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Best Cheap Headphones: 13 Budget Headphones for Everyday Use

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Due to the popularity of gaming headsets, it’s easy to forget that these audio accessories also come in “regular” forms. You know, everyday headphones for non-gaming use, like watching movies, listening to music, streaming videos, and video calling on Skype.

Looking for the best cheap headphone that will fit your particular needs can be a confusing affair if you don’t know what you’re doing. Luckily, we make it easy for you to find the best budget headphone that won’t stress your wallet.

In this article we’ll cover some of the best budget headphones that you should consider buying. We’ll also talk about what you should and shouldn’t be looking for in cheap headphones. Remember, just because they are “cheap” doesn’t mean we’re talking about lacking in quality and features.

Choosing budget headphones for everyday use is much more straightforward than you might think. But as mentioned earlier, it’s easy to get lost if you don’t know what you’re doing. Hopefully, we can help you in making the right purchase.


How to find the best cheap headphones

Best cheap headphones

We’re here to make buying the best cheap headphones a little less confusing for you. But before that, let’s have a short checklist of the things you should keep an eye on when looking for the best budget headphones.

  • Mic or no mic: For non-techies, “headphones” and “headsets” may just seem like interchangeable words. But they’re actually different. To put it simply, headphones, unlike headsets, don’t come with microphones. So if anything that involves speaking isn’t on your agenda, it’s best to just stick with headphones, though many headsets have removable or retractable microphones nowadays.
  • Over-ear or on-ear: Over-ear headphones are typically much larger. They’re like earmuffs, but instead of protecting your ears from sound, they amplify it. Over-ear headphones completely cover your ears, effectively reducing background noise. On-ear headphones, on the other hand, are slightly smaller, and instead of covering your ears, they simply press against them. (Earphones are those little things that go inside your ear and are referred to as “in-ear.”)
  • Wired or wireless: Both have advantages and disadvantages. Obviously, wireless headphones save you the trouble of untangling wires for the 642nd time in a span of about three days. But wired headphones are more reliable for long travels, unlike wireless headphones which are battery-based. Wired headphones are also less prone to signal interference because, well, they’re directly plugged to whatever device you’re using.
  • Weight and comfort: Most headphones these days are built lightweight, though there are some that feel awkwardly heavy on the head. If you will have your headphones on most of the time, it’s best to pick the best affordable headphones that provide the most comfort even if they’ve been sitting on your head for 12 hours straight. Including bathroom breaks.
  • Price: Finally, the most hated aspect when out to buy stuff: the price tag. There are lots of high-quality headphones that can be bought for less than $100, just like some of the best cheap gaming headsets. If you’re not really into surround sound, noise canceling technology, and all those fancy stuff and only want something that reliably allows you to listen to Taylor Swift’s songs about her latest ex-boyfriend the entire day, then headphones in the $30 range – yep, $30! – should suffice. It’s all about what you’re going to use your headphones for.

Now if you’re looking for headphones that are smaller and fit in-ear, we’ve got you covered with our list of wireless earbuds for everyday use. And for those of you who want headphones for exercising, you can check out our list of earbuds for working out and earbuds for runners.

Again, it’s all about preferences when choosing the best cheap headphones for your specific needs and we want to provide as many options as possible for you. Now, without further ado, here are 13 non-gaming headphones that are well-suited for everyday use.

Sony Professional Large Diaphragm Headphones (Best Seller)

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Sony MDR7506 Professional Large Diaphragm Headphone

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Want the best cheap headphones and feel like you’re a professional recording artist at the same time? Look no further than the Sony MDR7506 Professional Large Diaphragm Headphones. Featuring 40mm drivers, this pair of headphones is built to produce nothing but high-quality sound whether it’s from movies, music, or whoever is yelling at you on Skype.

Thanks to the large and boss-looking ear cups, the Sony MDR7506 reduces unwanted noise to a minimum, allowing you to hear Ed Sheeran’s music just the way he intended it to. The large ear cups also keep the sound in check, preventing it from “leaking” out to unwilling ears around you. The Sony MDR7506 provides excellent comfort, courtesy of the soft ear cushions and headband, making sure that your movie marathons go as smooth as possible. Its features might be overkill for garden-variety everyday use, though, which makes it even more surprising that it doesn’t come with a premium price.

