Finding the Best Headphones Under $50

Last Edited: October 15, 2017 by

On a low budget? Our under $50 headphone guide may have a headphone most suited to your needs.

Not everyone is as critical as an audiophile when it comes to audio quality. Improvements in technology have led to the production of affordable headphones for the everyday, casual listener. The most common headphone types have been looked at in this guide: in-ear headphones, on-ear headphones and over-ear headphones. While it would be great to have included noise-cancelling headphones in this guide, they do tend to be pricier, but check out our Finding the Best Noise Cancelling Headphones if you are looking for something more specific.

Top Picks >> Best In-Ear Headphones Under $50 >>Best Over-Ear Headphones Under $50 >>Best On-Ear Headphones Under $50 >>

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Top Picks

Panasonic RP-HJE120-K

Panasonic RP-HJE120-K headphones

The 31k plus reviews clearly shows that the best selling Panasonic RP-HJE120-K is an incredibly popular in-ear headphone. They deliver a clean sound at an unbelievably low price, but some did find that they slightly lacked bass. The lack of bass could apparently be attributed the earbuds not being fitted properly to one’s ears, with one user pointing out that putting them in properly made the audio significantly clearer and bassier, along with drastically increasing the sound isolation. Those less enthusiastic about excess bass were happy with the sound these delivered. Their ErgoFit design delivers incredible comfort, allowing the eartips to conform to the shape of your ears, and they come with three different sized eartips to suit everyone’s ears. They are said to have great noise isolation, with one user suggesting it blocked out the sound of a jackhammer outside of his office window. The eight different colors will suit most people’s tastes and the 3.6-ft cord is definitely long enough for even the tallest individuals. The Panasonic RP-HJE120-K in-ear headphone is definitely a great headphone and incredibly well priced for the performance that it offers.

Pros

  • Excellent price
  • Great sound
  • Very comfortable
  • Durable

Cons

  • May lack some bass

Summary

The Panasonic RP-HJE120-K earbud headphones are a great purchase, delivering great sound at a great price. They may lack some bass, but that is subjective and could be due to users not wearing them properly.

Panasonic RP-HJE120-K
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from Amazon.com
(as of 07-04-2017 07:22 UTC) Details

Edifier H650

The sturdy looking Edifier H650 on-ear headphones comes in a variety of colors and are suitable for both adults and kids. They have leather ear cup covers, which is a nice touch. Some found that the headphones can be uncomfortable because they clamp down too hard, even with the adjustable headband shifted to max. The earcups house 40mm neodymium magnet driver that are capable of reproducing decent audio quality for the everyday, casual layman listener. As mentioned above, they have a sturdy design according to user reports, with some suggesting they are able to withstand rough handling. According to the Amazon.com product, page, they are “flexible with reinforced stainless steel headband”. The 12-month manufacturer warranty should cover any potential issues you may have with the H650. They fold in half for portability, but do not come with a carrying case, which could have been a nice addition. The Edifier H650 is a solid and sturdy looking headphone with decent audio, but it may be too uncomfortable for users with larger heads.

Pros

  • Decent audio quality
  • Lightweight
  • Sturdy looking
  • Foldable
  • Soft leather earcups

Cons

  • May be too tight for some

Summary

The Edifier H650 is sturdy looking and the layman listener should find the audio reproduction decent, but they may clamp down too hard for some users.

Edifier H650
$28.83
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from NewEgg
(as of 14-05-2017 12:50 UTC) Details

Photive BTH3

The Photive BTH3 are wireless over-ear headphones that have a rather appealing design. The earcups house 40mm drivers that are said to push out fairly decent sound quality and their Bluetooth range is said to be pretty solid with reports stating that they are able to maintain a solid connection. They come with 3.5mm aux cable which can be used in case the battery dies (which usually last around 12 hours according to user reports). They have on board controls for changing music or volume and they do have a built-in mic for making and taking calls. Some though their durability was poor, finding that they either stopped working after a couple of months of use, or that various parts of the plastic framework would break. This was limited to the negative reviews on Amazon.com, however, as others did not have issues relating to their durability. Their frequency range ranges from 20Hz to 20,000Hz and they are said to be comfortable. The Photive BTH3 may suffer from some durability issues, but it delivers a decent sound at a reasonable price and are comfortable overall.

