Preferred headphones store
Updated

The 5 Best Over Ear Headphones Under $50 - Fall 2018
Reviews

Best Over Ear Headphones Under $50
288 Headphones Tested
  • Store-bought headphones; no cherry-picked units
  • Retest after major updates
  • Easily comparable results
  • No ads; unbiased reviews
Learn more about our approach to product reviews here.

With so many headphones available, it can be difficult at times to find a good headset to satisfy your needs without spending too much. Over-ears typically cost a bit more than budget in-ears and earbuds, especially if you want a good sounding headphone that won't break immediately once you try them on. 

We've tested more than 141 over-ears and below are our top recommendations for the best over-ear headphones under 50$ that you can purchase in 2018. See also our recommendations for the best over-ear headphones.

  1. Best over-ear headphones under $50: Mpow H5

    Usage Ratings - Version 1.2

    Test Benches:

    • 1.2: Winter 2018
    • 1.1: Summer 2017
    • 1.0: Winter 2017
    • 0.9: Winter 2016
    6.7
    Mixed Usage
    What it is: This is the combination of the different use cases to evaluate how versatile the headphones are. Therefore an everyday headphone should be well-rounded enough to adapt to most situations and environments without significant losses in sound quality, design ergonomics or isolation.
    Score components:
    7.3
    Critical Listening
    What it is: The level of audio fidelity a headphone can reproduce. Therefore a balanced and true representation of bass, mids, treble, soundstage and imaging, as well as a comfortable listening experience, is essential for critical listening.
    Score components:
    6.5
    Commute/Travel
    What it is: How well the headphones handle the loud environments involved in commuting or traveling. Therefore your listening experience should be comfortable, hassle-free and as isolated from noise as possible.
    Score components:
    6.8
    Sports/Fitness
    What it is: How well-adapted the headphones are, to use while doing sports or strenuous exercise. Therefore the headphones should not be too cumbersome and deliver a stable and comfortable listening experience.
    Score components:
    6.7
    Office
    What it is: How well the headphones can deliver a comfortable and isolated listening experience in an office-like environment. They should not leak much and should block the noise of a busy office.
    Score components:
    6.0
    TV
    Score components:
    5.8
    Gaming
    Score components:
    Type : Over-ear
    Enclosure : Closed-Back
    Wireless : Yes
    Noise-Cancelling : Yes
    Mic : Yes
    Transducer : Dynamic

    The best over-ear headphones under $50 that we've tested so far are the Mpow H5. They're not exactly under 50$ so you will have to spend a couple dollars more than expected. However, they're a great value for their price to performance ratio.

    The H5 are wireless noise-canceling headphones with a good sound and a decently sturdy and somewhat premium-looking design that you wouldn't expect at this price range. They're above average comfortable, fairly easy to use and decently portable thanks to their collapsible design and the sturdy hard case provided in the box. They have a 12-hour battery life, which should be long enough for most activities, and you can always squeeze a bit more power if you use them wired or disable the noise cancellation. 

    Unfortunately, they are a bit tight on the head, which won't be as comfortable for everyone, and their noise cancellation is also mediocre-at-best and does not cancel enough noise to be the primary reason to get these headphones. However, if you're looking for a versatile headset around 50$, then the Mpow H5 will pleasantly surprise you with their sound, features, and design compared to other headphones in this price range.

    See our review

  2. Best sounding over-ear headphones under $50: Superlux HD 681

    Usage Ratings - Version 1.2

    Test Benches:

    • 1.2: Winter 2018
    • 1.1: Summer 2017
    • 1.0: Winter 2017
    • 0.9: Winter 2016
    5.8
    Mixed Usage
    What it is: This is the combination of the different use cases to evaluate how versatile the headphones are. Therefore an everyday headphone should be well-rounded enough to adapt to most situations and environments without significant losses in sound quality, design ergonomics or isolation.
    Score components:
    7.7
    Critical Listening
    What it is: The level of audio fidelity a headphone can reproduce. Therefore a balanced and true representation of bass, mids, treble, soundstage and imaging, as well as a comfortable listening experience, is essential for critical listening.
    Score components:
    4.7
    Commute/Travel
    What it is: How well the headphones handle the loud environments involved in commuting or traveling. Therefore your listening experience should be comfortable, hassle-free and as isolated from noise as possible.
    Score components:
    5.4
    Sports/Fitness
    What it is: How well-adapted the headphones are, to use while doing sports or strenuous exercise. Therefore the headphones should not be too cumbersome and deliver a stable and comfortable listening experience.
    Score components:
    5.4
    Office
    What it is: How well the headphones can deliver a comfortable and isolated listening experience in an office-like environment. They should not leak much and should block the noise of a busy office.
    Score components:
    5.9
    TV
    Score components:
    5.7
    Gaming
    Score components:
    Type : Over-ear
    Enclosure : Semi-Open
    Wireless : No
    Noise-Cancelling : No
    Mic : No
    Transducer : Dynamic

    If you care most about sound and do not need all the fancy active features that the Mpow H5 have to offer, then go for the Superlux HD 681 instead. Being critical listening focused headphones, the Superlux are not the most versatile over-ear to use outdoors with your phone. They also do not have the best build quality or comfort, and since they have a semi-open design, they leak quite a bit at higher volumes. 

