There’s nothing worse than putting on a pair of headphones only to play music that sounds like it’s underwater.
That awful rattly and crackly sound is too much to tolerate, no matter how much you want to listen to a new record or your own demo.
Not only is the sound of cheap headphones dreadful, but the feel is just as bad.
The earbuds keep falling out of your ears no matter how hard you shove them in, and those so-called “noise-canceling” over-head headphones still manage to seep through the outside noises of traffic, kids screaming, and people chatting.
Whether you’re starting out as a musician or if you want to play music in private when working out, it’s no secret that good-quality headphones can be expensive. Luckily for you, I’ve got you covered!
Here is my guide and reviews of the best budget headphones.
There’s nothing quite as disappointing as buying a pair of headphones only for the bass to completely disappear from your favorite album.
Headphones are designed to enhance the parts of music you normally wouldn’t experience without them, after all.
If you’re looking for a pair of budget-friendly headphones that excel in bass sound, these are the headphones for you.
The clear and deep bass sound is achieved by the 50 millimeter speaker drivers, which are large enough to ensure a powerful and crisp bass without the muffled sound.
To support the size of the speaker drivers, these headphones are equipped with padded ear cushions that are incredibly comfortable to wear.
This is matched with the padded and adjustable headband, allowing you to wear the headphones for extended periods. The padded ear cushions also help to minimize noise from outside.
These headphones are not wireless. Instead, they come with a 9.8 foot long cord, which is long enough to stretch from the TV, desktop, or stereo.
They also come with two other plug sizes to fit into various mixers, including amps and instruments. There are buttons on the wires to pause or play music and answer calls thanks to the built-in microphone.
When testing this product, I appreciated how the ear phones could swivel to allow for single-ear listening, which is ideal for comfort.
- Comfortable – Padded headband and ear cups are adjustable for long-term use
- Good bass – Large speaker drivers provide clear bass
- Versatile – Long cord and various plug sizes allow for use with any technology
- Bulky – Padded design might make the headphones hard to travel with
Also available to purchase at: OneOdio
- BASS SOUND: Enjoy clear sound and comfort with the OneOdio Studio monitor headphones. Large, 50 millimeter speaker unit drivers combined with neodymium magnets; powerful bass, clear vocal, and crisp high tones form stereo sound
- BUILT TO STAY COMFORTABLE: The soft padded ear cushions are designed for monitor headphones comfort and noise isolation. The headband is adjustable and stretchable for you to find the desired angle you like to fit in
- NO MORE ADAPTER: A long DJ-style 9.8-foot cord easily reaches from the TV or stereo to your chair. A standard-sized 6.35mm plug and a 3.5mm plug are included. They both are completely detachable, you can plug in the mixer you want to use
- SINGLE-SIDE MONITORING: 90° swiveling ear cups for single-ear monitoring anytime; self-adjustable and flexible headband delivers a fatigue-free listening experience that can last for hours, ideal for mastering and mixing
- Works with: All devices have 3.5 or 6.35mm audio jack. Bass sound, durability, and comfort. These are the headphones you've been looking for.
Sometimes all you need is a budget-friendly pair of headphones to listen to music or podcasts while traveling.
Nothing too fancy, just your average bog-standard headphones that don’t create that awful tinny sound.
These Sony ZX Series headphones are not only very affordable, but they also produce a surprisingly high-quality sound.
They come with the option to include a microphone (that inevitably costs a little more), which is ideal for those who need to answer calls on the go.
For added convenience, they come with an inline remote to easily adjust the music.
These headphones are equipped with decent drivers that are designed to deliver a crisp and powerful bass and rhythm, especially thanks to the product’s wide frequency range, allowing it to play a range of music genres and volumes at top quality.
As for the comfort of the headphones, this product comes with padded ear pads to allow for long-term listening without discomfort.
These ear pads can swivel into a flat position, making the headphones slim and ideal for travel. This product comes with a standard 3.5 mm stereo mini plug.
When testing this product, I found that these headphones were surprisingly comfortable while wearing glasses, making them highly accessible.
- Very affordable – Budget-friendly even with the microphone option which costs more
- Good sound quality – High-quality drivers and wide frequency range delivers crisp sound
- Comfortable – Adjustable and padded ear cups and headband for maximum comfort
- Only one plug – Plug is suitable for most devices (phones, tablets, laptops etc.) but potentially not all instruments
Also available to purchase at: Sony
- Lightweight 1.38 in neodymium dynamic drivers deliver a punchy, rhythmic response to even the most demanding tracks
- The swiveling earcup design allows easy storage when you’re not using them, and enhances portability when you’re traveling
- With an inline remote and built-in microphone on the headphone cord, take hands-free calls from selected smartphones while listening to music
- Cushioned earpads for total comfort and enfolding closed-back design seals in sound
- The wide frequency range—spanning 12 Hz to 22 kHz—delivers deep bass, rich midrange, and soaring highs
Sometimes, dealing with headphone wires and plugs can be highly inconvenient if you’re traveling or surrounded by other wires and devices.
