15 Best Cheap Headphones For Audiophiles On A Budget

Premium Pick

Audio Technica ATH-M20X

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Best Choice

Avantree Audition

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Best Value

AKG Pro Audio AKG K72 Studio Headphones

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Headphones are a fixture of modern life. For people on the go, a good pair of headphones is a must. From listening to music to podcasts and audiobooks, headphones see a lot of use. Of course, you’d want the most bang for your buck when you get your headphones.

Here are the 15 best cheap headphones on the market today. These products give a good balance of quality and price. Let’s get it on!

 

The List

1

Audio Technica ATH-M20X

Looks-wise, the ATH-M20X isn’t a head-turner. What it lacks in aesthetics, it makes up for in performance. These headphones boast performance comparable to professional monitors. This pair of headphones would be a great gift to new and aspiring audio enthusiasts.

The construction is sturdy and should survive a few drops. The headphones are also comfortable to wear, despite being a bit on the heavy side (190g). It does not feature noise cancellation. But with its overhead design and fit, it does suppress a fair bit of ambient noise. It is a wired headphone, which may turn off some users. Don’t be: this is an excellent product over-all.

Audio quality is adequate on mobile devices. If you wish to push the ATH-M20X to its limits, you should connect it to your computer.

 

Pros
  • Sturdy design
  • Comfortable fit
  • Solid sound quality
  • Reasonable price

 

Cons
  • Not suited for mobile devices

 

Buy or Not?

This product combines performance, price, and comfort into one solid and dependable headset. I’m getting this headset for Christmas this year. It’s a solid entry and one of the best cheap headphones available.

Purchase this budget headphone now to enjoy your favorite songs and albums.

2

Avantree Audition

The Avantree Audition is a wireless headphone.  It boasts both Bluetooth 4.0 and NFC connectivity. It features a classic over-the-ear look. They’re pretty comfy to wear, too. Controls are on-ear, and it also has a built-in microphone. The built-in battery’s life is a solid 40 hours. If you run out of power, you can still keep using these as plugged-in headphones instead.

This headset is well constructed and tough. Expect it to survive the odd drop from your desk. It has a noise cancellation feature, but it isn’t as good as other, more expensive headphones. Audio quality is good, with clear sound. 

 

Pros
  • Long battery life
  • Easy to pair with mobile devices using Bluetooth and NFC
  • Good sound quality
  • The price is a steal

 

Cons
  • Microphone sound is muddy and muffled

 

Buy or Not?

If you’re looking for something that the casual crowd will enjoy, then the Avantree Audition is a good bet. Another good entry to our list of best cheap headphones.

3

Mpow 059

This pair of over-ear Bluetooth headset makes a good case for entry on our list. They feature a decent sound profile. The lack of noise cancellation is a disappointment. Bluetooth range is decent but there is no love here for NFC.

The construction does need some work. While it does look good, it has a plastic-y feel to it. Good thing they’re pretty comfortable to wear and aren’t as tight around the ears. The microphone is another low point for me.

 

Pros
  • Decent battery life
  • Good sound quality
  • Good for mixed usage
  • The price is on point

 

Cons
  • The microphone isn’t that great
  • The plastic feels brittle and susceptible to cracks

 

Buy or Not?

A decent starter headset, and pretty good all-around usage. Still a solid buy.

 

4

Koss PortaPro

It’s time to go retro with these headphones that look like they time-traveled from the 1980s. Make no mistake, these babies earned their spot on the list of best cheap headphones.

The design looks fragile but is very sturdy. Don’t try to run while wearing these as they do tend to slip off. Another downer is the lack of wireless capability.

To make up for these shortcomings, the Koss PortaPro delivers big when it comes to sound quality. The only downside is the middling bass response. 

Bottom line is, if you want quality sound and aren’t put off by the wires, then these headphones are a good choice. 

 

Pros
  • Cool retro look
  • Sturdy lightweight design
  • Excellent sound
  • A good choice for people on a budget

 

Cons
  • Lacks noise isolation or noise cancellation
  • Wired design can be a turn-off

 

Buy or Not?

The PortaPro is an excellent choice. They get a spot on the list of best cheap headphones that enhance your audible experience.

5

Monoprice 8323

The first thing you might notice is the look. The Monoprice 8323 looks, well, plain, drab and uninteresting. This is one case where you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. The sound quality is great on these. Bass response is good and mid-tones are nice and warm.

They are comfortable to wear. Long listening sessions may get your ears sweaty.  This is because the ear cups are a trifle warm. While the Monoprice 8323 is a wired device, the cable is detachable and replaceable. 

These might not be the most stylish set around, but you can’t go wrong with quality.

