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 a lot of products available at a very affordable price that can give you a good bang for your buck.
We’ve reviewed over 150 pairs of earbuds and in-ears so far and below you’ll find our top picks for the best cheap earbuds. See our recommendations for the best cheap wireless earbuds, the best Bluetooth earbuds, the best earbuds under $20, and the best earbuds under $50.
The Panasonic ErgoFit RP-HJE120 are of the best cheapest earbuds we've tested so far. Their price point is so low that it's easy to simply rebuy them if they get damaged or lost. They might lack a few features due to their price, but their sound profile is still decent and should satisfy most people.
They sound a bit muddy as they have a bit of excess in their bass range, but people who listen to EDM or dubstep might prefer this. Also, they barely leak thanks to their in-ear design, so you'll be able to crank up your volume without disturbing people surrounding you. They're also decently comfortable and come with three different tip sizes to help you find the best fit possible.
Unfortunately, they don't have a microphone so you won't be able to make calls with them. They don't even have an in-line remote for controls. Their build quality is also an indicator of their cheap price. They're made entirely of plastic, have flimsy thin cables, and don't feel very durable overall. On the upside, they're so affordable and perform decently well enough that most people shouldn't be disappointed by their purchase.
The best cheap earbuds under $20 we've reviewed so far are the Skullcandy Jib. These in-ears have surprisingly decent performance for their price, especially for a wireless design. They are comfortable and come with different tip sizes, they're easy to carry around in your pockets and their sound is great for bass fans.
They have a very bass-heavy sound profile that has extra thump and rumble, which is very well-suited for people who listen to a lot of bass-heavy genres like EDM or dubstep. The rest of the range is very well-balanced and accurate. Their wireless design is also great for working out as you don't have any wires in your way, and the bass-heavy sound is great to keep you pumped up.
However, it only has about 6 hours of battery life, which might not be ideal for everyone, especially if you plan on listening to music during a full work day and they would require daily charging. On the upside, you have an in-line remote for track skipping and it also has a microphone, but no volume control. Overall, these are some of the best cheap earbuds if you're looking for very straightforward wireless headphones.
If you don't want to charge your headphones on a daily basis like with the Skullcandy Jib Wireless, or if you watch a lot of videos and would prefer a wired connection to make sure latency is kept to a minimum, check out the wired KZ ZST instead. They might not offer the freedom of a wireless design like the Skullcandy and they don't have a microphone, but they feel noticeably better-built. There's a model with an in-line remote and microphone, but it's usually a bit more expensive, although not by much. Their audio reproduction is decent, although a bit excited, and their cables are fully detachable, which makes it easier to replace them if they get damaged.
If you workout and listen to bass-heavy music, go for the Skullcandy, but if you don't want to manage battery life, the KZ are a great affordable option.
If having a wire linking the two buds annoys you when it lays around your neck, then maybe a truly wireless design like the SoundPeats TrueFree is a better option for your needs. They might a lower battery life than the Skullcandy Jib Wireless, but they feel better built and they come with a rechargeable case for you to charge the headphones while they're in your pockets. Unfortunately, the case doesn't have a lid, so the headphones are somewhat vulnerable, but they're held inside with magnets. They also have a decently well-balanced sound profile, with a bit of extra bass for fans of bass-heavy music. They do however lack a bit of detail in the treble range, but for most people looking for the best cheap earbuds with a truly wireless design, it should be fine.
If you plan on listening to content for a few hours each day, go with the Skullcandy, but if you only need music for your workouts or commute, then the SoundPeats might be a better option if you like the idea of having no wires.
The best budget earbuds under $50 we've tested so far are the Anker SoundBuds Curve Upgraded 2019. These wireless headphones are great for sports thanks to their ear-hook design that stays in place well during physical activities. They're also comfortable to wear for a while and their battery life is great for their price point. They're also rated IPX7 for water-resistance, although we don't test this internally.
Their sound signature is quite well-balanced, with a bit of extra thump in the bass, which might push the vocals a bit to the back of the mix. They're great headphones for the gym, but can be used on a daily basis as well, as their in-ear tips passively block a decent amount of ambient noise.
Unfortunately, even though this is an upgrade from the Anker SoundBuds Curve Wireless, the cable is still fairly thin and feels fragile. They're also not compatible with the Anker SoundCore app, so you don't have access to a dedicated EQ. Nevertheless, they're one of the best cheap earphones we've tested so far and they offer a great performance-to-price ratio.
04/03/2020: Minor text and structure changes.The text has been updated.
01/07/2020: Changed picks as we reviewed more products. The text has been updated.
01/10/2020: Minor text and structure changes, no change in recommendations.
11/04/2019: Changed all categories and picks.
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 in-ear headphones and earbuds. 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.