Cheap earbuds are easy to find. But most of them sound like crap. That’s why it’s difficult to narrow down your picks to the best cheap earphones without going through hundreds of them.
Instead of sticking to the next pair that you pick at the airport shop or the corner store, go with one of our top-rated earbuds for immersive listening.
Here, we are dedicated to bringing you tried and tested earbuds that fulfill the specs of what defines great earbuds from cheaply made models.
It’s crucial that you draw the line in cheap since $5 earbuds are exciting cheap but it comes with poor sound quality. In our article, we are looking at earbuds that are at least $10.
- Features to Consider in Cheap Earbuds
- Best Cheap Earbuds Under $25
- Best Cheap Earbuds Under $50
- Guide to Buying the Best Cheap Earbuds
- Final Words
Features to Consider in Cheap Earbuds
- Audio Quality
This is the first obvious feature you will need to be considering before making a decision. You are looking to have clean, balanced audio with decent bass and treble. Watch out for earbuds that claim to have nice sound, but they have a reverb (echo) that is even more annoying.When looking at the bass, you will want to own earphones that can reproduce deeper tones more so, for hip-hop, RnB, jazz, techno, and other popular genres. These are earphones that can achieve lower frequencies that can reproduce the bass you need when listening to Florida Georgia Line deep vocals and the like.
- Wireless vs. Wired Earbuds
Wireless earphones have been around from the time we started using smartphones, but wireless earbuds are still taking shape, and some of them are very expensive. With wired earbuds, you will have to deal with long cables as they have to connect to your device. You will want to look for a considerable length such that it won’t tangle now and then.Wireless earbuds use infrared, radio frequency, or Bluetooth for transmission. Bluetooth is the most common technology for cheap earbuds as it is compatible with most devices. With the coming of Bluetooth 4.0 most wireless earbuds do not suffer connectivity issues and low sound quality.
- Sound Stage
How do you like the sound of instruments as they are played in the music you love? Some earbuds will be intimate and confined while others are reproduced as they would on an open stage to give you a spacious feeling.It’s all about personal preference with the soundstage.
- Noise Cancellation and Noise Isolation
Noise reducing earbuds make a world of difference in helping to keep out sounds from the subway, bus, and noisy background. Active noise cancellation is expensive as it employs a small microphone to phase out the sound waves from your surrounding environment.But noise isolation is much cheaper as it is employed by sealing the ear canal so that you can only hear the sound of your music.
The way earbuds sit in your ear contribute a lot to their comfort. For example, if you are working out in a gym or taking a run in your earphones, the constant movement may cause some of them to keep falling out which is the last thing you want.There are various options in the fit from over the year to choosing a soft or hard sleeve, and even going for a hook earbud. The essence here is to find the ones that apply to your ear canal.
Best Cheap Earbuds Under $25
If you were to be handed the Panasonic ErgoFit RP-TCM125-V In-Ear Earbuds while blindfolded, they would easily pass for top-end models. This pair cultivates sound quality at its best that’s why it manages to be a top pick.
Panasonic invests in well-balanced audio to provide crisp mids and highs that will not distort when the volume is turned up all the way. It can achieve low and deep frequencies to allow listening to bass-filled music with integrity. Since they have a wide frequency response, they are an excellent pick when you want to listen to recorded audio and live sound.
With Panasonic will be able to listen to music as well as receive phone calls thanks to the integrated mic.
This model comes with a single in-line button remote for the controls. The remote and mic are compatible with most smartphones including iPhones, Android, and Blackberry devices. But they will not work with Nokia models.
We like the ErgoFit design as it is reputed for being comfortable. You are supplied with three sets of earpads which include small, medium, and large sizes. This makes them easy to wear by matching you canal to the most comfortable ear tip. What’s more, the 3.6ft cord is easy to thread through clothes and backpacks.
Panasonic ErgoFit RP-TCM125-V In-Ear Earbuds are an inexpensive option that does not sound cheap at all. It can make calls which is one of the specs you will be looking for when streaming music directly from your smartphone.
Everyone wants to workout with their favorite songs playing in their ears. But you don’t want to be dealing with tangled cables and earbuds that will have their circuitry damaged after little moisture entry. With the Mpow Flame Wireless Earbuds, you can engage in all kinds of active exercise without worrying about the piece in your ears.
This model utilizes Bluetooth 4.1 for superior connection and sound quality. It has a decent range so you can keep your phone at a reasonable distance when working out. The tuned in CRS chip offers great music capability as you will be listening to spectacular bass and mellow, balanced sounds.
