Everyone wants the best headphones they can buy; that’s a given. But most of us don’t have a lot of extra money to spend.
With the overall cost of living, student loans, insurance, rent, and everything else, there just isn’t enough money to go around. Because of this, we often have to look for the best possible deal for our hard earned money.
People often ask if under $50 headphones are any good.
The answer is yes! Fortunately, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to get a nice pair of headphones. There are many choices available in various types including on ear, over ear, in ear, and even wireless Bluetooth models.
Regardless of your personal needs, you can find a good set of headphones for under $50. Will they be as great as $500 and up audiophile headphones?
No, they likely won’t, but this doesn’t mean they’re not good for the price or that they won’t meet your needs. Technology has come a long way and quality headphones are more affordable than ever before.
In this article, I will discuss seven of the best headphones in the under $50 range. I will include headphones of all types including on ear, over ear, earbud, and even wireless.
Some of the top headphone brands that have numerous offerings for under $50 will also be discussed. So read on and I’m sure you will find the perfect headphones not only for your needs, but for your budget as well.
What Type of Budget Headphones under $50 Should I Choose
What type of headphone you choose depends on your particular needs. If you need something flat and accurate, I would recommend an over ear open backed design.
If you need something for recording and tracking in the studio, choose a closed back over ear design.
If you’re looking for something to use on the go, at the gym, or during your commute, then I recommend wired or wireless earbuds, in ear headphones, or on ears, depending on your personal preference.
7 of the Best Headphones under $50 Reviewed
Shure SE112 Sound Isolating Earbuds (Best Earbuds under $50)
Shure SE112 sound isolating earbuds are some of the finest earbuds you will find in the under $50 price range. Plus, if you want to someday upgrade your SE112 to wireless, you can buy its wireless earphone option and convert your headphones to Bluetooth.
These earbuds offers excellent deep bass and impressive sound isolation.
Sound isolating sleeves are included and come in different sizes so you can choose the perfect fit. With the right fit you can achieve up to 37dB in passive noise reduction. This is perfect for noisy places, gyms that have their own music playing, and anytime you want to drown out the outside world.
Sound quality is excellent for the price. The bass is powerful, but the mids and highs are clear as well. This is a great choice for an everyday earbud. They are especially comfortable to wear once you choose the right ear tip size.
AKG K72 (Top Budget Pick for Studio Tracking, Best Overall Sound Quality)
The AKG K72 is my top pick for studio tracking. They feature AKG’s famous sound quality and clean dynamic audio at a price that fits within most budgets.
At a price this low (under 50 dollars), you could buy several for your studio and still have money to spare.
Their frequency is full range and does a great job of reproducing the sub frequencies in a way that is neither boosted nor hyped. The highs are clear and clean as well, without sounding brittle or ear piercing. I especially love the midrange which is vivid, detailed, and never muddy.
The closed back design keeps headphone audio from leaking into the mics, while also giving you plenty of outside noise reduction. They are also a great choice for home listening, with a low impedance design that is compatible with anything from professional studio gear to portable music players and smartphones.
When choosing a studio headphone I also look for something comfortable. While sound quality and isolation are certainly important, you will never have your best take if your mind is on your headphones.
If you’re constantly adjusting, tugging on them, or concentrating on how uncomfortable they are, then you can’t concentrate on your playing or singing.
Fortunately, the K72s are very comfortable to wear and as a result, are a great overall choice for studios on a budget and aspiring engineers building their first bedroom studios.
Audio Technica ATH-M2X (Best Low Priced Open Backed Over Ear Headphone)
At under $25, the ATH-M2X is a top pick in the mid-sized affordable open backed headphone category.
Their accurate frequency response and open backed design makes them a great choice if you need a mixing headphone in the lowest possible price range.
They’re also good for everyday listening. They have lots of volume and tight, clean low end that isn’t hyped but is still full bodied and powerful. ATH-M2Xs are comfortable to wear and durable enough to stand up to everyday use.
Sennheiser CX 3.00 In-Ear Headphones (Best Noise Attenuation Ear Bud)
One of the best budget earbuds under $50 you will find, the CX 3.00 features 18 ohm impedance transducers which are optimized for deep bass and an extended frequency response that reproduces the sub lows and the highest highs.