    On the upside, the semi-open earcups give the HD 681 a more spacious soundstage than most of the recommendations on this list. They have a well-balanced frequency response that's near neutral in the midrange, which is great for instruments and vocals. They also pack enough bass to satisfy fans of more bass-heavy genres and have a decent treble range that puts a lot of emphasis on the detail and clarity of lead instruments, although they can sound a bit sharp on already bright tracks. 

    The Superlux HD 681 will not be the best headphones if you're looking for an all-purpose over-ear headset under 50$, however, if you only care about sound quality, then they're the best choice on this list.

    See our review

  3. A Cheaper alternative: Koss UR-20

    Type : Over-ear
    Enclosure : Closed-Back
    Wireless : No
    Noise-Cancelling : No
    Mic : No
    Transducer : Dynamic

    If you want the most budget option on this list that still sounds good enough to make you want to relisten to some of your old favorites, then consider the Koss UR 20. Since they are really budget headphones, their build quality and overall design look and feels cheap. They're also quite bulky and won't be the most durable headphones (we've already broken a pair just through regular testing).

    On the other hand, what they lack in features and design, they make up for with their below 20$ price tag, good comfort, and a decently well-balanced sound that puts a lot of emphasis on instruments and vocals without sounding too bass-light. Unfortunately, they can sound a bit too forward and a tad sharp on S and T sounds, which may get fatiguing to listen to over longer listening sessions. They also have poor noise and leakage isolation despite being closed back over-ears.

    If you do not want to spend much on a critical listening headphone, then they're a decent choice that won't make a big dent in your budget.

    See our review

  4. Best gaming over-ear headphones under $50: HyperX Cloud Stinger

    Usage Ratings - Version 1.2

    Test Benches:

    • 1.2: Winter 2018
    • 1.1: Summer 2017
    • 1.0: Winter 2017
    • 0.9: Winter 2016
    6.5
    Mixed Usage
    What it is: This is the combination of the different use cases to evaluate how versatile the headphones are. Therefore an everyday headphone should be well-rounded enough to adapt to most situations and environments without significant losses in sound quality, design ergonomics or isolation.
    Score components:
    7.5
    Critical Listening
    What it is: The level of audio fidelity a headphone can reproduce. Therefore a balanced and true representation of bass, mids, treble, soundstage and imaging, as well as a comfortable listening experience, is essential for critical listening.
    Score components:
    6.0
    Commute/Travel
    What it is: How well the headphones handle the loud environments involved in commuting or traveling. Therefore your listening experience should be comfortable, hassle-free and as isolated from noise as possible.
    Score components:
    5.9
    Sports/Fitness
    What it is: How well-adapted the headphones are, to use while doing sports or strenuous exercise. Therefore the headphones should not be too cumbersome and deliver a stable and comfortable listening experience.
    Score components:
    6.4
    Office
    What it is: How well the headphones can deliver a comfortable and isolated listening experience in an office-like environment. They should not leak much and should block the noise of a busy office.
    Score components:
    5.9
    TV
    Score components:
    7.2
    Gaming
    Score components:
    Type : Over-ear
    Enclosure : Closed-Back
    Wireless : No
    Noise-Cancelling : No
    Mic : Yes
    Transducer : Dynamic

    If you're looking for a gaming headset, then the best gaming over ear headphones you can get under 50$ are the HyperX Cloud Stinger. They are not the most versatile headphones, unlike some of the more premium options offered by HyperX since you cannot remove their boom mic. They also have a somewhat cheap and plasticky looking design, although they do feel a lot more durable than the Koss UR-20 or the Superlux HD 681.

    On the upside, the Stingers have an excellent boom mic that will reproduce your voice accurately during in-game chats. They also have a good well-balanced sound that caters well to most tracks, genres and in-game music, with enough bass to get you pumped up when gaming. They're comfortable, fairly lightweight, and will work with both the PS4 and Xbox One when plugged into their controllers.

