As for sound quality when listening to music, over-ear headphones are the style of choice for music lovers and audiophiles. However, not everyone can afford or justify the high price of studio-quality headphones.
While you won’t get the greatest headphones or sound quality for a mere $50, it is enough of a budget to open up some decent choices in this price range.
Actually, in the fifty dollar range, there are so many over-ear headphone choices from all of the major headphone brands that it can be tough to choose. Because of that we’ve researched the options and come up with a manageable list of the best headphones under $50 for you to choose from.
The Monoprice 8323 is our top pick, but please continue below to see reviews of other affordable headphones.
If you are debating between headphones and affordable earbuds-we also have a list of the best sub-$50 in-ear picks.
*Please note, at the time of writing these headphones were all under $50, current prices may be higher.
- Best Headphones Under $50
- Monoprice 8323 – The Best Sound Quality
- Sennheiser HD 206 – Great for Home Use
- Bluedio T2S — Best Wireless Bluetooth Headphones
- Skullcandy Uproar Bluetooth Wireless Headphones Review
- Shure SRH145m+ Headphones Review
- Edifier H840 Audiophile Headphones
- Creative Sound Blaster Jam Ultralight Bluetooth Headset Review
- SADES Over-Ear Stereo Gaming Headset
- BestGot -Kids Headphones
Best Headphones Under $50
Monoprice 8323 – The Best Sound Quality
This is especially true for the Monoprice 8323, which offers rumbling bass and a mid-range, which is relatively smooth and sweet at a fraction of the price compared to high-end headphones.
It is hard to find an over-ear headphone with all ranges equally tuned. For the cost, Monoprice did a great job of balancing tone on all levels.
Many owners of the 8323 agree that these inexpensive headphones sound great for the money even if they are not the most comfortable to wear for long periods.
The headband is not fully padded, which makes it less comfortable than other headphones and one of the most common complaints from its owners.
The earcups appear quite bulky but isolate ambient sound well. You can easily fold them up and put them in your bag. Included with the purchase is a long and removable cable.
There is an inline control with mic, but unfortunately, it is not compatible with iOS devices.
If you don’t care much about style and design, and the only thing you crave is the audio performance at this price, these headphones are the best in this category.
The build quality is good, but far from what you’d get if you have a budget of around $100.
For the price, these are sturdy and solid even though the construction is entirely plastic.
- + Great bass, smooth sound
- + Foldable
- – Outdated design
- – Bulky look
Sennheiser HD 206 – Great for Home Use
If you prefer something smaller and more stylish than the Monoprice 8323, the Sennheiser HD206 headphones are a great alternative. They are more comfortable to wear with a thinner headband, which is curved and well padded, putting less pressure on the head when you wear them. The earcups are flexible and smoothly padded, so you can wear them for hours without discomfort.
Because the HD206 is designed to be used at home rather than for portable use, Sennheiser didn’t make them foldable. The non-foldable design makes these durable for rugged use with more robust and durable cans. Actually, the HD206 was marketed as a set of budget DJ headphones, but users can watch movies, play video games and listen to music with them as well.
In terms of sound quality, these are a balanced sounding headphone – the word “balance” here is applied for something natural and even. The sound is also warm and bassy, but not too heavy. You can quickly realize it sounds excellent for many kinds of music, including pop, dance, or rap.
Compared to Monoprice 8323, the HD206 achieves a level of sound that feels spacious, smooth, and clear, which is difficult to find in an entry-level headphone. This is also why, in many forums, people chose the HD 206s over similarly priced models from other brands.
Unfortunately, the earpads don’t seem very durable, but these parts can be replaced in case they wear out.
- + Good bass and clarity
- + Good build quality in an appealing design
- No carrying case
- Long cord and non-foldable design make them less portable
- No headset functionality
Here’s a closer look at the 206s with a short unboxing video
Bluedio T2S — Best Wireless Bluetooth Headphones
Walking around without a cable is a huge selling point for Bluetooth over-ear headphones. As is the nature of all Bluetooth sound, the Bluedio T2S doesn’t sound as good as wired headphones on this list. Keep in mind; battery life is always an issue with Bluetooth headphones as well. These headphones offer a 40-hour battery life, so even though recharging Bluetooth headphones can be annoying, it isn’t an issue here. Even better, when these headphones run out of battery, they can be used as wired headphones with a detachable cable.