Whether you’re working out at the gym or jamming on the guitar, wireless headphones help to give you more freedom of movement.
These PRTUKYT 6S headphones are wireless and Bluetooth compatible, allowing you to wear them without fear of accidentally pulling wires out.
This is highly convenient for exercising, traveling, doing chores around the house, and more. Once fully charged, they can play for up to 30 hours of listening time.
Alternatively, a quick 5-minute charge allows for 3 hours of music.
If you’re not using the wireless function, these headphones come with a wired mode to allow for non-stop playtime.
This is especially useful for connecting the headphones to non-Bluetooth compatible devices like instruments.
The headphones also control playing and pausing music, as well as answering calls by pressing parts of the ear cups.
As for comfort, this product is equipped with padded ear cups that are designed to mimic soft human skin, allowing for long-term use without discomfort.
The headband can be adjusted and the ear cups folded for convenient transportation.
When testing this product, I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the frequency range and deep bass response.
While the headphones aren’t noise-canceling, they certainly allow for an immersive listening experience.
- Wireless – Option to connect with Bluetooth for a convenient, wireless listening experience
- Very comfortable – Skin-like ear cup padding is flexible and soft for long-term wear
- Wired mode – Option to connect wire to non-Bluetooth compatible devices
- Headband – Non-padded headband isn’t a favorite feature for some buyers
Also available to purchase at: eBay
- 【 HI-FI WIRELESS HEADPHONES】: High Definition Stereo Headphones, and advanced bluetooth 5.0 chip that aim to deliver you superior sound quality with high fidelity deep bass and crystal clear treble, Deep, accurate bass response, extended frequency range, rechargeable. Lose yourself in immersive music even in the lowest volume levels!
- 【 BLUETOOTH 5.0 HEADPHONES】: Our upgrade Bluetooth 5.0 technology ensures fast and stable connections to your Bluetooth devices and low latency during audio/video streaming. Headphones wireless provide high-quality built in mic for hands free calling.No more worries about audio dropouts during phone calls and music listening.
- 【BUILT FOR YOUR COMFORTABILITY 】: The Earmuff imitate human skin texture, ensuring lasting comfort. They are foldable and stretchable, which allows you to find the perfect fit without constraint and excellent durability. Wireless Headphones is the best Choice for Travel, Sport and Every day use by Unisex Kids, Teens and Adults.
- 【ADJUSTABLE AND PORTABLE DESIGN】: Adjustable headband are ergonomic design and ultra-soft ear cups, Bluetooth headphones provide a comfortable around-ear fit. Foldable design makes it easy for you to take the headphones whenever they go. Perfect for on-line courses, classes, movies, etc.
- 【LONG BATTERY LIFE & DUAL MODE】: Wireless Headphones Over Ear are Rechargeable. 500mAh battery, 20hours of music time, 2.5 hours Fast Charing. After 30 hours of playtime, you can switch to wired mode and enjoy your music NON-STOP. You do not need to worry about power shortage problem for the long travel. By choosing PRTUKYT, You are covered with 12 Months warranty and 100% Customer satisfaction.
When looking for a good pair of budget-friendly headphones, it’s best to stick to the brands you can trust.
Panasonic is a reputable supplier known for producing high-quality technological devices, from televisions to headphones, allowing for reliability at a low price.
These over-ear headphones come with a variety of options, including an on-ear design and the option to include a built-in microphone, which inevitably costs a bit more than the original price.
They come with a 6.5 foot long audio cord to allow for some freedom of movement when watching the television, gaming, or playing instruments.
The product features large, classic-style over-ear ear cups that are softly padded to allow for maximum comfort.
The large size covers the entire ear to prevent rubbing or irritation. While the headband isn’t padded, it’s lightweight and adjustable to provide a comfortable fit.
The size of the ear cups allows for powerful speaker drivers, meaning the quality of the sound is surprisingly good for the price of the headphones.
They deliver clear vocals along with a great bass sound for all frequencies.
When testing this product, I discovered that these headphones were ideal for new musicians on a budget, as it could easily connect to instruments to allow for a private and immersive listening experience.