Pros

  • Strong Bluetooth connection
  • Decent sound
  • Comfortable
  • Decent noise cancellation
  • Good battery life

Cons

  • Durability issues

Summary

The Photive BTH3 wireless over-ear headphone reportedly has durability issues, but it does offer decent audio playback, decent noise cancellation, a strong Bluetooth connection and comfort.

Photive BTH3
$99.95
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from Amazon.com
(as of 21-11-2017 11:55 UTC) Details

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Best In-Ear Headphones Under $50

The convenience of in-ear headphones is the greatest aspect of these unobtrusive, discreet earphones. They easily slip into pockets and bags and are great travel companions due to their lightweight and small design and their audio quality is comparable to that of their more stout counterparts. The snug fitting in-ear design isolates you from the outside world, offering an intimate listening experience. If you are sports enthusiast, perhaps our Finding the Best Workout Headphones guide could assist you in selecting an earphone suited to your specific needs.

The Sony MDRXB50AP

Sony MDRXB50AP headphone

The Sony MDRXB50AP is another reliable earbud-type headphone from Sony. Many who own a pair of these enjoy their sound quality, surprised that headphones in this price range can deliver audio quality that matches those with higher price tags. They pack two neodymium magnets that are capable of producing a solid low end. The bass is even more present thanks to the sound isolating effects that these offer. But, some found the fit to be slightly uncomfortable after longer periods of use. The earbuds themselves are hybrid silicone and there are three different sizes included, so it may be necessary to interchange between them to find the right size for your ears. It comes with a carrying case and the 1.2m cord is tangle free, saving you the hassle of constantly dealing with knotted cords, which really be a painstaking activity when you are in a rush. The overall frequency response spans 4 – 25,000 Hz, and it comes with an omnidirectional microphone and inline controller for taking calls and listening to music. The Sony MDRXB50AP may be slightly uncomfortable for some, but it delivers in every other aspect, making it a well priced in-ear headphone.

Pros

  • Good sound quality
  • Great price
  • Good mic
  • Functional
  • Good sound isolation

Cons

  • Uncomfortable for some

Summary

Some may find that the Sony MDRXB50AP causes some discomfort when worn, but its audio quality and sound isolation is solid.

Sony MDRXB50AP
$39.99
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from BHPhotoVideo
(as of 07-04-2017 07:34 UTC) Details

Sennheiser CX 300 II

Sennheiser CX 300 II headphone

The Sennhiser CX 300 II has a rather warm sound signature according to some users, with the bass frequencies slightly emphasized. The bass may be a tad too much for some, but most users liked the extra thump in the low end. The impedance rating of 16 ohms allows for them to be used with mobile phones and music players and the cord’s length of 1.2m make them ideal for even the tallest of people. However, the L-shaped jack may not be the most practical when your playback device is in your pocket. They come with three eartips that can be changed out to match the size of your ear canal. A proper fit will also ensure that external noise is blocked out sufficiently and that your sound doesn’t bleed out. The frequency response ranges from 42 – 17,000 Hz and they have a sound pressure level of 113dB. The cables are asymmetrical, so instead of a traditional Y-type cable, they are in a J-arrangement. This apparently reduces cable clutter and tangling. The Sennheiser CX 300 II may be a bit too bassy for some, but many do enjoy the warmer sound that they offer.

Pros

  • Strong bass
  • Decent overall sound quality
  • Comfortable

Cons

  • May be too bassy for some
  • L-shaped jack

Summary

The L-shaped jack may be impractical for some and the bass a tad too much, but the Sennheiser CX 300 II delivers a pleasing warm overall sound.