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Bose SoundTrue Around-Ear Headphones II

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Bose SoundTrue around-ear headphones II - Apple devices, Charcoal

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$119.00

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The Bose SoundTrue II is another example of a product easily mistaken for a $300 headphones simply because it comes from an established electronics manufacturer. And really, though, just one look at it and you would easily assume its way out of your wallet’s league. The Bose SoundTrue II offers an excellent bass, giving your ears a more immersive experience when subjected to rock music and the heaviest of metal music.

Although it doesn’t have noise canceling technology, the over-ear design, which features soft ear cushions for comfortable extended use, keeps background noise to a minimum. The cables that house a surprisingly clearer-than-expected mic are easily detachable, which translates to fewer chances of getting them tangled. The Bose SoundTrue II is specifically marketed for Apple products, but it works for other brands, too. It’s definitely a way cheaper alternative to the ultra-expensive Beats by Dr. Who…err, Dre.

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Sennheiser On-Ear Wireless RF Headphones

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Sennheiser RS120 On-Ear Wireless RF Headphones with Charging Dock + 2 AAA...

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The Sennheiser RS120 is, hands down, one of the best cheap wireless headphones that you can get for its price. Featuring a sound quality that’s expected from a Sennheiser product, these headphones come with a separate wireless transmitter that allows for an uninterrupted reception through walls for up to 300 feet. Just plug it into any traditional analog audio output and you’re good to go – no further installations needed.

The headphones are powered by AAA rechargeable batteries that last up to 20 hours (which, of course, varies depending on actual usage). Once the headphones are drained, they can be easily charged by via the wireless transmitter that also acts as a charging dock. And you don’t have to worry about accidentally leaving it on: It automatically shuts down when the audio source goes cold for five minutes.

Perhaps the best feature of the Sennheiser RS120 is its ability to run with multiple compatible headphones. This is especially handy if your sibling likes the same genre of music as you. Simply play music on one audio source and then have both your headphones connect to the single wireless transmitter. The only downside to these headphones is that they’re strictly reliant on the wireless transmitter – Bluetooth isn’t an option.

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August Bluetooth Wireless Headphones

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August EP650 Bluetooth Over Ear Wireless Stereo NFC 3.5mm Headphones with Rechargeable...

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$44.95 $99.99

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If you’re looking for the best cheap wireless headphones with an extreme bass quality, then your search ends with the August EP650. These headphones offer an over-the-top bass that will make you immediately reach for the Volume Down button as soon as the first explosion occurs in whatever action movie you’re watching. They are that loud. Which can be a good thing or a bad thing, depending on how you like your sound.

Those who like their bass cranked up all the time will love these headphones. However, those who prefer natural sounds undistorted by the extra bass may not find the August EP650 too appealing. The extra-loud bass also acts as a sort of noise-cancelling feature: Turn the volume high enough and you’ll effectively drown out all the unwanted noise in the background. Just don’t do it very often, as your eardrums could get a beating.

Although it’s mainly advertised as wireless, the August EP650 can also function as wired headphones, thanks to the standard 3.5mm audio cable it comes with. The ability to switch to wired is actually necessary, as unlike other wireless headphones, August EP650 “only” has a 10-hour battery lifespan. Another great thing about these headphones are the audio controls situated on one of the ear cups. They are large and easily to manage, unlike others that suspiciously feel like they were made for baby fingers.

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RCA Wireless Headphones

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RCA WHP141B 900MHZ Wireless Stereo Headphones

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$46.60

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With a range that reaches up to 150 feet, the RCA WHP141B Wireless Headphones can easily transmit audio signals through walls and ceilings. And thanks to the Phase-Lock Loop (PLL) technology which locks-in the frequency, you don’t have to worry about losing signal while listening to your favorite tunes across the house. The transmitter, which also acts as a charging stand, is compact enough for easy storage as well.

The headband brake looks kind of awkward since most other headphones don’t come with it. But it doesn’t cause any discomfort and does a good job in keeping the headphones in place. The soft ear cups are also great for extended use. Sound-wise, these headphones come with 40mm drivers that provide great audio quality. They don’t exactly come with surround sound-like quality touted by much pricier headphones, but they’re good enough for non-gaming use.

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Bluedio Turbine Wireless Headphones

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Bluedio HT Turbine Wireless Bluetooth 4.1 Stereo Headphones with Mic (Black)

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$28.99 $29.99

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Would you believe that the Bluedio HT Turbine Wireless Headphones, which can be had for less than 30 bucks, come with 57mm drivers? No, seriously, they come packed with them, producing a surprisingly high-quality and loud sound that can easily mute everyone around you. The powerful bass ensures that you won’t be subjected to a flat-sounding audio like other cheap headphones.

