9 of the Best Earbuds Under $20 in 2019

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Finding the best earbuds under $20 might seem like a tough task, but you’ll be surprised by the quality of options available to you at the low-end of the market. For casual use on the go, our top 9 earbuds below will offer a ton of value.

Our Top Pick
Betron DC950: Affordable, well-built earphones that offer better-than-average sound quality
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There used to be a time when earbuds were seen as nothing short of technomagic. Powerful, punchy, mobile “headphones”, all condensed into a size smaller than a thumb? You bet your granddad (or even your dad) would marvel at even the simplest of Apple Earpods.

Of course, thanks to, first, the iPod and later, smartphones, earbuds are about as common as blue denim.

For us discerning listeners and amateur audiophiles, this means two things:

  • The quality of earbuds at the low end of the market has improved drastically in the last decade
  • The quantity of low-end earbuds flooding the low-end of the market has also increased drastically

Essentially, you have a market flooded with crappy earbuds. At the same time, you also have some ferociously high-quality earbuds being sold for under $20.

How do you find out some of the “diamonds in the rough” if you have just $20 to spend? This article on the best earbuds under $20 will help.

P.S: Have a higher budget? Then check out our guide on the best earbuds under $50.

Our 9 Best Earbuds Under $20

Below, we’ve shared our top picks for the best earbuds you can buy under $20.

We’ve selected the best overall, best value, and best performance picks first. The remaining 6 make up the rest of the list.

Best Overall: Betron DC950

Key features:

  • Cable Earbuds
  • 3 sets of earbuds
  • Carry case
  • Compatible with Android and iOS devices

The Betron DC950 are budget earphones that despite the relatively cheap price, offers very satisfactory sound quality. Incidentally, they also ranked near the top of our list of the best earbuds under $50.

The earbuds come with a 3.93 ft cord with microphone and volume control. There are no metal parts on these microphones except for the end caps and endpoints of the earphones. During testing, I observed that they fit well into my phone. It doesn’t have the problem of coming out of your device when you are walking; however, if you are planning to use them while jogging, then you do so at your own peril.

I liked the solid feel of the cables, they don’t feel flimsy, and moreover, the red and black color combination makes them look stylish. If you opt for the model with microphone and volume control, you might find the split of the cables too low.

The microphone unit is a downside in these otherwise great earphones. It feels flimsy and cheap. It feels like it could break at any time.

The earbuds themselves sit well in-ear. Since they protrude outwards, they feel a bit heavy. Hence they might fall off frequently if you use them for jogging. However, if you are not moving around, they are ideal for use.

The earbuds provide excellent sound quality. Considering that they are budget earbuds, the sound quality is quite surprising. It might not be as deep-sounding as more expensive earphones, but they sound really nice. It is important, however, to get these earbuds into the ear properly to get all the delicious sound effects. Instruments sound great, however vocals sound a bit thin and too sharp for my liking.

What I don’t like

The vocals are piercing and might make sound uncomfortable after some time.

Recommended for: If you want earbuds that have that bass range, then these will suit you just fine.

Pros

  • Stylish design
  • Low price
  • Durable cable

Cons

  • High-mids sound thin and piercing

Best Budget: Monoprice Enhanced Bass

Key features:

  • Noise isolating earbuds
  • Inline microphone
  • Volume controls

Despite the long and rather terrible product name, these budget earphones offer healthy performance.

Coming in at less than $10, the Monoprice earphones look great. The earbuds are rounded and feature a sporty look. Depending on what you like, you can get these earbuds in different trendy colors like pink, white, silver, and black.

When I put the earbuds in, I found them okay but not particularly great. Changing the earbuds to another size made them feel more comfortable. Thankfully, Monoprice fitted 2 extra sizes in the package.

The performance these earphones delivered during testing are very surprising. They are not just great for the price but are overall great in general. The bass range on these babies is flat as can be. I love brain-shaking bass, but these earphones didn’t give me that.

Nevertheless, the overall range sounds clean. Instrument sounds are clearly pronounced without any noticeable distortion.

They are listed as noise-isolating earphones; however, the performance in this regard isn’t exactly impressive or good.

What I don’t like

The low price is evident in some aspects of the performance, noise-isolation is poor, sounds leak out (reduce the volume if you don’t want coworkers to know you are a closet Taylor Swift fan), and the bass is flat.

