The 10 Best Headphones to Buy in 2018 for Under $50

Find the best wireless, sound quality and exercise headphones for less than $50

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Headphones don't need to be a pricey purchase. And going for the cheaper option doesn’t mean you need to accept tinny audio and a wimpy bass. But finding the best headphones on a budget can be tricky because there are a lot of bad ones you have to weed out. Luckily, we’ve done all the hard work for you. So whether you're looking for a pair that is great to use while exercising or you want to tune out the crying baby on your flight, these top headphones under $50 will do the trick.

Best Overall: Tesson T890 Wireless Bluetooth Earbuds

Our pick for best overall headphones under $50 are the Tesson T890 Bluetooth earbuds, which are built for exercise, but also good for just about anything else you’d want to do while listening to music, podcasts or audiobooks. On the outside, you’ll notice the earbuds are small enough to fit into any ear, and the buds are magnetic, so they can fit together easily for storing in your bag. On the inside, the T890 earbuds are built with the latest technology that brings out good sound quality and noise cancellation. The only downside is that these only last five hours through continuous play, but they do last 200 hours on standby, so we could feasibly image you would be fine if you charge them every other day.

Best for Sound Quality: Ausdom Wireless Headphones

Name-brand audio companies like Bose and Sennheiser have spent a lot of marketing dollars to make sure consumers associate their brand with high fidelity sound quality. And while these companies do make impressive products, the price is usually passed on at checkout. But with imports available to U.S. consumers via online marketplaces, obscure companies like Ausdom are offering High Fidelity headphones for a fraction of the price of established competitors.

This over-ear headphone from Ausdom works either wireless with Bluetooth 4.0 technology or can be connected via 3.5mm audio cable. They have 3D surround sound, powerful deep bass, incredibly clear treble and a frequency response of 20Hz-20KHz. The volume will go as loud (and probably louder) than your ears can handle, all while maintaining clear and balanced sound quality.

In addition to the excellent sound quality, these headphones also have a battery life of over 20 hours, impressive long range in bluetooth mode, control for phone calls, and comfortable design with artificial protein leather that feels great on the ears. The Ausdom headphone proves you can get a top-shelf listening experience without paying name-brand price. 

Best for Exercise: Mpow Bluetooth Headphones Waterproof IPX7

Mpow brings athletes and exercise enthusiasts a functional and exciting pair of workout headphones on the cheap. The wireless headphones are powered by Bluetooth 4.1 and last for nine hours on just a 1.5-hour charge, meaning that they will never trip you up or run out of battery too soon, even if you are training for a marathon. They are IPX7 water-resistant with a nano-coating that blocks out sweat and rain, staying snugly in your ears whether you are out in the elements or in a yoga studio. The CSR chip and memory-foam ear tips deliver a rich bass experience that stays contained in your ears. 

Check out our other reviews of the best exercise headphones available on the market today.

Best Noise-Canceling: TaoTronics Active Noise Cancelling Headphones

Noise cancelling technology has come a long way since the first systems were created for pilots in the 1950s. Nowadays, anyone can buy a great pair of noise-cancelling headphones, even on a tight budget. Our pick for noise-cancelling earbuds under $50 are the TaoTronics Active Noise Cancelling Headphones. These headphones are crafted with aluminum alloy that give it a premium look, and they can reduce background sounds up to 30dB, which can make it much easier to listen to music or podcasts while you’re traveling or working. The 140 mAh battery onboard gives you 15 hours of continuous play on a single charge, so you’ll be fine if you charge them every few days. And for control, there’s a three button in-line remote on the 55-inch-long cord that lets you select tracks and change the volume. Keep in mind that these aren’t going to cancel noise as well as high-end noise-cancelling headphones, but they will do a better-than-average job and cost you a lot less dough.

Check out our other reviews of the best noise-cancelling headphones available on the market today.

Skullcandy is known for its budget headphones, and they offer the best set under $50. The battery life is 10 hours and at 10.6 oz., they’re pretty trim. And they come in seven different colors.

The sound quality is good, but not entirely accurate. The bass is boosted, so if you’re looking for reference sound then look elsewhere. This might be most noticeable on classical music. However, the bass doesn’t overpower the mids and the highs are well balanced. Basically, if you feel like other headphones often don’t have enough bass in the mix the Uproars are for you.

Check out our other reviews of the best wireless headphones available on the market today.

Best Wired: Shure SRH145m+

Shure has been making huge waves with its range of affordable headphones, and the SRH145m+ set is the cream of the crop. Plus, it has better features (an inline remote and microphone) and sound quality than its predecessor (SRH144).

Test the SRK145m+ headphones on a track with lots of sub-bass and you’ll get a reasonably powerful sound without distortion. The mid- and high- tones are pleasantly accurate, forgoing the current trend for over-intensity (read: Beats headphones). It has 100 dB SPL/mW with a frequency range of 25 Hz to 18 kHz, as well as an impedance of 34 Ohms.

The design is neat – instead of an adjustable headband, the earcups can slide up and down the inside of it, and hinges allow them to be folded for easy storage. The headphones are only .36 pounds and the dual-side five-foot cord gives you increased mobility.

To keep the price down there are no other accessories supplied, but SRH145m+ headphones are a great budget choice.

Runner Up, Best for Sound Quality: Edifier H840

These wired over-ear headphones from Edifier deliver high fidelity sound in a comfortable and classic design. The headphones are engineered to deliver life-like audio quality at an entry-level price and do their job well. They include a powerful 40mm driver and have a frequency response of 20Hz-20Khz with an impedance of 32Ohm. The comfortable over-ear design provides a fair amount of noise isolation to support the sound. Volume could stand to be a bit louder, but the range and bass provides an impressive sound even at lower volume sound. 

Runner Up, Best Wireless: Creative Sound Blaster Jam

For just $35, you’ll get the wireless Creative Sound Blaster Jams, which are lighter at 8.8 oz. and will give you up to 12 hours of battery life. Sound quality can’t match the Skullcandy Uproars. If you don't switch on the bass boost, the bass is too weak, and with it engaged the sound can get distorted at higher volumes. The design, too, can’t match the Uproars; the earpads are not as comfortable and the headphones can’t be folded. However, overall they are a worthy choice if Skullcandy Uproars are too flashy for your taste.

Best Gaming: Sades SA-901 USB HiFi 7.1 Surround Pro Gaming Headphones

Gamers can stay connected with these value headphones from Sades. The SA-901s are powered by a 7.1 surround sound card that immerses you in the game by picking up every layer of sound. The adjustable padded headset gives extra comfort and cushion to the ears, with four separate paddings supporting your head for marathon gaming sessions. The headset also includes a smart in-line remote control with mic for crystal-clear communication. Expect solid sound, comfort and communication with this entry-level gaming headset.

Want to take a look at some other options? See our guide to the best gaming headsets

Best for Kids: JLab JBuddies Studio Wired Headphones

Send your kids off to school with these stylish and durable headphones. Available in two-tone blue or purple, they add a dimension of style and flair without the big-name price tag. Whether they need quiet in the library or want to zone out during a long bus ride, they can expect comfort from the feather-light build and padded ear cups and band. The max sound is 85db, loud enough to rock out but not so noisy that they risk damaging their hearing. The durable product is a great introductory pair of headphones that ditches the blah look of other budget picks.

Need some more help finding what you're looking for? Read through our best headphones for kids article.

Want to see some other options?

Check out our ultimate headphones buying guide.