Top 5 Best Headphones Under $50


Headphones range greatly in price and quality though there are certainly great options below the $50 USD cap. If you’re on a tighter budget or are in need of several pairs of headphones, then this article will surely help you pick the best option for your situation.

Note that, at this price point, there will really only be moving-coil/dynamic headphones. This popular type of headphone has transducers made of magnetic motors; voice coils and diaphragms. These headphones sound rather good (especially with proper tuning); they’re durable, and most importantly, they’re affordable!

The top 5 best headphones under $50 are:

Sure you won’t get the best headphones ever at this price point but the options above will do the job at a fraction of the price of many other options.

Since we’re having a discussion within the context of a price cap, I figure I should leave a link to a related My New Microphone article: Are Expensive Headphones (Or Cheap Headphones) Worth It?


What Makes A Great Moving-Coil/Dynamic Headphone?

Though the term “best” is subjective, we should still list out the criteria used for determining what makes a great pair of headphones.

  • Comfort: this is perhaps the simplest yet most important criterion of any headphone. Though highly subjective, specifications such as weight; contact pressure; earpad shape/material; stiffness, and the overall dimension play a role in comfort.
  • Impedance/device compatibility: compatibility with mobile and consumer audio devices is important. This means that the impedance should be low to avoid required a portable headphone amplifier. The sensitivity rating should also be considered in this discussion.
  • Frequency response: a great pair of headphones should be able to reproduce the full audible spectrum from 20 Hz – 20,000 Hz with clarity.

Wireless (especially Bluetooth) capabilities are also seen as a benefit since they further improve the functionality and general comfort of the headphones. However, wireless technology adds on price and in this low range, we’ll likely have to choose between wireless capabilities and sound quality.

With that, let’s get into our top 5 best headphones under $50!


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Samson SR850

First on the list is the Samson SR850 (link to check the price on Amazon).

Samson SR850

The Samson SR850 is a semi-open headphone marketed as an inexpensive option for musicians, sound engineers and general music enthusiast.

The Samson SR850 is also featured in My New Microphone’s Top Best Open Back Headphones Under $100.

The 50mm dynamic drivers are built with neodymium magnets and reproduce sound with a wide dynamic range and a great frequency response that spans beyond the audible range of human hearing.

To learn more about dynamic drivers and driver size, check out the following My New Microphone articles:
The Complete Illustrated Guide To Moving-Coil Dynamic Headphones
What Is A Good Driver Size For Headphones?

The headphones sit comfortably over-ear and the semi-open earcups are designed to enhance stereo imaging and offer a more natural sound. Note that these headphones are not sound-isolating and will bleed audio into the environment.

Open-back headphones are often best used in dedicated listening environments where the listener will not be disturbing others and others won’t be disturbing the listener.

Related article: The Complete Guide To Open-Back & Closed-Back Headphones.

The self-adjusting headband provides a secure, natural fit, making the SR850s a good choice for extended studio sessions. The velour cushioning on the earcups further improves the general comfort of the headphone.

A 1/8″ to 1/4″ gold-plated adapter is included with the headphones, making it easy to plug into 3.5mm headphone jacks as well as most headphone outputs on consumer and professional audio equipment.

At under $50, it’s tough to go wrong with the Samson SR850s, whether it’s for monitoring mixes or our general listening pleasure.

Key Specifications:

  • Transducer Type: 50 mm Dynamic with Rare Earth magnets
  • Impedance: 32 Ω
  • Frequency Response: 10 Hz – 30,000 Hz
  • Sensitivity: 98dB
  • IP Rating: no info
  • Open/Closed-Back: Circumaural/Open-back
  • Weight: 95 oz (276 g)
  • Wireless/Wired: Wired

To learn more about headphone specifications, be sure to read my article Full List: Headphone/Earphone Specifications w/ Examples.


Koss Porta Pro

Second up is the interesting Koss Porta Pro (link to check the price on Amazon).

Koss Porta Pro

As the name suggests, the Porta Pro from Koss is designed to be portable. It’s combination of sound quality, portability and affordability make it one of the most popular headphones around the world.

