If you take your headphones with you everywhere, you may find over-ears too large and bulky. In-ears and earbuds are great alternatives that are often very portable, and you can easily toss them into a pocket or bag. While some of the most popular in-ears can be extremely expensive, you don't have to spend a ton to get a good pair for everyday use. Note that while typically the term 'in-ears' refers to headphones that go deeper in the ear canal, and 'earbuds' simply sit in your ear, these terms are often used interchangeably, so we'll include both in this article.
We’ve tested over 270 pairs of earbuds and in-ear headphones, and below are our recommendations for the best options for under $50. Make sure to check out our picks for the best earbuds, the best cheap earbuds, the best headphones under $50, and the best wireless Bluetooth earbuds under $50.
The Anker Soundcore Life Dot 2 Truly Wireless are the best earbuds under $50 we've tested. While these in-ears have over seven hours of continuous playback time, their carrying case holds roughly 12.5 additional charges, which exceeds most other truly wireless headphones on the market. They can also passively block out a good amount of ambient noise like office chatter.
These decently comfortable headphones are well-built and rated IPX5 for water resistance. Thanks to their stability fins and assortment of differently-sized ear tips, they shouldn't fall out of your ears once you get the right fit. Their bass-heavy sound profile adds a bit of punch, thump, and boom to your mixes. They also have very little leakage, so you crank your music up without worrying about others around you hearing it.
Unfortunately, they don't have a companion app or EQs to help adjust their sound to your liking. Their mic also struggles to separate your voice from ambient noise around you, so whoever's on the other end of the line may have difficulties understanding you if you're talking from a busy street. These in-ears have long continuous battery life and plenty of additional charges to help keep you going throughout your day.
If you want less expensive earbuds, consider the JLab GO Air POP True Wireless. They have a worse noise isolation performance, and their case holds fewer extra charges than the Anker Soundcore Life Dot 2 Truly Wireless, but they offer solid overall performance for less than half the price. Unlike most cheap earbuds, they have a few built-in EQ presets that you can cycle through with the onboard controls. With their most neutral EQ, they have a very bass-heavy sound profile that adds a lot of extra rumble, punch, and boom to your audio, making them well-suited for genres like EDM and hip-hop. They also feel well-built, have a decently comfortable fit, and last for roughly nine hours off a single charge.
If you're looking for longer total battery life and better noise isolation, go for the Anker, but try the JLab instead if you want cheaper headphones without sacrificing too much in performance.
The TIN Audio T2 are the most durable earbuds under $50 that we've tested. These well-built earbuds have a wired design, with a detachable cable you can replace easily if it's damaged. The buds are made of metal and easily withstand a few accidental drops and bumps.
They have a very warm sound profile that adds extra boom to audio, making them well-suited for genres like EDM and hip-hop. Voices and instruments are also preset and clear, meaning you can use them for content like podcasts. While they don't have an ANC feature, they have a decent passive noise isolation performance and can help reduce mid-range noise like office chatter.
Unfortunately, they don't have a mic, so they aren't suitable if you want headphones to take calls on the go. The buds are on the bigger side and may be less comfortable for people with small ears. Ηowever, they come with a selection of ear tips to help you find the best fit for you, including a pair made of memory foam, which some may prefer.
The Beats Flex Wireless are the best workout earbuds under $50 that we've tested. These headphones have a lightweight neck cable design, so you can wear them around your neck while you're not using them. They also have a good build quality and a stable in-ear fit, ensuring they stay in place during a run in the park or working out at the gym.
These colorful in-ears have a slightly bass-heavy sound profile that delivers extra rumble, body, and boom to mixes, which can help keep you pumped up at the gym. Thanks to their W1 chip, you can seamlessly pair them to Apple devices like your iPhone. They also have roughly 11 hours of continuous battery life, so they should last through long workouts. If you like to listen to your music at high volumes, they don't leak much audio either, and they can also block out a decent amount of background noise like ambient chatter.
Unfortunately, they don't have an IP certification for water resistance, which is disappointing. Even though they have a companion app, it doesn't offer many customization features. If you're looking for wallet-friendly gym headphones, they're a solid choice.
The Logitech G333 are the best gaming earbuds under $50 that we've tested. If you like to chat with others while you're gaming, these headphones have an in-line microphone. This mic offers a decent recording quality, so your voice is easy to understand.
These buds have a comfortable and well-built design suitable for long gaming sessions. They also come in another variant with a shorter audio cable so that you can connect them to your VR headset without worrying about them snagging on something. Their bass-heavy sound profile has lots of body and boom to help bring out sound effects like footsteps in gameplay.
Unfortunately, this bump in bass can muddy and clutter the rest of the sound profile. The headphones also lack an EQ or presets to help you adjust their sound to your liking. Although they're in-ear headphones, they struggle to block out ambient noise, which can be frustrating if you game in a moderately noisy environment. That said, they do a decent job of cutting down ambient chatter.
The Samsung AKG Type-C are the best USB-C earbuds under $50 that we've tested. Some devices, like smartphones, don't have an AUX port at all and rely on a USB-C port to handle audio transmission and battery charging. These buds are designed for this purpose and have a low latency connection, ensuring that your audio and visuals stay in sync if you like to stream video.
These headphones have a comfortable fit that feels well-built. They have a slightly bass-rich sound profile with a touch of extra warmth and boom, which you may enjoy if you like genres like EDM and hip-hop. Their mid-range is fairly well-balanced, so vocals and lead instruments aren't drowned out.
Unfortunately, their in-line controls are very simple and don't offer features like track skipping. The earbuds can also fall out of your ears if you're using them during your run or workout. However, these headphones are a solid choice if a USB-C connector is a priority, and they're even among the best USB-C headphones that we've tested.
May 10, 2022: Added the Logitech G333 as the 'Best Earbuds Under $50 For Gaming'. Also replaced the Skullcandy Dime True Wireless with the Skullcandy Dime 2 True Wireless in Notable Mentions.
Mar 11, 2022: Verified that picks represent the best recommendations and that the products are available.
Jan 10, 2022: Moved the TIN Audio T2 to a new category, 'Most Durable Earbuds Under $50'.
Nov 11, 2021: Replaced the Skullcandy Dime True Wireless with the JLab Audio GO Air POP True Wireless as the JLab offer better overall performance.
Sep 14, 2021: Checked picks to make sure they represent the best recommendations in their categories and that the products are available. There were no changes to product picks.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best wired and wireless earbuds under $50 for most people to buy. 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's the list of all our reviews for in-ears and earbuds under $50. Be careful not to get caught up in the details, there are no perfect headphones and everyone perceives the comfort and sound of their headphones differently.