The best earbuds for the money.
Do you hate paying too much for things?
What if you can get earbuds that:
- sound good
- are comfortable
- are built well
- come with the latest technology
And don’t cost an arm and a leg?
Sounds too good to be true?
Well, it is, if you don’t know what to look for.
You are watching: 12 Best Earbuds for The Money 2021 [Best Cheap Earbuds]
But with the best 12 earbuds here we’re sure you won’t overpay…
… in fact, we are so confident to claim these are the best budget earbuds money can buy right now.
- 12 Best Earbuds for The Money 2021 [Best Cheap Earbuds]
- Best Cheap Earbuds under $30
- Best Cheap Earbuds under $20
- Honorable Mentions
- How to Find the Best Cheap Earbuds?
12 Best Earbuds for The Money 2021 [Best Cheap Earbuds]
Best Cheap Earbuds Under $50
The best earbuds (in-ear headphones) at the affordable price range of $30 – $50.
1. SoundPEATS Sonic
Best true wireless earbuds with the best value for under $50.
Type: True wireless | Battery life: 15h, 20h in case | Wireless range: 33ft (10m) | Noise cancelling: No | Charging: 1.5h + quick charge – USB-C | Mic & Controls: Yes | Bluetooth codecs: SBC, aptX, aptX Adaptive | Water resistance: IPX5 | Features: Mono mode, Game mode.
In general, the sound is relatively balanced, with some sparkle up on top.
However, there’s a bass boost in sub-regions. While you don’t hear it all the time, it can start rattling your head with some music genres.
Otherwise, they hold up to 14 hours per single charge, with the case carrying another 20 hours of juice. Earbuds come with an IPX5 rating for complete sweat protection.
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They’re quite comfortable to wear, even for more extended listening sessions. Fit is equally as stable, and you can easily take them on your daily running routine.
Despite their low price, they also support the latest aptX Adaptive, the next generation of Bluetooth codecs.
2. Jlab Audio Jbuds Air
Jlab Audio Jbuds Air are one of the best wireless earbuds under $50.
Type: True wireless | Battery life: 6h + 18h in case | Wireless range: 33ft (10m) | Noise cancelling: No | Charging: Under 2h – USB-A (attached) | Mic & Controls: Yes, built-in | Bluetooth codecs: SBC, AAC | Water resistance: IP55 | Features: Rubber sleeves.
The sound reflects the price point. It can’t compare to more expensive headphones as it lacks sparkle and details.
You get 3 different EQ settings you can choose from: Signature, Balanced, and Bass Boost sound profile.
When it comes to cheap true wireless earbuds, Jbuds Air come to the top in many categories. These are predominantly workout earbuds but work fine for any other use as well.
You get a secure fit that sticks in the ears, the background noise isolation is above average thanks to in-ear fit, and the water protection keeps them safe from damage (IPX5).
Plus, the built-in microphone is quite decent for talking over the phone or using voice commands for Siri or Google Assistant
3. Aukey EP-T32
Best for sports
Best cheap wireless earbuds under $50 with ear hooks for improved stability.
Type: True wireless | Battery life: 7h + 28h in case | Wireless range: 33ft (10m) | Noise cancelling: No | Charging: 2h + quick charge – USB-C & Qi wireless charging | Mic & Controls: Yes | Bluetooth codecs: SBC, AAC, aptX | Water resistance: IPX8 | Features: Ear hooks, auto play/pause, mono mode.
For budget buds like EP-T32, the sound quality is excellent. 12mm drivers, while not the cleanest out there, produce a good balance between bass and midrange even at higher volume levels.
Punchy lows provide a warm sound, while a treble stays sparkly enough to bring out some details.
These affordable buds boast superb comfort. Mostly due to shallow insertion and gentle rubber hooks that aren’t in a way, even if your wear glasses.
Good things continue with a built-in proximity sensor for auto play/pause feature, seven hours of battery, and a Qi wireless charging support for the case. There’s even an aptX Bluetooth codec for Android and AAC for iOS devices.
Also, earbuds appear very durable, and with their IPX8 rating, you can even clean them in water after a workout.
4. Anker Soundcore Liberty Neo
Hidden gems for sportspeople who need secure earbuds that can stay in their ears no matter what.
Type: True wireless | Battery life: 5h, 9h in case | Charging: 1.5h + quick charge – Micro-USB | Noise cancelling: No | Mic & Controls: Yes, built-in | Bluetooth codecs: SBC, AAC | Water-resistance: IPX7 | Features: Ear fins.