 

Pros
  • Exceptional sound quality
  • Affordable price
  • Easy to fold and store
  • Good noise isolation

 

Cons
  • Build quality
  • Joints seem susceptible to breaking

 

Buy or Not?

The build quality is a bit on the low side. The Monoprice 9323 remains one of the best cheap headphones you can buy now to enjoy your favorite songs.

6

AKG Pro Audio AKG K72 Studio Headphones

If you’re looking for near-studio quality sound at a bargain price, then you’ve come to the right place. The AKG K72 is large and bulky and wired, but the sound quality is excellent. It has a wide and detailed sound and there is great sound separation.

There are a few criticisms. Vocals sound compressed and boxed in. This may be because the AKG K72 doesn’t have great mid-level coloration. 

These headphones are comfortable to wear. It isn’t something you’d want to wear outdoors, because of their size and cables. Noise isolation isn’t too good either. 

Despite a few hiccups, the AKG K72 delivers where it matters: sound quality. And for its price, it ranks as one of the best cheap headphones.

 

Pros
  • Near studio sound quality
  • Great price
  • Comfortable to wear
  • Wide, expansive sound

 

Cons
  • Mids aren’t too good

 

Buy or Not?

A near-perfect fusion of price and quality. Great for budding audiophiles and those looking for cheap headphones with awesome sound.

7

Koss UR-20

The Koss UR-20 is one of the cheapest headphones currently available. This not only hits the budget mark but is also one very comfortable and wearable audio device.

Although the construction quality isn’t top flight, it gets past that by emphasizing on user comfort. The sound quality is adequate, going for balanced audio quality. This makes it a great pick for listening to a wide variety of music. But the noise isolation feature isn’t too good, so this isn’t a great choice for outdoor use.

 

Pros
  • Great for buyers on a budget
  • Sturdier than they look
  • Comfortable to wear
  • Great for listening to a wide range of music

 

Cons
  • No volume controls
  • Looks cheap

 

Buy or Not?

Surprisingly good for a sub-$20 budget headphone that produces great sound quality

8

MPOW H5

If you’re in the market for an affordable bass-heavy headphone, then we’ve got your back. The MPOW H5 fits the bill while also looking sleek and cool. Stowing these headphones for travel is easy because of its foldable design.

The headphones are comfortable to wear due to the padded earpieces. The H5 comes with controls built-in and a microphone you can use.

Its Active Noise Cancellation feature isn’t too great but considering its price range, you can’t complain much.

 

Pros
  • Durable design
  • Comfy design
  • Great price tag
  • Offers active noise cancellation

 

Cons
  • Noise cancellation isn’t that effective
  • Doesn’t come with a carrying case

 

Buy or Not?

The MPOW H5 is a solid choice if you need a noise-cancelling headphone but can’t pay too much. 

9

JVC HA-ETR40

Sports earphones need to hit three targets. They need to be comfortable to wear, durable, and they need to sound good. Well, folks, we’re happy to say that the JVC HA-ETR40 fits the bill. 

The JVC HA-ETR40 is also tough enough to resist water up to the IPX7 standard. A useful feature to have if you want to rinse off the sweat after a grueling workout. They don’t skimp on sound quality as well. The audio is well balanced and detailed. The JVC HA-ETR40 is one of the best cheap headphones available. 

 

Pros
  • Secure and comfy
  • Price is very affordable
  • Balanced audio quality
  • Water-resistant and washable

 

Cons
  • No volume control
  • Lacks a carrying case

 

Buy or Not?

Looking for budget headphones with good audio quality and a great fit? Why not buy one today?

10

SoundMagic E11C

Let me gush a little bit here, guys. The E11C is good and SoundMagic has a clear winner here. The E11C is stylish and comfortable to wear, which makes it great when you’re working out in the gym.  It also has excellent audio quality and is very affordable too.

 

Pros
  • Affordable price
  • Great sound quality
  • Comfortable and secure design

 

Cons
  • Timing isn’t 100%

 

Buy or Not?

One of the best cheap headphones around that you can buy when you want to enjoy your playlist. A definite grab.

11

MEE Audio N1

The MEE Audio N1 pushes its way into our list of the best cheap headphones.  It sports a lightweight design and great battery life. The flexible neckband also lets you wear this as a necklace. This increases user comfort levels.

Now, the low points. The M1 isn’t exactly water-resistant nor is it built for sports, so take care of using this while working out.

Audio is good, with deep, rich bass lines. If you like jamming to EDM or hip-hop then you should consider these.

 

Pros
  • Feels comfortable to wear
  • Great sound quality
  • Great for the budget-conscious
  • Good audio quality

 

Cons
  • Not water-resistant

 

Buy or Not?

A great choice if you have a small budget but want a quality headphone when going to the gym. 

