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Best Overall: Audio-Technica ATH-M20x at Amazon
"These headphones give quality sound at a reasonable price point."
Best Reference Headphones: Tascam TH-02 at Amazon
"They include snap-on adapters so you can work with any device."
Best Adjustable: Koss Porta Pro at Amazon
"Say goodbye to too-tight fits and uncomfortable ear cushions."
Best Bluetooth: Mpow 059 Bluetooth Headphones at Amazon
"With a battery that can last up to 20 hours, you’ll be sure to have uninterrupted listening."
Best Style: JLab Audio Studio ICON at Amazon
"They fold up perfectly to take up as little space as possible."
Best Earbuds: Anker SoundBuds Slim Wireless at Amazon
"These earbuds have a simple cord that can sit around your neck and keep from getting in the way."
Best for Gaming: Creative Sound Blaster Jam at Amazon
"With the quality Neodymium drivers, you’ll get a clean, crisp sound to hear everything your game throws at you."
Best Microphone: Plantronics BackBeat GO 600 at Amazon
"Designed with noise-isolating earcups you’ll get a fit that’s comfortable and a deep, rich sound."
Best Sound Quality: JBL T450BT at Amazon
"With 32mm drivers, you’ll be hit with amazing and powerful bass that you can only normally experience at live events."
Best Battery life: Skullcandy Riff Wireless at Amazon
"They're easy to connect and will keep you listening for up to 12 hours."
There are plenty of headphones that can cost a pretty penny, but for those of us on a budget, this is our comprehensive list of the best cheap headphones. Because cheap can often be a subjective term, we've gathered the best headphones for under $50.
These headphones bring together the best sound and quality of life features without breaking the bank. However, if you're looking to truly elevate your listening experience, we recommend checking out our ultimate headphones buying guide for more information.
Courtesy of BH Photo and Video
Circumaural design for sound isolation
Tuned for enhanced low-frequency
Includes plug adapter
Not ideal for long-time use
Ear cushions can become stiff after constant use
Just because you may be limited on price, doesn’t mean you still can’t have a perfect option when it comes to your headphones. When you need a pair that will provide superb quality sound that fits right, the Audio-Technica ATH-M20x is the way to go. Whether you’re just listening to your favorite playlist or planning to do some audio work, the ATH-M20x will make sure you’re hearing everything you want and blocking out everything else around you. With their circumaural design, they’ll provide you with excellent sound isolation so you can focus on what you want and they’re designed specifically for audio and sound engineering—so you know you’ll get a clear, smooth sound that allows you to hear every note and every tone. They’re even tuned for enhanced low-frequency performance.
You’ll be enjoying smooth, rich sounds with these over-the-ear headphones, and you’ll be able to use them with any device, thanks to the convenient plug adapter. Made for professionals but perfect for everyone, the ATH-M20x is an affordable choice for high-quality listening.
Clear, clean sound
Long cord for great reach
Comfortable fit for hours of listening
Not as durable as other models
Cable is easy to damage
When it comes to audio engineering, it’s crucial that you’re getting the best quality sound that allows you to hear every piece of the mix. The Tascam TH-02 are headphones that are ready to work for you and ensure you hear every level of sound. These headphones guarantee a clean sound, rich bass response, and clear sound—perfect for working on audio of any kind. Designed to last for hours of listening, you’ll find the ear pads comfortable and secure without sacrificing listening quality.
The TH-02 are perfect for travel too with their collapsible design, you’ll have no problems packing them up for every job. Plus, they include snap-on adapters so you can work with any device.
Delivers excellent sound quality
Comfortable and secure fit
Cushions with pads don't get too hot or uncomfortable
Open back design makes it easy for sound to leak out
Can experience a lack of bass in some electronic or rap style music
Whether you’re listening for work or pleasure, it’s important to have a pair of headphones that fit and works with you. The Koss Porta Pro delivers not only clean, clear sound but they’re completely adjustable and ready to move as you do. The Koss Porta Pro delivers a smooth, deep bass and remarkably wide frequency response thanks to its oxygen-free copper voice coils. While they aren’t ideal for noise-canceling, you’ll still find the sound quality excellent and clear to keep your attention focused but still aware of your surroundings.
