We spend a lot of time talking about high-end wireless headphones like the Bose Noise Canceling Headphones 700 and the Sony WH-1000XM3 — and for good reason, they’re incredible products — but nothing says you have to spend a lot just to get some good headphones for casual listening. Panasonic, Monoprice, COWIN, and even Google all make great, affordable headphones to fit almost any budget.
Best sound quality
If you’re straight up looking for really good sound for a low price, the Audio-Technica ATH-M40x are unbeatable. In terms of sound quality, they sound very natural with a wide soundstage. Nothing fancy, just wired over-ear headphones that sound really good, especially for the price.
$99 at Amazon
Google Pixel USB-C Earbuds
For better of worse, most phones these days ship without a headphone jack, so USB-C earbuds are your best bet for wired audio. Google’s Pixel Earbuds support 24-bit digital audio, and have some great smart features tucked inside — you can access Google Assistant, Google Translate, and your latest notifications all from the inline microphone controls.
$30 at Google Store
Panasonic ErgoFit Earbuds
For phones that still tout the more traditional 3.5mm headphone jack, the Panasonic ErgoFit earbuds prioritize comfort for a fit you can wear all day. Aesthetically, they’re nothing fancy, and sound quality for music and phone calls is decent at best, but you’ll hardly notice the ErgoFits in your ears, and they feature in-line controls that work with Android.
$12 at Amazon
Great for calls
Samsung Level U Pro
If you love neckbuds and love making phone calls, the Samsung Level U Pro are right up your alley. The Level U Pro wrap around your neck for easy access, and the microphone quality is the best in its class.
$80 at Amazon
Monoprice Hi-Fi Reflective Sound Earbuds
Monoprice’s Hi-Fi headphones are Bluetooth-compatible, held together by a short flexible cord, and they sound fantastic. Their “reflective” design points the drivers away from the ears so the sound reflects back, which keeps your ears from ringing and delivers far better sound than you’re paying for.
$28 at Amazon
Best Bluetooth headphones
OnePlus Bullets Wireless
For this price, you can’t ask for much more from the Bullets Wireless earbuds. They sound fantastic, with great (but not overwhelming) bass and clear high end, they recharge with the same USB-C cable that likely charges your phone, and the neckband design keeps them from getting tangled or in your way.
$69 at OnePlus
Best budget ANC
COWIN E7 Pro
Noise-canceling is usually a premium feature reserved only for expensive headphones, but COWIN’s E7 Pro headphones are an excellent exception to that rule. They’re bulky, but that makes room for abnormally large 45mm drivers and well-cushioned earpads for a comfortable and great-sounding experience.
$90 at Amazon
Best for workouts
JBL Endurance Sprint Wireless
The JBL Endurance Sprint Wireless feature a hook and bud mechanism that guarantees the ultimate earbud stability, and are ultralight for those long workout sessions. On top of that, you have IPX7 water resistance which means you won’t have to worry about sweat, puddles, rain, or snow.
$50 at Amazon
Open-back headphones don’t need to be expensive and the SHP9500 from Philips are a great example. Not only is the sound signature fantastic, but the SHP9500 also feature excellent dynamic range and soundstage for an incredibly low price. To top it all off, you don’t need an amp,
$67 at Amazon
Best Budget Sound
Monoprice Modern Retro
Aside from the slightly bizarre name, the Modern Retro from Monoprice offer excellent sound quality and comfort at a super low price. They’re designed for long listening sessions in mind, as well as production work.
$30 at Amazon
Best Truly Wireless
Anker SoundCore Liberty Air Truly Wireless
Not only are these buds super comfortable, the Anker SoundCore Liberty Air Truly Wireless feature a great, well-rounded sound. You’ll get up to five hours listening time, and the charging case adds an additional 15 hours, totaling 20 hours.
$80 at Amazon
Anker SoundBuds Curve Wireless
The Anker SoundBuds Curve Wireless feature up to 13 hours of battery life on a single charge, an excellent bass-heavy sound signature, and ultra-portability. They’re nothing special — they don’t feature active noise cancelation or any special convenience features — but they get the job done.
$27 at Amazon
The best of the bunch
When it comes to budget-friendly headphones, there are a surprising number of them available. And just because they’re inexpensive doesn’t automatically mean they won’t sound good. Personally, I’d go for the Audio-Technica ATH-M40x if you’re okay with over-ear headphones. For an over-ear headphone, they are surprisingly portable and comfortable, have excellent sound quality, and are wired so you don’t have to worry about re-charging them at all.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for earbuds, the JBL Endurance Sprint Wireless are an excellent choice. It’s a wireless earbud that features great, neutral sound, IPX7 water resistance, and 8 hours of battery life.