You don’t need to spend over $100 on a good pair of headphones. There are a lot of good budget headphones under $50, from gaming headphones to wireless headphones. Sure, they are usually limited in features and are not as well-built as more expensive products, but that doesn’t mean they are not worth the money. Some of them are even better-sounding and more versatile than some headphones selling for a much higher price. If you are in the market for the best budget headphones under $50, the following products are the best options currently out.
- Best Audiophile Headphones Under $50: Superlux HD 681
- Best Noise-canceling Headphones Under $50: Mpow H5
- Best Gaming Headphones Under $50: Logitech G433
- Best Wireless On-ear Headphones Under $50: Skullcandy Grind Wireless
- Best Wireless Earphones Under $50: Anker SoundCore Spirit X
- Best Truly Wireless Headphones Under $50: SoundPeats TrueFree
Best Audiophile Headphones Under $50: Superlux HD 681
The Superlux HD 681 are the best cheap headphones for audiophiles. They are semi-open headphones with great audio reproduction, performing even better than some headphones selling for a much higher price. They are comfortable to use for long listening sessions, but their poor noise isolation limits them to indoor use. You can get these headphones for just around $35, which makes their sound quality even more impressive.
Featuring an over-ear design, the Superlux HD 681 are wired headphones with an unappealing aesthetic with red accents on the headband and ear cups. They have a dual headband, with the inner headband strap allowing for easy adjustment. Their circular ear cups are large and well-padded, but the padding is not that soft. The non-detachable audio cable, which terminates with a standard 3.5-millimeter plug, connects to the left ear cup. There are no inline controls for call and music management and volume adjustment.
The Superlux HD 681 are made of plastic and are not very durable. Their build quality is mediocre, but on the plus side, their plastic construction makes them lightweight. While they are cheaply built, these budget headphones are comfortable to wear for long listening sessions despite their rather stiff ear cup padding. They don’t feel too tight on the head and are decently breathable for over-ear headphones, with their self-adjusting headband allowing them to easily accommodate larger heads.
Unlike some over-ear headphones, the Superlux HD 681 don’t fold into a more compact format for easy storage, which hurts their portability. However, their non-folding design means there are fewer moving parts susceptible to wear and tear, which is a good thing because as mentioned, their build quality is mediocre. They come with a carry pouch for protection against scratches. And speaking of the included accessories, these headphones don’t offer a lot. Outside of the carry pouch, the only thing included in the box is a stereo jack adapter.
The Superlux HD 681 are some of the best-sounding cheap headphones on the market and are better-sounding than some headphones selling for double and triple the price. Their bass and mid-range are both excellent while their imaging is good. Their soundstage is also decent, but it’s not as wide compared with some of the best open-back headphones. In addition to listening to music, these cheap headphones are also good for gaming, but only if you mostly play single-player games and don’t need a built-in mic for voice chat.
Considering their semi-open design, the Superlux HD 681 are not recommended for commuting, travel, and outdoor use in general. Their noise isolation is poor, limiting them to indoor use. They are best used in a quiet room, whether you are listening to music or gaming. Their sound leakage is also quite high, which can be distracting for people around you.
If you are in the market for great-sounding budget headphones under $50, check out the Superlux HD 681. Of the products in this guide, they have the best overall sound quality and are the most suitable for critical listening. You can even use them as backup studio headphones, with their comfortable design making them suitable for long hours in the studio.
Best Noise-canceling Headphones Under $50: Mpow H5
The Mpow H5 are the best budget noise-canceling headphones under $50. They are decent-sounding headphones with adequate active noise cancellation for reducing background noise. You can use them for commuting and at the office, with their wireless connectivity making them more convenient to use. While they are mainly made of plastic, their build quality is good for budget headphones.
A pair of over-ear headphones, the Mpow H5 have a straightforward design with minimal branding on the ear cups and headband for a cleaner look.
Their ear cup backplates have a glossy finish, which makes for a unique but cheaper look – a matte finish would have been better, especially on the black model.