Mpow even indicates thta you may take some time adjusting to the blast of music that punches above its weight in class.
The durability and comfort of these earphones are something to behold. With a nano waterproof coating, you don’t have to mind sweat dripping down your ears as none of it will get to the delicate interior parts. They can withstand direct water splashes. You can also be caught out in the rain, and they will still perform as new.
When it comes to the fit, these earbuds strive to achieve a universal fit. You will get a set of different ear tips so you can choose the ones that fit snug and comfortably. The tips have a construction from memory foam that can adapt to the ear canal giving you a perfect seal and noise isolation.
With the ear hooks, you will be able to engage in intense activities without the tips falling off. You can even adjust the cord using the wire clamp at the back of the head. This way, you will always listen to your favorite tunes worry-free.
Mpow has a done a great job in including the best features in an affordable model. You get crisp sound with excellent mids and deep bass. It allows you to workout in indoor and outdoor spaces without worrying about moisture and other intrusions.
When you want to keep your cool in crowded places, you will want something like the Symphonized 3.0. These earbuds employ noise isolation ear tips that fit comfortably in the ears. You will not juggle listening and hearing the hissing sound of the bus or the screeching of brakes from nearby vehicles.
Symphonized is keen to employ powerful sound technology to produce precision highs and supreme bass while the mids remain warm for all-around listening. It is great with jazz, blues, and classics. Although the bass is rich, it is not excellent with music that is heavily produced.
Nevertheless, we like that these earbuds come with an in-line mic and remote controller. It has a three-button control that is excellent for pausing music, toggling through tracks and answering calls.
We are glad that Symphonized decided to use tangle-free TPE cable instead of the round thin ones that keep on tangling. This way, they will rarely get tied up on the seat corner as you get up from your seat pulling you behind in the process. It is a durable look if you don’t plan to use them in rigorous outdoor activities.
Symphonized NRG 3.0 maintains a nice wooden look that is all about functionality. The earbuds are comfortable to wear for an extended period. They also have a mic and remote controller for the convenient answering of calls, pause/play, and voice control.
While some earbuds claim to have balanced and clean sound with nothing to show for it, Betron YSM1000 earbuds are ready to prove they are made to perform. With the 9.2mm neodymium driver, these earbuds can reproduce frequencies on a wide spectrum. This accounts for the natural mids and deep bass accompanied by crisp highs.
It is a perfect companion if your music preference spans throughout the genres where you love the song as long as it has great vocals and good use of the instruments. The metal earbuds perhaps play a unique role to ensure you are getting a blast of stereo with powerful bass.
The earbuds also utilize noise isolation technology using the rubber earbuds. You are also supplied with a pair of memory foam tips when you want more comfort. This addition is important when listening to podcasts over extended periods.
Never lose your earbuds as you can store them safely in their rubber case. Betron ensures your favorite earbuds will always function as new since they will be safe from scratches and constant pulling if they were to tangle in storage.
What’s more, you get a tangle-free cable to improve durability and to get you listening from any convenient place.
Betron YSM1000 is a brand to reckon when going dirt cheap. They are an excellent pair that is replete with fantastic sound features. Only that, the lack of a mic and remote controller means you will not be receiving any calls or skip songs with them.
When you decide to go wireless, it is better to do it with a renowned brand like AUKEY. The AUKEY Latitude Wireless earbuds are all the rave because of their aptX Bluetooth technology. If you have an aptX compatible device, you will be listening to CD-quality sound over Bluetooth.
aptX is used to improve sound over Bluetooth since Bluetooth sound is usually compressed which is not that great like it would over a wired connection. These earbuds include three EQ modes to help diversify your listening experience.
This brand utilizes EP-B40 magnetic wireless earbuds. The magnetic system keeps them on your neck to prevent falling out from the year when running, jumping, and performing intense aerobic exercises.
You get up to 8 hours of playtime with these earbuds. You can listen to as many tracks as you would like over the day without worrying about charging your setup. You will also like that these earbuds have an IPX4 water resistant rating. They can keep out moisture like intense sweating but do not run with them in heavy rain because you may risk damaging the interior components.
AUKEY Latitude seeks to fulfill good sound over Bluetooth via aptX technology. It is compatible with lots of device including iPhone and Android gadgets. Its noise isolating feature works efficiently to help achieve balanced sound over the three modes.
