In an ideal world, we would all love a set of headphones which serve-up premium audio with a luxury level of comfort, but when money is tight, and your hands are tied sometimes a budget model is all you can afford. So today for those of you shopping on a shoestring we have chosen the 10 best cheap headphones in 2020.
The over-saturated headphone market, with its highly-competitive nature and constant product development can actually be beneficial for bargain hunting, if you know how to spot the cream of the crop.
Table of Contents
- View The Best Cheap Headphones Below
- 1. AILIHEN MS300 Wired Headphones
- 2. Panasonic ErgoFit In-Ear Earbud Headphones
- 3. PALOVUE Earflow in-Ear Lightning Headphone
- 4. Betron ELR50 Earphones Earbuds Headphones
- 5. Ailihen I35 Stereo Lightweight Foldable Headphones
- 6. Symphonized NRG 3.0 Wood Earbuds
- 7. ROVKING Wired Metal Earbuds in Ear Headphones
- 8. Artix Foldable Headphones with Microphone
- 9. Panasonic Headphones On-Ear Lightweight
- 10. Marsno M2 Wired in Ear Headphones, Earbuds
- Cheap Headphones Buyers Guide
In the lower-regions models don't differ too heavily in terms of their driver arrays and capabilities, but there are a few which outshine the rest. We have rounded up a selection of different headphone styles, suitable for different purposes and as usual provided an informative buyers guide to help you discern what to look out for when buying a budget pair.
Related Review; Budget Noise Cancelling Headphones.
- Aesthetically appealing.
- Braided cable.
- Completely collapsible.
- Good stereo audio.
- Premium foam tips.
- Great drivers.
- Well-defined dynamic stereo sound.
View The Best Cheap Headphones Below
1. AILIHEN MS300 Wired Headphones
We are opening our reviews with an aesthetically pleasing pair of headphones from AILIHEN which are beautifully colored in a variety of unique shades, we particularly like the violet set.
They are well-manufactured and provide a sturdy lightweight headband which is fully adjustable thanks to its stretchable joints and can actually collapse completely as well. The folding arms appear very well-designed and strong enough to last and reduce the overall size by around 60% for a good travel-friendly solution.
The on-ear cups are sufficiently cushioned to keep them comfortable whilst listening and they are formed with breathable fabrics. They are closed back, isolating the listener from their environment for a personal audio experience.
The external materials chosen are scratch resistant and they feature a braided nylon cable which helps prevent tangling. It is equipped with a traditional 3.5mm jack for versatile applications.
The drivers are pretty decent for a low-priced option they employ neodymium and work sufficiently well, providing balanced stereo audio with strong punchy bass performance and good dynamics in the mix.
+ Aesthetically appealing.
+ Braided cable.
+ Completely collapsible.
+ Good stereo audio.
Why We Liked It - They are a trendy set of headphones, with a good range of adjustment which allows for smaller heads ideal for kids and teens as well as adults. Looking for bluetooth capabilities? Check out these cheap bluetooth headphones under $50.
2. Panasonic ErgoFit In-Ear Earbud Headphones
Our second selection is an old favorite; the ErgoFit in-ear model from Panasonic which serves up superb audio at an affordable price.
They are a wired set which has a generous length of cable (3.6 ft), they are well-designed and executed with ergonomics at the center of their concept for a comfortable fit. They come with 3 different slim-line tips to choose from, each made from the companies ultra-soft foam which shrinks and expands to conform to the individual's ear for a premium level of comfort.
The tiny 9mm speaker array is driven by neodymium magnets and despite their tiny size, they outperform the majority of typical 9mm ear-bud options out there.
They are well-engineered and the components utilized are great quality. They deliver high definition, dynamically balanced audio with bright highs and rich overall depth.
+ Premium foam tips.
+ Great drivers.
+ Well-defined dynamic stereo sound.
Why We Liked It - They are well-manufactured and blow the competition out of the water in terms of their audio capabilities. The comfort tips are very comfortable and they retail at an affordable price making them great value for money.
Related: Headphones Under $50.
3. PALOVUE Earflow in-Ear Lightning Headphone
Third in our sights is the Ear-flow model from Palovue, another in-ear, ear-bud choice, this time with an MFI-certified lightning connection in place of 3.5mm TRS to make them compatible with iPhones etc.