The Bluedio HT Turbine’s lithium-ion battery can produce up to 40 hours of non-stop music, further reinforcing the notion that it’s one of the best affordable headphones in the market. In case wireless isn’t really your cup of tea, Bluedio HT Turbine also functions as wired headphones. But you would have to separately buy the 3.5mm audio cable. The ear cups are a bit small, though, so don’t rely on them too much for passive noise cancellation. But this is just nitpicking. These wireless headphones are an excellent buy through and through.

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Monoprice Hi-Fi Light Weight Over-the-Ear Headphones

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Monoprice Hi-Fi Light Weight Over-the-Ear Headphones - (108324)

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These Monoprice Headphones are one of the best affordable headphones, featuring large ear cups with 50mm drivers for a better-than-expected performance. The quality is good for the price and should be enough for those who only put on headphones for music and movies. The large ear cups also provide passive noise-canceling but don’t expect them to completely shut out background noise.

Though they look bulky, these Monoprice Headphones are surprisingly lightweight, allowing for maximum head comfort during movie marathons. The cable only connects to one ear cup to reduce tangling and can be easily removed for safe keeping. Overall, these headphones offer a great sound quality that’s well worth the price. Great for Christmas gifts, especially for kids who can’t really tell the difference between a $200 headphones and a $30 headphones.

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SOL REPUBLIC Tracks HD On-Ear Headphones

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SOL REPUBLIC Tracks HD On-Ear Headphones (Black)

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$50.00

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The Sol Republic Tracks HD Headphones can be divisive, depending on what you’re looking for. On one hand, the extremely flexible headband is virtually indestructible. You can bend it the other way around and watch in amazement as it quickly returns to its original state like a rubber band. This is pretty much your guarantee that these headphones are built to last a long time.

The sound quality is great, too, with a balanced bass that is neither over-the-top nor lacking. They are also modular, meaning you can casually swap out parts if you want to customize them. You can change the headband, the ear cups, and the cables if you want a personalized look. Of course, that would require you to buy the other differently colored variants (nine colors to choose from). So it’s best to only swap out parts when they break down.

So, what’s the flip side? Well, on the other hand, the ear cups are rather small. Actually, these headphones probably have the smallest ear cups in this list. Those who never really liked headphones that cover the ears will have no problem. But those who like the passive noise canceling offered by over-ear headphones are better off looking at other headphones in this list. Like the next item below.

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Skullcandy Crusher Headphones

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Skullcandy Crusher Headphones with Built-in Amplifier and Mic, Black

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Skullcandy is one of the most easily recognizable brands in the audio accessories industry, courtesy of that distinct skull logo. They are known for producing stylish-looking headphones that can also double as fashion accessories. The Skullcandy Crusher Headphones are good examples, arriving in 10 different designs that make it hard for you to choose one over the other. You can go for the camo design, the snake design, or the leopard design if you want to stand out. Or you can go the minimalistic route and pick the red-and-black design or grey-and-line design.

Cosmetics aside, the Skullcandy Crusher Headphones feature a powerful bass, courtesy of the Sensation55 Driver, which can be further enhanced using the bass control slider on the left ear cup. You will literally feel your ears vibrate with these headphones. And just in case the bass boost isn’t enough to satisfy your demanding ears, these headphones also come with a battery-powered built-in amplifier. With these two features, it’s amazing the Skullcandy Crusher Headphones can be had for less than $100.

The ear cups are exceptionally large as well, providing passive noise-canceling that reduces unwanted noise to a minimum. Though they look heavy, the Skullcandy Crusher Headphones are comfortable to wear for long stretches. These headphones are definitely one of the best budget headphones that you can get without breaking the bank.

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LilGadgets Untangled Pro Premium Children’s Wireless Headphones

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LilGadgets Untangled Pro Premium Children's Wireless Bluetooth Headphones with SharePort - Blue

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$49.95 $64.95

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As the product name explicitly implies, these headphones are meant for children. The LilGadgets Untangled Pro Premium Children’s Wireless Headphones not only feature the longest name in this list, they are also the friendliest to the ears. Since they’re specifically made for children’s ears, these headphones come with a fixed max volume of 93db, which is well below the red zone of 100db. If you’re an adult who suffers from occasional hearing loss, these headphones are also recommended.

