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The 5 Best Cheap Earbuds - Winter 2022 Reviews

Updated
Best Cheap Earbuds
659 Headphones Tested
  • Store-bought headphones; no cherry-picked units
  • Easily comparable results
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Spending a lot of money on earbuds doesn't necessarily mean that you will get better performance. You don't have to break the bank to find the best product for your needs, as there are many products available at a very affordable price that can give you a good bang for your buck.

We’ve tested over 250 pairs of earbuds and in-ears, and below are our top picks for the best cheap earbuds. Also, check out our recommendations for the best cheap wireless earbuds, the best Bluetooth earbuds, the best earbuds under $20, and the best earbuds under $50.


  1. Best Cheap Earbuds: Sony WI-C310 Wireless

    7.5
    Neutral Sound
    7.4
    Commute/Travel
    8.0
    Sports/Fitness
    7.0
    Office
    5.4
    Wireless Gaming
    5.3
    Wired Gaming
    6.6
    Phone Calls
    Type In-ear
    Enclosure Closed-Back
    Wireless Yes
    Noise Cancelling No
    Mic Yes
    Transducer Dynamic

    The best cheap earphones we've tested are the Sony WI-C310 Wireless. These in-ears have a flexible neckband design with an in-line remote that makes it easy to adjust their controls while on the go. They're decently stable, so they shouldn't fall out of your ears during your workouts, and they come with a few different sizes of earbud tips to help you get the best possible fit.

    These headphones have a pretty neutral sound profile with a touch of extra boom in the bass that adds some punch to bass-heavy music like EDM and hip-hop. They last for around 17 hours off of a single charge, too, which should be more than enough to get you through your workday. They don't have an ANC feature, but they can still passively isolate against typical office background noise like the sounds of coworkers chatting nearby.

    Unfortunately, these headphones struggle to block out bass-range ambient noise like the deep rumble of bus and plane engines, so they aren't ideal for wearing during your commute. Also, their build quality is fair overall, but the cables seem thin, and the modules' thin plastic build feels a bit fragile. That said, if you're on a budget, they're a solid choice overall.

    See our review

  2. Wired Alternative: Samsung AKG Type-C

    Type In-ear
    Enclosure Closed-Back
    Wireless No
    Noise Cancelling No
    Mic Yes
    Transducer Dynamic

    If you're looking for wired headphones, consider the Samsung AKG Type-C. While they aren't as stable in your ears as the Sony WI-C310 Wireless, they have a wired design, so you don't have to worry about battery life or latency. They have a comfortable, well-built design and use a USB-C connector, which is nice if your smartphone or other devices only have a USB-C port. They have a slightly bass-heavy sound profile that delivers a touch of extra boom. The rest of their sound profile is neutral, so vocals and lead instruments sound clear and accurate. They also have an in-line mic that can capture your voice clearly. However, it struggles to separate speech from background noise around you.

    Try the Sony if you're looking for stable wireless earbuds that are more suitable for the gym. If you prefer using better-built wired headphones with a more comfortable fit, check out the Samsung.

    See our review

  3. Best Cheap Truly Wireless Earbuds: JLab Audio GO Air POP True Wireless

    7.0
    Neutral Sound
    7.6
    Commute/Travel
    8.2
    Sports/Fitness
    7.1
    Office
    5.4
    Wireless Gaming
    5.3
    Wired Gaming
    6.8
    Phone Calls
    Type In-ear
    Enclosure Closed-Back
    Wireless Truly Wireless
    Noise Cancelling No
    Mic Yes
    Transducer Dynamic

    The JLab Audio GO Air POP True Wireless are the best cheap, truly wireless earbuds that we've tested. These earbuds have three onboard EQ presets that you can use to customize their sound profile, which is unusual at this price point. They also have a good build quality and an IPX4 rating for resistance against being splashed with water.

    With the 'JLab Signature' EQ preset, their most neutral setting, they have a bass-rich sound profile that delivers extra thump, rumble, and punch to your audio. It's not too overwhelming, though, so they're still suitable for a variety of genres and types of content. Their continuous battery life of roughly nine hours can last you through a 9-5 workday, and their case holds about three additional charges. They also have a comfortable, breathable, and stable fit, so they're a solid choice for workouts.

    Unfortunately, their charging cable is built into the case, which can help you keep track of it but means you need to replace the headphones if it gets damaged. Like most headphones without ANC, they also don't do a good job isolating you from bass-range noise like rumbling engines. That said, they're effective at reducing mid-range noise like chatting co-workers, which is nice if you want to reduce distractions at work.

    See our review

  4. More Neutral-Sounding Alternative: Skullcandy Dime True Wireless

    Type In-ear
    Enclosure Closed-Back
    Wireless Truly Wireless
    Noise Cancelling No
    Mic Yes
    Transducer Dynamic

    If you prefer a more neutral sound profile, you may prefer the Skullcandy Dime True Wireless. Unlike the JLab Audio GO Air POP True Wireless, they don't come with any sound customization features, but their default sound profile is much more neutral, which you may prefer to the JLab's more bass-rich sound. They're also well-built, stable, and rated IPX4 for water resistance, so they're great headphones to take to the gym, and while they also lack ANC, they do a good job of passively isolating you from office-type noise like background conversations. Their battery lasts for roughly four hours off of a single charge, which is on the short side, but the case holds about 2.5 extra charges, and the earbuds fully recharge in less than an hour.