The headphones are lightweight and made entirely of plastic. You can rotate the ear cup to get a comfortable custom fit and comfort and fold them up for easy transport. Unfortunately, these can be a little uncomfortable after wearing them for 30 minutes or more. The headphones have a tight fit, which puts a lot of pressure on the ears. Users with a smaller head or ears should be fine, though. For a Bluetooth headphone set, these have strong bass, excellent mid-range, and treble.
+ Strong bass
+ Bluetooth and long battery life
– Quality issues
– Flimsy headband
Skullcandy Uproar Bluetooth Wireless Headphones Review
The Skullcandy Uproar is a Bluetooth headphone with modern aesthetics. It comes in 4 different versions: black, red and gray, orange, and white and gray.
It features a minimalist matte finish and uses sturdy plastic. In terms of style, the Skullcandy Uproar is a winner. The earpads are comfortable enough, but I did find the need to adjust the headband as it felt a tad bit tight.
The Skullcandy Uproar features a simple control configuration with volume control, a rewind, and fasts forward navigation, playback, incoming call button, and the power and pairing button. The controls can cause some confusion by pressing, and holding a button will result in different results. It might take some getting used to at first.
Pairing the headphone to your smartphone is a simple process. Once paired, the headphone will automatically pair up with the device in future instances.
The battery life of the Skullcandy is also quite impressive at 10 hours max, depending on your volume level. I suggest you keep the volume at 50% to 75% for optimum battery life.
You get a bare-bones package with the Skullcandy Uproar with only the headphone and charging cable included. Click here to see our brand overview of Skullcandy.
The thing is, I’ve seen other Bluetooth headphones that come complete with accessories like 3.5mm audio cables and a carrying case. Then again, they are not as stylish as the Skullcandy.
As for audio quality, the Uproar is an excellent choice for listening to tunes with powerful bass. The Uproar can deliver impressive low-frequency response, which is impressive for a headphone in its price range. Audio doesn’t become distorted at high volume levels, as well. Music lovers who love loud thumping bass will get their money’s worth. Audiophiles who prefer a more authentic listening experience might feel shortchanged by the Uproar, though.
- Bluetooth wireless connectivity.
- Up to 10 hours of battery life depending on volume level.
- Compact with a modern minimalist design.
Who would this be good for?
The Skullcandy Uproar headphone is a solid enough choice for casual music lovers. It can deliver powerful beats even at max volume and significantly reduce any distortion. Noise isolation is not as good as you would hope, and the accuracy of the audio tends to take a backseat to the monstrous bass. I would recommend this headphone to casual music lovers who want to enjoy their tunes and are not too nit-picky when it comes to the precision of the mids and high range frequencies.
Gamers are not particularly fond of the Uproar, so if you are into gaming, you might want to skip these and scroll down below to the SADES SA901.
- Powerful bass.
- No distortion from the audio.
- Affordable, portable, and stylish
- It doesn’t come with a 3.5mm audio cable.
- Controls might take a little getting used to.
Shure SRH145m+ Headphones Review
While a solid entry into their large catalog of quality headphones, it comes at pretty generic design. However, it is without a doubt, still one of the best under $50 headphones around.
This headphone is made from sturdy plastic and features no bells and whistles to its aesthetics. The construction feels tough enough to withstand a bit of rough use now and again. It has a 5-foot cable that is not removable and touts a 35ohm impedance rate.
I would suggest you handle it with care as I do feel the metallic finish can be prone to scratches.
I feel that the Shure SRH145m+ is a good value for money headphones.
It gives a reliable all-around performance that is rare to see at this price range. Not much to say about this headphone except for it certainly performs above its pay grade.
- Ultra-lightweight design.
- Three-button control configurations.
- Comfortable and replaceable earpads.
- It comes with a 2-year warranty.
Who would this be good for?
This is a clear-cut choice for those who want quality and reliable headphones but are looking for something that wouldn’t break their bank. You get a headphone from a trusted brand with a solid audio quality at a low price.