Recommended for: If you are content with a middling performance at a cheap price, then this will fit you.

Pros

  • Nice design
  • Sound range is satisfactory
  • Incredibly low price

Cons

  • Poor noise-isolation
  • Flat bass range

Best Performance: Panasonic Ergo Fit

Key features:

  • In-ear Headphones
  • Microphone and Call remote
  • 3.6 feet headphone cord

The Panasonic ErgoFit RP-TCM125 is a great headphone that has a nice, comfortable design, and delivers satisfactory sound.

The earphones look simple and cheap. The appearance is a mix between the hart earbud and the soft earbud. The ear tips come in different sizes so you might have to experiment a bit to get the right size for you. Once you get the size right, they feel really comfortable. They stay in-ear despite rigorous activities.

The cable is long but is thin and feels cheap. The right-angled plug is good, although it might cause issues for folks that have phones with thick cases.

The headphones give a punchy bass sound, although not as deep or punchy as more expensive earphones.

The mids do not have enough energy to be impressive. The highs and treble sound sibilant and comfortable.

The overall performance is reasonably satisfactory with the limitations common to budget earphones.

What we don’t like

The sound leaks; I found them almost impossible to use in the library without almost completely reducing the sound.

Sound-isolation is very good. Although it isn’t total, it still feels good considering the price.

Recommended for: If you are looking for something to wear jogging, a nice fit and design make this ideal.

Pros

  • Comfortable design and build
  • Reasonable price
  • Satisfactory mids and highs

Cons

  • Just 1 extra ear tips provided
  • Audio quality isn’t especially great

Best for Sports/Gym: Avantree E171

Key features:

  • 3.5mm gold plated plug jack
  • Built-in microphone
  • Sweatproof design

These wired earphones are beautifully designed and give clear sound quality.

They have a sleek look. The hooks just behind the ear tips allow you to hook them on the ear. I enjoyed using these for some time. I might have sensitive ears, but I observed that prolonged wearing of the hooks made me feel uncomfortable.

The ear tips feel nice in the ear. It comes in 3 different sizes you can choose from. It also has a microphone that allows you make hands-free calls.

I enjoyed the inclusion of inline controls. These are versatile and to make using the earphones easier.

Performance was neat and adequate. They are rated not for their sound, but for the comfort and ease of use that they afford.

What we don’t like

As pointed out earlier, after some time, I felt discomfort behind my ear where the hooks are placed. The sound is not great as well.

Recommended for: If you frequent the gym or involve in vigorous activities, or you move about often, these earphones afford you ease of use.

Pros

  • Nice design
  • Completely hands-free functions
  • Great for the gym or running

Cons

  • The sound quality is average

Best Wireless: Mpow Flame

Key features:

It is not easy to find waterproof, wireless, exercise-friendly earphones for a cheap price. The Mpow Flame earphones offer an excellent solution to this dilemma.

The headphones are designed for folks on the move. It is made of lightweight plastic and features ear hooks made of silicon. You can get these earphones in 4 different colors. The eartips are very comfortable, and the memory foam tips that come with the earphones are great for keeping out sounds.

  • The connecting cord on these earphones is flat and short.
  • The earphones have an IPX7 waterproof rating. Therefore, you can use them underwater without any problems (just don’t stay too long or dive below 1m).
  • The sound quality here is quite balanced. It doesn’t deliver the cleanness and clarity of more expensive earphones, but it still performs well for the price.
  • The battery life is just satisfactory for this price range. They charge under 2 hours and have a playtime of up to 9 hours.

What we don’t like

Well, as with most Bluetooth earphones at this price, sound quality isn’t great.

Recommended for: People that workout and don’t want dangling cords in the way might find this satisfactory.

Pros

  • Nice design
  • The connecting cable is short
  • Comfortable fit

Cons

  • Sound quality is poor
  • The battery could be better

Other options

Besides the top 5 options above, let’s look at a few more alternatives below:

6. TCL MTRO100

Key features:

  • Noise-isolating earphones
  • Built-in microphone
  • 8.6 mm Audio drivers

The last, but not the least earphones on this list are the TCL MTRO100s. These earphones come as a comfortable ergonomic design which is found quite great. They are in-ear earphones and come in 3 differently sized ear tips so that you can choose the size that fits your ear.