12

Anker SoundBuds Slim+ Bluetooth Headphones

The Anker SoundBuds Slim+ makes our list of the best cheap headphones on three things. Those three factors are comfort, price, and water-resistance.

Its lightweight design and soft earbud tips make wearing the SoundBuds Slim+ a delight and its price tag is great too.

The Soundbuds Slim+ is water-resistant up to IPX 7. A good thing to hear as we all can work up a fierce sweat when working out. The audio quality is pretty good. The earphones come with a built-in microphone. They also sport controls to help manage your music needs.

Now the bad part. The battery doesn’t have a long charge life.

 

Pros
  • Water-resistant
  • Good audio quality
  • Comfortable to wear
  • Affordable

 

Cons
  • Low battery life

 

Buy or Not?

If you like jamming to sick beats while working out but don’t want to spend too much on earphones, then this set is for you.

13

Panasonic RP-HJE120

With an ergonomic and lightweight design, these earbuds are very comfortable to wear. Another plus is its price and these are among the best cheap headphones in the sub-$10 mark.

Now, on to the bad parts: this model lacks a microphone and controls. 

Still, for a pair that you can get on the cheap, sound quality isn’t bad. Also, there isn’t much sound leaking out when you’re playing music full blast.

 

Pros
  • One of the cheapest models available
  • Deceptively sturdy design
  • Lightweight and comfortable
Cons
  • No microphone
  • No volume controls

 

Buy or Not?

They have good quality at a price that is a lot lower than you’d expect for a good set of headphones. I’d say this is a steal.

14

SoundMagic E10C

The E10C is the predecessor of SoundMagic’s E11C. An excellent pair of headphones in its own right. 

Like the E11C, the E10C combines great design with solid audio quality. And like its younger brother, it’s also affordable. Get this if you can’t get your paws on an E11C.

 

Pros
  • Great audio
  • Comfortable to wear
  • Comes with microphone and controls

 

Cons
  • Not water resistant
  • Don’t expect powerful bass from these earphones.

 

Buy or Not?

A solid pick if you can’t get an E11C. Another entry on the list of the best cheap headphones that you can buy.

15

RHA MA390 Wireless In-Ear Headphones

The RHA MA390 makes its appearance as the final entry on our list of the best cheap headphones. Build quality is great and the headphones sport an elegant, yet understated design. Finally, high-quality audio makes this a must-grab.

Now for the low points: the battery life isn’t the best compared to its counterparts. You may want to skip exercising while wearing these because they aren’t water-resistant. Finally, the carrying case could use more work. 

Despite these low points, the RHA MA390 is still a solid choice.

 

Pros
  • Great design
  • Value for your money
  • Great sound quality

 

Cons
  • Low battery life
  • Not great for exercising
  • Needs a better carrying case

 

Buy or Not?

An excellent choice for wireless in-ear headphones and one you should keep an eye on.

 

Choosing The Right Headphone

You may think that all headphones are the same. You plug them in to listen to music and unplug when you’re done. Simple, right?

Wrong.

In choosing the perfect headphone, you need to consider several things:

Price: This one’s a no-brainer. We do want our headphones to be available at a reasonable price.

Usage: You will want a headphone that fits your lifestyle and activities. Going to the gym or jogging? You’ll want a headphone with some degree of water resistance. Listening to a podcast or audiobook and don’t want any distractions? Get a pair with noise cancellation.

Connectivity: If you don’t want wires, choose a wireless or Bluetooth headphone.

Comfort: You want a pair of headphones that don’t cause discomfort to your ears or head when worn.

 

What Counts As A Budget Headphones

Nobody wants to pay too much for anything. And while quality does come with a serious price tag, you can still find great products at lower prices. For this article, we considered headphones under the $100 mark as budget headphones.

 

Connecting Your Headphones To Your Mobile Device

Let’s talk about the issue of connectivity. How you connect your headphones to your mobile device depends on your preferences. Here is a look at the three ways headphones can connect to an audio source.

 

Wired

Wired headphones are simple affairs. The headphone connects to your mobile device via a 3.5 mm jack or USB. Wired headphones using 3.5 mm jacks are often used for mobile devices. Meanwhile, USB headphones see use with computers and other devices. Wired headphones are easy to use and connect. They also offer the best sound.

 

Wireless

Wireless headphones, as the name suggests, connect to your devices without wires. These devices use either infrared or radio waves to send and receive signals. Wireless headphones need a receiver that allows communication with other devices. Because of this, most mobile devices use Bluetooth wireless connection.

 

Bluetooth

Bluetooth is a type of wireless communication that uses radio waves to communicate. Every mobile device supports Bluetooth. This makes Bluetooth the go-to for wireless communication between mobile devices and accessories.