Compared to most over-ear headphones, the Mpow H5 are a bit more compact due to their smaller and less bulky ear cups. They can be folded into a more compact form, which adds to their overall portability and makes them easier to pack for travel. Unlike most budget headphones, they come with a hard case, which offers better protection against physical impact and water damage than a soft pouch.
The Mpow H5 are comfortable to wear despite their tighter clamp and shallower ear cups, with their mostly plastic build making them lighter. They are decently breathable for over-ear headphones and have good padding on the headband and ear cups. They don’t feel too hot after just a couple of hours of continuous use, which is great for those who sweat a lot.
For controls, the Mpow H5 feature an on-cup control scheme that is easy to use and has decent tactile feedback. With the on-cup buttons, you can easily manage your calls and music and adjust the volume while on the move. You can also enable or disable the active noise cancellation with the dedicated switch. While the main buttons are a bit cramped, the on-cup control scheme is well implemented and easy to get used to.
If you prefer a more bass-heavy sound, you’ll love the Mpow H5. They have a punchy bass and sound decent overall for budget headphones. Their bass performance is great while their treble and mid-range are both good. Their soundstage is unremarkable, though, which isn’t surprising considering they are a pair of sealed headphones. The built-in mic is also not that great and doesn’t fare well in a noisy environment, which makes it unsuitable for taking calls while commuting.
Regarding noise isolation, the Mpow H5 are not on the same level as some of the best noise-canceling headphones, such as the Sony WH-1000XM3 and the Bose QuietComfort 35 II. They are only good for reducing background noise to a certain extent. They are not capable of completely blocking out background noise in public transport hubs and noisy offices, even with music playing. On the bright side, their battery life is great with both active noise cancellation and Bluetooth enabled.
For those limited to a $50 budget, the Mpow H5 are the best noise-canceling headphones currently out on the market. They have a decent sound quality, a good on-cup control scheme, an excellent wireless range, and a great battery life. While their noise isolation is unimpressive overall, they are decent enough for reducing background noise at the office and while commuting.
Best Gaming Headphones Under $50: Logitech G433
Of the best headphones under $50, the Logitech G433 are the best for gaming, offering excellent value for the money. They are some of the most versatile gaming headphones in this price range. While they are clearly built for gaming, they are also suitable for casual everyday use and work great for listening to music, podcasts, and audiobooks.
Available in black, red, and blue, the Logitech G433 are wired over-ear headphones with a closed-back design. Compared to other gaming headphones, their design doesn’t scream “gaming,” especially when the boom mic is not attached. They are decently built budget gaming headphones with a metal-reinforced headband and non-foldable ear cups with more breathable mesh fabric.
While their ear cups are a bit shallow, the Logitech G433 are comfortable to use for long gaming sessions. They are lightweight and don’t feel too tight on the head, though their clamp is a bit tighter than usual out of the box. Their headband has good padding while their ear cups are decently breathable for closed-back over-ear headphones. With the included extra pair of ear cup pads, you can easily replace the ear cup pads when they are worn out or damaged.
Cheaper headphones don’t usually come with a lot of accessories, with most products simply including a single audio cable and a carry pouch. The Logitech G433 are not in the same boat. Of the products in this guide, they are some of the most generous regarding accessories. In addition to the aforementioned extra microfiber ear cup pads, they come with an extra audio cable for mobile devices and a soft pouch, along with a USB adapter and a Y splitter for PC.
The Logitech G433 have a good inline control scheme, but it’s limited in features, so don’t expect too much. The default audio cable is designed for PC and console gaming and includes a volume dial and a simple mic switch. The extra mobile cable is designed for those who mainly game on smartphones and tablets and includes an inline mic and a multi-function button for call and music control. Both cables are on the short side, though, which can be a limiting factor in some situations.
Suitable for different kinds of games – including first-person shooters, story-based RPGs, and rhythm games – the Logitech G433 are all-around gaming headphones with great sound quality. You can use them for gaming on a PC, mobile devices, and pretty much all consoles currently out, including handheld consoles. Their boom mic performance is also great even when gaming in a noisy environment, which is especially beneficial if you want to use the headphones for local tournaments. If you game on a PC, you can use the included USB adapter and the Logitech desktop app for customizing the sound and the mic.
