Many people are under the impression that finding the best earbuds is an easy task. You just buy the most expensive pair that you can afford, plug it into your ears, and now you have the best sound, right? Except it’s not that simple.
There are various kinds of earbuds. Wireless, waterproof, monitors, bassy, neutral, and more. So, finding the best for each one of these categories is obviously not an easy thing to do. And even when you do, there are pros and cons to weigh.
That’s why we’re here to help you with the whole process!
Things to Keep in Mind
If you want to go straight into our top recommendations, you’ve got the option of doing so. However, we’d still recommend reading through this list as it’s going to help you with the buying decision.
- Build quality: We’ve all heard about cheap, no-brand earbuds that break down after a few months of usage. You obviously don’t want that. So, pay attention to the build quality of the earbuds. A couple of features that help extend the lifespan of earbuds are removable cables and wireless connectivity
- Sound signature: Many earbuds are tuned to have a specific kind of sound. Some give more emphasis on bass and sharp treble while others try to remain more neutral. There is no superior choice here. It’s all a matter of personal preference
- Connectivity: Wireless earbuds tend to be better in terms of convenience and often even durability. However, they also give you one more thing to worry about (Battery) and are often more expensive
- IP rating: Water resistance and waterproof earbuds have an IP rating that describes how much dust and water they can withstand. That’s important if you plan on using your earbuds in places where water and dust may be involved
- Noise isolation: All earbuds can natively block noises up to a certain level but some do it better than others. More expensive earbuds offer noise cancelation as well but we unfortunately do not have any good picks for that at under 50
- Comfort: Having multiple ear tips to choose from is helpful in terms of comfort. If you can’t stand in-ears, pick earbuds that rest on your ear and not inside the ear canal
- Onboard controls: Being able to control volume and music playback through onboard controls can be a huge help for some people. Especially those who like working out
Our 5 Best Earbuds Under 50
So, these are some of the top things you want to keep in mind while looking for earbuds. They are going to make the purchase decision much easier as you’ll already know what to look for.
With that out of the way, here are our top 5 choices for less than $50!
1: TOZO T10
Our Waterproof Pick
The Tozo T10 is actually our top pick for waterproof earbuds under $100 as well. So, even if you have more money to spend, you’d be hard-pressed to find anything better for under $100 – never mind $50. Of course, that’s only as far as waterproof options are concerned.
- Connectivity: True wireless – Bluetooth 5.0
- Features: IPX8 waterproof rating, microphone, and wireless charging case
The IPX8 rating means that you can submerge these earbuds at least 1 meter underwater for a certain period of time without any damage occurring to them. We obviously wouldn’t recommend doing that under any circumstances. But, it’s still nice to have some peace of mind when using these in a wet environment.
Furthermore, the Tozo T10 is true wireless with Bluetooth 5.0. The only downside is that you can easily lose something so small. But, thankfully, it also comes with a portable charging case that can be used not only for charging but also as a carrying case in general.
As for sound, the mids are pretty balanced and that makes you feel like you’re using a quality product. However, the bass is a bit heavy and boomy. As per usual with bassy earbuds, the highs are also a bit overemphasized and that can make the earbuds a bit sharp under certain occasions.
So, if you’re looking for balanced audio, you won’t find it here. However, bass lovers are probably going to adore these.
One great pro is that they despite not having ANC, they offer great noise isolation. They obviously can’t compete with ANC headphones as far as commuting usage is concerned. However, for under $50, this is probably the best noise isolation that you can get.
- Superb noise isolation for the money
- Charging case with wireless charging support is a welcome addition
- True wireless (Can be a con as well if you lose earbuds easily)
- IPX8 waterproof
- Superb value
- Mediocre battery life (About 3 to 4 hours which is to be expected)
2: KZ ZS10
Our Best Monitoring Earbuds Under 50
Monitors can get pretty expensive. It’s not unusual to see decent models asking for hundreds or even thousands of dollars. However, that’s not to say that there aren’t any decent budget options. And as far as budget monitors under $50 are concerned, we’d say that the KZ ZS10 is your best option.
- Connectivity: 3.5mm cable
- Features: Removable cables (Proprietary)
In case you’re not familiar with them, monitors are designed to sound accurate. Not impressive. This means that those of you who love the heavy base that earbuds like the Tozo T10 offer will probably find monitors a bit boring. If you like neutral/balanced sound, though, look no further.
As far as monitoring performance is concerned, they can still get a bit boomy with underemphasized highs at times. But, that’s to be expected at this price point.
Sound quality aside, one thing we adore about them is their build quality. Not only they feel very sturdy but the removable cables can also help extend their overall lifespan. Just keep in mind that the cable is proprietary – which means that you may have a bit of a rougher time finding a replacement compared to a standard 3.5mm one.
Speaking of downsides, while their sound quality is absolutely amazing for the money, the noise isolation that they offer isn’t the best. They are still great for casual, outdoor usage. However, we definitely wouldn’t recommend them as your number one option for commuting.
Also, keep in mind that the particular pair offers zero onboard controls and no microphone. This pair is only recommended for those who need portable, neutral sound on a budget without anything else.
