The best cheap earbuds are the RHA MA390.
Cheap earbuds litter city streets and occupy gas station walls. Although we’re riding out a wave of premium wireless and true wireless earbuds, cheap alternatives from the likes of Creative and Shure still have their place in our ears and in our bags.
If you have a moment, we implore you to read the in-depth list at SoundGuys, which provides greater insight to those interested.
Best cheap earbuds under $50
Editor’s note: We’ll be updating this list of the best earbuds under $50 regularly as new devices launch.
1. RHA MA390
The RHA MA390 deliver a bass-heavy sound which is, in part, due to their excellent isolation properties. The company provides an array of ear tips, so you’re bound to find the pair that fits perfectly for your ears. Despite the ~$30 price tag, the earbuds look high-quality. Aluminum housings and a rubberized cable give the MA390 a premium feel. An in-line mic and remote break up the cable and allow for virtual assistant access. If you’re looking for a cheap pair of daily earbuds, this is the pair to get.
2. Creative Outlier One
Creative fans are familiar with the company’s affordable, yet high-quality products and the Outlier One follows suit. These wireless earbuds support SBC only; if you want aptX support, you’ll have to get the Creative Outlier Sports. While the lack of high-quality codec support may be disappointing, these are IPX4-certified, denoting sweat-resistance for athletes.
Battery life is fine and clocks in at 9.4 hours of constant playback. Once the earbuds are out of juice, you’ll need to recharge them via the included microUSB cable. The proprietary wing tips effectively keep the earbuds in place while exercising. Athletes on a budget should throw these in their gym bags.
3. SoundPeats Engine
The SoundPeats Engine wireless earbuds support SBC, aptX, and aptX LL. This is nearly unheard of for such an affordable pair of earbuds. The earbuds boast other premium features like magnetic housings, which is great for cable management, Bluetooth 5.0, multipoint connectivity, and an IPX6 water-resistant rating. Although neckband earbuds aren’t for everyone, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better feature set for less than $50.
4. Shure SE112-GR
Shure, a legacy audio company, has been around for decades, and its SE112 earbuds feature the company’s bass-heavy house sound. Not only is the bass response strong, but so too are the stress relievers at the Y-splitter. They’re comfortable too, as the nozzles are slightly angled. This allows them to comfortably rest with the curve of your ear canal.
Despite the lack of a stiff ear hook component, these earbuds are meant to be worn around the ear. Doing so mitigates microphonics, the phenomenon of cable vibrations traveling up to the earbuds. For great sound quality and durability, you can’t go wrong with Shure.
5. Panasonic Ergo Fit
For the cheapest set of good earbuds, the Panasonic Ergo Fit are your best friend. These retail for less than $10 and are available in 15 colorways. Just like the Shure SE112-GR, these have angled nozzles, giving the earbuds their “ergonomic” title. Although sound quality won’t blow you away, it’s reasonably good for the dirt-cheap price.
What you should consider before buying cheap earbuds
- A cogent seal is an easy way to improve sound quality. If you can’t get a good seal from the included earbuds, investing in third-party ear tips is an easy, long-term solution.
- Premium materials are usually the first to go. That said, the Outlier One still includes IPX4 water-resistance for running and exercising.
- A bass-heavy frequency response is common, and often preferred, when it comes to cheap earbuds. If you’d like to EQ the sound, most phones allow users to do so.