Easy to collapse and adjust, these headphones are perfect for travel of all kinds and have settings that allow for hours of comfort. Say goodbye to too-tight fits and uncomfortable ear cushions thanks to the adjustable and stylish Koss Porta Pro headphones.
Comfortable fit and cushions
Can experience lag
Lacks deep bass
Ear pads can get hot after long-term listening
When you’re rocking that sweet air guitar or hitting those invisible drums, the last thing you want to worry about is getting caught in the cord. But there’s always worry that Bluetooth headphones will be unreliable or less effective. Thankfully, the Mpow 059 Bluetooth headphones are here to put your worries at ease. Designed for comfort, smooth sound, and hours of listening, these headphones are perfect for all your cordless listening needs. Still need to wire into a device that doesn’t have Bluetooth? No problem, they also come with a back-up cord for just those situations. The 40mm neodymium driver, CSR chip, and the around-ear cushion design allow for noise isolation and deliver your music in clear, high-quality sound.
With a battery that can last up to 20 hours, you’ll be sure to have uninterrupted listening. Plus, with the memory-protein ear cushions, you won’t be experiencing discomfort during those hours of listening. A great design, long-lasting battery, and simple connectivity make the Mpow 059 headphones the ideal Bluetooth option.
Stylish and comfortable for long-time listening
13-hour battery for Bluetooth
Easy to fold up and take on the go
Can experience issues with connectivity
Not only should your headphones give you high-quality sound and fit comfortably, but they should also look good. For a pair that works great and looks even better, the JLab Audio Studio ICON headphones are exactly what you need. Using quality materials, the look and feel of the ICON headphones can’t be matched. And the moment you put them on, the light and airy feel will make you forget they’re even there. Made with ultra-plush faux leather and cloud foam cushions, the feel is as amazing as the look. Plus, the Bluetooth compatibility will give you 13 hours of battery life to listen without the restriction of the cord. Designed to give you full control, you’ll be able to adjust the volume, play and pause, skip or go back, with the quick click track control.
Whether you plan to listen at home or on the go, these headphones are easy to pack up and take with you. They fold up perfectly to take up as little space as possible. Guaranteed to provide excellent sound and extra bass, these headphones will be your new favorite pair.
Waterproof to protect against rain and sweat
10-hour lifespan after just one charge
Long-range for Bluetooth connectivity
Lower sound quality compared to over-the-ear
Not ideal for high-intensity sports
Lack of durability
If over-the-ear headphones aren’t your preference but you still want excellent sound quality, the Anker SoundBuds are here for you. These precision-engineered earbuds offer powerful, clear audio with 6mm drivers. Designed to fit snugly in your ear, you’ll be enjoying clear sound as you’re out on the go or even in the comfort of your own home. Bluetooth compatible, these earbuds offer up to 10 hours of listening time on a single charge; perfect for those long days or trips. With the Bluetooth 5, you’ll be ensured a connection range of up to 33ft. Plus, with their waterproof design, you won’t have to worry about damage from rainy weather or sweat when you take them to the gym. The Anker SoundBuds are ready for whatever situation you throw at them.
Get complete control with the hands-free capability and built-in microphone and accessories to ensure the earbuds fit you and your comfort level. And even better? No long cords to tangle and catch, these earbuds have a simple cord that can sit around your neck and keep from getting in the way.
Comfortable and lightweight
Easy to use controls
Up to 12 hours of battery life
Not as loud compared to other models
Reception can be spotty depending on the environment
Take your gaming experience to the next level with a pair of headphones that deliver style, comfort, and quality sound while you take on the final boss. The Creative Sound Blaster Jam headphones are perfect for gamers who want to immerse themselves completely without the worry of discomfort or unenjoyable sound. Designed to be ultra-light, the moment you put these on, you’ll forget they’re there. Thick foam ear cushions provide comfort for long hours of listening coupled with the promise of up to 12 hours of uninterrupted listening thanks to the powerful battery. And with Bluetooth 4.1 and Near Field Communication (NFC) technology, you can connect easily without the hassle of wires and cables. Plus, with the quality Neodymium drivers, you’ll get a clean, crisp sound to hear everything your game throws at you.