Punchy bass is definitely the star of a show, with other frequencies slightly subdued. Still, you’re getting a pretty good vocal clarity and a smooth, non-fatiguing treble. If you listen to a lot of popular music, these are a perfect pick.
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Thanks to the ergonomic design, Liberty Neo’s are very comfortable to wear. Finding a tight seal is easy, and with the addition of ear fins, they provide a secure fit. You can run with these or shake your head rapidly: these are not falling out.
These cheap earbuds are also excellent in durability, with rigid plastic construction and an IPX7 water resistance rating, meaning you can wash them under a tap without worries.
You can also rely on a good Bluetooth connection throughout the house.
5. TaoTronics Soundliberty 97
Cheap wireless earbuds with punchy sound and excellent durability.
Driver size:PEEK+ PU dynamic
Type: True wireless | Battery life: 9h + 20h in case | Wireless range: 3ft (10m) | Noise cancelling: No | Charging: 2h + quick charge – USB-C | Mic & Controls: Yes | Bluetooth codecs: SBC, AAC, aptX | Water resistance: IPX8 | Features: Touch controls.
These are one of the top picks for users who prefer an upper-bass punch and warm, non-fatiguing presentation.
They offer a safe tuning without sibilance or harsh midrange. Contrary, the mids are relatively natural and detailed, with a hint of a laidback treble.
Earbuds themselves are rather small, and you can wear them for hours without experiencing discomfort. Uniquely designed ear tips can stay securely in your ears even when you take them for a run.
Sweat nor water shouldn’t be a problem, thanks to a water-resistant IPX8 rating. Housing also feels robust and able to survive a couple of drops.
The aptX codec’s addition is helpful to Android users since it ensures excellent audio performance and minimal video lag.
6. Anker Soundcore Life Dot 2
Best battery life
Great budget option for users who need their earbuds to last for a whole week.
Type: True wireless | Battery life: 8h + 92h in case | Wireless range: 33ft (10m) | Noise cancelling: No | Charging: Quick charge – USB-C | Mic & Controls: Yes | Bluetooth codecs: SBC, AAC | Water resistance: IPX5 | Features: AirWings, mono listening.
A bass-forward, fuller sound will please most casual users and gym-goers, who primarily look for something fun-sounding.
Thankfully, the midrange is still fairly clean, whereas the treble takes a backseat and stays relatively recessed.
Earbuds are fully sweatproof, and an IPX5 rating means that they can endure rainy conditions, too. You can easily use them for workouts thanks to ear wings that hold them in place.
Their main attraction is the battery life. Buds can hold up to 8 hours per charge, while the case stores up to 92 hours of extra playtime.
Long battery life is paired with good overall comfort, so you can wear them for hours without feeling fatigued.
7. TaoTronics SoundLiberty 92
Best classic earphones
Great classic earphones that easily rival Apple AirPods.
Driver size:13mm PU
Type: True wireless | Battery life: 5h + 20h in case | Wireless range: 50ft (15m) | Noise cancelling: No | Charging: 2h + quick charging – USB-C | Mic & Controls: Yes | Bluetooth codecs: SBC, AAC | Water resistance: IPX8 | Features: Touch controls.
Interestingly, these earbuds provide a fairly neutral sound profile, with smoothen-out highs to prevent harshness. Even the bass is a bit more present than you might expect. Overall, they’re fun, with good imaging capabilities.
The housing of these earbuds is nicely rounded with no sharp corners that could poke into your ears. That is why they’re very comfortable for extended listening experience.
They’re incredibly robust. Earbuds are made from hard, glossy plastic, protected with an IPX8 water resistance rating. The latter means you can drop them in water for more than an hour without fear of damaging them.
But you’ll have to listen to them at higher volume levels due to shallower fit.
8. Tin Audio T2
Tin Audio T2 are the best pair of double dynamic driver earbuds you can get for under $50.
Connection:Wired – 3.5mm
Driver size:10mm (woofer) + 6mm (tweeter)
Type: In-ear | Back design: Closed-back | Noise cancelling: No | Mic & Controls: No | Impedance: 16 Ohm | Weight: n/a | Cable length: 4 feet (1.2m) | Features: Detachable cable, MMCX connection.
Tin Audio T2 wired buds work with an MP3 player and output a somewhat balanced sound.
The double dynamic drivers produce a consistent frequency response throughout bass that goes well with slightly emphasized mids and treble. The bass isn’t overpowering, so this makes them great for critical listening.
For thumping lows, see the best bass headphones.
These are cheap earbuds with high comfort, good durability, and lovely audio performance. The first thing you notice is their interesting cable. It looks like fabric, has minimal cable noise, and it’s detachable.