They are a well-made, wired set which incorporates magnetically attracted buds, allowing them to be worn about the neck when not in use. Not only is this convenient for travel, it actually helps prevent the wires from tangling during transit as well as acting as a safety feature should they slip from your ears for any reason they will catch one-another securing themselves.
They have a lightweight aluminum chassis which harbors very capable dynamic drivers which measure a little more in diameter than typical sets at 9.3mm. The size increase may seem pretty nominal but in actuality gives them an edge over a traditional 9mm set. They have a good cross-spectrum response and produce audio with good depth and balance.
They are equipped with a good microphone and in-line controls for easy operation.
+ Metallic chassis.
+ Dynamic drivers.
+ Magnetic catchment design.
Why We Liked It - They are a good example of an affordable magnetic necklace option which is an idyllic concept for those who listen during commutes.
4. Betron ELR50 Earphones Earbuds Headphones
Another great ear-bud alternative with great manufacturing quality and an appealing price is the ELR50 model from the engineers at Betron.
They are another durable metal-work option; they are sufficiently lightweight to maintain their position in the ears. They have been fashioned with sculpted air vents which optimizes their bass performance and also assists the treble response with much-needed cooling.
They come with 3 tips to choose from that each provides a secure but comfortable fit thanks to their clever designs.
Their drivers measure just 9mm which is an average in-ear size, they employ neodymium magnets to create their fields and have a very accurate response for a low-priced pair. The stereo audio delivered is powerful with good dynamics and fair balance.
+ Durable build.
+ Sculpted air vents.
+ Good response.
+ High sensitivity.
+ Good bass performance.
Why We Liked It - They have been very well-engineered for a budget set, the inclusion of a venting system really enhances the low-end performance and helps prevent wave cancellation and therefore reduces the risk of distortion. They can be turned up a fair amount and the bass is punchy without buzzing in your ears.
5. Ailihen I35 Stereo Lightweight Foldable Headphones
Next up a second offering from the folks at Ailihen, who produce some good quality audio electronic products with rock-bottom retail prices.
This set we have chosen as we are often asked about kid-friendly over-head options as large ear cups can be far too cumbersome for smaller listeners.
Electronically speaking, they are a smaller version of the set we began today's article with and they have all the same noteworthy capabilities with the exception of the collapsible design. Essentially they are a rigid sturdier version that can fold but not collapse. This allows it to withstand a little more wear and tear than the first with its moving parts which will become weakened over time and children do tend to fiddle with things to see how they function.
They are softly cushioned with premium earmuffs and the headband is padded too, they are incredibly lightweight and they feature a braided nylon safety cord like the first set. The flexibility of the material means that it can actually survive a bit of chewing, should your child have a naughty nibble whilst you aren't watching.
The audio is well-balanced and has low decibel levels to prevent little ears from being subjected to unsafe sound pressure levels and as they are aimed at a younger demographic they also come in 8 eye-catching color combinations.
+ Foldable for storage.
+ Softer ‘earmuff’ style cup-cushions.
+ Lower SPL.
+ Range of colors.
Why We Liked It - They seem pretty durably made, which is essential with a kids product, the braided nylon cord also adds longevity as well as safety to the product.
6. Symphonized NRG 3.0 Wood Earbuds
Next up we have a natural ear-bud option, which we first stumbled upon in early January. They present a beautifully crafted and somewhat unique solution. They are entirely handmade which makes it all the more surprising that they retail with such an inexpensive price-tag.
They are carved from wood and come in a range of wood tones with different stains but asides from their good looks the wood actually helps with their audio reproduction as it naturally dampens the unwanted reverberation which can cause audio wave cancellation. This makes all frequency response far clearer and prevents muddy mixes.
This is a very beneficial characteristic which passively prevents distortion and allows them to house better drivers.
They are open backed, which again is atypical for an in-ear option. This gives the audio a less synthesized sound and gives trebles the space to ring. It also provides ample air intake for the speakers to pump and produce waves from, whilst keeping the electronics cool at the same time. Another advantage is the wearer can be more aware of their surroundings which are safer for the built-up area.
They come with 3 custom-made, ergonomic ear tips to select the best fit for you and serve-up superior audio.
