Do you need good-sounding earbuds for an affordable price? Thirty dollars isn’t much in exchange for a decent pair. Many inexpensive in-ear headphones already offer enjoyable performance in this price range.
But serious music lovers look for audio gear with something extra in quality or features to bring righteous sound into their world. It’s why we decided to review good and yet cheap earbuds of the types that most of us buy and use daily. As long as you don’t expose these small headphones to harsh weather or rough usage, you can use them anywhere you want with little worry.
Best Earbuds Under 30 USD – Comparison Table
Before we go into the details of selecting inexpensive in-ear models, allow us to list our handpicked selection of the best earbuds under 30 USD in January 2017.
We hope the list above helped you find the top budget earbuds and headphones. We will now dive deeper into each of these top earbuds under 30 USD.
Sentey LS-4206 - Best Budget Earbuds For 10 Dollars
The designers of these in-ear headphones got many details right. Firstly, a nice carrying case is included, which is great for keeping dust and other stuff from getting into the earpieces and later mucking up your ears.
Secondly, these earbuds have a metal housing with a robust cover extending from the earpiece along the cable for a good 2-3 inches, a feature we’ve not seen before on in-ear models. This design will be less prone to breaking near the earpiece, which happens too often with such tiny headphones.
Thirdly, audio performance is good with crisp highs and solid mids, especially given the surprisingly robust bass response of these earbuds. Other designs have their mics situated on their earpieces that perform less well at taking calls or recording voices. The in-line location of the microphone along its 120-cm long cable is ideal for picking up the user’s every word.
However, these earbuds are not suitable for users who are actively moving or jumping during workouts, as they won’t stay in place. The Sentey LS-4206 is good for stationary listening and currently sell as one of the best sounding earbuds under 30 dollars. That you can find a pair at online sellers like Amazon for much less is amazing.
Not everyone is able or willing to spend much on a new set of high-end headphones, but this colorful and comfortable budget model certainly offers a lot for less. Often retailing for less than list price, it offers a good performance upgrade over the stock earbuds included with most phones.
The included two pairs of tips are of the memory foam type, which normally provides better noise isolation as well as a more comfortable fit. They tips can lose their soft feeling after a few months, though. The in-line pause, volume, and call controls worked fine with our iPhones, and the extra-long cable is a bonus. Several colors are available including blue, green, and purple.
This pair delivers perhaps the most balanced audio performance in their class. You can readily enjoy a wide variety of musical genres from rock to jazz and even classical. The mids are slightly warm and although the overall presentation isn’t the crispest, the soundstage surrounds you well enough. The earpieces’ design don’t look very exciting but they are comfortable and mostly stayed on while moving, which is good for users who regularly go to the gym.
It’s surprising to hear great sound coming from such an inexpensive model with complete in-line controls. If you want one of the best cheap earbuds, then the JVC Marshmallow HAF32X should be on your shortlist.
You might not place Panasonic’s offerings among the best rated earbuds, but we had to make an exception for this model. It has become quite popular for its great sound performance and useful features. Audio performance is unexpectedly good for such a cheap set.
These have been the bestselling in-ear headphones at online stores like Amazon for some time now, with thousands of user reviews and high ratings. They offer a balanced sound with enough clarity to present most genres cleanly and with little distortion. They will not sound as strong in the lows or as rich and well defined in the mids and highs as pricier models, but they do a creditable job of delivering smooth music with some presence.
The design of the plastic housing is not that impressive-looking, but the angled earpieces fit a wide variety of users and have decent 9mm audio drivers. The included three sets of tips provide good noise isolation and a comfortable fit. The in-line pause and call control module has just one button for playing tracks and receiving calls, but there is no volume function. The microphone audio isn’t the clearest but is good enough for everyday calls.
The Panasonic Ergofit RP-TCM125 may not be the fanciest, sturdiest, or highest-performing pair in its class, but it delivers much for what you pay. You can’t really go wrong in picking up a pair as a cheap upgrade for your phone’s stock earbuds.
Some users just can’t stand stuff that sticks deep into their ear openings, no matter how soft. If you are the type who can’t suffer in-ear designs but still want to upgrade your stock Apple EarPods with something better, you can try this old-school pair that you just place loosely in your ears.
Looking like artifacts from the previous century, the flattened earpieces are covered with foam discs. One of the best classic earbuds of its type, the Sennheiser MX365 sounds pretty good for a non-sealing headphone. Unfortunately, the model lacks a microphone or integrated playback controls and the cable can rustle a bit, generating some noise if you move too much.
