12 Best In-Ear Headphones [aka Earbuds] for a Cheap Gift!

Samsung EO-EG920LLEGUS Active InEar Headphones for Universal/SmartPhones - Retail Packaging - Blue
Samsung Inexpensive Earbuds (Image Source: Amazon)

When you buy a new smartphone these days they come with a pair of earbuds packed in the box for free. But whether your new smartphone is a high-end model like the iPhones X or the latest Samsung Galaxy, the included earbuds do not have the best sound quality. You pay so much for a new smartphone, but you only get the sound quality of a $10 headset.

These pairs may be able to last a few months or longer, but then you’ll probably find yourself searching for the best pair of inexpensive headphones on the market in order to upgrade your sound quality or replace a broken set. There are so many good pairs out there to choose from, but finding the right pair for you depends what features you are looking for.

Some will stay secure with extra features for active users, others work as a headset with an in-line control and mic, but all will offer better sound quality than the headphones that come included with your smartphone. Depending on your sound preference, you might like explosive bass, balanced or natural sound. No matter what pair you buy, in-ear headphones come at an affordable price while offering excellent sound quality.

In-ear headphones are portable, compact and lightweight – ideal for people on the go or active users. They are stylish with many color options and variety of designs. Eartips are also varied in shape and sizes, from ovals to bi-flange that conform well to your ears. Since the cables are plastic, they are prone to tangle, meaning that you have to solve knots and tangles once you pull your in-ear headphones from your pocket. However, there are ways to avoid cable issues like proper storage and care, or buying Bluetooth earbuds to avoid the cable altogether.

Best inexpensive earbuds that fit into the ear canal

1. Panasonic RP-TCM125 Ergo Fit For Casual Listening and All Purposes

Panasonic RP-TCM 125 E-W in White
Image Source: Amazon

The Panasonic RP-TCM125 earbuds are lightweight and their ergonomic, snug fit keeps them comfortable and stable for use during exercise or casual listening. They offer the best sound quality for your money as all ranges are equally present making them a well balanced pair of earbuds. However, the bass doesn’t pack a heavy punch.

3 pairs of universal eartips are included making it easy for you to find a perfect, custom fit. They feature an in-line remote control and mic for high quality calls and playback control. These are a much better set than Apple EarPods. The only drawback is that the plastic cord gets tangled easily.

2. BGVP Professional SGZ-DN1 (Budget In Ear Monitors)

BGVP Professional SGZ-DN1 Headphones
Image Source: Amazon
  • Removable earpieces
  • Clear, natural, balanced sound profile
  • Good build quality with a durable cable
  • The large earbud size may cause discomfort for some people

BGVP SGZ-DN1 are great for those who look for the sound quality that is natural and bright. Certainly the bass though is not the deepest but present and a little bit boosted.

3. JVC HA-FX101, Another Great Budget Bass-Focused Earphones

HA-FX 101 A-E in Blue
Image Source: Amazon

Headphones with an angled nozzle design keep earpieces secure in the ear. Unlike Panasonic, with sound well distributed over all ranges, the JVC HA-FX101 headphones put more emphasis on bass. They are cheaper than the Piston 2 earbuds, but the bass is heavier and can overshadow the treble. These earbuds are perfect for dance music or R&B. The treble is a little harsh, but not distorted.


Best open design earbuds that rest on the outer ear canal

This kind of in-ear headphones are suitable for those who don’t like eartips to be inserted in the ear canals. Open design earbuds don’t seal the sound in, they let music out and allow ambient sound in. Because ambient noise is not isolated with this type of earbud, you have to crank up the volume in order to hear the sound clearly in noisy environments. These high levels of volume can potentially damage your ear. See how these earbuds are different from other in-ear headphones on this list. 

4. MoonDrop Nameless (unsealed, flat earbuds)

Moondrop Nameless Dynamic Hifi Earbud Earphone
Image Source: Amazon

The MoonDrop Nameless is designed for those whole like fat, natural sound. The sound doesn’t have a high bass impact, rather it comes across smooth and airy. These headphones have a great build quality, stylish look and metallic body housings.

  • Great clarity and pleasant to listen to
  • Appealing look and feel
  • Durable, tangle-free cable
  • Weak bass performance
  • Not the best bang for your buck

5. Samsung Active Sport Earbuds

Samsung Active InEar Headphones in Black
Image Source: Amazon

Have ever struggled with earbuds falling out while you run? You may need ear gels: eartips that keep earbuds stable in your ears. The Samsung Active sports earbuds offer almost for active users. They are a great combination of secure fit, comfort and decent sound packaged in a stylish exterior for your tough exercise.




6. Lyrebeats Metal Buds

These earphones testify that inexpensive earbuds can be great. They sound clear and bright, with punchy bass.

They showcase a sylish, metal construction and are light weight and very comfortable to wear. Not only do they sound sweet, they also have a durable build for the price.A reinforced ensures nothing will fray or break if you accidentally tug the cable.

The Others

7. Zipbuds JUICED 2.0 Never Tangle Earbuds In-Ear Headphones

Zipbuds PRO mic Never Tangle Zipper Earbuds
Image Source: Amazon

There is scientific evidence behind why earbud cords gets tangled, and Zipbuds JUICED 2.0 seeks to solve this problem. Unfortunately, by getting this pair you have to sacrifice sound quality over convenience. They do, however, offer a great way to manage the cable. When not using them, the cord easily zips together and you never have to worry about knots or tangles. The zipper cable is quite heavy, though, and may cause microphonics when it bounces. Aside from low price, the stylish and lightweight earpieces fit snugly in your ears.