- Reputable – Made by a reliable and reputable technology brand
- Comfortable – Extra large padded ear cups cover the whole ear to prevent discomfort
- Long cord – Extra long cord allows for some movement when connected to devices and instruments
- Headband – While adjustable, the headband is not padded
Also available to purchase at: Panasonic
- Wired, Over-the-Ear Headphones with Mic: Full size, classic style Headphones deliver balanced, high frequency sound on par with higher priced headphones for maximum value and hours of listening enjoyment; built-in mic allows taking calls with ease
- Powerful Bass, Vocals and Lyrics: Dual 30 millimeter neodymium driver units easily handle up to 1000Mw maximum power input for satisfying bass plus mid-range and high frequency trebles for clear vocals and lyrics
- Padded for Comfort: Plush padded earpads softly surround the entire ear to minimize ambient noise and Distractions, and a smooth, quick adjust headband easily conforms to the head for optimum fit and comfort
- Extra-Long Headphone Cord: An extra-long, 6.5 feet audio cord gives you plenty of space to sit back and relax while watching movies and TV, and the freedom to move about while gaming
- High-Quality Sound in Style: Sleek, distinctive matte black finish and durable, lightweight design add a clear look of style and comfort wherever you go
Last but not least, the BLARO over-ear headphones are ideal for musicians on a budget.
These headphones have the wireless option to connect to Bluetooth devices with an impressive battery life of up to 72 hours of constant playtime when fully charged.
This is a great advantage for musicians traveling on the road who don’t have the time for charging.
When the headphones run out of battery, they are equipped with a wired mode for constant playtime – which is also ideal for connecting to devices that aren’t Bluetooth compatible.
While these headphones don’t have noise cancellation properties, the fit of the ear cups is deliberately snug to prevent sound leakage.
The ear pads and headband are cushioned with a memory foam-like material to allow for comfort throughout the day, along with the adjustable features to provide the perfect fit.
Thanks to the Bluetooth connectivity, these headphones can be used for hands-free calling. When testing this product, I found that this ability was highly beneficial for touring or traveling.
Likewise, the included storage bag helps to keep the headphones protected while on the road.
- Long battery – Up to 72 hours playtime on a single charge
- Wireless or wired – Option to play with or without wire for freedom of movement
- Comfortable – Memory foam-like cushioning provides a snug fit
- Bulky ear cups – Even when folded, the ear cups are considerably bulky
- STEREO & BASS DRIVEN SOUND: BLARO wireless headphones over ear provide you immersive Hi-Fi sound and rich bass with 40mm Driver. The closed-back design and noise isolation pads help block the ambient noise. NOTE: BLARO wireless headset are NOT active noise cancellation. As an additional factor of sound quality, BLARO Bluetooth wireless headphone is better than ANC headset in term of sounds quality.
- NEVER POWER OFF, BOTH WIRELESS & WIRED: 1.Battery update to 72hrs music time/ talking time(maximum volume) in a single charge; medium volume up to 90 hours; a 2-hours charge gives 2 days of play . 2.Wired Mode: You can also use BLARO wireless headphone as a wired headset with the provided audio cable so the Bluetooth headphones will never power off.
- PRESSURE-RELIEVING SOFT EAR PADS: Memory-protein ear cushion ensures lasting comfort. The stainless steel slider and softly over-ear padded headband allow you to find the perfect fit without constraint and provide excellent durability. The stylish colour scheme highlights your style and makes you stand out wherever you go.
- HANDS-FREE CALLING & BUILT-IN CVC6.0 MIC: BLARO Bluetooth headphones provide a quick and stable connection with your Bluetooth enabled devices like cell phones, tablets, PC, TV within 10m/33ft, with a high-quality built-in CVC6.0 noise reduction mic for hands-free calls. NOTE: In the Wire-mode the headphones can also be used for calling because of in-line microphone.
- FOLDABLE & PORTABLE DESIGN: You can effortlessly fold up and carry BLARO Bluetooth headphones wireless in your journey with the additional storage bag we offered. Gentle Reminder: Depending on your head/ear size/shape, BLARO over ear headphones may be a little tight(feels like"on ear") for someone to wear which are designed to reduce sound leakage.
Whether you’re new to buying headphones or if you’re an established musician, here is my guide on factors to consider when buying a pair of budget headphones.
Above all else, the sound quality is the most important thing to consider when buying budget headphones.
Unfortunately, a lot of budget-friendly headphones are cheaply made, with poor speaker drivers that produce that dreadful metallic or “tinny” sound effect. This isn’t worth tolerating, trust me.
