If you're an audiophile then this is probably not the buying guide for you.
If you're looking for a set of budget earbuds, say under $20, then you must understand the limitations of earbuds in this price bracket. They're not going to be perfect ( far from it ) but what you will get is a decent set of earbuds with ok sound quality and the ability to connect to your device via Bluetooth, make and take calls and control your music volume / shuffle tracks.
What we consider to be the best budget earbuds below, are great for those who want to listen to music both at home and while on the go, but don't want to spend a fortune.
While over-ear headphones are usually large and bulky, earbuds ( in-ear headphones ) are small in size. They aren't nearly as uncomfortable to wear but will still block out the world around you. You might want a pair because you ride the bus and don't want to hear the chatter of those riding the bus. Earbuds are also great for wearing as you wait for the bus or take a ride in a taxi. You can even wear a pair to relax to your favorite music while on a break from work.
Though some assume earbuds are just for music lovers, they also work well for those who like watching television shows, movies, listening to podcasts and audio books. Whether you stream videos through Netflix or any other app, you can catch up on your favorite shows whenever you have some free time. Not only can you use earbuds to block out nearby conversations, but you can also wear a pair of buds to block others from hearing what you listen to or watch.
Below I have listed and collated what I feel to be the best earbuds under $20 that will match all your needs, whatever they might be. These cheap earbuds have many of the features that the more expensive, high-end models have, just without the price tag. They certainly offer the user great value for money.
The features that will be effected in this price range of earbuds is the build quality and the sound quality itself. Not the sort of thing you'd be looking for if you're an audiophile.
Our Top 3 Best Earbuds For Under $20
1st - 1MORE Piston Earbuds
Overall Rating: 4.8/5
The best earbuds for under $20 available today. Ergonomic design that lets them sit comfortably in your ear canals without falling out. Best Earbuds with mic under $20
2nd - Panasonic ErgoFit
Overall Rating: 4.6/5
A great brand that has a reputation for producing excellent quality headphones and earbuds. The ErgoFit is one of the best earbuds in the price bracket and one of the best earbuds with mic under $20
3rd - Betron YSM1000
Overall Rating: 4.5/5
High quality with a budget price tag, the Betron YSM1000 not only looks great but the sound is pretty good too. They are hard wearing and for under $20, exceptional value for money.
The Best Cheap Earbuds - Under $20
Though 1MORE might not be a household name, the company offers the best earbuds for under $20 available today. Made from aluminum and other materials, these pair of earbuds have an ergonomic design that lets them sit comfortably in your ear canals without falling out. They have a 3.5mm plug that works with most phones and devices, though if yours lacks a matching jack, you'll need an adapter. This set has an intense range that can pick up frequencies of between 20 and 20,000 Hz. With a balanced design, these buds let you hear perfectly with each ear. Many also like the built-in microphone and the controls located on one line. Those controls let you reject and accept calls, mute or pause music/videos and resume where you left off. The earbuds also have an aluminum chamber inside that reduces the static you would normally hear.
- Has a dynamic driver that provides better sound clarity and balanced sound
- Ergonomically designed to match the natural shape of your ears
- Uses modern aluminum that comes in multiple colors
- Compatible with most phones and electronic devices
- Decent build quality
- Includes a built-in microphone - The best earbuds with mic under $20
- There's no guarantee that 1MORE will help if you have any problems
- Some static can come through the earbuds
Panasonic made these earbud headphones to fit most sizes of ears. The manufacturer included three sets of pads in small, medium and large sizes that let you pick which one is best for your ears. Those pads function as a soft cover that reduces discomfort. As one of the best earbuds for those who exercise, this set can stand up to all your favorite physical activities. It has an integrated microphone that makes it easy to talk on the phone and an integrated control on the cable that lets you adjust the volume of your calls. You can use that same button to adjust the other sounds coming through the buds. Available in some fun colors, this set also has a longer cord that measures more than three feet long. You can move in any direction without that cord getting in your way.
- Can stand up to frequent and constant movements and activities
- Includes a microphone for use with your phone
- Comes with three pads that fit most ears
- The 3.6-foot cord lets you move more easily
- You can adjust the sound via a control on the earphone cord
- Excellent price point
- Pressure can cause the earbuds to pull away from the cord
- The pads may feel uncomfortable in your ears
Though these Betron earbuds lack the microphone that you might want, they are suitable for gaming, listen to music and watching videos without disrupting your family or roommates. They have a 3.5mm jack that is compatible with most devices, and the 24K gold plating used on the jack increases the overall performance of the headphones. Designed to fit inside the ear canal, they have a light and flexible pad that adds to their comfort. You get a small rubber case that holds both the earbuds and the three sets of included pads, which you can sample to see which ones fits your ears the best. That case conveniently fits into your bag or pocket. This set also comes with a long cable that will not tangle, even if you accidentally wash the earbuds or get them wet.