Although they are much more versatile and look more practical for everyday use than most gaming headphones under $50, the Logitech G433 are not good for outdoor use. They have subpar noise isolation, which makes them unsuitable for gaming and listening to music in public transport hubs and noisy offices. Their sound leakage is also quite high at higher volume levels, which can be distracting for people around you.
Whether you game on PC, home consoles, or mobile devices, the Logitech G433 are the best budget headphones currently out. Their sound quality and mic performance are both great, while their build quality is decent for a budget product. They are comfortable to use for long gaming sessions and include a wide range of accessories.
Best Wireless On-ear Headphones Under $50: Skullcandy Grind Wireless
If you prefer the more breathable and more compact design of on-ear headphones, check out the Skullcandy Grind Wireless. They are some of the best on-ear headphones on the market, featuring good on-cup controls and excellent wireless range. They are suitable for casual everyday use, with their wireless connectivity adding more convenience.
The Skullcandy Grind Wireless are available in different colors, including white and blue. They are closed-back headphones with a straightforward design and minimal branding. They have small, circular ear cups with soft padding. The ear cups don’t fold into the frame, which hurts their overall portability, but on the other hand, the non-folding design means there are fewer moving parts susceptible to wear and tear.
Although their headband is not as well-padded as the ear cups, the Skullcandy Grind Wireless are comfortable to use for long listening sessions. They are lightweight and don’t press too hard on the ears, unlike some on-ear headphones. They are more breathable due to their on-ear design and don’t feel too warm after just a couple of hours, which is great for those who sweat a lot.
Compared to the Logitech G433, the Skullcandy Grind Wireless have significantly fewer accessories included in the box. Outside of the USB charging cable, there is only a backup audio cable included in the box for switching to a wired connection. There is no carry case included, which is disappointing since there are many similarly priced headphones that include at least a soft pouch for basic protection.
Regarding controls, the Skullcandy Grind Wireless are good. They have an efficient on-cup control scheme composed of physical buttons with decent tactile feedback. You can easily access the buttons to adjust the volume and manage your calls and music while on the move. Unlike some on-cup controls, the buttons are easy to identify due to their different shapes, lowering your chances of pressing the wrong button.
The Skullcandy Grind Wireless are decent-sounding on-ear headphones with great bass and mid-range performance. You can use them for listening to music, podcasts, and audiobooks and for watching movies and Netflix shows on your computer. They easily pair with compatible devices and have a good battery life, running up to around 12 hours on a single charge. Their built-in mic is also adequate enough for calls, but it doesn’t fare well in a noisy environment.
Unsurprisingly for on-ear headphones with no active noise cancellation, the Skullcandy Grind Wireless have mediocre noise isolation. They are not recommended for blocking out background noise in a very noisy office and while commuting. This can also be said for most other on-ear headphones, though, as their design is not really geared toward passive noise isolation.
Overall, the Skullcandy Grind Wireless are great wireless on-ear headphones despite their usage limitations. They are decently built headphones that look good with their minimalist design and sound decent for budget on-ear headphones. You can also use them in wired mode when the battery is depleted or if you prefer a zero-latency connection.
Best Wireless Earphones Under $50: Anker SoundCore Spirit X
The Anker SoundCore Spirit X are recommended wireless earphones for running and gym use, with their ear hooks and stability fins allowing for a much more stable fit. They are decent-sounding earphones with great battery life and good controls. They are not truly wireless headphones, though, as they still come with a cable that connects to both earpieces.
Lightweight and compact, the Anker SoundCore Spirit X are well-designed earphones with excellent sweat protection, which is important for sports use. They have flexible ear hooks and soft silicone ear tips. There are five ear tip sizes included in the box, along with three pairs of stability fins in different sizes.