Instead, look out for headphones with impressive driver speakers. The larger the ear cup size, the larger the driver speaker is, which typically means the sound quality will be better.
Also, make sure the headphones have a wide frequency range. This allows for an immersive listening experience that will produce a powerful bass, clear vocals, and crisp high tones at all volumes.
My recommendation is to always check the reviews when ordering a pair of headphones online.
Whether you’re a musician or if you’re simply looking for a pair of affordable headphones to listen to music while on the train, there’s going to be someone in the review section in a similar position who will give their honest opinion.
I’ve had my fair share of uncomfortable headphones. When you’re a musician, you spend a lot of time listening to music privately, so the comfort of the headphones is paramount.
I recommend always looking for headphones with padded ear cups. The larger, the better, because this will allow enough comfort for your whole ear, rather than resulting in the top of your ear becoming sore.
Ideally, headphones should also come with a padded headband to prevent the top of your head from becoming sensitive.
However, some people don’t see this as a deal breaker if the headband is adjustable, because they can simply lift the non-padded headband away from their heads.
Most importantly, make sure the headphones are adjustable to fit the shape of your head. I like headphones where the ear cups can rotate and move, because they can be folded for easy storage and transportation.
The rotation also allows for one-ear listening, which can be ideal when playing instruments.
This isn’t always a dealbreaker, but when headphones come with the option for wireless listening, you’re in for a treat.
Wireless headphones connect with Bluetooth devices for hands-free listening, which is ideal when you don’t want to deal with tangling wires when traveling or rehearsing.
The key with wireless headphones is to be aware of the battery length when fully charged and the range.
These headphones can last anywhere between 10-72 hours on a single charge, with an average distance of 10 feet away from the connected device.
Make sure the headphones also have a wired option when they run out of battery.
Again, additional features such as a built-in microphone, touch control, and noise canceling abilities aren’t deal breakers for some buyers.
However, if these features come with budget-friendly headphones, it’s always a nice touch.
Built-in microphones are a great feature to headphones, especially when the headphones are wireless and connect to Bluetooth devices.
This means you don’t have to worry about disconnecting your headphones when you get a phone call, because you can simply answer calls with your headphones on.
The quality of the microphone won’t be good enough for recording music or podcasts, though.
Touch control is another aspect to most headphones, especially wireless ones.
While changing songs or adjusting the volume with your phone or laptop isn’t the hardest task, it’s much more convenient to make those adjustments by simply touching or pressing buttons on your headphones.
You might just need a bit of practice to remember what each button does.
Unfortunately, if you want noise canceling headphones, you’re probably going to have to spend more money than you’d like.
Noise canceling headphones are generally quite expensive, and while I personally think the extra costs are worth it, it’s not a necessity for most buyers.
If you would like some sort of noise canceling benefits, look for headphones with densely padded ear cups, as the cushioning will help to prevent noise leakage.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do Expensive Headphones Really Make A Difference?
To put it bluntly, expensive headphones really do make a difference – especially when you’re in the music industry.
For musicians like myself, we develop specific tolerances to sound quality, because we know exactly what we are looking for when listening to music.
In most cases, expensive headphones tick all the boxes in terms of clear, powerful, punchy, deep, and crisp delivery.
Sure, some budget headphones can also achieve this, but often the key difference between the two price ranges is that musicians generally have a higher expectation of sound quality.
Why Are Cheap Headphones Bad?
The main problem with cheap headphones is that they lack the quality of sound thanks to smaller and cheaper driver speakers.
While not all cheap headphones are necessarily bad, you’ll notice a difference in the quality of bass sounds when compared to an expensive pair of headphones.
Cheap headphones often produce that awful tinny sound with high notes, and that muffled thumping sound with low notes.
While some buyers aren’t bothered by this, for those looking for an immersive and high-quality listening experience, you might be disappointed.
Why Do Cheap Headphones Hurt My Ears?
A lot of the time, cheap headphones aren’t designed for long-term usage. Cheap over-ear headphones might feature padded ear cups, but the padding might be unevenly distributed, which can lead to painful earlobes or cartilage.
If cheap headphones are hurting your inner ears, there’s a chance the headphones don’t offer a good volume range.
The best headphones offer the best quality when at the quietest and loudest volumes, but some cheap headphones might only be able to produce loud volumes that can be damaging in the long-run.
If you’re a musician on a budget, or if you want to listen to music privately while working out, you’ll be happy to know that you don’t have to spend hundreds of dollars on a pair of decent headphones.
Sure, you’ll probably reap more of the benefits from expensive headphones, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy good-quality sound from budget-friendly headphones!