These on-ear headphones have moving-coil dynamic drivers with neodymium magnets and oxygen-free copper voice coils. The transducers deliver rich bass and a superb frequency response between 15 Hz and 25,000 Hz. That’s wider than the audible spectrum for humans!

To learn more about headphone frequency response, check out my article What Is Headphone Frequency Response & What Is A Good Range?

The Porta Pro is designed with a collapsible headband for easy yet protective storage.

On-ear headphones are often passed on due to the uncomfortable pressure they apply directly on the ear. Koss fixes this issue with adjustable temporal pads that relieve pressure on the ears. Opt for one of three settings (firm, neutral or light) to find the right fit for your extended listening pleasure.

At 179g, the Koss Porta Pro is lightweight. In fact, it’s the lightest headphone on this list!

The open-air ear cushions offer additional comfort and allow hear-through to keep listeners aware of their environment while still delivering great sound.

The Koss Porta Pro includes a convenient carrying case for protective storage and is covered under the Koss Stereophones Limited Lifetime Warranty.

So whether you’re listening on the go or at home, the Porta Pro could very well be the option for you. At under $50, these headphones perform well above their price point.

Key Specifications:

  • Transducer Type: Dynamic with neodymium Magnets
  • Impedance: 60 Ω
  • Frequency Response: 15 Hz – 25,000 Hz
  • Sensitivity: 101 dB SPL/1mW
  • IP Rating: no info
  • Open/Closed-Back: Supra-aural/Open-back
  • Weight: 6.32 oz (179g)
  • Wireless/Wired: Wired

TaoTronics SoundSurge 85

The first wireless headphone on this list is the TaoTronics SoundSurge 85 (link to check the price on Amazon).

TaoTronics SoundSurge 85

The TaoTronics SoundSurge 85 is a fantastic headphone choice under $50 USD. It boasts both Bluetooth wireless connectivity and active noise-cancellation, offering great value for such a small cost.

The TaoTronics SoundSurge 85 is also featured in My New Microphone’s Top Best Noise Cancelling Headphones Under $100.

Beginning with the wireless specs, the SoundSurge 85 has a Bluetooth 5.0 chip for superb wireless connectivity. It pairs easily with other Bluetooth devices and even pairs automatically to the last paired device when turned on (so long as that device is within range).

Note that the headphones do have a 3.5mm audio port and do come with a male-to-male 3.5mm audio cable. We do not need to use Bluetooth if we don’t want to.

Pro-grade active noise-cancelling (ANC) technology can be engaged to help reduce external noise. Note that ANC works much better with low frequencies and less so with higher frequencies. The closed-back design and ANC combine to provide good, but not perfect, noise isolation.

Wireless connectivity and ANC need power to function. The TaoTronics SoundSurge 85 offers up to 40 hours of playtime on a full charge and remarkably fast charging (5 minutes charging gets 2 hours of playback and 45 minutes charging gets the full 40 hours).

Of course, if ANC is turned off and the headphones are connected via the audio cable, then the battery with not be drained.

For more information on wireless and active noise-cancelling headphones, check out the following My New Microphone articles:
How Do Wireless Headphones Work? + Bluetooth & True Wireless
How Do Noise-Cancelling Headphones Work? (PNC & ANC)

The 40mm dynamic drivers provide deep bass along with clear mids and highs for clean reproduction of audio.

In addition to the headphone drivers and the microphones necessary for ANC, the SoundSurge 85 has a cVc (Clear Voice Capture) 8.0 noise-cancelling microphone. This mic acts as a wireless input for the connected Bluetooth device, allowing for hands-free calls and voice assistant usage.

The SoundSurge 85 is also pretty comfortable with an adjustable headband and 90° rotatable ear cups. Fold the earcups inward for easier carrying. The over-ear cups feature soft protein memory foam pads to make a comfortable but secure fit for noise cancellation and long-time wear.

So the TaoTronics SoundSurge 85 is a great wireless headphone with ANC. At under $50, it’s one of the overall best options in its it price class.