This pair of headphones also comes equipped with a headphone which makes it even easier to keep up communication with your raid group. Additionally, you can control your bass enhancement with just the click of a button, giving you the deep sound you’re looking for. These headphones are definitely ideal for immersing yourself in the game and playing uninterrupted for hours on end.
Up to 18 hours of use on a single charge
Can have up to 33ft of distance from devices
Lasts up to 20 days on standby
Noise isolation isn’t as strong
Mobile sound quality isn’t the best
When it comes to a pair of headphones with a working, hassle-free microphone, the Plantronics BackBeat GO 600 are hard to beat. Why deal with the mess of a headset when you can get a comfortable pair of headphones that will serve your purpose and more? The Plantronics promises up to 18 hours of uninterrupted use on just a single charge, which is perfect for those days you’ve got back to back conference calls. They can even last up to 20 days on standby—for when you finally go on that well-deserved vacation. And you can pace around the room or walk away from your device without worrying that your connection will be lost or interrupted thanks to the 33ft allowance of the Bluetooth.
Designed with noise-isolating earcups you’ll get a fit that’s comfortable and a deep, rich sound. Plus, with the built-in microphone, you can speak clearly without the worry of interference or being unheard on the other end. They’ll keep you in the call and delivering your peace without the fuss of a separate attachment.
Powerful bass reproducing sound quality
Lightweight and compact
Up to 11 hours of use on a single charge
Sound quality isn’t as strong for mobile calls
If your headphones can’t deliver quality sound, then what’s the point? When you’re looking for the best quality sound at a price that won’t break the bank, it’s time to look at the JBL T450BT. A simple design and affordable price, these headphones give you the smooth, clear sound you want without any unnecessary bells and whistles. With 32mm drivers, you’ll be hit with amazing and powerful bass that you can only normally experience at live events. These Bluetooth compatible headphones also promise up to 11 hours of uninterrupted listening on a single charge.
Designed with comfortable and lightweight materials, you’ll have no problem keeping these headphones on for hours of listening without the worry of discomfort. Plus, you can control your music and calls from the headphones, hassle-free. Take them wherever you go thanks to the collapsable and foldable design so you can get excellent sound no matter where you are.
Up to 12 hours with quick charging capability
Stylish and durable
Great for listening and making calls
Sound volume tends to be lower than other models
Not as comfortable for larger sizes
Initial set up can take a longer time than anticipated
When you’re looking for a pair of headphones to keep up with hours of uninterrupted listening and have a quick charge, it’s time to look at the Skullcandy Riff Wireless headphones. Known for its affordable price and stylish designs, Skullcandy also offers wireless headphones that are easy to connect and will keep you listening for up to 12 hours. Not only that, but you can charge these headphones quickly with just a ten-minute charge giving you up to 2 hours of listening time. Plus, they’re compatible with tons of Bluetooth capable devices.
Go from listening to music to making phone calls in no time while still maintaining quality sound. Complete with a built-in microphone and all the controls you need, these headphones provide convenience and comfort.
"Something to look out for, especially with cheaper headphones is the manufacturer's warranty. There was a good 3-year stretch where I didn't pay for new Skullcandy headphones because of their generous warranty." — Alice Newcome-Beill, Associate Commerce Editor
For an excellent value, the Audio-Technica ATH-M20x brings together superior quality sound without breaking the bank. However, if you need to cut the cord, the JBL T450BT are a solid pick for Bluetooth connectivity.
Alice Newcome-Beill owns more pairs of headphones than she'd care to admit, and can never settle on a single pair for more than a week. Her ideal everyday headphones are the Jabra Elite 75t.
Price - If you're looking at headphones but you're on a budget, the price tag is likely going to be your most immediate concern. Thankfully, the headphones on this list fall well below the $50 mark.
Connectivity - Because of the ubiquity of Bluetooth, the majority of these headphones are wireless, however, some still require a 3.5mm audio jack.
Sound - Unless you're a devout audiophile, it's going to be extremely difficult to tell the difference between a $40 pair and $400 pair of headphones. There are plenty of headphones that fall below the $50 mark that still provide quality highs and lows, as well as plenty of handy quality-of-life features.