Best Cheap Earbuds Under $50
With FOCUSPOWER the ability to listen to podcasts and hands-free answering of calls on the go is achieved. This model promises flexibility and long battery life. You can use it for 4.5 hours with the volume turned all the way up while still being aware of your environment since it is a single piece for use in one ear.
FOCUSPOWER is compatible with all Bluetooth enabled devices. It can connect to Android smartphones, iPhones, iPads, iPods, mp3 players, etc. It can connect to two devices such that you can switch between songs and audio in either of the gadgets.
We like that it supports EDR (Enhanced Data Rate) Bluetooth. It connects fast and instantly with gadgets up to 33ft away. This way, you won’t need to have your phone on you for seamless connection.
If you have always disliked charging with cables, you will be glad to invest in the FOCUSPOWER. The earbud charges through magnetic inductive charging using its USB charger. You will get three ear tips for a comfortable fit. And it can fit in either ear to give you crisp sound to listen to audio recordings, music, audiobooks, etc.
FOCUSPOWER is all about sophistication in their small, nearly-invisible earbud. It is surprisingly cheap with decent phone answering capabilities. It may have distractions when you are answering a phone in crowded places. But it is expected with a wireless earbud in its price range.
Most of us agree that music without bass is not all merry. That is why Sony one of the top performing brands in the production of music-related products has designed earbuds that have explosive bass to cater to most music genres.
These earbuds come with 12mm dome type drivers to deliver deep, powerful bass. These are high-energy magnet neodymium drivers that are at par with heavily produced music of the modern time. The bass duct construction remedies the loss of bass as it is concentrated in your ear by using sound isolation techniques.
With the inbuilt mic, you can return calls meaning you never have to touch your phone when using it in your desk at the office. The multi-function control button is a handy feature since it allows you to pause and play music as well as skip and pick tracks. It also supports use with the Smart Key Android app for more functionality.
These earbuds come with four sets of hybrid silicone ear tips. You will be able to choose the ones that fit and seal your ear perfectly for complete noise isolation. The flat cable is a sure way of keeping tangles at bay since it is highly resistant to tangling. You also have a travel case for storage and safekeeping.
These are thoughtfully-designed earbuds that express solid bass performance. The mids are somewhat recessed on some genres, but you can’t fault the highs. It provides angled tips for comfortable wear while reducing noise when picking calls.
The AKG N20 earbuds are synonymous with legendary AKG sound. The audio quality is not just decent; it is great thanks to its world-class acoustic signature. It provides you with top quality audio that is achievable with earbuds its size.
You have unique aluminum housing with a durable fabric cable and silicone tips. The housing is quite grippy to allow smooth placement in the ear more so if you have wet hands. Looking at the aesthetics, you have a classy piece that is modern and chic because of the white and gold colors.
You will like that it covers a wide spectrum of frequencies and that it has a semi-closed back. This design allows it to have an enhanced bass that sounds great over a wide selection of genres.
The most appealing thing with these earbuds is the accessory package. You get a flight adaptor and a cleaning tool to keep it sparkly. You are also provided with a carrying pouch to ensure it is safe in storage. This way, you will not have it stored together with other wired appliances and have its cable get tangled where it could distort in the process of untangling.
It is such a remarkable experience when using the AKG N20 earbuds. They have distinct sound with warm bass and highly-detailed mids. If you are a fan of jazz, classical music, and RnB, you can rest assured knowing you will enjoy using these earbuds.
The SOUNDMAGIC E10 is still within our budget, but it comes with lots of thoughtful features for better sound reproduction. The 10mm neodymium drivers are in an all-metal housing. They do not come with additional weight as you will notice, you will never feel a nagging presence in your ears after using them for a whole day.
They have a semi-open back which is key to providing extra space for natural sound reverberation. The result is a rich bass that gives you immersive listening. You will like that even with the semi-open back, these earbuds will not pass out sound to the surrounding environment. You may hear some muffled sound, but your earphones will not transmit your music to anyone who cares to listen in.
This model offers different three sized silicone rubber tips. They also have an additional pair of double flange mid-sized silicone rubber tips. If you regular fitting without intrusion, you will love going with the single flange pieces while if you want better sound seal, the double flange tips will perform a great job. They are the mark of sound-cancellation that you may be looking for in an affordable choice.
These earbuds are a unique set that comes with premium components. They can produce vibrant bass tones as well as balanced mids. Don’t expect the highs to be that great because they are not. But with a metallic housing, they are sure to serve for a long time.
Sennheiser CX 3.00 is all about sound quality. It puts emphasis on the way you listen to music using 18-ohm impedance transducers. They provide excellent transmission of sound waves so that it reaches your ears as rich bass with crisp and accurate highs.