The design of the LilGadgets Untangled Pro Prem—Okay, let’s just call them “kiddie headphones.” The design of these kiddie headphones isn’t as flashy as other items in this list, although you can choose from six different colors. Hopefully, your child’s favorite color is among them. Featuring 40mm drivers that probably explains the price tag, these kiddie headphones offer a great sound quality that even adults would find suitable for their own needs.

Connection-wise, these cheap headphones are compatible with almost all Bluetooth devices and is juiced with a battery that lasts up to 12 hours. Another cool aspect is the SharePort feature which allows two separate headphones to listen from one audio source. Quite efficient if you want to lull your kids to sleep at the same time.

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Photive Wireless Bluetooth Headphones

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Photive BTH3 Over-The-Ear Wireless Bluetooth Headphones with Built-in Mic and 12 Hour...

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The Photive BTH3 proves that you don’t need to spend $200 on high-quality ear equipment. These over-ear wireless headphones feature an excellent bass, rivaling headphones that are 20 bucks pricier. The design offers maximum comfort for movie marathons or long Skype video calls. And you don’t have to worry about the headphones going out on you faster than the next explosion in a Michael Bay flick.

The battery can last up to 12 hours, which is roughly equivalent to six movies. Or two-and-a-half movies if you’re watching the extended cuts of The Lord of the Rings trilogy. Since the battery is lithium-ion, you can freely charge these headphones anytime. No need to wait for it to completely drain. Actually, it’s recommended that you don’t fully drain the battery. Lithium-ion batteries hate being drained – it affects their overall lifespan.

Volume controls can be easily grasped in the dark, thanks to their raised design on one of the ear cups. You don’t need to whip out your flashlight to access them. The Photive BTH3, which suspiciously looks like the Bose SoundTrue II above, is one of the best cheap headphones under $100, offering a comfortable build to go along with a great sound quality.

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Philips Rich Bass Neckband Headphones

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Philips Rich Bass Neckband Headphones SHS5200/28 (Replaces SHS5200)

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$99.95

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Don’t be fooled by the brand. Though it comes from a well-known manufacturer of top-of-the-line, albeit expensive, electronic devices, the Philips SHS5200/28 Rich Bass Neckband Headphones won’t cost you an arm and a leg. They produce a great-sounding bass that’s made even better by the bass beat vents (those three openings on each ear cup).

The Philips SHS5200/28 is excellent for night affairs. And by “night affairs,” we mean activities that you usually do in your room with the lights turned off. Don’t get the wrong idea. Since it has a neckband design, it can be comfortably worn with your head resting on a pillow. It won’t easily fall off like headband variety headphones.

The cables, which offer superior durability thanks to the Pull-Relief System, are also easily manageable due to being located on one side only. And best of all, the neckband is reflective, which is the closest thing you can get to glow-in-the-dark headphones minus actual LED lights.

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Cowin Stereo Headphones

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Cowin E-7 Wireless Bluetooth Over-ear Stereo Headphones with Microphone and Volume Control...

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Finally, we have the Cowin E-7 Wireless Headphones, the only one with built-in active noise canceling technology in this list. Which should be music to your ears (sorry for the bad pun) if you’re all about shutting down all unwanted noise in the background. For safety reasons, like when you’re on a particularly busy street, the noise canceling feature can be easily turned off. Don’t worry, though; these headphones are over-ear, which means they also offer passive noise canceling by default.

The overall build of the Cowin E-7 is all about comfort. It has soft ear cups which you can swivel up to 90 degrees and a durable headband that doesn’t feel heavy at all. You can also easily take calls (it’s equipped with a mic) by pressing the button on one of the ear cups. The on-ear volume controls also function as playlist buttons, negating the need to take out your audio device, especially while on-the-move.

Sound-wise, the Cowin E-7 allows you to hear your favorite artists’ music with exceptional quality. If you’ve been using $5 cheap earphones prior to buying these headphones, you’ll be blown away by how detailed each instrument is. This pair of wireless headphones lasts up to an incredible 30 hours, with a standard 3.5mm cable on standby just in case the battery runs out. The Cowin E-7 is a must-buy if you’re looking for excellent headphones with active noise canceling technology which aren’t meant for gaming.

 

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Pio F.

Pio is a part-time writer with an undying love for video games. He also writes about tech, gadgets, Star Wars, and comic book superhero films.
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