+ Wooden composition.
+ Open-back design.
+ HD audio.
Why We Liked It - TThey are beautifully engineered, acoustically inert and provide amazing audio.
7. ROVKING Wired Metal Earbuds in Ear Headphones
From a wonderful wooden set to a merit-worthy metallic one. This wired set from Rovking are another familiar face.
They are a cheap and cheerful wired in-ear option with a decent quality integrated microphone. They are suitably lightweight and durably made with a sturdy aluminum housing with a sandblasted finish.
The earbud tips are comfortable and made with a skin-friendly silicone and a range of tips are provided once again to find an idyllic fit.
They are noise isolating and immersive, they feature a standard 3.5m jack connection suitable for a range of devices, though you will need a lightning adapter for smartphones, etc.
They are neodymium driven and provide full-range stereo audio with a fair response, good dynamics and a nice equilibrium between the higher and lower frequencies registered. The bass has a good presence in the mix.
+ Lightweight but durable aluminum design.
+ Comfortable tips.
+ Low budget option.
Why We Liked It - They are well made with durable materials, they come in a range of color choices and are suitably comfortable. They serve up good audio for their low price-tag.
8. Artix Foldable Headphones with Microphone
Next we have a low-budget wired, fold-away set of headphones with an integrated mic. They are well-manufactured and the material choices keep them lightweight and inexpensive.
The folding parts seem durable enough, they are decked out with soft pillows around the rim of the ear-cup which provide the necessary comfort and help reduce sound pressure levels and over-heating during use.
The microphone is good quality and is operated via their easy to use in-line controls. They have a strong single-sided cord with a 3.5mm jack connection lead, compatible with the majority of devices.
The drivers work effortlessly to provide good quality stereo audio with a fair response. They deliver well- balanced sound with punchy bass.
+ Compact folding design.
+ Sufficiently cushioned ear-cups.
+ Single sided cord.
Why We Liked It - They are a well-manufactured bare-bones solution which can fold away for storage. They serve up good quality budget audio.
9. Panasonic Headphones On-Ear Lightweight
Back to the pro's at Panasonic this time for a dirt-cheap on-ear option which delivers their signature audio via a larger driver array than their in-ear ErgoFit model we have highlighted in today's article.
They are a well-made cheap-choice which still outperform many similarly capable sets and provide an essential item ideal for computer use as well as personal listening. Their on-ear nature means they are able to produce better audio than an earbud set but they are not quite as cumbersome as a large-aperture over-ear or overhead set.
They are very lightweight and are made form a flexible ABS plastic which keeps them relatively comfortable for short periods of use. They have a good range of adjustment and soft foam ear-pads.
Where they are most impressive is their open-air design with an integrated XBS port which enhances the bass response and allows their 30mm neodymium driven speakers to deliver powerful, rich stereo audio.
They have a generous 4.5 ft cord giving you a little more freedom when seated at a computer desk.
+ Cheap as chips.
+ Flexible, adjustable, ABS headband.
+ Open-air design with a bass reflex port for better low-end reproduction.
Why We Liked It - As cheap choices go they are incredibly well-put together the engineering assist the audio delivery optimally.
10. Marsno M2 Wired in Ear Headphones, Earbuds
The M2 model from Marsno is a new edition set which again presents an attractive option. They are manufactured skillfully with aluminum alloy enclosures and feature a well-conceived oblique angled design which keeps the ear fittings in an ergonomic position. This makes them far comfier to wear and better directs the audio to their listener.
The house very powerfully, recently-upgraded drivers which do a great job at frequency response delegation and reproduction. The audio is well-balanced with crisp highs, good mid-range definition, and deep bass.
They have easy access in-line remote control for easy operation and the cord has been updated to provide more flexibility and durability. The 3.5mm TRS (jack) connection has been gold plated for better connectivity.
+ Robust composition.
+ Powerful drivers.
+ Flexible Cord.
Why We Liked It - The angled earbud tips provide a more comfortable fit, the drivers are impressive for a low-budget set and they are made with durable materials.
Cheap Headphones Buyers Guide
One of the biggest pitfalls of shopping in the lower regions is spotting the better quality items from the cheap rubbish. Sometimes you have to do a little more research to know what to look for.