Four different sizes of ear adaptors are included allowing you to choose the perfect fit. A great fit with these headphones means a wider frequency response, more powerful lows, and higher attenuation of outside noise. With a tight fit, you can greatly reduce the level of outside noise.
This makes them perfect for use in any noisy situation.
They’re especially effective at the gym where they do a great job of cutting out the gym’s sound system. I found them to be especially comfortable to wear and they stayed in my ears once I found the right sized adapter.
They’re not the most accurate and flat in ears, but they sound good. The bass is a little boosted, which isn’t at all a bad thing. Many people prefer boosted bass response and will no doubt love these headphones.
These budget earbuds have a sound that is fun and exciting, just what you need to motivate you at the gym or get you through a long, hard day at work.
Sony MDRAS200 Active Sports Headphones (Top Budget Pick for Gym Use/Active Use)
This is my top budget pick for gym use.
I absolutely love the ear wings which wrap around your ears and keep the headphones in place. I love the fact that I can do almost anything and the headphones will not come out of my ears. They feature an angled earbud design that goes in your ears and provides a great fit.
This angle may take a bit of getting used to, at least at first. Also, some people report having trouble putting them on the first couple of times. However, once you get the hang of them they are a snap to put in.
Active Sports headphones are also water resistant, which prevents sweat from damaging them. Before moving up to a more expensive set of wireless Bluetooth headphones, these were my favorite gym headphones.
Their wearing comfort and stay put design made them perfect for this activity.
They are also ultra-lightweight and for years have stood up to the treatment I have given them.
I’ll be honest, sometimes I throw my headphones in the passenger seat, in the trunk, or in my gym bag. Many times I do this without wrapping them up. Either way, I almost never put them in a case. Yet they have stood up to all of this. I even spilled coffee on them a time or two and they still play fine.
This Sony pair doesn’t have amazing sound quality, but none of the headphones in this price range do. Their sound isn’t bad, however, although someone light in the low end.
If you want a comfortable budget earbud that is durable and will stay in place, these are a great choice.
Senso Activbuds Bluetooth Earbuds (Best Budget Bluetooth Model & Most Features for the Price)
Senso Activbuds are my top pick for best wireless Bluetooth earbud, as well as for most features for the price.
Features include wireless Bluetooth technology, IPX7 waterproof design, built in noise reduction, 8 hours of playback time, a built in microphone, inline controls, great sound quality, and comfortable wearability.
All of this may seem too good to be true, but they really are a great set of earbuds for the price.
IPX7 waterproof means they can be underwater at a depth of 3 feet for 30 minutes without damage.
Keep in mind, however, that this refers to the safety of the earbuds and not to the wireless connection. Since Bluetooth doesn’t travel well through water, the Bluetooth signal will likely disconnect when the headphones are underwater.
Their over ear wings helps them stay put and makes them great for gym use, as well as running, walking, and other forms of exercise. They feature additional ear tip sizes allowing you to choose the perfect fit. Built in noise reduction is also included.
Although it is not on the level of Bose active noise cancellation, it does a good overall job, especially considering the price. Bluetooth pairing is easy and there’s eight hours of playback time per charge. Charge time is one to two hours.
The sound quality is surprisingly good for the price. It’s not audiophile quality, but at this price it’s hard to complain. Activbuds have a good overall sound with plenty of bass and high end. The sound is ideal for most any type of content whether music or spoken.
A built in microphone lets you take calls and give commands to a smartphone. Plus, on board controls allow you to adjust volume, skip, pause, and play tracks.
Considering the number of useful features, stable Bluetooth connection, and good overall sound, there’s really nothing negative to say about these headphones, especially considering their low price.
If you’re looking for the freedom of wireless and lots of extra features at an unbelievably low price, this is the set for you.
Sony MDRZX100 ZX Series Stereo Headphones (Best Budget On Ear Headphone)
This is one of the nicest looking budget sets you will ever see. They feature high energy drivers that deliver powerful bass and clear treble.
They are also lightweight and comfortable to wear with a mid-sized, on ear design that makes them considerably smaller than over ear full sized headphones. This makes them great for everyday on the go use.
