50 we've tested are the Samsung AKG Type-C. These in-ears have a USB-C connector, and you can only use them with devices like newer smartphones and laptops with a corresponding port. However, this connection has low latency, so your audio and visuals stay in sync when 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.
Nov 19, 2021: Replaced the Plantronics BackBeat Go 810 Wireless with the Anker Soundcore Life Q20 Wireless as the Plantronics are now mostly out of this price point. Also replaced the Skullcandy Dime True Wireless with the JLab Audio GO Air POP True Wireless as the JLab offer better overall performance. Added the Superlux HD 681.
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.
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.