Its drivers are designed to offer an even tonal balance with hardly any distortion, and these are the best sounding classic earbuds available. In our opinion, you will still be better off choosing a good in-ear model from the selection in this guide. However, if you must have non-sealing earbuds then this is about the only good choice available.
Symphonized NRG 3.0 - Best Budget Earbuds For 20 Dollars
Symphonized is known among music enthusiasts for their unique wooden construction and more importantly, the great audio performance and affordability of their audio gear. They produce a variety of headphones, of which the NRG is likely their most popular in-ear model. It’s an upgrade to the 2.0 version that many owners already regard as one of the best inexpensive in-ear headphones of its day.
For those acquainted with the previous model, the most obvious improvement is the new cable. It is no longer braided and has new jacket that prevents much of the cable noise that users noticed with the older NRG. There are also in-line volume controls and a microphone that lessens the need for you to take your phone out of your pocket. Silicone tips in small, medium, and large sizes are included, along with a compact pouch.
In terms of fit and isolation from noise, these earbuds are quite good. Sound is crisp and powerful and does not lack in the higher frequencies or in bass response. The highs are sharp and the lows deep, with the clear mids all coming together for good presence, the hallmark of the best rated earbuds. These qualities are great for various genres, from classical to pop, rock, and most everything else, including podcasts and voice memos.
We found that the tips isolate well from external sounds, although you cannot expect this model to perform as well as dedicated noise-cancelling earbuds. We also discovered that the pieces could come off if you move around a lot, so these are better suited for stationary listening.
If you’re looking for a great pair of affordable earbuds with an appealing design and excellent audio performance, the Symphonized NRG 3.0 are among the best earbuds for the money and definitely rule the 20-Dollar pack.
Play X Store - Best Wireless Earbuds Under 30 Dollars
This is one of the few wireless models good for active users. With their rubber-coated earpieces and sweat-resistant design, they are easy to grip even with slippery fingers. There is also a set of three ear hooks and tips that you can customize the fit with for enjoyable comfort and great sound on the run.
It was good to find that the unit can quickly charge in about an hour or so, and that the batteries would last for several days as claimed. These wireless Bluetooth earbuds utilize the AptX codec for music stream compression, enabling signal quality on a par with that of wired models. The frequency response is well balanced, with good presentation in all kinds of musical genres.
Sound performance was solid, although the maximum level of volume can be a bit low depending on the media source and musical genre. We’ve typically found its audio output to be too quiet for our tastes. As these are wireless earpieces, you cannot just connect the Play X Store to an external amplifier for headphones like with wired models. Still, these sell as some of the best Bluetooth earbuds under 30 dollars, and for good reason.
Anker is one of the more reputable makers in the mobile power and audio accessories category. These Bluetooth wireless earbuds are designed for sports-minded users, comprising a new and excellent product range from the company.
Connections are made via Bluetooth 4.0 audio using CVC 6.0 noise cancelling technology for clearer sound. Audio is transmitted cleanly and smoothly, with relatively energetic performance in the high and lows that result in dynamic presence. The mids tend to be somewhat deemphasized and microphone audio can be weak in noisy settings, though.
The earpiece design is a bit conventional, which is a good thing as it means the designers were focused on delivering functional performance. The long battery life of up to eight hours will be encouraging for heavy listeners as well. When worn, the magnetized earpieces join in a sort of clasp to keep everything conveniently together.
These are lightweight earpieces that you won’t notice much during intensive gym sessions, and the ear hooks ensure that they won’t readily drop off. They have a rare IPX4 rating that indicates splash proof as well as sweat-resistant operation. In the package are three pairs of ear tips and ear hooks as well as a carrying case.
The Anker Soundbuds Sport should be good for very active users who want great sound while sweating loads in the gym, where its splash-proof features may be sorely tested.
ActionPie VJJB-V1S - Best Bass Earbuds Under 30 Dollars
These Bluetooth earbuds offer twin 6 mm drivers that deliver very crisp highs, rich mids, and very clean and punchy bass that is surprising in so affordable headphone. The unique driver configuration delivers a relatively accurate frequency response in well-recorded musical tracks.
Overall, sound quality is about as good as you can find in this review. The sound is pleasingly free of much of the distortions and strident quality that’s found in similar in-ear models. There are no gross tonal problems such as booming bass and harsh highs; the sound was mostly neutral in presentation.
A huge set of seven ear tips including one foam pair is included, along with a nice semi-hard case and a carrying pouch with a drawstring. This is a plus as the majority of earbuds would offer only three such tips, and many models costing a hundred dollars or more don’t even include a case. Construction quality seemed to be good as well.