While their thin cable feels a bit cheaper than the rest of the earphones, the Anker SoundCore Spirit X are decently built earphones. They are better-built than most budget wireless earphones and feel durable overall. Due to their design, they are more stable, more breathable, and more suitable for sports use than all the other headphones mentioned so far in this guide. With the multiple ear tip and stability fin options, you can choose the most comfortable fit for your ears.
The Anker SoundCore Spirit X are also much more portable than over-ear and on-ear headphones due to their design. Their compact design makes them easy to store in your bag or pocket, with the included travel case making them more protected against scratches and physical impact. You can also keep the cable neat with the included cable clip.
For controls, the Anker SoundCore Spirit X feature an inline remote with physical buttons. The buttons are responsive and well-spaced and have good tactile feedback. While limited in functions, the control scheme is easy to use and doesn’t feel cheaply implemented. You can use the inline controls for volume adjustment and call and music management.
They have a great battery life as well, running up to around 12 hours on a single charge. On the other hand, their mic is not that great, especially in a noisy environment.
On a related note, the Anker SoundCore Spirit X have subpar noise isolation, which makes them unsuitable for commuting. There are other wired and wireless in-ear headphones that offer much better noise isolation, either passively or with active noise cancellation technology. But on the bright side, these earphones are great at keeping audio from leaking out, allowing you to listen to your music at higher volumes without distracting or annoying people around you.
If you are in the market for budget wireless earphones for running and gym use, check out the Anker SoundCore Spirit X. Their sound quality is decent while their build quality is good for cheap wireless earphones. They don’t block a lot of background noise, though, but if you prefer to still be aware of your surroundings when running and working out, their subpar noise isolation shouldn’t be an issue.
Best Truly Wireless Headphones Under $50: SoundPeats TrueFree
Selling for less than $30, the SoundPeats TrueFree are the best budget truly wireless headphones and are better for commuting than the Anker SoundCore Spirit X. They have a decent sound quality and good passive noise isolation. Their wireless range is great, but unfortunately, their battery life is inferior compared to other truly wireless headphones.
The SoundPeats TrueFree have a discreet profile with a black color scheme that looks nice. They are not as bulky and don’t protrude as much as other truly wireless headphones. Their build quality is good for a budget product and might surprise some people. They have an IPX4 rating, which means their water protection is inferior compared to the Anker SoundCore Spirit X and other headphones designed for sports use.
With their lightweight and breathable design, the SoundPeats TrueFree are comfortable to use, though some might find their in-ear design awkward at first. Although they don’t have ear hooks or stability fins, they are stable headphones that stay securely in your ears while moving around. They are stable enough for running and gym use, with their multiple ear tip sizes allowing you to get a more comfortable and more secure fit for your ears.
Unlike some wireless headphones, the SoundPeats TrueFree have a more limited control scheme composed of a single button on both earpieces. The control scheme allows for easy call and music management and voice assistant activation. The buttons are responsive, but on the other hand, pressing on them causes the ear tips to go deeper in your ears, which can be uncomfortable.
The included case, which has the same black color scheme as the headphones, holds additional charges for longer playback. However, the case’s construction feels cheaper compared to the headphones themselves. Moreover, the case doesn’t have a lid, making the headphones more exposed to dust and other elements when docked.
Featuring a powerful bass, the SoundPeats TrueFree are decent-sounding budget headphones that should be good enough for casual use for most non-audiophiles. They have a great wireless range and can easily pair with compatible devices. On the other hand, they don’t come with a companion app for customization. And at around three hours per charge, their battery life is also inferior compared to other truly wireless headphones. You do get additional charges with the case, though, with SoundPeats claiming up to 15 hours of total battery life, which is more than good enough for all-day use for most people.
As mentioned, the SoundPeats TrueFree are more suitable for commuting than the slightly more expensive Anker SoundCore Spirit X. They are good at blocking out background noise even though they lack active noise cancellation technology.
On the whole, the SoundPeats TrueFree are some of the best truly wireless headphones under $50 and offer great value for the money. They are surprisingly versatile headphones that are good for running and workouts and are decent for commuting and office use. While their case is rather mediocre, their overall build quality is good, especially for budget headphones.