- Affordable price tag.
- Comfortable over-ear headphones.
- Decent audio detail and accuracy.
- The design is extremely generic.
- The faux-metal finish is susceptible to scratches.
One of the biggest things going for these is the foldable design (as seen in this short promo video) and the sound quality and bass.
Edifier H840 Audiophile Headphones
While Edifier might not ring a bell, the manufacturer has been in the headphone and speakers game for quite a while now. They are steadily building quite an excellent reputation for themselves and don’t be surprised if they soon become another household name for audiophiles.
First thing’s first, the design of the H840 features the standard headphone design that focuses on convenience. While the headband features a few paddings, the earpads are the complete opposite with a generous amount of padding for your comfort. The ear cups offer some rotation and can swing outwards at a 90-degree angle.
It comes with a non-detachable cord that is around 6.5 feet long. The cable feels extremely flexible to the point that it appears to be too soft. It did not affect the overall audio quality, but I do have some concern in regard to its durability.
The initial reaction I had with the H840 in regards to audio quality was the explosive bass. I had to tinker with the equalizer a bit to find that sweetly balanced level for the bass. In terms of genres, though, I think acoustic music will be the one to benefit greatly from this headphone.
These are sometimes compared to the Audio-Technica ATH-M20x, similarly priced, but the M20s have a more neutral sound if you’re not into heavy bass.
The instruments, as well as the vocals, sound exceptionally clear. On the other hand, electro music seems to get distorted a bit when listened to using this headphone. Not a deal-breaker but something to keep in mind.
- Utilizes a 40mm driver.
- Over-ear ergonomic design for improved comfort.
Who would this be good for?
I would recommend the Edifier H840 headphone for individuals who have output devices that support equalizers and are a little strap for cash.
The reason for that is because I think that is the best way to optimize the performance of the H840 truly.
Don’t get me wrong though, it is a solid headphone, but it does have some shortcomings that can, thankfully, be rectified with a few tweaks on the equalizer.
- Low price tag.
- Long cables are ideal for home use.
- Comfortable leather headband and earcups.
- Long cables mean it is not ideal for outdoor use.
- There is no in-line microphone.
- Non-detachable cable.
Creative Sound Blaster Jam Ultralight Bluetooth Headset Review
The Creative Sound Blaster Jam Ultralight Headset brings a more conservative approach to its design but goes full force in terms of functionality. It incorporates a supra-aural over the hear earcup design for improved noise isolation. In terms of comfort, I found this one to offer hours on end of listening pleasure without straining your ears.
Controls are located at the right earcup’s exterior panel where you can play, pause, answer incoming calls, pair, and power up the headphone. Volume controls do double duty as they are also used for track navigation by holding them down for a couple of seconds. You also get the Bass control button that allows you to boost bass quickly and easily. The microphone is also located inside the right earpiece.
Since its launch, the Sound Blaster Jam has been marketed as an affordable set for smartphone users in mind, especially when it comes to pairing and phone call quality.
The headphone can easily be paired with both Android and Apple smartphones. It can operate for up to 12 hours on a full charge but will also depend on how loud you play your music. You can also opt to listen to your music from your PC via USB cable. It comes with a long red cable specifically for this feature.
While the headphone has a compact and lightweight design, it manages to hold up in terms of bass power. In fact, it is able to deliver powerful deep bass surprisingly easy.
Bass also does not show any distortion even when played at high volumes when you activate the Bass mode option. Bass distortion is also mostly a non-issue at a medium volume, even with the Bass mode turned off.
- Around 12-hours of battery life.
- One-click button configuration.
- Bass mode to fully optimize the headphone’s capabilities.
Who would this be good for?
It is also quite convenient and comfortable to use, making it a good choice for people who are always on the go.
- Powerful bass, clear, detailed, and non-distorted audio quality even at full volume.
- The charging cable can also act as an audio transmitter from PC to headphone for wired use.
- Extremely lightweight.
- It comes with a bass mode the boosts its already impressive bass capabilities.
- Simple and generic design. Not that eye-catching.
