The 6 best cheap earbuds on Amazon

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by Andrea Hannah
Portrait of a man with beard listening music on mobile phone outdoors

If you're looking for a quick replacement or are just tired of shelling out for expensive earbuds, the best cheap earbuds on Amazon have a lot of the features you’ll find in pricier pairs like water-resistance and long battery lives while costing less than $30. But, when shopping for a pair of cheap earbuds, you’ll want to consider the style you want, the battery life (if relevant), and any extra features you want like noise cancellation to ensure you find one that matches your lifestyle.

Wireless versus wired earbuds should be your first decision. If you decide to go with wireless earbuds, you’ll want to pay attention to battery life and range. Most cheap wireless earbuds have battery lives somewhere between four and eight hours, and have a range somewhere between 30 and 50 feet. If you’re shopping for wired headphones, you won’t have to worry about battery life or Bluetooth connectivity. Instead, consider the length of the cord and the design, so they’ll match your preferences and needs.

With any headphones you choose, keep your eyes peeled for waterproof ratings (these generally range from IPX5 to IPX8 on cheaper earbuds, with IPX8 being the most waterproof. For background, an IPX5-rated earbud can handle a light spray of water, while IPX8-rated earbuds can withstand full submersion for longer periods of time in water deeper than 3 feet (the specific depth is specified by the individual manufacturer).

Most cheap earbuds don’t offer active noise cancellation, but you can usually get noise isolation or passive noise cancellation on some pairs. While the terms noise isolation or passive noise cancellation are used a lot in marketing (they refers to the way earbuds or earplugs physically block your ears to prevent sound, as opposed to any real technology), earbuds with that label will still block out some noise. And, since not every cheap pair of earbuds has a built-in microphone, decide if this is a feature you want as it may cost a few extra dollars.

Lastly, comfort is key. Be sure to look out for earbuds with ergonomic ear tips that are soft and pliable so they mold to your inner ear. Bonus points if they come in several sizes so you can pick your perfect match.

If you aren't sure how to narrow down your options, I've got you covered. Here's a roundup of the best affordable earbuds for every lifestyle out there.

1. The best wired earbuds

  • Style: Wired
  • Stand out feature: 3.6-foot cord

More than 110,000 Amazon reviewers have tried out these ergonomic earbuds, and given them a 4.3-star overall rating with good reason. For one, they feature crystal-clear sound that's a trademark of Panasonic products, and include a 3.6-foot-long tangle-free cord. Another highlight of these earbuds, though, is definitely in the padding. Each pair comes with a choice of three different sized ear tips, all of which are soft, flexible, and easily mold to your ear for the perfect fit. This pair is smartphone compatible, but if you want to upgrade to a pair with a built-in mic, you can for just a few extra dollars. These also come in a bunch of colors in addition to the classic black pictured above.

According to one reviewer: "I am at work, next to the window, and there is a LITERAL JACKHAMMER outside the window. I have these headphones in, listening to music, and I can't hear it at all. If you want that in your life, these are the earbuds for you."

2. The best cheap Bluetooth earbuds with noise-cancelling features

  • Style: Bluetooth wireless
  • Stand out features: Built-in microphone, IPX5 waterproof rating, 30-foot range, passive noise separation
  • Battery life: Up to four hours

If you're looking for Bluetooth earbuds on a budget, these wireless earbuds are less than $25 and work just as well as many top-notch brands. They connect to your smartphone or laptop to create a solid, stable connection that won't drop out and can work up to 30 feet away from your devices, according to reviewers. These come with three sizes of ear tips for you to choose from. They’re also designed to ergonomically fit into most ears and also have a built-in microphone. These earbuds are even outfitted with passive noise separation features, so they’ll block out some of the smaller noises around you when you have them in. They last for four hours on one charge, and come with a rechargeable case that has an extra 18 hours of battery life, so you can charge them wherever you are. One note: These earbuds are IPX5-rated for their waterproof capabilities, which means they can hold up to a light spray of water, but are not submersible. For that reason, these are definitely sweat-proof rather than truly waterproof earbuds.

According to one reviewer: "I am so pleasantly surprised by the sound quality of this budget wireless earbuds. I own a pair of Samsung Galaxy Buds which I like very much. I want to get a pair of cheaper earbuds to wear while doing chores. I did some research and decided to try SuperX expecting there will be a trade off for its low price. Was I wrong! The quality of SuperX’s sound is about the same of my Galaxy Buds which costed several times more.”

