7 Best Headphones under $20

Best Headphones under $20

We gathered decent, useful gadgets for dirt-cheap prices in this roundup.

The greatest over-ear, in-ear, and on-ear headphones for under $20 are listed below.

While these models aren’t going to blow your socks off, they do provide excellent value for the money. They’re a good option for most budget consumers. Solid is remarkable when the budget is $20.

If you’re searching for something a little more expensive, check out the budget tips below.

Top 7 Best Headphones under $20

  1. Best Overall: Koss UR-20
  2. Runner Up: Behringer HPS3000
  3. Best In-Ear: KZ ZST
  4. Classic Style Over-Ear: Panasonic RP-HT161-K
  5. Best Foldable: Sony MDR-ZX110
  6. Best On-Ear: Koss KSC75
  7. Best True Wireless: Jlab Go Air Pop True Wireless Earbuds

The Best Headphones under $20

1. Koss UR-20

1. Koss UR-20

The sound quality of these over-ear headphones is excellent. The frequency response is balanced, with a modest boost in the low end. However, listening to it at high volumes can render it muddy.

They’re best used for listening to soothing music. They’re also a wonderful option for listening to your favorite rock and pop music.

Their primary benefit is comfort. The earpads on over-ear headphones are large and plush, and they fit comfortably around most ears. Furthermore, the headband design is relatively flexible, making them quite comfortable for long periods of time.

Given the price range, their durability is adequate. Despite the fact that they are totally constructed of plastic, they are durable.

Pros
  • Balanced sound with slightly a boosted bass
  • Lightweight and comfortable
  • Dirt-cheap
Cons
  • Bulky, plastic construction

Read:  Koss UR-20 Complete Review

2. Behringer HPS3000

2. Behringer HPS3000

They have a somewhat V-shaped sound profile with well-defined bass and clear highs. Perfect for anyone who like getting extra motivated by listening to upbeat music.

Because of the abundance of details, the sound is also appropriate for studio use (considering the price range).

Despite their heavy appearance, they are light and provide a very comfortable fit for the majority of people. All ears can be accommodated by the oval-shaped ear cups. Wearing them for an extended period of time is not an issue.

The cord is not tangled. Noise isolation is also greater than other sub-$20 headphones thanks to their snug fit and materials. These over-ear headphones will last you a long time whether you’re listening at home or on the move.

Pros
  • Dirt-cheap
  • Excellent sound for the price
  • Good durability
  • Lightweight and comfortable
Cons
  • They can start rattling when listening to bassy music
  • Not very portable

Read: Behringer HPS3000 Complete Review

3. KZ ZST

3. KZ ZST

Their V-shaped sound signature complements any music genre (from hip hop to rock) and is particularly well suited to listening to contemporary music. The bass is powerful and precise, giving all of your favorite songs a boost.

Their audio quality is comparable to that of more expensive earbuds, and you may increase it by changing the size of the memory-foam ear tips. These are easily comparable to the best sub $50 earbuds.

Despite being entirely made of plastic, they are well-made and have an ergonomic shape for everyday usage. They also feature a detachable cable, which is always useful.

That is why they are so long-lasting. With the correct ear tips, you can enjoy long-lasting comfort and excellent noise isolation. They can even be used for sports.

The in-ears can be used as sports headphones despite not being sweatproof. You may wrap them around your ears with to the memory soft hooks. This also reduces cable noise.

They contain an in-line mic and remote control, which is a nice feature for the price.

Pros
  • Amazing value
  • Great sound
  • Removable cable
  • Comfortable fit
Cons
  • All-plastic construction

Read: KZ ZST Headphone Complete Review

4. Panasonic RP-HT161-K

4. Panasonic RP-HT161-K

Their sound is well-balanced. The bass is deep, but it blends in well with the other instruments. All music genres are typically acceptable to listen to on these. After all, they were less than $20.

However, they lack the power of the best bass headphones.

Its extra-long cord is their best feature. It’s extremely useful when playing video games or dancing to your favorite music.

Even if you wear glasses, they are comfortable due to their lightweight construction. Ear cushions are soft and envelop the entire ear, isolating the majority of ambient noise. In addition, with proper care, their lives can be fairly long.

Their biggest benefit is the length of their cable. The Panasonic RP-HT161-K, on the other hand, is designed for casual home use, with loud sound, a comfortable design, and an unbeatable price.

Pros
  • Lightweight
  • Decent sound with deep bass
Cons
  • Users with bigger ears might find them uncomfortable

Read: Panasonic RP-HT161-K Headphone Complete Review

5. Sony MDR-ZX110

5. Sony MDR-ZX110

The Sony MDR-ZX110 headphones are reasonably priced at $10, making their sound all the more astounding.

It’s not audiophile heaven, but for the money, you get nice bass, natural mids, and a somewhat balanced treble. Unfortunately, the soundstage and imaging aren’t particularly impressive.

Headphones are so light (and plasticky) that they don’t even register on your head. Despite their on-ear design, this is the case.

Even if you’re running with these, the stability is good, albeit the earpads will heat up your ears rapidly.

To save space in your backpack, the MDR-ZX110 even folds inwards. However, the folding mechanism appears to be somewhat fragile.

The version with a built-in microphone for making phone calls in inline controls costs $20.