SADES Over-Ear Stereo Gaming Headset
Gaming is already quite an expensive hobby, so it is great to have affordable alternative options for gaming accessories that do not skip on the quality.
SADES New SA807S is an affordable gaming headphone that delivers solid, clear audio and is comfortable to boot.
While the low-price tag shows on its construction material with a rather cheap black plastic casing, it does utilize a good quality cable. The cable is thick, feels sturdy, and even matches the color of the headset.
You may also want to take a look at these budget gaming headphones by Be excellent that we recently tested out.
If you are looking for a higher-end pair of gaming headphones to put on your wish-list, check out these Sennheiser gaming headsets here.
Of course, that doesn’t mean anything if the performance is lackluster. Fortunately, SADES New SA807S delivers in this category. I highly recommend that you install SADE’s audio software for the best result. The bass is strong and sturdy, perfect for listening to bass-heavy music or playing an intense action sequence in the game. The powerful bass also maintains a clear separation between the different tones, which is a huge plus for audiophiles who desire accuracy in their music.
I would describe SADE’s performance as more akin to that of a speaker system rather than a headphone. The microphone also has some nice noise isolation capability, and I was able to speak with other players clearly. I do find the fact that the mic is non-adjustable to be a little bit annoying. A small sacrifice for the quality this affordable headphone can deliver, though.
- 7.1 Surround Sound Channel USB sound card.
- In-line remote control for sound and microphone.
- It comes with a SADE software installer.
- 32 Ohms impedance rating.
Who would this be good for?
Obviously, its target audience would be gamers. To be exact, gamers who are looking to save some cash with their gaming accessories.
The SADE SA901 Pro USB Gaming Headphone is a definite smart buy with its overall sound quality performance. That being said, you might need to handle this headset with extra care as the plastic construction does feel a bit flimsy.
- Great audio quality for the price.
- Powerful bass with barely any noticeable distortion at full volume.
- The microphone has decent noise isolation.
- Line-in button controls.
- The plastic shell feels cheap.
BestGot -Kids Headphones
The most important factor when it comes to headphones for children is naturally their safety. The headphone must provide comfort and produce a safe level of volume that would avoid long-term damage to their hearing. One of the more popular kid’s headphones in the market today is the BestGot Over-Ear Kids Headphone.
As this is targeted to the younger demographic, the headphone is quite compact in design. It also comes in a variety of different colors that will surely grab a toddler’s attention. The urban design is also a plus with its sleek frame, and the collapsible headband makes it an ideal portable choice as well.
If your kids prefer the lightweight of earbuds, see our picks here for best safe kids (volume-limiting) earbuds.
It utilizes Hi-Fi sound quality, which is achieved via the 40mm high fidelity drivers that are installed inside the earcups. It can produce well-balanced sound quality and clean bass. The cord is detachable, which makes bringing it along outdoors easier. It also comes with a built-in microphone and remote control.
- 40mm High fidelity driver.
- Built-in microphone and remote control.
- Foldable headset frame.
Who would this be good for?
Due to its compact and colorful aesthetics, the BestGot Headphone is ideal for the younger demographic.
Don’t expect it to offer top-notch quality sound. Think of this as a safe introductory headset for future audiophiles.
- Ideal for children as young as three years of age.
- Compact and smooth design.
- It comes in a variety of brightly colored versions.
- It comes with a detachable cord.
- Earcups are quite large. Might feel bulky for a small 2-year-old to use.
Why Over-Ear Headphones?
Compared to other types of headphones, over-ear headphones offer a larger sound because of earcups that enclose around your ears. They have big drivers so they can push more bass and volume, which makes them perfect for playing a game, watching a movie or, of course, listening to music.
Over-ear headphones are said to be less prone to cause hearing damage than in-ear headphones since the distance from the audio sources (speakers, drivers) to the eardrums is longer.
What is the difference between close-back and open-back over-ear headphones?
Most recommended headphones in this post are closed-back headphones since the earcups have a hard plastic enclosure. This design can cause your ears to sweat. You will see much more expensive headphones with an open-back design, but they are more costly and for professional listeners. However, open-back headphones are not good at keeping out the ambient sound. Click here to see a full comparison of open vs closed-back headphones.