You get a finger-contoured housing that makes it easy to wear and keep these earbuds comfortably in the ear. There are four different sizes of ear tips to choose from. They fit universally for most people such that you will barely remember having them if you are walking in a busy street where chances of then being brushed out of your ears are high.
Since the ear tips fit snugly, they cancel out most of the noise to provide immersive listening with minimal directions. With its lovely, deep bass, you will be shaking your head and dancing to your favorite tunes as soon as they are well-fitted in the ears.
It is fun to listen to music using these earbuds because of their high-quality build and sound reproduction. They use an elliptical design that is crucial in helping to deal with tangled cables. You will be able to thread them through your clothes and use them in noisy environments like the commute or school corridors.
Sennheiser CX 3.00 is an obvious pick when looking for rich bass and overall excellent sound quality. It has an improved design with an elliptical cable that is tangle-free. With the well-fitting tips, they isolate lots of noise which allows use in busy places.
Guide to Buying the Best Cheap Earbuds
Sound quality makes all the difference when purchasing inexpensive earbuds.
Important features in your next Earbud Search
What application are you planning to use your Earphones?
You will want to understand your listening environment before making a choice. This is because earbuds are designed to cater to different demands. Say you want a model for the commute, recording music, travel, etc. Knowing their purpose will help isolate the necessary features.
Open vs. Closed Earbuds
Open earbuds allow audio to leak through the earpiece. This element is associated with natural sound reverb. With open earphones, the ambient noise is not blocked out which may bother some users. But if you need to remain aware of your environment, open earbuds are your best bet.
Closed earbuds, on the other hand, are as the name suggests, they have a closed back which is designed to isolate sound completely. They provide you with deep bass as the sound is reproduced inside the earpiece and transmitted to the ear directly. If you are recording music or need to concentrate without distractions, closed earbuds are the way to go.
An inbuilt mic is an excellent addition to any earbud even cheap ones. The mic allows you to respond to calls without touching your phone. If you are running or working out, you will not have to touch your phone with sweaty palms.
If you are buying earbuds for working out, you will need to check their water resistance rating. This is because some models are not designed to withstand any moisture entry as it can destroy their circuitry.
An IPX4 rating is the lowest rating for water resistance. These are earbuds that can withstand light moisture intake but not too much like direct water splashes and heavy rain. But with a higher rating like IPX7, it is incredible the moisture they can tolerate. From direct splashes to intense sweating, and rainwater, they are some of the most durable pieces for exercise.
Here you will want to look at the housing and quality of the cable. There is a thin line between durable plastic and thin metallic housing. This is because the small size of earphones causes them to be created from thick, sturdy plastic, that can equal the quality of thin metal.
Watch out for cables that keep on tangling since that is the number one cause of damaged earphones. The wires inside the cable tend to kink up and break resulting in loss of connection, such that the cable will not transmit sound.
We looked into the way earbuds fit earlier. Let’s delve more on this issue. Earbuds that tangle in a mess are annoying to untangle. Earbuds for exercise will want to be kept out of the way, so you don’t keep pulling them out of your ears when your hands are in motion.
That’s why Bluetooth technology earbuds are an excellent choice. Also, do not ignore the right size of ear tips since if you squeeze in large tips, your ears will hurt after a while and when they are too small, they keep falling out.
Also, if you can adjust the cable size, the better it will be when trying to keep it out of the way.
Although commonly ignored, a pouch is one of the best tools to have along with your earbuds. It keeps your earbuds tangle-free in your bag or pocket. This way, you don’t risk tangling them around things like keys, pens, and another pair of spare earphones or charging cable.
Drivers and Impedance
Drivers are responsible for reproducing sound. Size does not always matter in earbuds because they are almost always the same size. But bigger drivers are preferred for deep bass. On the cheap, we expect single-driver earbuds since they are cheap to produce.
We also expect low impedance that is below 60 ohms. This means they run on low power such as that produced by smartphones. If used on highly-amplified sound sources, they will likely blow out. Some even blow out when you turn the sound up all the way.
Earbuds are everywhere you look. For a shopper, it is downright intimidating trying to search through a maze of brands that all claim to be the best. That is where we step in. We have wet our feet in this industry to bring you nothing but tried and tested models.
These earbuds meet our standards in terms of sound quality, portability, durability, and functionality. Whether you want cheap wireless earbuds or are looking to acquire premium-quality designs, you are looking at the Best Cheap Earbuds.