We do a lot of budgets allocated reviews here, with a candid approach, to help guide you through the jargon and understand the spec
unfortunately, many companies use misleading language when to trying to shift something sub-par and this can be confusing but there are some affordable models which outperform the rest and with a keen eye you can find the best of the bunch.
Of course, it is important to keep in mind that whilst there are good deals to be had you won't be getting anything premium quality without a substantial investment so expectations need to be kept realistic.
That said, so long as your tastes aren't too particular you will be surprised at just what your dollars can get you these days thanks to the constant evolution within the audio-electronics industry and a healthy dose of competition.
The headphone market, in particular, is pretty overstocked rendering it a real buyers market with many worthy bargains to be had.
The more advanced technology of higher-end products tends to trickle down to the lower-end eventually giving the customers a better deal, this is especially true for well-established reputable brands who have more resources at their fingertips.
What to Look for when Buying Cheap Headphones?
With low-priced pair quality really is the be all and end all, you don't want to find yourself replacing a poorly made set on a regular basis or you won't have saved yourself any money in the long run.
The materials chosen are often cheaper and lower quality to begin with, which is often unavoidable because slashing production costs in the early fabrication stages is a sure-fire way to provide a low-cost product for the customer. For better quality, you need often need to spend a little more, but the manufacturing can assist in the durability of the product.
If the product is well designed and put together then the materials used will fare far better. With earbud models in particular metals can be hardier than plastics.
On over-ear models, you should look for a sturdy headband design but with enough flexibility of cushioning to keep it comfortable. If it is a fold-away set then the moving parts need to be well-designed or they will actually become a weak-point on the product and will eventually succumb to wear and tear and unfortunately break on you.
We have reviewed a range of styled sets in today's article to provide a variety of cheap headphone options, which to choose is down to your intended use at the end of the day and we have written many buyers guides which go to great lengths to help explain the benefits of each headphone style.
The manufacturing quality and components as stated are paramount to the longevity of the product but the second factor which is vital is, of course, the audio quality itself, after all, headphones are for listening.
The audio reproduced relies heavily on the internal components the quality and manufacturing of which, once again determines the capabilities.
To generalize a larger driver will perform far better than a smaller one, so a cheap over-ear headphone will therefore technically sound better than a cheap in-ear model by comparison.
In the low-budget region most arrays will utilize neodymium and they all function in the same manner but just how well is down to their circuitry and how they process their input signals.
This is largely down to their engineering, it may sound strange but matching sized diaphragms manufactured with the same components can play the same audio with a very different output.
When a headphone receives an electronic signal its magnetic field is disturbed, they discern the signal in accordance with their frequency response and how accurately they are trained to interpret it.
Headphones can struggle with low-end frequencies as reproducing bass accurately requires a bit more of a surface area to reverberate. If you value your bass experience you should look for a set which has been optimized to handle lower frequencies better.
Comfort is important no matter the style of headphones you select and whilst the material choices might be a little more limited you should try to opt for the best your cash can get.
Over-ear models must be sufficiently cushioned to provide a comfortable fit, ideally with something breathable so that your ears don't over-heat during prolonged use. The band should be adjustable and ideally, the earcups should be swivel-mounted as well.
In-ear models need to have an ergonomic earbud tip made from something skin-friendly and suitably flexible or soft so that they aren't damaging in any way to your ear canals. It is always desirable to buy a model which comes with a selection of tips to choose the best fit for the individual.
Finding a set of affordable headphones shouldn't be too difficult because there are a plethora of low-priced products to tempt you in.
Sometimes you have to settle for less when it comes to the quality but with our buyers guide info in hand, you should be able to spot a decent set whatever your needs.
So long as you have your priorities in check finding a bargain should be relatively simple.
As ever we believe our reviews represent some of the better deals out there and we trust this weeks guide will help you get your hands on a cheap pair of headphones that won't disappoint.
If you premium tastes and less cash to splash we recommend you go for an over-ear set with large-aperture drivers which can capably deliver better audio if their larger size bothers you try to find a robust folding set as they store away and are far more portable to take out and about with you.
Did you Know
We have a range of low-priced headphone article archived for you to peruse, why not take a look at our other articles or for something a bit more specific you might be interested in our Best Headphones Under $30 article instead.
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