They are lightweight, comfortable, and will last a long time because they are well-built from metal. Also, you get a pair of memory foam ear tips that provide stability (enough even for running) and excellent noise isolation.
Best Cheap Earbuds under $30
The top earphones in the price range of $20 – $30.
9. Skullcandy Dime
Best wireless under $30
Best cheap earbuds for under $30 with impressive sound quality.
Driver size:6mm dynamic
Type: True wireless | Battery life: 3.5h + 8.5h in case | Wireless range: 33ft (10m) | Noise cancelling: No | Charging: Micro-USB | Mic & Controls: Yes | Bluetooth codecs: SBC | Water resistance: IPX4 | Features: /
For the price, their sound is hard to beat. It’s slightly V-shaped, but it never goes overboard. Expect a clean, punchy sound that actually packs some details.
Apart from more than decent sound quality, the build is where Skullcandy cut some corners. Earbuds are made of cheaper plastic, and the charging case feels a bit fragile.
Still, the Dime have an IPX4 rating, so you don’t have to worry about damage due to sweat. They’re also relatively comfortable, as long as you don’t push them too deep into your ears.
The battery is pretty mediocre, with only 3.5 hours of charge inside earbuds and another 8.5 hours inside the case.
10. Aukey EP-T21
Wireless alternative under $30
Aukey EP-T21 are one of the best budget wireless earbuds under $30.
Type: True wireless | Battery life: 4.5h + 20h in case | Wireless range: 33ft (10m) | Noise cancelling: No | Charging: 2 hours – Micro-USB | Mic & Controls: Yes, built-in | Bluetooth codecs: SBC | Water resistance: IPX4 | Features: Touch controls.
Their sound is balanced, which works for most music. You don’t get Hi-Fi, but better audio quality than most $30 would offer. They’re also suitable for watching videos.
The Aukey truly wireless earbuds have a similar design to Apple AirPods Pro (fit into ear canal with prolonged stem) but cost a dirt-cheap price under $30.
You get built-in touch controls to manage your music and a microphone with decent quality for phone calls.
Inside there are 4.5 hours of battery life, with 20 hours more in the charging case. And, they are sweatproof with an IPX4 water resistance rating (check other best workout headphones). You can use them as daily earbuds or for activity.
11. Symphonized NRG 3.0
Best wired under $30
Symphonized NRG are the best cheap earbuds under $30 with a headphone jack.
Connection:Wired – 3.5mm
Type: In-ear | Back design: Closed-back | Noise cancelling: No | Mic & Controls: Yes | Impedance: 16 Ohm | Weight: n/a | Cable lenght: 4 feet (1.2m) | Features: Wooden housing.
Detail-rich and slightly warmer tones will make you fall in love with your music. These cheap earbuds excel at mid-range tones even at higher volume levels.
The wooden structure noticeably adds to the quality of bass and produces a rich and slightly warmer sound profile. You can change songs and volume with a remote control module.
They are made out of real wood which makes them stand out in their design. Durability doesn’t suffer because of it. In fact, it’s quite sturdy and makes for durable earbuds that you can’t break just like that. Plus you get a storage pouch.
You get 6 different pairs of ear tips which should be enough to pick one that suits your needs.
These are very comfortable. Wood is a light material and combined with quality silicone tips you get very comfortable earbuds.
Best Cheap Earbuds under $20
Going even cheaper… The best in-ear monitors you can get in the price range of $10-$20.
12. KZ ZST
Best under $20
Top pick under $20. The best sound quality in earbuds under $20.
KZ ZST are easily the best cheap earbuds under $20 because the sound quality is out of this world (goof for the price).
Connection:Wired – 3.5mm
Type: In-ear | Back design: Closed-back | Noise cancelling: No | Mic & Controls: Yes (Optional) | Weight: 0.85 oz (24g) | Impedance: 16 Ohm | Cable length: 47.2 inch (1.2m) | Features: Detachable cable, 1 Dynamic + 1 BA.
These sound amazing for the price of under $20 and can easily compete with in-ear earphones in the $50-$100 range. The signature is slightly V-shaped with a slight emphasis on bass and treble.
KZ ZST are very accurate and detailed, so you have to use them with high-quality music recordings otherwise you’ll hear the lack of quality.
Noise isolation is above average out of the box. Ambient noise is well isolated so you can enjoy your music in peace.
KZ ZST aren’t made like a tank but feel decent nonetheless. The fact that cables are detachable is a big plus.
The version with the microphone and remote has one multi-function button that’s very easy to use. Call quality is fine, not great but not bad either.