These sell as some of the best earbuds with mic under 30 dollars, and perform better than most models in its category. ActionPie’s VJJB-V1S wireless earbuds are great for stationary listening to bass-rich tracks, but be aware that the controls only provide pause/play functions for iPhones.
These Moshis were highly approved in a number of reviews from years past, where they usually appeared in the top rankings. They don’t really compare with newer rivals, although they feature smooth highs and mids with a bass-rich presence wherein guitars as well as drums do well. Much like other quality budget headphones like the Panasonic ErgoFit, they offer a sparkling treble in higher notes. But the crisp and pronounced highs come with a problem in that there is a slight sibilance to the consonants in many tracks.
If you have large ears you will have to experiment a bit with the tips to achieve a good seal, but it’s worth it. The Moshi Mythro may no longer be among the best models, but these still sound solid enough with their rich and deep sound, and the included cable strap is a plus.
Sennheiser CX 300-II Precision - Top Earbuds Under 30 Dollars
These are the favorite in-ear headphones of many a user as they offer great performance and value for the price. The drivers feature a mostly balanced tonal range, with clean bass, superior clarity in the highs, and good noise reduction. They will play well almost everything you desire. From classical and pop rock to soul/jazz/blues and techno, they do it all.
The drivers’ dynamic response does slightly highlight the highs and lows, but balances everything well for the most part. These are premium earbuds that offer punchy bass and clear highs and mids that are rich and spacious, with almost no distortion. We believe that most listeners will benefit from the flatter tonal qualities while still enjoying delightful bass.
Users who perspire a lot during workouts won’t find these a good choice, as the sound will slowly deteriorate in very sweaty use. The asymmetrical cable is convenient for stationary use or while walking, but a little wind will continually blow it and the earpieces off your shoulders as a result. The rubber cable itself can twist a bit, but its design cuts down on cable noise.
For stationary listening in a wide range of musical genres, the Sennheisers are superb in-ear headphones. Many audio review sites agree, for these are usually among the most rated earbuds under 30 dollars. You’ll have difficulty finding anything better in this price range, and we think the Sennheiser CX 300 II are the best earbuds overall for stationary use.
These in-ear headphones have large 10 mm drivers that stream wirelessly using the advanced AptX codec. The smooth sound offers detailed highs and mids along with bass that is well controlled. This is quite suitable for listening to classical, vocal, jazz, and acoustic instrumental tracks.
Designed for sweat resistance, the earpieces are integrated with ear hooks or fins for stability while on the move. The hooks are formed of silicone rubber, readily accommodating most sizes of ears without need for tricky fitting. These features make this model a good choice for very active users in the field or gym.
Advanced Bluetooth 4.1 multipoint connections are a great convenience, for you can pair up to two devices at a time. Easily accessed playback controls are integrated into the surface of the left earpiece to prevent unintended presses, and the connecting cable has a rubber-coated jacket that helps to prevent tangles and cable noise.
The in-line microphone works to reduces ambient noises in crowded areas. Its echo cancellation circuitry delivers clear voice calls most of the time and works well enough for us to recommend this model to commuters. However, the microphone’s placement away from you lips can result in diminished audio quality in the noisiest conditions.
The MEE Audio AF18 offers a good mix of wireless convenience, superior audio performance, good stability and endurance, and easy call controls. These are a good choice for active users with multiple devices who value convenience and hands-free ease as much as musical quality.
Avantree D18 Dual Driver – Best Wireless Earbuds For Sports
We’ve often mentioned audio gear from Avantree, as they tend to bring out affordable products that please. Although the earpieces have a regular look and construction, they actually feature 8 mm high-frequency and 5 mm low-frequency drivers that handle different parts of the spectrum for clearer sound reproduction, much like ActionPie’s model.
These deliver similarly crisp highs, warm mids, and deep yet clean bass in an overall strong and clear presentation. The angled shape of the earpieces provide for a comfortable fit good for many hours, although the relatively bulky housing might be an issue for those with tight ears.
Included in the package is a pair of ear tips as well as a semi-rigid carrying bag. The sweat-resistant earpieces have a hooked shape that, along with connecting cables that loop around your ears, helps to keep them in place during spirited activities. The long braided cable resists tangles and the in-line multifunction controls and microphone round out a complete set of features.
The many features for active users combined with excellent audio quality make the Avantree D18 one of the best-rated wireless earbuds for users who like to listen on the go.
This pair isn’t what we would view as inexpensive in-ear headphones, being normally priced above the other models in this review. However, these are frequently found on sale for less.
