Headphones under $50

When it comes to sound quality, a little money can go a long way. Here are CNET's top-rated headphones that cost less than $50.

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If you're looking to improve the quality of your music, headphones are the most important link in the chain. Today's phones, tablets, and computers are capable of spectacular audio quality that was unthinkable just 10 years ago, but you're not going to hear it with the headphones that came in the box.

Fortunately, you don't have to spend a lot of money to hear a dramatic improvement in headphone audio quality. In this Top 5, we have the best headphones for under $50, as selected by CNET Executive Editor David Carnoy and Associate Editor Justin Yu. You can find their full write-up over on CNET's Crave blog , as well as the gallery below outlining 18 choices in total.

Read the full CNET Review

Panasonic ErgoFit RP-HJE120-D (Orange)

The Bottom Line: For under $10, you'll be hard-pressed to find in-ear headphones that sound better and are more comfortable than the Panasonic ErgoFit RP-HJE120s. / Read full review

Read the full CNET Review

MEElectronics A151 (Black)

The Bottom Line: At around $50 online, the MEElectronics A151s are among the most affordable balanced-armature earphones out there and deliver very good sound for the money. / Read full review

Read the full CNET Review

Koss PortaPro (with Case)

The Bottom Line: Koss hit a home run with the PortaPros. Love or hate the design, there's no denying the sound quality here: they're the ideal companion for mobile audiophiles and home theater enthusiasts. / Read full review

Read the full CNET Review

Shure SE535 (Metallic Bronze)

The Bottom Line: You can't go wrong with Shure's SE420 earphones, despite their high price tag--unless you have the money to buy the SE530s, their more expensive cousins. / Read full review

Read the full CNET Review

Audio-Technica ATH-M30

The Bottom Line: While they're not in the same league as the step-up ATH-M50 headphones, the Audio-Technica ATH-M30 set costs a lot less and offers impressive performance and decent build quality for the money. / Read full review

About the author

Donald Bell has spent more than five years as a CNET senior editor, reviewing everything from MP3 players to the first three generations of the Apple iPad. He currently devotes his time to producing How To content for CNET, as well as weekly episodes of CNET's Top 5 video series.

 

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