Some people prefer on ear to in ear or earbud headphones, but want something smaller and easier to carry than an over ear design. For this, these are a great budget choice for under $50.
Best Brands for Headphones under $50
Here are five brands that make an assortment of quality headphones for under $50.
One isn’t necessarily better than the other, as they all make great products. Consider your personal needs and then evaluate the different brands and models based on your unique requirements.
I hope you have enjoyed this article and have noticed how many great headphone options are out there in the under $50 price range.
Whether you need a step up from stock earbuds, an affordable Bluetooth set of earbuds, or anything else in between, you are certain to find just the right set of budget headphones for your particular needs.
Audio-Technica Brand of Headphones under $50
Since 1962, Audio-Technica has been making electronic products for home and professional use.
They are famous for making top quality professional products at reasonable prices. Their headphones are no exception.
With an array of in-ear, on-ear, and over-ear headphones designed for studio, gaming, DJing, live sound, audiophile, sport, home, and on the go use, there is an Audio-Technica headphone in almost every style and price point.
Their headphones also come in both wired and wireless models. Here are a few of their best products for under $50.
Audio Technica ATH-M3X
If you’re looking for a quality closed back design headphone, the ATH-M3X is a great choice. With high performance drivers and low mass diaphragms, you get excellent sound quality and rich, powerful bass.
Their closed back design also gives them excellent isolation and makes them perfect for studio tracking.
ATH-ANC23 Quiet Point Earbuds (Great choice for noise cancelling)
This wired set of earbuds features excellent noise cancelling which excels in reducing constant ambient noise.
A built in microphone picks up the ambient noise and the control box flips it 180 degrees out of phase in order to cancel it. Don’t expect Bose active noise cancellation quality, but for the price they’re pretty good.
They also have a good overall sound and are perfect for travel, commutes, and flights.
Shure Brand of Headphones under $50
Shure has been making quality audio products since 1925. This legendary company is a part of not only American music history but national and global history as well.
A Shure microphone captured Elvis when he first recorded at Sun Studio. Shure was also the microphone through which JFK announced he would put a man on the moon.
In fact, Shure SM57 microphones have been on the President’s podium exclusively since 1965. You’ll also hear Shure microphones on famous albums in all genres. The SM7 was the mic of choice to capture Michael Jackson’s vocals on the bestselling album of all time, Thriller. Musicians, recording engineers, live sound engineers, and DJs trust Shure products every day.
Not just for pros, they make quality products that are within the reach of anyone, regardless of budget. Today Shure makes a wide variety of products including microphones, wireless.
Shure SRH145 Portable Headphones
If you prefer larger headphones to earbuds but also want a pair you can take with you, the SRH145 is a great choice.
They feature a closed back, on ear design that does a great job of reducing outside noise. SRH145s are also comfortable to wear and with a design that is smaller than full sized over ear headphones. A closed back design also means they keep the sound in while greatly reducing outside noise.
The SRH145s are also collapsible for easy storage and travel. You will love the adjustable ear cups, padded headband, and ergonomic fit. They are also a great choice for anyone wanting deep, rich bass and a good overall full range audio sound.
AKG Brand of Headphones under $50
Founded in Vienna in 1947, AKG has grown to become one of the world’s premiere audio companies.
They released their first headphones in 1949 and are still making innovations to this day.
Their microphones and headphones are used in top recording studios, concert halls, and television and film studios throughout the world. AKG also has the distinction of producing the world’s first two way headphones.
Here are a couple of my favorite AKG headphones in the under $50 range.
AKG Y23 Ear Buds
AKG’s Y23 Ear Buds are a great choice for anyone wanting budget priced, ultra-small, in ear headphones.
They are excellent for on the go lifestyles and are ready to deliver quality sound during your commute, break, at the gym, while going for a walk, or anywhere else for that matter. They also feature a one button universal remote and microphone which is compatible with most smartphones.
This remote allows you to take calls, play and pause music, and control your volume, all without taking your headphones off.
They are ultra-small and comfortable to wear. You don’t even notice their weight. Most importantly, they have the superior audio quality which has made AKG one of the most respected names in the headphone industry.
