Wireless earbuds may be out of your price range, but there are several wired models out there that may be just what you need whether you are looking for something with average sound or a long-lasting cord.

You can just follow this simple buying guide to help you learn what to features to look at and more as well as 6 pairs of the best earbuds under 20 dollars that you can get right now.

Buying Guide

How to choose the best affordable earbuds.

The material

Nearly all earbuds are made with plastic, but there are some that either have parts of metal or they are completely made of metal. These can be more durable but they can also be a bit more uncomfortable when they are resting in your ear.

This is something that is pretty common with the more affordable models, and it can be beneficial if you find yourself dropping or throwing them around constantly. Although, you might want to avoid any metal earbuds with sharp edges; these are possibly the least comfortable option, especially if you like to sleep with them in.

The cord

Most wired earbuds have plastic and/or rubber wiring cover. Ones that are made of a harder plastic tend to be more difficult since they get stiff in the cold and once they get tangled, they usually stay that way.

Fabric braided cords are thought to be the best because they are usually the complete opposite, though some are a little still. You should also look at the cord length since some can only be a foot long, but they are usually around 3 feet or so.

The mic

Earbuds usually come with a microphone, but with the more affordable options, it can be 50/50. Thankfully, there are some models that make the same earbuds with and without a mic.

Some earbuds even come with volume, music, and/or call controls, but these can be a bit harder to find when it comes to the affordable models. If you want to see how good the mic is, you could always look up a review video of a person who recorded audio with the mic.

The sound

You may not know this, but the quality of the sound can be related to the frequency of the earbuds, which is measured in Hz. Usually, the lower the number, the better the bass (the best ones are in the single digits), and the higher the number, the better the treble (the best ones are above 40,000).

Affordable earbuds like the ones below tend to have a frequency anywhere from 10 to 25,000Hz.

What are the advantages of affordable earbuds?

earbuds under 20

As opposed to some of the more expensive models, they can be found much easier, and there are more to choose from as well. Also, because there is a wider range of variety, there are more options for you to try and choose from so that you know which are the most comfortable

Things to look for that differentiate them.

Other than the features listed above, you may also want to take a look at the driver size of each pair of earbuds. Typically, smaller sized drivers (around 8mm) have a more equalized sound quality while larger-sized drivers tend to have more volume/volume control.

What is the best way to use affordable earbuds?

To keep the cords from aging too quickly, try to avoid tangling them up; instead, keep them neatly wrapped in a circle and kept in a pouch or pocket. Wiping them down with a damp cloth can also prevent the cords from collecting dirt, especially the plastic and rubber ones.

Should you spend the extra money on a more expensive pair?

This is a debate that is going on pretty often, but it mainly comes down to your financial situation and if you value sound quality over the cost. Some people think that more affordable models sound exactly like the expensive ones while others say differently; it is all a matter of your personal preference.

Of course, one thing that is a little less opinionated is that the more expensive models tend to be more durable. This can be true, but this also depends on each model since they are all built differently. It also depends on how you handle the headset; if you are rough or extremely careful.

Prerequisites for using this type of product.

According to whittier hostpital.com, if you commonly get ear conditions like infections, impacted earwax, or damage to your eardrums, you should probably avoid using earbuds because they can increase the chance of them happening.

Of course, most of these can be avoided by keeping the earpieces clean before each use and only wearing them occasionally. Keeping your ears clean is also a good way to avoid any of these conditions.

If you have or at risk of eardrum damage, then you should also try to avoid using the earbuds at high volumes; this can also help to prevent a ruptured eardrum caused by the earphones.

​Top 6 best earbuds under 20 dollars


This is one of the most popular pairs of earbuds both on and off this list, possibly because they are available in 15 different colors like blue, pink, orange, red, purple, green, black, white, and more. You can get them with or without a mic.

The cord is a little over 3 and a half feet long and is made of a rubber and plastic material that does not get too stiff, and it also does not get tangled easily. The sound is pretty even when it comes to the treble and bass, and it has a clear sound too.

The mic is a little less sensitive when it comes to capturing sound, but the sound quality that it captures seems better than many of the other models out there. The only low-quality part of these earbuds seems to be where the cord meets the earbuds; it feels fragile and is pretty easy to break from rough use.


  • Has a decent sound quality
  • Mic has decent capabilities
  • Can last for a little while


  • Only a 90-day warranty
  • The material is somewhat fragile

These earbuds are one of the few that has a flat cable instead of a round one, and they are only available in red or black. The cord seems more rubbery than the last model, which is possibly the reason that they get tangled less often than nearly all of the other models on and off this list, but the cord is so stiff that it can be difficult to manage through pockets, special phone/mp3 holders, and more.