3. The best waterproof Bluetooth earbuds

  • Style: Bluetooth wireless
  • Stand out features: Built-in microphone, IPX8 waterproof rating, 50-foot range
  • Battery life: Up to six hours

These Bluetooth earbuds are one of the pricier pairs on this list, but they come with some standout features that make them worth your money. For one, these are IPX8 waterproof, so they can actually be submerged in up to 5 feet of water for 30 minutes, according to the manufacturer (the case is IPX6 waterproof). They also boast a six-hour playtime, and you can add 1.5 hours of additional battery life after just 15 minutes in their rechargeable case. These have a 50-foot range, so you can walk away from your phone or computer without worrying about dropping a call or losing connectivity. These have a built-in mic, and you can easily control your music simply by tapping on the flat side of the earbuds. These come with six different sizes of ear tips for you to customize to your ears. The manufacturer claims these have noise cancellation features, and many reviewers, including the one featured below, confirm that they do a good job of eliminating some background noise when you wear them.

According to one reviewer: “The sound quality and bass that comes with these earbuds is tremendous and for the price make these definitely worth the purchase. The noise cancellation is amazing as well, you can enjoy your music in great quality with no outside interruptions. I’m so happy I decided to buy these, definitely recommending to all my friends and anyone looking for a great solid pair of Bluetooth earbuds.”

4. The best noise-isolating wired earbuds

  • Style: Wired
  • Stand out features: Built-in microphone, noise-isolating technology, 4-foot cord

For only $13, you can snag a pair of these noise-isolating earbuds that can help you focus on your audio content without interruption. They feature a flexible, ergonomic ear tip that molds to the shape of your ear to block external noise. This pair also comes with two additional ear tip sizes so you can find the most comfortable fit for you. They also have a built-in microphone so you can take calls on the go with the touch of a button. Reviewers say the cord on these earbuds measures 4 feet, for plenty of room to move. Plus, these earbuds come in a bunch of bright colors to match your style.

According to one reviewer: "Easy fit in the ear and great sound for the money. [S]ound quality comparable to headphones of much higher cost. [Y]ou'd have to almost compare to over-the-ear studio headphones, they're that good."

5. The most affordable earbuds

  • Style: Wired
  • Stand out features: 3.3-foot cord

These $8 earbuds are the most affordable earbuds on this list, and feature an extra soft, silicone ear tip that's very comfortable. If you find that the size ear tips don't work for you, these buds also come with two other sets of ear tips so you can choose the best size for your ears. And with a 3.3-foot cord, you have plenty of freedom to walk or run with these in without getting stuck. One note: These don’t have a built-in microphone, and there’s no hint at their waterproofing capabilities.

According to one reviewer: "These earbuds are fabulous! First of all they are under $10 - you really don't need to spend a fortune to get good earbuds. The sound quality on these is excellent. I plug these into my laptop, my tablet, and my phone and I've never had any problems with the sound. What I really love is the gummy piece that goes into the ear. It's super soft and squishy so even if you wear these buds for many hours (and I have) they are still comfortable."

6. The best over-the-ear earbuds

  • Style: Bluetooth wireless, over-the-ear
  • Stand out features: Built-in microphone, CVC noise cancellation, IPX7 waterproof rating, 33-foot range
  • Battery life: Up to eight hours

If you're in the market for a pair of headphones that won't fall out of your ears, these over-the-ear earbuds are an excellent option. They feature a lightweight, flexible ear hook that gives these buds added stability which could come in handy during high-impact exercise. They also have soft, silicone ear tips, as well as an in-line microphone and volume control and a range of 33 feet. On top of that, these earbuds are IPX7-rated, which means it is protected against temporary submersion in water up to 1 meter deep for 30 minutes. These come in seven colors, and with three different ear tip sizes so you can find the right pair. These Bluetooth earbuds have up to eight hours of battery life on a single charge, and they even have CVC noise cancellation, which is a feature that minimizes background noise on your mic when you take phone calls.

According to one reviewer: "Great sound, easy to operate, stay on your ear while moving. I got tired of my ear buds coming out while I was walking - especially when chewing gum. Since [they] go over the ear, they stay put. The controls are easy to operate and it is nice to operate my music without having to pull my phone out of my pocket every time."

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