Sennheiser CX 300 II
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from Amazon.com
(as of 07-04-2017 07:35 UTC) Details

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Best Over-Ear Headphones Under $50

Over-ear headphones (or supra-aural headphones) tend to be a bit bulkier, but are usually more comfortable than on-ear and in-ear headphones. Over-ear headphones have decent sound isolation thanks to the large, ear engulfing earcups that are usually generously padded, but this does generally vary from model to model, with the open-back over-ear headphones not offering much noise-isolation at all. However, the headphones listed in this section are closed-back, as open-back headphones tend to be a bit pricier. Check out our Finding the Best Studio Headphones guides for various other over-ear headphones that offer studio quality audio.

Koss UR-20 

The Koss UR-20 are closed-back over-ear headphones that offer audio quality suitable for casual multimedia purposes. The leatherette earcups are generously padded according to most reports, but adjusting the size of the headband has proven to be quite tricky for some, as the adjustments never seem to hold. The UR-20 offers a decent amount of noise isolation and are suited for noisier environments. They have a frequency range of 30Hz- 20,000Hz and an 8.33-foot single entry cable, which ends in a ⅛-inch plug. Some did think that they were a tad bulky, which is not an unusual characteristic of over-ear headphones, as they do need to cover the entire ear. RTINGS.com has pointed out that they do feel slightly cheap because of their plastic design, but they do seem to be rather durable, as there were not very many reports of breakages. For around $15, the Koss UR-20 is not going to give you audio quality that compares to $100 plus headphones, but are cheap and comfortable for casual listening purposes.

Pros

  • Good for non-critical listening
  • Decent sound isolation
  • Comfortable

Cons

  • Size adjustment keeps shifting
  • Bulky

Summary

Koss UR-20 are great for non-critical listening application thanks to their comfort and decent audio quality, but some may find them as too bulky.

Koss UR-20
$14.51
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from Amazon.com
(as of 20-11-2017 23:17 UTC) Details

Sennheiser HD 201

Sennheiser-HD-201-Sennheiser headphone

The inexpensive Sennheiser HD 201 headphones deliver a decent overall sound according to most user reports. The bass response is said to be a little thin and some did find that they are slightly bright, with one user noticing a lot of sibilance with female voice ranges. Users found them to be very comfortable and lightweight and the 9.8-foot cord is long enough for most purposes. They have quite a low volume sensitivity, meaning they don’t go as loud as one would hope and are apparently quite difficult to push up to their maximum volume. There were many conflicting reports on their sound isolation. Many users thought they had very little sound isolation for closed-back headphones, while others said they kept ambient noise out very well. The Sennheiser HD 201 headphones offer a decent overall sound. It is not studio quality, but for the price, they offer better sound than most headphones in their price range.

Pros

  • Well priced
  • Decent sound
  • Comfortable
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • May be too bright for some
  • May lack bass
  • Difficult to push to loudest volume

Summary

The Sennheiser HD 201 is a decent budget headphone that delivers decent sound, but may be too bright for some and may not offer much noise isolation.

Sennheiser HD 201
$20.99
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from BHPhotoVideo
(as of 14-05-2017 11:29 UTC) Details

Sennheiser-HD-202-II-over-ear-headphones

Sennheiser HD 202 II

The Sennheiser HD 202 II is featured in our best over-ear headphones and is a widely used budget Sennheiser headphone that is said to deliver a decent overall sound reproduction for multimedia use. There were some reports that the low end could be slightly boosted, but this was mostly from those looking for bassy headphones. Their frequency response ranges from 18 Hz to around 18,000 Hz, cutting off those really low notes and some of the brightness that one notices in more expensive headphones. While most found them rather comfortable and lightweight to wear, others found that their durability is not that great and the cable is said to be rather thin. The thin cable hinders its portability somewhat, but many found them to be very portable regardless of this fact. They are said to be okay when in it comes to comfort, with suggestions that there was definitely room for improvement. Their cable is 3 meters long and is made from highly conductive oxygen-free copper, it comes with a windup belt, making them all the more portable. All-in-all, the Sennheiser HD 202 II over-ear headphones are solid entry level headphones with decent audio quality, but they may be rather uncomfortable for some.