- Isolated most of the noises in the background and around you
- Delivers strong audio clarity and great bass
- Compatible with phones, video game consoles, music players and other devices
- Plated with 24K gold for better performance
- The cable has a special design that stops it from tangling
- Not as comfortable as other earbuds are
- Lacks a microphone
JBL have been making headphone for over 80 years, so this brand is a true expert when it comes to creating earbuds that function well and last! The JBL Tune wireless in ear headphone comes with remote and allows you to connect to your smart phone to listen to music or make or take hands free phone calls.
The wireless option is great for those who workout, run, cycle or who are just on the go most of the day. It has a battery life of up to 8 hours and comes in 6 different colors. The JBL Tune also has seemless connectivity between devices, which means you can switch between video on your tablet to a call on your phone.
- Remote control - volume - answer calls - stop/play/next
- Magnetic earbuds
- Produces good audio and sends sounds directly to your ears
- Pure Bass sound
- Microphone Feature
- Universal Phone Control
- Not such a snug fit in the ear
- Bluetooth signal isn't good when you walk more than 6 foot away from the device its connected with.
Panasonic appears a second time on this list of the best earbuds under $20 because this set also features ErgoFit, which ensures that the buds have an ergonomic design. Whether you wear this pair while sitting on the bus or working out in the gym, you can rest assured that they will work perfectly. The included earbud covers come in three sizes that let you both pick the size you need and share the earbuds with friends. With a frequency response range of 10 to 24 kHz, you can also hear every noise you need, including small voices and notes in the background. This set comes in multiple colors, and all colors include a 3+ foot long cable in the same color. With both an integrated remote and microphone, this set makes it easy to adjust the volume when talking on the phone and make changes as you listen to audio clips.
- Includes earbud covers in three sizes
- Available in fun and unique colors
- Produces good audio and sends sounds directly to your ears
- Responds to frequencies between 10 and 24 kHz
- The ergonomic design helps the earbuds fit comfortably
- There is a chance that you might get the wrong pair in the mail
- Panasonic takes some time to respond to customer complaints
As budget earbuds go, the Skullcandy S2IKFY really punches above its weight. The S2IKFY comes with Supreme Sound which according to Skullcandy "delivers attacking bass, natural vocals and precision highs". It also has a flat cable which drastically reduces the time spent trying to detangle it from your bag or pocket. Having a flat designed cable is a great time saving hack as well as making the cable ultra durable. There is a one button remote control and built in microphone which enables you to take calls, make calls, play and pause music and cycle / run / exercise through your favourite tracks.
As with most earbuds on the market, this model comes in a number of color options. Add a splash of color to your listening experience with a little bit of red, lime green, purple or multi-color options.
- Compatible with Samsung and Apple devices
- Loads of color options
- Supreme Sound
- Includes a built-in microphone and volume control buttons
- Sound quality can be a bit muffled ( but hey, its under $20 )
With the Betron B24 set, you don't need to worry about how you'll use them because they are compatible with a range of products from both Apple and Samsung. The dynamic speakers inside the in-ear headphones, work together to produce a better quality range and to reduce feedback, though you may notice some static in cold weather or when you wear multiple layers. These earbuds come with a soft carrying bag with a drawstring top that keeps it closed and a set of covers that match most sizes of ears. You also get a clip that lets you attach the cable to your clothing to keep it from moving. With the built-in volume control and microphone, these earbuds are great for gaming too. You can wear the pair in the middle of an online game to communicate with team members and when you talk to friends and family on the phone.
- Compatible with Samsung and Apple devices
- Includes several pad sets and a carrying case
- Delivers better performance through dynamic speakers
- Includes a built-in microphone and volume control buttons
- The jack features gold plating
- Not suitable for use in cold weather due to the static produced
- May produce a slight echo effect
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Why settle for wired earphones that trip you up when you can buy this true wireless earbuds set from Monoprice? The wireless earbuds fit comfortably in your ears and come with multiple sets of pads that you can swap out when sharing the earphones or to see which ones fit your ears. The lithium-ion battery inside gives you up to five hours of gaming and other activities and charges quickly in around two hours. You can keep wearing the earphones as you charge them too. When connected via Bluetooth, you can wear the wireless earbuds up to 32 feet away from the device and still hear everything you want. It also has a high sensitivity on both the microphone and the earphone to ensure that you hear the smallest of sounds in the background.