Pros
  • Great sound for the price
  • Inexpensive
  • Foldable, travel-friendly design
Cons
  • No inline controls
  • Cheap build quality

Read: Sony MDR ZX110 Headphones Complete Review

6. Koss KSC75

6. Koss KSC75

They have a well-balanced frequency response, with a robust bass response and a forward mid-range. The sound quality is comparable to that of more expensive headphones. For years, audiophiles have flocked to them.

These are suitable for practically any musical genre. If you’re a basshead, don’t expect too much bounce, even though their bass is loud and clear.

Even if you wear them for a long period, KSC75 are light and don’t disturb your earlobes. You may also use them for cardio activities due to their ear hook design. They have a solid fit thanks to the ear hooks.

Despite not being waterproof, they can withstand the majority of your sweaty workouts.

Pros
  • Comfortable, lightweight design
  • Great stability thanks to ear hooks
  • Excellent, balanced sound that exceeds the price
Cons
  • No inline controls
  • Not the most durable

Read: Koss KSC75 Headphones Complete Review

7. Jlab Go Air Pop True Wireless Earbuds

7. Jlab Go Air Pop True Wireless Earbuds

The Go Air Pop Bluetooth headphones are aimed at the general audience and feature powerful lows and dazzling highs. Thankfully, the midrange remains balanced and musical instruments are conveyed naturally.

The best part is that you can raise the bass even more by switching to the Bass boost EQ profile or tone down the lows by selecting the Balanced preset.

Earbuds are modest in size and comfortably fit in your ear canal. They don’t poke your earlobes, allowing you to listen for long periods of time. Additionally, the music controls are touch sensitive.

The buds are also powered by batteries thanks to Bluetooth technology. The battery life is fairly good, coming in about eight hours on a single charge and another 24 hours kept in the charging case. The USB cord is permanently attached to the casing.

Jlab earphones are also suited for exercise, with an IPX4 rating.

Pros
  • Good sound quality
  • 3 EQ presets
  • Stable fit
  • 2 year warranty
Cons
  • Call quality
  • Audio delay when watching videos

Read: Jlab Go Air Pop True Wireless Earbuds Complete Review

What Can You Get for $20 in Headphones?

20 bucks is a small sum of money, and it’s astonishing that you can obtain headphones for that cheap. Here’s what you can get for your money with headphones in this price range.

Cheaper build quality

Better materials are more expensive. As a result of the low cost, most audio devices are built of plastic, which can shatter or distort. If you want them to last at least a couple of years, take careful care of them.

Basic functionality

A built-in microphone and remote control are more of a bonus than a must. It’s usually just a wire with a jack for headphones. There are no touch controls, either.

Cheaper headphones have mediocre audio quality

It doesn’t necessarily imply that the overall quality is poor, but don’t expect a Hi-Fi sound experience. Headphones with exceptional sound typically cost more than $20, but that doesn’t always imply they sound better.

No fancy features like active noise cancellation

Don’t expect feature-rich headphones for less than $20. Noise cancellation technology is more expensive to produce and does not fit into this pricing range.

Why do Headphones Die?

The build quality varies from model to model, but this isn’t just a concern with low-cost headphones. Every electronic gadget eventually dies, either on its own or as a result of a malfunction.

While you can’t stop the first thing from happening, you can take extra care with your headphones.

Knowing what the most prevalent causes of headphones dying are may help you avoid making the same mistakes.

Damaging the cord

Although more and more brands are adopting wireless, headphones under $20 almost always have a corded construction.

Of course, the most vulnerable aspect of any headset is the cables, especially if they’re permanently attached. Many things can go wrong for them, including:

Pulling the cable instead of the plug: The connection between the cable and the plug isn’t always rock-solid, especially with cheap wires. As a result, rather than tugging the cable, you should unplug your headphones by gripping the plug.

Running them over with your chair: They might not die the first time you do it, but you should not risk it.

Pulling the cable too hard: When you forget you’re wearing headphones on your head and hastily rise up, it’s a regular occurrence. As a result, the cord takes a headphone from your skull and crashes it to the ground.

Bending or tightening a cable: A little bending isn’t a problem. However, attempting to tie a knot to fit them into a small carrying case can cause the wire to snap. Small, brittle wires run through the cable. They will easily break if you bend them too much.

Liquid damage

While most wireless earbuds and headphones are water resistant, the majority of wired earphones and headphones are not.

Rain or you heavily sweat during a workout: To survive, your headphones would need to be IPX4 rated at the very least.

Keeping your headphones in a moist environment: After an intensive workout, you may leave your headphones in your moist clothes. Liquids and electronics don’t mix well, as we all know.

There are, of course, exceptions. We once washed our earbuds in the washing machine by accident. All we had to do was blast them with tremendous volume for a brief period of time to bring them back to life.

Extreme loudness

Every speaker is rated for maximum power output: If you keep below the recommended power input, playing your headphones loudly isn’t a problem. In most cases, a smartphone will not destroy your headphones. If you have a dedicated amplifier, though, that power is easily accessible. What occurs is that a tiny copper coil, which forms an electromagnetic field when combined with the magnet, overheats and melts. It will no longer be able to generate a magnetic field if this occurs.

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Sara Khan

About the Author: Sara Khan

For almost 5 years, I've been passionately blogging about headphones and audio technologies. Hundreds of headphones were tested and tried. Always on the lookout for the "best-value-for-money" headphones. Today, I'm more concerned with back-end content creation and technical concerns.

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