Quality audio doesn’t have to cost a fortune. Check out the Y23s and see what you’ve been missing.
AKG K52 (A great set for studio use)
K52s are great over ear closed backed AKG headphones. They are lightweight, comfortable, and designed to be worn through long sessions.
Their closed back design does a great job of keeping headphone audio from bleeding into mics. For example, you don’t want to record the perfect acoustic guitar take only to hear the click track coming back through the mics. It’s such a letdown and destroys morale in the studio. Trust me, I’ve had it happen.
But a great set of headphones such as these prevents that. Their sound quality is pure AKG; with rich, deep bass, vivid midrange, and clean, clear highs. For a budget priced closed back design, they have a frequency response that gives you a good picture of what is really happening in your audio.
Not just for studio use, these are also a great set of headphones for home use. They’re perfect for listening to music, editing, listening to audiobooks, and watching TV. With their lightweight design and adjustable fit, you won’t even know you’re wearing them.
Sennheiser Brand of Headphones under $50
Since its founding in 1945 by engineering professor, Dr. Fritz Sennheiser, Sennheiser has been an audio innovator, creating products that are used by professionals worldwide.
Known for microphones, headphones, wireless systems, and other audio solutions, you’ll find Sennheiser products in recording studios, concert halls, sound stages, TV and movie studios, and professional sound installations the world over.
Sennheiser HD 201 Lightweight Over Ear Headphones
Sennheiser knows professional audio and these headphones are certainly proof even through they are under $50.
They feature excellent sound quality that is powerful and clear. They’re also great at reducing outside noise whether in the studio or listening at home.
The stereo image is especially impressive, as is the clear bass response. Sennheiser HD 201s are lightweight and comfortable to wear, but are also durable and able to stand up to daily use.
If you thought Sennheiser quality was out of reach, think again! This entry level set provides lots of bang for the buck and gives you a great overall sound as well.
Sennheiser MX 365 Earphones
At this price, I honestly wasn’t expecting much. After all, even the best audio companies can’t make something great that’s just $14, right?
I was wrong. This is a great sounding set of budget earbuds that is so far removed from boring stock earbuds that’s it’s honestly hard to believe.
They have so much more bass than stock earbuds and an overall better frequency response and sound.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking I’m saying these are on par with top audiophile earbuds. That’s not what I’m saying at all. What I am saying is that for this incredibly low price, they really are a great set of earbuds, one which is comfortable to wear, sounds great, and seems to be better build than most earbuds in this price range.
If you want something better than your stock earbuds but don’t have much to spend, check these out and see how much better your music sounds.
Sony Brand of Headphones under $50
Sony is one of the premier audio companies in the world. They make a wide range of products in audio, video, software, cameras, gaming, music, finance, and too many other areas to list.
Their headphones are also some of the best in the world. Not just high end, however, Sony has many offering in the under $50 range.
Sony In Ear Ultra Lightweight Stereo Earbud Headphones
The most affordable model in this list, these Sony Earbuds are a great choice at the lowest possible price. I chose these because of their power, deep bass, and overall wearing comfort. I also find them to be well designed and able to withstand daily use.
They’re a good everyday on the go set of earbuds which feature 13.5mm neodymium drivers that provide more power, deeper bass, and an overall crisper sound than most earbuds in this price range.
They fit snuggly in my ears and don’t fall out at the gym. I also like that they have silent caps which in addition to providing comfort, also keep the audio in your ears so no one is disturbed.
I’m not going to tell you that these are on par with higher priced headphones. If you’re willing to go up into the $30 range you will get a considerably better set of headphones. However, these are a step up from the stock earbuds that came with your device.
They are more powerful, have richer bass, and are more comfortable to wear.
SONY DR-EX12IP In-Ear Stereo Headphones with Mic and Remote
Just coming in at under $50, this headphone features great sound quality for the price, a built in remote control, and an in line microphone for hands free calling or for giving commands to a smartphone.
Neodymium magnets offer superior sound for the price and hybrid silicone earbuds are especially comfortable and ideal for long periods of wearing.
With the remote you can control volume, fast forward, rewind, play, and pause. They feature a frequency range from 8Hz to 22kHz meaning the entire spectrum of sound is represented.