The noise cancellation is one of the best, and the bass is above average, too. However, like the last model, the area where the cords connect to the earbuds, as well as the connection to the plug, are more fragile than some of the more models.

This model does not come with a microphone, meaning if you are using them with your phone, you will have to hold the phone's microphone to your mouth so you can be heard.


  • Has decent bass
  • Has good noise cancellation
  • Tangle less often than other models


  • Are less durable
  • Are slightly stiffer than other models

This is one of the less popular models that only comes in silver color. However, this is one of the few affordable pairs of earbuds that has a mic, volume controls, and phone call controls.

When it comes to the sound quality, the bass seems to be average to above average and the same is said with the treble. Mic delivers similar audio quality, too. The one downside with the audio is that it can occasionally cut in and out when it comes to phone calls, but it happens less often when you are just listening to music or watching a video.

The cord seems to be pretty durable despite being a more plastic material, but it seems fluid enough that there may be a little bit of rubber in it. It gets tangled about as often as other earbuds do, but they are pretty easy to untangle.


  • Has a good mic
  • Durable and strong cord
  • Good quality mic


  • Tends to cut in and out

If you would like a better-looking set of earbuds and are less concerned about audio quality, then this is probably the pair for you. These are mainly made of metal/hard plastic, excluding the cord, and are silver and gold, looking much more flashy and metallic than most of the other models.

Their sound quality is pretty average when it comes to both the bass and treble, and the same said for the noise cancellation. The bass does seem above average when it comes to certain songs that have a higher bass, though.

The cords seem less durable than some of the other models, along with the plastic piece in the center of the cord (the piece that joins each earbud wire. This piece seems the most fragile part of the earbuds, being easily broken or crushed.

However, the cord can still be good when it comes to not getting tangled easily, and untangling them is pretty easy too.


  • Has good bass
  • Has good noise cancellation
  • Has a good sound quality


  • Plastic can be less durable than other models
  • Cords can be less durable than other models

This is another one of the more popular models, and that is possibly because it is one of the higher quality models between the sound and durability. It is only available in black and does not have a mic, but Betron does make a similar model that comes with a mic.

This is possibly one of the best models when it comes to noise cancellation, and it is average to above average when it comes to the bass and treble quality.

The thing that stands out the most is the durability, though. The wire is made out of a strong rubber/plastic material, and the earbuds are made of a harder plastic, both of which can take a good beating without breaking apart.

The only downside is that on the off chance that you get a faulty model, the audio can buzz or cut in and out either constantly or every now and then, but getting them exchanged is pretty easy.


  • Seems more durable than other models
  • Has decent audio
  • Has average noise cancellation


  • Can occasionally lose sound or buzz

Like the second product, this pair of earbuds has a flat cable instead of a round one, and like the fourth product, the earbuds are made of a more durable metal/hard plastic material.

This model also has a microphone and volume controls, and it is also available in 3 different colors: steel black, flagship blue, and pure white.

The sound quality and noise cancellation are fairly decent, but the bass seems better than many of the other models out there.

The two biggest downsides are that they tend to give out much faster than other models, especially when it comes to one earbud in particular, which is possibly one of the most frustrating faults with many earbuds. Even so, getting them replaced is pretty easy because it is such a popular problem.


  • Has decent noise cancellation
  • Seems more durable than other models
  • Has high-quality bass


  • Can have a shorter lifespan
  • One side can give out before the other


Best earbuds

When it comes to the best on this list, it was pretty close, but the fifth product, the Betron BS10 Earphones, came out on top. It came pretty close with the earbuds by JUKSTG, the third product, but the Beltron ones seemed more reliable and, despite their shorter lifespan, it is nearly effortless to get them replaced.

They have an average to high-quality sound between the bass and treble, can come with or without a mic, and have average to above-average noise cancellation, too.

The best feature would have to be its durability, though, since one of the most popular weaknesses that most affordable pairs of earbuds have is their durability or lack thereof.

Because the materials are strong and durable, as long as there are no audio issues, this can be one of the longest-lasting pairs of earbuds out there.

About the Author David Lahav

Hi, David Lahav Here. I'm Sound Out Media Founder and a BIG music gadgets geek. I love everything from futuristic music instruments to the silliest pig-shaped headphones. Welcome to my world!

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