    If you want cheap earbuds with a customizable sound profile or a longer continuous battery life, go for the JLab, but consider the Skullcandy instead if you like more neutral-sounding headphones.

    See our review

  5. Best Budget Earbuds: Anker Soundcore Life Dot 2 Truly Wireless

    7.0
    Neutral Sound
    7.7
    Commute/Travel
    8.1
    Sports/Fitness
    7.2
    Office
    5.3
    Wireless Gaming
    5.2
    Wired Gaming
    6.6
    Phone Calls
    Type In-ear
    Enclosure Closed-Back
    Wireless Truly Wireless
    Noise Cancelling No
    Mic Yes
    Transducer Dynamic

    The Anker Soundcore Life Dot 2 Truly Wireless are the best budget earbuds that we've tested. These well-built, truly wireless in-ears have a slightly bass-heavy sound profile out-of-the-box that adds some thump and punch to your audio. Vocals and lead instruments are still reproduced clearly, so they're suitable for listening to a wide range of audio content.

    These headphones have a stable in-ear fit thanks to their stability fins, so you can wear them during your workouts without having to worry about them falling out of your ears. They last for a little over seven hours off of a single charge, but their portable charging case offers around 12.5 extra charges, meaning you can power up during long days on the go. They also have good passive noise isolation, and you don't hear ambient noises like people chatting around you.

    Unfortunately, these headphones struggle to passively block out bass-heavy background noise like plane and bus engines, so they aren't ideal for wearing during your commute. They also lack any sound customization features, which can be disappointing if you want to adjust their sound. However, they're still a versatile pair of earphones that can please many different listeners at a budget-friendly price.

    See our review

Notable Mentions

  • Skullcandy Jib True Wireless: The Skullcandy Jib True Wireless are more comfortable than the Skullcandy Dime True Wireless but aren't as stable and have higher latency on PC, iOS, and Android devices. See our review
  • Beats urBeats3 Earphones: The Beats urBeats3 Earphones are wired headphones with decent audio reproduction and a good microphone, but not comfortable for everyone and limited controls on Android devices. See our review
  • Anker SoundCore Spirit X Wireless: The Anker SoundCore Spirit X Wireless are good in-ears for sports with decent sound, but the Anker SoundBuds Curve Upgraded 2019 offer slightly better value. See our review
  • TIN Audio T2: The TIN Audio T2 are wired in-ears with good audio reproduction and a detachable cable, but not the most comfortable and no microphone or in-line remote. See our review
  • MEE audio M6 PRO: The MEE audio M6 PRO are a good alternative to the KZ ZSN. They have a good build quality and a decent sound for the price but are a bit too sharp on some tracks. See our review
  • JBL E25BT Wireless: The JBL E25BT Wireless are budget wireless in-ears with a decent overall performance and sound profile. They're a good alternative to the Skullcandy Jib, but more expensive. See our review
  • Skullcandy Jib Wireless: The Skullcandy Jib Wireless are a good alternative to the Sony WI-C310 if you prefer a more bass-heavy sound profile. However, they aren't as well-built, and their continuous battery life isn't as long. See our review
  • KZ ZST: The KZ ZST are wired in-ears with a detachable audio cable, which is nice if you damage them. They also have an excited sound profile, but their treble range is overemphasized, making vocals and lead instruments harsh and painful. See our review

Recent Updates

  1. Dec 20, 2021: Checked that picks represent the best recommendations in their categories and that the products are in stock.

  2. Oct 21, 2021: Added the JLab Audio Go Air POP True Wireless as 'Best Cheap Truly Wireless Earbuds' and made the Skullcandy Dime True Wireless the 'More Neutral-Sounding Alternative'. Removed the SoundPeats TrueFree 2 Wireless as they aren't currently in stock.

  3. Aug 25, 2021: Replaced the Skullcandy Jib Wireless with the Sony WI-C310 Wireless due to their better build quality and longer continuous battery life. Replaced the FIIL T1X Wireless with the Anker Soundcore Life Dot 2 Truly Wireless as 'Best Budget'.

  4. May 27, 2021: Removed the Panasonic ErgoFit RP-HJE120 as it's getting harder to find them in stock. Also replaced the KZ ZST with the Samsung AKG Type-C and replaced the Skullcandy Jib True Wireless with the Skullcandy Dime True Wireless as the Samsung and Skullcandy offer a better value for most users.

  5. Feb 26, 2021: Replaced Anker SoundBuds Curve Upgraded 2019 with FIIL T1X Truly Wireless due to current availability. Added Anker SoundBuds Curve Upgraded 2019 to Notable Mentions.

All Reviews

Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best cheap earbuds to buy for most people in each price range. 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 earbuds and in-ears 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.

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