Jlab Audio Go Air – These truly wireless headphones sound quite good for the price. They offer an IP44 rating of sweat resistance and you can use the two earbuds in mono mode. 5h per charge is about average in the battery life department (Check Go Air price).
1MORE Piston Fit – Best cheap earbuds for construction quality, with aluminum housing that has a solid and attractive matte finish. You can choose from multiple color options (Check Piston Fit price).
Strauss & Wagner EM205 – Decent-sounding in-ear monitors that are tiny enough to fit under a helmet. They’re overall well made with an exception of a rather thin, fragile cable.
KZ ATE – Audiophiles love these earphones. Their sound is unquestionably bass-heavy. But even though the low-end is loud and punchy, other ranges still come out clear and detailed. KZ ATE review
Panasonic RPHJE120K – The ideal balance of audio quality, built quality, and durability for little money. Panasonic ErgoFit RP-HJE120 review
Turtle Beach Battle Buds – Looking for the best gaming and microphone earbuds at the same time? Then look no further. (Check Battle Buds price)
Sony MDR-XB50AP – If you like bass and want one of the best cheap earphones you need to get a Sony MDR-XB50AP. Sony MDR-XB50AP review
How to Find the Best Cheap Earbuds?
You shouldn’t look just at prices. There are too many choices. And many of those are bad ones.
Look for things that you might prefer, like:
- Better sound quality
- Strong, powerful bass
- A long battery life
- High comfort
- Water protection (IPX4 or more)
Many times it’s wise to spend $10 or $20 more and get a superb pair of earbuds that will last you longer and have high-quality audio comparable with more expensive models.
Most of the cheap earbuds don’t produce the kind of bass and audio performance that you are looking for, but some are close.
You can get a great pair of earbuds with quality audio for very little money if you pick right. But you need to know what kind of audio signature you want.
The most common signatures in cheap earbuds:
- Bass emphasized
- Balanced, neutral
- V-shaped (boosted bass and treble)
Cheap true wireless earbuds should last at least 5 hours per charge. If you’re looking at a model with shorter battery, you can always get better.
Regular cheap wireless earbuds, with a wired between buds, should last at least 10 hours. Though they’re out of fashion by 2021.
Even cheap earbuds can be comfortable. You need to get the right eartips.
Memory-foam eartips are the best by far. They change the shape to fit your ear canal when they warm up and fit most ear sizes.
Quality eartips are cheap but make a big difference in comfort and noise isolation. Get them if you’re half serious about earbuds.
Durability – Water Protection
Cheap price doesn’t have to mean low-quality.
You can get durable earbuds for little money. Many come with an IPX6+ waterproof design and are also dust resistant. See the best waterproof Bluetooth headphones for more options.
Generally, cheap wireless earbuds are made generically. Not necessarily fragile, but don’t expect them to be as durable as an expensive pair of headphones.
And, if you are looking for specific earbuds, like headphones for running, you’ll usually have to shelve out more money. Companies have figured people are willing to pay more for specialized headphones.
Active Noise Cancellation
Expect to pay more for active noise canceling technology. It’s getting cheaper thanks to modern chips which support it naturally.
But it still adds to the price. Decent noise cancelling earbuds cost more than 50 bucks.
The same is true for best noise-cancelling headphones which cost from $100 to over $300.
There are some cheaper options, see the best budget noise cancelling headphones.
Value for Money
There are many brands competing for your attention in the price range of $10 to $50. With a bit of research, you can find a great pair of in-ear headphones that will serve you well for a very long time.
Usually, less known brands provide the biggest value. Because smaller companies want to get their brand out, they offer their products for less money to gain market share.
Are Cheap Wireless Earbuds Any Good?
Today, you can get decent true wireless earbuds under $50. You don’t get the latest and best technology, but close enough.
Chip manufacturers started making affordable chips with many features. This makes it easier to put modern technology into cheap wireless earbuds.
For $50 or less you’re choosing from the cheapest Bluetooth earbuds.
Thankfully, the prices of wireless earbuds are dropping, but you still need to pay around $30. And don’t expect decent buds under $20 (because you won’t find them).
How Much Should You Spend on Earbuds?
After testing dozens of budget earbuds, we can say you should spend at least $30.
Better yet, step up and give around $50 for a good pair with the latest Bluetooth, tap controls, decent call quality and sound.
Are Cheap Earbuds Safe?
Yes. Cheap earbuds are perfectly safe to use for the intended purpose. Bluetooth chips and batteries inside are manufactured to the same safety standards as with more expensive buds.