Pros

  • Excellent value for money
  • Long cable with wind-up belt
  • Decent sound
  • Two-year warranty

Cons

  • Can be uncomfortable
  • Questionable durability

Summary

The Sennheiser HD 202 II offer a great sound for the price range at the expense of comfort and durability.

Sennheiser HD 202 II
$24.50
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from BHPhotovideo
(as of 07-05-2017 10:46 UTC) Details

Behringer HPM1000

The Behringer HPM1000 are budget-friendly over-ear headphones that have received a fair amount of praise for their value for money performance. Some found that they are a tad muddy, but less critical ears thought that the sound was fine for all forms of media. They have a single-sided cable that ends in a 1/8 connecter and come with an included ¼-inch adapter. Their low frequency goes down to 20Hz and the high frequency up 20,000Hz, meaning that they have a wide frequency response, giving you a better overall listening experience. They are well padded around the earcups, but their build quality seemed a tad cheap to some users, with some breakages being reported. With an impedance of around 32 ohms, they will work on mobile phones and various other portable music players. The 6-foot cable should be long enough for most uses. The Behringer HPM1000 is by no means a beast in terms of audio quality, but at around $10, you will be getting decent audio quality without breaking the bank.

Pros

  • Decent overall quality to less critical ears
  • Great value for the money
  • Comfortable

Cons

  • Cheap build quality
  • May sound muddy to critical ears

Summary

The Behringer HPM1000’s provides decent audio quality for those one a low budget, but the sound quality is average at best.

Behringer HPM1000
$9.99
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from BHPhotoVideo
(as of 14-05-2017 11:40 UTC) Details

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Best On-Ear Headphones Under $50

Offering a bit more breathability than their larger counterparts, the over-ear headphones, on-ear headphones sit snugly on the ears and are a bit more portable than the larger over-ear headphones. They are easy to remove, light and are often times preferred by travelers or commuters for these reasons. However, they aren’t generally great at isolating sound due to their on-ear design. Sound leakage is also a lot more apparent with these types of headphones, as they do not seal the sound in like in-ear and over-ear headphones do. But, this also means that more of the surrounding environmental sounds comes in, producing a more natural listening experience.

AmazonBasics Lightweight On-Ear Headphones

AmazonBasics Lightweight headphone

The AmazonBasics Lightweight on-ear headphones have been compared to the Beats headphones in terms of audio quality, therefore suggesting that they are bass and mid focused in terms of sound; and therefore more suited to bassier genres. RTINGS.COM have pointed out that they are slightly hyped in the bass regions, but the lower bass seems to be well reproduced. Furthermore, RTINGS.COM do point out that their noise-isolation is rather poor and therefore are less suitable for commuting purposes. Amazon.com customers with smaller heads found that these are comfortable overall, but customers with XL cap sizes found them too tight. The headphones are made from plastic and suffer from durability issues according to some reports, with various parts of the frame breaking after heavy use. The frequency range is 12Hz- 22,000Hz and they have 1.2-meter cord that ends in an L-shaped 3.55 plug, allowing you to connect to various portable audio sources. They are designed with portability in mind, folding flat for compact storage purposes. Weighing in at 3.7 ounces, meaning they are very light and should sit almost unnoticed on your head. The AmazonBasics Lightweight on-ear headphones offer good sound, with solid reproduction of the low and mid frequencies, but they are more suited to average sized heads as they sit quite tightly on larger heads.

Pros

  • Good low and mid frequency reproduction
  • Comfortable for medium sized heads and below
  • Great value
  • Decent look

Cons

  • Clamps down hard on larger heads
  • Durability issues

Summary

The AmazonBasics Lightweight on-ear headphones reproduce audio well in the low and mid frequencies, but they clamp down hard on larger head sizes.

