The Sony WI-C310 are incredibly well priced, not only for an earbud for under $20, but also because they are wireless earbuds. To have the Sony sound signature with a BlueTooth connection all for under 20 makes these a very easy recommendation.
Maybe you love to obsess over every little detail of a musical performance like a true audiophile, and maybe you’re just looking for a quick and easy way to listen to your favorite songs while on the go. No matter what you like to listen to or how you like to listen, having a quality set of earbuds is an absolute must for music lovers from all walks of life.
However, just because you want a quality set of earphones doesn’t mean that you want to pay a fortune to get them. With that in mind, let’s take a look at the best earphones under $20 and the kinds of features that you can enjoy for that price.
1. Sony WI-C310 Wireless earbuds
This option from Sony is lightweight and on the compact side. They have long wires, which may either be cumbersome or liberating, depending on whether you prefer longer or shorter cable lengths. The big selling point here is that this model offers 17 hours of battery life, which is superb. These earphones are also a good fit for listeners with smaller ears.
Unfortunately, while they offer all-around decent performance, they don’t really stand out either. The bass has a bit of boom and the treble’s okay, but there are far better options for both on this list. Further, while these earphones can block a bit of sound, they’re nowhere near as good at that as other models listed here and don’t have a companion app for customizability, either.
Still, if you are looking for a decent pair of earphones that cost less than $20, especially if you have smaller ears or want longer battery life, they may be worth a look.
2. KLIM Fusion earbuds
Not only are these earbuds good for music but they can handle calls just fine as well. They fit reasonably well and wear pretty decently as well. This is one thing that people overlook far too much when searching for earbuds at such low prices. Constantly having to replace them would offset the upside of a low cost so the durability of these KLIM earbuds are a definite plus. Add to that the inclusion of memory foam ear tips and these earbuds emerge as a good budget option.
3. HTC USonic Adaptive Audio earphones
This lightweight model has an HTC DAC chip that can convert 16-bit analog audio into 24-bit digital, and if you’re enough of an audiophile to understand what that means, there’s a fair chance that you’ll enjoy these budget options for the steal they are. The aluminum housing is nice and durable. This is also another model that boasts a built-in microphone. The earbuds are also quite comfortable and come in three sizes.
4. Panasonic ErgoFit earbuds
As the name would imply, the big selling point for these earbuds is their extremely comfortable build. They fit ears snugly yet comfortably with soft ergonomic buds in three different sizes. This model also comes in a wide range of colors, allowing you to show off your personality a bit.
5. Skullcandy Ink’d Plus earphones
Speaking of personality, these are by far one of the most stylishly distinct options on this list. If you like the Skullcandy brand or just like the idea of some skull-themed ornamentation on your earbuds, this is definitely an option to consider. It offers another plus in the form of an excellent noise-isolating build, letting you seal yourself from outside sound and keep your music to yourself without bothering others. Add to that the fact that they come in seven colors and this is easily one of the most stylish, engaging sets of earphones under $20 you’ll ever find.
6. KZ ZST Hybrid IEM
These earphones hover right around $20 and may top it by a few cents but you get what you pay for and then some with this KZ model. They’re bigger than most and hook behind the ears; they can take some getting used to, but their comfortable and durable build make them worthwhile. You get several foam tips for extra comfort and the earphones themselves offer solid sound isolation. Add to that balanced bass and treble and solid sound quality clean of any sibilance, and this is a great option for audiophiles on an extremely tight budget.
7. Philips PRO6105 earbuds
These earphones can also top $20 by a few cents occasionally but are also well worth it. They boast a sturdy metallic design, they come with three pairs of ear tips, and the nozzles are angled in such a way as to create a good seal. They can get tangled easily but that’s the case with most wired earbuds. On the flip side, they have a built-in microphone and offer good sound production for the price, with the bass especially booming a bit more than you would expect for earphones priced in this range. Even better, they do not produce much distortion, letting you enjoy your bass without having to pay a bundle for it.
8. JBL Endurance Run earphones
If you’ve ever tried going for a morning run or workout with your earphones, you probably know how slick they can get as you start to sweat. These earphones have an IPX5 sweat rating, making them the best earbuds under $20 for runs and workouts. They loop behind your ear so as to keep them in place more easily while running.
9. 1More Piston Fit earbuds
These are by far the best marriage of durability and functionality on this list. They are made from sturdy aluminum with a Kevlar fiber cable while the speakers themselves do a great job of managing sound distortion and vibration. What’s more, at only $15, they are one of the best budget options on this list.
10. Samsung earbuds tuned by AKG
The trademark heavy bass of other AKG earbuds carry over into this model as well. That said, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing, and while these earphones are loud enough and offer enough bass to allow you to hear your favorite song above the hustle and bustle of daily life, the sound quality isn’t always as even as other models. That said, they are still relatively comfortable and the model also comes with a built-in microphone.
All of these models offer decent sound performance and comfort for less than $20, and some offer much more. The models with metallic builds are great for those looking for more durable options; the Skullcandy one has a unique bit of flair; the Phillips and AKG offer good bass; the JBL are great for runners and workout fanatics; and the 1More Piston Fit offers arguably the best all-around performance.
No matter what, you can get more for less with any of these great earbuds for less than $20.
Endless hours of experimentation, professional work, and personal investment in Home Theatre, Hi-Fi, Smart Home Automation and Headphones have come to this.
Former owner of Headphones Canada, a high-end headphone specialty retailer.
This post was last updated on 2023-03-20 / Some images from Amazon Product API & some links may be affiliate links which may earn us a commission from purchases.