Key Specifications:

  • Transducer Type: 40mm Dynamic
  • Impedance: no info
  • Frequency Response: no info
  • Sensitivity: no info
  • IP Rating: no info
  • Open/Closed-Back: Circumaural/Closed-back
  • Weight: 7.8 oz (220g)
  • Wireless/Wired: Bluetooth 5.0

Anker Soundcore Life Q10

The Anker Soundcore Life Q10 (link to check the price on Amazon) is another superb wireless option for under $50.

Anker Soundcore Life Q10

The Anker Soundcore Life Q10 also utilizes a Bluetooth 5.0 chip for its wireless connectivity. This protocol offers superb stability, low power draw and a wireless range up to 50 ft. The Life Q10 will automatically pair to the last paired device when turned on, so long as that device is in range.

Like the aforementioned TaoTronics headphone, the Life Q10 also comes with the option for wired connectivity via its 3.5mm audio port and includes a 3.5mm male-to-male cable in its package contents.

When going wireless, the advanced Anker Soundcore Life Q10 boasts an impressive 60 hours of playtime. Charging is made easy with a USB-C charging port. Fast charging allows 5 minutes to boost battery life by 5 hours.

Although these headphones do not feature active noise-cancellation, their closed-back design will isolate them from the outer environment to some degree. The closed-back design also helps with bass response but makes the sound slightly “boxy” and can make the listener’s ears hot after extended periods of time.

For more information on closed-back headphones, check out my article The Complete Guide To Open-Back & Closed-Back Headphones.

Great sound is achieved with 40mm dynamic drivers. In fact, the headphones are Hi-Res Audio certified. They reproduce clean, accurate sound, particularly for such an affordable wireless pair of headphones.

For the bass heads out there, these headphones offer Soundcore’s proprietary Bass Up technology. This tech conducts real-time analysis and enhancement of the audio’s bass frequencies (boosting bass up to 100%) to add a powerful sonic punch.

These headphones feature a built-in microphone for calls and voice assistant software. The earcup controls allow listeners to play/pause audio; skip tracks (next and previous); adjust volume (up and down), and engage bass up.

The Soundcore Life Q10 comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee and an 18-month hassle-free warranty.

Key Specifications:

  • Transducer Type: 40 mm Dynamic
  • Impedance: 16 Ω
  • Frequency Response: 16 Hz – 40,000 Hz
  • Sensitivity: no info
  • IP Rating: no info
  • Open/Closed-Back: Circumaural/Closed-back
  • Weight: 9.1 oz. (258g)
  • Wireless/Wired: Bluetooth 5.0

Monoprice Modern Retro

Last but not least, we’ll wrap up with the wired Monoprice Modern Retro (link to check the price on Amazon).

Monoprice Modern Retro

The Monoprice Modern Retro is an excellent pair of affordable multi-purpose headphones.

The 50mm drivers offer a solid 15 Hz to 25 kHz frequency response and reproduce deep bass and help to bring out vocals. The highs are non-fatiguing, allowing for improved critical listening sessions. At under $50, these headphones sound awesome and are a great choice for HiFi and mobile devices alike.

Related article: What Is A Good Driver Size For Headphones?

Large, soft split-leather earpads fit comfortably around most ears, providing comfort and noise-isolation to keep you focused on the music rather than tactile discomfort or outside noise. Of course, noisier environments will still leak through but for the most part, these closed-back headphones do a good job at keeping noise out.

Monoprice offers a 1-year replacement warranty and a 30-day money-back guarantee with its Modern Retro headphones.

Key Specifications:

  • Transducer Type: 50 mm Dynamic
  • Impedance: 32 Ω
  • Frequency Response: 15 Hz – 25,000 Hz
  • Sensitivity: 94dB ±3dB
  • IP Rating: no info
  • Open/Closed-Back: Circumaural/Closed-back
  • Weight: 1.13 lbs. (513g)
  • Wireless/Wired: Wired

Honourable Mentions

There are plenty more options for headphones under $50 USD. Here are 5 more headphones worth checking out for such a low price:

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