AmazonBasics Lightweight
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from Amazon.com
(as of 14-05-2017 12:49 UTC) Details

Sony MDRZX110 ZX

The Sony MDRZX110 ZX has been described as having a fuller sound, suggesting a bassier sound. Some did find that it lacks some clarity, possibly due to the underemphasized mid and high frequencies, but the general consensus of the Amazon.com reviewers is that at this price point, the MDRZX110 ZX drives out a fairly unbeatable sound. The earcups house 30mm drivers and they are an on ear-design that is supposedly comfortable for most, with one user finding that they even sit comfortably with glasses. The 1.2m Y-shaped cord is tangle-free, which users thought is convenient, although some did find that it is seemingly flimsy feeling. They have a 12Hz–22,000 Hz frequency range and have a swivel design for portability. They do not come with a carrying case, however. The inline remote offers you controls at your fingertips and the built-in mic has been described as clear, offering you the convenience of hands-free calls. At this price point, the Sony delivers a great sound.

Pros

  • Comfort
  • Full sound
  • Good bass
  • Decent microphone
  • le free cable

Cons

  • Mids and high slightly underemphasized
  • Cable seemingly flimsy

Summary

The budget Sony MDZX110 ZX has a full sound and a good bass response, but the mids and highs may be slightly underemphasized.

Sony MDRZX110 ZX
$11.47
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from Walmart
(as of 14-05-2017 11:45 UTC) Details

JVC HAS160B FLATS

CNET.com have described the JVC HAS160B FLATS as “…on-ear headphones that sound surprisingly good for sub-$15 headphones.” Amazon.com reviewers thought the same, finding that their 30mm neodymium drivers push out good audio quality for the price and that the headphones are lightweight when worn. They are on-ear phones that are said to be comfortable for shorter periods of use; however, some did find that after a while they did get a bit uncomfortable. They are said to have durability issues, with parts breaking after rough or heavy use. They do have a stylish design and come in multiple colors for those who are wanting a color that matches their playback device. Their foldable design for storing make them ideal for travellers looking to take their headphones with them. Their cable is four feet long and they have an iPhone compatible plug for iPhone users. The JVC HAS160B FLATS is stylish, but apparently quite fragile and their audio quality should impress most users.

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Stylish
  • Comfortable over short periods
  • Good sound for price

Cons

  • Durability issues
  • May hurt some ears after long periods of use

Summary

The stylish, yet frail looking JVC HAS160B FLATS delivers great sound, but their lightweight build quality does seem to mean that it has some issues with durability.

JVC HAS160B FLATS
$10.38
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from Walmart
(as of 14-05-2017 11:48 UTC) Details

Koss KTXPRO

The Koss KTXPRO1 has received some praise from Steve Guttenberg over at CNET.com for its good sound; finding that the KTXPRO1 has a “fairly smooth bass-midrange balance”, but he goes onto suggest that the treble is a little soft. Users have described these on-ear, retro looking headphones as comfortable because of the soft foam ear cushions, coupled with the fact that they do not clamp down hard thanks to the stretchy blue headband. The headphones reportedly have a rather cheap design, as a few people found that they broke if handled in a rough manner. These are not heavy duty phones and they seem to have a rather “short lifespan”, as one user suggested. However, at this price, they are easily replaceable. Their inline remote control offers you easy volume control and their 4-foot cord ends in a 3.5mm plug, coming with a 6.3mm adapter. The on-ear Koss KTXPRO1 60-ohm headphones have received praise from Guttenberg for their audio quality and comfort, and in our books this is quite a significant achievement for sub- $20 headphones.

Pros

  • Good audio quality
  • Comfortable for extended periods of use
  • Inline remote control

Cons

  • Durability issues

Summary

The Koss KTXPRO1 on-ear headphones have good quality audio and are comfortable, but their reported durability issues are of some concern.

Koss KTXPRO1
$13.98
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from Walmart
(as of 14-05-2017 12:07 UTC) Details

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