 

Types Of Headphones

Headphones come in four different types. Here’s a look at each type.

 

Over-Ear

Over-ear headphones have thick headbands. They feature earcups that encompass the user’s ears

 

On-Ear

On-ear headphones are smaller and more compact than over-ear headphones. The ear cups rest on top of the user’s ears. These headphones have less bass than over-ear headphones.

 

Earbuds

Earbuds are small, portable headphones with earbud tips. This type of headphone rests on the edge of the ear canal. Great for people who find in-ear models uncomfortable.

 

In-Ear

In-ear headphones also have small earbud tips. These headphones go in the user’s ear canal. These headphones often have the best noise isolation.

 

 Over-EarOn-EarEarbudsIn-Ear
Noise IsolationGoodLacklusterPoorExcellent
Sound BleedPoorLacklusterGoodExcellent
PortabilityPoorLacklusterExcellentExcellent
ComfortExcellentGoodLacklusterPoor

 

Noise Cancellation: What Is It And How Does It Work?

It’s easy to confuse noise cancellation and noise isolation. After all, they have the same goal: improving your audio experience. Both noise isolation and noise cancellation do this by blocking ambient noise. How do they do this?

Noise-isolating headphones stop ambient noise by blocking sound physically. The ear cups on over-ear and on-ear headphones and the foam tips on in-ear headphones are an example.

Noise cancellation uses advanced technology to achieve its goals. These types of headphones use technology to detect ambient sound. The headphones then create inverse sound waves that cancel out ambient noise.

 

Caring For Your Headphones

Proper cleaning and storage of headphones improve their longevity. Take a look at a few tips on what you can do to help your headphones live longer.

 

How Do You Clean Headphones?

You need a few items before you start cleaning your headphones. Here’s what you will need:

  1. A small cloth
  2. Rubbing alcohol/hand sanitizer
  3. Q-tips/cotton buds
  4. Soap
  5. Water
  6. Blu-tack

 

 

Cleaning Earbuds and In-ear Headphones

Cleaning your in-ear headphones and earbuds means cleaning dirt off the driver unit. The driver is part of the headphones that produce sound. It is also the part that goes into your ear.

  1. Hold your earphones’ mesh side facing downwards. Brush the wire mesh gently to dislodge any dirt or clogged ear wax. Use a soft brush, like a child’s toothbrush. Tap the non-mesh side of the earbuds to knock some of the dirt off.
  2. Using a bent paperclip and a little Blu-tack, remove any remaining dirt from the wire mesh. Debris will stick to the Blu-tack, keeping the wire mesh clear.
  3. Dampen, but do not soak, a small cloth with a little rubbing alcohol or hand sanitizer. Wipe the earbuds with the damp cloth. Do the same for the wires.

 

Cleaning The Ear Tips

In-ear headphones include detachable ear tips made of silicon. These tips come in different sizes so you can choose the perfect fit.

When cleaning foam ear tips, you only need to wipe them with a cloth dampened with water. Avoid using alcohol as this can damage the foam ear tips. For silicone ear tips, follow these steps:

  1. Detach the silicone ear tips and soak them in soapy warm water for 5 minutes.
  2. Rinse the silicone ear tips and wipe. Leave them to dry on paper towels before reattaching them to your earphones.

 

Cleaning Over-Ear and On-Ear Headphones

Cleaning these types of headphones are a bit more difficult. The foam or leather ear pads tear easily. We recommend proceeding with care.

  1. Remove the ear pads from the headphones. Wipe the exterior of the headphones using a small cloth dampened with soap and warm water. Wipe dry with some paper towels and leave to air-dry completely.
  2. Dampen a small cloth with rubbing alcohol or hand sanitizer. Use this to wipe the exterior of the ear pads. Then soak a Q-tip/cotton bud in alcohol or hand sanitizer and use it to clean the nooks and crevices of the ear pads.
  3. Dab some alcohol or hand sanitizer over the surface of the foam mesh. Rub the right and left side together. This will help kill off the bacteria that are residing in the ear pads. The gentle rubbing should also help to dislodge any dirt or grime.
  4. Leave the ear pads to air-dry completely on some paper towels before reattaching them.

 

Folding Your Earbuds and In-Ear Headphones

Headphone cables can become a mess of tangles that take forever to untangle. Here’s a quick Youtube video that shows a great way to fold your earbuds without tangling the cables.

 

Storing Your Headphones

Headphones often come with a storage case or bag when purchased. Storage cases are also available on Amazon. These are often compatible with specific headphone models. Remember to check the item page to make sure these fit your headphones.

 

Final Word

Headphones aren’t only for music. They are also used to take phone calls, listen to streaming services or to chat with strangers. Get the best cheap headphones for your budget today.

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