Premium audio brand names such as Sony or JBL produce some of the most durable cheap earbuds. That said, their better models also tend to be overpriced and in many cases overpriced, and so we rarely regard them as offering the best earbuds for the money. But we included this Sony for it offers rich and deep bass that will surely satisfy users in need of a heavy musical presence.
Audiophiles looking for a flatter frequency response should probably skip this set. The headphones seem to be well constructed and should last longer than most, although that always depends on how well you keep the cables from being stretched or mashed. The large earpieces have an angled design that stops the ear tips from intruding too deeply and are optimized to seal properly with the right-sized ear tip.
Included in the package is a set of three ear tips, aside from a carrying bag with a drawstring. There are in-line pause/play and call controls, but for some reason there is no volume function. At least the cable is a long and flat type that better resists tangling and is easier to remove from your pocket.
If you prefer music with rich and decent bass, you can’t go wrong with the Sony MDR XB50AP, which sell as good bass earbuds under 30 Dollars. Those looking for great yet relatively affordable in-ear models that can sound a bit like bass-loaded Beats will find these a pleasing if slightly pricey option.
Here are a few aspects about audio headgear to consider when choosing a good pair of inexpensive in-ear headphones.
Do bear in mind that you could consider other types for their more comforting properties, such as around-the-ear headphones that can cover the ears most comfortably, as explained in this wiki: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Headphones
Wired or wireless
The first thing to figure out is whether you can benefit from wireless audio streaming. If you plan to enjoy your tracks or recordings while seated and not moving around, then you’ll probably be better off with regular wired earbuds, as these usually offer more sound performance for the money.
If you will be regularly engaged in strenuous activity, you will likely find cheap wireless headphones such as those we’ve reviewed to be more convenient. You won’t have to bother with entangling cords and loose connections while you’re exercising or out in the field, and you can wirelessly access sound sources from other than your phone, such as car or laptop Bluetooth connections.
We do not usually point this out when looking at headphones that cost a hundred dollars or more. But when it comes to choosing low price earbuds, you have to be circumspect about brand quality as you’re searching in a low-priced category that’s rife with quality issues.
There are many good no-name models out there. But there are also a lot of poorly designed and built headphones being sold in bulk for rebranding and sale online. You can lessen the risk of buying junk by choosing durable earbuds with best reviews at online sellers’ sites and YouTube, as in this instance.
There are different earpiece shapes optimized for the needs of various users and purposes. Most benefit from in-ear designs that enhance noise-isolation due to their sealing properties. Others are designed for users with active lifestyles, featuring ear hooks or fins that press down on the inner ear in order to stay in place.
The majority of earpieces angle outward from the ear with the attached cables falling down. A few angle their stems upward to the front, with the attached cables looping above and around the ear lobe to the rear for more stability. The majority of top budget earbuds go for the “falling” design, but there are advantages to the looping scheme for active users.
Wireless Bluetooth models tend to have larger and heavier earpieces or else bulky control modules integrated into the cable, in order to accommodate the batteries needed for wireless operation.
Microphone and remote controls
We don’t like to recommend earbud models with inline mics integrated into one side of the earpieces or cables. The weight of the microphones can still be felt, distracting you from your enjoyment or tasks. You are more likely to be pleased with low cost earbuds that are balanced both tonally and in weight.
Do remember that the typical operating characteristics of the tiny microphones used in these things are normally nothing great. The average caller will usually encounter some issues in understanding what you’re saying if you’re caught in a noisy situation.
There’s no denying that the convenience of playback and call controls can be high. You can receive and end incoming calls and usually modify the volume in addition to pausing and playing music tracks on your mobile. Most people who are looking to buy the best rated earbuds they can afford usually skip models that don’t have integrated remote controls and mics.
I do hope you’ve learned much from this guide to low price earbuds, and will enjoy your search for a good pair. There’s a good variety of headphones selling in this price range. But there are also too many nicely styled models out there that have mediocre sound or poorly thought-out features.
Start from this selection that we’ve picked according to our standards, and you’ll have a better chance of discovering a pair that meets yours. Just remember to first figure out which earpiece types and functions are most practical for your uses and situations. Then let your ears decide as to which model sounds best with your favorite tracks and particular genres.
Whatever you do, have a good time trying out any headphone on display that strikes your fancy, no matter the price. You might find yourself relishing a pair you’d have never taken seriously otherwise.
If you liked what you just read, please leave a comment and let us know what you think of our guide to the best earbuds under 30 USD.