These certainly aren't the best wireless earbuds on the market, but for under $20, they're a great cheap earbud option.
Features:Battery life: 5 hoursType of battery: Lithium-ionCharging time: 1 to 2 hours
- The 11mm internal drivers are significantly larger than the drivers on other earbuds are
- You can play, skip and pause audio via the built-in volume control
- Easy to pair with your smartphone / iphone ( android + IOS ) via these bluetooth earbuds
- A built-in microphone lets you talk on the phone and connect with gamers
- An included lithium-ion battery offers up to five hours of playback time
- Decent battery life
- It takes two hours or less to fully charge the battery
- The bass and/or treble may be off
- You might not like any of the included earbud covers
The MK23 earphones from Betron are a good set for those on a budget who want good audio clarity and strength. One of the best features is the tangle-free design of the cable. That cable is flat and lets you move easily without tangling. Compatible with music players and phones from Nokia, HTC, Apple and other manufacturers, the earbuds also work with gaming consoles and other devices. It has a 3.5mm standard jack plated in gold for better performance and clarity and a built-in microphone. Though some users had complaints about the microphone, it just requires that you press it once to turn on the microphone and a second time to shut it off. This set has built-in volume control and comes with multiple earbud covers and a carrying bag.
- The sleek and modern design helps you stand out from the crowd
- Features a noise-isolating design that lets you focus on the music or video
- Includes a flat cable with a tangle-free design
- Compatible with Apple products and devices from other manufacturers
- Comes with five sets of earbud covers and a clip
- Are heavier than other types of earbuds are
- The microphone button doesn't always respond to your first touch
Creative Labs is a company that specializes in making affordable products for shoppers such as the EP-630 earphones that fit into each ear. These earphones have a noise-isolating design that does two different things. This significantly reduces the amount of noise that escapes from the earbuds and also reduces the noises that you can hear while wearing them. The 9mm driver inside improves the overall performance of the earphones and works with the copper cable to ensure that you head each note and any of the sounds in the background of your music or videos. Included with the earphones are several silicone tips that fit on top of the ear cups. Not only can you let others use a spare set when you share the earphones, but you can try on each pair to see which one you like the best.
- Includes soft silicone earbud covers with an ergonomic design
- The cables allow for music to continuously reach your ears
- Can keep sounds from leaving the earbuds and block some external noises
- Comes with soft covers to protect your ears
- Delivers good audio quality at a low price
- Can produce more static than you would like
- The earbuds do not last as long as other pairs do
Sony is a name that many trusts when it comes to electronics and the manufacturer of these in-ear earbud headphones. If you want a pair that feels light and won't slip out of your ears, this might be the best earbuds for you. They have 9mm drivers inside that separate the notes to send an equal amount to each ear. Made from silicone, the earbuds fit so well and are so light that you might forget you have them in your ears. You can use any of the silicone covers to keep the earbuds clean and to help them fit better. With a frequency range of 8 Hz to 22 kHz, these earbuds ensure that you never miss a note. They also come in several colors, all of which include both integrated volume control and microphone.
- The integrated microphone is close to the integrated volume control
- Made from silicone and other materials for a better and more comfortable fit
- Has a Y-design to keep the cord from tangling
- Uses domes and drivers for the ultimate in audio clarity
- Available in bright and funky colors
- The earbuds are more fragile than others are
- They may only last for a few months
Those looking for light and affordable wired earphones will want to consider this pair from COSPOR. These earphones have a special design that allows the cups to fit tighter inside your ears, which will keep them from falling out as you dance or exercise. The included cord is long enough that you can move for hours without tripping over it. Each cup features a magnet inside too. When you take them out of your ears, those magnets will pull the two cups together, which lets you wear the cord as a necklace around your neck. It also comes with a built-in microphone that lets you talk on the phone without using your hands and integrated volume control. This makes it easy to switch between songs, pause and resume clips and adjust the volume as you play a game or talk on the phone.
- Suitable for use with game consoles, phones, tablets and computers
- Fits tighter in your ears to prevent slips
- Ergonomically designed to reduce discomfort when using them
- Has magnets inside that let you wear the earbuds like a necklace
- Features a large sensitivity range for improved quality
- The earbuds can pull away from the cord
- They may suffer some damage during shipping