- Very balanced sound for what you pay
- The removable cables are a welcome addition
- More portable than your average wired earbuds
- Very lackluster in terms of features
- The proprietary cables make it tougher to find replacements
Our Gaming Pick
As far as gaming is concerned, most people prefer over-ear, closed-back headphones. However, that’s not to say that earbuds are not a viable option either. In fact, if you want something for gaming that’s also portable, gaming earbuds may be the superior choice.
And when it comes to gaming earbuds for less than $50, the Cloud earbuds are quite possibly the best pick.
- Connectivity: 3.5mm cable
- Features: In-line microphone
The very first thing we noticed is that while the audio is suitable for competitive/multiplayer games, it’s not the best for music. But, that’s to be expected from gaming earbuds, probably.
By that, we mean that the base is very low while the mids are and highs are slightly elevated. This is good for hearing details such as footsteps or voices more clearly. However, when it comes to music, this kind of audio tuning often pushes vocals a bit back to the mix while it almost completely kills heavy bass.
As expected from a pair of gaming earbuds, the Cloud Earbuds include an in-line microphone that you can use for in-game chat or audio calls. There is also one multi-function button but that’s as far as onboard controls go here.
When it comes to downsides, we’d say that the build quality is the worst thing about this pair. The cables are very thin, non-removable, and they feel pretty fragile as well.
Noise isolation is very mediocre too. But, that’s to be expected from gaming earbuds and headphones. After all, we suppose that most of you aren’t going to be playing PUBG on the bus.
- The in-line microphone is a welcome addition
- Optimized sound for gaming
- The build quality is bad for the money
- Not the best pick for music
- Not a whole lot of noise isolation
Our Budget Pick
If you want the absolute cheapest earbuds that money can buy without having to gamble with no-name brands, this is one of your best bets. The name may not be the best thing ever. But, as far as sound is concerned, it’s hard to go wrong with this pair for the money.
- Connectivity: 3.5mm cable
- Features: In-line microphone (Optional)
At this price point, you obviously can’t expect to get much in terms of sound quality or build quality. If you don’t want the microphone, you can generally grab them for less than $10.
So, if you only want something to get you through the day or maybe a cheap pair for talking handsfree, we can recommend these. But, if you actually want good sound, we’d recommend spending a bit more and getting something like the Easy KZ ZST.
After all, as far as technology is concerned, paying twice as much doesn’t mean that you’re getting something twice as good. It can be multiple times better or just slightly better when you reach the point of diminishing returns.
In any case, all we’re trying to say here is that these earbuds are a good choice if you want something cheap that gets the job done. But, anything more than that and we’d recommend looking elsewhere.
- Very cheap
- The in-line microphone is a huge plus at this price point
- Mediocre in pretty much every category (Build quality, sound, etc)
5: Enacfire E60
Before we begin, let us start by saying that “best overall” doesn’t mean that these are better in every single way compared to everything else that we’ve looked at so far. It means that they are sort of the jack of all trades. They can do a little bit of everything well enough.
- Connectivity: Wireless – Bluetooth 5.0
- Features: Dual mics, wireless charging case, and touch controls
Just like the Tozo T10, these earbuds are a bit bassy. However, they are also trying to make the overall sound a bit more balanced by elevating mids and highs. This makes for a rather “intense” sound that we assume most people are going to like (And that’s visible on the reviews).
Battery life is especially worth mentioning here as you can get about 8 hours on a single charge. When combined with the wireless charging case, that time can get extended for as much as 48 hours. And if you add the decent noise isolation to the picture, this is sort of the ideal budget recipe for travel companions.
Build quality is remarkably good for the money. And let us not forget about the IPX8 rating which means that you can submerge these earbuds under about a meter underwater. Don’t do that, though.
Keep in mind that the noise cancelation is only for calls. It’s noise cancelation for the microphones – not the earbuds. Though, it’s still a welcome addition. People on the receiving end of a call will probably appreciate not having to listen to other noises.
Last, but not least, you also get touch controls along with microphones for calling.
As far as downsides are concerned, you can expect to come across most of the issues that true wireless earbuds come with (Latency, easy to lose, etc).
- Decent sound
- Great build quality
- Onboard controls are a welcome addition
- Long battery life
- Microphone noise cancelation is another welcome addition
- The most expensive earbuds on this list
These are our top 5 picks for less than $50. If that’s too much information to take in at once, here is all you need to know as quickly as possible.
- TOZO T10: The best choice for waterproof earbuds on a budget. The only downside is that they are extremely bassy. Unless, of course, you like that kind of sound. Battery life is a bit mediocre as well but that’s to be expected at this price point
- KZ ZS10: Great monitoring earbuds. They offer the most balanced sound we’ve heard yet for less than $50. Our only complaint is that they are using proprietary cables. Also, don’t forget that the specific variant is not using any in-line controls or microphones
- HyperX Cloud Earbuds: A decent choice for gaming. The only downside is that the sound is tuned for games – not so much for music. Build quality could be better at this price point too
- Sony MDREX15AP: Good choice if you want to get through the day with something that’s as cheap as possible – but without completely butchering audio quality and gambling with no-name brands
- Enacfire E60: All-around a decent pair of earbuds for the money. They offer the best battery life on this list along with waterproofing but don’t forget that they are also the most expensive of the bunch
And that’s about it for now. All you have to do at this point is to weigh pros and cons then choose whatever fits you best. If there are any questions, feel free to let us know about them in the comments section down below!