The sound balance from the earphones is surprisingly good. I literally spent hours listening to music without feeling fatigued.

What we don’t like

The lack of a carrying case makes it easy to lose.

Recommended for: They are cheap earphones; anyone inclined to buying something cheap with middling performance is welcome to get them

Pros

  • Surprising sound balance
  • Comfortable fit
  • Small-sized

Cons

  • No carrying case

7. Apple EarPods

Key features:

  • Built-in remote
  • Comfortable fit
  • Overall White color

These earphones from Apple, popularly known as EarPods, are arguably the most common earphones on the market.

The design is distinctive and easily identifiable. It has an all-white design with a plastic nozzle that serves as the ear tips. The ear tips are designed to fit into the ears no matter the ear size. I had absolutely no problems with the size of these earphones. They fitted very comfortably. You can even use them while engaging in vigorous activities.

Nevertheless, the build and feel are cheap, especially the connecting cable.

The sound quality is poor. The bass, sub-bass, and mid-bass are all over the place and lack control. The design is the redeeming feature of these devices and not the sound. It does have a passable soundstage though, although this isn’t particularly exciting.

What we don’t like

The sound quality is poor.

Recommended for: If you want something that looks and feels good, then the Earpods are ideal.

Pros

  • Beautiful design
  • Cheap
  • Inline microphone and remote works well

Cons

  • Sound quality is poor
  • Connecting cable feels cheap

8. LETSCOM Bluetooth Headphones

Key features:

  • 11mm vibrating diaphragm
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • IPX7 Waterproof rating
  • 8-hour runtime

There are many Bluetooth headphones on the market, and the sheer number of these devices ensures that manufacturers improve their technologies and features. The LETSCOM Bluetooth headphones are impressive headphones that you can get for less than $20.

These headphones have 1PX7 certification that endures waterproof durability. You can submerge these headphones in up to 1 meter of water, and they’ll still work perfectly.

The cable is short, which I found super-comfortable. You can find these headphones in different colors like black, red-black, pink-gray, green-black, and blue-gray.

  • Controls are well placed and feel durable.
  • The overall build and design are great. You can use these headphones while running or jumping.
  • The audio performance is fairly satisfactory. It doesn’t sound as great as some of the other earphones on this list, but if you are looking to buy these types of headphones, you aren’t likely concerned about sound quality.
  • Battery performance is great for this type of headphones. It takes 2 hours to reach full charge and lasts for around 8 hours with constant use.

What we don’t like

Audio quality is frankly just there. It is not impressive by any stretch of the imagination.

Recommended for: It is great for those who want a Bluetooth earphone that is cheap and still offers good functionality.

Pros

  • Great build and design
  • Active noise-isolation
  • Nice battery life

Cons

  • Poor audio performance

9. Edifier H180

Key features:

  • 5 micron diaphragm
  • 100dB sensitivity
  • 1.2m Cable

The Edifier Stereo headphones are highly rated by many users, present company included. They come at a great price and offer excellent performance.

For some reason, I am used to the design of these headphones, unlike those in-earbuds that are so common. The fit of these headphones is great. They feel good and are quite light; in fact, after some time, I even forgot I had them on. They deliver a very comfortable performance.

The build is solid. They come with a right angle jack at the connector. All the plastic parts (earbuds and connectors) feel solid; however, I have a suspicious feeling about the strength of the cable. It feels flimsy and poorly made.

The sound gives you deep bass and detailed mids & highs. Without a critical ear, I thoroughly enjoyed listening to music. The bass is very nice. It is not very deep, but it is detailed and satisfactory. The highs sound incredible while the mids sound slightly mediocre.

What we don’t like

I didn’t like the poor cable make and the mediocre mids.

Recommended for: I recommend them to everyone who wants something with nice performance and a decent price.

Pros

  • The sound quality is satisfactory
  • They are very comfortable
  • Bass sounds are incredibly detailed

Cons

  • Mids are mediocre
  • The cable is flimsy

Over to You

Buying the best earbuds under $20 doesn’t have to be that hard. There might be hundreds of options on the market but only a few truly offer acceptable quality.

Refer to this list to find the right earbuds for your needs. Select any one of the 9 options above and you won’t be disappointed with the results!

For more recommendations and advice, don’t hesitate to reach out to me here.

Changelog
  • August 31, 2019: Article published with 9 reviewed earbuds