There are quite a few advantages to in-ear headphones. Compared to over-ear headphones, they’re more portable, less bulky, and can even sometimes provide better noise isolation. There are a lot of choices out there, though, and sometimes it feels like there is no end to the selection of earbuds and in-ears you can get.
We’ve tested 98 earbuds and in-ear headphones, and below are our recommendations for the best earbuds under $50 to buy in 2019. If you’re looking for our top picks in general or are curious about different features, check out our recommendations for the best earbuds overall, the best cheap earbuds, and the best wireless Bluetooth earbuds under $50.
The best earbuds under $50 we've reviewed so far are the Anker SoundBuds Curve. They are among the most comfortable wireless in-ears we’ve tested at this price point and offer great value for what they cost. They’re reasonably well-built and have a very stable ear-hook design that’s great for sports. They’re a good choice for fitness enthusiasts on a budget, and are overall decent in-ears for anybody looking for everyday wireless earbuds at a respectable price.
The Anker SoundBuds Curve sound decent for budget in-ear headphones and pack a lot of bass. They’re versatile earbuds, well-suited for various music genres, but they lack a bit of emphasis on vocals and lead instruments, making them a better pick for more bass-heavy electronic music genres or hip-hop. They may not have any power-saving features like the JBL Endurance Sprint or provide audio while charging like the Samsung U Flex, but they have a surprisingly long-lasting battery, achieving nearly 13 hours of playback on a single charge.
Like most Bluetooth headphones, their microphone is pretty disappointing, though. It can produce understandable speech in quiet environments but struggles to do so in louder places. They also have, unfortunately, mediocre noise isolation performance but are more comfortable than most typical (and more isolating) in-ear designs at this price point. That said, the Anker SoundBuds Curve are budget, well-designed, and decent sounding in-ear headphones that are frequently recommended. They're also currently our best budget earbuds.
If you’re looking for solid budget in-ears that have better isolation for commuting, get the AUKEY Latitude. These wireless in-ears are not as comfortable as the Anker SoundBuds Curve, since their more traditional in-ear design enters the ear canal more deeply. On the upside, they also block out much more noise and will bring a touch of peace and quiet to your busiest days. They’re fairly well-built for budget wireless headphones and sound decent too.
Unfortunately, their battery is mediocre at best, especially compared to that of the Anker SoundBuds Curve. The AUKEY Latitude have no auto-off feature and last only 7.3 hours on a charge. However, this should still be enough to get you through an average workday if you remember to turn them off when they’re not in use. They also have a much better microphone than the Anker SoundBuds Curve and can connect to 2 Bluetooth devices at once, which the SoundBuds Curve cannot. They’re well-rounded in-ear headphones that give the Anker SoundBuds Curve a run for their money, and are worth considering if noise isolation is your top priority.
If you want earbuds that deliver accurate sound even during a workout, then consider the JBL Endurance Sprint. These wireless in-ears have a cool sporty look with a matte rubberized finish and are rated IPX7 for superior water resistance. They do a good job at isolating ambient noise and have remarkably high audio fidelity for in-ear headphones.
The JBL Endurance Sprint have a very even, well-balanced sound. Their bass is deep and punchy without sounding boomy. Their treble produces just the right amount of detail and brightness, making them well-suited for a variety of genres, from hip-hop to classical. These headphones have an ordinary battery that lasts 9 hours and also feature an auto-off timer that helps save battery life.
Like the AUKEY Latitude, they can be a bit uncomfortable, and compared to the Anker SoundBuds Curve, their thick ear-hook fit isn’t as stable. They also don’t support multi-device pairing and have an unremarkable microphone. That said, they remain the best sounding in-ears under $50 we’ve tested, and are likely to please fitness-loving audiophiles on a budget.
If wireless headphones aren’t your thing and you prefer the simplicity of wired in-ears, get the TIN Audio T2. They don’t sound quite as good as the JBL Endurance Sprint, but they’re better-built and feel more durable. The TIN Audio T2 have metal earbuds and a detachable audio cable which lend them a premium look and feel. They have a fairly neutral audio reproduction and sound balanced enough to be suitable for most music genres.
Unfortunately, like the JBL Endurance Sprint, the TIN Audio T2 aren’t the most comfortable in-ear headphones. You’re also limited by the length of their 4.3-foot audio cable. Fortunately, you can replace the cable should you need a longer one or one with a mic. They also don’t have any latency issues, unlike wireless headphones. All-in-all, the TIN Audio T2 are solid in-ears that sound decent for the price and are worth considering if you prefer wired headphones.
If you’re done with wires for good and are ready to go truly wireless without breaking the bank, get the SoundPeats TrueFree. These truly wireless earbuds are impressively well-made for their budget price and have a very stable fit. There are not a lot of truly wireless headphones under $150, let alone $50, so the SoundPeats TrueFree offer a great value for their performance. They’re great headphones for athletes on a budget and are fairly comfortable for in-ears.
The SoundPeats TrueFree are decent-sounding in-ears that have a pretty bass-heavy sound signature. Their sound isn’t as versatile as our other top picks, but fans of rap, hip-hop, and EDM will likely love their thumping bass. Their isolation performance is pretty good too, and if you can get a good seal, they isolate a good amount of ambient noise. Truly wireless headphones tend to have weaker battery performance than wireless in-ears or over-ear headphones, and the SoundPeats TrueFree are no exception. They get just over 3 hours of playback on a single charge and take 1.3 hours to be brought back to full power. Thankfully, they have a standby mode that extends their battery life if you forget to turn them off and come with a charging case that holds up to 5 additional wireless charges.
Unfortunately, their latency is higher than average for Bluetooth headphones and may be too high to enjoy watching videos without noticing some audio lag. They’re compatible with Bluetooth 5.0, though, so you may get better connection stability if you also have a Bluetooth 5.0 source. They’re not perfect, but the SoundPeats TrueFree are all-around decent truly wireless in-ears at a great price.
If you own a Samsung tablet or smartphone and like to have the ability to customize your headphones, get the Samsung U Flex. They have a flexible neckband design and magnetic earbuds for easier cable management. They’re easy-to-use, and they even have a decent microphone for Bluetooth headphones.
The Samsung U Flex are ordinary Bluetooth headphones on their own, but pair them with a Samsung device and their companion app, Samsung Level, comes to life. The app provides a multitude of customization options like a graphic EQ, room effects, and volume monitors to help enhance your listening experience. They also have a good battery life of 11.5 hours and charge relatively quickly.
Unfortunately, the highly customizable Samsung Level app is limited to Samsung devices. It’s not available on iOS and only provides a limited number of functions on other versions of Android. The Samsung U-Flex sound okay without any customization options, but are a bit bass-light, so the platform restrictions are disappointing. However, they’re a solid choice for Samsung users looking for earbuds under $50.
Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best earbuds under $50 to buy for most people in each price range. We factor in the price (a cheaper headphone wins over a pricier one 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. 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.