8. Symphonized NRG Premium Genuine Wood In-ear, A Budget In-Ear Headphone for audiophiles

Symphonized NRG Premium Genuine Wood In-ear Noise-isolating Headphones with Mic (Orange Stripe)
Image Source: Amazon

The earpiece housings on these earbuds are made entirely by wood. While this looks great, keep in mind, wood absorbs and reflect sound differently, which makes the sound you listen to quite unique rather than plastic or metalic. It pours in like the sound from an instrument. The Symphonized NRG earbuds sound good with tight bass and clarity. However, you will notice microphonics from the nylon cable when it bounces or rubs anything. The long earbud housing keeps them securely in place as you walk, but the metal rings which join parts of the housing are quite likely to break apart.


9. Yurbuds Inspire Sport Earphones For Women

Yurbuds Inspire Sport Earphones - Women's (Aqua)
Image Source: Amazon

As sport headphones, Yurbuds resists to water and sweat better than most headphones on this list. The eartips are well designed to fit snuggly, but they let in ambient noise and better suit those with smaller ears. Yurbuds are specifically designed for walking or running, and no matter how active you are the eartips fit securely in the ear.




Best Bluetooth Headphones

A pair of Bluetooth headphones can connect wirelessly with your device. Unfortunately, the sound quality of Bluetooth headphones is not as good as wired headphones and they need to be recharged. On the bright side, they are more portable and convenient.

10. Soundpeats Qy7 Mini Bluetooth Earphones

SoundPEATS Bluetooth Headphones
Image Source: Amazon

Power through your workout without long cables bouncing around on your body with the Sounpeats Qy7 Bluetooth headphones. A short, flat cable connects 2 earpieces and allows you to move free. These inexpensive Bluetooth in-ear headphones surprisingly offer almost everything you need for sports. They are waterproof, fit snuggly into your ears and have a crisp, dynamic sound. Mids and highs are pleasant, and bass is achievable with a decent level of depth and punch. The battery life is roughly 5 hours, depending on the volume level you play. Despite how they look these earbuds are quite sturdy and lightweight. These factors have resulted in many positive ratings from users.

11. Klipsch Image S3

Klipsch Image S3 in Black
Image Source: Amazon

Klipsch Image S3 headphones features patented oval eartips, which have been proven to provide more comfort and better noise isolation than average eartips. The eartips also stick better to the ear than others on the list. They sound nearly identical to the Sony MDREX58V/BLK EX, but cost a fraction of the price. While mids and highs show details and fullness, the bass is only pushed a little bit.



12. JLAB JBuds J6M: The Best For Noise Isolation

JLab Audio J6M High Fidelity Metal Ergonomic Earbuds Style Headphones w/Mic, GUARANTEED FOR LIFE - Nero Black
Image Source: Amazon

If you work in a noisy office or want to avoid transportation noise, these in-ear headphones really help to block ambient noise. Their metallic construction makes them durable and the bi-flange eartips provide outstanding noise isolation. They are really effective in a noisy environment and you don’t have to crank up the volume to listen music clearly. However, they jam deep into the ear canal so they may cause discomfort for some users.

Earbuds Retired from this Page

YUIN PK3 Best Cheap Earbuds

YUIN PK3 Headphones
Image Source: Amazon

Like most headphones from YUIN, these earbuds don’t look great, but you can’t judge sound based on looks. The YUIN PK3 delivers astonishingly tight bass response, which is usually impossible for unsealed earbuds. They sound clear and are best suited for pop and rock music. The included paddings are soft and comfortable, although dust particles tend to stick to them, but you can use them with or without the paddings.



Xiaomi Piston 3

Xiaomi Piston In-Ear Headphones
Image Source: Amazon


The Piston 3 earbuds deliver outstanding sound quality for the price. They have a solid build and inline control. They are more stylish and comfortable to wear than their predecessor, the bass heavy Xiaomi Piston 2. Because they are designed for comfort, the earbuds rest shallowly in your ear canals giving average noise isolation. They offer a great combination of balanced sound with tight bass.


Xiaomi Piston 2 Extra Bass Earphones 

Xiaomi Headphones
Image Source: Amazon

With a new  name, metal housings and rounded body, the Piston 2 Extra Bass earphones sound smooth and warm with a lot of bass. The treble is still able to sparkle without a shrill edge of harshness. There is a little opening on the back of the earbud housings which creates an airy and spacious sound. However, the durable aluminum build interferes with the fitting, and the straight nozzle direction makes them less comfortable than other earbuds on the list. You can increase the comfort with custom eartips made by Comply.


Sennheiser MX 365 Earbuds

Sennheiser MX 365 Earphones - Blue
Image Source: Amazon

Another set of earbuds we would recommend are the Sennheiser MX 365 earbuds. Why are these great? For one, they have a stylish, classic look and are available in 6 colors. In addition to the cool design, the MX 365 earbuds present warm sound with clear and bright treble. The bass is present,  but not as powerful as the PK3 earbuds. Note that the MX 365 is not for those who have relatively small ears.

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