Buying excellent earbuds today could easily cost more than a hundred dollars. However, there are $20 earbuds available that provide a great listening experience.
Great earbuds should have a comfortable fit, clear soundstage, and great build quality. Some US$20 [AU$29] earbuds skimp on some features to cut costs.
But, there are gems among those budget-oriented earbuds. Here are some of them.
1. 1More Piston Fit
1More is known to produce great earbuds without breaking the bank. The 1More Piston Fit is a testament to its bang-for-the-buck products.
These tiny earbuds use Kevlar fiber for its durable wires. The earbuds also include several ear tips to find a comfortable fit.
Sound-wise, it has clear highs and mids with enough bass.
These earbuds would have been perfect if not for its straight plug. This kind of plug tends to wear down easily compared to L-shaped plugs. The aluminum paint job also chips easily. Leave out in the open and it will surely have a few scratches.
Despite these downsides, the 1More Piston Fit is a great device for $15.
2. Philips Pro Wired Earbuds
The Philips Pro Wired Earbuds is another great budget option. It is a comfortable earbud with built-in mic controls. Perfect for those who are on the go.
The audio quality is clear for listening with highlights on the bass. However, the microphone is on the opposite side of the spectrum.
Build quality is okay but not that great. The flimsy cables also get tangled easily.
These earbuds are an okay pick for $20. Bass lovers will love it, but those who engage in a lot of voice calls may hate it.
3. AKG Stereo Headphones
If the Philips Pro gets tangled easily then these AKG Stereo headphones are the opposite. The cables are well made and it does not tangle easily.
It might not be the most important feature. But it is better to use a headphone immediately than spend time on the cable puzzle.
AKG makes great headphones. This time, the AKG Stereo is a budget option that provides a comfortable fit while isolating all background noises. It is not suggested to use this in places where spatial awareness is needed.
In terms of sound, it lacks clarity. Using it on high volume also produces muffled sound. Take note of that when using these headphones.
However, for less than $20, the pros outweigh the cons.
4. JBL Endurance Run
These sub $20 earbuds have an IPX5 rating with an ear hook design to keep it in place while running. It also has an integrated mic and remote for easy controls while out on a run.
The ear hook shape and the size of the earbuds are better for people with larger ears though. People with smaller ears may find the fit uncomfortable.
The soundstage is alright with decent bass, mids, and highs. However, expect some cable thumping whenever in use during active hours.
5. Panasonic Ergo Fit
The Panasonic Ergo Fit is one of the best sub $20 earbuds out there. There is no doubt about that. It may not have many bells and whistles, but the sound quality is top-notch.
It is currently available for only $15 depending on the retailer. But, it provides a great sound stage. Comfortability is also one of its strengths. Hence, the “Ergo Fit” monicker.
One downside though is the flimsy cable. It feels like it may break anytime.
Another problem is the stocks. These earbuds are a few of the best out there and stocks run out pretty fast. So for those who are on the hunt, if there is one in stock, just get it. It will not disappoint.
It also comes in several colors because it is made for the Apple iPod Nano 5th generation. Either way, this model may be several years old. But, it can still kick ass for a $20 earbuds.