    The Corsair HS60 is a better headset overall when compared to the HyperX Stinger. They have a better build quality and a detachable mic that makes them a better option for more casual use. However, their price fluctuates a lot which means they aren't always under 50$. Overall, the HyperX are a slightly better value for your money if you're strictly using them for gaming.

    See our review

  5. Best designed over-ear headphones under $50: Polk Audio Buckle

    Usage Ratings - Version 1.2

    Test Benches:

    • 1.2: Winter 2018
    • 1.1: Summer 2017
    • 1.0: Winter 2017
    • 0.9: Winter 2016
    6.0
    Mixed Usage
    What it is: This is the combination of the different use cases to evaluate how versatile the headphones are. Therefore an everyday headphone should be well-rounded enough to adapt to most situations and environments without significant losses in sound quality, design ergonomics or isolation.
    Score components:
    6.6
    Critical Listening
    What it is: The level of audio fidelity a headphone can reproduce. Therefore a balanced and true representation of bass, mids, treble, soundstage and imaging, as well as a comfortable listening experience, is essential for critical listening.
    Score components:
    5.6
    Commute/Travel
    What it is: How well the headphones handle the loud environments involved in commuting or traveling. Therefore your listening experience should be comfortable, hassle-free and as isolated from noise as possible.
    Score components:
    6.1
    Sports/Fitness
    What it is: How well-adapted the headphones are, to use while doing sports or strenuous exercise. Therefore the headphones should not be too cumbersome and deliver a stable and comfortable listening experience.
    Score components:
    5.9
    Office
    What it is: How well the headphones can deliver a comfortable and isolated listening experience in an office-like environment. They should not leak much and should block the noise of a busy office.
    Score components:
    5.6
    TV
    Score components:
    6.3
    Gaming
    Score components:
    Type : Over-ear
    Enclosure : Closed-Back
    Wireless : No
    Noise-Cancelling : No
    Mic : Yes
    Transducer : Dynamic

    If you want a budget headset that looks and feels like it should cost a lot more than their price would suggest, check out the Polk Audio Buckle. They used to be a lot more expensive and they have a few issues with their sound quality, which is why they aren't often recommended. They have a dark audio reproduction that slightly overemphasizes bass and mid-range frequencies. They're also a bit bulky, have a below average mic, and aren't the most comfortable headphones.

    On the upside, they have a premium build quality that is almost unmatched at this price range. They have sturdy pleather coated headband and dense well-padded ear cups. They also have a unique control scheme that's easy to use once you get used to it. They do not block a lot of noise but their over-ear fit seals the ear well enough that they do not leak much even at higher volumes. 

    Overall, the Polk Buckle are decent headphones for most use cases that used be around 200$ at their initial release, which was not worth it for their performance and sound quality. However, now that they are below 50, this makes them a great value for most listeners as long as you do not mind a darker sound that won't be as good for critical listening.

    See our review

Notable Mentions

  • Corsair HS 60. A good budget gaming headset with a great build quality and a decent sound. Good design, great mic but price fluctuates quite a bit. See our review
  • Mpow 059 Bluetooth over-ear. A more comfortable but less feature-packed alternative to the Mpow H5. See our review
  • Logitech G430. A customizable and great sounding budget gaming headset. Unfortunately, you can't remove their mic and they're a bit too bulky and cumbersome for outdoor use. See our review
  • SteelSeries Siberia 200. Excellent sound quality and a good microphone for gaming. Poor build quality is a deal breaker for most. See our review
  • Audio-Technica ATH-M20xBudget over-ear headphones with a good sound quality. They're a decent substitute to the Mpow 059. See our review
  • Bluedio T4. Cheap yet sturdy wireless headphone. Awkward design and very high latency. See our review
  • Superlux HD 681 Evo. A good alternative for critical listening but not as versatile for everything else. See our review
  • Tascam TH-02. A budget critical listening headphones. Decent sound and portable design but poor build quality and not the most comfortable headphones. See our review

All Reviews

Our recommendations above are what we think are currently the best over-ear headphones under $50 to buy for most people. 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 over-ears 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. 

LOG IN

JOIN RTINGS.com

Be part of the most informed community and take advantage of our advanced tools to find the best product for your needs.
Join our mailing list:

Create Discussion

Preview Back to editor Format guide

The editor uses special characters (aka. markdown).

To post formatted content follow these rules:

What you typeWhat it will look like
*italic text*italic text
**bold text**bold text
[link](http://rtings.com)link
> quoted text
quoted text
# header

header

- item 1
- item 2
- item 3
  • item 1
  • item 2
  • item 3

* Quotes and lists must be followed by a blank line